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Archive for July, 2010

Back to School: Do You Know What Your Child is Learning?

Posted by faithandthelaw on July 30, 2010

Another school year is set to begin at high schools and colleges where the next round of biology students will be filled with evolutionary misinformation. At the center of this propaganda campaign are the many biology textbooks used to indoctrinate young minds with old dogma. These textbooks contain the latest evolutionary newspeak, but the underlying message is no different.

In their text The Living World (Fifth Edition, McGraw Hill, 2008) evolutionists George Johnson and Jonathan Losos rehearse the usual teachings. Students are told that “Microevolution Leads to Macroevolution” with the giraffe’s neck serving as the example of how small change is supposed to accumulate to the large-scale change evolution needs.

Of course this is a long-standing, well-known problem for evolution. Mechanisms for large-scale change are speculative for it does not appear merely to be the result of repeated rounds of microevolution. Johnson and Losos, of course, inform the student of none of this.

The giraffe example is also useful in explaining evolution’s concept of biological variation. The text explains that according to evolution variation arises independent of need or experience via mechanisms such as random mutation.

Contrary to such evolutionary dogma, it has been known for decades that variation is sensitive to experience and need. Evolutionists have resisted this and the text again leaves the student ignorant of the science.

Such misrepresentations of science, as damaging as they are, pale in comparison to Johnson’s and Losos’ next move. The apologists make a failed attempt to enlist the fossil record as powerful evidence for evolution, and end up with only the usual metaphysics. They write:

If the theory of evolution is not correct, on the other hand, then such orderly change is not expected.

Very interesting. And how do evolutionists know so much? From where did Johnson and Losos learn such ultimate truths? If evolution is not correct then such orderly change is not expected? Tell us more.

What are all the possibilities aside from evolution and why do none of them predict “such orderly change”? Why is it that evolution, and only evolution, predicts such an outcome? This is truly fascinating. If and only if evolution is true would we see such orderly change. Johnson and Losos are real geniuses—they have knowledge of all possible causes.

You cannot make this stuff up. In two and half pages the text’s chapter on evolution has gone from misleading to absurd. What will come next?

But this is nothing new in evolutionary circles. Only evolutionists teach such a biased version of science.

Courtesy of http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2010/07/back-to-school-do-you-know-what-your.html

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Lawsuit claims school bias on Christian views

Posted by faithandthelaw on July 30, 2010

By Rachel B. Duke – The Washington Times

MugshotJennifer Keeton says Augusta State University in Georgia has told her to deny her Christian beliefs in order to graduate.

Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund have sued Augusta State University in Georgia on behalf of a counseling student who claims the university told her to deny her Christian beliefs in order to graduate.

Jennifer Keeton, 24, who is pursuing a master’s degree in counseling, said she was ordered to undergo a re-education plan that requires her to attend “diversity sensitivity training,” complete additional remedial reading and write papers to describe their effects on her beliefs, according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday.

The ultimatum: Complete this re-education plan or be expelled from ASU’s Counselor Education Program.

ASU said Miss Keeton‘s conduct violates the code of ethics to which counselors and counselors in training are required to adhere, including those of the American Counseling Association and the American School Counselor Association.

“It’s hard to conceive of a more blatant violation of her right to freedom of speech and her freedom of conscience,” said David French, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative-leaning group that defends religious freedom. “This type of leftist zero-tolerance policy is in place at far too many universities, and it must stop.”

ASU officials, in an e-mail to a Washington Times reporter, said they could not comment on the lawsuit.

“There is little I can say right now since there is a pending lawsuit. ASU does not discriminate on the basis of any individual’s moral, religious, political or personal views or beliefs,” said Kathy Schofe, the university‘s public relations director.

Erin Martz, manager of ethics and professional standards at the American Counseling Association, said that although she couldn’t specifically address Miss Keeton‘s case, “The ACA Code of Ethics serves to ensure that counselors and counselors-in-training conduct themselves in a way which is consistent with the ideals of the profession. As such, the core values of diversity, multiculturalism and inclusion are present throughout the code and are crucial to the ethical decision-making process.”

Miss Keeton‘s case is one of several nationwide in which counseling students have been dismissed from programs or threatened with expulsion because of their Christian beliefs.

