May 19, 2006

Re-Post: No fear: Overcoming Bible trauma by Bob Just

I've been a writer for many years, working on all kinds of projects from screenplays to corporate speeches to playwriting to academic essays to journalism and commentary. As a former English teacher, I've read all kinds of writing but never anything that comes even close to the Bible. In fact, as I will explain from a writer's perspective, the Bible is not possible. And yet, ironically, this amazing book is taken for granted.

Most Americans have at least one Bible in their home. Most don't read it, or don't read it very much. In all likelihood that means you, or someone you know. Strangely, polls have shown that a huge percentage of Americans believe the Bible is the word of God but don't have time to read it. No kidding. Either we must think God has nothing to say to us, or something else is going on.

First off, be assured I am not going to ask you to become a Bible scholar. I am not going to ask you to take umpteen Bible study classes, or memorize chapter and verse. All of those are good things – but they're not for everyone. Most of us need a simpler approach.

The Bible is about relationship. It's about you (with all your discouraging flaws) – and about God (who seeks to encourage you). We should go to the Bible as we go to an old friend, or to a loving parent. But that's not reality for most people.

Let's face it: That "big thick book" intimidates us. We act like it's a school book and we're going to be tested on everything we read – as if being "saved" meant being a "scholar." Our fear of fears is that if we don't understand the Bible, then there's something deeply, spiritually wrong with us – maybe even that God doesn't love us, but saves His love for the learned. Yet, the opposite is true. Jesus thanks His Father for making the Faith for regular people.

Ironically, considering all our fears, this ancient spiritual manuscript called the Bible is not some high-toned, intellectual textbook, but rather a storybook full of very human adventures, full of heroes as well as people who continually make a mess of things – and often the two together! It's actually fun to read once you get past your Bible trauma. Here's the key:

Don't worry if the Bible is hard to understand. What you need for now will be there for you and will be understandable. Don't expect some big revelation though. It may be only some small insight or oddly interesting bit of history. But on some level, it will feed your desire to relate to God. After all, it is His-story. Eventually, you'll want to know more. So let me repeat this essential point: Don't worry about what you don't understand. If you read 10 verses and understand only one – you win! A little goes a long, long way.

Ultimately, the Bible is amazing because truth is amazing. The Bible is not only adventurous; it's also touching, meaningful, instructive, ironic, sarcastic, humorous, gentle and stern – and ultimately both spiritual and human at the same time. It is also strangely modern despite its ancient text.

The Bible has been called God's love letter to us, and yet, the majority of Americans don't read it. If this is true for you, consider the following. The Bible could become something entirely different for you – something that can change your life in the most wonderful ways.

The impossible Bible

The main thing you really need to know is that the Bible is a "living thing" with an ability to relate to you personally – on the basis of your current needs. Simply put, the Bible is a miracle. I am not exaggerating. Let me prove it to you.

The first question a professional writer asks when given an assignment is, "Who am I talking to?" It is the key to getting started. In fact, you can't get started if you do not know the answer to that one simple question. Unless you know who your reader is going to be you can hardly know how to approach your assignment.

If an editor tells me to write an article about love, that's clear enough as far as the general subject, but the assignment changes completely depending on the reader. If I know I am writing to teenagers or if I am writing to middle aged married couples, my writing style changes – and so does my content. The less you know who your audience is, the more difficult the assignment. You can't even be sure how to choose your words properly. Are you writing to highly educated people or are you writing to someone with an eighth-grade education? Or how about the references you make in writing? Are you writing to city or country folk? Sound difficult? Believe me, it is. Well, let's make it harder.

Now imagine this editor tells you he wants you to write about love in a way that works not only for Americans but works even when translated for people of other countries. You're thinking Europe with its Judeo-Christian roots, but your editor is more ambitious. He wants your article to work in all foreign lands, wherever he can sell it. Consider the difficulty of this: Asian cultures, African cultures, Islamic cultures, Buddhist cultures, Hindu cultures – and regional cultures within those cultures must also be considered. You must write for them all – and write effectively!

Impossible you say?

Fine, but your editor is not moved by your objections. He has other demands. Not only should everyone in today's world understand your book (he's decided it should be a book), he also wants you to write something that will be relevant a hundred years from now. In fact, he really wants something timeless, but even he knows that's impossible. Can you even imagine what American culture will be like in 100 years? How about 1,000 years from now? Now imagine writing for people living many thousands of years from now, and it will give you a little idea of why I tell people that from a writer's perspective the Bible can't be written in any normal human way. Nor can it be read "normally."

It is truly a miraculous document.

Consider that the Bible was written for all people, of all backgrounds, of all education levels. It was written for all races, colors, creeds and cultures. It was written for people thousands of years ago and for people who will live many years into the future.

But even more!

It is also written for you as you are now, as you were when you were a teenager, and as you'll be when you are old. It's written for all the personalities of all the billions of people in all of existence. God wouldn't leave anyone out, would he?

The Bible is amazing, and all the more so because it was written over the course of about 1,500 years – by many different people. This is not the work of a single human being with a single personality and vision. The Bible has at least 40 different authors, from all different backgrounds and walks of life – and they write in three different languages. There are almost 40 books in the Old Testament and almost 30 in the New Testament. And yet, the result is a singular Holy book, tried and true, tested by millions of readers over thousands of years. This is a book capable of befriending anyone at anytime with just the right wisdom for our needs. As I said, the Bible isn't possible.

The Bible is written to reach you when you are happy and when you are sad. When life is good and full, and when it's empty and unbearable. So how should you read the Bible? Go to it as old friend, one who loves you and is patient with your progress.

So don't worry about what you don't understand. Read it for what you do understand, and in joyful expectation that more will come in good time – when you need it. If you need it! This is not just a book. This is a Holy Book, a miracle God created for you – capable of covering all your needs in good time.

It is a living document because the God who guides you is a Living God. His Holy Spirit is always with you, if you will only listen. And the Spirit that guides you in reading the Bible is the same Spirit that guided the men who wrote it. No wonder the Bible can speak to us on our terms and in anticipation of our needs.

Hard to believe? Yes, of course! All miracles are hard to believe, even when they happen to you – as this one will. That's right. The Bible was written for you, to reach you, to revive you, to nourish you and to inspire you to seek its Author. It asks only one thing of you. Treat it as you would a loving parent and not as a homework assignment. Remember, those scholars who sent Jesus to His death knew the Bible cold. The secret isn't knowledge. The secret is love.

It's about process not results. Leave the results to God. Just make sure you read the Bible – read little parts, or big parts – read a sentence here, a paragraph there. Just open the Bible and let the adventure begin. Yes, many of us find the Bible intimidating. But that's not God's fault. It's our fault.

The "Good Book" is a handbook on truth. It is a living document, a spiritual thing, meant to minister to your needs over a whole lifetime, no matter who you are – or where you live – or what language you speak. We can all speak the language of truth. God helps us to know it's His Book by writing it in such an impossible way. Start by believing He wrote it for you – as a matter of faith. Stop thinking that God is a boring, uncaring teacher! In your heart you know that's not true.

So get that book on your shelf right now. Don't think about it. Just do it. Start reading anywhere you like. And do it again tomorrow. Don't give up. You might start with something toward the end of the book. The New Testament is a little easier to grab on to – but decide right now that it won't matter to you if you don't understand what you read. Let what you do understand come as a complete surprise – part of the continual fun of picking up that ancient book and seeking the treasures within.

Do this on a regular basis, and your life will never be the same. And remember, there are thousands and thousands of churches – and neighbors and friends who will be glad to give you any help you want. In the end, that's the real lesson.

You are not alone. You are loved. The Bible is proof of that.


Bob Just is a WorldNetDaily columnist, editor-at-large of Whistleblower magazine, a veteran national radio talk-show host and founder and president of the Oregon-based "Concerned Fathers Against Crime" and "Concerned Mothers Alliance for Children." His television appearances include "Hannity & Colmes," "Politically Incorrect" and "Fox & Friends," he speaks publicly on various topics and can be reached through his website, BobJust.com.

Original Article

Posted by steve at 08:58 AM | Comments (0)

Senate Panel Approves Federal Marriage Amendment

Are the Republicans finally waking up to the fact that they are the majority?

(CNSNews.com) - The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The 10-8 vote, along party lines, followed a showdown between committee Chairman Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.).
Feingold refused to take part in the session and even walked out after complaining that the public did not have enough access. "If you want to leave, good riddance," Specter told Feingold. "I've enjoyed your lecture too. See you later, Mr. Chairman," Feingold replied before leaving, according to Reuters.
The amendment now goes to the full Senate, where a vote is expected June 5, to the delight of conservatives, who have been pushing for a traditional definition of marriage - one man and one woman - to be constitutionally mandated.
"This Amendment will permit the American people an opportunity to rein in activist judges who have stripped the right of voters to protect marriage," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, in a statement. He thanked Specter for scheduling a vote on the amendment.
"The threat to traditional marriage is alive and well. Just this week, a Georgia state court declared void the voice of Georgia voters. Let us also remember the decision by a federal judge declaring unconstitutional Nebraska's popularly supported state amendment preserving marriage as being between one man and one woman," Perkins said.
The fact that the amendment was passed by a party line vote "illustrates a stark contrast between those who would allow an activist judiciary to redefine the institution of marriage and those committed to a representative form of government that relies upon the people to determine the great social questions of our day," he said.
"I call upon the U.S. Senate to approve the Marriage Protection Amendment. As the states move to ratify the marriage amendment, only then will the voice of the American public be heard and preserved," Perkins concluded. Constitutional amendments require a two-thirds approval in the U.S. House and Senate, plus ratification by three quarters of the nation's state legislatures.

Opponents of the marriage amendment view it as discrimination.
As Cybercast News Service previously reported, the group Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) has launched a postcard campaign urging senators to vote no on the Federal Marriage Amendment. PFLAG characterizes it as "the first step in writing discrimination" into the U.S. Constitution "by denying marriage equality to same-sex individuals."
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the Judiciary Committee's top Democrat, said the amendment is a waste of time for the committee, which he said should be focused on more urgent matters. He mentioned the president's judicial nominations or the National Security Agency's wiretapping program as examples, Reuters reported.
"I didn't realize marriages were so threatened. Nor did my wife of 44 years," Reuters quoted Leahy as saying.

Original Article

Posted by steve at 08:23 AM | Comments (0)

Senate Approves English As 'National' Language

I'm wondering if this is a repercussion from the recent illegal immigrant protest.

(CNSNews.com) - An amendment to the Senate immigration bill would make English the "national language of the United States." The Senate voted 63-34 to adopt the amendment, which was offered by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.)
The measure declares that there is no affirmative right to receive services in languages other than English, except where required by federal law. In other words, the amendment is mostly symbolic -- it will not change the way the government prints documents or conducts business.
Also on Thursday -- confusing the issue -- the Senate also voted 58-39 in favor of a second, weaker amendment, offered by Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.). The Salazar amendment declared English to be "the common and unifying language of the United States."
Inhofe's strong amendment is getting the most attention, however.
Critics, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, called the Inhofe amendment racist, regardless of its intent. Sen. John McCain worried about making English the "official" language. "It gives the idea that any other language is excluded," he said.
But advocacy groups such as U.S. English and English First hailed passage of the Inhofe amendment.
"Today's vote heeded the voices of the vast majority of Americans who believe that English is a crucial part of being an American," said Mauro Mujica, chairman of the board of U.S. English.
He said Thursday's "historic" vote making English the national language corrects a longstanding oversight.
U.S. English points to a 2005 Zogby International poll showing that 79 percent of Americans support making English the official language of the United States, including more than two-thirds of Democrats and four-fifths of first- and second-generation Americans.
Even President Bush has embraced the importance of immigrants learning to speak English. In his address to the nation Monday night, President Bush said, "The success of our country depends upon helping newcomers assimilate into our society and embrace our common identity as Americans."
Bush called the English language "the key to unlocking the opportunity of America."
"The debate on the Senate floor today contained many different viewpoints, but the senators were unanimous in their belief that English is the unifying factor and the key to opportunity in the United States," said Mujica.
He said a diverse country must focus on thing that bring it together: "Without a common language, we are not a nation of immigrants, but instead groups of immigrants living in a nation."
U.S. English, founded in 1983 by the late Sen. S.I. Hayakawa of California, describes itself as the nation's oldest and largest non- partisan citizens' action group dedicated to preserving the unifying role of the English language in the United States.

