Archive for June, 2011

“STUDIES ON ANTI-SEMITISM RE-ESTABLISHED AT YALE” by Fern Sidman

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

In a stunning reversal of a previous decision that sparked polemical debate amongst Jewish leaders and academics, the provost of Yale University has announced the re-establishment of an interdisciplinary program on the study of anti-Semitism. Provost Peter Salovey who is the Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology at Yale said in a letter dated June 19th that, “I have been gratified to learn that Professor Maurice Samuels and a group of faculty colleagues have expressed interest in the creation of a new scholarly enterprise, the Yale Program for the Study of Anti-Semitism (YPSA), and that the Whitney Humanities Center has agreed to sponsor it.”

Earlier this month, Yale Professor Donald Green, Director of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies, said that upon a faculty review, the university would be terminating the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism (YIISA) because the program was allegedly “generating little scholarly work that earned publication in highly regarded journals, and its courses attracted few students.” Citing the Center for the Study of Race, Inequality and Politics as another example of an “underachieving program”. Dr. Green said that “YIISA suffered the same fate because it failed to meet high standards for research and instruction”.

These charges were vigorously disputed by a plethora of academics, Jewish leaders and journalists who ascribed political motivation as the prominent factor in Yale’s decision to shut down the program. Referencing the 2010 YIISA sponsored conference entitled, “Global Anti-Semitism: A Crisis of Modernity” that focused on the virulent nature of Islamic anti-Semitism, considered by experts in the field to be the most pernicious manifestation of modern-day global antipathy, Abby Wisse Schachter said in an op-ed piece that appeared in the New York Post that studying “Christian anti-Semitism is fine; political Jew-hatred, like communist or fascist anti-Semitism, no problem. But get anywhere near Muslim or Middle Eastern anti-Semitism, as presenters at YIISA’s conference did last year, and you’ve crossed the line.”

In January 2010, Iran announced that it was instituting a boycott of 60 institutions and Yale was among them. Although the regime did not explain the reason for the boycott, university officials attributed Tehran’s decision to YIISA’s activities in spotlighting the regime’s role in promoting genocidal anti-Semitism. Due to the boycott, Yale professors involved in research in Iran were forced to end their activities. These professors reportedly blamed YIISA rather than Iran for the cancellation of their research projects

Founded in 2006 by renowned sociologist Charles Small, YIISA was the largest research unit in North America devoted to a nuanced exploration of anti-Semitism in its various incarnations with a focus on its urgent contemporary significance. Its clearly defined stated mission was “to explore this subject matter in a comprehensive, interdisciplinary framework from an array of approaches and perspectives as well as regional contexts.”

Professor Salovey also said in his letter that, “YPSA will encourage serious scholarly discourse and collaborative research focused on anti-Semitism, one of the world’s oldest and most enduring prejudices, in all of its forms” and added that it is his hope that “this program will produce major scholarship on the vitally important subject of anti-Semitism and will be open to the entire Yale community.”

According to Salovey’s letter, Professor Maurice Samuels has written an award winning book on Jewish fiction writers in France and is currently working on a major study of the portrayal of Jews in French literature and culture from the time of the Revolution through the present. Professor Samuels has also taught such undergraduate classes entitled, “Jewish Identity and French Culture” and “Representing the Holocaust”.

The letter also indicated that Professor Samuels and his colleagues will also bring in visiting speakers who have expertise that is relevant to the group’s evolving interests, and will host multidisciplinary research conferences and reading groups.

It is unclear at this juncture if Yale’s decision to re-establish a scholarly program on the study of anti-Semitism was predicated upon the flurry of protests and the growing number of negative op-ed articles written by political commentators, distinguished professors and academics over the closing of YIISA.

———————————————-

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.

‘Egyptian Curricula States Jews, Christians are Infidels’

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Egypt’s school curriculum, laden with anti-Semitic and anti-Christian sentiment, must undergo drastic reform to comply with international standards, according to a new report to be presented this week at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

“Egypt has to conduct fundamental reforms in its curricula, which present a national identity based solely on the Islamic religion,” said Yohanan Manor, chairman and co-founder of the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-SE), the Jerusalembased think-tank that compiled the report.

“Egypt’s schools present Islam as the ‘only true faith,’ and believers in other religions – including Coptic Christians – as infidels,” he said.

Manor and his colleagues will present the report at the conference, “School Textbooks in the Greater Middle East: National Identity and Images of Self and Other,” to be held Tuesday and Wednesday at the Hebrew University’s Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace.

A year before the ousting of president Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s government announced plans for comprehensive reforms to “purge school curricula of erroneous views and material that incites extreme violence.”

The government’s first step was to remove references to “jihad in God’s name.” These changes, the report found, have fallen far short of the comprehensive reform Cairo had pledged.

Anti-Coptic violence in Egypt reached a crescendo over the past six months. A bomb in an Alexandria church on Christmas Day last year killed 21 people, and anti-Christian attacks have grown in scope and frequency since Mubarak’s resignation in February. The new report by IMPACT-SE, formerly the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace, found that internecine violence is fueled largely by education.

But contradictory messages also run deeply through Egypt’s education system. In many textbooks Copts are denigrated as infidels, yet in those same works are praised for participating in Egypt’s independence campaigns throughout history. Students are taught that the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament are holy books, but also taught that those same texts were “forgeries” penned by non-Muslims.

“Egyptian textbooks define Christians and Jews as infidels,” Manor said. “A year ago, Egyptian authorities admitted as much in a joint conference by Education Minister Dr. Ahmed Zaki Badreldin and the grand mufti of Egypt, Dr. Ali Gomaa.”

In April of last year, he said, the two officials announced reforms to purge the curricula of Quranic verses “encouraging jihad and the murder of polytheists and infidels.”

The press conference sparked an uproar in Egypt.

The Muslim Brotherhood flatly rejected any talk of education reform, while several news outlets took positions in favor.

The state-owned Al-Ahram daily called for an end to “teaching our children to denigrate the Christian religion and even Judaism…
They must stop describing believers in other religions as infidels, as that is a dangerous designation that effectively grants permission to kill.”

Original Link.

“STUDIES ON ANTI-SEMITISM RE-ESTABLISHED AT YALE” by Fern Sidman

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

In a stunning reversal of a previous decision that sparked polemical debate amongst Jewish leaders and academics, the provost of Yale University has announced the re-establishment of an interdisciplinary program on the study of anti-Semitism. Provost Peter Salovey who is the Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology at Yale said in a letter dated June 19th that, “I have been gratified to learn that Professor Maurice Samuels and a group of faculty colleagues have expressed interest in the creation of a new scholarly enterprise, the Yale Program for the Study of Anti-Semitism (YPSA), and that the Whitney Humanities Center has agreed to sponsor it.”

Earlier this month, Yale Professor Donald Green, Director of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies, said that upon a faculty review, the university would be terminating the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism (YIISA) because the program was allegedly “generating little scholarly work that earned publication in highly regarded journals, and its courses attracted few students.” Citing the Center for the Study of Race, Inequality and Politics as another example of an “underachieving program”. Dr. Green said that “YIISA suffered the same fate because it failed to meet high standards for research and instruction”.

These charges were vigorously disputed by a plethora of academics, Jewish leaders and journalists who ascribed political motivation as the prominent factor in Yale’s decision to shut down the program. Referencing the 2010 YIISA sponsored conference entitled, “Global Anti-Semitism: A Crisis of Modernity” that focused on the virulent nature of Islamic anti-Semitism, considered by experts in the field to be the most pernicious manifestation of modern-day global antipathy, Abby Wisse Schachter said in an op-ed piece that appeared in the New York Post that studying “Christian anti-Semitism is fine; political Jew-hatred, like communist or fascist anti-Semitism, no problem. But get anywhere near Muslim or Middle Eastern anti-Semitism, as presenters at YIISA’s conference did last year, and you’ve crossed the line.”

In January 2010, Iran announced that it was instituting a boycott of 60 institutions and Yale was among them. Although the regime did not explain the reason for the boycott, university officials attributed Tehran’s decision to YIISA’s activities in spotlighting the regime’s role in promoting genocidal anti-Semitism. Due to the boycott, Yale professors involved in research in Iran were forced to end their activities. These professors reportedly blamed YIISA rather than Iran for the cancellation of their research projects

Founded in 2006 by renowned sociologist Charles Small, YIISA was the largest research unit in North America devoted to a nuanced exploration of anti-Semitism in its various incarnations with a focus on its urgent contemporary significance. Its clearly defined stated mission was “to explore this subject matter in a comprehensive, interdisciplinary framework from an array of approaches and perspectives as well as regional contexts.”

Professor Salovey also said in his letter that, “YPSA will encourage serious scholarly discourse and collaborative research focused on anti-Semitism, one of the world’s oldest and most enduring prejudices, in all of its forms” and added that it is his hope that “this program will produce major scholarship on the vitally important subject of anti-Semitism and will be open to the entire Yale community.”

According to Salovey’s letter, Professor Maurice Samuels has written an award winning book on Jewish fiction writers in France and is currently working on a major study of the portrayal of Jews in French literature and culture from the time of the Revolution through the present. Professor Samuels has also taught such undergraduate classes entitled, “Jewish Identity and French Culture” and “Representing the Holocaust”.

The letter also indicated that Professor Samuels and his colleagues will also bring in visiting speakers who have expertise that is relevant to the group’s evolving interests, and will host multidisciplinary research conferences and reading groups.

