Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Special Saturday Edition --- The Sarah Palin Pick: Now This is Shaking Things Up!


John McCain's daring, historic (and splendid) decision to go with Sarah Palin as his running mate has electrified the nation, throwing the Democrat party and liberal journalists into a panic while, on the other hand, exciting Republicans and conservative independents like probably no other selection could have done.

Of course, we're pleased to say we had long desired that specific pick. Way back on February 1, Vital Signs Blog went on record as championing Mrs. Palin and we've done so ever since.

And yesterday, in the mad dash made by internet surfers to learn more about Sarah Palin, the hits on Vital Signs Blog by people were looking via search engines for posts and pictures of the Alaskan governor soared to unbelievable numbers --- about 175 x our usual rate! Those numbers were also aided by a reference to one of Vital Signs' posts by one of the internet's largest sites: the loopy, leftist Daily Kos.

And the numbers are again very high today.

Let's hope a few of those surfers will look around the site a bit and make a point to come back and visit again. We think that even those who disagree with our religious and political convictions will yet find in Vital Signs Blog a site that is interesting, honest, forthright, professional and certainly relevant to the cultural controversies of the day.

But let's get back to Sarah Palin.

As a special weekend entry, I'm listing below just a few of the insightful commentaries about Governor Palin and the new G.O.P. team that I've read yesterday and today. Enjoy.

* Noemie Emery's "What Palin Does" in The Daily Standard;

* the editors of NRO look at the Palin pick;

* Dennis Prager's interview with James Dobson in which the Focus on the Family leader admits that the choice of Palin is enough to get him to "pull the lever" for the Republicans in November;

* a revealing piece (and surprisingly positive, given it showed up in USA Today) about Palin's personality and values;

* Here's some terrific short pieces from NRO's The Corner from, respectively, Mark Steyn; Peter Robinson; Victor Davis Hanson; Andy McCarthy; Lisa Schiffren; Jack Fowler; again Victor Davis Hanson; and Mark Levin.

* Jim Carlton's profile of Sarah Palin in the Wall Street Journal;

* The guys at Power Line were hoping Pawlenty would be McCain's choice and their initial response to Palin was a mild disappointment. But they're coming round as this post shows.;

* William Ruger's op/ed in the Anchorage Daily News that called for Palin as VP earler this month; and finally,

* Nat Hentoff's advocacy of Palin for VP from may 26th.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Today's Posts

It's Sarah!

The Conservatism and Service-Orientation of Authentic Christianity

Joe Knows Deception

Tempted By Abortion: Three Stories

Here Comes the Judge? Not in Riverside County.

It's Sarah!

So it's Sarah Palin, huh?

I guess Vital Signs Blog was a little ahead of the curve on this one. Here's our post...from the first of February.

The Conservatism and Service-Orientation of Authentic Christianity

Will Hall is the executive editor of Baptist Press and he's got a terrific column here contrasting the rhetoric of liberal neo-evangelical Democrats like Jim Wallis, Brian McLaren, and Tony Campolo with the "real deal" issues of what the Bible teaches and how conservative evangelicals (esp. the Southern Baptists) have, for a long, long time, acted upon those teachings.

A good piece about matters that are being regularly ignored by the MSM who would much rather promote the leftist ideologies...exploiting whomever they can to do so. Check it out.

I have held my tongue for some time while folks like Jim Wallis (Sojourners), Mara Vanderslice (Matthew 25 Network) and Brian McLaren (emerging church movement) -– all religious and political liberals -- have manipulated a compliant secular media and some of the religious press to shill talking points for them.

The message varies in slight ways from story to story but basically asserts “the left” cares more for the poor than does “the right.” A companion assertion stated as fact is that evangelicals are “fractured” and that there is an emerging progressive group of evangelicals “discovering” there are other issues “just as important” as protecting the unborn and defending the biblical definition of marriage. Then a tired liberal political agenda is reframed in the language of faith.

It’s not just political chicanery or religious wrangling, but simply fraud -- a form of wishful thinking that if repeated enough times, de facto becomes the truth.

Let me clarify that liberal-leaning namesakes of famous evangelicals may have “just discovered” the biblical notions of “stewardship of God’s creation” and “providing for the needy and hurting.” However, for true conservatives these have been long time ministry efforts...

Joe Knows Deception

Kathleen Gilbert, reporting for LifeSiteNews, explains that dissenting Catholic Joseph Biden's justification for his extremely pro-abortion positions is that the "church is bigger" than its official teachings. Indeed, Biden goes further by blatantly lying -- "My views are totally consistent with Catholic social doctrine."

They are not even close.

But then he of the plagiarist past and the surgically improved hairline knows a bit about deception. And he's hoping to confuse the issue with the American people like he's done so well in Delaware.

Well, make that only some of the people in Delaware.

Biden's own Bishop, Michael Saltarelli has made it clear that Biden cannot speak at Catholic schools in his diocese because of his radical promotion of abortion. And that prohibition will hold even if he becomes Vice-President.

And with more and more national attention given to Biden's wild inconsistencies (not to mention the brutal abortion enthusiasm shown by Barack Obama), the hopes of Democrats persuading even "moderate" Catholics to vote for men who proudly, eagerly support all forms of abortion (even partial-birth abortion) are very difficult.

Tempted By Abortion: Three Stories

Our own Barb Malek, Administrative Director of the AAA Center for Pregnancy Counseling here in Omaha, has written up three stirring testimonials reflecting the invaluable life-saving, soul-saving work performed by CPC volunteers.

They were printed initially in the CPC's newsletter but picked up by Focus on the Family's Heartlink. So, you can read them on their website. Please do.

Here Comes the Judge? Not in Riverside County.

There's a brief report over at the Judicial Watch blog about criminal cases -- 25 this month alone, 22 in July -- being dismissed in a California county because it doesn't have enough judges to try them.

Among the cases dismissed? Child molestation, assault and robbery and drug possession.

It seems Arnold Schwarzenegger, the state's Governor who has the responsibility of appointing judges, isn't that much of a Terminator after all.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Today's Posts

Yet Another Scientific Breakthrough Using Adult Stem Cells: You Think God Is Trying To Tell Us Something?

McCain's "Remote Control" Ad is Devastating

Nancy Pelosi Has Found Another Reason To Be Pro-Abortion

John McCain: "I Can Assure You That If I Am President, Advancing the Cause of Life Will Not Be Above My Pay Grade."

LPGA Requiring a Knowledge of English

Barack Obama's Illinois Record: Shockingly Soft on Crime

Progress in Health Care: New Ideas Are Reviving Old Values

Yet Another Scientific Breakthrough Using Adult Stem Cells: You Think God Is Trying To Tell Us Something?

