Monday, July 31, 2006

Are Opponents of Embryonic Stem Cell Research Extremists?

Just when you think the debate over embryonic stem cells can't get any more degraded...

Check out John Leo's excellent review of how the controversy over the government funding of embryonic stem cell research is being played. A very good piece.

Anarchy in the Classroom (And I'm Talking About the Teachers)

Sol Stern has written a detailed, probing and profoundly disturbing article in City Journal about the takeover of the public education system by the left's most radical activists. It is an important read.

In the article, Stern highlights the career of Weather Underground bomb-thrower (literally), Bill Ayers, who decided that his anarchism could be better served from inside the educational establishment than from merely blowing up buildings. And he was right -- he's found success beyond his wildest dreams in his endeavors to undermine capitalism, democracy and traditional cultural values.

But that's not all. Stern's in-depth article also explores the extremism of today's liberal education reformers who are not only distorting (or denying altogether) the historic values of Western civilization when they teach courses in history, literature and economics but which seeks to bring socialism and even anarchism to such seemingly secure subjects as math and science.

Boston Globe: Abortion Is a Better Choice...for the Unborn Child!

There is a glaring problem with media bias favoring abortion; no doubt about that -- but over-the-top media stupidity? Here's political commentator Mark Finkelstein's brief take on a Boston Globe editorial in which abortion was described as the best option...for the unborn child!

Government By Bureaucratic Whim

In order to take (and keep) political power, people have been known to distort the record, to lie, to bend the rules, to bribe, to cheat, to exert various coercive measures and, like many modern judges and Robin Carnahan, the Democrat Secretary of State in Missouri, to simply refuse to obey the law.

Paul Jacob gives the details of this shysterette in this Town Hall column.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

A Memorial Service for the Victims of Abortion

This afternoon Bev Weis joined Claire and I at the St. Mary Magdalene Cemetery in south Omaha for a special memorial service for the victims of abortion. The service was sponsored by the Omaha Business and Professional People for Life and I had been asked to say a few words and then lead those gathered in a prayer. A small service was then conducted by the Rev. Mr. Glenn Tylutki.

The day was terribly hot (102 degrees) and the trees planted around the memorial have not yet grown tall or leafy enough to provide shade so it was a fairly small group. But no matter; the memorial was as lovely and peaceful as ever, the fellowship quite encouraging, and the prayers, being earnest and directed to the God of all confort, were certainly of great value.

The memorial design involves two rings of square granite stones embedded in a circle of flowers, small bushes and ground cover. In the middle of the circle is a dramatic stone statue of a pensive woman kneeling in contemplation. It is the Rachel Mourning Statue and upon the large square pedestal on which it rests are the appropriate Scripture and an explanation of the memorial's significance. It is really a very moving display and an excellent place to quietly mourn, pray and re-dedicate onself to the fight against the unjust violence of abortion.

The square granite stones are actually designed to be used as memorial tablets with space for the inscriptions of the names of children lost to the world through abortion. Names of children can easily be reserved for a tablet simply by e-mailing Vital Signs Ministries. We will contact the BPPL in your behalf. The normal donation suggested for each line on one of the granite squares is $25 but the price can be covered by BPPL or Vital Signs.

The Memorial for the Unborn is truly a haven for healing and needs to be promoted by the Omaha pro-life community much more than it has been these last four years of its existence. Especially relevant would be the increased involvement of the post-abortion ministries provided by our local pro-life pregnancy centers.

Again, the Memorial for the Unborn is located on the southwest end of St. Mary Magdalene Cemetery, 5226 S. 46th Street (48th & Q).

Amnesty International's Desire to Promote Abortion Is Beginning to Hit the Headlines

The move by pro-life citizens to keep Amnesty International from engaging in abortion advocacy is beginning to go public. And that's a good thing.

When the story first started leaking out last spring, visitors here at Vital Signs Blog were encouraged to write, call, or e-mail Amnesty International to pass on their opinions about a human rights organization transforming itself into an anti-human rights organization. (See this post to refresh your memory and note below the contact information for Amnesty International's U.S office.)

This approach; namely, bringing the lights of truth and justice to the powers that be and reminding them that someone is watching what they do is, of course, classic Amnesty International stuff. They have effectively promoted and organized such activities against human rights abusers for decades.

But, when they themselves conspire to engage in immoral actions against preborn children, they cling to the same kind of self-righteous stubborness they've seen in hardline dictators. As the AP news story describes it, "Amnesty officials were unavailable for interviews, but the group released a statement from its London headquarters saying the group 'does not make policy according to the ebbs and flows of external pressure.'"

Poor dears.

Of course, when you've tried to keep this move towards abortion advocacy in the closet...and when you keep leaders unavailable for comment...and when you release an arrogant, yet unsigned, statement that you're not concerned about "external pressure," you reveal all too clearly that you are.

Therefore, your letters, calls and e-mails remain very much in order.

Amnesty International Web site -- www.amnestyusa.org
Telephone of the U.S. office -- 212 807 8400
Address of the U.S. office -- 5 Penn Plaza - 14th floor
New York
NY 10001
USA
E-mail of the U.S. office -- admin-us@aiusa.org

The White Buffalo Calf Woman Speaks from the Great Beyond...In Favor of Abortion

If anything, Judy Peres' story in the Chicago Tribune demonstrates that she must have skipped a few of her journalism classes. Sure, her article (which covers the Cecelia Fire Thunder controversy) reveals the bias towards abortion that one regularly sees in the MSM. That's no surprise. But Ms. Peres' disorganized, rambling, fitfully written prose is. The Tribune used to require better work than this.

At any rate, the article does have a few points of interest, especially those relating to former Chief Fire Thunder's introduction of the White Buffalo Calf Woman to lend divine assistance to her campaign to put a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic on "her" Oglala Sioux reservation.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Condoms for Kids?

Gee...there's nothing like reaching out to help kids, is there?

An example? Let's look at Durex, a subsidiary of the multi-national conglomerate, SSL International, whose new "condoms for kids" hit the shelves in Germany this past week with sales in the U.K. and elsewhere scheduled for next year.

According to the news report, "the condom is 49mm wide — compared to the 52mm standard version — and is easier to put on. Durex says it is designed for the younger, less experienced users. A spokesman said: “It is aimed at youths between 13 and 16, where a not insignificant number engage in unprotected sex.”

Despite the heartbreak, sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, abortion, and the death of innocence that always follows the promotion of sexual activity among young unmarrieds (even with the best condoms in use), Durex will still try to sell the line that they are selling the "kiddie condom" out of the best motives. And with the Family Planning Association being behind them, they just might fool a few suckers after all.

By the way, among other companies owned by SSL International is Scholl, makers of popular foot products. Here's the news story, courtesy of the Sun Online (U.K.).

Does the Pro-Life Movement Care About In Vitro Fertilization?

Pro-abortion columnist Michael Kinsley answers the above question in the negative. “In short, if embryos are human beings with full human rights, fertility clinics are death camps—with a side order of cold-blooded eugenics,” writes Kinsley in the National Post. “No one who truly believes in the humanity of embryos could possibly think otherwise.”

Furthermore, Kinsley goes on in his article to portray pro-lifers as inconsistent and hypocrital because they don't oppose fertlity clinics that create expendable embryos.

But Kinsley is engaging (as he usually does) in selective reporting, conveniently ignoring the wide array of pro-life leaders and organizations (including Vital Signs Ministries) that has steadfastly protested any and all philosophies, methodolgies and practitioners that endanger preborn children.

So, let's set the record straight, okay? John Jalsevac, writing this article for LifeSite News gives a fuller, more accurate look at the issue.

Welcome to the State of Paranoia

Actually, modern Iran has not only become a nation marked by deep paranoia but also of extreme intolerance, coercion and obscurantism. This latest action (i.e. the banning of such dangerous words of foreign origin as "pizza") is almost laughable...until one remembers how violent and barbaric this regime has become in its passion to "purify" others.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Putin and Chavez Agree on New Weapons Deal

This is the kind of news story that you may be tempted to pass over as you flip the pages (or the TV remote) looking for something of more current significance.

