Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Missing Link

Here's a quick reflection from the "Vital Signs" radio vault about Darwinian evolution's most elusive star.

A Thousand Christians Protest Abortion in Hungary

This news story about pro-life Christians in Hungary is of interest on two fronts: 1) It reminds us that fidelity to the Word of God requires Christians everywhere to prayerfully, peacefully protest the murderous actions of abortionists, and 2) It reminds us that causes connected to the Word of God are going to be treated unfairly and incompetently by reporters...even by reporters who claim to be religious themselves.

The story comes from BosNewsLife which describes itself as "an Internet news agency covering stories on Christians and Jews living in difficult circumstances for whatever reason, including persecution, as well as other hard hitting news stories from around the world." Their slogan is "Breaking the News for Compassionate Professionals." Yet the story about the pro-life Christians in Hungary is replete with the same kind of arrogant, distorted techniques one is used to in the mainstream media.

For instance, the reporter replaces the word "baby" as used by the March of Life for the Future by a word he/she prefers, "fetus." Bad journalism. In addition, the reporter adopts the condescending attitude of using quotation marks around such basic words as "silent" and "mourn" -- another obvious example of his/her unfounded sense of superiority.

By the way, I found another version of this story at, of all places, the English-language edition of the People's Daily Online (China). It was much shorter -- but much closer to proper journalism too.

Saddam's Gone. What Now?

I haven't read or watched much of the MSM's reporting on the execution of Saddam Hussein...but what I have has been shallow, slanted and poor. You have probably concluded the same. Therefore, for a report you can consider more honest and relevant, try this brief but valuable Radio Free Europe interview with Joost Hiltermann.

Friday, December 29, 2006

The MRC's "Notable Quotables" from 2006

Do you really think the mainstream media acts according to some kind of leftist agenda?

Yes, Clyde; I do. And, if you have any doubts yourself, take a stroll through these several pages of the Media Reserach Center's "Notable Quotables" from 2006.

The Top Ten Junk Science Moments of the Year

Did you know that your baking Christmas cookies was an environmentally-destructive activity? Well, according to the obvious import of an AP story out of Seattle last week, it was. The story explained that "Researchers at the University of Washington say all that holiday baking and eating has an environmental impact — Puget Sound is being flavored by cinnamon and vanilla. 'Even something as fun as baking for the holiday season has an environmental effect,' said Rick Keil, an associate professor of chemical oceanography. 'When we bake and change the way we eat, it has an impact on what the environment sees. To me it shows the connectedness.'"

Wow. Does this mean you should put away forever your cookie cutters, oven mitt and chocolate sprinkles? Well, only if you're dumb enough to believe in all the other politically-correct fairy tales and knucklehead notions churned out by academicians, judges, liberal politicians -- and the duped and dutiful "journalists" who serve them.

To take a quick sanity check on these matters, why not take a look at the Top Ten Junk Science Moments of 2006 as compiled by the folks over at In fact, why don't you go ahead and put those cookies in the oven and read the article until they're ready.

The Extremist Abortion Views of Barack Obama

Yes, I know I've blogged about Barack Obama and his radical enthusiasm for abortion before. But, let's face it; if you and I do not speak up (loudly and frequently) about the wicked positions of this fellow, who will? The NY Times? 60 Minutes? Rick Warren?

Read through these "credentials" of Senator Obama regarding abortion as tallied by Amanda Carpenter...and keep talking about them.

But, Baby, It's Cold Outside: Europe, Belarus and Russia In a Natural Gas Crisis

Here is trouble for Belarus' Communist dictator Alexander Lukashenka that he really wanted to avoid. According to reports from Radio Free Europe, Gazprom (Russia's government controlled monopoly who supplies natural gas to Belarus and, through Belarusian pipelines, to parts of free Europe) has announced that this weekend will see a sharp price increase for Belarus. If the country's leader fails to accept the price hike, he must face the fact of a cutoff -- no small crisis for Belarus in winter.

"Belarus' negotiating position is irresponsible and puts the issue of the whole country's energy supplies under threat" said a Gazprom spokesman as he explained that Belarus currently pays $46.68 per 1,000 cubic meters of natural gas, while Gazprom will be raising the price to $200 per 1,000 cubic meters.

Now the move isn't all about immediate cash for Gazprom. Indeed, they're looking for something bigger; namely, a huge part of the company currently handling the Belarus pipeline system. Thus, the Gazprom offer is that Belarus can pay $80 per 1,000 cubic meters in cash and the rest with a 50% share in the Belarusian pipeline operator Beltranshaz. Argues the Gazprom official, "The price at which Gazprom sells gas to Belarus is not only subsidized, which is unacceptable for equal cooperation of two states, but is also loss making for Gazprom because it does not cover its production and transportation costs,"

Of course, the European Union is very concerned about this matter because it receives some of its natural gas supplies from Russia via Belarus pipelines. To that fear, Gazprom is shrugging their shoulders. The company says it will continue to deliver Europe-bound natural gas via Belarus even if no contract is signed with Belarus. Said Aleksandr Medvedev, head of Gazeksport, "All volumes of gas on our export contracts will be delivered to the Belarusian border on January 1 even if we sign no contract with Belarus" but denied responsibility beyond that point. "Transit and supplies issues are not and will not be linked...I do not want to forecast Belarus' behavior in this case."

What's it all mean? Higher gas prices? Severe shortages? Increased pressure from both Russia and the EU on the Belarusian despot, Lukashenka? This is most definitely a situation to keep careful watch on.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Vital Signs Blog "Weekly Review"

One of the relatively new services (and, happily, a very popular one) offered by Vital Signs Blog is a "Weekly Review." This is a quick list of selected posts from the previous week featuring the 6 or 8 that we believe are most important.

These titled posts are already linked so that you can just click on the ones you're interested in and zip on over to those specific posts. It's a great way to stay connected to the best of Vital Signs Blog without having to necessarily make a daily visit. Not that we're not delighted with those daily visitors, of course! But we do want to be of the best, most efficient service to you.

So, if you are not already on the "Weekly Review" e-mail list but would like to be, please just send us a request (and the appropriate e-mail address) to

We will be honored to have you aboard.

The New Atheism: Proselytizing in the Name of the Void

There's a new ethos in atheism nowadays, one not content with merely ignoring those who believe in God or even in presenting a porcupine defense of their position when riled by the religious. No, the new move is towards promotion of their...uh, faith.

Mike Hostetler pointed out this article to me from Wired Magazine and, though long and a bit exasperating, it is important to note. The article describes this new approach as a kind of atheistic evangelism -- excepting, of course, that there's no particularly "good news" in the belief that man is simply a chaotic combination of time, chance and dead matter with mind, emotion, love, heroism, ideals, hope, etc., all being tragic illusions.

What, No Fireworks?

Nancy Pelosi's 4-day coming out party will be a glittering, busy, star-studded...and carefully manipulative affair.

And what about the enormous expense and unapologetic narcissism of the event?

Who cares! The Democrats are again at the helm of the ship of state!

This Is the Lost Luggage Department?

We all knew those misdirected suitcases had to be going somewhere -- but this?

America's Colleges: Dumbing Down & Turning Left

The Young America's Foundation has produced an alarming, distressing, but "must read" list of the most bizarre leftist courses being taught in American universities. And bizarre is not really a strong enough word to describe the very expensive and very wicked indoctrination that is going on.

Young America’s Foundation Spokesman Jason Mattera remarks, “The Dirty Dozen demonstrates that professors still have an obsession with dividing people on the basis of their skin color, sexuality, and gender. They also can’t seem to shake off a strong admiration for Karl Marx and his murderous ideology—apparently the 100-plus million totalitarian regimes have murdered over the years is not enough?!”

