Monday, March 26, 2012

Today's Posts

Safe Sex Isn’t So Safe

Sometimes the grooviest of slogans hide the gravest of lies.

One of the most relevant examples of this modern America is the oft-repeated warning to “Practice Safe Sex.”  The slogan's meaning, of course, is to use condoms in your sexual experiences but the facts are clear that such sex is anything but safe.

For instance, 15% of couples who rely on condoms still get pregnant within the first year of sexual activity.  Some guarantee, huh?  And what about health safety to the sexual partners themselves?  Again, the “safety net” of condom usage proves to be full of holes – literally.  Condoms do not eliminate the risk of contracting such diseases as gonorrhea or even HIV.  Condoms are even less effective in preventing chlamydia, genital herpes and trichomoniasis.

Finally, condoms offer no protection at all against human papiloma virus – one of America’s most widespread sexual diseases. It's the disease, by the way, that causes the most of the cervical cancer cases in the country.

So should you be trusting your health, your heart and your future to a thin layer of latex rubber?  Of course not – get sane, get safe, and get solidly committed to a lifestyle of chastity.

FreedMen Conquest a Major Success

There is a brief but surprisingly positive story that appeared in the Lincoln paper about Ron Brown's remarks at the day-long FreedMen Conquest event last Saturday.

"Brief" in that it gave only a few of his comments (in fact, he had an awful lot to say about an awful lot of issues that day) but "surprisingly positive" in that the quotes Nancy Hicks did pass along to her readers accurately reflected the confidence, courage and joy that Brown is showing even in the face of tremendous attacks by homosexual activists and others of the left.

It will just take a minute to read.

Though I don't usually attend men's rallies, I was at the Conquest myself and was very pleased to see firsthand just how different an event it was. True, the rock-style music offered there didn't suit me but beyond that, the event was quite impressive.

Ron Brown was the primary speaker and he excellently served several purposes. He stirred the audience with strong exhortations. He carefully explained to them the biblical requirements regarding both personal integrity before God and the obligations to be lights of the world in their families, neighborhoods, churches, schools, workplaces and in the public square. He illustrated his points through his own unique preaching, appropriate video clips, and creative enactments from the sporting arena using audience members.

And Ron Brown also brought in a lot of his friends to provide a few comments about these matters and to provide resources from their own ministry experience. The result was a well-paced and well-balanced program that went way beyond the "rah rah quotient" that so many men's rallies seem to shoot for.

Instead, the FreedMen Conquest was designed to enlighten men (and young men) about the critical moral issues that require their prayerful, winsome response. Sexual purity. Being engaged Dads. Enlightened citizenship. Bible study. Fighting specific evils such as Planned Parenthood and the sex trafficking industry. Intercessory prayer. Courage of convictions. Liberty in Christ. The transforming power of the gospel. Upholding the dignity of women, the defenseless, the needy and being willing to serve them with grace and perseverance.  Mutual accountability. Mentoring the next generation.

In fact, more than making the audience aware, the day-long event was designed to alert men to key details of the issues, teach them how to more effectively wage spiritual warfare, and to provide them with examples, role models, and ongoing information resources to make Nebraska's Christian men a more potent force for God's work in our state.

Powerful stuff.

I was honored to have had a small part in this big program. But I was also honored to simply be there and soak in so much good information, encouragement and challenge. I commend FreedMen as a ministry you, your family and your church should really get behind. They are doing a fine work and doing it under a lot of pressure. This rally was just one example of their positive effect.

Education is a Religious Activity

Education by its very nature is a religious activity for learning will never be complete, never be correctly balanced, without a spiritually-sound foundation, motivation, and goal. 

Man is a creature made by the loving power of a personal God...and made in His express spiritual image.  No matter how one tries to turn off the flow of God’s love, or even of His revelatory truth, these are things man can never change. 

So why is it that American Christians are almost equally guilty as their pagan neighbors in treating education as something entirely secular?  How can it be that believers talk about the importance of a “fine education” and then consign their kids to places where authentic spirituality is at least absent and, more often than not, actually mocked and maligned?

This a sad and foolish act of capitulation to the world, acting as if the politically correct (but historically inaccurate) insistence on separating church and state requires also a separation of education from truth. 

So when you're thinking about Johnny's "education options" for next year, please consider carefully which ones offer the best protection from peer pressure, bullying, availability of drugs, coarse language, immodest dress, immoral sex ed programs, academic mediocrity, and unhealthy role models.

But consider too just which option will provide Johnny the best hope of having instructors and an academic curricula which acknowledge that man is a spiritual person, created by and responsible to Almighty God.

For any education worthy of the name must be built upon this solid foundation. For your children's sake, accept no substitutes.

Obama Asks Communist Thugs for "Space" to Win Reelection

President Obama: On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.

President Medvedev: Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…

President Obama: This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.

President Medvedev: I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.

Here's today's reason to shiver (and isn't there another one popping up all the time?) over the prospect of Barack Obama winning reelection.

The brief conversation printed above is all too real. It occurred this weekend when the president was caught unawares by a microphone in telling Russian "Puppet President" Dmitri Medvedev to pass on to his boss, Vladimir Putin, that to further fritter away American interests, Obama needed some protective "space" from the Russians in order to to get reelected.

Once again, the Obama presidency gives us a moment more fitting for a sinister conspiracy movie than real life, a moment in which a socialist American president asks for help from a Communist tyrant to win an election. And, in return for the helpful "space," the American president promises to reduce his country's military prowess.

For make no mistake about it, that's exactly what Obama means in pledging that the problem Vladimir Putin has with America's missile defense capabilities will be "solved" in Obama's next term.

In one generation, America has gone from Ronald Reagan to this?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Today's Posts

Norfolk Doesn't Want Planned Parenthood

Way to go, citizens of Norfolk!

In response to Planned Parenthood's promise to spend millions of dollars to bring its promotion of promiscuity, its assault on parental rights and its abortion drugs to smaller towns in Nebraska, the citizens of Norfolk are saying a resolute no.

They've done so by turning out at the city council meeting and by presenting a petition with 5000 names and counting. And they've got a lot more to do.

