Politics and U.S. Current Events
Posted 10/31/14 at 8:20 AM | Karen Farris
Nadine loves horror flicks and just so she doesn’t have to wait for Halloween, she bought her favorites to watch when she’s in the mood—Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream, or how about this one: House of 1000 Corpses.
To me, being scared senseless isn’t fun, but Nadine shrugs it all off and smiles afterwards. She jokes that if she can face these fears she can face anything.
We were chatting recently and I asked if ISIS scared her. She shrugged. I suppose she’s seen worse on the big screen.
I asked her what she thought about North Korea’s new miniaturized nuclear warhead, enabling their crazy dictator to make good on his threat to turn Seoul and Washington into “seas of fire”. Nadine shrugged again.
Okay. How about terrorist lone wolf attacks here in America? Ebola? Nadine snorted in response. I could tell she wasn’t fazed.
I wondered how she managed to shelve her fears? Today’s news isn’t Hollywood horror; it’s real. Christians in Iraq and Syria know this. So do the kidnapped girls in Nigeria. Torture and torment in so many places. Pure evil. Hell on earth. Nadine nodded sympathetically. She hates evil and its awful abuse. FULL POST
Posted 10/30/14 at 11:09 PM | Mark Ellis
By Mark Ellis
People worldwide were shocked and horrified last August when journalist James Foley was beheaded by a British-accented ISIS executioner as Foley kneeled resolutely against a barren backdrop of Syrian hills. What is less known is that Foley – along with many other Western hostages – converted to Islam during their captivity, which apparently meant little to their merciless captors.
The behind-the-scenes story of his ordeal was documented by The New York Times through interviews with five former hostages, local witnesses, relatives and associates of the captives, and a group of advisers who made trips to the Middle East to attempt to free them.
Some details were provided to The Times by a former member of ISIS who was originally housed in the prison where Foley was kept, and who provided additional details about his confinement.
At least 23 foreign hostages from 12 countries have been kidnapped by Syrian insurgents, sold or handed over to ISIS, and held underground in a prison somewhere in proximity to the Syrian city of Raqqa. FULL POST
Posted 10/29/14 at 2:26 PM | Kyle Beshears
Recently, the LDS Church published an essay on the Church's polygamous history. The very admission of this is extremely admirable. Up until the past few days, the Church has held to a sort of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy with regard to its polygamous past. However, all that changed last week with the release of the essay.
I was excited to read the essay when I first caught wind of its release. Yet, when I opened it to read, I initially had difficulty getting past the first two lines. Both sentences demonstrated a repeated pattern of the LDS Church presenting a delusive account of Mormon history to the public.
Of course, such an accusation is serious; however, I truly believe it is warranted. The first sentences of an essay set the tone for the entire piece. In this instance, the first two sentences feel intentionally designed to give a misleading impression of both Mormon history and biblical truth. FULL POST
Posted 10/29/14 at 1:20 PM | Bill Blacquiere
Kris Faasse is Vice President of Clinical Services for Bethany Christian Services, a prominent leader in social services around the globe.
Theories abound—America’s teen birth rate has been in significant decline for the past five years. According to the research firm Demographic Intelligence, the number of babies born to teen moms each year dropped by 38.4 percent between 2007 and 2013. And no one knows for sure why. Experts point to everything from greater access to effective contraception, to increased efforts in sex education, to popular television programs such as MTV’s 16 and Pregnant. One theory even suggests that lower levels of lead have contributed to the decline.
Regardless of the reasons, I am encouraged by the fact that fewer teenagers are becoming parents. A pregnant 15-year-old faces the same decisions any other woman faces with an unplanned pregnancy, but without the same level of emotional development. Anecdotally and from research, we know that teens are less likely to choose adoption when faced with an unplanned pregnancy than older women, who are often also parenting other children. The statistics are sobering—teens who parent are less likely to complete their high school education, more likely to have difficulty finding employment, and more likely to live in poverty. They can successfully parent but face significant challenges. A teen who does not have the responsibility of caring for a child is statistically more likely to achieve their goals. FULL POST
Posted 10/29/14 at 7:45 AM | Ann Frailey
In a continuation of my post on Monday, Isms, Addictions and Culture, I am reflecting on the dangers facing our culture today. Last time I considered the concept of Humanism. Today I am considering the dangers of Secularism…
Secularism tries to separate government operations from religious influences. While this makes a great deal of sense to some degree, there are aspects of government which must be considered in light of morality and morality is very often informed by religious doctrine and personal faith convictions. There is no way to completely separate the two anymore than we can separate our hearts from our brains. In our society today, we are bending toward government rights without the involvement of religious convictions. Notice how many time citizens have voted for a particular state policy and then been over ruled by local, state, or national judges. If people are not allowed to inform the nation through their religious convictions then we slide right into humanism. Once people accept that we do not have the right to shape our laws by our religious convictions, we are no longer a free country. There has been no active overthrow of our rights as citizens, we have simply allowed them to be taken out of our hands. We may feel badly about this, but we fear the consequences of confrontation, so we acquiesce. We insist that we have religious convictions, but we can’t help living in a society which no longer reflects them. FULL POST
Posted 10/28/14 at 11:16 PM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books
If you have friends or internet access, you probably heard about the iPhone 6’s release on September 19. Reviews of the phone are very good for the most part, and sales of Apple’s newest product broke sell-through records. In spite of releasing such a great product, I think that Apple has already reached its climax.