The Dirty Dozen list (along with several dishonrable mentions) includes such courses as:

...Occidental College’s The Phallus covers a broad study on the relation “between the phallus and the penis, the meaning of the phallus, phallologocentrism, the lesbian phallus, the Jewish phallus, the Latino phallus, and the relation of the phallus and fetishism;”

...Queer Musicology at the University of California-Los Angeles explores how “sexual difference and complex gender identities in music and among musicians have incited productive consternation” during the 1990s;

...Students enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania’s Adultery Novel read a series of 19th and 20th century works about “adultery” and watch “several adultery films.” Students apply “various critical approaches in order to place adultery into its aesthetic, social and cultural context, including: sociological descriptions of modernity, Marxist examinations of family as a social and economic institution” and “feminist work on the construction of gender;”

...Duke University’s American Dreams/American Realities course seeks to unearth “such myths as ‘rags to riches,’ ‘beacon to the world,’ and the ‘frontier,’ in defining the American character;”

...UC-Berkeley’s Sex Change City: Theorizing History in Genderqueer San Francisco explores “implications of U.S. imperialism and colonization for the construction of gender in 19th-century San Francisco’s multicultural, multiracial, and multiethnic” community. The course also covers “contemporary transgender, queer, genderqueer, and post-queer cultural production and politics” and “the regulation of gender-variant practices in public space by San Francisco’s Anglo-European elites...”

You can check out the full article at the Young America's Foundation site right here.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Radical Liberals Co-Opting Christian Leaders

Here's a very sad example of how the left exploits Christian leaders when those Christians are too naive, status conscious, egoistic...or just plain foolish to figure it out.

The case in pont here involves the groups that are part of Working Assets (Planned Parenthood, ACLU, Mother Jones Investigative Fund, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, Greenpeace, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, etc.) applauding the "progressive" views of Rick Warren, Joel Hunter, and Jim Wallis.

Indeed, this report from their own website shows these leftist extremists almost giddy that there is now a rival ideology within evangelical circles to the evil "Falwell-Dobson axis."

Rev. Warren, what have you got yourself...and, by association, the rest of us...into?

Why Are Evangelicals Beginning to Warm to Global Warming?

As you know, many in the evangelical community are being duped by the MSM's constant moan over the global warming hoax. If you're at all interested in what's going on with this matter, or in looking at what the true scientific evidence reveals about global warming, I suggest you check out Dr. E. Calvin Beisner's "Scientific Orthodoxies, Politicized Science, and Catastrophic Global Warming: Challenges to Evangelicals Navigating Rough Waters in Science and Policy."

Yes, the 15-page paper is longer than the average blog post or connected article, but it will print up in just a couple of minutes and will then make excellent, valuable reading for your next coffee break. The paper, by the way, is an address given by Dr. Eisner at last month's Evangelical Theological Society conference in Washington, D.C.

New York's New Mental Health Insurance Law Poses All Sorts of Problems

As if insurance costs weren't high enough already!

I'm afraid that George Pataki's signing of "Timothy's Law," a mandate that insurance companies provide coverage for most mental illnesses heralds an alarming new trend -- one which will 1) see insurance premiums soar still further, even for relatively healthy Americans; 2) create huge new subsidies for the costs engendered by risky and dissipated lifestyles; and 3) add to the legal and financial pressures on doctors and hospitals to practice "cost containment" which, in truth, becomes "care containment."

And note the article's promise of still further "development" of the idea -- "It will not, however, require coverage for treatment of post traumatic stress disorder, or for drug and alcohol dependencies -- a concession that was necessary to win sufficient support to pass the bill. Its sponsors have vowed to add those disorders to the list covered by the new law in future years."

Right This Way to the Destruction of the American Family

Janet LaRue, the chief counsel for Concerned Women for America, has a not-to-miss guest column over at Town Hall about how the agenda of the homosexual lobby and the evolution of American law (following the Supreme Court's Lawrence decision) will soon make the legalization of polygamy a searing issue.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Mystery Men of Christmas and Other Reflections

With preparations for our "Santa runs," a trip to Lincoln, our hosting of 5 friends for Christmas dinner and, just discovered necessary, a visit to the doctor's, I think this will be my last blog post for the next couple of days. So, here it is, a mini-collection of Christmas-oriented "Vital Signs" programs that I hope will enlighten and enrich your holiday.

First off is a two part presentation about The Mystery Men of Christmas. Here's Part One. And here's the finish.

Next up is a program which explored The Man Who Tried to Murder Christmas.

And I close off with a personal look at how Claire and I gloriously s - t - r - e - t - c - h out our Christmas experience in The True Season of Christmas.

Christ's Advent vs the Brave New World

David K. Naugle has written an outstanding essay, "Competing Cultures of Advent: Humanity's Quest for Hope" and you'll find it over at Charles Colson's Breakpoint web site. It is a piece which makes terrific reading for Christmas. Or, for that matter, for New Year's Day or Easter or Groundhog Day!

Here's an excerpt:

...To be sure, the kind of advent expectation that characterizes non-Christian culture is considerably different in character than the advent expectations of the Church. In contrast to the biblical story with its promise and fulfillment of a coming Savior who will redeem humanity and all creation from the tragic consequences of sin, death, and Satan, our secularized culture—which is no less religious in character—offers its own humanistic narrative of a redemptive history that focuses on other kinds of saviors and other kinds of salvation.

In particular it focuses on the savior of science, which is deemed to be omniscient or all knowing, and the savior of technology, which is said to be omnipotent or all-powerful, and the savior of the economy, which is said to omnibenevolent or all good. When the three facets of this secular trinity are combined into one, they will construct a humanistic utopia that will overcome evil and injustice, and make all things new! This is our secularized advent hope; in truth, it is the biblical story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11 revisited...

Naugle, a professor of philosophy at Dallas Bible University, is also the author of Worldview: The History of a Concept (an insightful review by James Skillen of which is here.)

The Legacy of Che

Fidel Castro is near death, and it is important to realize that with his death one of the last hardcore communist totalitarian states may fade—remaining only as a bad memory. It is ironic that the man that helped Castro enslave Cuba, Che Guevara, is lauded by the campus Left. College professors present him as a heroic doctor who departed his homeland of Argentina to struggle for the release of the people of Cuba from the rule of dictator Fulgencio Batista. After succeeding there by accomplishing the first and only socialist revolution this hemisphere has ever seen, Che later moved to Bolivia to aid the Left. He died as a martyr in Bolivia.

Che has become a figure etched deeply into the public conscience. It began during his time. Pundits, authors, and television hosts including Walter Lippman, Ed Murrow, Jean Paul Sartre, Norman Mailer, Jack Paar and Ed Sullivan glorified him. The promotion of Guevara continues today. From coffee mugs to posters to jingles at the end of key rings to t-shirts, everywhere one turns one’s head, he finds the face of Che staring back. In 2004 at Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival, The Motorcycle Diaries, a film about Che, received a standing ovation. This was the only such ovation at the festival. However, nowhere is the promotion of Che as intense as it is on America’s colleges and university campuses. Courses promote him, professors extol him, and undergraduates suffer through learning his radical ideas.

However, several problems lurk for those who would consider Che to be a shining moral example. Topping the list is evidence that Che was a mass executioner who conducted many of his executions without a jury. Che said, “To send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary.” Such a judicial procedure in his mind was “just an archaic bourgeoisie detail.” He reminded those who listened that “this is a revolution! And a revolutionary must be a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate.” Che’s firing squads employed a .45 slug and fired from a distance of five paces, splattering blood, brain, and bone on the wall behind, which was later shown to the friends and relatives of the recently deceased...

