Jesus Is Lord, A Worshipping Christian's Blog

Given to the worship of our Lord, Jesus Christ, who came to earth, lived sinless, died as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, was raised from the dead and rules from heaven at the right hand of God. All comments are welcome (keep them civil). You may post questions, prayer request and comments about almost anything. Please sign my guestbook.
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me". John 14:6

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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Supreme Court rules against abortion clinics

Another victory for Pro-Life, although this was pretty cut and dried case of first amendment rights.

The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled for the third time in favor of pro-life activists who were sued by the
National Organization for Women for their aggressive demonstrations at abortion clinics.
The high court said federal extortion and racketeering laws cannot be used to ban the protests.
As
WorldNetDaily reported, NOW lost its second round in the Supreme Court in 2003 in a decisive 8-1 ruling. The feminist group charged that protests organized by Scheidler's Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League amounted to extortion under RICO, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
"Naturally I am gratified to be vindicated once again by the United States Supreme Court," said Scheidler. "I am mystified that I had to go to the trouble and expense of appearing before the Supreme Court three times."
Justice Stephen Breyer said in the majority opinion today Congress did not intend to create "a freestanding physical violence offense" in the federal extortion law.
Scheidler and the other defendants were supported in the case by an unusual coalition of about activists and groups that included actor Martin Sheen and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who argued similar lawsuits could be used to stop their efforts.
Scheidler's attorney Thomas Brejcha said, "This unanimous ruling is not just a victory for pro-life activists, but for anyone who chooses to exercise his First Amendment rights to effect social change."
The 2003 decision had reversed the RICO charge against Scheidler's group and vacated a nationwide injunction and damage award of $257,780 on the pro-life defendants.
Nevertheless, the feminist group – which has stated an intent to crush groups opposing abortion – stood to collect $1.2 million in damages and legal fees from Scheidler and his colleagues.
The Supreme Court returned the case to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to carry out the 2003 decision, but NOW convinced a three-judge panel to send it back to district court, where the high court's ruling could be overturned.
NOW's persistence in the case despite the Supreme Court's decisive ruling coincided with its stated determination to shut down pro-life groups.
In a 1998 statement that referred to the Scheidler case, NOW's former president, Patricia Ireland, said, "We will continue our litigation strategy until the terrorists are bankrupt and out of business."
Ireland also was a NOW attorney working on the case before she became head of the organization.
The Supreme Court said in its 2003 ruling all of the 117 alleged acts of extortion against Scheidler and his group "must be reversed," including four alleged acts of violence. But NOW attorney Fay Clayton convinced a 7th Circuit panel those four "acts" should be considered separately.
The case was further complicated by the fact the jury in the 1998 trial was not required to reveal which acts it deemed violent. Furthermore, Pro-Life Action League presented evidence, including photographs and news footage, that indicated some of the key witnesses lied.
The case began in June 1986 when NOW filed a federal lawsuit against Scheidler and two other pro-life activists. NOW charged that Scheidler and his colleagues interfered with interstate commerce in an attempt to shut down abortion clinics.
Three years later, NOW incorporated RICO violations into its complaint and expanded the scope to a class-action suit that included every woman in the United States seeking an abortion – past, present or future – and all abortion clinics. Operation Rescue, two members of Scheidler's group – Tim Murphy and Andy Scholberg – and another 100 alleged "co-conspirators" also were named as defendants.

Jesus' Name

I ran across this information and found it interesting.

Jesus was not called "Jesus" during his lifetime. Because He and His followers spoke their native Aramanic, His full name, as known to family and intimates would have been Yeshua (pronounced ye-SHU-ach) ben Yusef which translators into Jesus, son of Joseph. "Jesus" is the English form of "Iesous" (pronounced yay-zoose), which is what He is called in the Greek scriptures of the New Testament. This, in turn, is a version of the common Hebrew name "Ieshus" which translates into Joshua. The root meaning of the name is "God help" because it's derived from two words - God and help.

Re-Post: Nearing Midnight for February 27th (Part 2)

Endtime Perplexity

Believers in Jesus Christ, in terms of the majority, don’t recognize the crucial prophetic times in which this generation finds itself. To prove this, just ask almost anyone you know –outside of the very few Christians you know who might consider prophetic issues-- and watch the blank stares, the smiles, with accompanying gesticulations that indicate they don’t worry, or even think about these things. Observe, while they quickly go onto other subjects, like "what’s for dinner," "who’s getting married," "who’s getting a divorce," "who’s living with whom," or a thousand and one other more generationally appropriate topics –in their view—than where we are at present on God’s prophetic timeline.
When the Christian who is truly a student of what God has to say about things to come stops to analyze the flood of prophecy-laden matters deluging this generation, he or she quickly realizes that we are at the very door that will open into the tribulation. But, he or she knows – if prayerfully diligent in studying God’s prophetic Word, (i.e., is led by the Holy Spirit to truth) and is thus discerning in analyzing world conditions-- that another door is about to swing open. That is the door that leads through the fabric of space and time. The door that will be opened by Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, Jesus Christ IS that door! After all, He said”…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh to the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
And, the things for the discerning Christian to consider are staggering in numbers, and in prophetic relevance.
Of these many things of prophetic import we could think upon, none is more glaring at this moment –in my view—than signals of Christ’s coming again wrapped up in the title of this commentary article: “Endtime Perplexity.”
The prophecy was given by Jesus in His Olivet Discourse, as recorded in the following:
“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring” (Lk. 21:25).
Review, for just a moment, the dynamics shaping up endtime world conditions while this generation rages toward Daniel’s 70th week –the seven years of tribulation, when God’s wrath will begin falling upon incorrigibly rebellious mankind.
Israel is at the very center of the last-time perplexity, just as Jesus and the Old and New Testament prophets foretold. Think of it! Everything of great significance, so far as world conditions are concerned, points right back at Israel!
1) Hamas is in control of the Palestinian drive for statehood. The terrorist organization is on record, determined to expunge Israel from the region. These are blood-vowed to kill every Jew they find.
2) Iran’s leadership is threatening to develop (might already have) the ability to produce nuclear weapons. The purpose is to annihilate Israel –and any other nation that gets in Iran’s path.
3) The U.S. is in turmoil over the Bush Administration’s wanting to approve United Arab Emirates' (UAE) purchase of American seaports. (A truly profound issue that has created great perplexity, both within the U.S. and abroad.)
4) Islamic hate-filled doctrinal differences perplex American military planners in Iraq, while the Muslim madmen kill each other and bomb centuries-old religious sites in reprisal for perceived inequities and wrongdoings. The seas and waves of humanity are indeed “roaring.”
5) Islamic fascist-like, rage-filled terrorists protest by the hundreds of thousands, inciting millions to attack and destroy even their own possessions in Europe and other places. Christ’s words “nation (ethnos –or ethnic entities) shall rise against nation…” have been fulfilled to some extent in our time. Certainly, there can be no doubt that this is happening en masse across the world.
Again, Israel is the chief reason for the incitement. Anyone who supports Israel in any fashion comes under the radical Islamic threat of sword applied to the neck. Then there is the cry for “peace and safety.” But there is total disregard for the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. At the risk of being castigated as “touching the anointed,” I must say that even the major players among pastors and leaders of churches in this Laodicean era have a P.E.A.C.E. plan for saving the world from perplexity.
It won’t work, of course. Peace –even if used in clever, marketing terms of acronym—will fail. Only the Prince of Peace, and His godly, Heaven-sent peace will bring the raging seas of humanity under control, like He did the storm-driven waters on the Sea of Galilee those millennia ago.
Christians, it is past time to awake from the slumber under which the Church of Jesus Christ has –for the most part— been put, since allowing Satan and his minions to pull their deception over the spiritual eyes of many individual believers. We are at that point–in attitude--at the end of the age, about which Jesus forewarned:
“Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” (Matt. 24:44).
To me, this is among the most foreshadowing of the perplexities about which our Lord prophesied: the question of why Christians will not awake in this endtime era, and look around at all that points directly at the truth that we are, as a generation of earth dwellers, on the very cusp of the apocalypse, of tribulation. This should make us, rather than be filled with only thoughts of earthly things, busily engaged in activities spiritually ripe with great anticipation of the "blessed hope" of Titus 2:13. He could come at any second, and all of the things of this fallen world instantly will no longer matter to the Christian of the Church Age. We will stand before Him, and see Him face to face, and give account for our attitude toward Him, and activities for Him, when back on Planet Earth.