About the latest adult stem cell breakthrough (my, we're using that word awfully frequently about this area of scientific research, aren't we?) where Harvard scientists "transformed one type of fully developed adult cell directly into another inside a living animal, a startling advance that could lead to cures for a variety of illnesses and sidestep the political and ethical quagmires associated with embryonic stem cell research," Wesley J. Smith from over at Secondhand Smoke has a few words.

When the MSM declares an adult stem cell success "stunning," as the Washington Post headline does, you know it is a new day. In mice, scientists were able to transform adult cells into stem cells--from within the body!

There is a long way to go before this can be used in humans, if ever. But my, how the world has changed from less than a year ago. ESCR has lost its political potency as an issue. The newest and most hopeful areas of advancement are coming from morally uncontentious areas of biotechnology. The drive to push human cloning has been staggered by IPSCs.

Perhaps we will be able to have everything that scientists wanted from ESCRs, without the moral baggage. And you know what: I believe that some people would be extremely unhappy about that because they saw this field of scientific inquiry as a way not only to improve health care, but also to change the culture in a less sanctity of life direction. Looks now like that might not happen...

McCain's "Remote Control" Ad is Devastating


Don't miss the latest TV ad for the John McCain campaign.

(These guys are good...really good. But it's not just creativity, wit or spin. They've got the goods on Barack Obama and they're making the most of them.)

Let's just hope now that Senator McCain does his part by picking a savvy, eloquent and thoroughly conservative VP candidate.

Nancy Pelosi Has Found Another Reason To Be Pro-Abortion

Uh, just forget that arrogant distortion that Nancy Pelosi made about Catholic doctrine last weekend when explaining her enthusiastic support and promotion of abortion. The REAL reason she's pro-abortion is...well...because so many other Catholics are.

Here's a punchy little LifeSiteNews story bringing you up to speed on the latest justifications as stated by Pelosi spokewoman, Brenda Daly.

The story also has notable links to LifeSiteNews' earlier review of the "torrential response from Church officials condemning Pelosi's blatant misrepresentation of Church teaching and history" and to a protest letter from 18 of Pelosi's House colleagues (including Nebraska's Jeff Fortenberry) "exhorting her to back down from her misrepresentation of Catholicism and criticizing her statements that 'mangle Catholic Church doctrine.'"

John McCain: "I Can Assure You That If I Am President, Advancing the Cause of Life Will Not Be Above My Pay Grade."

Here's John McCain's very effective radio clip explaining Barack Obama's extreme pro-abortion positions as well as McCain's dramatic differences with him on those critical issues.

This is John McCain at his best, presenting a calm, well-crafted and powerfully persuasive argument as to exactly why he is the better candidate in this race.

LPGA Requiring a Knowledge of English

It's a first...but it's a common sense declaration.

The Ladies Professional Golf Association is requiring its players (at the threat of suspension even) to learn some basic English. Here's a bit of the International Herald Tribune's story.

..."We live in a sports-entertainment environment," said Libba Galloway, the deputy commissioner of the tour, the Ladies Professional Golf Association. "For an athlete to be successful today in the sports entertainment world we live in, they need to be great performers on and off the course, and being able to communicate effectively with sponsors and fans is a big part of this.

"Being a U.S.-based tour, and with the majority of our fan base, pro-am contestants, sponsors and participants being English speaking, we think it is important for our players to effectively communicate in English."

The LPGA and the other professional golf tours, unlike professional team sports, are dependent on their relationships with corporate sponsors for their financial survival.

Although Galloway insisted that "the vast majority" of the 120 international players on the LPGA circuit already spoke enough English to get by, she declined to say how many did not. There are 26 countries represented on the LPGA Tour. South Korea, with 45 golfers, has the largest contingent...

Barack Obama's Illinois Record: Shockingly Soft on Crime

It has been widely reported in the blogosphere (and even on rare occasions in the MSM) that Barack Obama has been rated the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate. To add some valuable perspective to that rating, this Washington Times story explains that Obama's votes have earned him a more liberal rating than Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont who describes himself as a "democratic socialist."

The story also mentions the two Senators who rank just behind Obama: Teddy Kennedy and...cough...Joe Biden.

But even more revelatory is the Times' observations about the radically liberal votes Barack Obama made while in the Illinois state senate, votes dealing with crime that show him shockingly out of the mainstream of American opinion.

"Mr. Obama was the only member of the state Senate to vote against a bill to prohibit the early release of convicted criminal sexual abusers; was among only four who voted against bills to toughen criminal sentences and to increase penalties for "gangbangers" and dealers of Ecstasy; and voted "present" on a bill making it harder for abusive parents to regain custody of their children, a Washington Times review of Illinois legislative records shows."

If these are examples of what the Candidate of Change believes (softer treatment of child molesters, softer treatment of violent gangsters, softer treatment of drug dealers whp prey on junior high kids, and indifference to the plight of abused children), then he's given Americans more than enough evidence to keep him from ever reaching the Oval Office.

These positions of Senator Obama are ones your friends and family should be aware of. So why not forward this post to them and let them help spread the word too? Just hit the little envelope icon at the bottom of this post to do so.

Progress in Health Care: New Ideas Are Reviving Old Values

Paul Howard, directs the Manhattan Institute’s Center for Medical Progress and is the managing editor of its web-based journal, Medical Progress Today. His current article in City Journal describes the future of health care, particularly how new entrepreneurial developments will improve care, cost and availability.

It's a fascinating and hopeful article, exploring how medical decisions can be simplified, how consumers can find lower costs and more efficient care, and even how doctors can be relieved of much of the "business-end stress" that limits their effectiveness and even runs them out of the profession.

Having just spent several days wrestling with the system in regard to my mother's health care needs, I found Howard's article very encouraging. I think you will too.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Today's Posts

John McCain Hollywood?

What NBC DIDN'T Tell You About the Olympics

The Obama-Ayers Relationship: A Legitimate (and Deeply Troubling) Political Issue

New Stats Show Europe's "Demographic Winter" On the Near Horizon

Barack Obama: Still Trying to Duck the Bill Ayers Connection

John McCain Hollywood?

What do James Caan; Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond); Gerald McRaney (Simon & Simon, Major Dad); Jon Voight (Midnight Cowboy, Deliverance); Robert Duvall (The Godfather and The Godfather II, Apocalypse Now); Pat Boone; Robert Davi (License to Kill); Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk); David Zucker ("the comedic genius behind Airplane! and The Naked Gun series"); George Newbern (Father of the Bride); Dean Cain (Superman); Angie Harmon (Law & Order); Kevin Sorbo (Hercules); Adam Carolla (The Man Show); Victoria Jackson (Saturday Night Live); Lorenzo Lamas (The Bold and the Beautiful, Renegade); Lacy Chabert (Party of Five); Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men); Lacy Chabert (Party of Five); actor Stephen Baldwin; and mega-producer Jerry Bruckheimer, all have in common?

Who knows?

But they were all in attendance at the Beverly Hilton for a John McCain fundraiser last night.

