Monday, January 29, 2007
We live an angry world. Too often there is not even time for the proverbial "slow burn." For example, road rage is typically an immediate response. Another driver's actions cause not an equal but usually greater reaction. Obviously, forgiveness has no place in road rage. Revenge is the preferred route.
Jesus, however, told His followers that forgiveness is the only route to take. In this parable, He pointed out how much we want to be forgiven and not held accountable. The servant fell on his knees and begged, "Be patient with me and I will pay back everything" (v. 26). The remarkable aspect of the story is that the debt was forgiven. If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, your debt of sin has been forgiven. You are like the servant in the parable. There is more, though. That same servant was not willing to forgive another. When the master heard about it, he confronted the servant, saying, "I canceled all that debt of yours .… Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?" (v. 32-33). To be forgiven like the servant is good. To be unforgiving in return is wrong.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
In the name of love, many things are accepted. BUT, in truth and justice, some things cannot be accepted, embraced and celebrated.
Folks, liberalism is killing the Christian church. More and more, we are trading the truth of the Bible for the message of tolerance. The Word says, "There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the way therein is death." Liberalism and tolerance are the ways that *seem* right to many (under the guise of peace and love), but the way therein is death -- death of freedom, death of sensibility and death of the truth. Our culture, our children and our faith will all suffer as we continue to re-define sin as things that are to be tolerated (divorce, homosexuality, promiscuity, abortion, etc).
We had better wake up and get busy or we're going to reap what we have allowed far-left liberals, sodomites, extremist feminists and fascists to sew.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Friday, January 26, 2007
"If you asked me, I would have expected to find that religious conservatives are stingy," said Brooks, a committed Catholic and political independent. "That's what academics think. That's what we are told all the time." What he found instead was the Religious Right gives more in "every measurable way," from writing checks to volunteering time to donating blood.
Brooks attributes the difference to four factors— church attendance, two-parent families, Protestant work ethic, and distaste for government social services. But he said church attendance is by far the most telling. "Religious liberals and religious conservatives give at the same rate," he said. "What you find is more religious conservatives than religious liberals." Ninety-one percent of regular church attendees give to charity each year, compared with 66 percent of those who said they do not have a religion. The gap adds up— the faithful give four times more money per year than their secular counterparts. While most of that money is given to churches, religious people also give more to secular charities, such as the Red Cross or their alma mater.
Religious people also donate twice as much blood and are more likely to "behave in compassionate ways towards strangers," Brooks said. For example, they are much more likely to return extra change to a cashier when they are accidentally given too much. Generous giving is part of the religious conservative identity, according to sociologist Tony Campolo. "The Religious Right, by conviction, is convinced that helping the poor is something that should be done individually or by the church," said Campolo. "[They say that] asking the state to do it is wrong." But religious conservatives might not want to pat themselves on the back quite yet. Christian research organization Empty Tomb Inc. said evangelicals gave away 6.7 percent of their income in 1968. By 2004, that figure had dropped to 4.4 percent, but growing attendance and rising incomes have kept many churches from feeling the pinch. At the same time, more money is staying within the church to pay for things like music and technology. Evangelical churches, on average, devote only about 2 percent of their budgets to missions.
The Sope-Bocks: While this is NOT bragging, it is an indictment of those who preach tolerance and liberalism. It is also an indictment of those who spew hateful speech about the "evils" of religion, especially targeting Christians. The fact is -- they are TALKING, while believers are DOING.
Don't believe me? When was the last time you saw Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, NOW or the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) working in a disaster area? When was the last time one of these organizations held a blood drive or food drive? When was the last time a feminist group worked in a homeless shelter or gathered garments for the local clothes closet? When have you ever seen PETA sponsor a fund-raiser that aided the poor?
The fact is -- those organizations are bent towards hate speech, accusatory rhetoric, anger and, worst of all, self-righteous pride. They don't really HELP anyone. And frankly, they NEVER will. It is NOT part of their make-up, their thought processes or their beliefs.
Isn't it time people starting THINKING -- and realizing -- that these groups are NOT helpful, but hurtful, hateful and destructive to true peace and cooperation among humans?!?
Thursday, January 25, 2007
By Peter Pattisson in Kayin State, southern Burma, Sunday Telegraph
The military regime in Burma is intent on wiping out Christianity in the country, according to claims in a secret document believed to have been leaked from a government ministry. Entitled "Programme to destroy the Christian religion in Burma", the incendiary memo contains point by point instructions on how to drive Christians out of the state. The text, which opens with the line "There shall be no home where the Christian religion is practised", calls for anyone caught evangelising to be imprisoned. It advises: "The Christian religion is very gentle – identify and utilise its weakness."
Its discovery follows widespread reports of religious persecution, with churches burnt to the ground, Christians forced to convert to the state religion, Buddhism, and their children barred from school.
