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Some Things Said… (Nov 05)

An early church found in Israel

Megiddo Prison, Israel — Israeli archaeologists working in a maximum-security prison just down the road from Armageddon have unearthed what they think is the oldest church to be discovered in the land where Jesus was born.

“This is one of the most important finds of early Christianity,” archaeologist Yardena Alexandre of the Israel Antiquities told journalists on a tour of the excavation yesterday. Remains of the church, which archaeologists date to the mid-third or early fourth century, were found during a dig for artifacts before the planned construction of a new prison wing.

The ruins of the church include a mosaic tile floor with inscriptions in ancient Greek containing a reference to “The God Jesus Christ” and could shed light on early Christian practices. The floor lies under a tarpaulin in the shadow of watchtowers, surrounded by high fences and barbed wire.

The prison is close to the plains of Armageddon, where the Book of Revelations says God will prevail over Satan in a fiery end-of-the-world battle. –from an article by Cynthia Johnston, for Reuters News Agency, 11.07.05

Abortion and the Law

What would a world without Roe look like?

The word abortion appears nowhere in the U.S. Constitution. Yet less than a week into Samuel Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court, abortion is already emerging as the flashpoint of the confirmation debate. It is an apt moment to consider how we got to where this single issue so dominates judicial politics.

The answer is Roe v. Wade, the Court’s 7-2 decision that, in one fell judicial swoop, took this deeply divisive social issue out of the hands of voters and their elected legislators. The year was 1973. The consequences have distorted American law and politics ever since.

Go back to late 1960s and early 1970s, before Roe became the most controversial Court decision since Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896. Numerous state legislatures had relaxed their hitherto absolute bans on abortion, making it easier for a woman whose health was endangered to obtain one. The burgeoning women’s movement had made legalization one of its primary goals. –from The Wall Street Journal editorial page, 11.05.05

Appeals Court Declares Parenthood Unconstitutional…

A new ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is prompting cries of judicial activism. On Wednesday the court dismissed a lawsuit brought by California parents who were outraged over a sex survey given to public school students in the first, third and fifth grades.

Among other things, the survey administered by the Palmdale School District asked children if they ever thought about having sex or touching other people’s “private parts” and whether they could “stop thinking about having sex.” The parents argued that they — not the public schools — have the sole right “to control the upbringing of their children by introducing them to matters of and relating to sex.”

But on Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit dismissed the case, saying, “There is no fundamental right of parents to be the exclusive provider of information regarding sexual matters to their children…Parents have no due process or privacy right to override the determinations of public schools as to the information to which their children will be exposed while enrolled as students.”

Judge Stephen Reinhardt, writing for the panel, said “no such specific right can be found in the deep roots of the nation’s history and tradition or implied in the concept of ordered liberty.” –by Susan Jones from www.CNSNews.com 11.03.05

Liberty

Why…must government be neutral about religion? Because, we are told, the First Amendment demands it by forbidding any ‘establishment of religion.’ But this is nonsense. The First Amendment says nothing of the sort, and I wish atheists would read it as literally as they think most Christians read the Bible. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof’ means something very different from ‘Government must be neutral about religion.” It bars the Congress of the United States from legislation that either establishes a religion or prohibits its free exercise. This left the states free to do both, and for a long time they did. Several states had official religions as late as the 1830s. You may deplore this, but don’t say the Constitution bans it, because it plainly doesn’t. Now we are told that the Constitution forbids everything from a moment of silence in the classroom to the phrase under God in the Pledge of Allegiance. –Joseph Sobran, from an unidentified source

Infiltrating Hollywood

You know the struggle. You work hard to raise your kids in a moral environment, only to catch them singing the latest Eminem lyrics they heard on the radio. You switch on the TV at 8pm, only to quickly switch it off again after the first few sexual jokes, wondering whatever happened to “family-friendly TV.” And when not deluged with immorality, you instead get liberal politics shoved down your throat on sitcoms, in movies, and on supposedly unbiased newscasts.

Doesn’t it often feel like an uphill battle? We’re fighting hard to lead our lives and raise our children according to our own values, but it seems like the culture is fighting us every step of the way…

Much of what Hollywood produces is morally bankrupt and ideologically liberal. And it’s shaping our culture in a profound way… –from an article by Ryan Zempel at www.townhall.com 11.03.05

Cheering Terror

On the surface, the support offered to Islamist fanatics by Western intellectuals appears baffling: Those privileged to speak out in safety are cheering on men who would gladly cut their throats…

Flanking the international insurgency of Muslim extremists is a global insurgency of frustrated intellectuals. Western civilization’s rise to power shamed the failed cultures of the Middle East, while America’s exposure of communism and socialism as deadly, incompetent systems robbed the intelligentsia of its dearest fantasy.

Global intellectuals and Islamist terrorists share common enemies – the United States, Israel and the West in general. They’re unified by a disdain for freedom, capitalism and democracy – especially the latter. Religious extremists and the international intelligentsia alike distrust the will of the people at the ballot box.

Islamist fanatics are willing to kill millions to fortify and purify their religion – just as intellectuals excused Stalin’s purges and Mao’s mass slaughters in the name of building communist utopias. Whether the standards are taken from the Koran or the Politburo, there’s always someone with an impure faith who needs killing. Eventually, of course, the secret policemen or the terrorists come for the intellectuals, too. But the key to understanding intellectuals – defined as those who elevate theory over reality – is that they’re unified only by causes, not by loyalty to each other. They’ll rationalize away every name they betray to the state’s murderers or their terrorist captors. And their egos are so enormous that they’ll go into their death-cells believing it’s all a mistake soon to be rectified…

The problem with intellectuals is that they don’t really think. From the 1920s right through the 1980s, Communist regimes could count on smitten fellow-travelers for support. Few of Moscow’s, Beijing’s or Hanoi’s defenders actually went there, of course, and fewer still stayed to help build the workers’ paradise. Physical evidence, no matter how grim, was a distraction to be avoided. Theories were always better than flesh and blood.

Now the lethal terrorists confronting civilization have managed to recruit their own legions of fellow travelers – without even trying. Bin Laden, Zawahiri, Zarqawi & Co. must be astonished by the support provided by Western intellectuals. Whether or not any god’s on their side, The New York Times certainly is – just as it idealized Stalin’s regime while millions of Ukrainians starved in a man-made famine.

We’ll prevail against the terrorists. And after we’ve triumphed again, our domestic intellectuals and their foreign brethren will find new monsters to worship. –Excerpted from an article by Ralph Peters in The New York Post, 11.03.05

Culture

The cultural civil war in which America is engaged is, in large measure, about American exceptionalism. Conservative America generally believes in the concept; liberal America generally finds it chauvinistic and dangerous. What is American exceptionalism? The belief that America often knows better than the world what is right and wrong. This belief drives most of the world’s opinion-makers crazy. And it particularly infuriates the American Left, that part of America that trusts what is called ‘world opinion’ more than it trusts the American people. And from where does this belief in American exceptionalism derive? Mostly from the religious beliefs that underlie American values. That is a major reason the current culture war is about the place of Judeo-Christian values in American life. Those who believe that America must remain a Judeo-Christian nation (in terms of values) are far less respectful of international institutions than those who wish to make America a secular nation… For the Left, i.e., the opponents of American exceptionalism, law is the highest good; for the Right, especially the Judeo-Christian Right, morality is higher than law. –from an article by Dennis Prager at National Review Online.

Article contributed by Richard Vandagriff and Mark Zaveson