Stephen F. Hayes has a witty and illuminating report on the affair for the Daily Standard right here.

What NBC DIDN'T Tell You About the Olympics

The Times' (U.K.) feisty and award-winning sportswriter Martin Samuel looks behind the scenes of Communist China's Olympic spectacle.

Poor old Robert Mugabe. Do you know what that guy needs? An Olympics. Harare 2012, he really missed a trick there. A well-run Games and nothing else matters. Put on a show, throw up a couple of impressive buildings and the world is your friend.

The road home from Beijing is lined with wide-eyed converts who've seen the light on totalitarianism. “China has set the bar very high,” Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee, said. “There are some things that London will not be able to compare to, or equal - such as the ability to bring hundreds of thousands of volunteers to different sites.” Yes, Jacques, it is amazing what people can achieve once they appreciate there is no alternative.

And there isn't in China. About 100 miles south of Beijing, an agricultural community has been destroyed because its water supply was rerouted to deliver a green and blooming Olympics. Road blocks stop people from that area travelling north, while taxi drivers were told to take any passengers with unusual requests directly to the police.

Official reports state, however, that the 31,000 people that lost homes or land are delighted to be making this sacrifice. “The legacy of these Games is ultimately up to the Chinese people,” Rogge added, but that is a lie too. Nothing can be decided by an oppressed people...

Not that it made much pretence of reform while under scrutiny. There were 77 requests to protest in official zones agreed with the IOC, but none was granted. A number of applicants were sentenced to re-education through labour, including two women, aged 79 and 77, one of whom is disabled and almost blind...

Of course the Beijing Games went without a hitch. Give anyone total, terrifying control over a population, with force, and they will make them march in unison, drum, smile, dance, mime, jump through hoops if necessary. “They don't look very oppressed,” wrote one observer. No, pal, and neither would you if you knew the consequences of complaint.

The same columnist wrote that the young girls carrying the flags before events were “perfect examples of what a beautiful young Chinese woman looks like”. Yes, they were. This is how that was achieved. Those applying for the job, who numbered thousands, had to be above 1.66m tall, pretty of face and stripped naked for the judges, who measured their body proportions. Isn't that healthy?...

The Obama-Ayers Relationship: A Legitimate (and Deeply Troubling) Political Issue

Have you ever been a friend or business associate of a terrorist? Not someone who, to your shock and horror, turned out secretly to have bombed government buildings. No, the question is whether you’ve ever befriended an unreconstructed radical whose past was well known to you when you entered his orbit and walked through doors he opened for you. Have you been chummy with an unapologetic terrorist who, years after you’d known and worked closely with him, was still telling the New York Times he regretted only failing to carry out more attacks — and that America still “makes me want to puke”?

Barack Obama has.

An organization called the American Issues Project, backed by Dallas investor Harold Simmons, is running a campaign ad which highlights Obama’s troubling relationship with William Ayers. Ayers is a former member of the Weathermen terrorist organization that bombed the Pentagon, the U.S. Capitol, various police headquarters, and other targets in the early 1970s.

The Obama campaign’s rejoinder is three-pronged: The first shot was an Obama response ad, which fails to offer any substantive explanation of why Obama maintains ties to Ayers. Obama’s second move was to launch a heavy-handed effort to pressure television stations into rejecting the ad by promising financial retaliation against the stations and their advertisers — which effort has apparently succeeded in intimidating Fox and CNN. The capper is a desperate call for the Justice Department to muzzle political speech through the prospect of a criminal investigation — a demand that provides a disturbing sneak peak into what life would be like under an Obama Justice Department.

Needless to say, none of this is justified. If Obama has a good explanation for his ties to Ayers, he ought to give it. In the meantime, raising questions about that relationship is entirely legitimate...

This National Review editorial is a must-read. Check it out right here and then forward this post to everyone you know.

New Stats Show Europe's "Demographic Winter" On the Near Horizon

The prospect of a demographic winter coming to Europe is finally beginning to sound some alarms. In this latest case, the warnings come from Eurostat, the statistical service of the European commission, with the ominous message being that Europe's population decline will bring the economic structure of the respective nations way past breaking point.

Even immigration, long seen as Europe's salvation from its population crisis, will not be enough to offset the enormous costs of running welfare states filled with old people.

Even right now the average for EU countries is only four people of working age for every person over 65. And, of course, not all four of those are working. But in 50 years the ration will be 2 to 1 -- an absolutely impossible situation.

It should be noted, however, that even these statistical findings do not underscore all the dangers. For instance, this story in the Guardian argues that the U.K. "has less to fear about any 'generation wars' brought on by the 'demographic timebomb'" because it has the highest birth rate among European nations. But that rate is only 1.91 children per woman. And though that's the highest it has been in a few decades, it is a perilously slim edge.

And, by the way, the immigration growth that remains crucial to Britain's economic health (even more so on the continent) poses its own grave challenges as the various cultures have failed to co-exist.

No, the news given in this particular newspaper report isn't at all good. But the news from a more honest, more comprehensive report would be even worse.

Barack Obama: Still Trying to Duck the Bill Ayers Connection

"If [Obama] thinks having a relationship with an unrepentant terrorist is not an issue that concerns the American people, he is deluding himself or being naive.”

Fox News reports on the University of Illinois at Chicago finally releasing some of the documents which detail the working friendship beteen Barack Obama and domestic terrorist William Ayers. It's an issue that the Obama campaign says means absolutely nothing...and yet they've gone to court to keep a non-profit group from running an ad about it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Nancy Pelosi's Defense of Abortion: Ignorance or Sheer Impudence?

In a sharp rebuke to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (who continues to style herself a Roman Catholic despite openly rejecting several of the Church's priority teachings), Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl along with Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput and his auxiliary bishop, James Conley, have set the record straight about the Church's position abortion. This Associated Press story refers to the clerics' statements as "the latest sign that the U.S. Catholic hierarchy will not stay silent about politics this election year."

As if it should.

As if the weakened, weasley distortion of Catholicism as preached by Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy and Joe Biden is the only brand that should be allowed in politics.

No, as much as the AP reporter might want Christianity to be a marginalized religion, something to stay inside the stained glass windows and not dare show itself in the public square, authentic Christianity speaks to the real and comprehensive affairs of life and death. These men are simply performing their spiritual duty by clarifying the Church's teaching on the sanctity of life. And, in this case, by correcting the over-the-top perversion stated by a dissenting Catholic on national television.

Pelosi's dramatic misstatements about Catholic teaching (the latest of them anyhow) came in an appearance on Sunday's "Meet the Press" program as she claimed that "doctors of the church" have not been able to define when life begins and that "over the history of the church, this is an issue of controversy."

Her remarks were intended to deflect recent criticism of Barack Obama's extreme positions on abortion, including his votes against legislation that would at least have required infants who survived abortion to receive medical attention.

