Monday, May 30, 2011

"The Importance of Remembering" -- A Sermon for Memorial Day:

At yesterday's morning service at Faith Bible Church, we honored America's fallen warriors by discussing the history and value of Memorial Day as well as making some suggestions as to how individuals and especially families could commemorate the day: decorating the graves, visiting war memorials, wearing red poppies, observing the National Moment of Remembrance, considering how one could serve the widows and orphans of fallen heroes, considering how one could serve disabled vets, and making opportunities to express gratitude to all of those who have served America through the military.

We then passed the microphone through the congregation so that the veterans present could tell us their name, branch of service, years of duty and something of their time in uniform. The audience gave the military veterans a hearty round of applause for their service.

The sermon then focused on what the Bible has to say about memorials. We traveled briefly through Genesis, Exodus, Joshua, Hosea and Malachi looking at divinely-mandated memorials. They included memorials of military victory, deliverance, holy judgment, and dedication. Even God's forever Name is described as a memorial. We suggest a profitable part of your Memorial Day would be checking out just what those ancient memorials mean to us today. I think you'll find them exciting, profound and spiritually rewarding. You can listen to the sermon right here.

Friday, May 27, 2011

And Still Living Offline

Just checking in to Vital Signs Blog (and Facebook) with a reminder of why Claire and I remain offline. My Mom is still in the hospital. In fact, she is still in the ICU because of severe edema, pulmonary hypertension, low blood pressure and other problems. Naturally, we are with her there for most of the time. And though we have been able to do some Vital Signs work from there in the hospital room, we haven't had the means (or, quite honestly, much of the inclination) to try and manage my regular blogging activities.

So thank you for your patience...and your prayers. I'll be back as soon as possible.

One other thing -- because of our preoccupation with Mom and visiting family, I forgot to mention here that the May edition of Vital Signs' LifeSharer letter was sent out. Judging from the responses we've already received, it seems it was a pretty interesting one. You can see if you think so too by checking it out right here.

And yes, there's a brief description in that LifeSharer letter about the marriage ceremony in the ICU that I mentioned awhile ago.

See you soon.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Blogging Still On Hold

We are still living "offline" as most of each day is spent at the hospital with my Mom. Her new pacemaker is working but other problems are quite severe...and increasing: the edema can't be brought under control; pulmonary hypertension (failure of the right ventricle of the heart), low blood pressure and now a small hole in the lung.

Her prospect is bleak except for the most relevant factor of all; namely, she has received Christ as her Savior and has a heavenly inheritance awaiting her! Thanks be to God for His marvelous grace which offers eternal life for those who trust in the sacrifice Christ made to pay for our sins.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Waiting on the Pacemaker

With my Mom still in hospital and awaiting news of when they will put in a pacemaker, blogging is still on hold for awhile. I'll be back as soon as I can.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

You're Conducting a Wedding Where?

Blogging is delayed today because of several other duties which require our attention. Those duties include a morning presentation of "When Swing Was King" and our ongoing presence in my Mom's hospital room.

Oh, yeah; one other thing.

I'm officiating at a marriage ceremony today for my brother James and his fiancé, Tenna, who have come in from Florida. In order for Mom to be a part of the event she's long prayed for, we will hold the ceremony in my Mom's room at the Intensive Care Unit at Immanuel Hospital.

More on that unusual but very wonderful event later.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Today's Posts

 
 

Chuck Colson on Ayn Rand

"There are two novels that can change a bookish 14-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One's a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves Orcs." (John Rogers)

I've blogged a couple of times about Ayn Rand (Ayn Rand on Abortion, Pro-Lifers and Moral Selfishness and Shrugging Off Ayn Rand) but when I saw Bob Garrett's Facebook link to this terrific Chuck Colson clip, I had to post it too. Great stuff.

Did Even the Lifeguards on Baywatch Make This Kind of Money?

"Lifeguarding in Newport Beach is a pretty good gig, if you can get it."

I guess so! According to a city report (lifeguards at this posh Orange County beach are public employees), 13 of the city's 14 full time lifeguards received over $120,000 in total compensation last year. (The other one pulled in a mere $98,160.65.) For a few of these lifeguards, the rewards were really sweet. More than half the lifeguards collected more than $150,000 for 2010 and two of them collected $203,481 and $211,451, respectively.

Not bad for a town where the median income is about a third of that highest total.

And, oh yes, the lifeguards receive an annual allowance of $400 for “Sun Protection.”

Now I'm all for lifeguards. And I applaud them for their critical work in the same way that I respect, admire and appreciate policemen and firefighters. But, at some point, fiscal responsibility must be taken seriously by the city fathers -- as well as the persons who are considering these life-saving professions.

A city can pull from its citizens only so much money before the city goes bankrupt, the people flee and there is no one left to go to the beach. Some economic common sense is way past due here.

(Hat tip: Rich McGinness)

On Immigration Reform and National Security, Obama Has Failed Completely

The White House correspondents’ dinner might have been two weeks ago, but President Barack Obama continued his comedy routine yesterday in El Paso, Texas, only this time Donald Trump wasn’t the butt of the jokes. Instead, during a speech on immigration, the president mocked Republicans at large, the rule of law, and any American who takes the defense of our nation seriously.

Respectfully, Mr. President, illegal immigration and border security are no laughing matter.

But to the president, they apparently are, especially when it provides fodder for a purely political speech, delivered amid a round of campaign fundraisers in the Lone Star State. After claiming that his administration has “gone above and beyond” Republicans’ calls for immigration reform (which he hasn’t), Obama launched into an all-out assault on the GOP..

This isn’t a question of racism, the goal posts haven’t moved, and a moat is not what’s needed. In case the president hasn’t noticed, the 1,896-mile Rio Grande, arid deserts, treacherous mountain ranges, Border Patrol and hundreds of miles of fence haven’t been enough. And though the president claimed, “The fence is now basically complete,” a February 2011 GAO report shows that Border Patrol does not have control of the border.

Maybe, amid all the applause, the president hasn’t noticed that millions of illegal immigrants now live in the United States, and our laws aren’t being enforced. And when Arizona attempted to enforce the law since the federal government would not, the Obama Justice Department sued to stop it.

Rather than offer effective solutions to the illegal immigration problem, Obama’s response was to ridicule those seeking to enforce the law and offer amnesty for others to curry their political favor. He even dredged up the DREAM Act, a mini-amnesty in sheep’s clothing, which fell flat on its face in Congress. That’s par for the course with this president, who continues to place politics before policy as a matter of routine...

America faces a real illegal immigration problem. It also faces an unemployment problem, a spending problem, an entitlements problem and a national security problem.