Now, I don’t think this will happen all at once. It will be more of an IBM type decline, where a once great and innovating company slowly fades into the background. It will be years before any noticeable change is felt, at least in terms of physical sales. But Apple just isn’t what it used to be.
Remember when the first iPhone launched? And how everyone believed that it would change the phone industry? Same thing with the iPod and the iPad. These products rocked the market, introducing terms like “MP3 player” and “tablet” into the common vernacular. They changed everything. But it’s been years since the iPad came out, and Apple hasn’t released anything as groundbreaking since then. FULL POST
Posted 10/28/14 at 10:48 AM | Damon Rambo
Every time an election cycle rolls around, I brace myself for the inevitable flood of frantic emails, snail-mail, twitter posts, and Facebook rants, regarding the necessity of electing “our side” to office. From the “Keep Texas Red” campaign, to “Turning Texas Blue,” politics in Texas, and indeed America, has become a strictly right or left affair, whose focus is more about flying one’s “team colors” from the state houses, than instituting a just government. They think, “The issues don’t matter; if I can just get ‘my people’ into office, instead of ‘their people’, then we can have things ‘our way’ instead of ‘their way.’”
There are many problems with this sentiment, not least of which is the fact that it has been proven fallacious time and time again. For all the criticism of Obama flying around the internet and Fox News, and regardless of what you think of the man, most of what he has done has simply been a continuation of the same old Bush era policies. Likewise, in the state of Texas, we have a Republican majority in the Senate, which largely votes in accord with the Democratic party platform, as shown HERE. Many have pointed out that, despite the rhetoric, both sides govern in largely similar manners when it comes to the most important issues. Even with so-called ‘social’ issues, such as abortion and ‘gay’ marriage, Republicans give little more than a nod to their constituents, passing half-hearted laws, which are easily overturned by our power grabbing court system. FULL POST
Posted 10/27/14 at 11:34 AM | Alliance Defending Freedom
You may have heard the news about a ninety-five year old little wedding chapel called The Hitching Post in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Owned and operated for twenty-five years by two ordained Christian ministers in their 60′s, Don and Lynn Knapp, the Hitching Post is a place where “marriage begins”. Within days of same-sex marriage coming to Idaho, Coeur D’Alene became “Ground Zero” in the struggle to preserve religious freedom in America.
After being told repeatedly by the city that they would be compelled to marry same-sex couples or face criminal prosecution, the pastors filed suit after declining a request to perform a same-sex marriage. Somewhere along the way, the simple request from two pastors that the government respect their religious freedom, led to a mountain of misinformation trafficked by opponents of liberty, distorting the key issues of what is really an open-and-shut free speech case. FULL POST
Posted 10/27/14 at 8:53 AM | Karen Farris
Another community has been devastated by one gun in the hands of someone who used temporary anguish to create permanent loss. No one knows what led a young teen boy to methodically shoot his cousins and friends in front of his peers at his school. He used a gun that was not his.
Within hours, the first blog appeared by proponents of Washington State’s gun control initiative (I-594). They were using this horrible scene as one more grievous example of what will continue to happen unless we regulate the use of guns. How incredibly audacious of them to begin the immediate clamor for passage of a law that even Washington’s law enforcement community is against. If the law passes, police won’t be able to enforce it, nor do they believe it will reduce criminal behavior.
But this isn’t really a gun problem; it’s an evil problem. How can we expect a good outcome when our kids are continually fed an evil diet? Today’s kids grow up with violence packaged as entertainment. It anesthetizes them to the brutality and the reality of evil. FULL POST
Posted 10/25/14 at 3:19 PM | Larry Dozier
Written by Eric Buehrer, President of Gatways to Better Education (www.gtbe.org)
The Thanksgiving holiday provides a natural place in the curriculum to teach about gratefulness. There is no need, however, to wait until the week before the holiday to teach about the subject of gratitude. Instead, the holiday can become the culminating experience after numerous lessons on gratitude during the entire month of November.
Thanksgiving Day is inherently religious, and this, of course, makes it a ticklish subject for public schools. Some educators have responded by remaking the holiday into a lesson about Native American peoples.
However, while schools cannot endorse a particular religious belief, educators need not shy away from teaching about Thanksgiving Day. The President every year encourages all citizens (including children) to thank God for their blessings. Educators can inform students of the President's proclamation and discuss how they and their families might respond. (To find the proclamations from previous years, visit www.whitehouse.gov and do a search on the word "thanksgiving".)
The Supreme Court in Lynch v. Donnelly remarked, "Our history is replete with official references to the value and invocation of Divine guidance in deliberations and pronouncements of the Founding Fathers and contemporary leaders. President Washington and his successors proclaimed Thanksgiving, with all its religious overtones, a day of national celebration, and Congress made it a national holiday more than a century ago. That has not lost its theme of expressing thanks for Divine aid any more than Christmas has lost its religious significance." FULL POST