Saturday, September 30, 2006

Why Bother with Balance? I'm a Reporter!

Imagine you are a teacher of journalism and you want to show your students an apalling example of bias, disinformation and selective editorializing masquerading as news coverage. You would be hard pressed to find a better example than this tripe published by The Nation and then featured on the CBS web site. Not only is the reporting shameslessly slanted, the piece actually ends in a spirited call for readers to support the pro-abortion activities it highlights. Good grief.

Bestiality as a New TV Fad

This from the "It's Even Worse Than What I Thought It Was Department."

The sexual revolution turns to a new low --Bestiality has found its way into your living rooms (or anywhere else you've got a television) and its coming via ABC, Fox and cable stations.

Here's Brent Bozell's column which gives you the nauseating facts.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Calling Killing What It Is

Fr. Jerry Novotny, a Catholic missionary in Japan and a dynamic pro-life activist with a comprehensive and global vision, sent along these timely considerations:

The magic usage of words can lead to a "slippery slope". Here are three examples:

1. Harvest Embryos - this is a feel good word. "Bring in the crops." The end of a fruitful growing season. It falls pleasantly on our ears completely masking the reality of what is being done.

2. Destroy Embryos - Ah, this is better. But, we destroy things, like a broken chair. We don't kill a chair. So, to use this word, subtly dehumanizes these "things," thus, easing our conscience.

3. Kill Embroys - This is explicitly, exactly what is done. We only kill humans, so this abruptly identifies "the embryo" as a living human. The most accurate and pro-life wording here is "to kill a five day old living human embryo".

Hating Bush...To the Point of Treason?

...Time after time, for months on end, we have watched the spectacle of government officials in the intelligence agencies violate their oaths by leaking the most sensitive secrets to dedicated anti-American newspapers such as the treasonous New York Times.

Vital anti-terrorism operations designed to monitor communications between terrorists overseas and their agents in the United States or track the international movement of funds meant to finance terrorist activities have been compromised, if not rendered useless, by leaks to the Times and The Washington Post.

Both newspapers loathe the Bush administration and the Republican Party, and both have wallowed in self-congratulation for their coups against the security of the American people, delighted to be inflicting harm on the president and his attempts to safeguard the American people if it will help turn the Congress over to their Democrat allies...

Michael Reagan is in fine form in this hard-hitting, right-on Human Events column.

Classic Doublespeak from Belarusian Dictator

Radio Free Europe (particularly their fine reporter Jan Maksymiuk) is reporting on recent statements by the Communist dictator of Belarus, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, calling on the member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States (Russia and many of the countries formerly under the Soviet Union) to counteract what Lukashenka called "information aggression" from "new crusaders." The dictator, who vociferously denies freedoms of speech, press and religion to his own people, argued "A war for people's minds is now under way." Furthermore, he claimed, "The arsenal of the new crusaders includes the distortion of spiritual and moral values, the elimination of nations' historic memory, and the propagation of interethnic and interdenominational discord. This war has the specific strategic goal of changing by force the political and economic systems of states that pursue an independent course of development. That is why collective resistance to this expansion means a real effort to strengthen the security level of our countries and the commonwealth as a whole."

Classic doublespeak.

The relevant "distortion of spiritual and moral values" in Belarus comes not from the outside by from the corrupt and extremely coercive actions of the country's illegally elected President. And then, in statements that unavoidably point out his hypocrisy, Lukashenka told the same audience that the police state, which poor Belarus has become, will get even worse as vowed to expand yet further the powers of the State Security Committee (read KGB). "We tend to speak about this less [than others] and somehow bashfully. It's a mistake. We speak more about the United States and other states that make enormous efforts to reinforce their intelligence services and bodies. But if they are reinforcing them -- it's clear for what purpose -- why are we afraid to speak about what we should do, about the need to reinforce ourselves?"

He's Seldom Wrong: Bob Novak's Up To Date Take

A few items from Bob Novak's weekly political update --

* Since the overriding Democratic strategy is to keep the spotlight on President George W. Bush, putting Clinton back in the center of the debate may be counterproductive...

* Republican spirits have been strengthened for the mid-term elections by President Bush's renewed campaigning and the precipitous drop in gasoline prices. There remains a chance that the Republicans will retain control of the House, though just barely...

* State Sen. Tom Kean, Jr. (R) may be pulling away from Sen. Bob Menendez (D) in New Jersey. If the Republicans pick up one Senate seat, the chances of a Democratic Senate takeover are seriously diminished. It is difficult enough for Democrats to win the six Republican seats necessary to achieve Democratic control without losing any seats...

* Whereas DNC chairmen in past cycles have dedicated as much as $20 million to the election of Democratic House members, DNC Chairman Howard Dean will provide a mere $2 million. By contrast, the Republican National Committee (RNC) this year is expected to spend that much in each of 18 contested congressional districts, for a total of nearly $40 million. Dean has foolishly spent his money placating the state party chairmen who elected him in 2005, making good on ill-advised promises to spread around the national party money. A recent email from Dean to supporters actually trumpets the fact that DNC money is being spent to organize precincts in Mississippi, which has no competitive congressional or statewide races this year and whose state offices are not up for election until November 2007.

So the Democrats find themselves without resources just when they could really use them to make serious gains. At the same time, some Republican seats that should not be on our chart are showing weaknesses that the GOP should find troubling.

The outlook for Democrat-held seats remains unchanged this week. Democrats +14, Republicans -14...

Thursday, September 28, 2006

South Dakota Vietnam War Memorial Dedicated --- Event Ignored by the MSM.

You didn't hear a thing about this in the MSM but over 30,000 people came to Pierre, South Dakota this past weekend to celebrate the dedication of a Vietnam War Memorial.

That silence from the media isn't a new mistake, of course, but it still represents a crying shame.

However, if you would like to know more about what happened, here are a couple of links to follow. This AP story was the only national coverage and you'll see it is very brief. Worse yet, even this tiny story was picked up by a mere handful of other papers and stations around the country. Searching around, I did find one unique story though. It comes from KTIV in Sioux City and it included this moving observation:

...Richard Charging Eagle served in Vietnam as a marine for 13 months before shrapnel wounds in his back earned him a ticket home. In the Lakota culture, warriors are often highly regarded. But that wasn't the case for him after Vietnam. That's why this weekend's ceremony meant so much. Richard Charging Eagle says..."finally someone recognizes Vietnam veterans here in the state of South Dakota, because we were forgotten. We were literally forgotten. We were hated. Some people they hated us."

Which is why many vietnam vets didn't like talking about their experiences until this weekend. Charging Eagle says..."sometimes we acknowledge each other from a distance. But today we get to hug each other. We get a good, long handshake. And a little tears." Tears that for far too long have been bottled up inside...

And also, here's a newspaper interview of Omahans Ken and Liz Korkow which explains a bit about how spiritual issues were covered at the event. The Korkows, longtime leaders of Omaha's Christian Businessmen's Committee, were months in organizing a series of outreaches for the weekend called "South Dakota Salutes." At one of those events, a worship and fellowship service, the following incidents were stimulated. Here's how the Capital Journal described them:

...Brian Ascherin, a friend of Ken Korkow, stated that during the weekend's dedication events, he was approached by a man who shook his hand and said, "Welcome home."

With tears welling in his eyes, Ascherin continued, "That's the first time anyone ever really said that to me. So at the parade I stuck my hand out and said to someone, 'Welcome home.'"

According to Ascherin, he hoped the day would help others and himself "deal with some of the hurt and anger still inside" from the war.

Many veterans in attendance had the same response to the day's events and said, "I haven't talked about some of these things for 30 years."

For more on the Memorial, check out its home page over here and be sure to watch the slideshow. You might also enjoy the uploaded photos from the event from a Mrs. Darcy. Those can be found here.