One case involves counseling student Julea Ward, who was dismissed from Eastern Michigan University’s School of Counseling after she refused to change her beliefs. After a client asked Miss Ward for advice on a same-sex relationship, she asked her adviser on how to help her client because, she said, she couldn’t morally affirm such relationships. Miss Ward ultimately referred her client to another counselor. The university dismissed Miss Ward from the program in March 2009. The case is now being litigated in federal court.

In Miss Keeton‘s case, ASU has threatened expulsion because of the Christian ethical convictions she shares in and out of the classroom, given the proper context, on human sexuality and gender identity.

“I have, on a few occasions, shared my biblical convictions and views in assignments in class discussions and with other students,” Miss Keeton says in a video clip provided by the Alliance Defense Fund.

In the remediation plan, the university questions Miss Keeton‘s abilities to be “a multiculturally competent counselor, particularly with regard to working with gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (GLBTQ) populations.”

When asked by ASU faculty members why she did not attend a Christian school, Miss Keeton said that none of those colleges would accept her ASU credits and that those schools had much higher tuition rates.

“Christians are taxpayers, too,” said Mr. French. “They have as much a right to attend these schools as anyone else, and this public university is treating Christians as second-class citizens to even suggest such a thing.”

Faculty members also were concerned about Miss Keeton‘s conversations outside the classroom, according to the lawsuit. They received reports from another student that Miss Keeton “has relayed her interest in conversion therapy for GLBTQ populations, and she has tried to convince other students to support and believe her views,” according to the legal documents provided by Alliance Defense Fund.

Miss Keeton told faculty members that she never communicated anything about “conversion therapy,” although she expressed to other students her religious beliefs on GLBTQ issues.

Court papers mention details of a private meeting between Miss Keeton and several faculty members, during which one faculty member said, “There are limits on what views Miss Keeton may express even outside the classroom or the counseling room.”

Miss Keeton told the faculty members that they had no grounds for assuming that her clinical performance as a counselor would be inappropriate in any way, or that it should disqualify her competence as a counselor or affect her standing in the counseling program.

Two faculty members, according to court documents, said that Miss Keeton is prejudiced because of her ethical beliefs on GLBTQ issues.

In reply, she asked them how her Christian convictions are any less acceptable than those of a Buddhist or Muslim student, to which one faculty member replied, “Christians see this population as sinners,” court papers show.

Miss Keeton said she thinks the professors’ assessments are unfair.

“While I want to stay in the school counseling program, I know that I can’t honestly complete the remediation plan knowing that I would have to alter my beliefs,” said Miss Keeton. “I’m not willing to and I know I can’t change my biblical views.”

© Copyright 2010 The Washington Times, LLC.

Courtesy of http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/jul/26/lawsuit-claims-school-bias-on-christian-views/?page=1

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On-duty sheriff deputy to Christians: ‘There is no Jesus!’

Posted by faithandthelaw on July 29, 2010

By Chelsea Schilling
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

“I am a nonbeliever. There is no God. There is no Jesus. There is no Satan,” shouted a New Mexico sheriff’s deputy as he ran off loud Christian protesters outside a Rob Zombie concert.  
 

 Bernalillo County Sheriff Deputy Jim Goff’s July 17 comments were captured in the following video footage and posted on YouTube by a street-preaching group:

Goff, an 18-year veteran deputy, was ordering the protesters to leave a sidewalk outside a pavilion in Albuquerque where the heavy-metal concert was scheduled to take place. He said the area was private property belonging to Hard Rock Casino and threatened to take the protesters to jail unless they vacated the area.

The protesters complied but argued with deputies as they left the site.

Heavy-metal rocker Rob Zombie, formerly known as Robert Cummings, founded White Zombie, a group that disbanded in 1998. He has also directed horror films such as “House of 1,000 Corpses” and “The Devil’s Rejects.” Zombie has toured with Ozzy Osbourne. His songs often feature lyrics that some believe are satanic.  

Zombie was performing at the pavilion, which has a 15,000-seat capacity and hosts large concerts. According to the Albuquerque Journal, the pavilion is on state trust land and owned by the state of New Mexico. It was leased to Bernalillo County in the 1990s. The county subleases the 15-acre tract of land to Live Nation, an entertainment company that operates the facility.  