On immigration, the right solution is making a real commitment to border security, workplace and immigration enforcement, a temporary worker program and visa reforms to get employers the employees they need. On all of the above, the solution starts with a president who is willing to lead and get down to business — but not the business of taking cheap shots to score points in the political arena.


(Mike Brownfield, The Foundry at the Heritage Foundation)

Did the U.S. Win in Vietnam? Only to Have a Democrat Congress Give It Away?

"The vast majority of Americans have absolutely no idea of what happened in Vietnam that brought about the surrender of South Vietnam and also of Cambodia."

What did happen? The Democrat Congress shamefully broke America's promises and turned southeast Asia over to the Communist thugs. Check out this infuriating video clip with Bruce Herschensohn courtesy of Dennis Prager:

Just What Kind of Christians Are Hip Evangelical Churches Producing?

"Year after year, I do think that we are struggling to keep pace with the amount of people who are coming into our chapters from churched backgrounds who are coming with these assumptions that all people are saved. Another thing that this [Barna] study cites is that 51% do not believe that they have a responsibility to tell people about their faith in Christ," explains InterVarsity evangelist York Moore. "So that lack of responsibility coupled with an openness for universalism and pluralism among Christians is a real problem in InterVarsity."

One of the major results of an expansion of such views has been confusion over orthodox end times views. "The major theological casualties are naturally the great eschatological categories of heaven and hell-- the new world, the return of Jesus, the Judgment Day, these kinds of things. Because of that, the ultimate end game, if you will, of the universe is often ignored. There's no sense of urgency for the salvation of souls."

Moore says the danger of straying from these 2,000-year-old truths is significant. "People are gravitating toward that which is easy, that which is more appealing to our American lifestyle, and the consequences of that could potentially be disastrous."

Under Pressure, Navy Loses Steam on Same-Sex Marriage

Under pressure from more than five dozen House lawmakers, the Navy late Tuesday abruptly reversed its decision that would have allowed chaplains to perform same-sex unions if the Pentagon decides to recognize openly gay military service later this year.

In a one-sentence memo obtained by The Associated Press, Rear Adm. Mark Tidd, chief of Navy chaplains, said his earlier decision has been "suspended until further notice pending additional legal and policy review and interdepartmental coordination."


Yesterday's pronouncement received a link in this Vital Signs Blog post but you can read the full story about the Navy's sudden reversal in today's AP story right here.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Today's Posts



The Other Teddy Roosevelt

George S. Patton was once asked who was the bravest soldier he ever knew. His answer? Ted Roosevelt, Jr. The sentiment was echoed by Omar Bradley who maintained the essence of heroism could be said in just four words: "Ted Roosevelt, Utah Beach."

The eldest son of one of the most remarkable men in American history, Ted himself was a man of astounding character and achievement, whether it was as a statesman, a soldier or a loving husband and father.

Among the many momentous achievements of his life, Teddy Jr. was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on D-Day. Here is the text of that citation, awarded posthumously because Roosevelt died 6 days after the Allied invasion began.

For gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 6 June 1944, in France. After 2 verbal requests to accompany the leading assault elements in the Normandy invasion had been denied, Brig. Gen. Roosevelt's written request for this mission was approved and he landed with the first wave of the forces assaulting the enemy-held beaches.

He repeatedly led groups from the beach, over the seawall and established them inland. His valor, courage, and presence in the very front of the attack and his complete unconcern at being under heavy fire inspired the troops to heights of enthusiasm and self-sacrifice. Although the enemy had the beach under constant direct fire, Brig. Gen. Roosevelt moved from one locality to another, rallying men around him, directed and personally led them against the enemy.


Under his seasoned, precise, calm, and unfaltering leadership, assault troops reduced beach strong points and rapidly moved inland with minimum casualties. He thus contributed substantially to the successful establishment of the beachhead in France.


For a splendid biography on Ted Roosevelt, one that also includes great material on Ted's parents, siblings and his own family, check out Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.: The Life of a War Hero by H. Paul Jeffers. It's published by Presido Press, Inc.

Michelle Obama's Idea of Poetry

The latest Obama outrage is the the First Lady's choice for an evening of "poetry" in the White House. Michelle Obama selected for the artistic soiree a "rap poet" whose "poems" are racist, profane, blasphemous and which endorse lethal violence against police and George W. Bush.

The "poems" are also singularly devoid of any genuine poetic art.

This is the kind of person Michelle Obama wants to honor? This is the type of "poetry" she wants to introduce to her daughters? This is mindlessness of the worst sort. And it displays once again the extreme arrogance of the Obamas who feel no need to show the country some sensitivity, solidarity or even good taste.

Check out this Daily Caller article for an example of the "poetry" Michelle's selection has to offer. (Be forewarned though; it does contain language you'll find offensive.) You'll also read there yet another example of the standard political double standard; namely, how a Republican First Lady was castigated for her poetry night selection -- and she was featuring selections from America's most revered poets!

(Thanks for the tip about this matter to Facebook friends Ron Rizzo, Janice Shaw Crouse and Francis J. Beckwith.)

Navy Approves Same-Sex Marriages in Naval Chapels

One of the most famous quotes in American naval history is the phrase in Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's dispatch after the Battle of Lake Erie, "We have met the enemy and they are ours."

Well, after the announcement by the Chief of Navy Chaplains that homosexual couples will be allowed to get married in Navy chapels and in services performed by Navy chaplains, I believe Perry's response would be more like, ""We have met the enemy and they are us."

De-Funding Planned Parenthood: It's Up To Us

Planned Parenthood's Laughable Hypocrisy on Parental Permission

As Assemblyman Tim Donnelly of California presented AB 1306 before a health committee on May 5, Planned Parenthood took teens out of school for Teen Capitol Day in Sacramento.  Their mission: to meet with lawmakers and oppose the bill that requires women to be provided with a pre-abortion counseling session informing them of possible psychological and physiological side-effects.  Before the teens could be ferried to the state capital to fight against a bill that has the physical and mental well-being of women in mind, they, naturally enough, had to obtain the permission of their parents.

It is ironic how Planned Parenthood sends out a permission slip for kids to go on a lobbying trip, but provides abortions to minors, without informing their parents, in more than a dozen states.  In addition to those 14 jurisdictions, which include California and the District of Columbia, the other states allow for young girls to get around telling their parents about their abortion through judicial bypass procedures, often thanks to aggressive lawsuits from Planned Parenthood...


Read more about Planned Parenthood's ironic (and irrational) hypocrisy in Jane Able's brief report for the Heritage Foundation.

Dope 'Em Up: A Too-Common Nursing Home Technique

Nursing homes can be a haven for seniors who need ongoing medical care. But nursing homes can also be a horror. Neglect, mistreatment, poor food, uncleanliness, abuse of drugs, lack of appropriate staff, price-gouging, euthanasia -- tragically, these cruelties can also be found in the American nursing home industry.