They're not the only town in Nebraska who are demonstrating stern opposition to Planned Parenthood's scheme but their enthusiasm and persistence are helping to set the bar high.

Good job.

Democrat Fantasies Are Destroying America's Future

How catastrophic would the nation's fiscal condition have to be before liberals recognized its urgency? Is there any scenario under which they'd consider setting aside their partisan populism to come to the nation's rescue? Are they capable of even temporarily setting aside their redistributionist myopia long enough meaningfully to address the main drivers of the national debt?

As we know, President Obama hasn't addressed and won't address our financial problems. He has never presented a budget plan that even pretends to rein in entitlement spending or comes anywhere close to reducing our annual deficits to less than shocking numbers, much less reversing the debt picture…

We are witnessing the end results of liberal policies on a wide variety of issues -- from health care to the economy to the national debt -- yet liberals can't give them up. Instead of acknowledging that their utopian dreams haven't delivered, they are shaking their fists at Republicans and conservatives, as if it were our fault that reality doesn't conform to their fantasies…

Democrats and their liberal helpmates are stoking the flames of the fire that threatens the republic; Ryan and others are driving the firetrucks and are merely debating over how big the hoses should be…

Once again, David Limbaugh delivers common sense with uncommonly good reasoning and writing ability. Read the entirety of his column, "Liberal Opposition to Ryan Plan Is Delusional Demagoguery," right here.

Weekend Prayer Targets

We would certainly appreciate a prayer (as the Lord brings us to your mind) for these things over the weekend:

* I'll be honored to lead the audience of today's Rally for Religious Freedom in the closing prayer. The rally will be from noon until 1 this afternoon downtown at the U.S. District Court (111 So. 18th Plaza).

* We have a presentation of "When Swing Was King" this afternoon (our 4th this week).

* Don't forget Friday's focus on prayer as outlined in the "3 for 5" campaign against Planned Parenthood.

* Saturday morning, we will be praying and sidewalk counseling at the Planned Parenthood abortion mill.

* I will taking a small part in a big rally on Saturday in Lincoln. The day-long event is sponsored by FreedMen and will involve some 2500 men and boys from all over Nebraska. I was requested to present the case against Planned Parenthood as part of an afternoon panel dealing with the Christian voice in the public square.

* As usual, I'll be preaching at Faith Bible Church on Sunday morning.

Eliminating Starbucks Is Good for Your (Moral) Health

I haven't been inside a Starbucks coffee shop for years. I found that the company's aggressive support of leftist causes left a more bitter taste than anything they served over the counter.

Here, for example is a Vital Signs Blog post from August 2005 in which I wrote, "Guys, there are a lot of Christians drinking Starbucks coffee. And, in doing so, they're paying outrageous prices which give Starbucks plenty of profits to push their social schemes. So...let's pass the word and do our part to help change America's 'brew sipping' habits."

Things have only become worse as numerous reports reveal that the mega-business is doubling down on their advocacy of irreligious things. Therefore, I urge you again to consider buying your mocha lattes somewhere else.

Here's an example of those recent reports. It's from respected columnist Maggie Gallagher whose visit to the Starbucks shareholder meeting produced a clear example of how defiant the Starbucks 'tude is towards traditional morality.

Jonathan Baker, head of the National Organization for Marriage's Corporate Fairness Project was there to ask if the board really approved the statement that gay marriage is "core to the Starbucks brand."

Yes, Schultz said. Most of the room there applauded, but what happens in Seattle doesn't stay in Seattle.

Another shareholder asked how it could possibly be in the shareholders' interest to wade into a hot-button political and cultural issue. A few brave souls in the audience applauded...

But Starbucks has voluntarily decided -- as a corporation -- to associate its brand with a major political issue, the CEO just confirmed. I was in the room. I heard him.

Customers across the world have a right to know that contrary to the promises made by the corporation in the Middle East and elsewhere, Starbucks does subsidize political causes. Drinking a cup of Starbucks coffee, sadly, means supporting gay marriage.

The National Organization for Marriage, which I co-founded, in response this week announced a national and international protest: We are asking customers who oppose gay marriage to call both their local Starbucks branch and company headquarters to communicate that they wish to be able to buy a great cup of Seattle coffee without promoting gay marriage, and to switch to another brand of coffee...

I've already signed the petition and will begin next week in following through with other elements of the campaign. But I'll let this blog post be the opening salvo.

The Easter Egg Hunt: Schoville Style

A couple of days ago I read through a brief piece that our dear friend Sandy Schoville had prepared for the women's group at her church. I asked her for permission to print it here because it's a charming description of an Easter celebration. However, it's quite serious too. For the Schoville approach to Resurrection Day presents a serious challenge to the rest of us to be more purposeful and creative in elevating the holiday's importance. As the Old Testament invited worshipers of God to participate (in families) with calendar feasts and special observances that had all kinds of elaborate trappings, so too should Christians embrace ways to teach our children, inspire our friends and win over the watching world.

Here's Sandy --

The Easter Egg Hunt

Easter at our house is an all out family adventure! When our children were small we'd have a little Easter egg hunt, mainly in our house. As they grew - so did the hunt! I think my husband's growing faith also had a lot to do with it. You see, he wanted his children and now his grandchildren, to be as excited about Easter as they are about Christmas. 

Perly, my husband, has a massive hunt that requires help from son-in-laws and the older kids that have graduated out of the hunt. They even start the night before filling about 250 eggs! He divides up the yard, front and back, according to ages. To make it even more dramatic, he adds coins to most eggs. He covers trees, valleys, hills, buildings, porches, driveway - you get the idea. 

One year a little granddaughter had her brand new chiffon Easter dress in shreds. So needless to say, they bring old shoes and clothes. He goes all out even usually cooking a turkey or prime rib.

Why does he do all this? Because Jesus, our Savior rose from the dead. If we believe this and trust Him as our Savior, we too will live forever! Perly desires more than anything that his children and grandchildren believe in Jesus too. So every year after the hunt, we gather around him on chairs and the floor as he talks for a few minutes about Jesus. He tells the story in a new, fresh way. It might be a game he made up, a clip from a movie or simply reading a story. It's awesome. 