'Weathervane senators'
Another advocacy group, English First, called the Inhofe amendment "the only serious approach to the language issue."
English First criticized the 25 U.S. senators who voted for Inhofe's amendment - then immediately undercut their votes by also approving Salazar's amendment.
"These weathervanes may thing they have fooled their constituents back home by voting both for and against the Inhofe amendment. We'll see," said Jim Boulet Jr., Executive Director of English First.
Republicans accused of undermining the Inhofe amendment include Brownback (Kan.), Chafee (R.I.), Coleman (Minn.), DeWine (Ohio), Graham (S.C.), Hagel (Neb.), McCain (Ariz.), Murkowski (Alaska), Snowe (Maine), Specter (Penn.), Voinovich (Ohio), and Warner (Va.).
Legislation pending in the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 997) also would make English the official language; that bill now has about 150 co-sponsors.
More than half of the states have passed laws making English the official language. The American Civil Liberties Union has successfully challenged some of those laws on the grounds that they unconstitutionally deny non-English speakers "fair and equal access to their government ."
Official language laws make non-English speakers second-class citizens, the ACLU has argued.

Original Link

Posted by steve at 08:19 AM | Comments (0)

Christian Fraternity's Suit Moves UNC to Revise Nondiscrimination Policy

The anti-Christian bias found in the education system these days is remarkable!!

(AgapePress) - A Christian legal alliance says a federal lawsuit has prompted the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill to drop its ban on a religious fraternity. UNC officials have reversed course after initially denying recognition to Alpha Iota Omega because the fraternal organization required that its members be Christians.
The university originally refused to recognize Alpha Iota Omega because the administration said the Christian fraternity's religious requirement violated UNC's nondiscrimination policy. But after the student group filed a lawsuit against the university, UNC revised its policy to allow political and religious groups to exclude members on the basis of beliefs.
David French is an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, the legal group that represented Alpha Iota Omega in court. He says religious student organizations obviously should have the right to make faith-based decisions, just as other groups make decisions based on their beliefs and values or philosophies.
"What the university is doing," French says, "is like saying to the College Democrats, 'You can't discriminate on the basis of political beliefs,' or saying to an environmentalist group, 'You can't discriminate on the basis of feelings about the environment.' It's just absurd."
But the university persisted in its unreasonable stance, the attorney contends, in part because the University of North Carolina has an extensive record of trying to eject Christian groups from campus. "This is a school with a long history of violating the rights of students and a long history of trying to single out and target Christians," he says.
A judge recently tossed out Alpha Iota Omega's lawsuit, declaring there was no need to proceed since the fraternity has been reinstated and the school had already changed its nondiscrimination policy. However, French feels UNC needs to be continually monitored, despite its apparent compliance with the fraternity's wishes.
"We're going to be watching North Carolina very closely to make sure that they're respecting the rights of their students," the ADF-affiliated lawyer notes. The school officials are respecting the rights of Alpha Iota Omega right now, he adds, "but if that changes at all we will once again, I'm sure, head back into court against UNC Chapel Hill."
French says ADF is pleased that the Christian fraternity's lawsuit has caused UNC-Chapel Hill to revise its policy and change its treatment of religious student organizations on campus. The new anti-discrimination policy is "far from perfect," the attorney admits; however, he says its interpretation by the university is "a vast improvement" over the previous policy that denied religious student groups their constitutional rights.

Original Article

Posted by steve at 08:10 AM | Comments (0)

Pro-Family Critics Blast Overturn of Georgia Marriage Amendment

More nonsense from activist judges.

(AgapePress) - Pro-family and conservative leaders are criticizing a state trial court judge's decision to throw out an amendment to the Constitution of Georgia defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Nevertheless, many traditional supporters believe that, despite the court's ruling, traditional marriage in Georgia will ultimately be protected.
Attorneys with the pro-family legal group Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) say Judge Constance Russell, the trial court judge who declared the Georgia's "Amendment One" unconstitutional, misused a technicality known as the "single subject rule" that says amendments may not deal with multiple issues and must address one subject only. However, ADF senior legal counsel Mike Johnson believes the judge's contravention of the will of Georgia's voters, who approved the marriage amendment in November 2004, cannot stand for long.
"Georgia's Amendment One has one purpose: to protect marriage from attack," Johnson asserts. "The 76 percent of voters in Georgia who voted 'yes' to the single subject of protecting marriage from all contemporary threats deserve to have their vote respected and not dismissed by radical judges," he says.
The ADF spokesman points out that a situation similar to this judicial reversal in Georgia happened in another state not long ago, when a district court struck down the Louisiana Defense of Marriage Amendment on the same grounds as were used to strike down the Georgia amendment. In both cases, he notes, the trial judges ruled that the amendments were invalid because they addressed two topics -- marriage and civil unions.
Johnson helped defend Louisiana's marriage amendment from that attack. In the case known as Forum for Equality PAC v. McKeithen, the Louisiana Supreme Court unanimously overturned the state district court judge's decision and reinstated the marriage amendment, and the ADF senior counsel is convinced that a similar scenario will eventually play out in Georgia.
"This ruling will be appealed," the pro-family litigator contends, "and the Georgia Supreme Court will understand, just as Louisiana's high court did, that the sole objective of these amendments is to protect marriage and that the language of the amendment is crucial in achieving that single goal."
The state trial court judge who threw out Georgia's Amendment One may try to claim that civil unions and same-sex "marriage" are different subjects, Johnson adds; "but the people of Georgia," he insists, "know better. They understand that protecting marriage means protecting it from all imitations."

Bauer: State Controversy Proves Federal Amendment Needed
Conservative activist Gary Bauer of the group American Values agrees that Russell's ruling was a seriously flawed piece of jurisprudence. But while the judge's conclusion was based on "a contorted view" of Georgia's single subject law, Bauer observes, the state's political leaders appear to be united in their defense of traditional marriage.
The American Values spokesman notes that even the Democratic Attorney General of Georgia, Thurbert Baker, is calling the trial court judge's ruling "wrongfully decided." Meanwhile, the state's Republican governor, Sonny Perdue, has vowed to appeal the decision. He says he will call a special session of the state legislature to consider putting another marriage amendment on this year's ballot if the Georgia Supreme Court does rule on the issue by August 7.
Judge Russell's action striking down the Georgia marriage amendment is "just one more example," Bauer asserts, "of why we desperately need a federal marriage protection amendment." The United States Constitution is the "supreme law of the land," he contends, "and our public servants in Congress should act now by sending a federal marriage amendment to the states for ratification so the people, not unelected judges, can decide the meaning of marriage in America."
The Senate Judiciary Committee took a meaningful first step today (May 18) toward that end when it voted to approve a constitutional amendment that would outlaw homosexual "marriage." The vote fell along party lines, with ten Republicans voting in favor of protecting traditional marriage and eight Democrats voting against the measure. The approval clears the way for the full Senate to vote on the matter, which is expected the week of June 5.

Alabama Christians Urge Support for State Marriage Amendment
In the meantime, the battle over marriage continues in other areas around the nation. Even now, the Christian Coalition of Alabama is encouraging pro-family voters across that state to turn out in strong numbers next month for a vote on a state marriage amendment.
Senate Bill 109, also known as the Sanctity of Marriage Act, would preserve the definition of traditional marriage as being only between one man and one woman through a constitutional amendment. State law already prohibits same-sex marriage in Alabama, but many conservatives feel the amendment is needed to prevent activist courts from striking state marriage law.
John Giles, president of the Christian Coalition of Alabama, says a big turnout would help the cause tremendously. "When pro-family groups go to lobby the legislature for and against legislation," he notes, "it pretty well lets legislators know who's back home."
By coming out en masse to support biblical marriage, church members can demonstrate to lawmakers just what a "good Christian, conservative audience we have that are part of the voting electorate," Giles points out. With sheer numbers believers can show that they want marriage protected, he says, "and it certainly helps our job in passing good legislation and stopping bad legislation."
The Christian Coalition of Alabama spokesman notes that with courts all across the U.S. issuing conflicting decisions about the definition of marriage, it is important for a state to have its own laws clearly established. When states like Alabama and Mississippi enshrine the definition of traditional marriage in a constitution as being between one man and one woman, those states can more easily refuse to recognize unions from other jurisdictions that do not fit the traditional definition of marriage.
Also, Giles adds, having marriage protected in a state constitution "makes it stronger in the court cases as well." He says Alabama's marriage amendment vote takes place June 6, and pro-family supporters are praying that the proposal will get at least 85 percent of the vote.

Original Article

Posted by steve at 08:03 AM | Comments (0)

Christian Attorney Predicts Attempt to Block Graduation Prayer Will Succeed

Every year we have to go through this. It's funny that those who demand tolerance are the most intolerant of all. Maybe if the student doesn't want to sit through a prayer, then he/she need to leave. Even with the injunction, the school, court and everyone else is powerless to deny a speaker the right to say what they want. So if a speaker just decided to pray as part of their speech, but didn't ask anyone to join, there is absolutely nothing anyone can do about it.

(AgapePress) - A constitutional attorney fears the American Civil Liberties Union may succeed in it attempt to get prayer banned at a high school graduation in Kentucky on Friday.
The ACLU has filed a federal lawsuit to stop officials at Russell County High School from saying a prayer during tomorrow's graduation ceremony. The organization filed the suit on behalf of an unidentified student who, according to an ACLU attorney, "doesn't feel he should be forced to sit through prayer." According to an Associated Press report, the principal of the school refused to guarantee that nobody would pray at Friday's ceremony.
Steve Crampton is chief counsel for the American Family Association's Center for Law & Policy (CLP). He says it is unfortunate that the ACLU often has the upper hand in such cases.
"Of course the Constitution doesn't say anything about offering up a 30-second prayer at a high school graduation," says the constitutional attorney, "but we have this history of crazy court decisions that have kind of created an illusory wall separating students and folks who are voluntarily attending these events from any kind of recognition or acknowledgement of God. It's really just an absurd state of affairs."
Those court decisions, he says, have erected a "horrific double-standard" in the law by frequently protecting a single atheist who objects to school prayer. He explains that observation.
"Put the shoe on the other foot for a minute," says Crampton. "Consider what deeply religious Christian students are forced to endure in the classroom setting itself: countless hours, in most cases, of pro-homosexual propaganda; graphic teachings on sex; untold numbers of anti-Christian diatribes -- all offered in the name of tolerance or educational necessity.
"Very rarely are [those students] given an opportunity to opt out," he notes.
The AFA attorney says although the overwhelming majority of Russell County residents support prayer at graduation, he believes Judge Joseph McKinley is likely to grant the ACLU a preliminary injunction to stop the prayer.

Original Article

Posted by steve at 07:55 AM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2006

'Da Vinci Code' Actor: Bible Should Have 'Fiction' Disclaimer

Whew-eee!! Did this guy step in it or what? He is going to get seriously blasted from a lot of people about this comment.

If "The Da Vinci Code" was already feeding the flames of controversy with its challenge to the basic tenets of Christianity, actor Ian McKellen managed to pour a refinery tank's worth of gasoline on the fire on this morning's 'Today' show, asserting that the Bible should carry a disclaimer saying that it is "fiction." Video: Windows Media or Real Player, Plus audio MP3
Matt Lauer, in his second day "On The Road With The Code," was in Cannes for the film festival, where the Code will have its debut. It has already been screened to some critics, who have given it decidedly mixed reviews.
As I reported here, NBC reporter Melissa Stark yesterday dipped a timid toe in the sea of controversy when she interviewed Code director Ron Howard, asking how he reacted to the controversy the movie has created . . . for the Church! Sounding more like a sensitivity trainer than a Hollywood director, Howard offered up some ambiguous prose about it being healthy thing for people to engage their beliefs.
Lauer took the bull of controversy more directly by the horns when he interviewed the cast and director Howard today. Said Lauer:
"There have been calls from some religious groups, they wanted a disclaimer at the beginning of this movie saying it is fiction because one of the themes in the book really knocks Christianity right on its ear, if Christ survived the crucifixion, he did not die for our sins and therefore was not resurrected. What I'm saying is, people wanted this to say 'fiction, fiction, fiction'. How would you all have felt if there was a disclaimer at the beginning of the movie? Would it have been okay with you?"
There was a pause, and then famed British actor Ian McKellen [Gandalf of Lord of the Rings], piped up:
"Well, I've often thought the Bible should have a disclaimer in the front saying this is fiction. I mean, walking on water, it takes an act of faith. And I have faith in this movie. Not that it's true, not that it's factual, but that it's a jolly good story. And I think audiences are clever enough and bright enough to separate out fact and fiction, and discuss the thing after they've seen it."
With the camera focused on McKellen, one could hear a distinctly nervous laugh in the background, seeming to come from either actor Tom Hanks or director Howard. McKellen's stunning bit of blasphemy is likely to test the adage that all publicity is good publicity.