Here is a CBS News report about nursing homes improperly using anti-psychotic drugs as sedatives.

Better community involvement and much stricter government oversight of this industry are both way overdue.

Dog Picks the Wrong Partner to Play Fetch

Ah, the power of well-crafted, representational art.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Today's Posts





Mother's Day in Hospital

Spending Mother's Day in the hospital as you try and comfort your very ill mother isn't necessary to make the day meaningful. But it certainly does intensify the day's meaning.

My Mom has had some difficult times in the last few years with a encroaching frontal lobe dementia, heart issues, numerous falls, infections and so on. But she's now in the hospital dealing with some brand new problems on top of the others: very low blood pressure, possible pneumonia, and a heart that isn't beating in synch. She isn't doing well. But she's receiving excellent care and attention.

We're trying to keep everything going around time spent in the intensive care unit. I was, for instance, able to preach on Sunday morning and we were able to host the open house Saturday afternoon in honor of Kurt Oyer's university graduation that we had scheduled long before Mom's latest trial. We are also trying to keep the various activities of Vital Signs Ministries on schedule including morning blogging, presentations of "When Swing Was King," and all the rest. But, needless to say, we will appreciate most deeply the occasional prayer.

5 Truths About Planned Parenthood That America Needs to Know

Charmaine Yoest from Americans United for Life explains five very big truths about Planned Parenthood that the American public still isn't aware of. And since those Americans are helping Planned Parenthood out to the tune of more than $350 million every year -- not to mention allowing Planned Parenthood remarkable access to their children -- Mrs. Yoest believes those facts should become much better known.

Wouldn't you agree?

In this fine article for National Review, Mrs. Yoest describes five truths about this enormous abortion/sex education corporation.You'll find the piece enlightening and extremely helpful for your conversations with friends, your letters to politicians and business leaders, and your prayers. I urge you to read it carefully, even print it off for use as future reference. But I'll list those five truths in their most basic form below to stimulate your interest.

1. Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion provider, performing (and profiting from) one out of every four abortions in the United States.

2. Planned Parenthood increases its abortion numbers with each passing year, bucking the nearly 20-year national trend of a decreasing abortion rate.

3. Planned Parenthood affiliates have failed to be good stewards of taxpayer funds.

4. Planned Parenthood fights reasonable laws to protect women and girls because such laws might undermine its ability to make money.

5. Planned Parenthood partners with those who sexually abuse and exploit women and girls.


Again, the devil that is Planned Parenthood is in the details, so check out the full article to learn them well.

Spin Notwithstanding, Is Barack Obama a Liar?

Sure, he's a politician. And politicians are known for exaggerations, distortions and convenient omissions. They call it spin and they consider it normal (even moral) behavior.

But has Barack Obama taken spin to a whole new level? Is he actually a liar? A serial liar? And a liar who truly thinks the American public is too dim to ever wake up to the fact?

Nancy Morgan thinks our President is all three and in this American Thinker article, she explains just why. Check it out.

Cal Thomas: A Class Act

Congratulations to the incomparable Cal Thomas who this weekend was given the Media Research Center's William F. Buckley Award for Media Excellence.

I have been a fan of Cal's for as many years as he's been in the national spotlight. He's a profound thinker, a terrific writer and a very dedicated Christian gentleman. I have very much appreciated reading his books and columns, hearing him speak to pro-life audiences, and watching him on television over the years. I have even had the honor to interview him a couple of times back in the days of "Vital Signs" radio. 

We applaud the MRC for bestowing this prestigious award to a very deserving, classy guy.

You can watch Cal's entertaining and moving acceptance speech right here.

1/2 of Detroit Is Illiterate

As if Detroit didn't have enough problems, right? Huge unemployment. A rotting infrastructure. A legacy of inefficient, corrupt politics. Union contracts that the city can't afford. An alarming crime rate. Foreclosures and urban blight. And everyone that can possibly do so leaving town.

And now this -- a report that reveals nearly half of the folks still living in Detroit are functionally illiterate.

Sigh. The Welfare State leaves its menacing mark in so many ways. 

Chuck Swindoll: Evangelical Churches Are Losing Their Purpose

This most definitely qualifies as must reading.

In a brief but bracing interview with Leadership, Chuck Swindoll criticizes modern evangelical churches for acting like corporations and for embracing an "entertainment mentality that leads to biblical ignorance." He's spot on. But he's just getting started.

Check out the interview right here. (Thanks to Gina Dalfonzo over at Breakpoint.)

Sorry, Doctor, But We Have No Job For You.

 Thinking about that Ph.D.?

"Go if you feel that your happiness depends on it -- it can be a great experience in many ways -- but be aware of what you’re in for. You’re going to be in school for at least seven years, probably more like nine, and there’s a very good chance that you won’t get a job at the end of it."

In this very interesting article in the Nation, William Deresiewicz makes me feel vindicated in the decision to end my educational career with a master's degree. This article isn't for everyone but if you've been involved in (or even considered) "higher education," you'll find it valuable.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Today's Posts

Remember Biden's Optimism?

Criminal Abortionist Nicola Riley Caught Again

Bad News All Round: Women Selling Their Eggs Reap Dangerous Results

High Gas Prices Under Bush? Very Bad! High Gas Prices Under Obama? That's Okay.

Remember Biden's Optimism?

It was about this time last year that Vice President Joe Biden boldly predicted that, because of the administration's "good planning," the U.S. economy would start immediately to create new jobs -- 100,000 to 200,000 jobs in the very next month, with a rising quickly to 250,000 to 500,000 jobs per month.

Hmm. How did that work out? Well, not only were those jobs never created (unless you count those obnoxious census takers last spring), we have been bleeding away more jobs, more opportunities for recovery, more hope for America's future than anyone ever feared.

Yesterday's figures tell the real story. The jobless rate climbed to 9%. Gasoline costs are taking up nearly 10% of the average household earnings. And the price of groceries continues to climb. And that's not even bringing in the enormous trade deficits, the out-of-control government spending, and the trillions and trillions of dollars the United States is in debt.

Still optimistic, Mr Biden? Lord knows, you have absolutely no reason to be.

Criminal Abortionist Nicola Riley Caught Again

And you still wonder what kind of people work in the abortion industry?

Read through the paragraphs below (which reveal only a part of this gal's sordid story) and you'll get a better idea. You'll also wonder why the press doesn't bother to expose such criminals -- even when their crimes are more malicious, cold-blooded and ongoing than the others who are featured regularly on Nightline, Dateline, 60 Minutes and the rest.

Abortionist Nicola Irene Riley voluntarily surrendered her Wyoming medical license last month after investigators from the Wyoming Board of Medicine caught her lying about her criminal background on her license application. The surrender became effective on April 15, 2011.

