Thursday, November 30, 2006

Saddleback Church Defends Invitation to Obama

Not surprisingly, this AP report reflects the spirit that Rev. Rick Warren and Saddleback Church hope will mollify the opposition engendered by his invitation for Senator Barack Obama to play a starring role in the Church's upcoming "AIDS Summit." However, key issues go unaddressed by this article, especially the dangerous error of inviting an extremist on abortion and homosexual privilege to be given a place of honor (and elevated publicity) in an evangelical church.

As I commented in an earlier post, Warren is being used just as Bill Clinton used Rev. Bill Hybels a few years ago. And with the erosion of intelligence, consistency and will within the evangelical community to fight (principally and prayerfully) against the tide of secularism, Rev. Warren's timing couldn't be worse.

Obama is an active aspirant for the U.S. presidency and is, therefore, desperately trying to win inroads into America's Christian community (despite his alarming distortions of biblical theology and his championing of heinous evils like killing children in the womb). Rev. Warren is blessing him with a most undeserved gift.

It is one thing (and a good thing, at that) to lovingly, patiently speak with one's enemies in private settings or even in open debate. It can also be acceptable for a Christian to cooperate with people who disagree with him when engaged in a specific purpose; i.e. tossing sandbags against a busted levee or, yes, certain activities related to helping people avoid AIDS.

But what Warren and Saddleback Church are doing (for all their rhetoric and even their naive goodwill) is something altogether different. They are giving an esteemed honor to a very ambitious, crafty politician who aggressively campaigns for the most abhorrent wickedness. And even Obama's campaign against AIDS is (or, God help us, certainly should be) much different than what biblical Christians should support: plane loads of condoms and instruction in "safe" promiscuity.

No, not even Sen. Brownback's participation in the Saddleback AIDS Summit can excuse this terrible error on the part of Rev. Warren. We must continue to pray that he will yet make the best decision; namely, dis-invite Barack Obama and explain plainly why. At the very least, the furor caused by pro-life leaders opposed to Warren's mistake should cause the pastor to emphasize publicly his deep revulsion over Senator Obama's penchant for perversions.

Are Americans Cheapskates?

...After the Asian Tsunami two years ago, the U.S. government pledged $900 million to tsunami relief. American individuals donated $2 billion -- three times what government gave -- in food, clothing, and cash. Private charities could barely keep up with the donations.

Americans' preference for voluntary contributions over forced giving through government is one way in which Americans differ from other people. (Don't think it's forced? See what happens if you don't pay your taxes.)...

I don't know how many of you caught "Cheap in America," John Stossel's ABC News segment last night, but I hope you did. It was very good and most enlightening. But, even if you missed it, you can at least read Stossel's eye-opening column right here.

And then, since you'll be encouraged in your charitable spirit, why not follow through with a thank-you to Mr. Stossel for the ongoing excellence of his ABC journalism. (You can find an e-mail response right under his name at the Town Hall column.) Following in the footsteps of Cal Thomas (and very few others), Stossel has bravely resisted the leftist dominance of the MSM (mainstream media) and his stories continue to be relevant, fact-based, and genuinely helpful.

It would also be good to let ABC know your appreciation for John Stossel's work. In fact, why not go so far as sharing those opinions with the other networks? It is always better to be a "shiner" than a mere "whiner." The appropriate contact information is listed below. And, you can use as a reference the quick note I zipped out this morning via e-mail to CBS Evening News, 60 Minutes, CNN, NBC's Dateline, and NBC News.

Dear CBS,

I happened to catch John Stossel's excellent segment last night, "Cheap in America," over on ABC. Wow. It was an eye-opening, relevant program and one based on facts rather than what so often passes for journalism nowadays; namely, slogans, selective emotions and leftist ideology. Conservative (read "old school" reporting) can yet be alive on networks other than Fox. The increasingly popular Stossel is proving that (and proving his worth) over at ABC -- why doesn't CBS give us a bit more of this approach? Thanks for listening.

Denny Hartford

And yes, I sent thank-you notes to both ABC and to Stossel himself. Your turn.

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The Bombshell News Story that Never Was?

Ah, the Western media.

It turns out that the bombshell story of Thanksgiving weekend, the burning alive of six Sunni civilians as they left Friday mosque services, may not have happened.

But even when the bloggers shine the light on the MSM's egregious mishandling of the affair, there are no corrections, no apologies, no shame.

Here's Michelle Malkin's commentary on the matter.

'Tis the Season to Be Grinchy

The Family Research Council comments on the selective censorship of the anti-Christmas spirit...

As organizers of the German Christkindlmarket festival in Chicago can testify, 'tis the season for attacks on religious liberty. The city ordered that the annual fair reconsider its promotion of the new film "The Nativity Story" on the grounds that it might offend non-Christians. Cindy Gatziolis, a spokesman for the Mayor's Office of Special Events, said the city doesn't want to be "insensitive" to people of diverse faiths. A spokeswoman for New Line Cinema, the studio producing the movie, responded by saying she finds it hard to believe that non-Christians who attend an event called "Christkindlmarket" would be caught off guard by the presence of products having to do with Christmas.

Rather than accommodate all religions, these so-called pluralists have marginalized America's largest. Towns and businesses everywhere are sending the message that when it comes to tolerance, 86 percent of the American population need not apply.

It's a sad commentary on the world's "freest" country if a public Christmas festival is no place for the Christmas story. Celebrating the holidays, whether it's Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, is a fine idea, but it's also fitting that the invitation and respect be extended to Catholics and Protestants. All we want for Christmas is consistency.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Taking the Congressional Oath on the Koran?

Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to the United States Congress, has announced that he will not take his oath of office on the Bible, but on the bible of Islam, the Koran.

He should not be allowed to do so -- not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization.

First, it is an act of hubris that perfectly exemplifies multiculturalist activism -- my culture trumps America's culture. What Ellison and his Muslim and leftist supporters are saying is that it is of no consequence what America holds as its holiest book; all that matters is what any individual holds to be his holiest book.

Forgive me, but America should not give a hoot what Keith Ellison's favorite book is. Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible. If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress. In your personal life, we will fight for your right to prefer any other book. We will even fight for your right to publish cartoons mocking our Bible. But, Mr. Ellison, America, not you, decides on what book its public servants take their oath...

Read the entirety of this weighty and wise Dennis Prager column right here.

"Hitt Piece" from NY Times Writer Strangles the Truth About Abortion

Last spring New York Times "reporter" Jack Hitt wrote an editorial in which his ardent pro-abortion sympathies overwhelmed the scientific, legal and moral truths about the case he was supposedly writing about. What else is new for the Times?

In his editorial, Hitt poignantly described his visit to a woman sentenced to 30 years in prison for, what Hitt described as, having undergone an illegal abortion. Wrote Hitt, "I was there to see Carmen Climaco. She is now 26 years old, four years into her 30-year sentence...She'd had a clandestine abortion at 18 weeks, not all that different from D.C.'s, something defined as absolutely legal in the United States. It's just that she'd had an abortion in El Salvador."

Uh, excuse me, Mr. Hitt.

The 30 year sentence given Climaco was, in fact, because she strangled her baby after he was born. It was not abortion but infanticide. Forensic examination showed the baby had been delivered alive at full term but was killed by Climaco shortly thereafter and stuffed in a box under her bed.

The New York Times has yet to correct this grievous error. And therefore, pro-life advocates in El Salvador are writing to the Times leadership, asking that the basic elements of fairness be applied. Would you like to join them? Read through the LifeSite report here and use the links at the bottom of the story to contact publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and president/general manager Scott H. Heekin-Canedy (two names...two might want to send him two letters).

“What Does Hillary Think?”