Update: MRC's Brent Baker has noted that ABC's World News Tonight has picked up on the story.
Jake Tapper: "Today at the Cannes film festival in France, the creators of the film tried to quell the controversy."
Tom Hanks: "This is not a documentary. This is not something that is pulled up and says, 'these are the facts. And this is exactly what happened.'"
Tapper: "Though one actor's comment seems likely to only inflame matters."
Ian McKellan on NBC's Today: "Well, I'd often thought the Bible should have a disclaimer at the front saying, 'this is fiction.'"
Finkelstein, recently a guest on the Lars Larson Show, lives in the liberal haven of Ithaca, NY, where he hosts the award-winning public-access TV show 'Right Angle'. Contact him at mark@gunhill.net

Original Post

Posted by steve at 09:46 AM | Comments (0)

GOP Could Lose Congress, White House on Immigration

It does appear that this is the issue that will decide if the Republicans stay in power or not. Maybe they'll get the message in time. Maybe not...

(CNSNews.com) - Many Republicans and some media outlets are praising the immigration proposals outlined by President Bush. But some conservative leaders warned Tuesday that the administration's insistence on a so-called "guest worker" program for illegal aliens could cost the GOP control of Congress later this year and that the alleged arrogance behind the proposal could put a Democrat in the White House in 2008.
President Bush's plan, explained in a nationally televised speech Monday night, included a "guest worker" program for illegal aliens and the use of National Guard troops along the border until more Border Patrol agents can be trained and deployed.

Many Republican leaders complimented the president.
"He understands the issue possibly better than just about anyone given his experience as governor of Texas," Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-N.Y.) told the New York Sun.
"The President's plan is a serious and important first step in rebuilding the confidence of the American people that we can secure our border," Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) told The [Tennessee] Chattanoogan.
But Richard Viguerie -- the chairman of ConservativeHQ.com, who is credited with creating the political direct mail industry that helps fund the conservative movement -- told Cybercast News Service what the president calls a "guest worker" program is just amnesty for illegal aliens, and that "conservatives feel that they have been insulted by the president.
"He may get his way, but he won't get it this year. He may get it next year because the conservatives will be so angry at the Republican leadership - starting with the president, but the congressional Republicans also - that I'd be surprised if many, many don't stay home, turning the congress over to the Democrats," Viguerie cautioned.
"And, of course, the Democrats, next year, would give the president what he wants because then they'll be able to govern America for the rest of the 21st Century [with the support of former illegal aliens who had become newly-legalized voters]."
In his "End of Day" daily email newsletter to supporters, former Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer, who now heads the "American Values" conservative advocacy group, summarized the reaction of his constituents to Bush's proposal.
"I understand the overnight 'snapshot' polling data on the president's proposal was pretty good, but I cannot say the same for the reaction of conservatives," Bauer wrote. "Your messages to me were overwhelmingly negative, suggesting you view this plan as little more than a 'dressed up amnesty' bill."
Steve Elliott, president of Grassfire.org, an online network of grassroots conservatives with more than one million participants, also believes support for the Bush proposal could cost Republicans in the short and long term.
"If the Senate chooses to resist the voice of the citizens of this country and pass an amnesty bill, there will be repercussions that I think will extend to November and beyond," Elliott predicted.
Viguerie rejected the notion that Democrats, if they regained control of Congress, could do more damage to the conservative agenda than a less-than-supportive president.
"We can't go through life living as if the 'boogey man' is going to get us, which is what the big-government, left-of-center Republicans are always saying," Viguerie said. "We're just sick of that, and I'm just tired of that, being treated like a child ... I've been hearing that all my life."
As for conservatives' ultimate 'boogey man' in the coming presidential election, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), Viguerie rejects that threat, as well.
"We won't have lost this country if Hillary becomes president," Viguerie concluded. "It will be those who have betrayed and lied to their supporters. They will bear the responsibility, not those who were true to their principles."

Bush 'A.W.O.L.' on conservative agenda
President Bush continues to insist that his "guest worker" proposal does not offer amnesty to illegal aliens.
"[W]e must face the reality that millions of illegal immigrants are here already," the president said. "They should not be given an automatic path to citizenship. This is amnesty, and I oppose it."
Elliott accused Bush of exhibiting a trait more commonly associated with former President Bill Clinton.
"They're playing with the language," Elliott said, recalling President Clinton's famous quote debating the meaning of the word "is."
"Amnesty is any program that grants legal status to people who are here illegally, whether that's citizenship or a guest worker program, that's amnesty," Elliott insisted. "That's what the American people call amnesty and the American people oppose amnesty."
Viguerie believes President Bush's words and actions on the immigration issue are symptomatic of a larger problem in the administration.
From a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, to limiting the power of the federal government over religious institutions, to overturning the Supreme Court's Roe versus Wade decision legalizing abortion at all stages of pregnancy, Viguerie feels Bush has abandoned the conservative agenda.
"Where is he? He's A.W.O.L. in this," Viguerie said. "Where are the evangelicals in this administration? Where are the religious right types?
"This president has surrounded himself with long-term, friendly, big-business types," Viguerie continued. "I just don't think he's done anything except what his father did, which was give us lip service."
Conservatives, Viguerie argued, must shift their focus from changing the minds of Republican leaders to replacing them with individuals who share, and will fight for conservative ideals.
"It's just time that conservatives focus on building the conservative movement and taking over the Republican Party from those who have hijacked it," Viguerie said. "We've done it before and we can do it again."

Original Link

Posted by steve at 09:32 AM | Comments (0)

Prolifers Galvanized by 'Right to Abortion' Move

"The Right to Have an Abortion". I can't speak for the international community, mostly because I spend most of my time disagreeing with them, but domestically, the document governing how things work in the U.S. is the United States Constitution.
Now internet search tools and PDF searchable documents are wonderful things. I have used both of these tools to search the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights for the word "abortion". I must be doing something wrong, because the search always comes back with "...not found".
Or maybe, just maybe, the word "abortion" doesn't appear in these documents? Doesn't that kind of shed some doubt on the theory that a person "has a right to an abortion"?

(CNSNews.com) - A major human rights organization's decision to consider dropping its neutral stance on abortion -- and to promote a "right" to abortion instead -- is making waves around the world.
Campaigners are urging prolifers who support the organization to make their views known.
Amnesty International's existing policy on "sexual and reproductive rights" is that it "takes no position on whether or not women have a right to choose to terminate unwanted pregnancies; there is no generally accepted right to abortion in international human rights law."
At an international council meeting in Mexico next year, Amnesty International will decide whether to abandon neutrality, declare abortion an international human right, and consequently start advocating for it.
Between now and then, national branches are consulting with members and discussing the proposal. Britain and New Zealand have both already decided to support it.
In Britain, a recent annual meeting of Amnesty International passed a motion supporting the decriminalization of abortion. "The full realization of human rights should be understood to mean that a woman's right to physical and mental integrity includes a right to (a) information on the risks of abortion (b) legal safe and accessible abortion should she choose to have an abortion," it said.
AI members at that same meeting also voted down two alternative motions -- one saying that the branch "should take no position on the issue of abortion," and the other saying "the AGM decides to maintain its current neutral policy on abortion ... in order to continue supporting the fundamental principal of the right to life of every human person."
The British and Irish prolife group Precious Life accused the branch of hypocrisy, saying it had "turned its back on human rights, the very thing they have campaigned to protect for over forty years."
"Abortion can never be described as a 'right,' " the group said in a statement. "Abortion is a needless act of violence that kills babies and hurts women."
Precious Life is urging AI members to leave unless the group starts campaigning to protect the right to life of unborn children.
Another U.K. campaign group, United for Life, said it had written several letters to AI leading up to the AGM.
Among other points, United for Life's Chris Mason noted that AI was opposed to capital punishment. Yet, he said, in an abortion the unborn are also sentenced to "the death penalty simply because they exist or because they are disabled."
In New Zealand, Right to Life spokesman Ken Orr responded to his country's branch decision by saying it would be a tragedy if Amnesty at an international level adopted abortion as a "human right."
He noted that the group claimed to support the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states "the child ... needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth."
In New York, Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family Human Rights Institute argued this week that AI promoting abortion as an international human right "would be a disaster for the unborn."
"This kind of change will put the lives of unborn children into the hands of one of the most powerful groups in the world," he said. "They can throw the weight of the international legal community against the unborn.
"They will bring suits in the national courts and international courts. They will bring small countries before the United Nations and begin shaming campaigns in the New York Times, the London Times and elsewhere."
Christians in Canada, where the AI branch will hold its AGM next weekend, are also unhappy about the move.
Roman Catholic Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary told the Canadian prolife site LifeSiteNews.com that the proposal for AI to start advocating for abortion was "an ill-conceived and gross betrayal of their mission to campaign for human rights."
Henry said he personally planned to end financial contributions to AI.
The site also quoted an Evangelical Fellowship of Canada representative as saying the move could have an impact on evangelicals' support for AI.
In India, Archbishop Oswald Gracias of the Conference of Catholic Bishops said the "much respected" AI had long been "known for protecting human rights of all, more particularly of weaker sections of the society."
If it made the proposed change, he said, "it would mean that Amnesty International is bidding good-bye to human rights."

Original Link

Posted by steve at 09:21 AM | Comments (0)

Immigration, Legal Groups Rebuff Mexican Lawsuit Threat

Oh look everyone...the ACLU is ready to sue us (the U.S.) to help Mexico. This is getting out of hand when a country can't even protect it's own borders. Other countries don't have this problem. Want to know why? They have closed borders and people get arrested, do jail time and then get deported if they enter illegally. C'mom Mr. Bush and the congress...how hard is this issue to understand?

(CNSNews.com) - The Mexican government is threatening to sue the U.S. government in response to President Bush's pledge to deploy National Guard troops along the U.S. border, according to an online opinion column.
An immigration reform group responded Wednesday, saying that Mexico should stay out of U.S. domestic policy; and a legal advocacy group said the Mexican government was more likely to secretly fund lawsuits by individual illegal aliens than to challenge the U.S. directly.
Jim Kouri, a security expert and staff writer for TheRealityCheck.org, warned in a column that the Bush administration could face a federal lawsuit over its plan to use National Guard troops to supplement Border Patrol agents.
"A representative from Mexican President Vicente Fox claims that if the U.S. National Guard troops detain illegal aliens crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, the Fox government will file a lawsuit against the Bush Administration in U.S. federal court," Kouri wrote. "There are some political observers who believe that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is preparing to assist the Mexican government in such a lawsuit."
Ira Mehlman, media director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), told Cybercast News Service that the Mexican government should mind its own business.
"The United States needs to make it clear to Mexico and to every foreign government, that our immigration policy is a domestic matter and that we're not going to tolerate interference by foreign governments," Mehlman said. "No country has the right to dictate or make demands when it comes to the domestic policies of the United States, just as we have no right to dictate their policies."
Tom Fitton, president of the public advocacy law firm Judicial Watch, said it is one thing to threaten a lawsuit and quite another to actually pursue one in court.
"We all say we want to sue. The question is: 'Can they? And, is there standing?'" Fitton said. "It would be, more likely, a diplomatic issue at that level."

Mehlman agreed.
"I would doubt that [Mexico] has legal standing, but you never know what kind of creative decisions the courts can come up with or what the ACLU might try," Mehlman said. "There's no historical or legal basis for standing when it comes to foreign governments suing the United States over its immigration policies. I'm not even sure that it's a case that could be taken before the World Court, much less a court here in the United States."
Fitton believes that "it's highly unlikely that the government of Mexico would sue directly over the deployment of the National Guard.
"It's more likely that Mexican nationals would receive legal support, paid for by the Mexican government, if they challenged their detention by the National Guard, or any other new border enforcement that Mexico wants to challenge," Fitton explained.
"The way Mexican government works is, they fund legal representation for the illegal immigrant community on some of these matters and that's the likely vehicle for any challenges, if there are any here."
This is not the first time, according to FAIR, that a Mexican official has reportedly threatened a lawsuit against the U.S. government or one of its citizens.
"Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez has threatened the U.S. government and individual U.S. citizens with various lawsuits," FAIR reported. "When Arizona citizens approved Proposition 200 in November 2004, restricting access to state benefits for illegal aliens, Derbez threatened to sue the State of Arizona in U.S. District Court, disregarding the necessary legal standing."
Additionally, Derbez threatened to bring legal action against the neighborhood watch-style group known as the Minutemen Project when they began patrolling the southern U.S. border earlier this year.