--Terry

Re-Post: Nearing Midnight for February 27th (Part 1)

The March to May Donation Drive

In the time since our last donation drive, we have achieved a number of major accomplishments. The site's ranking among other prophecy ministries is the most noteworthy.
According to a service that tracks all web activity, Rapture Ready has now become the #1 prophecy site. We were able to achieve this goal despite having two of our main functions on different domains - RR News and the RR Message Board.
The media continues to show interest in the site, and there has been an amazing amount of attention from Great Britain, where RR has caught the eye of four media outlets. In December, a film team from BBC filmed Terry and me for an April documentary. In January, RR was mentioned in a British documentary called "The Source of All Evil." BBC radio stopped by last week to interview me for a March program. And another company is in the early stages of production of a documentary it is putting together.
On this side of the Atlantic, the Dallas Observer asked for my input for an article that appeared in mid-February. A & E has been running a program that talks about the Rapture Index.
As we add new web pages to the site, the search engine keeps pointing people to our domain. The lack of free end-time related information on the internet shows that there is plenty of room for us to expand the site.
We are progressing towards our goal of translating articles into Japanese. I have to admit, it has been quite a challenge to accomplish this task. We had thought the project would cost around $4,000 to translation 10 articles. The size of some articles has bumped the price tag up to around $7,000. Because the translation service calculates fees by word count, the first article, which was short, came to around $400. The next one translated was just over $1000. Rather than cough up the money all at once, we'll just take our time and eventually get all ten articles translated.
When I last mentioned our plans to add Japanese articles to the site, few people asked me why I didn't consider using programs that automatically translate English text into other languages. I've tried a free version of this software at Altavista.com, and I the found translation to be of such poor quality we could never use it on the site. You can't tell people something like, "Me think Jesus you need savior repent go now."
Another costly project is going to be the reformatting of thousands of pages on the site. Now that the average screen width size is larger that 1000 pixels, the pages containing the RR stripe in the left column have presented a major problem. This background image repeats across the screen, making it difficult for some people to read the text.
Over the years, the look of the site has been updated dozens of times. When we had just a few hundred files on the site, it was easy for me to make the changes. Now that we have more than 11,000 files, an update will require us to hire a web design firm to help make all these changes.
Every major project we take on requires us to ask for assistance from dozens of people to cover the cost. For example, the $1000 Japanese article would require 20 people to donate $50 each.
Because we constantly lose supporters, I have to make these regular appeals to maintain a balance in our funding. Even though we have a base of more than 100,000 visitors, we're lucky to receive help from a fraction of that number.
The opportunity to contribute to the Kingdom of God is not a constant thing. Over the years, we lost supporters to death, poor health, and financial reversals. We've even lost a few supporters from the area affected by Hurricane Katrina.
Rapture Ready didn't get to be the top-ranked site by accident. This site is the result of people realizing that they are part of the Great Commission.
An easy way to support RR is with an automatic monthly donation. The PayPal subscription service and allotments set up through a bank are convenient ways to send funds to the site. If you're interested in signing up, you can find the link on the
Donation Depot page. Donations can also be sent to our PO Box at:
Rapture Ready Min.
PO Box 125
Bellevue, NE 68005

-- Todd

Muslims Set Fire to Nine Churches in Niger State

Our Christian brothers and sisters in Nigeria are still undergoing persecution at the hands of the peace loving muslims, as the violence over the so called "blasphemous" Danish cartoons, spreads from the northern parts of Nigeria to the central regions. Of course the Nigerian government is "powerless" to stop this type of thing and the death of ten Christians isn't news worthy enough to make it into the MSM's (main stream media).

Muslim rioters killed 10 Christians and set ablaze nine churches in Kontagora, Niger state on Feb. 23, Christian sources said.
The militants in the central Nigerian town of Kontagora joined their counterparts in northern Nigeria to protest what Muslims regard as blasphemy of the prophet of Islam, Muhammad, in cartoons published by a newspaper in Denmark.
"The Muslim fanatics attacked Christians and burnt churches throughout the night," Joseph Bawa, a Christian resident of Kontagora, told Compass by telephone.
The militants clubbed Bawa and his family, he said. "I was beaten up by these Muslims, it is only God that saved me - I would have been killed," he said.
The Rev. Samuel Ayuba Shaba, secretary of the Niger state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), confirmed the destruction of the churches and the attack on Christians.
"Nine churches have been burnt by Muslims in Kontagora, and Baptist pastors who were attending a conference there were also attacked," Rev. Shaba said.
According to Rev. Shaba, the pastors of the Niger/Kebbi Conference of the Nigerian Baptist Convention were attacked as they were in a worship service on Thursday night.

Muslim protests against the caricatures of Muhammad turned violent in Maiduguri, Borno state, and in Katsina, Katsina state, over the weekend, leaving more than 50 Christians dead. Muslims also reportedly killed 25 Christians on February 20-21 in the northern city of Bauchi over an alleged blasphemy of the Quran. Rioting in the northern city of Gombe reportedly resulted from the alleged death by torture of a young man.
The Muslim violence in the north sparked fierce reprisals from Christians in southern Nigeria, where attacks last week in Onitsha and surrounding towns in Anambra state left at least 80 people dead.
On Feb. 24, another outbreak of violence was reported in Potiskum, in the northern state of Yobe. Yobe, like Niger state, has implemented sharia, the Islamic legal system. Muslim youths reportedly burned churches and houses belonging to Christians in Potiskum, and 65 rioters were arrested.
In Enugu, of the southern state of the same name, Christian reprisal attacks reportedly resulted in the deaths of at least seven Muslims. According to Reuters, the attacks were rumored to have been sparked by a Muslim policeman killing a Christian boy.

Exclusive: Dubai ports firm enforces Israel boycott

This puts a little different light on things.

The parent company of a Dubai-based firm at the center of a political storm in the US over the purchase of American ports participates in the Arab boycott against Israel, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
The firm, Dubai Ports World, is seeking control over six major US ports, including those in New York, Miami, Philadelphia and Baltimore. It is entirely owned by the Government of Dubai via a holding company called the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCZC), which consists of the Dubai Port Authority, the Dubai Customs Department and the Jebel Ali Free Zone Area.

"Yes, of course the boycott is still in place and is still enforced," Muhammad Rashid a-Din, a staff member of the Dubai Customs Department's Office for the Boycott of Israel, told the Post in a telephone interview.
"If a product contained even some components that were made in Israel, and you wanted to import it to Dubai, it would be a problem," he said.
A-Din noted that while the head office for the anti-Israel boycott sits in Damascus, he and his fellow staff members are paid employees of the Dubai Customs Department, which is a division of the PCZC, the same Dubai government-owned entity that runs Dubai Ports World.
Moreover, the Post found that the website for Dubai's Jebel Ali Free Zone Area, which is also part of the PCZC, advises importers that they will need to comply with the terms of the boycott.
In a section entitled "Frequently Asked Questions", the site lists six documents that are required in order to clear an item through the Dubai Customs Department. One of them, called a "Certificate of Origin," "is used by customs to confirm the country of origin and needs to be seen by the office which ensures any trade boycotts are enforced," according to the website.
A-Din of the Israel boycott office confirmed that his office examines certificates of origin as a means of verifying whether a product originated in the Jewish state.
On at least three separate occasions last year, the Post has learned, companies were fined by the US government's Office of Anti-boycott Compliance, an arm of the Commerce Department, on charges connected to boycott-related requests they had received from the Government of Dubai.
US law bars firms from complying with such requests or cooperating with attempts by Arab governments to boycott Israel.
In one instance, according to a Commerce Department press release, a New York-based exporter agreed to pay a fine for having "failed to report in a timely manner its receipts of requests from Dubai" to provide certification that its products had not been made in Israel.
The proposed handover of US ports to DP World has provoked a political storm in Washington, where Republicans and Democrats alike have expressed hostility to the plan, citing national security concerns.
In an attempt to stave off opposition, DP World agreed over the weekend to a highly unusual 45-day second federal investigation of potential security risks.