New Report Raises Disturbing Questions about Hillary Clinton and Abortion

Judicial Watch, a public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, recently released a special report based upon examination of new documents in the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas. According to the report’s introduction: “Judicial Watch’s research of Clinton Archives has turned-up additional, never-before-seen records detailing Team Clintons’ strong support – both politically and ideologically – for attacking the pro-life movement and aggressively expanding the ‘culture of death,’ especially with public funding.” Below are a couple of excerpts from the Judicial Watch press release but I suggest you also zip over and read the full report as well.

• The Clinton Archives contain a memo from Domestic Policy Council staffer Bill Galston to President Bill Clinton, suggesting the president “lower the public profile” of the administration’s radical pro-abortion policies: “…it is essential to regain our balance on cultural matters. . . . we should not go out of our way to emphasize issues that reinforce the impression that we are somehow outside the cultural mainstream.” Galston specifically cited radical, early moves of the Clinton administration: “. . . gays in the military, political correctness on campus, quotas, and reproductive services contained within a health care proposal.”

• The Galston memo includes a two-page discussion of the Hyde Amendment, weighing legislative tactics, public opinion and political strategy, ending with President Bill Clinton’s handwritten question, “What does Hillary think?” next to the “decision” section of the memo.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Pro-Life Leaders Ask Rick Warren to Change His Mind About Barack Obama Publicity Stunt

A press release signed by such veteran pro-life leaders as Phyllis Schlafly, Judie Brown, Tim Wildmon, and Joe Scheidler is designed as a sincere appeal for Rev. Rick Warren to realize the terrible mistake he's making by giving over his pulpit to Senator (and abortion enthusiast) Barack Obama. Here's the statement:

As those who have worked to defend preborn children from the horrors of abortion in America and who have stood uncompromisingly against the legalized slaughter of an estimated 50 million Americans in the womb since 1973, we join with one voice in expressing our indignation and opposition to Rick Warren's welcoming of Senator Barack Obama to his church on December 1, 2006. Rick Warren is bringing Senator Obama to his church to speak for his Global Summit on AIDS and the church and to take an AIDS test in front of the cameras at a noon press conference.

Senator Obama comes to Rick Warren's church believing that abortion should be kept, "safe and legal". When Barack Obama campaigned for the U.S. Senate in 2004, his wife wrote a fundraising letter for him that revealed his support of partial-birth abortion. She said Obama's position is that the "partial-birth abortion ban . . . is clearly unconstitutional and must be overturned." Support of partial-birth abortion goes a lot farther than the politicians who want abortion to be "safe and legal." Senator Obama actually supports the barbaric practice of allowing abortionists to kill babies by allowing them to be partially, born, their skulls punctured and their brains sucked out. Further, he repeatedly opposed an anti-infanticide bill in the state of Illinois that only passed after he left. Killing a child at any stage of life is a violation of God's clear command, "Thou Shall Do No Murder". In addition,Obama's solution to the growing AIDS crisis has been and continues to be the widespread distribution of condoms, not chaste behavior as directed by the Bible.

In the strongest possible terms, we oppose Rick Warren's decision to ignore Senator Obama's clear pro-death stance and invite him to Saddleback Church anyway. If Senator Obama cannot defend the most helpless citizens in our country, he has nothing to say to the AIDS crisis. You cannot fight one evil while justifying another. The evangelical church can provide no genuine help for those who suffer from AIDS if those involved do not first have their ethic of life firmly rooted in the Word of God. Accordingly, we call on Pastor Rick Warren to rescind his invitation to Senator Obama immediately. The millions of silent victims who have died because of the policies of leaders like Senator Obama demand a response from those who believe that life is a gift from God. The name of the seminar at which Senator Obama will be appearing is entitled, " We Must Work Together." No, Mr. Warren, Mr. Obama, we will never work with those can support the murder of babies in the womb.

Phyllis Schlafly, President and Founder, Eagle Forum
Judie Brown, President, American Life League

Tim Wildmon, President American Family Association and American Family Radio

Joe Scheidler, President, Pro-Life Action League

Cheryl Sullenger, Operation Rescue

Matt Trewhella, Missionaries to the Preborn

Brannon Howse, President, Worldview Weekend, Christian Worldview Network

Janet Folger, President, Faith2Action

Peter LaBarbera, President, Americans for Truth

Greg Cunningham, President, Center for Bioethical Reform, Lake Forest, California

Peggy Hamill, Director, Pro-Life Wisconsin

Cal Zastrow, Christian Action for the Preborn

Dr. Vic Eliason, President, VCY America Radio Network

Ingrid Schlueter, Host, Crosstalk Radio Talk Show

Kevin McCullough, Host, Musclehead Revolution, WMCA Radio

Chris Rosebrough, Capo Valley Church, San Juan Capistrano, California

Rev. Ken Silva, Apprising Ministries

Linda Harvey, President, Mission America

Christians Losing Their Own Children

This alarming note from a Laurie Goodstein story in last month's The New York Times:

"Despite their packed megachurches, their political clout and their increasing visibility on the national stage, evangelical Christian leaders are warning one another that their teenagers are abandoning the faith in droves.

At an unusual series of leadership meetings in 44 cities this fall, more than 6,000 pastors are hearing dire forecasts from some of the biggest names in the conservative evangelical movement.

Their alarm has been stoked by a highly suspect claim that if current trends continue, only 4 percent of teenagers will be "Bible-believing Christians" as adults. That would be a sharp decline compared with 35 percent of the current generation of baby boomers, and before that, 65 percent of the World War II generation.

While some critics say the statistics are greatly exaggerated (one evangelical magazine for youth ministers dubbed it "the 4 percent panic attack"), there is widespread consensus among evangelical leaders that they risk losing their teenagers."

Hat tip: World Congress of Families

Christians More Aware of Entertainment Stars Than Their Own Leaders

The sociological studies of George Barna (shown at left) are always interesting, always valuable but, in recent years, almost always disturbing too since his research reveals the severe erosion of knowledge, faith and commitment among Americans who refer to themselves as Christians.

Barna's latest study concentrates on the huge disparity of recognition by Americans (even Christians) of, on the one hand, religious leaders and, on the other, entertainment celebrities.

For instance, 57% of the adults surveyed said they had never heard of James Dobson. Maybe not much of a surprise but what about the fact that nearly half of all "born again Christians" didn't know who James Dobson was! Wow. 68% of the adults surveyed had no knowledge of T.D. Jakes (including 55% of all "born again Christians") And Tim LaHaye? Well, although Dr. LaHaye is a former pastor, an influential writer and activist, the husband of Concerned Women for America founder Bev LaHaye, and co-author of the best-selling fiction series of all-time, three out of four adults don't have a clue who he is. Likewise, 63% of the "born agains!"

But it's a much different story with entertainment figures: Mel Gibson was known to 96% of those surveyed; Rosie O’Donnell to 95%; Denzel Washington to 93%.

It represents yet another example of how Christianity is losing its influence in American culture. Argues Barna, "You cannot make a difference in someone’s life if you do not have entrée in that life. In our society, even clergy compete for people’s attention and acceptance. One of the reasons that the Christian faith is struggling to retain a toehold in people’s lives is because even the highest-profile leaders of the faith community have limited resonance with the population.”

He continues, “The survey statistics suggest that perhaps Christian individuals are more attuned to matters of culture and entertainment than to matters of faith. People pay attention to what they deem important. These figures may be another indicator that millions of Christians invest more of their mental energy in cultural literacy than in biblical literacy.”

Too Early to Lift the Boycott of Wal-Mart?

Late last week I posted an entry here about the American Family Association rescinding their call for a boycott of Wal-Mart. Not surprising with the Christmas shopping season getting underway, that post (you can re-read it here) has been one of the "most visted" of the month.