Members of the Christian group had been wearing T-shirts that said “Trust Jesus” and shouting at the crowd with a megaphone, warning of eternal damnation for those who “indulge themselves in this wicked sin” and urging them to “be born again.”

Jeremy De los Santos, one of the protesters, told KRQE-TV 13 his group believed it was on public property because it was outside the pavilion. He admitted to arguing with deputies when asked to leave.

De los Santos can be heard on video saying, “It’s our constitutional right. These people are free right here to be out here, why can’t we?”

Goff yelled to the Rob Zombie fans, “Guys, do you want them to stay or go?!”

The crowd shouted, “Go!”

“Had they said ‘stay,’ would we have been OK to stay?” De los Santos asked a KRQE-TV reporter. “Then it wouldn’t have been private property, and so it seemed the officer was on the side of the crowd. … Really, in all reality what happened, a group of Christians got ran off the property by an atheist who happens to be a police officer.”

De los Santos is not asking for the department to reprimand Goff. But he said he believes the deputy should receive proper training on crowd control because, he said, Goff’s comments could have started a fight between the crowds.

Goff argued with the Christian group as members recorded his comments, saying, “People don’t want to see that. … You must have a crush on me, man. Are you like a gay homosexual or something like that? You keep filming me!”

The protesters were taken down the street from the event, and one deputy with the last name of Allen ordered a protester to turn his video camera off.

Catholic protester Naomi Morega told KRQE-TV 13 she thought Goff’s comments were “sad.”

“He’s here to protect us and here to protect the public, and he’s shouting his own beliefs toward other people,” Morega said.

According to KRQE-TV 13, Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzalez said the department would begin an internal investigation today.

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Did God Cause the Oil Spill?

Posted by faithandthelaw on July 29, 2010

 No Ted Turner is not correct as God did not send the oil spill, but his thinking illustrates that most people blame God for everything. God gets such a bad rap in the world today, as He gets blamed for every evil thing that happens. God gets blamed for disasters that kill people such as tornadoes, earthquakes, and floods. God gets blamed for sicknesses and diseases that ravage people’s bodies. God gets blamed for nearly every death, as people state that it was God’s will that a person died. God gets blamed for poverty and oppression. God has been blamed for every imaginable form of human suffering. 

            There is no doubt that unspeakable evil and suffering permeate and saturate every level of our society. All you have to do is to pick up a newspaper or watch the daily news on television, and it sounds like scenes from the worst horror flick. Our senses are bombarded with death, war, famine, murder, accidents, disasters, and destruction. It does not take a rocket scientist to realize there is something dreadfully wrong going on in the world. Horrible things have been going on in the world since the beginning of history. People have no answers or explanation, so God gets repeatedly blamed for this evil. But God does not have one drop, one atom, or one sliver of evil in Him. Absolutely no evil dwells in God, and He is not responsible for all the evil and suffering in the world. 

            How would you feel if you were wrongly accused of committing a heinous act that hurt or killed someone? It would not feel too good, would it? How do you think the heart of God feels when he is blamed for evil, disease, death, and disasters when He had nothing to do with them? Religion, philosophy, and human reasoning have distorted the image of God and the essence of His character. God is far above all evil, and evil is absolutely foreign to God’s nature. Evil cannot mix, pollute, or exist in God as He is not contaminated with any kind of evil. 

Job 34:10,11,13 (Message Bible):                                        

You’re veterans in dealing with these matters;

matters; certainly we are one mind on this.

It’s impossible for God to do anything evil; no

way can the Mighty One do anything wrong. 

It’s impossible for God to do anything wicked,

for the Mighty One to subvert justice.        

I John 1:5 (Amplified):                            

And this is the message [the message of promise]

which we have heard from Him and are now

reporting to you: God is light and there is no

darkness in Him at all [no, not in any way]. 

     Can it be any clearer? God is not responsible for the evil in this world. God is not the source of all the calamity and darkness of this world. God wants us never to forget this important truth from His Word-that He is light and in Him resides no evil, no darkness, no wickedness, and no iniquity in any way, shape, or form. God is pure. God is holy. God is just. God is righteous. God is good. God is love. God is not contaminated with evil. Most of the world does not believe this fact, but this is the true message of His Word about the goodness of God. 

Isaiah 5:20 (NIV):                            

Woe to those who call evil good and good

evil, who put darkness for light and light for

darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet

for bitter.

