Tuesday, December 15, 2009

New Family-Friendly Christmas Movie Classics

When we think of Movie Classics, we think early Hollywood. But there are several newer family-friendly movies that should become Christmas Classics.

Most Biblical New Family-Friendly Christmas Movie Classic:
The Nativity Story
, 2006. The Nativity Story has no big stars, which makes it easier to imagine them as the characters they play. Keisha Castle-Hughes and Oscar Isaac are Mary and Joseph.

Value: For those who believe the Bible for its spiritual content about the birth of Jesus and/or at least its historical value, this gives a realistic portrayal of the ancient Hebrew culture. It is gritty and yet beautiful; the travel scenes are dirty and unglamorous.

The movie explores the dilemma between Joseph and Mary when they discover she is pregnant, since unwed pregnant women could be stoned to death or exiled in those days. The revelation that she is actually carrying God’s child, the Light of the World, spurs them on. The rest of the movie centers on their hard road to Bethlehem for the census, with a fresh look at how Joseph and Mary’s love might have grown during the grueling trip. Age Group: All.

A Family-Friendly Christmas Movie Re-Make that Should be Released Now:
Miracle on 34th Street, the 1994 re-make. This re-make of the 1947 original classic should have been made for 2009. In 1994, it was still appropriate in the Hollywood mainstream to explore the possibility that God does exist and is worth talking about. Elizabeth Perkins plays a store P.R. person looking for an appropriate Santa; Dylan McDermott the neighbor who loves her, and Richard Attenborough the “real” Santa and matchmaker.

Value: The courtroom scene commentary about “In God We Trust” on the dollar bill is still in the movie, just like in the original… if we can’t prove Santa isn’t real, then we can’t prove God isn’t real either. The movie illustrates that, like Santa, God can be a great source of hope in our world and shouldn’t be discounted. Age Group: All.

A TV Family-Friendly Christmas Movie that should have played the Big Screen:
The Christmas Shoes, 2002. Rob Lowe and Kimberly Williams-Paisley portray the characters from the popular song about a little boy who wants to buy red shoes as a Christmas gift for his dying mother.

Value: Lowe is a work-consumed man whose heart turns tender toward the real meaning of life, and he gives the boy the money. Get your Kleenex. Age Group: All.

(DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION - cmp.ly/0 - This writer has not received any compensation for writing this content and has no material connection to the brands, topics and/or products that are mentioned herein.)
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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Political Correctness is Blurring our Vision toward Terrorism

Political correctness has people afraid to come forward with suspicions of possible terrorist attacks. The whistleblower may be accused of "profiling" while the possible perpetrator freely continues his/their plotting. Cases in point:
-The Fort Hood attack.
-The United Nation's attempt to accept an edict from the Islamic Conference against what they call "Islamophobia."
By labeling Islamophobia, the Islamic Conference may forbid people to speak out against extreme Islamic terrorism as a form of religious intolerance. The Conference implies that Westerners "hate and fear" all Muslims, which of course isn't true. No specific mention is made to prevent hatred toward Christianity, Judaism or other religions.

Interested in reading more about extreme political correctness? Come see my articles on these topics:
"Islamophobia and its effect on other faiths" at The Underground Online Magazine.
"Pearl Harbor and today's terrorism - examining the parallels" at Examiner.

WAIT! Before you leave this site, please have a look at my book:
"What Every Christian Should Know about the Jewish People"
(see the red book cover in right-hand column here). With today's rise in anti-Semitism and anti-Christianity, here is an attempt to improve the relationship between people of Jewish and Christian faith.

Speaking out against extreme Islamic terrorism does not mean one hates or fears all Muslims. Neither should it be said that Christians hate Jewish people, but it often is. Why? Read how Israel has a right to exist and why Christians must attempt to improve the way they are perceived by Jewish people in today's world. Click on the book cover and learn how to order.
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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christian Leaders take "Manhattan Declaration" Stand on Issues

Evangelical Christian, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox leaders have taken a stand for Christian values by signing the “Manhattan Declaration.” On November 20, 2009, approximately 150 leaders signed the document as an example to their denominations and others to keep defending three main biblical principles: the sanctity of human life; traditional marriage by the Bible’s definition of one man and one woman; and freedom of religious expression.

Subtitled “A Call of Christian Conscience,” the Manhattan Declaration addresses the assault in today’s society and the current American government against the above three values. The text states:
“…we are compelled today to speak out forcefully in their [the three values’] defense, and to commit ourselves to honoring them fully no matter what pressures are brought upon us and our institutions to abandon or compromise them.”

The group is not politically affiliated. The Declaration states the signers’ unconditional commitment is to Christ only, and recommends acts of civil disobedience when absolutely necessary (see the Summary of the Manhattan Declaration in the paragraph “Unjust Laws”).

The Manhattan Declaration clarifies that its followers will not comply with any edict that enables mistreatment of human life from the unborn to the elderly, including abortion, euthanasia or destruction of human embryos for research; will not bless immoral sexual partnerships, and will not be silenced on the grounds of religious objection.

The Summary ends with this succinct statement: “We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s.”

This echoes the Hebrew leader Joshua’s call to faith: "Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness... But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve...as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD" (Joshua 24:14-16, NIV, excerpts).

When the apostle Peter was given strict orders by the governing body, the Sanhedrin, to stop preaching in the name of Christ, he declared that followers of Christ must obey God, not men (Acts 5).

Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. also advocated civil (peaceful) disobedience for the Civil Rights movement and accomplished much in this manner. He believed all men were created equal, both in the Declaration of Independence and in the Gospel (Galatians 3:28-29). If all men are created equal, then Christians have the right to voice their opinion as much as anyone else.

Whom will we obey as Christians? Will we silently go along with the crowd so as not to make waves, or will we stand by the signers of the Manhattan Declaration to come out and be separate as Jesus commanded?

This article was originally published at The Underground Online Magazine with same date.
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Friday, November 20, 2009

Does the Bible Put Women Down?

Our politically correct and feminist friends may ask the question, “Does the Bible put women down?” The Bible, Jesus’ words and His actions give a loud, resounding “No.”

When the “Feminist Movement” gained strength in the 1960’s, it was a fight for equal jobs, equal pay and respect for women. Absentee husbands and dads were called to task for their commitments. The second stage was women engaging in bra-burning and buying the message that casual sex would break our invisible chains. Helen Reddy’s 1972 song “I Am Woman” became the iconic feminist theme.

Next, the Feminist Movement began viewing men as unnecessary extras to their lives and to child-rearing. And the Bible was suddenly regarded as a tool for men to keep women “barefoot, pregnant and chained to the kitchen sink.” Some became convinced that the Bible even gave men a license to abuse women.

How did God’s word become embroiled in the battle? As biblical principles in schools, government and faith at home began to sink below the American horizon, the bad rap on the Bible expanded. Fewer people were reading its pages, and simply believed what they heard when verses were twisted or eliminated for the Movement’s purpose.

The Bible doesn’t belittle women or make them second-class citizens. Jesus told Martha to get out of the kitchen and come learn the Scriptures like her sister Mary (Luke 10:38-43). We could even say he followed a woman’s orders by making wine for a wedding at his mother’s request, although He didn’t think it was time for His miracles yet (John 2:1-10). Wow. Sounds like today’s kind of guy.

When He came out of the tomb alive, Jesus thought enough about women to reveal Himself to them first, before any of the male disciples (Mark 16:1-7, Luke 24:1-9). As people became Christ followers, women like Priscilla were highly regarded as leaders of the faith in spreading the Gospel (Acts 18). When no man among the disciples believed Peter was free from jail, God used a woman, Rhoda, to convince them he was really knocking at their door (Acts 12).

Jesus began instructing men to stop treating women like possessions. In Matthew 5:27-31 and Mark 10:2-12, He tells men to stop committing adultery and discarding women in divorce. Isn’t this exactly one of the things the feminists originally wanted…for men to be faithful and respectful?

By saying “Anyone who has not sinned cast the first stone” (John 8:6-8) Jesus rebuked the double standard of a woman being accused alone for adultery when a man was also involved. Plus, He gave her a clean slate and took her into His group of followers.

Jesus addressed women in public, looking them in the eye, which was not the male standard at that time. The woman at the well was the first person He spoke with in Samaria (John 4 starting with verse 4). He used a widow’s contribution of her last coins to illustrate sacrificial giving instead of giving out of plenty (Mark 12:41-44); and chose a woman for his story comparing the wisdom of finding one lost coin to angels singing over one saved soul (Luke 15:7-9).