But when dictators get together, especially from other sides of the world -- and especially when the party ends in one Communist thug selling a lot of really dangerous toys to another Communist thug -- then there is serious trouble on the horizon for the free world.

The Erratic Tom Davis Wins "Porker of the Month" Award

Republican Congressman Tom Davis is a conservative-leaning libertarian but one who has a mixed record on both social issues and spending priorities. For instance, he generally votes with the Congress' pro-life bloc but, like others, he was inconsistent enough in his own philosophy to vote for more embryonic stem cell funding last week. He has further disappointed conservatives by voting against vouchers for private schools and by promoting increased privileges for homosexuals, thus earning fulsome praise and support from the Log Cabin Republicans.

Davis can be very erratic in other areas too. He has strangely inconsistent records on energy, environment, tax reform, election reform, and so on. Even on spending, Davis keeps causing his colleagues to scratch their heads in confusion. For example, he has voted for a balanced budget amendment, for line item veto power, and has a 93% record with the Chamber of Commerce, indicating a strong pro-business perspective. But, in contrast, Tom Davis has supported many of the "most boondoggley" pork projects coming out of Congress. Indeed, one of them, a federal bailout of the Washington, D.C. Metro system, has seen Davis as a key leader.

The bailout is a hefty one: $1.5 billion over 10 years. And this is all on top of the $6.2 billion Congress has already given to the bumbling, stumbling transit authority in 3 other bailouts since 1967. And note this too -- this latest rip-off of taxpayer money comes in spite of a series of reports in the Washington Post last summer revealing how the transit folks managed to mismanage $1 billion!

And so... for leading the way for this exchange of money from your pocket to those of the D.C. transit system, the Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) has "awarded" Tom Davis the dubious distinction of being its "Porker of the Month."

You can read the rest of the CAGW's commentary about Davis' pet pork project right here.

Common Sense from the MSM

The MSM can do it right and this editorial published in the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel is a prime example. The column applauds the common sense that was shown by Democrat Senator (and presidential hopeful) Evan Bayh in voting for the Child Custody Protection Act.

And over here at the Columbus Dispatch, the paper printed a nice, balanced argument from a nearby academic defending President Bush's veto of the embryonic stem cell funding bill.

Oh yeah; the mainstream media can do it right.

They just so often refuse to do so.

Uzbekistan Moves Against Non-Muslims -- Again

From Compass Direct News, an outlet primarily for news reports of persecution against religious believers, comes this report:

Uzbekistan has closed down another Western-funded aid agency, ordering the complete liquidation of the Central Asian Free Exchange (CAFE) and ouster of its foreign staff.


A final appellate court judgment against CAFE was handed down by Tashkent courts on July 11, less than four months after a rash of local court cases were launched against branch CAFE offices in six cities across Uzbekistan.


Like 20 other humanitarian groups closed down on scant hearsay evidence within the past two years by the authoritarian Central Asian state, CAFE was charged with a list of various procedural laws it had allegedly violated.


But the most serious accusation against CAFE was that the nonprofit group was doing covert missionary work among Uzbekistan’s predominantly Muslim citizens.
Due to “conditions in Uzbekistan,” the lengthy verdict claimed, “missionary activity will have fatal consequences.”

Here is the rest of this sad story of intolerance and bigotry.

Does MTV Own You (Or Your Teenager)?

“At MTV, we don’t shoot for the 14-year-olds, we own them.”
(Bob Pittman, creator of the MTV Network.)

Well, there's a few teenagers who MTV doesn't own...except as enemies.

Today there's a protest going on outside MTV's corporate headquarters in New York City. That protest is organized by Stand True, a group of young Americans dedicated to fighting for the sanctity of life and for the promotion of Christian virtues in our culture. At this demonstration, the group will be praying and handing out flyers with hip and hopeful challenges for young people to take back their lives from such would-be "mind'masters" as MTV.

For more information, including a PDF version of the flyer to be distributed, follow this link.

And for the news item about the protest which caught my attention today, thanks to the Generations for Life web site.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Outlawing of Fetal Farming

This isn't the first time I've mentioned this, but then it's certainly no problem to repeat it -- Jill Stanek's columns from her web site as well as those she writes for World Net Daily are really quite excellent. They're always well reasoned, timely and compelling.

Jill''s most recent piece deals with the legislation President Bush did sign last week, the ban on fetal farming. Jill explains just what was at stake with this legislation, why it was so ignored by the MSM, and what we can expect the law to do.

Evangelicals and Global Warming: The ISA Response

The Interfaith Stewardship Alliance is a coalition of religious leaders, scientists, academics, and others who desire to speak and serve as biblical stewards of God's creation. They particularly seek to promote the principles of the Cornwall Declaration in the discussion of various public policy issues including population and poverty, food, energy, water, endangered species, habitat, and other related topics.

Recently, the ISA drew up a specific response to those evangelical leaders (and many pseudo-evangelical leaders) who had fallen hard for the politically but scientifically-incorrect theories of global warming that are touted by the left. In fact, a document entitled, Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action, which reflected these theories (and which included plenty of political commentary) was signed not only by such liberal religious figures as Jim Wallis and Ron Sider but also by popular evangelical leaders like Rick Warren and Jack Hayford. That document made a lot of noise when it was released last winter.

The excellent, well-balanced ISA response to the above mentioned document is entitled, An Open Letter to the Signers of “Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action” and Others Concerned About Global Warming. The letter begins...

Widespread media reports tell of a scientific consensus that:
• the world is presently experiencing unprecedented global warming;

• the main cause of it is rising atmospheric carbon dioxide because of human use of fossil fuels for energy; and

• the consequences of continuing this pattern will include (1) rising sea levels that could inundate highly populated and often poor low-lying lands, (2) more frequent deadly heat waves, droughts, and other extreme weather events, (3) increased tropical diseases in warming temperate regions, and (4) more frequent and intense hurricanes.

Recently eighty-six evangelical pastors, college presidents, mission heads, and other leaders signed “Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action,” under the auspices of the Evangelical Climate Initiative. The document calls on the federal government to pass national legislation requiring sufficient reductions in carbon dioxide emissions to fight global warming and argues that these are necessary to protect the poor from its harmful effects.

In light of all this, many people are puzzled by the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance’s opposition to such calls. Do
we not care about the prospect of catastrophic global warming? Do we not care that with rising temperatures the polar ice caps will melt, and the sea will inundate low island countries and coastal regions? Do we not care that the world’s poor might be most hurt by these things?

Yes, we care. But we also believe, with economist Walter Williams, that “truly compassionate policy requires
dispassionate analysis.” That is the very motive for our opposing drastic steps to prevent global warming. In short, we have the same motive proclaimed by the Evangelical Climate Initiative in its “Call to Action.” But motive and reason are not the same thing. It matters little how well we mean, if what we do actually harms those we intend to help.

That is why we take the positions we do. In the accompanying document, “A Call to Truth, Prudence, and
Protection of the Poor: An Evangelical Response to Global Warming,” we present extensive evidence and argument against the extent, the significance, and perhaps the existence of the much-touted scientific consensus on catastrophic human-induced global warming. Further, good science–like truth–is not about counting votes but about empirical evidence and valid arguments. Therefore we also present data, arguments, and sources favoring a different perspective:...

Read the complete text of the ISA letter here and then, check out the ISA study document itself -- A Call to Truth, Prudence and Protection of the Poor: An Evangelical Response to Global Warming.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Major Ecumenical Move: Catholics, Lutherans and Now Methodists Agree About Justification

At the 19th World Methodist Conference meeting in Seoul, South Korea, the denomination took the unprecedented step of joining the Lutheran World Federation and the Roman Catholic Church in signing a joint agreement on the doctrine of justification. It represents a historic and significant development in ecumenism. The story, courtesy of The Christian Post, is here.

Unfortunately, the news report does not give its readers much sense of what these folks are actually agreeing to. For that you'll have to be ready to wade into the lengthy document finalized back in 1999. That 13-page theological presentation can be found over here in the documents of the Roman Curia.