ACLU criticizes Bush in advance for actions he did not propose
The ACLU published a press release before President Bush's announcement on May 15th, calling on Congress and the president "to reject any measures that fail to uphold the letter and spirit of our laws and encourag[ing] lawmakers to adopt immigration reform that protects the freedom and privacy of all in America.
"Turning immigration enforcement policy into another military operation is not the answer," the ACLU wrote. "The president's proposed deployment of National Guard troops violates the spirit of the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits the military from getting into the business of civilian law enforcement."
The Posse Comitatus Act (18 USC 1385) does prohibit military involvement in civilian law enforcement, "except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress."
\sa240 An analysis of the law by the U.S. Coast Guard notes that in 1981, a companion law was enacted "clarifying permissible military assistance to civilian law enforcement agencies--including the Coast Guard--especially in combating drug smuggling into the United States. Posse Comitatus clarifications emphasize supportive and technical assistance (e.g., use of facilities, vessels, aircraft, intelligence, tech aid, surveillance, etc.) while generally prohibiting direct participation of [Department of Defense] personnel in law enforcement (e.g., search, seizure, and arrests)."
During his presentation Monday night, President Bush seemed to preempt the ACLU's complaint, calling for 6,000 National Guard members to be deployed along the southern U.S. border, "in coordination with governors."
"The Border Patrol will remain in the lead. The Guard will assist the Border Patrol by operating surveillance systems, analyzing intelligence, installing fences and vehicle barriers, building patrol roads and providing training," Bush said. "Guard units will not be involved in direct law enforcement activities -- that duty will be done by the Border Patrol."

Original Article

Posted by steve at 09:09 AM | Comments (0)

Re-Post: CDC: Center for Disease Confusion

(AgapePress) - There is no doubt that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is involved in heroics on a daily basis. At the mention of the CDC, the mind conjures up pictures of people in white body suits racing across the world to halt the Ebola virus, sweeping Congressional offices for anthrax spores or carrying dead birds to the lab for studies on the mutations of the bird flu virus.
Click on the CDC Special Pathogens Branch web page, and you will find a long list of deadly and dangerous viruses ready to assault your body and do serious harm. Filoviruses, Hendra Virus, Hantavirus, Nipah Virus ... you get the picture. We are lucky to have the CDC.
However, like all people and all organizations built on people, the CDC is not perfect. It is courageous, yes. And it is political, yes.
The Ebola virus is deadly. Thankfully, though, it is an equal opportunity attacker. An Ebola virus can spy any rather ordinary person just walking down the street ... and attack. Suddenly you have an epidemic. No politics are involved. We, in turn, attack the virus with full vigor: quarantines, isolation wards, protective gear complete with masks and goggles.
The HIV virus is deadly. Unfortunately, though, it doesn't need to attack. Instead, it enters the body with a special human invitation through sexual acts that send shivers of ecstasy through a person right along with the virus. Most unfortunately, using sex as its entry portal, the HIV virus ... and the long list of over 25 other sexually transmitted infections ... is political.
From the very beginning in the 1980s when the HIV virus was first identified, politics took control of the CDC and healthcare systems' strategies in fighting AIDS. The CDC was beset from all sides. Panic gripped the nation. How would we stop this deadly disease?
Many mysteries surrounded the virus, making the formulation of a public health policy difficult. Yet one thing was crystal clear: men practicing homosexual sex were at risk and in danger.
In the 1980s, the CDC chose a course of action partly medical and largely political. To avoid offending gay activists, it did not invoke its prerogative to close down gay bath clubs and condemn promiscuous and clearly risky sexual behaviors. Instead, it held out its departmental hand with a truckload of condoms, coining the clearly non-medical nor non-scientific term, safe sex.
This satisfied the desires of a country weaned on free sex from the 60s. It also placated a mainstream media that was busily crafting the finer points of politically correct news writing based on redefining and outlawing words that offended liberal sensibilities. Best yet, it delighted free sex advocates who touted the first billboard for Trojan condoms as a modern benchmark of enlightenment.
Twenty years later, we are struggling to deal with a major health crisis that has taken hold of our children. The effects of the free sex revolution have finally forced the CDC to retract promises of safe sex. Yet, the retraction is half-hearted and imbued with politics.
The same mainstream media that sharpens its teeth on the bones of right-wing, radical, religious, fanatical victims it has been throwing to the lions for 20 years cannot be trusted to illuminate the dialogue on sexual behaviors with truth. Even today, journalists continue to describe risky sexual practices with the medically inaccurate term safe sex. "Enlightened" journalists have repackaged promises of safe sex in ambiguous (and politically safe) terminology such as safer sex and protected sex.
Why is this important for the average citizen to understand? Because it is the foundation for confusion based on the use of politics to script a medical response to the medical crisis facing our children -- adolescent sex.
What is the politically correct method of talking sex to our children? Unfortunately for our children, the lead agency in politically correct medicine today is an agency that has every reason to know better ... the CDC.

Next week -- CDC: One Eye Closed
A former elementary school teacher, Jane Jimenez (speakout@fromthehomefront.org) is now a freelance writer dedicated to issues of importance to women and the family. She writes a regular column titled "From the Home Front." Her work has appeared in both Christian and secular publications. Jane and her husband Victor live in Phoenix and have two children.

Original Article

Posted by steve at 09:00 AM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2006

Mexico Threatens Suits Over Guard Patrols

I'm telling you, folks, these types of things are going to be the "straw that breaks the camel's back". (That's just an expression, no camels were unjured during the writing of this post, so PETA terrorist; Stay Away!)
Who does Mexico think it is that it has the right to not only tell us what we can do in our own country, but somehow feels they have the right to sue. Is our justice system that far out of control? I sure pray it isn't.

Mexico said Tuesday that it would file lawsuits in U.S. courts if National Guard troops on the border become directly involved in detaining migrants.
Mexican border officials also said they worried that sending troops to heavily trafficked regions would push illegal migrants into more perilous areas of the U.S.-Mexican border to avoid detection.
President Bush announced Monday that he would send 6,000 National Guard troops to the 2,000-mile border, but they would provide intelligence and surveillance support to Border Patrol agents, not catch and detain illegal immigrants.
"If there is a real wave of rights abuses, if we see the National Guard starting to directly participate in detaining people ... we would immediately start filing lawsuits through our consulates," Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez told a Mexico City radio station. He did not offer further details.
Mexican officials worry the crackdown will lead to more deaths. Since Washington toughened security in Texas and California in 1994, migrants have flooded Arizona's hard-to-patrol desert and deaths have spiked. Migrant groups estimate 500 people died trying to cross the border in 2005. The Border Patrol reported 473 deaths in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.
In Ciudad Juarez, Julieta Nunez Gonzalez, local representative of the Mexican government's National Immigration Institute, said Tuesday she will ask the government to send its migrant protection force, known as Grupo Beta, to more remote sections of the border.
Sending the National Guard "will not stop the flow of migrants, to the contrary, it will probably go up," as people try to get into the U.S. in the hope that they could benefit from a possible amnesty program, Nunez said.
Juan Canche, 36, traveled more than 1,200 miles to the border from the southern town of Izamal and said nothing would stop him from trying to cross.
"Even with a lot of guards and soldiers in place, we have to jump that puddle," said Canche, referring to the drought-stricken Rio Grande dividing Ciudad Juarez and El Paso, Texas. "My family is hungry and there is no work in my land. I have to risk it."
Some Mexican newspapers criticized President Vicente Fox for not taking a stronger stand against the measure, even though Fox called Bush to express his concerns.
A political cartoon in the Mexico City newspaper Reforma depicted Bush as a gorilla carrying a club with a flattened Fox stuck to it.
Fox's spokesman, Ruben Aguilar, said Tuesday that Mexico accepted Bush's statement that the sending in the National Guard didn't mean militarizing the area. He also said Mexico remained "optimistic" that the U.S. Senate would approve an immigration reform "in the interests of both countries."
Aguilar noted that Bush expressed support for the legalization of some immigrants and implementation of a guest worker program.
"This is definitely not a militarization," said Aguilar, who also dismissed as "absolutely false" rumors that Mexico would send its own troops to the border in response.
Bush has said sending the National Guard is intended as a stopgap measure while the Border Patrol builds up resources to more effectively secure the border.
In Nuevo Laredo, across from Laredo, Texas, Honduran Antonio Auriel said he would make it into the U.S.
"Soldiers on the border? That won't stop me," he said. "I'll swim the river and jump the wall. I'm going to arrive in the United States."

Original Article

Posted by steve at 02:34 PM | Comments (0)

Protesters want citizenship now

This is just too much. Who are these "protesters" and why are they trying to ruin things for the people, who although they came here illegally, are trying to make things right.
The only thing these comments are going to do, is make those of us who are legal citizens of this country angry enough to demand the exportation of all illegals NOW.
Cool the rhetoric and just maybe a settlement, that is beneficial for everyone, can be reached.

While a divided Congress wrangled over how to solve the immigration crisis, advocates of illegal aliens yesterday denounced all of the major legislation under consideration, along with President Bush's proposals, demanding in protests throughout California that they be given full citizenship now.
Protest organizer Luis Magaña in Stockton, Calif., condemned the president's guest-worker proposal, contending a similar program run from 1942 to 1964 was abusive, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
"If a program doesn't give us the full rights accorded other workers in the United States, then we're against it," he told the paper. "They haven't spelled out the details and there's no discussion with the people who will be affected."
Activists in several California cities held news conferences yesterday to denounce legislation under consideration in the Senate and passed by the House and to oppose the president's call to deploy National Guard troops on the border.
Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein's office in San Francisco was the site of one rally that featured signs and banners reading "Do Not Militarize the Border" and "No Human Being Is Illegal."
The protesters said they would continue until senators hear their message.
The Mexican government, meanwhile, warned it would file lawsuits in U.S. courts if National Guard troops detain illegals on the border.
"If there is a real wave of rights abuses, if we see the National Guard starting to directly participate in detaining people ... we would immediately start filing lawsuits through our consulates," Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez said in an interview with a Mexico City radio station, according to the Associated Press.

President Bush addressing the nation Monday night
Yesterday, President Bush's plan for a "comprehensive approach" to immigration, outlined in a primetime speech Monday night, took one step forward as the Senate rejected a call to secure the nation's borders before addressing other immigration-related concerns.
In a 55-40 vote, the Senate dismissed an amendment by Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga, to bar the federal government from altering the status of any illegal immigrant until every border security provision in the immigration bill had been implemented and the Homeland Security secretary certified the border is secure.
As WorldNetDaily reported last month, images of seas of illegal aliens marching in cities across the U.S. have had a far greater negative than positive impact on the foreigners' cause, according to a poll.
A Zogby survey of nearly 8,000 people showed coast-to-coast protests against immigration proposals in Congress - particularly to make it a federal felony to be an illegal worker in the U.S. - have not persuaded a majority of likely American voters.
Asked whether the protests have made likely voters more or less sympathetic toward unlawful workers, 61 percent said they're less likely to be sympathetic to the plight of illegals as a result of the protests, while only 32 percent of respondents said they're now more sympathetic.

Original Link

Posted by steve at 02:22 PM | Comments (0)

Scholars Grapple with Islam and Human Rights

"Islam and Human Rights". Isn't that an oxymoron?

