Friday, June 30, 2006

Condoms Exacerbate the AIDS Epidemic

Here's an excerpt from a new article in Crisis Magazine explaining how one experienced journalist has decided to face the facts and then report the facts about the counter-productive policy of using condom distributions to try and fight AIDS.

Since 1989, more than 4 billion condoms have been shipped to sub-Saharan Africa, yet the number of HIV-infected people continues to grow at an epidemic rate.
This has led one expert to state that the exploding growth of the disease was one of the greatest failures in the history of public health.

Veteran medical journalist Sue Ellin Browder outlined the problem in the June issue of Crisis Magazine.
Browder asks why HIV and AIDS cases have steadily increased, despite the continued efforts to supply Africans with condoms -- the supposed "silver bullet" solution to the problem. Some have even argued that the Church is responsible for the deaths of millions of Africans because of its traditional moral prohibition on condom usage.

However, the emerging consensus among public health professionals, according to Browder, is that at best, condoms should be the first line of defense only for extremely high-risk persons such as those involved in the commercial sex industry.
One source Browder cites states the findings succinctly: "So far, there's no good evidence that condoms will reverse population-wide epidemics like those in sub-Saharan Africa." In fact, Browder argues that countries with the most condoms per man have the highest HIV infection rates...

Amnesty International Really Losing Its Focus

First came the news that Amnesty International wanted to start actively promoting an abortion agenda. Now, the next shoe falls. They're moving into the campaign to not only call for special rights for homosexuals, but to demand them -- with appropriate punishments for those who remain committed to biblical values.

The issue that set them off? Brave Latvia standing up to the European Union.

Here's an earlier post from Vital Signs Blog about Latvia's principled stand and here is the LifeSite story of Amnesty International's weird and immoral response.

Liberal Potshots

Mike Adams is somewhat unique among the conservative solons whose columns are circulated by Town Hall in that he concentrates on local (even quite personal) battles of the culture wars. His beat is academia and, through the lens of his experience as a professor of criminology at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, he lets his readers see how the liberal elite connive, coerce and cat around in a specific, "up close and personal" way that is really illuminating.

Plus, Dr. Adams writes with skill. He's incisive, ironic and witty.

All of us who are fans of Town Hall have our favorites and when we scan down the offered columns,unless a headline really jumps out at us, we tend to click on the same folks. For instance, among my "regulars" are Cal Thomas, Rebecca Hagelin, Brent Bozell, Emmett Tyrell and...Mike Adams. I encourage you to try him out and this column is a perfect one to start with.

Omaha Abortion Business Going Under?

The Omaha World-Herald is reporting today that C. J. Labenz has sold the building where he has committed abortions for over 25 years and is closing his grisly business. It remains unclear if he will attempt to relocate. Thus, the rumors that have been swirling around the community (several that have been wildly wrong) have finally come into some focus.

The building was sold to the Child Saving Institute, a combination day care center/shelter/substance abuse program/adoption and foster care facility/etc. which is on the opposite corner of 46th and Douglas Streets in central Omaha. The organization, which has been unfriendly to the pro-life cause over the years, has not yet announced plans for the building except for saying that it will no longer be used as a clinic.

Vital Signs Ministries has organized and led a prayer and sidewalk counseling team that has protested abortions six days every week for nearly 25 years at this location. Hundreds of lives have been saved and countless miracles have been performed by the loving power of God through these faithful pro-life activists. Naturally, we are pleased beyond description at this development.

However, our work is a long way from being done. C.J. Labenz may prove the rumors incorrect and relocate after all. We will be ready if he does. And, even in the case he does not, there are abortion mills in nearby Bellevue, Nebraska, and Council Bluffs, Iowa, where we can turn our attention.

And, in case you're wondering, the notoriously pro-abortion World-Herald newspaper didn't bother to seek statements for their news story from the pro-life Christians who have so dramatically and effectively opposed the abortion business over these last two decades. Six days a week protests, hundreds of turn-away stories, several arrests for peaceful pro-life activity, a successful lawsuit against the City of Omaha related to picketing the facility, the arrest of the abortionist for assault -- these factors were all irrelevant to the newspaper.

So much for fair and balanced news coverage.

But pro-life advocates, who haven't worried about the World-Herald's shoddy reporting or inconsistent editorial policies for many years anyway, are certainly concentrating on other matters today. The 46th Street abortion clinic is closed. Our fervent prayers of 24 years have been answered and finally, no babies will die inside that building anymore.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Of Botched Abortions, Illegal Abortions and Plea Bargaining

Here's a case from South Africa that is emblematic of how Western culture coddles abortionists, even when they're caught breaking both the law and basic codes of medical ethics. And, in this case, the specific illegalities committed by abortionist Vikash Nundlall and three of his assistants numbered 23 000!

Bolton, Hanford Among Those Linking Religious Persecution to Terrorism

Here's today's "must read" story, the account from Baptist Press about Religious Freedom Day in Washington, D.C., and the theme stressed there by speakers John Bolton (our new ambassador to the U.N.) and John Hanford (the U.S. ambassador at large for international religious freedom) that religious persecution is naturally linked to support for terrorism.


John Bolton --"It is a nearly 100 percent correlation -- I don't think it's accidental -- that countries that suppress human rights domestically, and particularly countries that have demonstrated extraordinary religious intolerance, are also among the states that are the principle state sponsors of terrorism, and have been for many years, and are states pursuing weapons of mass destruction -- nuclear, chemical, biological -- and the ballistic missile capabilities they need to deliver those weapons of mass destruction. "

While religious suppression, sponsorship of terrorism and the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction "may sound like unrelated policies," it is intriguing "to see that regimes that engage in one of those practices tend to engage in all three," Bolton said. "I think as foreign policy practitioners, we have not paid enough attention to this correlation. There's some reason that regimes that are threats from the perspective of the global war on terror, regimes that are threats because of their effort to proliferate weapons of mass destruction are also so abusive in terms of religious liberty and human rights more generally. And that's the sort of thing that ought to engage the United Nations more."

John Hanford -- "Religious freedom deserves a central place in our foreign policy because religious persecution leads to the suppression of other human rights," Hanford said. "I would argue that respect for religious freedom is a very useful, diagnostic tool or a litmus test for a society's overall health..."

Scientific Dissent from Darwinism Growing

SEATTLE -- Over 600 doctoral scientists from around the world have now signed a statement publicly expressing their skepticism about the contemporary theory of Darwinian evolution. The statement, located online at, reads: "We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged."

The fastest growing segment of the list is scientists from outside the United States. International scientists now represent just over 12% of all signers, and as a group has seen nearly 40% growth in the past four months.

"I signed the Scientific Dissent From Darwinism statement, because I am absolutely convinced of the lack of true scientific evidence in favour of Darwinian dogma," said Raul Leguizamon, M. D., Pathologist, and a professor of medicine at the Autonomous University of Guadalajara, Mexico.

"Nobody in the biological sciences, medicine included, needs Darwinism at all," added Leguizamon. "Darwinism is certainly needed, however, in order to pose as a philosopher, since it is primarily a worldview. And an awful one, as Bernard Shaw used to say."

The list of 610 signatories includes member scientists from National Academies of Science in Russia, Czech Republic, Hungary, India (Hindustan), Nigeria, Poland, Russia and the United States. Many of the signers are professors or researchers at major universities and international research institutions such as Cambridge University, British Museum of Natural History, Moscow State University, Masaryk University in Czech Republic, Hong Kong University, University of Turku in Finland, Autonomous University of Guadalajara in Mexico, University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, Institut de Paléontologie Humaine in France, Chitose Institute of Science & Technology in Japan, Ben-Gurion University in Israel, MIT, The Smithsonian and Princeton.

"Dissent from Darwinism has gone global," said Discovery Institute President Bruce Chapman, former US Ambassador to the United Nations in Vienna. "Darwinists used to claim that virtually every scientist in the world held that Darwinian evolution was true, but we quickly started finding US scientists that disproved that statement. Now we're finding that there are hundreds, and probably thousands, of scientists all over the world that don't subscribe to Darwin's theory..."

For more, check out the Discovery Institute with its several relevant articles on this topic.

