Senseless killings and media overkillâ€¦ What can be said about the Virginia Tech massacre? Very little. What should be said? Even less. The lives of 32 innocents, chosen randomly and without purpose, are extinguished most brutally by a deeply disturbed gunman. With an event such as this, consisting of nothing but suffering and tragedy, the only important questions are those of theodicy, of divine justice. --syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer.
Debate Brews Over Use of Koran in Court
Traditionally, witnesses taking the stand in court are sworn in by placing their hand on the Bible. But when Muslims in Guilford County, NC, tried to donate copies of the Koran for courtroom use, judges turned them down.
Chief District Court Judge Joseph Turner says taking an oath on the Koran is not allowed by North Carolina state law, which specifies that witnesses shall place their hands on the “holy scriptures,” which he interprets as the Christian Bible. “Weve been doing it that way for 200 years,” he said. “Until the legislature changes that law, I believe I have to do what Ive been told to do in the statutes.” But the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the American Civil Liberties Union are challenging the Guilford County Courts.
“This was the first time that we had a judge Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ going on record and stating unilaterally what is a holy scripture and what is not Ã¢â‚¬” what we believe to be a violation of the establishment clause,” said Arsalan Iftikhar of CAIR. Their case is solid, according to one Duke University law professor. “I have absolutely no doubt that higher courts, if it gets there, will say that persons of Muslim faith can swear on a Koran rather than a Christian Bible,” said Erwin Chemerinsky. “The case law is so clear here that a person doesnt even have to swear on a Bible to be a witness so long as theyre willing to promise to tell the truth.” –from a report by Jonathan Serrie, on Fox News Channel, 08.22.05
The greatest gift we can give our children is to let them know that there is a God who loves them and knows them by name. We must teach our sons and daughters that the God of the Universe is intensely interested and familiar with every aspect of their lives and wants what is best for them. Today’s culture teaches even the young child that he is here by accident, and that he is just another creature on a big, impersonal planet, no different from any other animal. It’s no wonder that kids today are experiencing depression and loneliness in record numbers. … A few years ago the mantra was, ‘It’s quality time, not quantity time, that counts.’ WRONG! Kids need a good dose of both from their parents. If we think we can spend one great hour a day with our kids and counteract the negative garbage they’re getting from the culture ’24/7,’ we’re fooling ourselves. –Rebecca Hagelin as quoted at www.federalist.com
Five American Religious Leaders Arrested in China
Despite a visiting high level US religious freedom monitoring delegation in Beijing the Christian Aid Association learned five American Church leaders were arrested in Luoyang City and Yichuan City, Henan Province by the PSB of Luoyang City on August 15. According to reliable collaborated sources, four American church leaders including one couple and 27 Chinese House Church pastors were arrested at a location nearby a mall at Luoyang City at 9 am while celebrating Christian fellowship together. Another American along with Chinese Pastor Wan Dagan, were arrested at 1 pm by two plain-clothed secret agents while the two were walking on a street in Yichuan City , Henan Province. None of the names of the five Americans who are believed to belong to the same group of visitors are available. Their detention location is unknown. One man, Mr. Zhuo Tao, who used to work in the Chinese army, a nephew of Peter Xu, who is the founder of a Christian house church group known as Born Again Movement, was among those arrested.–from an article posted at www.christianwireservice.com 08.18.05, as sent in by Muriel McConnon.
Stupid is as stupid doesÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
America ‘s skies are safer today, aren’t they? Even U.S. troops being deployed aboard chartered aircraft must undergo the same security screening as your average passenger. When the National Guard’s 48th Brigade Combat Team deployed from Savannah , Georgia , to Iraq , the unit’s commander, Lt. Col. John King, reluctantly instructed his soldiers to surrender pocket knives, lighters and nose hair scissors, in compliance with FAA anti-hijacking regulations. Having so complied, the soldiers were allowed to keep their rifles, combat shotguns, pistols, bayonets, helmets and body armor. Here we might suggest that the policymakers at the Federal Aviation Administration deploy their oxygen masks ASAP… –from www.federalist.com
Threat to Divest Is Church Tool in Israeli Fight
The Presbyterian Church U.S.A. announced Friday that it would press four American corporations to stop providing military equipment and technology to Israel for use in the occupation of the Palestinian territories, and that if the companies did not comply, the church would take a vote to divest its stock in them.
The companies – Caterpillar, Motorola, ITT Industries and United Technologies – were selected from a list of several dozen possibilities by a church investment committee that met Friday in Seattle . The Presbyterians accused these companies of selling helicopters, cellphones, night vision equipment and other items Israel uses to enforce its occupation.
In an effort to appear even-handed in the Israel i-Palestinian conflict, the church committee also included Citigroup on its list of targets, alleging it had a connection to a bank accused of having a role in funneling money from Islamic charities to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. The church said it included Citigroup because it was mentioned in an article in The Wall Street JournalÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
The Episcopal Church U.S.A., the United Church of Christ, two regions of the United Methodist Church, as well as international groups like the World Council of Churches and the Anglican Consultative Council have all urged consideration of divestment or economic pressure in recent months, though the tone and emphasis of each resolution varies. The Disciples of Christ passed a resolution last month calling on Israel to tear down the barrier it has built to wall off the occupied territories, and other churches are considering similar resolutions.–from an article by Laurie Goodstein, in The New York Times 08.06.05.
I can think of someÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Some ideas seem so plausible that they can fail nine times in a row and still be believed the tenth time. Other ideas seem so implausible that they can succeed nine times in a row and still not be believed the tenth time. –Thomas Sowell
Bible Course Becomes Test for Public Schools in Texas
The National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools claimed victory in April when an Odessa Texas school board voted to add an elective Bible study course to 2006 high school curriculum. But the Texas Freedom Network is releasing a study finding the council’s course to be an ‘error-riddled’ curriculum that ‘attempts to persuade students and teachers to adopt views that are held primarily within conservative Protestant circles’. The dispute makes the curriculum, which the council says is used in 312 school districts in 37 states, the latest flashpoint in culture wars over religious influence in the public domain. The council says its course is the only one offered nationwide, but the Bible Literacy Project, an organization supported by broad range of religious groups, expects to release a textbook in September. The council denies that its course is indoctrination, saying that it focuses on the Bible as a foundational document of society. Critics call the curriculum unacceptably sectarian. –by Ralph Blumenthal and Barbara Novovitch from their article in The New York Times 08.01.05
Article contributed by Richard Vandagriff and Mark Zaveson