There are outstanding women in the Old Testament, too. Deborah, the Judge, and Esther, a Queen, were chosen to save the entire Israelite population from their enemies. Rahab, a prostitute, sheltered Hebrew scouts instead of notifying authorities of their whereabouts. The Proverbs 31 woman worked outside the home and dealt with merchants on her own, without her husband. Ruth started the bloodline of Jesus. Whole Bible books are named for Ruth and Esther.

These exemplary women are often overlooked because of New Testament verses that are often take out of context. At the top of the list is Ephesians 5:22-24 beginning with: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord” (NIV). Granted, there are unfortunately some men in churches who abuse this idea of “submission” to keep women suppressed, even to verbally and physically abuse them.

The seldom-read next few verses, Ephesians 5:25-26, prove these men are violating Scripture. The apostle Paul continued Jesus’ respect for women by telling men to love their wives as they would love their own bodies and the church. What man will beat himself black and blue, or put himself in the hospital with broken bones?

Although men are generally assigned to be heads and leaders of the church, their scriptural role is to be a servant to the people, not a deliberate dictator. Paul states in Galatians 3:28-29, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

Scriptures are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by the International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

This article was originally published at The Underground Online Magazine.
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thanksgiving - Who are you Thanking?

Some people say God was not acknowledged at the first Thanksgiving, or by early presidents, and shouldn't be part of Thanksgiving now.

In 2005, the Maryland Board of Education began teaching their students that the Pilgrims landed on the American continent by luck. In the re-designed public school curriculum, in effect calling Thanksgiving “Lucky Thursday” per some sources, students are not taught that God had any part in the thank you for what the Pilgrims had. The Board of Education felt they were facing a constitutional dilemma.

To the contrary, we have discovered documented prayer by Edward Winslow at the first recorded Thanksgiving in 1621 (bolding mine, writing in original English):
“…many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoyt, with some ninetie men, whom for three dayes we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five Deere, which they brought to the Plantation and bestowed on our Governour, and upon the Captaine and others. And although it be not always so plentifull, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so farre from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plentie."

And here is George Washington’s first Thanksgiving Proclamation:
"It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor."
Washington mentions God two or three more times in that document, which can be seen here in its original form.

God didn’t declare Thanksgiving a holiday, and the Bible makes no mention of it (nor of Christmas). And Thanksgiving wasn’t declared a National Holiday until under President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939.

But is it still OK to thank God? Philippians 4:6-7 says: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (NIV)

Heaven forbid, one day in our American households on Thanksgiving, a knock will come at the door and a U.S. Government official will demand a place at the table to be sure we don’t thank God for what we have.
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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Republicans Win Governor Seats - Does God care about party lines?

Democrats suffered two surprising defeats in the November 2009 gubernatorial races. Republicans won the Governor's seat in both New Jersey and Virginia.

In spite of much campaigning by President Obama, New Jersey’s incumbent Democratic Governor Jon Corzine was defeated by the GOP candidate, Chris Christie. Cristie, a former attorney general with a reputation for busting corruption, is the first Republican in twelve years to win a state office in New Jersey.

Corzine, a one-term governor, ceded the election when Cristie was winning 49 to 45 percent.

In Virginia, Republican Bob McDonnell defeated Democrat Creigh Deeds by 20 points. President Obama had also campaigned for Deeds; making President Obama 0 for 3 in his ability to influence vote outcomes recently, if we include his campaigning for the failed Chicago Olympics bid.

Although we could hope that Christian Americans were waking up to trusting their faith rather than their economy, these two Democratic defeats were probably more a sign of citizens’ dissatisfaction with failing economy and the threat of more taxes. Corzine had apparently been pushing for large tax hikes.

In New York, Democrat Bill Owens defeated the Conservative Party’s hope, Doug Hoffman by just 3 percent; this could be because the people who have “always voted Republican” went with the party’s decision to support Democrat Owens when the very liberal Republican Scozzafava dropped out.

In Maine, the gay marriage amendment did not pass – not by the voters, that is. According to what has happened in other states, gay marriage advocates will probably take this to the Maine Supreme Court and try to get the vote overturned as a violation of the Constitution.

After all this analysis, did the voters really decide who and what won? Or is God giving us another chance to turn things around. It isn’t Democrats and Republicans that matter—there are Christians in both camps. What matters is whom God feels are the appropriate officers for the appropriate times, according to what He sees his people indulging themselves in.

“For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God” (Romans 13:1 NASB).

The original version of this article, with more information, is posted here at The Underground Online Magazine.
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Huckabee is 2012 GOP frontrunner in new Rasmussen poll

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is on Republican voters’ wish list for the 2012 election, according to an October 19 Rasmussen poll. The 2008 presidential candidate carried 44 percent of the telephone survey respondents with Mitt Romney at 39 percent. The problem is…where were these voters in 2008? Why was the prospect so gloomy that these men had to leave the race early?

How did Mike Huckabee—an avid, kind, fun-loving and sincere Christian—lose the 2008 primaries so quickly when many now see him as a viable 2012 contender? The problem comes when Christians trust their pocketbooks more than God.

In this reporter’s church experience over 22 years, the split between Democrats and Republicans in various church denominations is nearly 50/50. They continue to vote a certain way simply because “they always have” or “their families always have.” Should this determine who the next leader of the Free World is?

In 2008, the most common excuse from Christians for not choosing Huckabee was “I heard he wasn’t good for taxes in Arkansas.” And from churchgoing Obama voters it was, “Well, he’ll be good for the economy. I know he’s basically pro-choice, but maybe he’ll do the right thing for pro-life once he’s there.”

President Obama’s intents toward “pro-life” are now quite clear. Among his appointees to high government posts are:
-Kathleen Sebelius, Director of Health and Human Services. As Governor of Kansas, Sebelius vetoed pro-life bills from 2003-2007 including a bill to strengthen the ban on late-term abortion.
-Dawn Johnsen, Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel (Dept. of Justice), was former legal counsel for NARAL (now "Pro-Choice America").
-Ellen Moran, White House Communications Director, is a former executive director of Emily's List, an organization that funds and supports the election of only pro-choice Democratic women.
-David Hamilton, President Obama’s first federal pick for a judge (Seventh Circuit Court), whose record demonstrates a strictly anti-Bible, pro-choice stance.

The Oct. 21 Rasmussen Presidential Tracking Poll surveying various voters (not just Republicans) shows President Obama’s disapproval rating at forty percent to only 27 percent approval. This may be due to the dismal results of our desire for “Change” and the continuing economic downturn.

The bulk of companies that have closed and laid off American employees did so after the election, not under President Bush. This shows such a lack of confidence in the new President that these companies couldn’t even stay open for 3-6 months after the election to see what would happen. So much for voting our trust in the economy.

Jesus says in Matthew 6:19-20, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…” (6:19-20) and follows it closely with Matthew 6:33: “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and then all these things will be added [or given] to you.” When will Christians start voting for God instead of money?

Mike Huckabee has gained popularity this year with his new Fox-TV show “Huckabee.” His guests include well-known political personalities, and the few outspoken Hollywood conservatives like Chuck Norris and Jon Voigt who aren’t afraid to bring well-founded facts to the table about the new administration’s direction. Maybe this will help him in 2012.

As for all those undecided voters making up the huge disparity in Obama’s Rasmussen Poll popularity (33% undecided), they need to start growing some conviction and know their voting reasons instead of mindlessly following a crowd at the last minute.

This article was originally published at the Underground Online Magazine. Check out the Underground for your alternative e-news.
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Friday, October 16, 2009

Pornography isn't Victimless - Join the WRAP Campaign

The porn industry would have us believe that pornography is harmless and victimless – they even go so far as to say pornography “empowers” women. In a July 2009 CNBC special on porn, "Business of Pleasure," one female porn star says “I just treat it like any job.”

If porn takes no victims, we wouldn’t need “Victims of Pornography Month” in May each year, or “White Ribbons Against Pornography Week (WRAP)” – coming up Sunday, October 25 - Sunday, November 1, 2009. WRAP is sponsored by Morality in Media.