Standing for Christ Despite Muslim Persecution

An incomparably better award awits persecuted Christian, Ranjha Masih, in the world to come and that is certainly the one he has his eyes on. Nevertheless, the International Society for Human Rights has done a tremendous service to Ranjha, his family and the cause of Christ by using their newly established Stephen Endowment to publicize Pakistan's cruel and unjust treatment of Christians.

Here is Ranjha's story via Compass Direct.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Reality Unseen

This is just one example of the powerful messages conveyed by the cartoons of Dan Lacey. You can check out others (and Dan's running blog commentary) right here.

New Boycott List Against Planned Parenthood Announced

..."As a direct result of the commitment, action and prayers of pro-family people, at least 130 corporations have stopped funding Planned Parenthood," said LDI President Douglas R. Scott, Jr. It is estimated that the boycott has cost Planned Parenthood more than $35 million since the Corporate Funding Project (CFP) began nearly 15 years ago. "This should be a testament to those who believe it is impossible to change corporate philanthropic behavior," Scott said.

Corporations appearing on The Boycott List for the first time include retail giant Wal-Mart, Basics Office Products, CHUM (broadcasting), Daily Grind (beverage-related items, primarily coffee), George Weston (supermarkets including Loblaws, & baked goods including Arnie's Bagels, Interbake Foods, Maplehurst, Neilson Dairy, President's Choice brand, & Weston Foods), Kees (manufacturing), Torstar (publisher of Harlequin romance novels & several newspapers), and Willis Stein & Partners (publisher of several magazines; maker of snack foods such as Fiddle Faddle, Poppycock, Jays products, Krunchers!, & O-KE-DOKE; operator of supermarkets such as Copps, Pick 'n Save, & Roundy's; & owner of book, DVD & CD supplier Baker & Taylor, etc.), among others.

Scott noted that several Canadian-based corporations are new to The Boycott List, but most do business in the United States as well. If Scott had to pick one corporation that he believes deserves the most attention it would one such company. "Officials at Basics Office Products demonstrated their anti-Christian bigotry time and time again during our discussions with them," Scott said. "If any company deserves to be picketed and highlighted, it would be Basics Office Products." LDI will print several quotations from the corporation's leaders in the July-August 2006 edition of their newsletter, The Caleb Report.

Corporations continuing as boycott targets from the previously released Boycott List include high-end retailer Neiman Marcus, Adobe (software), Wachovia, Altria (Phillip Morris, Nabisco, Kraft, Post cereals, etc.), Golub (Price Chopper supermarkets), Nike, Time Warner (Cinemax, HBO, AOL, CompuServe, Hanna-Barbera, Looney Tunes, Warner Bros., magazines such as Entertainment Weekly, Field & Stream, Fortune, People, Sports Illustrated, Teen People, etc.), Unilever (Q-Tips, Lipton, Best Foods, Birds Eye, CountryCrock, Wish-Bone, Ben & Jerry's, Breyers, Good Humor, Axe, Finesse, Salon Selectives, Suave, etc.), Bank of America, the Dallas Cowboys, CIGNA (insurance), Walt Disney, Cost Plus World Market, Johnson & Johnson, Lost Arrow (Patagonia, etc.), Wells Fargo, Whole Foods Market, and Nationwide (insurance), among others.

The new Boycott List will include a revised "Dishonorable Mention" section, which identifies charitable groups that are associated with Planned Parenthood and/or its agenda. Among the groups named in this section are The American Cancer Society, Camp Fire, The Dr. Phil Foundation, Girls Inc., Kiwanis Clubs, Girl Scouts, Rotary Clubs, the March of Dimes, The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, and the YWCA...

Runaway Lawsuits

Over at the City Journal, where there are always provocative, insightful articles, Philip K. Howard has written a very worthwhile examination of the current state of tort reform but he also adds a few suggestions on how individual judges could improve civil justice much further still.

In D.C,, a Ten Commandments Display is Protected

Greg Jones posted on the World Magazine Blog this important update:

The District of Columbia Department of Transportation has backed down from its threats to impose $300-per-day fines on the evangelical Christian group Faith and Action for installing an 850-pound granite monument of the Ten Commandments on the front lawn of the property that houses the group's offices, which sits across the street from the United States Supreme Court building. Originally, city officials had indicated that Faith and Action needed permits from both the DOT and the city's office of historic preservation, but upon further review, First Amendment concerns caused the city to drop its objections to the monument.

The AP "Puff Story" for Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" Is...Uh...Incoveniently Untrue

The Associated Press story claimimg that all the top climatologists are giving a "5 star accuracy rating" to Al Gore's freak-out flick, An Inconvenient Truth, is getting huge attention from the MSM. Just one problem ---

-- the story is misleading to the max.

Here is a report from the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works that directly challenges the AP story. Check it out.

There are also several articles over at TCS Daily, articles which examine global warming in detail with science uppermost in priority instead of politics. You'll see that when the a priori assumptions are removed and the claims for global warming and its attendant horrors face the test of real science, Mr. Gore ends up with egg all over his now-beardless face.

This page lists a few of those TCS Daily stories.

And finally, from a few other sources, here are some scientific perspectives that also weren't considered newsworthy for the Associated Press story:

Below are some quotes from top climate experts discussing Gore's film and global warming that apparently slipped under the radar.

-"Starting in 1970, there was a precipitous drop-off in the amount and extent and thickness of the Arctic ice cap." This is misleading, according to Ball: "The survey that Gore cites was a single transect across one part of the Arctic basin in the month of October during the 1960s when we were in the middle of the cooling period. The 1990 runs were done in the warmer month of September, using a wholly different technology." -Dr. Tim Ball, former professor of climatology at the University of Winnipeg. ("Scientists respond to Gore's warnings of climate catastrophe" by Tom Harris, Canada Free Press, June 18, 2006)

-"There is no meaningful correlation between CO2 levels and Earth's temperature over this time frame. In fact, when CO2 levels were over ten times higher than they are now, about 450 million years ago, the planet was in the depths of the absolute coldest period in the last half billion years."-Dr. Tim Patterson, Professor of Geology in the Department of Earth Sciences at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. ("Scientists respond to Gore's warnings of climate catastrophe" by Tom Harris, Canada Free Press, June 18, 2006)

-"He (Gore) blames global warming for the eventual disappearance of the famous snows of Mt. Kilimanjaro. A bigger culprit is a decline in atmospheric moisture."-- Dr. Robert Balling, professor in the climatology department of Arizona State University. ("Gore's Movie: Is it more than just hot air?" by Tom Avril, Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, PA. 6/12/06).

-"While the film will surely attract activists from both major political parties, the vast majority of Americans will be caught in the middle-- left to wonder what the appropriate policies should be to address a problem that is being overstated for political gains." -Joseph D'Aleo, chairman of the Atmospheric Meteorological Association. (Science presents an inconvenient truth for Al Gore" by Joseph D'Aleo, The Union Leader, Manchester, NH 5/26/06)

-"Dramatic images of icebergs calving into the ocean in former Vice President Al Gore's new climate-change movie, An Inconvenient Truth, are designed "to scare people into believing that global warming is serious, ergo we must do something about it." -Dr. Roy Spencer, research scientist at the University of Alabama, Huntsville. ("Plan to Stop Warming" by Jim Erickson, The Rocky Mountain News, Boulder, CO. 6/9/06).

It Worked with Al Capone

When local law authorities couldn't (or wouldn't) get the goods on Al Capone, the feds stepped in and used the new laws on income tax to send Scarface to the big house. Though Grassley's idea will take a lot of flak and be the theme of late night TV jokes for a few days, it is a scheme with some real merit.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Let Latvia Lead! Biblical Values Defended Against EU Bullying

Little Latvia has stood very big indeed.

As this report in the BBC described it, Lawmakers in Latvia have defied the European Union and refused to introduce a law banning discrimination at work on sexual orientation grounds. Agreeing to introduce the law on employment discrimination was a condition for Latvia's accession to the European Union in 2004. But MPs refused to implement it in full after a parliamentary debate where homosexuality was described as a sin.

In another reaction, World Congress of Families founder, Dr. Allan Carlson, commended the Latvian parliament for standing firm for family values. "Once homosexuals are recognized as a protected class for anti-discrimination purposes, demands for same-sex marriage and efforts to criminalize criticism of homosexuality will follow - exactly what's happened in Western Europe. It's not about anti-discrimination, but thought-control and forced association."

