Archive for February, 2010

Massive Earthquake in Chile

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

There has been a massive earthquake in Chile. Please pray for the victims of this terrible disaster and do what you can to support relief efforts.

Rescuers raced against the clock Sunday to save quake victims trapped inside a collapsed apartment block as looters stole food and robbed banks after one of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded struck Chile.

There were conflicting reports Sunday on the death toll left by the 8.8-magnitude quake that rocked Chile early Saturday morning. An emergency worker told Reuters that more than 400 people had died, the news agency reported, as search operations and damage assessments continued to look for survivors in the wake of the aftershocks.

The Associated Press reported that more than 300 people had died. More than one million Chileans were affected and 500,000 homes severely damaged by the mammoth temblor.

SLIDESHOW: Photos from Chilean quake

The quake triggered a tsunami that swept across the Pacific, killing several people on a Chilean island and devastating coastal communities near the epicenter. The wave caused little damage in other countries after precautionary evacuations ordered thousands of people to seek higher ground. The tsunami warning was lifted a day after the earthquake.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, who leaves office March 11, declared a “state of catastrophe” in central Chile.

“It was a catastrophe of devastating consequences,” she said.

Officials said earlier they had counted 214 dead, but more victims were being found.

“At the moment there are some 300 fatalities,” Jose Abumohor, a duty chief at the National Emergency Agency, said Sunday.

Police said more than 100 people died in Concepcion, the largest city near the epicenter with a population of more than 200,000. The university was among the buildings that caught fire around the city as gas and power lines snapped. Many streets were littered with rubble from edifices and inmates escaped from a nearby prison.

Police used water cannon and tear gas to scatter people who forced open the doors of the Lider supermarket in Concepcion, hauling away everything from diapers to dehydrated milk to a kitchen stove.

Original Link.

“Evil Days Ahead” by Ron Graham

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Jesus said, “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Matthew 24:37-39. Even though the people of Noah’s day were marrying and giving in marriage, eating and drinking, and going about their daily lives, these activities were not the cause of the flood. So what was the cause and how will that affect us here on this planet when it hits again?

Although Jesus didn’t go into great detail about what had transpired in the world prior to the great flood of Noah’s day, God does go into a lot more detail in various passages throughout His word. We can be assured, through Jesus’ words, that the conditions on earth just before His Second Advent will be just as they were in the days of Noah and before the flood occurred, which as we all know carried away all but eight people to their destruction. Our Lord Jesus saw the characteristics of Noah’s day and made no distinction between that evil period of time and the evil period that is on a collision course with earth and mankind’s final days.

I hear many commentators repeat the verses above and basically as they speak about the last days they express their opinion thusly: Everything will be business as usual. So, I ask the question, will it?

What was going on in Noah’s day was not normal or business as usual. At least not in what many today would consider a normal business day. Let’s just take a peek at what God tells us was the goings on in Noah’s day.

“And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,” Genesis 6:1. This verse plainly speaks of an exploding population. The word multiply comes from the Hebrew word “rahab” which means to be or become many. In Psalm chapter 144 verse 13 the same Hebrew word is translated “ten thousands”. So just as earth’s population is exploding today, some six billion people strong and counting, so it was in the days of Noah. But why flood the earth? Certainly not because men began to multiply. Even in the verse above we’re given no indication as to why God would annihilate earth’s inhabitants with a flood.

“That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.” Genesis 6:2. Now we begin to see some indication as to why God was displeased. The phrase “sons of God” is clearly seen as referring to angelic creatures. We find this phrase three other times in the Old Testament. “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.” Job 1:6. “Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD…” Job 2:1. “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” Job 38:7.

The translators of the Septuagint (Hebrew text translated into Greek) referred to the “sons of God” as “angels.” Unlike many today, these scholars certainly weren’t confused with the term “sons of God” nor were they trying to remain politically correct in their translation. Obviously the phrase “sons of God” is in no way referring to the descendants of Seth cohabitating with the daughters of Cain, which is what many believe. Thus what occurred there in Genesis 6 was clearly a demonic, sexual perversion, which God was not pleased with.

These demonic fallen angels somehow (we’re not told how) had sexual relations with human women of all they chose. Okay, let’s stop here for a moment. Before we progress any further we need to address what Jesus tells us in Matthew’s Gospel about angels and marriage. “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” Matthew 22:30. Keeping within the context of the conversation here in Matthew we can plainly see that Jesus, after being confronted with a question from those who only wanted to trip Him up, answered thusly. “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.” Matthew 22:29. Jesus, nowhere in the scriptures tells us that angels can’t get married or have sexual intercourse, only that they don’t participate in such behaviors in Heaven nor will man when he reaches Heaven. That’s because there’s no further need for procreation once we get to Heaven. Thus we will be as the angels of God in Heaven.

Now that that’s cleared up let’s get back to the case in point. The fallen angels who participated in this abomination took them (women) as they chose. The verse doesn’t say they went to the fathers of the women and asked for their hand in marriage. No, these demonic beings took them, forcefully. Remember the verse states “and they took them wives of all which they chose.” This was all part of Satan’s agenda designed to corrupt the gene pool so the Messiah, and Savior of the world couldn’t come, because He would never come from such corrupted men. This whole supernatural phenomenon was an abomination to God and He was sorely displeased. Except for Noah and his immediate family, the entire planet took part in this perversion.

“And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” Genesis 6:3. We must consider the fact that God tells us right up front that He was only giving man another 120 years. In other words planet earth had already reached the point of no return and yet God gave them another 120 years to come to their senses, even though He knew they wouldn’t.

“There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.” Genesis 6:4. To understand this verse correctly it must be understood that the sons of God (fallen angels) had sexual relations with human women and the women bore children. The offspring of this most unholy union created a race of beings commonly referred to as Nephilim. They were huge creatures mighty in power and well known in that day as completely corrupt and evil. Again, there’s no reason not to expect the same corruption when earth enters its last days just prior to our Lords return.

So it’s extremely important to understand what Jesus meant when He said “so shall also the coming of the Son of man be”. He didn’t say that business as usual is going to be the cause for His soon return but that the pervasive evil will be the catalyst that brings Him back to earth. There’s no doubt that the world just before Jesus’ return will experience the same demonic, sexual perversions as that of Noah’s day.

Immorality and perverse sexual relations are occurring by leaps and bounds today. Other than the fact that it’s getting worse with each passing day there’s not much new or different about it, right? Is this the demonic and sexual perversion that we can expect in the last days? I believe that what we see today in the way of sexual perversion is satanic but we haven’t seen anything yet. There will be a height of depravity reached that will be unimaginable for our finite minds. The stage is set for the introduction of the most vile and corrupt sexual perversions since Noah’s time. And it will be a time of pure satanic Hell on earth.

“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5. This verse really does speak for itself. This evil heart syndrome is back and well on its way to overwhelming men’s lives. Wickedness abounds everywhere and even though only God can look into men’s hearts, it’s not difficult for anyone who has eyes to see that a huge segment of society already belongs in this category. But it hasn’t reached its pinnacle of perversion yet and it won’t until a certain portion of society is removed.

Jesus’ words are like a hammer on our brains, when we wake up to the reality of what is going on around us we will undoubtedly have a headache. So completely are His prophetic words being fulfilled today, it’s impossible to misconstrue their meaning. Unless of course we flatly refuse to believe something so sinister, so devilish, so horrible could possibly happen in our time or could have happened in any prior period of human history. But if we believe His words then we must conclude He meant what He said. As it was in the days of Noah so shall it be in the last days preceding His return.

There’s no need for conjecture here or for reading between the lines. Everything in Genesis 6 is spelled out for the discerning eye. God Himself was there in that period of time speaking to Noah. Since He is the same God speaking to His disciples in Matthew 24, we can conclude from His words that the activities associated with the demonic during Noah’s day will be the same activity concluding earth’s final days.

“And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” Jude 1:6. How is it possible, you might ask, that since the angels that committed this abomination are held in everlasting chains until the judgment that the same thing can possibly occur again? Satan has many more hoards of fallen angels at his command and he is readying them now to resume his unholy agenda of corruption.

Thus the human race can expect the same evil in the last days as Noah witnessed in his day because Jesus Himself said so “as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” According to this verse there’s no reason to exclude anything that went on in Noah’s day from occurring again.   

“The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.” Genesis 6:11. Noah witnessed the filling of earth with violence and corruption in all aspects of human endeavor during that period just before the flood. You and I can see this earth is filling up with this same incredibly widespread phenomenon of evil right now just as Noah witnessed in early stages of this same evil. Every day we hear and/or read news stories in which we are confronted with the obvious lateness of the hour. I believe this is why we have been given the ability to gather and disseminate breaking news as we do. It’s another sign of the times that God has enabled us with so we can be made aware of this evil approaching and act accordingly.

In these last days the human race has been given something that our early ancestors could not have even perceived: World news, which includes the many instances of man’s depravity. This news is now generated instantaneously from around the world. We can discern, with little difficulty that we are quickly approaching the final hour here on earth.