Such a position is shocking and unacceptable to most Americans. And it is a grave sin according to the Catholic Church. Therefore, it is no surprise that the partisan Pelosi would want to take some heat off her party's nominee.

But not lying, Nancy. Not heresy.

As the AP story relates, Washington Archbishop Wuerl, corrected the Speaker: "Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable." And the statement of Archbishop Chaput and bishop Conley included this: "Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is a gifted public servant of strong convictions and many professional skills. Regrettably, knowledge of Catholic history and teaching does not seem to be one of them." Abortion, they said, "is always gravely evil, and so are the evasions employed to justify it."

The story ends with Chaput's opinion that Democratic vice presidential nominee-in-waiting Sen. Joseph Biden (another disloyal Catholic) should refrain from receiving Communion because he too rejects the Church's teaching.

Of course he should.

And again, that's not, at its most basic, a mere political issue -- it's a profoundly spiritual one. For if you want to be a Catholic, there are essential rules to follow. It is disingenuous, dishonorable and self-centered to the max to insist that the centuries of Catholic teaching (not to mention the clear revelations of Holy Writ) be re-shaped to fit your immoral prejudices.

If you don't want to obey those rules, just get out of the club.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Today's Posts

How Big Is Your Water Footprint? -- The Latest "Step " in Green Guilt.

Obama Praises Chinese Infrastructure as "Vastly Superior" to U.S.

Have You Heard These Pro-Life Radio Spots?

Barack Obama's Sole Article in Harvard Law Review? Stone Cold Set on Abortion.

Nebraska Civil Rights Initiative Is a Go for November Ballot

Closing Off Criticism of the Press

How Fares Obama's "Three-Legged" Campaign Strategy?

How Big Is Your Water Footprint? -- The Latest "Step " in Green Guilt.

Brendan O’Neill is the editor of spiked! which, in its own words, "is an independent online phenomenon dedicated to raising the horizons of humanity by waging a culture war of words against misanthropy, priggishness, prejudice, luddism, illiberalism and irrationalism in all their ancient and modern forms. spiked is endorsed by free-thinkers such as John Stuart Mill and Karl Marx, and hated by the narrow-minded such as Torquemada and Stalin. Or it would be, if they were lucky enough to be around to read it."

In one of its most interesting pieces recently, O’Neill splashed a refreshingly candid (as well as logical and factual) cup of cold water on the newest guilt promotion by the radical environmentalists. Check it out.

...So, after the eco-footprint and the carbon footprint, now we have the ‘water footprint’. After all those eco-exhortations that we should feel guilty about how much carbon we use, now we’re told to be ‘conscious’ (which is a PC word for feeling guilty) about how much water we splash on our faces or flush down the toilet. When even our use of water, the very stuff of life, is problematised, transformed into a symbol of mankind’s thoughtlessness and greed, then we can see what really lies behind the politics of environmentalism: not so much scientific evidence that resources are running out as a powerful feeling that humans have no right to use those resources. The new obsession with water-use reveals the discomfort with human life itself that courses through the veins of environmentalism, and the contemporary sense of shame about humanity’s presence on the planet.

The new water-conscious campaign inadvertently exposes the bunkum underpinning the notion that humans are ‘using up’ the world’s resources. One of the main focuses in the new WWF report is how much ‘virtual water’ we use. Where previously, water-wise campaigners argued that the average Briton uses 150 litres of water a day – all that cooking, cleaning, washing and flushing – the WWF says this doesn’t take into account our use of virtual water. Apparently, in virtual terms, we use 30 times more water than we thought. An individual in Britain uses around 4,645 litres of water a day, much of it from the Third World, when you factor in the water that was used to grow the coffee beans in his morning Starbucks, the cotton in his shirt, the juicy steak on his dinner plate, and so on. Or as WWF puts it ‘You take 58 baths a day – virtually’.

‘Virtually’ is the operative word here, because this is ‘literally’ bollocks...

The idea of ‘virtual water’ or water being ‘shipped in’ is entirely metaphorical – and it’s a metaphor for humanity’s callous wastefulness. It’s a metaphor designed to make us feel guilty about everything – from the tea we sip to the clothes we wear – on the nonsensical, simple-minded, emotionally blackmailing notion that every time we use ‘virtual water’ we steal a cup of the life-giving substance from a little black baby’s lips...

The only question worth asking is not ‘why are we using so much water?’ (because we are alive and thriving, that’s why) but ‘how can decent water be delivered to every single human being on the planet?’ Of course there are water shortages around the world. Some Third World countries suffer from terrible water scarcity. Millions and millions of people do not have access to clean drinking water – and often these are the same people who toil for hours every day throwing water on to crops that will end up in a Sainsbury’s or Waitrose in the UK. However, not a single one of these social problems will be resolved by inducing guilt in British consumers or doing strange sums to convince us that our tweed jacket has 29.733333 (recurring) litres of ‘virtual water’ in it.

These problems demand super-ambitious, large-scale industrial projects: dams, reservoirs, dykes, canals, manmade rivers and lakes, sewage systems, more investment in GM crops that can grow even in arid conditions. Instead we get a Catholic-style campaign designed to make Western consumers feel conscious/guilty about their water-use.

This cuts to the essence of the politics of environmentalism. The panic over dwindling resources – whether its oil or what is now called the ‘new oil’: water – is not based on hard evidence that this stuff is running out, but on a lack of belief that we are capable of delivering it to one and all, and, more profoundly, on a conviction that we shouldn’t really be using it in the first place. Just as the idea of the eco-footprint implies that mankind is a destructive, plague-like presence on the planet, so ‘water consciousness’ calls into question the value of human life itself...

Obama Praises Chinese Infrastructure as "Vastly Superior" to U.S.

Jim Geraghty notes that Barack Obama's knee-jerk tendencies to disparage America and loftily praise the achievements of foreign governments reached a new low with his recent comments applauding Communist China's infrastructure.

Said Obama, "Everybody's watching what's going on in Beijing right now with the Olympics , Think about the amount of money that China has spent on infrastructure. Their ports, their train systems, their airports are vastly the superior to us now, which means if you are a corporation deciding where to do business, you're starting to think, 'Beijing looks like a pretty good option.'"

Hmm. Only a good option, as Geraghty points out, if you don't mind the slave labor that built them, the effective pollution controls they've omitted, the severe power shortages that plague them, and so on.

And yes, the photo here is just what you think it is...the toilet in one of those "vastly superior" trains that Senator Obama is praising.

Give me Amtrak any day.

Have You Heard These Pro-Life Radio Spots?

Have you heard the latest radio spots from the Susan B. Anthony List? They're very good ones with succinct, significant information that you can pass along to others about the Fetal Homicide Law, Planned Parenthood, and recent adult stem cell discoveries.

Check them out in the right sidebar of SBA List's home page right here. They would be fantastic spots to have run on radio stations in your area. If you're interested, zip along an e-mail to the SBA-List and ask for more information.