It is unclear at this juncture if Yale’s decision to re-establish a scholarly program on the study of anti-Semitism was predicated upon the flurry of protests and the growing number of negative op-ed articles written by political commentators, distinguished professors and academics over the closing of YIISA.

———————————————-

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.

Home Grown Muslim Terrorist Arrested in Plot to Attack Seattle Military Recruiting Station

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

Here we go again. Two “home grown” Muslim terrorist have been arrested for attempting to attack a military recruiting station with explosives and automatic weapons.

Two men have been arrested in a plot to use machine guns and grenades in an attack on a military recruiting station in Seattle that also houses a daycare, the U.S. Justice Department said Thursday.

Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, also known as Joseph Anthony Davis, of Seattle, and Walli Mujahidh, also known as Frederick Domingue Jr., of Los Angeles, were arrested Wednesday night.

They were scheduled to make initial court appearances Thursday on terrorism and firearms charges.

The building, the Military Entrance Processing Station on East Marginal Way in Seattle, also houses a daycare. Recruits for all military branches are screened and processed there.

Agents became aware of the plot through someone the men tried to recruit as a participant and monitored the plot. The weapons the men purchased had been rendered inoperable, the government said.

Investigators said they have video and audio recordings of the men discussing their plans to attack the station.

Abdul-Latif and Mujahidh are charged by complaint with conspiracy to murder officers and employees of the United States, conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, and possession of firearms in furtherance of crimes of violence. Abdul-Latif is also charged with two counts of illegal possession of firearms.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle said the defendants initially planned to attack Joint Base Lewis-McChord but later changed targets. The defendants intended to carry out their attack with both grenades and machine guns, the government said.

“The complaint alleges these men intended to carry out a deadly attack against our military where they should be most safe, here at home,” Seattle U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan said in a news release. “This is a sobering reminder of our need to be vigilant and that our first line of defense is the people who live in our community. We were able to disrupt the plot because someone stepped forward and reported it to authorities.”

Original Link.

New York Atheists Angry Over ‘Heaven’ Street Sign Honoring Sept. 11 Victims

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Well, those whacky atheists are up to it again. They can find the most irrational things to get upset about. It’s amazing how much time and energy they expend fighting something they don’t believe in.

A group of New York City atheists is demanding that the city remove a street sign honoring seven firefighters killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks because they say the sign violates the separation of church and state.

The street, “Seven in Heaven Way,” was officially dedicated last weekend in Brooklyn outside the firehouse where the firefighters once served. The ceremony was attended by dozens of firefighters, city leaders and widows of the fallen men.

“There should be no signage or displays of religious nature in the public domain,” said Ken Bronstein, president of New York City Atheists. “It’s really insulting to us.” Bronstein told Fox News Radio that his organization was especially concerned with the use of the word “heaven.” “We’ve concluded as atheists there is no heaven and there’s no hell,” he said.

“And it’s a totally religious statement. It’s a question of separation of church and state.” He was nonplussed over how his opposition to the street sign might be perceived – especially since the sign is honoring fallen heroes. “It’s irrelevant who it’s for,” Bronstein said. “We think this is a very bad thing,”

David Silverman, president of American Atheists, agreed calling on the city to remove the sign. “It implies that heaven actually exists,” Silverman told Fox News Radio.

“People died in 9/11, but they were all people who died, not just Christians. Heaven is a specifically Christian place. For the city to come up and say all those heroes are in heaven now, it’s not appropriate.”

“All memorials for fallen heroes should celebrate the diversity of our country and should be secular in nature. These heroes might have been Jews, they might have been atheists, I don’t know, but either way it’s wrong for the city to say they’re in heaven. It’s preachy.”

City leaders seemed dumbfounded by the atheists’ outrage because no one complained about the sign as it was going through a public approval process. “It’s unfortunate that they didn’t raise this as an issue while it was undergoing its public review either at the community board level or when it came before the City Council on their public agenda,” said Craig Hammerman, the district manager for Brooklyn Community Board 6.

Hammerman told Fox News Radio that the community was “solidly behind this proposal. Not a single person stood up to speak out against it. I think it’s a little late in the process for someone to be bringing this up now.”

“When you think you’ve heard it all, you haven’t,” Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz told Fox News Radio. “These seven brave souls who put their lives on the line and ultimately gave up the most precious gift that could be given, believe me are in heaven for serving us so admirably,” he said.

Criticism of the sign brought condemnation from Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

“There are cities that have religious connotations in their names, why not a street,” Land said. “Do they want us to rename Los Angeles, Corpus Christi, and St. Joseph?”

He added, “In a country where 85 percent of the people say they are Christian or claim to be Christian, should it be surprising that you name cities and streets with religious terminology.”

Silverman said he would not be surprised if atheists are vilified for their criticism of the street sign – suggesting they were simply being patriotic. “If we’re opposed to this sign, we’re somehow opposed to honoring the heroes,” he said. “The attacks on 9/11 were an attack on America. They were an attack on our Constitution and breaking that Constitution to honor these firefighters is the wrong thing to do.

“The patriotic and right thing to do is to obey our own law and to realize that we are a diverse nation, a melting pot full of different views,” Silverman added. The local and national atheist organizations said they’ve offered alternative names that would still honor the firefighters, but without any religious affiliation.

Bronstein suggested they call the street, “We Remember The Seven – 9/11.” He said that would be “more appropriate.”

But the city has no intention of removing the sign. If that’s the case, Bronstein said he may consider a lawsuit.

Original Link.

“The Cult of Death” by Todd Strandberg

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Rapture Ready has always had an uneasy relationship with the liberal media. Over the years, we have done dozens of interviews and all but a few of them have resulted in a news story that paints the end-time message in a negative light. The press is 90 percent liberal, and it sees us as obstacles to the creation of a utopian society. I have been surprised by positive comments that acknowledge our dedication, but I’m sure that if they had their way, we would be sent off to some reeducation camps.

One of the liberal media’s most common objections is the belief that prophecy people worship death. They don’t understand why we should be so happy about the world coming to an end. The Bible does plainly say that destruction is coming to the earth, and as a result of the Tribulation carnage, man will become as rare as fine gold.

What the press fails to realize is that we already have arrangements to take the last bus out of town before the world is swallowed up by divine judgment. Before God pours His wrath on planet earth, he is going to rapture every born-again Christian up to heaven.

Even in rare cases in which Christians do take their own lives, they typically do so with the hope of their existence continuing in the afterlife. When Jim Jones told his followers to drink cyanide-laced Kool-Aid, they fully expected to wake up at the pearly gates of heaven.

I think atheists are the ones who belong to the cult of death. I have read the views of several leading atheists, and have found an almost universal embrace of death. For them, life is just meant to come to a sudden end.

They see death as a necessary function of evolution. Without it, genetic ingenuity would slow down and the population would reach a level of stagnation. If our monkey ancestors lived for hundreds of years, we would still be hanging from trees by our tails.

Biologist Richard Dawkins says we have no need to complain about dying because most people will never have a chance to be born. If we managed to defy such massive odds to be born into this world, it would be foolhardy to so willingly surrender such a precious gift.

I see this welcoming attitude toward death as a form of insanity. The desire for self preservation is one of the signs we use to measure the soundness of one’s mind. I don’t regret depriving some worm of a good meal. They don’t even have enough intelligence to say, “Boy, Todd tastes good.”

Atheists’ cheeriness about the end of life extends to the second death. Even though they don’t believe in a hell, most express a bizarre willingness to take a swan dive into the lake of fire. Pat Condell is a well-known atheist on YouTube. In one of his latest videos, he said, “So can I say to the people who have said they are praying for me, ‘Don’t do it. I’m beyond redemption. I categorically reject God. I wholeheartedly deny the Holy Spirit. I’m resigned to damnation. And I’m absolutely fine with it.’”

If there is no God to grant us an afterlife, atheists should be the main cheerleaders of an effort to find immortality through research. One of them should be the Jerry Lewis of natural causes. “Yes, please donate so we can find a cure for what is responsible for 100 percent of non-accidental deaths.”

I remember hearing, in my early teens, a scientist talking about the future of medicine. He said that some people living today may never die. Three decades later, I don’t see any signs of his prediction coming true. The more we study the chemical processes of life, the more uncertain we become of how it all works. We are still unable to replicate even the simplest living thing in the lab.

The incredible advances in the field of electronics has far outstripped the progress in medical science. We have found the components that make up the code of life, but we change it to defeat death. Our sin nature is the most likely factor preventing us from achieving this goal. We are under a curse that only God can lift.

There is hope for people who wish to gain eternal life. The greatest promise made in the Bible was when God said, “I will give you eternal life.” Jesus paid the price of allowing our bodies to become immune to death. In order to receive that gift of immortality, all we need to do is ask for it.

“Jesus said unto her, I am the Resurrection, and the Life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he Live” (John 11:25).

“And this is the Record, that God hath given to us Eternal Life, and this Life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath Life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not Life” (1 John 5:11-12).

— Todd

Original Link.

European Credit Crunch Going Global

Monday, June 20th, 2011

The world’s financial situation can’t continue like this. Something has to give. It will be a very bad time for everyone when it does.

Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central Bank, told The Times of London yesterday the sovereign debt threats are “not only a euro area issue, but have a European aspect and a global aspect”.

“We were not at ease with the idea that, in the heat of the crisis, all countries were called on to spend as much as possible, embark on deficits as much as possible,” he said. “I believe the tensions we are observing in Europe today are part of a much more global phenomenon.”