The Latvian parliament amended the country's constitution to protect traditional marriage in November of last year, setting off fireworks aplenty among homosexual enthusiasts throught Europe. The International Lesbian and Gay Association has even demanded (in its oh-so-tolerant whining) that the EU severely punish Latvia for their action, including even jettisoning them from the Union.

But Allan Carlson speaks for a lot more of the world than the ILGA or even the EU bureaucrats can imagine when he applauds the Latvian statesmen: "The World Congress of Families supports Latvia's decision not to be bullied into acquiescing to the New Erotic Order. We call on the European Union to accept diversity of values among its members."

No Surprise -- Charges Dropped Against Vandalizing Professor

At least there was some restitution made to the pro-life community. And there was certainly some illuminating publicity in the immediate area about the extremism of the Left's intolerance and coercive impulses.

But why didn't this very interesting, very newsworthy story ever make any of the national MSM outlets?

Running Up the Score

This score is even more lopsided than a Tom Osborne-coached NU team playing some of those non-conference cupcakes.

What am I referring to?

There are now 70 diseases or other conditions being treated with therapies devised from adult stem cell research whereas. after twenty years of grandiose hype, lavish funding and innumerable researchers trying their best, embryonic stem cell research has produced absolutely zero!

That's right; ESCR hasn't yet produced even a single successful therapy!

Here's the latest report from Do No Harm.

The FRC Take on the Buffet/Gates "Philanthropy"

From the Family Research Council's e-mail update --

The press is gushing over Warren Buffett's announcement that he and his wife will give the lion's share of their immense wealth to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. A sizable chunk will also be given to foundations run by Buffett's wife and children. Here at FRC we have long memories. Consequently, we suggest one charitable project the Buffetts' have a moral obligation to fund. Back in the 1990s, the Buffett Foundation gave $2-3 million dollars to fund research and clinical trials needed to bring RU-486, the abortion pill, to market. Thanks to the Buffetts, and other promoters of abortion for population control, the drug was fast-tracked and approved under an order from President Clinton. Since then, approximately 500,000 American babies have been killed with RU-486.

There has also been some "collateral damage" as they decreased the surplus population. At least, six American women have been killed following RU-486 use, and three of those women left children who are now motherless. Buffett's billions have the potential to do damage like this on a global scale. His foundation over the years has given millions to the likes of Planned Parenthood, Pathfinder International, the Population Council, and more besides.

It has been reported that Buffett and Gates visited communist China in 1995 and made sure to visit a "family planning" clinic along the Yangtze. China's one-child policy has had a history of coercion, which went unremarked on the Buffett-Gates tour. It would be tragic if the new funds flowing into the Gates Foundation further today's assaults on the sanctity of human life, especially when the population bomb that is actually detonating is the one whose ideological fragments are wrecking Europe's fertility and contributed to so much pessimism about the Continent's future.

Getting Used to the Killing

They trudged up the street, their women in a whispering knot behind them, and now there was mud on their shining shoes. They came to the tangle of bodies and then moved closer together. The living looked at the dead and the dead stared back at them and there was no sound on the hill. . . But this was not their guilt, the leading citizens of Ohrdruf explained. They had never shot a man, or used a club. Yes, they were of the same political faith as the executioners. They prospered from the work of these slaves. This camp was in their town but they had never come here before this. Therefore, the leading citizens say, they were blameless.

James Cannon, European Stars and Stripes staff writer, on the forced visit of local Germans to Ohrdruf, a sub-camp of Buchenwald, after its liberation by US troops in April 1945.

Printed on the flyleaf of Surviving Hitler: Corruption and Compromise in the Third Reich by Adam Lebor and Roger Boyes.

After a few days in a row of praying and sidewalk counseling outside the 46th Street abortion clinic and watching the surrounding traffic, businesses, schools, bicyclists, and even the day care center activities on the opposite corner go on apace -- seemingly oblivious to the destruction of human children going on inside this building -- I couldn't help but grieve over the parallels of our own society to that described in the above paragraph from the Lebor/Boyes book I had started reading a couple of days ago.

This camp was in their town but they had never come here before this. Therefore, the leading citizens say, they were blameless.

Monday, June 26, 2006

With Friends Like These...

For more than a generation now, thousands of Coptic Christian girls have been kidnapped each year by Muslim criminals in Egypt. Egypt being, of course, yet one more American ally who receives our protection, our tourists and millions of our foreign aid dollars without ever being required to clean up their act.

Here is the story from Christian News Wire that caught my attention today (an excerpt of which is printed below) and over here are a couple of heartbreaking examples of what's going on in Egypt, including the account of Neveen Morcos (shown at right) whose disappearance has yet to be solved.

...In “Confessions of a Former Islamist,” published by FrontPage Magazine in 2005, Ahmed Awny Shalakamy details his cruel work of drugging, kidnapping and raping Coptic females, and says he was paid by one of the Islamic proselytizing organizations to do this. Shalakamy’s account was first reported by Maria Sliwa of Freedom Now News, who says that the Egyptian Government’s silence in response to these crimes is deafening.

While Egypt has chosen to ignore its 800-year-old traditional laws, which are family laws specifically for Christians, it has opted to implement legislation based on Islamic law (Islamic Shariaa or codes), which discriminates against non-Muslims...

After saying a prayer for the relief of Egyptian girls from this violent, unjust terrorism, you might want to send a brief message to the President, the U.S. State Department and other appropriate agencies (including your Senators and Congressmen), expressing your hope that America begin requiring some basic standards of decency, justice and freedom be shown by foreign powers before they get the next installments of our taxpayer's money.

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Phone Numbers
Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
E-Mail --

U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
# Main Switchboard: 202-647-4000
E-mail contact page

United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
800 N. Capitol Street, N.W., Suite 790
Washington, D.C. 20002
Phone: (202) 523-3240
Fax: (202) 523-5020

Senator Brownback Stands Strong Against ESCR Funding Bill

U.S. Senator and staunch pro-life champion Sam Brownback promised last week to call for a floor debate on bioethics whenever the Senate puts H.R. 810 on the agenda. The measure would rescind the policy President Bush put in place in August 2001 which limited the use of embryonic stem-cells to lines in existence before 2001.

Brownback argued that Congress is only looking at embryonic stem cell research as a potential breakthrough for many human ills but that it is adult stem cell research alone that is "paying the dividends" when it comes to results. He said that embryonic stem-cell research is not only immoral (i.e. human embryos are always destroyed in the process of harvesting those cells) but it is terribly counter-productive (i.e. it takes money and attention away from research using adult stem cells, such as those taken from umbilical-cord blood -- research that is not controversial and is the course of research already creating positive medical treatments).

Here (1 and 2) are a couple of stories giving details about Senator Brownback's effective promotion of adult stem cell research including the inclusion at his press conference of something the ESCR crowd simply cannot produce; namely, people who are in substantially better health because of the right kind of stem cell treatments!

If you'd like to send along an e-mail message to Senator Brownback, you can use the form located here.

Jane Austen, Where Are You When We Need You?

Manners are not what they used to be. Indeed, stroll through this Suzanne Field column to see just how far (and in what direction) they've changed.

Friday, June 23, 2006

More on H.R. 2679

An earlier post here explained the basics about H.R. 2679, a bill that could greatly aid the moral re-building of America by denying windfall profits to the ACLU and others whenever they beat up on religios expression in the public square.

Here's more from a Family Research Council e-mail:

Every American is a donor to the ACLU.

How can that be?

Well, the American Legion's Rees Lloyd testified under oath as a former staff attorney for the ACLU how that outfit gains windfall profits from its anti-Christian litigation. Lloyd spoke of an obscure provision of the Civil Rights Act that allows that inveterately hostile organization to reap millions of dollars in attorney fees by going after local governments that recognize America's religious heritage in any way.

Principally, the ACLU attacks the cross, but it also attacks Judaism's Star of David, Lloyd said. The ACLU milked San Diego for $950,000 in attorney's fees when it moved to drive the Boy Scouts out of Balboa Park. It got $500,000 in the Alabama Ten Commandments Case. And the costs for compliance with court-ordered "cleansing" operations initiated by the ACLU can be substantial, too. Los Angeles will spend $1 million to remove a tiny cross from all badges, shields, and seals. (But the Roman goddess Pomona will remain.)