Open Doors Advocates for Gaza Bible Distributor Facing Terrorist Threat

The pali terrorist are at it again. Now they are threatening to blow up the only Bible distribution center in Gaza. This shouldn't surprise anyone. Quite frankly I'm amazed it's lasted this long. What else should we expect from a bunch of pali terrorist RoD (religion of death, aka islam) cultist?

(AgapePress) - Terrorists in Gaza have threatened to blow up the building of the only Bible distribution center in the Palestinian-controlled area by the end of the month. Last week terrorists distributed flyers warning the building's landlord to evict the Bible Society by February 28 or they would blow up the property.
Al Janssen, Chairman of the Board for
Open Doors USA, is an expert on the Middle East. He says the Bible Society plays a vital role in the region, particularly since it is "the only place in Gaza where anybody can get a Bible."
There are 1.3 million Muslims and only 2,000 Christians in the region the Bible Society Center serves, Janssen points out. "If anybody wants a Bible, that's the only place they can go. There's also a little Bible church, Gaza Baptist Church, that's very closely tied to that Bible Society. We would like people to be praying for that -- that this ministry of the church and the Bible Society will continue and that it will continue to be a light in the midst of the darkness in Gaza."
Earlier this month, terrorists detonated a bomb at the Bible Society Center, causing minor damage. However, the Open Doors USA spokesman says the Society has been forced to close for the time being. Meanwhile, he notes, Open Doors has been calling on Palestinian officials to ensure that the terrorists' violent plans do not come to fruition.
"We're working through back channels to basically say to Hamas, 'Now that you've been elected, this is something you need to be responsible for,'" Janssen notes. "Now, we don't believe that Hamas is behind this threat; there are a lot of little fringe groups in there as well. But we do believe that Hamas can make sure this doesn't happen."

Monday, February 27, 2006

PA TV Star: Mother Upset Her Daughter Failed as Suicide Bomber

How do the Israelis think they can actually have peace with people like these? See my emphasis highlights as you read the article.

Palestinian Authority (PA) controlled television is still broadcasting human interest pieces highlighting parents' support for their children's decisions to become suicide bombers.
In spite of PA pledges not to incite, an interview broadcast last week featured the mother of Wafa Al-Bas, the 21-year-old Arab woman from Gaza who was arrested at the Erez Crossing in June 2005 wearing a 20-pound (9 kg) bomb under her clothes.

The PA TV interview with Al-Bas' parents, which aired on February 20th, features her mother saying the event was hard for her - not because her daughter was on a suicide mission, but because she was arrested on her way to carry it out.
Al-Bas intended to bomb Be'er Sheva's Soroka Hospital outpatient clinic, where she had been receiving regular treatments for serious burns on 45 percent of her body resulting from a gas stove explosion in her home.
The failed bomber later told Israeli television that her greatest wish was to kill 30 to 50 Israelis, including children. The hospital attack would likely have killed or maimed the very Israeli doctor who had saved her life.
Al-Bas' mother said in the PA TV interview that she knew that her daughter had wanted to be a martyr since she was a little girl, but had not encouraged her - not because she opposed the idea of suicide bombing, but because Wafa was female. "If it was a boy, I would have supported, but since she is a girl I discouraged," she said.

Read the rest of the interview here.

Hamas immoderation

An interesting opinion piece from The Jerusalem Post.

Everyone knew it was coming; Hamas, following its surprise victory, would attempt to appear moderate in order to retain the flow of Western financial assistance. If there is a surprise now, it is that Hamas's nod toward moderation is so imperceptible that it barely qualifies as a "charm offensive."
In an interview with the Washington Post on Saturday, Hamas prime minister-designate Ismail Haniyeh was repeatedly asked whether Hamas would abide by the Quartet's conditions, such as recognizing Israel, renouncing terrorism, and accepting previous agreements. "Which borders and which Israel?" was the best he could manage. "Israel has to recognize first the Palestinian state and its borders and then we will know what we are talking about."
According to the Washington Post, when pressed, Haniyeh added, "If Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders, then we will establish a peace in stages."
But Haniyeh on Sunday distanced himself from even such purported relative moderation, the kind that might signal that Hamas has limited demands which might be fulfilled and still leave room for Israel to exist. "I did not say anything about recognizing Israel," he stressed. He had been misunderstood. And he had not spoken about peace, either, only a "political truce" with a host of pre-conditions.
In fact, Hamas is not trying particularly hard to give those who want to believe in its potential moderate credentials enough to hang their hat on. And its leaders are also happy to explain in Arabic to Arab audiences precisely what its stands for strategically.
On February 14, Al Jazeera broadcast an interview in Sudan with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal - the one who recently met with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Teheran. "We say to the Islamic nation: You want neither to pay charity nor to wage jihad?... How are we supposed to liberate Palestine? How are we supposed to regain the Al-Aqsa Mosque? How are we supposed to be a great nation facing the world? By Allah, we have no choice but to sacrifice our property and our souls... There is no other way."
In another interview in Arabic on Dream TV 2 (Egypt, February 13), senior Hamas leader, Moussa Abu Marzouk, also didn't mince words, stating "We say that all of Palestine, from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea, belongs to the Palestinians."
The interviewer then pointed out, "That's the voice directed at your own people, while the voice directed outside speaks about 1967."
Abu Marzouk responded: "We use one voice in all forums. But we also say that we are dealing realistically with the current phase - an independent Palestinian state with full sovereignty over the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. That is what we presented to our people in our election platform."
Probing further, the interviewer asked, "Is this a partial or phased solution?"
Abu Marzouk confirmed, "Yes, it is a temporary and phased solution. This is not the permanent solution." (All translations by www.memri.org.)
In other words, Hamas is happy to play along to a minimal degree with the West's desire to support the Palestinians, on the assumption that the Palestinians have sincerely accepted a two-state solution that includes Israel. But Hamas leaders continue to explain, to anyone who is willing to listen, that their talk of the 1967 borders has nothing to do with an intention to live in peace with Israel.


Read the rest here.

Muslim Preacher on Temple Mount: Restore Worldwide Islamic Rule

For those who are still in doubt of islam's goals, this iman spells it out very plainly.

Sheikh Ismail Nawahda, preaching to Moslem masses on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Friday, has brought it out into the open: the call to restore the Moslem Khalifate, or, "Genuine Islamic Rule."
A plan for the "Return of the Khalifate" was published secretly in 2002 by a group called "The Guiding Helper Foundation." The group explained that it wished to "give direction to the educated Muslim populace in its increasing interest in the establishment of Islam as a practical system of rule."
This past Friday, Feb. 24, however, the plan went public. Sheikh Nawahda called publicly for the renewal of the Islamic Khalifate, which would "unite all the Moslems in the world against the infidels."
The Khalifate system features a leader, known as a Khalif, who heads worldwide Islam. Assisted by a ten-man council, his decisions are totally binding on all Moslems.
According to the Foundation's vision of the Khalifate, significant punishment can only be meted out for 14 crimes, including "accusing a chaste person of fornication," "not performing the formal prayer," and "not fasting during Ramadan."
The Foundation recommends working to restore the Moslem dictatorship using a system of small groups around the world. The purpose is so that the "enemies of Islam" who "will definitely try to stop us" will have a "much harder task, if not impossible, if they are faced with a myriad of small groups of differing locations, ethnicities," etc. This method also "ensures that if one group... is found and cut off, other similar groups will remain undetected."
Sheikh Nawahda reminded his Temple Mount audience that the first step taken by Muhammed in stabilizing his rule was to form the nucleus of the first Islamic country in the city of Medina. Nawahda also said that the status of Moslems around the world has dropped drastically ever since the collapse of the last Khalifate in 1924, after Turkey became a democratic republic.
Nawahda called upon the Arabs of the Palestinian Authority to rise above their personal and party interests, and said that Moslems must return to Islam and join forces in the struggle against the West. He praised the worldwide protests against the anti-Muhammed cartoons, and encouraged the Moslem public to continue such activities. He implied that those who insulted Muhammed are liable for death. The Sheikh designated the Moslem masses as a strong point that can be utilized in the fight against the West.

Bikers Guard US Military Funerals Against Protesters

I'm going to address two topics with this post. First, my admiration for the veterans and the work this biker group is doing to assist families during their grieving period. Second, I want to point out just how wrong this Topeka "pastor" and his congregation are.