Now, anyone familiar with church history, theological controversy and/or current views of denominational leadership realizes that this joint signing doesn't mean that all (or even the most important) of the barriers between the various Christian confessions are down. Such Reformation hallmarks of sola sciptura, priesthood of the believer, sufficiency of the atonement, and so on still clash with Roman Catholic doctrines of Marianology, purgatory, the role of the sacraments, the authority of the Pope and others. For instance, note the introduction to the documents of the Roman Curia from which the original Lutheran/Catholic justification statement is taken...an introduction that clearly underscores the supremacy of the Roman Catholic papacy:

In exercising supreme, full, and immediate power in the universal Church, the Roman pontiff makes use of the departments of the Roman Curia which, therefore, perform their duties in his name and with his authority for the good of the churches and in the service of the sacred pastors.


No, notwithstanding this remarkable agreement on justification, full ecumenism has quite a ways to go.

Public Education Isn't What It's Cracked Up To Be -- It's Just Cracked Up

Despite the ongoing claims of excellence in public education -- claims made by government bureaucrats, the NEA, the Democrat Party and much of the MSM -- the facts show something very different. Take a look at John Stossel's Town Hall brief but punchy column.

Reuters Does a Fairer Job Reporting Senate 403 Vote

In comparison to the Associated Press story dealing with the Senate passage of S. 403 (see the immediately previous post), the Reuters account is much more balanced. Read it here.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Senate Votes Yes: Crossing State Lines for an Abortion on a Minor Will Now Be Illegal

Here's the very slanted AP story (complete with an illustrated chart courtesy of NARAL!) announcing Senate passage of Senate 403. For instance, note that the name of the legislation, the Child Custody Protection Act, appears nowhere in the article. I guess the name suggests something much too sane, much too mainstream. Better for the liberal bias of the piece to paint it as "restricting a minor's right to abortion" as the NARAL chart is titled. By the way, that chart is apparantly an "official" part of the AP story -- it is included in every single news organ I've checked in the last hour.

Hillary Clinton, in a example of distortion extreme even for her, attempted to portray the vote as a lethal move against young women. "We're going to sacrifice a lot of girls' lives," said the Democrat. (Memo to Her Honor: Using the word "life" in a justification for abortion is so 1970s and tends nowadays to be very counter-productive. Drop it. Go back to Bill's mantra of making abortion "safe, legal and rare." Few people will believe you mean it...but you won't look quite so dastardly.)

My favorite phrase in the article (though a common one) is that the measure passed because Senators were "Bowing to public support for parental notification," as if reflecting the will of the public was something demeaning, cowardly or beyond the will to resist. Amazing.

Adult Stem Cells Best Hope for Spinal Cord Injuries

Before his death, Superman actor Christopher Reeve captured the hearts of millions with his deeply felt pitch for taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research. However, new studies show that its adult stem cells that are beginning to offer the most hope for those paralyzed from spinal cord injuries...

Read the rest of this important story from LifeNews.Com right here.

Dictators of a Feather Flock Together

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez arrived in Minsk last week for an official visit. "I have come to Minsk to conclude a pact of unity and to lay the foundation stone for future relations between Belarus and Venezuela," Chavez told the state-run journalists (there are almost no other kind in Belarus nowadays). Furthermore, Chavez noted, "Belarus is a model of a socialist state, which we are also building... We must defend the interests of the individual and not the hegemonic interests of the capitalists, wherever they may be, in Europe or Latin America."

The agenda of the visit included talks with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka and visits to a military academy and an outdoor military museum. From Belarus, Chavez went on to visit such other "enlightened" states as Russia, Iran, and Vietnam.

"The Survival of the Fakest"

Recently the arresting documentary, Icons of Evolution, was shown over at the Hartfords' as one of the summer series of films and book discussions sponsored by Vital Signs Ministries. Since then we've been passing it around to others as well as enthusiastically urging its purchase in DVD form for use by churches, schools and families. It is really quite effective as an introduction to the scientific-based criticism of Darwinian evolution that has so dramatically emerged in the last couple of decades.

By examining such well-worn evolution "evidence" as Darwin's tree of life, Haeckel's embryo chart, and the beak changes of certain Galapagos finches, the film Icons of Evolution (and the book by Dr. Jonathan Wells it is based on) clears up errors and leaps over logic that have been used to promote Darwin's theories for over a century even as it allows into the debate fresh facts and ideas which have been distorted, ignored and even forcibly repressed. It is a fine and stimulating film -- one so persuasive that the Darwinian dinosaurs have made tremendous efforts to discredit it.

Here's an article which covers a few of the highlights from the film and the book. It was originally published in the American Spectator in January 2001 but it has now been uploaded on the web by (among others) the Discovery Institute. It is entitled "Survival of the Fakest" and is written by Dr. Jonathan Wells, whose doctorate in molecular and cell biology was earned at U.C. Berkeley and whose doctorate in religious studies was earned at Yale.

You'll want to print this one off and keep it -- better yet, print off a few copies and pass some around. But don't let the learning experiences stop there. Here's the web site hosted by Dr. Wells with additional articles and more information. Also, why not consider buying the film and the book so that you'll be better prepared to engage in one of the most exciting, tumultuous (and important) intellectual battles of our day.

Friday, July 21, 2006

"Unpacking the Stem Cell Debate"

Here is a fine review of what's happened the last several days in the debate over which stem cell course the U.S. government should help finance: one which has already paid off in many successful treatments and which promises many more in the months ahead, or one which has been over-hyped, over-sold and which hasn't yet produced a single successful medical treatment.

And, oh yeah; the second choice also requires human embryos to be killed.

The piece is from the Center for a Just Society and can be read right here.

Mike Foley Talks About Christian Involvement in Citizen Advocacy


Those of us involved with Vital Signs Ministries have a very high regard for Mike Foley, the Nebraska state senator who is now running to become Nebraska's next state auditor. Mike's integrity, skill and wisdom have been much appreciated and, of course, so has his unrelenting dedication as a pro-life advocate.

Here on the web page of the Nebraska Family Council, there is a brief video interview of Senator Foley conducted by NFC Executive Director, Al Riskowski.

A Patriotic Movie from Oliver Stone?

Cal Thomas likes Oliver Stone's new movie, World Trade Center -- I mean, he really likes it. Cal claims, "It is one of the greatest pro-American, pro-family, pro-faith, pro-male, flag-waving, God Bless America films you will ever see." Whoa!

Now, I'm not a movie-goer anyhow but, even if I were, I don't think that Cal Thomas' recommendation (as much as I respect and appreciate him) would be enough to pull me into a theater to see World Trade Center. My memories of Stone's unchecked leftism over the last couple of decades, his irrational passion for conspiracy theories, and his astounding addiction to distorting history in order to sell the world his own loopy ideologies, are just too present. So, yeah; I'll be taking a pass on Ollie's new flick.

But, hey -- whether you intend to see it or not, Cal Thomas' column about the movie is like all of his other stuff: timely, interesting and well worth your time.

On Hezbollah's Friends (And They Don't Include Lebanon)

Here is one of the most informative articles from recent days dealing with Israel's campaign against Hezbollah terrorists. It comes from Fouad Ajami and was published in the Wall Street Journal.

Ajami makes clear what the MSM makes muddy, especially the overarching purpose of the terrorists (the eradication of Israel) and the deep involvement of Iran and Syria.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

When Hollywood Gets It Wrong

One of my favorite movies is the classic 1941 detective film, The Maltese Falcon, starring Humphrey Bogart, Sydney Greenstreet and Mary Astor. The movie is set in the foggy ambiance of San Francisco with one particularly dramatic scene portrayed in the city’s wharf district where the freighter La Paloma is set ablaze. It’s a great scene. However, the "willing suspension of disbelief" so necessary for moviemaking magic is somewhat punctured if the viewer notices that, above the door of this supposedly-San Francisco setting, there's a large sign reading “Port of Los Angeles!”

It is, of course, just one of the myriad of movie mistakes which are sprinkled throughout Hollywood’s history. In fact, one of my favorites appears in this same film. In this scene, Humphrey Bogart is slapping Peter Lorre around. Now Bogie’s reputation as a tough guy is a matter of record, but is he really tough enough to slap the spots off a mug’s necktie? According to this film, he is. Because near the movie’s climax, Bogie resorts to backhanding Peter Lorre who happens to be wearing a polka-dot tie. But when Bogie slaps him back to the right, Lorre’s tie has now become a striped one!