Well, I said in that entry that although Don Wildmon was convinced of Wal-Mart's change of heart, I certainly wasn't. And I wondered if other groups who had joined the boycott were going to be swayed by what I suspected might be merely a cosmetic move by the multi-national company. The answers are coming in. Here's the Family Research Council's response:

Before you put Wal-Mart on your naughty list this Christmas, a recent corporate statement shows that the company is trying to make amends for its pro-homosexual actions. In a press release made public before the biggest shopping day of the year, Wal-Mart says it will "no longer make corporate contributions to support or oppose controversial issues unless they directly relate to their ability to serve their customers." To dispel the unrest over its political leanings, the statement went on to say, "Wal-Mart does not have a position on same-sex marriage, and we do not give preference to gay or lesbian suppliers." This was welcome news to Rev. Don Wildmon, president of the American Family Association (AFA), who has since cancelled AFA's post Thanksgiving boycott.

Other groups, like Ohio's Citizens for Community Values (CCV) organization, are taking a "wait and see" approach. CCV President Phil Burress refuses to call off his group's boycott until Wal-Mart takes back its $25,000 donation to the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce or ends its membership next year.

For a company that has suffered a loss of profits and credibility among consumers, only time will tell if Wal-Mart can win back its base. It will take high standards, not just low prices, to persuade America's families.

The New Media Darlings: Liberal Pseudo-Evangelicals

Newsweek magazine is the latest MSM mouthpiece to try and sell the "New Evangelicalism" idea to the American public -- this being the cherished hope of liberals that pseudo-evangelicals like Ron Sider and Tony Campolo are creating a revolution against the leadership of Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, D. James Kennedy and the like. Why would the left desire this shift? Easy. The "New Evangelicalism" distorts the Bible's teaching and thus discourages believers from taking effective stands against abortion, homosexuality, divorce, euthanasia, excessive government spending, isolationism, and other issues so dear to the liberals.

Here's an invigorating commentary on the matter from Don Feder.

Reagan Was Right -- About Oh So Many Things

Our dear pal Janine Lehman sent along this wonderful collection of Ronald Reagan quotes to get our day started off right. I pass on the delight.

Said Janine, "You don't realize how much you miss him, until you read and remember some of the stuff he said and stood for:

"Here's my strategy on the Cold War: We win, they lose."

"The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help."

"The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant: It's just that they know so much that isn't so."

"Of the four wars in my lifetime none came about because the U.S. was too strong."

"I have wondered at times about what the Ten Commandment's would have looked like if Moses had run them through the U.S. Congress."

"The taxpayer: That's someone who works for the federal government but doesn't have to take the civil service examination."

"Government is like a baby: An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other."

"The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program."

"I've laid down the law, though, to everyone from now on about anything that happens: no matter what time it is, wake me, even if it's in the middle of a Cabinet meeting."

"It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first."

"Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it."

"Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book."

"No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women."

"If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under."

Monday, November 27, 2006

Merry Christmas from the Moon

If you have yet to begin your celebration of the holy season of Christmas, let this stirring moment from December 24, 1968, help get your spirit soaring. On that inspiring night, the first manned mission to the Moon, Apollo 8, entered lunar orbit.

That evening, astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and William Anders made a live television broadcast in which they showed pictures of the Earth and Moon seen from their ship. As they broadcast live pictures of a lunar sunrise, Lovell said, "The vast loneliness is awe-inspiring and it makes you realize just what you have back there on Earth."

Then, the brave men concluded their message to earth by taking turns reading from the book of Genesis. Here is the Quicktime movie and audio of those concluding remarks.

Doublespeaking On Abortion

Calvin Woodward wrote a clever piece for the Associated Press about the loose use of "doublespeak" in Washington, D.C. However, this informative, insightful article is getting stiffed by most of the media powers that be, the result being that the piece is being printed primarily by such smaller outlets as the Gainesville Sun, the Rutland Herald, the Helena Independent, and the Tuscon Citizen here.

Do you think the reason most editors are passing up this otherwise very catchy article is, because among the many other examples of distorted language, there is this inclusion also -- Democrats will go to the wall in defense of abortion rights without uttering that unpleasant word, abortion. Instead, they are champions of "choice" or, in a less guarded moment, "reproductive choice."

Planned Parenthood Lawyer Fights Against Basic Informed Consent Law

The South Dakota law in question here would require informing women prior to an abortion that the procedure would "terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being." Is that all? Isn't that just basic science...basic common sense?

Then why should abortionists be so absolutely freaked out about it?

Nat Hentoff tells you why in this fine Washington Times op/ed column.

The Nobel Anti-Peace Concert

Bruce Bawer, writing in the New York Sun, examines that brand of nuttiness peculiar to the Norwegian Nobel Committee:

The Nobel Peace Prize Concert will be held in Oslo on December 11 and broadcast around the world. The Norwegian Nobel Committee doesn't much care for Americans these days (except for 2002 laureate Jimmy Carter), but it knows who's an international draw and who isn't, and so the concert, as always, is top-loaded with American celebrities. The co-hosts are Sharon Stone and Angelica Huston, and the entertainers scheduled to appear include Lionel Ritchie and Wynonna. Also on the bill is a British singer who calls himself Yusuf.

Does that last name not sound familiar? Well, this is the same guy who used to be known as Yusuf Islam. Still confused? Well, before that he was Cat Stevens, and before that, just for the record, he was Steven Demetre Georgiou. For those who know a bit about Yusuf — who dropped his original name after converting to Islam in 1977 — the invitation from the Nobel Committee came as something of a surprise. Then again, for those who know a bit about the Nobel Committee's politics (this is the same crowd, after all, who publicly regretted giving their 1994 award to Shimon Peres, but not to that year's co-winner, Yasser Arafat), the decision to invite Yusuf to pay tribute in song to this year's prize winner, Muhammad Yunus, was not quite so astonishing.

There is reason to be dismayed by the Norwegian Nobel Committee's anointing of Yusuf. This is, after all, a man who's been denied entry into America and expelled from Israel. After the publication of the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, he was quoted in the New York Times as saying that if Mr. Rushdie came to his door for help, "I might ring somebody who might do more damage to him than he would like. I'd try to phone the Ayatollah Khomeini and tell him exactly where this man is." A Web site called the Jawa Report claims that Yusuf has performed at fund-raising events for charities with connections to terrorist organizations. On the same Web site you can also read claims that he is an intimate of the Islamist Omar Bakri Mohammed and of Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, who is now serving a life sentence for terrorist activities...

Read the entire article here.

Did John Murtha Earn His Purple Hearts? seems that John Kerry isn't the only Democrat to "embellish" his war record (including Purple Heart medals he may well have not deserved) and then raise an arrogant fit over those who simply ask him to release his military records. Here is a review of the controversy over John Murtha, who if even he isn't a genuine war hero after all, will certainly remain so to the Democrat Party.

And be sure to take note in Patrick Poole's excellent FrontPage Mag article of his emphasis on the double standards employed by the MSM in such matters.

Who Will Inherit the Future? Four Women's Views

Mark Steyn takes recent examples from four contemporary women (well, one is already post-contemporary; you'll see what I mean) to show how precarious is the world's future. A very good piece.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

PETA's Next Target? Living Nativity Scenes!

The irrational, mean-spirited, coercive spirit of modern liberalism, as typified in this example of anti-Cristmas animalism, gets worse by the day.

Should Wal-Mart Be Boycotted...Or What?