Human rights groups claim that the treatment meted out to Christians, who make up six per cent of the population, is part of a wider campaign by the regime, also targeted at ethnic minority tribes, to create a uniform society in which the race and language is Burmese and the only accepted religion is Buddhism. In the past year, an estimated 27,000 members of the predominantly Christian Karen tribe were driven from their homes in eastern Burma. In Koh Kyi village, in Arakan State, a monk backed by the military burnt down the local church. In another state, 300 monks were allegedly sent by the regime to forcibly convert the populace, all of whom belonged to the Chin ethnic group, which is mostly Christian.
The document, shown to The Sunday Telegraph by human rights groups, may have been produced by a state-sponsored Buddhist group, but with the tacit approval of the military junta. The regime has denied authorship of the document – which also calls for teenagers to be prevented from wearing Western clothes – but has made no public attempt to refute or repudiate its contents.
The dictatorship has long been accused of large-scale human rights abuses. In power since 1988, the generals annulled the National League for Democracy's sweeping 1990 election victory and jailed its leader, the Nobel peace prize-winner Aung San Suu Kyi. She remains under house arrest. Last week she was accused of tax evasion for failing to hand over any of her Nobel prize winnings to the authorities. Eha Hsar Paw, a Karen Christian, who fled her village while heavily pregnant to a refugee camp near the border with Thailand, said: "The journey here was very difficult. It was hard to leave our village, but if we had stayed there we would all be dead."
The Sope-Bocks: If you think being a Christian is easy or "pleasant" in some countries, think again. The Nightly News won't tell you the real reason the Burmese military and radical groups are killing or imprisoning citizens. Heck, they aren't even telling the truth about Darfur and the rest of the problems in Sudan (which are the same as Burma -- the express extermination of Christians). If you are a Believer, pray for your Christian brothers and sisters in Burma, Sudan, China, Malaysia and other areas of persecution. If you are not a Believer, but consider yourself one of the activists for "tolerance", then you owe it to your beliefs to put effort into helping the persecuted Christians in these countries. Otherwise, your cry of tolerance is really a LIE. THINK it over -- and ACT!
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Amazing Grace film stars Ioan Gruffudd as William Wilberforce, the man who championed the abolition of slavery in the British Empire, and is doing much to raise awareness of slavery.
An estimated 27 million people are living in slavery today, indicating that there are more people living in slavery today than at any other time in history. Ironically, this year marks the 200th anniversary of the end of the slave trade in the British Empire, a historic event brought by Wilberforce and a group of friends. The group included John Newton, the slave-trader turned songwriter who penned the popular hymn Amazing Grace.
In advance of the release of the film chronicling their heroic actions, another larger group of abolitionists are once again mounting a campaign with the aim to end slavery once and for all. The campaign will culminate on Sunday, 18 February, when thousands across the globe will celebrate AMAZING GRACE SUNDAY.
Directed by acclaimed director Michael Apted (Coal Miner’s Daughter), Amazing Grace tells an inspiring story of how one man can change the world. Wilberforce’s life was an astounding spiritual and moral quest, and he is an inspiration to millions to this day. Elected to parliament at the age of 21, Wilberforce led a diverse coalition of believers in a decades-long struggle to end the lucrative, but dehumanising, slave trade. He was aided by slave-trader-turned abolitionist Rev. John Newton (Albert Finney) and by his spirited wife and political compatriot Barbara Spooner (Romola Garai).
The Sope-Bocks: I certainly hope this film comes to America. William Wilberforce is an inspiration to me, personally, in areas of law, morality and the spirit of determination.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
The consequences of ignoring this priority are real. Last October 21, radical Muslim insurgents burst into an Iraqi workplace in Baqouba, northeast of Baghdad. There they confronted 14-year-old Ayad Tariq and asked for his identity card. After noting his Christian affiliation and questioning him, they declared him a "dirty Christian sinner" and, according to media reports, beheaded him on the spot.
Though tied in part to Pope Benedict XVI's controversial comments about Mohammed, this was no isolated incident. Since 2003, church bombings, kidnappings of clergy, rape and murder of Christians, and other violence has taken a sickening toll. Women risk being attacked when they do not wear the hijab head covering. In some urban areas, 60 percent of churches have suspended worship services.
"These churches are not just laying low—they are being eradicated," said Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom, in a recent congressional testimony. "Violence against Christians and members of the smallest minorities is conducted with impunity." UN officials recently labeled the flight of refugees from Iraq as a "steady, silent exodus."
Religious-freedom advocates support several worthy initiatives to relieve the suffering of everyday Iraqis. The Bush administration and Iraqi leaders should:
• Stop discrimination in aid grants by naming a special aid coordinator in Iraq to insure that Christians and other minorities receive a fair share of international assistance.
• Implement the creation of a homeland for Christians in Iraq's Nineveh Plains to be governed jointly by Christians and other minority groups. (This is provided for under article 125 of Iraq's new constitution.)