(CNSNews.com) - Dozens of academics, policy-makers and others are meeting in Malaysia this week to discuss "human rights in Islam" at a time when Muslims' tolerance levels have come under scrutiny as a result of the Mohammed cartoon ruckus.
Many Muslim scholars promote an "Islamic view" of human rights, even though their countries -- as U.N. member states -- are expected to support the objectives of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
In 1990, the world's Islamic countries signed a document called the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, which asserts that all rights and freedoms must be subject to Islamic law (shari'a).
Since the furor over the satirical Mohammed cartoons erupted, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), a grouping of more than 50 Muslim states, has led calls for defamation of religion and "prophets" to be outlawed.
The row has highlighted different perceptions of free speech, and human rights in general, in the Islamic and Western worlds.
Participants at the meeting in Kuala Lumpur have been discussing these issues, and some suggested that it was time Muslims were more open about the inconsistencies between the two worldviews on rights.
If [human rights] are contradictory with Islamic law, we have to say 'no,' " said Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, a minister in the department of the Malaysian prime minister.
(Most things, especially concerning women, that we in the U.S. accept as normal, would be banned under Islamic law. -ed.)
"We must be open about it and we can't just sweep it under the carpet. We must explain and find [a] solution," he told reporters after the meeting's opening.
"Some people in the West don't understand the Islamic way," Nazri said. "In their view, human rights are unlimited, but when certain human rights are not consistent with the tenets of Islam, we must explain why we say 'no.' "
(Two months ago, Nazri caused a stir when he said non-Muslims who make comments that are viewed as insulting Islam will be charged and jailed under Malaysia's sedition laws.
"We do not want to take away your rights but religion is an important matter, especially to Muslims," Malaysia's Star newspaper quoted him as saying in March, in comments directed at the country's sizeable non-Muslim minority.)
At this week's gathering, Nazri said Malaysia supported the OIC's efforts towards creating a rights standard such as the Cairo Declaration. He argued that such a document was not incompatible with existing rights mechanisms at the U.N., but would "complement" them.
Another participant, Prof. Masykuri Abdillah of Indonesia's Syariff Hidayatullah Islamic University, acknowledged that "it is true that there are certain Islamic percepts that are not compatible with universal human rights."
But he added that, in many instances, the "lack of political will" was to blame for violations.
Others also attributed human rights abuses in Muslim lands to autocratic governments rather than problems inherent to Islam.
"Many [countries] are generally poor in their record of religious tolerance and human rights because of the absence of democracy in the midst of the primacy of authoritarianism and dictatorship," said Prof. Azyumardi Azra, rector of the same Indonesian Islamic university.
Dr Mashood Baderin of the University of the West of England argued that although the Islamic and universal approaches to human rights may be different in theory, they were "not vehemently incompatible."
(And the list of countries, with this poor record in religious tolerance, would be headed by Saudi Arabia, the Cradle of Islam. -ed)
Islam and human rights shared the aim of enhancing human welfare, he said.
On the subject of the media, Nasir Tamara Tamimi, former editor of an Indonesian daily, said press freedom brought with it the need for "press responsibility."
He also said Muslims relied too much on Western-based media organizations, adding that Islamic media groups like Al-Jazeera were needed to provide "balance."
The meeting has drawn more than 40 scholars and others from mostly Muslim countries.
Organizers include Malaysia's attorney-general, an Africa-Asian legal forum -- and the government of Saudi Arabia, a country whose human rights record is among those in the Islamic world most frequently criticized by rights monitors in the West.
Saudi Arabia also was the only Muslim country at the U.N. to abstain when the General Assembly passed the UDHR in 1948. Others to abstain were Soviet bloc members and South Africa, then under white minority rule.

Original Article

Posted by steve at 02:05 PM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2006

Christians and "The Da Vinci Code", Part 3



In part 2, we looked at the Gnostic Gospels, the "sources" Brown used as the basis for his so-called "historically accurate" book, "The Da Vinci Code".
This article will look at some of the more obvious mistakes Brown made in his "research".

Click here for the Article.

Posted by steve at 01:37 PM | Comments (0)

‘Da Vinci’ undermines faith, survey claims

It is sad that so many people, who claim to be Christians, do not even know the Bible and facts about the history of their faith well enough to discount this work of fiction.
A very sad truth about the world we live in.

"The Da Vinci Code" has undermined faith in the Roman Catholic Church and badly damaged its credibility, a survey of British readers revealed Tuesday as tensions over - and hype for - the forthcoming film reached a fever pitch.
As its stars off headed to walk the red carpet at Cannes, where the film was set to debut Wednesday before a worldwide release Friday, at least two countries limited the film's release.
The British survey, released by a group of prominent Catholics, revealed that readers of Dan Brown's blockbuster novel are twice as likely to believe Jesus Christ fathered children and four times as likely to think the conservative Catholic group Opus Dei is a murderous sect.
"An alarming number of people take its spurious claims very seriously indeed," said Austin Ivereigh, press secretary to Britain's top Catholic prelate Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. "Our poll shows that for many, many people 'The Da Vinci Code' is not just entertainment."
He heads a prominent collection of English Roman Catholic monks, theologians, nuns and members of Opus Dei, who commissioned the survey from pollster Opinion Research Business (ORB) and have sought to promote Catholic beliefs amid the film’s release.
ORB interviewed more than 1,000 adults last weekend, finding that 60 percent believed Jesus had children by Mary Magdalene - a possibility raised by the book - compared with just 30 percent of those who had not read the book.
The group, which stopped short of following the Vatican line of calling on Catholics to boycott the film, accused Brown of dishonest marketing based on peddling fiction as fact.
Ivereigh complained that Brown and film studio Sony Pictures "have encouraged people to take it seriously while hiding behind the claim that it is fiction."
"Our poll shows they should take responsibility for their dishonesty and issue a health warning."
The novel, which has sold over 40 million copies, also depicts Opus Dei as a ruthless Machiavellian organization whose members resort to murder to keep the Church's secrets.
In the survey, readers were asked if Opus Dei had ever carried out a murder. Seventeen percent of readers believe it had, compared with just four percent of non-readers.
Opus Dei spokesman Jack Valero said he was astonished.
"Since we were founded in 1928, Opus Dei has promoted the highest moral standards at work, spreading a message of Christian love and understanding," he said.
"Yet the Da Vinci Code has persuaded hundreds of thousands of people that we have blood on our hands."

Read the rest here.
See my articles concerning the "Da Vinci Code" here and here. Part 3 is coming soon.

Posted by steve at 12:20 PM | Comments (0)

Three Churches Attacked in Sri Lanka

Mark 13:13 (New American Standard Bible)
"You will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved."

DUBLIN, May 12 (Compass Direct) – Unruly mobs have attacked three churches over the past fortnight, in one incident setting car tires on fire in front of a Methodist church to prevent people from entering for Sunday worship.
On Saturday (May 6), a Buddhist monk led a mob to a site where members of the United Christian Fellowship in Poddala, Galle district, had begun building a community hall on land they had purchased in the village. The monk threatened the pastor and a construction worker; one man grabbed the construction worker by the collar and assaulted him.
The mob said they would set fire to the building if construction continued, despite the pastor informing them that it was a community hall, not a church.
Church staff reported the incident to police. Construction is on hold due to fears of another attack.

Methodist Church Attacked Again
Buddhist monks led a second mob to attack a Methodist church in Piliyandala, southeast of Colombo, on April 30. The church was previously attacked on April 23; protest rallies were also held outside the church on April 9 and 16. (See Compass Direct, “Sri Lanka’s Anti-Conversion Bill Revived in Parliament,” April 26.)
“On April 30, the Buddhist monks and their people did not allow us to have the service,” a local source told Compass. “They came early in the morning and gathered around the church, not allowing any of us to go in.”
The mob set car tires on fire on the road outside the church as a scare tactic to keep people away from the building. When church members phoned the police, about 30 policemen arrived but said they could do nothing until they received instructions from their superintendent.
“The superintendent had a quick meeting with us and said if we really wanted to hold the service, he would order the police to give us protection,” the source continued. “But if they came against us, the police might have to take violent action.”
Church members were advised to make an official complaint, noting that the police had advised them not to hold the service in the interests of maintaining peace. The police then arrested 10 people in the crowd and remanded them on a bail fee of 25,000 Sri Lankan rupees (US $243) per person. The police felt the bail fee might act as a deterrent against further attacks. All 10 appeared in court on Monday (May 8).
Church leaders have since contacted Buddhist leaders and hope to set up negotiation meetings with the senior monk in the village.

Threats Issued
An Assembly of God church in Piliyandala is also facing intense opposition. Villagers launched a poster campaign in April, threatening mass protests if the church does not close down.
On April 9, a small crowd of 24 people gathered outside the church and chanted Buddhist prayers.
Church leaders alerted police, who arrived at the scene and granted permission for a short peaceful protest under supervision.
According to the National Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka, this same church was bombed and completely burned to the ground on September 25, 2003. When the church was rebuilt, villagers took church members to court in 2004 with the aim of closing it down. The court, however, ruled that Christians had a legal right to gather for worship.

Anti-Conversion Bill
Violent mobs have carried out at least 160 attacks on churches or Christian institutions since 2002, when Buddhist monks first launched their campaign to introduce anti-conversion legislation.
A 19-member committee appointed by the Sri Lankan Parliament is still reviewing a bill that would outlaw “forcible” conversion. The review committee was appointed on April 5.
The Buddhist Jathika Hela Urumaya (National Heritage Party) first introduced its draft Bill on Prohibition of Forcible Conversion to Parliament in July 2004 as an attempt to halt conversions from Buddhism to Christianity. The bill called for prison sentences of up to five years and/or a stiff fine for anyone found guilty of converting others “by force or by allurement or by any fraudulent means.”
It also encouraged members of the public to report cases of suspected forced conversion.
Minority groups challenged the constitutionality of the bill, and the Supreme Court ruled in August 2005 that it was incompatible with Article 10 of the constitution, which guarantees freedom of though, conscience and religion to every citizen.
An amended draft was tentatively approved in May 2005, but presidential elections in November 2005 and a breakdown in peace negotiations with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam slowed passage of the legislation.

Original Article

Posted by steve at 09:08 AM | Comments (0)

Bush to Send 6,000 National Guardsmen to Southern U.S. Border

I fear it's too little, too late.

WASHINGTON — Saying the United States is not militarizing its southern border, President Bush announced Monday night that he is sending up to 6,000 National Guard troops to shore up U.S. Border Patrol efforts to stop the flow of illegal immigrants pouring in from Mexico.
Bush said that the Guardsmen will not serve in a law enforcement capacity, but as assistance to the Border Patrol.
"The Guard will assist the Border Patrol by operating surveillance systems, analyzing intelligence, installing fences and vehicle barriers, building patrol roads and providing training," Bush said in a speech from the Oval Office.
"This initial commitment of Guard members would last for a period of one year. After that, the number of Guard forces will be reduced as new Border Patrol agents and new technologies come online.
In a prime time televised address to the nation, Bush acknowledged that U.S. Border Patrol does "not yet have full control of the border" and called on Congress to provide the funding to do so. He also said the United States will also stop its "catch and release" method of arresting illegal aliens and then freeing them to show up at a court date set for the future.
"I will ask Congress for additional funding and legal authority, so we can end 'catch and release' at the southern border once and for all. When people know that they will be caught and sent home if they enter our country illegally, they will be less likely to try to sneak in," he said.
In more on the spending side of the ledger, the president announced that the federal government would seek to increase federal funding for state and local authorities assisting the Border Patrol "on targeted enforcement missions."
"We will give state and local authorities the specialized training they need to help federal officers apprehend and detain illegal immigrants. State and local law enforcement officials are an important resource and they are part of our strategy to secure our border communities," he said.

Read the rest of the article here.

Posted by steve at 08:57 AM | Comments (0)

Groups Condemn California Senate's Passage of Pro-Homosexual Education Bill

I read two quotes that really drive home some good points about this bill.

"I can't believe that California would have a bill that mandates stating the sexual orientation of historical figures. Who cares? How would my understanding of history be any better if I knew the sexual orientation of the founding fathers?
I can see it now: a nation of young people who don't know the three-fifths compromise, the Monroe Doctrine, or the Marshall Plan but know the sexual orientations of the founding fathers. Wonderful."

"I wonder if gay and lesbian students will be made more comfortable when it is pointed out how many of our historical figures were heterosexual, not homosexual. Pointing that part out will probably be left out of the legislation, that is to not "offend" anyone."

