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Some Things Said… (August 06) (2)

9/11 book rankles Presbyterian faith

A book suggesting the September 11 attacks were engineered by the U.S. government is raising hackles among the faithful because its publisher is an agency of the Presbyterian Church (USA), the largest of several Presbyterian denominations.

“Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11: A Call to Reflection and Action” is already in its second printing after having sold 5,000 copies in its first month. It accuses the Bush administration — in power only eight months at the time of the 2001 terrorist attacks — of plotting September 11 to justify war with Afghanistan and Iraq, and to expand an “American empire.”

The book has attracted volumes of criticism, boycott threats and attempted clarifications by various church officials.

“The views expressed in the book are Griffin’s alone,” says Presbyterian Publishing Corp. (PPC) Board Chairman Kenneth Godshall, referring to the author, David Ray Griffin, 67, a retired professor at the Claremont School of Theology in Claremont, Calif.

“PPC provides a variety of viewpoints in the books we publish. A few of them from time to time are controversial. This particular book is the work of an independent author and in no way represents the views of the denomination or PPC itself”… –excerpted from an article by Julia Duin in The Washington Times, 08.18.06

Distinguishing Islam from the tactics some of its adherents use

Unlike terrorism, Islam is an ideology bent on territorial expansion and political domination. These traits, along with iron-fisted socioeconomic controls, are the essential characteristics of fascism. When this expansion requires violence, Islam turns to jihad, and within the context of jihad, terrorism is an acceptable tactic. According to Pipes, “Islam is a political religion in a way that none other is. There are many elements within the religion and the history of Islam that suggest there is a dynamic of conquest.” Pipes continues, “There is something inherently expansionist about Islam. Jihad is expansionist warfare.” –excerpted from the Patriot Post number 06-34 at www.PatriotPost.US

The Taxman Goes to Church

When the Rev. George F. Regas delivered a sermon opposing the Iraq War in All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, Calif., two days before the 2004 presidential election, he expected to upset a few members of the congregation. Instead, he seems to have upset the Internal Revenue Service, which began an investigation that is still under way.

All Saints isn’t the only church to fall out of the good graces of the IRS. Under the 1954 Revenue Act, 501(c)(3) organizations risk losing their tax-exempt status if they “participate in, or intervene in…any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for political office.” Over the past two years scores of organizations have faced scrutiny for allegedly mixing their political convictions with their religious ones. And this summer the IRS expanded a program it first launched in 2004 to take direct aim at political advocacy inside houses of worship.

The new crackdown, which the IRS calls the Political Activity Compliance Initiative, has so far put some 15,000 nonprofits — mostly churches — on notice that preaching politics puts them at risk of audits, fines or, in some cases, the loss of tax-exempt status. The IRS has also announced it will no longer wait for complaints to come in, but will instead take action “to prevent violations.” It will be reviewing the content of sermons, it says, as well as the financial books of religious organizations. The free exercise of religion could now come with a hefty bill… Excerpted from the Taste Column in The Wall Street Journal, 08.11.06, read the full article here

Clergywomen Find Hard Path to Bigger Pulpit

In the 18 years since her ordination, the Rev. Elaine Puckett has wrestled with whether she should be in the pulpit at all. When she left divinity school, Ms. Puckett, a United Methodist, thought that some day she might lead a large congregation in her hometown, Atlanta. Instead, she has shuttled between jobs as an associate pastor on someone else’s staff or as the leader of a small congregation fighting to survive. In contrast, the men she was ordained with, for the most part, have moved on to run bigger churches.

“You begin to question your competence,” said Ms. Puckett, 58, an associate pastor at the large Embry Hills United Methodist Church in Atlanta. “When you look at the endless cycle of one appointment after another after another like these, your endurance runs low.”

The trajectory of Ms. Puckett’s career is familiar to many other women in the Protestant clergy.

Whether they come from theologically liberal denominations or conservative ones, black churches or white, women in the clergy still bump against what many call the stained-glass ceiling – longstanding limits, preferences and prejudices within their denominations that keep them from leading bigger congregations and having the opportunity to shape the faith of more people… –excerpted from an article by Neela Banerjee in The New York Times, 08.26.06

(If people would bother reading their Bibles and doing what it says, they would find that the pulpit is not a proper place for women to teach and that women addressing assemblies is against the word of the apostles. That is true whether we should like it or not. There are opportunities and venues open to women to teach the gospel, but before assemblies, or where the duty is expressly and specifically granted to men, is forbidden to them. How then can these folks be doing the work of God and Christ when they are standing against his express teaching? What exactly does John 12:48 state? Ed.)

Just don’t mention Christ

Christians are expected to behave furtively; they may call themselves Christians, as long as their public prayers are ‘nonsectarian’ –that is, avoiding the name of Jesus before mixed audiences… Drunkenness and foul language may be pardonable, but the glorification of Jesus is another matter.–Joseph Sobran, as found at the Patriot Post 06-33

California Law Makers Approve K-12 Pro-Homosexual School Bills

CWA of California urges constituents to contact the governor and ask for vetoes.

California’s State Assembly on Monday passed a bill so sweeping that it would mandate “homosexual indoctrination” of schoolchildren as young as kindergarten, according to CWA’s California leaders.

SB 1437, which requires editing textbooks and other materials to give only positive references to homosexuality, bisexuality, transsexuality and transvestitism, was approved on a nearly party-line vote of 47-31 (46 Democrats and one Republican for; 30 Republicans and one Democrat against) after a Republican-sponsored amendment to require parental permission failed 26-48. The bill was sponsored by lesbian activist state Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica), a former actress who is the driving force behind the legislative homosexual agenda. Earlier this month, in the face of a promised veto by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), Kuehl removed a portion of the bill that would have forced all California public schools to teach the “history and achievements” of homosexuals in America.

“The liberal majority in Sacramento has made its desires clear. Nothing short of homosexual indoctrination in our schools will please them,” said Penny Harrington, CWA of California state director of legislation. “The battle lines have been drawn. Will we offer our children willingly or fight for them?” CWA was among several pro-family groups that rallied on Saturday in Los Angeles against the legislation… –excerpted from an article by Robert Knight as posted by Concerned Women For America at their website 08.23.06 read the entire article here

Recreational sex over life wins another round

Plan B Drug Approved with Conditions

In Washington, federal health officials decided to allow the emergency contraceptive drug Plan B to be sold to adult women without a prescription. Those younger than 18 will still need a doctor’s approval. The approval came after three years of debate, and it has provoked strong reactions. Some opponents, including the Catholic Church, say the drug is an early form of abortion. Supporters said the new rules will help prevent unwanted pregnancies, and they vowed to keep working to remove the prescription requirement for those under 18. –from the PBS Religion and Ethics Newsweekly website