And yes; there's more grim wickedness about the Communist thug to learn about. And you will certainly not learn it from the MSM or your kid's college professors. So, read the rest of this Floyd Brown article right here.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The War Over Intelligent Design Is Anything But Over...And, Oh Yes, Don't Miss the Christmas Stuff Either!

Our friend, Dr. Ray Bohlin, has recently written a really good article on the desperate movement of the powers that be against Intelligent Design. It is at the Probe Ministries web site (always a good place to surf around in) and you'll find it right here. Excellent.

And, by the way, in your surfing the Probe site, don't miss their Christmas-oriented articles: The Christmas Story: Does It Still Matter? by Rusty Wright; The Theology of Christmas Carols by Robert A. Pyne; Is Christmas Necessary? by Jerry Solomon; The Star of Bethlehem by Dr. Ray Bohlin; Christmas Film Favorites by Todd Kappelman; How Could the Wise Men Have Found Baby Jesus in Nazareth? by Kerby Anderson; and, finally A Christmas Quiz by Dale Taliaferro.

As our friends over in Manchester, England would say -- they're champion!

What Has 2006 Shown Us About Religion in America?

For 25 years now George Barna has been conducting national public opinion surveys -- surveys that have drawn particular attention to the nation's changing religious values. His work, once hailed by nearly everyone in the religious communities, isn't quite so popular nowadays because Barna's honesty, candor and courage to plainly tell the truth about uncomfortable findings have caused some of his former friends to turn him off. It is a classic case of blaming the messenger rather than dealing with the message.

But George Barna, himself a conservative evangelical, is dedicated to bring the truth (however unexpected or distressing) to those who need to hear it and who can therefore use it to effect appropriate action. He is a very important "watchman on the wall" for America and, in particular, for the Church of Jesus Christ.

Each year, Barna underscores some of the most significant findings from his research of that year. If you would like to quickly review those results (or, since the site also has links to connect you to the original stories, if you would like to pursue them in greater detail), please go right here. And to encourage you, here's a few of the items Barna explores there:

* Three out of every four teenagers have engaged in at least one type of psychic or witchcraft-related activity...

* The notion of personal holiness has slipped out of the consciousness of the vast majority of Christians. While just 21% of adults consider themselves to be holy, by their own admission large numbers have no idea what “holiness” means and only one out of every three (35%) believe that God expects people to become holy...

*Most Americans have a period of time during their teen years when they are actively engaged in a church youth group. However, Barna’s tracking of young people showed that most of them had disengaged from organized religion during their twenties...

* Seven out of ten parents claim they are effective at developing the spiritual maturity of their children, but the Barna survey among 8-to-12-year-olds discovered that only one-third of them say a chu
rch has made “a positive difference” in their life; one-third contend that prayer is very important in their life; most of them would rather be popular than to do what is morally right. In fact, “tweeners” (those ages 8 to 12) deem their family to be vitally important in their life, but just 57% said they look forward to spending time with their family and only one out of every three say it is easy for them to talk to their parents about things that matter to them....

In addition, Barna shares information from his research about "Christian Revolutionaries", house churches, post 9/11 spirituality, the near invisibility of evangelical leadership, and more.

So do check out this important review. Once again, it is here.

And while you're at the site, you might want to scan the excellent resources available from the Barna group. They include leadership training, discussion guidelines, films and even books like the very impressive Transforming Children Into Spiritual Champions shown at left.

What is a Genuine Conservative? TJ Has Ten Basic Principles.

Not only is this Terence Jeffrey column a must-read, it is a must-keep.

Indeed, TJ's stern reminder of the ten most basic principles of conservatism can be used for several important purposes: 1) A sanity check for when too much MSM begins to warp your mind; 2) A wake-up call to be used when you start to get too complacent (or even timid) in the face of other conservatives compromising with the culture; and 3) A sharp innervation for otherwise cowardly politicians who promised you conservativism but are now failing to produce.

Necessary services all and this fortifying column is just the thing to help them get done right.

Calling Good Evil...and Vice Versa

In yet another case of meddlesome political correctness gone amok, the American Public Health Association has not only come out against abstinence education but also wants to be counted in favor of assisted suicide! Yipes!

Here's the story from LifeNews.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Outgoing EU Presidency Expresses Concerns About Russia, Belarus

Here's an intriguing report sent along by Radio Free Europe, describing the speech of Finland's Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen to the European Union a few days ago. The Finnish EU Presidency is soon to be superseded by Germany.

Vanhanen, in characteristic understatement, said he was "not altogether sure that Russia is heading in the right direction." He noted that "one of Finland's priorities was to strengthen the EU's policy towards Russia.... At the informal [October] summit in Lahti, we had a good discussion with Russian President [Vladimir] Putin, and the EU succeeded in speaking with one voice to Russia.... Russia is important for the EU [and] we are bound together by many ties, but it is fair to say that certain trends in Russia give us cause for concern....We need to see a firmer commitment to democracy, the rule of law, and the market economy. We do not want Russia to go in an authoritarian direction. We are fully entitled to be concerned at the way things are going in Russia."

Vanhanen went on to say that "the construction of Europe is a work in progress while there are still democratic black holes like Belarus so close by. A disgrace to Europe. There should not be any such places left in Europe."

Germany succeeds Finland in the rotating presidency on January 1. The Foreign Ministry, which is controlled by former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democratic Party (SPD), has drafted a plan independent of Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union (CDU-CSU). The ministry seeks to promote German and EU ties to Russia on the basis of an expanding network of interrelationships.

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Grinches

...There's a reason bells ring out at Christmas and not on the opening day of Congress. Nor can secularism, the creeping creed of a creepy age, drive that reason from the hearts and minds of men. In the secular doctrine of man alone, bereft of God, there is neither warmth nor richness nor comfort -- just terrible coldness beneath a star that fails, perversely, to sputter out.

Bill Murchison also takes a look at the sad, soulless lot who are modern enemies of Christmas.

What Did You Do in the War on Christmas, Daddy?

One of the pioneers of the modern conservative movement is also one of its most perceptive and eloquent champions, William Rusher. And therefore, when William Rusher speaks, smart people listen.

So, doesn't it behoove you to check out Rusher's reflections on the ever-increasing war on Christmas? See you over there.

Cloning and Christmas

At Christmas, not only Christians but all the world thinks of babies - babies today, and The Baby then, Jesus Christ. As Wesley, the greatest poet of Christmas since he was of all hymn-writers most alive to the divine assumption of human nature, sang:

Our God contracted to a span
Incomprehensibly made Man."

He was "made Man" as a baby; to be precise, he was manifest as a baby having been miraculously conceived in his virgin mother's womb, in a central Christian doctrine of telling relevance to contemporary bioethics. Human nature, in its indivisible and ineffable dignity and from its first beginnings, bore the weight of the Second Person of the Trinity. Any lingering doubts that humankind may have had as to human worth were vanquished with one stroke of the divine pen as "the Word became flesh." It is not the Christian view - pace Peter Singer - that members of Homo sapiens are uniquely significant in themselves, in a power grab among species. Having made us in his image, he now deigns to take our own form for himself. We derive our dignity from God, and he has underlined that dignity in terms that would be sheer blasphemy were they not revealed at the heart of our faith: by walking with us as one of us. And - in another aspect of this doctrine of equally telling relevance to the bioethics of "posthumanism" and all its works - he bears our human nature still. Hear Wesley once more:

Of our flesh and of our bone,
Jesus is our brother now.