(AgapePress) - The governor of California could be all that stands in the way of a proposed new law that would endorse and promote the homosexual lifestyle in public schools statewide. The bill has already passed the California Senate and, if it gains Assembly approval as well, only a veto will be able to stop it.
The legislation known as SB 1437 requires California education officials to re-write textbooks to include "gay" themes and homosexual people, positively emphasizing their contributions and their place in history. It also bans any negative reference to homosexuals based on religious beliefs, which is why Bob Knight of the Culture and Family Institute sees the law as an attack on biblical values.
The people behind the language in SB 1437 have taken a decidedly pro-homosexual position, Knight points out. "They specifically say in the bill that other opinions have to be resisted, including sectarian or denominational opinions about homosexuality that would put [the homosexual lifestyle] in a negative light," he says.
"In other words," Knight explains, "they're saying, 'Whatever your faith teaches you is wrong. In our tax-supported schools, we're going to create a new religion. We're going to say what's right and wrong regarding sexual conduct.'"
According to the CFI spokesman, SB 1437 represents an effort on the part of homosexual activists to negate the teachings of various faiths and elevate the state to a level of creating its own politically correct religion. He says the prospect of this bill's passage has awakened concerned citizens throughout California, parents and others who feel the homosexual lobby has gone too far, and they are urging the state's chief administrator to act.
"The governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is being contacted and asked to veto this terrible bill," Knight says, "because it abridges the freedom of parents to send their kids to a school that isn't attacking their religious values."
CRI Decries Homosexual Agenda's Attack on Families, Disservice to Children
Other pro-family groups have been outspoken in their criticism of SB 1437 and its supporters in the California legislature. Karen England, executive director of Capitol Resource Institute, says the bill is "just another example of how radical the State Senate has become." That legislative body is "so far out of touch with California families that it is beyond alarming," she contends.
England describes SB 1437 as an effort to indoctrinate innocent children caught in the tug-of-war between traditional family values and the radical homosexual agenda. "The traditional family is under attack," she contends, "and this is a latest -- and most outrageous -- attempt to corrupt the minds of our children."
Under the legislation, the CRI spokeswoman points out, not only would textbooks and instructional materials be affected by the pro-homosexual guidelines for children from kindergarten through grade 12, but all school-sponsored activities would be affected as well. And furthermore, she notes, school districts may well have to do away with dress codes and start accommodating transsexuals on girl-specific or boy-specific sports teams.
It is shameful, England asserts, that the California Senate is preoccupied with promoting homosexual and transgender history in schools while some parents are actually suing the state because their children have not been prepared to pass a basic exit exam. Also shameful, she says, is the fact that the California Teachers Association is supporting this measure "when they should be focused on preparing our students in the fundamentals."

Original Article

Posted by steve at 08:46 AM | Comments (0)

CWA: Parents, Teens Being Misled About Dangers of Premarital Sex

The Bible is very clear on this subject. But even beyond that, God gave us these rules because they are just good sense. Parents and teens are being misled about premarital sex. Also, teens are going to watch their parents and imitate them. If the parents did it before marriage, or if they are currently divorced, dating and doing it now, the teens are going to think "well, if it's OK for them, then it's OK for me" Parents need to lead by example.
We all know that our society is obsessed with sex. It is virtually impossible to read a magazine, or watch TV, without being inundated by commercials for sex enhancers or STD drugs. These drugs do not cure the STD's, they only (sometimes) control the symptoms. The only way to be absolutely sure that you will not catch an STD is Sexual Abstinence.

(AgapePress) - An official with Concerned Women for America (CWA) says Americans must be educated with the truth about the consequences of sex before marriage.
Recently a study from the Harvard School of Public Health challenged the authenticity of pledges made by teenagers to abstain from premarital sex. According to the Harvard study, teens who pledge to save sex for marriage break their vows within the first year; and those who have premarital sex are likely to say they never made a vow of abstinence in the first place.
Dr. Janice Crouse, senior fellow of the Beverly LaHaye Institute at CWA, has challenged the findings of the study -- which she says are misleading and deceptive -- and contends that it is clear from research that abstinence until marriage is "the best recipe for marital happiness and well being." Crouse contends abstinence education is the only effective tool to teach young men and women the dangers of promiscuous behavior.
But secular society, she says, downplays the consequences of sexual promiscuity and premarital sex, especially when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). "Every year there are more than three million new cases of STDs, and those affect three million teenagers," she says. "You see advertisements on television all the time that show people dancing around and wildflowers out on a meadow somewhere, [and people] saying they're free of STDs."
But what those ads are talking about, she explains, is something that is medically under control. "They're talking about [having a condition that is] treatable and well-treated, but that's not cured," she notes.
Crouse argues that it is vital that parents and adolescents be given truthful information regarding STDs. "You have a whole movement among the experts [saying] they're sexually transmitted 'infections' -- not sexually transmitted diseases -- because they want to take the stigma away from STDs so that [the message is] 'You know, anybody can get an infection and it's no big deal.'
"Well, it is a big deal," says Crouse, "and parents need to be aware of that. They need to make their teens aware of that."
The pro-family activist says the high rate of teen suicide can be traced partly to the large numbers of STDs in that age group. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about one-fourth of all new STD infections occur in teens. The CDC reported in 2000 that it was not uncommon to find that more than five percent of male teens and five to ten percent of female teens were infected with chlamydia. Other common STDs include gonorrhea, herpes, and human papillomavirus (HPV).

Original Link

Posted by steve at 08:31 AM | Comments (0)

May 15, 2006

Florida teen's massacre called 'gift from Allah'

"Terror leaders threaten Americans, hope boy, 16, 'goes directly to hell'"

What else could we expect from a slimy, pali terrorist, holy land occupier?

TEL AVIV - The death yesterday of Daniel Wultz, a Florida teenager critically injured last month in a suicide bombing at an Israeli restaurant, is a "gift from Allah" and revenge against American Jewish support for Israel, Abu Nasser, a leader of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, one of the groups responsible for the deadly blast, told WorldNetDaily.
Abu Amin, a leader of the Islamic Jihad, which also took responsibility for the April 17 bombing in which Wultz was injured, told WND last night his terror group may target Americans in the near future.
Wultz, 16, was one of over 60 people injured in the attack in which a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowded section of Tel Aviv as Israelis celebrated the fifth day of the Passover holiday. The blast ripped through a falafel restaurant just outside the city's old central bus station, killing nine. The same restaurant was hit by a suicide attack in January, wounding 20. A tenth Israeli victim passed away this weekend. Wultz's demise yesterday brought to 11 the total number of deaths from the suicide blast so far.
Wultz was a resident of Weston, Fla. He was on Passover vacation in Israel along with his family. The teenager was seated with his father, Yekutiel, at an outside table of the targeted restaurant when the bomb was detonated.
Described as an avid basketball player, Wultz lost his spleen, a leg and a kidney in the attack. Doctors at Tel Aviv's Ichilov Hospital had reportedly been fighting to save his other leg, which was suffering from severely reduced blood flow. Wultz's father suffered a fractured leg in the attack.
Wultz had been lying in a coma in the intensive care unit since the bombing, though he briefly was aroused last month.
His story had generated extensive international media coverage and had prompted a flurry of e-mails across the Internet asking people worldwide to pray for the young terror victim.
Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Brigades, the declared military wing of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah Party, claimed responsibility for the bombing.
In a WND exclusive interview yesterday, Abu Nasser, a senior leader of the Al Aqsa Brigades in the West Bank, rejoiced in Wultz's death. Abu Nasser is part of the Brigades leadership in the Balata refugee camp suspected of plotting the attack.
"This is a gift from Allah. We wish this young dog will go directly with no transit to hell," Abu Nasser said.
"[Wultz] was part of the American support machine that helps our enemy. All these young American Jews come here to support the occupation, they build and live in the settlements ... . I imagine him as one of these Nazis who live here [in the settlements.] There is no difference between him and them."
Regarding U.S. policy in the Middle East, Abu Nasser commented, "I say to the Americans if you will not change than we wish you more Daniel Wultzes and more pain and sorrow because it seems that this is the only thing you deserve."
Abu Nasser went on to pledge more suicide bombings inside Israel.
"We will hit whenever we will think it is suitable and do not expect that I give details but we can hit everywhere," he said.
Also speaking to WND, Islamic Jihad senior leader in the northern West Bank Abu Amin called Wultz's death a "message from Allah to the unbelievers that he will always be at the side of those who believe and fight for him."
Comparing Wultz to the suicide bomber who killed the Florida teenager, Abu Amin said, "Our hero believed in Allah and died while fighting for Allah but your pig was killed in a restaurant in an area full of prostitution."
He said Wultz's death should demonstrate to Americans "that even if you live in the U.S. the hand of Allah and the sword of the Jihad fighters will reach you and you will find the same end [as Wultz]."
Asked if his group would specifically target Americans in Israel, Abu Amin replied, "Concerning the Americans we do not target them but I will not be surprise if the resistance organizations would reconsider this matter. America is a full partner of the enemy in the siege against our people.
"If we know there are Americans in a place we plan to attack, we will not cancel the operation. On the contrary this would be a sign from Allah that this is a more blessed operation. Killing Americans and Jews in one operation - it can be great."

Original Link

Posted by steve at 08:06 AM | Comments (0)

'$100 per barrel if U.S. hits Iran'

I sure wish y'all had listened to us oil people years ago when we asked to be allowed to increase domestic drilling and construct new refineries.

The price of a barrel of oil could surge to triple figures if the United States were to attack Iran in order to halt that country's nuclear program.
That's the claim of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez who said the Iranians would have no choice but to cut off their supply of fuel.
"If the United States attacks Iran ... oil could reach $100 a barrel or more," Chavez told a meeting today hosted by London Mayor Ken Livingstone, according to Reuters. "The English middle classes would have to stop using their cars."
"If they attack Iran, the Iranians will cut off their supply of oil. We would do the same if we were attacked. We would cut off our oil," Chavez told some 1,000 leftists and trade unionists. "Moreover, Iran has said it would attack Israel, and I know they have the wherewithal to do so."
In recent years, the price of oil has gushed to about $70 a barrel, meaning billions of dollars for the economy of Venezuela and fueling Chavez's self-styled socialist Bolivarian revolution.
"If they attack Iran I think it will be far worse than the situation is in Iraq," Chavez added, calling Iraq "the Vietnam of the 21st century."
Chavez got a warm welcome to London by Livingstone, who commenced the meeting by claiming President Bush was running "a gangster regime."
"We salute you Mr. President," Livingstone told Chavez. "Londoners stand with you, not with the oil companies and the oligarchs."

"Gangster Regime" huh? Guess it takes one to know one.

Original Article

Posted by steve at 07:58 AM | Comments (0)

Ted Kennedy's Plane Hit by Lightning

Do you think God's trying to tell the senator something??
OK, just joking. I'm glad Senator Kennedy is OK. But this guy seriously needs to retire.

BOSTON - A plane carrying U.S Sen. Edward M. Kennedy across Massachusetts was struck by lightning and had to be diverted to New Haven, Conn., his spokeswoman said. The plane lost all electrical power and the pilot had to fly the plane manually, according to spokeswoman Melissa Wagoner. No one was hurt.
The Democrat had just delivered the commencement address at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams and was on his way his Cape Cod home when the plane was struck at about 2:45 p.m., she said.
Kennedy planned to stay in Connecticut overnight because he was scheduled to deliver another commencement address at Springfield College on Sunday, she said.
The incident was reported to the Federal Aviation Administration, Wagoner said.
The FAA did not immediately return a call.

Original Link

Posted by steve at 07:53 AM | Comments (0)

Orlando Ministry Says It Helps Heal 'Unwanted Homosexuality'

Wait a minute! The homosexuals are teaching our kids that being homosexual is as normal as being right handed or left handed. They say it's a genetic trait that cannot be changed. So how is it possible that people are able to leave homosexuality?
Could it be that homosexuals are not telling you and your kids the whole story? (Yes).
Could it be that it is a lifestyle choice (a dangerous choice at that) ? (Yes).
Maybe it would be good to get all the facts? (Yes).