Jesus does not differentiate when it comes to these two time periods, which are separated merely by a relatively small amount of time. Noah’s days and earth’s final days will be very similar in its wholesale depravity and distribution of evil.

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” John 1:12. What becomes of us, those who are now considered “sons of God”? In those days filled with all forms of demonic sexual perversions, corruption, and violence, what will Christ’s Church[be doing? Those who are born again, of God, will be excluded from that horrible hour. Jesus is warning those listening and those who would read His words years later, but He’s not speaking to His Church. Nowhere in Matthew 24 is the Church mentioned, which can only mean we are already gone, just as Enoch was taken away by God prior to the flood of Noah.

But those to whom He is speaking it will be a most horrible and evil time period of which the world has not previously witnessed. “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” Matthew 24: 21- 22.

No one in their right mind would want to be here on earth during that most evil of times. But many will remain tied to this world through their own foolish desires and complete lack of faith in the only one who can prevent their being left to endure such horrid times.

The late Larry Norman said it very well. “I wish we’d all been ready. The Father spoke, the demons dined, the Son has come and you’ve been left behind.” Don’t be left behind.

God bless you all,

Ron Graham

twotug@embarqmail.com

All scripture is from the KJV

Original Link.

“Home Court Advantage Didn’t Help Obama” by Ernest Istook

Friday, February 26th, 2010

President Obama used his health care summit to give his side every advantage possible. Whenever opponents spoke, he got to respond. By appointing himself the moderator, Obama gave himself the first word, the last word, and the most words.

Overall, Obama gave Democrats over twice as much speaking time as Republicans. The 17 GOP’ers attending received a collective 110 minutes. By himself, Obama hogged 119 minutes of microphone time and gave his 21 fellow Democrats an additional 114 minutes. When called to account for this, Obama proclaimed it fair because, “I’m the President.”

Obama exercised free rein to cut off opponents, speak sharply, and pass judgment on whether others’ arguments were legitimate. He wasn’t just a player; he also was the referee.

Despite giving his side all the advantages, most commentators agree that Republicans held their own or even carried the day. CNN’s David Gergen proclaimed that Republicans “had their best day in years.”

A key moment was when Obama—arguing passionately with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)–claimed his plan would reduce the cost of private health insurance, and then the President was forced publicly to back down from that claim.

As media such as the Daily Caller reported:

Later in the session, after an aide handed the president a note, Obama admitted he had been wrong: ‘What the Congressional Budget Office is saying is, is that if I now have the opportunity to actually buy a decent package inside the exchange, that costs me about 10% to 13% more but is actually real insurance, then there are going to be a bunch of people who take advantage of that. So yes, I’m paying 10% to 13% more because instead of buying an apple, I’m getting an orange.’

It was a crucial point because, for many Americans, the key issue is not whether government provides health care for the uninsured, but whether it lowers costs for the already-insured. Whether the number of uninsured is estimated at 30 million or 46 million (and both numbers are deceptive, it still represents only 10-15% of the population.

Among  the 85-90% of Americans who have insurance, the main concern is affordability, not availability. Obama’s most important health reform promise to them was his oft-repeated pledge to lower their health insurance costs by $2,500 per year. Being forced to admit on live television that his plan fails to do that—and instead increases premiums—was the low point of the summit for the President.

As Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) noted, “It’s just another example of why because the bill has to raise so much money, it ends up hurting the very people that we want to help.”

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) offered Obama a clear chance to embrace a premium-reducing solution. For example, she said, those Californians who face up to 39 percent increases in premiums should be given “the ability to go to Oregon, where they could buy a policy for 25 percent less, or individuals in New Jersey who could go to Pennsylvania and buy a policy and lower their cost 26 percent, or go to Wisconsin and buy one and lower their cost 74 percent.”

The need for a plan that lowers premiums rather than increases them is a major reason why the best course for Congress would be to start over. Lawmakers should take a different approach, rather than try to ram through Obamacare and impose it on a country that does not want it.

Also, from the American Political Action Committee (AmeriPAC):

How does Obama Plan To Pay For It ALL? – WITH NEW TAXES!!!!

A record number of Americans are out of work and ObamaCare funding is more than $1 Trillion short and cannot be paid for without new taxes.

Obama and the Democrats in Congress are taking money out of our pockets with more than a dozen new taxes created by the bill. These would add up quickly for families:

* Elimination of the Medicare Part D (prescription drug) deduction ($5.4 billion);
* A 0.5 percent hike in the Medicare payroll tax for single earners over $200,000
* A tax on branded drugs ($22.2 billion);
* An annual tax on the health insurers ($60.4 billion)
* A 40 percent excise tax on “high value” health care ($149.1 billion in new taxes over the next 10 years); and joint earners over $250,000 ($53.8 billion);
* Changes in health savings accounts (HSAs), ($5 billion);
* A $2,500 cap on FSAs in cafeteria plans ($14.6 billion);
* An increase from 10 percent to 20 percent in the penalty for early non-qualified HSA withdrawals ($1.3 billion);
* A tax on companies that manufacture or import medical devices ($19.3 billion);
* An increase in the floor of the medical expenses deduction from 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income to 10 percent, except for seniors, who will stay at 7.5 percent ($15.2 billion);
* A mandate on companies with more than 50 employees to provide health coverage or pay a $750 penalty per employee for those who obtain coverage through the insurance exchange ($36 billion over 10 years) and a mandate on individuals to obtain coverage or pay a tax penalty.

Dick Morris Is Right About A Liberal Democrat Secret Plan for ObamaCare

Pelosi said, “We (Liberal Democrats) will go through the gate,” “If the gate is closed, we will go over the fence. If the fence is too high, we will pole vault in. If that doesn’t work, we will parachute in. But we are going to get health care reform passed for the American people for their own…” (GOOD?)

“Iranian Website: Iranian Nuke = End of Israel” by Chris Schang

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Israel National News is currently running an article that reports that an Iranian website called “Asr-e Iran” is stating that the development of an Iranian nuclear weapon would equal the end of Israel. The Iranian website makes the claim that even if a nuclear weapons is developed and never used, that there will be a mass exodus of Jews out of Israel which would effectively be the end of Israel. The INN articles reports:

The MEMRI organization reports that the popular Iranian website Asr-e Iran posted an editorial last week stating that Iran’s possession of nuclear weapons will threaten Israel’s existence and lead to its elimination – even if they are ‘never used’. Once Iran possesses nuclear weapons and shifts the balance of power in the Middle East this will be the end of Israeli society, said the editorial.”Iran’s possession of such weapons will sow in Israel a sense of insecurity – and this sense alone will be enough to shatter the glass palace of this illegitimate regime in the Middle East. An Iran with nuclear weapons means an end to the dream of ‘secure Israel’ – and this means the exodus of most of the residents.”

As many students know from Bible prophecy, God has declared that in the end times he would call the Jews back into the land a second time never to be dispersed or destroyed again. This prophecy was recorded in Isaiah 11:11-12:

Isa 11:11 And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.

Isa 11:12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

And from Ezekiel 37:21-23:

Eze 37:21 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:

Eze 37:22 And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:

Eze 37:23 Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God

As we can see here there will ultimately be a showdown between the satanic evil forces of Islam who will try to rid the world of Israel and the God of Israel. My bet is on the Word of God as he can’t lie and his Word has been true 100% of the time. The Islamists are definitely playing with fire, and they don’t even know it. Satan has deceived the Islamists into thinking that they can develop a nuclear weapon and wipe Israel off the map. Somehow I believe that God is not going to allow this to happen, for His Word says that Israel is once again back in the land for good. So, somehow the Islamic hordes who are lined up against Israel will taste yet another bitter defeat at the hands of the True Living God!

Another interesting report that came out is that a recent Gallup poll indicates that American support for Israel is at a 20 year high!! This is an encouraging sign in that despite all the rabid anti-semitism being displayed across the world community, that the United States’ people are still standing proudly with Israel. Israel National News reports:

American sympathy for Israel in the Arab-Israeli conflict has surged, with 63% of Americans saying they side more with Israelis than with Palestinians, according to a new Gallup poll. In 1996 and 1997, support for Israel hovered at a lowly 38%. Support for Palestinians is currently 15%, down from 23% a few years ago, according to the poll, which was conducted February 1-3.

Further:

The last time Israel enjoyed such high popularity in the United States was almost 20 years ago in January 1991, just after Israel was attacked by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein with Scud missiles during the First Gulf War. Support from Republicans stands at a towering 85%, up from 77% in recent years, with Democratic and Independent support remaining about the same. A whopping 67% of Americans are doubtful that a time will ever come in which Arab nations and Israel will “settle their differences” and live in peace. Politically, Democrats (39%) were more inclined to think this scenario would occur than independents (26%) or Republicans (25%).