These examples of “film flubs” are humorous and harmless, of course, but Hollywood gets it wrong in many more important ways than allowing the occasional wristwatch on a Roman soldier or portraying Geronimo wearing tennis shoes. No, the momentous errors of Hollywood films concern matters of morality. These errors, I'm afraid, are quite deliberate reflecting the passionate liberalism of Hollywood propagandists unrestrained by religious convictions or fact-based accountability of any sort.

And make no mistake, through their alluring, ubiquitous influence, these Hollywood “artists” are changing the whole world. As veteran media critic Michael Medved once wrote, “Unlike political office holders…top producers and powerful stars never face the righteous wrath of angry voters – and so [they] cheerfully ignore the real divisions in America. While both houses of Congress painfully reflect those divisions, Hollywood remains unanimously liberal, adolescent and indulgent.”

Let’s take a closer look. Whether it is in the voting preferences of writers, producers and directors (about 85% of them voted for Bill Clinton); or the outspokenness of Hollywood’s glitterati for such causes as abortion, environmental extremism, and homosexuality; or in the notoriously loose lifestyles of drug use, sexual promiscuity, divorce and the exorbitant luxury for which Tinsel Town is famous; the evidence of Hollywood’s persistent movement away from biblical values is obvious.

Certainly the films themselves illustrate a disdain for decency. Note the schlock produced in wave after wave of titillation-themed comedies and gory thrillers featuring psychopaths, zombies, sexual/serial killers, and cannibals. Of course, there are more subtle promotions of decadence and leftist political ideologies too. Such films, are often among the most heralded, most awarded, and most popular. Therefore, their power is all the greater to change the way the world thinks – one audience at a time.

For instance, Academy Award-winning films of the last decade have carried carefully crafted messages defending and promoting euthanasia, blasphemy, illicit heterosexuality, homosexuality, cross-dressing, vengeance, divorce, abortion, and numerous anti-American sentiments. Some times the propaganda “spin” of these issues is obvious, but because they are contained in an otherwise entertaining package, people still tend to accept them. This is a telling illustration of the shaping power of the medium. But, at other times, moviegoers are so na├»ve enough about the influences at work on their minds that they miss altogether the subtler messages therein.

An example? A few years ago I did a "Vital Signs" radio program about the blockbuster film, Titanic. As you remember, many conservative Christians became enthusiastic participants in the crowds that poured into America’s theaters to see the flick -- even though it lavishly portrayed fornication as beautiful, liberating, and even ennobling. That followers of Christ were so easily entertained by such lies should be alarming enough. But what of the additional error involved in Titanic’s political message; namely, the overt emphasis on class warfare? Not one of my friends who saw the film even mentioned this emphasis. Not having seen the movie, I admit I defer to judgments made by people like Michael Medved about the film’s overt Marxism. But Titanic’s leftist philosophy must have been pretty heavy. After all, the censorious Communist Chinese listed Titanic as one of only ten foreign films they allowed to be shown in their country that year. The Chinese President even took the trouble to publicly praise Titanic for its moving message of class warfare, Communist-style.

Why was this political perspective so ignored by American moviegoers, including those Christians who, in other settings, would not have tolerated being indoctrinated with such unbiblical philosophies?

The answer to the above question must honestly take into account the mindless devotion that Americans have to entertainment, especially when it comes via their movies and TV. It has become just too much trouble for us to entertain ourselves and thus even religious believers slavishly join the lines in front of the theaters (or pop in Hollywood's latest productions in their in-home video system). “Entertain me,” we say to Hollywood’s leftist powers that be. “Mind you, I won’t put up with everything you want to sell me. I'll only tolerate nudity, cursing, nasty jokes, gory violence, sexual deviancy, attacks on parental authority, the habitual dissing of conservative Christianity, and a few others. And I probably should should tell you those things bother me a bit...but, well, not as much as they used to. So okay then, here’s my money…and my time…and my mind. Entertain me!”

Too harsh a scenario? I’m afraid not. American Christians, especially in the 45 and younger category, are regularly attending movies that not only feature but actually glorify immorality. And the movie-makers do so with the most ingenious propaganda techniques known to man.

You know exactly what I’m talking about -- the manipulation of artistic propagandists who use good looking actors, emotional situations, music, clever writing, etc., to move you to places you know you shouldn’t be. For instance, you really get into a movie and find yourself wishing the protagonist leaves his wife for the more attractive “other woman." Or perhaps its a movie that produces vicarious thrills when the hero pulls the trigger and wreaks his personal vengeance on the bad guy. Or maybe you find yourself lured into sympathies with moral positions that, if faced in any other context would elicit your firm opposition. Guys, this is the magic of movie-making at work. And its not a good magic. Make no mistake, if you regularly subject yourselves to such skillful, purposeful manipulation you cannot help but have your sensibilities and sensitivities changed.

So, let’s face it. Hollywood is getting it wrong big time in its presentations of sexuality, booze, political philosophy, the sanctity of human life, the nobility of labor, the sacredness of a nuclear family, the grievous harms that come from scatological and blasphemous speech, modesty and social propriety, the satisfaction promised by materialism, intelligent design in creation, secular solutions to the world’s woes, and so much more. And, using the seductive power of their films, Hollywood is influencing even God’s people who, in their supposed need to be entertained, trade away their spiritual discernment and their responsibility to submit all things to the Lordship of Christ.

As I said earlier, some of Hollywood's "film flubs" are humorous and quite harmless. Bogie slapping the polka-dots off Peter Lorre’s tie is just such an innocent (and charming) mistake. But other Hollywood errors are purposeful and sinister -- and they stand defiantly against the basic elements of Christian orthodoxy.

Our entertainment mustn't come at such a price.

Frist Fritters Away Judicial Nominations

From Robert Novak's latest political update --

Judicial Nominations: Remember when Senate Republican leaders were pushing to confirm judicial nominees and complaining that Democrats were holding them up with unprecedented filibusters? Republicans would complain that the Senate was not getting a chance to vote -- "up or down" -- on President Bush's appellate court nominees, and Democrats would respond, with numbers and charts, that nearly all of Bush's nominees were being confirmed. Now it appears that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) is pulling away from the issue of judicial confirmations and resting on the laurels of the Senate's successes to date.


Since the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, the Senate seems to have suddenly gone quiet on the topic of judicial nominations. Even more bizarre, Frist is now sounding a lot like Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) sounded a few months ago as he downplayed the Democrats' obstruction of judges. A recent press release from Frist's office notes: "Currently 94.4% of all judgeships are filled, including 91.1% of all circuit court judgeships and 95.3% of all district court judgeships. Under Senator Frist's leadership, the Senate has made considerable progress on President Bush's judicial nominees, including confirming two Supreme Court justices, 28 circuit court judges, and 112 district court judges and decreasing the number of circuit court vacancies by 36%."


Republican used to counter this by pointing to the large number of appellate nominees whom Democrats were blocking.


But the Frist of today not only sounds like Leahy, but also sounds like he is using the theme of judicial success in order to boost his prospective presidential run in 2008.

Frist fears a "nuclear" confrontation over some of the current nominees -- particularly appellate nominees Terrence Boyle and William Haynes. His very legitimate problem is that he may not have the votes to pull the so-called "nuclear" trigger and confirm either of them with a mere 50 votes.

Still, he can always try, and Democratic intransigence on judicial filibusters could once again become their party's undoing. True, much of the problem this time is Republicans -- namely Senators McCain and Lindsey Graham (S.C.), who are holding up Haynes because of a memo he authored on the treatment of Guantanamo detainees. But McCain wants to be President, and Graham faces a potentially difficult primary in 2008.


The 2002 and 2004 election cycles made Janice Rogers-Brown, William Pryor and Miguel Estrada into political talking points -- just in time to sour the heartland on Democratic obstructionism. This played no small part in huge GOP gains those years. The diffusion of this issue in 2006 is not good for the GOP.