• Provide more comprehensive care for the estimated 3 million Iraqi refugees and internally displaced people. The United States should follow through with its commitment to resettle more refugees from Iraq. In 2006, only 202 were resettled, while a total of 20,000 had been authorized.
• Remove religious affiliation from identification cards. There could hardly be an easier way to protect the lives of Christian civilians, such as Ayad Tariq, than issuing new id cards minus religious labels.
Second, we in the Western church must commit fresh resources to the Assyrian church. After major conflict ended in 2003, relief and mission agencies quickly set up projects nationwide. In the years since, all but 10 mission leaders have pulled out, because no one could guarantee their safety. This withdrawal has usually been a wise decision. But the time is dawning for Christian ministry and church leaders—and those who financially and prayerfully support such ministries—to reengage with Iraq, despite the obvious risks. This means supporting Christian ministries that help the Iraqi church sustain its viability. Outside of Iraq, it means reaching out to the millions of Iraqi Christians scattered worldwide. There are tens of thousands in suburban Detroit and San Diego alone, and smaller pockets elsewhere. These sisters and brothers in Christ have many needs we can address right now.
Someday, we pray, they will be able to return to their homeland, where they will once again bring Christ's healing presence to their torn society.
Comments on the editorial:
|H. D. Schmidt||Posted: January 22, 2007 3:00 PM|
|This Nation was founded for other than using the military to spread the Goodness of Christianity, hence the miltary victory the writer refers to, will only increase the disrespect for the little that is still Christian in America. The Founding Fathers would be appalled reading this about what Christians need in Iraq!|
|CharlieJ||Posted: January 23, 2007 7:17 AM|
|People in a free and democratic society should be allowed to worship without fear of reprisal or death from their government or so-called "insurgents". Unfortunately people like H.D. Schmidt (above) fail to see the irony of calling the names of the "Founding Fathers" -- for they would have fought to their own death for the rights of the citizens of a country to believe in God and worship freely. The Founding Fathers would be appalled that we would disregard the beliefs of a people group in lieu of a military victory. For their can be no true freedom without freedom to worship.|
Monday, January 22, 2007
Photo by The Courier-Journal
"Kids feel very caught in it," said J. Bradley Wigger, a professor of Christian education at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. "It's been gradually increasing over time." Cooke said that before he quit, he was benched after missing baseball practices to sing in his church's praise band, and that some teammates called him a "Jesus freak."
Children and their parents worry about missing practices and games for religious obligations. But especially when future college athletic scholarships are at stake, sports often win the battle, to the dismay of some ministers. Kevin Jones, youth minister at Crestwood United Methodist Church, said he's convinced that the lure of athletic scholarships causes some parents to set unrealistic expectations for their children. "Just because a kid makes a travel team doesn't mean they are going to get a scholarship," Jones said. "My concern is that the parents are neglecting their faith to chase a better education for their kids."
The conflict occurs across different faiths. Members of the Mark family of Harrods Creek have typical schedules for youngsters active in sports. Daniel, a freshman at Kentucky Country Day School, is a Mockingbird Soccer Club player. He also was a ranked junior player by the U.S. Tennis Association but recently dropped tennis to focus on soccer. Daniel's brother, Josh, an eighth-grader, is a goalkeeper for his soccer team. "The boys pretty much have something every single day after school," said their mother, Ronna Mark. But Daniel skipped a North Carolina tennis tournament last fall because it fell on Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of repentance. "You sort of compromise where you can," said his father, Martin Mark.
For some young players, deciding between practice and church is a no-brainer when the price is sitting on the bench. "I stick to my plan, especially when the team is counting on me," said Allison Hoffman, 17, who splits time between volleyball and attending Crestwood United Methodist Church. Hoffman recently committed to play volleyball at Bellarmine University, but she said she isn't abandoning her church. "My faith will always be with me long after I finish playing sports," she said.
Some churches create their own sports leagues to bring in families with young athletes, although the level of play tends to be more recreational than competitive. Jeff Fuson, youth minister at Crestwood Baptist Church, took another approach, assembling teams of adults who minister to youths who travel for sporting events. "Church on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings used to be sacred space," Fuson said. But he said he overcame his initial reaction "to wail against the culture." "You say, 'If you don't come to my service, you're going to hell,' " he said. "Some will make that approach, but we'll drive them away from church. A lot of them won't come back."
The Rev. John Judie at Christ the King, a small Catholic church in western Louisville, said parents are ultimately responsible for their children's moral obligations. "There is the child who wants to be involved in 101 things and the parents who readily agree and support them without teaching the child a healthy balance and establishing priorities," Judie said.