For decades, numerous reports have offered real statistics about porn’s victims:
-Ruined marriages from addiction to print porn and Internet porn;
-Abuse and violence after viewing porn videos;
-Addiction to porn in magazines leading to visiting strip clubs and extramarital affairs;
-Adult pornography leading to sexual exploitation of children and sex trafficking;
-Teens and children becoming addicted to porn found in parents’ and friends’ computers or magazines (roughly 93% of boys and 61% of girls have seen online porn);
-Clergy and youth leaders unable to resist the temptation of porn films in hotel rooms;
-Soft porn working its way toward hard porn in major movies and TV shows.
(Visit the Morality in Media website link above for evidence of these statements. Click on “Effects of Pornography” in the column at right side.)

Tweens and teens no longer see the harm in porn because “everyone’s posting nude pictures” on cell phones. Michael Leahy, author of Porn Nation – Conquering America’s #1 Addiction and a one-time porn addict, calls pornography the “crack cocaine of sexual addiction.”

“Porn is protected by free speech” – myth becomes truth
The Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment doesn't protect obscenity. But today’s “politically correct” philosophy says there are no absolute truths, nothing is right or wrong or good or bad, so "what is obscene" has become relative. Laws are thrown out in favor of doing what feels good and allowing others to do so because we mustn’t be judgmental.

Enforcement of U.S. Federal Obscenity Laws has long been declining in the name of free speech. Despite recent Harris Polls showing 75-77% of American adults would support efforts to enforce federal obscenity laws it still isn’t happening.

How can you help?
-Read some porn victim stories at the Victims of Pornography website.
-Participate in the WRAP campaign as an individual or with a church group (see details at the Morality in Media website's first right-bar link - “Wrap Campaign”).
-PRAY for victims of pornography and their families.
-PRAY for a miraculous downfall to the $100 billion porn industry.
-RESIST temptation and help your family to resist. Study Matthew 6:13, 26:41; Luke 22:46, 1 Corinthians 10:13, James 1:2-3.

The original version of this post appeared here at The Underground Online Magazine. Come check out The Underground.

(This writer is not receiving any remuneration or compensation from organizations mentioned in this article.)
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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Abortion Amendments Won't Appear in Health Care Bill

This report has been combined with excerpts from “Abortion Amendments Voted Down” by writer Adam Fowler, used by permission.

Pro-life advocates have faced two defeats in Congress concerning taxpayer dollars going for abortion. Amendments to abortion wording in the new health care bill were voted down in the week of October 5, and the Baucus Bill passed muster this week.

Current law prohibits federal funds from being used for abortions except for rape, incest or the life of the mother. But the Baucus Bill will ensure that federal funds can be used to cover abortion by creating a different method of accounting. The method will permit taxpayer subsidies to go to private health plans that include abortion by giving those health plans the capability to label "private dollars" as those spent on abortions and "public dollars" as non-abortion dollars.

The first proposed abortion amendment would have inserted stronger language making it clear that abortion would never be covered under government-subsidized plans. The second amendment gave opt-out protections to health-care providers who object to providing certain procedures like abortion because of moral issues. Both amendments were voted down 13-10.

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the Finance Committee member who proposed the funding amendment, argued that the vote against the amendment leaves a worrisome ambiguity in the law that could lead to taxpayer funding of abortion.

Broad-stroke laws often have far-reaching effects which are initially unintended—or are they? Fowler’s article concludes the Baucus Bill adds to concerns that health care reform will eventually lead to government-funded abortion, with or without a so-called “public” (meaning government) option.

According to Guttmacher Institute statistics, abortions due to rape, incest or health of the mother account for only 1.5-2% of all legal abortions. However, "health of the mother" is becoming more and more subjective. What constitutes "health" is left up to abortion providers and their patients. Former Surgeon General Everett C. Koop, along with a group called Physicians for Life, repeatedly testifies that abortion is the least safe way to save the life of a mother, and that Caesarean section delivery is always preferable.
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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Prostitution as a College Course - With Taxpayer Dollars

“The Sex Workers Art Show” is touring American colleges. Featuring self-professed prostitutes, nude dancers and pornographic film stars as "art," it's all funded with taxpayer dollars. In a National Review Online column, journalist Mona Charen states that the show has apparently appeared at the historic College of William and Mary four times already, and also toured Duke University.

William and Mary parents, alumni, students and ordinary taxpayers who found out about this were instrumental in approaching Virginia’s Congress while in session, to review the W&M school board.

This hasn’t stopped “The Sex Workers Art Show” and other erotic “educational” undertakings from entering American institutions of education. Concerned Women for America reports that Randall College—another Virginia school—recently took students to visit a brothel in Nevada and a topless show at a casino. Attendees reported that prostitution was linked to empowerment for women, with no explanation of how some women (and mere girls) are forced into prostitution and degraded by boyfriends, pimps or to support expensive drug habits.

At the Home page of “The Sex Workers Art Show,” it is apparent the program considers the oldest profession in the world to be a normal part of the service industry. After entering the site, it's obvious that the 2009 Tour page makes no bones about using the word “wh_re” to describe its performers.

Charen also cites reports about Boston University students publishing a sex-driven newspaper called Boink, and Yale students hold an event called SWAY (Sex Week at Yale) with the administration’s blessings.

The porn industry makes more money per year than all of American sports put together. From reality TV to the classroom to sex photos on their cell phones, students are bombarded with the theory that we are sexual beings who can’t have any control over our impulses. Living in a "Hooking-Up culture" (see previous post here), our kids may never know the pleasures of giving themselves to one person fully—emotionally and physically—and may be incapable of surrendering their lives to Christ as they learn that the Bible’s philosophies are outdated and insensitive to current societal needs.

Heaven forbid they should see this: “Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22, NAS).

The original version of this article is posted at The Underground Online Magazine.
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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pro-Lifer's Murder is Ignored by Mainstream Media

The murder of pro-life sign carrier Jim Pouillon in early September has still gone largely unnoticed by what we call “mainstream” media (big stations like NBC, CBS, ABC). All have been silent, in stark contrast to their immediate and nearly never-ending coverage of abortion provider George Tiller’s murder some months ago.

Dr. Tiller’s murder is no less heinous and should not be minimized. It was tragic, and the Christian pro-life community has been sincere in refuting the murderer's actions. However, Pouillon’s death is no less important.

Pouillon, a disabled activist, was involved in a peaceful pro-life protest across the street from Owosso High School in Owosso, Michigan when he was shot four times and killed this past 9/11. There is a suspect now in custody, Harlan Drake, whose license plate number was reported by several witnesses to the crime.

Outside of conservative news outlets, CNN did provide some "mainstream" coverage. However, CNN kept calling Pouillon anti-abortion rather than pro-life. In nearly every sentence where victim Pouillon’s name is mentioned, the words anti-abortion preceed or follow. Question to “pro-choicers” – if choice is a good thing, then why not say Pouillon CHOSE to be pro-life? Why must the term anti-abortion always be used to sound more hateful and intolerant?

The media’s avoidance of the latest murder was originally chalked up to this being some “random” incident. However, according to the CNN report, authorities feel the shootings were not random. Drake admitted being offended by Pouillon’s anti-abortion sign. And Drake has apparently admitted to another murder that day, the murder of business owner Michael Fuoss, to whom he had ties.

President Obama’s statement had been immediate on the day of Tiller’s murder. He waited until two days after Pouillon’s murder to speak up. However, he did state that violence over our differences is never the answer. This writer agrees.

This writer's original, extended report with more details can be found here at The Underground Online Magazine.
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What's Your Bathsheba? (Taking Temptation Seriously)

How Can We Take Temptation Seriously?
My good friend and workmate, Jim, was a handsome married Christian man. We lived near each other, often car-pooled to work, and eventually became co-leaders of a lunchtime Bible study.

One day, Jim began coming up with excuses not to attend Bible study or ride to work together. At first I thought, is it my imagination, or is he avoiding me? But my fears were confirmed when
I saw him turn corners to keep from meeting me in the hallways.

After several weeks, I confronted Jim at his desk.

“You’ve been trying hard to stay away from me. Have I done something wrong?”

Jim took a deep breath. “No, it’s what I haven’t wanted you to do,” he said. What he told me next was pretty surprising.

“I’ve been seeing someone. Someone from here in the office. She started paying a lot of attention to me and, well, I let something happen. I…I didn’t want you to know because I knew you’d try to stop me from doing it.”

“Well, you’re right there,” I said, knowing that Jim was aware of my own similar situation some years prior, which would have ruined my marriage if someone hadn’t helped me recognize the danger signs in time. Had Jim told me about his attraction to this woman, I would have done everything possible to convince him not to give in to temptation.