It Pays to Pressure -- Frist Makes A Move

The previous post deals with Bill Frist's lack of effort (until last night!) to move the Child Custody Protection Act forward. Well, here's another example of how you have to loudly sound the alarms before you can expect action on the moral issues from Republican leadership. The cry was raised and Frist finally came through.

Here's the Family Research Council comments which are, I think, a little too magnanimous towards the Majority Leader but...

In a bold move to save an important piece of legislation, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) filed for cloture last night on S. 403, the Child Custody Protection Act (CCPA). This move was necessary to defeat the obstructionist tactics of the Senate Democratic Leadership on this bill and Senator Frist deserves great praise for showing such leadership.

As you may recall, CCPA passed the Senate once before this year with a bipartisan victory of 65-34. However, the Senate will vote on CCPA once again in an attempt to overcome the deceptive tactics of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who first voted for the bill and then had his allies block it from getting to the President.

CCPA seeks to protect both parental and state rights by making it a felony for nonparents to take minor children across state lines for an abortion in an attempt to circumvent state parental involvement laws. Senator Reid and others who would hope to block this key bill must answer as to whom they want to protect: abortion doctors and statutory rapists or parents and families?

Your help is needed; please call your Senators to vote for this vital measure that would protect our daughters when they are most in need.

Frist Holding Up Key Pro-Life Measure

Remember the U.S. Senate passing the Child Custody Protection Act back in July?

The act (if it ever becomes law) would make it a federal crime for non-parental adults to take minor girls for abortions across state lines without notifying her parents. After getting by several "technical" obstacles (business as usual with our corrupt politics), the bill was passed 65-34. The House version had already passed overwhelmingly last year 270-157. President Bush is eager to sign the measure if it ever gets to his desk.

But, incredibly, that may never happen. And, if it doesn't, Jill Stanek argues that we will have one person, more than any other, to blame -- Republican majority leader, Dr. Bill Frist.

Here's Jill's World News Daily column giving you the whole story.

A Court Gone Mad

Alexander Solzhenitsyn has described "legalism" as that horrible moment in a decadent culture when the law becomes the means of promoting injustice instead of justice.

And in case you haven't noticed, we've arrived.

The San Francisco-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has strangely shifting views on freedom of expression. It seems to depend on who expresses what.

In 1999, for example, the court declared "virtual" child pornography a "right." "The First Amendment," it said, "prohibits Congress from enacting a statute that makes criminal the generation of fictitious children engaged in imaginary but explicit sexual conduct."

Last October, however, the court took a far more cramped view of free speech. The murder conviction of Mathew Musladin must be thrown out, it ruled, because the victim's family sat in the front row of the trial, wearing buttons depicting nothing more than the victim's photograph.

This mute expression, the judges ruled, may have prejudiced the jury and thus violated Musladin's right to a fair trial. In October, the Supreme Court will hear an appeal.

Read the rest of Terence Jeffrey's column here.

Good Girls Going Out of Style?

Here's a very sad story of a good girl gone bad. Indeed, it's a story of a very religious and talented girl who became famous for those very things...and then deliberately, dastardly decided to go over to the dark side.

The bad girl in question here is Charlotte Church. And the girl (still a very good girl, by the way) who dares to tell the story is Michelle Malkin. Here's the beginning of her column...

Several years ago, I wrote a column praising a sweet and talented Welsh girl named Charlotte Church. A singer of arias and sacred songs, she possessed an uncommon sense of modesty and decorum in the skin-baring age of Britney Spears. Charlotte had the face and voice of an angel. Her signature piece was "Pie Jesu" (Blessed Jesus). Her favorite keepsake was a rosary blessed by the pope.

Or so she said at the time. Now, alas, the once-charming Charlotte is the new face of skankdom. And you won't believe what she's saying about the pope.

The 20-year-old entertainer has rebelled against the wholesome image that brought her fame, fortune and worldwide respect as a rare role model for young girls. She has traded in "Pie Jesu" for "Crazy Chick" -- a lousy pop anthem even Ashlee Simpson wouldn't be caught performing. Charlotte's gone from pure-hearted to pure crap. These days, she drinks, she smokes, she curses, she fights, she parties, and she tries very, very hard to shock and offend -- like a trashier Lindsay Lohan, only with better pipes.

Charlotte has a new talk show in England, where she plays a profanity-spewing hostess who is part Rosie O'Donnell, part Keith Olbermann (she has bashed President Bush as "clueless" and a "twat") and completely unhinged. The pilot episode featured Charlotte calling Pope Benedict XVI a Nazi, dressing as a nun and pretending to hallucinate while eating communion wafers imprinted with smiley faces (symbolizing the drug Ecstasy). The Catholic News Service reported last month that the pilot also showed Church smashing a statue of the Virgin Mary to reveal a can of fortified wine. To top off her anti-Catholic snit, she stuck chewing gum on a statue of the child Jesus...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The "Divorce" Between Anglicans Is Inevitable (and Soon)

David Virtue has a new article over on Virtue Online, the "Voice for Global Orthodox Anglicanism." And, like always, it is a bittersweet reading experience. The bitter, of course, is that David Virtue is writing about the cowardly surrender of Christian orthodoxy by the "official" Anglican Church over the course of at least two generations now.

But the sweet is that God continues to give voice to defenders of biblical revelation and application. And Virtue Online is doing a most admirable job in that respect. I applaud him and his colleagues and pray for God's greatest blessings upon their work.

Virtue's latest article deals with the growing evidence that a major "divorce" between competing versions of Anglicanism is an inevitable (and quickly upcoming) conclusion. It is a good piece.

But also of importance are several of the comments to the article from fellow conservatives. You'll find those just following the article. The one printed below is one I found particularly valuable:

The only question remaining is if there will be enough orthodox Anglicans left to even form a separate Anglican Communion body in the United States--much less if anyone will want to remain under the empty leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Christ Church/Plano, which had been one of the (if not THE) largest parishes in TEC, has already indicated that they will most likely remain independent. Canterbury has repeatedly shown how impotent it is where matters of spiritual direction are concerned--the Anglican Communion is a rudderless ship, and the Global South has effectively set the stage for formation of a rival Anglican body worldwide (based in Nigeria).

Anyone who believes the Anglican Communion will remain intact is living in the same fool's paradise that led to revisionists gaining the upper hand 30 years ago. It's "end game," and not just for TEC.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Air Travelers: CNN's Captive Audience

...This has become my major issue with air travel, worse even than having to throw away my shaving cream and toothpaste. (Want a stock tip? Invest in a company that makes really, really small toiletries.) The airports of America--as far as I can tell, there aren't any exceptions--have entered into a contract with CNN whereby CNN's outrageously one-sided coverage blares non-stop at every airline gate in the U.S. Talk about a captive audience! You really don't have any choice but to sit at the gate, waiting for your plane to load, and the volume is turned up so loud that you can't miss a single snarky attack on the Bush administration. Frankly, I think I'd rather be waterboarded. Do you suppose John McCain can do something about this?

This is just one of many manifestations of the fact that the Democratic Party is the "home team" of American politics. CNN is the "official" news network, viewed by corporate America as neutral and unobjectionable even though, in fact, it is relentlessly liberal. If anyone proposed that they shift the contract over to Fox, for the sake of more competent news coverage if nothing else, the reaction would be: we can't do that, Fox is conservative! It isn't, actually, for the most part. But occasional moments of conservatism will drive a network more or less underground, while constant liberalism is considered middle of the road, and suitable for infliction--like it or not--on the air travelers of America...

Amen! This opinion, voiced by Power Line's John Hinderaker, is shared by many, many American air travelers. But let's not merely complain to each other, okay? Let's take our complaints to the guys and gals that can do something about it. That's right; why not share your sentiments with a couple of your most-frequented airports and airlines?