'Missing the big picture'
Mockingbird soccer coach Josh Chatraw said coaches need to be understanding when a player misses practice or a game for church. "If a coach benches a player because they are committed to their faith and can't go to a tournament, I think that they're missing the big picture," he said. After he left baseball, Matt Cooke became an officer in his school's chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), a national organization that encourages the use of sports as a vehicle for Christian teaching. His mother, Elizabeth Cooke, an Oldham County High School teacher, said families and coaches need to talk things out when church-sports conflicts arise. "Parents need to be upfront and ask coaches questions, like 'How is Wednesday night practice and church going to affect it? Will he be penalized if he misses practice?' " she said. Her son, who won an academic college scholarship, said he misses baseball but doesn't regret his decision to give it up, even though he thinks he could have handled the pressure differently. "I should have just taken it and continued to play well and let my performance speak," he said.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Saturday, January 20, 2007
As I do most days, the reading of an online devotion helps me to better understand God, the Savior, Jesus and the Holy Bible. The main devotion I personally use is Back to The Bible online -- with Woodrow Kroll & Tony Beckett. The following devotion is a reminder that we need to set before us a total dependence on Jesus for our success. Through Him, we can do all things [Philippians 4:13]. This devotional comes from Matthew 14:16-18 . It centers on one of the miracles performed by Jesus.
An indication of the importance of the feeding of the 5,000 is the fact that it is the only miracle of Jesus recorded in all four Gospels. The account in John 6 gives so much emphasis to the meaning of the miracle, presenting it as a sermon in action.
The timing of this event is significant. It is the beginning of a phase in Jesus' ministry in which His primary focus was on His disciples. Jesus used this occasion to stretch their understanding of what He expected of them. They were to undertake responsibilities that looked beyond their ability, things they could accomplish when their inability was coupled with Jesus' ability.
The crowd needed to eat. The disciples' suggestion was to send them to the villages nearby to buy food for themselves. But Jesus said that was not necessary. Instead, He instructed His men to give them something to eat - an overwhelming task for a group with limited resources. The disciples then saw that what they had, when placed in the hands of Jesus, could be used to accomplish what looked impossible.
One of the lessons of the loaves is that we must look past our inability and see His ability. When Jesus works through us, we can accomplish the tasks He gives us.
Prayer: "God, help me rely on your ability. The tasks You set before me can appear overwhelming until I see them through Your eyes."Photo from art.com
Friday, January 19, 2007
Original source material: FOXNews
Abu Usamah, 43, is a New Jersey-born Muslim cleric with links to a suspected Al Qaeda operative. He is an example of the TRUE face of Islam.
The imam now is spewing his message of hate to a growing group of followers at a mosque in Birmingham, England. His target: the United States, the United Kingdom, Christians and Jews. Abu Usamah at-Thahabi regularly exhorts worshippers at the Green Lane Masjid, or mosque, in Birmingham to hate Westerners, whom he calls "pathological liars" and "kuffar," a derogatory term for non-Muslims. Abu Usamah also calls for the public crucifixion of all "kuffar" and says they should be "left there to bleed to death for three days."
Sources tell FOX News that Abu Usamah is a mysterious character — no one, including federal agents and fellow imams, seems to know what his name was prior to his conversion to Islam. Just prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, he called President Bush a "pathological liar" and constantly argued to his followers that "Jews controlled the media." The New Jersey-born imam, who claims to have studied a strict version of Islam at the Islamic University of Medina in Saudi Arabia rants, "Lying is part of their religion. ... They do whatever they want to do. They are liars, they are terrorists themselves. They are lying, you can't believe them. "They are pathological liars."
He also is heard ticking off an enemies list that includes mainstream British culture. "America, the U.K., Germany and France, they have come against the religion of Islam," he declares. "Popular culture … if you're a person who gives yourself to that, your mind is going to be controlled by the so-called powers to be, who make these manmade laws."
The mosque's official Web site says its purpose is to counter Muslim stereotyping, but the UK's Channel 4 report found there is a secret chat room area of the site that only mosque members know about, where At-Thahabi's lectures are broadcast. It is in this chat room, the report says, that Abu Usamah preaches the creation of a "total Islamic state" that advocates harsh punishments for non-believers. "Whoever changes his religion from Islam," he declares, "kill him, in the Islamic state."
The true face of Islam is one of violence & hatred bent on a worldwide Islamic state. Following that fact through, it also means the total annihilation of all other religious groups, especially Christians and Jews. Make no mistakes folks, Islam is out to kill or convert every single living human being on the planet. They really don't care which -- convert or die. It's time to take the gloves off and fight this evil before it takes over our culture and our country.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Here's a story that is sure to make the national headlines. The likes of Al "the Charleton" Sharpton and Jesse "the lame loser" Jackson will be making their rounds denouncing Del. Frank Hargrove, whites in general and "the establishment". Folks, it's time to move on. Enough already. This continued rhetoric does nothing to make things better; to enjoin people to each other or to improve relations among all ethnic and religious groups.