As we can see here the Israelis are enjoying a tremendous popular support from the conservative Republican party with 85% supporting Israel in the current Israeli-Arab conflict. While the poll did not reveal the exact percentage of support for Israel from Democrats, the poll did reveal that nearly 40% of Democrats thought the Israeli-Arab conflict could be resolved. To me this is just an incredible amount of people who are living in a political fog. Time and time again we have seen the Arabs refuse to make peace with Israel. The Gaza experiment is a miserable failure and just goes to show that the entire “land for peace” theory is silly and absurd at best. I believe the root of the difference between how Democrats and Republicans see the Israeli-Arab conflict resolves around knowledge of the biblical prophecies that we are very close to seeing. Conservative Republicans are much more likely to believe and follow a literal interpretation of scriptures than the liberal and secular Democrats, many of whom support anti-godly movements such as abortion, gay marriages, and other failed socialist ideals.

In the end, Genesis 12:3 comes to mind as God says he will bless those who bless Israel, and that he will curse those who curse Israel.

Gen 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Keep looking up, our redemption is drawing nigh!!

God bless.

Original Link.

Child Pornography Hailed as “Art” Again

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Liberal artist love their child pornography and have unveiled yet another exhibit with photos of naked children.

[M]ore than 100 photos are of unclothed women and girls shown as part of “Body Awareness/Body Appreciation Week,” an annual event on the campus. A university spokesman claims the exhibit does [not] constitute pornography. But Kent Ostrander, who heads up the Family Foundation of Kentucky, disagrees.

“Our concern is primarily focusing on the fact that some of these photos are of young children — two-and-a-half years old, eight years old, twelve years old — and that’s just inappropriate,” he remarks. “A child [that age] has not reached the age of consent.”

The photographer is quoted as saying he obtained permission from the parents. In response, Ostrander says that “any adult who would allow their child to be used that way, exploited that way, is a fool.”

Original Link.

Obama and Dems Prepare to Ram Health Care Through

Friday, February 26th, 2010

With over 60% of the American people saying they don’t want the health care reform being offered by the Democrats, the Dems still don’t get it. They are going to ram health care down our throats anyway.
Well Dems, let the chips fall where they may…

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama strongly signaled that Democrats will move forward on a health care overhaul with or without Republicans, preparing his party for a fight whose political outcome will rest with voters in November.

Delivering his closing argument at a 7-1/2-hour televised policy marathon Thursday, Obama told Republicans he welcomes their ideas — even ones Democrats don’t like — but they must fit into his framework for a broad health care remake that would cover tens of millions of uninsured Americans.

That’s the deal.

It’s a gamble for Obama and his party, and it’s far from certain that Democratic congressional leaders can rally their members to muscle a bill through on their own. At stake are Democrats’ political fortunes in the midterm elections and the fate of Obama’s domestic agenda pitted against emboldened Republicans.

“The truth of the matter is that politically speaking, there may not be any reason for Republicans to want to do anything,” Obama said, summing up. “I don’t need a poll to know that most Republican voters are opposed to this bill and might be opposed to the kind of compromise we could craft.

“And if we can’t,” he added, “I think we’ve got to go ahead and some make decisions, and then that’s what elections are for. ”

To the nearly 40 lawmakers in the room with him, the message was unmistakable.

“Frankly, I was discouraged by the outcome,” said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. “I do not believe there will be any Republican support for this 2,700-page bill.”

Democratic leaders — who preside over majorities in both chambers– were having none of that.

“It’s time to do something, and we’re going to do it,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

Still, no participant publicly called the daylong exercise a waste of time. Despite flare-ups now and then, they had a remarkably civil debate on an issue that has divided Americans and polarized political partisans.

Obama’s plan would require most Americans to get health insurance, while providing subsidies for many in the form of a new tax credit. It would set up a competitive insurance market for small businesses and people buying coverage on their own. Other changes include addressing a coverage gap in the Medicare prescription benefit and setting up a new long-term-care insurance program. The plan would be funded through Medicare cuts and tax increases.

At the summit, there were some areas of agreement, including barring insurers from dropping policyholders who become sick, ending annual and lifetime monetary limits on health insurance benefits and letting young adults stay on their parents’ health policies into their mid-20s or so.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who has a track record of working across the political aisle, said he would try to broaden common ground. Obama said he was willing to incorporate medical malpractice changes into his plan.

Yet on the core issues of how to expand coverage and pay for it, the divide was as wide as ever. Democrats argue a stronger government role is essential, and with it higher taxes and new rules for private companies.

“We have a very difficult gap to bridge here,” said Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the No. 2 House Republican. “We just can’t afford this. That’s the ultimate problem.”

A Democrats-only strategy is no slam-dunk. The House would have to pass a Senate bill that many House Democrats find unacceptable. Indeed, House Democrats appear to hold the key to the success of Obama’s gambit.

To make the Senate bill more palatable to the House, both chambers would pass a package of changes. In the Senate, that would be done under special budget rules allowing majority Democrats to get around the requirement for 60 votes to shut off bill-killing filibusters. Democrats are one vote shy.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., asked Democrats to swear off the tactic, known as “reconciliation.” Reid defended it.

Obama said Americans want a decision on health care, and most think “a majority vote makes sense.”

Yet a USA Today/Gallup survey released Thursday found Americans tilt 49-42 percent against Congress passing a health care bill similar to the ones proposed by Obama and Democrats in the House and Senate. Opposition was even stronger to the idea of Senate Democrats using the special budget rules, with 52 percent opposed and 39 percent in favor.

Congressional aides said top Democrats will take a few days to gauge the summit’s impact on the public and, perhaps more importantly, on moderate House members who will likely determine whether any health care bill will pass.

If the effort fails, Democrats may try a scaled-back plan to insure about 15 million more Americans, rather than the 30 million covered under the congressional bills. Among other things, the fallback plan would require insurance companies to let people up to age 26 stay on their parents’ health plans.

Original Link.

Dad’s Surgery Was Successful – Thanks For The Prayers

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Dad’s heart surgery was successful and he is recovering now. It will be a long recovery, but I’m sure it will go well.
Thank you for all the prayers.
God Bless
-Steve

Dad Having Heart Surgery This Morning

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

My dad is having a heart valve replacement surgery this morning.
We would appreciate your thoughts and prayers. Although it was caught before any damage was done to the heart, and it is considered “routine”, there is some risk, especially at his age.
But he is in great health, except for the valve, so we are not expecting any difficulties.
Thanks for the prayers!! I’ll be back tomorrow.
God Bless!!
-Steve

“Obamacare, Whether You Like It Or Not” by Michael G. Mickey

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

On Thursday President Obama, along with Democrats and Republicans, are going to hold a healthcare summit, the purpose of which (or so we are to believe) is to open the lines of bipartisan communication and help President Obama gain support for a revised version of his healthcare reform plan, but is that true? I don’t believe so based on what I’m reading all over the web.

Has President Obama’s healthcare bill really changed?

The following is an excerpt from a OneNewsNow.com article on the topic:

President Obama claims the 33 policy changes outlined in his healthcare proposal will bridge the gap between the two very unpopular House and Senate bills, but one healthcare reform expert says the plan is not much different from the bill that passed the Senate on Christmas Eve.

President Obama in advance of Thursday’s televised healthcare summit has unveiled a healthcare plan that would cost nearly $1 trillion over 10 years, and according to the White House would provide coverage to more than 31 million uninsured Americans. It would be paid for by a mix of Medicare cuts, tax increases, and new fees on healthcare industries. The plan would also allow the government to deny or roll back insurance premium increases.

Not only would the president’s proposal increase the cost of the Senate bill from $871 billion to $950 billion, says Dr. Robert Moffit, director of the Center for Health Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation, but it retains all the objectionable portions of the Senate bill.

Not a lot of positive change there from my perspective, unless one considers sinking the United States another $79 billion in debt is an upgrade.

America, as a whole, has never taken a fancy to what many refer to as Obamacare. A vast majority of people from all walks of life have consistently and resoundingly voiced their opposition to it from the very start and yet here we go again! No wonder February 22nd’s daily tracking numbers provided by Rasmussen indicate that 41% of Americans strongly disapprove of the Obama presidency! Americans keep saying no to Obamacare and the liberals keep saying yes, even daring to leave the possibility that Americans opposed to abortion are going to soon be paying taxes to fund precisely that on the table.

Taxpayer Funded Abortion?

ONN is quoting Susan Muskett, legislative counsel for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), as saying President Obama’s latest Senate-authorized healthcare bill is “the most expansively pro-abortion bill ever brought to the floor of either house of Congress since Roe vs. Wade.”

The Obama administration is “clearly turning its back on the will of the people“, according to Muskett.

We The People Have No Voice

Americans are beginning to figure out that ‘We The People’ have been effectively removed from having a voice in the affairs of our nation’s business and it isn’t sitting well.