For example -- United Airlines can be contacted through Glenn F. Tilton, their Chairman, President & CEO at United Airlines, Box 66919, Chicago IL 60666 whereas Gerald Grinstein
is the President and CEO of Delta. His address is Box 20706, Hartsfield-Atlanta Int'l Airport, Atlanta GA 30320. Any other airline contacts you're looking for can be found right here in this updated FAA document.

And for the airport contacts themselves, here's what you do.

Go to this page and note the last two boxes in the form there. Set the box titled "Facility Use" to PUBLIC-USE and the last box, titled "Part 139 Certification," to CERTIFIED. Then hit "Submit" and you'll go to a page headed "Airport Data (5010) & Contact Information." There you'll see (just a little ways down) a link to "Airport Contact Information". Bingo! There's your addresses. Sorry, it doesn't connect directly but, trust me, it's pretty easy to locate.

Once you get there, you'll see a list (alphabetized by state) that will give you...say, such manager addresses as Denver International's Turner West (ADMIN BLDG, 8400 PENA BLVD., DENVER, CO 80249) and O'Hare's Patrick Harney (BOX 66142, CHICAGO, IL 60666), and just about any others you can think of.

Be polite. Be sweet. But don't fail to tell these misguided folks that it's way past time for a little balance. Fox News every other day? American Bandstand re-runs? Or, to get real drastic, how about a few nooks and crannies available without any piped-in noise at all? Wouldn't that be a treat?

Oh yes; be sure and read the entirety of Mr. Hinderaker's Power Line post. You'll find it over here.

Home Grown Terrorism

Chuck Colson's column today is important reading. Perhaps, most of all, it should be a warning heeded by those who are driving Christian-based progams OUT of the prisons while tolerating, even promoting, culturally destructive "religions" on the inside.

I don’t usually make predictions, but here’s one I’ll venture: If, God forbid, an attack by home-grown Islamist radicals occurs on American soil, many, if not most, of the perpetrators will have converted to Islam while in prison.

I am hardly going out on a limb here. I said this first in 2001. The spread of an especially virulent form of Islam within American prisons is obvious to those of us who have spent time in these prisons. It’s the rest of American society that is in denial. Now, thanks to a new study, ignorance is no longer an option.

The study, titled “Out of the Shadows,” concluded that “the U.S. . . . is at risk of facing the sort of homegrown terrorism currently plaguing other countries.” The source of that risk, according to researchers from George Washington University and the University of Virginia, is “[America’s] large prison population.”

“Radicalized prisoners” within this population “are a potential pool of recruits by terrorist groups,” the study says. The sources of radicalization are incarcerated Islamic extremists and outside organizations that support them. The report notes that the absence of “monitoring by authoritative Islamic chaplains” permits “materials that advocate violence [to infiltrate] the prison system undetected...”

Finish reading Chuck Colson's challenging column here.

Who Is REALLY Playing Vegetative Mind Games?

Ellen Goodman is certainly a liberal's liberal, a pundit long on secularist slants but short on understanding, balance and facts. Last week she wrote a column about Terri Schiavo and others that was, even for Goodman, ignorant and brutal. Here, from LifeNews, is a story about Goodman's column and the full text of the reply to it written by Terri's brother, Bobby Schindler.

Culling Embryos to Get a Perfect Baby

You need to subscribe to the New York Times in order to read their articles so that's why I dispense with the link and just give you a relevant excerpt when I refer to one of their stories. This one is from a piece by Amy Harmon from September 3 headlined, "Couples Cull Embryos to Halt Heritage of Cancer."

But some people who believe life begins with conception think [preimplantation genetic diagnosis] is as unethical as abortion and perhaps more pernicious because it is psychologically less burdensome. Unused embryos may be frozen indefinitely, skirting one moral issue, but at a cost of several hundred dollars a year. Reproductive Genetics Institute, a leading P.G.D. lab in Chicago...said about half the embryos containing the unwanted genetic profile were discarded and half donated to research.

...Already, thousands of couples who are undergoing in vitro fertilization to overcome infertility use P.G.D. to weed out embryos that harbor common chromosomal disorders that would otherwise be screened for by amniocentesis. Fertility experts say they may be the first to take advantage of the procedure for a range of other genetic conditions.

..."It's like children are admitted to a family only if they pass the test," said Denise Toeckes, 32, a teacher who tested positive for a BRCA mutation. "It's like, 'If you have a gene, we don't want you; if you have the potential to develop cancer, you can't be in our family.' "

Hat Tip: World Congress of Families

Monday, September 25, 2006

Gunter Grass and His Nazi Past

Here's a link to a new post over at The Book Den dealing with the leftist Nobel Prize winning author, Gunter Grass, and his recent confession (more than 6o years after the fact) of being part of the dreaded Waffen SS.

From Belarus With Love

Our blog post from last week which underscored the dangers and duplicity of Mikhail Gorbachev and Vladimir Putin (right here) elicited this response from a friend in Belarus --

Great! Finally!

We've been telling the enchanted West the very thing for decades! :-)

They never hide what they are. And what happened happened ONLY because of God's grace and not because of Gorbachev's will.

Thanks for the blog, man!

The Watchmaker: A Unique Presentation of Intelligent Design

Ruth sent over this link to The Watchmaker, a delightful and exciting presentation that argues for intelligent design through poetry and animation. Really excellent!

Episcopal Priests Advocate Research on Developing Human Beings

Okay, let's take a look at the modern Episcopalian Church in America.

Its leadership is now on record as standing against biblical inerrancy, salvation through grace alone (via the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ) and the exclusivity of the gospel message. At the same time the modern Episcopalian leadership is in favor of abortion, homosexuality (even among ordained ministers), same-sex marriage and adoption, and now the Frankensteinian practice of destroying human lives in the name of research.

And these folks really wonder why their churches are emptying?

Three Victims of Abortion

This tragic story of an aborted woman coming unhinged and killing the unborn baby's father and then herself is told in the Miami Herald.

The ripple effect of an abortion isn't usually this dramatic, of course, but it is certainly there nonetheless. The unnatural, unjust violence of abortion cannot help but traumatize both body and soul...for everyone involved.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Can You Help Me Understand About the Morning After Pill?

A high school senior from Ontario, Canada, wrote the following letter to our young friends over at Generations for Life...

Dear Sir or Madame,

I am a high school senior who completed a Summit Ministries Conference this summer.

The reason I am emailing is because I need some help and Summit recommended you. You see my friends and I were talking about Abortion and we eventually turned to the topic of the "day after pill." All of the other girls believed it should be use be cause they said “It takes three days for the sperm and egg to connect.” My sister told me that was nonsense and I believe her…but I don’t have the proof! What do I say to something like that?!?!

If you could help me up I would appreciate it! I’ve been feeling overwhelmed!

Interested in their response? Here it is. (And it's a keeper.)

A Baptist Church Goes Hollywood

"'Facing the Giants' is a great movie about how God can change lives on and off the football field. Every family in America should see it." That's the opinion of a fellow who knows a little bit about football, former All-Pro player and Super Bowl coach, Dan Reeves.

The film will debut nationally on September 29th. Here's a brief story from the Christian Post about it and over here is the site established for the film by Sherwood Baptist Church.

Hmm...I may just have to break a pattern here and actually go to a movie.

"Against All Hope"

There's a new post over on The Book Den that gives a quick review and recommendation of Against All Hope, Armando Valladares' riveting memoir of his 22 years in Castro's barbaric prison system. You might give it a look.