Or in the more prosaic terms of Princeton's Charles Hodge, doyen of Reformed theologians of the nineteenth century, "he who sits on the throne of the universe is both perfect Man and perfect God."

Christmas, as the festival of the Incarnation, is the world's opportunity for reflection on what it means to be human, to bear this nature that God modeled after his and has taken to be his through the en-fleshment of his Son...

I hope this excerpt from Nigel M. de S. Cameron's article, "Cloning at Christmas: A Reflective Commentary," will encourage you to read the whole thing. You may need to increase the text size to read the piece, but it's well worth that minor task.

Omaha Decides to Forego Harrassment of Free Speech & Assembly

Largely because of the Omaha World-Herald's over-the-top bias in favor of Planned Parenthood and other abortionists, we have not read an edition of their rag since the mid-80s. Our friends all know this. However, they do sometimes send along to us W-H articles they think we should know about...and sometimes they're right. Here's a brief piece which, I hope, will end Mr. Gernandt's absurd plans for a picketing ban. (Don't these politicians ever read the Constitution?)

Then again, the naive Mr. Gernandt wasn't around 20 years ago when I sued (successfully) the City of Omaha and forced an end to the police arresting us for sidewalk counseling outside abortion clinics. Maybe someone there at City Hall did remember and passed along the word. Whatever the reason, the scheme is defunct...for now. Here's the story as sent along by Mary Jane:

Anti-Picketing Bill Dead

Dec. 19, 2006

An ordinance to restrict picketing at Omaha homes is dead. Realizing the votes were not there, Omaha City Councilman Garry Gernandt asked this morning that the measure be placed on file, meaning that the ordinance won't come up for a vote.

The ordinance would have required pickets to stand across the street from a targeted home, or at least 50 feet away if the home is on the same side of the street. It was based on a Lincoln ordinance that has been upheld as constitutional by a federal court. Larry Donlan, who heads Rescue the Heartland, said he was pleased the ordinance failed. "Obviously the majority on the council realized the bill was grossly unfair and unworkable. In Omaha free speech is safe at least for now, so we are very pleased."

Abortion provider Wendy Davis said in an interview with the Omaha World Herald, "I'm not surprised at the outcome, but I'm disappointed." "It seems like (pickets) have all the rights, and I don't have any."

Seven members of Rescue The Heartland held a prayer vigil at Ms. Davis's house late this afternoon. Mr. Donlan said that their intention was not to "harrass" Ms. Davis but to hold her accountable and to "pray for her to have a change of heart during this holy season." He also said that they were willing to "help her find a job, if she showed a desire to get out of the abortion business."

Davis told the OWH that she won't leave her job because of the pickets, as Rescue the Heartland has requested. "This is all about me quitting my job," Davis said. "I'm not going to let them win that way."

Donlan said that they hold similar vigils at other abortion provider's homes such as Omaha abortionist Meryl Severson and plans to include others as well.

On Blogging During the Christmas Rush

With Christmas coming on like a glorious winter storm, my schedule hasn't allowed for much in the way of blogging this last week. And, I'm afraid, the next few days leading up to the Day itself will not be much better. Not that I'm complaining -- good gracious, no. Christmas around here creates almost as much joyous excitement as at the North Pole. Nevertheless, what with entertaining, writing and sending Christmas cards (e-mail as well as the "old school" method), making treats for our "Santa runs" to friends' houses, planning the Christmas dinner for several guests, shopping, the welcome spiritual excercises of this holy season, and so makes it especially difficult to fit blogging activity in.

But, I will try and set some time aside to make sure Vital Signs Blog stays current -- even through Christmas. After all, the battle for our culture, our faith, our very minds wages as hot as ever

But, please do make a point of getting over to The Book Den in these days for there you will find posts more directly related to the serenity, joy and spiritual challenge of this terrific holy season. Be sure to utlize the Topical Index to search "Christmas" posts even from last year.

Now, back to work.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Free Speech An Endangered Species When the Democrats Return to Power

When does "lobbying reform" become an even more restrictive abridgement of free speech than it has already? When Nancy Pelosi gets her way!

Here's an article by Amanda Carpenter over at Human Events that's sure to curdle your cream.

Whatever Happened to Pat Boone?

The good-looking crooner with the white buck shoes rivaled Elvis as a teen heart throb back in the day -- a day in which he sold more than 45,000,000 records! Not bad. Pat Boone also starred in a dozen popular movies and wrote one of the best-selling books of the 1950s.

But he hasn't been standing still since. In fact, he's busier than ever as a husband/dad/grandpa/great grandpa, a speaker, a writer, a pro-life advocate, and, of course, a singer too.

Rebecca Hagelin brings us up to date with this interesting column.

Rick Warren Urged to Demonstrate Greater Commitment to Pro-Life Issues

Agape Press is reporting --

A Christian activist group is asking one of the most popular pastors in the nation to show more concern about the violence against women and children through abortion. Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life and pastor of Saddleback Church in Southern California, recently hosted an AIDS summit at his church. Warren came under fire from many in the evangelical community for inviting pro-abortion Senator Barack Obama to speak during the event.

Now Pat Mahoney, who is executive director of the Christian Defense Coalition, is encouraging Warren to speak out on issues other than AIDS. "We wonder why Pastor Warren on one hand would embrace government policies when it comes to AIDS but, on the other hand, run from it when it comes to abortion," Mahoney says. "And we would say [to] Pastor Warren, 'Exhibit the same commitment. You believe the government should actively be involved in a policy toward AIDS, and we agree with that. [But] what about the horrible tragedy and violence and terror of abortion?'"

The Coalition leader says he has asked Warren to take part in an international summit on abortion and the Church. "We've extended an invitation for Pastor Warren to come speak at a pro-life prayer event in front of the [Wichita, Kansas] clinic of George Tiller, the most notorious abortion doctor in America," Mahoney explains. "And we are also trying to partner with Saddleback to have a [pro-life] summit there -- the same kind of summit he had on AIDS and the church ...." So far, says Mahoney, Pastor Warren has not responded to the invitation.

Conservative Jews' Leadership Surrenders to Homosexual Pressures

Exactly what does "Conservative" mean to the leaders of Conservative Judaism?

Well, after the latest decision by the 25-member Rabbinical Assembly Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, some will undoubtedly conclude the term must mean "appeasing," "amoral," or "anything-but-conservative." For in endorsing the legitimacy of homosexual activity (including same-sex unions and even the ordination of homosexual rabbis), the Committee has thrown over the obvious intent of the Torah and millenia of Jewish scholarship.

It is a sad, sickening example of capitulation to the spirit of a godless age.

Here's the Reuters story.

Is That a Scandal Hiding Behind Barack Obama?

As far as political scandals go nowadays. this one attached to Barack Obama will likely never go anywhere. Certainly not with the the MSM so giddily enthralled with how Obama is capitalizing on his folksy style to hide his ultra-liberal record and opinions. Nevertheless, it does show the fellow has that bit of blindness to potential ethics problems that proverbially mark Chicago politicians.

Oh yes, as far as a few other choice readings about Obama today, you would do well to check out Donald Lambro, George Will, and Lawrence Kudlow.

The Last Christmas Card

What do modern "Season's Greetings" cards tell us about the erosion of culture? Jeff Jacoby has some illuminating (and distressing) answers in this Town Hall column. An excerpt...

From the land that produced "A Christmas Carol" and Handel's "Messiah," more evidence that Christianity is fading in Western Europe: Nearly 99 percent of Christmas cards sold in Great Britain contain no religious message or imagery.

