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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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Petition Drive Seeks to Undo South Dakota Abortion Ban

This should be interesting to watch. Quite honestly, I’d love to see Roe v. Wade overturned.

(CNSNews.com) - South Dakota’s abortion ban, which liberals and conservatives expect will serve as the basis for the next Supreme Court debate on abortion rights, should have been decided by the state’s voters instead of its politicians, according to the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families.


Read more here.

Palestinian Rockets Rain on Southern Israel

So much for disengagement helping security.

Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) - Islamic Jihad reportedly is claiming responsibility for Wednesday morning’s rocket attack on the southern Israeli town of Sderot.
The early-morning barrage came just one day after Israel publicized for the first time that it was sending commando units deep into the northern Gaza Strip to ambush and intercept the rocket-firing squads.
The forays more than a mile into the Gaza Strip mark a tactical change in the way Israel is dealing with the terror cells that moved into the area after Israel pulled out eight months ago.


Read more here.

Modified Image on School Yearbook Cover Upsets Some Parents

I wish this society would get over this “we must not offend anyone” mentality. You people who preach tolerance are the most intolerant people of all.

(AgapePress) - Parents in suburban Fort Worth, Texas, are expressing anger over an elementary school’s decision to remove the phrase “In God We Trust” from its yearbook cover.
Officials at Liberty Elementary School in Colleyville deliberately omitted the words “In God We Trust” from a large image of the new “Liberty” nickel appearing on the cover of the school’s inaugural yearbook. The coin features a portrait of Thomas Jefferson, the cursive “Liberty” inscription in Jefferson’s own handwriting, and the national motto along the right edge — except, that is, along the edge of the coin’s image on this elementary school’s yearbook.


Read more about it here.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Indonesia quake death toll at 5,427

Continue to pray for the victims of this terrible earthquake.

YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia (Reuters) - International relief efforts picked up on Tuesday for survivors of a weekend earthquake that killed more than 5,000 people on Indonesia's Java island, with over a score of countries now involved.
Planes carrying vital supplies from abroad reached the stricken region, while the airport at the ancient royal capital of Yogyakarta re-opened to commercial traffic despite a heavily damaged terminal.
A plane carrying a 40-member Chinese medical team as well as five tonnes of medical supplies landed early on Tuesday at Solo, some 60 km (40 miles) north of Yogyakarta province, Xinhua news agency reported.
The quake's official death toll had reached 5,427 as of Tuesday morning, according to the government's Social Affairs Department.
The 6.3 magnitude quake left more than 130,000 homeless by one estimate, many without shelter and short of food.
Many survivors who were injured or whose homes were destroyed have been staying on the grounds of hospitals and mosques or in makeshift shelters beside the rubble of their houses.
The tremor early on Saturday was centred just off the Indian Ocean coast near Yogyakarta, the former Javanese royal capital.


Read more here.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Happy Memorial Day from Jesus is Lord, A Worshipping Christian's Blog

Memorial Day


We'd like to wish everyone a very Happy and Safe Memorial Day.
-Steve, Missi and Family
Jesus is Lord, A Worshipping Christian Family

John 11:25-26 (New International Version)

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Latest on Illegal Immigration

There are several articles I want to summarize here.

National Guard units to be armed, close to border.
Chief says rules of engagement allow troops to fire weapons.

The head of the U.S. National Guard surprised Border Patrol officials, declaring some of the troops he will send to assist them will work in close proximity to the border, be armed and allowed to fire their weapons if necessary.



Feds Crack Down On Illegal Immigrants In MN
(AP) Bloomington, Minn. Federal agents are aggressively tracking down and deporting illegal immigrants in Minnesota as part of a national crackdown on aliens who have disobeyed their deportation orders.

Agents are now showing up each day on the doorsteps of immigrant families, in contrast with the past, when the nearly 600,000 people nationwide under deportation orders had little to fear as long as they weren't charged with other offenses.



Arizona passes border law criminalizing illegal aliens
Arizona lawmakers have approved legislation that would criminalize the presence of illegal aliens and seeks to cut off job opportunities that attract illegal border crossers.

"The House and Senate may not get anything done. So we have an obligation to respond, since this is not just a national border [that's being compromised], it's the Arizona border," said state Rep. Russell Pearce, lead sponsor of the bill that passed the Legislature Thursday.

U.N. making homeschooling illegal?

And we need the U.N. why? Time to give them an eviction notice.

A U.N. treaty conferring rights to children could make homeschooling illegal in the U.S. even though the Senate has not ratified it, a homeschooling association warns.

Read the rest of the article here.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Re-Post: The 'Da Vinci' libel by Joseph Farah

I don’t like writing about Hollywood, because, generally, it bores me to tears.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve said everything there is to say about the entertainment industry during a period 20-some years ago when I wrote about it full-time.

But then comes “The Da Vinci Code.”

Read the rest here.

Term-limits proposals for judges pondered

We need to watch how this goes in Colorado. I have a feeling that as more people see and experience the current out of control judiciary, more states and even the federal government will consider this move.
I have always been for term limits. We do not need “professional politicians”. Think about it. Laws would have to simpler and more straight forward. We would have fewer laws. Is there really a downside to term limits?
I agree that getting this sort of thing passed by the very people who would be affected by it is a long shot, but maybe, just maybe...

A proposed judicial term-limits measure would throw state Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey and six appellate court judges off the bench, several lawyers said Wednesday.
Former state Senate President John Andrews, who is leading the effort to curtail the length of judicial terms, is pushing two measures.
The first, Initiative 75, was approved for the ballot by the state Supreme Court on Monday. The second, Initiative 90, is pending before the high court.
Andrews said the tendency of sitting judges to go beyond the limits of judicial authority cuts across party lines.
“When they put those black robes on, there is this disturbing tendency to overstep the constitutionality of the judicial branch,” he said.
“It’s simple logic that you don’t term-limit two branches of your government (the executive and the legislative) and give a de facto life tenure to the third,” he added.
Read more about this topic here.

Immigration Bill Is Worse Than You Think

This article is a must read.

I am going to take some time tonight to inform my colleagues about some of the problems with the legislation before us. It is worse than you think, colleagues.

The legislation has an incredible number of problems with it. Some, as I will point out tonight, can only be considered deliberate. Whereas on the one hand it has nice words with good sounding phrases in it to do good things, on the second hand it completely eviscerates that, oftentimes in a way that only the most careful reading by a good lawyer would discover. So I feel like I have to fulfill my duty. I was on the Judiciary Committee. We went into this. We tried to monitor it and study it and actually read this 614-page bill, and I have a responsibility and I am going to fulfill my responsibility.

I think the things I am saying tonight ought to disturb people. They ought to be unhappy about it. It ought to make them consider whether they want to vote for this piece of legislation that, in my opinion, should never, ever become law.


Read the rest here.

40,000 women 'sex trafficked' for World Cup

I did not know this, but apparently prostitution is legal in Germany. Now not that long ago, Germany was getting on the U.S. about our morality. Our morality? Isn’t that calling the kettle black? Yup, sure is.
Also, the thought of thousands of drunken soccer fans in one place is just downright scary. There has yet to be a Word Cup competition that has not resulted in riots with many people being injured and killed.
Europe, why don’t y’all just stay home and watch it on TV?
But all kidding aside, these more than forty thousand women being imported as prostitutes are being exploited and this practice should be stopped immediately. These (and all women) deserve respect.

In response to reports that 40,000 young women will be brought to Germany from Central and Eastern Europe to “sexually service” men attending the World Cup soccer championship next month, a Catholic group warns that many are desperately poor and will be “sex trafficked” against their will.
The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, or C-FAM, has launched a “Stop World Cup Prostitution” campaign on its website.
An estimated 3 million soccer fans – mostly men – are expected to descend on 12 German cities for the quadrennial sports event June 9 to July 9. Prostitution is legal in Germany.
Most of the women are told “they are going to be models, waitresses or some other harmless occupation,” says C-FAM. “Many will be brutally assaulted by intoxicated fans.”
The group comments: “Whatever their circumstances, each and every one of these young women is someone’s daughter, a child of God and deserves our protection! They do not deserve to be exploited and sentenced to a life of misery to satisfy the sexual appetites of soccer fans.”
What “makes this crime particularly appalling,” adds C-FAM, “is the open support it is receiving from the German government. The same government that likes to lecture America on morality!”


Read the rest of this article here.