The screaming voices heard at town hall meetings all over the nation, even Republican Scott Brown’s surprise election win in Massachusetts, apparently didn’t get anyone in the Obama camp’s attention. Why? I’m not sure but perhaps it’s because the liberal media has consistently portrayed everyone who doesn’t support the liberal agenda of President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid as fringe radicals. Hardly the case, but maybe the Obama administration believes that tall tale is going to gain traction if told enough times and trust me when I say it’s going to be told a lot on the way to 2012, especially if the Tea Party movement continues to influence politics beyond the media’s ability to snuff it out.

Exemplary of the image the mainstream media is projecting of everyone opposed to Obamacare, Ken Shepherd of Newsbusters had the following to say concerning a photo gallery Newsweek recently posted to the web depicting the angry faces of town hall protestors:

As my colleague Tim Graham brought to my attention this morning, Newsweek is not content to let its advocacy for ObamaCare lie in the realm of biased writing. Nope, it appears the gang at Newsweek wants to help along President Obama by lampooning earnest Americans who expressed their displeasure last year at town hall meetings.

Why Newsweek chose now to roll out its photo gallery on “The Town Hall Face” now is anyone’s guess, but I believe it’s part of an effort by Newsweek to deride the skeptical American public as too deranged to understand how good ObamaCare will be for them.

Propaganda. Pure unbridled liberally-motivated propaganda.

A Mere Photo Op

As the healthcare summit draws near, evidence is mounting that the event is little more than fluff, an opportunity for President Obama to get even more face time in front of the mainstream media’s cameras than usual, and, perhaps, a chance for him to get in a few soundbytes for his friends at MSNBC to place on a near continuous loop on their network. Why do I say that? Because the Democrats are already suggesting that some version of Obamacare is getting passed into law in the not-too-distant future regardless of what happens at the summit, defeating the purpose of a summit taking place to begin with!

The Hill is reporting the following, in part (emphasis added mine):

President Obama’s new healthcare proposal will likely gain only Democratic support, and that’s a good thing, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) said today.

“[T]his bill is a 51 vote plan and not a 60 vote plan – that is great news,” Weiner said in a statement. “Democrats wasted a year bowing to the altar of Olympia Snowe, Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson and it got us nowhere.”

Weiner’s comments suggest that Obama hopes to pass his plan using budget reconciliation, which would only require 51 votes.

Remember how much media time was spent in recent months trying to calculate whether the Democrats had enough votes to ignore the will of the people, the magic number being 60, and pass Obamacare into law? Well, it seems the liberals have figured out a way around that little issue in the wake of ‘The People’ being heard in Massachusetts where Republican Scott Brown took Democrat Ted Kennedy’s vacant Senate seat, dropping their vote total down to 59.

Here’s how Reuters explains how the 60 votes once needed to pass Obama’s healthcare plan has dwindled down to 51:

Although they have 59 seats in the Senate, and not the 60 needed override Republican attempts to prevent a vote, Democrats could push legislation through using a particular process requiring a simple majority in the 100-member Senate.

Republicans have blasted that idea as forcing Americans to swallow an overly ambitious plan that the country cannot afford and that the public does not want. Democrats insist that the country cannot afford not to address the healthcare issue.

And to think that all of conservative America breathed a sigh of relief when Scott Brown won! We should’ve known better when it comes to the bunch we presently have representing us in Washington.

The bottom line? If you have entertained the possibility that Thursday’s healthcare summit is going to be genuine in its purported intent to bring everyone on Capitol Hill together, ask yourself why the slick 51-vote trickery has surfaced as a possibility in the days leading up to it. Isn’t it obvious?

From where I’m sitting the liberal message to all opponents of Obamacare, from the American people to our leaders in Washington, is clear. It goes something like this: “Obamacare is a done deal. In one form or another, it’s coming whether you like it or not. We’ll do whatever it takes to ensure that.”

As a law-abiding citizen of this great nation, I am in no position to offer any meaningful response to the liberals at this point, but my time to be heard, November of 2010, is coming. Every bum I see on the ballot that smells the least bit liberal to me, whether they be Republican, Democrat, Independent or otherwise, can count on me voting against them.

Between now and November, making my concerns about Obamacare known and voicing my utter disapproval of taxpayer funded abortion is all I can do and all I advocate anyone of the Christian faith doing in response to the outrageously unconstitutional behavior of our leaders in Washington, but do them I shall.

In closing, my prayer is that God will speak to the hearts of His people here in the United States, as well as to our leaders. We, as a nation, have lost our way terribly of late with no let-up in sight, but prayer can change things. Prayer and living out God’s will for our lives to the very best of our ability each and every day.

Original Link.

Small Business Virtually Left Out of Dem Bill

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Why the Democrats can’t get it through their thick skulls that small businesses are the life blood of America, I’ll never understand. The continue to ignore or penalize the small business owners. They apparently hate small business as much as they hate big business.

Four Republicans, including new Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, joined with Democrats Monday to move a job-creation bill past a filibuster attempt. A final vote on the measure will be held today. (See earlier story)

The bill includes a $13-billion program allowing companies to avoid paying Social Security taxes for the remainder of 2010 on new hires who have been unemployed for at least 60 days. Employers would also receive a $1,000 tax credit for each new worker who stays on the job for at least a year.

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) dumped a compromise measure negotiated by Senators Max Baucus (D-Montana) and Chuck Grassley of (R-Iowa) that would have extended about $70 billion in tax breaks to businesses and individuals, help for the unemployed, and additional Medicare payments to physicians.

“My bill would allow small businesses to expense twice the amount of purchases that the Reid bill does, and [it] would make these higher levels permanent law so they don’t have to be renewed every year,” [Grassley] explains. “Altogether in the Reid bill, small business only receives — get this — $35 million out of a $62-billion bill.”

Original Link.

The Latest Pali Terrorist Excuse to Start a War

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Having run our of new ideas for reasons to start another war with Israel, Pali terrorist leader, Mahmoud Abbas, expressed outrage of the addition of Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarch and Rachel’s Tomb, both significant Jewish sites, to national heritage status. This means they will be allowed additional funding for upkeep and maintenance.
The Muslims, never ones to balk at duplicity, feign indignation at the imagined prospect of being prohibited from praying at these sites if the Israelis run them. Overlooked, however, are how they treat other religions on Temple Mount, where Jews and Christians are prohibited from even appearing to pray. Muslims are almost always duplicitous and guilty of hypocrisy, where other religions are concerned.
Of course Pali terrorist have never really needed a legitimate reason for killing and harming innocent Israelis, but none the less, this latest “outrage” gives them a chance to start another war that will cost the lives of hundreds of innocent people on both sides.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued a harsh response on Tuesday evening to a statement made by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas earlier in the day, according to which the decision to award Jewish sites in the West Bank national heritage status could ignite a war in the Middle East.

“It is a dishonest, hypocritical campaign,” read a PMO statement released in response to Abbas’s speech.

Netanyahu stressed that Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarch and Rachel’s Tomb, near Bethlehem, were both “gravesites of the ancestors of the Jewish people” and as such were “certainly deserving of restoration and preservation.”

He added that the Israeli government does all in its power to ensure freedom of religion for members of all faiths.

Earlier on Tuesday, Abbas had told Belgian parliamentarians that Netanyahu’s decision to include Jewish landmarks in the West Bank in the government’s new list of heritage sites was a “severe provocation” that could lead to a new cycle of violence in the region.

Abbas told the ministers that the inclusion of Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron on the list of sites of national importance could ignite a “war of religions.”

He warned that the decision could also bring about a third intifada, adding that Netanyahu’s insistence on making the announcement only a short time after he was asked by US President Barack Obama to take confidence-building measures vis-à-vis the Palestinians.

“We have reached a very critical stage which necessitates an intensive, coordinated international effort. Settlement construction, which kills the peace process and contradicts Israel’s obligations, must be stopped,” he said, going on to refer to existing agreements such as the Road Map for Peace.

He added that the EU and the US each have important parts to play in the peace process, and that any delay in the resumption of talks would make the possibility of peace more remote.

Throughout his speech, Abbas reiterated that the impasse in Middle East peace talks can be attributed only to Israel’s refusal to accept existing agreements, and not to an alleged Palestinian refusal to return to the negotiating table.

Abbas stressed that not every issue was negotiable. If Israel wishes to begin negotiations, he said, it must stop creating facts on the ground by continuing to expand Jewish communities in Palestinian areas and in east Jerusalem.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, as on the previous day, dozens of Palestinians held a demonstration near the Jewish enclave in Hebron in protest of Netanyahu’s decision. The protesters burned tires and hurled rocks at IDF troops stationed in the area, who retorted by using stun grenades.

Original Link.

“Obama Doesn’t Even Fake Bipartisanship Well” by David Limbaugh

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

How long will it take for every last American to realize President Barack Obama is not about bipartisanship, reconciliation (other than as a process to cram his health care bill through Congress) and uniting Americans? As his latest gyrations on health care demonstrate, he will not be deterred in his quest to saddle Americans with socialized medicine, even if it greatly increases the likelihood he won’t be re-elected.