Mr Trichet’s words came amid financial market turmoil and political chaos in Greece. World markets and Western governments fear Greece will be unable to service its E340 billion ($457bn) debt and that the country has become effectively ungovernable.

Shares dived to three-month depths around the world, and the euro slid to a new record low against the Swiss franc over fears a collapse could trigger a new global financial crisis.

The ECB chief warned against a debt default by Greece, and insisted no officials had raised the prospect of troubled euro members, including Portugal and Ireland, leaving the bloc.

He said the euro zone should be judged as a whole. “A bird’s-eye view of the euro area gives elements that are rather encouraging and often not perceived,” Mr Trichet said.

Adding to the crisis fears, an Irish minister said private lenders to the stricken Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society should share some of the losses suffered by taxpayers.

The centre of the crisis remained Greece, where Prime Minister George Papandreou was struggling to quell revolt against his austerity measures. His country has the lowest credit rating of any in the world, according to Standard & Poor’s, over concerns of a default on its national debt.

Mr Trichet has taken a hard line on the subject, insisting European Union nations should do nothing that could trigger a default. The ECB fears such a step might create a “contagion” effect, undermining confidence in the finances of other countries.

That has pitted Mr Trichet against German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble, who wants creditors to give Greece a seven-year extension of its loans.

There have been reports Greece’s desperate ministers have considered leaving the euro, a step analysts believe would trigger economic calamity.

Original Link.

Pakistan Arrests C.I.A. Informants in Bin Laden Raid

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Let’s see here; Bin Laden lived next to a military school, in a neighborhood filled with ex-military officers, for approximately five years. Yet the Pakistani intelligence services couldn’t find him.
When it come to our C.I.A.’s informants, (you know, the folks who actually did help us find Bin Laden), they have no problem finding them and arresting them. You read it correctly; arresting them for helping us find the most wanted terrorist in the world.
For anyone still naive enough to be calling Pakistan an ally, STOP doing it. They are anything but.

WASHINGTON — Pakistan’s top military spy agency has arrested some of the Pakistani informants who fed information to the Central Intelligence Agency in the months leading up to the raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden, according to American officials.

Pakistan’s detention of five C.I.A. informants, including a Pakistani Army major who officials said copied the license plates of cars visiting Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in the weeks before the raid, is the latest evidence of the fractured relationship between the United States and Pakistan. It comes at a time when the Obama administration is seeking Pakistan’s support in brokering an endgame in the war in neighboring Afghanistan.

At a closed briefing last week, members of the Senate Intelligence Committee asked Michael J. Morell, the deputy C.I.A. director, to rate Pakistan’s cooperation with the United States on counterterrorism operations, on a scale of 1 to 10.

“Three,” Mr. Morell replied, according to officials familiar with the exchange.

The fate of the C.I.A. informants arrested in Pakistan is unclear, but American officials said that the C.I.A. director, Leon E. Panetta, raised the issue when he travelled to Islamabad last week to meet with Pakistani military and intelligence officers.

Some in Washington see the arrests as illustrative of the disconnect between Pakistani and American priorities at a time when they are supposed to be allies in the fight against Al Qaeda — instead of hunting down the support network that allowed Bin Laden to live comfortably for years, the Pakistani authorities are arresting those who assisted in the raid that killed the world’s most wanted man.

Original Link.

“Iran a Few Weeks away from Having the Bomb” by Todd Strandberg

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

For the past several years, the International Community has been very concerned about Iran’s nuclear program. With all the unrest in the Middle East, everyone seems to have lost track of this danger. A new report by the RAND Corporation has sounded the alarm, saying the Iranian regime is closer than ever to creating a nuclear bomb.

Researcher Gregory S. Jones has looked at the uranium enrichment data, and he estimates that Tehran could have enough for its first bomb within seven weeks. According to Jones, Iran has produced a large quantity of uranium enriched at about 20 percent of the isotopes used in a bomb. If its centrifuges continue to work at the current capacity, it will take just under two months for the Iranian regime to produce the 20 kg of uranium enriched to 90 percent required for the production of a nuclear weapon.

Another troubling observation by Jones is our inability to stop Iran’s progress. He said airstrikes and sabotage can no longer stop their nuclear program. The U.S. would have to send in ground troops to prevent the Iranians from building a bomb. With our forces already busy with four other conflicts, this option is highly unlikely.

Any mention of an Iranian nuclear bomb has long been a taboo subject in Iran. The finish line must now be in their sight because Tehran is starting to speak openly about the day it will become a nuclear power. The following quote appeared on the Gerdab website, run by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards:

Today is a normal day like any other. Like 90% of the year, there is news about Iran, and these are the headlines which can be seen on foreign news sites:

Reuters: Iran detonated its nuclear bomb
CNN: Iran detonated nuclear bomb
Al-Jazeera: The second Islamic nuclear bomb was tested
Al-Arabia: The Shia nuclear bomb was tested
Yahoo! News: Nuclear explosion in Iran
Jerusalem Post: Mullahs obtained nuclear weapon
Washington Post: Nuclear explosion in Iran, Shock and despair in Tel Aviv

I would really love to know what the Israeli government is thinking right now. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already said that Iran should never be permitted to develop nuclear weapons. In his May 24, 2011, speech before the United States Congress, he gave this warning:

A nuclear-armed Iran would ignite a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. It would give terrorists a nuclear umbrella. It would make the nightmare of nuclear terrorism a clear and present danger throughout the world. I want you to understand what this means. They could put the bomb anywhere. They could put it on a missile. It could be on a container ship in a port, or in a suitcase on a subway. P> One only needs to look at North Korea to see how nuclear technology can embolden a rogue state. With no provocation, the North Koreans recently torpedoed a submarine and shelled an island, both belonging to North Korea’s southern neighbor. The U.S. and South Korea did nothing because they knew the North had about a dozen nuclear bombs, and they feared what would happen if they fired back. The problem with placating an aggressor is that it creates a series of escalations that eventually ends with open warfare.

What makes Iran so dangerous is that it has frequently called for the destruction of Israel. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad must hold the record for the number of times the head of state has made threats against another nation.

He is in a special class of crazy because he is so dedicated to the annihilation of Israel that he’s willing to suffer the total destruction of Iran to achieve this goal. When Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev went to China to meet with Mao Zedong, he had planned to work out a deal that would provide China with nuclear technology. Mao told Khrushchev that they should use their nuclear weapons to advance communism even if it meant that millions of their citizens would die in the process. Khrushchev was so horrified by Mao’s recklessness, he left the country on the third day of a planned seven-day visit. Here we are, 50 years later, and the leaders in Moscow have zero concern about assistance they are providing to a nation that would gladly use the bomb to vaporize Israel.

My hope is that Jones is wrong in his assessment and that Israel or the U.S. still has time to act. Since the existence of the Jewish state is at stake here, I just can’t imagine that Netanyahu doesn’t have a plan of action. I still expect to wake up some morning to news of a surprise bombing campaign by the Israeli Air Force.

An Israeli attack or a nuclear test by Iran would totally transform the last-days landscape. The consequences will be so calamitous the global community will deeply regret having failed to taken preventive action against Iran.

“Just so, when you see the events I’ve described beginning to happen, you can know his return is very near, right at the door” (NLT Mat. 24:33).

— Todd

Original Link.

California School District Cancels Fundraiser After Submission of Scripture-Inscribed Bricks

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

In yet another example of bigotry, bias and outright hostility to Christians, a California school district has gone as far as to cancel a fundraising event, in order to shut out Christian free speech. Read about it below.

A California school district has canceled a fundraising program featuring memorial bricks, scuttling proceeds of $45,000, after two women submitted Bible verses in their tributes.

The two women, Lou Ann Hart and Sheryl Caronna, had filed a court complaint in January against the Desert Sands Unified School District after the district blocked them from placing the Bible verses on bricks to be installed in walkways at Palm Desert High School in Palm Desert, Calif., about 10 miles east of Palm Springs. The women sought an injunction against the district to compel it to allow the scripture bricks.

Instead, school district officials have decided to rescind the fundraiser and refund money of every community group or individual who purchased a memorial brick, according to a court filing last week with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

The move has angered advocates of religious freedom in the public sphere.

“Christians should be allowed to express themselves on public school campuses just like everyone else,” David Cortman, an attorney for the Alliance Defense Fund, said in a written statement. Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative Christian organization, initiated the lawsuit for Hart and Caronna.

“It is cowardly to shut down everyone’s participation in this program simply out of animosity toward Christian speech,” Cortman said. “There is absolutely nothing unconstitutional about a Bible verse on a brick when a school opens up a program for anyone to express a personal message. The school could simply have allowed the Bible verses, but instead, it chose to punish everyone.”

Hundreds of other messages had been accepted for the bricks, Cortman’s organization said, including inspirational and religious themes, such as a quote from Mahatma Gandhi and a Bible quotation — “Yes, it is possible” — written in Spanish.

Hart, of Palm Desert, and Caronna, of Rancho Mirage, were informed after submitting their bricks that they would not be included because the religious content risked an unconstitutional establishment of religion, Alliance Defense Fund officials said.

According to the court complaint, the bricks were offered in two sizes and prices: 4 inches by 8 inches for $100 and 8 inches by 8 inches for $250. Alliance Defense Fund officials told FoxNews.com a total of $45,000 was raised as a result of the sales.

Desert Sands Unified School District officials have not responded to repeated requests for comment. Robert Hicks, the school’s new principal effective on July 1, told FoxNews.com in an email that he was unable to comment.