And speaking of more information, the SBA-List web site certainly has it, including news updates, relevant video clips, and brief bios of the bold, principled pro-life women serving in the present Congress: Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Barbara Cubin of Wyoming, Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, Candice Miller of Michigan, Marilyn Musgrave of Colorado, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, Jean Schmidt of Ohio, and Elizabeth Dole, Virginia Foxx and Sue Myrick all of North Carolina.

Barack Obama's Sole Article in Harvard Law Review? Stone Cold Set on Abortion.

How strongly does Barack Obama believe in unlimited abortions? Strongly enough that the only article he wrote for the Harvard Law Review while he was a law school student talked about how fervently believed in legalized abortion. Obama's name wasn't attached to any other legal scholarship during the time.

In an article unearthed by the Politico web site, Obama, as the president of the Harvard Law Review, wrote an unsigned article touting abortion.

The web site says the article comes in at six pages and is contained in the third volume of the 1990 Harvard Law Review...

In a discussion of abortion itself, Obama wrote that government has more important business than "ensuring that any particular fetus is born."

He also decried any limits on abortion, saying the government has an interest in "preventing increasing numbers of children from being born in to lives of pain and despair."

Politico said the Obama campaign confirmed the pro-abortion presidential candidate wrote the piece in question and that it was one of the typical articles law students would write briefing and opining on federal and state court decisions.

In an email to the web site, Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt also confirmed that Obama "remains committed to" the sentiments he expressed in the piece...

Read the entire article here.

Nebraska Civil Rights Initiative Is a Go for November Ballot

Doug Tietz, Executive Director of the Nebraska Civil Rights Initiative, sent along the press release I print below. It concerns the Nebraska Secretary of State's announcement that the 136,589 valid signatures gathered from across more than qualifies the measure for the November 2008 ballot.

LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Secretary of State announced today that the Nebraska Civil Rights Initiative has qualified for the November 2008 ballot.

“This is a big win for Nebraska. Thousands of Nebraskans from Scottsbluff to Omaha signed the petition. All Nebraskans will now have an opportunity to vote on this important issue,” said Doug Tietz, Executive Director of the Nebraska Civil Rights Initiative.

According to the Secretary of State, 136,589 valid signatures of registered voters were collected, far exceeding the needed 112,152 valid signatures – equal to 10 percent of registered voters statewide – to be placed on the ballot. The initiative enjoys statewide support with valid signatures from 5 percent of registered voters in each of 88 counties, far surpassing the threshold of 38 counties needed. Approximately 83 percent of the submitted signatures were valid.

Ward Connerly, national advocate for ending the use of race and gender preferences, praised the Nebraska effort. “I want to commend the people of Nebraska for their support in ending race and gender preferences. It is important for Nebraska, and the rest of the country to have a frank debate about whether our government should judge people based on their race or gender,” Connerly said.

Connerly, President of the American Civil Rights Coalition, has spent the past 13 years fighting for equal treatment for every American regardless of race, sex, color, or ethnicity.

The Nebraska Attorney General’s Office has approved the following language for the November ballot:
Shall the Nebraska Constitution be amended to provide that the state, and any public institution of higher education, political subdivision or government institution shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, individuals or groups based upon race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in operating public employment, public education, or public contracting? The amendment applies only to actions after its effective date. It would not invalidate existing court orders, prohibit bona fide qualifications based on sex reasonably necessary to normal operation of public employment, education or contracting, or prohibit actions necessary to obtain federal funds through federal programs.

For more information on the NCRI, check out the resources featured at their web site.

Closing Off Criticism of the Press

When even a high-ranking Democrat politician (Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell) dares to take on the embarrassingly fawning press coverage of Barack Obama, that's a unique and enlightening piece of news.

But it is even more enlightening to note how the MSM folks then present proceeded to shush him up...good and quick.

How Fares Obama's "Three-Legged" Campaign Strategy?

This Lee Cary article in American Thinker provides some perceptive answers to the question, "Where Did Obama's Mo Go?" Included is a brief analysis of the Democrat's "three-legged" campaign strategy: opposition to the Iraq War, the personification of Change and Hope, and the attempt to cast John McCain as the third term of George W. Bush. It is a strategy that Cary says is in "deep atrophy."

...The relevance of his early opposition to the Iraq War is fading as the situation there continues to improve.

Obama has not articulated what he means by his vague promise of Change and Hope. He's done little to embellish on his Blueprint campaign document, which has faded from obscurity to invisibility. In short, the sizzle of his primary victory speeches has been unaccompanied by steak of explanatory content.

Writing for CNN, David Gergen, who clearly favors Obama, suggested he execute a "game changer."
-- "Still this [McCain's gain in the polls] should be a huge wake-up call to Obama and the Democrats. From my perspective, Obama needs to introduce a game changer -- and fast -- before public opinion starts to gel around the notion that he is a phenom who deserves great respect but is not seasoned enough and would be too much of a risk in the Oval office."

With regard to the Bush Third Term strategy -- only those who have been in a political coma for the last eight years see McCain as a clone of Bush. While the BTT strategy might have worked against some other Republican candidate, it's passé against McCain.

Obama should be detailing a vision of America's future under his administration. Instead, he leans more toward criticism of America, and therefore its people.

His recent emphasis has been on trivial matters like McCain jokingly defining "rich" as earning five million dollars, and how many houses McCain owns. Technically Cindy McCain and their children own them, and McCain has stayed out of his wife's wealth. The Old Big Media will frame the successive waves of attacks in Obama's favor, but it won't shift sand on the public beach.

Meanwhile, McCain's fight strategy is landing blows on Obama. He's effectively counter-punching Obama's jabs (e.g., McCain campaign's response in the homes episode). He's dialed-up the zeal with which he compares-and-contrasts himself with Obama. And, he's effectively touting his credentials as an experienced bipartisan change agent in the Senate. The longer conservative Republicans compare McCain to Obama, the better McCain looks...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Today's Posts

"They’re Not Just Coming Out Limp and Dead” -- Barack Obama's Chilling Record on Abortion

Despite the Great and Overwhelming Press Attention, Obama Is Slipping

When Will the Press Properly Report on America's Heroes Fighting in Afghanistan?

More Doubts About HPV Vaccines

Hallmark's Homosexual Greeting Cards

Consuming Liberal Bias Unaware? What You May Not Know About Wikipedia.

"They’re Not Just Coming Out Limp and Dead” -- Barack Obama's Chilling Record on Abortion

There wasn’t any question about what was happening. The abortions were going wrong. The babies weren’t cooperating. They wouldn’t die as planned. Or, as Illinois state senator Barack Obama so touchingly put it, there was “movement or some indication that, in fact, they’re not just coming out limp and dead.”

No, Senator. They wouldn’t go along with the program. They wouldn’t just come out limp and dead.