Rees Lloyd testified in favor of Rep. John Hostettler's Public Expression of Religion Act (PERA), H.R. 2679. That act would put an end to the ACLU cleaning up from cleansing all evidence of Christianity. Please call and ask your Member of Congress to co-sponsor H.R. 2679...

EU Votes to Increase Embryonic Stem Cell Research

From a World Congress of Families update --

Dr. Allan Carlson, organizer of the World Congress of Families, expressed dismay at the European Union's decision to devote more funding to embryonic stem cell research.
Carlson commented: "After years of research with embryonic stem cells taken from aborted children, scientists haven't developed one treatment for a disease - not one."

"On the other hand," Carlson continued, "research on adult stem cells has produced a veritable cornucopia of treatments for many diseases, over 100 to be exact. Adult stem cells have been used for everything from corneal regeneration to treating juvenile arthritis."

So why favor pie-in-the-sky research over that which has elicited real results? Carlson explains: "It's a matter of ideology, not science. Because backers of embryonic stem cell research promise miracle cures - someday -- proponents hope the public will come to see abortion not as a necessary evil but as a benefit to mankind."

By a vote of 284 to 249, with 32 abstentions, the EU parliament decided to devote more funding to embryonic stem cell research. In pervious EU budgets, the bulk of funding in this area went to adult stem cell research.

Carlson observed: "On a continent that saw such wanton destruction of human life in the past century - and which spawned ideologies that viewed people as raw material for the state - you would think the European Union would show more sensitivity for the most vulnerable among us - unborn children."

Today's Town Hall Selections

There is always something good cooking over at Town Hall.

No surprise. With the best, brightest and boldest conservative commentators around, the place just can't help but serve up delicious (and good for ya') dishes every day.

My suggestions for today's menu?

* Fried Dixie Chicks (courtesy of Lorie Byrd's column, Not Ready to Make Nice)

* The Down Under Sampler Platter (courtesy of Charles Krauthammer's column, A Loyal Ally, Mate)

* Hawaii's Favorite Meat By-Product (courtesy of Mona Charen's The Spamalot Party)

* And topping it off with a dish of Fresh Bozell (courtesy of Brent Bozell's Whining About the "Web Mob")

Bon appetit!

Not All is Rosy in the Blogosphere

Rick Moran has a very interesting article in the The American Thinker about the evolution of the blog and its susceptibility to such problems as innundation, errors and corruption.


Yes, corruption. And he gives a few examples of just how that has already happened with liberal blogs. The piece is a little lengthy but, again, it is a very interesting one which makes several important but usually overlooked warnings.

Who Can I Turn To?

Move people away from close family ties, geographic and ethnic loyalties, committments to a faith community, even a longstanding involvement with a particular company and what do you get? Modern "society" with its keen sense of personal isolation and alienation.

Here's a sad Washington Post story describing this new lonliness.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Lewis on Contraception

...As regards contraceptives, there is a paradoxical, negative sense in which all possible future generations are the patients or subjects of a power wielded by those already alive. By contraception simply, they are denied existence; by contraception used as a means of selective breeding, they are, without their concurring voice, made to be what one generation, for its own reasons, may choose to prefer. From this point of view, what we call Man's power over Nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument...

(C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man, New York: Macmillan, 1947)

The Coercive One-Child Policy Hurts (Not Helps) China's Economy

This report from FN Arena (a specialty finance publication focusing on Asia and Southeast Asia) explains the data assembled by Australian National University researchers showing that China's brutal population control policies are economically counter-productive. A fascinating piece.

Promoting the Public Expression of Religion

Yesterday the Subcommittee on the Constitution (a part of Congress' Judiciary Committee) held a hearing on H.R. 2679 , the Public Expression of Religion Act, proving that the measure is still alive and kicking. The bill would amend the Revised Statutes of U.S. law "to eliminate the chilling effect on the constitutionally protected expression of religion by State and local officials that results from the threat that potential litigants may seek damages and attorney's fees." In other words, H.R. 2679 would keep groups like the ACLU from getting (no, make that, staying) rich by suing every group or individual which expresses traditional religion in the public square.

The bill presents an important, common-sense opportunity to limit the destructive power that groups like the ACLU have had on our society. It deserves the enthusiastic support of our political representatives. However, the bill as yet only has 46 co-sponsors, none of which are from Nebraska.

If you would like to encourage your Congressmen to seriously consider co-sponsoring and otherwise supporting this measure, please do so soon. Here you will find a complete list of House members with links to their web pages and, of course, the relevant contact information.

The Debate on Iraq: Republicans Gaining Strength

Closely related to the previous post are the remarks printed below. They come from Robert Novak's weekly news roundup.

Iraq Debate: As each house of Congress began its own Iraq War debate, the unpopular war continued to have the curious effect of hurting those it should help, and helping those it should hurt. Democrats may be accused of wanting to "cut and run" in Iraq, but the fact is that they "broke and ran" in the debate.

The Republican advantage here comes with the recent death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and the discovery of intelligence information that suggests al Qaeda feels it is losing in Iraq.

On the Senate side, Democrats blundered themselves into a minefield, with Republicans bringing up the actual resolution as proposed by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) to withdraw from Iraq by the end of 2006. This was a resolution that some in the press had laughably said would put pressure on Republicans, but Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) seized the opportunity by proposing it himself. The Doves were slaughtered in a 93-to-6 tabling vote, with Kerry among the six. Inexplicably, the Democrats pressed for more punishment by discussing resolutions with later withdrawal dates -- equally unhelpful to them. The vote benefits Kerry in his quest for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, but it hurts the caucus with its base.

On the House side, things were scarcely better, as Republicans were the ones bringing their own resolution. Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) took center stage, again denouncing the Republicans' "stay the course" war resolution as a political stunt. (More on Murtha below.) The problem: Forty-two of Murtha's fellow Democrats ended up supporting the "political stunt," including almost every member facing a difficult re-election this year, such as Representatives Jim Marshall (D-Ga.), John Barrow (D-Ga.), Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa), Melissa Bean (D-Ill.), John Spratt (D-S.C.). This House vote turned into a rout -- a real embarrassment for the Democrats -- due to the large number of defectors.

Once again at center stage is Democrats' timidity over Iraq, which one would expect to be as good an election issue as they could ever invent against the Republicans and President Bush. The Iraq War is apparently unpopular and Americans supposedly want the troops to come home -- yet Democrats feel so little confidence that this will translate into election victories that they cannot be persuaded to adopt a consistent anti-war position. Even as Democrats are too divided to embrace the long end of the stick, Republicans are eager and united to embrace the short end. Do they believe that weariness with the war is as shallow as support for it once was -- that just as it waxed and has now waned, support for the campaign in Iraq could wax with sufficient success? Or that the bad feeling about the war is not strongly felt?

Murtha's role in this drama continues to smack of opportunism, particularly since his announcement of candidacy for majority leader. His suggestion on NBC's "Meet the Press" last Sunday that troops could be "redeployed" to Okinawa -- about 6,000 nautical miles from the theater's landing points in Kuwait and Bahrain -- became somewhat unrealistic when he asserted, incorrectly, that troops could be brought back quickly if needed. In fact, the transit time alone would be 11 days by boat plus a few days over land for a Marine Expeditionary Unit, and that doesn't count the desert preparation that would be required for redeployment to the Middle East. Murtha's answer embarrassed Democratic House members who would not dream of publicly criticizing the 74-year-old war veteran.

Murtha has worked to make himself the hero of the party's anti-war wing, and as a social conservative, it is something he can especially afford to do. But before November he had kept a low profile ever since being an unindicted co-conspirator in the Abscam investigation 26 years ago, in which he agreed to testify against popular Rep. Frank Thompson (D-N.J.). Of eight members of Congress on videotape being offered bribes by a phony Arab sheik, Murtha was the only one who did not take the cash -- but he did express interest in further negotiations while bragging about his political influence. His testimony created lifelong enemies in the Democratic cloakroom.

Today, Murtha wears his Vietnam combat record like a suit of armor, using it to disqualify adversaries who have not tasted combat, which includes the vast majority of Congress.

A significant but little-remarked rebuke of the Bush Administration on the topic of Iraq, meanwhile, came when the Senate unanimously approved of a demand that the war be budgeted for in the normal budget process...