Jim and I prayed for him to avoid further encounters with the woman, but it was too late. He was deep into feelings which had become irresistible. Soon, he left his wife, their beautiful new house and all their future plans, and moved in with the other woman. It lasted only a few months. He ended up living in a one-bedroom apartment with his personal life in shambles.

Jim’s situation reminded me of 2 Samuel 11 and 12, the story of King David and Bathsheba. First, David sees Bathsheba, a married woman. Then, being accountable to no one, he makes the conquest. From there he wants more; it leads to many kinds of sin—even murder— and he pays for it.

How can we take temptation seriously before it’s too late? Not just sexual temptation but every sort? If sinning was hard, nobody would do it! One of my favorite Bible teachers often says we must “frisk our thoughts” – take every thought captive, like in 2 Corinthians 10:5:
"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ"
(NIV).

Jim had gotten to the point where he didn’t want to read what the Bible had to say about temptation, or to be held accountable by going to a friend. He let the first glance get past the thought and into action.

Of course, as with King David, God eventually restored Jim. But one of the best ways to avoid falling into temptation is to tell someone— a friend or counselor perhaps. Make yourself accountable. Then, stay in God’s word and pray. These things combined will take away the devil’s opportunity to step in, and can suck the temptation right out of you like a vacuum. Take it from Jim and me…it will feel much better than the possible end result of your uncaptivated thoughts.

This devotion first appeared here at The Underground Online Christian Magazine. Check out the Underground at www.theundergroundsite.com.
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Gold Jewelry Recycling – Trend, or Cash for a Good Cause?

Everyone's selling their gold jewelry to companies offering cash. It's a trend in today's economy. But would you like to get cash for your jewelry while giving to a good cause? Are you strapped for cash and frustrated that you can’t help your place of faith, or a friend in need? Have you maxed out credit cards buying everything the kids required for going back to school?

Think of that old, out-of-style and unused gold jewelry in the bottom of your jewelry box. But don’t run to the nearest pawn shop just yet. Remember, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure...or perhaps it’s his next meal.

The Women of Faith Conference Group has recently partnered with a gold jewelry exchange company called Red Swan, and is currently passing out Red Swan Starter Kits at their conferences. According to the kit’s enclosed letter from Mary A. Graham, President of Women of Faith, Inc.:

Red Swan helps women make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others through the re-purposing of unwanted jewelry.

Women of Faith is a trustworthy non-denominational Christian organization which works to empower women to be the best they can be with God’s help. A recommendation from them is a very rare and good referral for a commercial company. Here’s how it works:

Red Swan will accept and assess your gold jewelry and either send you a check, or they will send the money directly to a charity of your choice. You can track what is happening with your jewelry distribution or funds at any time.

If you are not planning to attend a Women of Faith Conference any time soon, just go to the Red Swan website or call 1-888-309-7926 to order a Starter Kit. All the directions will be given to you.

With a little foresight, you could have a better Christmas, or make it better for someone else.

This writer is not receiving remuneration or recognition of any kind from the organizations mentioned in this article. She just thought it was a good idea.
read more "Gold Jewelry Recycling – Trend, or Cash for a Good Cause?"

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Teen Girls' 4Real Weekend - Music and Fun, Sex vs. Modesty

The Revolve Tour, a relatively new offshoot of the popular Women of Faith Conferences, is presenting the "4Real for Teen Girls" Weekend. It’s a time of encouragement to refresh teen girls with a sense of self-worth and fun without giving in to sex and immodesty. By gathering teen girls together in great numbers, it will also let them know: “I’m not the only one told ‘No’ to certain things by my parents!”

And just in time. Representatives from Women of Faith announced the following statistics at a recent Conference in Tampa, Florida:

-500,000 teen girls have had plastic surgery or something like liposuction in the past year. This can include anything from chemical peels to ear reductions to breast implants. Although teen girls are not yet fully developed, they’re often unhappy with their bodies according to two standards: (1) desiring the voluptuousness of oversized breasts on actresses, porn stars and major league sports team cheerleaders, or (2) wanting to appear thinner and prettier in order to match the air-brushed photos of reef-thin supermodels.

-25% of teen girls have an eating disorder due to reasons as stated above.

-79% of teen girls have had “some form” of sex. Our culture today says that nothing is “sex” unless it is penetration of the vagina. This is untrue. Acts of sex can be petting, oral sex, mutual masturbation and any other acts of arousal that may lead to actual intercourse.

-39% of teens have sent nude or semi-nude photos over their cell phones. “Reality TV shows” has made girls feel this is a normal way to show themselves to others. It may be “the norm” in our society today, but it’s not healthy, and in the end girls can lose their self-respect and pride.

-“Hooking Up” – sometimes called “Friends with Benefits” has never been more popular from middle school through college. These are casual sexual relationships taking place amongst circles of friends with no further relational commitment. In time, young people who indulge in this practice end up heartbroken and unable to form future loving intimate relationships. See more about "Hooking Up" and other dangerous teen trends here.

-Suicide is the second highest cause of death among teens, right behind traffic accidents.

At the 4Real Teen Girls Weekend, there will be contemporary Christian music, drama, and real-life stories starring real teens with insight through faith – guys too! The Tour is hitting cities all over the country from Baltimore, MD on Sept. 25-26, to Norman, OK on Dec. 11-12 (This article will probably be published too late to register for Sept. 11-12 in Columbus, OH). See all Calendar Dates and Cities, Ticket Details, or call 1-877-9-REVOLVE .

That’s Not All! Visit the Revolve Tour Website for articles like “What’s it Like to be a Teen Girl in 2009?” And “Tweet.Tweet. Do you Twitter?” or the “Ask Chad” Q&A column, giving girls advice from a responsible guy’s perspective. And girls can also see the smokin’ hot Entertainment line-up. There’s a section for Youth Leaders and Parents, too.

Hurry – Check out 4Real for Teen Girls today!

The original version of this article was published on 9/8/09 at The Underground Online Christian Magazine (www.theundergroundsite.com).
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Monday, September 7, 2009

Learn about the Jewish Holidays starting with the Jewish New Year

How much do you know about the Jewish Holidays? Would you like to know more about this part of the Jewish faith and culture?

This month (September 2009) will actually begin the year 5770 on the Jewish calendar. The celebration of the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) starts at sundown on September 18th and runs for ten days known as "The Ten Days of Awe" until the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) at sundown on the 27th. Yom Kippur is a twenty-four hour day each year when Jewish people ask God and each other for forgiveness of any wrongdoing. They must fast and give up all work-type activities for that period.

Close on its heels will come Sukkot (The Festival of Booths) in early October. Hanukkah (The Festival of Lights) is in December. That finishes off this year's most important Jewish Holidays on the American calendar.

If you would like to know more about these Jewish Holidays, or the holidays that come in the spring like Passover and Purim, you may like Sheryl's book, "What Every Christian Should Know about the Jewish People: Improving the Church's Relationship with God's Original Chosen Nation". You can order this book by clicking on its cover in the column to the right, or read Excerpts of the Book and order it here.
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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Does Obamacare Cover Abortion? Who's Telling the Truth?

Would abortion be covered with taxpayer money by "Obamacare" - Obama’s health care plan? President Obama and liberals say no. Conservatives say yes. Who's telling the truth?

Get the whole truth here at factcheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. If we want to mince words, the plan doesn’t require public funding, but allows the public insurance option to cover all abortions with public funds.

Why do I say “all abortions” when some of the bills’ wording says only in the case of “rape, incest and health of the mother?” Because rape and incest, year after year, only account for approximately 1.5% of all abortions; and “health of the mother” is the pro-choice phrase meaning anything the pregnant woman and her doctor decide it can cover. From hangnails to the woman’s outlook on life and the inconvenience of having a child... 98.5% of all abortions.

Abortion for “health of the mother,” once a baby is in the third trimester, would require something like Partial Birth Abortion (PBA), an extremely heinous form of abortion which was banned in 2003, but pro-choice groups have had courts all over the country put a stay on that ban. With Obama’s wish to enact the Freedom of Choice Act, all types of abortion would become legal again, up until the day of delivery.

President Obama is also considering removing the freedom of conscientious objection from doctors and nurses who don’t want to be involved in performing abortions.

In 1996, several physicians representing PHACT (Physicians' Ad Hoc Coalition for Truth, a non-religious organization of over 500 doctors including former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop) wrote a Wall Street Journal article: “Partial Birth Abortion is Bad Medicine.” The paper was included in 2003 testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives. They wrote (bolding is mine):

“We are the physicians who, on a daily basis, treat pregnant women and their babies…
We can no longer remain silent while abortion activists, the media and even the President continue to repeat false medical claims…partial-birth abortion is never medically indicated to protect a woman's health or her fertility. In fact, the opposite is true: The procedure can pose a significant and immediate threat to both the pregnant woman's health and fertility.”