Meanwhile, the 55-Republican-member Senate now has a similar confirmation rate for appellate judges as former Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) had long ago on confirming Clinton nominees to the appellate court. Hatch had been bottling up Clinton judges in the Judiciary Committee.

"A Window of Opportunity"

Today's "must-read" article about the war on terror may just be the "must-read" article of the day -- period. It is that good. Insightful, bold and timely, Michael Ledeen's column in National Review Online is really excellent.

Christians in Lebanon Speak to the Issues

Here from Baptist Press is a report on the Israeli vs Hezbollah conflict that you're not hearing in the MSM's omgoing stories. This one includes perspectives from Christians in the region. It is an eye-opening, heart-opening article.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

High Gas Prices Bringing You Low?


If you're tired of high fuel prices...tired of being overly dependent on foreign oil...tired of being manipulated by politicians who say one thing and do another -- get your SUV/compact car/hemi-powered pickup/motorcycle/lawn tractor or whatever and drive to Washington, D.C. to lodge your vociferous complaint.

Oh yeah; you can't afford the trip. Plus, it's too hot to be on the road anyhow right now.

So, will you at least read this article by Terrence Jeffrey and send a letter or two? Terrific.

Katie's Causes

Could Katie Couric's philanthropy cause a significant conflict of interests with her job as a independent, objective news anchor? In this Town Hall column, Brent Bozell explores that question with a few very enlightening perspectives you'll want to read.

NY Times Gets It Wrong (Really Wrong) About Parental Involvement Laws

The New York Times front page article boldly proclaimed their "findings" -- parental involvement laws have had no effect at all in reducing teenage abortions.

Hmm; doesn't that fly in the face of common sense? Of course it does and, especially when one considers the deep disdain the Times has always held for pro-life legislation of any kind, it should prompt the reader who is looking for accurate information and honest applications to check out more careful sources.

Well, here you go. In an excellent article written for the Heritage Foundation and just posted on the web, Dr. Michael J. New takes on the sloppy and slanted job the Times did on the issue. Dr. New's article, "Getting It Wrong: How The New York Times Misinterprets Abortion Statistics and Arrives at Incorrect Conclusions," can be read (and should be!) right here.

Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer Responds to Waxman "Pseudo-Study"

The Waxman "study" that I've spoken of the last couple of days is this morning splashing all over the web, the major mouthpieces of the MSM (mainstream media), and, of course, in the giggles of Waxman's pro-abortion pals up on Capitol Hill, in Planned Parenthood centers, and in the Democrat Party headquarters.

Here's today's press release responding to Waxman's phone call-based science from the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer. You'd better read it here because there's no way you'll hear it from Katie Couric and company. (And after reading through the Coalition's press release, please check out the excellent response to Waxman's committee from the good folks over at CareNet. You'll find that piece right here.)

Democrats' Abortion Politics Trumps Women's Healthcare / Like Tobacco-State Congressmen, Democrats Protect Cancer-Causing Industry, Influence Scientific Decision-Making


The Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, a women's group, denounced U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman and other Democrats on the House Government Reform Committee for advancing the interests of the abortion industry at the expense of women's health.


In their recent report, Waxman and other abortion enthusiasts on the committee attacked crisis pregnancy centers, in part because their personnel inform women about research supporting an abortion-breast cancer (ABC) link. [1]


Eight medical organizations acknowledge that abortion leaves women with an increase in cancer-vulnerable tissue. [2] There are two abortion-related cancer risks, but this effect is the only risk that scientists debate.


Yet, Waxman et al. would have women believe political propaganda. They falsely claimed, "There is a medical consensus that there is no causal relationship between abortion and breast cancer."


"Like tobacco-state congressmen, Waxman et al. have worked to protect a cancer-causing industry and influence the U.S. National Cancer Institute's scientific decision-making, without regard for the public health," asserted Karen Malec, the coalition's president. [3]


The cancer establishment already acknowledges another cancer risk resulting from abortion. The American Cancer Society's website says, "Much of the long-term underlying increase in (breast cancer) incidence among women is due to historical changes in reproductive patterns, such as delayed childbearing and having fewer children." [4]


Childbearing protects women from the disease because a third trimester process in pregnancy matures cancer-vulnerable breast tissue into cancer-resistant tissue. This benefit is lost through abortion. Experts, therefore, agree that the woman who has an abortion has a greater risk than does the woman who has a baby.


Even an expert witness for the Center for Reproductive Rights, Dr. Lynn Rosenberg (Boston Medical School), admitted under oath that the 15-year-old who has an abortion has a greater risk than does the 15-year-old who has a baby. [5]


"Why do Waxman and other Democrats on the committee hate women?" asked Malec. "Even the research they cite found a statistically significant 89% risk increase for women who have second trimester abortions." [6]


The Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer is an international women's organization founded to protect the health and save the lives of women by educating and providing information on abortion as a risk factor for breast cancer.


References:


1. "Federally Funded Pregnancy Resource Centers Mislead Teens about Abortion Risks," July 17, 2006. Available at: http://www.democrats.reform.house.gov/story.asp?ID=1080


2. See www.abortionbreastcancer.com for a list of medical groups recognizing an independent link between abortion and breast cancer.


3. Letter to Tommy Thompson, Secretary of Health and Human Services from Representatives Henry Waxman, Sherrod Brown, Nita Lowey, et al. October 21, 2002.


4. American Cancer Society website visited July 18, 2006. Available at:

.

5. Rosenberg (1999) NW FL Women's Health v. State of FL, FL Ciorcuit Ct., 2nd circ., videotape deposition of 11/18/99, pp. 77-78.


6. Melbye M, Wohlfahrt J, Olson JH, Frisch M, Westergaard T, Helweg-Larsen K, Andersen PK. Induced abortion and the risk of breast cancer. N Engl J Med 1997;336:81-85.

Fire Thunder In...Out...In...and Now Finally (?) Out Again

The sad and silly case of pro-abortion advocate Cecelia Fire Thunder just won't go away...until maybe now.

You know the course of events so far -- Fire Thunder, who was the tribal president of the Oglala Sioux, responded to the South Dakota legislature's move to ban abortion by promising to start an abortion clinic on the reservation. But the tribal council stepped in and, after a temporary ouster of Fire Thunder, made it a permanent move by a formal impeachment. At least they thought it was permanent. But, like elsewhere in America, a judge (Lisa Adams) stepped in and decided to overrule the decision of the Oglala's elected representatives and, with a resounding bang of her gavel, reinstalled Fire Thunder.

But catch this! Yesterday, Adams vacated her order after it was pointed out (gently, I'm sure) that she had no authority whatsoever to issue an injunction against the tribe or one of its officials. Wow. It turns out that the democratically-elected tribal council of the Oglala Sioux will not "suffer fools gladly" nor will they allow judges to willy-nilly rule them from the bench.

Shouldn't the rest of us learn a lesson here?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

More on Waxman's Pseudo-Study

Yesterday's blog entries here included an alert and a few comments about Henry Waxman's government "study" which seeks to portray counselors at pro-life pregnacy centers as liars and hypocrites. The MSM loved Waxman's inventions and they traveled all over the cybersphere yesterday too.

Only one minor problem -- Waxman's game was so outrageously biased and groundless that it may fail to stimulate the fire among politicians that he so desperately wanted.

Today's LifeNews has a very good follow-up story.

NY Court Ruling Denying Same-Sex Marriage Having Effect

"Less than a week after New York's highest court ruled that denying same-sex couples the right to marry did not violate the State Constitution, a lower court on Long Island denied health benefits yesterday to the partner of a Uniondale man.

In his ruling, a State Supreme Court justice in Mineola said that even though they had wed two years ago in Canada, the men's marriage was not recognized by the state. The decision was the first by a New York Court to refer directly to last week's watershed decision by the New York Court of Appeals. The appellate court, by a 4-to-2 majority, found that in laws dating back nearly 100 years, the State Legislature had intended to limit marriage to a union between a man and a woman, and that lawmakers had a rational basis for doing so."

(Source: Alan Feuer, "No Shared Benefits for 2 Men Wed in Canada, Judge Rules," The New York Times, July 13, 2006)

Hat tip to the World Congress of Families.