"Traditional pictures such as angels blowing trumpets over a stable, Jesus in his manger, the shepherds and three wise men following the star to Bethlehem are dying out," the Daily Mail reports. A review of some 5,500 Christmas cards turns up fewer than 70 that make any reference to the birth of Jesus. "Hundreds . . . avoided any image linked to Christmas at all" -- even those with no spiritual significance, such as Christmas trees or Santa Claus.

Presumably the greeting-card industry is only supplying what the market demands; if Christian belief and practice weren't vanishing from the British scene, Christian-themed cards wouldn't be, either. But some Britons, not all of them devout, are resisting the tide. Writing in the Telegraph, editor-at-large Jeff Randall -- who describes himself as "somewhere between an agnostic and a mild believer" -- announces that any Christmas card he receives that doesn't at least mention the word "Christmas" goes straight into the trash. "Jettisoning Christmas-less cards is my tiny, almost certainly futile, gesture against the dark forces of political correctness," he writes. "It's a swipe at those who would prefer to abolish Christmas altogether, in case it offends 'minorities.' Someone should tell them that, with only one in 15 Britons going to church on Sundays, Christians are a minority."

Meanwhile, the employment law firm Peninsula says that 75 percent of British companies have banned Christmas decorations for fear of being sued by someone who finds the holiday offensive. And it isn't only in December that this anti-Christian animus rears its head. British Airways triggered a furor when it ordered an employee to hide the tiny cross she wears around her neck. At the BBC, senior executives agreed that they would not air a program showing a Koran being thrown in the garbage -- but that the trashing of a Bible would be acceptable.

"It's extraordinary," remarks Randall. "In an increasingly godless age, there is a rising tide of hatred against those who adhere to biblical values." A "tyrannical minority" of intolerant secularists is openly contemptuous of traditional moral norms. "The teachings and guidance of old-fashioned Christianity offend them, so they seek to remove all traces of it from public life..."

Again, the rest of Jacoby's column is an important read too so you are.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Sakharov Prize Awarded to Belarusian Freedom Hero

Former opposition presidential candidate Alyaksandr Milinkevich received the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought in Brussels on December 12, an RFE/RL correspondent reported. "This is not only my prize. Together with me, this prize also goes to all those Belarusians who are struggling for freedom, all those who came to the square this spring [during and after the presidential election] to defend their dignity, all those who were and still are imprisoned, those who were expelled from universities and who were fired from their job," Milinkevich said in his acceptance speech.

Milinkevich noted that the EU -- which is barred from funding activities in other countries not sanctioned by their governments -- lacks an efficient mechanism of assistance to pro-democracy movements under undemocratic regimes. Milinkevich advocated establishing a European "antidictatorship fund" to allow the EU to take direct action against authoritarian regimes. He pledged to donate his 50,000 euro ($65,900) check linked to the prize to the European Parliament to support victims of political persecution in Belarus.

Read the moving story of Milinkevich's acceptance of the award and of the injustice he has fought against right here.

Holiday Greetings to Cover All Persuasions

Okay, okay, so I hardly ever put into the blog "floating e-mails." But, like a high school senior, when they make the grade, they get passed on. So, passing this along from our good pal, Linda, from however many dozens passed it along to her, here are sets of holiday greetings to cover all your acquaintances:

For My Democrat Friends:

"Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, diversity appreciative, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

We also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the generally accepted calendar year 2007, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. And without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishees.

By accepting these greetings you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for herself or himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher."

For My Conservative Friends:

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Is There a War Against Hanukah Too?

As Michael Medved explains, there is a war against Hanukah too -- at least, a meaningful, fact-based appreciation of Hanukah.

...Most Jews (and certainly most Christians) dismiss the winter holiday as a trivial, feel-good festival about candles, potato pancakes, spinning tops (dreidls),and eight nights of gifts, without coming to terms with its serious, relevant and distinctly uncomfortable messages. While frequently (and fatuously) described as a “celebration of tolerance,” Hanukah is more properly designated as an annual re-dedication to the values of the Religious Right.

No wonder that so many American Jews (with their reflexive, often ignorant liberal instincts) refuse to acknowledge the real Hanukah and its politically incorrect messages. In last week’s Washington Post, a householder from Potomac, Maryland named Kenneth Nechin proudly explained that his home attempts to honor the “deeper meaning” of the holiday: “Religious tolerance, the freedom to practice religion, minorities overcoming majorities who are trying to take your rights away.”

Actually, far from celebrating “diversity” or “tolerance” or “respect for every faith,” Hanukah (the name means “dedication” in Hebrew) marks a singular display of intolerance-- when religious zealots, exalting the values of “that old time religion,” came into the Temple in Jerusalem and drove out all alternate, “creative” forms of worship. In the “For the Miracles” (Al HaNissim) prayer recited at least three times a day by religious Jews during the eight days of the festival, we salute this uncompromising assertion of absolute truth: “Your children came to the Holy of Holies of Your House, cleansed Your Temple, purified the site of your Holiness and kindled lights in the Courtyards of Your Sanctuary.” No, the fervently faithful rebels did not assign a special area for other religious impulses as part of some ancient commitment to multiculturalism...

Read the rest of Medved's invigorating column here.

Must We Believe the Virgin Birth?

Here's a great column by theologian Albert Mohler. Just click on the title of this post to go there.

Most Americans Want to Hear "Merry Christmas"

...According to a poll by Zogby International, 95 percent of Americans said they were not offended by a "Merry Christmas" greeting in stores...In fact, the new poll indicated that 32 percent of respondents said they took offense at "Happy Holidays..." (Christian Post article by Audrey Barrick.)

Since retailers are even more adept than politicians in reading the opinions of America's citizens, the Zogby poll indicates there are other forces at work in the deliberate anti-Christmas actions taken by Best Buy, Gap, and so many others.

Yes, Virginia; there is a war against Christmas (and the Lord Incarnate the holiday celebrates). Therefore, a concerted effort by consumers is very much in order to defeat the Grinch spirit before it grows even worse.

Say Goodnight, Mitt.

It turns out that Mitt Romney, the Massachusetts governor who has high hopes of securing the G.O.P. nomination for President in '08, has a few items in his record that will turn off conservatives in a profound way. For instance, the Mormon governor now hails as a champion of family values and repeatedly draws attention to his opposition to same-sex marriage. However, when running against Teddy Kennedy just two years ago, Romney went out of his way to win over homosexual voters by promising them "more effective leadership" in establishing "full equality for America's gay and lesbian citizens" than Kennedy had shown.

Hmm...more aggressively gay-friendly than Ted Kennedy? Does Romney really think that's the sort of promise that will win over America's values voters?

And yet, that's not all that concerns conservatives about Romney's record. You'll learn more in this story from the Daily Herald (Boston). You'll see there that Romney's duplicity in this matter is not at all pleasing to homosexual activists either.

Stick a fork in him, he's done. The Romney candidacy ends before it ever got started.

Whose Being Naughty & Whose Being Nice About Christmas?

Returning for another year is Concerned Women for America's "Naughty & Nice" lists to help you decide which companies and stores are Christmas-friendly and which are playing at anti-Christmas antics. Here they are.

The Democrats' ESCR Plans: Bad Science, Bad Ethics, Bad Policy

Yuval Levin has an elucidatory article about yet another example of embryonic stem cell mythology. It comes from National Review Online and you'll find it right here.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

At Work for Justice and Freedom: The Belarus Democracy Act Extended

One of the good things coming out of the last days of this Congress was that the Belarus Democracy Reauthorization Act of 2006 was passed, extending the Belarus Democracy Act of 2004 for at least another two years.