The story from FOXNews says,
A state legislator said black people "should get over" slavery and questioned whether Jews should apologize "for killing Christ," drawing denunciations Tuesday from stunned colleagues. Frank D. Hargrove, 79, [Glen Allen] made his remarks in opposition to a measure that would apologize on the state's behalf to the descendants of slaves.While I disagree with how Hargrove handled the situation, he makes a good point. You should go and read the article in The Daily Progress before believing what ANYONE else has to say about Hargrove's comments.
In an interview published Tuesday in The Daily Progress of Charlottesville, Hargrove said slavery ended nearly 140 years ago with the Civil War and added that "our black citizens should get over it." The newspaper also quoted him as saying, "are we going to force the Jews to apologize for killing Christ?"
Black lawmakers swiftly denounced Hargrove's comments. "When somebody tells me I should just get over slavery, I can only express my emotion by projecting that I am appalled, absolutely appalled," said Del. Dwight C. Jones, head of the Legislative Black Caucus. Del. David L. Englin also criticized Hargrove's remarks, recalling that his grandparents were driven from their homes in Poland "by people who believed that as Jews, we killed Christ."
When Hargrove rose to speak, he told Englin he didn't care about Englin's religion. "I didn’t even know you were Jewish, I had no idea of what your religion, [and] I don’t care what your religion is. I don’t care. ... I think your skin was a little too thin," Hargrove said as lawmakers gasped and groaned.
As for my thoughts -- Slavery ended nearly one and a half centuries ago. It's time for people to stop complaining and be responsible for themselves, their actions and their own future. This kind of action won't come from Sharpton, Jackson or any of their ilk. After all, they make their living off of fueling hate, blame and playing the race card everywhere they can.
Meanwhile, Keith Drake, chairman of the Albemarle County Republican Committee, issued a statement Tuesday saying a resolution expressing appreciation “to recognize the significant contributions of slaves” would be more appropriate and positive. Because no slaves or slaveholders are alive, “it is unclear who is apologizing to whom,” Drake said. He said the Marsh and McEachin resolution “serves no useful purpose. It merely opens old wounds.” I wholeheartedly agree.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
TOPIC: Attorney Found Naked in Pennsylvania Courthouse With 14-Year-Old Girl
14-year-old girl in a courthouse conference room, authorities said Tuesday.
Defense attorney Larry Charles, 49, has been charged with sexual assault, corrupting the morals of a minor, endangering the welfare of a child, false imprisonment, solicitation, attempted statutory sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor, and other crimes, said Lt. Dan Bagnell of the police department's Special Victims Unit.
A sheriff's deputy making his rounds in the Criminal Justice Center on Monday afternoon looked into a lawyers' conference room on the third floor and discovered Charles and the girl, Bagnell said. "He had asked for sex. But there was no physical contact we're aware of" by the time the deputy arrived on the scene, Bagnell said. The girl was not a client of Charles, but their exact relationship was not clear. Other sources say the 14 year old youngster is a close family friend of Charles' family.
Though court proceedings were not in session, the courthouse was open for attorneys who might want to conduct other business in the building. Charles said the girl wanted to post bail for someone. After the pair was not seen for a while, and CJC guards could not find them in the area where bail is posted, they began searching and eventually found the pair in a locked third-floor lounge area set aside for lawyers. Charles was naked, but the girl was not noted as clothed or disrobed. The investigation was continuing as police worked to determine whether there had been previous sexual contact between Charles and the girl, her siblings, or other relatives. Charles was awaiting arraignment early Tuesday afternoon and bail was not yet set. A woman who answered the phone at his office said she could not immediately comment.
NOTE: Charles' law license was suspended following his no-contest plea in September 1990 to tampering with public records. Prosecutors alleged he and several others filed false wage claims while they worked for a youth program under contract with the city between 1986 and 1988. His license was reinstated in 1996, according to the state Supreme Court's disciplinary board.
The Sope-Bocks: This kind of pervert needs to be put UNDER the jail. When a grown man, in a position of authority, takes advantage of or coerces a young girl (especially a child) into sexual activity, it should be a capital crime. The scars last for a lifetime -- and the damage is sometimes irreparable. What a lowlife scumbag!
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Each year on 16 January, the United States celebrates Religious Freedom Day to commemorate the passage of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom by the Virginia General Assembly on the same day in 1786. The historic law was drafted by Thomas Jefferson and provides the inspiration and the framework for the religious freedom clauses in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. “Freedom is a gift from the Almighty, written in the heart and soul of every man, woman, and child, and we must continue to promote the importance of religious freedom at home and abroad,” said President George W. Bush, in a statement.
Some 250 million Christians worldwide will be persecuted in 2007, according to Release International. The persecution watchdog group noted that Christian persecution is growing fastest in the Muslim world. McDonnell concluded, “In a world where darkness is increasingly being called light and evil called good, we must insure that this injustice is revealed.”
“On Religious Freedom Day, IRD joins in celebrating the blessing of religious freedom enshrined within the laws of our land. But we also must not forget those who do not share our freedom. We must ask God for mercy - and justice - for those who are persecuted for their faith.”