Even Heterosexual Marriage Creates a Stir Among Anglicans (When the Bishop Has Had 3 Wives)

Marriage is designed by God to be a union between one man and one woman -- despite the protestations of liberal Protestant denominations determined to differ from their Maker on that point. But it seems that even when the union does involve the correct sexes, these denominations still want things their way instead of the clear mandate of Holy Scripture. Case in point -- the ordination last month of Barry Beisner to become a California Bishop of the Episcopal Church who, by the way, is twice divorced and now on his third marriage.

There is a very interesting and detailed report on the debate surrounding the decision from VirtueOnline, The Voice for Global Orthodox Anglicanism right here.

And, you guessed it, the delegates to the conference did not ask either of the former Mrs. Beisners to give testimony to the good Bishop's character. After all, the Episcopal Church is a progressive, forward-looking denomination and things like former wives are so...yesterday.

Who's Politicizing Science Now?

If you didn't catch a previous post from yesterday here on Vital Signs Blog about Science magazine printing an attack letter aimed at Do No Harm (and by association all advocates of adult stem cell research), do so now and then come back here and read Tony Perkins' fine commentary on the matter. It comes via Family Research Council's e-mail daily updates...updates, by the way, that are excellent and free. You can sign up here.

Who's Politicizing Science Now?

Today the Senate begins consideration of three bioethics bills, one of which would fund stem cell research that requires the destruction of human embryos. Embryonic stem cell research has been misrepresented, and over-hyped. So it comes as no surprise that a proponent of embryonic stem cell research and human cloning, Dr. William Neaves, wrote a letter criticizing FRC"s Dr. David Prentice for claiming that the published literature shows 65 diseases in humans have been treated with adult stem cells. What's more disheartening, the journal Science published it without giving Dr. Prentice a chance to respond, a usual practice for scientific journals. Even worse, Science does not disclose Dr. Neaves's expenditure of $10 million to advance Missouri's clone and kill human embryo ballot initiative.

In the hit piece, Dr. Neaves falsely accuses Dr. Prentice of claiming that adult stem cells are being regularly used as FDA-approved treatments in the United States. While some treatments have been FDA approved others listed by Dr. Prentice, such as Parkinson's and spinal cord injury, occurred overseas and would not involve the FDA. Rather, Dr. Prentice has correctly pointed out that many patients are being helped in these trials. One wonders based on his own criteria, how Dr. Neaves knows embryonic stem cells from cloned embryos are going to treat people, when not a single disease has been treated by this method in any trial. The good news is that the list is now at 72 diseases that have been treated in humans with adult stem cells.

The Taxman vs Free Speech

The IRS is putting churches and other tax-exempt organizations on notice that the hammer will be falling fast and hard on "improper campaigning" this election season. And after the dramatic changes of McCain-Feingold which severely hampered the historic rights of free speech, churches and charities may well find themselves in trouble with the taxman. For how does a church teach biblical values on such crucial topics as sanctity of life, marriage, decency, gambling, and many others which unavoidably connect to political contests without drawing the censure of the IRS?

Will churches cave in?

Or will churches finally force a confrontation with the outrageous and unconsitutional powers that have been ceded to the IRS?

And will they realize that whatever the government threatens as a penalty, the church has responsibilities "to preach the truth in season and out of season." Yes, Reverend, that means election season too.

The bold encroachment on civil liberties of the McCain-Feingold law and the subsequent hunger of the IRS to police it, should have us all realize right now this simple truth -- tax exemption isn't worth the moral cowardice it may demand.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Waxman Waxing Wroth Over Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers

The radically pro-abortion Congressman, Henry A. Waxman, is screaming mad about those pregnancy centers that are getting a little bit of federal funding. True, he has no problems at all about the huge dollops of dough the government dishes up for Planned Parenthood every year. Nor does he mind that PP dispenses bad advice and bad condoms (the worst on the market as determined by independent labs); and protects perpetrators of sexual crimes against minors; and promotes programs that are blasphemous and over-the-top in indecency; and, oh yes, performs more surgical abortions than anyone in the country.

No, Congressman Waxman isn't bothered by any of those things.

He's buzzed about CPCs.

Therefore, using his Committee on Government Reform Minority Office, Waxman has produced a new "study" claiming that federally funded pregnancy resource centers are misleading pregnant teenagers. About what? Waxman argues that that these CPCs tell callers that abortion is linked to breast cancer, infertility, and mental illness.

Well, Congressman; they are.

But Waxman is no slave to truth; he simply arranges words to make "facts" out of his own predilections. And the MSM (mainstream media) goes right along with him. For instance, this article is one of several around the web today singing Waxman's tune.

Look for a lot more of these type of attacks on CPCs (and any other faith-based program) that gets even the smallest amount of government money. After all, the secular left is a monopolistic ideology with a strict and aggressive zero tolerance factor.

Adult Stem Cell Research Success Grows...Despite False Claims from ESCR Promoters

Do No Harm: The Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics is under attack. What else is new? In the "culture of death" which surrounds us, standing tall for such things as the inherent sanctity of all human life guarentees that you'll make an easy target.

No matter than that this organization is thoroughly professional, maintaining the highest standards of integrity and scientific accuracy -- those whose desire is to push for genetic manipulation, experimentation that willfully destroys human lives, more abortion and less care for the elderly ill, etc. will certainly have no scruples about engaging in character slurs.

This letter from the Do No Harm board persuasively defends their organization from just such an attack. But its readers, of course, will be much, much fewer in number than those who read the Science letter in the first place. That's the kind of uneven playing field that Do No Harm and other pro-life advocates must deal with.

"Honor Suicide" -- Islamic Women Pay the Ultimate Price for Penance

The horrifying trend of "honor suicide" draws this insightful commentary from Debbie Schlussel.

Who Let the Dogs In? Barney Frank's Controversial Immigration Reform

Did Barney Frank, in an attempt to further the homosexual agenda, end up allowing terrorists easier entry into the United States? That's the charge being made by Republican congressional candidate, Chuck Morse. This CNS News story has more (including specific information from Frank himself regarding his motivation for changing the law).

...Prior to the passage of the Frank Amendment in 1990, aliens could be denied entry into the U.S. for three reasons related to their ideology:


-- Participation in activities that would be prejudicial to the public interest or public safety;


-- Membership in subversive organizations or teaching or advocating subversive views;


-- Likelihood of engaging in subversive activities after entry into the country.


The Frank Amendment eliminated those and all other "ideological" prohibitions, substituting a new rule that aliens could not be excluded or deported "because of any past, current, or expected beliefs, statements, or associations which, if engaged in by a United States citizen in the United States, would be protected under the Constitution of the United States."


As James R. Edwards, Jr., author of "The Congressional Politics of Immigration Reform," noted in an Aug. 30, 2005, panel discussion at the Center for Immigration Studies, the Frank Amendment "sought to extend the First Amendment to the world - despite foreigners' lack of corresponding duties that U.S. citizens bear or the status of being subject to the U.S. government's jurisdiction.


"Indeed, this law made it much easier for aliens who hold radical, dangerous, anti-American or subversive political beliefs to enter and remain in the United States," Edwards explained. "This perversion of the First Amendment means the guy who preaches hatred, pollutes hearts and minds, steeps persuadable people in reasons to harm Americans and wage war from within against America ... gets a free pass..."

Embryonic Stem Cell Backers Just Won't Tell the Truth

Facts mean absolutely nothing to the backers of embryonic stem cell research. Here's a story from LifeNews explaing how another major player in the ESCR game is using bad information to pressure President Bush to sign the counter-productive Senate bill that's going to show up on his desk.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Its Not Rocket Science



Have you heard the one about the T-Bird, the Highway Patrol and the two drug-dealing rocket scientists? Check out this account from the St Louis Today news room.

Rescuing Black America




This column from the Marion (Ohio) Star is a profoundly moving appeal for black America to honestly evaluate what has happened to their neighborhoods, their youth, their leadership and make the dramatic moves necessary for real change -- real quick. The author? Star Parker.