And in every grace or prayer my husband prays - his children hear him pray for the next generation. We pass the torch. Our children someday must go from our faith, to one of their own. It's personal. We want them to realize that if they were the only one to walk this earth - Jesus would die for them Easter means He conquered death. We want them to have this assurance. 

They face a challenging world and as they grow, so do the decisions and challenges they'll make. We want them to make these choices holding Jesus' hand, when they no longer hold ours. To listen to His voice when their peers are shouting and they don't hear ours. We want them to hear Him above the roar of the world...

Have a blessed Easter, and find the One who provides the greatest gift of all.

Don't Miss Reading

Here are a few gems you should bookmark now. Then sometime during the weekend, brew up and read them carefully.  Important stuff.

* "The Obamacare Hydra" by Michelle Malkin.

* "Obamacare Rationing Panels an 'Immediate Danger to Seniors': Former AMA President" by Life Site News writer, Kathleen Gilbert.

* "Obama Mocks Critics As Gas Prices Go Up" by Mike Brownfield at the Heritage Foundation

* "Nearly 1,000 Pakistani Women ‘Killed for Honor" -- Arabiya News report.

* "Will Down Syndrome Children Disappear?" by Mercator's Dominic Perrottet.

* "5 Reasons That Shouting 'Racism' Doesn't Work Anymore" by John Hawkins.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Today's Posts

Rally for Religious Freedom This Friday!

You've probably heard about the Stand Up for Religious Freedom rallies that are occurring all over the U.S. this coming Friday. They represent the swelling of public opposition to the power grab of big government (with, of course, the administration of Barack Obama doing the most egregious grabbing of all) as it takes away our previously protected freedoms of religious expression, conscience rights and more.

These Stand Up for Religious Freedom rallies are a very good thing. And, in view of Team Obama's coercive and wildly unconstitutional mandates put into the new "healthcare" program -- mandates which would force pro-life citizens into promoting, paying for and even participating in abortion and other evils -- such rallies are severely needed.

And...there's going to be one right here in Omaha.

I'll be among those taking a few minutes to address the crowd (and I'm sure praying it will be a sizable crowd at that) which will be gathered at noon this Friday at the U.S. District Court, 111 So. 18th Plaza, Omaha. The rally is only an hour long so please try and make it if you can. Your presence will send a very important message and will be a great opportunity for you to get charged up for the battles ahead.

So come on down. Come early -- you know how parking is downtown -- and be ready to pray, to hear from some compelling speakers, and to be a part of sending a loud message to governments in Washington, in the Unicameral and even in the Omaha City Council.

The Repeal Amendment: Checking the Federal Government's Power

Rick Duncan is a much-respected professor at the University of Nebraska College of Law whose expertise is the U.S. Constitution. He is also a dedicated champion of the family, religious freedom, Christian education and the sanctity of life.

He's a very good guy to have as a friend.

And one of the reasons why is that he produces such high quality arguments as the piece he recently had published dealing with federalism, liberty and the proposed Repeal Amendment being talked about by a lot of conservatives nowadays.

The Repeal Amendment would allow an important (and perhaps the only) check on what seems to be the ever-expanding control by the federal government of your money and property, your religious freedoms, and your pursuit of happiness.  This idea is to put in place a Repeal Amendment to the Constitution which would allow any federal law or regulation to be repealed by a vote of the legislatures of two-thirds of the states.

Could ObamaCare survive if a Repeal Amendment were in place? Of course not. That alone should cause you to wonder if this isn't a pretty good idea. But read Rick's article for more. It is scholarly but still clear, very relevant and persuasive. You can download the PDF file of Rick's article, "The Tea Party Constitution" right here.

Conscience Protection Deserves Your Support -- Now

Nebraskans, we are in a very precarious position.

I've urged you to take action on the Healthcare Freedom of Conscience Bill (LB 461) several times before this. But this week is an especially crucial time to contact your State Senators and urge them to enthusiastically support this important legislation.

If you've called or written before. Terrific. It's time to do so again.

LB 461 would provide much-needed protection to all healthcare providers and institutions from being forced to participate in any health care function that violates his or her or its conscience. The bill is supported by conservative religious leaders throughout the state and by all the pro-life, pro-family groups.

But LB 461 is being vigorously opposed by the "usual suspects" like Planned Parenthood, other abortion promoters, and Nanny State progressives.

That's why your calls, letters and prayers are so vital.

For specific talking points, check out this information page created by the Nebraska Family Council. And for contact information regarding your State Senator, go right here.

Must Omaha Now Hire a LGBT Police Chief?

Omaha City Councilwoman Jean Stothert shared on her Facebook page just a sample of what the city is in for after the Council passed last week's proposal to grant special protection to homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered, those who don't bother with gender identification, etc.

Wrote Stothert, "I have been contacted by members of the LGBTQ community stating [that the] new OPD Chief should be chosen from the LGBTQ community [because] there are many 'within OPD that would be qualified for this position.' Otherwise it would demonstrate 'Omaha's bigotry.'"

Expect a lot more of this kind of foolishness in the future. But remember it is foolishness now backed by law.

Thus, the business owner who refuses to to hire a cross-dresser is open to a lawsuit because of his...bigotry.  A religious radio station which hires someone other than the homosexual who turned in a resume is open to a lawsuit because of...bigotry.  A Christian college which requires biblical standards of sexual morality from its students is open to a lawsuit because of...bigotry. The landlord who is an Orthodox Jew (or Christian, Muslim, Mormon, or Jehovah's Witness) who doesn't rent her apartment to a lesbian threesome is open to a lawsuit based upon her...bigotry. A self-employed photographer or caterer or florist who decides not to service a same-sex union ceremony is open to a lawsuit because of his or her...bigotry.

Get the picture?

And what of the priest, preacher or rabbi who speaks out against what the Bible clearly and repeatedly presents as sexual perversions? What kinds of legal action will now be aimed at him? Indeed, where are the protections for conscience rights of the citizenry? Where is the protection for religious freedom, rights of association, property and speech?