Here we have Obama, frenetically busy with at least three of his hands, pushing different buttons and sending mixed signals. I guess being a self-perceived messiah means you don’t have to worry about being flagrantly inconsistent, even on the same day or in the context of one speech.

He’s invited Republicans to a bipartisan summit on health care, intending to create the illusion that he’s interested in conservative ideas on the subject.

But at the same time — he can’t even pretend long enough to let this ruse play out — he is threatening Republicans that if they filibuster current congressional health care proposals, he will urge Congress to pass Obamacare by bastardizing the reconciliation process.

But wait, just like a Ginsu knife infomercial, there’s more. Obama has also unveiled the outlines of his own new health care proposal, but it is hardly a model of bipartisanship.

As for his “bipartisan” summit, why would anyone believe he is interested in the Republicans’ ideas on health care? Has he given any indication he is through this nearly yearlong process? Has he not shut Republicans out of the entire process until tendering this counterfeit overture — after wholesale repudiation of his plan by the American people?

Thinking people know that the Republicans’ proposals involve market reform and that such ideas do not register with Obama’s rigid statist mindset. He’s not interested in their ideas, which he views as wholly incompatible with his own — and he’s right. There’s no room for getting the government out of the way when he is determined to increase the government’s role dramatically. It’s like pulling your punches when you’re going for a knockout.

How silly do we have to be to imagine he’s even thinking about compromise? It’s not just that the Republicans’ ideas are incompatible with his own; it’s that in his megalomaniacal mind, he’s the boss. Indeed, let’s not forget that this is the guy who scolded opponents of his nationally bankrupting agenda with: “I don’t want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking. I want them just to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess. I don’t mind cleaning up after them, but don’t do a lot of talking.”

Is that the attitude of a uniter? Of one who has the slightest interest in working with the other side? His sole purpose for the summit is to entrap Republicans in a political trick bag, painting them as unreasonable and obstructionist. Thankfully, they finally appear to be onto him and preparing themselves accordingly.

Obama’s cavalier attitude is also on display in his threat to invoke the reconciliation process to push his plan through Congress. His stated reason is that he “expects and believes the American people deserve an up-or-down vote on health reform.” What? Surely he jests.

But sadly, he does not. This is the tone-deaf guy who has refused to hear the American people’s repeated rejections of Obamacare for months running. They’ve already given him scores of down votes, but he thinks he can go back to the well, despite his evaporating charisma, and fool them one last time.

Folks, do you think that if anywhere close to the barest majority of American people slightly supported Obama’s nationalized health care scheme, he and his supermajorities in Congress wouldn’t have been able to pass it already? They couldn’t even pass it after bribing — with our money — members of their own party in Congress. The American people have spoken, sir, and it is against socialism. Please quit insulting our intelligence with your smoke and mirrors to the contrary.

But no less insulting are some of the highlights of the president’s new plan — as set out on the White House’s Web site. Obama actually claims he’ll cover the 31 million uninsured while “reducing the deficit by $100 billion over the next ten years — and about $1 trillion over the second decade — by cutting government overspending and reining in waste, fraud and abuse.” Seriously, how gullible must he think we are?

Oh, yes, and he’s going to impose controls on health insurance premiums, as if there exists an omniscient central government that can best determine prices — and as if such command and control models have ever worked in the history of the world.

Now is not the time for Obama’s opponents to get complacent. We face — America’s freedom faces — a relentless adversary.

Original Link.

“Firepan in the Woodpile” by Stan Goodenough

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

In that day I will make the governors of Judah like a firepan in the woodpile, and like a fiery torch in the sheaves; they shall devour all the surrounding peoples on the right hand and on the left, but Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place—Jerusalem. (Zechariah 12:6)

World leaders are beside themselves.

Israel – it is universally reported – sent an intelligence team to take out one of the Jewish people’s many enemies. The team used fraudulent passports and other people’s identities to carry out the operation.

Hamas’ murderer and senior member Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was found dead in his Dubai hotel room January 20.

According to first reports, he had died after “a long illness.” Hamas itself tied his death to “a medical issue.” Then, when his body arrived in Damascus, Syrian authorities called and told his brother that Mabhouh had been “assassinated by Israel.”

Almost a full month after his passing, Dubai police suddenly announced that they are “99 percent certain” the Mossad – Israel’s version of the CIA (only with a more impressive track record) – had eliminated him.

The Mossad – the Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations – does not comment on such allegations.

After a full year of worldwide demonization since Israel launched a self-defensive military operation against Hamas in Gaza, the international community was poised to seize the accusation and run with it.

On February 21, the British newspaper – the Sunday Times – reported as fact that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had ordered the killing.

Outrage is boomeranging round the world. The United Kingdom and France have expressed their hypocritical horror that Israeli spies would use Irish and French passports and false identities to perpetrate such an action. Israeli diplomats are being called onto the carpet to “explain.”

A few comments:

* As Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman stated Monday, the Arab states are always blaming Israel for all sorts of things – including perpetrating deliberate massacres of Arab civilians and stealing Arab lands.

* All nations – including England and France – employ spying techniques that break the laws of the countries they are spying on.

* As far as Israel is concerned, Mahbouh was an enemy combatant and a legitimate target. Hamas is in a state of war against Israel. Mahbouh – according to the terror organization and according to his own brother – was personally responsible for the kidnapping and killing of Israeli soldiers. Untold is the number of Israelis who have lost their lives as a direct result of this man’s actions in the Hamas.

* If Mossad agents did execute Mahbouh, it was not an act of murder but an act of warfare. Dubai, by allowing known terrorists and killers freely in and out of its borders, has no leg to stand on in protesting the movement in and out of its borders of other “undesirables” like intelligence agents.

* And my own personal view: Israel should train and send its agents after every properly identified and accurately accused foe. It should take out killers of its people in Cairo and Damascus, Dubai and Baghdad, Tehran and Beirut, England and France, Canada and the United States – wherever they may be.

* Let no murderer of Jews feel safe anywhere in this world.

In any case, as far as Lebanon and Syria, Iran and Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are concerned; Israel is set to do a lot more damage than merely remove individual foes here and there.

The Islamic-Arab world – specifically those states around Israel – is the woodpile. Judah’s governors – that is the Jewish leadership – are the firepan. The fate of the woodpile is to be devoured.

So says the prophet Zechariah, in the context of the very days in which we are living.

It’s going to happen. And when it does – the world is going to have an apoplectic fit.

Original Link.

Abortion Language in White House Health Care Proposal Worries Some in Washington

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

No surprise here.

The 11 page White House proposal on health care has hit some snags in Washington, with outside groups complaining the language in the plan does not go far enough in explicitly banning the use of federal funds for abortions. Americans United for Life (AUL) is asking President Obama to re-evaluate the wording in his proposal regarding abortion, saying he had previously promised no federal dollars would be used to fund the procedure.

Charmaine Yoest, the director of Americans United for Life (AUL), has said repeatedly that her organization, which has met with various officials at the White House, would only be satisfied with a bill that strictly limits federal funding of abortions, language included in the Stupak-Pitts amendment to the House legislation, but not clarified in the Senate version. “The President promised the American people that ‘no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.’ Incredibly, his health care proposal doesn’t contain a single mention of the Life issue,” Yoest said in a statement. “As I made clear to the White House in a meeting last fall, unless they include specific legislative language banning the use of federal funds for abortion, they will be establishing taxpayer funding for abortion. Today was the President’s opportunity to keep his word.”

President Obama’s proposal on health care, published on Monday on the White House website (www.whitehouse.gov) specifically deals with the Senate legislation and not the House passed legislation. White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer says the proposal is only an “opening bid” for a meeting Thursday at Blair House between Republicans, Democrats and the President and is seen as a way to bridge the differences between the House and Senate passed legislation. When asked about the abortion language during a telephone briefing with reporters, Pfeiffer said the language in the Senate bill was what the White House would be using for their proposal.

AUL argues the Senate bill’s funding restriction is too narrow and allows insurance plans that cover abortions to receive federal subsidies. “Any health care reform measure must explicitly exclude both federal funding for elective abortions and subsidization of insurance plans that cover abortions, and ensure that no government entity may mandate abortion coverage,“ Mary Harned, AUL’s Staff Counsel told Fox. “The abortion funding restriction in the Senate bill is narrow and explicitly allows insurance plans that cover abortions to receive federal subsidies. There are also loopholes in the Senate bill that could allow government entities to require private insurance companies to cover elective abortions. Therefore, the Senate bill needs language mirroring the Stupak-Pitts amendment, such as the Nelson-Hatch-Casey Amendment that was offered and tabled on the Senate floor. ”

The Stupak-Pitts amendment in the House legislation would prevent coverage for abortions in the so-called public option. The amendment also prevents private plans from offering coverage for abortion services if those plans accept people who receive government subsidies on health care. However, the Senate backed legislation does not have a public option as the House legislation does, and it has various other differences that need to be reconciled between the two houses of Congress, as well as the White House before any agreement can be reached on the overall bill.