Yes, Virginia; There Were WMDs in Iraq

This story is getting play in the conservative circles but, because of the overwhelming political agenda of the mainstream media, it still needs to be shouted from every rooftop (and blog!) possible.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Abortionists Want More Government Money

A new effort is underway by abortionists and their political pals in the Democrat Party to stop any funding at all of faith-based crisis pregnancy centers and divert that money back to abortionist coffers. Here's a story about this scheme from CNS News, another from the New York Sun, and a related account from Life News which explains the No More Money campaign involving 200 groups including Planned Parenthood, Sierra Club, the YWCA, et al.

Finally, this story reprinted by the Christian Examiner tells more about the attempt to create federal legislation that would give the abortionists what they want. That legislation, H.R.1052, has 31 co-sponsors, by the way: 1 Independent and 30 Democrats.

"Gay Pride" in Government

Did you know that among those celebrating June as "gay pride" month are several United States government agencies? Among them are the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Bureau of the Census, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and even the Departments of Agriculture, Justice, State, and Transportation are all participating in this raunchy and ridiculous circus. Of course, all of the agencies listed above are in the executive branch of our government and subject to report to the President.

Hmm...wasn't it supposed to make a difference which party occupied the White House?

Big Ears

"They've been going on since we were a country."

That's Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, speaking in defense of "earmarks." An earmark is Washington lingo for what most people outside the Capital Beltway refer to as pork barrel spending -- when a politician inserts into a bill a set amount of money for a specific project in his or her home district.

Earmarks allow politicians to brag that they're "bringing home the bacon," and members of Congress tout them to voters in the hopes of buying... er, winning support...

Rebecca Hagelin has a great column here about the excessive (and then some!) spending addictions of our political representatives.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Flake Drawing Flak

Republican/Libertarian Congressman Jeff Flake is driving his colleagues crazy. You see, he dares to act on the principles they only espouse. In particular, Rep. Flake is shining the light on the Congress' out-of-control spending and how even the Republicans are cheating taxpayers by funding pork projects -- and doing their best to keep their irresponsibility behind closed doors.

One of Jeff Flake's recent actions (proposing several cost-cutting amendments to the DOD's Appropriations Act) drew a more rancorous reaction than usual, However, it also drew special praise from the Citizens Against Government Waste. Check that story out right here.

And while you're on the subject, take a look at the Wall Street Journal editorial from last month about Congressman Flake. It is a very interesting read.

And one more thing -- so-called libertarians generally refuse to deal with such "social issues" as abortion in the political arena. Indeed, many come down decideldy for unrestricted abortion. But Congressman Jeff Flake refuses to fit into this mold either. Below is a quick review of his House record on the issue:

* Voted NO on allowing human embryonic stem cell research. (May 2005)
* Voted YES on restricting interstate transport of minors to get abortions. (Apr 2005)
* Voted YES on making it a crime to harm a fetus during another crime. (Feb 2004)
* Voted YES on banning partial-birth abortion except to save mother’s life. (Oct 2003)
* Voted YES on forbidding human cloning for reproduction & medical research. (Feb 2003)
* Voted YES on funding for health providers who don't provide abortion info. (Sep 2002)
* Voted YES on banning Family Planning funding in US aid abroad. (May 2001)
* Voted YES on federal crime to harm fetus while committing other crimes. (Apr 2001)
* Rated 0% by NARAL, indicating a pro-life voting record. (Dec 2003)

If you'd like to send along a "thank-you" to Congressman Jeff Flake both for his pro-life voting record and his brave willingness to buck the system in order to save taxpayer's some money, then here are a couple of addresses:

Washington, D.C. Office
424 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
(202) 225-2635
(202) 226-4386 fax

District Office
1640 South Stapley
Suite 215
Mesa, Arizona 85204
(480) 833-0092
(480) 833-6314 fax

E-mail Address
Congressman Flake's constituents can email him at

Memo to the Media: It's the ADULT Stem Cells Providing the Breakthroughs

Here is another good news story about how adult stem cells are providing scientists with a strong foundation for their hopes of present and future treatments and cures.

But note how the story never uses the term "adult stem cells" nor does the reporter explain the obviously newsworthy point that the cells involved here are not the embryonic stem cells that the public is so confused about. Let's hope readers start reading these accounts more carefully so that they understand the difference between the wishful thinking and unfounded hype of ESCR and the adult stem cell work that is providing real medical progress.

This is Why We Work to Put Conservatives in the White House

Here's the Washington Post story about the Supreme Court's decision to review a second partial-birth abortion ban -- both of which had been declared unconstitutional by other courts. It is certainly a cause for hope that the Court is willing to even look at these cases and with Bush appointments Roberts and Alito on board, pro-life advocates have higher hopes than ever.

But it must never be forgotten that the Supreme Court isn't really so Supreme. There is a higher, truer court whose judgments will last forever. No appeals; no escape; no squawks. Therefore, let's step up our prayers to He Who sits on that eternal throne and ask that the scourge of abortion be finally removed from our land.

Monday, June 19, 2006

China Encounters Christ

World Magazine's cover story, written by Marvin Olasky, gives an illuminating description of how the Church (disdained and persecuted as it has been by the Communist authorities) is dramatically changing China nevertheless. This is a heartening story but one which should help spur our prayers and efforts to the next level.

Wheeling & Dealing Wins Anglican's Top Post for Lady Kate

Want the straight story on the election of Nevada Bishop Katharine Schori to the post of Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church? David Virtue has it over on Virtue Online. Just hit the title of this post to learn yet a few more reasons why the Anglican leadership (and, to be honest, a whole bunch of the rank and file) have as irrational a "death wish" for their already comatose denomination as can be imagined.

Physician-Assisted Suicide (Whether You Want It Or Not)

Here's another example of just how far England is going down the "slippery slope" of euthanasia. The Daily Mail (U.K.) story can be found right here.

...Len Doyal, formerly a professor of medical ethics and a member of the British Medical Association's ethics committee, actually called yesterday for doctors to be able actively to end patients' lives without their consent.

Doctors, he said, were already doing this passively by removing feeding tubes from those whose lives were judged to be no longer worth living. How much better it would be, therefore, to end their lives 'quickly, humanely and without guilt'...

Mayo Clinic Denies Abortion/Breast Cancer Link

The influential Mayo Clinic is advising women that there is no link between abortion and breast cancer -- a conclusion that flies in the face of numerous studies showing the link between the two. The advice comes in a response posted on Mayo's web site in reply to a question from a Wisconsin woman.

"There's no credible evidence of a link between induced abortion and breast cancer," Dr. Sandhya Pruthi wrote the woman on behalf of Mayo's web site. As proof, Mayo cites the National Cancer Institute, but the organization has come under fire as political charged and relying more on the political beliefs of leading office there than scientific studies. However, Pruthi goes on in her response to say that some studies have shown a link between abortion and breast cancer.

In fact, it cites a "large meta-analysis" compiled by Dr. Joel Brind and other researchers in 1996. They conducted a synthesis of all the major studies done in the field to that time and concluded that women who had an abortion before their first term child had a 50% increased of developing breast cancer while women who had an abortion after their first child sustained a 30% increased risk. They published their findings in an article in the October 1996 edition of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

If you'd be interested in following up this matter, I'd suggest checking out the info at the Coaltion on Abortion/Breast Cancer website.

After looking through that information, you might want to contact the Mayo Clinic and let them know what you think about their politically-correct but scientifically-incorrect information at

Actions Against Lukashenka by U.S. and E.U.

Radio Free Europe reported today that the U.S. Treasury Department has announced that any assets of President Alexander Lukashenka and other Belarusian officials in the United States will be frozen. In addition, American citizens are prohibited from doing business with Lukashenka.

In a related story, the plans for television to be broadcast into Belarus from Poland are on course to begin in 2007. Polish journalist Agnieszka Romaszewska, who is has been a key figure in the plan, explains that a separate satellite TV channel will broadcast in both the Belarusian and Russian languages. Sponsored by funds from the Polish government and the European Union, the project is designed to get free and accurate news and information to Belarusian people who are otherwise denied such access by their totalitarian and corrupt government.

Friday, June 16, 2006

25th Annual GK Chesterton Conference Underway

The annual conference of the American Chesterton Society got underway last night in grand style with addresses by Dale Ahlquist and John Peterson to a packed auditorium here at the University of St. Thomas. In fact, this 25th annual ACS conference is enjoying its largest attendance ever. We're delighted to again be a part of the festivities.