Sigh. I'm afraid that a tyranny of the minority (and a brazenly immoral minority at that) is fast headed our way. And for opening that Pandora's box, the citizens of Omaha have the City Council members who capriciously voted for this proposal to thank: Pete Festersen, Ben Gray, Chris Jerram, and Garry Gernandt -- Democrats every one.

Washington Post Backs Boehner; Blames Barack

Jake Sherman at Politico has an excellent recap of the Washington Post's surprising story from last weekend that upholds the Republican version of what happened in last year's showdown between John Boehner and Barack Obama.

You heard right. The Washington Post backed Boehner and blamed Barack. And the Post isn't the only establishment media that's underscoring this critical point even though it's bound to hurt Mr. Obama in the run up to the election.

Here's a bit of Sherman's review:

The verdict is in: Team Boehner has taken Round One of the great journalistic reconstruction of last year’s failed debt talks.

Eight months after deficit talks between the nation’s top two elected officials collapsed, a 4,600-word inside-the-room narrative by The Washington Post on Sunday — the first of several sweeping accounts in the works — paints the Obama administration as walking away from a nearly done agreement with Boehner. And when the president eventually came around and wanted to cut a deal, Boehner said it was too late.

In short, the Post piece bolsters the Boehner team’s narrative that it was Obama who got cold feet and became unwilling to strike a grand bargain to fix the nation’s finances.

The efforts by several prominent journalists to revisit last year’s high-stakes talks — the New York Times Magazine’s Matt Bai is working on a similar piece, and Bob Woodward is writing a book on Obama’s handling of the economy — promise sustained attention on a critical moment of Obama’s first term that could factor into his reelection prospects.

The negotiations with House Republicans were Obama’s clearest opportunity to realize his 2008 campaign pledge to usher in a more productive, bipartisan era in Washington. The president has since pivoted to make a more concerted appeal to the Democratic base, blasting those he calls intransigent Republicans at every opportunity.

But in the Post’s version of events, Obama is portrayed as worrying he would face a backlash from the left if he pulled the trigger. And former Obama chief of staff Bill Daley provided surprising, on-the-record support of the GOP’s insistence that the president deserves blame for losing his nerve...

Read the piece in its entirety here.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Today's Posts

"3 For 5" -- A Prayer Program Against Planned Parenthood

In Vital Signs Ministries' latest report (our monthly Lifesharer letter), I outlined a special prayer strategy we are unveiling to be used against Planned Parenthood.  It is simple in design but I believe it could be quite powerful if we undertake it together. 

Our new prayer program is one which we hope will result in a greater number of Christians praying against Planned Parenthood and in bringing greater specificity to our unified intercession.  We’re calling it “3 for 5” and here’s how it works.

We’re asking believers to covenant together to pray at least 3 minutes a day on the 5 weekdays about specific issues related to Planned Parenthood’s ongoing assaults on the culture of life.  That could mean 3 minutes of prayer added to one’s morning meditations, a minute prayer lifted up three times a day…whatever.  And for every weekday, we’re encouraging prayers aimed at particular targets.  Again, this way we’re praying more AND praying for the very same things, agreeing with one another and the Holy Spirit to oppose the evil deeds of this mega-abortion corporation. 

Interested? In the letter I mentioned (available right here), you'll find the specific targets for each weekday, a sample prayer and a Scripture “springboard.”

The Real St. Patrick

St. Patrick's Day is over but there's still a green mist lingering in the early morning air. It's a perfect atmosphere in which to read this essay, one I wrote several years ago for a "Weekend Vital Signs" radio program.

You can find "The Real St. Patrick" over here on our Russian-language website. And, yes, it's available in English too.

It's a Sign of the Times

HOWARD STERN: Who should be the next President of the United States? Elle MacPherson, go ahead.

ELLE MACPHERSON: I think Obama’s going to do it.

STERN: You like Obama?

MACPHERSON: Yeah, I’m living in London and I’m socialist. What do you expect?

STERN: And you’re living in London and you sense what other foreigners feel. Do they like him?

MACPHERSON: I think foreigners like him. He’s very popular.

STERN: Don’t we look good having a black president and everything? Makes us kind of cool.

FreedMen Conquest Is Just Days Away

Here's Ron Brown on the FreedMen website to tell you more about this exciting event for Nebraska's men and boys.

Holder Doubles Down, Continues Government Persecution of Pro-Life Activist

It's not often that a federal judge issues such a stinging rebuke to the government but when Kenneth L. Ryskamp threw the Obama administration's case against a peaceful pro-lifer out of court, the judge demonstrated shock and contempt for the illegal harassment waged by the Justice Department. Indeed, Ryskamp went so far as to suggest that the DOJ had engaged in active collusion with an abortion business in seeking not only to restrict a citizen's constitutionally-protected freedoms but to severely punish her for her religious convictions.

“The Court is at a loss as to why the Government chose to prosecute this particular case in the first place,” wrote Judge Ryskamp. “The Court can only wonder whether this action was the product of a concerted effort between the Government and PWC, which began well before the date of the incident at issue, to quell Ms. Pine’s activities rather than to vindicate the rights of those allegedly aggrieved by Ms. Pine’s conduct.”

Can you guess how Eric Holder responded? Did he apologize for his actions against Ms. Pine, the American people and the U.S. Constitution? Or, red-faced from embarrassment from the stern admonishment, did Holder merely go off to sulk in silence?


Instead, he stubbornly decided to double down on the outrage. Holder has actually submitted an appeal of the government's sloppy and ham-handed case to the District Court in Florida thereby continuing the DOJ's expensive persecution of this peaceful pro-life woman.

Good grief. These guys are beyond despicable.

Here's the latest report on the matter from Liberty Council Action.

And thanks to Ralph Aldrich for alerting me to it.  

Iran Admits: Pastor Youcef's "Crime" Is Being a Christian

Remarkably, Iran responded to the [international] calls for Pastor Youcef’s release and, for the first time, admitted to the international community that Pastor Youcef’s case concerned his religious beliefs and actions. Despite its admission, Iran continued to deny the concrete evidence that the only charged levied against Pastor Youcef was apostasy.