According to Operation Rescue, Riley admitted under questioning that she did not tell the truth about her actual involvement in a credit card/identity theft ring while serving in the U.S. Army in Ft. Carson, Colorado, in 1991.

Riley made national headlines when her Maryland license was suspended in September, 2010, due to her involvement in a severely botched illegal late-term abortion with the notorious Steven Chase Brigham at a “secret” late-term abortion clinic in Elkton, Maryland. Police raided the facility and discovered the bodies of 35 aborted babies, prompting a murder investigation that remains on-going.

The Maryland Board of Physicians later formally charged Riley with counts related to the illegal late-term abortion ring, and with lying to gain licensing in that state. Maryland documents indicated that their investigation shows she also lied to gain admittance to medical school and to obtain a medical license in Utah...


Again, here's more from LifeSiteNews. And over here are a few of the details about why abortionist Riley got in trouble in Maryland last year.

Bad News All Round: Women Selling Their Eggs Reap Dangerous Results

Bait and switch tactics. Terrible side-effects. Lethal experimentation on human embryos.

This business of a young woman selling her eggs produces a whole heap of trouble. Case in point:


I took a drug called Follistim to super ovulate me. The retrieval went fine, but not too long after that my stomach started to swell, and every time I leaned over I could feel my ovaries “plop.” I went to see the doctor, and he told me I had OHSS, and he then said, “We see girls like you all the time.”

I looked 4 months pregnant. They told me to go home and eat a lot of protein. My mother was staying with me at the time, and one night my stomach was so swollen and I could hardly breathe. My mother said, “That’s enough,” and took me to the emergency room. The nurse stuck a needle in my stomach, and it was a loud pop I could feel, like a balloon was popped. She stuck a bag on the end of the needle to drain the fluid, and the bag filled with 2 quarts in about 5 minutes. She had to quickly put another bag on and some of the fluid spilled on the floor. She filled the next bag too -- in all, 4 quarts were drained out of my stomach.

I stayed in the hospital for 2 1/2 more days while they drained more fluid. I had a lot of pain in my abdomen. The staff at the hospital would shake their head at me and took pity on me, because I was an egg donor and they said they saw this a lot...


The above is an excerpt from the latest in a series of interviews by the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. The interviews are of women who have seen the alarming documentary film, Eggsploitation, and have thus been moved to tell their own stories. This story is particularly interesting in that the woman was enticed to sell her eggs not only for the money but to make a baby, but then the agency switched the purpose and wanted the eggs for embryonic stem cell research.

Read the whole interview here. (Hat tip: Gina Dalfonzo at Breakpoint.)

High Gas Prices Under Bush? Very Bad! High Gas Prices Under Obama? That's Okay.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Day of Prayer Activities

On this National Day of Prayer, my intercession priorities will be the deep need for revival in those places where Christianity was once vibrant (America and Europe), strict loyalty to the teaching of Scripture in the places where Christianity is beginning to flourish (Africa and China), and sustaining grace for those believers who serve our Lord in places where Christianity is persecuted.

Besides this brief post, there will be no blogging today as our schedule includes two presentations of Volume 11 of "When Swing Was King" (which I'm not quite finished creating!), some time with my Mom, prayers at the Planned Parenthood abortion facility and further preparations for our "open house" celebration for the university graduation of a close friend.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Today's Posts



A Surprising New Start for Nebraska Pro-Life Bill

In case you hadn't heard the good news from yesterday, LB 521 was voted out of the Judiciary Committee and will now be given the full hearing which it deserves before the Nebraska Unicameral. Previous to Burke Harr's reconsideration, the common sense bill which would prevent Planned Parenthood's sinister scheme involving "web-cam abortions" from being implemented in our state was being stonewalled in an ugly piece of backroom politics.

(One important pro-life bill is still bottled up in that Judiciary Committee, the parental consent bill, LB 690. See the Vital Signs post immediately following this one for more on that.)

But concerning LB 521, the news yesterday was very good. Nebraskans who care about the sanctity of human life, ethical standards of medicine, high standards for women's health and open, responsible government got a win. Yes, it represents only the first step but at least we now have an opportunity to stop Planned Parenthood's plan to start web-cam abortions in Nebraska.

If you are one of those Nebraskans, I urge you to send along thank-you notes and phone calls to those state senators on the Judiciary Committee who voted LB 521 to the floor: Burke Harr (the Senator who re-considered and changed his vote to "yes" -- bharr@leg.ne.gov 402-471-2722), Steve Lathrop (slathrop@leg.ne.gov 402-471-2623), Scott Lautenbaugh (slautenbaugh@leg.ne.gov 402-471-2618), Colby Coash (ccoash@leg.ne.gov 402-471-2632), and Tyson Larson (tlarson@leg.ne.gov 402-471-2801).

Next battle? The floor debate. So keep letters and calls going to your state senator. And keep praying.

Important Parental Consent Bill Held Hostage in Judiciary Committee

Former Nebraska Governor Kay Orr is an engaging, intelligent and principled pro-life advocate who has helped create wonderful momentum for LB 690, a practical and emminently responsible parental consent law.

However, that momentum has crashed upon the stone wall of political chicanery which, unfortunately, has been a regular part of the Unicameral's Judiciary Committee in recent years. It is, no doubt, an ugly mistake in the structure of the legislature that allows as few as four people to completely thwart the cause of representative democracy -- keeping even the most popular, necessary and constituitionally-sound bills from ever getting the honest hearing of the full body.

So what can we do?

First of all, read the column below about LB 690 by Mrs. Orr.

Then use her article as a stimulant to e-mail, write, call (or all of the above) the senators who make up the Judiciary Committee. Let them know you desire political transparency, responsibility, and democracy to be priority values in the Nebraska Unicameral. Inform them that politicians who abuse the rules in order to make deals and promote only their own agendas are politicians you will vigorously oppose in the future. And let them know you back LB 690 and want it voted out of the Judiciary Committee and onto the floor ASAP.

Here's Kay:

In Nebraska, “the Good Life” has been a slogan for as long as most of us can remember.  What is it that makes Nebraska unique in providing a good life to its citizens?

I believe it begins with the strength of our families. It is because of my deep concern for the parents and daughters in our state that I am writing today.

On March 9 I went before the Nebraska Legislature’s Judiciary Committee to testify on behalf of State Sen.Lydia Brasch’s priority bill, LB 690, which would establish that a pregnant minor must get parental consent prior before she can make the life-altering decision to have an abortion.

This bill helps to preserve Nebraska families, protect young girls and save the lives of Nebraska babies by ensuring parental involvement at a crucial time.