Koop repeatedly remarks that abortion is never necessary to save the life of the mother, and Caesarean section is always the preferable method. Feminists for Life, a feminist organization not religiously affiliated and otherwise "liberal" in many philosophies, is also against abortion and especially PBA (see their website).

The American government should not be demanding American people to pay for abortions if it is against their religious, moral, or educational convictions.

See a full examination of factual objections to legal abortion including PBA in my Associated Content series, “Abortion: Challenged to Speak Pro-Life Without the Bible” Part 1 and Part 2.
read more "Does Obamacare Cover Abortion? Who's Telling the Truth?"

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sex Education via Reality TV

Make Me a Supermodel, America’s Next Top Model, The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency, The Bachelor and Bachelorette, The Bad Girls’ Club. What do all these shows have in common? They are giving our kids Sex Education via Reality TV.

Many teen girls are obsessed with becoming models, looking like models or with being considered desirable. Our magazines, movies and TV shows have taught them to be this way. And teen boys aren't totally unaffected either.

The contestants on these types of TV shows may know what they are in for when they sign up – but what about your kids watching TV? Some of the shows may initially be on late at night, but the stations replay the programs at many different times on other days of the week to draw more viewers.

On Bravo TV’s Make Me a Supermodel, Season One, the unusually beautiful contestants (males and females between the ages of 18-24) were directed to pose in near-nude, very seductive positions on a bed; in all combinations (including a requirement of girl/girl, boy/boy for those who were heterosexual), body parts touching, kissing, petting. They were prompted to become as sexually involved as possible.

One girl, rather self-conscious, had already been criticized in a previous episode for not wearing a thong and was intimidated into doing so for this episode.

For their runway appearance, they had to wear black leather bondage and discipline outfits and had to choose whether to be a submissive or a dominator. In the end, the models that went the furthest in both tests were congratulated while the more timid received poor reviews. All in the name of “this is how you become a top model.”

The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency on Oxygen (not currently being aired after its first three seasons) also had the requirement for the models to get naked for photo tests. Dickinson sent 4 males (some gay, some straight) to a photo shoot where they had to be ninety percent nude with black leather sado-masichism paraphernalia. On another episode, she ruthlessly criticized several models who auditioned from Models For Jesus, making fun of their faith and saying their careers would be stalled by their prudishness.

On ABC’s The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, people are kissing multiple others in the same night, in hot tubs, scantily clad, and it is intimated that the finalists all have a night of sex. The shows claim they are strictly chaperoned, but teens at home may not know that. I've even heard adults question, "How they can have sex with so many people"? It's doubtful they do, but it is definitely suggested.

I can understand some photo shoots where models are artistically draped in thin materials. But there is modeling, there is art, and then there is just plain exploitation of our teens and young singles for the sake of the dollar.
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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Masturbate Every Day! British Government Tells Teens

‘Masturbate every day’ is the advice given to British teens in a new pamphlet called “Pleasure.” The pamphlet was recently distributed by a Northern England branch of British government to parents, teenagers, teachers and youth workers, without warning and without asking parental consent. The theory is that if every teenager masturbates their way to orgasm regularly, they will delay having sex with someone else.

Now, we all know that people of pretty much any age over ten usually discover masturbation at some time or another. Even the Bible doesn’t address masturbation directly. But parents weren’t warned or asked before this pamphlet went out. This shows government disrespect for parental teaching at home and for families’ religious and cultural backgrounds. ABC News and the Huffington Post report that many within that U.K. community are raising questions against this government intrusion.

Granted, many parents avoid talking about masturbation and other sex with their children. But statistics prove that the last three decades of teaching kids more about sex in schoolroom settings hasn’t kept their curiosity down. Kids have become more likely, not less, to experiment with all varieties of sex.

A 1986 poll for Planned Parenthood by Louis Harris & Associates states:
"The truth is, Planned Parenthood's sex education programs have backfired, actually increasing teen pregnancies…teens who have taken comprehensive sex education courses have a fifty percent higher rate of sexual activity than their 'unenlightened' peers."

In 1989, Adams High School in Commerce City, Colorado became the first school in the United States to distribute free condoms on campus. Within three years, the birth rate among girls at Adams increased to 31 percent above the national average.

Our sex education systems here in the U.S. and in the U.K. are, unfortunately, based on research by Alfred Kinsey, who “discovered” that children are sexually prone and even babies can have orgasms. His methods of collecting this “information” are legally and morally questionable. But he is still the sex educator’s hero.

There are many old wives’ tales that simply aren’t true about the harmful effects of masturbation, like going blind. However, according to current information on the WebMD website, constant masturbation can limit a person’s capacity to achieve satisfaction with other sexual partners. A person often learns to stimulate themselves in ways their partners cannot.

Masturbation can become an obsession, as illustrated at Medhelp.org, where questions and comments are displayed from people seeking help for depression due to obsessive masturbation.

All this evidence may justify the Bible’s many verses in both the Old and New Testament about fleeing from lustful temptations and saving oneself for marriage.

Contact this blog's writer for sources connected to this article.
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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dear Addict - Do you have an Addiction?

Do you have an addiction you are trying to break free from? The disease of addiction is far-reaching. Drugs, alcohol and many other addictions don't recognize cultural or racial lines. Addictions are monsters who don't stay confined to certain neighborhoods or to people in certain walks of life. They are very hard to break.

Come see a friend who is lifting herself out of that cycle. Associated Content writer Kimberly Gray has started a website for addicts and recovering addicts like herself at http://www.dearaddict.ca. On her blog, she lists many sources for help and tells her story. She has 20-20 insight into the characteristics of addiction and its pull to keep people in its clutches.

As a writing peer of Kimberly's, I've seen her writing come out of nearly total black darkness into a marvelous light, relying on several tools as well as depending on God through a version of the Serenity Prayer and accepting His "Amazing Grace."

But Kimberly realizes she will need to consider herself an addict for life; and there is no one better than someone who's been there to help you find the sources you need. Many avenues of help are listed at her website. Stop off at either one of the above links today, and find a friend in Kimberly Gray.


(Ms. Young is not receiving any remuneration or other considerations for recommending Ms. Gray's website.)
read more "Dear Addict - Do you have an Addiction?"

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Protesting Obamacare in Town Halls - Is it "Unamerican" to Protest?

A cry is being heard from far-left liberals and Democrats that it's "un-American" to protest President Obama's proposed health care plan in the current Town Hall settings.

That statement in itself is the most un-American statement they've uttered yet! The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Let's concentrate on that second half which I've bolded; will we soon see it change, like we've seen the non-existent phrase "separation of church and state" added to the Amendment's first half? What -- will someone soon be adding "the people do NOT have the right to assemble" and convincing us that the founding fathers left out a word?

Peaceably is the key word here. There are factions ruining it for all of us by shouting in threatening manners at the Town Hall meetings. But that still doesn't mean that we should all get accused of being sent by drug companies or paid off by the Republican party to appear at the meetings, which citizens are being invited to do.

When elected officials walk out of Town Hall meetings just because they're booed, or they cancel scheduled meetings and push them up to a time too close for people to free their schedules, as is happening in some cities, you are being denied your freedom of speech and your right to assemble with grievances.

That is the direction the country is going. Angry mobs? We ain't seen nothin' yet.
read more "Protesting Obamacare in Town Halls - Is it "Unamerican" to Protest?"

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"Fireproof" and "The Love Dare" Can Save Marriages

The Love Dare , the book inspired by the fictional journal in the movie “Fireproof,” debuted at No. 4 on the New York Times Bestseller List in October of 2008. “Fireproof” itself – a small budget film produced by a church – was the No. 3 movie in America after its opening weekend, and it only showed in approximately 900 theatres.

It proves people do want better marriages (see my other article here under 20-20 on Trends - "Is Your Marriage a Trial Marriage?).

Since the release of the movie Fireproof and The Love Dare’s 40-day journaling challenge toward a better marriage, countless stories of saved marriages have materialized. Churches and counselors all over the country are reporting that couples where at least one person wanted a divorce have seen improvements in their marriage since they took The Love Dare challenge.