California Governor Says He’ll Veto ‘Gay History’ Bill

A ray of hope for morals and traditional values in California? Keep praying that there is!!

(CNSNews.com) - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger reportedly plans to veto a “gay history” bill if it reaches his desk.
A conservative advocacy group that led opposition to the bill called the report good news for parents:
The bill, SB 1437, would have required social studies textbooks used in California public schools to include “the role and contributions of…people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender…with particular emphasis on portraying the role of these groups in contemporary society.”
The bill also would have barred textbooks and school-sponsored activities from "reflecting adversely” on transsexuality, bisexuality, or homosexuality.
Read more about it here.

Newspaper Cartoons Lampooning Jesus Spark Outrage

The offices of a student-run newspaper at the University of Oregon was burned to the ground and the staff severely beaten after rampaging Christians rioted over two cartoons published by the paper, one showing Jesus in sexual arousal and the other showing him kissing another man.
The protestors (a.k.a. rioters) burned cars, overturned dumpsters and smashed windows. An orangutan from the local zoo was also sought out and beaten when protestors became aware that he might have been, at one time, a proofreader and guest columnist for the paper. Also an Amazon parrot suffered tail feather damage as a result of the riots, but authorities have determined this was the result of random violence and had nothing to do his tenure as a former chief editor of the newspaper.
Oh wait…this never happened. I mean yeah, the paper did publish obscene cartoons of our Lord, Jesus Christ, but the rioting Christians…nope, never happened. Let’s read about what the response was from the Christians.

(CNSNews.com) - A pro-family organization is lashing out at a student-run newspaper at the University of Oregon for the publication of two cartoons, one showing Jesus in sexual arousal and the other showing him kissing another man.
Read more about this topic here.

Senate Passes Immigration Bill in 'Do Something' Spirit

If the government lives up to my expectations, when this becomes law, it will just be another piece of worthless words on paper legislation. You can see that I don’t have very high hopes in our government to do the right thing and secure our borders.

(CNSNews.com) - The Senate voted 62-36 to pass an immigration reform bill on Thursday, with 23 Republicans voting for it, four Democrats voting against it, and just about everyone saying it’s unclear what the final bill will look like, once the Senate and the House try to hammer out a compromise on their very different bills.
The Senate bill establishes a path to citizenship (amnesty, critics insist) for millions of people who came to this country illegally, and that provision is anathema to some conservatives.

Read more about it here.

Supremes Hearing from Pro-Lifers as Court Considers Partial-Birth Abortion Case

For those of you who don’t know what partial birth abortion is, let me fill you in.
Partial birth abortion is the practice of partially delivering a late term baby, feet first, leaving only the head in the mother’s birth canal. The abortionist then stabs a hole in the back of the baby’s head and sucks the brain out of the skull. Without the brain, the baby’s head collapses and the corpse is then pulled the rest of the way out of the birth canal.
It sounds like a grade ‘B” horror film, but regrettably, this horror is not only true, but also occurring with great regularity in our country right now.
People, we need to pray about this so much. Please pray that the Supreme Court will put an end to this barbaric practice.

(AgapePress) - The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing from those who survived abortions as it decides whether to uphold a ban on partial-birth abortions.
Texas-based Liberty Legal Institute has filed a brief on behalf of two victims who survived late-term abortions and who now speak out on the partial-birth abortion case. The case, Gonzales v. Carhart, was picked up by the high court when the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the federal abortion ban, also known as the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003.
Read more about this article here.

Online Smut Peddlers Using Dirty Tricks to Lure Kids, Pastor Warns

It’s amazing how easy it is to get mistakenly directed to porn on the Internet. It’s also amazing what they are allowed to show without any age verification. Parents, we really have to be active in our children’s lives (no matter how much they don’t want us to be and how much they fuss at us for being “too” involved). We must protect our children from what I consider to be as big of a problem, if not worse, than drugs.

(AgapePress) - A black pastor affiliated with a ministry that trains churches and low-income or underprivileged citizens in computer literacy is sounding the alarm about how Internet pornography websites often use deceptive tactics to target certain demographic groups.


Read more about this topic here.

Schools Blasted for Holding Separate Graduations for Homosexual Students

Just another example of the how the activist homosexuals are cramming their lifestyle choice down our throats and how the liberal “anything goes” schools are helping them.

(AgapePress) - USA Today reports that a growing number of colleges and universities are holding so-called “lavender graduations” to honor their “gay,” lesbian, and transgendered graduates; but one campus watchdog group spokesman says schools should not be making ideological statements by sponsoring these separate ceremonies.
Read more about it here.

Diverse Faith Groups Unite to Push for Federal Marriage Amendment

This truly is a charged issue when so many religious groups, of very diverse beliefs, can come together this way. I believe that people are tired of having homosexuality crammed down our throats.

(AgapePress) - Several major religious denominations have come together to urge the U.S. Senate to approve a marriage amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The Religious Coalition for Marriage has released a statement signed by 50 leaders and expressing support for the proposed federal marriage protection amendment.
The Coalition is comprised of all eight U.S. Catholic cardinals, as well as officials of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Church of God in Christ, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, and the National Association of Evangelicals. While diverse in many ways, the groups represented share a singleness of purpose -- the protection of traditional marriage.
Click here for more.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Saudi Schools Still Teach Hatred for West, Report States

Yeah, really great allies.

(CNSNews.com) - The Saudi government has not only broken its promise and failed to eliminate anti-western rhetoric from its public school textbooks, some Saudi-funded schools on U.S. soil continue to incite violence, a Persian Gulf watchdog group alleged Wednesday.
One of those schools -- The Islamic Saudi Academy -- is located in Alexandria, Va., a short drive from the nation's capital, according to the Institute for Gulf Affairs in a report that it released in conjunction with the human rights group, Freedom House.
"They are telling Saudi students and American students of the Academy that you must hate Christians and Jews and consider them enemies until the Day of Judgment and at the end of time," said Ali Al-Ahmed, director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs. "This is very dangerous because this is how you get a terrorist at the end of the day."
Article Link.

Legislation to Bar Protesters From Military Funerals Heads to Bush’s Desk

Well done, Congress, Well done!!

WASHINGTON — Demonstrators would be barred from disrupting military funerals at national cemeteries under legislation approved by Congress and sent to the White House Wednesday

The measure, passed by voice vote in the House hours after the Senate passed an amended version, specifically targets a Kansas church group that has staged protests at military funerals around the country, claiming that the deaths were a sign of God's anger at U.S. tolerance of homosexuals.


Click here to read the rest of the article.

What Does the U.S. Constitution Actually Say About Religion?


We have heard, for years now, how there is a "wall of separation" or "separation of church and state" between the government and religion, and how also the government, or even individuals in the "public square" are forbidden from "endorsing" a particular religion. Is that true? Let's a take a look at what the Constitution of the United States actually says about religion.


Click Here to Read the Article.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Pro-Family Leader Pleased to Find Ohio at Bottom of Homosexuals' List

I think this statement from Phil Burress hits the nail on the head:
Opposing the homosexual activists' agenda is "what they call intolerance."

(AgapePress) - An Ohio pro-family activist says the state should consider it a point of pride that a radical homosexual rights group has ranked Ohio last in the United States in terms of providing special rights to homosexuals and similar groups.

Mexico’s Threatened Lawsuits ‘Ludicrous,’ Says Attorney

This is pretty much what I thought too. It was almost a laughable comment from Mexico.

(AgapePress) - A constitutional attorney with the American Family Association says the recent threat of a lawsuit against the U.S. by the Mexican government over border security is absurd.

Liberal Clergy's Opposition to Marriage Amendment No Surprise, Say Conservatives

Take a look at my article "Falling Away" of the Church. These are perfect examples of denominations that no longer hold to Biblical Truth and Moral Absolutes.

(AgapePress) - Clergy opposed to a constitutional ban on same-sex "marriage" say religious conservatives who support the proposed federal marriage amendment are bigots. But those conservatives don't appear to be overly concerned about the left-leaning clergy's lobbying efforts to derail the proposed constitutional amendment.