Instead, in asserting that the Special Rapporteur’s report was biased and unprofessional, the Iranian representative stated that Pastor Youcef’s case involved three allegations, none of which match previous false allegations made by the regime: 1) he was inviting the junior school students without consent of the school or parents to his home to preach to them; 2) he converted the underground of his house to a church, and he did not get permission from Iran to do so; and 3) in preaching Christianity, he was offending Islam. Interestingly, the Iranian representative claimed that Christianity and Judaism are preached freely in Iran, but that Pastor Youcef was offending Islam in so doing.

The Special Rapporteur once again reiterated in his closing remarks that Pastor Youcef had been convicted on an apostasy charge in Iran. He also stated that although Pastor Youcef’s lawyers feared Iran may use another charge to justify executing him, the legal documents – which I provided to him last week (the original Iranian supreme court verdict in Farsi and translated into English, Portuguese, and Russian) – only state apostasy as the charge for which he is to be executed.

This is an important step forward as international pressure continues to build...

(Tiffany Barrans, "Engaging Iran at the United Nations to Free Pastor Youcef," ACLJ update)

To add your voice in support of Pastor Youcef, check out these avenues: Christian Pastor Under Death Sentence in Iran: Act Now to Help (Vital Signs Blog); Tweet for Youcef (ACLJ);

Friday, March 16, 2012

Today's Posts

This Is the Time for Chivalry

In recent decades, Christian men in the West have generally discarded the virtues of chivalry.

Though the chivalric standards were romantic, stirring, enriching and, most important, founded on the ideals of Christianity, coarser philosophies overtook the affections of modern believers. A love of personal pleasure and comfort, the preference for amusement over activity, acceptance of the lowest common denominators in morality and spiritual vision -- for the majority of American men (even those professing some adherence to Christianity), these things replaced the chivalric ideals that had once been the glory of Christendom.

Galahad, Launcelot, Percival and the other knights of King Arthur's Round Table were no longer remembered, let alone admired. And taking the place of Roland, Charlemagne, Robin Hood and King Richard the Lion Heart as role models for Christian men were hip-hop ranters and the dithering, dopey dads of modern sit-coms.


Is it possible, at this very late date, that we might still we reclaim the heritage of chivalry?  For instance, could we once again inspire our young men to become men of honor -- genuine heroes who live out the highest ideals of morality and service?

Could we challenge them to live pure in heart and body?  To devote themselves to learning manly skills?  To be humbly devoted to their King?  To be an ever-active part of a community which provides inspiration, accountability and assistance for one another?  To be brave and stalwart in the face of all enemies, be they fearsome knights or dragons...or perhaps even more daunting foes like peer pressure, the temptations of the flesh and the press of political correctness?

Perchance, do we dare teach our young men to have a high view of womanhood, one that results in a dedication to uphold their honor and purity?  To be praised as much for one’s courtesy, humility, and self-discipline as for skill in battle?  To be a quick and able defender of the innocent and defenseless? To desire wisdom over gold, virtue over silver, honor over the corner office and the cobalt blue Lexus LFA?  To be willing to lay down one’s life for a friend or for a course determined righteous by one’s King?  To be eager for adventure and be willing to undertake even a lifelong quest if it be in the pursuit of great and noble aims?

My friends and brothers, chivalry is not dead for the Founder of the faith that created it is not dead. He is risen and, through the Holy Spirit, He lives in every single one that has been redeemed by the blood of His cross. We therefore have the grand opportunity to let chivalry flower once provide the compelling beauty (which is the proof our faith) of high ideals truly realized in our lives.

What a blessing this is for us…and for a desperately lost world which so badly needs heroes to point the way back to God.  Shall we start today? We can. We need only put on the armor of our Father King, help our sons (and daughters) do the same and begin our noble quest in His glorious Name.

Dragons, beware.

Nebraskans, Act Now to Defend Rights of Conscience

Is protecting conscience rights in health care something of severe importance...something that could well determine just how deeply the Nanny State will erode YOUR conscience rights and religious freedoms as well?

You'd better believe it!

I've written about LB 461 quite a bit in recent weeks (1, 2) but the issue before the Nebraska Unicameral has become even more intense. Your action is

Here, from the Nebraska Family Council, is a great page summarizing this critical issue and giving you the contact information to play your part. Thanks.

Krauthammer on Obama's Oily Oil Excuses

Yes, of course, presidents have no direct control over gas prices. But the American people know something about this president and his disdain for oil. The “fuel of the past,” he contemptuously calls it. To the American worker who doesn’t commute by government motorcade and is getting fleeced every week at the pump, oil seems very much a fuel of the present — and of the foreseeable future.

President Obama incessantly claims energy open-mindedness, insisting that his policy is “all of the above.” Except, of course, for drilling:

● off the Mid-Atlantic coast (as Virginia, for example, wants);

● off the Florida Gulf Coast (instead, the Castro brothers will drill near there);

● in the broader Gulf of Mexico (where drilling in 2012 is expected to drop 30 percent below pre-moratorium forecasts);

● in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (more than half the size of England, the drilling footprint being the size of Dulles International Airport);

● on federal lands in the Rockies (where leases are down 70 percent since Obama took office).

But the event that drove home the extent of Obama’s antipathy to nearby, abundant, available oil was his veto of the Keystone pipeline, after the most extensive environmental vetting of any pipeline in U.S. history. It gave the game away because the case for Keystone is so obvious and overwhelming. Vetoing it gratuitously prolongs our dependence on outside powers, kills thousands of shovel-ready jobs, forfeits a major strategic resource to China, damages relations with our closest ally, and sends billions of oil dollars to Hugo Chavez, Vladimir Putin and already obscenely wealthy sheiks…

Drill here and you stanch the hemorrhage. You keep those dollars within the U.S. economy, repatriating not just wealth but jobs and denying them to foreign unfriendlies. Drilling is the single most important thing we can do to spur growth at home while strengthening our hand abroad.

Instead, Obama offers what he fancies to be the fuels of the future. You would think that he’d be a tad more modest today about his powers of divination after the Solyndra bankruptcy, the collapse of government-subsidized Ener1 (past makers of the batteries of the future) and GM’s suspension of production — for lack of demand — of another federally dictated confection, the flammable Chevy Volt.