Said Rep. Chris Smith, the author of the bill, "As one who has worked for freedom in Belarus over many, many years, I remain deeply concerned that the Belarusian people continue to be subjected to the arbitrary and self-serving whims of a corrupt and antidemocratic regime headed by Alyaksandr Lukashenka."

The bill authorizes $27.5 million in funding for democracy-building activities in Belarus while also banning the U.S. government from providing financial assistance to Belarus, except for humanitarian aid, until Minsk conducts a thorough inquiry into the 1999-2000 disappearances of Lukashenka's opponents, releases political prisoners, drops charges against opposition figures, and ends the prosecution of independent media and pro-democracy organizations.

"Liberal Christian" Star Learns to Not Give a %!/#%!

Kristin Chenoweth is a beautiful, talented and award-winning actress and singer who has won herself a huge audience of fans, including enthusiastic admirers among homosexuals (one of her film roles was a lesbian and Ms. Chenoweth has been outspoken about her support of same-sex marriage) and, ironically, among some Christians. The appeal to the latter group stems from her being raised as an evangelical, making an album of religious songs, and starring in several "family" productions with Disney, Sesame Street and several city symphonies. Indeed, the lady styles herself as a "liberal Christian," something the MSM is very interested in touting nowadays.

Here's a little bit of Jesse Green's article about Ms. Chenoweth from last week's New York Times:

“God knows I’ve made mistakes and been criticized for them,” Ms. Chenoweth said unflinchingly...“When I was promoting ‘As I Am’ last year,” she said, “I went on ‘The 700 Club,’” Pat Robertson’s talk show on the Christian Broadcasting Network. “I wasn’t thinking about what it represents. I guess I was living in a little bit of a bubble, and I was surprised that it upset so many people. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t go, because I don’t agree with that antigay stuff. I don’t understand what the big deal is with gay marriage. Get over it, people. What if it was a sin to be short? Well, I guess it is in the Miss Oklahoma pageant.” (She was the runner-up in 1991.)

But when she assured her theater fans that she supports gay rights her Christian base was outraged; she was disinvited from performing at a Women of Faith conference in September 2005. She drew further criticism when she appeared in a parade of tiny bikinis in the March 2006 issue of FHM. Though even her parents were uncomfortable, she’s stopped apologizing.

“I’m a young woman, I like men, I’m not going to pretend to be what I’m not,” she said. “Anyway, I’ve finally graduated from the college of I Don’t Give a Hoot.” But “hoot” was not her first choice of words.

New Attack on Christians in the Military

From the Family Research Council...

The Department of Defense (DOD) is entering a new conflict over the religious rights of military personnel. Once again, retired Air Force lawyer Michael Weinstein has come to the forefront in his campaign to curb the speech of evangelicals in the military. The latest is a call to investigate seven military officers for their appearance in a video for an organization called The Christian Embassy.

The Embassy, whose mission is to spread faith and offer encouragement to government officials in Washington, D.C., taped interviews with four generals and three colonels at the Pentagon in full dress uniform along with Congressmen and other government officials. Weinstein's group charges that the officers violated the regulations that prohibit personnel from appearing in uniform during "speeches... rallies, or any public demonstration... which may imply Service sanction of the cause."

In 2003, another Army Lieutenant General was criticized for appearing in uniform at churches, but the Inspector General ruled that he was acting within his rights. Whether or not the department takes action against these men, the true effect, and I believe intent, is to silence any soldier with religious convictions--a result that should have us all up in arms.

Senate Freshmen Fight the Fat

...But DeMint [Jim DeMint, South Carolina, shown at right] rose to make clear that he and his fellow freshman Republican, Sen. Tom Coburn, would use the many parliamentary devices at their disposal to block an omnibus bill. Their alternative was what is called a continuing resolution, extending spending at its present level into next February. That meant the lame-duck session would be porkless.

Sen. Ted Stevens, the old appropriator renowned for delivering pork home to Alaska, erupted with an exhibition of his famous hair-trigger temper. Sen. Thad Cochran, a courtly Southern gentleman and Stevens's successor as Appropriations Committee chairman, made the case in calmer language. Sen. John McCain, happy to have two Senate rookies pick up the anti-pork mantle he has carried for many years, was making snide comments in a stage whisper. But DeMint was not about to be moved by either threats or persuasion...

Read the rest of Bob Novak's story of this significant (but, with the Democrats coming to power, perhaps temporary) victory over "porky politics."

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Jewish Case for "Merry Christmas"

Don Feder is always a delight to read -- cogent, concise and caring about the issues that matter most. Check out the latest essay over at Feder's Cold Steel Report entitled "The Jewish Case for 'Merry Christmas'".

Friday, December 08, 2006

Who Poisoned Alexander Litvinenko?

...Do you think Anna Politkovskaya, the journalist who was investigating the war in Chechnya, was shot dead in her elevator by rogue elements? What about Viktor Yushchenko, the presidential candidate in Ukraine and eventual winner, poisoned with dioxin during the campaign, leaving him alive but disfigured? Ultra-nationalist Russians?

Opponents of Putin have been falling like flies. Some jailed, some exiled, some killed. True, Litvinenko's murder will never be traced directly to Putin, no matter how dogged the British police investigation. State-sponsored assassinations are almost never traceable to the source. Too many cutouts. Too many layers of protection between the don and the hitman.

Moreover, Russia has a long and distinguished history of state-sponsored assassination of which the ice-pick murder of Trotsky was but the most notorious. Does anyone believe that Pope John Paul II, then shaking the foundations of the Soviet empire, was shot by a crazed Turk acting on behalf of only Bulgaria?...

Read the rest of Charles Krauthammer's dauntless column right here.

Brownback Goes to Prison

Mr. Compassionate Conservative: Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas considers a run for president. So why is he spending a night in prison?

This is the title (and subtitles) of a distinguished Weekly Standard article by Terry Eastland and you'll see how the contrast between both the faith and the resultant political principles of Senator Brownback and the fellow covered in the post just beneath this one (Senator Barack Obama) couldn't be more striking.

Eastland's article is most definitely a must-read for those trying to find a candidate they can wholeheartedly support in 2008.

Barack Obama: The Democrat's New Super Hero

Kathleen Parker has a Town Hall column here in which she investigates the "rock star popularity" of Barack Obama. It is a piece with good information about Obama and his dramatic rise to prominence.

And, among other points she makes in the column, there is a most disturbing one about Obama's inroads into the Christian community, a matter I've been warning about in recent days, especially with Rev. Rick Warren's invitation to Obama to share his pulpit at Saddleback Church. Here's that paragraph...

While speaking recently to an evangelical audience gathered in Pastor Rick ``The Purpose Driven Life'' Warren's megachurch -- a water-parting event in itself -- Obama said that ``abstinence and fidelity, although the ideal, may not always be the reality. ... If condoms and potentially things like microbicides can prevent millions of deaths, then they should be made more widely available.'' He received a standing ovation.

By the way, an even more detailed, more hard-hitting look at Barack Obama can be found in next week's Human Events. But guess what? You can read that article (Barack Obama Is Just Another Liberal by Amanda B. Carpenter) right now by simply going right here!

Such service you get at Vital Signs Blog, right?

Sex on Campus -- What a University Psychiatrist Wants You to Know

In the latest online issue of The American Spectator, Robert VerBruggen writes an interesting, balanced review of a new book that you may have heard being discussed on talk radio the last few days. The book is Unprotected: A Campus Psychiatrist Reveals How Political Correctness in Her Profession Endangers Every Student. Just click on the title of this post to read the review.

Will Churches Need to Cover their Crosses Lest They Offend?