News from the consumer front this Christmas shopping season --

Wal-Mart has recently issued a public statement suggesting it will forego corporate contributions to "highly controversial issues." This is clearly a response to the boycott engendered by groups who opposed Wal-Mart's connections with groups like the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Wal-Mart had given $25,000 just last summer to the group in order to become a partner. Also, the company gave $60,000 to Out and Equal, an organization which says it is working to promote gay-rights concerns in the workplace.

The American Family Association, a key player in the Wal-Mart boycott, is taking the announcement as a victory and urging those who had joined the boycott to desist and even send Wal-Mart a thank-you.

I'm not so sure this isn't somewhat premature. After all, the Wal-Mart statement is not only bland but it is empty of any real substance. No apology; no explanation of what they deem "highly controversial issues"; and the inclusion of the troubling affirmation "unless they directly relate to our ability to serve our customers."

Indeed, Mona Williams, Wal-Mart's vice president of communications, said that the company would continue working with the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and other gay-rights groups on specific issues such as workplace equality.

"Going forward, we would partner with them on specific initiatives. . . . As to opposed to just giving blanket support to their general operating budget," she said.

So, is the American Family Association giving up too quickly? And are they giving up without making Wal-Mart show evidence of a change of heart regarding further promotion of the homosexual agenda? I think so.

The Family Research Council, Operation Save America, and others who had urged the boycott have yet to be heard from following the Wal-Mart announcement and one can only guess whether they will find Wal-Mart's statement satisfactory. I do not...and so my Christmas shopping dollars will still carefully avoid going into Wal-Mart coffers.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Litvinenko Dies

The poison has done its worst. Alexander Litvinenko, former Russian spy turned reformer, is dead.

Here are a few stories: The Times (U.K.)...Reuters...the BBC...Sky News...Radio Free Europe...and Pravda.

Repeated Abortions

It isn't a surprise to pro-life activists but others might find this Reuters report very unsettling. It suggests that half of the American women who undergo surgical abortion...have been through it all before.

Will Barack Obama Tout Partial-Birth Abortion at Rick Warren's Church?

With Senator and current media darling Barack Obama set to star at the Sunday morning service at Saddleback Church (courtesy of Rev. Rick Warren) in a couple of weeks, it is proper to remind the congregation of just what kind of "Christianity" the former Muslim has converted to.

Here then is a brief review provided last month by Coloradoan Donna Schoenrock, a young Native American wife and mother of 3.

An excerpt --In 1999 he was the only Illinois State Senator to vote against a bill barring early release for (criminal) sex offenders.

He voted against filtering pornography on school and library computers and he voted for sex education for kindergarten children through the 5th grade...

Twice, Obama voted against bills prohibiting tax funding of abortions.

In February 2004, his wife, Michelle, sent out a fundraising letter, which actually stated her concern over the rise of conservatism in the Country, and that the ‘so-called’ partial-birth abortion was a legitimate medical procedure that should be protected.

In 2003, as chairman of the next Senate committee to which BAIPA (Born Alive Infants Protection Act) was sent, Obama prevented it from even getting a hearing. BAIPA, by the way, stated that all live-born babies were guaranteed the same constitutional right to equal protection, whether or not they were wanted.

In 2001, he voted “present” on a bill to notify parents when their minor children seek an abortion.

He voted against a cloning ban in 2000, but voted for it in 2001.

In 1997, Obama twice voted “present” on an Illinois partial-birth abortion ban...

What in the world is Rev. Warren thinking? You might ask him yourself, encouraging him to protect his congregation, protect his own reputation and protect the integrity of the Church at large by refusing such a man as Barack Obama the esteemed and incredibly influential position behind the Saddleback pulpit.

Here, for instance, is the note I sent...

Dear Rev. Warren,

I write with a sincere and urgent appeal for you to change your mind about inviting Senator Barack Obama to address the congregation there at Saddleback Church. I'm sure you mean well but allowing a champion of abortion and homosexual legitimacy to win such powerful publicity (not to mention the higher rgard in the evangelical community he can garner) by preaching in your pulpit is terribly irresponsible.

Ministering to non-believers (or perhaps you believe the Senator to be an erring brother) is a Christian duty, to be sure. But to allow either type of person to continue in their sin, even to further promote it as Obama certainly will by the elevated esteem your invitation will give him, is naive and wrong.

Please invite the Senator for a cup of coffee but dis-invite him from speaking there at your church.

Again, Rev. Warren, please undo the damage while there's still time.

Denny Hartford

Director, Vital Signs Ministries

CBS Still Hasn't Paid Up for Janet Jackson's Super Bowl Stunt

It has been nearly three years since Janet Jackson's infamous "wardrobe malfunction" at the Super Bowl halftime show and yet CBS still hasn't paid the fine imposed by the Federal Communications Commission for the incident. In fact, the network recently asked for another review of their case.

Here's the take on the story from Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council...

The same network that calls the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show "good business" is challenging the FCC's fine for Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction." Lawyers for CBS say that while the incident was unfortunate, they shouldn't be fined a half-million dollars for airing it. Despite their apologies after the 2004 Super Bowl, executives now argue that there was nothing indecent about the stunt in the first place.

As they see it, CBS has a "right" to air primetime smut. In its 76-page suit, the network states that the "blink and you miss it" nature of the episode was "largely unrecognized for most of the broadcast audience."

Tell that to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, who spent weeks sorting through thousands of complaints from families--all demanding that CBS be held accountable. Stung by the $550,000 fine, CBS now claims the agency is choking its First Amendment Rights. Meanwhile, families are the ones in a stranglehold, trying desperately to hold the line on network pollution with little help from broadcasters. Fortunately, the FCC is backed by a law that reminds the networks that their definition of "free speech" is going to cost them.

It isn't a bad idea to send along a quick note to the FCC right now, urging them to follow through with the CBS fine AND to follow through with the dire need to clean up the airwaves altogether. The Janet Jackson episode was just the...well, you fill in your own simile.

Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street SW
Washington, DC 20554

Phone: 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322)
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Amnesty International Is Going Ahead with Plans to Begin Promoting Abortion

Well, Amnesty International officials have read the letter sent by 74 pro-life Congressmen asking the ostensible human rights organization to forego the promotion of abortion rights. And they have given their answer -- leave us alone; we know what we are doing.

"AI is not debating whether women have the right to terminate pregnancies under any circumstances," the group said.

Instead, the organization, which has two million members spread throughout 74 countries, is debating whether or not to advocate for better health care for women who have complications from botched abortions and whether to support legalizing abortions in cases of sexual abuse or a pregnancy's risk to the mother's life.

The human rights group also said it may pursue "the removal of criminal penalties for those who seek or provide abortions."

This is bad news indeed and very suggestive that Amnesty International has known all along what they would be doing; namely, pushing abortion.

As I have encouraged you to do previously, please contact Amnesty International and express your opinion about this dastardly and hypocritical move.

U.S. office telephone: (212) 807-8400
Address: 5 Penn Plaza - 14th floor
New York
NY 10001

Read the full story of this development over at LifeNews right here.

China Admits (Finally) Selling Prisoner Organs

After being denied for years by the Communist Chinese (and after the MSM had for the same period labeled the underground reports as a weird conservative hoax), the truth has now been admitted -- there is a thriving trade in organs taken from prisoners.

It makes a an ironic metaphor for modern Communism -- exploitation, violence, corruption and love of cash.

The admission is actually meant to be anticlimactic as Chinese officials claim most of the organs for sale have come from executed prisoners. However, the situation, like so many others in this country, is wide open for corruption and coverup.

And, after all these years of denial, one should hardly trust China to tell the whole truth about this bizarre and barbaric practice now.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Nearly 40% of U.S. Babies Born to Unmarried Moms

The fruits of the sexual revolution continue to drop from the tree --- the waves of sexually transmitted diseases; the abortions; the divorce rate and the subsequent damage to all parties; the ever-escalating rise in sex crimes; and the heartbreaks created by shame, exploitation, and distrust.