Dale's talk last night dealt primarily with a comparison of GK Chesterton with Charles Dickens. It began a theme which will be followed up today in two other sessions. John's talk was an exceptionally interesting one in which he explored the precursors to Marshall McLuhan, presented a quick primer on McLuhan's ideas, and drew a fascinating picture of McLuhan's deep and lifelong attachment to Chesterton.

Today's schedule is a full one with 5 general sessions followed by Joseph Pearce's address tonight (Chesterton and C.S. Lewis) and a production of GKC's play, The Surprise. I'm sure I'll share some reflections on various sessions here on Vital Signs Blog (or over at The Book Den) but they may have to wait for awhile because in addition to the sessions, the book browsing in the foyer, composing our Clerihew poems for the contest, and the conversations we enjoy with fellow Chestertonians, there's only so much time left!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

G.K. Chesteron Conference

Claire and I (along with colleagues in the Omaha Chesterton Society, Quint & Carol Coppi and Chet Thomas) are leaving for St. Paul, Minnesota at 8 this morning to attend the annual American Chesterton Society conference there. We're taking along the laptop and the hotel is advertized to have WiFi so we'll give "on-the-road" blogging a try. No guarentees, because the conference sessions are plentiful but we'll try. Later...

Bush's Best Week in Awhile

If you're a political junkie and yet are not signed up for Robert Novak's Political Report, I'd suggest you consider it. It will keep you abreast of happenings in the White House, Congress and even local political races that you just won't find anywhere else. Here's an example -- Novak's take on President Bush's recent performance.

...If Republicans maintain control of Congress in November, this week will be remembered as the turning point for them and the Bush Administration.

Last week's victory in the California special election still resounds simply because of what did not happen. Democrats, eager to convince donors, the media and the public that their day is coming, still lack tangible evidence that the current anti-GOP mood will aid them at the ballot box this fall. President Bush, eager to avoid a Democratic Congress with subpoena power, lent his voice for automated calls, as did his wife. So did Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who cancelled an appearance with the Republican victor, Brian Bilbray (R), not out of pique but at the request of the National Republican Campaign Committee.

The continued failure of Howard Dean's DNC to raise money has made it a political non-entity. Although Republicans had to spend big money to save the California race from disaster, they will have the luxury of being able to overspend in several such races this fall. Democrats could enjoy a 90-10 likelihood of taking the House this year, but their incompetence has created a situation that is closer to 50-50.

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove escaped indictment in the CIA leak case. This frees him up to do what he does best: win elections in a tough political environment. The months of swirling speculation on his status are over, and there is now one fewer negative Iraq news item surrounding the question of weapons of mass destruction.

More significant on Iraq is the killing of al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. This comes as a huge plus for the administration in several different ways. For one, it is an obvious propaganda victory all on its own, a sign that the administration is competently waging the war on terrorism.

Beyond that, the killing of Zarqawi opens up other opportunities as well. The President's surprise visit to Iraq was unquestionably made possible by Zarqawi's death. Although the White House insists the trip was planned well before our military took out Zarqawi, Bush would have appeared foolish to wade into an Iraq still in chaos, but the appearance of major progress gave him a chance to boldly appear there without advance warning. This is another victory in the public eye. Also in the wake of Zarqawi's death, congressional Republicans have opened the way for an extensive debate on the war and the administration's foreign policy. This would otherwise not have been possible.

In Iraq, success may breed success for the administration. The elimination of Zarqawi and the nearly 40 raids conducted in its wake -- thanks to the intelligence gathered in the original operation -- hobbles the insurgency, and creates still more chances for the Bush Administration and Republicans to claim success. Every speech Bush gives on Iraq suddenly has greater credibility. This success even opens to door to a gradual troop withdrawal from Iraq, which at this point would be the greatest success of all. Gen. George Casey hinted that a reduction could be in the offing, as Iraqis approach the point at which they have the insurgency under control. It is highly doubtful that he would shoot from the hip in bringing up such a possibility.

The discussion of social-conservative issues in Congress -- particularly same-sex marriage and the upcoming debate on judicial nominations -- will give Republicans greater opportunity to offer contrast on domestic issues where voters favor their point of view. The House will likely consider the marriage amendment next month.

House Democrats, meanwhile, are in the midst of a public tug-of-war. The sudden abortive campaign for the House leadership by Rep. Frank Murtha (D-Pa.) could have been very bad for them, had it continued before the election. Murtha, an ally of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), had begun a race against her rival, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), for majority leader, and has now said he will not run until after the November elections should Democrats take the House. This is more of a way to distract from the possibility, discussed by some Democrats, of Pelosi's removal at someone else's hands, possibly Hoyer's.

Also, as Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) pointed out, the public infighting signals disorder within the party and distracts from efforts to retake the House. In addition, one cannot help but think that Murtha's sudden aspirations for party office go a long way toward explaining his recent outspokenness on the Iraq War and alleged massacres in Iraq. That such a serious topic as the latter should be used for such self-promotion is rather off-putting.

Pelosi also has a rebellion on her hands from the Congressional Black Caucus as she attempts this week to remove embattled Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) from the House Ways and Means Committee...

Correspondence Regarding Frank Page's Election

Dear Denny,

I noticed on your blog that you made the following statement concerning the recent election of Dr. Frank Page as SBC President:

"Page's election certainly will not end the controversy but it perhaps does signify that a substantial number of Southern Baptists have decided to hold their ground against such doctrines as limited atonement and irresistible grace."

But what you may not know is that Dr. Page was a candidate that was endorsed by a number of Calvinists, including Wade Burleson, the man at the center of the real controversy of the convention which was the potential narrowing of the theological agreement in order to cooperate with the SBC. Several well-known Calvinists spoke their minds concerning Dr. Page's book and comments that he made about Calvinism. However, in the end, he was supported by many Reformed leaders in the SBC, including almost every Reformed SBC blogger, because of his desire to broaden the respect for all theological perspectives that fall within the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.

Dr. Page has promised to honor his committment to appoint trustees who are committed to inerrancy and come from the broad spectrum of theological perspectives which find agreement in the BF&M.

Please take note of this and understand that many Calvinists feel that the consistent Reformed-bashing rhetoric that has been occuring for the last year among SBC elites may draw to a close under Dr. Page's leadership.

Soli Deo Gloria,

D.R. Randle

Mr. Randle,

Thanks for the information.

Not being a Southern Baptist, I wasn't aware until reading through recent BP stories about the growing controversy over Calvinism within the SBC -- though the matter is certainly making waves throughout other evangelical circles.

The key purpose of the post on Vital Signs Blog, of course, was to direct readers to the article featuring Mohler & Patterson which I thought was thorough, revealing and fair. Anyhow, though I am not a Calvinist, I hope you're take is correct about Page's election softening or even eliminating altogether the "Reformed-bashing rhetoric" you mentioned. Honest dialogue, humility and a willingness to pull together on those priorities the Bible emphasizes are always in order.

Again, thanks for your note and I promise to check out your blog later today.

Blessings in Christ,

Denny Hartford
Director, Vital Signs Ministries


Thanks for the prompt response and I am glad that you found the information helpful and hopeful. I agree that "honest dialogue, humility and a willingness to pull together on those priorities the Bible emphasizes are always in order." And I hope this type of action will be spurred on by Frank Page's election. May God bless your ministry on the Internet.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Daniel "D.R." Randle

Getting Ahead of (And Perhaps Against) the Evidence

For those of you who haven't been following the recent course of the infamous Duke lacrosse team rape allegation, La Shawn Barber has a review that is much different than the hazy "rush to judgment" stuff the MSM has produced. Check it out.

By the way, among the other important Town Hall columns of the past couple days I encourage you to read are Tony Blankley's piece on the West's tilting dangerously towards a Neville Chamberlain type of wishful thinking (and the resultant appeasement) regarding Iran and Brent Bozell's article which looks at the MSM's allergy to any good news from Iraq.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Calvinism Dividing Southern Baptists

In their recently concluded annual meeting, the Southern Baptist Convention elected Rev. Frank Page, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C., as president. Page is the author of "Trouble with the TULIP: A Closer Examination of the Five Points of Calvinism," a small book with a very limited audience but one which took a definite position against Calvinism, a trend of theological thought that has become increasingly popular in SBC circles in recent years. Page's election certainly will not end the controversy but it perhaps does signify that a substantial number of Southern Baptists have decided to hold their ground against such doctrines as limited atonement and irresistible grace.