They were coming out alive. Born alive. Babies. Vulnerable human beings Obama, in his detached pomposity, might otherwise include among “the least of my brothers.” But of course, an abortion extremist can’t very well be invoking Saint Matthew, can he? So, for Obama, the shunning of these least of our brothers and sisters — millions of them — is somehow not among America’s greatest moral failings.

No. In Obama’s hardball, hard-Left world, these least become “that fetus, or child — however you want to describe it.”

Most of us, of course, opt for “child,” particularly when the “it” is born and living and breathing and in need of our help. Particularly when the “it” is clinging not to guns or religion but to life.

But not Barack Obama. As an Illinois state senator, he voted to permit infanticide. And now, running for president, he banks on media adulation to insulate him from his past.

The record, however, doesn’t lie...

Read the rest of Andrew McCarthy's challenging (make that, chilling) NRO article right here.

Despite the Great and Overwhelming Press Attention, Obama Is Slipping

Tim Blair, writing in Australia's Daily Telegraph, makes some very provocative points about Barack Obama's slipping in the polls -- and this despite lavish and loving wall-to-wall coverage by the press.

...According to a piece this week by the US correspondent for The Age, Obama's poor polling is largely down to the racism of white Americans.

These would be the same people who rose up in outrage over the Bush administration's high-profile roles for black Americans Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell. Surprisingly, backlash from white American racists didn't see Bush voted out in 2004.

(Curiously, the same article mentioned - without criticism - that nine-tenths of black voters support Obama. Why don't those racists vote for McCain?)...

...The big problem for Obama isn't race. It's Iraq.
Obama's greatest career accomplishment to date is that he wasn't elected to the US Senate when votes were taken to authorise the invasion of Iraq.

This subsequently allowed him to claim the peacenik high ground over the likes of fellow Democrat senator Hillary Clinton, elected at the time, and who was forced to confront reality - she voted to get in there and kill Saddam Hussein.

A year or so ago, Obama's anti-war stance was a vote-grabber; now, not so much.
Iraq has stabilised to the point where a restaurant appropriating the KFC brand is safely operating in Fallujah, previously described (by US broadcaster CBS) as Iraq's most dangerous city.

This is a significant development for a candidate running on the peace ticket. Opposing the US presence in Iraq now means opposing peace...

When Will the Press Properly Report on America's Heroes Fighting in Afghanistan?

Here in the "Forgotten War," Islamic radicals -- the Taliban and al-Qaida -- are making a major push to destabilize the Karzai government. According to Afghan officials, foreign fighters are flowing across the porous border with Pakistan and enemy attacks are up more than 50 percent from a year ago. This week, 10 French soldiers were killed in a Taliban attack outside the capital. As usual, few in the so-called mainstream media bothered to note any of this.

Though American and coalition casualties have been nearly seven times higher in Afghanistan than in Iraq during the past four months, the campaign against a resurgent Taliban remains widely underreported in the U.S. press. That's why so many of our countrymen are unaware of the courage, commitment and sacrifice demonstrated by the 32,000 U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines serving and fighting in the shadows of the Hindu Kush....

Oliver North is on the ground in Afghanistan where he writes his latest column, "Report From a Forgotten War."

More Doubts About HPV Vaccines

Tim Waggoner reports for LifeSiteNews that this week's edition of the New England Journal of Medicine contains articles critical of two human papillomavirus vaccines: Gardasil and Cervarix. The articles point out the drugs' high costs, "unproven effectiveness," and other problems.

This is definitely not good news for the manufacturers, Gardasil's Merck Sharp & Dohme (already under fire for the terrible side-effects created by the drug, side-effects that have killed 21 women) and Cervarix's GlaxoSmithKline.

But it is good news for America's young women whose lives and health are being endangered by powerful, costly and woefully undertested drugs. Bad publicity will cause more doctors to stay away from recommending the vaccines...and more women to refuse to trust the drug even when it is offered.

And who knows -- perhaps the truths emerging about these drugs might even provoke a thoughtful reconsideration by women (and, in the case of the very young, their parents) of the extreme dangers involved in casual sex.

The safe, eminently sane choice of a chaste lifestyle is back in vogue, in part, due to the ugly, heartbreaking and physically perilous repercussions from the alternative.

Hallmark's Homosexual Greeting Cards

Jim Bates sent along this Associated Press story about Hallmark's creation of same-sex wedding cards. It signifies yet another reason (besides the trite artificiality and extremely high prices) to make your own greeting cards.

Consuming Liberal Bias Unaware? What You May Not Know About Wikipedia.

I've noted here before (1, 2, 3, and 4) that users of Wikipedia (the 7th most visited internet site in the world) may well be receiving a "bias bonus" of which they are unaware.

Well, here's Matthew Sheffield, president of Dialog New Media and the creator of NewBusters, with a particularly intriguing article which deftly describes the leftist nature of that bias, how Wikipedia is run...and what conservatives need to do to effectively counter its liberal effects.

Good work.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Today's Posts

Vital Signs Ministries' Newest Cyberspace Projects

No Aspirin Without Parental Permission. But the Morning-After Pill? Okey-Dokey.

Barack Obama and the Flake Factor

Lowering the Drinking Age: Ideas Can Hardly Get Worse Than This One

Rick Warren: I'm No Fundamentalist and I Was Never Part of the Religious Right

Vital Signs Ministries' Newest Cyberspace Projects

* The August LifeSharer is online.

The LifeSharer is the monthly letter from Claire and I detailing what's happened and what's about to happen in our work with Vital Signs Ministries. We sometimes present it as an informational article, sometimes more like a devotional. We've even made of it a play, a sermon and an op/ed piece. And frequently, it is what it is this month -- a straightforward and pretty detailed news report. There's a lot to check out in this edition: our new Russian-language website; my decision to serve a longterm preaching assignment in a downtown church; our upcoming trip to Burkina Faso in West Africa for a Haggai Fest; an update on the annual VSM pie social; and more.

* Exposition 101: Sermons, Bible Classes and Other Addresses is now online.

This is another of Vital Signs' new cyberspace outreaches, one that currently features audio files of the expository sermons I've been preaching Sunday mornings down at Faith Bible Church. You can listen to them online or even go the podcast route.

Now to some of you (probably most of you) the following description of how a podcast works is gonna’ sound like Scotty describing to Captain Kirk why the transmorgifier was displaced by the ionic imbalances in the blistymic atmosphere caused by the Gran Grazelle effect in the warp drive engine. But, trust me, there are others reading the description who will receive it with full understanding.

Here’s our young computer guru, Isaac Serafino, with the details --

The "podcast" is like a radio program on the Internet. Each episode is contained in an "MP3 file". The new podcast site provides links to download MP3 files for each episode. You can also listen to the episodes online, using the embedded MP3 player. Finally, you can "subscribe" to the podcast. That means to save the address of the podcast in special software called a "podcatcher". The podcatcher will automatically download new episodes. You can even synchronize your podcatcher to put episodes on your iPod or other portable media player device. For example, iTunes is a common podcatcher. To subscribe with iTunes, drag the "PODCAST" button from the sidebar on the left side of the podcast site. Drop it into the iTunes window, and you have subscribed.