Migration from BlogSpot Blog to New Web Site Blog

Sometime towards the middle of June, I plan on retiring the blogspot blog and moving all blogging activities over to the blog I have installed on our web site. It has always bothered me that on the blogspot blog, one mouse click away could be someone promoting a value that is not within the Christian atmosphere I am trying to promote through our blog. I understand that if someone wants to see these types of things, they can still get to them very easily, but at least our blog will be in our domain where it would take some effort.
I have enjoyed the blogspot blog and would still recommend it to someone who wants to start blogging. It requires very little computer knowledge and has a very good audience.
The way I plan to do this transition, is to post on both blogs. The blogspot one will have a brief description of the article and a link to the same article on the new blog. No comments will be allowed on the blogspot blog. I will also add a link at the top of the page to the new blog.
Since all the content of the blogspot blog is in the new blog, eventually, I will take the blogspot blog down completely. I was relying on it to be a search source for the blog, but I noticed today that Google already shows the new blog.
I appreciate the support all of you have shown me, and I’ll try to make this transition as seamless as possible.
God Bless!!
-Steve

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Google dumps news sites that criticize radical Islam

Read about the media bias in Google News.

Search engine giant Google has cut off its news relationship with a number of
online news publications that include frank discussions of radical Islam – the
New Media Journal becoming the latest termination, as its owner just discovered.

Idaho Resident: Remove Sexually Graphic Books from Children's View

I really don't see the problem with this. The Idaho residents aren't asking the library to remove the books from circulation, only to remove them so that children cannot see them. Doesn't seem like a big request, but then again, we are dealing with liberal librarians.

(AgapePress) - Parents in an Idaho city want their local public library to remove from the shelves several books containing graphic images of heterosexual and homosexual sex and place them out of the eyesight of children. At question are nine books in the non-fiction section of the Nampa Public Library, including titles such as The New Joy of Sex, The Joy of Sex Toys, and The Joy of Gay Sex. Nampa resident Randy Jackson filled out a complaint form at the library and even addressed the library's board of directors in January, but the board said the books would remain so that the needs of the whole community would be represented. Jackson, who recently brought his concerns before the Nampa City Council, says parents are especially horrified with the book The Joy of Gay Sex. "There's a chapter entitled 'Daddy-Son Sexual Fantasies' where it talks about two people having sex while pretending that they're father and son," the local resident explains. Another chapter in the book that he finds disturbing teaches teens how to surf the internet for homosexual sex -- and then cover their tracks. "They have a chapter entitled 'Teenagers,'" he continues. "It explains to teenagers how they can go into online chat rooms on the Internet and how to meet people for sex in online chat rooms. It encourages them to learn to [delete] their web browser history so their parents won't be able to find out where they've been to on the Internet." Jackson says the presence of the sexually explicit books is even more troubling given the recent rash of child enticement cases in the western Idaho community. He adds that a city council member plans to meet with the library board in June in hopes of resolving the issue of the books' accessibility to children.

Now what really bothers me is that the book is not only passing off the gay lifestyle as normal and good, but also teaching teens how to be liars and deceivers against their parents. Somehow this is supposed to be considered normal and good? I have a feeling that even non-religious parents will have a problem with this.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Judge Blocks Prayer at High School Graduation

I am very proud of the students of this school, and also the administrators for their stand. I’m going to put together a page for the web site that will point out what the Constitution says about prayer and government. It is obvious that the majority of people disagree with this activist judge. If you folks are upset with him, you can get him removed. It will be a shame if you don’t at least try.

Read the rest here.

Porn Industry Insiders Undone Over ‘Rule 2257′

Rule 2257 says that a Porn “star” must be at least 18 years. Apparently the porn industry has a problem with this.
People need to understand just how destructive porn is.


Read the rest here.

Re-Post: Why Ears Itch for the Theology of The Da Vinci Code Film

Analysis by Dr. Marc T. Newman
MovieMinistry.com
May 19, 2006

[Note: This analysis of the film The Da Vinci Code contains spoilers. Discussing these plot points helps to uncover some of the persuasive devices at play in the film, but those who wish to be surprised should print this out for reading later, or revisit the site.]

(AgapePress) - Da Vinci Code director Ron Howard was given a tall order. First, how do you make a talky thriller work when nearly your entire pre-sold audience has already read the book, and therefore knows the ending? The Da Vinci Code is not like the films made from the Bourne books, which can sustain their tension on action alone. Let's face it, Dr. Robert Langdon, the "symbologist" protagonist of Dan Brown's bestseller, is no Indiana Jones. Second, your supposedly "fact-based" source material that had faded into relative obscurity is now back on the front pages and everyone is reminded that it is a hoax. The answer? Make significant plot changes to keep 'em guessing and deny, deny, deny.

What is important for Christians to know, if they are thinking of using The Da Vinci Code film as an opportunity to talk about their faith, is that some of the plot changes are rhetorical devices designed to make the arguments in the film appear even more persuasive than in the book. Through these changes, Howard has tried to preempt the hoax criticism, use the conversion of a respected, yet hostile-source, character to bolster the credibility of the film's arguments, and try to blunt reaction from Christians by giving them a place (albeit a much smaller place) at the theological table -- all the while making everyone else feel good about themselves.

Preempting Criticism
When a book as popular as The Da Vinci Code claims that aspects of its story are based on fact, it may as well have thrown down a gauntlet to relentless hordes of apologists and historians. The response didn't take long. The major source material for The Da Vinci Code is Holy Blood, Holy Grail, a book that was dismissed by historians as pseudo-history shortly after its publication in 1982. The entire Priory of Sion hoax had been exposed -- the "organization" did not date from 1099, but from the 1950s, built from thin air by Pierre Plantard and "supported" by forged documents surreptitiously deposited in the Bibliothèque nationale de France in the early 1960s. By the time filming began, the filmmakers must have decided that their two fictional scholars, Langdon and Sir Leigh Teabing, would not be ignorant of the hoax claim.

Unlike the book, in which Langdon is depicted as a collaborator with Teabing, the film version of The Da Vinci Code paints Langdon as an unaffiliated lapsed Catholic skeptic who challenges Teabing's conspiratorial assertions about Church history. After Teabing explains to police cryptologist Sophie Neveu about the shadowy Priory of Sion, Langdon explodes, forcefully asserting that the Priory had been exposed as a hoax. Teabing, matching Langdon's intensity, replies, "That's what they want you to think." Of course, he never identifies who "they" are. I guess that the conspiracy now extends to such "friends of the Church" as all of mainstream academia, the New York Times, and the BBC. Using such an argument, Teabing places the conspiracy beyond dispute. Anyone with counter-evidence is merely a part of the cover-up. It is a classic form of the Begging the Question fallacy. It tries to provide cover for those who want to use these arguments to disparage Christianity.

The Reluctant Convert
Another way that the film attempts to make its arguments more compelling than the book is to cast Langdon as a reluctant convert. In the book, when Langdon brings Sophie to meet Teabing it is out of the respect Langdon has for Teabing's mastery of Holy Grail lore. In other words, Langdon is a fan. But in the film, Langdon and Teabing are portrayed as debaters trying to convince Sophie of alternate views of Church history. And while Langdon is not exactly championing the cause of the Church, he constantly throws cold water on Teabing's conspiratorial assertions by at least presenting the other side.

That the Church's position was given any credibility in the film was a surprise. But to have Langdon making these claims -- even lukewarmly -- was a shocking deviation. It seemed designed to let Christians in the audience breathe a little. But I had read the book, so I knew how this would end.

As I watched the film, I could not discern the precise moment that Langdon becomes a convert, but the longer the film runs, the more Langdon begins talking as if Teabing's assertions now have his Seal of Approval. There is something especially persuasive in seeing a respected person move from hostile source to confederate. It's as if to say, "If someone of Langdon's stature is convinced, then why can't I be more open-minded toward these ideas?"

The Unfulfilling Smorgasbord of Postmodernism
But Howard and company keep hedging their bets. They want to have it both ways, and apparently think that New Age polytheism will be okay as long as Christians have a place at the table. By the end of the film Langdon is waffling -- trying to incorporate a personal religious experience with Jesus into this newfound world of goddess worship. What Langdon essentially says is, "Maybe it's all true. Maybe the human is the divine. All that matters is what you believe." Howard's argument is a perfect example of what New York University professor Thomas de Zengotita describes in his book, Mediated: "Name a topic and, presto, everyone has an opinion, everyone can speculate, everyone has a 'take,' as we say nowadays -- implicitly acknowledging that no one has time for much more than that -- so, what the heck. Mine could be as good as the next one. To each his own worldview. Once again, it's all about you."