If you’re a guy who thinks Fireproof is a girlie movie, think again. If you’re a woman who thinks she could never get her man to sit down and watch this or do the book challenge, just give it a try. Both the book and movie DVD are available at online outlets and in stores.

Actor Kirk Cameron (of “Growing Pains” fame) stars as a fireman whose marriage is just about on the rocks. There is plenty of macho-man fire action (running in and out of burning buildings, etc.) and even some guys’ locker room humor. At the end of his wits after huge fights with his wife (portrayed by Erin Bethea), he confides in a workmate and then in his father, who introduces him to “The Love Dare” journal.

Based on the Judeo-Christian values of the Bible and God’s desires for how to build great marriages, with a little faith and a little insight these marriage principles could be applied to marriages of all faiths...and maybe even lead to faith in God.

See my full reviews of “Fireproof” and “Fireproof Is a Movie for Tough Guys, Too” at Associated Content.
read more ""Fireproof" and "The Love Dare" Can Save Marriages"

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Is Your Marriage a "Trial Marriage"? How to Make It Last

There’s a trend toward considering your first marriage as a “trial marriage,” and you’ll do better the second time around. I even attended a wedding recently where the bride and groom vowed to love each other “for as long as possible.” About 51% of all American marriages end in divorce.

Want your first marriage to be the only one, and a lasting one? Take some advice from someone who turned an upside down marriage into 25 years of happiness:

Love God first. This is the first commandment in both the Old and New Testament: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Mark 12:30). You may be thinking, but some marriages among churchgoers end in divorce, too…so how does this work?

Going to church has nothing to do with really having faith in God. This famous commandment is just not being considered these days, because it’s not “PC” to believe in God. If more people - within and outside the church - would put God first, we'd follow more of His advice and our marriages would be healthier.

Compromise and Sacrifice. The “Me Generation” and Generations X and Y have been taught to just look out for “Number One.” In marriage, we have another person to care about. Don’t expect the other person to make you ecstatically happy every day. Try doing some of that yourself, for them. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). But remember, no human can make another person happy all the time.

Listen. BeyoncĂ© sings a heart-wrenching song in the movie version of “Dreamgirls” called “Listen.” She lets all her frustrations out about how her husband doesn’t take her feelings and desires into consideration. Listen to each other and discuss things openly. Try being best friends (Mark 10:8 – “And the two shall become one flesh; no longer two, but one”).

Submit to each other. Submission – what an awful, politically incorrect word. Many people take one Bible verse, Ephesians 5:22 – “Wives, submit to your husbands” – and make it sound horrible. But from 5:21-33, there is actually more about the husband serving his wife. “Love your wife as yourself,” it says. Did you ever know a man who loved himself who beat himself up?

Be honest. One little white lie can turn into another, and another. The truth won’t change the more you lie. Honesty pays in the end.

This post is taken from a longer piece at Associated Content. Click here to see the whole version.
read more "Is Your Marriage a "Trial Marriage"? How to Make It Last"

Saturday, July 25, 2009

What if God and the Devil Are Real?

Many people say God and the Devil don't exist. But what if they're real, making everything else biblically possible? The vision for this poem is based on various verses in the Bible. But it's just my 20-20 faith sight.

The devil, one day, gathered all of his crew,
And said: “I’m so bored I need something to do.
I’ve so far convinced that creature called man
That I don’t exist, and that was my plan…
It’s easy for me to just walk through the door,
Since they don’t believe in God anymore.

Apartheid and slavery I did for a while,
And Holocaust, genocide, those make me smile.
Now enough people think that a baby’s just tissue;
I’m tired of that being an ongoing issue.
So put on your thinking caps, demons, think long.
We need a new twist on what’s right and what’s wrong.”

Then Legion stood up and said, “They’ll take the bait
If we make them believe disagreeing is hate.
We’ll start so many rumors of discrimination
That good common sense will just take a vacation.

We’ll say that the Bible is all ancient news,
And tell them it’s used as a tool to abuse.
To top it all off, we’ll tell kids not to listen;
When their parents speak, too much fun they’ll be missin’!

Then we’ll make them elect some leaders who say
We must treat the terrorists nice every day.
While innocent blood turns their streets into sludge,
We’ll convince them there’s no good or bad to be judged.
Their egos are fragile, their consciences numb.
They won’t know what hit them – from all sides we’ll come.”

“That’s good, Legion,” Satan remarked with a grin.
With demons like you, I think I can win.”
But Satan, he knows in the back of his mind
That his fun can last just a limited time.
For one day, the sky will be splitting in two,
And judgment will come; some believe it – will you?

c. 2009, Sheryl Young
This poem was first published at Associated Content.com as the Conclusion of my series, "Today's Christianity." It can be seen here along with my other features at that website: http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/113200/sheryl_young.html.
read more "What if God and the Devil Are Real?"

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Should America Have More Gun Control? Ask Great Britain

If America goes the way of Great Britain for tougher gun control laws, what will it accomplish?

The following post contains excerpts and statistics from the article, “The UK Gun Ban” published July 16, 2009 at Associated Content by writer Tony Vega, and used with his permission. Original sources are given at that site.

Not to insult the UK and its lawmakers’ decisions, these statistics should instead encourage Americans to assess by fact and not by fad. The trail blazing UK’s 1997 handgun ban became the "gold standard" of gun control - the toughest firearm restrictions of any democracy.

Since 1997, how has that UK gun ban been working?
-From 1997 to 2001, the rate of violent crime more than doubled.
-The chances of being mugged in London are now six times greater than in New York.
-England's rates of assault, robbery, and burglary are higher than America's.
-53 percent of English home burglaries occur while the residents are at home, compared with the United States’ 13 percent.
-In a United Nations [2002] study of crime, England and Wales led the Western world's crime among 18 developed nations; nearly 55 crimes per 100 people. [1]
-In a 2001 BBC report, officers stated there had been a 100% increase in firearms-related crime in the capitol. [2]
-2008 UK statistics show a significant rise in gun crimes, the biggest since 2004. [6]

By adopting a radical gun ban, the UK abandoned the principles of their own 1689 Bill of Rights calling for the citizenry to "have arms for their defence."

The Second Amendment in the United States’ Bill of Rights states: A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Thomas Jefferson said: "No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."

Criminals will never comply with gun laws. Criminals will remain armed and the gun black market will only flourish. Innocent people will be stripped of their right to self-defense. Recalling prohibition (the American alcohol ban of the 1920’s), a new league of criminals and mobsters was created who got rich off of bootlegging liquor. Organized crime rose considerably.

Facebook recently did a gun control poll of more than 215,000 Americans to see if they want increased gun control. The vote was a resounding 92% against more gun control.

To see more of Mr. Vega’s political insight and other writing, go here.
read more "Should America Have More Gun Control? Ask Great Britain"

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Conservative Books Lead the Nation's Top Bestseller Lists

Two books which can be categorized as “conservative” are holding the top bestselling slots on the two major Top Bestseller Lists in America. Say what you will about most of “mainstream America” having a liberal mindset and conservatives being the minority—but reader trends contradict that statement.

Radio conservative shock-jock Glenn Beck is sitting comfortably at No. 1 with his latest book “Common Sense,” on the USA TODAY Bestseller List; and on the NEW YORK TIMES Bestseller List in the category of Paperback Nonfiction. The book offers Beck's brand of insight into America's current political, economic and social climate.

Beck’s previous book, “An Inconvenient Book,” did a good job of bashing both sides of the congressional aisle. It held the top Bestseller spot at the NY Times for a while in 2008. Curiously, liberal comedian Stephen Colbert’s book “I Am America (And So Can You)” plus the other three books on the NY Time’s bestseller list during that period all had book reviews on line at the Times; but Beck’s book was neither reviewed by the newspaper staff nor did they allow outsiders to contribute a review…I know because I tried.

Beck’s “An Inconvenient Book” is now still sitting on the Times list at No. 5 in the same category as his "Common Sense." It has performed consistently well all year. Colbert’s book is nowhere in sight.

The NEW YORK TIMES has ex-Democrat Dick Morris’ book, “Catastrophe” as No. 1 in the Hardcover Nonfiction category, while USA TODAY has this book all the way down at No. 17, where it’s followed closely by Mark Levin’s “Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto” at No. 22. Levin is the author of a previous bestseller, “Men in Black: How the Supreme Court Is Destroying America.”

Morris, who was an advisor to Bill Clinton through many of his campaigns including the presidential elections, gets picked on for resigning during a sex scandal, supposedly caught in an adulterous relationship. He then started writing exposés of the Clintons, and has since taken on the workings of the political machine in many books and articles.

