People’s Will Triumphed in Bay State Marriage-Amendment Vote
Family advocates determined to defend traditional marriage ultimately proved too strong for Massachusetts legislators to cross, pro-family analysts said today — one day after Bay State lawmakers surprised just about everybody by voting to advance a marriage-protection toward the ballot.
The vote — which brings the state one-step closer to defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman in its constitution — came after three years of division, obstruction and strife. The Legislature must now approve the amendment — again with at least 50 votes — in the 2007 legislative session before it will go to the 2008 ballot. –excerpted from an article by Wendy Cloyd at the Focus on the Family website, 01.03.07 and submitted by Mark Zaveson
Appeal to King, Mandela as part of a defense for supporting Jihadists?
Chicago – Jurors heard a final emotional appeal from a federal prosecutor Thursday then began deliberations at the trial of two men accused of bankrolling terrorism by the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
“For too long these defendants have committed a variety of criminal violations and the time for accountability has arrived,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid J. Schar said, concluding four days of closing arguments.
Former Chicago grocer Muhammad Salah, 53, and Abdelhaleem Ashqar, 48, are accused of furnishing money and recruits to Hamas – the militant group that won recent elections in the Palestinian territories but is classified by the U.S. government as a terrorist group.
After hearing from Schar, jurors received instructions from U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve and began deliberating at 3:35 p.m. Prosecutors told jurors during the three-month trial that the two men were major operatives within the international network raising money for Hamas.
They said the money was used to finance murders, bombings and kidnappings aimed at toppling the government of Israel.
Defense attorneys said the money represented charitable donations aimed at easing the suffering of Palestinians living in refugee camps since the birth of Israel and suffering under Israeli army occupation.
In an emotional appeal to jurors on Wednesday, Ashqar attorney William Moffitt likened Hamas to movements around the world led by such champions of human rights as Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela. –excerpted from an article by Mike Robinson for the Associated Press, 01.12.07 as found at www.jihadwatch.org
Iranian Believers Suffer… and Endure… Under Extreme Pressure
In Iran today, it is almost impossible to live a public Christian life. Since last year’s election of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, intimidation of Christians has intensified dramatically.
The persecution of Christians in Iran today is not a series of isolated events, but a state policy implemented at all levels of government. Numerous house-groups have been closed down, and the regime appears to have adopted a deliberate policy of gradual eradication of churches.
Despite constitutional guarantees of religious freedom, Christians and their churches are intensely regulated, subjected to intrusive questioning, and even infiltrated by government agents. Christians never know if the new face in their congregation is a new believer or a government official.
At greatest risk are Muslim background believers. In the eyes of the government, turning to Christ is a crime punishable by death. Still, many Muslims take that risk and secretly become believers. They cannot declare their faith openly, for families and communities often react violently. Muslim-background believers can be disowned, beaten, or even killed by their own families. If discovered by the government, they could be arrested, imprisoned, or sentenced to death.
Muslim-background believers also struggle to grow in their faith. Churches are forbidden to accept Muslims or ex-Muslims into their congregations, and selling Bibles in the Farsi language is illegal… –excerpted from an article at Open Doors at www.odusa.org a website which is associated with the National Association of Evangelicals and World Evangelical Alliance. The article was submitted by Muriel McConnon.