Got that? If not, let me know and I’ll send you Isaac’s e-mail address. He will be Scotty to your Captain Kirk and, I’m sure, the Enterprise will make its way home again.

No Aspirin Without Parental Permission. But the Morning-After Pill? Okey-Dokey.

Your child's school almost certainly requires your consent for your kid to receive an aspirin from the nurse. But what about receiving a dose of the misnamed “morning-after pill”?

That's copacetic in nine states where laws allow distribution of the morning-after pill to girls under the age of eighteen. There are now over 150 government schools across the country who are distributing this powerful drug to students without parental permission or even parental knowledge. Without action soon, that number will probably continue to grow.

Marian Ward of Concerned Women for America has the story for you right here. It includes information on Colorado Congressman Doug Lamborn's “Schoolchildren’s Health Protection Act” (H.R. 6453) which would restore the rights of parents to have oversight in the matter of their children’s health. Furthermore, it's a bill with teeth -- it denies Medicaid, SCHIP and Title X federal funds to school-based health clinics if that school fails to comply with the proposed provision.

The article urges you to contact your own political representatives about this key measure and links you to a compelling multimedia interview with Rep. Lamborn and CWA President Wendy Wright. Check it out.

Barack Obama and the Flake Factor

It's time to throw my hat in the ring as regards predicting the election results. So here it is: Barack Obama will be defeated. Seriously and convincingly defeated. Not due to racism, not due to the forces of reaction, not even due to Karl Rove sending out mind rays over the national cable system. He will lose for one reason above all, one that has been overlooked in any analysis that I've yet seen. Barack Obama will lose because he is a flake.

I'm using the term in its generally accepted sense. A flake is not only a screwup, but someone who truly excels in making bizarre errors and creating incredibly convoluted disasters. A flake is a "fool with energy", as the Russian proverb puts it. ("A fool is a terrible thing to have around, but a fool with energy is a nightmare".)...

Read the rest of J.R. Dunn's witty and illuminating essay in this American Thinker piece.

Lowering the Drinking Age: Ideas Can Hardly Get Worse Than This One

Now here's an idea -- Let's see if we can help reduce the terrible problems connected to excessive drinking among young adults (binge drinking, drunk driving, irresponsible sexual decisions, lowered performance at school and work, crime, and so on) by reducing the legal age at which you can purchase hard liquor.

Say what? You certainly must have messed that up, didn't you, Denny?

No, that's what's being offered as one of the primary solutions to underage drinking by backers of the Amethyst Initiative, a coordinated effort to lower the federal drinking age from 21 to 18. The Associated Press story on this campaign starts off by telling us that "College presidents from about 100 of the nation's best-known universities, including Duke, Dartmouth, and Ohio State, are calling on lawmakers to take up a national debate about lowering the drinking age, saying current laws actually encourage dangerous binge-drinking on campus."

Well, I'm afraid that opening line is dramatically misleading. For even with "about 100" college presidents on board for the Amethyst Initiative, that leaves more than 3,500 college presidents here in America who definitely are not. And even that "about 100 of the nation's best-known universities"? Once you get past the three mentioned (and Dartmouth hardly qualifies, does it?), you find out the other presidents are from such powerhouse(!) universities as "Middlebury, Smith, Syracuse, Mount Holyoke Trinity, Tufts, Colgate, Kenyon, and Morehouse." Best-known universities, huh?

And that bit about the "current laws actually encourage dangerous binge-drinking on campus"? Really? Pray tell, how?

Laura Dean-Mooney, national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, knows that lowering the drinking age would simply exacerbate the problems, not solve them. And so she not only denounces the Amethyst Initiative, she makes the logical inference that attendance at the party schools where these muddle-headed presidents preside might present dangers more easily escaped at other, more responsible colleges.

"It's very clear the 21-year-old drinking age will not be enforced at those campuses."

Others agree, including the parents of college kids. Note, for instance, this article from Forbes about a Nationwide Insurance survey just released. It should give great pause to politicians who might find themselves pressured by the bluebloods of the Amethyst Initiative. And it should also give great pause to those college presidents whose signing on to this silly and dangerous scheme could quite probably keep a few incoming freshmen from ever "incoming" at their school!

Americans continue to overwhelmingly reject an ongoing push to lower the legal drinking age from 21 to 18. According to a Nationwide Insurance survey released today, 72 percent of adults think lowering the drinking age will make alcohol more accessible to kids and nearly half believe it would increase binge drinking among teens. More than half even say they are less likely to vote for a state representative who supports lowering the legal limit or send their children to colleges or universities with "party school" reputations.

"Being recognized as a top party school is not a good thing," said Bill Windsor, Associate Vice President of Safety for Nationwide. "Our survey clearly shows 75 percent of people support greater enforcement of existing underage drinking laws and increased penalties for adults who give alcohol to those under age."

Nearly eight of 10 adults Nationwide surveyed believe teenage drinking contributes to drunk driving crashes and higher insurance rates, especially for teen car insurance. In fact, industry figures show alcohol-related crashes cost each U.S. household more than $165 a year in higher insurance premiums. That cost continues to rise.

"Lowering the drinking age passes this big problem to those in the high school community already dealing with very serious underage drinking issues," said Laura Dean-Mooney, MADD's new national president...

These underage drinking statistics alarm the parents of college-bound students - and 58 percent of parents say they are less likely to send their children to a known party school. Additionally, 70 percent of parents want colleges to notify them when their child violates the school's alcohol policies.

Rick Warren: I'm No Fundamentalist and I Was Never Part of the Religious Right

An evangelical, the old saw goes, is just a fundamentalist who has moved to the suburbs.

Perhaps more apropos nowadays is this adage -- an evangelical is a fundamentalist who has found his way easier and his popularity breezier by softening those "fundamentals" into mere opinions, perspectives and negotiables.

Is this true of Rev. Rick Warren?

Well, he certainly comforted some evangelicals (and some conservative Catholics, for that matter) by showing a greater concern for moral issues like abortion and homosexual marriage in last week's Saddleback Forum than he has to date. And in a subsequent interview with's Dan Gilgoff, Warren gives answers that are considerably better than others in the New Evangelical movement such as Jim Wallis or Tony Campolo.

However, is it just me that finds Warren's comments still pretty jiggly-wiggly?

Or are there others out there who are bothered (if not downright disdainful) at the Reverend's use of...say, third person pronouns to describe evangelical pro-lifers; his unthinking acceptance of the Democrats' old canard that pro-life advocates are people who don't care about babies after they're born; his self-congratulatory belief that Christians are (only now?) beginning to be interested in humanitarian efforts because Warren has "been seeding that into the evangelical movement and it's getting picked up;" his paranoia about being associated with "fundamentalists" and/or the "Religious Right;" and finally his bizarre boast that "I never take sides." It is a strange brew, indeed.