The Sope-Bocks: America will also be a land of persecuted Christians if we continue to allow extremists, ultra-liberals and those who seek to silence the truth to voice their side while we remain mute and paralyzed. We must fight political correctness boldly -- and lift the name of Christ righteously, with love and commitment to truth. It's not going to be a popular battle, BUT we must fight it. Otherwise, we're going to loose our religious liberties. Mark my words!
Monday, January 15, 2007
"I have a dream," he said, "that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed. We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal." While we know of the speech, most people are unaware that King also penned one of the most eloquent defenses of the moral law: the law that formed the basis for his speech, for the civil rights movement, and for all of law, for that matter.
In the spring of 1963, King was arrested for leading a series of massive non-violent protests against the segregated lunch counters and discriminatory hiring practices rampant in Birmingham, Alabama. While in jail, King received a letter from eight Alabama ministers. They agreed with his goals, but they thought that he should call off the demonstrations and obey the law. King explained why he disagreed in his famous Letter from a Birmingham Jail. "One may well ask, how can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer "is found in the fact that there are two kinds of laws: just laws . . . and unjust laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws," King said, "but conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws."
How does one determine whether the law is just or unjust? A just law, King wrote, "squares with the moral law of the law of God. An unjust law . . . is out of harmony with the moral law." Then King quoted Saint Augustine: "An unjust law is no law at all." He quoted Thomas Aquinas: "An unjust law is a human law not rooted in eternal or natural law."
This is the great issue today in the public square: Is the law rooted in truth? Is it transcendent, immutable, and morally binding? Or is it, as liberal interpreters argue, simply whatever courts say it is? Do we discover the law, or do we create it?
Many think of King as a liberal firebrand, waging war on traditional values. Nothing could be further from the truth. King was a great conservative on this central issue, and he stood on the shoulders of Augustine and Aquinas, striving to restore our heritage of justice rooted in the law of God. Were he alive today, I believe he would be in the vanguard of the pro-life movement. I also believe that he would be horrified at the way in which out-of-control courts have trampled on the moral truths he advocated.
From the time of Emperor Nero, who declared Christianity illegal, to the days of the American slave trade, from the civil rights struggle of the sixties to our current battles against abortion, euthanasia, cloning, and same-sex "marriage," Christians have always maintained exactly what King maintained. King's dream was to live in harmony with the moral law as God established it. So this Martin Luther King Day, reflect on that dream—for it is worthy of our aspirations, our hard work, and the same commitment Dr. King showed.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Friday, January 12, 2007
1773 - First US public museum established (Charleston SC)
1896 - First X-ray photo in US (Dr. Henry Smith, Davidson NC)
1906 - Football rules committee legalized the forward pass
1906 - First time Dow Jones closed above 100 (100.26)
1948 - Mohandas Mahatma Gandhi began his final fast
1952 - University of Tennessee admitted its first black student
1966 - LBJ said US should stay in South Vietnam until communist aggression ends
1970 - Boeing 747 made its maiden voyage
1977 - Anti-French demonstrations took place in Israel after Paris released Abu Daoud (Islamic terrorist responsible 1972 Munich massacre of Israeli athletes)
1991 - US Congress gave former President George H.W. Bush authority to wage war against Iraq
1995 - Major earthquake killed 5,092 in Kobe, Japan
1995 - Murder trial against OJ Simpson, began in Los Angeles
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Conservative Group Lists Annual 'Dirty Dozen' Most PC College Courses
Topping this year's Dirty Dozen list is Occidental College in California with a course named after the male genital organ. Rounding out the top three is a University of California-Los Angeles course called "Queer Musicology" and an Amherst College class called "Taking Marx Seriously." And making YAF's dishonorable mention list is a course at UC-Berkeley called "Sex Change City: Theorizing History in Genderqueer San Francisco."
YAF spokesman Jason Mattera says what these schools view as avant-garde, breakthrough classes are supplanting traditional scholarship on Western civilization. "We have a soaring tuition problem in this country," he points out. "Tuition rates are soaring past inflation, and these classes gobble up time, money, and energy -- resources that could be used to offset the cost of tuition and teach students about American values, American civics, American history." One particular school has been a perennial among the Dirty Dozen, Mattera points out. "Occidental College seems to make the list twice almost every year," he says. "They have a class called 'The Phallus,' and they offer another class called 'Blackness.'" The latter course "elaborates on a 'new blackness,' 'critical blackness,' 'post-blackness,' and an 'unforgivable blackness,' which all combine to create a feminist 'new black man,'" the young conservatism advocate explains. "Now, I don't know what a feminist 'new black man' is," Mattera says, "but it doesn't sound like something that I'd ever want to be."
Other college classes making YAF's 2006-2007 Dirty Dozen list include Mount Holyoke College's "Whiteness: the Other Side of Racism"; the University of Washington's "Border Crossings, Borderlands: Transnational Feminist Perspectives on Immigration"; Swarthmore's "Nonviolent Responses to Terrorism"; and the University of Michigan's "Native American Feminisms."