Deterred? Hardly. Our undaunted seer of the energy future has come up with his own miracle fuel: algae...

Who do they think they’re fooling? An oil crisis looms, prices are spiking — and our president is extolling algae. After Solyndra, Keystone and promises of seaweed in their gas tanks, Americans sense a president so ideologically antipathetic to fossil fuels — which we possess in staggering abundance — that he is utterly unserious about the real world of oil in which the rest of us live.

High gasoline prices are a major political problem for Obama. They are not just a pain at the pump, however. They are a constant reminder of three years of a rigid, fatuous, fantasy-driven energy policy that has rendered us scandalously dependent and excessively vulnerable.

Charles Krauthammer, excerpts from "Obama’s Oil Flimflam," published in the Washington Post, March 15)

A Perspective on "Making Kony Famous"

Last Saturday morning, while sidewalk counseling outside the Planned Parenthood abortion mill, Karla, Pat and I had a most interesting conversation about the phenomenal interest that young people around the world had suddenly taken in eradicating the arch-villain, Kony. Among the things we discussed was Kony's ethnic-oriented (and very political) sadism, Satan's dedication to murder, the role of new technologies in advocacy activity, and why there had never been a similar response for the awful butchery that is "legal" abortion.

Well, a few days later, I noted an extremely interesting letter from Michael Cook, the editor over at It is another part of keeping the Kony 2012 campaign in proper perspective.

Writes Mr. Cook,

I am a bit addicted to anniversaries so I rejoiced to discover that 2012 marks the 800th anniversary of the Children's Crusade. Reliable accounts of this incredible adventure are few, but it appears that a couple of charismatic teenagers gathered tens of thousands of children in Germany, France and Italy and led them towards the Holy Land where they would convert the Muslims. The Mediterranean was to part before them, allowing them to march dry-shod to Jerusalem.

By some serendipitous coincidence, I also watched Kony 2012, a 30-minute YouTube video which has been viewed by about 75 million people in a single week. It was produced by an American lobby group, Invisible Children, which tries to protect and rehabilitate Ugandan kids who have been kidnapped, raped and maimed by a mysterious warlord named Joseph Kony. As a marketing gimmick, it's little short of miraculous.

This is a genuine humanitarian disaster. Tens of thousands of children have been enslaved by Kony over the past 20 years, although nowadays his forces, some of them child soldiers, have shrunk to a few hundred. He was one of the first persons indicted by the International Criminal Court.

The video shows American college students chanting demands to stop Kony's senseless war and to arrest him for crimes against humanity. There are shots of brutalised Ugandan children and of local politicians agreeing that he should be caught. But the director's adorable blonde 3-year-old son generates most of the moral outrage.

What's the purpose of this noble-white-guys-save-backward-blacks video? Ostensibly to pressure the US government to provide troops to catch Kony. How? That's the cool part: all you have to do is forward the video and click on Invisible Children's website to buy some merchandise. It's a classic case of self-indulgent slacktivism: feeling good about yourself by feeling sad about others.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, little of the video makes sense. The crocodile tears of American college students are unlikely to drown Joseph Kony. He wanders around in Uganda, Sudan, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo, an area as large as France. In any case, he is largely a spent force, thanks to the Ugandan government. And his victims are but a small fraction of the 5 million who have died in the neighbouring DRC. But the college students may not even know where the DRC is.

The barminess of Kony 2012 is painfully similar to the barminess of Children's Crusade 1212. But there is a difference. Most of the crusaders died en route to Brindisi, on the Adriatic coast, where the survivors were sold to Muslims by enterprising locals. At least there is no danger of that for slacktivists.

For Heaven's Sake, Don't Relax

"Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary." (Galatians 6:9, NASB)

The Greek word that the NASB translates as “grow weary” in the last part of the above verse is perhaps better translated as “relax.”  Think of a tug of war that is lost when one side simply relaxes their grip.  The exhortation of the apostle Paul then presents a stark confrontation to modern American culture.  For the command is to not give up, not relax in our devotion to doing good.

But, of course, we are constantly taught by our culture leaders to do just the opposite. They tell us to indeed relax, take it easy, and stay cool -- especially when it comes to religious duty.

President Barack Obama, for instance, very much desires that American Christians stay calm, collected and (most of all) pliable when it comes to the removal of the rights of conscience and other heretofore protected freedoms of religion. Relax, he says, it's no big deal. Don't let religious hangups get in the way of really serious golf, vacations and supporting the Nanny State.

But the Scripture tells us to put the priority on doing good (the context of Galatians involves the liberty of Christians to live free of the law, the flesh and the pressures of the world) without any relaxation in our vigilance to do so.

This doesn’t mean that Christians need to live "high-strung" but it does mean, particularly in a culture that emphasizes pleasure, mediocrity and comfortability, that we must always live on high alert.

So, let's help stimulate one another to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24) rather than enabling each other's spiritual relaxation.

By the way, the entire series of expository sermons on the book of Galatians that I just finished preaching at Faith Bible Church is available to listen to and/or to download at this particular page of the Vital Signs Ministries website.

Another Breakthrough Defies Overpopulation Alarm

One of the problems of a growing global population that needs to be solved is how do we feed all those extra mouths?  We’ve looked at UN reports on this issue. We've also looked at counterviews that actually there is enough food for us all at the moment and the lack of food for many in the world are caused more by waste, inadequate storage and transport infrastructure and wars.  

One factor that is constantly ignored by those predicting overpopulation doom is that a growing global population doesn’t just add to the number of mouths to feed. It also adds to the world’s human capital – it adds to the number of minds that can dedicate themselves to solving problems that the world is faced with – problems like a shortage of food, or transport and storage difficulties, or an excess of food wastage.

The number of people who are better fed nowadays is much greater than 200 years ago (or even 100 years ago, or even 50 years ago!), despite the fact that the global population has expanded enormously over that time. But how did this happen? Weren’t those extra billions of people just extra mouths to feed? They were more mouths, but they weren't just extra mouths. Just like the population, the amount of food produced has also increased dramatically (and the storage and transport of food has become much more efficient).  And people (with mouths to feed) brought those changes about.  So why could something similar not happen in the next 50 years as the population grows?