I admire all veterans and the sacrifice they have made for our country. Even if they have never fought in a war, or even left the shores of our country, I still appreciate the time and service they have rendered to our country. They are to be respected and honored. And for those who fell during that service, there is no honor high enough for them. May God bless them and their families.

As for the so called "Rev." Fred Phelps Sr., I wish for everyone to understand that he does not speak for me or for the majority of Christians in this country. His teachings are distorting the Word of God. I rebuke him for his non-Christian views.
Let me explain further.
The Bible says that homosexuality is a sin. As with any sin, Christians should dislike the sin, but love the sinner. Through God's grace and Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, all sinners (that's all of us) can be restored to a loving relationship with God. In God's eyes, homosexuality is no worse of a sin than any others. He sees them all as equal, all sin is enough to separate us from God. Only through belief in Jesus as our Lord and Savior can we be cleansed of sin.
Rev. Phelps' teaching of "The church teaches that anyone who does not vocally oppose homosexuality and preach God's hatred for homosexuals is damned to hell" is not in my Bible. As I said, homosexuality is a sin, but no worse than any other. All "unsaved" (for lack of a better word) people are going to end up in hell. God never said that anyone who didn't actively oppose homosexuality is going to hell. According to Phelps’ very loose interpretation, even other Christians who don't sign on to his version of things are going to hell. NOT TRUE. Also, and this is a very major point, God does not hate homosexuals. God "hates" sin. Any and all sin.
The Rev. Phelps is out of line. Completely. I rebuke him for this non-Biblical stance. He should be ministering to the needs of all sinners in a loving manner, in line with the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles. Dislike the sin, but love the sinner. Welcome them with open arms. Show them the loving grace of Jesus.
Now some might call me a hypocrite because of some of the post I have had on this blog. Let me state quite clearly what my biggest dislike is concerning the homosexual community.
The Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin. I believe the Bible in it’s entirety and believe in Biblical Truth (all things the Bible says are true). I am not allowed to "pick and choose" what parts of the Bible I can accept. It’s all or nothing. Either one believes it or not. I also believe in Moral Absolutes. This means that I do not buy into the "free sex; anything, with anyone goes, as long as it feels good" society we live in. The Bible is very wise in matters of sex. Many of today’s problems could be avoided if we just follow what the Bible teaches. But I digress…
Not only does the Bible teach that homosexuality is a sin, but the Center for Disease Control has published several reports stating that many of today’s worse "social" disease are more prevalent and easier for people living the homosexual lifestyle to catch. Some of these, such as AIDS, are very deadly.
If homosexuals are going to push their lifestyle on everyone, at least present the whole story, not just the half-truths, and "glamorous" side which seem to be the only information that make it into the public spotlight.
On to the article:

(CNSNews.com) - A group of motorcycle riders who attend U.S. soldiers' funerals to protect them from anti-homosexual protestors is quickly approaching the 10,000-member mark.

The Patriot Guard Riders (PGR) escort families of fallen soldiers to funeral services and stand between the funeral proceedings and protestors from the Westboro Baptist Church, who picket the ceremonies with anti-American and anti-homosexuality slogans.

The Westboro Baptist Church, according to its website godhatesfags.com, believes that God uses improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Iraq to avenge the August 1995 bombing of the church headquarters in Topeka, Kan. Church founder Fred Phelps Sr. believes the 1995 bomb was a government attempt to silence his group. Topeka police ruled it a random attack that was part of a string of bombings in the area.
Members of Phelps' church stand outside funeral services holding signs that say, "God Hates Fags," and "God Hates the USA." They also sing songs with anti-homosexual messages. Patriot Group Riders stand between church members and funerals, usually using American flags to obstruct the protestors' view.

The "rides," as PGR members call their events, began in August 2005 when members of the American Legion rode motorcycles to funerals as a response to Westboro's protests. PGR spokesman Kurt Mayer said the group has seen "an explosion of growth" since it went nationwide in November and opened chapters in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

Read the rest here.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Actors Don Knots and Darren McGavin Die

What sad news. Two icons of acting have died. Don Knots at age 81 and Darren McGavin at 83.
Knots, known best for his comedy roles in shows such as "The Andy Griffith Show" and "Three's Company" was a world class comic actor.
I will best remember Darren McGavin as his role as the father in the movie "Christmas Story".
With the complete lack of acting talent coming out of Hollywood over recent years, these two great actors will be greatly missed.

Actor Don Knotts Dies at Age 81

Prolific Actor Darren McGavin Dies at 83

Friday, February 24, 2006

South Dakota House Approves Abortion Ban Bill

Fox News just reported this.

PIERRE, S.D. — The state House of Representatives has given final legislative approval to a bill that would ban nearly all abortions in South Dakota.
The measure now goes to Republican Gov. Mike Rounds, who said he is inclined to sign the bill if it has no technical defects.
The measure is intended to prompt a legal fight on the legality of abortion. It would become law July 1 if Rounds signs it.
The bill already had passed both houses of the Legislature, but the House had to agree to a Senate amendment before it could go to the governor. It passed 50-18.
"I've indicated I'm pro-life and I do believe abortion is wrong, and that we should do everything we can to save lives," Rounds said. "If this bill accomplishes that, then I am inclined to sign the bill into law."
Rounds noted that he issued a technical veto of a similar measure two years ago because it would have wiped out all existing restrictions on abortion while the bill was tied up for years in a court challenge. The Legislature failed to make the wording changes Rounds sought.
Under the new bill, doctors in South Dakota would face up to five years in prison for performing an abortion. The only exception would be for women who need abortions to save their lives.
The legislation directly targets Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the nation. Lawmakers believe the nation's highest court is more likely to reverse itself on the abortion issue since the recent appointment of Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito.
Planned Parenthood, which operates a Sioux Falls clinic that is the only facility to perform abortions in South Dakota, has pledged to file a lawsuit challenging the measure, which would become law July 1. The clinic does about 800 abortions a year.
Rounds noted that a court challenge likely would not be settled for two or three years, and only the nation's highest court could overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling. He said he does not know if the Supreme Court would even agree to hear the case.
The governor said he believes it would be better to eliminate abortion in a series of steps, but some abortion opponents want a court challenge that could wipe out abortion in one fell swoop.
"Personally, I believe we will save more lives by continuing to chip away at Roe v. Wade one step at a time," he said.
"Long-term, I think this court is probably more amenable to restricting the impact of Roe v. Wade on a case-by-case basis and an exception-by-exception basis," Rounds said. "But in the meantime, this may satisfy a lot of individuals out there who would like to see if there is one slim chance the court may entertain three years from now a direct assault on Roe v. Wade."
During debate on the measure, lawmakers were told an anonymous donor has pledged to give the state $1 million to defend the abortion ban in court. The Legislature is setting up a special account to accept donations from the public because other people want to contribute to the legal fight.
"I can tell you first-had we've had people stopping in our office trying to drop off checks to promote the defense of this legislation already," Rounds said.


Update:
I wanted to get this posted so the news could get out. Anyway, on to my comments...
This is remarkable. For a state to feel so strongly aboyt this to put themselves in this positon is remarkable. My hat is off to them. We need to pray that they have the success and get the results they are trying for.

Another Cartoon for the Toonophobic

Apparently now it is illegal in Malaysia to not only show cartoons of mohammed, but just mentioning him in a cartoon will bring on troubling consequences.
The cartoon in question was this one:


The newspaper, in Malaysia, that ran it, was the "New Straits Times". Here is an excerpt from the apology editorial they ran after coming under fire.