Why Israel Is Fighting Back

William Kristol explains the difference between the old Arab v Israeli conflict and what's now happening in the Middle East. His facts are straight and his contention that the present Israeli response to Hezbollah/Lebanon/Syria is a lesson for all Western democracies is well argued.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Austrian Physician Facing Punishment for Not Advising Abortion

As if there wasn't already plenty of pressure on good doctors...

An Austrian doctor who allegedly didn't provide a woman enough details about her unborn child's possible disability, so she could have had an abortion, may be held liable for paying for child support as a result. The case is the latest in the controversial field of wrongful life or wrongful birth lawsuits.


The Austrian Supreme Court has ordered a lower court to consider whether the OBGYN should be required to pay the child support..


Read the rest of this important LifeNews story here.

Hatred of Christianity Produces Preference for Prison Recidivism

Everyone wants fewer criminals, right? And everyone wants prison to be a deterrent to crime, right? And everyone prefers released inmates to keep from returning to prison, right?

Wrong!

For liberals who so hate and fear the power of Christianity, anything that allows for its free expression must be vigorously opposed -- no matter the irrationality, the absurdity or the counter-productive effects such intolerance involves.

Here are a couple of stories highlighting the ridiculous trend of liberal bureaucrats fighting against the proven success of faith-based prison ministries. The first comes via the Telegraph (U.K.) and concerns the move against the program Inner Change in England's prisons and the second (printed in the Weekly Standard) deals with a case much closer to home, Iowa.

Spend Happy Republicans In Denial

Cal Thomas's column is as "right on" as usual. Click on the title of this post to peruse the best Town Hall column of the day.

Liberal Presbyterian Body Soars Into Silly Space

Here's a quick report on the recent convention of the Presbyterian Church (USA) from Agape Press...

A conservative minister says the Presbyterian Church (USA) did more than alter a major doctrine of the Christian faith at its recent convention, AgapePress reports. According to one Presbyterian Lay Committee member, a number of "crazy" actions took place at the denomination's meeting last month in Birmingham, Alabama. At the recent 217th General Assembly meeting, PC(USA) commissioners voted to allow the denomination's churches to use the phrase "compassionate mother, beloved child, and life-giving womb" instead of "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" when referring to the Trinity. This was just one of the 12 phrases approved by the Assembly as permissible substitutions for the traditional names of the Godhead, another being "rock, cornerstone, and temple."


When one California pastor was asked how he felt about the new terminology for the Trinity, he told the Los Angeles Times newspaper, "You might as well put in Huey, Dewey, and Louie."

That minister is not alone in his sentiments -- another conservative Presbyterian theologian and pastor is similarly expressing disgust at what he describes as the denomination's move to "alter a major doctrine of the Christian faith." Pastor Parker T. Williamson, CEO of the Presbyterian Lay Committee, says the PC(USA) is showing contempt for historic church teaching with these substitutions...


Do read the rest of the Agape Press report right here. You'll learn about the denomination's approval to ordain homosexuals (under certain conditions) and you'll be astounded at the debate that ensued over suicide bombing.

The Medical Liability Crisis Affects Us All -- What Can YOU Do?

Across the country, patient access to quality medical care is being threatened by personal injury attorneys who are driving good doctors out of the practice of medicine or forcing them to cut back on "high risk" life-saving treatments.

Protect Patients Now is a nationwide grassroots campaign of concerned citizens and doctors dedicated to passing national medical liability reform that will end lawsuit abuse and make sure that the care you need will be there when you need it.


By the way, Nebraskans are not exempt from the crisis. Although our state has a statutory cap on total damages in medical liability actions, there are still a gang of loopholes. Juries here have thus been able to grant awards that are way beyond that supposed cap.

And the costs of malpractice insurance? Physicians in internal medicine, general surgery and obstetrics/ gynecology have had their insurance premiums rise 20% just between 2003 and 2004 while premiums for neurosurgeons increased 145% in 4 years!

The nationwide insurance carrier, the St. Paul Companies, recently withdrew from the market because of out-of-control lawsuits. SPC was the largest provider of liability insurance in Nebraska, and "some 2000 Nebraska doctors were left scrambling to find liability insurance when the company announced it would no longer provide coverage."

Something must be done quickly. And good-faith efforts have been made but they've been blocked time and again by Senators whose deep pockets have been filled by the trial lawyers.

Check out the 5 1/2 minute film from this page to get an effective overview of the problem. Then check out the action pages which allow you the best ways to communicate to your political representatives. The online petition is right here while information on contacting your Congressmen and Senators is over here. Okay? Let's move!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Vital Signs Ministries Confronts Planned Parenthood Abortionist

With C.J. Labenz closing his abortion business in Omaha, Vital Signs Ministries has now shifted its sidewalk counseling ministry to the even more grisly abortion practice of the Council Bluffs Planned Parenthood. The center there, like all PP facilities, dispenses bad advice, poor quality condoms and, under the description of "contraceptives," very dangerous chemicals. All these are heinous practices in themselves, much more deserving of government prosecution than huge government subsidies, but the Council Bluffs Planned Parenthood has gone further into shame and violence by its hiring of Meryl A. Severson to perform surgical abortions there.

Vital Signs Ministries, has organized and maintained a prayerful, peaceful sidewalk counseling presence at Omaha abortion businesses for over 24 years, including 16 years of a 3-day a week schedule in front of the 49th and L Streets abortuary (operated variously by abortionists Epp, Weidman, and Carhart) as well as over 20 years of the 6-day a week schedule they served in front of the Orr and Labenz abortion center. So, of course, the pro-life activists of Vital Signs Ministries are tired -- but definitely not too tired to stop!

As of today, these dedicated prayer warriors transfer their service in behalf of "the least of these" across the Missouri River to Council Bluffs. May God quickly answer their prayers for babies to be saved from a gruesome death, for moms and dads to be reconciled to Jesus Christ by the sharing of the gospel, for the conversion of heart of Meryl Severson and the others who ply their wicked trade there, and for the greater public exposure of Planned Parenthood's nefarious deeds.

The Other Russia

From Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Patrick Moore comes this description of an emerging opposition force to Vladimir Putin --

A group of opposition leaders and activists launched the two-day Other Russia conference in Moscow on July 11 to raise and highlight opposition concerns on the eve of the G8 summit in St. Petersburg...Lyudmila Alekseeva, who heads the Moscow Helsinki Group, said that participants want "to show the scale of civil resistance to the bureaucracy's trampling of our constitutional
rights and freedoms and to activate our potential. This is not a declaration of war of society against the authorities. This is a call for peace between them -- but on honorable conditions for civil society, on conditions of equal partnership."

Opposition leader and former chess champion Garry Kasparov said the conference hopes to show the world that the Russia that President Vladimir Putin will display at the G8 summit differs from what he called "the real Russia."

Kasparov stressed that "Putin's agenda [at the summit] is not Russia's agenda. It's an agenda of the ruling elite that wants to use our national resources, our national treasure to promote its own self-interests. And Putin, as the leader of this elite, in our view, will be selling our national interest to make sure that the West stops any criticism over human rights and democracy in Russia..."


Several participants at the July 11 session of the Other Russia conference in Moscow said that the authorities used rough techniques to prevent many would-be participants from attending the gathering, the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" reported on July 12. The participants noted that unidentified people confiscated would-be attendees' documents, beat the travelers, detained them, took them off trains, and planted drugs or explosives on them. The participants added that the authorities are so sure of their total control that they did not bother to respond to complaints about such practices.

Some U.S., U.K., and Canadian diplomats ignored Kremlin warnings and attended the gathering. U.K. Ambassador to Russia Tony Brenton told the BBC on July 11 that one of several people who tried to disrupt the conference called him an "imperialist." Brenton defended official U.K. presence at the meeting by saying that he favors the "widest possible political debate in Russia." He also justified U.K. participation in the summit, noting that it is best to discuss important issues with Russian leaders rather than ignore them...