See my 2008 Associated Content review of Beck’s “An Inconvenient Book” here.
read more "Conservative Books Lead the Nation's Top Bestseller Lists"

Friday, July 3, 2009

American Reflections on the Fourth of July

Americans make big party plans for the Fourth of July and that extra day off of work. Faster than you can say “Fourth of July” some TV talk show host will interview people on the street to see if they know what “Independence Day” means. The answers will be hilarious, yet sad.

Recent surveys of students and their parents born after 1965 reveal that a majority don’t know what the American Revolution was or when and why it was fought. They haven’t a clue what’s in the Declaration of Independence.

The passionate, temporary wave of patriotism and spirituality after 9/11/01 had a backlash. In a valid attempt to show acceptance and understanding for the many innocent people who shared the nationality and religion of the 9/11 suspects, we began an over-the-top movement to “accept everything.” Patriotism has been belittled by activists who say the founding fathers should be ashamed that they didn’t get rid of slavery within the Declaration of Independence; that “freedom for all” turned out to be “freedom for some.”

But in our quest for wanting everything immediately in this fast-paced, Twittering society, Americans forget that freedom came in stages. We can’t have everything now, now, now. We are of little faith to wait for anything, and we don't have a great deal of foresight.

The great William Wilberforce worked to abolish slavery in England throughout his adult life. It happened there in 1833. In America, some of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 worked tirelessly for the rest of their lives to see slavery abolished in America, and handed down the effort to those who came after them. Almost a hundred years later, in 1865, it was achieved.

These men had faith and sight - a vision of freedom. Most Americans lack that faith and sight today. The same lack of insight that condemns how the colonies obtained freedom from Great Britain is the same lack of insight that doesn’t understand why we fight terrorism abroad today. If we don’t fight it elsewhere, it could reach our shores. But the battle can’t be won in a day.

A copy of the Declaration of Independence can be seen here.
read more "American Reflections on the Fourth of July"

Saturday, June 27, 2009

South Carolina's Mark Sanford Becomes the Latest John Edwards

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford is the latest hot-blooded legislator to admit sexual indiscretion. What can we say? Another blotted career and another hurt family all in the name of illicit passion. What is with these guys?

Sanford, most recently Chairman of the Republican Governors’ Association, was highly anticipated as a 2012 presidential hopeful for the GOP Party.

During a five-day disappearance the week of Father’s Day, his staff first claimed he had gone on an Appalachian hiking trip to relieve the pressures of Congressional sessions. But, after being questioned about his unavailability, Sanford had to admit he had gone to Argentina to be with an unnamed female lover.

According to a Reuter’s report, Sanford's wife, Jenny admits she and her husband have been in a trial separation. Governor Sanford says the affair started as a friendship with e-mails, but turned into something more.

Sanford isn't the only Republican love casualty this month…Senator John Ensign, another potential Republican 2012 White House contender, announced earlier this month that he, too, had an affair. Ensign resigned from U.S. Senate leadership.

It's getting so that after about only a week's attention, these extramarital affair issues just get glossed over, and we become more and more desensitized to it. We figure, putting our faith in men who can't keep their you-know-what in their pants is just a fact of life. The question remains...are they sorry they did it, or sorry they got caught?

Governor Mark Sanford gained his most recognition just this year by opposing President Obama’s economic stimulus package. He rejected $700 million in federal funds, stating it would not benefit South Carolina's fiscal stability. However, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that the federal money must be accepted.

Sanford's replacement as Chairman of the Republican Governors’ Association is Mississippi’s Governor, Haley Barbour. Barbour might be another possible Republican 2012 presidential nominee.
read more "South Carolina's Mark Sanford Becomes the Latest John Edwards"

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Bible - Truth or Fiction?

Is the Bible filled with Truth or Fiction? There are 2,000 years’ worth of documents and archaeological finds substantiating the people and places in the Bible. Eyewitness historical accounts have never been proven false. But the Bible is considered "too incredible" because of the supernatural events within. Whatever happened to the phrase "TRUTH IS STRANGER THAN FICTION"?

Millions of people have the faith to take a psychic’s advice without meeting them or asking for credentials. Others wear crystals for strength or practice mystical things. Yet they will ask a Christian to "prove" that God exists and that Jesus was His Son.

A Bible believer can spout Bible verses as evidence, but if someone doesn't believe the Bible, why will they listen? Skeptics can be given insight through sound logical and statistical findings and information. Josh McDowell, internationally known youth advocate and Christian author, tried to prove the Bible false during his college days. He ended up becoming a believer and stated the following in his book, Evidence That Demands A Verdict:
"Being written on material that perishes, having to be copied and recopied for hundreds of years before the invention of the printing press, did not diminish its style, correctness or existence. The Bible, compared with other ancient writings, has more manuscript evidence than any 10 pieces of classic literature combined."

The Dead Sea Scrolls found in 1947 were validated by paleographers as dating back to about 100 B.C. The Dead Sea Scrolls lended truth to previously found scrolls dated 600-900 A.D. And when compared they say virtually the same thing. Also found was an original scroll of the "Song of Deborah" from the Bible's book of Judges, documented to be from the 12th century B.C.

Forty different authors wrote within the 66 canonized books of the Bible. Some of them lived 500 years apart, in at least ten different countries. They couldn't see each other's writings in a bookstore. They had no editors. Yet they all tell the same story, including the gap between the last prophet (Malachi, circa 435 B.C.), and the birth of Christ. After nearly 400 years of silence, the story picks up as if without a day.

King David wrote about crucifixion in Psalm 22. Although crucifixion may have been developed by in Persia as early as 1800 B.C., the best documented evidence didn’t appear until the seventh century B.C. David lived 200 years before that. Where did he get this description?

People say that Jesus lied about who he was. But, what did he have to gain by doing this?
He was rejected by his own people. Even his mother and half-brothers thought he was crazy at first. He was beaten to a pulp beyond recognition. He was spit on and ridiculed, had thorns stuck through his head, nails driven into his body, and was hung between two thieves when all he did was say some things people didn't like.

What’s more, would he be around after his crucifixion to enjoy the fruits of his martyrdom? No.
To me, the most preposterous thing of all is for people to say the Bible is made up. To believe instead in a "big bang" - that everything just "got here" - now that's faith.

This article is excerpted from Sheryl’s book, What Every Christian Should Know about the Jewish People. For more information and how to order, see the first column to the right of this article.
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Monday, June 15, 2009

Road Rage with a Laugh

Do you spend most of the time in your car listening to accident reports on the radio? To ease my mild case of road rage during a traffic jam, I decided to affectionately name these wrongful road warriors:

“The Blindfolded Guy” – He simply pretends not to see your car where he wants his to be. Like a race horse with blinders on, the poor soul has no peripheral sight. Pretty soon, it’s obvious he intends to become Siamese twins with your only means of transportation.

“The Bouncer” – Like a disco groupie’s worst nightmare, he’s going to keep you out no matter what. This is the one who won’t let you on to the highway or into a lane. He’d rather see you crash and burn. After someone else lets you in, he changes lanes because he didn’t even need to be there.

“The Shadow” – The one who follows so closely you can’t see the front of their car. Is this the guy from that fraudulent insurance ring who’s actually trying to cause an accident?

“The Shooter” – He sits at the next corner waiting until you’re only ten feet away, then shoots out in front of you and slows down.

“The Flasher” – This person flashes their headlights to make you drive faster when you’re already doing 20 over the limit just to keep up with traffic. Don’t you know he needs to get where he’s going?

“The Swinger” – The compact car driver who thinks he’s maneuvering a semi. He swerves out into your lane to make his right hand turn.

And we’d better give these marauders their way without any negative reaction, lest we become the latest victim of “road rage.” Next time you’re on the road, find something to laugh about and play nice. Who knows - that accident that has traffic at a stand-still might have involved you if things were moving any faster.
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Saturday, June 13, 2009

I Don't Apologize for America

President Obama has been traveling around to various countries apologizing for America. He apologizes for America oppressing people. He apologizes for America imposing democracy on other countries. He apologizes for America denying people opportunities.

However, in America people from other countries can create successful businesses. Many times, Americans who are not so ambitious end up working for the people from other countries. We often hear new American citizens from less fortunate nations say “I have the American dream. This is a great free country.”