NJ Says Clergy May Opt Out of Gay Civil Unions
Newark, Members of the clergy, unlike mayors and other public officials who perform marriages, cannot be legally required to preside at ceremonies for same-sex civil unions,the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office said Thursday (Jan. 11). –by Jeff Diamant, from Reuters’ News Service as found at www.pbs.org on their Religion and Ethics News Weekly webpage
Knowing it all and nothing at all
We all enter the world knowing nothing but, by the time we are teenagers, we know it all. Sometimes it is decades later before we know enough to realize how little we know. –Thomas Sowell
Accent on Speech
I spent the last eight years of my growing up life and the first year of married life in Tampa, so my accent began to even out some. Then two years in Illinois farmland put a real spin on it. For the last 26 years I have lived back in Florida–not the cosmopolitan Florida the rest of the world knows about, but rural, north central Florida, where the possums and coons still rummage at night, the bobcats scream, and the hound dogs bay at the moon. I don’t think I have pronounced the “g” on an —ing word in at least 20 years. God’s people have had similar problems throughout the ages. Nehemiah was horrified at the effect foreign people were having on his brethren, and used their language problem as a symbol for things much worse: “In those days also I saw the Jews that had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab; and their children spoke half in the speech of Ashdod and could not speak in the Jews’ language, but according to the language of each people.” (Nehemiah 13:23, 24)
I have always heard this passage used to point out that some use Bible words the wrong way, mixing up pastors with preachers, and fellowship with donuts. But it is more important for me in my daily life to think about this: I should not allow the language around me to affect the way I speak. God’s children should be speaking blessing, not cursing; words of understanding, not words of judgment; words of praise, not words of criticism. Can I turn a cashier’s day around with a friendly hello rather than a cold empty look? Can I make a waitress’s feet hurt a little less with friendly conversation, rather than a gruff complaint? Can I give my wavering brother or sister an encouraging word rather than an unfeeling push over the edge of temptation? The condemnation of the language of Ashdod means a whole lot more than just mixing up a few definitions.
Today, and every day Lord, help my accent to be that of a Christian.
“A soft answer turns away wrath…The tongue of the wise utters knowledge correctly…A gentle tongue is a tree of life…A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in due season, how good it is…Pleasant words are like a honeycomb: sweet to the soul and health to the bones.” (Selected lines from Proverbs 15 and 16) –excerpted from Dene Ward’s daily e-mail of 01.10.07.
The Michael Nifong Scandal
The Duke rape hoax is redolent of past decades’ phony child-abuse cases.
No one could have imagined when the story began last March, how soon and completely that bit of shorthand–“the Duke University scandal”–would be transformed.
Scarcely 10 months after, the term is now almost universally understood as a reference to the operations of Michael Nifong, the Durham County district attorney, whose abandonment of all semblance of concern about the merits of the rape and assault accusations against three Duke University students was obvious from the first. So was his abundant confidence while broadcasting comments on the guilt of the accused. He seemed a man immune to concerns for appearances as he raced about expounding on the case against the accused lacrosse players and calling them hooligans…
For all the public shock and fury over his behavior, there is little that is new or strange about Mr. Nifong. We have seen the likes of this district attorney, uninterested in proofs of innocence, willing to suppress any he found, many times in the busy army of prosecutors claiming to have found evidence of rampant child abuse in nursery schools and other child-care centers around the country in the 1980s and throughout most of the ’90s…
Neither Mr. Seligman nor the other accused Duke students will ever have to contend with a punishment like the one meted out to Gerald Amirault, who was sentenced to a 30- to 40-year term for something that never happened–atrocious sex crimes that never took place, of which there was no physical evidence, or anything resembling a credible allegation. What did it matter that the child’s testimony that resulted in Gerald’s conviction had claimed rape with a large butcher’s knife–one that had magically left not the slightest injury? The jury’s most important duty was, the prosecutors informed them, to believe the children and show that they honored their testimony. The same young witness also testified that Gerald was accompanied by a green, silver and yellow robot, R2-D2, from “Star Wars.”
What did it matter, either, that special judicial hearings about the Amiraults’ prosecution had concluded that it was a travesty, that a tough panel of former prosecutors, the Governor’s Board of Pardons, had virtually declared Gerald Amirault innocent and voted for commutation of his sentence–or that he was finally granted parole nearly three years ago, after nearly 18 years’ imprisonment? He was almost immediately classified by Massachusetts’s Sex Offenders Registry Board as a Level 3 offender. The kind, that is, deemed the most dangerous and most likely to re-offend. This bizarre classification, the board made clear, had to do with the number of counts of sex abuse charged to him–and the fact, too, that he continued to deny guilt. He now has to wear a large tracking device around his ankle, and obey a curfew confining him to the house from 1 1:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. every day. He has, not surprisingly, been unable to find a job. He is sustained, as ever, by the unstinting devotion of his family, and he grieves now mainly for the loss of the chance he had dreamed of in prison–of earning a salary and finally lightening the burden his wife had carried, uncomplaining and alone, during his years in prison. (He has recently been advised of pending legislation that will require him to pay $10 a day for the global positioning tag on his leg that tracks him.) –excerpted from Dorothy Rabinowitz’s Media Log at Opinion Journal from The Wall Street Journal 01.11.07. Read the entire article here
Doctors Deplore First US ‘Baby Supermarket’
The nation’s largest faith based association of doctors today said that a Texas fertility clinic is violating ethical principles in “grading babies like meat in a supermarket.”