Meanwhile, in advance of a protracted argument and potential filibuster on the entire bill, the White House is urging Republicans in the Senate and House to have an up or down vote on health care reform. “Our proposal is designed to give ourselves maximum flexibility to ensure that we can get an up or down vote if the opposition decides to take the extraordinary step of filibustering health reform,” Pfeiffer said.

The health care meeting between Republicans, Democrats and the President will take place Thursday and will be broadcast live on CSPAN.

Original Link.

Israeli Archaeologist Digs Up [More] Proof That Bible is True

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Still more proof that Bible accounts are true. Awesome!!

JERUSALEM — An Israeli archaeologist said Monday that ancient fortifications recently excavated in Jerusalem date back 3,000 years to the time of King Solomon and support the biblical narrative about the era.

If the age of the wall is correct, the finding would be an indication that Jerusalem was home to a strong central government that had the resources and manpower needed to build massive fortifications in the 10th century B.C.

That’s a key point of dispute among scholars, because it would match the Bible’s account that the Hebrew kings David and Solomon ruled from Jerusalem around that time.

While some Holy Land archaeologists support that version of history — including the archaeologist behind the dig, Eilat Mazar — others posit that David’s monarchy was largely mythical and that there was no strong government to speak of in that era.

Speaking to reporters at the site Monday, Mazar, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, called her find “the most significant construction we have from First Temple days in Israel.”

“It means that at that time, the 10th century, in Jerusalem there was a regime capable of carrying out such construction,” she said.

Based on what she believes to be the age of the fortifications and their location, she suggested it was built by Solomon, David’s son, and mentioned in the Book of Kings.

The fortifications, including a monumental gatehouse and a 77-yard long section of an ancient wall, are located just outside the present-day walls of Jerusalem’s Old City, next to the holy compound known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. According to the Old Testament, it was Solomon who built the first Jewish Temple on the site.

That temple was destroyed by Babylonians, rebuilt, renovated by King Herod 2,000 years ago and then destroyed again by Roman legions in 70 A.D. The compound now houses two important Islamic buildings, the golden-capped Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque.

Archaeologists have excavated the fortifications in the past, first in the 1860s and most recently in the 1980s. But Mazar claimed her dig was the first complete excavation and the first to turn up strong evidence for the wall’s age: a large number of pottery shards, which archaeologists often use to figure out the age of findings.

Original Link.

“A SPECIAL BAR MITZVAH FOR A VERY SPECIAL BOY” by Fern Sidman

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

For most Jewish boys, the months prior to their 13th birthday are rife with anticipation as they immerse themselves in the preparations for their upcoming Bar Mitzvah. It is this rite of passage into manhood that marks a very special day for the entire family and community. The guest list, the caterer, the musicians, the photographer, the new suits and dresses are all top priorities, as the family buzzes with excitement and a flurry of activity takes place. Clearly, everyone wants the memories of this momentous day to be emblazoned in their hearts and minds forever.

Sunday February 14th, which also happened to be the first day of the Hebrew month of Adar (signifying a time of joy and gladness for the Jewish people as they prepare to celebrate Purim), marked the day in which one very special boy with special needs had his most unique bar mitzvah celebration. Baruch Shlomo HaLevi Gershbein was diagnosed with autism as a toddler and while his severely limited verbal and comprehensive skills may militate against his pronunciations of the appropriate blessings, his family was determined to afford him the same opportunity as other Jewish boys of his age.

“Baruch Shlomo is quite close to being non-verbal at this point. We have hope that he will speak more in the future, but his vocabulary – other than words related to eating – is probably no more than a score of words”, said his father, Steven (Shmuel) Gershbein, a noted Brooklyn attorney specializing in representing the civil rights of the handicapped community as well as a rabbi dedicated to opening up the riches of Judaism to special needs individuals. “I practiced the B’rachot (blessings) with him nearly every day for the past three-and-a-half years. We missed rehearsing perhaps two or three days a year. I knew that he would memorize the melody for these blessings because he has quite a gift for recalling tunes. I was impressed with his courage when he actually attempted to say about two or three of the words with me when the Torah (Scroll of The Law) was on the Bimah (table) and we shared an Aliyah (elevation to the Torah)” he said.

The 50 plus guests including family and friends gathered at Congregation Khal Bnei Yisroel, located in the Midwood section of Brooklyn to partake in the glorious celebration. As Baruch Shlomo completed his stalwart attempt to recite the blessings, a palpable joy filled the synagogue as the congregation burst forth with strains of “Siman Tov u’Mazel Tov” the traditional words sung at a simcha (joyous occasion). “I have known Baruch Shlomo since the day he was born and I can sincerely say that he is a simply adorable boy who radiates a certain “Chein” (charm and love) and his infectious smile lights up the world” said Frimet Tzirel Rosenblatt, a close family friend. Among those thanking the assemblage for their unwavering support and encouragement were Baruch Shlomo’s parents, Rabbi Steven Gershbein, Baruch’s mother Chaviva Gershbein, his paternal grandparents, Stanley and Carol Gershbein of Fort Lauderdale, Florida and his great Aunt Lila of Oceanside, New York.

“We are all very proud of Baruch Shlomo and on his behalf I wish to thank each and every one of you for coming today and helping to enhance this joyous day” said the exuberant grandfather, Stanley Gershbein. Several prominent speakers were also in attendance including Rabbi Tzvi Mandel, the officiating rabbi at Cong. Khal Bnei Yisroel and nephew of the founder of the legendary Yeshiva of Brooklyn, Rabbi Manis Mandel, ZT”L and New York State Supreme Court Justice for the County of Kings, Judge Leon Ruchelsman. “Our shul (synagogue) is privileged to host the bar mitzvah of Baruch Shlomo Gershbein and we are deeply impressed with the love that everyone assembled here today has for this incredibly sweet neshoma (soul). May his parents, grandparents, extended family and friends always derive a great deal of nachas (joy) from him”, said Rabbi Mandel as he embraced Baruch Shlomo.

During his speech, the boy’s father, Rabbi Steven Gershbein spoke of the joys and challenges of raising a special needs child. “Baruch Shlomo have never given me a moment of sorrow. He gives me no pain. He has only given me joy. Raising a special needs child is hard. It is challenging and anyone who tells you that it is not an arduous, back breaking and soul crushing task is not telling the truth. While the challenges are indeed far greater than in raising a non-special needs child, so too are those moments of intensified sweetness when you make eye contact with an autistic child and your heart swells with love”, he said.

Judge Leon Ruchelsman, a close family friend said of the magnanimity of Baruch Shlomo’s father, “It seems that each time I meet Rabbi Gershbein, he is on his cell phone immersed in a conversation pertaining to helping someone. He is consistently involved in helping to relieve the pain of others and is not mired in self pity. With everything that he has to deal with concerning Baruch Shlomo, he still has time to perform acts of loving kindness and I am always deeply moved and so greatly impressed by that”, he said.

The entire Gershbein family wishes to extend their deepest thanks to those who made this bar mitzvah a reality. “Firstly, we praise and thank the Almighty G-d of Israel for allowing us to reach this day. Praise G-d for He is good; His kindness is forever. The Talmud in tractates Berachot and Sanhedrin note the importance of gratitude and our sages of blessed memory say that ingratitude is akin to idol worship, so we wish to thank everyone who showed up today and we thank every person who ever performed a single kind deed for Baruch Shlomo” said Rabbi Gershbein.

He continued, “Chief among these are: the Mora D’Asra, HaRav HaGaon Rabbi Tzvi Mandel for permitting us to have this event in his shteibel, small in size but large in the eyes of heaven. We also thank his holy rebbetzin, Chaya Shaindel Mandel, a therapist in private practice and the head of a division of Ohel. We thank my Rebbe, HaRav Perlow, for his years of instruction relative to how to live in this world and how to be worthy in the world to come. We also thank Baruch Shlomo’s grandparents Stanley and Carol Gershbein, who raised me with honor and integrity and taught me how to appreciate the good in life.

Very special thanks go to Baruch Shlomo’s wonderful and exceptionally dedicated mother Chaviva Gershbein, my dear friend and my son’s adopted uncle, Frank Vasile, who does just about everything you can think of to make Baruch Shlomo’s life a happy and productive one. This event would not have come to fruition without his constant help and tireless devotion. We also would not be here today if it were not for the hard work and incredible organizational skills of Sam and Francine Schloss, Rob and Susie Kaiserman and countless others. May Baruch Shlomo learn the lessons of kindness, integrity and dignity from these individuals and may G-d grant him the ability to go from strength to strength.”

———————————————-

Fern Sidman holds a B.A, in political science from Brooklyn College. She was the educational coordinator for the Betar Youth Movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She was national director of the Jewish Defense League from 1983-1985. She was a researcher for several books written by Rabbi Meir Kahane, ZTK”L. She was the managing editor of the publication entitled, The Voice of Judea, and is a regular contributor to its web site. She is currently a writer and journalist living in New York City. Her articles have appeared in The Jewish Press, The Jewish Advocate, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, and numerous Jewish and general web sites including, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Pipes and Michael Freund.
We are delighted to have Ms. Sidman as a regular contributor to the Jesus is Lord, A Worshipping Christian’s Blog.