This significant bill has been examined and scrutinized by the Judiciary Committee and its members. It has also received an opinion by the Attorney General’s Office that the judicial bypass language included for those few unfortunate circumstances when a minor cannot go to her parents without risk to herself is constitutional.

In short, it is a solid bill that will protect the integrity of families in our state and will be upheld by the courts.

Young girls in our state need the support and counsel of a parent in a time of crisis, and for a young minor, pregnancy certainly is such a time. LB 690 would improve our current statutes by upgrading the involvement of parents over the current law, which requires parents to be notified only when their daughter is undergoing an invasive surgical procedure.

Under our current law, the person ushering the girl to the abortion clinic can actually be an abuser who poses as her parent.  Meanwhile, the parents are potentially left with the devastation and medical expense of an abortion obtained without their knowledge. The failure of current law to require parental consent is leaving young girls vulnerable to coercion and abuse. The parental consent bill closes this gap and helps remedy this significant deficiency.

Minors are emotionally and physically vulnerable on many fronts, and the life-changing impact of pregnancy should not be navigated apart from the love and wisdom of the most significant adult in a girl’s life.

Parental consent laws provide protection from harms inherent in abortion and promote the legal right of parents to be involved in the medical decisions of their daughters. Parents possess information essential to a physician’s exercise of his or her best medical judgment concerning their daughter.  Further, parents who are aware that their daughter has had an abortion may better ensure the best post-abortion medical attention.

Parental consent laws better reflect the stated public policy of Nebraska set forth in Nebraska Rev. Stat. 28-325(1), which provides that it is “the will of the people of the State of Nebraska and members of the Legislature to provide protection for the life of the unborn whenever possible.”

A 2008 study by Michael New showed that parental consent laws reduce the minor abortion rate by an average of 18.7 percent, while parental notification law — our current law — reduces the abortion rate by about 5 percent. Statistically for Nebraskans, this would translate into 100 more babies born alive each year.  


This current legislative session is drawing to a close, and LB 690 is languishing in the Judiciary Committee. I urge the committee to move this bill to the floor of the Legislature, where I am confident it will be met with broad support and signed into law before the end of this session.

As Nebraskans, let’s promote “the Good Life” by standing behind LB 690, the parental consent bill.

The Job at Fertility Clinics No One Wants

"A number of years ago there was a front page story in the New York Times: 'The Job at Fertility Clinics No One Wants.' That job was to dispose of the excess embryos remaining from infertility treatments. Why would fertility clinic lab technicians who had engendered microscopic human embryos have any qualms about disposing of them? Because deep in their hearts they knew that they’re not dealing merely with microscopic undifferentiated biological material, but with human beings of great worth and value.

Deep in their hearts, abortion advocates also know it’s wrong. That’s why they speak of 'choice' without ever mentioning what is being chosen. They’ll speak of the 'termination of a pregnancy' without saying what in fact is being done: the murder of a child. When a mother delivers her child, that also 'terminates a pregnancy,' but the end result is very different from that of an abortion."

Dr. John M. Haas, President of the National Catholic Bioethics Center and founding president of the International Institute for Culture.

Barack Obama's Crass Credit-Grab

Contrary to what one might think after Barack Obama's egoistic preening following the death of Osama bin Laden, it was not the President himself who dropped into that compound and opened fire on the arch-villain. No. Barack Obama was the President who took 16 hours to finally give the go ahead to an operation that was more than ready and who then had to be reminded to throw a jacket over his golf shirt for that now famous photo op in order to keep Americans from remembering where their Commander in Chief's priorities lay.

Here's some excellent articles that go beyond the self-serving talking points coming from the White House.

Ben Shapiro's "The Moral Confusion of Barack Obama."

Andrew Malcom's commentary in the LA Times.

Tom Leonard's story (with stunning photographs) in the Daily Mail.

And from an earlier Andrew Malcom piece:

According to another one of those White House briefings of reporters designed to suck up all available credit for good news, President Obama's homeland security advisor reveals that it was a really tense time in the air-conditioned White House as unidentified U.S. Navy SEALs closed in on the world's most wanted man after midnight a half a wohomeland security advisor john Brennan 5-2-11rld away.

"Minutes passed like days," says John Brennan, who bravely stood with press secretary Jay Carney before reporters and TV cameras today chronicling his boss' weekend heroics.

The heavily-armed commandos flying in a quartet of darkened Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters more than 100 miles into Pakistan were probably listening to their iPods and discussing the NFL draft.

"The concern was that bin Laden would oppose any type of capture operation," said Obama's Sherlock Holmes. So U.S. troops were prepared "for all contingencies."

In fact, this weekend was such a tense time in the White House that Obama only got in nine holes of golf. But he still managed to deliver his joke script to the White House Correspondents Assn. dinner Saturday evening.

Sunday was, Brennan revealed to his eager audience, "probably one of the most anxiety-filled periods of times in the lives of the people assembled here." Poor poor bureaucrats. Extra Tums all around. Did someone order dinner?


There may have been a little anxiety aboard those combat choppers. Who knows? We can't hear from them...

"Jesus, What Have I Done?” -- A Rock Star's Post-Abortion Reaction

Kevin Burke describes for National Review a heartbreaking case of post-abortion trauma experienced by rock musician Steven Tyler.

Long before he won accolades as an American Idol judge, Steven Tyler was a bona-fide rock star, with all that that implied. In 1975, when he was in his late 20s and the lead singer for the band Aerosmith, Tyler persuaded the parents of his 14-year-old girlfriend, Julia Holcomb, to make him her legal guardian so that they could live together in Boston.

When Miss Holcomb and Tyler conceived a child, his longtime friend Ray Tabano convinced Tyler that abortion was the only solution. In the Aerosmith “autobiography,” Walk This Way (in which recollections by all the band members, and their friends and lovers, were assembled by the author Stephen Davis), Tabano says: “So they had the abortion, and it really messed Steven up because it was a boy. He . . . saw the whole thing and it [messed] him up big time.”

Tyler also reflects on his abortion experience in the autobiography. “It was a big crisis. It’s a major thing when you’re growing something with a woman, but they convinced us that it would never work out and would ruin our lives. . . . You go to the doctor and they put the needle in her belly and they squeeze the stuff in and you watch. And it comes out dead. I was pretty devastated. In my mind, I’m going, Jesus, what have I done?”

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines a traumatic event as follows: “1. The person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others. 2. The person’s response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror.”

Those who support abortion rights assure us that post-abortion complications are a myth. But Steven Tyler cuts through this fog of denial and lays it on the line: Jesus, what have I done?

This is the cry of a post-abortive father whose very intimate exposure to the reality of abortion fits the textbook definition of trauma — as set down by the very same American Psychiatric Association that assures us abortion is a safe procedure with no negative effects on a man’s or a woman’s mental health...


