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Some Things Said … (Apr 06) (5)

Parents urged to monitor TV diet

Las Vegas — A coalition of entertainment groups will establish a $300 million educational campaign next month to urge parents to control what their children watch on television, the groups said yesterday.

The effort by TV networks, cable and satellite television companies, local broadcasters and Hollywood studios is an attempt to forestall government control of content by demonstrating that a voluntary program can work.

Jack Valenti, former head of the Motion Picture Association of America, announced the effort yesterday during his keynote speech to the National Association of Broadcasters.

“We want to tell American parents that they, and they alone, have total power to control every hour of television programming,” Mr. Valenti said.

He said the groups would enlist the not-for-profit Ad Council to develop advertising that cable systems, networks and local stations have agreed to air in what Mr. Valenti termed an “avalanche of messages.”

The material also will be distributed to churches and advocacy groups.

The group also will work with the Consumer Electronics Association to raise awareness about the presence of V-chips in TV sets that allow the blocking of some programming…–from an Associated Press article by Gary Gentile that appeared in The Washington Times, 04.25.06 read the article here

Scientology debunked

In Scientology doctrine, Xenu (also Xemu) is an alien ruler of the “Galactic Confederacy” who, 75 million years ago, brought billions of people to Earth, stacked them around volcanoes and blew them up with hydrogen bombs. Their souls then clustered together and stuck to the bodies of the living, and continue to cause problems today. These events are known to Scientologists as “Incident II”, and the traumatic memories associated with them as The Wall of Fire or the R6 implant. The story of Xenu is part of a much wider range of Scientology beliefs in extraterrestrial civilizations and alien interventions in Earthly events, collectively described as space opera by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology.

Hubbard detailed the story in Operating Thetan level III (OT III) in 1967, famously warning that R6 was “calculated to kill (by pneumonia etc.) anyone who attempts to solve it.” The Xenu story was the start of the use of the volcano as a common symbol of Scientology and Dianetics from 1968 to the present day.

Much of the criticism of the Church of Scientology focuses on the story of Xenu. The Church has tried to keep Xenu confidential; critics claim revealing the story is in the public interest, given the high prices charged for OT III, part of Scientology’s secret “Advanced Technology” doctrines taught only to members that have already contributed large amounts of money to the organization.

The Church avoids making mention of Xenu in public statements and has gone to considerable effort to maintain the story’s confidentiality, including legal action on the grounds of both copyright and trade secrecy. Despite this, much material on Xenu has leaked to the public.

Hubbard wrote OT III in late 1966 and early 1967 in North Africa while on his way to Las Palmas to join the Enchanter, …In a letter of the time to his wife Mary Sue, Hubbard said that, in order to assist his research, he was drinking a great deal of rum and taking stimulants and depressants (“I’m drinking lots of rum and popping pinks and greys”). His assistant at the time, Virginia Downsborough, said that he “was existing almost totally on a diet of drugs.” . . .

In the relatively few instances in which it has acknowledged Xenu, the Church has stated the story is a religious writing that can be seen as the equivalent of the Old Testament, in which miraculous events are described that are unlikely to have occurred in real life, and assumes true meaning only after years of study. They complain of critics using it to paint the religion as a science fiction fantasy… –from WIKIPEDIA read more here

(Mark Zaveson responds in particular to the emboldened section above.)

1) Evidences of the historical and textural accuracy of the Old Testament are currently and constantly being discovered. Not one piece of Old Testament history has ever been contradicted by thousands of archeological “finds”. Not one. The historical accuracy of the Old Testament only continues to mount. This is in direct contradiction to the evidences found of the Hubbard “fantasy”; none.

2) If the Scientology church believes the comparison to Old Testament is based on the belief their “Fantasy” is about “miraculous events… described that are unlikely to have occurred in real life” then why teach them at all? The belief in the miraculous resurrection of Christ is not considered fantasy by Christians. It is the foundation of Christianity and not to be kept hidden from public knowledge. On the contrary I would rather challenge others to investigate the details surrounding the resurrection. Go ahead.

Worship on a Grand Scale

Big Churches Are Taking Over Commercial, Retail Spaces; Services at Former Circuit City

Several years ago, when leaders at the 5,000-strong Tallowood Baptist Church in Houston realized they needed more space to expand their congregation, they considered building a new church on the outskirts of this sprawling Texas city. Instead, they opted for a less conventional site: a strip mall on the Katy Freeway.

Last year, Tallowood began services in a renovated 32,000-square-foot building that was formerly a Circuit City store. In addition to a 300-seat auditorium, the location now boasts 30 offices, a conference room that doubles as a day-care center and a Christian bookstore. “Not everyone comes to church for the architecture,” says Larry Heslip, Tallowood’s minister of education and administration. “Some people just like to be in a space that’s usable.”

A growing number of churches with huge congregations are growing so large that they need unconventional spaces in which to expand. Such churches — typically Protestant with regular weekly attendance of more than 2,000 — have doubled in the past five years to about 1,200, with almost a quarter of them in California and Texas, says Scott Thumma, professor of sociology of religion at the Hartford Institute for Religion Research in Hartford, Conn…–excerpted from an article in The Wall Street Journal By Thaddeus Herrick, 04.26.06 find the article here

(Too big for their barns, eh?)

Can Federalism Solve America’s Culture War?

Can states’ rights end the culture war? Commentators from David Brooks to Andrew Sullivan to David Gelernter believe that it can. According to Sullivan, in an essay in The New Republic, “The whole point of federalism is that different states can have different public policies on matters of burning controversy–and that this is okay.”

Similarly, David Brooks argued in his New York Times column that each state should regulate abortion as it sees fit. According to him, Roe v. Wade was political poison. By taking the issue away from state legislatures, the Court “set off a cycle of political viciousness and counter-viciousness that has poisoned public life.” Overturning Roe, he thinks, would end that cycle. Writing in the Weekly Standard, Gelernter adds: “An era where deep and fundamental moral questions divide the nation is in need of a revival of federalism. Federalism supplies the expansion joints that make America supple rather than brittle; make it a bridge that can ride out hurricanes without falling to pieces, that can sustain enormous twisting, turning, and tearing forces without cracking.”

Gelernter, Brooks, and Sullivan are right in theory. Our federal system can allow for a certain degree of legal and cultural diversity in the Union. What we need to keep in mind, however, is that since the Progressive era, and particularly since the New Deal, Americans have forgotten the not just the virtues of federalism, but also the practice of federalism. A workable federal system requires forbearance on the part of the political class. It might take us a while to re-learn that virtue. Until then, I’m okay, you’re okay might not be a workable political program… –excerpted from an article by Richard Samuelson posted on the Claremont Institute site, linked to the RealClearPolitics.com website, read the article here

Seeking Truth at the Movies

“Almost everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false,” says one of the characters in “The Da Vinci Code,” the best-selling novel by Dan Brown. It’s not clear whether this line will appear in the movie, which reaches theaters in three weeks, but some version of it probably will make the final cut. Although nobody expects Christians to riot over “The Da Vinci Code” the way Muslims did over those Mohammad cartoons, some clergymen already have announced their disapproval.

Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, used his Easter sermon to criticize Mr. Brown’s book for making the true story of Christianity seem “automatically suspect.” In an advertisement in the New York Times, the Catholic League compared “The Da Vinci Code” to the anti-Semitic “Protocols of the Elders of Zion…” –from an article by John J. Miller, in The Wall Street Journal 04.28.06, read the article here