The Sope-Bocks: It's time to reign in tenor for college professors who think up and "teach" this junk. Students need to taught how to think, NOT what to think. Some of these course titles imply indoctrination, rather than the teaching of critical thinking skills. What if you or your child takes such a course, but disagrees with the professor? Count on a big fat "F" for that course -- and a total waste of your money and time. Folks, if we don't make changes now, we can count on more and more of this sort of thing in the future. Colleges CANNOT survive without students' tuition. REFUSE to pay tuition for courses like these and the professors will be forced to stop "teaching" them. The real power is in OUR HANDS, not theirs. So, let's use it to get so-called "institutions of higher learning" back on track.
FWIW, Young America's Foundation (YAF) also has a list of GOOD, Top Ten Conservative Colleges. It is linked here, for your review.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Iwao Takamoto is not a name you would likely know, unless you read the credits on kids cartoons and animated movies. Yet, his work is known around the globe. I have marveled at Takamoto's talent for more than three decades, learning of his gift to animation when I was a young boy. Although I never took the time to research the man, his work or his personality, I have always admired him. Iwao Takamoto passed away, at age 81, yesterday.
So, who is Iwao Takamoto and why should we care? Well, he was the creator of Scooby Doo (my son's favorite cartoon). Takamoto also worked with Hanna-Barbera Productions as production designer on dozens of cartoon series. He also worked at Disney, as an animator, on 101 Dalmations, Cinderella, Lady & the Tramp, Peter Pan and Sleeping Beauty.
Two of my other childhood favorites that Takamoto had a huge part in developing are Hong Kong Phooey and Johnny Quest. He was also responsible to designing the characters of Penelope Pitstop and the Jetsons' dog, Astro. Not that all of Takamoto's accomplishments can be listed here... but there is one more that we need to be reminded of -- Charlotte's Web (1973). Takamoto was the director for the animated movie that told the story of Wilbur, the terrific pig. Iwao Takamoto was quite terrific himself.
THANK YOU for our contributions to childhood entertainment and imagination Mr. Takamoto. You will long be missed and remembered.
Monday, January 08, 2007
A coalition of 23 citizen groups recently called on Congress to end the practice of allowing convicted lawmakers to draw taxpayer-funded retirement benefits. The National Taxpayers Union says over the past 25 years, at least 20 lawmakers found guilty of felonies have received congressional retirement payments. Among that group is disgraced California Republican Randy "Duke" Cunningham, who will receive $64,000 annually while serving eight years in a federal prison. Also included is former Ohio Democratic Congressman James Traficant, who was convicted of bribery and, like Cunningham, was sentenced to eight years in federal prison -- and who is receiving a $40,000 yearly pension.
Brian Darling, director of government relations at the Washington, DC-based Heritage Foundation, says rewarding convicted felons who have abused their office is unfair to taxpayers. "I do think they probably deserve some monies," says Darling, "and they do deserve something -- they paid into Social Security, so they shouldn't lose benefits that are rightly owed to them." But apparently that is where he would draw the line. "[A] very beneficial and special pension system that only the elite members of Congress get may not be the appropriate way to give congressmen a 'golden parachute' out of Congress." The practice, says the Heritage Foundation spokesman, needs to change.
"It would make a lot of sense for Congress to take a second look at this issue," he suggests. "And maybe [for] the American public to make a few calls to their members of Congress to talk to them about it." That way, explains Darling, taxpayers would become more informed about the type of pension system their members of Congress are getting through their tax dollars. "These people who are calling in are paying these pensions, so they should know where the money is going and if there can be anything done to make sure that convicted felons aren't receiving pensions," he states.
Another member of the group of "elite" former lawmakers benefiting under the current system is Illinois Democrat Dan Rostenkowski, who served prison time for mail fraud. The former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee receives an annual pension of nearly $125,000. Currently the only way members of Congress can lose their pension is if they are convicted of treason.
Sunday, January 07, 2007
January 16 is Religious Freedom Day, and President Bush's special proclamation will ask schools to commemorate the day. While many public schools are denying students' rights to freely express their faith, the U.S. Department of Education has issued guidelines that clearly list and explain those rights. For example, students have the legal right to express their faith in their assignments; they can witness to their classmates; they can read their Bibles at school; and they can pray. But many teachers have never seen these guidelines and believe they cannot allow these or any other religious expressions in their classrooms.
It's fitting that Religious Freedom Day comes on January 16, the day after we commemorate Martin Luther King's birthday. After all, King's religious faith was the foundation of his fight for civil rights. And it was religious freedom in America that allowed him to express his faith against a dreadful evil and move the entire nation. While many people will commemorate Martin Luther King Day, few even know about Religious Freedom Day. That's why an organization called Gateways to Better Education is leading a national campaign to raise awareness about Religious Freedom Day. Gateways helps public schools teach Judeo-Christian history, thought, and values. It has also developed a website, ReligiousFreedomDay.com, to provide you everything you need to commemorate the day in your church, your home, and your school.