And, oh yes --- as this report from USA Today reminds us, out-of-wedlock births in the United States have climbed to an all-time high. Nearly 40% of all babies born in the country are born to unmarried moms!

It is a sad statistic. But, make no mistake; the word "illegitimate" should never be used of the children themselves. They are innocent of any wrong in the matter.

No; illegitimacy, in this case, should be reserved for the parents who think so little of their child (and, for that matter, of themselves and of God) that they ignore such a basic responsibility as marriage.

What Al Gore Doesn't Want You to Know About Global Warming

Is the world really getting warmer? Yes, it is...and it does, in fact, every 1500 years or so. And the impact on man? Well, the warmer periods seem to actually be a little bit better for humans than the cooler periods.

You gotta' be kidding me! With the whining about global warming threatening to drown out all competing scientific opinions, where do you hear anything that dares to disagree with Al Gore?

Well, let's begin with this article in the Washington Times about a brand new book by climate physicist Fred Singer and award-winning environmental economist Dennis Avery.

Says the article's writer Richard Rahn (himself the director general of the Center for Global Economic Growth), " The conclusion of their book in a nutshell is that, yes, the world is getting a bit warmer, but this is just the natural cycle. They provide overwhelming evidence this warming would occur with or without mankind increasing CO2 emissions or doing anything else. The good news is that if we realize we cannot stop global warming, and concentrate on constructively dealing with the problems it causes -- which are all manageable at reasonable cost -- and then enjoy the benefits, mankind will do just fine."

Read the whole column right here.

Will the Real Che Guevara Please Stand Up?

Dear Cuban-American,

The viewing of films such as "The Motorcycle Diaries" and Andy Garcia's "The Lost City, has sparked a renewed interest in Cuba, the revolution and the Cuban people.

My question is; how do Cuban-Americans today, view Che Guevara, his revolutionary deeds and his present-day cult following. It appears that the La Raza crowd in the U.S. has embraced Guevara as their hero, as evidenced by the placards with his image carried by the protesting illegal immigrants and their supporters this last Spring. Do you think these folks are just ignorant of Guevara'a exploits or is it me and my lack of understanding the man. As a Cuban-American, how do you view this Che Guevara adoration.

So, if in fact, Guevara is the only hero these activists can come up with, what say you?


Interested in the answer posted on the Cuban-American Blog? You should be -- it's a good one. So, for those of you more interested in historical reality than you are muddle-headed slogans and T-shirt portraits, check out the real Che Guevara right here.

Or Will the '08 Pro-Life Support Go for Brownback?

Here's a KCTV (Kansas City) report on Senator Sam Brownback's consideration of a 2008 Presidential bid.

..."I think there's room for a full-scale Ronald Reagan conservative in the field," Brownback said. "I fully agree that other people have much higher name identification than I do. No question about that. But I think what you have to look at is the policy positions they get out once you have an effective campaign.

"Brownback, who was elected in 1996, is a forceful foe of abortion and embryonic stem-cell research. He also has taken a prominent role in the fight against genocide in Sudan's Darfur region...

With the mainstream media already penciling in moderate Republicans (for moderate, read weak or AWOL altogether on the social issues) like John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and Bill Frist, it is certainly not too early for "Comprehensive Conservatives" to get actively involved in promoting someone with the character, principles and track record that Sen. Brownback has.

Go, Sam, go!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Former Russian Spy Poisoned. Why?

"It sounds like a macabre detail from a Cold War spy novel."

That's how the latest report from Radio Free Europe's story begins about the poisoning case of Aleksandr Litvinenko in London. Litvinenko, a former Russian spy but now an outspoken critic of the Putin regime, was recently poisoned with toxin thallium, an ingredient in rat poison that attacks the nervous system and lungs. And he and his friends think they know exactly who was behind the vile deed.

Read the story here.

Why Does a Pro-Abortion, Pro-Homosexual Politician Earn the Spotlight of Saddleback Church's Pulpit?

Remember how Bill Clinton "played" Rev. Bill Hybels when Hybels invited the smooth pseudo-Christian to address a leaders conference at Willow Creek Church? It was a ridiculously naive move of the evangelical pastor, one that allowed a wolf in sheep's clothing a choice opportunity to distract, disarm and deceive the flock.

Well, now we've got the popular author and preacher, Rev. Rick Warren, following suit.

It apparently wasn't enough that Warren attracted quite a bit of criticism from conservatives over his recent "foot in mouth" problem of criticizing the U.S. action in Iraq while praising the government of Syria. No, Warren has decided to move further towards the liberalizing of his evangelical congregation at Saddleback Church in California by inviting Congressman Barack Obama into the Sunday morning pulpit.

Do you think that Warren will make clear in his introduction that Obama has energetically promoted the homosexual agenda or that he has, in all ways, supported abortion and worked to increase funding for Planned Parenthood?

This represents a serious default of responsibility on the part of Rev. Warren. Conversing with Obama about these matters? Certainly appropriate and part of one's Christian duty. But to leave over the pulpit to such a man, one who, like Clinton, is smooth, ambitious and well skilled in utilizing religious rhetoric to secure very irreligious ends? This is a travesty.

Steam Builds for Campaign to Start Killing Sick Kids

In the last couple of weeks, I have posted several entries here dealing with the culture of death's new promotion of "euthanizing" severely ill children: Doctor's Group in Britain Wants Permission to Kill Sick Newborns; Texas Infant Denied Medical Treatment by Court; The Anglican Church Backs the Call for Euthanizing Sick Newborns; and More On Board for Killing Newborns.

I'm sure these have alarmed and disgusted you as much as they have me. Well, here's a quick review of this sinister new campaign written by Wesley J. Smith for NRO. He shows that steam for this movement has been building for awhile, but now the leaders have gone beyond the fringe opinions of Peter Singer to the New York Times and Britain's Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology. Do check it out.

ABC Smears Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers

Lacking the character to develop fact-based news stories, the Old Guard Media continues it's sad practice of merely parroting whatever the left wing opinion leaders tell them. In this particular case, ABC "newsman" (please stifle the giggles) does a hatchet job on pro-life pregnancy centers in a report severely lacking in relevance, fairness and truth.

The talking points Dan Harris followed were, of course, provided by groups so dedicated to abortion that they no longer have respect for the pro-choice rhetoric they spout. Alternatives to abortion? Can't have 'em. Informed consent? Don't want it. Protecting a woman's health? Ignore it.

From the very beginning of the abortion rights movement and, as this campaign against pro-life CPC's clearly shows is certainly continuing, the irrational passion to increase the numbers of abortion trumps such inconveniences as a woman's health, parental involvement, social stability, the very concepts of compassion and justice, and...oh yes, the intrinsic worth of human children.

The conclusion of this story includes information about contacting ABC to express your opinions of their shoddy, shameless reporting. I encourage you to follow through.

Pro-Life Congressmen Urge Amnesty International to Drop Abortion Advocacy

In a strongly worded letter addressed to Larry Cox, Executive Director of Amnesty International, U.S. Rep. Chris Smith and 73 other Members of Congress, including ten Democrats, urged the organization to either maintain the abortion neutral position or take a position in favor of life. The letter states that a decision to support or condone abortion would "significantly undermine Amnesty's reputation and effectiveness."

For the last several years Amnesty International has been asking its national branches if the organization should enter abortion advocacy by proposing abortion as a human right. A final decision could be made at Amnesty International's next international meeting that will be held in Mexico in August of 2007.

The letter, dated November 14, employs graphic description of abortion procedures to drive home the point. "Abortion methods either rip, tear and dismember or chemically poison the fragile bodies of unborn children to death." The letter adds: 'There is nothing whatsoever benign, compassionate or just about an act that utterly destroys the life of a baby."