No country's perfect. But should Americans be apologizing for what America is? Should we apologize for the men and women who created America to become a great nation? Should we apologize for our American soldiers who leave their own families and risk their lives so that people in other countries can be free from dictators, madmen and tyrants?

In America, people can move freely from state to state without showing their identification. That is not true in many nations.

Immigrants can come to America, work and become naturalized citizens. They never need to be called “foreigners” again.

America allows women and children to wear what they want, get an education and choose their occupation whether they are male or female.

In America, we go to sleep at night without worrying if our husbands, wives or children will be dragged off in the middle of the night because of our beliefs.

Of course, there are other free countries where all these things also exist. But apologizing for America gives more credibility to Americans who speak like they hate America because they have never traveled outside of our country to see how poor the conditions are in some other world locations. It exacerbates opinions about the past, and while placating other governments, it insults Americans.

Sorry, President Obama. I don't agree with apologizing for America.
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Friday, June 12, 2009

Are You Text Messaging Friends or Wearing Your Bluetooth® While at Work?

Are you text messaging friends, wearing your Bluetooth® or keeping your personal cell phone on while in the workplace? Unless you have permission, you may be cheating your employer out of an honest day's work.

I encountered the most amazing sight the other day. Talk about multi-tasking. A cashier in a clothing store was ringing something up for me while talking on her personal earphone. At first I thought, okay, maybe the employer has the employees wear them. But this was definitely a personal phone call, which she had no qualms about my hearing. It wasn't an emergency call, either. She was gingerly talking to some friend about weekend plans.

Ironically, taped to the customer side of the counter was a boldly typed notice that said:
"Please have your cell phones off while at the cash register."
We see these requests at fast food places and banks, usually pertaining to the customer. I guess that's so the cashier can ask you a question. Well, there wasn't any way I could have asked her one right then, either.

Kids are texting while taking tests, too - perhaps to ask someone on the outside for an answer. But far be it from a teacher to question a child's intentions - that may bruise their ego or bring angry parents to school. "Cheating" is now becoming one of those old fashioned words that falls into the "no wrong or right, no good or bad" category. If you feel it's right at any given moment, do it.

Although text messaging, ear telephones and all these new contraptions can be wonderful time-savers, they take our minds off the other situation we are in at the time. And we're putting our faith in these instruments to keep up our personal relationships instead of face to face encounters with those who deserve our undivided attention.

I even saw a guy text messaging while riding a bicycle on a busy street. Now that's faith.
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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"You Scare Me" Says Former V.P. of Company to President Obama

"You scare me" are the opening words of each sentence in Lou Pritchett's open letter to President Obama. Pritchett, a former Vice President of Proctor & Gamble, wanted his letter published in the New York Times but that didn't happen. Instead, it began appearing on the Internet.

According to Snopes.com, the website that dispels rumors and confirms truths, Pritchett has acknowledged being the author of the letter. He succinctly writes what many Americans are afraid to think or say about the current administration, and raises many questions. If interested, read the letter at Snopes here. No words can express it better.

In the current American political climate, people who do not agree with President Obama's position on some issues, or his credentials to hold the highest office in the country, are being intimidated into silence. This scare tactic doesn't always come from the administration itself, but from powerful lobbies on its fringes.

The U.S. Constitution's First Amendment still says we have freedom of speech and the right to address the government with our grievances on issues. Some majority leaders in Congress would like to see people prosecuted for what they think and say on the basis that it may "incite violence." Since this hasn't come up in previous administrations, we can only assume that some of Mr. Pritchett's "You Scare Me" letter could possibly come true. To my recollection, the vocal detractors of President Bush were never accused of being hateful inciters of violence.

No American president does everything wrong and none have done everything right. Either way, Americans are allowed (for now) to speak their piece.
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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Is There a Universal Absolute Truth?

Is there any one universal absolute truth to live by? Is each person's truth or faith as they see it an absolute truth? Or is there really a universal absolute truth?

I have two American quarters in my right hand and two in my left. I count the two in the right, then the two in the left. They total four. No one in the world would dispute that two plus two makes four. No one in America or any foreigner who knows world money would dispute that four American quarters make one American dollar.

Yet, with today's lack of willingness to proclaim that there is "right and wrong" or "good and bad," many people say there is no such thing as absolute truth. Some believe that our mind makes up our own truths as we go along according to our experiences, or how we feel at a given moment. But don't dare share your absolute truth with anyone else.

Imagine that I take those four quarters to an American supermarket. I do my shopping, and approach the register with $20.00 worth of groceries. I say to the cashier, “I believe these four quarters make $20.00. You must accept them as full payment for my food.” Nobody is going to believe me!

When someone states there is no such thing as an absolute truth, I ask them, “Do you unequivocally believe that there is no absolute truth?” If they answer yes, I say, “Then you must admit there is absolute truth.”

If there's no absolute truth, then why do we die? Why are people poor? Why are there disasters? Most of us would prefer to live. Most would choose to stay at their favorite age, or live in a different era. Most are likely to choose being millionaires.

Books like "The Secret" claim life can be whatever you want. But if I'm driving in my car, and there's a guy in the next lane, and I say the sky is blue but the other guy says it's raining, whose truth is right?

The real truth is, people just don’t want there to be an absolute truth. Because if there is, someone would be wrong. That's now a "politically incorrect" word. We wouldn’t be able to do just as we please without facing consequences for our actions.

We live by many absolute truths. Murder is unlawful - that fact is accepted everywhere. You can get put in jail for murdering someone. But not all absolute truths are this cut and dry. For example, the phrase “separation of church and state” is not in the U.S. Constitution, but most people believe it because of what they've been told instead of looking it up. So what is not the truth can be repeated until it becomes the truth.

The freedom to believe that there is no absolute truth has made us lose our convictions, our direction, and our capacity to love people despite our differences. Disagreeing with someone is now automatically called hate. What dribble! In an effort to be tolerant of everyone else’s beliefs, we’re asked to give up our own, and many comply without even realizing it.

The absolute truth I believe becomes truer every day, because its words give hope for the future. And that is “…the Lord is good; his love endures forever, and his faithfulness endures through all generations” (Psalm 100:5). If only we could love each other this way, and still face an absolute truth now and then. Mere tolerance through lip service and trying to appease any group would pale in comparison if we could see what real love looks like. And that's the absolute truth.
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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Teen Trends - Hugging, Sexting and Hooking Up

What’s worse – hugging, “sexting” or “hooking up”? Middle schools across the nation are now banning the trend of hugging between students on school grounds. Hugging seems to be the latest form of greeting between kids from middle school up. We’ve seen it on the streets and in the malls, but educators appear to have come to their limit with seeing physical contact between students.

Some kids may not wish to have their personal space violated by hugs from anyone and everyone. But is it as harmful as being “sexted” on their cell phones or getting “hooked up” to “friends with benefits”?

If you’re a parent and you’ve never heard of “sexting,” “hooking up” or “friends with benefits,” then you need some fresh sight into what your child is dealing with out in society today.

“Sexting” is the new trend of sending revealing and even nude photos to each others’ cell phones through text messaging. It may start as a private thing between two people, which already isn’t so good, but then one party may pass the photos on to other viewers. Pretty soon, the photos of these pre-teens and teens are as popular as if placed on the Internet…and some of them do get transferred there.

“Hooking Up” is the popular term for having casual sexual encounters within a circle of friends, or with newly met "friends," with no strings attached. No boyfriend-girlfriend or dating commitment, no promises, just friends. This is also called “friends with benefits.”

Within the trend of “hooking up” comes the impetuousness of having sex with no protection, loss of self-esteem, feelings of emptiness and heartbreak. One or both of the hooked up partners may like each other enough for a relationship, but they are not supposed to voice that. So later in life, there can be an inability to form intimate lasting relationships.

Yet another trend has to do with “breaking friendship bracelets” – sometimes called sex bracelets. These are bracelets made from the same jelly-resembling substance as the shoes called jellies. The bracelets come in different colors. For example, if a boy can grab and break the girl’s bracelet, the color red may mean she supposedly owes him a lap dance and the color black may mean she owes him sex.

Sometimes the bracelet breaking is a joke and kids don’t intend to go through with it. Other times, these boys are going to hold your daughter to it…if she was wearing the bracelet that must mean she wants it, right?

Kids have always come up with ways to greet each other and get close to other kids. But we need to choose our battles wisely. The hugging trend probably passes less germs than even holding hands. Aside from making sure our kids know that they have the right to tell someone not to hug, I’d rather try to be sure they’re not hooking up, sexting and breaking bracelets.
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