Obviously, we misjudged how different people would react to Wiley Miller’s Non Sequitur syndicated cartoon published by the New Straits Times last Monday. We have written to the Internal Security Ministry in response to its letter asking us to show cause, explaining the processes involved and how the cartoon came to be published. It is a process involving the human factor, and humans err.
We told the ministry the same thing we are telling you — that we may have misjudged how different people would react to the cartoon, which, as we have pointed out to the authorities, was NOT one of the 12 produced by Danish cartoonists that outraged Muslims throughout the world. It was a totally different cartoon.It was wry humour by an artist whose work is syndicated in more than 700 newspapers, including those in Islamic countries, and whose strip has run in the NST since 1998.
There was no caricature of the Prophet Muhammad at all in that cartoon; nor was there any derogatory comment made about the Prophet or Islam.
Perhaps, in more ordinary circumstances, such a cartoon would not have received more than a passing mention.
Yet, these are different times. The Muslim world was outraged by the blasphemy of the Danish and European newspapers.
When the Sarawak Tribune and Guang Ming Daily reproduced pictures depicting the caricature of the Prophet, the Government acted firmly and suspended both newspapers. Their editors and publishers were held accountable.
In the case of Wiley Miller’s cartoon in the NST, there was no caricature of Prophet Muhammad at all. NONE.
(In other words, don't kill us, burn down our offices, riot in the streets or go on a Christian killing rampage, as if you even needed an excuse to do those things anyway. -ed.)
And that is why we believed it was inoffensive. But just as we have received letters and emails, many from Muslims, saying they could not see what the fuss was all about, there are also those who feel strongly about this.
They include some members of the Cabinet, including newly appointed Information Minister Datuk Zainuddin Maidin; NGOs, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his son Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, the Opposition Parti Islam se-Malaysia, and others who have called the NST office to register their protest.
But again, we want to make very clear: There was no caricature of the Prophet published in the NST.
(See note above. -ed.)
We have always been sensitive to religious feelings. In fact, the NST is the most multiracial newspaper in the country because we have a very good mix of Malaysians working with us at all levels.
No other newspaper can boast of that racial and religious make-up. Hence, that makes us more sensitive to each other’s feelings and allows us to respect each other’s beliefs to a greater extent than an organisation dominated by one racial or religious group.
(Hey, we're victims here too...but we just realized that Malaysia, like all other muslim countries, doesn't have freedom. -ed)
When the caricature controversy began, our editors and section heads were instructed not to even think about reproducing any of the caricatures.In the case of the Wiley Miller comic strip, the sub-editor in charge let through the cartoon because it bore no caricature nor words offensive to Islam. (Anyone else feel that maybe the sub-editor is a "dead man walking"? -ed.)

Read the rest of the bowing and scraping
here. Maybe an iman will like the shoe kissing and go ahead and tell them that they are under his protection. "Good little news paper editors. Now curl up on the floor by big daddy imans chair and kiss my shoes some more. If you're really good at it, I might even pat your head some."
Oh, by the way, here is a link to the origianal cartoons.
For a definition of "Toonophobia" click here.

The LORD is My Shepherd


The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Psalm 23

Adopt Our Values or Go Home, Foreign-Born Muslims Told

Our government should take the hint and follow right along with what Australian Prime Minister John Howard's administration is saying.

(CNSNews.com) - Australian Muslims already unhappy with Prime Minister John Howard's criticism about Islamic radicalism are bristling at even tougher comments from the man tipped to succeed him, who says any Muslim immigrant who can't accept Australian values should leave.
Anyone wanting to live under Islamic law (shari'a) might feel more comfortable living in countries where it is applied, such as Saudi Arabia or Iran, federal Treasurer Peter Costello said in an address to the Sydney Institute, a think tank.
In a pledge of allegiance, immigrants taking on Australian citizenship declare: "I pledge my loyalty to Australia and its people, whose democratic beliefs I share, whose rights and liberties I respect and whose laws I will uphold and obey."
Costello said that anyone "who does not acknowledge the supremacy of civil law laid down by democratic processes cannot truthfully take the pledge of allegiance. As such they do not meet the pre-condition for citizenship."
Any Muslim planning to immigrate to Australia should first consider its values.
"Before entering a mosque visitors are asked to take off their shoes," Costello said. "This is a sign of respect. If you have a strong objection to walking in your socks don't enter the mosque.
"Before becoming an Australian you will be asked to subscribe to certain values. If you have strong objection to those values, don't come to Australia."
The debate in Australia over Islam and its more radical adherents has been picking up steadily since 9/11, becoming more urgent after 88 Australians were killed when Islamists bombed an Indonesian tourist resort in 2002, and focusing increasingly on homegrown extremists after last July's London bombings, carried out by British-born Muslims.

Read the rest here.

Re-Post: "Israel: Hamas is forming ‘Axis of Evil’ with Syria and Iran"


Israel: Hamas is forming ‘Axis of Evil’ with Syria and Iran
by Michael G. Mickey
(2-23-06)


Some of the Bible's prophesies have been fulfilled. Others have not. While none of us know precisely how things are going to shake out in relation to the fulfillment of the Bible's remaining prophecies, one thing even the most mildly interested Christian knows of Bible prophecy is the Bible predicts the battle to end all battles will take place in the Middle East. We refer to it as Armageddon.
Revelation 16:16: And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
How close are we to Armageddon? Only the Lord knows as the onset of the seven-year Tribulation Period during which Armageddon will occur will only take place once the Rapture of the Church (
1st Thessalonians 4:16-17) has occurred and the Antichrist, the son of perdition (2nd Thessalonians 2:3-4), has come forward to confirm a seven-year covenant of peace in the Middle East between Israel and her enemies "with many." (Daniel 9:26-27)
Can we see any evidence in the world around us that may indicate all of the events detailed in the preceding paragraph may be drawing near? I certainly believe so, as I continue documenting on this site.
Presently, the revived Roman empire of Bible prophecy, the European Union, is heavily involved in peacemaking efforts in the Middle East. Not only is the EU involved, there are three other world powers aiding them: the United States, Russia, and the United Nations. Could the highly publicized Quartet comprised of these four globally influential powers be the "many" the prophet Daniel foretold we'd see the Antichrist arise from among to confirm Middle East peace? Quite possibly, although I would never be so bold as to say so dogmatically.
Not only do we have the Quartet in existence, there is a seemingly failed peace covenant discussed often which had an original seven-year timeline, the Oslo Accords. Many people tell me Oslo, which was signed in 1993 and was to see a Palestinian state born in the year 2000, is a dead issue, but I continue to document that it remains a basis for future peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians to this very day, the most recent example being found in a
Jerusalem Newswire commentary dated 2-21-06.
In the JN commentary, Jerusalem Newswire's Ryan Jones documents the results of a recent survey conducted by Jerusalem Media & Communication Center, one result of which found the Palestinians "are split on whether Hamas should even bother with the Oslo Accords." Does this indicate that the Oslo Accords are a dead issue? Hardly, leaving me to wonder if there is yet a chance that Oslo may play a role in the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
Could it be that what didn't take place in the first attempt at implementing the Oslo Accords will take place in a second attempt? As we look at Daniel's prophecy detailing the advent of the Antichrist, it's interesting that we see the seven-year covenant will be 'confirmed' or be made strong. How do we 'confirm' peace covenants in these end times? We use peacekeepers, right? Again, I'm not being dogmatic in stating the Oslo Accords may form the basis for the fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy concerning the rise of Antichrist in the future. What I do dogmatically believe, however, is this tidbit of information, along with many others present in the world around us, should be stored in our minds as a reminder that Christ's return for His Church may be close at hand! Why? Because whatever gives us hope in our flesh, which is often weary from the troubles of this world, that we may soon be caught up to be with the Lord gives us great spiritual power and motivation to live our lives in the center of God's will!
So, what does this issue of Israel saying Hamas is forming an 'Axis of Evil' with Syria and Iran potentially have to do with Bible prophecy? Lots! Let's look at that for a moment.
A
Ynetnews article states (emphasis added mine) "Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Gillerman, on Tuesday warned of a new “terror axis” between Iran, Syria and Hamas, which could kick start “the first world war of the 21st century.”"
I don't know about any of you but I'm convinced the next world war that takes place on this planet, pitting nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom, is going to swiftly lead the world to Armageddon. How could that not be the case when so many nations have nuclear weaponry and so many more are on the brink of developing these deadly weapons of mass destruction?
Gillerman's words ring very prophetic to me as we know for a fact, based on Ezekiel 38 & 39, Iran (referred to as Persia in the Old Testament passages) is going to be involved in the prophesied Gog-Magog invasion attempt described in those two chapters. Syria, interestingly, is mentioned by Gillerman but is nowhere to be found among the list of nations that will come against Israel in the Gog-Magog attack.
Could it be that Damascus, the vacation spot of radical Islamic terrorists the world over, won't be around to join in the attack? The prophet Isaiah wrote, as seen in Isaiah 17:1: The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.
Although there are some respected theologians who suggest Isaiah's prophecy of Damascus being utterly destroyed has been fulfilled in the past, I can't help but wonder, particularly knowing how dedicated Damascus is to Israel's destruction, why it would sit idly by while practically every Islamic nation in the region joins Russia in attempting to achieve the long-standing goal of the Arab world - the destruction of Israel.
Encarta states Damascus is one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities, documenting its history from 15th-century BC Egyptian inscriptions that refer to it as the capital of a city-state until now. Although I've read, even in Encarta's description, that Tiglath-Pileser of Assyria left Damascus in ruins in 732 BC, I am not convinced, based on the fact Damascus has continued onward as a city and remains one to this day, that Isaiah's prophecy concerning Damascus has been completely fulfilled, particularly when I look at the Gog-Magog attack to come. Where, oh where, is the world's #2 state sponsor of terrorism when Gog-Magog occurs? Could it be that the totality of Isaiah's prophecy being fulfilled is yet to take place during this time when advanced weaponry, particularly nuclear weaponry, could see an entire city taken from being a city in mere seconds, leaving it a ruinous heap? Something for us to ponder at the very least.
No 'Axis of Evil' will prevail against Israel or Christ!
If an 'Axis of Evil' should form each and every day between now and Christ's return, both for His Church at the Rapture and visibly, physically and bodily at the battle of Armageddon with His Church at His side, the nation of Israel, as seen in the Word of God, will survive, albeit battered by the time Christ returns at Armageddon, Jerusalem having been trampled under foot for forty and two months by the forces of Antichrist, as seen in Revelation 11:2.
While the born-again believer should be upset that the enemies of our God are plotting a takeover of the Holy Land, we need to maintain a sense of calm, realizing, as we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, that all these things must come to pass as detailed in the Word of God. We should also, particularly at this moment in history, realize that these troubling matters point toward a brighter day coming for those of us who have placed our faith in Jesus Christ, potentially in the not-too-distant future!
Luke 21:28: And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
What're you waiting for, Christians? Look up! Lift up your heads! Jesus Christ is coming soon!