"Stop OverSpending Nebraska" and Amendment 423

You may have heard some talk about an amendment dealing with a state cap on spending that will be on the November ballot here in Nebraska. According to proponents of the measure, Amendment 423 will require politicans "to live by the same standards that families, individuals, and businesses have to live by everyday." Specifically, Amendment 423 will limit the growth of government spending to the rate of inflation plus population growth each year.

Here is a combination fact sheet and "myth buster" page from the web site hosted by SOS (Stop OverSpending) Nebraska. I think you'll find it, at the least, illuminating.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Beware "Working Assets"

A recent advertising flyer I read touted the opportunity to get a free LG125 cell phone with Sprint Network service. This was a deal connected with a charitable program called Working Assets. In this program, 1% of your phone charges goes to 50 of what the flyer described as “progressive” non-profit groups.

Among those "progressive" recipients? Greenpeace, League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, Doctors Without Borders, the Center for Reproductive Rights, American Library Association, the ACLU, the Global Fund for Women, and Planned Parenthood.

In this case, "progressive" must mean the same thing as when a doctor informs you that your cancer has become "progressive." Yikes.

So, pass the word, Working Assets, whatever the financial details of its plan, is an overwhelmingly bad deal.

9th Circuit "Short-Circuits" the Constitution -- Yet Again

Here's a thoughtful post from Nathan Bradfield's Church and State blog in which he adds a few thoughts of his own to comments and links to Fox News, Stop the ACLU, and the Alliance Defense Fund, about the latest silliness of the 9th Circuit Court. This time around is much like the last few times around; namely, the judges distort the Constitution (when they don't ignore it altogether) in order to discriminate against a Christian group.

Protestant Church Ordered to Cede All Property to Eritrea's Despotic Government

The People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ), is the one and only political party allowed in Eritrea. It is a rogue regime, decadent, dangerous and devoted entirely to protecting its own power, regardless of how much it fails the citizens of the country.

No national elections have been held since the country won its independence from Ethiopia in 1993. And using as an excuse that Eritrea remains at war, the Marxist government has refused to implement the 1997 constitution that respects civil and political rights.

The government has arrested thousands of citizens for expressing dissenting views, or for attempting to flee the country, or on suspicion of not fully supporting government policies. They have also arrested thousands of Eritreans who practice an “unregistered” religion even as they keep tightening the screws even on those supposedly protected.

But that's still not enough persecution for the gangsters of the PFDJ and this report from Compass Direct News explains how one church is being "legally" robbed of all it has.

Evangelicals Afraid of Being Evangelicals

This story reminds me of the jokes prevalent 25 years ago; namely,

* Q: Who is an evangelical? A: The son of a fundamentalist.

* And, Q: What is an evangelical? A: That's a fundamentalist who's moved to the suburbs.

Both jokes underscored the tendency of Christians to hide from their own heritage in order to be less obvious to the non-believing culture around them. The serious implication of the jokes was that a modern Christian's self-esteem, confidence and sense of purpose had become inordinately connected to the opinions of the world.

Well, this "run for cover" attitude seems to be getting worse.

Concerned Women for America (CWA) issued an interesting press release today about a recent survey done by Baylor University. According to CWA, the survey found that "that fewer believers want to be labeled “evangelical.” In a cultural environment of increasing bias against evangelicals, less than half of those who say that their beliefs are “evangelical” (33 percent) use that label to describe themselves (15 percent). Further, just over 2 percent of those same “evangelicals” are willing to say that the title “reflects their religious identity.”

“Sadly, some Biblically orthodox believers are unwilling to proudly affirm their faith. They lack the self-confidence to boldly challenge the negative bias; they don’t want to be called ‘evangelical’ or ‘religious right,’” said Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, Senior Fellow of Concerned Women for America’s Beverly LaHaye Institute. “Others,” Crouse added, “prefer different labels –– for instance, some prefer ‘born-again’ (28.5 percent); others ‘theologically conservative’ (17.5 percent). With so many different categories, the numbers don’t reflect the strength of the true believers.”

“Amazingly, the old stereotypes still exist,” said Crouse. “Today’s pseudo-sophisticates view Biblical orthodoxy with disdain and/or hostility. The Washington Post, reporting on the Baylor survey, noted that those who view God as ‘engaged and punishing’ are more likely to ‘have lower incomes and less education, to come from the South and to be white evangelicals or black Protestants.’ Such statements –– implying that Southerners, white evangelicals and black Protestants are poor and uneducated –– reinforce old prejudices and continue the negative stereotypes about true believers...”

Read the rest of the CWA statement here.

How to Talk to Your Kids About...The Devil

Focus on the Family has started a really neat educational ministry on its website. Its called "FaithLaunch" and it helps parents more effectively tackle spiritual issues as a family. Clicking on the title of this post will take you to Lesson Four, one dealing with Satan but the "FaithLaunch" page itself, directing you to all 6 units of the "course" is right here.

Check it out and put it to good use with your family.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The September "LifeSharer" Letter of Vital Signs Ministries

For those visitors to Vital Signs Blog who do not receive the monthly letter of Vital Signs Ministries but who yet might be interested in the behind-the-scenes activities of this evangelical pro-life organization, the current edition can be found right here. This month's letter includes material about sidewalk counseling, the Morning After Pill, speaking engagements, blog stuff, and our "Book It!" and "Faith & Films" programs.

We hope you find it helpful in understanding the principles, priorities and regular practices of our work, one that has been going strong for "the least of these" since 1982. We also hope that reading the "LifeSharer" letter will encourage you to pray for Vital Signs Ministries and perhaps even consider becoming part of our "LifeSharer" team with an ocassional donation. The contact information is right there at the head of the letter.

(By the way, the photo shows Michael Reagan with Claire and Denny Hartford at last year's fundraising banquet for the Nebraska Coalition for Ethical Research.)

It's the Pope's Fault

It was to be expected, of course.

Muslims in many places around the world responded to Pope Benedict's criticism of Islam with unreasonable screaming, riots, violence, destruction of property, death threats, and so on. But where does MSM place the responsibility for this unconscionable behavior?

Where else?

It's the Pope's fault!

Here's a nifty review of the "usual suspects" as provided by the Media Research Center.

More Than Just An "Upscale Hooters"

New Yorkers have recently witnessed something new even for them -- a new restaurant which stars bikini-clad chicks serving as waitresses. The erotic eatery is called Hawaiian Tropic Zone and yesterday's Wall Street Journal covered the story.

But merely reporting on the restaurant's opening is one thing. Reading Debbie Schlussel's biting satire about the place is quite another. And Debbie's is easily the best, most wholesome, and most enjoyable of the two.

CBS Drama "Smith": Another Case of Grievous TV Irresponsibility

The official description of the new CBS television series "Smith" starring Emmy Award winner Ray Liotta is that the main character stars "as a criminal mastermind in this drama about a close-knit crew of criminals who plot and execute high-stakes robberies. Though Bobby Stevens (Liotta) appears to be a regular family man with a nine-to-five job, he's actually an expert thief who is seeking a few last big jobs so he can finally leave the business for a comfortable, lawful lifestyle with his wife, Hope (Virginia Madsen), and their two children. While they never discuss Bobby's illegal pursuits, Hope is growing weary of turning a blind eye."

Some critics are already singing the praises of the show as a gripping, amoral drama. But the first episode showed the crime team involved in...let's see now...sexual promiscuity, fraud, armed robbery, grand theft, destruction of private and public property, assault with a deadly weapon, and the murder of a security guard at a museum. That, folks, is not amoral behavior; that's immoral behavior.

And to attempt to gloss over these things because Liotta is a handsome man who dotes on his kids and wants to eventually get out of the business (after he's made his millions and perhaps killed a few more innocent people) takes TV irresponsibility to new depths.

What's the Score Now?

The score is now 72-0.