Here's a story about a federal court suit which seeks to require churches (when serving as polling places) to cover up any signs, messages, symbols, artwork, etc. that might carry a religious meaning.

With the government school system, the mainstream media and the U.S. courts moving in the directions they have been for four decades, "silly season" is now all year long.

NARAL Criticized for Being Too Gentle in Promoting Abortion

Jane Hamsher is upset at NARAL because -- get this -- they haven't been aggresive enough in promoting abortion. Writing in the ultra-liberal blog site, The Huffington Post, the producer of the films Natural Born Killers, Permanent Midnight, From Hell and the author of the best-selling book, Killer Instinct (You think this gal's got a fixation on death here?), has high hopes that the Democrats are going to make abortion a greater priority than they have already.

That, of course, means the elimination of any and all common-sense restraints on killing preborn humans.

Welcome to Permanent Midnight indeed.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

More Bad News for Pro-Life Advocates from Washington

Among the final actions of the Republican-controlled Senate and Congress are two most sad and shameful.

The Congress failed to pass the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act while the Senate voted to confirm the sinister Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach to head the Food and Drug Administration.

In the first case, 162 Congresspersons voted to keep women seeking an abortion from being informed of the facts that their preborn children may well feel the pain of the gruesome procedure. The Act would have required that abortionists also offer anesthesia to the child if the mother still decides for the abortion. Of course, the Act's offer of a soporific is ironic in the extreme and pro-life advocates supported it because they know that any light revealing the humanity of the child in utero presents a much greater chance for the mothers to do the right thing and protect the life they bear. The pro-abortionists know this as well and that is why they voted as a bloc against the measure. They want to appear humane, of course, and so will continue to kiss babies at political rallies and vote for legislation that protects spotted owls and snail darters. But anything that might turn a mother's heart from the grisly wickedness of abortion? No, they'll fight like...well, like keep that from happening.

And the second action? Well, let's see. Dr. von Eschenbach has served as Director of the National Cancer Institute and yet, in that immeasurably powerful position, helped the abortion industry to keep hidden the scientific studies linking abortion to breast cancer. Indeed, the doctor held a conference ostensibly designed to examine that very link only to have the final view dismiss the connection altogether. That, my friends, is a callous act of political-correctness trumping sound science. Not a nice point in Dr. von Eschenbach’s resume.

Then, as Acting Director of the FDA, von Eschenbach has ignored other grave dangers to women like the abortion drug RU-486. He has also approved the extremely irresponsible sale of the abortifacient "morning after pills" over-the-counter. No, Dr. von Eschenbach is bad news on many fronts and his appointment represents a terrible cop-out by President Bush and the Republican-controlled Senate.

Sure, it will get a lot worse for the cause of truth, the sanctity of life and the freedom of genuine scientific inquiry under the Democrats. But, to be honest, the G.O.P. hasn't been handling these precious items very well under their watch either.


Christmas Reflections

...Christmas, the real thing, isn’t just the pastoral scene at the manger, but the supernatural moment when God came crashing into the domain of the devil, bringing the seal of doom upon his nefarious kingdom. The tiny heel that emerged Christmas night from the womb of Mary, in an irony that stunned even the angels above, was the very heel that would crush forever the arrogant serpent who had dared raise a fist to the Holy Trinity.

The prophecy of the devil’s defeat was afar off no longer. The victory was at hand and nothing Satan could do would stave it off...

For those of you who do not receive the monthly edition of the Vital Signs Ministries' LifeSharer letter, I invite you to read my commentary on Christmas that the last one expressed. You can read it right here at the VSM web site. Please do.

Pseudo-Evangelical Jim Wallis Gives the Democrat Radio Address

From the Family Research Council...

In an attempt to showcase their newfound comfort with appeals to people of faith, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and the Democratic Party asked the Rev. Jim Wallis, a liberal writer-activist, to deliver last Saturday's weekly national radio address. Wallis used his two minutes of air-time to discuss how the religious community "has no monopoly on values" and how politics requires spiritual commitment.

During the address Wallis went out of his way to declare, "I am an evangelical Christian" and said, "To be an evangelical means to preach and live and act in a way that is good news to poor people." It means "overcoming poverty." Wallis is a veteran Washington figure and he has been a frequent and consistent critic of conservative Christians who put priority on issues like the sanctity of human life and marriage.

Interestingly, none of the people Wallis has criticized has delivered, or is ever likely to deliver, the GOP's weekly radio address, no matter who is President. Instead, they are best characterized by their willingness to speak the truth, to anyone willing to listen, on the essential issues of hearth and home that are the surest route to peace and prosperity.

Bishop Harry Jackson of New Hope Christian Church in Maryland, president of the High Impact Leadership Coalition, typifies this kind of leader. He speaks with equal passion about the sanctity of marriage and the need for religious leaders to boldly address both parties, knowing that sometimes this will make them less welcome behind a partisan microphone.

Not Good: The Loss of John Bolton

In the latest edition of the Evans-Novak Political Report (which you can get sent to your own e-mail box by going right here), Bob Novak had this review of what happened with John Bolton...

...The decision by John Bolton not to pursue confirmation as UN ambassador was his own, though it is not clear that the President Bush wanted to go through the parliamentary maneuvers needed to keep him in office.

The victory by Senators Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) and Joseph Biden (D-Del.), both presidential hopefuls, is a serious blow to hopes for bipartisanship in the next Congress. The Dodd-Biden vendetta, despite Bolton's excellent service at the UN, tells the story of what Democrats really consider "bipartisan."

Lameduck Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.) provided the decisive vote keeping the Foreign Relations Committee from reporting Bolton's nomination, with the probability that he would have been approved by the full Senate. Republicans are enraged by Chafee, who was heavily supported for renomination by the White House and the GOP establishment. Chafee had privately indicated that after he was elected that he would vote for Bolton, but his loss apparently relieved him of that responsibility.

The White House suggested the long-vacant deputy secretary of State's post or a Cabinet-level counselor's post for Bolton were possibilities. While he was not actually offered either post, Bolton appears to have had enough of dealing with vindictive Democrats.

Bolton did an extraordinary job at the UN, especially in achieving Security Council unanimity on the Korean question. But Dodd was implacable in preventing his confirmation as he had been earlier in keeping Otto Reich from being confirmed as assistant secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs. Both foes of Fidel Castro, the two were unacceptable to Dodd as enemies of normalizing relations with Communist Cuba.

Rick Warren: You Need the Left Wing Too

The keen eyes of Jill Stanek take a close look at the Rick Warren/Barack Obama connection that I have blogged about a few times in the last couple of weeks. Jill does a very good job in explaining Rev. Warren's bad decision and then in examining the effects of that decision as well.

As usual, clear thinking and equally clear prose from Jill on an important subject.

Remember When the U.S. Used to Win Wars?

...It has been six decades since we emerged fully victorious from a major "hot" war. This is because the very definition of war has changed. Each modern war is now more of a battle than a war. Tearing out the enemy's motivating ideology by the roots is no longer a nation-centric task. Nazism was located in Germany and Shintoism in Japan. We could defeat both countries and win the war. Fundamentalist Islam, however, spans the globe. Even if we disestablish fundamentalist Islam in Afghanistan and Iraq, we still have not won the war. Afghanistan and Iraq are the equivalents of Okinawa and Utah Beach. Super-national ideologies mean that war is not a local affair, but a global one.

So how do we win a global war? We won the Cold War by waiting out our communist opponents. We could lose the war in Vietnam and still win the broader Cold War. We could stalemate in Korea without losing the fight against communism. Communist ideology was bankrupt, and if we denied them resources (as we did by funding anti-communist forces around the globe and rolling back communism under President Reagan), we would be successful in the long run.