Read the rest of Burke's compelling article right here.

(Hat tip: Tim Sullivan)

How Many Genocide Campaigns Are Enough for Sudan?

"It is quite a commentary about a country when one can refer to a previous genocide, and a current genocide, in order to distinguish them from yet another potential genocide taking place in the same country."

Yet that is the horrible reality of Sudan.

Faith McDonnell reviews this massive tragedy in a recent article posted by the Institute for Religion and Democracy. It's an alarming read but one which is very important. It will clarify the most salient issues, stimulate your prayers and even give you an opportunity for response.

When Hip Trumps Holy: Post-Modern Christianity

I've mentioned here before that one of the best things to have come from my signing up for Facebook was getting to know Jack Niewold. Jack is an experienced, well-informed and reflective Christian who takes the doctrines of the Faith very seriously. And in the safe, self-centered, soft-headed religious atmosphere that dominates American religious life nowadays, he thus provides a much-needed breath of fresh air. I heartily recommend Jack's memoir, Frail Web of Intention, even as I recommend those of you on Facebook to send him a friend request. Tell him I sent you over.

You may not always agree with his conclusions. (He can take that.) But you will always encounter a Christian who thinks carefully, is well-read, is quite kind hearted and patient, and who possesses the joy and confidence that comes from decades of walking with Christ.

And he writes very, very well.

I print below one of Jack's recent essays. I print it in its entirety in so that those of you who are not linked in to Facebook can reap its benefits.

A posting I recently did concerning tattoos and Christians drew lots of fire, and quite a bit of ire, as you might imagine. But there’s a much bigger issue here, one which the question of tattoos clearly begins to reveal.

The fact is, the faith system of great swaths of younger people today, and not a few older people, represents what Bret McCracken calls “ hipster Christianity.” This was quantified a few years ago by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons in their groundbreaking study of American Christians called UnChristian. “Out of ninety-five million Americans aged nineteen to forty-one,” Kinnaman and Lyons write, “about sixty million say they have already made a commitment to Jesus that is still important; however, only about three million of them have a biblical worldview.” The authors’ definition of worldview is based on eight criteria, a mix of seminal doctrines and practices, as well as a  commitment to an objective moral code.

When only five percent of those who profess to be Christians respond that their beliefs affect them both cognitively and practically, we have a problem.

The fact is, much that we call Christianity today is neo-gnosticism. It is a minimal set of general, internalized religious propositions that have little affect on matters of language, habit, dress, social expression, sexual standards, and public witness. For millions of evangelical church-goers, “faith” amounts to—in the formula of sociologist Christian Smith—“moral, therapeutic deism,” a kind of feel-good, do-your-own-thing, subjective spirituality.

Thus, in the study done by Kinnaman and Lyons, vast numbers of these young believers have little disagreement with cohabitation, pre-marital sex, abortion, public profanity, habitual movie attendance, and generalized adherence to the political and moral values of the culture at large.

As in every age, when someone attempts to discuss this problem, or to suggest any kind of threshold Christian identity, he or she is understood to be fundamentalist, as placing barriers in the way of those who would otherwise come into the faith, or as judgmental. The very idea of such a discussion is preemptively ruled out of bounds because it offends the sensitivities of those who, in agreement with secular notions of “tolerance,” hold to a conviction that each person is autonomous and possesses a veto over theological or moral considerations that he or she finds personally distasteful.

Is there a problem here? You bet. We seem to be rapidly approaching a point at which the soft tyranny of secular intolerance of public religious expression is combining with a self-censure on the part of the church over what it will agree to as a minimal deposit of the faith and its moral component. We are being driven from the marketplace not only on the basis is external opposition, but by our own misguided belief that Christian faith is primarily a private matter between “me and Thee.”

Rolling this all back is a work of years of struggle on the part of thousands of leaders, most of whom are smarter than I. But the struggle has to begin, if the church is to reclaim its role in society and its authority in the lives of believers. I simply picked a soft spot in the left flank of popular culture—tattoos—to see what a pinprick would reveal.

New Pampers Commercial Rocks!



Wow!

Along with the video clip of the commercial which is posted at Jill Stanek's site (a recommended bookmark, by the way), Andy Moore gives this very helpful commentary:

Recall that last year Pampers released an iPad app allowing families to track the development of their preborn baby.

Now Pampers has released a commercial that is simply fantastic.

Where to start? This short, 1-minute video undermines a host of pro-abortion lies in a simple, understated fashion.

1. Ultrasound footage of a preborn child is shown. The proliferation of sonograms through social media is undoubtedly contributing to increased awareness amongst the next generation of the value of each human life, in particular, those in the womb.
2. The ad states every baby is precious, whether s/he is planned or not. Did you hear that Planned Parenthood?
3. Every baby is precious, even if born three months early. That’s roughly 29 weeks – the same age late-term abortionists here in the U.S. are murdering preborn children.
4. Every baby is precious, even if he has a young mom. Oh, that’s odd, because the pro-abortion lobby is always telling us that if a young woman carries her pregnancy to term, her life will be ruined and career over.
5. Adoption is encouraged.
6. Babies with special needs are no less precious than “normal” babies.


The advert finishes, “Pampers believes every baby is a little miracle, to celebrate, support and protect.”

Admittedly the advert seems to take a pro-surrogacy, pro-IVF stance – although babies conceived through these methods are no less valuable than those conceived naturally.

Pampers is 1st and foremost a profit-driven company, so this advert shouldn’t be seen as primarily intended to send a “pro-life” message.

But regardless of the company’s intent, the advert is clearly pro-life. The advert is not speaking about preborn babies but babies who have been born. Yet, the implication remains – babies are valuable regardless of their age, size, physical capabilities, readiness of their mother, etc, etc. All up, a solid pro-life message.

Good work Pampers, keep it up.


Now, as Andy points out, we need to remember that Pampers is a company that is looking to make money. And so who knows what specific motivations were involved in the making of the commercial? Also, as one of the commenters to the Stanek site explains, Pampers has made contributions to UNICEF which pro-life activists would properly bemoan. Nevertheless, the commercial as it stands is a powerful  pro-life presentation. Such visuals pack a punch. Such visuals are memorable. And such visuals, broadly transmitted around the nation, are warmly welcomed by all who want to enlarge America's understanding of prenatal life.

Therefore, I would urge you all to take a few minutes and express your pleasure and gratitude regarding the "For Every Little Miracle" commercial to the folks that matter. Just use this page to send Pampers an e-mail thank you.Here's what I wrote:

"Just a quick thank-you for the terrific new Pampers commercial, 'For Every Little Miracle.' It is a compelling, beautiful ad, one which underscores the sanctity of every human life and the glories of family devotion. As such, it reflects very well on your company. Thank you so much. I'm passing on to others my gratitude to Pampers for this wonderful ad."