More End Time Signs from the Holy Land

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

We are certainly seeing more signs of possible hostilities between Israel and her neighbors.

Lebanon Making Room for Syrian Tanks by Michael G. Mickey (2-19-10)

According to Israel National News, the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Siyasa is reporting a parking lot is being prepared along the Lebanese-Syrian border for Syrian tanks to be deployed soon. Reportedly, a lot of explosives are being used to clear large rocks from the area to accomodate them which, if true, is another marked indicator that tensions in the Middle East are close to coming to a boil.

Through bible prophecy, we know the Middle East is going to be a hotbed of military conflict in the last days with one event believed by many to be on the prophetic horizon standing out more and more as a possiblity, namely the destruction of Damascus.

Isaiah 17:1: The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from [being] a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.

Israel has been quite clear of late in signaling Damascus that any conflict between the two nations is going to be dramatic in scope as evidenced by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s comments made on 2-14-10, during which he indicated that any future war between the two longtime enemies will not only result in defeat for Syria but the removal of Syrian President Bashar Assad and his family from power as well.

Lieberman’s warnings have apparently fallen on deaf ears, given Syria is still escalating an already tense atmosphere in the region which doesn’t bode well. If something as decisive as Israel plotting regime change for Syria in the event of war doesn’t make it as clear as crystal that a knockout punch is being planned for Syria, as well as its capital city of Damascus, I don’t know what would and yet the beating of war drums continues.

Given that Syria seems to be taking its cues from Iran in relation to brashenly provoking Israel, Tehran having openly called for Israel to be wiped from the face of the earth on a routine basis in recent years, there’s no telling what lies ahead in the near future in the troubled Middle East. Between Syria’s stalking behavior and the recent admission on the part of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Association) that it believes Iran is presently working to build a nuclear warhead, nothing should surprise us.

Psalm 122:6: Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.

Syria: Next war with Israel will be ruinous by Michael G. Mickey (2-20-10)

In yesterday’s commentary, I wrote of reports that Lebanon was blasting large areas of rock near the Lebanese-Syrian border to build a staging area for the deployment of Syrian tanks, presumably in preparation of Syria getting involved in what we can be sure is on the horizon, another military conflict between Israel and her enemies.

Today’s headline in The Jerusalem Post, perhaps by the design of its staff, seems to make reference to Isaiah 17. It reads “Syria warns: Next war will be ruinous”.

Ruinous? If that doesn’t take one’s mind to Isaiah 17:1, nothing will!

Isaiah 17:1: The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.

In the Jerusalem Post article, we find that Syrian Prime Minister Naji al-Otari, after what has been a quietened level of rhetoric between the two nations following a period of ominous declarations made by each side several weeks ago, today stirred the coals of conflict once again, warning “Israel that any new Mideast war would be catastrophic for the region and beyond.”

The following is an excerpt from the JP article highlighting some of the recent saber rattling that has taken place between the two:

Syria’s foreign minister warned Israel earlier this month that any new war would reach Israeli cities, to which Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman responded that the Syrian army would be defeated and its regime would collapse in any future conflict.

Based on everything being said, both by Israel and Syria, the probability of a military conflict exploding in the Middle East at any moment, potentially elevating rapidly to prophetic, downright wrath of God levels is very high.

Today Damascus is here, but tomorrow? Who knows? Things are that tense.

Keep looking up! Our redemption draweth nigh!

Iran Launches Destroyer, Russia Lies to Israel by Chris Schang

In another sign today that Iran continues to put their military machine on the front burner it was announced by the Jerusalem Post that Iran had launched the first locally built naval destroyer. The Jerusalem Post article went on to report:

Iranian state TV on Friday reported that the country launched its first domestically built destroyer, calling it a major technological leap for its naval industries. Friday’s broadcast said the guided-missile destroyer called Jamaran is equipped with anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles as well as torpedoes and naval cannons. The report said the 94-meter destroyer weighs 1,500 tons and has a helipad and modern radar. The ship has a top speed of 30 knots and can carry 120 to 140 personnel.

As we know from recent headlines over the past six months to a year Iran has made outstanding claims on developing new military equipment. Iran has boasted of making stealth airplanes, long range missiles, stealth boats, and other advanced military equipment. What exactly Iran has actually done remains to be determined in the future when a possible conflict calls for these kinds of equipment to be deployed. Whether Iran can do so remains to be seen. In my opinion the Iranians come out with a new “military achievement” every couple of weeks in an effort to play a “psychological” warfare game with the West. Which is nothing but a game of chess on the psychological warfare front. In my honest opinion it appears that Iran is trying to intimidate the West and hopes that by making numerous claims of technological progress that they can hopefully ward off an attack on their vulnerable military and nuclear sites.

In the last Rapture Report I made the prediction that Russia would go ahead with the sale of the advanced S-300 anti-aircraft defense system to Iran as the Iranians had already paid for the system and that Russia stood to make a nice profit on the sale of the system. Well, it is being announced today in the Haaretz news agency that Russia will go ahead with the deal despite the opposition of the U.S. and Israel to scrap the contract. Russia has apparently decided that making money is more important than being a good global citizen and helping to reign in Iran on the nuclear issue. Instead, Russia has decided to fortify the illegal Iranian nuclear facilities with their advanced S-300 air defense system. This system will make any attack by the U.S and/or Israel much more complicated due to the precision of the advanced military air defense system. As I mentioned before, the Russians just can’t be trusted to be a good global citizen. This turn about in their decision comes right on the heels of their promise to Israel not to sell the system to Iran. The Haaretz news article reports:

Russia intends to fulfill a contract to supply S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran, Interfax news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying on Friday. Israel and the United States have repeatedly asked Russia to scrap a contract to sell Iran the truck-mounted S-300, which can shoot down hostile missiles or aircraft up to 150 km (90 miles) away. “There is a contract to supply these systems to Iran, and we will fulfill it,” Ryabkov told Interfax in an interview. “Delays (with deliveries) are linked to technical problems with adjusting these systems,” he added. He also cautioned against politicizing Russia’s arms exports to Iran.

Further:

The possible sale of the S-300s, which could protect Iran’s nuclear facilities against air strikes, is an extremely sensitive issue in Russia’s relations with Israel.

As we mentioned in the previous Rapture Report, Russia has a large part to play in the end times as they are the principal leader of the Ezekiel 38-39 Gog/Magog coalition of nations that try to invade Israel here in the last days. Russia has a long history of anti-semitism and hostility towards the Jews. It is my belief that one of the reasons God supernaturally intervenes in the Ezekiel 38-39 conflict is to judge and punish Russia for their longstanding anti-semitism and hostility towards his chosen people. The Bible even mentions that the Russian homeland will receive fire from Heaven as a result of this foolish plot to try to destroy the Jewish people.

“Carnally Minded” by Ron Graham

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

“For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” Romans 8:5.

After a year in office it’s obvious President Barack Obama is still in love with himself. Sadly, approximately 46 percent of those polled in recent surveys remain totally enthralled with this man. But worst of all are those who profess to follow Jesus Christ yet remain devoted to this man and his agenda, even though Obama stands for everything God abhors.

Knowing that our God is a jealous God, and that He is the one and only true God, how then can professing believers follow a man who looks at himself as the world’s messiah? Where’s the loyalty to Christ? Do we just ignore God’s word and follow His nemesis? Either God’s word is true or it’s false, we must submit to God and His will through His word or we walk away from God and join the camp of the enemy. Is it possible for born again believers in Christ to be so thoroughly influenced by one of His staunchest enemies?

The answer to that question is found in our Bibles. What’s more, it’s as plain as the nose on Obama’s face. Both believers and unbelievers who voted for Obama are after the flesh as stated in the verse above. They also mind the things of the flesh. In other words they are carnally minded. Their minds are focused, even centered on what will benefit them, but certainly they are unconcerned in regards to the will of God. God’s word gives us direction yet many who say they are Christians voted for, and still support, Obama.

“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee;” Jeremiah 1:5. God told Jeremiah that He knew him before He formed him in the womb. We can certainly conclude from this verse that God knows all of us before we’re formed in our mother’s womb. Therefore He also knows each aborted baby before they are ever formed and ultimately destroyed. Yet many Christians keep right on with their admiration for a man who is 100 percent pro-abortion. If you voted for Obama you voted against God, plain and simple.

“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” Leviticus 18:22. God says homosexuality is an abomination to Him, yet these same Christians elected a man who has given himself over fully to condoning this horrible lifestyle. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;” Romans 1:18. God destroyed whole nations and some cities of the past because of their flagrant sinful lifestyle of homosexuality because God calls this lifestyle an abomination to Him.