Christianity's exclusive claims are odious to those who demand an "inclusive" spirituality. The Bible claims truth, and many in the West echo Pilate, asking dismissively "What is truth?" Christ did not come to soothe the world but to save it. It is a demanding process; it cost Jesus His life. No watered-down version will do. The message of the Gospel is not compromise, but loving, "seasoned-with-salt" confrontation.

The Draw
What is it about these kinds of conspiracy-theory, Gnostic tales that people find so compelling? For some it is just the lure of a good, fast-paced thriller -- which is actually in short supply in the film. But I think that some devotees of the book (who are most likely to see the film early) like the idea that they can vicariously be a part of something larger than themselves. By sharing secret knowledge they enter the "in-group" -- joined to the luminaries of the Priory of Sion: Newton, Da Vinci, and Victor Hugo. If they are especially gullible, it might even make them feel smart.

The Opportunity
Despite the bad theology, false history, rhetorical attempts to make the film's arguments more compelling, and the uninspired filmmaking, The Da Vinci Code still represents a unique opportunity for Christians to engage their culture. Just last night, while checking in at a hotel for an academic conference, I spoke for about 30 minutes with a young hotel desk clerk. She was a Da Vinci Code fan, and said that she planned to take her mother to the film today. She thought there was something to the claims in the book, particularly concerning the authenticity and accuracy of the Bible. I introduced her to arguments I learned more than 30 years ago in From God to Us, by Norman Geisler and William Nix. She had never encountered those ideas before. The odds the conversation would have arisen in that lobby would have been small were it not for the presence of The Da Vinci Code to drive it.

In order to take advantage of this theatrical gift, it is not absolutely necessary to endure the film -- people in your sphere will talk about the film and the book. But reading the book and/or seeing the film will heighten your credibility and give you a greater appearance of objectivity when you discuss it. Now you aren't a crank, you are a fellow reader and viewer. But you must be prepared.

Order The Da Vinci Delusion featuring Dr. D. James Kennedy
There are a number of excellent books and articles that Christians can read to have the answers to the questions that arise from The Da Vinci Code. Greg Koukl, from Stand to Reason, and Dallas Theological Seminary both have outstanding articles and resources. MovieMinistry.com has created a Bible study designed for the film that goes beyond the factual debate. It can be used as an outreach to explore the itchy-ear syndrome that has affected a culture that will not endure sound doctrine, and challenges Christians to do something about it.

Films come and go, but the theater screens remain. Before long, and perhaps not too long, The Da Vinci Code will move from the cinema to the video store and other films will take its place. But Hollywood has seen that films with religious content (not necessarily accurate) can attract an audience. These movies will stir people, anger them, make them thoughtful, and (most important) provoke conversation about spiritual issues that might not arise in other contexts. Christians need to remain on the alert so that we can take advantage of every opportunity.

Marc T. Newman, PhD (marc@movieministry.com) is the president of MovieMinistry.com -- an organization that provides sermon and teaching illustrations from popular film, and helps the Church use movies to reach out to others and connect with people.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Re-Post: No fear: Overcoming Bible trauma by Bob Just

I've been a writer for many years, working on all kinds of projects from screenplays to corporate speeches to playwriting to academic essays to journalism and commentary. As a former English teacher, I've read all kinds of writing but never anything that comes even close to the Bible. In fact, as I will explain from a writer's perspective, the Bible is not possible. And yet, ironically, this amazing book is taken for granted.

Most Americans have at least one Bible in their home. Most don't read it, or don't read it very much. In all likelihood that means you, or someone you know. Strangely, polls have shown that a huge percentage of Americans believe the Bible is the word of God but don't have time to read it. No kidding. Either we must think God has nothing to say to us, or something else is going on.

First off, be assured I am not going to ask you to become a Bible scholar. I am not going to ask you to take umpteen Bible study classes, or memorize chapter and verse. All of those are good things – but they're not for everyone. Most of us need a simpler approach.

The Bible is about relationship. It's about you (with all your discouraging flaws) - and about God (who seeks to encourage you). We should go to the Bible as we go to an old friend, or to a loving parent. But that's not reality for most people.

Let's face it: That "big thick book" intimidates us. We act like it's a school book and we're going to be tested on everything we read – as if being "saved" meant being a "scholar." Our fear of fears is that if we don't understand the Bible, then there's something deeply, spiritually wrong with us - maybe even that God doesn't love us, but saves His love for the learned. Yet, the opposite is true. Jesus thanks His Father for making the Faith for regular people.

Ironically, considering all our fears, this ancient spiritual manuscript called the Bible is not some high-toned, intellectual textbook, but rather a storybook full of very human adventures, full of heroes as well as people who continually make a mess of things - and often the two together! It's actually fun to read once you get past your Bible trauma. Here's the key:

Don't worry if the Bible is hard to understand. What you need for now will be there for you and will be understandable. Don't expect some big revelation though. It may be only some small insight or oddly interesting bit of history. But on some level, it will feed your desire to relate to God. After all, it is His-story. Eventually, you'll want to know more. So let me repeat this essential point: Don't worry about what you don't understand. If you read 10 verses and understand only one - you win! A little goes a long, long way.

Ultimately, the Bible is amazing because truth is amazing. The Bible is not only adventurous; it's also touching, meaningful, instructive, ironic, sarcastic, humorous, gentle and stern - and ultimately both spiritual and human at the same time. It is also strangely modern despite its ancient text.

The Bible has been called God's love letter to us, and yet, the majority of Americans don't read it. If this is true for you, consider the following. The Bible could become something entirely different for you - something that can change your life in the most wonderful ways.

The impossible Bible

The main thing you really need to know is that the Bible is a "living thing" with an ability to relate to you personally - on the basis of your current needs. Simply put, the Bible is a miracle. I am not exaggerating. Let me prove it to you.

The first question a professional writer asks when given an assignment is, "Who am I talking to?" It is the key to getting started. In fact, you can't get started if you do not know the answer to that one simple question. Unless you know who your reader is going to be you can hardly know how to approach your assignment.

If an editor tells me to write an article about love, that's clear enough as far as the general subject, but the assignment changes completely depending on the reader. If I know I am writing to teenagers or if I am writing to middle aged married couples, my writing style changes - and so does my content. The less you know who your audience is, the more difficult the assignment. You can't even be sure how to choose your words properly. Are you writing to highly educated people or are you writing to someone with an eighth-grade education? Or how about the references you make in writing? Are you writing to city or country folk? Sound difficult? Believe me, it is. Well, let's make it harder.

Now imagine this editor tells you he wants you to write about love in a way that works not only for Americans but works even when translated for people of other countries. You're thinking Europe with its Judeo-Christian roots, but your editor is more ambitious. He wants your article to work in all foreign lands, wherever he can sell it. Consider the difficulty of this: Asian cultures, African cultures, Islamic cultures, Buddhist cultures, Hindu cultures - and regional cultures within those cultures must also be considered. You must write for them all - and write effectively!

Impossible you say?

Fine, but your editor is not moved by your objections. He has other demands. Not only should everyone in today's world understand your book (he's decided it should be a book), he also wants you to write something that will be relevant a hundred years from now. In fact, he really wants something timeless, but even he knows that's impossible. Can you even imagine what American culture will be like in 100 years? How about 1,000 years from now? Now imagine writing for people living many thousands of years from now, and it will give you a little idea of why I tell people that from a writer's perspective the Bible can't be written in any normal human way. Nor can it be read "normally."

It is truly a miraculous document.

Consider that the Bible was written for all people, of all backgrounds, of all education levels. It was written for all races, colors, creeds and cultures. It was written for people thousands of years ago and for people who will live many years into the future.

But even more!

It is also written for you as you are now, as you were when you were a teenager, and as you'll be when you are old. It's written for all the personalities of all the billions of people in all of existence. God wouldn't leave anyone out, would he?

The Bible is amazing, and all the more so because it was written over the course of about 1,500 years - by many different people. This is not the work of a single human being with a single personality and vision. The Bible has at least 40 different authors, from all different backgrounds and walks of life - and they write in three different languages. There are almost 40 books in the Old Testament and almost 30 in the New Testament. And yet, the result is a singular Holy book, tried and true, tested by millions of readers over thousands of years. This is a book capable of befriending anyone at anytime with just the right wisdom for our needs. As I said, the Bible isn't possible.

The Bible is written to reach you when you are happy and when you are sad. When life is good and full, and when it's empty and unbearable. So how should you read the Bible? Go to it as old friend, one who loves you and is patient with your progress.