Some liberal groups such as Yabloko and the Union of Right Forces boycotted the Other Russia meeting... to protest the presence of groups they dubbed nationalist or extremist, such as the National Bolsheviks... Conference organizer Kasparov dismissed their complaints, saying that those who did not come are not in the opposition. Opposition activist Valeria Novodvorskaya told RFE/RL's Russian Service, however, that she wants nothing to do with the conference. She noted that four organizations participating are not democratic, but rather "Stalinists and neo-Nazis. This represents the downfall of the Russian democratic movement, because the G8 will draw the following conclusion: 'We are right to stand behind Putin. Let him control this bedlam.'"

Outside the gathering, dozens of pro-Kremlin
demonstrators stood clad in American Indian-style feather headdresses. One of them told RFE/RL's Russian Service that this outfit signaled their belief that the conference is bankrolled by foreign enemies of Russia, including the United States. The daily "Trud" wrote on July 12 that the conference is a "gathering of has-beens."

NJ Supreme Court to Hear Important Medical Malpractice Case Against Abortionist

The radical judicial fiat of Roe v Wade continues on its collision course with scientific realities, especially the technology that has allowed us to not only see into the womb, but to medically treat the tiny patient therein. Thus, the ever increasing awareness by the public of abortion's injustice, unnaturalness and barbarity.

Other developments that have dramatically damaged the "abortion rights" cause is that we're learning more every day about how unsafe abortion is to the adult woman and of how uncaring, secretive, incompetent and manipulative abortionists are in their businesses.

Today's decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court to hear an appeals case from a woman hurt by abortion and misled by the abortionist shows again the schizophrenia in medical practice, law and culture that Roe v Wade began. And anytime there is careful scrutiny of the details of that schizophrenia, the abortionists squirm.

Indeed, this case (Rose Acuna v Sheldon V. Turkish) is particularly worrying to them because it forces the court to consider what science has clearly established; namely, that a baby is a baby even in the first trimester.

Note the wording used in this medical malpractice, informed consent case. The plaintiff, Rosa Acuna, both as an individual and as the Administratrix of the estate of "Michael Doe," sued Dr. Sheldon C. Turkish because he failed to obtain proper informed consent from her before terminating her pregnancy. The plaintiff claimed that Turkish "failed to inform her that [the fetus, Michael Doe], although a person unborn, was a complete, separate, unique and irreplaceable human being...."

This is definitely a story to watch...and to pray about.

For more on this case, you might check out this article from last April by the Alliance Defense Fund.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Decency Enforcement Coming Around?

From Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council comes this encouraging report...

President Bush last month signed the Broadcast Communications Decency Enforcement Act. I attended that signing ceremony. And guess what--it's already working. That law increased by 10 times the fines for use of indecent language on your public airwaves. Now, each infraction can cost the guilty broadcaster $325,000. As a result, broadcasters are rushing to buy time-delay machines that enable them to "bleep" offensive language. Some are re-writing their contracts with their on-air talent to make it clear that the shock jocks will personally pay the fines if they go over the line. Some comedians and other entertainers are even taking out insurance policies to cover them if they fail to clean up their acts.


The Washington Post reports on comedian Ralphie May. May's potty mouth costs him $22,000 a year for his $1 million policy. Now we may see insurers less willing to serve as what May calls "a big shield" for smutty performers. The Washington Post and other liberal news outlets have been worrying editorially about the "chilling effect" of such stricter enforcement of decency laws. Maybe the chill will encourage Janet Jackson and other to keep their exposed body part in a warmer, covered place.

It Pays to Dress Up

It is very trendy nowadays to "dress down" to impress people with how common, how self-effacing, how approachable you are. It is a trend evident even in church services where congregants have dismissed earlier traditions when worshippers tried to honor the Lord in their demeanor, sobriety and including their attire. But modern Sunday mornings have folks showing up in shorts, sweatsuits, midriff-baring pullovers -- you name it. Casual and comfortable are the watchwords even if classless and clueless are also. And this trend is rapidly being embraced by the leadership of the church too as preachers naively believe that going without a tie or coat somehow enhances the persuasive power of their sermon. Sigh.

But here is a nifty story of a young entrepreneur who challenged the fashion myths and found that it paid off quite handsomely.

Anti-Christian "Catholics"

Do you ever wonder how extreme the heterodoxy has to get before the Vatican and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops finally engage the dissenters and demagogues? Well, if they let churches like Minneapolis' St. Joan of Arc continue like it is, there will soon be no meaning whatsoever to the phrase, "church authority."

Stephen Brady, founder of Roman Catholic Faithful, recently drew attention to the far-out activities of the church and strongly criticized Archbishop Harry Flynn for letting the circus go on without interference. For instance, the church web site openly promotes a yearly "prayer service" for homosexuals, bi-sexuals and the transgenered as well as featuring the church's support of many liberal causes, including even the "reproductive freedom" campaign of the ACLU!

And, as if those things weren't bad enough, perusing the web site will reveal several other items of grievous disappointment to faithful Catholics...and, indeed, even to evangelical non-Catholics like myself.

Archbishop Flynn, just why on earth do you let this stuff go?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Another Stephanopoulos Stumble

The web site, NewsBusters, should definitely be on your Bookmark list. It is an excellent source for keeping up with just how wild, how wicked and how unremitting is the MSM's radicalism in pushing its own liberal agenda. This story from last Sunday's ABC talk show This Week is a good example.

Opponent of China's Forced Abortions Scheduled for Trial

An activist who has been arrested, beaten and had his family detained in their home for bringing international attention to a local city's campaign of forced abortions is scheduled to be on trial next week. Chen Guangcheng will be tried on Monday on trumped up charges of destruction of property and assembling a crowd to disrupt traffic.

Chen, a blind attorney, got in trouble with local officials last year when he exposed the nightmare events of forced abortions and sterilizations in Linyi in interviews with Time Magazine and the Washington Post.


Local family planning officials had forced as many as 10,000 women to submit to abortions or sterilizations.


Anyone who attempted to flee was apprehended, beaten, and held hostage in city prisons until their relatives came forward and paid large fines for their release...


Read the rest of this compelling LifeNews.com story right here.

An Overlooked Effect of Racism

This piece by Dennis Prager is my nominee for "Today's "Must-Read" Town Hall column. Very good.

The "Emergence" of the Religious Left

Religious liberals have been around for a long, long time. However, the MSM (mainstream media) is starting a campaign to suggest that these folks represent a new, hopeful development in their own battle against conservative values. This CBS News story is an example.

But the truth is that religious liberals are on the ropes. Note, for examples, the declining attendance in their churches and their declining influence in the public square. After all, who needs milquetoast preachers like Tony Campolo, Jim Wallis, Bill Moyers and so on when the secular liberals are more focused, more experienced and far more effective?

No, it is the Bible-oriented evangelicals and traditional Roman Catholics whose ranks are growing. It is their churches that are pushing out the walls; their radio and television programs that draw the listeners; their web sites that count up the hits; their political power that remains on the rise; and their activism which is increasingly influential. So influential indeed that Tony and all his pals in the World Council of Churches, the dying denominations and the MSM are becoming more frantic and hostile than ever before.

So, sure; the MSM will try its best to create out of the whinings of displaced liberal preachers a "movement," but it is one made only from the usual smoke and mirrors.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Comparing One's Cell Phone to One's Bible

We all receive an unwanted amount of exhortational/informational/humorous e-mails sent along to us, right? And yet, every once in awhile, one comes along that you like enough to risk alienating your own friends by making them open it up too. Well, I won't send it as an e-mail, but I will take the chance and post one of those incoming messages here on the Vital Signs Blog

I might add that this message was especially welcome to me as it came from an old high school buddy (Class of '69) that, like myself, eventually became a Christian by trusting the finished sacrifice of Jesus Christ for his soul's salvation.

Here's the piece:

What would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our
cell phones?

What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?


What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?


What if we flipped through it several times a day?


What if we used it to receive messages from the text?


What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?


What if we gave it to kids as gifts?


What if we used it as we traveled?


What if we used it in case of an emergency?


What if we upgraded it to get the latest version?


This is something to make you go... hmmm.. where is my Bible?


Oh, and one more thing. Unlike our cell phone, we don't ever have to
worry about our bible being disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill!

Thanks, Bob! And stay the course!