According to last week’s filing, district officials agreed to provide a copy of guidelines to be used for approval of any future memorial bricks within the next two years at any school within the district.

In February 2010, the school’s parent-teacher organization announced the fundraiser, which was later approved by the school and the district. No limitations were given at the time as to the content of the messages, which were to be used to “create a legacy, commemorate a special event or given recognition to various entities,” according to Alliance Defense Fund.

Peter Lepiscopo, a San Diego-based attorney who served as local counsel on the matter, confirmed during a brief phone interview late Monday that the case had been finalized last week.

“The case has been settled,” he said.

Asked if the fundraiser is expected to be launched again, Lepiscopo replied: “We’ll see at this point.”

Original Link.

Also see “What Does the U.S. Constitution Actually Say About Religion?”

“CONTROVERSY ERUPTS OVER CLOSING OF YIISA” by Fern Sidman

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

The hallowed halls of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut were rocked with controversy last week when it was announced that a well respected scholarly program called the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism (YIISA) was scheduled to be terminated. In a statement issued by the iconic ivy league institution, Donald Green, a political science professor at Yale and Director of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies said that the decision was predicated upon YIISA “generating little scholarly work that earned publication in highly regarded journals, and its courses attracted few students”. Citing the Center for the Study of Race, Inequality and Politics as another example of an “underachieving program”. Dr. Green said that “YIISA suffered the same fate because it failed to meet high standards for research and instruction”.

These allegations have been zealously disputed by a veritable repertioire of top-tier academics, Jewish leaders and political commentators who have suggested that the university acquiesced to the strongly worded critiques of YIISA programs by leading Muslim personalities and organizations. Referencing the seminal and highly enlightening 2010 YIISA sponsored conference entitled, “Global Antisemitism: A Crisis of Modernity,” Abby Wisse Schachter writes in a New York Post op-ed piece of June 7th that studying “Christian anti-Semitism is fine; political Jew-hatred, like communist or fascist anti-Semitism, no problem. But get anywhere near Muslim or Middle Eastern anti-Semitism, as presenters at YIISA’s conference did last year, and you’ve crossed the line.”

Schachter also imputes a conspiratorial tone to the decision to shut YIISA’s doors by reporting that subsequent to the conference, “the PLO representative in America scolded the school’s president, Richard Levin, complaining of the attention paid to anti-Semitism among Palestinians and Muslims.” The PLO “ambassador” in question, Maen Rashid Areikat expressed his umbrage to Levin in a letter saying, “It’s shocking that a respected institution like Yale would give a platform to these right-wing extremists and their odious views. I urge you to publicly dissociate yourself and Yale University from the anti-Arab extremism and hate-mongering that were on display during this conference.”

The conference addressed the virulent nature of Islamic anti-Semitism, considered by experts in the field to be the most pernicious manifestation of modern-day global antipathy. Anti-Semitism in the Western academy was also meticulously examined and hundreds of pages of research materials were produced.

Led by the renowned sociologist Charles Small, YIISA was established in 2006 as the largest research unit in North America devoted to a nuanced exploration of anti-Semitism in its various incarnations with a focus on its urgent contemporary significance. Its clearly defined stated mission was “to explore this subject matter in a comprehensive, interdisciplinary framework from an array of approaches and perspectives as well as regional contexts.”

Each year, respected scholars who have published monographic studies on anti-Semitism have gathered for YIISA sponsored colloquiums. Among those scholars attached to YIISA programs include Irwin Cotler, the former Canadian Attorney General and Minister of Justice, David Hirsh of Goldsmiths College in London, Phyllis Chesler, emerita professor of psychology and women’s studies at the City University of New York and Bassam Tibi, emeritus professor of international relations at the University of Goettingen.

The Jerusalem Post’s deputy managing editor Caroline Glick states in a June 9th article entitled, “Yale, Jews and Double Standards” that, “politics were in all likelihood the decisive factor in the decision” to close YIISA and adds that, “like nearly all university campuses in the US, Yale is dominated by the political Left.” Pointing to a possible causal relationship between YIISA’s programs and a boycott imposed upon Yale, Ms. Glick writes, “In January 2010, Iran announced that it was instituting a boycott of 60 institutions. Yale was among them. Although the regime did not explain the reason for the boycott, university officials attributed Tehran’s decision to YIISA’s activities in spotlighting the regime’s role in promoting genocidal anti-Semitism. Due to the boycott, Yale professors involved in research in Iran were forced to end their activities. These professors reportedly blamed YIISA rather than Iran for the cancellation of their research projects.”

Ms. Schachter of the New York Post corroborates Yale’s affinity with the Iranian regime by saying that in 2009 “a lecturer at Yale’s new Jackson Center for Global Affairs (Hillary Mann Leverett) took her graduate students to New York to visit with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Ahmadinejad explained to the students that there is no hard scientific proof that the Holocaust happened.”

As a participant at various YIISA conferences, Dr. Phyllis Chesler calls the closing “a tragedy” and remarks in a June 13th article entitled, “Islam and Anti-Semitism at Yale” that appeared on the FrontPage Mag web site, “Yale has rendered racism respectable, has contributed to the academic isolation of scholars of contemporary anti-Semitism, and snuffed out truth-telling, genuine dissent, free speech, and academic freedom. This will be a permanent stain on Yale and on American academia.” Also offering realistic explanations for motivations behind Yale’s decision, Dr. Chesler said, “There is one other reason that Yale felt it could get away with shutting YIISA down. For nearly 50 years, Arab, Saudi, and Palestinian money men have patiently, carefully, silently, funded the American professoriate and media.”

Elaborating on this notion was Alex Joffe, who, in an June 13th article titled, “Anti-Semitism and Man at Yale”, said, “Yale has long been seeking support from wealthy Arab donors..In particular, it has wooed Saudi Prince Alwaleed ibn Talal, who in 2005 gave $20 million apiece to Harvard and Georgetown for Islamic-studies programs. (Yale, which competed vigorously for the prize, made it to the final round.) Spotlighting the authentic “educational” agenda of Muslim nations and rulers, Mr. Joffe adds, “true to their donors’ intent, such academic programs are faithful disseminators of the “narrative” of Muslim victimization. In the same connection, it should likewise be borne in mind that in 2009, alerted to the imminent publication by its own press of a scholarly book on the Danish-cartoons controversy, the Yale administration summarily intervened to yank images of the cartoons from the final product—on the grounds that their appearance might elicit “violence.”

Jewish organizations also weighed in on the decision to close YIISA. David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee said, “We hope Yale will review this unfortunate decision so that YIISA’s critical work can continue. In our experience working with YIISA, AJC has been impressed by the level of scholarly discourse, the involvement of key faculty, and the initiative’s ability, through conferences and other programs, to bring a wide range of voices to the Yale campus.”

Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League of Bnai Brith offered a rueful observation of Yale’s decision by saying, “Especially at a time when anti-Semitism continues to be virulent and anti-Israel parties treat any effort to address issues relating to anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism as illegitimate, Yale’s decision is particularly unfortunate and dismaying.”

———————————————-

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.

“The U.S. Economy Shows Signs of Stalling” by Todd Strandberg

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

There are growing indications that the U.S. economy is headed back towards negative growth. The recovery that economists claim we’ve been having over the past several months has been mild at best. The unemployment rate went from a high of over 10 percent to just under 9 percent. We still have 16 million Americans out of work, and nearly 25 percent of the workforce is underemployed.

Several key financial indicators are pointing to a slowdown. Here are a few:

In April, the economy created only 54,000 new jobs. The unemployment rate climbed to 9.1 percent. Factory orders fell 1.2% in April, most since May 2010. GDP growth has declined to 1.8 percent.

You can’t have a recovery in the general economy without the participation of the housing market. Real estate saw modest improvement, thanks to a tax credit program that has now expired. In the last few months, home prices have collapsed. The average selling price of a home is now below the levels seen during the 2008 subprime meltdown. The decline has even surpassed the decline seen during the Great Depression.

President Obama tried to put a positive spin on the latest woes, telling auto workers at an Ohio plant that it would take a while for the economy to mend.

“There are still some headwinds that are coming at us. Lately it’s been high gas prices, then you have the economic disruptions following the tragedy in Japan,” Obama said. “There are always going to be bumps on the road to recovery. We are going to pass though some rough terrain.”

The problem with the American economy is driven by longer-term issues. The national debt is now over $14.4 trillion, and is within a couple of percentage points of equaling our Gross National Product. We already have a $1.5 deficit projected for fiscal year 2011. If the economy stalls, the deficit will soar over the $2 trillion mark.

The rating agencies that track the creditworthiness of our debt are starting to see the reality behind the numbers. Last week, Moody’s warned that it might have to cut the United States’ coveted top-notch credit rating if the White House and Congress do not make progress by mid-July in talks to raise the debt limit.

Another huge danger is the solvency of banks. As the value of real estate drops, so does the value of the balance sheets of banks that hold those mortgages. The big money center banks were already insolvent when we went into this mess. Congress changed the accounting rules to allow banks to keep the original loan value on their books.

At some point, the drop in housing prices will trigger a meltdown. The Bank of America has $2.4 trillion in mortgages. If the market value drops by 5 percent, the potential loss for the Bank of America is $120 billion. The firm only has a stock value of $114 billion. If millions of people start to walk away from their mortgages, the too-big-to-fail banks will need trillions of dollars to stay afloat.

At the end of this month, the Federal Reserve will conclude its program to buy $600 billion in bonds from the U.S. Treasury. Since the Fed has been buying 70 percent of our debt at the weekly auctions, it’s not clear who will step up to take its place.