Dr. David Stevens, CEO of the 17,000-member Christian Medical Association reacted to news that the Texas-based IVF Clinic Abraham Center of Life is offering to match sperm and egg donors to meet criteria desired by consumers.
“This designer baby scheme crosses ethical and moral boundaries by turning babies into commodities,” Dr. Stevens asserted. “By stressing the educational level of sperm and egg donors, this center is preying on parents who have fallen victim to the false notion that babies are a status symbol, and that intelligence, race or appearance are somehow measures of worth. Do we really want to grade babies like meat in a supermarket… –excerpted from an article from the Standard Newswire 01.08.07 as submitted by Muriel McConnon.
A reminder: we did not and cannot create a thing…
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so.
Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. (Genesis 1:26 — f.)
The evidence is overwhelming that the Founders were religious people who wanted a religious country that enshrined liberty for all its citizens, including those of different religions and those of no faith. But our educational institutions, especially the universities, are populated almost exclusively by secular individuals and books who seek to cast America’s past and present in their image. Are we a Judeo-Christian country with liberty for people of every, and of no, faith? Or are we a secular country that happens to have within it a large number of individuals who hold Judeo-Christian values?… If America abandons its Judeo-Christian values basis and the central role of the Jewish and Christian Bibles, its Founders’ guiding text, we are all in big trouble, including, most especially, America’s non-Christians. Just ask the Jews of secular Europe.” –Dennis Prager, as quoted at The Patriot Post No. 07-02.
Dobson rebuffs gay activists over Time article
Allegation that the child development expert ‘cherry-picked’ research is preposterous.
America’s foremost radio advocate for children has fired back against allegations he misused research when he wrote an article in a December issue of Time on the topic of children raised in “alternative” homes.
In his January newsletter to constituents, Focus on the Family Chairman Dr. James Dobson said the criticism he’s taken for the piece is because “the views expressed in this article run counter to everything our liberal, politically correct culture holds dear.”
The commentary, written at the request of Time, had as its news peg the just-announced revelation that Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, was pregnant with a child she intends to raise with her partner.
“With all due respect to Cheney and her partner, Heather Poe, the preponderance of more than 30 years of social-science evidence indicates that children do best on every measure of well-being when raised by their married mother and father,” Dobson wrote in Time. “That is not to say Cheney and Poe will not love their child. But love alone is not enough to guarantee healthy growth and development. The two most loving women in the world cannot provide a daddy for a little boy — any more than the two most loving men can be complete role models for a little girl.”
Gary Schneeberger, public policy media director for Focus on the Family, said reaction from the left was especially furious because Dobson cited research from several authors showing that children need their fathers — and suffer when the father is not present.
One homosexual activist took it upon himself to convince some of the scientists whose research Dobson referenced to complain.
One of those researchers, Dr. Kyle Pruett of Yale Medical School, wrote Time to complain Dobson had “cherry-picked” — or used quotes out of context — when he quoted from Pruett’s book, Fatherneed: Why Father Care is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child. Pruett went so far as to demand that Dobson stop referring to this work.
Dobson was stunned at the allegation.
“Something is strange here,” he wrote in his newsletter. “Doesn’t the title (of Pruett’s book) itself proclaim the significance of fathering in the well-being of children? Of course it does. The phrase that Dr. Pruett said I ‘cherry-picked’ was this: ‘fathers do not mother.’ Incidentally, that is the title of the first chapter of his book!” —excerpted from an article by Pete Winn at the Focus on the Family website 01.09.07. Submitted by Mark Zaveson.