Well, it could. For example, as reported in the Guardian, researchers in Australia have managed to test a new strain of durum wheat that has increased yield of 25% in saline soils.  Durum wheat is the basis for pasta, noodles, couscous as well as a lot of bread…

In short, this is another technological change that can increase crop yields and help feed an expanding population.  Often, those arguing that there will be too many people to feed in the future assume that while the population increases, food supply remains static. The evidence from history, and from current scientific breakthroughs, undermines this assumption.

(Marcus Roberts, "More food for more people," Mercator, March 14)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Today's Posts

British Government: "You Don't Need To Wear a Cross"

The government of Great Britain is poised to argue at the European Court of Human Rights against two British women who want to wear a cross around their neck while at work.

The Telegraph has the story here including the disclosure that ministers will argue that because it is not a “requirement” of the Christian faith, employers can ban the wearing of the cross and sack workers who insist on doing so.

Lawyers for the two women claim that the Government is setting the bar too high and that “manifesting” religion includes doing things that are not a “requirement of the faith”, and that they are therefore protected by human rights.

They say that Christians are given less protection than members of other religions who have been granted special status for garments or symbols such as the Sikh turban and kara bracelet, or the Muslim hijab…

The Government has also set out its intention to oppose cases brought by two other Christians, including a former registrar who objected to conducting civil partnership ceremonies for homosexual couples…

Christian groups described the Government’s stance as “extraordinary”.

Lord Carey said: “The reasoning is based on a wholly inappropriate judgment of matters of theology and worship about which they can claim no expertise.

“The irony is that when governments and courts dictate to Christians that the cross is a matter of insignificance, it becomes an even more important symbol and expression of our faith.”

My Latest Encounter with "The News"

Apparently because of letters I wrote to City Council members about their proposal to grant special privileges to the LGBT (which will, by its very nature, mean a denial of the conscience rights for religious citizens), I was asked for an interview by the local Fox News TV station. I said yes and the fellow came out to the Panera's on West Maple where I was working on this month's Vital Signs letter.

I had met this fellow before when he reported on our prayer vigils and sidewalk counseling outside the Planned Parenthood abortion mill. So I knew he wasn't particularly friendly to the Christian cause. But, no matter; after a few hundred of these things, I know the drill. And that means, do your best and don't fret about what they do in the editing of the film or the writing of the story. There's nothing you can do about that.

Anyhow, the interview went okay though it was clear that the reporter wanted a particular angle from me which he couldn't (and never did) get. I answered his questions but in a way that underscored some basic foundations. I was friendly, smiling, brief and direct.

But, as I figured, my most important answers didn't make it on the finished tape. What were they?

Question: "What do you want the Council members to consider before they vote tomorrow?" Answer: "Well, I'd love them to carefully think about how the moral standards that have stood Western civilization in such good stead for a couple of millenia need to be valued and protected, not dismissed by a bizarre sense of political correctness."

Question: "Do you think the City Council has handled the issue well?" Answer: "Not at all. Legal changes that are so dramatically deviant from those moral standards I just mentioned should not be decided by a handful of people. At the very least, responsible government would allow this proposal to be voted on by the citizens who will have to live under it."

Question: "Why do you oppose the proposal?" Answer: "Beyond the moral standards I've already spoken of, the proposal would, by its very nature, deny the rights of those whose religious convictions require a clearly-defined sexual morality. To please the LGBT, the conscience rights of employers, landlords, businesspersons, professionals and others who happen to be practicing Christians, Orthodox Jews or devout Muslims will be overrun."

Like I said, though, those didn't make it on air. In fact, the story that was reported emphasized once again that Omaha's Fox News channel doesn't lean towards the right at all. Quite the opposite. Particularly irresponsible was their continued use of a public opinion poll provided by the LGBT activists without ever stating just where the poll came from, who paid for it or what questions were asked. And the segment ended with the anchorwoman jumping in to remind the audience how many other cities have passed such legislation. Baldly biased reporting indeed.

Rev. Phil Kayser has had a similar experience and he shared the following in a comment on Facebook. "I have to agree with you, Denny. Fox News leans way left with moments of fairness. Action 3 News (KMTV) doesn't even bother giving the illusion of fairness. They 'interviewed' me for half an hour to get the 'other side of the story' about the LGBTQ pickets of our church - only it wasn't an interview. It was asking the same question 30 different ways, trying to get a soundbite that they could demonize me with. The interviewer was clearly frustrated by the end that she got a totally different story than she thought she would get. I have a hard time even calling them a news organization. It's more like a propaganda machine."

Another friend, a print journalist who now works as a editor of a local newspaper, suggested that the bias was perhaps too typical of the breed. "TV reporters," he quipped, "are the worst. They're like vampires, they want blood."

Prayers are very much in order for the City Council vote today. I fear that all the signals point to the proposal passing...but our duty to pray doesn't hinge on prospective outcomes. So pray.

Did You Catch These?

* President Obama, superb patriot that he is, announced yesterday that he's "proud generally" of what U.S. troops have achieved in Afghanistan.

* ...James O'Keefe's new video from Vermont could not be more timely, coming the day after the U.S. Department of Justice's civil rights division blocked a Texas photo ID requirement for voters--to the applause of the American Civil Liberties Union, which claimed that the law was “discriminatory” against “Latinos, African-Americans, elderly citizens, and others.”