Pro-Israel Christians join forces

I've always thought that despite what we hear in the MSM's, there are a lot more Christians and denominations who support Israel then there are who do not. It's good to see this group get started. Maybe by combining efforts, they can force the MSM's to report the truth, for once.

American evangelicals form umbrella body in bid to unite efforts in support of Israel. New organization to represent some 35 million Christians.

WASHINGTON - Pro-Israeli Christian groups operating in the United States have decided to form an umbrella organization that will engage in lobbying efforts in Washington beginning this coming summer.
The organization, made up of mostly evangelical groups, will also open offices across the country, hold events in support of Israel, offer political, financial and public relations support, and work to strengthen the strategic alliance between the U.S. and Israel.
This umbrella organization is expected to comprise some 30-35 million American evangelists who have until now operated separately, and will act similarly to the way the Jewish lobby operates in the U.S.
The new organization will be led by John Hagee, an influential evangelist with some put at the White House, who heads a congregation of
tens of thousands of worshippers in San Antonio, Texas. Hagee's Sunday sermons are broadcast to millions of American viewers on television.
Some two weeks ago, Hagee convened 400 heads of Christian congregations and organizations, representing 30-35 million Americans, to discuss the establishment of the umbrella organization, set to be directed by Hagee himself. Israel's Ambassador in Washington Danny Ayalon later hosted a special meeting with 80 Christian leaders, including Robert Stern, designated to serve as vice chairman of the organization.
In July, heads of the group are scheduled to arrive in D.C. and present their initiative before members of Congress.


Read the rest here.

130 Christians murdered over cartoons

More deadly news concerning the Christians in Nigeria. Pray for these people.

Muslim rioters, incensed over the cartoons of Muhammad published in Denmark, were responsible for killing at least 130 Christians on the streets of Maiduguri and Onitsha in Nigeria, according to reports filtering out of the country from
Voice of the Martyrs.
At least 51 Christians are confirmed dead in the Maiduguri attacks that took place Saturday. In the rampage, more than 150 homes and 32 churches were burned, and 85 shops were destroyed. Authorities were finally able to control the volatile scene after arresting 114 and having militia enforce a curfew.
The mayhem began when Muslims staged their demonstration against degrading caricatures of Muhammad that were originally published in September 2005 by the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten. Even though the cartoons were by no means a Christian attack on Islam, Muslims in Nigeria and throughout the world have turned their rage toward Christians – many of whom have never even heard of the controversial sketches, reports
Voice of the Martyrs.
Muslims were reported running through the streets of Maiduguri threatening people with death and violence if they did not speak their local dialect. Many of the dozens of victims were publicly tortured to death in the city streets.
Amidst the violence, six children were burned to ashes in front of their father, Joseph Tukwa, who was unable to rescue them. Six Christian leaders, including the Rev. Joshua Adamu, were injured and are now in hiding. Church of Christ in Nigeria, Living Faith Church, Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, St. Augustine's Catholic Church and St. Mary's Catholic Church were some of the churches set ablaze by rioters, who killed two Catholic priests. St. Rita's Catholic Church was also torched. The Rev. Fr. Matthew Gajere was murdered and then burned after he helped several altar boys escape to safety.
In total, at least 123 people have been killed in the last four days of violence across Nigeria.
At least 80 people, mostly Christians, were slaughtered during two days of violence in Onitsha, leading Nigerian human rights group Civil Liberties Organization, said yesterday.
"We counted at least 60 dead on Tuesday, and on Wednesday no less than 20," said Emeka Umeh, who heads CLO in Anambra State.
With Nigeria's population of 126 million people roughly split between a predominantly Muslim north and a Christian majority south, analysts say the cartoon controversy has simply served as a spark for this latest episode of sectarian violence.


And from the Vatican:

Vatican to Muslims: practice what you preach
PARIS (Reuters) - After backing calls by Muslims for respect for their religion in the Mohammad cartoons row, the Vatican is now urging Islamic countries to reciprocate by showing more tolerance toward their Christian minorities.
Roman Catholic leaders at first said Muslims were right to be outraged when Western newspapers reprinted Danish caricatures of the Prophet, including one with a bomb in his turban. Most Muslims consider any images of Mohammad to be blasphemous.
After criticizing both the cartoons and the violent protests in Muslim countries that followed, the Vatican this week linked the issue to its long-standing concern that the rights of other faiths are limited, sometimes severely, in Muslim countries.
Vatican prelates have been concerned by recent killings of two Catholic priests in Turkey and Nigeria. Turkish media linked the death there to the cartoons row. At least 146 Christians and Muslims have died in five days of religious riots in Nigeria.
"If we tell our people they have no right to offend, we have to tell the others they have no right to destroy us," Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican's Secretary of State (prime minister), told journalists in Rome.
"We must always stress our demand for reciprocity in political contacts with authorities in Islamic countries and, even more, in cultural contacts," Foreign Minister Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo told the daily Corriere della Sera.
Reciprocity -- allowing Christian minorities the same rights as Muslims generally have in Western countries, such as building houses of worship or practicing religion freely -- is at the heart of Vatican diplomacy toward Muslim states.
Vatican diplomats argue that limits on Christians in some Islamic countries are far harsher than restrictions in the West that Muslims decry, such as France's ban on headscarves in state schools.
Saudi Arabia bans all public expression of any non-Muslim religion and sometimes arrests Christians even for worshipping privately. Pakistan allows churches to operate but its Islamic laws effectively deprive Christians of many rights.
Both countries are often criticized at the United Nations Human Rights Commission for violating religious freedoms.


Read the rest here.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Saul's (Paul's) Conversion


Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?"
And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" And He said, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do."
The men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one.
Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus.
And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Here I am, Lord."
And the Lord said to him, "Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight."
But Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name."
But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name's sake."
So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."
And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized; and he took food and was strengthened.

Acts 9:1-19 (New American Standard Bible)

Americans Favor Israel

I blogged about this a week or so ago. It appears that Americans, as a whole, are starting to realize that Israel is not "evil incarnate" that the arab world and main stream media (MSM) want everyone to believe it is. The Gallup poll indicates that people who follow the events in the Middle East closely are more likely to favor the Israelis.