The Chinese have already said they are not interested in raising their holdings of U.S. debt. China has just sold 97 percent of its holdings in our Treasury bills–which are securities that mature in one year or less. All their holdings are now in longer-rate bonds that demand a higher interest rate.

There is no way we can survive a return to recession. The Federal Reserve has already printed $3 trillion to keep us afloat, and we simply don’t have enough credit to fund round two. We’re now at the point where the dollar and the bond market could collapse at any moment.

I am amazed at how long our financial system has held together. There are so many fuses all leading to the same pile of dynamite, you would think that one of them would have been triggered by now. I think the guiding hand of God is the only explanation for why the system has survived.

This whole scenario reminds me of a documentary I saw about the bombing of Hiroshima. Months before the deployment of the “little boy” device, the city was excluded from any bombing campaigns. The residents of Hiroshima thought it was odd that Allied bombers never targeted their city, which had major industrial and military operations. After August 6, 1945, it was instantly obvious that the city had been spared to measure the damage caused by the first military use of an atomic bomb.

The fact that we’ve managed to avoid a depression for three years now seems to indicate that God may be planning to drop a financial bomb on this sinful world. The Rapture may be what triggers the financial meltdown. We will soon find out.

“I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4).

— Todd

Original Link.

“‘JERUSALEM: UNITED FOREVER’ – THEME OF ISRAEL DAY CONCERT/RALLY IN CENTRAL PARK” by Fern Sidman

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

The 18th annual Dr. Manfred R. Lehmann Memorial Israel Day Concert in Central Park set the tone for an ebullient celebration of Israel’s 63rd birthday as premiere entertainers and prominent speakers appeared before thousands at the Summer Stage in the park. Thousands of “Celebrate Israel” parade participants and spectators filed into Central Park after the conclusion of the 47th annual parade for some traditional Jewish entertainment and enlightenment.

This year’s concert was dedicated as a memorial tribute to Carl Freyer, z”l, the founder of the Israel Day Concert in Central Park. A magnanimous supporter of numerous causes impacting every aspect of Jewish life and the State of Israel, Mr. Freyer was also a founder of the Arutz Sheva web site, a founder of the National Jewish Outreach Program and a leader in the nationalist camp for many years. Also remembered for their generous support of Israel were noted Jewish activists and philanthropists, Dr. Manfred R. Lehmann, z”l, and Rose and Reuben Mattus, z”l of the Haagen Dasz ice cream company.

As in previous years, the Israel Day Concert was organized by renowned gastroenterologist and Jewish activist, Dr. Joseph Frager and serving as chairpersons of the concert were long time Jewish activists Dr. Paul and Drora Brody.

The special guest speaker at the concert was Likud MK Danny Danon, chairman of World Likud and Deputy Speaker of the Knesset. He was introduced by Dr. Paul Brody, who quipped, “Mr. Danon signals right and he turns right”. Reiterating his support for a united Jerusalem, Mr. Danon declared his staunch opposition to US pressure on Israel to retreat to the 1967 borders, known as “Auschwitz lines” by Abba Eban. “80% of Israelis polled are against compromise of any form on the status of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital”, said Mr. Danon, adding that, “David Ben Gurion moved the Knesset from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Levi Eshkol did not differentiate between East and West Jerusalem or who lived there before 1967 and who lived there after that”.

Echoing Mr. Danon’s sentiments were New York State Assemblyman David Weprin who also strongly chastised President Obama for insisting that Israel relinquish Judea and Samaria in the hopes of attaining an enduring peace with the Palestinians. “As long as the terrorist Hamas organization represents the Palestinian Authority, peace will never be achieved. If we want to get some inkling what will happen, let’s just look to Gush Katif and we will get some idea of the kind of false “peace” we are in store for”, he intoned.

The featured musical personality at the concert was long time Jewish singer and songwriter Avraham Fried who regaled the audience with some of his classic hits of faith in Hashem and the Jewish people’s longing for redemption. Singing several sets of songs including, “Jerusalem” and “Only You”, Mr. Fried got the crowd on its feet as hundreds sang along and danced to lyrics praising Hashem and the land of Israel.”Every moment of our lives, every moment of our history is directed by the Yad Hashem (Hand of G-d)”, said Mr. Fried in a private interview.

The musical stylings of Elram Amram and Shlomi Aharoni from Israel were also showcased as well as singers Avi Peretz and Ouri Bitan. The exceptionally talented New York Boys Choir made their debut and the Israeli national anthem, Hatikva was performed by Chazzan Chaim Dovid Berson, who also delivered an inspiring rendition of “Exodus – This land is mine – G-d gave this land to me.”

Rabbi David Algaze of the World Committee for the Land of Israel and the Chavurat Israel synagogue in Forst Hills, New York said, “Israel has tried to reach out in genuine peace on so many occasions and the last ridiculous attempt was during te 1993 Oslo accords. There is no clearer statement than this that peace cannot be purchased. The Arabs cannot be bought and Israeli will be surrounded by enemies. Hamas does not want to accept the existence of a Jewish state. The danger that we face is proximate and real. A Palestinian state means suicide bombers and rocket launchers in Hebron, but the greater the threat, the greater the danger to Israel also means the greater the salvation from Hashem as it says in Psalm 92.”

Introduced by Dr. Joseph Frager was Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain. Having officially announced his candidacy on May 21st, Mr. Cain has been well received in Republican/Tea party circles. He is a businessman and former chairman and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, a newspaper columnist, and radio talk show host from Stockbridge, Georgia. He is also a former deputy chairman (1992–94) and chairman (1995–96) of the civilian board of directors to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. “I am here for two reasons”, Mr. Cain told the audience. “I congratulate the State of Israel on this momentous occasion and to let you know as a black man, I understand your struggle and share with you my undenying support for the one and only Jewish state.”

“My support for Israel started way before I decided to run for the presidency. It started with the old testament of the Jewish people and the biblical significance of that great nation. I am greatly disappointed in President Obama. He has thrown Israel under the bus, and I can assure you that I will never throw Israel under the bus. The president should not be defining terms of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians; but rather he should leave Israel’s borders alone”, he delcared to thunderous applause. He added that, “Jerusalem should remain united as te capital of the great state of Israel. I tell you today that I don’t stand behind Israel, but I stand beside Israel as the great democracy it is in the Middle East.”

If elected president, Mr. Cain said, “I will tell those nations that threaten Israel’s survival that if you mess with Israel, that means that you mess with the USA and you don’t want to mess with the USA.”

In a private interview, Mr. Cain said, “I don’t agree with the President Obama in terms of Israel making any more territorial concessions for an elusive “peace”. The bigger issue here is that Hamas has now partnered with the Palestinian Authority and negotiating with a terrorist organization will go nowhere. I think it is downright arrogant for the president to even suggest that our loyal friend and stalwart ally, Israel, has to jeopardize its own security to appease our enemies in that region of the world.”

———————————————-

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.

Bahraini Doctors Who Treated Anti-Government Protesters Face Trial

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

There is something seriously wrong with a society that allows this. The current government of this country is supposed to be one of staunchest Mid-Eastern allies, among the Arab countries, that is.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Dozens of doctors and nurses who treated injured anti-government protesters during the months of unrest in Bahrain went on trial in a security court on Monday on allegations they participated in efforts to overthrow the Gulf country’s monarchy.

The prosecution of 47 health professionals is a sign that Bahrain’s Sunni rulers will not end their relentless pursuit of the Shiite-led opposition despite officially lifting emergency rule last week.

The doctors and nurses were arraigned on Monday during a closed hearing in a security court authorized under emergency rule that was imposed in mid-March to crush weeks of demonstrations by Bahrain’s Shiite majority, which has campaigned for greater freedoms, equal rights and an elected government. The court has military prosecutors and military and civilian judges.

The medical workers were charged with participating in efforts to topple Bahrain’s Sunni monarchy and taking part in illegal rallies. Other charges against the doctors and nurses, most of whom treated injured protesters in the state-run Salmaniya Medical Complex in the capital, Manama, include harming the public by spreading false news and denying medical attention to several Sunni patients.

Only select journalists are allowed to cover the trials in the security court after authorities put a gag order on legal proceedings against suspected opposition supporters. Select family members were allowed to attend Monday’s arraignment. Amid tight security in and outside the court, relatives were also given 30 minutes to talk to the defendants after proceedings were adjourned to give lawyers more time to prepare for their clients’ defense.

Original Link.

“OVER 30,000 TAKE PART IN SALUTE TO ISRAEL PARADE” by Fern Sidman

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Fashionable Fifth Avenue in New York City was transformed into a sea of blue and white on Sunday, June 5th, as tens of thousands participated in the annual “Celebrate Israel” parade, while hundreds of thousands of onlookers cheered on the litany of synagogues, schools and organizations that participated in the jubilant march. Reports indicate that the attendance was the largest in its 47-year history.

Former Soviet dissident and Israeli Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora, Yuli Edelstein served as the grand marshall and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg along with Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to Washington, led the parade down its route to 74th Street.

Salute to Israel Prade 2011

A virtual repertoire of dignitaries made appearances including Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D) of New York’s 8th congressional district, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, as well as leaders of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), and the United Jewish Appeal (UJA) representing various Jewish communities.