So don't worry about what you don't understand. Read it for what you do understand, and in joyful expectation that more will come in good time - when you need it. If you need it! This is not just a book. This is a Holy Book, a miracle God created for you - capable of covering all your needs in good time.

It is a living document because the God who guides you is a Living God. His Holy Spirit is always with you, if you will only listen. And the Spirit that guides you in reading the Bible is the same Spirit that guided the men who wrote it. No wonder the Bible can speak to us on our terms and in anticipation of our needs.

Hard to believe? Yes, of course! All miracles are hard to believe, even when they happen to you - as this one will. That's right. The Bible was written for you, to reach you, to revive you, to nourish you and to inspire you to seek its Author. It asks only one thing of you. Treat it as you would a loving parent and not as a homework assignment. Remember, those scholars who sent Jesus to His death knew the Bible cold. The secret isn't knowledge. The secret is love.

It's about process not results. Leave the results to God. Just make sure you read the Bible - read little parts, or big parts - read a sentence here, a paragraph there. Just open the Bible and let the adventure begin. Yes, many of us find the Bible intimidating. But that's not God's fault. It's our fault.

The "Good Book" is a handbook on truth. It is a living document, a spiritual thing, meant to minister to your needs over a whole lifetime, no matter who you are - or where you live - or what language you speak. We can all speak the language of truth. God helps us to know it's His Book by writing it in such an impossible way. Start by believing He wrote it for you - as a matter of faith. Stop thinking that God is a boring, uncaring teacher! In your heart you know that's not true.

So get that book on your shelf right now. Don't think about it. Just do it. Start reading anywhere you like. And do it again tomorrow. Don't give up. You might start with something toward the end of the book. The New Testament is a little easier to grab on to - but decide right now that it won't matter to you if you don't understand what you read. Let what you do understand come as a complete surprise - part of the continual fun of picking up that ancient book and seeking the treasures within.

Do this on a regular basis, and your life will never be the same. And remember, there are thousands and thousands of churches - and neighbors and friends who will be glad to give you any help you want. In the end, that's the real lesson.

You are not alone. You are loved. The Bible is proof of that.


Bob Just is a WorldNetDaily columnist, editor-at-large of Whistleblower magazine, a veteran national radio talk-show host and founder and president of the Oregon-based "Concerned Fathers Against Crime" and "Concerned Mothers Alliance for Children." His television appearances include "Hannity & Colmes," "Politically Incorrect" and "Fox & Friends," he speaks publicly on various topics and can be reached through his website, BobJust.com.

Senate Panel Approves Federal Marriage Amendment

Are the Republicans finally waking up to the fact that they are the majority?

(CNSNews.com) - The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The 10-8 vote, along party lines, followed a showdown between committee Chairman Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.).
Feingold refused to take part in the session and even walked out after complaining that the public did not have enough access. "If you want to leave, good riddance," Specter told Feingold. "I've enjoyed your lecture too. See you later, Mr. Chairman," Feingold replied before leaving, according to Reuters.
The amendment now goes to the full Senate, where a vote is expected June 5, to the delight of conservatives, who have been pushing for a traditional definition of marriage - one man and one woman - to be constitutionally mandated.
"This Amendment will permit the American people an opportunity to rein in activist judges who have stripped the right of voters to protect marriage," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, in a statement. He thanked Specter for scheduling a vote on the amendment.
"The threat to traditional marriage is alive and well. Just this week, a Georgia state court declared void the voice of Georgia voters. Let us also remember the decision by a federal judge declaring unconstitutional Nebraska's popularly supported state amendment preserving marriage as being between one man and one woman," Perkins said.
The fact that the amendment was passed by a party line vote "illustrates a stark contrast between those who would allow an activist judiciary to redefine the institution of marriage and those committed to a representative form of government that relies upon the people to determine the great social questions of our day," he said.
"I call upon the U.S. Senate to approve the Marriage Protection Amendment. As the states move to ratify the marriage amendment, only then will the voice of the American public be heard and preserved," Perkins concluded. Constitutional amendments require a two-thirds approval in the U.S. House and Senate, plus ratification by three quarters of the nation's state legislatures.

Opponents of the marriage amendment view it as discrimination.
As Cybercast News Service previously reported, the group Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) has launched a postcard campaign urging senators to vote no on the Federal Marriage Amendment. PFLAG characterizes it as "the first step in writing discrimination" into the U.S. Constitution "by denying marriage equality to same-sex individuals."
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the Judiciary Committee's top Democrat, said the amendment is a waste of time for the committee, which he said should be focused on more urgent matters. He mentioned the president's judicial nominations or the National Security Agency's wiretapping program as examples, Reuters reported.
"I didn't realize marriages were so threatened. Nor did my wife of 44 years," Reuters quoted Leahy as saying.

Senate Approves English As 'National' Language

I'm wondering if this is a repercussion from the recent illegal immigrant protest.

(CNSNews.com) - An amendment to the Senate immigration bill would make English the "national language of the United States." The Senate voted 63-34 to adopt the amendment, which was offered by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.)
The measure declares that there is no affirmative right to receive services in languages other than English, except where required by federal law. In other words, the amendment is mostly symbolic -- it will not change the way the government prints documents or conducts business.
Also on Thursday -- confusing the issue -- the Senate also voted 58-39 in favor of a second, weaker amendment, offered by Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.). The Salazar amendment declared English to be "the common and unifying language of the United States."
Inhofe's strong amendment is getting the most attention, however.
Critics, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, called the Inhofe amendment racist, regardless of its intent. Sen. John McCain worried about making English the "official" language. "It gives the idea that any other language is excluded," he said.
But advocacy groups such as U.S. English and English First hailed passage of the Inhofe amendment.
"Today's vote heeded the voices of the vast majority of Americans who believe that English is a crucial part of being an American," said Mauro Mujica, chairman of the board of U.S. English.
He said Thursday's "historic" vote making English the national language corrects a longstanding oversight.
U.S. English points to a 2005 Zogby International poll showing that 79 percent of Americans support making English the official language of the United States, including more than two-thirds of Democrats and four-fifths of first- and second-generation Americans.
Even President Bush has embraced the importance of immigrants learning to speak English. In his address to the nation Monday night, President Bush said, "The success of our country depends upon helping newcomers assimilate into our society and embrace our common identity as Americans."
Bush called the English language "the key to unlocking the opportunity of America."
"The debate on the Senate floor today contained many different viewpoints, but the senators were unanimous in their belief that English is the unifying factor and the key to opportunity in the United States," said Mujica.
He said a diverse country must focus on thing that bring it together: "Without a common language, we are not a nation of immigrants, but instead groups of immigrants living in a nation."
U.S. English, founded in 1983 by the late Sen. S.I. Hayakawa of California, describes itself as the nation's oldest and largest non- partisan citizens' action group dedicated to preserving the unifying role of the English language in the United States.

'Weathervane senators'
Another advocacy group, English First, called the Inhofe amendment "the only serious approach to the language issue."
English First criticized the 25 U.S. senators who voted for Inhofe's amendment - then immediately undercut their votes by also approving Salazar's amendment.
"These weathervanes may thing they have fooled their constituents back home by voting both for and against the Inhofe amendment. We'll see," said Jim Boulet Jr., Executive Director of English First.
Republicans accused of undermining the Inhofe amendment include Brownback (Kan.), Chafee (R.I.), Coleman (Minn.), DeWine (Ohio), Graham (S.C.), Hagel (Neb.), McCain (Ariz.), Murkowski (Alaska), Snowe (Maine), Specter (Penn.), Voinovich (Ohio), and Warner (Va.).
Legislation pending in the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 997) also would make English the official language; that bill now has about 150 co-sponsors.
More than half of the states have passed laws making English the official language. The American Civil Liberties Union has successfully challenged some of those laws on the grounds that they unconstitutionally deny non-English speakers "fair and equal access to their government ."
Official language laws make non-English speakers second-class citizens, the ACLU has argued.

Christian Fraternity's Suit Moves UNC to Revise Nondiscrimination Policy

The anti-Christian bias found in the education system these days is remarkable!!