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Matthew Walker was always teased as a kid for being small, awkward and different. He felt different, too, but wasn't sure exactly why.
He must've been about 7 or 8 years old when he pointed toward a bouncer at a country music festival in Branson, Mo., telling his brother something like, "You know, if I was a girl I would date him."
By the time he got to Oklahoma State University, Walker was dating guys. But now, at age 34, he has been out of homosexuality for more than seven years.
He's one of thousands of former homosexuals who enlisted the help of an Orlando-based Christian group called Exodus International, an organization with 135 member ministries in the United States that works to "heal" gays and lesbians through prayer, counseling and group therapy.
The ministry is at the forefront of an increasingly high-profile "ex-gay" movement that claims it's possible to leave homosexuality behind, and estimates it has successfully treated tens of thousands of people since it began three decades ago in San Francisco.
It has also drawn sharp criticism from gay rights advocates who say it's not any more possible to change a person's sexuality than it is their ethnicity - and trying to "treat" homosexuality can cause alienation, depression or worse.
"It promotes treatment for people who do not need to be treated, promotes idea that homosexuality is a mental illness," said Roberta Sklar, spokeswoman for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "It promotes things that are very deleterious to families - the idea you should be scrutinizing your 5-year-old to catch them before their sexual orientation is marred."
Walker always knew homosexuality didn't cohere with his devout Christian upbringing, but says he did it to fill a void in his life for male attention. He did it because his father paid more attention to his brother and because he always felt more comfortable around girls.
He lived a gay life for nine years before he saw his world falling apart.
He was $25,000 in debt, his mother was sick and he returned to Oklahoma to help care for her. There, he made a decision to leave homosexuality behind.
"I grew up knowing that God thought this was wrong, but at the same time battling with the fact that there was no point in my life that I felt like homosexuality was inserted into my life. It was always there," Walker said.
"I no longer believe that I was born gay. I can look at my early life experiences and influences and see each one directed me down a path towards homosexuality," he says.
Exodus president Alan Chambers says the group fields about 400,000 inquiries a year, up dramatically from about 250,000 calls in 2002. Some, like Walker, are homosexuals who want to change; some are parents and relatives worried about a gay or lesbian loved one. Others are youth pastors or other church leaders who want to learn how to get involved.
Most gays and lesbians who seek help are Christians, Chambers says, but not all.
Besides Chambers, there are just 11 people who work at the ministry's national headquarters in Orlando - on the second floor of a two-story, yellow and brick rectangle building that bears no sign.
The group might draw protesters if it advertised too much, says Chambers, himself an ex-gay who now has a wife and child. (Back in 1996, a group called the Lesbian Avengers dropped 1,500 crickets into the office, then based in San Francisco, to simulate a plague of locusts.)
The office itself is just a reference, with no therapy or counseling. All of that happens around Exodus' affiliate ministries, where at any given time Chambers estimates about 1,000 people are going through a program.
Only about three or four of them are residential, he says. There is no way to generalize them entirely, but most, like the one Walker attended, consist of regular monthly meetings where attendees share their trials - much like Alcoholics Anonymous.
Like AA, Chambers estimates, Exodus has about a one-third immediate success rate. Another third decide they were happy being gay in the first place, while the remaining third are still floating somewhere in between.
Chambers is quick to point out that Exodus isn't about "curing" anyone or "turning people straight." In fact, many who go through the program might never have a heterosexual relationship, he says.
Instead, it's about refraining from activities that violate their beliefs - in God or anything else - and addressing "unwanted homosexuality."
"These are people who have identified that they struggle with same-sex attractions and are conflicted about that, and they want to find some sort of level of support and ability to overcome those feelings, move beyond them or live with them in conjunction with their Christianity," Chambers said.
Interestingly, Exodus keeps a somewhat peculiar place in the canon of Christian conversation about how homosexuality develops. For them, it's more complicated than being simply a choice, lifestyle or abomination - and could involve biological causes, though Chambers doubts there is a "gay gene."
"There is no quick answer or one thing that causes homosexuality," Chambers says. "It's a combination of factors that play in someone's life that lead them to deal with that issue."
Chambers says the most prevailing theme is a "a deficit in their same-sex relationships, starting with their same sex parent and going into their peer relationships" - a deficit like Matthew Walker felt.
Still, their comparatively open explanation hasn't stopped criticism from gay rights groups who say Exodus and other ex-gay organizations dangerously ignore the American Psychological Association position that homosexuality is neither treatable nor a disorder.
In a report released last month, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute questioned whether the therapies are ethical or effective and said state and federal authorities should provide greater oversight when they involve youth.
It mentions several cases in which parents allegedly forced their children to enter programs, including one who was driven to the facility in handcuffs.
"They're given this trust that people who don't normally associate themselves with religious faith are not given, and they end up misleading parents and families," study author Jason Cianciotto said.
Cianciotto also cited reports that reparative sexual therapy can cause low self-esteem, alienation and depression leading up to suicide. He said groups like Exodus send a dangerous message that parents should watch their children for signs of homosexuality and kids somehow need to be "cured."
"It feeds into that general stigma and fear about gay and lesbian people that's raised so much money and made them so prominent," he said. "The notion that you can somehow become gay, or that gay and lesbian organizations are somehow recruiting."
Chambers says he and other ex-gays are living proof the programs can work.
"If someone doesn't want to be gay, why tell them that they don't have an alternative when they do?"

Original Article

Posted by steve at 07:47 AM | Comments (0)

Clinton Pushed RU-486 in First Official Act, Report Shows

Two things surprised me about this article:
1) Bill Clinton was stupid enough to leave documents like this in his library.
2) Y'all were so enthralled with this man that you re-elected him for a second term.
What is kind of funny is that you can't find anyone, these days, who will admit to voting for Bill Clinton.

(CNSNews.com) - Before being sworn in as president, Democrat Bill Clinton was told that he should "start immediately to eliminate the barely educated, unhealthy and poor segment of the country." Clinton received the advice in a letter from an advocate for the abortion drug regimen RU-486, which the president promoted during his first official act in the White House, according to a new report.
New attention is being paid to RU-486 as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) debates whether to ban the drug combination because of a spate of incidents in which women allegedly died or were injured from its effects.
"The Clinton RU-486 Files", released by the conservative legal group Judicial Watch, contains recently uncovered documents that shed new light on the Clinton administration's legal, political and press strategy for bringing RU-486 into the American marketplace -- despite the manufacturer's earlier decision not to market the drug in the United States.
According to the documents obtained last February from the National Archives at the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Ark., Clinton ordered the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the FDA to coordinate the marketing of RU-486. He did so in his first official act three days after moving into the White House in January 1993.
Clinton had received advice concerning the abortion regimen in a letter from Ron Weddington, whose wife, Sarah, had advocated for the legal right to abortion as an attorney in the 1973 Roe v. Wade case.
In urging the legalization of RU-486, Ron Weddington wrote in a Jan. 6, 1992, letter to Clinton. "Something's got to be done very quickly. Twenty-six million food stamp recipients is (sic) more than the economy can stand."
The "president-to-be" should "start immediately to eliminate the barely educated, unhealthy and poor segment of the country," Weddington added.
"Our survival depends upon our developing a population where everyone contributes," he wrote. "We don't need more cannon fodder. We don't need more parishioners. We don't need more cheap labor. We don't need more babies."
"Weddington's ravings were not relegated to a file for unsolicited constituent correspondence," the Judicial Watch report notes. "On the contrary, the Weddington letter is, chronologically and philosophically, the foundation document for the Clinton RU-486 files."
Within a month of Clinton's first directive, FDA Commissioner David Kessler met with the RU-486 manufacturer, the French pharmaceutical company Roussel Uclaf. After that, official political, economic and diplomatic pressure from the U.S. government was exercised to make the drug available in the United States, the Judicial Watch report states.
In one confidential memo, former HHS Secretary Donna Shalala claimed that she and Kessler had personally changed the positions of the makers of RU-486 to market the pill in the U.S.
The documents also indicate that Roussel Uclaf offered to give the patent for the abortion drug regimen to the U.S. government for free so the French company would not be liable for damages if anything went wrong.
"Accepting the patent gift should be touted as a reproductive rights victory for American women and another example of the Clinton administration's commitment to deliver on its promises," Kevin Thurm, a deputy secretary with HHS, wrote in 1994.
Still, Thurm noted that Shalala should accept the patent on behalf of the government rather than Clinton "for purposes of insulating the White House" from any political consequences.
The documents also show that while Clinton administration officials were concerned rejecting the patent would alienate abortion "rights" groups, the White House turned down the offer anyway, and the company gave the rights to the non-profit Population Council.
However, the drugmaker's board would only agree to the arrangement if it received an official letter from the president of the United States requesting RU-486 on behalf of the women of the country.
Clinton's letter was dated May 16, 1994, and it stated that women of the United States needed "safe and effective medical treatment." The president concluded his missive by writing: "On behalf of the government of the United States and for the women of America, I thank you for your work."

'Culture of corruption'
The Judicial Watch report also claims that pressure from the Clinton administration led the FDA to circumvent the standard requirements for certifying a drug as "safe and effective" in order to rush the abortion regimen to market.
Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.), who is mentioned in a May 11, 1994, status memo by Thurm "as one of six Republicans who cosponsored a bill 'to prohibit federal funds from being used for clinical studies of RU-486 as an abortifacient,'" said that the expedited procedure used to approve RU-486 was "totally inappropriate."
That process is "used for drugs that treat disease by providing some hope for life where there isn't any," Bartlett told Cybercast News Service. "Clearly, RU-486 is not that kind of drug."
"These new documents prove the RU-486 approval process was infected by raw politics," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "Accordingly, Congress and other authorities should launch appropriate investigations.
"At least six women and 560,000 unborn children have lost their lives due to the Clinton administration's reckless drive to bring RU-486 to America," Fitton added. "This dangerous abortion pill needs to be pulled off the market immediately."
"All of the Clinton administration's actions on this issue were based on the science and what was best for American women," Jay Carson, a current spokesman for the former president, said in a statement to the Associated Press on May 9.
But, Joe Giganti, spokesman for the National Pro-Life Action Center (NPLAC), told Cybercast News Service that the report exposes a "culture of corruption" at the FDA.
The problem is so severe that the agency is "no longer acting in the best interests of their own mandate, which is to look out for the public health and safety," he added. "They approved a drug that is dangerous to every baby and has been proven dangerous to most of the women who are taking it," Giganti said.
Lannier Swann, director of government relations for the conservative organization Concerned Women for America (CWA), added that "it is now the duty of Congress to conduct a thorough investigation to get to the bottom of the unethical actions performed under Clinton's watch," she stated.
"Both Clinton and the FDA should be held accountable for their careless disregard for women and failure to put the American people's interests above their own," Swann added.
As Cybercast News Service previously reported, the FDA issued a health warning in July 2005 because five American women died after using RU-486.
Several months later, Republican lawmakers urged Congress to suspend the availability of the abortion drug, calling it a "baby pesticide" that is also harmful to women.
This past March, more deaths were linked to RU-486, and CWA called on the FDA to pull the drug.
House Republicans demanded quick action on proposed legislation to force the FDA to withdraw approval of the abortion drug combination. The bill is called Holly's Law and is named after 18-year-old Holly Patterson of California, who died of an infection in 2003 after taking RU-486.

Original Article

Posted by steve at 07:36 AM | Comments (0)

Inside Edition: Apocalypse or silliness??

I don't normally give these types of shows the time of day, but this headline caught my eye. If anyone can catch it and let me know what the "tone" of the article was, I'd appreciate it. It's showing this afternoon. I'm figuring that they will do whatever they can to make us Christians look like psycho, religious nuts.

6/6/06
The date is near, and dire predictions are everywhere! See what some pregnant woman due close to 6/6/06 are going to do! Apocalypse or silliness??

By the way, having read the book of The Revelations, I can tell you that the Mark of the Beast "666" has nothing to do with a date, a telephone number, an address, or stadium seat number. It is the "mark" representing the beast, that people will have to have on either their forehead or hand, in order to buy and sell, during the tribulation period. It will be taken completely voluntarily. Remember that by that time, the church has already been raptured from the earth by Jesus.
Take a moment and read the Book of The Revelation sometime. I'd suggest reading it BEFORE Jesus comes back...which could be at any time.

Original Article

Posted by steve at 07:12 AM | Comments (0)

Fewer Americans Than Thought Going to Church, Says Study

Well, I disagree with this. Our little church is adding, on average, a family per week. At least here in the Bible Belt, churches are seeing a lot of growth.

(AgapePress) - A new study concludes the number of Americans attending church every Sunday is a whole lot less than what has been reported. One of the researchers suggests that the success of mega-churches across the country could be one reason for the misperception about how many Americans actually spend Sunday morning in a worship service.
Christianity Today notes that for years, Gallup pollsters have reported that 40 percent of Americans -- roughly 118 million people -- attend a church every Sunday. But a new study done by an Episcopal Church researcher, Kirk Hadaway, and Penny Marler of Samford University concludes the actual number is much less than that.
They did a "count-based" estimate of church attendance -- in other words, actual attendance figures -- and concluded that only about 20 percent of Americans go to a church on Sunday. That lower figure, says Hadaway, may come as a surprise to many. But he believes part of the problem may be that people see or hear about the big crowds attending the mega-churches and get the impression that church attendance overall is increasing.
"You have Joel Osteen's church with 20,000 or 30,000 people worshipping on an average weekend, and it just seems like religion is going great guns," the researcher says. Other mega-churches like Saddleback Church (Orange County, California), Willow Creek Community Church (near Chicago), Southeast Christian Church (Louisville, Kentucky), and Prestonwood Baptist Church (Plano, Texas) report attendance well over 10,000 on a typical Sunday.
"I think it is creating a false impression of what is happening in the church," Hadaway says of the huge numbers being attributed to such congregations. "There are more giant churches now than there used to be -- but at the same time, the average church is quite small."
He adds that a decline in the number of small congregations has resulted in the "death" of a lot of churches. "The have declining numbers and rising costs -- insurance rates, pastors' salaries, utilities -- making it really tough for many churches across America," he says.
The National Congregations Study in 2000 estimated there were more than 330,000 churches in the United States -- yet only 10 percent of those churches have more than 350 regular participants. As CT points out, that means those 10 percent compose nearly half of those attending religious services in America.