That is the numerical discrepancy between peer-reviewed scientific studies showing demonstrable patient benefits (not mere hope or hype) from techniques using adult stem cell research versus those derived from embryonic stem cells.

When do you think the MSM is going to get around to mentioning this?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Somali Christian Murdered for Refusing to Chant Koran Verses

Yet another example of that moderate, peaceful religion of Islam...

Somali Christian sources report that Ali Mustaf Maka'il, a 22-year-old college student and cloth merchant, who converted from Islam to Christianity eleven months ago, was shot and killed in the Manabolyo quarter of Mogadishu on September 7.

According to a report from The Barnabas Fund, quoting a Christian source inside Somalia, the gunman was loyal to the Union of Islamic Courts (ICU), the Islamist organization that took power in Mogadishu in early June 2006 and now controls much of southern Somalia.

The report states: "The gunman shot Ali in the back after he refused to join a crowd chanting Qur'an verses in honor of the lunar eclipse. (Solar and lunar eclipses are significant in Islam and are accompanied by special congregational prayers.) The ICU confiscated his body for 24 hours before delivering it to the grieving family."

The Barnabas Fund says: "It seems that under the new Islamist rulers, who include hard-line jihadi elements, the tragic history of persecution and martyrdom for Somalia's tiny Christian community is set to continue and most likely to worsen..."
(Michael Ireland for ASSIST News Service)

Oh, You Can Get IN College; You Just Cant Get THROUGH College

Because [Mr. Walton] had no trouble balancing his checkbook, he took himself for a math wiz. But he could barely remember the Pythagorean theorem and had trouble applying sine, cosine and tangent to figure out angles on the geometry questions.

Mr. Walton is not unusual. As the new school year begins, the nation's 1,200 community colleges are being deluged with hundreds of thousands of students unprepared for college-level work.

Though higher education is now a near-universal aspiration, researchers suggest that close to half the students who enter college need remedial courses.

...Michael W. Kirst, a Stanford professor who was a co-author of a report on the gap between aspirations and college attainment, said that 73 percent of students entering community colleges hoped to earn four-year degrees, but that only 22 percent had done so after six years.

"You can get into school," Professor Kirst said. "That's not a problem. But you can't succeed."

Nearly half the 14.7 million undergraduates at two- and four-year institutions never receive degrees. The deficiencies turn up not just in math, science and engineering, areas in which a growing chorus warns of difficulties in the face of global competition, but also in the basics of reading and writing.

According to scores on the 2006 ACT college entrance exam, 21 percent of students applying to four-year institutions are ready for college-level work in all four areas tested, reading, writing, math and biology.

The above excerpt is from a NY Times story (which you can't link to unless the reader subscribes) written by Diana Jean Schemo earlier this month.

And they keep telling us that the government's education monopoly is a working success?

The IRS Warnings: Scare Tactics or Signs of Things to Come?

From the daily report of the Family Research Council --

Today's New York Times features an article with the chilling title, "IRS eyes religious groups as more enter election fray." The alarm is misplaced; the law is clear that pastors have every right to speak out on the important issues of the day without endangering the tax status of their churches (after all, church members are citizens, and the issues concern the common good). The only thing churches may not do is engage in partisan politics, e.g., endorse candidates.

There is, for instance, a continuing controversy over an IRS investigation into a prominent liberal church - All Saints Episcopal in Pasadena, California. Unless the pastor endorsed a particular candidate, he was legally free to speak, critically or otherwise, about issues of public policy.

To respond to confusion about these issues, today, along with our friends at Alliance Defense Fund, FRC is sending a letter to thousands of churches that makes it clear that our tax laws do not require pastors to hide their light under a bushel.

On October 15, in a nationwide "Liberty Sunday" simulcast, FRC is joining with Boston churches to educate Christians about the threat posed to religious freedom by cultural and legal developments. In a nation that was founded on the principle of religious freedom, and where pastors have always been the leaders in denouncing injustice, FRC is determined that pastors are not frightened into silence.

My note --The problem here is that our era has seen an awful lot of unconstitutional, unfair and previously unthinkable things happen. I'm not at all confident that the IRS will back off nor am I at all confident that the courts wouldn't support their power grab. After all, the courts okayed McCain-Feingold and a more obvious example of flying against the Constitution could be imagined. No, the creeping constriction of free speech (unless it is profanity, blasphemy, threats against the President, and so on) continues with each passing day.

"Muslim Reaction Proves Pope's Point"

As if the point needed to be proved further, Islam has been and continues to be a religion of coercion and even violence. Check out Bill Donohue's brief statement over at the Catholic League.

Gorbachev Regrets Not Having Yeltsin "Hit"

Here's a provocative little article from Reuters aout Mikhail Gorbachev's regrets that he wasn't as tough a Communist thug as the current Russian President, Vladimir Putin. In an especially telling remark, one that he had to hurriedly downplay, Gorbachev (a Nobel Peace Prize winner...choke!...and TIME magazine's 2x Man of the Year) said that his opponents "should have been hit -- I mean confronted with criminal responsibility rather than attacked with machine guns."

Hmm...a bit of a Freudian slip, that.

Notice too the closing sentence of the article. It is a revealing quote from the former KGB triggerman (Putin) expressing his own regrets about the deconstruction of the Soviet empire. It was, he says, "one of the greatest geo-political catastrophes of the 20th century".

I'm telling you again, watch these fellows closely.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Nebraska Humane Care Amendment Being Starved by Bureaucrats?

The steps to put the Humane Care Amendment on the Nebraska state ballot this November had all been taken. Everyone thought it was a done deal. However, a couple of weeks ago, the Amendment was denied a place on the ballot because Nebraska bureaucrats decided, in a highly controversial action, to deny outright the validity of a large number of the signatures acquired during the petition process...and to refuse consideration of thousands of "extra" signatures already obtained.

Efforts since then to remedy the supposed problem and restore the Amendment to the ballot have met with concerted obstruction from election officials. The following is a press release summarizing the situation as of noon today (Monday). It is also a call for Secretary of State John Gale to do the right thing by Nebraska law.


LINCOLN, NE -- Supporters of the proposed Humane Care Amendment to the Nebraska constitution today implored Secretary of State John A. Gale to act immediately to prevent fraud against the citizens and ensure election integrity by fixing errors of his staff that will deny voters a 2006 opportunity to consider the pro-life measure.

At a press conference today on the Capitol steps, Humane Care spokesperson Heidi Verougstraete said, “Secretary Gale says the state initiative process is broken. After reviewing the work of one of his staffers, we fully agree. We call upon Secretary Gale to act now, while time yet remains, to fix errors by his people that threaten to disenfranchise the citizens of Nebraska for 2006. To err is human and forgiveable; to leave these official matters uncorrected would be a blatant assault on Nebraska’s constitutional right of citizen initiative by those who are duty-bound to uphold it.”

Until a Nebraska Supreme Court ruling just over a decade ago, ballot initiatives only required voter signatures equal to 10% of those voting in the last governor’s election. In a decision that overturned a statewide vote in favor of legislative term limits, however, the Supreme Court declared that a more burdensome 10% of “registered voters” is needed for ballot access.

As such, said Verougstraete, “Secretary Gale has a solemn constitutional duty to maintain an honest, accurate, and clean count of validly registered voters for purposes of determining this 10% ballot access figure. Unfortunately, serious errors of commission and omission by at least one individual within his office have artificially inflated the registered voter count and will soon deny voters their rightful say on Humane Care.”

Displaying a large stack of data printouts as evidence, she said, “The staff person to whom Secretary Gale has delegated the crucial job of certifying ballot initiatives, appears to us not to have performed the duties entrusted to him. For example, the official statewide voter registration count --10% of which Humane Care advocates must produce in the form of petitioner’s signatures -- is improperly inflated by double-counting at least 6,000 voters. The obvious effect of this is to make it more difficult for Nebraskans to exercise their constitutional right of ballot initiative.” (NOTE: The same double-counted names are available to press in an Excel file).