             This verse could be a fifty word essay on the history of civilization or even more appropriately, the history of religion. Every day, God, who is good, is blamed for evil. God, who is light, is blamed for darkness. God, who is sweet, is made into something that tastes bitter.  God warns us not to engage in such behavior. 

            There is a raging spiritual battle going on behind the scenes between God who is good and the devil who is evil. Adam and Eve transferred to the devil the authority they had originally to rule as kings and queens on the earth in the Garden of Eden and the devil become the god of this age through this act of high treason.      

II Corinthians 4:4 (NIV):  

The god of this age has blinded the minds

of unbelievers, so they cannot see the light

of the gospel of Christ, who is the image of

God.

             “The god of this age” is not just some figurative term of language or some label or slogan. It describes a real, spiritual being who has the authority and control of this age. It is not an earthly ruler, or some man or woman reigning as a king or queen. It is a wicked spirit being who is the supreme head and ruler of the kingdom of darkness. The god of this age is the devil, and he is responsible for all the evil that permeates our society. Don’t be fooled. The devil is as a real as the hand in front of your face, and he is the sworn enemy of the goodness of God. The devil hates God and everything associated with Him, and sets up the systems of evil in every age of history to oppose God and His good purposes. This god of this age seems so fashionable, so cool, and so hip, but he blinds the minds of millions from the light of the good news of Christ. He distorts the good image and name of God and deceives people into believing that it is the true God who is really evil and causing all the darkness in the world. It is a masterful deception, as the devil does not want you to know or understand anything about the goodness of God.  

I John 5:19: (NIV): 

We know that we are the children of God

and that the whole world is under the control

of the evil one. 

            The whole world is under the control and authority of the evil one, the devil. The devil is called the evil one in the Scripture, as he is the embodiment of everything evil. He is the one who actively seeks to harm, injure, and destroy and deliberately seeks the destruction of every man, woman, and child on Earth. He is the arch-enemy of God and desires for people to worship him. His systems of evil are diametrically opposed to God and His goodness. He has authority and dominion on the earth, and has set up an entire kingdom of wicked spirit beings to wreak havoc against God in every nation and every culture. There is an intense spiritual war going on between the forces of God and the forces of the devil. It is the classic battle of the goodness of God against the evil of the devil. It is being waged every second of the day in every city, every country, and every continent. The goodness of God is under vicious attack daily from the forces of the evil one. 

       Without Christ and the deliverance in the new birth, the entire world lies helplessly subject to this system and its arrangement of evil. The devil has the authority, dominion, command, and power of this world system over the entire earth.    

        Also the oil spill is a great example of the sin nature of a person and how if we let it control our actions they will be rooted in selfishness. Laziness, greed, selfishness, love of money and hardness of heart are all attitudes of heart of the top level people at BP that flows out of the sin nature that was left unchecked and unbridled and the oil spill is the consequences of this condition of the heart. Yet God gets blamed. God does not have to kill off the oceans to get people’s attention. God does not have to use evil to accomplish his purposes. 

       Also there was an incredible lack of wisdom and foolishness that caused the oil spill with a total lack of concern for the consequences. The devil is the god of this age who steals, kills and destroys everything he can and his influence is seen in the oil spill along with men and women acting out of the dictates of their sin nature instead of out of the new nature available in Christ and the law of love.

 

 

 

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Court: University Can Expel Student Who Opposes Homosexuality

Posted by faithandthelaw on July 29, 2010

A federal judge ruled in favor of a public university that removed a Christian student over her belief that homosexuality is morally wrong. The decision, according to Julea Ward’s attorneys, could result in students across the country being expelled from public universities for similar views.

“It’s a very dangerous precedent,” Jeremy Tedesco, legal counsel for the conservative Alliance Defense Fund, told FOX News Radio. “The ruling doesn’t say that explicitly, but that’s what is going to happen.”

U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh dismissed Ward’s lawsuit against Eastern Michigan University. She was removed from the school’s counseling program because she refused to counsel homosexual clients.

The university contended she violated school policy and the American Counseling Association code of ethics.

“Christian students shouldn’t be expelled for holding to and abiding by their beliefs,” said ADF senior counsel David French. “To reach its decision, the court had to do something that’s never been done in federal court: uphold an extremely broad and vague university speech code.”