For the record, then, here's a few of Warren's responses to Mr. Gilgoff's questions that I found disappointing:

...For many evangelicals, of course, if they believe that life begins at conception, that's a deal breaker for a lot of people. If they think that life begins at conception, then that means that there are 40 million Americans who are not here [because they were aborted] that could have voted. They would call that a holocaust, and for them it would like if I'm Jewish and a Holocaust denier is running for office. I don't care how right he is on everything else, it's a deal breaker for me. I'm not going to vote for a Holocaust denier... (Why does Warren keep saying "they" instead of "me"?)

That's why to say that evangelicals are a monolith is a myth, but the other thing is that you've been hearing a lot of the press talk about "Well, evangelicals are changing, they're now interested in poverty and disease and illiteracy, and all the stuff I've been talking about for five years now." And I have been seeding that into the evangelical movement and it's getting picked up, and a lot of people are talking about doing humanitarian efforts.

But I really think it's wishful thinking by a lot of people who think [evangelicals] are going to drop the other issues. They're not leaving pro-life, I'm just trying to expand the agenda. And I've moved from pro-life to whole life, which means I don't just care about that baby girl before she's born, I care about it after she's born. I care about whether she's born into poverty. I care about whether she's born with AIDS because her mother had it. I care about whether she's a crack baby. I care about whether she's going to have an education...

(I have always deeply resented this grossly inaccurate smear when it came from the left. But at least I knew abortion enthusiasts made the charge simply to change the subject, to get the attention off the blatant barbarism of abortion -- not because it was true. One need only look at the CPCs, the charitable giving, the missions involvement (abroad and here at home), the personal lifestyles of pro-life Christians, and so on, to see just how irresponsible and inaccurate this old lie is. And it doesn't get any truer by being spoken by a preacher.)

I never take sides, and I don't even talk about who or what I might vote for because it's pretty presumptuous of me to tell anybody what I think they should vote for. If I told them, it might influence them. And I think people are smart enough to listen to people on both sides and make a rational decision based on their worldview...

I never was a part of [the Religious Right]. I'm trying to stake out what I call a common ground for the common good, and that for all these people who are disenfranchised by both sides, disaffected. A lot of people would say, "I'm not blue or red. I'm not secular left and I'm not Religious Left. I'm not secular right and I'm not Religious Right. I'm somewhere in the middle. I happen to like some of the things from that platform and some from the other platform, and I like some about that candidate and some about that. But there are some things I don't like about this guy and some about that guy." That's healthy. We're trying to create a new area of people who are not going to get polarized either way. All the polls say that young evangelicals are more committed to pro-life than their parents, but what they're against is the Religious Right. They don't want to be part of the Religious Right, and they're not going to automatically pull the Republican lever….

To Gilgoff's question, "Has the Christian Right tarnished the image of the evangelical movement?", Warren answered:

Without a doubt. In some ways it got co-opted. Part of it was the press's misunderstanding between the term Religious Right, fundamentalist, and evangelical. They are not the same, and they are not synonymous. I'm not and never have been Religious Right, and I'm not and never have been a fundamentalist. I'm an evangelical. A vast majority of the evangelicals never were Religious Right, never were fundamentalists. They were just simply evangelicals...

(Why do none of these guys ever bother to define for the press and public exactly where the term fundamentalist came from; that is, what are those truths revealed in Holy Scripture that are necessary, that are foundational, that are irreducible...that are, dare I say it, fundamental? "Evangelical" is a fine and useful word when it too is defined -- one who believes and bears good news. But if it is used only because we're afraid that that "other word" is too politically-incorrect, then it shows a lack of confidence in our message and perhaps an unhealthy desire to be liked by the secularists who hate the very concept of fundamental truth.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Today's Posts

Of Conversions From Islam

Obama's Brother Living on Less Than $1 a Month in Kenya

Just Why Did Obama Fumble the "Baby Question" So Badly?

Behind the Scenes at the Olympics: Chinese Injustices Continue to Multiply

Chicago Tribune: Obama IS Misrepresenting His Abortion Vote

Is the University of Illinois Covering Up for Barack Obama?

Of Conversions From Islam

Having just enjoyed an evening's discussion over Ayaan Hirsi Ali's riveting book, Infidel, I have been thinking about the challenge of presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ to Muslims. Indeed, all of us gathered last night for the Vital Signs Ministries Book It! discussion (John, Quint, Matt, Allen, Cindy, and Claire and I) spoke about that challenge at some length. For although Hirsi Ali's horrible experiences as a Somali Muslim woman and the brave, honest vision she applied to Islamic teaching caused her to reject the religion, her "liberation" came not by embracing Christianity but what she called the "alternative moral systems" of Freud, Spinoza, Voltaire, Darwin and other materialists.

As a Christian reader of her fascinating book, I thought it proper to write Ms. Hirsi Ali, expressing my deepest thanks for her book even as I encouraged her to now take that same sharpness of mind to the material world view she has adopted. So I did that this morning; specifically asking her to please look carefully at the intelligent design of the universe, the reality of human sin (it's not just bad religion from whence evil comes), and the intellectual and ethical evidences for Christianity. I explained how I loved her enthusiasm when she first entered an American bookstore, gathering books by the box full in her first few weeks here. And so I suggested that perhaps among her reading she might pick up some C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Francis Schaeffer, Nancy Pearcey, Malcolm Muggeridge, or Chuck Colson.

Let's hope she gives these guys a try.

My thoughts about converts from Islam to Christianity were continuing this morning as we prepare to launch onto the internet the short documentary film we made in Burkina Faso a few years ago. That film, "Come to the Light, " tells the story of Colonel Saye Zerbo, a former president of the country who was thrown out of office and into a prison cell by a socialist coup. While in prison, the Koranic-educated Muslim began to have dreams that he could find no explanation for and doubts about the efficacy of his religion. His subsequent searching for answers led him to the Bible and the acceptance of Jesus Christ as his Savior.

And then, to extend my meditations on this critically-important subject, a link on The Pearcey Report led me to this Fox News interview with Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of one of the most influential leaders of Hamas, who has converted to Christianity. It's a fascinating, wonderful story. And, like Colonel Zerbo, it's a great encouragement for believers in Jesus to keep seeking to gently, intelligently persuade people of all (or no) religious attachments of the truths of Christianity.

Obama's Brother Living on Less Than $1 a Month in Kenya

Now that Barack Obama's half-brother has been found living on less than a dollar a month in a Kenyan hut, the Democrat nominee for the U.S. presidency (whose net worth, by the way, is conservatively estimated at $1.3 million) might be regretting that he didn't send over a little something to help out.