“Double-counting voters would be bad enough, but we have found instances where the bar against Nebraska democracy and Humane Care has been raised even higher by triple and quadruple counting certain voters in this so-called list of ‘registered voters’. Secretary Gale, if your people have included thousands of double and triple-counted people, dead people, and people who have moved to California, these are NOT proper and validly registered Nebraska voters -- and it would be unconscionable to use such a careless, unpurged count to prevent a 2006 vote on Humane Care,” Verougstraete said.

She continued, “Although the Legislature recently approved voting by Nebraskans with prior felony convictions, the admitted practice by staff at the Secretary of State’s office is to exclude ALL petition signers who show up on lists of felons, parolees, and citizens on probation. This resulted in over 1,900 Humane Care petition signers being invalidated upfront – before anyone in the Secretary of State’s office even checked to see if they were in fact registered voters! And yet, while excluding such petition signatures across the board, someone inside Mr. Gale’s office has failed to exclude such names from his official count of registered voters. Well, you can’t have it both ways!”

“Although the accuracy and validity of the official count of registered Nebraska voters has been handled in a careless way,” Verougstraete said, “government efforts to invalidate Humane Care signatures are demonstrably hyper-aggressive: We can now prove to Secretary Gale that THOUSANDS of validly registered Nebraska voters who signed Humane Care petitions had their signatures improperly invalidated. All along, from our July 7 submission date until now, I turns out that Humane Care supporters have had more than enough signatures to qualify for the 2006 ballot!”

The Humane Care Amendment aims to protect people from involuntary dehydration and starvation in Nebraska institutions, such as hospitals, nursing homes, orphanages and prisons. People who ask for the withholding of food and water in valid advance directives, such as living wills, are not subject to the measure’s protections.

Verougstraete also provided the press with copies of a letter delivered Saturday night to Gale’s home, during the Nebraska-USC football game. The letter, from Tom Mann, treasurer of Nebraskans for Humane Care, and Ann Marie Bowen, president of Nebraskans United for Life, said: “Our fellow citizens are being involuntarily dehydrated and starved to death in Nebraska institutions. Nebraska physicians have verified this fact to us.” They continued, “Humane Care in Nebraska is an enormous public policy question. For example, the National Right to Life Committee and Nebraskans United for Life have already endorsed Humane Care. Opponents of Humane Care now include the pro-euthanasia Hemlock Society (re-dubbed ‘Compassion & Choices’).”

Likening staff decisions at the Secretary of State’s office to an irresponsible referee in a Nebraska vs. USC football game, Mann and Bowen wrote to Gale: “With plenty of time yet on the clock, your staff has already walked off the field and out of the stadium. With minutes to go, they intend to freeze the scoreboard and give the game to USC. And yet, YOU – not your staff -- are the referee appointed by the Nebraska constitution to ensure fair play. We are not asking you to tilt the playing field our way. Rather, we want you to do what you are charged to do, which is make every human effort to call the game fairly -- without permitting your staff to run down the clock -- and allow us to show you that Humane Care should indeed be a 2006 ballot question.

The letter concludes, “Mr. Gale, we respectfully implore you, in the name of our state constitution and in the name of God, meet with us Sunday evening or early Monday morning to let us to show you that Humane Care has in fact qualified for the 2006 ballot.” Verougstraete said neither Gale nor his staff had contacted her as of Monday noon.

Of the Perversions of Homosexuality

This story comes from Agape Press but it cites information published by the radical homosexual magazine, The Advocate itself. The report concerns two recent surveys of practicing homosexuals. One survey contacted people in the U.S., the other in Ireland, but both revealed that a large number of homosexuals continue in extremely promiscuous and dangerous sex activity.

For instance, the poll found that 20% of homosexuals said they had from 51 to 300 different sex partners in their lifetime. 8% admitted to having had more than 300 partners.

Furthermore, the surveys revealed a dramatic increase of homosexuals obtaining sexual partners from internet contacts and an ongoing aversion of many to use condoms.

One shouldn't expect, of course, that this very ugly picture of sexual perversion will make any difference in the obscurantist, grossly irresponsible treatment of homosexuality in entertainment, academic and political circles.

How terribly sad for the culture. How terribly sad for unrepentant men and women engaging in this wicked behavior.

"In Defense of Radical Christianity" by Kevin McCullough

...Pardon me for brushing aside a lot of speculation and get straight to the issue, Rosie hates evangelicals. The kinds of Christians that scare her most are the radical ones. Roughly translated that means - the ones who actually live by what they believe.

Herein is part of the difference between the ignorant Muslim-rent-a-mobs that objected to the Pope and O'Donnell. Muslims lie about what they believe. But if you look carefully enough - or just ask any Islamic scholar who will tell you the truth - the Koran advocates the killing of the infidels. And in Islam's case - that includes anyone who doesn't convert to Islam.

Rosie refuses to recognize that Muslims whose doctrine calls for them to kill us are attempting to do just that, while at the same time evangelical Christians share a theology that speaks to the need for grace to those who are in danger, and mercy for those who repent. There are thousands of Christian pastors who even this day are prepared to launch their congregations into tremendous acts of compassion for those needing emergency help and care...

Check out the full text of this "spot 0n" column by Kevin McCullough.

Wisconsin Right to Life Fights for Free Speech

It's a matter of free speech. It's a matter of clear Constitutional privilege. It's a matter of common sense.

But will Wisconsin Right to Life's challenge of the existing political speech prohibition succeed against the powers that be? For the sake of the republic, let's pray that it will.

Here's the story from the AP.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Why Are Our Heroes Going Without Recognition?

This Human Events article tells just a few of the stories of heroes among America's current fighting forces, including the late Paul Ray Smith shown at left. I'm sure you'll find it compelling, inspiring reading.

But let's not stop there.

Why not print this article and read it to the family after dinner sometime this weekend? Perhaps take just a testimony at a time and spread the reading over a few meals? Appropriately enough then, take a few minutes to pray for the men and women serving our country in these ways. Pray too for the country's leaders who make the decisions about our military strategy and direction. And, yes, pray too that Americans would become more worthy of the sacrifice these heroes are making in our behalf.

Another "action step" that I'd suggest would be to pass around the Human Events article to friends and family -- maybe even ask your pastor or Sunday School leader if one or two of the stories in the article could be shared aloud.

And finally, how about encouraging other media to do a better job in honoring our heroes?

You can do that simply by using the "Forward to a Friend" option at the right of the article. You'll find there an e-mail form all ready to go wherever you want to send it. Just enter the e-mail address and a brief message explaining why you're sending the article along.

In my case, I used information from the Media Address page over at the Media Research Center to forward the Human Events article to the following: Newsweek, Time, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Boston Globe, Chicago Sun-Times, Dallas Morning News, Denver Post, Detroit Free Press, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Minneapolis Star Tribune, The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today, The Washington Post, ABC News, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and NBC News. (CBS has its own built-in e-mail form at the bottom of the page at

Now, the e-mail form at the Human Events "Forward to a Friend" page will only take about 250 characters at a time in the recipients box, so I only sent 4 or 5 at a time. Sure, you've got to take a little time, but it's worth it. And to save you a bunch of time, here's the addresses themselves --,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

You see, most of the work is done for you! So, what are you waiting for?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Quest for Veritas

A very interesting column here from Chuck Colson about Kelly Monroe Kullberg's book, Finding God Beyond Harvard, and the outstanding impact of Veritas Forum.

As summer simmers down, the Da Vinci Code-fever is also mercifully breaking. I only wish that the curiosity that drove 40 million people to read Brown’s thriller would drive millions more to take up a more noble quest—a quest for veritas, or truth.