As the Project Veritas video shows, the current system in Vermont discriminates against actual legal voters, who must face the prospect of disenfranchisement by those who would vote in their stead illegally, or have their votes cancelled out by those voting illegally in place of deceased voters who have yet to be removed from the rolls. If it is not discriminatory for Vermont citizens to be required to show ID to get married or buy alcohol, it is certainly not discriminatory to make them show ID to vote…

* "For years, I've warned conservatives about the bigoted rhetoric and dubious analysis that Rush Limbaugh offers on his radio program. There is no bigger critic of the man than me. I am nevertheless appalled by the prominent liberals who want the state to use its coercive power to silence him…" (Conor Friedersdorf)

* It's a bad day for optics in the White House, and a bad day for the administration's strategy of deflecting from these awful truths with an elaborately-staged press conference on contraception designed to divert attention away from a two-pronged failure: the attack on the free practice of religion by way of abridging employers's freedom to choose faithfully against providing "free" contraception, and the sinking confidence in the President concerning his mismanagement of the nation's economy and energy policies… (Dana Loesch, "Obama's 'War On Women' Backfires")

* ...Fortunately, a student at WSU did know the law and contacted David French at the ACLJ. Shortly after receiving a First Amendment lesson from French, WSU revoked the discriminatory policy and restored equal funding rights to its religious groups. This area of law is settled; what is surprising is that there are still universities out there that continue to pretend they didn’t "get the memo." They need to watch Office Space before they get sued and wind up with a bad case of the Mondays. (My apologies go out to those who haven’t seen the movie and missed the pop culture reference altogether).

Religious speech on campus must be treated like all other speech on campus. To say that a student group should be disfavored simply because its viewpoint is based on religion - rather than any other belief or “orientation” – is unmitigated bigotry. To permit such a distinction would be to allow the university to silence any speech that does not conform to administrative orthodoxy. Put simply, it would cause the university to cease being a university.

It is good that WSU has chosen to repent and turn from its sinfully censorious ways. Credit belongs to those First Amendment evangelists who spread the good news of religious liberty on our nation’s campuses. Real scholars would be lost without them.
(Mike Adams, "The Wichita Lineman")

* ..."Welfare Queen Fluke will never produce anything of value to society. She will fit easily into the industry of regulation, bigger government, and reduced personal freedoms. She believes everything she wants -- birth control, abortion, whatever -- is an entitlement for which the government must pay. The welfare queens of the 1980s were small-timers. Welfare Queen Fluke and her ilk are an existential threat to fiscal responsibility. Just think about how many thousands of them are graduating this year to enter government jobs or political campaigns…" (Jed Babbin, American Spectator)

$5 Gas? Gee, Thanks, Mr.President.

"Today's high gas prices are a painful reminder that there's much more work to do to free ourselves from our dependence on foreign oil and take control of our energy future."

That's what President Barack Obama said yesterday. And yes, he said it with a straight face.

Here's what I say today after paying $65 to fill up my gas tank -- "Today's high gas prices are a direct result of President Obama's failed programs and foolish priorities. Those astronomical gas prices emphasize how Obama's bowing and scraping to Muslim potentates has backfired even as they show what a disaster has been the President's refusal to allow American companies to take advantage of fuel resources in our own backyard."

As summer comes round and absurd gas prices cause you to cancel your vacation and buy a goat instead of firing up the lawnmower, please remember just who vetoed the Keystone pipeline, who prohibited offshore drilling, and who desperately needs to be retired from office ASAP.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Today's Posts

Lawsuit Against Planned Parenthood for Multi-Million Govt Fraud

A Planned Parenthood affiliate in Texas knowingly sent in about $6 million in false claims to Medicaid and took steps to cover up its acts, says a federal “whistleblower” lawsuit that was unsealed Friday.

Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast submitted more than 87,000 reimbursement claims for services that were “false, fraudulent, and/or ineligible,” said the lawsuit filed by Abby K. Johnson on behalf of the United States and the state of Texas in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Houston.

Ms. Johnson is a former director of one of the clinics and had “system-wide” access to patient records and billing activities for about two years.

Ms. Johnson, who became a pro-life activist after viewing an ultrasound and has converted to Catholicism, said Friday she filed the lawsuit under the federal False Claims Act in 2009 “to simply expose Planned Parenthood and expose their corruption, and expose what they are doing with American tax dollars.”

“Everyone, no matter what you think about abortion, should be interested in where our money is going and how it is being spent,” Ms. Johnson said. “As someone who saw the inside of this and saw the fraudulent billing and the fraudulent claims, I felt like I had a duty, and it was necessary for me to come forward with this information.”

The lawsuit was kept under seal until Friday, when U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt made it public. It alleges that the 10 clinics in Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast put in fraudulent claims worth about $5.7 million to the Texas Women’s Health Program, the state’s Medicaid program.

Requests for comment Friday from Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast were not answered…

Here's the rest of Cheryl Wetzstein's story in the Washington Times.

A Unique Opportunity for "October Baby"...and You!

Michelle Sullivan, the Executive Director of the AAA Center for Pregnancy Counseling, sent along a note this morning announcing that a generous donor has underwritten the costs to bring the ground-breaking film October Baby to the AMC Oak View Theater the opening weekend of March 23rd and 24th.

Michelle is asking any and all to promote the film showing, including helping fill the seats in the theater that weekend. And here's a link to the official October Baby website that Michelle dropped into her note (a lot of nifty stuff there) that will help you -- and others -- get excited about the film.

What an opportunity, huh?

Let's move!

Education vs the NEA -- Are Teachers Finally Getting It?

The communications director the Education Action Group has a few ideas why membership in the National Education Association continues to plummet, as the latest analysis shows the lowest level of members in nearly six years.

Total membership for the NEA is now below 3,079,000, which is causing financial struggles for the organization. Steve Gunn of the Education Action Group Foundation (EAG) says one reason may be that many state legislatures have made union membership for teachers optional.

"[Educators are] free to decide whether the dues that they're paying [are worthwhile] or whether they get a worthwhile return on them, and I think a lot of teachers across the country are saying 'no,'" he reports. "They finally got a choice, and they're walking away."

Steve Gunn (EAG)He explains that salaries and benefits are not the only thing union members are unhappy about.

"While their salary and their benefits aren't increasing, they're also seeing that their unions [are] dumping huge amounts of money into liberal political causes that have nothing at all to do with education," Gunn notes.

The EAG communications director adds that teachers, school officials, and parents are waking up to that fact that student education appears not to be a high priority for the NEA and teachers unions. So they are taking back control of their schools…

(Bob Kellogg, "Teachers 'Walking Away' from NEA," OneNewsNow)

Thanks to Billy Dickson for alerting me to this story.