Previous to the election, the convention provided an excellent chance for the controversy to be considered in a kind-hearted but careful way. The convention featured two general sessions entitled, "Reaching Today's World Through Differing Views of Election, "and featuring two of the SBC's most well-respected leaders, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., (arguing for Calvinism) and Dr. Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, (arguing against Calvinism).

The sessions both attracted standing room only crowds, signifying how keenly felt is this new and growing division in the ranks. And, in a great service to the SBC faithful (and all the rest of us), the Baptist Press online version has provided a detailed description of those sessions. So, don't be afraid of theology. Check out the BP article right here and give it an attentive read.

Selective Sovereignty

Cecelia Fire Thunder, whose tenure as the Oglala Sioux Tribe President seems to be coming to a close via impeachment made herself famous for her claim that she was going to put an abortion clinic on reservartion land. Her argument stressed that South Dakota's ban on abortion was irrelevant to the Oglala Sioux because they had national sovereignty and were therefore completely independent of state and federal laws.

However, it turns out that Ms. Fire Thunder only desires sovereignty when it suits her. Thus, when she feels that the tribal council's actions against her smack of censure, she appeals to the U.S. Constitution for protection of her right to free speech. Also, she continues to want government money (both state and federal) to fund programs and services.

Like her friend and political ally, Tom Daschle, who attended Ms. Fire Thunder's most recent press conference, Ms. Fire Thunder has high principles -- which she's willing to drop in a heartbeat if there's a profit in it for herself or her political desires.

Florida Police Harass Christians

In Sunrise, Florida, an off-duty but uniformed cop decided he didn't like Promise Keepers presenting petitions to ban homosexual marriage. A little thing like the U.S. Constitution and its protection of free speech didn't matter to Sgt. Stephen Allen, an 11-year veteran of the force, nor was he deterred from his illegal harassment of the Christians by the fact that they had already obtained permission and paid $800 for a booth for the event. So he began taunting them, challenging them and ended up threatening to have them arrested if they didn't stop gathering signatures.

Allen, apparently accompanied by other off-duty but uniformed (and armed) policemen made fun of the effort and then actually removed the petitions from the table. He accused one of the Christians (lawyer John Stemberger) of lying about being a lawyer and then threatened to put him under arrest before an intervention by a city official finally caused the bullies to leave.

'The very first thing [Allen] said was `Jesus said nothing about homosexuality in the New Testament,' '' Stemberger said. ``He wouldn't let me speak.

'At one point, he said, `The Bible said you need to obey your governing authority. I am your governing authority and you need to obey me. '

This story from the Miami Herald is a real eye-opener as is the photo which ran beside it (shown at the above right) which shows Allen kissing another cop, Detective Mike Allard. The smooch was performed at the event, as disrespectful and unprofessional a way to mock the Promise Keepers as one can imagine.

If you'd like to send a postcard to the Sunrise Police Department and/or the Mayor letting them know how you feel about such unjust and heavy-handed harassment, please use the addresses below.

Lt. Robert Dorn
City of Sunrise Police Department
777 Swagrass Corporate Parkway
Sunrise, FL 33325

City of Sunrise
10770 West Oakland Park Boulevard
Sunrise, FL 33351

Monday, June 12, 2006

People vs Pets

The bumper sticker I saw this morning read "My German Shepherd Is Smarter Than Your Honor Student." Cute? Not hardly; especially given that so many in Western society do indeed treasure animals over people. The animal rights extremists, for example, have gone way beyond the boundaries of Christian stewardship and its historic regard for God's creation and conservation of natural resources. They have genuinely attempted to elevate the spurious "rights" of animals beyond those they concede to...well, say...preborn boys and girls.

Others, perhaps not so foolish or dangerous as the vandals of PETA or Greenpeace, have nevertheless been duped enough by the Disney cartoons, the emotions naturally felt for pets, the irrational (but very frequent) anthropomorphic treatment of animals in popular culture, and by the ever-present doctrines of evolution in education and arts to let what should be a paramount regard for human rights fall into a lazy, hazy preference for cute, innocent and less problematic animals.

We need to be a bit more wary of being taken in by these (relatively) new promotions of animal importance and a lot more diligent to interpret the matter in light of the Bible's teachings about taking very good care of His creation but always emphasizing the eternal priority of human life.

And, by the way, I should tell you just where I saw this bumper sticker and why it prompted the comments of this post. You see, the sticker was on the expensive vehicle driven into the 46th Street abortion clinic by the nurse practitioner who works there.

Eugenics Enthusiasts Have Long Been With Us

The enthusiasm for manipulative eugenics schemes isn't a recent phenomena. The Darwinian theories, for instance, helped bring into the late 19th and early 20th Centuries a lot of pseudo-scientific excuses for what previously would have been characterized as your basic, cold-hearted elitism. Here's an example:

"It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind." -- Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes (1902-1932)

Bias, Propaganda and Unreasonable Emotion Rule the Day

I nominate for today's "must-read" Town Hall column the provocative piece by John Leo which details several of the Left's favorite myths of recent times AND why they stay alive despite their complete lack of evidential truth. Another nice job from Mr. Leo.

When Unborn Children are Routinely Killed, Compassion Itself Dies

Insightful opponents of abortion have, for four decades now, been warning about the 'slippery slope" which Western culture fell onto with the legalization and other promotions of abortion. They argued that mistreatment of other powerless human beings would surely follow: disrespect for the disabled, euthanasia schemes for malformed infants and elderly people, and dramatic increases in child and elderly abandonment and abuse.

It has all happened. And, without a spiritual revival in the cultures that have so passionately embraced selfishness and cruelty, it will only get worse.

Here is just one example, courtesy the BBC, of how compassion is dying in a formerly Christian nation.

Another HUMAN EVENTS "Top Ten" List

The folks over at Human Events Magazine love coming up with these "Top Ten" lists and, of course, we love 'em for doing so. This time around, the list concerns this season's most notable liberal commencement speakers. Sure, you know the regular suspects will show up but it's still entertaining to get the take on these cats by the Young America's Foundation.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Overt Christianity "Tagged" by Motion Picture Association

Vincent over at World Magazine Blog shares this tidbit -- "The theme of a PG-rated film may itself call for parental guidance," reads the Motion Picture Association of America's online explanation its rating system. "There may be some profanity in these films. There may be some violence or brief nudity. ... The PG rating, suggesting parental guidance, is thus an alert for examination of a film by parents before deciding on its viewing by their children. Obviously such a line is difficult to draw."

Now the MPAA has drawn the line at overt Christianity, awarding a PG rating to "Facing the Giants," a gentle film about a burned-out, depressed football coach at a Christian high school, whose life takes a miraculous turn for the better. While there's none of the usual PG-worthy stuff in the movie, the MPAA said the film's strong Christian content may offend people of other religions. Said Kris Fuhr, vice president for marketing at Provident Films, which is owned by Sony Pictures: "It is kind of interesting that faith has joined that list of deadly sins that the MPAA board wants to warn parents to worry about."

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

3rd Circuit Decision: Catholic School OK in Firing Pro-Abort Employee

An excerpt from the story is below...

A former Catholic school teacher who was fired for expressing her support of abortion rights in a newspaper ad that ran on the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade may not sue the school under Title VII because such a claim would force the courts to rule on the validity of a religious institution's beliefs, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled.

In its 22-page opinion in Curay-Cramer v. The Ursuline Academy of Wilmington, the court rejected the plaintiff's argument that Title VII's "opposition clause" protects any employee who has had an abortion, who contemplates having an abortion or who supports the rights of women who do so.

"We are not aware of any court that has found public protests or expressions of belief to be protected conduct absent some perceptible connection to the employer's alleged illegal employment practice," Senior U.S. Circuit Judge Jane R. Roth wrote.

In the suit, Michele Curay-Cramer said she was fired from her post as an English and religion teacher at the Ursuline Academy, a private preparatory school for girls, when she refused to publicly recant her support of abortion rights.

Curay-Cramer was one of more than 600 people -- including Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner -- who signed onto a Jan. 22, 2003, ad in the Wilmington News-Journal that said abortion rights were "under attack" and urged "all Delawareans and elected officials at every level to be vigilant in the fight to ensure that women now and in the future have the right to choose."