Many will tell you that one sin is the same as another in God’s eyes. Oh really? Well as far as other sins go, how many cities of our past human history has God destroyed for the sin of lying, stealing, or covetousness? People have condemned themselves and placed themselves in Hades for sinning against their Creator but has God purposely destroyed any other city, or nation for that matter, because of lying, cheating, stealing, even murdering? The whole world is turning a blind eye to the sin of homosexuality. But does the whole world turn a blind eye to any other sin?

As believers, we must stand firm on God’s word and make godly decisions pertaining to who we vote into any office. When a candidate for any office makes his platform as well known to the voting public as Obama did, a man who is diametrically opposed to God, it’s not hard to understand the mindset of the Christians that voted for Him. Those professing Christians who voted for Obama are carnally minded. “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Romans 8:6. Over the past few months, some of the believers who voted for Obama have written to me expressing their shame in having had that carnal mindset. Praise God they woke up. But, as we can all see, the damage has been done.

What does it mean for a believer to be carnally minded? It’s a mindset that is contrary to God and His will for their lives. For a person to profess a relationship with Christ and yet to be so fixated on the world that their mind no longer relates to the will of God is to be carnally minded. How can a person such as this actually be born again? Those who are truly born from God are focused on God; their lives have been turned over to Him. They are willing to stand on His precepts no matter what the consequences. And they would never knowingly vote for someone who stands in direct opposition to God’s precepts.

There is no “in between” area to hope for here. Jesus said, “He that is not with me is against me; Matthew 12:30a. We can’t be for Obama and with Jesus at the same time, that’s impossible. Jesus took a firm stand on right and wrong and thoroughly expects His followers to show the same regard for the things we know to be evil. Homosexuality is wrong, and it’s an abomination for a believer “in Christ” to vote for a candidate who openly condones such a abhorrent behavior. It’s wrong to kill the unborn. The baby in the womb is known by God. The baby is innocent of any wrong doing. Why would any believer hang on the side of such error, disregarding God’s inerrant word? Carnality. They are after the flesh, not the spirit.

Being carnally minded leads to death. “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God:” Romans 8:7a. If you don’t know what that word enmity means do yourself a favor and look it up in your concordance. In my Strong’s concordance it’s #G 2189. It actually means hatred. If you are at enmity with God it means you hate God. Wow. How many professing to being born again voted for Obama, the man who stands against the one true God? Many. Well then, how many Christians voted carnally in the last presidential election? Every professing Christian who marked Obama for President on their ballot sheet. Let me ask the question again but phrased slightly differently. How many Christians hate God? All who stand with any man who is at enmity with God.

We’ve now seen this man in action for a whole year and are faced with enduring three more years with a man who being duly elected president of the US is thoroughly content in his failure to follow God in any way. Obama is at enmity with God. In other words Obama hates God. If he didn’t he wouldn’t be so firmly entrenched in the issues that are obviously opposed to God (abortion, homosexuality, etc).

Obama actually had the audacity to make the claim that he is a follower of Jesus Christ, yet he stands against God in every decision he makes. Why then should he have received even one vote from those who profess to stand with God? That carnal mindset is the only answer. Here we are trying desperately to understand how God could allow this man into office to run a nation built on Christian principles, when all it takes is a little perusal through His word to find the answer. Carnality is at the core.

“If ye were of the world, the world would love his own:” John 15:19a. The lost (nonbelievers in Christ) are of the world and they are perishing, and the world certainly loves their own. Believers should not be in love with this world, moreover this world should know that all Christians are opposed to every immoral and evil deed set down. But as long as Christians live with a carnal mindset the world will continue to love them just as they do their own.

“So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:8. All the while believers remain in the flesh, and carnally minded, they won’t be pleasing God. I wonder how many Christian believers actually understand that verse. Being born again means we are focused on pleasing God, not ourselves. No matter what befalls a true born again believer in Christ we will remain true to God and His word.

When we pursue earthly wealth and materialism to the point that God’s will is diminished in our lives, wrong decisions, like voting for someone with Obama’s credentials or lack thereof, can only lead to becoming even more carnally minded. But, if we are spiritually minded, our mindset will be one of allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us into godly decisions. Obviously many who profess Christ as their Savior and Lord but are more concerned about the things of the world are not allowing the Holy Spirit a place in their decision making process.

Many lost people voted for Obama because they were afraid of losing their material wealth, they believed his lies. Nothing was as important as the financial situation in the minds of most who voted for him, and that goes for many Christians also. As long as believers stay in that mindset it won’t really matter who runs for the office of president. As long as the candidate relates to that materialistic mindset (the flesh), the other issues of the day will just fade away. The flesh will get in the way of every decision when the mind is in that carnal mode. This is enmity with God.

“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Romans 8:9. The apostle Paul is speaking here to the believers in Rome . He say that if we profess to be a follower of Jesus Christ but we haven’t His Spirit dwelling in us we are not His. If I may elaborate a little further on Paul’s comments, if we don’t have Christ then we are still Satan’s property. And obviously, being in the flesh will be a very natural and basically everyday occurrence.

“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.” Romans 8:12. As believers we owe no debt to the flesh or Satan, but to God. We are born from God when we became believers in His Son. We owe God a huge debt of gratitude that we can never repay. Why allow the flesh to reign over us since we owe the flesh nothing? To whom do we give our allegiance?

“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Romans 8:13, 14. Believers have spiritually “died” to sin and the power of the flesh, and in general to all spiritual association with the world. We now belong to Christ and our identification is in Him. We who are believers in Christ are no longer unregenerate (lost) nor should we live according to the flesh (carnally). We have been designated “sons of God”. As such we have put the flesh to death.

This mindset of living carnally and hence in enmity with God has corrupted many a believer. When we who are God’s children take a stance for evil we are in rebellion to God and consequently we are at enmity to God. If you are one of those folks that has placed Obama on a pedestal and elevated him to a status above God in your life because of your foolish tendencies toward wealth and materialism and your fear of losing what earthly possessions you’ve acquired, then Obama has become your god. Who then will you be relying on for your salvation? If you are at enmity with God Almighty you might want to re-think your claim to eternal salvation.

“…carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life… Romans 8:6. Where do you stand in relationship to your Creator God? Are you carnally minded? If you are, then you are living according to the flesh, and your mindset is flawed. Do you hate God? Surely you don’t. But if your mindset is carnal it’s time to make a change. A relationship with God is based on our faith in Him in all earthly endeavors. God is the believer’s providence and believers are saved to serve, not to strive for and attain earthly rewards such as wealth and power. Carnally minded or Holy Spirit filled? You can’t have it both ways.

God bless you all,
Ron Graham
twotug@embarqmail.com
All scripture is from the KJV

Original Link.

Will Ministers’ Housing Exemption be Erased?

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Satan’s minions are still hard at work, this time by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (whose very name is a perversion of the First Amendment’s “Freedom of Religion”).

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has filed suit to end the housing tax break provided to ministers.

The FFRF is arguing that since others are not afforded that accommodation, it represents a government endorsement of religion. But Theriot contends the Constitution has a special protection for religious freedom — so religion can get special attention. He further adds that the housing allowance is an accommodation, not an endorsement.

“The Supreme Court has upheld that rule of law in many different cases, like exemptions from Title 7, the prohibition on discrimination in the workplace, [and] also the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act that basically protects religious organizations from unlawful laws or discriminatory laws regarding land use,” [Kevin Theriot, senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF)] explains.

The attorney stresses that many small-town churches can only attract pastors by providing housing or through the inducement of a tax exemption. If the FFRF were to prevail, the impact would be devastating on those churches. Theriot believes the case is yet another frivolous lawsuit from the Foundation.

Original Link.

Saudi Women to be Allowed to Argue Cases in Court

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

At last a step in the right direction.

Saudi Arabia is planning to bring in a new law to allow women lawyers to argue cases in court for the first time.

Justice Minister Mohammed al-Eissa said the law was part of King Abdullah’s plan to develop the legal system.

The law – to be issued “in the coming days” – would allow women to appear in court on family-related cases, including divorce and child custody.

At the moment, they can only work behind the scenes in government and court offices.

The new legislation will also allow Saudi women to complete certain procedures without the presence of a witness.

“In accordance with the new law, women will be able to complete their preliminary procedures with notaries by just presenting their IDs,” said Ministry of Justice official Osama al-Mirdas, according to Arab News.

Under a system of male guardianship, Saudi Arabian women are required to be kept separate from men they are not related to.

All are veiled to a greater or lesser degree in public, they are not allowed to drive, and women under 45 must receive permission from a male when they travel.

Opportunities for education and employment are also dependent on male guardianship.

But a number of steps have been taken to ease restrictions – for instance women are now allowed to stay in hotels unaccompanied.

Last year, a senior cleric was removed after criticising a new mixed-sex science and technology university.

The cleric, Sheikh Saad al-Shethry, had described the mixing of sexes in any university as evil and a great sin.

Original Link.