A Gallup poll shows that Americans are very pessimistic about Middle East peace, more sympathetic to Israel, and less favorable to the PA. Sympathy towards Israel increases with news-awareness.
The annual Gallup Poll on World Affairs was conducted on a random sampling of 1,002 adults on Feb. 6-9, some two weeks after the Hamas terrorist organization won power in the Palestinian Authority (PA). Some findings:

A plurality of Americans - 44% - believe the United States should conduct diplomatic relations with the PA only if Hamas recognizes Israel. Half that number believe the United States should deal with the PA regardless of its stance toward Israel, and one-quarter of Americans say the United States should not conduct any relations with the PA at all.
Ignorance on the Middle East conflict does not work to Israel's advantage, according to Gallup. Americans who say they follow news about world affairs "very closely" are more likely to sympathize with the Israelis (66%) than Americans who follow foreign news only somewhat closely (59%) or who do not follow it closely (52%).
Americans are much less favorable to financial assistance to the PA than they are towards a diplomatic relationship. A majority, 57%, oppose giving any financial aid to the Palestinian Authority while Hamas is in power, while 30% would give aid if the PA recognizes Israel. Just 5% favor giving aid even if the PA does not recognize Israel.
Gallup also asked whether American sympathies lie more with the Israelis or with the Arabs of the Palestinian Authority. The numbers this year: 59% are with Israel, and only 15% with the PA. These figures represent one of the most lopsided margins in favor of the Israelis ever recorded by Gallup.
When not compared with each other, Israel received a "favorable" rating from 68% of Americans, and the PA received the same from 11%. Last year at this time, Israel received 69% approval, and the PA - 27%. This year's readings are the most negative Gallup has found since it began asking about the Palestinian Authority in 2000, while last year's were the most positive.
The poll found that Republicans (77%) are significantly more likely to sympathize with the Israelis than are Democrats (50%) or independents (50%).
By a 2-1 margin, Americans now say there will never come a time when Israel and the Arab nations will live in peace. The 65% to 32% split compares with a roughly 50-50 split last year.

British Pol Advises American Christians to Get Involved in Politics

Many of us in the blogshere have felt that someday sermons, relating to homosexuality and other sins that are considered by society to be "normal" actions, will be outlawed. I know, at this time, that seems quite a stretch, but look how far things have come in that direction in just the last 10 years. Christians need to be active in the political arena if we are to keep our right to practice our faith as the Bible teaches.

(AgapePress) - A member of the British House of Lords has told the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) convention in Dallas that biblical preaching could be outlawed unless Christians become more politically active.
Recently the British Parliament nearly passed legislation that would have amended that nation's Racial and Religious Hatred Bill and outlawed incitement to religious hatred. The measure lost by a single vote -- the vote of Prime Minister Tony Blair, who left early, confident that the bill would pass without him.
John Taylor, a member of the House of Lords, spoke at this week's NRB gathering in Texas. Taylor said passage of the bill could have led to pastors being arrested for so-called "hate speech." Unless Christians take action, says Taylor, clergy in his country -- as well as in the United States -- could fall victim to such statutes, should they be enacted.
"There's an old saying that things won't change until people change," Taylor says. "So we can moan about these [political] institutions and so forth, or we can basically get in there. We are called to be salt and light -- so why don't we take over the Senate and Congress and so forth?"
According to Taylor, Christians in Britain have virtually abandoned politics. He says there is a "kind of lethargy" in Christians that often causes them to retreat from the political arena, saying "Well, that's politics; we don't get involved in politics." But try telling that to Muslims, he adds.
"There are Muslim Members of Parliament who are sponsored by mosques. They are there to preach Islam," he says. "In the House of Lords, there's a room where you can pray to Mecca -- but there's no room where you can pray to Christ."
Taylor calls it a "miracle" that the prime minister was absent for the final vote. Earlier, members of Parliament had voted 288-278 to back the amendment to the bill.
A BBC report quotes one member of Parliament as saying "the government just failed to understand that they can't take liberties with freedom of expression. This [vote] has showed ... that we will stand up for freedom of expression." That report notes this was only the second defeat of government-backed legislation in almost ten years.

Ohio Drops Science Education Standards Requiring Critical Analysis of Darwinism

One more time...Darwinism is a theory, not a fact, but a theory. Eveyone, all together now...Darwinism is a theory, not a fact.

(AgapePress) - Students in Ohio public schools will no longer be taught the controversy surrounding the theory of evolution. The Ohio Board of Education has voted to repeal both its "Critical Analysis of Evolution" lesson plan and the benchmark in the state science standards that required critical analysis of evolution.
Casey Luskin with the Seattle, Washington-based
Discovery Institute, a leading intelligent design think tank, says a group of Darwinists convinced members of the Ohio Board of Education that critiquing evolution is equivalent to bringing intelligent design or creationism into the classroom.
Somehow, the board members failed to recognize the fact that the original state-approved science standards "explicitly stated that the Ohio science standards did not require the teaching of intelligent design," Luskin says. Still, he insists, the argument that critique of evolutionary theory must necessarily involve bringing religion into the classroom is a "Darwinist charade" that will not succeed forever.
After all, the Discovery Institute spokesman notes, evidence suggests the majority of Ohio citizens would prefer to see students across the state receive a balanced science education. A recent poll found 69 percent of Ohioans want the strengths and weaknesses of evolutionary theory taught in schools.
"You would think that the board members would be sensitive to what the public wants and the fact that there are many legitimate scientific critiques of evolution that would be educationally beneficial for students to know about," Luskin laments. "I just find it very unfortunate that a majority of the Ohio State Board of Education essentially did not recognize what the people of Ohio clearly want."
Luskin believes the Ohio education officials were unfairly pressured and browbeaten into a bad decision by proponents of Darwinism. "In my opinion, what took place was the result of people who oppose objective evolution education using, basically, false fears and fear tactics to bully the board into dropping what is a very good policy," he says.

International health experts express concern over unprecedented bird flu spread

If this continues to grow and mutate, it could be a very great concern for all of us.

GENEVA - International health experts have expressed concern over the unprecedented spread of bird flu from Asia to Europe and Africa, but said the spotlight is on Indonesia because of its continuing high infection rate among people and poultry.
Fourteen countries - from India to Nigeria and Egypt - have reported their first cases of birds infected with the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu since the beginning of February, the World Health Organization said.
“It’s absolutely unprecedented,” WHO spokeswoman Maria Cheng told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “We’ve never seen so many outbreaks of the same virus in so many different regions, and our concern obviously is that humans could potentially come into contact with birds infected with H5N1, which would mean populations worldwide are potentially at risk.”
WHO says it remains difficult for humans to catch H5N1. The agency has confirmed 170 human cases, including 92 deaths, since 2003 - mostly in east Asia. But WHO experts fear that the virus could mutate into a form that is easily transmitted from person to person, and that that could set off a flu pandemic.
Many of the locations of recent outbreaks were in Europe, where wild birds have tested positive for the disease. But poultry cases in India, Egypt and Nigeria are causing international health authorities more concern because of the close contact chickens and other domestic fowl can have with humans who keep them around their homes, increasing the chance of the disease jumping the species barrier.
“At the moment we don’t have very good information about how extensive these outbreaks are,” said Cheng. “Certainly cases like India and Egypt where population density is quite high and people tend to keep birds at home, that’s a concern.”


Read the rest here.

Mosque Attack Pushes Iraq Toward Civil War

Amazing how far the "haters of democracy" will go in order to get what they want.

Insurgents posing as police destroyed the golden dome of one of Iraq's holiest Shiite shrines Wednesday, setting off an unprecedented spasm of sectarian violence. Angry crowds thronged the streets, militiamen attacked Sunni mosques, and at least 19 people were killed.
On Thursday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blamed the United States and Israel for the destruction of a Shiite shrine's golden dome in Iraq, saying it was the work of "defeated Zionists and occupiers."
Speaking to a crowd of thousands on a tour of southwestern Iran, the president referred to the destruction of the Askariya mosque dome in Samarra on Wednesday, which the Iraqi government has blamed on insurgents.
"They invade the shrine and bomb there because they oppose God and justice," Ahmadinejad said, referring to the U.S.-led multinational forces in Iraq.