Eastern Michigan University hailed the decision.

“We are pleased that the court has upheld our position in this matter,” EMU spokesman Walter Kraft said in a written statement. “Julea Ward was not discriminated against because of her religion. To the contrary, Eastern Michigan is deeply committed to the education of our students and welcomes individuals from diverse backgrounds into our community.”

In his 48-page opinion, Judge Steeh said the university had a rational basis for adopting the ACA Code of Ethics.

“Furthermore, the university had a rational basis for requiring students to counsel clients without imposing their personal values,” he wrote in a portion of his ruling posted by The Detroit News. “In the case of Ms. Ward, the university determined that she would never change her behavior and would consistently refuse to counsel clients on matters with which she was personally opposed due to her religious beliefs – including homosexual relationships.”

Ward’s attorneys claim the university told her she would only be allowed to remain in the program if she went through a “remediation” program so that she could “see the error of her ways” and change her belief system about homosexuality.

The case is similar to a lawsuit the ADF filed against Augusta State University in Georgia. Counseling student Jennifer Keeton was allegedly told to stop sharing her Christian beliefs in order to graduate.

Keeton’s lawsuit alleged that she was told to undergo a reeducation program and attend “diversity sensitivity training.”

University officials declined to comment on specifics of the lawsuit but released a statement to FOX News that said Augusta State does not discriminate on the basis of students’ moral, religious, political or personal beliefs.

Tedesco said both cases should be a warning to Christians attending public colleges and universities.

“Public universities are imposing the ideological stances of private groups on their students,” he said. “If you don’t comply, you will be kicked out. It’s scary stuff and it’s not a difficult thing to see what’s coming down the pike.”

The Alliance Defense Fund told FOX News it will appeal the ruling.

Courtesy of http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/07/28/court-university-expel-student-opposes-homosexuality/

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Open Doors Launches Campaign to Pressure Morocco to Halt Rise in Deportation, Persecution of Christians

Posted by faithandthelaw on July 23, 2010

SANTA ANA, Calif., July 22 /Christian Newswire/ — Since March, the intensity of persecution in Morocco has increased significantly. Consider the following:

  • The deportation of at least 128 foreign Christians, including almost half of them Americans, from Morocco.
     
  • An increase in interrogations and surveillance of Christian nationals.
     
  • A reported 7,000 Muslim leaders signing a document describing the work of Christians within Morocco as “moral rape” and “religious terrorism.”

These developments in Morocco are alarming, but perhaps not so surprising to some Moroccan Christians. During a Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission hearing on Capitol Hill last month, a Moroccan Christian who fled the country five years ago testified that Morocco has never been (moderate) as it portrayed it was. “The fact is religious freedom in Morocco simply does not exist. The West is presented with a façade that is now exposed.”

The government claims these Christian individuals are guilty of proselytizing, which is illegal in Morocco, but the government has failed to provide any evidence to substantiate the accusations. Furthermore, the Moroccan government did not follow due process of law in the deportations and denied court hearings to all of those deported. Most of these individuals were expelled from the country without the opportunity to set their affairs in order, say goodbye to friends and family, or even to gather their belongings.  Many of the deportees have lived in Morocco for a significant number of years as humanitarian workers, business professionals and teachers. Some also were deported after spending years working in an orphanage.

Not only has the Moroccan government cracked down on foreign Christians, but they have simultaneously increased pressure on national Christians.  Compass Direct News estimates 1,000 Moroccan Christian converts within the country are not recognized by the government. Open Doors has learned that increased persecution has made it very difficult for national believers to meet and worship together. 

It appears the Moroccan government is intent on ridding the nation of all Christian influence.  If not challenged on the deportations of foreign Christians, the government may perceive that Christians worldwide will turn a blind eye to increased persecution of national Christians.  For this reason, it is imperative that Christians speak out on behalf of both groups.

Open Doors is launching a campaign asking Christians in the West to send a message to their U.S. representatives and senators, asking them to sign a Congressional letter sponsored by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA10).This letter to the king of Morocco (Mohammed VI) requests that the government stop all deportations and allow those who have been deported be allowed to return to Morocco. For more information and to send a message to your U.S. legislators, those concerned can go to www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.

Carl Moeller, president/CEO of Open Doors USA, says: “This is a situation where a number of our friends in Congress are taking a stand. If we can use the political power of the U.S. Congress to bring pressure on the Moroccan authorities, we want to go ahead and do that.”

Moeller also encourages prayer for the situation in Morocco, which ranks No. 37 on this year’s Open Doors World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians and whose population of 33 million is 99 percent Muslim. Moeller asks that people:

  1. Pray that the expelled Christians would have the opportunity to appeal their deportations and have fair trials so they can return to Morocco.
     
  2. Pray that the Moroccan government will reduce pressure on national Christians and that these Christians would be strengthened in their faith during this difficult time.
     
  3. Pray that the U.S. government will be willing to take the necessary action to pressure the Moroccan government to halt the deportations and increased surveillance and interrogations of national Christians.

An estimated 100 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith in Christ, with millions more facing discrimination and alienation. Open Doors supports and strengthens believers in the world’s most difficult areas through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development, prayer and presence ministry and advocacy on behalf of suffering believers. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to our Website at www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.

(For more information or to set up an interview, contact Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 or email jerryd@odusa.org).

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Wichita Council Keeps Prayers at Meetings

Posted by faithandthelaw on July 23, 2010

The Wichita City Council in Kansas will continue having invocations before each meeting despite protests by a group of humanists.

“I can’t agree with the statement that religion has no place. It has a place in our entire lives. It’s not just here at city hall,” said Councilwoman Sue Schlapp on Tuesday. “So I don’t think I can exclude that from my daily life just because I walk into city hall.”

Vickie Sandell Stangl, president of the Great Plains chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, brought her concerns before council members at their meeting Tuesday.

She argued, “There’s no good reason to use public time to express private beliefs. The only real purpose seems to be an elevating of public officials’ piety before the citizenry.”

“Invocations before government meetings only serve to promote religion,” she added, noting that the majority of the invocations have been Christian. “Public business should be free of religious sentiment.”

Three of the council members disagreed with Stangl’s arguments.

Councilman Paul Gray said nearly every culture and corner of life has established some form of religion. And though many quote 17th century British philosopher John Locke when arguing for the separation of church and state, Gray stressed that no such words are found in the one document that has any relevance – the U.S. Constitution.

“M’am, this is not an open debate,” Gray said.

He and others on the council noted, however, that they make sure everyone has the opportunity to express their opinion, celebrate their religion and give the invocation at their meetings.

“But it doesn’t require us to have an absence of religion because a few people out there, a very slim majority, feel offended,” Gray added. “I think the majority of the country does not have a problem as long as everybody gets a fair representation.”

On Tuesday, Michael Alderfer of the Great Plains AU, filled the invocation slot with a short speech.

“Each of us possess the ability to use reason and compassion,” he stated, after encouraging participants to look at one another rather than bow their heads. “Let us not only look to the heavens for inspiration but also to each other and open our eyes wide to accept the reality that confronts us without losing sight of our ideals of what could be. Through the prudent use of reason and compassion we can assure the continued success of this great city.”

Following Alderfer’s speech, Schlapp decided to bless the meeting.

“I believe all good flows from our Heavenly Father and I’d like to bless this meeting this morning,” she said.

If the city council plans to continue with invocations before every meeting, Stangl suggested that they be more diverse to include such persons as Wiccans and humanists.

Mayor Carl Brewer said the invocations already reflect the diversity of the community.

“City hall is everyone’s city hall,” he assured.

Courtesy of http://www.christianpost.com/article/20100721/wichita-council-keeps-prayers-at-meetings/index.html

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Groups Blast First Federal Funding of Abortions

Posted by faithandthelaw on July 21, 2010

Pro-life and social conservative groups are in an uproar over what they say is the first federal funding of elective abortion under the new health care legislation.

The National Right to Life Committee accused the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services of approving Pennsylvania’s request for $160 million for a new “high-risk” insurance program that will use federal funds to subsidize coverage of nearly all abortions before the 24th week of pregnancy.

Although the Pennsylvania plan on abortion states that “elective abortions are not covered,” NRLC points out that the detailed plan neglects to define “elective.” The Pennsylvania plan also elsewhere states that coverage includes abortions and contraceptives that fulfill requirements of several specific statutes. One of the statutes says that abortion is legal in Pennsylvania if a physician believes it is “necessary” based on “all factors (physical, emotional, psychological, familial and the woman’s age) relevant to the well-being of the woman.”

In the plan, there was only one circumstance under the Pennsylvania statute where an abortion was not allowed: if it is sought solely because of the sex of the unborn child.

“Under the Rendell-Sebelius plan, federal funds will subsidize coverage of abortion performed for any reason, except sex selection,” said Douglas Johnson, the legislative director of the NRLC, in a statement. “The Pennsylvania proposal conspicuously lacks language that would prevent funding of abortions performed as a method of birth control or for any other reason, except sex selection – and the Obama Administration has now approved this.”

Throughout the health care bill debate and even after it became law, pro-life groups have been convinced that the legislation has loopholes so that federal funds can be channeled to pay for elective abortions. Despite President Obama’s and Democratic leaders’ assurance that no federal tax dollars will pay for the procedure, pro-life groups believe the health care bill is the largest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade.

President Obama’s executive order to restrict federal funding of abortion under the new health care reform law did little to allay concerns. Pro-life groups dismissed the executive order saying it does not have the same force of law as those passed by Congress. Now with the Pennsylvania high-risk program federal funding, pro-life groups say they have proof they were right.

NRLC’s Douglas Johnson said the federal tax funds for Pennsylvania’s plan that “will pay for insurance plans that cover any legal abortion” is the “first proof of the phoniness” of President Obama’s promise that federal funds will not subsidize abortion.

Johnson also said the administration is “quietly advancing” its abortion agenda through administrative decisions such as the Pennsylvania plan and hopes to avoid “broad public attention.”

“I’m sad to see my own state of Pennsylvania cover abortion through the new high-risk insurance pool,” said Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), according to Citizen Link. “This clearly illustrates the need for strong legislative language to prevent federal funding for abortion coverage.”

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department, however, released a statement Thursday afternoon denying that it would use federal funds for the high-risk insurance program to pay for abortions. The department said the likelihood that someone in the program, which targets the “sickest of the sick,” would need an abortion is “remote.” However, if someone in the program did seek an abortion the person would have to pay for it themselves.

Likewise, the DHHS released a brief statement that said in Pennsylvania and other states abortions will not be covered in the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan except in the cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is in danger.

Courtesy of http://www.christianpost.com/article/20100716/obama-health-care-accused-of-first-abortion-funding/index.html

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Report: Christians Unfairly Targeted by UK Hate Laws

Posted by faithandthelaw on July 21, 2010

LONDON – Christians in Britain are being unfairly targeted by laws intended to prevent religious hate crimes, a new report from Civitas warns.

The report, “A New Inquisition: Religious Persecution in Britain Today,” criticizes the “oppressive oddity” of judicial attempts to regulate religious hatred.

The report was researched and written for the think tank by Jon Davies, former head of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Newcastle.

He warns that although the Blasphemy Law was abolished in 2008, it has re-emerged in the guise of the hate laws.

The growth in accusations of hate crimes in recent years threatens freedom of speech by destroying the possibility of “open, sociable and critical” discussions on religion.

The difficulty in clearly defining when a hate crime has been committed has resulted in confusion and judges have become “surrogate theologians,” essentially establishing a “theocracy by the backdoor.”

“Are judges, even judges giving the ‘right’ verdict, so qualified in theology that they feel able to offer doctrinal guidance?” the report states.

“Is the Crown Prosecution Service so prudent in its understanding of ‘religious hatred’ that it should be free, with no penalty for error, to mobilize the power and resources of the state against ordinary citizens who make comments about religion?”

The foreword to the report claims that white Christians are being targeted by the hate laws more than other ethnic and faith groups.

“Some police forces and the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] seem to be interpreting statutes in favor of ethnic and religious minorities and in a spirit hostile to members of the majority population, defined as ‘White’ or ‘Christian,’” it states.

Davies cites the case of Ben and Sharon Vogelenzang, Christian hoteliers who were accused of a religiously aggravated hate crime by a Muslim guest at their hotel after a discussion about Islam over breakfast.

Davies voiced concern at the “public presumption of culpability” – as opposed to the traditional custom of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ – revealed by the local NHS authority’s decision to cancel its bookings for patients there.

The couple were eventually declared innocent by a court last November, but The Christian Institute, which supported them throughout their ordeal, said the case has led to serious financial hardship as a result of the damage done to their reputation and lost business.

Davies compared the charges laid against the Vogelenzangs with that of a Muslim man who sprayed “Islam will dominate the world – Osama is on his way” and “Kill Gordon Brown” across a war memorial. Although the war memorial carried Christian and national symbols, the man was charged with committing criminal damage, rather than a religiously aggravated offense.

He said the two cases were evidence of the “biased” application of the law, which has effectively created the conditions for more hatred, not less.

He said: “The hate laws are criminal laws operating under the police and the Crown Prosecution Service, and their parading of assorted ‘miscreants’ through the degradation ceremonies of the courts will create more abuse and hatred.”

Courtesy of http://www.christianpost.com/article/20100720/report-christians-unfairly-targeted-by-uk-hate-laws/index.html

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End Times Authors Warn of Potential Threat to Religious Freedom in U.S.

Posted by faithandthelaw on July 20, 2010

“End Times” authors Tim LaHaye and Craig Parshall say the Obama administration may be killing religious freedom by redefinition.

In a statement posted on their website this past week, the co-authors of the political thriller Edge of Apocalypse claim there is a shadow growing over religious freedom in America.

“We are talking about the Obama Administration’s subtle, but apparently deliberate use of a language-sleight-of-hand, substituting the phrase ‘freedom of worship’ for ‘freedom of religion,'” they wrote this past Tuesday.

According to the fiction series authors, President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have “consistently” used the new phrase in several speeches in recent months.

They pointed to how the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom also noted the shift and raised a flag on it in its 2010 annual report.

“Because of the policy implications of using ‘freedom of worship’ language, USCIRF urges President Obama, Secretary Clinton and other high-ranking U.S. government officials to return to invoking or embracing ‘freedom of religion or belief’ or similar language in all public statements and stress the universal nature of these and other rights,” the bipartisan body stated.

“In doing so, they should also explicitly affirm their commitment to broad protection of the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief in all its manifestations,” it added.

Though some might consider their observations as nit-picking or overanalyzing, LaHaye and Parshall made a case for their warning, explaining that the phrase “freedom of worship” follows an international concept that departs from the United States’ First Amendment understanding of religious freedom.

Under international law, they say, “worship” is a limited right, and connotes activities within a church body, but can exclude public evangelism.

The U.N. Declaration of Human Rights, for example, protects “teaching, practice, worship and observance” but does not protect public preaching. The United Nation’s 1981 Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance uses the same approach on matters of religion.

“Article 9 of the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms allows evangelism to be banned on the basis of protecting ‘public order,’” note the authors, one of which – Parshall – is a religious rights attorney and the general counsel for the National Religious Broadcasters.

“In 1997 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that under Article 9 Christians could be prosecuted for efforts to evangelize,” they added.

Alleging that the Obama administration is edging America closer to a global approach in matters of religion, LaHaye and Parshall recalled the future “Babylon” in the Bible’s book of Revelation, which they say has three aspects, “much like a three-legged stool.”

“[T]wo of them are a global economic system and a global political system. The third? A global unification of religion,” they stated.

And while they admit that the stage for that to be set seems improbable, the authors suggest it won’t be when “Christian evangelism is finally outlawed – or something worse.”

Furthermore, the authors say their new fictional novel, Edge of the Apocalypse, “is beginning to look more and more like the headlines of today rather than forecasts about the future.”

Published in April, Edge of the Apocalypse is a political thriller laced with End Times prophecy. Set in the near future, Edge of Apocalypse chronicles the beginning of “The End” – the events leading up to the Apocalypse foretold in Revelation.

Though Parshall has traditionally written legal-suspense novels and co-authored historical novels, LaHaye is no stranger in the “End Times” community. LaHaye is the creator and co-author of the popular Left Behind series, the 16-novel series that has been adapted into three action thriller films.

More than 65 million copies of the series’ novels have been sold since the first published in 1995.

The series also inspired the controversial PC game “Left Behind: Eternal Forces” and its sequel, “Left Behind: Tribulation Forces.”

A fourth film adaptation of the series is currently being discussed by Cloud Ten Pictures.

Courtesy of http://www.christianpost.com/article/20100718/end-times-authors-warn-of-potential-threat-to-religious-freedom/index.html

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