The flag of Israel was a ubiquitous site as well as “Old Glory” which were held aloft by participants in each group. Such schools as Yeshiva of Flatbush, Magen David Yeshiva, Shulamith School for Girls, Yeshiva Derech HaTorah, the Rambam Yeshiva, the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway (HAFTR), the North Shore Hebrew Academy, the Jewish Foundation School, the Hebrew Academy of Nassau County, the Frisch School, the Ramaz School, the Joseph Kushner Hebew Academy, the Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva of Edison, New Jersey, the Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey, the Westchester Hebrew High School, the Solomon Schechter Schools of Queens, Manhattan, Nassau County, Bergen County, Monmouth County, Raritan Valley and Westchester were well represented with their entire student bodies as were many others.

Salute to Israel Prade 2011

A plethora of floats and marching bands were also on hand with sound systems playing Hebrew music and traditional Israeli songs relating to the cultural and religious legacy of the Jewish state. Float sponsors included El Al Airlines, Bank HaPoalim/Bank Leumi, American Friends of Magen David Adom, the 92nd Street Y, the Jewish National Fund, RAJE – Russian American Jewish Experience, the American-Israel Friendship League, the Jewish Community Relations Council, and the UJA Federation of New York.

The predominant theme of each participating group was the centrality of Israel to the collective Jewish identity as well as calls to maintain the holy city of Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal, united and undivided capital. The subtle undercurrent of geo-political realities also permeated the parade route as many remained shocked and outraged over the dramatic shift in US foreign policy as it pertains to Israel.

Salute to Israel Prade 2011

“I’m a black Christian woman who loves Israel and what she represents to the free world. I roundly condemn, in the strongest of terms, President Obama’s arrogant and hostile posture towards the only stable democratic ally we have in the Middle East. How dare he even entertain the ludicrous notion of Israel retreating to the clearly indefensible 1967 borders? It is clear as day that this president would love nothing more than to see Israel destroyed by her enemies”, declared Coretta James of the Christians United For Israel organization, as she stood on the sidelines watching the parade.

Approximately 50 pro-Palestinian apologists representing an alliance of left-wing politcal factions and Islamist movements along with other anti-Zionist agitators of the Chareidi Neturei Karta organization gathered on 5th Avenue between East 58th Street and 59th Streets to express their vitriol towards Israel. Rolling out banners and posters carrying the same hackneyed and mendacious slogans that have been used in previous years, the protestors accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing” of the Palestinian population and called for the establishment of a state called Palestine with boundaries running from the Jordan River to the Mediterrean sea, thus nullifying Israel’s existence.

Directly across the street stood pro-Israel counter demonstrators including Barbara Kaufman of the Human Rights Coalition Against Radical Islam (HRCARI) who said, “If there are peaceful Islamists, why are they not here today at this parade? Why are they not actively involved in condemning radical elements of Islam who are responsible for terrorist attacks around the world? Today, we have people of all faiths and nationalities represented here who support the vibrant democracy of Israel. We have Hindus, Christians and Buddhists here who speak out vociferously against the purveyors of lies and grotesque falsehoods.” She added with a sardonic tone, “Perhaps these purportedly peaceful Islamists are busy building bombs and planning future terrorist attacks.”

Other parade goers and spectators carried signs calling for the release of Israeli Staff Sargeant Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists five years ago at the Kerem Shalom crossing near Gaza. Despite the fact that several human rights organizations have stated that the terms and conditions of Shalit’s detention are contrary to international humanitarian law, to date, the only contact between Sgt. Shalit and the outside world since his abduction has been three letters, an audio tape, and a DVD that Israel received in return for releasing 20 female Palestinian prisoners.

In addition to Shalit, calls for the immediate release of Jonathan Pollard also took center stage. A former civilian American Naval intelligence analyst, Pollard received a life sentence in 1987 on charges of spying for Israel. Pollard was never indicted for harming the United States, nor was he indicted for compromising codes, agents or war plans and he was never charged with treason. Israeli activist groups, as well as high-profile Israeli politicians including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have lobbied for his release, but he has continued to languish in federal prison for close to 25 years and is in ill health.

———————————————-

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.

Sixty-Seventh Anniversary of D-Day, World War Two Invasion of France

Monday, June 6th, 2011

As more and more of our World War Two vets pass away, join me, on this 67th anniversary of D-Day, in expressing our gratitude for the sacrifices they made to bring freedom to oppressed people all over the world.

The Normandy Landings were the first operations of the Allied Powers’ invasion of Normandy, also known as Operation Neptune and Operation Overlord, during World War II. D-Day for the operation, postponed 24 hours, became June 6, 1944, H-Hour was 6:30 am. The assault was conducted in two phases: an air assault landing of American and British airborne divisions shortly after midnight, and an amphibious landing of Allied infantry and armoured divisions on the coast of France commencing at 06:30 British Double Summer Time. It required the transport of soldiers and materiel from England and Wales by troop carrying aeroplanes and ships, the assault landings, air support, naval interdiction of the English Channel and naval fire-support. There were also subsidiary operations to distract the Kriegsmarine and prevent its interference in the landing areas.

D-Day

D-Day

D-Day

The operation was the largest single-day invasion of all time, with over 130,000 troops landed on June 6th 1944. 195,700 Allied naval and merchant navy personnel were involved.[2] The landings took place along a stretch of the Normandy coast divided into five sections: Gold, Juno, Omaha, Sword and Utah.

The order of battle for the landings was approximately as follows, east to west:

British sector (Second Army)

  • 6th Airborne Division was delivered by parachute and glider to the east of the River Orne to protect the left flank. The division contained 7,900 men.
  • 1st Special Service Brigade comprising No.3, No.4, No.6 and No.45 (RM) Commandos landed at Ouistreham in Queen Red sector (leftmost). No.4 Commando were augmented by 1 and 8 Troop (both French) of No.10 (Inter Allied) Commando.
  • I Corps, 3rd Infantry Division and the 27th Armoured Brigade on Sword Beach, from Ouistreham to Lion-sur-Mer.
  • No.41(RM) Commando (part of 4th Special Service Brigade) landed on the far right of Sword Beach, where 29,000 men would land.
  • Canadian 3rd Infantry Division, Canadian 2nd Armoured Brigade and No.48 (RM) Commando on Juno Beach, from Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer to Courseulles-sur-Mer, where 21,400 troops would land.
  • No.46(RM) Commando (part of 4th Special Service Brigade) at Juno to scale the cliffs on the left side of the Orne River estuary and destroy a battery. (Battery fire proved negligible so No.46 were kept off-shore as a floating reserve and landed on D+1).
  • XXX Corps, 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division and 8th Armoured Brigade, consisting of 25,000 men landing on Gold Beach,[6] from Courseulles to Arromanches.
  • No.47(RM) Commando (part of 4th Special Service Brigade) on the West flank of Gold beach.
  • 79th Armoured Division operated specialist armour (“Hobart’s Funnies”) for mine-clearing, recovery and assault tasks. These were distributed around the Anglo-Canadian beaches.
  • Overall, the British contingent would consist of 83,115 troops (61,715 of them British).

    25 Australian Infantry landed, none died. Over 3,000 Australians helped in the bombing and airborn invasion.

    U.S. Sector (First Army)

  • V Corps, 1st Infantry Division and 29th Infantry Division making up 34,250 troops for Omaha Beach, from Sainte-Honorine-des-Pertes to Vierville-sur-Mer.
  • 2nd and 5th Ranger Battalions at Pointe du Hoc (The 5th diverted to Omaha).
  • VII Corps, 4th Infantry Division and the 359th RCT of the 90th Infantry Division comprising of 23,250 men landing on Utah Beach, around Pouppeville and La Madeleine.
  • 101st Airborne Division by parachute around Vierville to support Utah Beach landings.
  • 82nd Airborne Division by parachute around Sainte-Mère-Église, protecting the right flank. They had originally been tasked with dropping further west, in the middle part of the Cotentin, allowing the sea-landing forces to their east easier access across the peninsula, and preventing the Germans from reinforcing the north part of the peninsula. The plans were later changed to move them much closer to the beachhead, as at the last minute the German 91st Air Landing Division was determined to be in the area.
  • In total, the Americans contributed 73,000 men (15,500 were airborne).

    D-Day

    D-Day

    D-Day

    Omaha Beach

    Elements of the 1st Infantry Division and 29th Infantry Division faced the veteran German 352nd Infantry Division, one of the best trained on the beaches. Allied intelligence failed to realize that the relatively low-quality 716th Infantry Division (static) had been replaced by the 352nd the previous March. Omaha was also the most heavily fortified beach, with high bluffs defended by funneled mortars, machine guns, and artillery, and the pre-landing aerial and naval bombardment of the bunkers proved to be ineffective. Difficulties in navigation caused the majority of landings to drift eastwards, missing their assigned sectors, and the initial assault waves of tanks, infantry and engineers took heavy casualties. The official record stated that “within 10 minutes of the ramps being lowered, [the leading] company had become inert, leaderless and almost incapable of action. Every officer and sergeant had been killed or wounded […] It had become a struggle for survival and rescue”. Only a few gaps were blown in the beach obstacles, resulting in problems for subsequent landings. The heavily defended draws, the only vehicular routes off the beach, could not be taken and two hours after the first assault the beach was closed for all but infantry landings. Commanders (including General Omar Bradley) considered abandoning the beachhead, but small units of infantry, often forming ad hoc groups, supported by naval artillery and the surviving tanks, eventually infiltrated the coastal defenses by scaling the bluffs between strongpoints. Further infantry landings were able to exploit the initial penetrations and by the end of the day two isolated footholds had been established. American casualties at Omaha on D-Day numbered around 3,000 out of 34,000 men, most in the first few hours, while the defending forces suffered 1,200 killed, wounded or missing. The tenuous beachhead was expanded over the following days, and the original D-Day objectives were accomplished by D+3.