It says that the Congressmen write "with great concern and alarm that the mission and reputation of Amnesty international is at risk." The letter stresses, "The most elemental human right of all - the right to life for all includes unborn babies."

Check out the full story in this LifeSite report.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Will Tommy Thompson Be The Pro-Lifer's Pick?

Here's the LifeNews story dealing with a possible run for the White House by Tommy Thompson, the popular Wisconsin Governor (16 years) and a former Health and Human Services Secretary.

Very interesting.

De-Funding Planned Parenthood

Here is a late October report from American Life League explaining how Planned Parenthood officials are becoming a bit more nervous about the amounts of government funding they will be receiving. I'm sure that the Democrat sweep of Congress and the Senate have the PP scalawags feeling quite a bit safer but actually now is a great time to again make your voice heard about the outlandish amounts of taxpayer money that goes to the abortion conglomerate. After all, they are already rich beyond belief from the profits of "birth control" pills, surgical abortions, and so on. And, beginning this week, the high markup dollars from the sale of "Morning After" pills will start rolling in.

So, let's remind our political representatives (Democrats and Republicans) of how tragic, unfair and socially counter-productive we believe Planned Parenthood's tax funding to be. You can use the information from STOPP to rev up your engines and increase the potency of your letters or, if in a pinch for time, you can at least avail yourself of American Life League's online petition.

A Huge Democrat Scandal (That Like Most Others Sails Under the MSM Radar)

Byron York has a fascinating look at how Democrats (and their media allies) deal with their own corruption scandals in his NRO article, "Alcee Hastings, Bribery, and the House Intelligence Committee." Here's the beginning paragraphs...

Eighteen years ago, Democratic Rep. John Conyers came to believe that Alcee Hastings, at the time a federal judge in Florida, was guilty of impeachable offenses. Hastings stood accused of conspiring to take bribes, and, although it is little remembered today, Conyers served as the chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee that investigated Hastings and unanimously recommended his impeachment. After the House voted 413 to 3 to impeach Hastings, Conyers went on to serve as one of the House impeachment managers who successfully argued before the Senate that Hastings should be convicted and removed from office.

Conyers was also the author of perhaps the most dramatic words to come from the entire impeachment saga. In the summer of 1988, after he had played a key role in drawing up the articles of impeachment, Conyers made a speech before the House in which suggested that some of the allegations against Hastings, the first black to serve on the federal bench in Florida, might have been racially motivated. But as troubling as he found that possibility, Conyers said those concerns did not change the facts of the case. And the facts pointed to Hastings’s guilt.

In the speech, Conyers looked back to civil-rights days, when corrupt judges sometimes twisted and ignored the law. “We did not wage that civil rights struggle merely to replace one form of judicial corruption for another,” Conyers said. “The principle of equality requires that a black public official be held to the same standard that other public officials are held to.…Just as race should never disqualify a person from office, race should never insulate a person from the consequences of wrongful conduct.”

Conyers’s argument won the day, and Hastings was removed from the bench. But that, of course, was not the end of Hastings’s public life. (The terms of his conviction did not bar him from holding a future public office.) In 1992, Hastings won a seat in the House from Florida’s 23rd District, which he still represents today. But he did not leave his past behind; today he, and the impeachment proceedings against him, are again in the news. After a feud between Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi and California Rep. Jane Harman knocked Harman out of the running to be chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Hastings now stands in line to take charge. But complicating that is what investigators like John Conyers — who now is in line to chair the House Judiciary Committee — learned about Hastings back in the 1980s. Soon House Democrats will have to take a close look at the evidence in the Hastings case and decide whether a man judged unfit for the federal bench is qualified to hold one of the most sensitive positions in the U.S. government. This is what they’ll find...

Be sure to read on and see just what York reveals. You'll not read about it in your morning newspaper, that's for sure.

Mainstream Media Labeling: Sinister or Just Stupid?

Tim Graham posted the following over on --

The man Democratic nominated for Majority Leader, Rep. Steny Hoyer, has a lifetime American Conservative Union rating of eight percent (zero percent in 2004, 12 percent in 2005). If you'd rather have the liberal rating, Americans for Democratic Action gave him a 100 in 2004, and a 95 in 2005. This should mean that any objective reporter would describe him as a "liberal." But here's the Friday Washington Post account of his selection, headlined "Political Pragmatism Carried Hoyer to the Top," by Shailagh Murray:

"Steny H. Hoyer is a practical moderate and Nancy Pelosi is a liberal idealist, and for more than 40 years they have competed like siblings, all the way to the pinnacle of politics."

(My Note: This NY Times photo above suggests John Murtha is none too happy with the decision of his colleagues.)

ADF Is Ready for the War on Christmas

The Alliance Defense Fund is ready and eager to help Americans battle the Grinches of the ACLU. Here's a rundown of their resources, philosophy and agenda.

Meanwhile, here's a few things the ADF wants you to know:

* The U.S. Supreme Court has never ruled that public schools must ban the singing of religious Christmas carols or prohibit the distribution of candy canes or Christmas cards.

* School officials do not violate the Constitution by closing on religious holidays such as Christmas and Good Friday.

* School officials are not legally obligated to recognize all other religious holidays simply because they officially recognize Thanksgiving or Christmas.

* School officials may use "Christmas Vacation" to refer to the December holiday break without offending the Constitution.

* Government-sponsored Christmas displays are not banned as some people believe. When faced with the question of whether a Christmas display is constitutional, a court simply asks, "Is the government celebrating the holiday or promoting religion?" Often, the "Three Reindeer Rule" is used by courts, whereby a judge reasons that having a sufficient number of secular objects in close enough proximity to the Christmas item (such as a crèche) renders the overall display as a constitutional community observance of the holiday.

Of Judges and the "Morning After Pill"

Here's a couple of items from the Family Research Council updates --

1) Judge Nominees in Limbo --With the clock ticking down to a Democratic takeover, President Bush is doing his best to give six judicial nominees one last shot at confirmation. Scheduling hearings in a lame-duck session will be an uphill battle, but it's a necessary one. Since 2000, the president has nominated dozens of upstanding judges, including: Terrence Boyle (NC), William James Haynes II (VA), Michael Brunson Wallace (MS), Peter Keisler (MD), Norman Randy Smith (ID), and William Gerry Myers III (ID). Five of these nominees have been resubmitted for consideration after waiting months, even years, for an opportunity guaranteed to them by the U.S. Constitution--the right to a full Senate vote.

If our friends in Congress don't act now, the liberal leadership certainly will, filling the bench with judges who have no qualms about rewriting the law to favor same-sex marriage, hate crimes, abortion, religious intolerance, and more. Some senators say that in the face of other last-minute priorities, these nominations should not be brought to the fore. I disagree. While legislators should spend time passing laws, it will do little good until they confirm judges who will uphold them.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has pledged to stonewall every "hard-right" nominee, saying the Democrats' single greatest failure was allowing Samuel Alito to join the Supreme Court. We urge the Senate to consider President Bush's nominees, else they are doomed to face an ideological litmus test that, under liberal leadership, conservatives are sure to fail.

2) Plan B -- This Thanksgiving, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given the abortion movement plenty to cheer. Yesterday, the FDA announced that supplies of Plan B, the morning-after pill, will be shipped to stores across America and available for purchase over the counter to anyone age 18 or older.