Other organizations have now joined with Gateways to bring greater awareness to Religious Freedom Day. These include the Beckett Fund, which is a great religious liberties firm defending us in our case with the IFI, the Association of American Educators, the Institute for Religion and Democracy, and the Council for America's First Freedom, headed by Ambassador Robert Seiple.
You can help promote religious freedom in our schools. Why don't you educate your children's teachers about the Department of Education's guidelines? Or ask them to spend a few minutes to talk with their students about their religious freedom, or to discuss with them the president's proclamation? And in your church next Sunday, why not distribute information on students' religious liberties to the Sunday school classes and youth groups?
The law is on our side. Gateways to Better Education has prepared fact sheets that are available by calling us here at BreakPoint (1-877-3CALLBP) or by visiting our website. This year, you can help public schools promote civil liberties and stop discrimination against children of faith by commemorating Religious Freedom Day. Let your voice be heard. Let freedom ring!
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Mega Youth Conference Kicks Off with 23,000
Passion 07 opened at Atlanta’s Phillips Arena and the Georgia World Congress Centre in downtown Atlanta, 1 January, with over 23,000 in attendance and students representing 49 states, 32 countries and 1,165 campuses. Passion 07 is a gathering for college students from around the nation and world 1 - 4 January 2007, and is the third consecutive conference, following Passion 05 and Passion 06, which were held in Nashville, TN.
“Part of the equation here at Passion 07 is to move to the place in our journey where we are living a life that is pleasing to the Lord,” said Louie Giglio, Passion Conference founder/director. “The Kingdom of God is ever growing and we are here to celebrate that Kingdom. God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us to the Kingdom of his Son. This story is our story of rescue by Jesus. It’s all about Jesus, the rescuing one. He’s the one we’re celebrating.”
More than being led by speakers and artist-worshipers throughout Passion 07, students will have the opportunity to impact lives worldwide through Passion 07’s Do Something Now campaign. “Individually, we can make a difference in the world, but collectively we are a mighty force,” says Giglio. “Moving together, small sacrifices from each of us can make a huge difference in the lives of people around the globe.”
With the goal of raising over $500,000 (£250,000) in global aid, Passion 07’s "Do Something Now" campaign challenges students initially to participate by bringing a towel and a pair of socks as they arrive at registration, thus providing 20,000-plus items for the homeless through Touch Atlanta.
Leading the worship, teaching and prayer gathering are renowned speakers Louie Giglio, John Piper, Beth Moore and Francis Chan among others, as well as such acclaimed artist-worshipers as Chris Tomlin, David Crowder Band, Charlie Hall, Matt Redman and more. Main Passion 07 gatherings will be held in two locations, the Phillips Arena-Atlanta and the Georgia World Congress Centre, both in the heart of downtown Atlanta. The two venues will be joined via satellite and live elements will take place in each main arena creating one massive worship gathering. In addition, students will connect through the smaller community groups that make up the fabric of the conference.
Similar to last January’s Passion 06 in Nashville, Passion 07 announced that it will provide smaller sessions through Community Groups, Family Groups and Late Nights. The Community and Family groups will allow students to unpack what they learn throughout the week in small group environments and the Late Nights give students a chance to “hang out” after the evening session ends each night.
According to the ministry, the heartbeat of Passion is the glory of God through a generation of college students living radically for His name so that campuses awaken to His fame.
Monday, January 01, 2007
4713BC - Julian Year 1 begins, at Greenwich mean noon
0404 - Last gladiator competition in Rome conducted
1700 - Protestant West-Europe (except England) began using Gregorian calendar
1802 - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter written to the Danbury Baptist Association, coined the metaphor, "a wall of separation between Church and State."
1808 - Congress prohibited importation of slaves
1818 - Official reopening of the White House (after Civil War)
1863 - Emancipation Proclamation (ending slavery) issued by Lincoln
1886 - First "Tournament of Roses" held in Pasadena, CA
1908 - First time the ball signifying a new year was dropped at Times Square (NYC)
1928 - First US air-conditioned office building opened in San Antonio, TX
1934 - International Telecommunication Union (ITU) established
1946 - ENIAC, US first computer finished by Mauchly & Eckert
1959 - Fidel Castro lead Cuba to victory as Fulgencio Batista fled to Dominican Republic
1960 - US census reported population at 179,245,000 people
1966 - All US cigarette packs must carry "Caution Cigarette smoking may be hazardous to your health"
1975 - Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell & Mardian convicted of Watergate crime
1985 - Cable music channel VH-1 made its broadcasting debut
1991 - Iraq rejected peace proposal from Egyptian President, Hosi Mubarak
1998 - US Census Bureau estimated population at 268,921,733 people