(AgapePress) - A Christian legal alliance says a federal lawsuit has prompted the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill to drop its ban on a religious fraternity. UNC officials have reversed course after initially denying recognition to Alpha Iota Omega because the fraternal organization required that its members be Christians.
The university originally refused to recognize Alpha Iota Omega because the administration said the Christian fraternity's religious requirement violated UNC's nondiscrimination policy. But after the student group filed a lawsuit against the university, UNC revised its policy to allow political and religious groups to exclude members on the basis of beliefs.
David French is an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, the legal group that represented Alpha Iota Omega in court. He says religious student organizations obviously should have the right to make faith-based decisions, just as other groups make decisions based on their beliefs and values or philosophies.
"What the university is doing," French says, "is like saying to the College Democrats, 'You can't discriminate on the basis of political beliefs,' or saying to an environmentalist group, 'You can't discriminate on the basis of feelings about the environment.' It's just absurd."
But the university persisted in its unreasonable stance, the attorney contends, in part because the University of North Carolina has an extensive record of trying to eject Christian groups from campus. "This is a school with a long history of violating the rights of students and a long history of trying to single out and target Christians," he says.
A judge recently tossed out Alpha Iota Omega's lawsuit, declaring there was no need to proceed since the fraternity has been reinstated and the school had already changed its nondiscrimination policy. However, French feels UNC needs to be continually monitored, despite its apparent compliance with the fraternity's wishes.
"We're going to be watching North Carolina very closely to make sure that they're respecting the rights of their students," the ADF-affiliated lawyer notes. The school officials are respecting the rights of Alpha Iota Omega right now, he adds, "but if that changes at all we will once again, I'm sure, head back into court against UNC Chapel Hill."
French says ADF is pleased that the Christian fraternity's lawsuit has caused UNC-Chapel Hill to revise its policy and change its treatment of religious student organizations on campus. The new anti-discrimination policy is "far from perfect," the attorney admits; however, he says its interpretation by the university is "a vast improvement" over the previous policy that denied religious student groups their constitutional rights.

Pro-Family Critics Blast Overturn of Georgia Marriage Amendment

More nonsense from activist judges.

(AgapePress) - Pro-family and conservative leaders are criticizing a state trial court judge's decision to throw out an amendment to the Constitution of Georgia defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Nevertheless, many traditional supporters believe that, despite the court's ruling, traditional marriage in Georgia will ultimately be protected.
Attorneys with the pro-family legal group Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) say Judge Constance Russell, the trial court judge who declared the Georgia's "Amendment One" unconstitutional, misused a technicality known as the "single subject rule" that says amendments may not deal with multiple issues and must address one subject only. However, ADF senior legal counsel Mike Johnson believes the judge's contravention of the will of Georgia's voters, who approved the marriage amendment in November 2004, cannot stand for long.
"Georgia's Amendment One has one purpose: to protect marriage from attack," Johnson asserts. "The 76 percent of voters in Georgia who voted 'yes' to the single subject of protecting marriage from all contemporary threats deserve to have their vote respected and not dismissed by radical judges," he says.
The ADF spokesman points out that a situation similar to this judicial reversal in Georgia happened in another state not long ago, when a district court struck down the Louisiana Defense of Marriage Amendment on the same grounds as were used to strike down the Georgia amendment. In both cases, he notes, the trial judges ruled that the amendments were invalid because they addressed two topics -- marriage and civil unions.
Johnson helped defend Louisiana's marriage amendment from that attack. In the case known as Forum for Equality PAC v. McKeithen, the Louisiana Supreme Court unanimously overturned the state district court judge's decision and reinstated the marriage amendment, and the ADF senior counsel is convinced that a similar scenario will eventually play out in Georgia.
"This ruling will be appealed," the pro-family litigator contends, "and the Georgia Supreme Court will understand, just as Louisiana's high court did, that the sole objective of these amendments is to protect marriage and that the language of the amendment is crucial in achieving that single goal."
The state trial court judge who threw out Georgia's Amendment One may try to claim that civil unions and same-sex "marriage" are different subjects, Johnson adds; "but the people of Georgia," he insists, "know better. They understand that protecting marriage means protecting it from all imitations."

Bauer: State Controversy Proves Federal Amendment Needed
Conservative activist Gary Bauer of the group American Values agrees that Russell's ruling was a seriously flawed piece of jurisprudence. But while the judge's conclusion was based on "a contorted view" of Georgia's single subject law, Bauer observes, the state's political leaders appear to be united in their defense of traditional marriage.
The American Values spokesman notes that even the Democratic Attorney General of Georgia, Thurbert Baker, is calling the trial court judge's ruling "wrongfully decided." Meanwhile, the state's Republican governor, Sonny Perdue, has vowed to appeal the decision. He says he will call a special session of the state legislature to consider putting another marriage amendment on this year's ballot if the Georgia Supreme Court does rule on the issue by August 7.
Judge Russell's action striking down the Georgia marriage amendment is "just one more example," Bauer asserts, "of why we desperately need a federal marriage protection amendment." The United States Constitution is the "supreme law of the land," he contends, "and our public servants in Congress should act now by sending a federal marriage amendment to the states for ratification so the people, not unelected judges, can decide the meaning of marriage in America."
The Senate Judiciary Committee took a meaningful first step today (May 18) toward that end when it voted to approve a constitutional amendment that would outlaw homosexual "marriage." The vote fell along party lines, with ten Republicans voting in favor of protecting traditional marriage and eight Democrats voting against the measure. The approval clears the way for the full Senate to vote on the matter, which is expected the week of June 5.

Alabama Christians Urge Support for State Marriage Amendment
In the meantime, the battle over marriage continues in other areas around the nation. Even now, the Christian Coalition of Alabama is encouraging pro-family voters across that state to turn out in strong numbers next month for a vote on a state marriage amendment.
Senate Bill 109, also known as the Sanctity of Marriage Act, would preserve the definition of traditional marriage as being only between one man and one woman through a constitutional amendment. State law already prohibits same-sex marriage in Alabama, but many conservatives feel the amendment is needed to prevent activist courts from striking state marriage law.
John Giles, president of the Christian Coalition of Alabama, says a big turnout would help the cause tremendously. "When pro-family groups go to lobby the legislature for and against legislation," he notes, "it pretty well lets legislators know who's back home."
By coming out en masse to support biblical marriage, church members can demonstrate to lawmakers just what a "good Christian, conservative audience we have that are part of the voting electorate," Giles points out. With sheer numbers believers can show that they want marriage protected, he says, "and it certainly helps our job in passing good legislation and stopping bad legislation."
The Christian Coalition of Alabama spokesman notes that with courts all across the U.S. issuing conflicting decisions about the definition of marriage, it is important for a state to have its own laws clearly established. When states like Alabama and Mississippi enshrine the definition of traditional marriage in a constitution as being between one man and one woman, those states can more easily refuse to recognize unions from other jurisdictions that do not fit the traditional definition of marriage.
Also, Giles adds, having marriage protected in a state constitution "makes it stronger in the court cases as well." He says Alabama's marriage amendment vote takes place June 6, and pro-family supporters are praying that the proposal will get at least 85 percent of the vote.

Christian Attorney Predicts Attempt to Block Graduation Prayer Will Succeed

Every year we have to go through this. It's funny that those who demand tolerance are the most intolerant of all. Maybe if the student doesn't want to sit through a prayer, then he/she need to leave. Even with the injunction, the school, court and everyone else is powerless to deny a speaker the right to say what they want. So if a speaker just decided to pray as part of their speech, but didn't ask anyone to join, there is absolutely nothing anyone can do about it.

(AgapePress) - A constitutional attorney fears the American Civil Liberties Union may succeed in it attempt to get prayer banned at a high school graduation in Kentucky on Friday.
The ACLU has filed a federal lawsuit to stop officials at Russell County High School from saying a prayer during tomorrow's graduation ceremony. The organization filed the suit on behalf of an unidentified student who, according to an ACLU attorney, "doesn't feel he should be forced to sit through prayer." According to an Associated Press report, the principal of the school refused to guarantee that nobody would pray at Friday's ceremony.
Steve Crampton is chief counsel for the American Family Association's Center for Law & Policy (CLP). He says it is unfortunate that the ACLU often has the upper hand in such cases.
"Of course the Constitution doesn't say anything about offering up a 30-second prayer at a high school graduation," says the constitutional attorney, "but we have this history of crazy court decisions that have kind of created an illusory wall separating students and folks who are voluntarily attending these events from any kind of recognition or acknowledgement of God. It's really just an absurd state of affairs."
Those court decisions, he says, have erected a "horrific double-standard" in the law by frequently protecting a single atheist who objects to school prayer. He explains that observation.
"Put the shoe on the other foot for a minute," says Crampton. "Consider what deeply religious Christian students are forced to endure in the classroom setting itself: countless hours, in most cases, of pro-homosexual propaganda; graphic teachings on sex; untold numbers of anti-Christian diatribes -- all offered in the name of tolerance or educational necessity.
"Very rarely are [those students] given an opportunity to opt out," he notes.
The AFA attorney says although the overwhelming majority of Russell County residents support prayer at graduation, he believes Judge Joseph McKinley is likely to grant the ACLU a preliminary injunction to stop the prayer.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

'Da Vinci Code' Actor: Bible Should Have 'Fiction' Disclaimer

Whew-eee!! Did this guy step in it or what? He is going to get seriously blasted from a lot of people about this comment.