That’s a quest that Kelly Monroe Kullberg has been on since long before Dan Brown’s name became a household word. Kullberg’s real-life quest, detailed in her new book Finding God Beyond Harvard, led her through the gates and archives of America’s Ivy League institutions in a search for truth. She found clues in Harvard’s wrought iron gates etched with a mysterious Latin phrase, Christo et Ecclessiae, “For Christ and the Church,” and among Princeton’s founding records and ancient seals, which bore the motto, Vitam Mortuis Reddo, “I restore life to the dead.” Clues unfolded in Dartmouth’s Rollin Chapel where drywall covered over priceless stained-glass windows of a robed man, healing, hanging on a cross, emerging from a tomb.

Kullberg did not need a cryptologist to decipher the code. And unlike the Da Vinci Code’s insinuations that there is a cover-up afoot in the Church, Kullberg found the real cover-up is happening in our universities, where academic elites are seeking to hide the fact that truth exists, that it is knowable, and that its foundation is Christ Himself...

The rest of Colson's piece is here.

Rosie O'Donnell's Anti-Christian Ravings -- Want to Respond?

You've heard by now of Rosie O'Donnell's crude rant against Christianity on ABC Television's ultra-liberal program, "The View." In a discussion of the 9/11 horrors, O'Donnell suddenly piped up with, "Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America where we have separation of church and state." And, in a shot at America;s action against the murderous regime in Iraq, she continued: "And as a result of the attack and the killing of 3,000 innocent people we invaded two countries and killed innocent people."

Neither O'Donnell nor ABC has apologized for the comments. Of course, were these ravings made against any other group, O'Donnell would probably be looking for another job already. Let's at least seek to get an apology from ABC.

You can write them at:
Brian Frons, President, ABC Daytime
47 West 66th St.
New York, NY 10023-6298
Primary Phone: 212-456-7777
Fax: 212-456-1424
Brian Frons' e-mail is at

Or you can go to this page for an e-mail link provided by the American Family Association.

Here's the note I sent...

Titled: O'Donnell's Rantings Against Christianity

Dear Mr. Frons,

Where is ABC's apology for Rosie O'Donnell's amazingly inaccurate, insensitive and even dangerous canard against Christianity? I do hope she is at least reprimanded for her rantings and that ABC distances itself from her religious intolerance.

Thank you.

Denny Hartford
Director, Vital Signs Ministries

Omaha, Nebraska

Cain Contributes $1 Million to Increase Pro-Life Votes from the Black Community

With the balance of power in Congress hanging in the air, a leading African American businessman says black voters in the United States should put their historical pro-life values above political party. That means voting for pro-life candidates rather than supporting Democratic candidates across the board.

Herman Cain is best known as the former chairman and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza. He is a political commentator and was a candidate for the U.S. Senate.

“More and more African Americans are pro-life," Cain said in a statement obtained. “Our message to African Americans is simple -- it's time you vote for candidates who support our values."

Cain will underscore that message with a $1 million advertising campaign in key states and congressional districts targeting black radio programs and urban radio stations young African Americans enjoy. Some of the ads focus on abortion.

The campaign is a second go-round based on a highly successful Ohio campaign in 2004 that helped President Bush garner 17% of the African American vote in the Buckeye State – double his vote total from the 2000 presidential race...

Read the rest of this LifeNews story right here.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Wesley J. Smith on a Starbuck's Cup

From Sharon Hugh's blog comes this tidbit about one of Starbucks' latest "The Way I See It" cups -- one featuring a terrific quote from Wesley J. Smith:

"The morality of the 21st century will depend on how we respond to this simple but profound question: Does every human life have equal moral value simply and merely because it is human? Answer yes, and we have a chance of achieving universal human rights. Answer no, and it means that we are merely another animal in the forest."

"Abstinence Education Works" by A.C. Green

MSNBC recently featured a splashy article by the University of Pennsylvania's Dr. Arthur Caplan entitled, "Abstinence-Only Sex Ed Defies Common Sense." It was a piece full of exaggerations, distortions and faulty logic but very empty indeed of common sense. You can read it yourself here.

An excellent article presenting the flip side of the argument has received much less attention (what else is new?) but is yet a much more factual, relevant and valuable piece. It is written by former NBA hero, A.C. Green, and specifically takes on the errors and false assumptions of Caplan's article. It is called "I Beg to Differ: Abstinence Education Works" and you can read it at A.C. Green's website.

And while I'm on the subject, let me recommend a very insightful column written by Heather Gallagher of the REAP Team, an outreach of the Catholic Youth Retreat Ministry of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. It is "Are abstinence & chastity the same?" and it's right here.

The MSM's Idea of Balance: Replace Liberals with Liberals

It's no surprise, of course, but it's worth noting that Katie Couric's replacement on NBC's Today show is just as devoted to an aggresive liberal agenda as she was. The replacement? Meredith Vieira.

Here, courtesy of the Media Research Center, is a whole page of examples of Vieira's left-leaning bias.

The Sensitive, Tolerant (and Politically-Correct) Kind of Evangelical

When the Washington Post reports on evangelical Christianity, one expects the typical kind of sneering skepticism to dominate the coverage. Ah yes; but that's when the Post covers Jerry Falwell, James Dobson or the Southern Baptists. But when the "evangelicalism" under consideration is decidely to the left, that's a whole different game.

...Brian D. McLaren of Laurel, one of contemporary Christianity's hottest authors and founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church in upper Montgomery County...offers an evangelical vision that emphasizes tolerance and social justice. He contends that people can follow Jesus's way without becoming Christian. In the latest of his eight books, "The Secret Message of Jesus," which has sold 55,000 copies since its April release, he argues that Christians should be more concerned about creating a just "Kingdom of God" on earth than about getting into heaven.

Along with such other progressive evangelicals as Washington-based anti-poverty activist Jim Wallis and educator Tony Campolo, McLaren is openly critical of the conservative political agenda favored by many evangelicals.

"When we present Jesus as a pro-war, anti-poor, anti-homosexual, anti-environment, pro-nuclear weapons authority figure draped in an American flag, I think we are making a travesty of the portrait of Jesus we find in the gospels," McLaren said in a recent interview...

..."I don't see the issue of homosexuality as the simple black-and-white issue that some of my fellow evangelicals make it out to be," said McLaren, who last year was named by Time magazine among the "25 most influential evangelicals in America."

And while not happy about widespread abortions, he added, "to just say 'Okay, let's pass laws about it' seems to me to skip a number of important steps, like honest and open dialogue, persuasion and seeking to remove the conditions that make abortion so prevalent...."

McLaren, whose books are published by Zondervan, is all over the place: books, internet articles, speaking engagements. And he's certainly in the center of a new movement - one strong on hip terms like "missional" and "emerging church" but very weak on biblical theology and ethics. So, as you might guess, not everybody is finding his "post-modern Jesus" a believable figure.

For instance, Steve Camp said about McLaren's book, A Generous Orthodoxy, "There are no rules, no models, no denominational walls; no truth constraints; no theological grids; no ecclesiastical structures; no polity; no historic faith; no seemingly observance of hermenuetics for properly interpreting Scripture; no common meta-narratives; and not even any agreed definitions to common biblical terms and truth. It's just him learning, growing, evolving, experiencing, left unfinished kind of Christianity."

Psychology trumps theology.

Self-involvement trumps revelation.


Of Democracy, Justice, the Sanctity of Human Life...and the Illinois Supreme Court's Disinterest in Them All

From the Thomas More Society via Christian Newswire -- In 1995, the Illinois legislature passed a law that a parent or guardian (or grandparent or step parent residing in the same household) must be notified 48 hours before a child under 18 has an abortion. However, the Illinois Supreme Court has refused to write rules that the law requires for an appeals process. Therefore, the law cannot go into effect. The Illinois Supreme Court is the only state Supreme Court in the country that has refused to issue such appeal rules.