The suit said Curay-Cramer was told she could keep her job if she publicly recanted her pro-choice stance. She declined to do so and was fired Jan. 27, 2003.
She then filed a sex discrimination suit, but U.S. District Judge Kent A. Jordan dismissed it, finding that it would violate the Catholic Church's right to the free exercise of religion to interpret Title VII as preventing a Catholic school from disciplining a religion teacher for publicly repudiating one of the Roman Catholic Church's central tenets.

"Short of a declaration that the pope should pass draft encyclicals through the courts for approval, it is hard to conceive of a more obvious violation of the free exercise rights of the Catholic Church or a clearer case of inappropriate entanglement of church and state," Jordan wrote...

..."If a religious employer does not offer a religious justification for an adverse employment action against a nonministerial employee, it is unlikely that serious constitutional questions will be raised by applying Title VII," Roth wrote. Roth's opinion was joined by Circuit Judge Julio M. Fuentes. The late Judge Edward R. Becker was also on the panel when the case was argued in January, but died before the opinion was handed down...

From an Embryonic Stem Cell Research Supporter to Opponent

Here is a really intriguing article from the biotech writer for The Seoul Times, James P. Kelly. It concerns his conversion from an advocate for embryonic stem cell research to an opponent. The key reason? Kelly wants the best route possible to get successful medical treatments.

By the way, Kelly is no novice in dealing with these issues. He is the director of Cures 1st Foundation, Inc. and, as a paralyzed man, he also has intense personal interest in promoting the most practical, most promising research for the sake of treatments and cures.

This is a great read.

Christian Arabic TV Is On the Air

A bold, innovative Christian couple working out of their California garage are responsible for a unique evangelistic ministry that beat the odds for getting off the ground in the first place. But beyond merely surviving, Alkarma TV is getting rave reviews for its effectiveness in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with Arabic-speaking Americans. Indeed, with internet access now a part of their TV outreach, Alkarma is going global.

Congratulations are in order for these dedicated people as are frequent prayers for their continued blessing.

You can read more by clicking the title of this post and by checking out the Alkarma TV site itself right here.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Planned Parenthood Laughing All the Way to the Bank

Let's see now -- we've got huge financial problems in America with the most basic things going underfunded (i.e., the nation's defense) and yet we're still siphoning off millions and millions of tax dollars every year for Planned Parenthood? For an organization that kills preborn babies? An organization that has just recorded its second-highest profit margin for a single year ever ($63,000,000)?

Will Churches Be Targeted By Same-Sex Marriage Activists?

Yes, indeed, argues Douglas Kmiec, a professor of constitutional law at Pepperdine University School of Law. Check out his op-ed piece in the Chicago Tribune.

...Activists are deployed across the country challenging traditional marriage, and it is more than likely that some additional judges will compound the Massachusetts mistake. This increased judicial approval of same-sex marriage will metastasize into the larger culture. Indeed, an insidious, but less recognized, consequence will be a push to demonize--and then punish--faith communities that refuse to bless homosexual unions.

While it may be inconceivable for many to imagine America treating churches that oppose gay marriage the same as racists who opposed interracial marriage in the 1960s, just consider the fate of the Boy Scouts. The Scouts have paid dearly for asserting their 1st Amendment right not to be forced to accept gay scoutmasters. In retaliation, the Scouts have been denied access to public parks and boat slips, charitable donation campaigns and other government benefits. The endgame of gay activists is to strip the Boy Scouts (and by extension, any other organization that morally opposes gay marriage) of its tax-exempt status under both federal and state law...

Monday, June 05, 2006

More on Paulson Appointment -- Truly a Bush Blooper Big Time

Since I think the Town Hall column of Jonathan Burns is a must read, I give you most of it below. It concerns Henry Paulson (shown at left with one of his friends) and the absurdity of his selection as Treasury Secretary by President Bush.

...On Tuesday President Bush announced his nomination of Henry “Hank” Paulson for Treasury Secretary. Paulson, currently the CEO of financial giant Goldman Sachs, is generally well-regarded by his peers on Wall Street. During his tenure, Goldman has seen some of the greatest share-price gains in the company’s history.


Paulson is also an environmental leftist who has used his company to pursue and support his conservation efforts at the expense of shareholders. His use of company assets to promote personal environmental goals has led to the criticism that his personal interests have at times been ahead of his principal duty as CEO: protecting shareholder investments and increasing profitability in both the short and long terms. Shareholder advocate Free Enterprise Action Fund has led the charge against Paulson.

“Paulson is extremely weak on property rights...He has basically used corporate assets to pursue his personal interests. When the conservative base finds out what Paulson really stands for, they're going to be up in arms,” said Fund portfolio manager Steven Milloy.

While it isn’t clear whether or not Paulson was kidnapped and brainwashed by lefty environmental groups, it’s clear he “drank the Kool-Aid” a long time ago. Paulson is troubling because it isn’t clear how much sway environmentalist groups have over him, or how much his own environmentalist views will affect his execution of office. In Thursday’s Wall Street Journal, columnist David Wessel raised some interesting points when he wrote, “…given [Paulson’s] record in using Goldman’s power and money toward environmental ends, he just might use his clout to push the administration toward dealing with climate change or even – don’t mention it before the elections – considering an energy tax.”

The buzz around Washington is that unlike outgoing Treasury Secretary John Snow, Paulson will be given a great deal of latitude in crafting policy. If this is true, and if Paulson is, as suggested by Lawrence Kudlow, being named “deputy president for economic policy,” then having an environmentalist “sleeper” in the cabinet is quite the coup for enviros, and reason for panic for anyone who derives their income from the American economy.

It’s hardly a secret that Paulson believes in man-made global warming. Last year, Goldman Sachs issued an eight page statement in which it laid out its environmental policy. The brief stated that the company believed in the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) assertion that global warming is a threat, and that market forces could not be counted on to solve the problem. Paulson and company support massive regulation. Goldman Sachs supported the McCain-Lieberman legislation proposal dubbed “Kyoto-Lite” by critics. The legislation, which was handily defeated in the Senate, would have capped U.S. carbon dioxide emissions to 2000 levels within five years. Experts estimated Kyoto-Lite to cost the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars and countless jobs.

Equally troubling, Paulson has presided over two groups now under investigation for alleged financial misdeeds and dirty deals which occurred on his watch.

Paulson is the outgoing Chairman of The Nature Conservancy (TNC), a secretive environmentalist group based in Arlington, VA. TNC is the richest environmental group in the world with assets exceeding 3 billion dollars. It has been under scrutiny since 2003, when the Washington Post broke a story alleging inappropriate tax breaks claimed by major benefactors, private side deals for “conservation easements” and drilling for oil in the habitat of an endangered bird.

“The financial scandals at The Nature Conservancy are only the tip of the iceberg. The Nature Conservancy has served as the agent for turning millions of acres of productive private land into federally-owned land and has made huge profits from doing so,” said Myron Ebell, energy expert at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

During Paulson’s tenure at Goldman, the firm spent 35 million dollars on 672,000 acres of land in southern Chile, which it then donated to The Wildlife Conservation Fund. Paulson’s daughter sits on the board of the environmental group, which has links to The Nature Conservancy. The Nature Conservancy was paid a hefty sum for helping facilitate the deal.

Goldman announced in November of 2005 that it would apply pressure on clients in “environmentally sensitive” areas, and committed itself to investing one billion dollars in alternative energy. Furthermore, the firm announced it would be establishing the Center for Environmental Markets to study free-market solutions to environmental problems. Goldman promised to endorse “stringent federal regulation.”

Goldman Sachs is currently under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission for allegedly aiding lender Fannie Mae in cooking their books; Fannie Mae executives are alleged to have falsely reported their profit numbers to line their pockets.

The problem with Paulson is not just the nature of his passion – for he’s clearly misguided on global warming regulatory policy and other environmental policies – but the fact that he sees fit to use other people’s money to support his passions. Paulson is a rich guy - $500 million rich by some estimates. If he wants to spend his own money to bankroll a free-market environmentalist non-profit or invest in alternative energy, so much the better - this is a free country. But for Paulson to steer Goldman down that road, and to spend the firm’s money on projects unrelated to profit, is wrong. As Treasury Secretary, whose money will he be willing to sacrifice to support his passions?...