If "The Da Vinci Code" was already feeding the flames of controversy with its challenge to the basic tenets of Christianity, actor Ian McKellen managed to pour a refinery tank's worth of gasoline on the fire on this morning's 'Today' show, asserting that the Bible should carry a disclaimer saying that it is "fiction." Video: Windows Media or Real Player, Plus audio MP3
Matt Lauer, in his second day "On The Road With The Code," was in Cannes for the film festival, where the Code will have its debut. It has already been screened to some critics, who have given it decidedly mixed reviews.
As I reported here, NBC reporter Melissa Stark yesterday dipped a timid toe in the sea of controversy when she interviewed Code director Ron Howard, asking how he reacted to the controversy the movie has created . . . for the Church! Sounding more like a sensitivity trainer than a Hollywood director, Howard offered up some ambiguous prose about it being healthy thing for people to engage their beliefs.
Lauer took the bull of controversy more directly by the horns when he interviewed the cast and director Howard today. Said Lauer:
"There have been calls from some religious groups, they wanted a disclaimer at the beginning of this movie saying it is fiction because one of the themes in the book really knocks Christianity right on its ear, if Christ survived the crucifixion, he did not die for our sins and therefore was not resurrected. What I'm saying is, people wanted this to say 'fiction, fiction, fiction'. How would you all have felt if there was a disclaimer at the beginning of the movie? Would it have been okay with you?"
There was a pause, and then famed British actor Ian McKellen [Gandalf of Lord of the Rings], piped up:
"Well, I've often thought the Bible should have a disclaimer in the front saying this is fiction. I mean, walking on water, it takes an act of faith. And I have faith in this movie. Not that it's true, not that it's factual, but that it's a jolly good story. And I think audiences are clever enough and bright enough to separate out fact and fiction, and discuss the thing after they've seen it."
With the camera focused on McKellen, one could hear a distinctly nervous laugh in the background, seeming to come from either actor Tom Hanks or director Howard. McKellen's stunning bit of blasphemy is likely to test the adage that all publicity is good publicity.

Update: MRC's Brent Baker has noted that ABC's World News Tonight has picked up on the story.
Jake Tapper: "Today at the Cannes film festival in France, the creators of the film tried to quell the controversy."
Tom Hanks: "This is not a documentary. This is not something that is pulled up and says, 'these are the facts. And this is exactly what happened.'"
Tapper: "Though one actor's comment seems likely to only inflame matters."
Ian McKellan on NBC's Today: "Well, I'd often thought the Bible should have a disclaimer at the front saying, 'this is fiction.'"
Finkelstein, recently a guest on the Lars Larson Show, lives in the liberal haven of Ithaca, NY, where he hosts the award-winning public-access TV show 'Right Angle'. Contact him at mark@gunhill.net

GOP Could Lose Congress, White House on Immigration

It does appear that this is the issue that will decide if the Republicans stay in power or not. Maybe they'll get the message in time. Maybe not...

(CNSNews.com) - Many Republicans and some media outlets are praising the immigration proposals outlined by President Bush. But some conservative leaders warned Tuesday that the administration's insistence on a so-called "guest worker" program for illegal aliens could cost the GOP control of Congress later this year and that the alleged arrogance behind the proposal could put a Democrat in the White House in 2008.
President Bush's plan, explained in a nationally televised speech Monday night, included a "guest worker" program for illegal aliens and the use of National Guard troops along the border until more Border Patrol agents can be trained and deployed.

Many Republican leaders complimented the president.
"He understands the issue possibly better than just about anyone given his experience as governor of Texas," Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-N.Y.) told the New York Sun.
"The President's plan is a serious and important first step in rebuilding the confidence of the American people that we can secure our border," Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) told The [Tennessee] Chattanoogan.
But Richard Viguerie -- the chairman of ConservativeHQ.com, who is credited with creating the political direct mail industry that helps fund the conservative movement -- told Cybercast News Service what the president calls a "guest worker" program is just amnesty for illegal aliens, and that "conservatives feel that they have been insulted by the president.
"He may get his way, but he won't get it this year. He may get it next year because the conservatives will be so angry at the Republican leadership - starting with the president, but the congressional Republicans also - that I'd be surprised if many, many don't stay home, turning the congress over to the Democrats," Viguerie cautioned.
"And, of course, the Democrats, next year, would give the president what he wants because then they'll be able to govern America for the rest of the 21st Century [with the support of former illegal aliens who had become newly-legalized voters]."
In his "End of Day" daily email newsletter to supporters, former Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer, who now heads the "American Values" conservative advocacy group, summarized the reaction of his constituents to Bush's proposal.
"I understand the overnight 'snapshot' polling data on the president's proposal was pretty good, but I cannot say the same for the reaction of conservatives," Bauer wrote. "Your messages to me were overwhelmingly negative, suggesting you view this plan as little more than a 'dressed up amnesty' bill."
Steve Elliott, president of Grassfire.org, an online network of grassroots conservatives with more than one million participants, also believes support for the Bush proposal could cost Republicans in the short and long term.
"If the Senate chooses to resist the voice of the citizens of this country and pass an amnesty bill, there will be repercussions that I think will extend to November and beyond," Elliott predicted.
Viguerie rejected the notion that Democrats, if they regained control of Congress, could do more damage to the conservative agenda than a less-than-supportive president.
"We can't go through life living as if the 'boogey man' is going to get us, which is what the big-government, left-of-center Republicans are always saying," Viguerie said. "We're just sick of that, and I'm just tired of that, being treated like a child ... I've been hearing that all my life."
As for conservatives' ultimate 'boogey man' in the coming presidential election, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), Viguerie rejects that threat, as well.
"We won't have lost this country if Hillary becomes president," Viguerie concluded. "It will be those who have betrayed and lied to their supporters. They will bear the responsibility, not those who were true to their principles."

Bush 'A.W.O.L.' on conservative agenda
President Bush continues to insist that his "guest worker" proposal does not offer amnesty to illegal aliens.
"[W]e must face the reality that millions of illegal immigrants are here already," the president said. "They should not be given an automatic path to citizenship. This is amnesty, and I oppose it."
Elliott accused Bush of exhibiting a trait more commonly associated with former President Bill Clinton.
"They're playing with the language," Elliott said, recalling President Clinton's famous quote debating the meaning of the word "is."
"Amnesty is any program that grants legal status to people who are here illegally, whether that's citizenship or a guest worker program, that's amnesty," Elliott insisted. "That's what the American people call amnesty and the American people oppose amnesty."
Viguerie believes President Bush's words and actions on the immigration issue are symptomatic of a larger problem in the administration.
From a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, to limiting the power of the federal government over religious institutions, to overturning the Supreme Court's Roe versus Wade decision legalizing abortion at all stages of pregnancy, Viguerie feels Bush has abandoned the conservative agenda.
"Where is he? He's A.W.O.L. in this," Viguerie said. "Where are the evangelicals in this administration? Where are the religious right types?
"This president has surrounded himself with long-term, friendly, big-business types," Viguerie continued. "I just don't think he's done anything except what his father did, which was give us lip service."
Conservatives, Viguerie argued, must shift their focus from changing the minds of Republican leaders to replacing them with individuals who share, and will fight for conservative ideals.
"It's just time that conservatives focus on building the conservative movement and taking over the Republican Party from those who have hijacked it," Viguerie said. "We've done it before and we can do it again."