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Today's Posts

 
 

The Bad Economic News Just Keeps Getting Worse...But the Media Isn't Talking

Uh, excuse me...about the American economic recovery that the White House and the press keep assuring us is underway or, at least, just around the corner. You know, all the talk that denies the real numbers, that denies the out-of-control national debt and the trade deficits, that denies the astronomical prices Americans are paying for gas, tomatoes and bread.

Well, here from Brett Arends at Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch is a voice of reason. And he passes along a most important (though again all-but-ignored) announcement.

The International Monetary Fund has just dropped a bombshell, and nobody noticed.

For the first time, the international organization has set a date for the moment when the “Age of America” will end and the U.S. economy will be overtaken by that of China.

And it’s a lot closer than you may think.

According to the latest IMF official forecasts, China’s economy will surpass that of America in real terms in 2016 — just five years from now.

Put that in your calendar...

According to the IMF forecast, which was quietly posted on the Fund’s website just two weeks ago, whoever is elected U.S. president next year — Obama? Mitt Romney? Donald Trump? — will be the last to preside over the world’s largest economy.

Most people aren’t prepared for this. They aren’t even aware it’s that close. Listen to experts of various stripes, and they will tell you this moment is decades away. The most bearish will put the figure in the mid-2020s.

But they’re miscounting..
.

Read the rest right here.

The Smiley Face Gospel

“If our biggest need is to feel good about ourselves, God could have sent Oprah. If our big need is to get along with our family, God could have sent Dr. Phil. But if God sent his Son to die a brutal, horrifying death as a payment for human sin, then surely our sin must be more heinous than ‘feeling empty inside.’”

"The greatest threat to Christianity may not be modern culture, blatant heresies, or the rise of Islam. If the seeds of destruction can come from the counterfeit, could it be such seeds are slowly being planted through the counterfeit gospels within the church? Could it be that we are unwittingly participating in ‘printing’ the counterfeit gospel?”

(Trevin Wax, pastor and author of the new book Counterfeit Gospels, as quoted in a provocative Christian Post article which, among other things, looks at the influence of Rob Bell's recent entry into heresy. Good reading here.)

Planned Parenthood Doesn't Want America to Know

Planned Parenthood is obviously proud and pleased at the astounding success of their business. After all, they're making hundreds of millions of dollars every year in pure profits PLUS they're shoveling in hundreds of millions more through gifts from foundations, companies and even from American taxpayers.

However, Planned Parenthood is very selective in deciding just which audiences will hear an honest record of the organization's success and which will hear distortions, myths and outright lies. Because Planned Parenthood knows that if the truths about its "business model" were to become better known to the American public, those astronomical piles of money they're raking in would began to dissipate quickly.

For instance, if the bare facts about Planned Parenthood were fairly covered by the press or pursued by trial lawyers or exposed by politicians, educators and clergymen, the jig would be up forever. Planned Parenthood would no longer be able to pose as a charitable organization nor even as one working for rational social reform. They would be seen as a business with the most racist, elitist eugenics origins; a business that has created alarmingly profane and blasphemous promotional materials; a business than plans for its future profits by promoting and enabling sexual promiscuity among teenagers; a business that further plans for its future profits by selling cheap prophylactics, ineffective "birth control" pills and chemical abortifacients that require extra visits to Planned Parenthood...

And, one more thing. If the bare facts were known about the immorality, the injustice and the barbarity of abortion -- Planned Parenthood's raison d'ĂȘtre -- then this mega-abortion corporation, one which made over 150 million dollars in 2009 alone through the killing of 1/3 of a million babies through surgical abortion, then the American public would see this nefarious, deceitful and extremely violent business for what it is.

So hiding the truth remains a critical part of Planned Parenthood's "business model."

For more details on Planned Parenthood's operation, read this quick update from Live Action.

The Media's "Bait & Switch" Technique on Stem Cells

Barb Malek calls the press on its disingenuous coverage of stem cell issues in her latest essay. I print an excerpt below but you can read the whole thing at Erase the Need right here.

It is an obvious fact that adult stem cell research has left embryonic research far behind in terms of breakthroughs and advances. So, I guess it would seem only natural that the proponents of embryonic would attempt to piggyback on the success of adult. The press seems more than happy to add to the confusion; after all, they are quite experienced with deceit...

Embryonic research and adult stem cell research are as different as night and day. One works in a cannibalistic manner to assist one person’s life through the death of another. The other uses the life-giving cells found on a patient to help their body to heal itself. The first has not been successful so it is piggy-backing onto the triumphs of the other and hoping you won’t notice the difference. The omission of honest terminology can only be interpreted as an attempt at deceit by the press. If that is not fraud, I don’t know what is.

Whenever you read an article or see a television program that attempts to veil the truth in this way, please call them on it! For your own benefit, you can safely assume that if the research has been successful, then it is speaking of adult stem cell research. (Believe me, if embryonic research ever finds any success, you will know it is embryonic research. At that point, the distinction will be made very clear.) We must insist on journalistic honesty or things will continue to grow worse...

More from the Mail Bag

Here are a few more letters written by the Christian activists at Faith Bible Church at Sunday night's letter-writing party. Yesterday's posts included several related items: The Spirit of '76: A First Time Letter-Writing Event (a breakdown of the meeting and what our action targets were); a few examples of actual letters in Inside the Envelopes; one very important letter model that Nebraskans can (and should!) use in their own letters, Senator Brad Ashford, Please Let Those Pro-Life Bills Go!; and finally a general primer which you can print and save as reference, Tips on Letter Writing.

And, as I promised yesterday, here's just a few more:

* Dear Congressman Lee Terry,

Just wanted to write to thank you for your consistent and strong stand for LIFE and voting pro-life.  You represent the majority of Nebraska by your vote! Thank you for all you are doing.  My prayers continue for you.

Kim...

* To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing to ask Oak View Mall to require stores like Victoria’s Secret to demonstrate some degree of moral responsibility to the children and families who are forced to view the unnecessarily titillating exhibits of their products.  I do not oppose the store being in the mall, but do I oppose the blatant advertising displays.  Children in the mall should not be subjected to these.  Please put some reasonable display standards in place soon. Thanking you in advance for your attention to this matter.

Kathy...

* Dear State Senator Lathrop,

Please lobby and vote to send LB 690 to the floor for the full legislature to consider.  Why any senator wouldn’t back this bill is beyond my understanding. Thanking you in advance.

Chet...

* Dear Anne Sweeney and ABC,

I am writing an appeal to you to ditch the ABC pilot “Good Christian Bitches.” What an offense to women as well as Christians.  I doubt other faiths would be denigrated in this way.  As a woman, I trust you will do all that you can to eradicate this sexist profanity on television.  Thank you for your time and sensible action regarding this matter. Sincerely,

JoLynn...