While children 17 and under will still need a prescription, mothers like Senator Hillary Clinton (R-NY) are pushing the FDA to make the pills available to anyone. She argues if a teenager has access to these drugs then she's less likely to get pregnant. Maybe, but she will also be more likely to have unprotected sex and contract a deadly disease. Just the other day my daughter was told she couldn't buy spray paint at the local hardware store without proof that she was 18. Yet liberals are working overtime so girls her age can abort a baby without their parents' knowledge or consent. Something is wrong with this picture.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

American Airport Security...Not!

Just in time for holiday traveling is Debbie Schlussel's alarming update about the...ahem, "security" of American airports.

Warm up the car.

Murtha's Malevolence: "He Don't Need No Stinking Ethics Reform"

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Rep. John Murtha, D-Pennsylvania, running in a bitter race against Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, for House Majority Leader, told a group of conservative Democrats that the ethics reform legislation that Democratic leaders have made a top priority was "total crap."

Despite dismissing the reforms, Murtha told the group he would support them because the presumptive Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California., was behind the effort.

One member told CNN that Murtha, referring to the lobbying reform bill Pelosi has advocated, said "even though it's total crap I'll vote for it and pass it because that's what Nancy wants."

Three members of the Blue Dog Coalition, who support Hoyer and wanted to remain anonymous, tell CNN that Murtha made these comments at their Tuesday evening meeting. Murtha was invited to address the group in advance of Thursday’s leadership elections. Rep. Hoyer also made a pitch to the group.

A majority of the 44 member Blue Dog Coalition has publicly backed Hoyer’s leadership bid.

One Democrat described members as having a "stunned reaction" and added, "this goes beyond Blue Dogs -- for any Democrat, corruption was an issue. It was the number one issue in the exit polls."

Oh yeah, Murtha's bad on ethics abuses but is Hoyer any better? Check out this L.A. Times article which gives a quick review of them both.

More On Board for Killing Newborns

The move to start legally killing sick newborns in the United Kingdom is gathering steam. Hard on the heels of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists calling for the euthanasia of disabled babies and certain high members of the Anglican Church agreeing with the call, a British bioethics council is now recommending the same thing.

This is a terribly tragic situation, a clear example that Western society has indeed become a culture of death.

Steven Ertelt of reports the whole sordid story here but I want to make sure you don't miss this point from the report -- "The group also said promoting euthanasia would reduce late-term abortions as parents could go ahead with the birth and kill the baby afterwards if they decide she would have too much trouble leading a healthy life."

God have mercy.

A State Department Gift for Communist Vietnam

In a move clearly designed to grease the skids for George Bush's first visit to Vietnam, as it hosts the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, the United States State Department has decided to remove Vietnam from its list of countries that severely violate religious freedom. A State official, describing Vietnam's removal from the list as one of Washington's "most significant announcements" of the year, explained that the move came in response to Hanoi's release of religious prisoners and the easing of restrictive laws regarding religious activity.

However, there are serious disagreements with the move. Diem Do, for instance, the chairman of Viet Tan, a reform party that advocates democracy and economic development of Vietnam, argues that the decision is naive and heavily influenced by pro-trade groups. "I think religious persecution is still happening inside Vietnam right now. I don't think all religious prisoners have been released yet, and even if they have released a few or a number of people, that doesn't mean that these people are free."

Furthermore, Do explained that even when released from "formal" prisons, people are often placed under house arrest. "I would say 99 percent of the time when people are released from prison, most often they are put under house arrest for two years, three years, four years after that. What does that mean? That means they simply move you from one prison to another jail."

Even within the U.S. government there are voices dissenting from the move. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a panel established under the International Religious Freedom Act, last week urged just last week that the administration NOT remove Vietnam from the "Countries of Particular Concern" list. A letter sent to Condi Rice argued, "Severe restrictions on religious freedom and abuses continue in Vietnam in all of the areas cited by the State Department when Vietnam was designated a CPC (country of particular concern) in 2004."

Ironically, the move cannot make up for what George Bush most wanted to bring to Vietnam; namely, a trade bill that would have awarded Vietnam normal trade relations. The reason for this is that the Congress failed to pass such a bill last week. There are even now frantic efforts being made by some Congressional leaders to bring bilateral trade bill up for a second vote before the President leaves Hanoi.

Would that the State Department, lawmakers, and the President would care more for human rights issues than they do for getting more breaks for supra-national businesses who, of course, have their own habit of turning a deaf ear to human rights issues.

Of Intolerance, Rudy's Antipathy for Conservatism, and Other Points to Ponder

Here's an exceptionally interesting crop of Town Hall columns you don't want to miss:

* Michael Medved weighing in on the extreme intolerance of the "liberal tolerants" -- using Elton John and his recent remarks about abolishing religion as an example.

* Terence Jeffrey's warnings about just how far left is Rudy Giuliani's positions on moral issues. Excerpt below:

...Thanks to politicians and judges who take Giuliani's position on abortion, more than 47 million babies have been aborted in America since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Thanks to politicians and judges who take Giuliani's position on marriage, the unique legal status of the traditional family is now under siege.

Giuliani understood the link between allowing people to urinate on the streets with impunity and New York City's overall decline. Outside New York, on the Republican campaign trail, he is sure to meet many voters who understand that his positions on abortion and marriage do to our national culture exactly what the street people and pub-crawlers did to New York.

* Maggie Gallagher's musings on the elections. Excerpts below:

...African-Americans are the most reliable voting bloc for Democrats. Despite Ted Haggard, Mark Foley, Dick Armey, John Ashcroft, Ryan Sager, David Kuo, and all the other sophisticated efforts to persuade evangelicals that the GOP is simply cynically using them, evangelicals turned out. According to The New York Times, "white evangelicals and born-again Christians made up about 24 percent of those who voted, compared with 23 percent in the 2004 election." Seventy percent of them voted GOP, compared to 72 percent in 2004. Evangelicals alone may not be enough. But without them, Republicans are nowhere...

...Overturning Roe. V. Wade may not be as scary as pro-choicers think. -- Even in a state as pro-life as South Dakota, only 44 percent of voters supported a law banning all abortions except to save the mother's life. Democrats should be secretly hoping that Bush gets one more Supreme Court justice who will overturn Roe. The results will be that most states will vote to legalize abortion with some exceptions, and the GOP loses a big issue.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Brave New Future: Podcast by Wesley J. Smith

Are We Defining A Brave New Future Where All Human Life Is Not Protected?

Are we headed for a brave new world where unconscious people are treated as if they were simply biological machines? Wesley warns that we maybe headed down that path, even though today most people believe “that treating people as mere things violates the intrinsic dignity of the individual and the equal moral worth of all human life.” And yet prominent bioethicists and philosophers are contemplating, and even championing, ideas and legislation that could lead to a bleak future where human exceptionalism is ignored.

Listen to Dr. Smith's informative, affecting 7-minute audio right here. Just hit the little yellow button to begin.

Rotting From Within? The G.O.P.'s Main Troubles May Not Be the Democrats

In reviewing the elections last week and the G.O.P. meltdown they revealed, Jill Stanek has written two very provocative columns over at World Net Daily.

The first concerns the impact the election will have on pro-life issues and it also explores the failure of Republican ideals. The second column deals more specifically with the inroads into the Republican power ranks of homosexual activists and how that inclusion has moved sanctity of life matters far into the background.

Both columns are bold, perceptive and both are important reads.

The Nanny State: Mother Goose Style

Here is the Nanny State in all its glory.

Check out what's going down in England with this remarkable report from the Evening Standard (U.K.). And please note that the required reading to "put kids right" is not Bible lessons or Church catechisms but...uh, nursery rhymes! Sigh.

Parents could be forced to go to special classes to learn to sing their children nursery rhymes, a minister said. Those who fail to read stories or sing to their youngsters threaten their children's future and the state must put them right, Children's Minister Beverley Hughes said. Their children's well-being is at risk 'unless we act', she declared. And Mrs Hughes said the state would train a new 'parenting workforce' to ensure parents who fail to do their duty with nursery rhymes are found and 'supported'.