Original Link

Posted by steve at 06:58 AM | Comments (0)

Congressman Asks Bush to Help Save San Diego Cross

What has always amazed me is the ability of a court to completely overlook the will of the people it's supposed to be serving. I have said for some time now that the judicial system needs an overhaul. It's time to start holding judges accountable to the people of this country. Since we no longer have judges who have character and morals, we can no longer count on them not to legislate from the bench. It's time to make them accountable.

SAN DIEGO, CA (AgapePress) - The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee is asking President Bush to help save a 29-foot cross standing on San Diego city property from being removed by court order.
California Congressman Duncan Hunter is calling on the president to exercise his power of eminent domain and take over the half-acre cross site atop Mt. Soledad. In personal correspondence to the White House, the Republican lawmaker on Thursday (May 11) urged Bush to "protect the [Mt. Soledad] Memorial for future generations of veterans and San Diego visitors and residents" by using his "authority found in 40 U.S.C. 3113 to begin immediate condemnation proceedings and [to] bring the [Mt. Soledad] National Veterans' Memorial into the federal park system."
By designating his Interior Secretary to sign an executive order, President Bush and the federal government can effectively complete the land-transfer initiative that began in November 2004 -- and was approved by voters the following summer -- allowing the Mt. Soledad site to fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government.
A federal judge last week ordered San Diego to take down the cross within 90 days or face fines of $5,000 dollars a day. The injunction was the latest twist in a 17-year battle waged by an atheist against the cross, which was raised in 1954 in memorial of Korean War veterans. Congressman Hunter says, "The federal government has lots of memorials with crosses on it," including Arlington Cemetery.
Hunter and others, including San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, believe the action is necessary considering the long legal battle the city has endured against an atheist and his lawyer, James McElory. According to Congressman Hunter, the memorial "has been under siege by a single individual and his team of lawyers who have ignored the broader historical context and community support ...."
A certified copy of Hunter's letter [PDF] to the president was given to Mayor Sanders. Faced with a court-imposed order to remove the cross, Sanders said that "some battles are worth fighting for." The mayor explained during a press conference at the memorial site on Thursday that he is unsure whether the majority of San Diego's council members will support an effort to continue to contest the case legally.
However, Sanders did indicate that he is in support of exploring every legal option in order to retain the cross at its present location. Apparently the mayor feels compelled to listen to the 197,000 voters who, in July 2005, requested transfer of the land where the cross is located to the federal park system. Hunter's amendment to a defense appropriation bill in December 2004 allowed for this transfer. But Judge Patricia Cowett, who has been involved in a local non-profit organization with attorney McElroy, threw out the transfer authorization that was approved by San Diego voters last summer. (See related story)

Support Coming Alongside
Meanwhile, the Thomas More Law Center has launched an online national petition drive that dovetails with Hunter's request. The petition requests that Bush direct the Secretary of the Interior to "immediately begin legal proceedings" to take the land by eminent domain. The Law Center says the petition will be sent directly to President Bush.
Various Christian groups have decided to join the Law Center in their effort to keep the cross at its present location in the San Diego suburb of La Jolla. Late last week the American Family Association sent out 2.9 million e-mails to its supporters encouraging them to send a communication to the president regarding Hunter's request. AFA founder Don Wildmon, retired House Speaker Newt Gingrich, American Center for Law & Justice founder Jay Sekulow, Liberty University founder Rev. Jerry Falwell, and Coral Ridge Ministries' Dr. Gary Cass have all expressed interest in contacting the White House regarding this matter.
Local clergy who joined Mayor Sanders at Thursday's press conference included Pastor Leo Giovinetti (Mission Valley Christian Fellowship) and Bishop George McKinney of St. Stephen's Church of God in Christ.

Original Link

Posted by steve at 06:53 AM | Comments (0)

Urge Senators to Support the Marriage Protection Amendment (MPA)

On June 6th (ironic that it would be on D-Day, the day troops invaded Europe in 1944) the senate will be voting on the Marriage Protection Amendment (MPA). If you have not already done so, take a moment to contact your senator and let them know that you support this Amendment.


U.S. Senate To Vote On Homosexual Marriage June 6
The most important vote in the Senate this year! The future of our children is at stake.

On June 6, the U.S. Senate will vote on the constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
Time is short! It is critical that you contact your senators and ask them to vote for the Marriage Protection Amendment (MPA).
Once homosexual marriage is legal, our religious liberties will be stripped away. Even pro-homosexual marriage advocates agree with that statement. To understand how this will happen, please take time read Dr. Maggie Gallagher's very detailed and accurate article by clicking here. Print it out and give a copy to your pastor!
We expect Democratic senators to vote to kill the MPA. The public is not aware that the Democratic National Committee has given thousands of dollars to homosexual groups to help promote homosexual marriage.
The groups supporting homosexual marriage have activist judges waiting to make homosexual marriage legal. It is expected that the Washington state Supreme Court will rule homosexual marriage legal as soon as the elections are over. Some feel the ruling has already been made, but they will not release it until after the November elections. They don't want to hurt the pro-homosexual liberal nominees in the elections.
Only a constitutional amendment will stop homosexual marriage from becoming the law of the land.
Take Action
It is extremely important that you email your senators today, and get as many others as possible to do the same. Please, please forward this to your family and friends!
If you think our efforts are worthy, would you please support us with a small gift? Thank you for caring enough to get involved.
Sincerely,
Donald E. Wildmon, Founder and Chairman
American Family Association

Link to American Family Association

Posted by steve at 06:42 AM | Comments (0)

Official: Bush to Call On National Guard for Border Control

Well, it's a start. Maybe Bush has decided to listen to his base. I've said for quite some time that securing our border is the only way to control illegal immigration and homeland security.

WASHINGTON - President Bush will use a prime time speech Monday night to call for thousands of National Guard troops to be deployed along the Mexican border to help back up the U.S. Border Patrol.
The remarks come as the Senate tries to pass a guest worker proposal that opponents say doesn't do enough to stem the influx of illegals passing over the southern border each day. Senators begin debate anew Monday on an immigration reform package that aims to allow the estimated 11 million to 12 million illegals in the United States look for a way to stay here.
The president supports a guest worker plan, but also must answer to many in his base who say border security is step one in dealing with the flood of illegal immigrants.
As a result, Bush is also being forced to walk a diplomatic tightrope with Mexican President Vicente Fox, who called Bush on Sunday to discuss efforts to improve border security. Bush emphasized to Fox that any move to put military units at the southern U.S. border was not an intimidation tactic aimed at his government, White House spokeswoman Maria Tamburri told FOX News.
Watch President Bush's primetime address Monday night at 8 p.m. EDT on FOX News Channel.
"Mexican President Vicente Fox reached out to President Bush this morning to relay his concerns about consideration of a plan by the United States to deploy National Guard forces to the border region. President Bush made clear that the United States considers Mexico a friend and that what is being considered is not a militarization of the border, but support of Border Patrol capabilities, on a temporary basis, by National Guard personnel," Tamburri said.
"The president reiterated to President Fox his commitment to comprehensive immigration reform," she added. Fox's office also released a statement saying Bush assured the Mexican president that any military support would be administrative and logistical and would come from the National Guard and not the Army.
White House aides were working Sunday night on the details of the president's proposal to deploy National Guardsmen along the border and how to address the concerns of critics, including Govs. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and Bill Richardson of New Mexico, among others, who say using Guardsmen to man the border would further burden an overextended military. Domestically, governors traditionally are the ones with the authority to redeploy National Guard troops within their states.
"What in the world are we talking about here? Sending a National Guard (for whom) we may not have any capacity to send down to protect the borders? That's not their role," said Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., on ABC's "This Week."
"We have stretched these men and women so thin, so thin, because of the bad mistakes done by the civilians in the military here, that I wonder how they're going to be able to do it," added Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del.
Hagel said he helped write a bill under debate in the Senate that would double the 12,000-strong Border Patrol force over the next five years.
"That's the way to fix it, not further stretching the National Guard," he said.
On Sunday, the president's national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, would not say how many troops the president wanted to use, but he did say the purpose would be to support, not replace, Border Patrol.
"Safeguarding the border is for the Border Patrol. And they have a huge task. And one of the issues is: do they need help on an interim basis so that they could do the full function? It's the support function we're talking about," Hadley told CBS' "Face the Nation."
A White House official said Sunday evening that Bush will propose using troops as a temporary measure while the Border Patrol builds up its resources. The troops would play a supportive role to Border Patrol agents, who would maintain primary responsibility for physically guarding the border.
The official, speaking on a condition of anonymity ahead of the address, would not give an exact number for how many troops Bush wanted to use, except that it would be in the thousands. The official said the number will be less than an estimate of 10,000 that was being discussed at the Pentagon.
About 100 National Guard troops are serving on the border to assist with counter-drug operations, heavy equipment support and other functions.
"I think what it would be is simply expanding the kind of thing that has already been done in the past in order to provide a bit of a stopgap as the Border Patrol build up their capacity to deal with this challenge," Hadley said.
But Rep. Charlie Norwood, R-Ga., a border security proponent and backer of the Minuteman groups shoring up the border with volunteer "spotters," wrote in an editorial Sunday in Human Events Online that Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano already tried to redeploy 170 National Guardsmen on the troops and it didn't do much because the numbers were too small and their role was to help Border Patrol with cargo screening, not guarding the unprotected areas along the border.
Norwood said the truth in Bush's commitment to border security "will lie in the proposed numbers, and whether the plan is for a short-term demonstration project or a long-term strategy for truly securing our southern border."
He added that research data done by the House Immigration Reform Caucus shows that "the southern border can be virtually closed except at legal points of entry within a one-month period- at the longest. ... It will initially take 36,000 troops.
"At the start, they should be National Guard personnel drawn nationally. There isn't enough National Guard in the border states alone to do the job without hindering combat readiness, so the forces will need to be pulled from other states as well under current National Guard Bureau assistance regulations," Norwood said.
That's the position favored by the Minuteman Project, whose leader Jim Gilchrist told FOX News he thinks the president's proposal will just be a "head fake."
"Apparently, they just do not get the message and 5,000 National Guardsmen is not enough. You need 25,000 Guardsmen ... to supplement the Border Patrol until they can find another 25,000 agents and train them. That will take several years," Gilchrist said.
Senators will be listening closely to the president as they negotiate an immigration bill that will likely take up to two weeks to pass. The measure in the Senate is heavy on a guest worker plan, though Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., has repeatedly called for tightening the borders.
"We've got to secure our borders," Frist said on a cable news network on Sunday. "We hear it from the American people. We've got millions of people coming across that border. First and foremost, secure the border, whatever it takes. Everything else we've done has failed. We've got to face that. And so we need to bring in, I believe, the National Guard."
He added that any lawmakers who have doubts about the National Guard - well trained after years in Iraq and Gulf Coast duty following Hurricane Katrina last year - are "whining" and "moaning."
Bush will deliver his speech from the Oval Office, where he is expected to place equal emphasis on protecting the border and accommodating many of the millions of illegal immigrants already in this country.
Specifically, he is likely to argue that many of the illegal immigrants in the United States now should be allowed to pursue a path to citizenship that would include learning English and paying back taxes and fines, all elements of the Senate bill.
But the Senate bill is a long way from the House version of immigration reform passed last December. That measure does not address the guest worker issue but increases penalties for illegal immigration activities and funds a 700-mile border fence.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said if Bush can push through an immigration reform bill that avoids amnesty but tightens the borders, it could go a long way toward improving the president's sagging poll numbers.
"I think that the president, by doing the things that resonate with the American people, could rebound very quickly. I've seen presidents come back dramatically when people say they go the message, now they're doing the things I want," Gingrich told FOX News.
One million or more supporters of the guest worker plan demonstrated in April in support of a Senate compromise. But Gilchrist said many more Americans won't stand for compromise.
"We want results. Show us the results and then you'll get our support. Until we see absolute results and the enforcement of our immigration laws, you'll get no support from tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions of Americans. What the Democrats and Republicans are doing is opening up the doorway for a third party to reside in the White House as early as 2008," Gilchrist said.

Original Fox News Article

Posted by steve at 06:21 AM | Comments (0)