    D-Day

    D-Day

    The beaches at Normandy are still referred to on maps and signposts by their invasion codenames. There are several vast cemeteries in the area. The American cemetery, in Colleville-sur-Mer, contains row upon row of identical white crosses and Stars of David, immaculately kept, commemorating the American dead. Commonwealth graves, in many locations, use white headstones engraved with the person’s religious symbol and their unit insignia. The largest cemetery in Normandy is the La Cambe German war cemetery, which features granite stones almost flush with the ground and groups of low-set crosses. There is also a Polish cemetery.

    D-Day

    Normandy Landings – From Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.

    “ACTIVISTS DECRY CUNY AT JOHN JAY GRADUATION” by Fern Sidman

    Monday, June 6th, 2011

    On Friday morning, June 3rd, several dozen people gathered across the street from the Jacob Javits Center on Manhattan’s west side to voice their outrage and indignation over the decision of the board of trustees of the City University of New York to grant an honorary degree to playwright Tony Kushner. The site was selected as it was the venue of the commencement ceremonies for the 2011 class of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice; the same CUNY school that saw fit to bestow the honorary degree to the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright for his literary accomplishments.

    A polemical firestorm erupted a month ago when CUNY trustee Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld, (an investment adviser and one-time aide to former New York State Governor George E. Pataki), represented the lone dissenting voice at a CUNY board meeting on May 2nd in which he expressed his vehement opposition to the nomination of Kushner for an honorary degree.

    At the time, Mr. Wiesenfeld cited a litany of anti-Israel statements made by Mr. Kushner and spoke of the “disingenuous and non-intellectual activity directed against the State of Israel on campuses throughout the country, the West generally and oftentimes the United States as well.” Mr. Wiesenfeld also pointed to direct quotes that Kushner made to the media. Among them are:

    “[Israel was] founded in a program that, if you really want to be blunt about it, was ethnic cleansing, and that today is behaving abominably towards the Palestinian people.”
    — Yale Israel Review (winter 2005)

    “I’ve never been a Zionist. I have a problem with the idea of a Jewish state. It would have been better if it never happened.”
    — The New York Sun reporting Kushner comments made at a conference in NY (10/14/02)

    Ha’aretz reporter: But you are saying that the very creation of Israel as a Jewish state was not a good idea.
    Kushner: I think it was a mistake.
    — Ha’aretz (4/7/04)

    “Zionism aimed as the establishment of a national identity is predicated on a reading of Jewish history and an interpretation of the meaning of Jewish history I don’t share. Insofar as Zionism is an idea that the solution to the suffering of the Jewish people was the establishment of a Jewish nation, I think it is not the right answer.
    — Ha’aretz (4/7/04)

    “I am not a Zionist in case you haven’t noticed.” Kushner cited “the shame of American Jews for failing to denounce Israel.”
    – Chicago Tribune (4/10/02)

    “The Israeli-built security wall should come down, the homeland for the Palestinians should be built up, with a strictly enforced peace, not enforced by the Israel Defense Forces, but by the United Nations.”
    – Baltimore Jewish Times (6/4/04)

    “I deplore the brutal and illegal tactics of the Israeli Defence Forces in the occupied territories. I deplore the occupation, the forced evacuations, the settlements, the refugee camps, the whole shameful history of the dreadful suffering of the Palestinian people; Jews, of all people, with our history of suffering, should refuse to treat our fellow human beings like that.”
    – London Times (5/7/02)

    “[Israel is involved in] a deliberate destruction of Palestinian culture and a systematic attempt to destroy the identity of the Palestinian people.”
    – New York Sun (10/4/02)

    Under routine circumstances, the CUNY board “rubber stamps” nominations of this kind, but subsequent to Mr. Wiensenfeld’s address, the trustees voted to deny Kushner a degree. Displaying obvious consternation, Kushner penned a critically worded letter to CUNY Chairman of the Board Benno Schmidt and the other trustees. Admonishing them, Kushner intoned: “Did any of you feel that your responsibilities as trustees of an august institution of higher learning included even briefly discussing the appropriateness of Mr. Weisenfeld’s using a public board meeting as a platform for deriding the political opinions of someone with whom he disagrees?”

    Regarding his views on Israel, Kushner wrote in the same letter, “I believe that the historical record shows, incontrovertibly, that the forced removal of Palestinians from their homes as part of the creation of the State of Israel was ethnic cleansing, a conclusion I reached mainly by reading the work of Benny Morris, an acclaimed and conservative Israeli historian whose political opinions are much more in accord with Mr. Weisenfeld’s than with mine.”

    Several days later Mr. Schmidt released a statement saying the trustees had made a “mistake of principle, and not merely of policy,” in withholding the degree for Mr. Kushner from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. In an attempt to quell widespread criticism, CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein urged Mr. Schmidt to convene a board meeting on May 9th at which time the trustees reversed their previous decision and voted to approve an honorary degree for Kushner.

    In an op-ed article that appeared on May 5th in The Alegemeiner newspaper, Mr. Wiesenfeld wrote of Mr. Kushner, “If his libelous statements against Israel were made by anyone outside the Jewish community, that person would be correctly labeled an anti-Semite. When you spew libel against our sole regional democratic ally for “crimes” concocted by delegitimizers, you are an anti-Semite.”

    He continued, “Every nominee that has been brought before the board, during my 12 years at least, has been approved by the full board. Mr. Kushner, however, was opposed because he is an extremist. No extremist from any quarter is a good face for any University – from far left or far right.”

    Today’s rally was sponsored by such organizations as the Human Rights Coalition Against Radical Islam (HRCARI), the Zionist Organization of America, the Jewish Action Alliance, American For for a Safe Israel and the Republican Jewish Coalition.

    Introducing the speakers was Dr. Marvin Belsky, a retired internist and board member of HRCARI who said, “Tony Kushner and others of his ilk are just the tip of the iceberg. He represents the ongoing academic attacks against Israel and the rising anti-Semitism on college campuses. The fact that CUNY has seen fit to bequeath Kushner with an honoray degree is wedded to President Obama’s appeasement dictrine that calls for Israel to retreat to the 1967 boundaries, better known as “Auschwitz borders”. In essence, the President is promoting the ethnic cleansing of Jews from their homeland. Let’s not forget that there are 500,000 Jews living in the areas that he would like Israel to relinquish.”

    Extending plaudits to Mr. Wiesenfeld as a “courageous Jewish leader who faced a tsunami of hatred for speaking out against CUNY” was Rabbi David Algaze of the Chavurat Yisrael synagogue in Forest Hills. Condemning the CUNY board for reversing their decision regarding the honorary degree for Kushner because of “political pressure”, Rabbi Algaze said those professors who supported this decision have “blemished their own academic honesty”. Of Kushner he said, “He is not only following the Arab narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but is ignoring history and history will come back to haunt him.”

    “I am not afraid of Tony Kushner, but I am afaraid of Jews who don’rt realize what we’re facing”, declared radio talk show host and long-time Jewish activist, Barry Farber, who was the featured speaker at the rally.
    Also heaping accolades on Mr. Wiesenfeld for “speaking the truth in the face of hatred and death threats”, Mr. Farber said, “Hashem wants us to know who are enemies are.” He said that there are two kinds of Jews in the world; those who are “Jews of comfort” that lend their support for Israel and “Jews of combat” who espouse positions that are “anti-Judaism and anti-Zionist”.

    Addressing the existential dangers that the burgeoning growth of radical Islam represents to humanity, Arish Sahani, founder of the Indian American Intellectuals Forum said, “if we don’t unite for Israel today; if we don’t join Israel in his fight for survival, we will lose the battle with radical Islam and all of us will pay the price.”

    As a Hindu who was born in India Mr. Sahani spoke his his personal encounters with radical Islam. “When my family was pushed out of my ancestors land of 1000 plus years, now called Pakistan, do you know who came to kill my father? It was his own long time best friend who happened to be a Muslim.” Challenging Tony Kushner and those like him, Mr. Sahani intoned, “Who are supporting these radicals? The well educated, the famous and intelligent writers, performers and reporters. Don’t they know anything about Islamic history? They are paid to tell lies or they are afraid to tell the truth.”

    Unable to be there in person, Dr. Phyllis Chesler, an Arutz Sheva op-ed contributor said, “Western intellectuals and progressives refuse to understand that Islam has a long and tragic history of colonialism, imperialism, racism, slavery, intolerance and no tradition of dissent without torture and death. Having a Hindu speaker there who understands; whose people have been persecuted by Muslims for 800 years should serve as a warning sign for all those like Tony Kushner.”

    ———————————————-

    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.

    “Why Do We Have to Experience God’s Wrath?” by Jennifer Rast

    Friday, June 3rd, 2011

    For those of you who might be wondering why devastating earthquakes, tsunamis, Tornadoes, Hurricanes and other natural disasters will, and are, taking so many lives, and bringing with them tragic suffering, remember these things:

    First, we are entering what Jesus called the “birth pains” that will signal His return. The hope that Jesus return gives us will sustain us through these difficult times.