The call for state intervention in the minute details of family life followed a series of Labour efforts to reduce anti-social behaviour and improve educational standards by imposing rigorous controls on the lives of the youngest children.
Mrs Hughes has established a national curriculum to set down how babies are taught to speak in childcare from the age of three months. Her efforts have gone alongside a push by other ministers to determine exactly how parents treat their children down to how they should brush their teeth.

Tony Blair has backed the idea of 'fasbos' - efforts to identify and correct the lives of children who are likely to fail even before they are born - and new laws to compel parents to attend parenting classes are on the way.
This autumn is likely to see an extension of parenting orders that can force parents to attend parenting classes so that they can be used on the say so of local councils against parents.

For the first time, parenting orders are likely to be directed against parents whose children have committed no criminal offence...

Left Behind?

This New York Post photo is a classic:

FIND JOHN: John Kerry can only look on yesterday as Senate Dem leaders (l-r): Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid (Nev.), Patty Murray (Wash.) and Dick Durbin (Ill.) hit the Capitol.

Murtha Represents Business As Usual -- Bad Business

The political read of the day has to be John Fund's WSJ Online column in which he takes a close look at the arrogance, hypocrisy and sheer stupidity of the Democrat's championing of John Murtha. Whether it is corruption, pork-barrel deals and earmarks, or strident anti-war posturing, Murtha is extremely vulnerable on all.

Here's a sample...

..But several members are privately aghast that Mr. Murtha, a pork-barreling opponent of most House ethics reforms, could become the second most visible symbol of the new Democratic rule. "We are supposed to change business as usual, not put the fox in charge of the henhouse," one Democratic member told me. "It's not just the Abscam scandal of the 1980s that he barely dodged, he's a disaster waiting to happen because of his current behavior," another told me.

As for Abscam, a recent book by George Crile, a producer for CBS's "60 Minutes," provides damning evidence that Mr. Murtha escaped severe punishment for his role in the scandal only because then-Speaker Tip O'Neill arranged for the House Ethics Committee to drop the charges, over the objections of the committee's outside prosecutor. The prosecutor quickly resigned in protest.

Outside observers are equally aghast that Mr. Murtha could win tomorrow's election. Thomas Mann, a Brookings Institution scholar who is co-author of "The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track," told the Los Angeles Times that "John Murtha is not the right poster child" for a Democratic House that says it wants to sweep away corruption.

Melanie Sloan, the liberal head of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, was cheered on by Democrats six weeks ago when she helped reveal the Mark Foley scandal. Now she says that "Ms. Pelosi"s endorsement of Rep. Murtha, one of the most unethical members of Congress, show that she may have prioritized ethics reform merely to win votes with no real commitment to changing the culture of corruption"...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

"Lord, Increase Our Faith"

What did the Lord Jesus do when asked by his apostles to give them more faith? Did He perform a dramatic miracle in front of them? Did He touch them and directly infuse the substantial increase they desired? Or did He do completely something unexpected?

In this 90-second "Vital Signs" radio program, Denny tells the story of just what did happen.

More Troubles for the Episcopalians

There are several intriguing stories over on Virtue Online concerning the problems of Pennsylvania Episcopal Bishop Charles E. Bennison -- problems that are going unresolved and therefore creating a tragic ripple effect for the already troubled denomination. However, the report I found most interesting was David Virtue's detailed review of the 223rd Diocesan Convention in Philadelphia. In that report, David explains the charges against Bennison (especially the financial misappropriations and cover up of his minister brother's sexual abuse) but also shows the resolve of many lay Episcopalians to call the Bishop to account.

The impact of this fight will go way beyond this diocese. Indeed, reading the comments following the story reveals it already has.

"Abortion Belittles Women"

Dolores O'Riordan, lead vocalist of The Cranberries: "I am in no position to judge other women, you know. But I mean, why did she get pregnant? It's not good for women to go through the procedure [abortion] and have something living sucked out of their bodies. It belittles women. Even though some women say, 'Oh, I don't mind to have one,' every time a woman has an abortion, it just crushes her self-esteem smaller and smaller and smaller." (Source: You! June/July 1996)

Beware the Ortho Evra "Birth Control" Patch

Enjoying unlimited sexual pleasure but yet, at all costs, avoiding childbirth has become an irrational passion in the West -- even when those costs mean women submitting themselves to the unnatural violence perpetrated by an abortionist or ingesting powerful drugs that dangerously alter their system.

How dangerously? Well, the studies show grave dangers to women from all chemical "birth control", not to mention the lethal effects these drugs can have on unborn babies when "breakthrough ovulation" has occurred.

This brief article about Johnson & Johnson's Ortho Evra Patch is just one tragic case in point.

According to Johnson & Johnson's third quarter SEC filing for 2006 , there are over “1,000 claimants who have filed lawsuits or have made claims regarding injuries allegedly due to Ortho Evra.” [1] Ortho Evra, also known as the birth control patch, is a transdermal hormonal contraceptive which is applied weekly to the skin. In addition to being a contraceptive, the patch can act as an abortifacient by preventing implantation of a fertilized egg.

Serious health problems have been associated with Ortho Evra including fatal and non-fatal blood clots, strokes, heart attacks, and death. From April 2002 to December 2004, over 27,974 'adverse effects' were reported by users of Ortho Evra.[2] Many of the complaints are serious, and the patch is alleged to be responsible for over 23 deaths, including the death of 14 year old Alycia Brown.[3]

The claims keep mounting – last week a lawsuit was filed on behalf of 40 women against Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical Inc, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson and the manufacturer of Ortha Evra.. The lawsuit alleges that the Ortho Evra patch was responsible for the serious health problems, including the death of one user.[4]

"We were saddened for these women and their families but not surprised by the news of these cases," says John David Hart, of the Law Offices of John David Hart in Fort Worth, who represents women who have used the Ortho Evra patch. "All of the women we've met with and all of the research we've done suggest that this is a real problem and that women are being harmed by using this drug."[4]

Again, the rest of this Ruben Obregon article can be read right here.

How Far Left Will They Go?

With George McGovern addressing the Congress today (asking for an immediate pullout of U.S. troops from Iraq) and Nancy Pelosi strongly backing anti-war John Murtha as her deputy, Toby Harnden wonders just far left the "old guard" Democrats will try to push.

Writing in the Telegraph (U.K.), Harnden says, "The emerging Democratic consensus on bringing troops home from Iraq is a sign of the growing influence of those on the party's Left.

This threatens to undermine the chances for a new spirit of bipartisanship that President George W Bush and Democratic leaders called for after his election defeat.

It could also harm Democratic chances in the 2008 presidential election if the party is seen as too radical...."

Ah, It's Getting Clearer -- I Foresee Tax Increases in Your Future

That was fast. A mere two days after Democrats capture Congress claiming they wouldn't raise taxes, former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin tells them they should do so anyway.

"You cannot solve the nation's fiscal problems without increased revenues," declared Mr. Rubin, the Democratic Party's leading economic spokesman, in a speech last Thursday. He also took a crack at economic forecasting by noting that "I think if you were to increase taxes right now, you would have probably about zero negative effect on the economy." The economics and politics here are worth parsing.

We suppose it's reassuring that Mr. Rubin now thinks the economy is strong enough to withstand a tax increase. That's a switch from his opposition to the 2003 Bush tax cuts, which he predicted would bust the budget and do little for growth. The U.S. economy proceeded to grow by an average of nearly 4% a year for three years following mid-2003, until the recent slowdown due largely to the housing slump...

Read the rest of this Wall Street Journal Online article right here.