So now, the Chicago-based Thomas More Society, Pro-Life Law Center has submitted a petition to the Illinois Supreme Court on behalf of a coalition of pro-life, pro-family and religious groups, including the Catholic Conference of Illinois, Illinois Citizens for Life, and Concerned Women for America. The petition calls for the Court to put the parental notice law into effect. The Society’s lawyers, Tom Brejcha and Paul Linton, submitted their “Supplemental Petition” (a shorter petition was filed last June by DuPage County State’s Attorney, Joseph Birkett) to Chief Justice Robert Thomas and fellow Justices of the Illinois Supreme Court on behalf of Illinois-based “Friends of the Court,” urging issuance of an appeal rule.

“Illinois’ governor wants every child to have health care. Yet, the health and emotional well-being of thousands of girls are compromised if parents are not notified when their daughters consider an abortion,” said Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel with the Thomas More Society. “Incredibly, we live in a state where parental consent is required before aspirins are dispensed, but parents are left in the dark when their child undergoes serious surgery. Chicago protects goose livers (banning foie gras!) while loving parents are denied the chance to talk with daughters over whether to have an abortion – a choice fraught with lifelong consequences...”

...A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision, authored by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, reaffirmed earlier this year that, “States unquestionably have the right to require parental involvement when a minor considers terminating her pregnancy, because of their strong and legitimate interest in the welfare of [their] young citizens, whose immaturity, inexperience, and lack of judgment may sometimes impair their ability to exercise their rights wisely.”

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Essence of Sidewalk Counseling

For nearly 25 years I have served as a sidewalk counselor, seeking to dissuade men and women from going into abortion clinics. In this 10-minute "Vital Signs" radio program I outlined the essence of this ministry, explaining what sidewalk counselors say and why they engage in such a disquieting task.

Whether you yourself are a sidewalk counselor or simply one who appreciates and prays for them, I think you might find this program helpful.

Catastrophe -- The Bush Support of Plan B

There is no way to spin this one away. President George Bush's support of the FDA's Morning After Pill policy was an alarmingly wicked move, one that ignored science, risks women's health, infuriated his most loyal supporters, and launched a new wave of deadly poisons against preborn children.

Here is a very good article reviewing the matter in First Things. It is written by Charlotte Allen, a Senior Editor of Crisis and author of The Human Christ: The Search for the Historical Jesus. She's right on.

And, in a very relevant blast from the past, here is Charlotte Allen's response to the first major cave-in of President Bush; namely, his stem cell "compromise" back in 2001.

Standing Against United Nations' Intimidation

Last week, a well-respected insider and two stalwart outsiders stood up against the United Nations’ (UN) bullying. They’ve had their fill of the UN forcing nations into compliance with non-binding treaties engineered by the left to impose their views on the rest of the world. The UN, through scolding, pressure, criticism and warnings, coerces member nations into supporting actions and ideology that often are contrary to their national interests and, sometimes, even their country’s laws. Thus, the UN flaunts national sovereignty and international law in its effort to mandate leftist policies, especially those that are pro-abortion, pro-homosexual and those that supposedly “empower women.”

Three paladins who know first-hand what it means to be oppressed declared, “Enough!”...

Read the rest of this Janice Shaw Crouse article at the Concerned Women for America web site.

Stolen (and Possibly Contaminated) Body Parts Discovered...In Living People

The illegal "body parts industry" is getting more grusome all the time. Here's a story from the Sunday Times (U.K.) about National Health Service patients being implanted with potentially contaminated bone tissue from a batch stolen from dead Americans.

The Large-Scale Distortion of Domestic Abuse/Harassment

It brought to mind the title of the George Gershwin song "They All Laughed" when a Santa Fe, N.M., family court judge granted a temporary restraining order against "Late Show" host David Letterman to protect a woman he had never met, never heard of, and lived 2,000 miles away from.

Colleen Nestler claimed that Letterman had caused her "mental cruelty" and "sleep deprivation" for over a decade by using code words and gestures during his network television broadcasts.

That ridiculous temporary restraining orders was dismissed in December, but according to a report released this week by Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting, or RADAR, the case was not a judicial anomaly but "the logical culmination of years of ever-expanding definitions of domestic violence." RADAR is a Maryland-based think tank that specializes in exposing the excesses of the domestic violence bureaucracy...

...RADAR reports that only five states define domestic violence in terms of overt actions that can be objectively proven or refuted in a court of law. The rest of the states have broadened their definition to include fear, emotional distress, and psychological feelings.

The use of the word "harassment" in domestic violence definitions is borrowed from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's definition, which is based on the "effect" of an action rather than the action itself. In Oklahoma, a man can be charged with harassment if he seriously "annoys" a woman...

...Family court judges issue 2 million temporary restraining orders every year, half of which are routinely extended, 85 percent are against men, and half do not include any allegation of violence but rely on vague complaints made without evidence...

...The demand end of the economic chain is the fact that women know (and their lawyers advise them) that making allegations of domestic violence (even without proof or evidence) is the fastest and cheapest way to win child custody plus generous financial support. The financial incentives to lie or exaggerate are powerful.

Due process violations in the issuing of temporary restraining orders include lack of notice, no presumption of innocence, denial of poor defendants to free counsel while women are given taxpayer-funded support, denial of the right to take depositions, lack of evidentiary hearings, improper standard of proof, no need to be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, denial of the right to confront accusers, and denial of trial by jury...

Remarkable stuff. Read the entirety of this Phyllis Schlafly column right here.

Monday, September 11, 2006

University Regent Wants Unlimited ESCR and Cloning Protected by Law

Here's a press release sent out this weekend from Nebraska Right to Life...

LINCOLN: University of Nebraska Regent Drew Miller’s comments to the Board of Regents vindicate what Nebraska Right to Life (NRL) has been saying to political and religious leaders for months, said Julie Schmit-Albin, NRL Executive Director.

“Regent Miller asked the Board of Regents on Friday to discuss placing an initiative petition on our ballot to ensure constitutional protection of unfettered embryonic stem cell research and human cloning,” said Schmit-Albin. “We have been citing Missouri as an example ever since they started their petition drive to do the same thing last October.“ The Missouri initiative gained 288,991 signatures in May and is currently on the November ballot.

“We have been in communication with our counterparts in Missouri and Kansas and know what they are up against. We have been telling elected officials, religious and pro-life leaders and our grassroots that if the Missouri initiative passes; Nebraska will be next. Drew Miller has just confirmed what we have been warning the Nebraska pro-life movement about for almost a year.” she said.

Schmit-Albin said Nebraska Right to Life continued to push for passage of a bill in the Nebraska Legislature the past two years which would have banned cloning. Mailings were sent this past legislative session in to targeted districts asking pro-lifers to contact their state senators to put LB 437 up for a vote in Judiciary Committee. LB 437, sponsored by Senator Adrian Smith, died at the end of this session without a vote in committee.

“At a minimum, our pro-life Judiciary Committee should have sent a shot across the bow to UNMC by passing LB 437 out of committee,” said Schmit-Albin. “That didn’t happen and now they will have to grapple with whether the issue will be taken entirely out of the Legislature’s hands and put to the people; where our opponents have the money to frame the issue as they have done in Missouri.”

“Regent Miller’s comments should not be dismissed as the rantings of a man on his way out of office.” said Schmit-Albin. “He has long mimicked the true desires of UNMC. Pro-life Nebraskans need to light a fire under their legislators now that we want this issue addressed in the next legislative session.”

For more information, contact Nebraska Right to Life.