That strategy will not work with fundamentalist Islam. Fundamentalist Islam is not an ideology that will crumble from within. It demands total religious obeisance of its practitioners, regardless of material hardships incurred. And anything but total replacement of fundamentalist Islam by another, friendlier ideology is seen as a victory by the fundamentalists...

Read the rest of Ben Shapiro's frank and fundamental exposition right here.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Early Christian Church Unearthed in Shiloh

Here'a a brief but very interesting on-site article written by Harry de Quetteville for the Telegraph (U.K) about the discovery of one of the world's earliest Christian churches, a building located on a site believed to have once housed the Ark of the Covenant.

Nebraska Med Center Continues Campaign of Distortion In Behalf of Embryonic Stem Cell Research

From Greg Schleppenbach, the esteemed Director of the Bishops' Pastoral Plan for Pro Life Activities of the Nebraska Catholic Conference, comes the excellent article printed below. It is a response to UNMC's latest "stage show" in which officials continue their campaign of misinformation and manipulation designed not only to promote immoral research using little human beings, but to have taxpayers spend more money to do it!

UNMC Undermines Public Trust
by Greg Schleppenbach

Last week I attended a “Mini-Med School” on stem cells conducted by officials from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The program, which was broadcast to 20 sites around the state, featured two presentations and a panel of UNMC officials answering questions designed to “separate fact from fiction” about stem cells and cloning.

From the extensive (and expensive) advertising of the event to the stacked deck of UNMC officials answering screened questions, this event was an “in-your-face” affront to the moral sensibilities of a significant percentage, if not majority, of Nebraskans who believe that human beings at the embryonic stage deserve the same protection as human beings at other stages of life.

The first presentation provided a straightforward and neutral primer explaining the different types of stem cells. The second presentation, however, under the pretense of “separating fact from fiction”, presented a view that clearly favored embryonic stem cells over adult stem cells.

For example, the presentation basically dismissed any suggestion that adult stem cells (ASCs) could be as promising as embryonic stem cells (ESCs) in treating disease. Specifically, regarding whether ASCs could be as capable as ESCs in producing most of the body’s cells, the presenter said such a notion “may be more aggressive business” [by profit-seeking companies] than good science & medicine” thus dismissing substantial published evidence to the contrary (see

The presentation also badly misled listeners about public opinion on embryonic stem cell research citing several biased polls that conveniently omit the fact that such research involves destroying human embryos. In what I believe was a calculated attempt to poke the Catholic Church in the eye, the only religious-oriented poll cited was an incredibly biased “Catholic Voter Poll” showing 72 percent support for embryonic stem cell research. Who sponsored the poll? Catholics for a Free Choice, a pro-abortion and decidedly anti-Catholic organization.

During the question and answer segment, one of the panelists dismissed as “a bunch of baloney” the data showing that human patients have benefited from adult stem cell treatments for 72 different diseases while no human patient has benefited (to date) from embryonic stem cells. The panelist attempted to discredit the source of the information (Do No Harm Coalition and Dr. David Prentice) and its citations (with no rebuttal, of course).

Dr. Prentice has responded to this criticism ( by pointing out that he cites peer reviewed studies (the gold standard for credibility) documenting some level of patient benefit from adult stem cell treatments in 72 different diseases.

Worst of all, the presentation gave only superficial and slanted attention to the central point of contention with embryonic stem cell research: is the human embryo a human subject deserving of moral and legal status/protection? The presentation’s “take home” message was “good people with sincere beliefs do not agree on the use of embryonic stem cells” and although the “ethical issues surrounding [embryonic stem cells] are complex [they are] manageable.”

Manageable? What in the world does that mean? I fear it is UNMC’s code word for, “we have the resources to convince the public (by sowing moral confusion) that their ethical concerns are unfounded” and “we will marginalize (as a religious fanatic) anyone who argues to the contrary.”

In the aftermath of the controversy over UNMC’s clandestine research using brain tissue from induced abortions, UNMC assured state senators that while they wanted to continue doing fetal tissue research they had no intention of doing human embryo research and human cloning was definitely off the table. But just a few short years later (2005), UNMC officials gave public testimony in the Legislature expressing a desire to conduct embryonic stem cell and cloning research.

This Mini-Medical School provides further evidence that the Med Center will use every means available to advance a research agenda that is morally offensive and divisive to many Nebraskans. After creating a substantial amount of ill-will with many Nebraskans by doing fetal tissue research, it is outrageous that our tax-funded University would further provoke and divide Nebraskans by seeking to conduct research that intentionally destroys human life for research purposes.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Annual Vital Signs Ministries' Christmas Celebration Tonight

There's not too much blogging going on this morning because I've got to scoot on over to Christ Community Church and get to cooking.


Yes, the annual Christmas Celebration sponsored by Vital Signs Ministries is being combined this year with our annual Chili Supper! And that means I'll be cooking up enough of my famous Rocky Mountain High Chili to feed 150 people. Alongside that, we'll be serving a bit of Aunt Minnie's "Frightened Chicken" Soup, followed by wassail and plenty of Christmas cookies. It's always a great time as we pro-life activists celebrate the Advent of Christ together. We'll share a few brief updates on Vital Signs happenings, savor the sweet fellowship of like-minded Christians...and, of course, dig in to the chili and extras.

For the locals who haven't yet made your RSVP, you can still come. Don't fret, we'll squeeze you in somewhere.

Watch Out for the Irish Bulls

Would you like to take a quick break for a little lesson in grammar? No, no...don't flip out. It will, like I said, be quick and I'm quite sure you'll even enjoy it. So, click on the title of this post to take a little ride with Paul Greenberg on an Irish bull or two.

Yes, Virginia; There Is a War on Christmas reports that a Christmas-themed event to raise money at a public elementary school in Warwick, N.Y., has been altered to accommodate a parent's complaints that the program would illegally spotlight a "religious" figure - Santa Claus. "Breakfast With Santa" has since been changed to "Winter Wonderland Breakfast," and -- in an effort to be inclusive of all beliefs -- the bearded one will now be joined at the Dec. 9 event by Frosty the Snowman.

Organizers made the changes after one parent charged that she and others in the community were offended that the Parent Teacher Association at the Sanfordville Elementary School was sponsoring a program geared toward one religion. That parent, who did not wish to have her name used, wrote a letter to the school board asserting that Santa represents Christmas -- a Christian holiday -- and by law, a public school is not allowed to promote religion.

Catholic League President Bill Donohue called the events at the school an "exercise in tyranny." "There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution, of course, that bans 'Breakfast with Santa' from taking place in a public school," Donohue said in a statement. "This has nothing to do with the law -- it has everything to do with bowing to the pressure of bigots."

Abortion by Midwife Promoted in Medical Journal

A good friend, Cyndy Swanson, alerted me to this preview of an upcoming Lancet article. It's a doozy. Sure, demanding that midwives be allowed to perform abortions is nothing new. With the shortage of physicians willing to be known as abortionists, anti-natal organizations have been talking about this for some time...despite the seemingly obvious dangers to women such a slide would represent. But, let's face it; the shrill demand for abortion trumps all other considerations: preborn children, morality, erosion of the sanctity of life ethic, and even women's health.

But what is new is the issue being touted by a prestigious medical journal and under the guise of a scientific study, no less.

And, oh yes; also rather new is the extremism of the rhetoric accompanying the supposedly high-minded article. An example? The outlandish claim that more women die every year from illegal abortions than were killed in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima!