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Archive for April, 2011

David Wilkerson: Death of a true hero and legend of the faith in our times

Posted by faithandthelaw on April 29, 2011

From Editor: My heart is grieving over the tragic death of this profound man of God whose words and lives has altered a generation. 

Hundreds of messages offering prayers and honoring the legacy of David Wilkerson flooded Twitter and Facebook as Christians learned of the passing of a “true hero” who founded Times Square Church and World Challenge.

Wilkerson died in a fatal car crash in East Texas Wednesday afternoon. He was 79.

His wife, Gwendolyn Wilkerson, 70, was injured and airlifted to a local hospital.

Those who were moved by his death included Christian music artist Michael W. Smith, who offered his prayers to David Wilkerson’s family via Twitter and asked his followers to pray for Gwen.

Rick Wilkerson, pastor of Peacemakers in Miami, Fla., was at a loss for words when it came to describing his cousin.

“The term LEGEND is often used to describe a person of extreme influence but what about a man that supersedes superlatives,” he tweeted of David Wilkerson.

called him a “true hero.”

“David Wilkerson was a true hero … A man of conviction not convenience. He lived what he preached. We will miss him greatly!” said one of his relatives, Rich Wilkerson Jr., on Twitter.

On the his Facebook page, scores of supporters, including Melinda Allen-Morales, wrote faith-filled messages that celebrated his legacy and characterized his life as a victory for heaven.

“You will be missed! Your amazing works here on earth will not go unnoticed and the legacy you leave behind will and has touched so many. What is our loss on earth is heavens gain. There you get to spend eternity with our King! We will see you again one day. Blessings to your family in this time of sorrow and in joy knowing your (sic) in a much better place,” Allen-Morales wrote.

In addition to being the founder of Times Square Church in Manhattan, N.Y., Wilkerson is known for founding Teen Challenge, an evangelical Christian recovery program connected to the Assemblies of God denomination that teaches biblical principles to help young adults struggling with addictions, including drug and alcohol problems. The nonprofit has 233 locations in the United States and 1,181 centers in total worldwide, helping as many as 25,000 people struggling with addiction.

The minister tells the story of how he began his ministry in New York City and work with youths involved in drugs and gangs in his bestselling book The Cross and the Switchblade.

In their online posts, some people remembered Wilkerson as their “spiritual father” while others credited his book for changing their lives or for inspiring them to go into ministry for Teen Challenge or in New York City.

Joel Houston, son of Hillsong Church founder Brian Houston, said it was from reading The Cross and the Switchblade that “seeded NYC in my heart” as a place for ministry.

“So grateful for the life and legacy of David Wilkerson,” tweeted Houston, who now helps lead Hillsong NYC, the Australian-based church’s first U.S. plant.

On Thursday afternoon, the Wilkerson family posted a message on David Wilkerson’s Facebook page confirming that he has gone to “be with Jesus” and thanking supporters for their prayers.

“We are receiving many calls and inquiries and simply wanted to confirm the fact that he has passed away in a fatal automobile accident. We appreciate your prayers and our hearts are sorrowful, yet we rejoice at the joy of knowing David Wilkerson spent his life well,” read the message entitled “In Memory of David Wilkerson.”

“More information will be coming soon. Thank you for your prayers.”

In his last devotional for World Challenge, written a few hours before his death, Wilkerson encouraged believers to hold fast to their faith even “when all means fail.”

“Someone has come to the place of hopelessness – the end of hope – the end of all means. A loved one is facing death and doctors give no hope. Death seems inevitable. Hope is gone. The miracle prayed for is not happening,” wrote Wilkerson, painting a hopeless situation.

In his final public words, Wilkerson told those facing despair, “Beloved, God has never failed to act but in goodness and love. When all means fail – his love prevails. Hold fast to your faith. Stand fast in his Word. There is no other hope in this world.”

Wilkerson was born May 19, 1931, in Hammond, Ind.

In honor of his life here is a short sermon of David Wilkerson: http://youtu.be/lGMG_PVaJoI

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University Administrators Refuse to Allow Christians to Speak Their Peace

Posted by goodnessofgod2010 on April 28, 2011

By Alan Sears

It’s hard to understand what, exactly, public university officials across the country have against the Christians on their campus.

Christian students don’t often lead riots.  Those who are serious and sincere about their faith don’t cheat on their exams, traffic in drugs, get drunk and disorderly, indulge in sexual hijinks in the dorm, or otherwise undermine the general campus esprit de corps.

Christian students put a particular premium on learning truth (a time-honored practice in academic realms).  They value life and the worth of every individual and have deeper incentives than most of their peers for treating those around them – even those with whom they disagree most fervently – with dignity, compassion, and respect.

Many are driven by the nature of their beliefs to share their faith with others, but most do so in appropriate and respectful ways.  And proselytizing is not exactly a rarity on college campuses, where the urge is to make converts runs at least as strong among political theorists, sexual hedonists, and vegans as it does among Christians.

So, what’s not to like?  Or, more to the point…what’s to despise, so aggressively?

Something, apparently – for the antipathy is intensifying, as more and more public universities coast to coast are creating and enforcing regulations clearly designed to silence, humiliate, and dispel Christian students.  In recent years, the Alliance Defense Fund alone has taken on 70 colleges and universities across the country where administrators have bullied, marginalized, and in many cases, violated the most basic constitutionally protected rights of students who openly profess faith or

ADF has won the 61 of those cases decided – a most recent one being against the University of Wisconsin, a perennial base for anti-Christian sentiment and one that’s spurred several lawsuits in the last decade.  Just last month, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear UW’s appeal of an appellate court ruling in favor of a student ministry at the university’s Madison campus.

The case, Badger Catholic v. Walsh, stemmed from the refusal of UW officials to allow the ministry the same kinds of student activity fee funding that the university makes available to other registered student groups on campus.  Their reason for withholding the money:  the Badger Catholics’ events include prayer, worship, and sharing their faith.

The university’s policy marked such a blatant attack on the students’ rights as protected by the First Amendment that a string of courts – culminating in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit – ruled flatly against them.  And this is only the latest in a slew of clear-cut, ADF-backed cases dating back to 1995, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Rosenberger v. Rector and Visitors of University of Virginia that a school couldn’t provide funding for every campus student publication except the Christian one.

But the universities’ bigotry isn’t limited to mere budgetary considerations. 

  • At Missouri State University, Emily Brooker was threatened with expulsion for declining to violate her Christian principles by completing a class assignment that required her to write a letter to the state legislature endorsing adoption for same-sex couples.

 

  • At California’s Yuba College, Ryan Dozier stood just off a campus walkway, holding an evangelical sign and politely offering Gospel tracts to students who asked for them.  A security officer charged him with conducting an unauthorized “assembly” (of one).  Later, administrators informed him that free speech was only permitted at Yuba on Tuesdays and Thursdays between noon and 1.
     
  • The Commissioned II Love club at Savannah State University was banned from campus when officials characterized a student re-enactment of Jesus humbly washing His disciples’ feet as “hazing.”
     
  • At Georgia Tech, Ruth Malhotra objected to speech codes that severely curtailed any student conversation, publications, events, or activities administrators deemed “intolerant.”  She drew the full fury of those campus officials, who cut off funds for organizations involved in religious activities, banished free speech in all but the most remote areas of campus, and even instituted a program to demonize anyone who considered homosexual behavior immoral.  When Ruth’s public stand brought threats of rape and murder, the university offered no protection or support.

Full disclosure:  ADF represented the plaintiffs in each of these cases, which all have two more things in common:  (1) the schools involved lost their case – expensively – in court.  (Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer, how do you suppose they made back the money?)  And (2), they are all the tip of the iceberg in an academic Cold War against Christians.

Across America, an estimated 274 public universities currently have speech codes that can be used to shut down points of view that a student, professor, or administrator might find “offensive.”  (At Penn State, officials even went so far as to say that “intolerance will not be tolerated.”)  And nothing offends the academic Left faster than a Bible, a prayer, or a Christian with a conscience.

Of course, ultimately, it’s not the people of faith that the Left objects to – it’s the faith itself. Their hatred is really aimed at a Truth that galls them to the deep, deep places of their souls…in the place where sins, and the need for a God bigger than themselves, can’t be denied.

They won’t go there.  They can’t shut Him up.  So they’re bent on removing some of the best students and most thoughtful professors they have.  If that means destroying not just good people, but the holiest freedoms endowed by that Creator and ever cherished by mankind – well, surely that’s not too high a price to pay, for delusion?

Courtesy of http://townhall.com/columnists/alansears/2011/04/24/university_administrators_refuse_to_allow_christians_to_speak_their_peace

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Tell Congress to leave 5,000-year-old definition of marriage alone

Posted by faithandthelaw on April 22, 2011

By Bob Unruh
© 2011 WorldNetDaily


Pastor Ken Hutcherson

A new campaign is calling on members of Congress to defend marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of civilization, because the alternative is a redefinition of the institution – “for the first time in more than 5,000 years” – simply to satisfy the demands of a “miniscule segment of our population.”

The effort is being championed by Kenneth L. Hutcherson, senior pastor and co-founder of Antioch Bible Church in Kirkland, Wash., who recently wrote in a column on WND saying the defense of marriage “is a movement I would be willing to lead.”

The “TIME TO DEFEND MARRIAGE: The Genesis 2:24 Campaign” is named after the earliest scriptural teaching on marriage. It enables constituents to send letters to all 535 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, encouraging them to prevent the societal consequences of caving in to the demands of homosexuals who insist the rest of society affirm their same-sex “marriages.”

Take part in this innovative, high-tech, grass-roots lobbying campaign to urge Congress to protect marriage.

Such arguments have been hottest in the courts in California in recent months, since voters there approved a state constitutional amendment limiting  marriage to one man and one woman, and a homosexual judge who appears to stand to benefit from his own ruling declared it unconstitutional.

“Let’s be clear:” the letter tells members of Congress. “What we’re talking about is the federal government’s de facto imposition, on all 50 states, of a radical redefinition of marriage for the first time in more than 5,000 years – just to indulge the questionable demands of a miniscule segment of our population.

“Yet, who can deny that such frivolous experimentation with a foundational societal institution like marriage will inevitably result in serious, long-term ramifications to society as a whole? Loss of religious liberties of the vast majority of Americans as well as the complete breakdown of the family as we know it are just part of the fallout that will result,” it says.

In Canada, arguments already are being made in courts that since government prohibitions on same-sex “marriage” have been removed, so should bans on polygamy. A California Supreme Court justice warned of such developments when his court, over his objections, created same-sex “marriage” in the state.

Hutcherson told WND that Christians shouldn’t be surprised when homosexuals seek their own way with American society; that’s simply their nature.

“When Christians don’t stand together, those who don’t have our views are going to fill the vacuum,” he told WND.

But he said if Christians come together, “no way is the secular world” going to succeed.

“We’re the ones who have God on our side,” he said.

The campaign, which also is supported by Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, now of MyFamilyTalk.com, as well as Gary Bauer and Family Research Council and dozens of other high-profile Christian leaders, is called “The Initiative for Moral Excellence” – or TIME.

According to the campaign, “Marriage is under attack by zealots who want to redefine the cornerstone institution as one not between a man and a woman – but one between a man and a man or a woman and a woman. Nothing will result in the destruction of Western Civilization faster than such a development.”

Fighting back is essential now, the letter to representatives urges.

“I know you have many urgent concerns and crises being put before you for consideration. But truthfully, none of them can conceivably be as important and consequential over the long term as this one. I therefore urge you, with all earnestness, to do everything you can from your position of power to defend traditional marriage now. Later will simply be too late,” the letter says.

The campaign allows citizens to lobby all 535 members of Congress, who recently designated an attorney to fight challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act in court cases.

The House recently chose Paul Clement of King & Spalding, LLP, to defend the federal DOMA law. Clement is the former solicitor general under President George W. Bush and is a skilled advocate who has argued many times before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The legal appointment became necessary because President Obama instructed Attorney General Eric Holder to no longer defend DOMA, which affirms marriage as the union of one man and one woman for purposes of federal law.

“The defense of DOMA is now in better hands than when the Department of Justice was on the case,” commented Mathew Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel. “Rather than weakening the defense of DOMA, President Obama’s decision to not defend the law has opened up the opportunity for Paul Clement and his team to provide a real defense.”

The campaign’s costs total $29.99 for the process that will deliver letters to each of the members of the U.S. House, signed by you and individually addressed.

In Hutcherson’s column, he said he doesn’t understand “why the shepherds of our nation’s churches have not started an uprising about this. … I am a follower of Jesus Christ, and I am like Him in as many ways as I can possibly be. What the Bible calls sin, I call sin. God hates sin but loves the sinner, unless the sinner refuses to separate himself from the sin – then he must be judged along with his sin.”

Previously, the Family Research Council set up a campaign to petition leaders for their defense of marriage.

‘Nothing we cannot accomplish’

“There’s nothing we cannot accomplish if we stick together with the power of God,” Hutcherson told WND when the petition got started. “This is going to be a powerhouse that’s going to shake up a lot, starting with marriage.”

“President Obama and his Justice Department would have us believe that traditional marriage laws are unconstitutional,” the petition introduction states. “I oppose the Justice Department’s political decision to reverse its policy of defending the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal statute passed overwhelmingly by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton. The duty of the Justice Department is to enforce and defend laws passed by Congress and signed by the president.

“The president and his Justice Department have abdicated his responsibility to ensure that the laws of the United States are faithfully executed,” it continues.

‘Enough is enough’

It’s time, Hutcherson said, for Christians to stand up and say, “Enough is enough.”

His initial invitation to different ministry leaders was met, without exception, he told WND, with the response, “What kinds of things can we do?”

He said the fundamental issue of homosexuality and same-sex “marriage” is not one of “rights” but of following God.

“It is a sin,” he said. “It’s not a man choosing this or a woman choosing that. It is a sin. It is like any other sin. If you try to pass a law that I have to drop my moral viewpoint, that’s not going to work for me.”

He said the perspective just reflects what is going on in the U.S., that people no longer are following standards but are making life decisions based on how they feel about an issue on a particular day.

Christians, he said, need to follow the Bible itself, not how they feel about an issue.

“That’s why God wrote the Bible. It gives man boundaries. It tells what’s best for man, even though we may not like it,” he said.

Marriage not created by law

Marriage is not, as some believe, the creation of the law, the petition website explains.

“Marriage is a fundamental human institution that predates the law and the Constitution. At its heart, it is an anthropological and sociological reality, not a legal one. Laws relating to marriage merely recognize and regulate an institution that already exists,” it explains.

“If love and companionship were sufficient to define marriage, then there would be no reason to deny ‘marriage’ to unions of a child and an adult, or an adult child and his or her aging parent, or to roommates who have no sexual relationship, or to groups rather than couples. Love and companionship are usually considered integral to marriage in our culture, but they are not sufficient to define it as an institution.”

The issue of same-sex “marriage” in the United States appears headed toward the U.S. Supreme Court, where the vote is anything but certain. While the California Proposition 8 case is pending before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, it likely will be moved higher.

But there was a victory for traditional marriage in the latest state-level dispute. In Maryland, a proposal with the backing of celebrities up to the ranks of Bill Clinton was expected to make same-sex “marriage” legitimate but failed.

The measure had been on track for approval and was running under the radar when it swept through the Senate. Then it moved to the state House, where Democrats hold 98 of the 141 seats, and collapsed, said Delegate Don Dwyer, a leader of the opposition to homosexual “marriages.”

Already, same-sex duos can obtain marriage licenses in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and the District of Columbia, noted the National Conference of State Legislatures. In some of those places the law has been imposed by judicial fiat.

Dwyer said the Maryland legislation was described to him as a “done deal” by homosexual activists who thought they had lined up support.

The sudden turnaround came after the bill was approved in the Senate and moved to the House, where supporters of traditional marriage have been working on a constitutional amendment for their state.

The first signal of defeat came when a committee chairman ruled that the bill would be held instead of being voted on immediately. Three days later, the bill had failed to advance.

The reason, Dwyer said, was the thousands of telephone calls, emails and other contacts from constituents informing lawmakers of their opposition..

When Obama and Holder announced they no longer would defend the federal law as their official duties include, Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Ala., suggested members of Congress cut the budget for Holder and instead use that money to mount a congressionally directed defense of DOMA.

California fight remains hottest

Probably the hottest battle in the war between marriage definitions is raging in California.

There, state Supreme Court judges created same-sex “marriage” and were immediately rebuffed by voters who adopted Proposition 8, a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. The dispute then went into federal court, and the judges on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals are considering whether to uphold a decision by a homosexual judge that said voters had no right to amend their own state constitution.

The judge, Vaughn Walker, an open homosexual, in September overruled more than 7 million voters to banish Proposition 8, which had been approved by voters in 2008. There also have been calls for his decision to be vacated because having admitted to a long-term same-sex relationship in California, Walker is in the position of benefiting, socially and possibly financially, from his own ruling.

His 136-page ruling said, “Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples.”

Walker also wrote:

  • “Religious beliefs that gay and lesbian relationships are sinful or inferior to heterosexual relationships harm gays and lesbians.”
  • “Rather, the exclusion exists as an artifact of a time when the genders were seen as having distinct roles in society and in marriage. That time has passed.”
  • “The gender of a child’s parent is not a factor in a child’s adjustment.”
  • “The evidence shows beyond any doubt that parents’ genders are irrelevant to children’s developmental outcomes.”
  • “Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage; marriage under law is a union of equals.”
  • “Many of the purported interests identified by proponents are nothing more than a fear or unarticulated dislike of same-sex couples.”

His decision essentially ignored a warning from California Supreme Court Justice Marvin Baxter, who dissented when his court created same-sex “marriage” in the state.

Baxter wrote, “The bans on incestuous and polygamous marriages are ancient and deeprooted, and, as the majority suggests, they are supported by strong considerations of social policy. Our society abhors such relationships, and the notion that our laws could not forever prohibit them seems preposterous. Yet here, the majority overturns, in abrupt fashion, an initiative statute confirming the equally deeprooted assumption that marriage is a union of partners of the opposite sex. The majority does so by relying on its own assessment of contemporary community values, and by inserting in our Constitution an expanded definition of the right to marry that contravenes express statutory law.

“Who can say that, in 10, 15 or 20 years, an activist court might not rely on the majority’s analysis to conclude, on the basis of a perceived evolution in community values, that the laws prohibiting polygamous and incestuous marriages were no longer constitutionally justified?” Baxter wrote.

In Iowa, the state Supreme Court had created homosexual “marriage” for the state, and voters responded by firing all three justices who were up for retention in the 2010 election.

Read more: Tell Congress to leave 5,000-year-old definition of marriage alone http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=289837#ixzz1KHuXS9Hv

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Tennessee Senate Pushes Abortion Amendment Towards Vote

Posted by faithandthelaw on April 21, 2011

The Tennessee Senate has voted to put a constitutional referendum before the people of that state regarding abortion.

According to The Tennessean, the bill, SJR127, would allow for the people to vote on a constitutional amendment which would explicitly state that abortion is not protected in the Tennessee constitution . Such a move will undoubtly draw opposition from the pro-abortion movement, and will likely result in a court case.

Before the referendum can be put on the ballot, it must first pass the Tennessee House with a 2/3 majority.

The amendment’s sponsor, Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Juliet, stated “This resolution is only about letting the people decide whether they want their elected representatives to make the laws on abortion.”

With the very real possibility that this amendment could be passed at the polls, both sides are preparing for a political battle. Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Tennessee chapter, made very clear that the pro-abortion movement in Tennessee intended to defeat any attempt at a constitutional amendment.

Referendums at the state level such as this one, serve to advance the pro-life cause by allowing legislation to be created at the state level which could eventually spark a challenge to Roe v. Wade. Once Roe is overturned, the states may once again begin crafting enforceable legislation that eliminates legalized abortion.

If the bill continues to passage, the amendment will be voted on in 2014.

Related posts:

  1. Tennessee Planned Parenthood Loses State Funding For Abortions
  2. Personhood Amendment Will Be On Ballot In Mississippi
  3. Virginia General Assembly Passes Abortion Clinic Regulations
  4. Texas House and Senate duel over Abortion Sonogram Bill
  5. Senate Approves Defense Bill with “Hate Crimes” Amendment

 

Short URL: http://www.christianlawjournal.com/?p=20651

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Indiana Senate revives measure to de-fund Planned Parenthood

Posted by faithandthelaw on April 19, 2011

Indiana could cut off all tax dollars going to
Planned Parenthood after the state Senate
revived a measure that would end
payments to the reproductive health care
provider Monday.

The Senate voted 36 to 13 today to add
the de-funding measure to HB1210, which
deals with other abortion restrictions.

Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, the
author of the amendment, said there are
other health care providers that can offer
women the services Planned Parenthood
provides, including cancer screenings, pap
smears, birth control and STD screenings.
“If (Planned Parenthood) wants to receive
taxpayer money,” he said, “They can
simply stop practicing abortion.”

A bill by Rep. Matt Ubelhor, R-Bloomfield,
that would have done the same thing, died
in February when it failed to clear a
procedural hurdle the day of the Democratwalkout. A federal effort to de-fund
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
also failed recently.

Federal law prohibits funding abortion with
taxpayer dollars. Taxpayer dollars that go
to Planned Parenthood pay for other health
care services, which make up the vast
majority of the care Planned Parenthood
provides. Private donations pay for the
abortions that Planned Parenthood
provides.

Opponents of the de-funding measure said
that cutting off funding to Planned
Parenthood would leave thousands of low-
income Hoosier women without birth
control and other health services and would
ultimately make abortions more frequent.
One conservative Republican — Rep. Sean
Eberhart, R-Shelbyville — opposed it the
first time it came up for that reason.

Today Sen. Vi Simpson, D-Elletsville, asked
Senators on the floor: “How many unwanted
pregnancies do you think there would be if
low income women could not access birth Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Portage, pointed out
that hospitals will still be able to provide
abortions and receive taxpayer money, and
called the measure an effort to punish
Planned Parenthood.

Sens. Vaneta Becker and Ron Alting were
the only Republicans to vote with
Democrats against the amendment. The
measure now goes to a vote by the full
Senate, and it will have to be reconciled
with the House version of the bill, which
does not end funding to Planned
Parenthood.

Courtesy of http://www.indystar.com/article/20110418/NEWS05/110418012/Ind-Senate-revives-measure-de-fund-Planned-Parenthood-?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|IndyStar.com

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Bolivia’s Return to Pantheism

Posted by faithandthelaw on April 18, 2011

It seems was only a matter of time before multi-culturalism combined with environmentalist religious extremism to produce a new official religion.  It appears that time has come for Bolivia, which according to reporter John Vidal, writing in The Guardian (UK), is on the cusp of establishing a New Law of Mother Earth, whose eleven commandments are to replace the apparently outdated Ten Commandments foundational to the Judeo/Christian Western ethic.
 
Vidal writes the new law grew out of “a complete restructuring of the Bolivian legal system following a change of constitution in 2009 [and] has been heavily influenced by a resurgent indigenous Andean spiritual world view which places the environment and the earth deity known as the Pachamama at the centre of all life.”
 
The Law of Mother Earth will establish 11 rights for the natural world, including the rights to life and existence, to keep “vital cycles and processes free from human alteration, to pure water and clean air, the right to balance, to not to be polluted and the right not to have cellular structures modified.”  The most intriguing right: “The right to not be affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities.”
 
The New Law states that Pachamama, who is an earth goddess worshiped by some indigenous people of Bolivia, “is sacred, fertile and the source of life that feeds and cares for all living beings in her womb. She is in permanent balance, harmony and communication with the cosmos. She is comprised of all ecosystems and living beings, and their self-organization.”
 
The new legislation, which is actually based on a very ancient pantheistic worldview, has instantly become a cause célèbre among South American and US leftist environmentalists, many of whom are already worshipers of Mother Earth as symbolized by the goddess Gaia, some of whose multitudinous and reverential depictions may be found here
 
For instance, Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca, among other Bolivian officials, is absolutely euphoric over the prospect of pantheism returning to Bolivia’s peoples, saying Bolivia’s traditional indigenous respect for the Pachamama was vital to prevent climate change.  He rhapsodizes, “Our grandparents taught us that we belong to a big family of plants and animals. We believe that everything in the planet forms part of a big family. We indigenous people can contribute to solving the energy, climate, food and financial crises with our values.”
 
His and other environmentalists’ transcendent ecstasies may prove to be premature as the “New Law’s” effects take shape.  It would be well if they pause and take heed of the consequences of a radical transformation of Bolivian society based on a pantheistic creed not generally held by a populace which is about ninety-seven percent Christian.  Bolivia is profoundly Catholic, and while the church has always been accommodating to local indigenous beliefs, it certainly does not support the worship of Pachamama or any other earth goddess.  And it has good reasons for not doing so, for worship of the earth has serious drawbacks.
 
What are the worrisome dimensions accompanying the establishment of the New Law?
First, there is the matter of separation of Church and state.  The New Law is inseparable from the worship of Pachamama, whose worship will require the establishment of a governmental priesthood, a class of rulers whose spiritual connection to the goddess will entitle them to make decrees for the rest of the mortals residing on Pachamama’s nurturing breast.
 
Just as bad, with one fell swoop, the entire Western philosophical and religious foundations for the scientific and industrial revolutions, both of which combined have been a miraculous means of elevating countless millions above poverty, have been overturned.  The idea that humans are dominant over rather subservient to nature is jettisoned along with the idea that God is separate from creation, that creation is orderly and that humanity is the steward rather than the worshiper of earth and all creation.
When earth and the entire universe are sacralized and the elements which comprise the universe, such as the earth itself, the stars, the moon, and other created material objects are seen as gods and goddesses, the foundations of both the scientific and industrial revolutions disappear.  In their place is erected a new temple of pantheism is erected, one whose high priests will ensure a return to pre-industrial standards of living.
Once all material matter is deemed sacred, Mother Earth cannot be disturbed unless propitiated.  Mere mortals, who are now to be totally undifferentiated in quality from Mother Earth and all her other creatures, may not plow her breast without proper sacrifices and ritualistic observances.  They must not dig into her bowels without propitiatory rites.  They must establish new sacred groves, lakes, and springs in order to honor the gods and goddesses who are to dwell in such places undisturbed by humanity.  They must practice sexual rituals in order her life giving cycle be perpetually renewed.  A priestly caste must be established in order to determine what rituals and sacrifices should be enforced.
 
Further, the tragedies now ascribed to either impersonal process and or the inscrutable ways of God will be deemed evidence of Mother Earth’s disfavor toward those who have violated her being and disturbed her right to be balanced.  High priests will determine how her anger might be assuaged and balance restored.  Who knows what will be required to mollify the earth goddess — perhaps human sacrifice in order to keep the population down?
 
One thing is probable; namely, that the governmental high priests of Pachamama will immediately look askance at Bolivia’s considerable mineral industry, currently responsible for about one third of the economy, as digging in Mother Earth’s bowels will cause her to have indigestion and will break the New Commandment establishing “the right to not be affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities.”
The consequences of the forced conversion to pantheism will not be immediately apparent, as the pantheistic indigenous culture characterized by Pachamama currently cohabits with Christianity.
 
But religious ideological abstractions have a way of percolating down through the entire societal structure, conforming the entire populace to a rigid set of do’s and don’ts established by the new ruling class of priests, especially a priestly caste now to be in lockstep with a government which will enforce Pachamama’s decrees.
 
When and if enforced, the results of the New Law will go beyond Luddism’s wildest dreams, enabling a complete savaging of the Western ideal of industrial and scientific progress and ensuring a return to a subsistence economy typical of pantheistic cultures; namely, a pre-industrial economy comprised of gatherers, herders and farmers.
 
Those living in the USA should not delude themselves into thinking the pantheistic leanings of the governmental of Bolivia will not have an impact here.  For already, some within the environmental movement such as the extreme Greens and PETA have moved beyond the movement’s initial laudatory phase, which addressed truly serious concerns about pollution, into a religious extremism which sees humanity as a despoiling marauder whose penchant for violating Mother Earth/Gaia must be severely curtailed or even eradicated, even if such curtailment involves a Malthusian reduction of the population.
In brief, embracing the premises and enforcing the New Law, in whatever country it is supported, will establish a dystopia far removed from the utopian dreams of environmentalists; who, ironically, are presently enjoying the fruits of the industrial and scientific revolution even while they attack its foundations.
 
Fay Voshell is a free lance writer residing in Wilmington, DE.  She is a cum laude graduate of the University of Delaware and holds an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, where she was awarded the Charles Hodge Prize for excellence in systematic theology.

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Free Condoms for 11-Year-Olds? Philadelphia and Its Sex Problem

Posted by faithandthelaw on April 17, 2011

Philadelphia has a disturbing problem on its hands – it has the highest rate of sexually active teens in the country and the fifth highest HIV/AIDS rate for the age group. But the city’s new campaign – offer free condoms to teens as young as 11 – to combat the problem is raising eyebrows.

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health has launched a website that allows youths to order free condoms online. Under the tab “Mail Me Condoms!” the city offers links to “how to use a condom correctly,” places in Philadelphia to buy condoms, and the option to get the male contraceptive for free.

“If you live in Philadelphia and are between the ages 11 and 19 you can now have condoms mailed directly to you for free,” reads the youth-oriented website Take Control Philly, managed by the city’s health department.

But an expert for Focus on the Family’s public policy arm does not think promoting condom use among youths is the answer to Philadelphia’s problem. Chad Hills, abstinence education analyst for CitizenLink, told The Christian Post that pushing condom use among middle school students is “irresponsible teaching, at best.”

“Most 11-year-old kids must be told to brush their teeth before bed; to take a shower at least several times a week; to put on clean clothes and comb their hair before walking out the door,” said Hills. “Now we’re handing them condoms and instantly transporting them into the world of adult sexual activity – awakening their curiosity and sexual passions before they can even think for themselves?”

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health earlier this year released a report citing the 2009 CDC Youth Risk Behavior Survey findings that 15 percent of Philadelphia high school students had their first sexual intercourse before 13 years of age. And 26 percent of the high school-aged respondents said they had sexual intercourse with four or more persons during their life.

The report also found that Philadelphia youths are more likely than the average American teen to have a sexually-transmitted disease.

Philadelphia youths ages 10 to 14 were 5.3 times as likely to have Chlamydia, a common STD caused by bacteria infection, than the average American teen. The rate of another common STD, Gonorrhea, among 15- to 19-year-olds in Philadelphia is three times the national rate, and among 10- to 14-year-olds, four times the national rate.

According to the CDC survey, more than a third (37 percent) of the respondents said they did not use a condom during their last sexual intercourse.

“We hear from teachers and school counselors and sometimes the principals that kids are cutting schools in the afternoon and leaving early to go have orgies – and that’s in middle school,” said Gary Bell, executive director of Bebashi Transition to Hope, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that seeks to respond to the increasing rate of HIV/AIDS among African Americans in the city, according to ABC News.

“They get groups together with kids of different genders – sometimes same-sex and sometimes mixed. The parents are not home and so they go there and have sex and trade partners.”

Philadelphia health officials hope the website giving away mail-ordered condoms will help lower the STD rate among youths in the city.

But perhaps the city should focus more attention on abstinence education, given the landmark study by the University of Pennsylvania last year that may have offered the most convincing evidence that such a message works.

The study first appeared in the February 2010 Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, published by the American Medical Association. It found that abstinence education was the most effective in reducing sexual activity among youths after studying 662 students from four public middle schools that serve low-income African American communities.

It found that middle school students in Philadelphia who attended abstinence-only classes were less likely to become sexually active than their peers who went to classes emphasizing only condom use or even classes that taught both condom use and abstinence.

A third of the students who completed the abstinence-only program had sexual intercourse within two years of the class. By comparison, more than half of those who participated in condom use-only program said they had sexual intercourse.

Over 40 percent of students who received either the eight- or 12-hour class that combined both methods had sex within the two year period.

“Latex, powders, pills and potions will never be the answer to this crisis,” said Leslee Unruh, founder of the National Abstinence Clearinghouse, to CP. “Condoms don’t protect the heart and aren’t 100 percent protection against many sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. The only 100 percent effective way to protect one’s body and heart is abstinence until marriage.”

 Courtesy of http://www.christianpost.com/news/free-condoms-for-11-year-olds-philadelphia-and-its-sex-problem-49850/

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Court to atheists: Gee, sorry about your ‘hurt feelings’

Posted by goodnessofgod2010 on April 15, 2011

 

By Bob Unruh
© 2011 WorldNetDaily

A federal appeals court today tossed a challenge to the legality of the National Day of Prayer, saying that the plaintiffs apparently were complaining because they were observing “conduct with which they disagree,” and that does not make a federal case.The decision today from the U.S. Court 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, written by Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook, rejected arguments from the Freedom From Religion Foundation that the case was legitimate because members felt excluded by the day.

“Hurt feelings differ from legal injury,” the court concluded.


The actual Day of Prayer is set by an annual proclamation from the president, but many of the activities arranged for Christians and their churches are handled by a private organization set up specifically to promote the day.

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“We’re extremely pleased that the appeals court rejected a flawed decision and determined that while some may disagree with a presidential proclamation, they do not have the right to silence the speech they don’t agree with,” said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice.

“The appeals court correctly concluded that the plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge the National Day of Prayer. This decision represents a victory for our nation’s heritage and history – protecting a long-standing tradition that’s been a part of our country for centuries,” he said.

“Public officials should be able to participate in public prayer activities just as America’s founders did,” said Kevin Theriot, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund.

“The 7th Circuit has clearly understood that the Freedom From Religion Foundation simply had no legal standing to attack the federal statute setting a day for the National Day of Prayer simply because the group is offended by religion.”

The ADF represented the private, nonprofit National Day of Prayer Task Force in the case and the ACLJ represented a long list of members of Congress.

The court found “the ‘psychological consequences presumable produced by observation of conduct with which one disagrees’ is not an ‘injury’ for the purpose of standing … Plaintiffs have not altered their conduct one whit or incurred any cost in time or money. All they have is disagreement with the president’s action. But unless all limits on standing are to be abandoned, a feeling of alienation cannot suffice as injury in fact.”


U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb

It was U.S. District Judge B.B. Crabb who earlier took the opposite position.

In her opinion, Crabb wrote that in her view of case law, “government involvement in prayer may be consistent with the establishment clause when the government’s conduct serves a significant secular purpose and is not a ‘call for religious action on the part of citizens.'”

But she wrote that the National Day of Prayer law “cannot meet that test.”

“It goes beyond mere ‘acknowledgment’ of religion,” Crabb wrote, “because its sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function in this context. In this instance, the government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to individual conscience.”

Nonsense, said the appeals court.

“Plaintiffs contend that they are injured because they feel excluded, or made unwelcome, when the president asks them to engage in a religious observance that is contrary to their own principles. It is difficult to see how any reader of the 2010 proclamation would feel excluded or unwelcome. Here again is the proclamation’s only sentence that explicitly requests citizens to pray: ‘I call upon the citizens of our nation to pray, or otherwise give thanks, in accordance with their own faiths and consciences, for our many freedoms and blessings, and I invite all people of faith to join me in asking for God’s continued guidance, grace, and protection as we meet the challenges before us.'”

Last month, the ADF authored a letter delivered to governors across the nation encouraging them to observe and participate in the 60th annual National Day of Prayer this year.

The founders recognized a day of prayer, as has nearly every president since. It was in 1952 when President Harry Truman signed into law a joint resolution by Congress to set aside an annual National Day of Prayer. Congress amended the law in 1988, which was signed by President Ronald Reagan, specifying that the annual event would be observed on “the first Thursday in May each year.”

The ADF said the tradition of designating an official day of prayer began with the Continental Congress in 1775, after which George Washington issued a National Day of Thanksgiving Proclamation.

ADF attorneys note that proclamations and appeals of state and local officials are no different. Historically, including 2010, all 50 governors, along with U.S. presidents, have issued proclamations in honor of the National Day of Prayer.

The Freedom From Religion organization contends the statute violates the First Amendment because it endorses prayer and encourages citizens to engage in the practice. The White House has argued the statute is simply an “acknowledgment of the role of religion in American life” and is indistinguishable from government practices courts have upheld.

The ACLJ had warned the use of “feelings” to determine a court-case outcome would produce results that would be alarming.

“Allowing ‘hurt feelings’ to suffice would render irrelevant the entire body of taxpayer standing. In that area of case law, the Supreme Court has recognized a narrow exception to the usual rule … that federal and state taxpayers cannot sue to challenge the use of tax money,” the brief said.

“Here, plaintiffs have sued over something they merely heard about.”

“‘Hurt feelings’ standing, while a boon for ’cause mongers,’ … is a bad idea whose time has not come. This court should vacate the district court’s judgment and remand for dismissal for lack of standing,” the brief argued.

Read more: Court to atheists: Gee, sorry about your ‘hurt feelings’ http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=287101#ixzz1JbsNsj8G

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Chinese church won’t stop meeting, despite demands

Posted by faithandthelaw on April 15, 2011

BEIJING (BP)–The Beijing church that saw more than 160 of its members arrested April 10 for meeting illegally says it will continue to hold services outdoors in spite of the Chinese government’s demands that it stop.

Shouwang Church, one of the thousands of illegal unregistered churches across China, has found itself in the spotlight as the world debates China’s limits on religious freedom. Churches in China are legal only if they registered with the government, which then often puts limits on their ability to grow and evangelize. The government also has blocked attempts by Shouwang to meet indoors.

The church, which reportedly has around 1,000 members, saw its pastor, pastor’s wife and other members arrested in broad daylight Sunday morning, April 10, when it attempted to hold an outdoor worship service on a public space in Beijing. The members were put on buses and taken to a local elementary school, where police took their personal information. Much of the incident was captured on video. It was one of the largest crackdowns in recent history, observers say, with upwards of 1,000 police involved.

The church, which is Protestant, has repeatedly attempted to purchase or rent property, only to see the Chinese government get involved and pressure various owners/landlords not to give the church any keys.

As of April 11, most of the members were released but Pastor Li Xiaobai and his wife were still being detained.

“The position of the church remains the same. We will persist in holding outdoor gatherings until the Lord finds a way out for us,” the church said in a statement posted on the website of ChinaAid, a group that monitors religious freedom in the country. “… We don’t know how long the fight before us will last. We can only beg God to have mercy on our weakness. We call on brothers and sisters, whether from Shouwang Church or from churches throughout China and even from the rest of the world, to go before God with fervent prayers that He lift up His church.”

The church said it believes the “best way to resolve the issue” is for the Chinese government to allow the church to “enter the property it has purchased,” which it says would be “the beginning of positive interactions between church and state.” It also said the worship service was “purely an act of religious worship” and that it had nothing to do with “any political activities.”

The statement also released new details about the arrests. Police, the church said, had sealed off the area with police tape the morning of the service.

“Police officers were deployed everywhere, and police vehicles were parked at many intersections,” the church said. “Just before 8:30 a.m., the time set by the church, several dozen brothers and sisters at the southwestern side of the square tried to start their worship service, but they were quickly surrounded by a large number of police officers who put them on waiting buses that took them to the nearby Caihefang Elementary School. At the school, they were divided into groups according to their home addresses and the groups were put into different classrooms where they were interrogated and their personal details taken down.”

Those who weren’t arrested, the church said, tried to worship elsewhere, with one group meeting at a KFC restaurant.

“The KFC group was just finishing their worship service when police swarmed in, put them on buses and took them to Caihefang Elementary School,” the church said.

The church members, although under arrest at the elementary school, still “managed to sing hymns and worship together.”

“After 12 p.m., various local police stations and neighborhood committees transferred the brothers and sisters to their respective police stations where the interrogations continued,” the statement said. “Some sub-police stations even demanded that they write statements of repentance or guarantees in which they were supposed to promise not to participate in such ‘illegal’ religious activities. After 3 p.m., the brothers and sisters were gradually released by the local police stations. But at midnight, about 30 people still remained in detention at various local police stations. The church’s pastor, elders and several lay leaders went separately to the various local police stations and negotiated with the local police, demanding that they release the brothers and sisters as soon as possible. By the evening of April 11, Pastor Li Xiaobai and his wife were still being detained.”

Church members who were at home “were barred from leaving” their houses.

“It is our belief that the worship on April 10 was a worship service of special significance to most of us,” the church said. “Because of the Lord’s keeping, many brothers and sisters experienced peace in the Lord. Some brothers and sisters felt the oppression of darkness in this experience, and some were even hurt; we ask the Lord to give them special comfort and healing. We believe the church is Christ’s church, and Christ is the head of the church. The church ought to honor only our Lord Jehovah as God. There is no other god besides Him. Therefore, the church will never be controlled or manipulated by any external forces; she belongs only to our Lord. What this outdoor worship expressed was our uncompromising position with regard to (the practice of) our faith. Furthermore, we believe that holding on to this faith position is itself a form of worship. Therefore, we believe our outdoor worship is pleasing to the Lord.”
–30–
Michael Foust is associate editor of Baptist Press. The church’s complete statement can be read online at http://bit.ly/h28mkg. Watch the video of the arrest on BBC’s China affiliate at http://bbc.in/hj7QVc

Courtesy of http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=35042

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California Senate bill mandates gay history in schools

Posted by faithandthelaw on April 14, 2011

By LISA LEFF, Associated Press Lisa Leff, Associated Press Thu Apr 14, 3:05 pm ET

 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people would be added to the lengthy list of social and ethnic groups that public schools must include in social studies lessons under a landmark bill passed Thursday by the California Senate.

If the bill is adopted by the state Assembly and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, California would become the first state to require the teaching of gay history.

Supporters say the move is needed to counter anti-gay stereotypes and beliefs that make children in those groups vulnerable to bullying and suicide.

Opponents counter that such instruction would further burden an already crowded curriculum and expose students to a subject that some parents find objectionable.

The legislation, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Mark Leno of San Francisco, passed on a 23-14 party line vote. It also would add disabled people to the curriculum.

The bill gives school districts flexibility in deciding what to include in the lessons and at what grades students would receive them.

But starting in the 2013-14 school year, it would prohibit districts and the California Board of Education from using textbooks or other instructional materials that reflect adversely on gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

Appealing to colleagues for support, Leno said gay children still struggle routinely with verbal and physical abuse at school, even though society is more accepting than when he was a gay youth in the 1960s.

“We are second-class citizens and children are listening,” he said. “When they see their teachers don’t step up to the plate when their classmate is being harassed literally to death, they are listening and they get the message that there is something wrong with those people.”

Republican Sen. Doug La Malfa of Butte opposed the bill.

“I’m deeply troubled kids would have to contemplate at a very, very early age, when many of us are teaching abstinence … what is sexuality,” he said.

California law already requires schools to cover the contributions to the state and nation of women, African Americans, Mexican Americans, entrepreneurs, Asian Americans, European Americans, American Indians and labor.

 Courtesy of http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110414/ap_on_re_us/us_gay_history_calif_schools

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