Meanwhile, with the gleaming dome of the 1,200-year-old Askariya shrine reduced to rubble, some Shiites lashed out at the United States as partly to blame.
The violence _ many of the 90 attacks on Sunni mosques were carried out by Shiite militias _ seemed to push Iraq closer to all-out civil war than at any point in the three years since the U.S.-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
Many leaders called for calm. "We are facing a major conspiracy that is targeting Iraq's unity," said President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd. "We should all stand hand in hand to prevent the danger of a civil war."
President Bush pledged American help to restore the mosque after the bombing north of Baghdad, which dealt a severe blow to U.S. efforts to keep Iraq from falling deeper into sectarian violence.
"The terrorists in Iraq have again proven that they are enemies of all faiths and of all humanity," Bush said. "The world must stand united against them, and steadfast behind the people of Iraq."
British Prime Minister Tony Blair also condemned the bombing and pledged funds toward the shrine's reconstruction.
U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and the top American commander in Iraq, Gen. George Casey, called the attack a deliberate attempt to foment sectarian strife and warned it was a "critical moment for Iraq."
No one was reported wounded in the bombing of the shrine in Samarra.


Read the rest here.

'Gospel of Judas' to Be Published

Take this one with a grain of salt. It would be interesting reading, but won't change anything about how I feel about the Bible or Christ's sacrifice on the Cross.

The first translation of an ancient, self-proclaimed "Gospel of Judas" will be published in late April, bringing to light what some scholars believe are the writings of an early Christian sect suppressed for supporting Jesus Christ's infamous betrayer.If authentic, the manuscript could add to the understanding of Gnosticism, an unorthodox Christian theology denounced by the early church. The Roman Catholic Church is aware of the manuscript, which a Vatican historian calls "religious fantasy."
According to scholars who have seen photographs of the brittle manuscript, it argues that Judas Iscariot was carrying out God's will when he handed Christ over to his executioners. The manuscript could bring momentum to a broader academic movement that argues Judas has gotten a bum rap among both historians and theologians, as well as in popular culture.
The manuscript's owner says he has cut a deal with the National Geographic Society to release the English translation with a multimedia splash after Easter.
Monsignor Walter Brandmuller, president of the Vatican's Committee for Historical Science, called it "a product of religious fantasy."
In an interview, he said the manuscript would not have any impact on church teaching.
"We welcome the (manuscript) like we welcome the critical study of any text of ancient literature," Brandmuller said.
He said that despite some reports to the contrary, the drive to improve Judas' reputation does not have the support of the Vatican.
"There is no campaign, no movement for the rehabilitation of the traitor of Jesus," said Brandmuller.
Brushed onto 31 pages of papyrus in Coptic, an Egyptian script, the manuscript has become tattered after spending centuries buried beneath the sands of middle Egypt and decades on the gray market.
According to Mario Roberty, a Swiss lawyer who currently owns the manuscript, the document, known as a "codex," has undergone restoration and translation by a team of researchers headed by the Swiss Coptic scholar Rodolphe Kasser.
"They've put each page under glass. It's incredibly brittle and in bad shape," Roberty said in a phone interview from Geneva.
Results of the research, Roberty said, will be released after Easter, when Christians around the world traditionally mark the official version of Christ's death as told by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Roberty would not discuss the contents of the codex and a National Geographic spokeswoman in Washington, Mary Jeanne Jacobsen, would not comment at all. But scholars independently following the project have already begun to anticipate some of its findings.
Working from photographs of the codex, Charles Hedrick, a retired professor of Coptic studies at Missouri State University, has translated six pages of the manuscript into English, including the codex's title "The Gospel of Judas." Roberty confirmed that Hedrick's photos were genuine
reproductions of the codex.
Some of the manuscript's passages echo descriptions in the New Testament of Christ's arrest, recalling how Roman authorities aimed to "seize (Christ) in the act of prayer" and how Judas "took some money and he delivered (Christ) over to them," Hedrick said, quoting from his translation.
Although Judas cooperates in the arrest of Christ, Hedrick said, the codex does not depict him as a villain.
"Judas is not a bad guy in this text," Hedrick said in an interview. "He is the good guy and he is serving God."


Read the rest of the article here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Jesus and the Miracles of Healing


And as Jesus returned, the people welcomed Him, for they had all been waiting for Him.
And there came a man named Jairus, and he was an official of the synagogue; and he fell at Jesus' feet, and began to implore Him to come to his house; for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying.
But as He went, the crowds were pressing against Him.
And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped.
And Jesus said, "Who is the one who touched Me?" And while they were all denying it, Peter said, "Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on You."
But Jesus said, "Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me."
When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed.
And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace."

Luke 8:40-48 (New American Standard Bible)

Hamas tells Arabs: Eliminate Israel

And somehow this surprises people?

Confronted by confusion in the Arab world over its stance on Israel's right to exist, Hamas Political Bureau deputy head Musa Abu Marzouq affirmed to an Egyptian interviewer that the terrorist group that won the recent Palestinian Authority elections believes the entire Jewish state must be eliminated.
In an appearance on Egypt's Dream 2 channel, Marzouq was pressed by an interviewer who insisted Hamas says one thing in English to foreigners and another in Arabic to Palestinians.
Meanwhile, the head of Hamas' Political Bureau, Khaled Mash'al, reiterated the group's views of Israel in a visit to Sudan in which he was honored with a poetry reading in a meeting with local intellectuals. Abdallah Abu Qiqa's poem declared: "We will unite the armies, and they will cry 'Allah Akbar' to Tony and to Bush."
The Feb. 13 conversation in Egypt with Marzouq went like this, according a translation by the
Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI. [MEMRI provides a video excerpt of the interview here.

Read the rest here.

'Hate crime' victims:Young, poor, white

Very interesting...Not what the ACLU and Rainbow what you to hear at all. I'm sure they will be coming out against the report in the near future with their "own" statistics.
I've always been against "hate" crime laws. They are too open to what people where "thinking" at the moment they committed the crime. Unless our law enforcement officials have somehow become clairvoyant and can "read" minds, they have no idea what the person was thinking.

God sees all crimes as "hate" crimes. They are all sin to him. If you read the Old Testament, you find page after page of directions from God as to how awful cirme is and how it is to be delt with. Jesus took it a step further by saying in Matthew 5:43-45:
"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."

WASHINGTON - The most likely victim of a hate crime in the U.S. is a poor, young, white, single urban dweller, according to an analysis of Justice Department statistics collected from between July 2000 and December 2003.
A November report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics detailing a study of 210,000 "hate crimes" a year during that period has gone virtually unreported by the U.S. press.
But it does contain some surprising numbers. While race is, by far, the No. 1 factor cited as the reason for hate crimes, blacks are slightly less likely to be victims and far more likely to be perpetrators, the statistics show.

As defined by the report, a collection of data compiled by the National Crime Victimization Survey and the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program, an ordinary crime becomes a hate crime when offenders choose a victim because of some characteristic – race, religion, ethnicity, religion or association – and provide evidence that hate prompted them to commit the crime.
The NCVS is a database of 77,600 nationally representative people interviewed every other year about their experience with crime, while the UCR data is based on law enforcement reports to the FBI.
About 56 percent of hate crimes were motivated, at least in part, by racial hatred, according to the study, and most were accompanied by violence.
While nine in 10,000 whites and nine in 10,000 Hispanics are victimized by hate crimes, only seven in 10,000 blacks are targets, according to the report.
"Generally, per capita rates of hate crime victimization do not appear to vary based upon victim's gender, race, ethnicity or educational attainment," says the report on all hate crimes reported by victims and police. "However, young people; those never married, separated or divorced; those with low incomes; and those living in urban areas did report experiencing hate crimes at higher rates."
In fact, those between the ages of 17 and 20 were far more likely to be victims than in any other age group – with 16 incidents per 10,000 people. Those never married, with 16 incidents per 10,000, or separated or divorced, with 26 incidents per 10,000, were also much more likely to be victims of hate crimes. Those with incomes less than $25,000 faced worse odds of victimization, 13 per 10,000, as well as those in urban areas, also 13 per 10,000.
The report says 38 percent of all those reporting hate crimes said the attacker was black, and in 90 percent of those cases, the victim believed the offender's motive was racial. In incidents involving white attackers, only 30 percent attribute the hate crime to race, while 20 percent attributed it to ethnicity.
The report says 40 percent of white hate crime victims were attacked by blacks, adding, "The small number of black hate crime victims precludes analysis of the race of persons who victimized them."
The report by the Justice Department is the one most often cited by hate-crime experts as depicting the true national story. It shows the number of incidents is more than 15 times higher than FBI statistics alone reflect.


Read the rest here.