Prolifers Galvanized by 'Right to Abortion' Move

"The Right to Have an Abortion". I can't speak for the international community, mostly because I spend most of my time disagreeing with them, but domestically, the document governing how things work in the U.S. is the United States Constitution.
Now internet search tools and PDF searchable documents are wonderful things. I have used both of these tools to search the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights for the word "abortion". I must be doing something wrong, because the search always comes back with "...not found".
Or maybe, just maybe, the word "abortion" doesn't appear in these documents? Doesn't that kind of shed some doubt on the theory that a person "has a right to an abortion"?

(CNSNews.com) - A major human rights organization's decision to consider dropping its neutral stance on abortion -- and to promote a "right" to abortion instead -- is making waves around the world.
Campaigners are urging prolifers who support the organization to make their views known.
Amnesty International's existing policy on "sexual and reproductive rights" is that it "takes no position on whether or not women have a right to choose to terminate unwanted pregnancies; there is no generally accepted right to abortion in international human rights law."
At an international council meeting in Mexico next year, Amnesty International will decide whether to abandon neutrality, declare abortion an international human right, and consequently start advocating for it.
Between now and then, national branches are consulting with members and discussing the proposal. Britain and New Zealand have both already decided to support it.
In Britain, a recent annual meeting of Amnesty International passed a motion supporting the decriminalization of abortion. "The full realization of human rights should be understood to mean that a woman's right to physical and mental integrity includes a right to (a) information on the risks of abortion (b) legal safe and accessible abortion should she choose to have an abortion," it said.
AI members at that same meeting also voted down two alternative motions -- one saying that the branch "should take no position on the issue of abortion," and the other saying "the AGM decides to maintain its current neutral policy on abortion ... in order to continue supporting the fundamental principal of the right to life of every human person."
The British and Irish prolife group Precious Life accused the branch of hypocrisy, saying it had "turned its back on human rights, the very thing they have campaigned to protect for over forty years."
"Abortion can never be described as a 'right,' " the group said in a statement. "Abortion is a needless act of violence that kills babies and hurts women."
Precious Life is urging AI members to leave unless the group starts campaigning to protect the right to life of unborn children.
Another U.K. campaign group, United for Life, said it had written several letters to AI leading up to the AGM.
Among other points, United for Life's Chris Mason noted that AI was opposed to capital punishment. Yet, he said, in an abortion the unborn are also sentenced to "the death penalty simply because they exist or because they are disabled."
In New Zealand, Right to Life spokesman Ken Orr responded to his country's branch decision by saying it would be a tragedy if Amnesty at an international level adopted abortion as a "human right."
He noted that the group claimed to support the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states "the child ... needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth."
In New York, Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family Human Rights Institute argued this week that AI promoting abortion as an international human right "would be a disaster for the unborn."
"This kind of change will put the lives of unborn children into the hands of one of the most powerful groups in the world," he said. "They can throw the weight of the international legal community against the unborn.
"They will bring suits in the national courts and international courts. They will bring small countries before the United Nations and begin shaming campaigns in the New York Times, the London Times and elsewhere."
Christians in Canada, where the AI branch will hold its AGM next weekend, are also unhappy about the move.
Roman Catholic Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary told the Canadian prolife site LifeSiteNews.com that the proposal for AI to start advocating for abortion was "an ill-conceived and gross betrayal of their mission to campaign for human rights."
Henry said he personally planned to end financial contributions to AI.
The site also quoted an Evangelical Fellowship of Canada representative as saying the move could have an impact on evangelicals' support for AI.
In India, Archbishop Oswald Gracias of the Conference of Catholic Bishops said the "much respected" AI had long been "known for protecting human rights of all, more particularly of weaker sections of the society."
If it made the proposed change, he said, "it would mean that Amnesty International is bidding good-bye to human rights."

Immigration, Legal Groups Rebuff Mexican Lawsuit Threat

Oh look everyone...the ACLU is ready to sue us (the U.S.) to help Mexico. This is getting out of hand when a country can't even protect it's own borders. Other countries don't have this problem. Want to know why? They have closed borders and people get arrested, do jail time and then get deported if they enter illegally. C'mom Mr. Bush and the congress...how hard is this issue to understand?

(CNSNews.com) - The Mexican government is threatening to sue the U.S. government in response to President Bush's pledge to deploy National Guard troops along the U.S. border, according to an online opinion column.
An immigration reform group responded Wednesday, saying that Mexico should stay out of U.S. domestic policy; and a legal advocacy group said the Mexican government was more likely to secretly fund lawsuits by individual illegal aliens than to challenge the U.S. directly.
Jim Kouri, a security expert and staff writer for TheRealityCheck.org, warned in a column that the Bush administration could face a federal lawsuit over its plan to use National Guard troops to supplement Border Patrol agents.
"A representative from Mexican President Vicente Fox claims that if the U.S. National Guard troops detain illegal aliens crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, the Fox government will file a lawsuit against the Bush Administration in U.S. federal court," Kouri wrote. "There are some political observers who believe that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is preparing to assist the Mexican government in such a lawsuit."
Ira Mehlman, media director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), told Cybercast News Service that the Mexican government should mind its own business.
"The United States needs to make it clear to Mexico and to every foreign government, that our immigration policy is a domestic matter and that we're not going to tolerate interference by foreign governments," Mehlman said. "No country has the right to dictate or make demands when it comes to the domestic policies of the United States, just as we have no right to dictate their policies."
Tom Fitton, president of the public advocacy law firm Judicial Watch, said it is one thing to threaten a lawsuit and quite another to actually pursue one in court.
"We all say we want to sue. The question is: 'Can they? And, is there standing?'" Fitton said. "It would be, more likely, a diplomatic issue at that level."

Mehlman agreed.
"I would doubt that [Mexico] has legal standing, but you never know what kind of creative decisions the courts can come up with or what the ACLU might try," Mehlman said. "There's no historical or legal basis for standing when it comes to foreign governments suing the United States over its immigration policies. I'm not even sure that it's a case that could be taken before the World Court, much less a court here in the United States."
Fitton believes that "it's highly unlikely that the government of Mexico would sue directly over the deployment of the National Guard.
"It's more likely that Mexican nationals would receive legal support, paid for by the Mexican government, if they challenged their detention by the National Guard, or any other new border enforcement that Mexico wants to challenge," Fitton explained.
"The way Mexican government works is, they fund legal representation for the illegal immigrant community on some of these matters and that's the likely vehicle for any challenges, if there are any here."
This is not the first time, according to FAIR, that a Mexican official has reportedly threatened a lawsuit against the U.S. government or one of its citizens.
"Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez has threatened the U.S. government and individual U.S. citizens with various lawsuits," FAIR reported. "When Arizona citizens approved Proposition 200 in November 2004, restricting access to state benefits for illegal aliens, Derbez threatened to sue the State of Arizona in U.S. District Court, disregarding the necessary legal standing."
Additionally, Derbez threatened to bring legal action against the neighborhood watch-style group known as the Minutemen Project when they began patrolling the southern U.S. border earlier this year.

ACLU criticizes Bush in advance for actions he did not propose
The ACLU published a press release before President Bush's announcement on May 15th, calling on Congress and the president "to reject any measures that fail to uphold the letter and spirit of our laws and encourag[ing] lawmakers to adopt immigration reform that protects the freedom and privacy of all in America.
"Turning immigration enforcement policy into another military operation is not the answer," the ACLU wrote. "The president's proposed deployment of National Guard troops violates the spirit of the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits the military from getting into the business of civilian law enforcement."
The Posse Comitatus Act (18 USC 1385) does prohibit military involvement in civilian law enforcement, "except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress."
\sa240 An analysis of the law by the U.S. Coast Guard notes that in 1981, a companion law was enacted "clarifying permissible military assistance to civilian law enforcement agencies--including the Coast Guard--especially in combating drug smuggling into the United States. Posse Comitatus clarifications emphasize supportive and technical assistance (e.g., use of facilities, vessels, aircraft, intelligence, tech aid, surveillance, etc.) while generally prohibiting direct participation of [Department of Defense] personnel in law enforcement (e.g., search, seizure, and arrests)."
During his presentation Monday night, President Bush seemed to preempt the ACLU's complaint, calling for 6,000 National Guard members to be deployed along the southern U.S. border, "in coordination with governors."
"The Border Patrol will remain in the lead. The Guard will assist the Border Patrol by operating surveillance systems, analyzing intelligence, installing fences and vehicle barriers, building patrol roads and providing training," Bush said. "Guard units will not be involved in direct law enforcement activities -- that duty will be done by the Border Patrol."