* Dear Senator Nelson,

Planned Parenthood should not be funded with taxpayer money.  They are, in effect, using taxpayer money for abortions.  As one who claims to be a pro-life senator, please help in defunding this.  This would also help in reducing the federal deficit. Thank you!

Steve T...

* Dear Dr. Eckman [President of Grace University],

We're doing a letter-writing party tonight and in addition to voicing our concerns to politicians, editors and business leaders, we are also taking some time to send thank you notes to saints who have served the Lord faithfully and who have helped the Church better understand her responsibilities to stand for Jesus in the public square. You have brought such leadership to Grace University and to the Heartland. We are very grateful. May God continue to bless and use you.

Card was then signed by all of those in attendance.

* Similar cards to the one above (with appropriate thank you messages and the signatures of us all) were also sent to such heroes as Ken and Joni Tada, the AAA Center for Pregnancy Counseling, the Nebraska Family Council and to all of the international missionaries supported by Faith Bible Church.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Today's Posts

 After a week offline, Vital Signs Blog returns with a letter-oriented Monday. Here you go:

A Week of Spinning Plates (Offline)

The Spirit of '76: A First Time Letter-Writing Event

Inside the Envelopes

Senator Brad Ashford, Please Let Those Pro-Life Bills Go!

Tips on Letter Writing

A Week of Spinning Plates (Offline)

Last week began with a two-day vigil at Immanuel Hospital where my Mom was recovering from severe dehydration. She came out of it pretty well and we had some wonderful times later that week back at her nursing home. So that's why blogging was out those first couple of days. And then, just when I started in on Wednesday a few other things came up and I never made it back. I was also absent from Facebook all week.

I'm not complaining. It was a productive week in several other respects including our presence at the Bellevue abortion clinic, Claire's continued progress in the massive job of painting the kitchen cabinets, sermon preparation, lawn work, editing material for both the Vital Signs Ministries web site and our Russian-language site, and sitting down in a restaurant across town for a lengthy interview about the American pro-life movement with a reporter from Sweden's largest newspaper.

There was also the preparation for a special letter-writing party last night -- the details of which are posted in the post just down from this one.

And there was something else. While in the hospital, I caught up on some reading, finishing Laura Hillerbrand's Unbroken, Shelby Foote's Shiloh, and David Porter's brief book on Malcolm Muggeridge. I will have some comments on them later this week but I'll tell you now that for the first two I can give you my heartiest recommendations.

At any rate, that's what was happening last week. Responsibilities from my non-cyber life just piled up. Of course, had I access to (not to mention the skills to use) an iPad or Droid or whatever other Star Trek communication devices are available nowadays, I could possibly keep up with the blog and Facebook from the hospital, a coffee shop or even "tweeting" from the sidewalk. But such things are still out of my league.

This week will probably have some limits on cyber-activity as well. I've got scads of writing and editing to do, Volume 11 of "When Swing Was King" to complete before a scheduled Thursday performance and the garage to clean before hosting a college graduation party for Kurt Oyer. But I'll try -- and the following posts dealing with letter writing are today's start.

The Spirit of '76: A First Time Letter-Writing Event



The previous post mentions a special letter-writing party we were honored to be a part of last night and I want to give you some of the details here. As those of you already familiar with Vital Signs Ministries know, Claire and I have been creating P.A.L. Nights (Prayer, Action, Letters) ever since the Omaha Christian Action Council took shape back in 1982. But last night's party was different. For it was the first in what (we hope) will be an ongoing ministry of the church where I've served as teaching pastor for the last 3 1/2 years, Faith Bible Church.

The event was hosted by Steve and JoLynn Thorson at their lovely home. 16 letter-writers, most of them rookies in this type of ministry, had a nifty time of it, writing letters to Congressmen, state senators, business leaders, and Christians imprisoned for their faith. We also wrote quite a few thank-you notes to the international missionaries our church supports and other heroes of the faith whose work we appreciate.

The specific issues we dealt with included pro-life bills in the Nebraska legislature (especially LB 521 and LB 690), the need to stop federal tax funding of Planned Parenthood, and shameful actions taken by the Mattel Toy Company. All of the action targets came from posts published here on Vital Signs Blog in the last year or so. Those posts always include "talking points" and contact information to help YOU take action as well.

And that means you don't need to attend one of our letter-writing parties to jump in and get involved in this very important, very do-able ministry yourself. So, how about it?

Oh yes; I should probably let you in on just how many letters were created last night. 76. Not bad for rookies, huh? And not bad for the start of a brand new ministry of Faith Bible Church. Way to go, guys!

Inside the Envelopes

Below is a quick sampling of letters from last night's event, the first ever letter-writing party of Faith Bible Church. (I'll post a few more tomorrow.) The links included will take you to those Vital Signs Blog posts which stimulated the respective letters. You'll also find there the contact information you'll need to write a few of your own -- which we sure hope you will!

* Dear Senator Nelson,

I am asking that you join the effort to remove tax funding from Planned Parenthood.  I don’t see why a billion dollar business needs my tax dollars to support its work of abortions and, as recently uncovered, their clinics covering up rape and not reporting sex traffickers.  How can you, a pro-life senator, support this use of tax dollars?

Sincerely,

Steve Y...

* Dear Senator Harr,

I’m writing to ask you to get LB 690 & LB 521 out of committee and onto the floor for a full debate and vote.  Do not deny this state the democratic process on these two bills any longer.  Kick them out of committee and send them to the floor.

Cindy...

* Dear Whole Foods Market,

I encourage you stop giving money to Planned Parenthood.  Planned Parenthood has been caught operating in a very unethical way and a misleading fashion.  I am surprised you back the number one abortionist in the nation.  We will not be shopping at your store until your partnership with Planned Parenthood is ended. Thank you.

Steve T...

* To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to ask you to stop promoting sexualized and violent video games to young children.  Your “Addicting Games” web site is unacceptable.  The fact that Nick.com and NickJr.com also provide links to this awful website is very disappointing too. Please remove the sexual and violent video games and replace them with fun, kid-appreciated games that kids can enjoy and learn from.

Thank you for your consideration in this very important matter.

Sincerely,

Lynnette...(one who has ministered to elementary age kids for many years)

* To Whom It May Concern,

I am saddened, even angered, by the theme of death in your toys you have been producing. I am choosing to avoid Mattel toys until I see more life giving toys being produced and an end to toys like Monster High dolls.
Life is precious, please promote it. Thank you.

Jane...(a concerned mother of 4)
P.S. I will be encouraging other concerned parents and grandparents to join me in boycotting Mattel.  Please stand up for life and decency.