    Second, there is a reason for these events that will ultimately save millions for eternity. God tells us in His Word that these natural disasters, global financial upheaval, and other tragedies are His final attempt to wake people from their complacency and show them that they too have a need for a higher power. Those who choose not to think about what happens after death, might suddenly start thinking about it. In some cases those Sunday school lessons we learned when we were children make a little more sense, and decades later a person might open their Bible and find Christ in those pages before the chaos of the end-times takes his life while he’s unprepared. When were speaking in terms of eternity, I think you’ll agree that one soul means a lot. We should all be praying for a revival like this world has never seen.

    Our Lord and Savior wants all of us to go to heaven to live out eternity with Him, but he also gave us free will (would you really want to live life without that?). He’s also given us thousands of years of evidence for His existence, and many chances to find Him, spread the gospel, and bring as many to Christ as we can in our life time. Yet, God weeps at the vast numbers who have ignored His message of love and salvation, and chosen, instead, to follow doctrines of men, and worship creation rather than the Creator. It is for this reason that He is desperately trying to get our attention, before it’s too late to avoid an eternity of torment just because we stubbornly and pridefully refused the simple gift of life God offers to every one of us. All He asks of us is that we believe in Him and love Him with all our heart. If you think of it, He asks no more than we expect of our spouses and our children. Search the scriptures and I promise that you will find the clarity and hope you’re looking for.

    Read these Bible verses to gain further understanding of God’s purpose for our current tumultuous times and then keep reading, starting with the New Testament:

    Matthew 24:7; Luke 21:25-26; Revelation 6:12; 11:13; 16:18

    Original Link.

    Federal Judge Prohibits Prayer at Texas Graduation Ceremony

    Friday, June 3rd, 2011

    UPDATE 06-04-11:
    A court of appeals has slapped down this activist judge and reversed his decision.

    A federal appeals court has lifted the order banning public prayer at a Texas high school graduation Saturday.

    The reversal comes on the heels of increasing criticism of a federal judge’s earlier ruling that agreed with the parents of one graduating student that religious expression during the ceremony at Medina Valley Independent School District would cause “irreparable harm” to their son.

    The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals thought differently, reversing the judge’s ruling Friday and allowing students to say the word “amen” and invite the audience to pray during the ceremony.

    “This is a complete victory for religious freedom and for Angela,” said Kelly Shackelford, president/CEO of Liberty Institute, which had represented class valedictorian Angela Hildenbrand in the appeal. “We are thrilled that she will be able to give her prayer without censorship in her valedictorian speech tomorrow night. No citizen has the right to ask the government to bind and gag the free speech of another citizen.”

    Chief U.S. District Judge Fred Biery’s initial ban had been denounced as an “activist decision” by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who called it “exactly the wrong civics lesson to teach to the class of 2011.”

    Biery had ruled Thursday in favor of Christa and Danny Schultz, who sued to block such religious expressions at their son’s graduation. Among the words or phrases Biery had banned were: “join in prayer,” “bow their heads,” “amen,” and “prayer.”

    He also ordered the school district to remove the terms “invocation” and “benediction” from the graduation program, in favor of “opening remarks” and “closing remarks.”

    Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott responded by voicing support for the school district in its appeal.

    “Part of this goes to the very heart of the unraveling of moral values in this country,” Abbott told Fox News Radio, saying the judge wanted to turn school administrators into “speech police.”

    “I’ve never seen such a restriction on speech issued by a court or the government,” Abbott told Fox News Radio. “It seems like a trampling of the First Amendment rather than protecting the First Amendment.”

    Biery’s ruling infuriated religious activists, like the AGAPE Movement, a Christian group based in Wichita Falls, Texas, which had said Friday it would travel to the school in Castroville for a peaceful protest if the ban wasn’t reversed, according to the San Antonio-Express News.

    The family’s suit was being backed by the Washington-based Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

    Original Link.

    ORIGINAL POST:

    Every year, along with high school graduations, we get the typical court challenge to graduation prayers. This year is no different.

    A federal judge has ordered a Texas school district to prohibit public prayer at a high school graduation ceremony.

    Chief U.S. District Judge Fred Biery’s order against the Medina Valley Independent School District also forbids students from using specific religious words including “prayer” and “amen.”

    The ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed by Christa and Danny Schultz. Their son is among those scheduled to participate in Saturday’s graduation ceremony. The judge declared that the Schultz family and their son would “suffer irreparable harm” if anyone prayed at the ceremony.

    Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said the school district is in the process of appealing the ruling, and his office has agreed to file a brief in their support.

    “Part of this goes to the very heart of the unraveling of moral values in this country,” Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott told Fox News Radio, saying the judge wanted to turn school administrators into “speech police.”

    “I’ve never seen such a restriction on speech issued by a court or the government,” Abbott told Fox News Radio. “It seems like a trampling of the First Amendment rather than protecting the First Amendment.”

    Judge Biery’s ruling banned students and other speakers from using religious language in their speeches. Among the banned words or phrases are: “join in prayer,” “bow their heads,” “amen,” and “prayer.”

    He also ordered the school district to remove the terms “invocation” and “benediction” from the graduation program.

    “These terms shall be replaced with ‘opening remarks’ and ‘closing remarks,’” the judge’s order stated. His ruling also prohibits anyone from saying, “in [a deity’s name] we pray.”

    Should a student violate the order, school district officials could find themselves in legal trouble. Judge Biery ordered that his ruling be “enforced by incarceration or other sanctions for contempt of Court if not obeyed by District official (sic) and their agents.”

    The Texas attorney general called the ruling unconstitutional and a blatant attack from those who do not believe in God — “attempts by atheists and agnostics to use courts to eliminate from the public landscape any and all references to God whatsoever.”

    “This is the challenge we are dealing with here,” he said. “(It’s) an ongoing attempt to purge God from the public setting while at the same time demanding from the courts an increased yielding to all things atheist and agnostic.”

    Ayesa Khan, an attorney representing the student and his parents, told KABB-TV she was delighted in the judge’s decision.

    “It caused him a great deal of anxiety,” she said, referring to her teenage client. “He has gone to meet with the principal to try and talk in a civilized way about long-standing problems, and the school district has continued to thumb its nose.”

    The judge did grant students permission to make the sign of the cross, wear religious garb or kneel to face Mecca. But that’s not good enough for some students at the high school.

    “It’s just a big surprise that one kid can come in and change what’s been a tradition since Medina Valley started,” student Abigail Russell told KABB-TV.

    Fellow student Alicia Jade Geurin agreed.

    “At graduation, I would love to be able to speak from my heart,” she told the TV station. “But in this situation I feel my freedom of speech and my First Amendment is being infringed upon if I can’t say what I feel.”

    But the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, hailed the judge’s decision.

    “This is a high school graduation,” he told Fox News Radio. “It is not a church service.”

    Lynn was critical of the attorney general’s allegation that the ruling was an attempt to purge Christianity from the public square.

    “Any attorney general worth his salt would know that’s the issue and that this is not about promoting atheism,” he said. “That’s ludicrous.”

    Original Link.

    Mass. Towns Digging Out After Tornadoes Kill Four

    Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

    More killer tornadoes, this time in Massachusetts, a state that usually doesn’t have very many tornadoes. This year has been very bad about tornadoes hitting populated areas.
    Continue to pray for the people affected by the storms so far this season.

    SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) – Residents in tornado-damaged parts of western and central Massachusetts are being urged to stay off roads, schools are closed and state workers have the day off as officials assess damage and begin the daunting task of cleaning up.

    At least two late-afternoon tornadoes on Wednesday shocked the region more accustomed to dealing with snow than funnel clouds. Four people were killed and dozens injured.

    In the state’s third largest city, Springfield, up to 1,000 National Guardsmen are patrolling streets to discourage looting and a state of emergency has been called. Power is still out for tens of thousands.

    But Gov. Deval Patrick told ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday that he feels fortunate the death toll wasn’t higher, considering how quickly the tornadoes formed.

    THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

    The Rev. Bob Marrone was pained to see the steeple of his 137-year-old church shattered and strewn on the grass in the central Massachusetts town of Monson, yet he knows he’s more fortunate than some of his neighbors who lost their homes after tornadoes tore through the state, killing at least four people, damaging buildings, uprooting trees and shattering lives.

    “I can see the plywood of roofs, and see houses where most of the house is gone,” said Marrone, pastor of The First Church of Monson. “The road that runs up in front of my house … There’s so many trees down, it’s completely impassable.”

    Residents of 19 small communities in central and western Massachusetts were left to deal with widespread damage Thursday, one day after at least two late-afternoon tornadoes shocked emergency officials and residents more accustomed to dealing with snow and bone-chilling cold than funnel clouds spawned by spring storms.

    The state normally averages about two tornadoes per year, with the last lethal twister in 1995.

    “It was obviously an incredible surprise … we’d been monitoring the weather all day and by early afternoon nobody was overly concerned … but by late afternoon some storm clouds started to appear,” spawning tornadoes that battered several towns, said Peter Judge of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

    “Getting severe thunderstorms is not very unusual for a late afternoon at this time of the year, but damaging tornadoes in heavily populated areas are rare,” Judge said. “We may have a couple of very slight tornadoes during the course of the year. They end up being in the forest somewhere, but not in major populated areas.”

    Some experts were to fly over the region Thursday to assess damage from the nation’s latest burst of damaging weather, while others planned to review the situation from the ground to determine the number and strength of tornadoes that hit the region, National Weather Service meteorologist Benjamin Sipprell said.

    “We are definitely analyzing the damage, the structure of the damage, the path of the damage, the width of the damage, video taken by the local community—we are looking for indication on a structural and engineering basis to determine how fast the winds were,” Sipprell said.

    Original Link.