Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Christian Persecution: Brittany McComb

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Key Cases: Brittany McComb
After composing her remarks, she submitted them to school administrators according to standard district policy. School administrators, with the advice of their district legal counsel, censored her speech, deleting all three Bible references, several references to “the Lord” and the only mention of the word “Christ.”
When school officials found her to be straying from the approved text, they unplugged her microphone, thus ending the address. Despite extensive jeers from the audience over the school officials’ actions, McComb was not permitted to finish giving her valedictory speech.
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Silenced Christian Appeals to High Court

McCoy was one of three valedictorians chosen based on their grades to speak at the school's 2006 commencement ceremony. In her speech, McCoy talked about the emptiness she'd felt despite her success in school, then strayed from her approved script to talk about how Jesus had filled that void in her life.

McCoy, now a student at Oxford University, continued speaking despite no sound, while students cheered in the background. The microphone was not turned back on until McCoy walked away from the podium and a school official stepped up to introduce the next speaker. Watch McCoy's speech here.
Foothill High gave the valedictorians recommendations for what to talk about during their speeches, but no guidelines were set on mentioning religion, according to The Rutherford Institute.

The group also says drafts of McCoy's speech were censored by deleting Bible scriptures and any references to "the Lord" or "Christ."

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A "Rocky" Moment

I wrote about this on my Food & Exercise Log but I thought I would discuss it (& a bit more) here too.

I ran/walked to my grandmother's nursing facility today. I started out walking about 1/4 a mile then ran the rest of the way, about 1 mile. It took me about 17 min & my heart rate monitor averaged about 143.

The last 1/4 mile (this is probably a bit of an exaggeration but not by too much) is down hill. It is a pretty steep hill also. On the way back, I was planning on walking back up the hill then running the rest of the way home. But, once it was time to do that, I got a little ambitious, I wanted to see how far I could go. Halfway up, I was determined to go all the way. I could do this! And, I did! My heart, of course was pounding & I could hardly breathe but I did it. Amazingly enough my heart rate monitor only reached about 186, which isn't too bad for running up hill, for me.

Once at the top of the hill, I walked for about another 1/4 mile or less then ran for another 1/2 mi or so, then walked the last 1/4 mile for a "cool down." That took me about 23 min (due to me walking more on the way back than I did going) & my heart rate monitor read out about 143 again. Putting that into the online calories burned calculator that I use, it said that I burned about 536 calories. Not too bad. While I think this may be a bit of an over exaggeration, I really don't think it is too far off. So, yay!

The wind was blowing like crazy today. I considered not running at all, but it felt so nice out & it was perfectly overcast. I know we only get a few nice days a year where between the freezing cold & the sweltering heat, so I don't want to waste a single nice day. Tomorrow (now today, since I am writing this at 4:30 am) it was supposed to rain, so I wouldn't be running outside then. Well, now it isn't supposed to rain. I was planning on running again outside today but as the night has worn on, my shin splints are screaming at me. It hurts bad enough to walk, I can just imagine how bad it would hurt to run. I still haven't decided. I may run, who knows.

I would eventually like to get to where I run 3 miles every day. That no longer seems like a completely ridiculous idea. I still don't like running. I like the idea of it. I like that I feel victorious after doing it. But, I just don't find joy in it like some do. I like the stamina it has given me & the feeling that I am doing something I never, in a million years, would ever have thought possible or even practical. But, I don't like having to mentally fight for every step I take. I feel like I'm bargaining with a child, like I'm negotiating with a terrorist, like I'm talking a jumper down from a ledge. It's exhausting. The feeling afterwards is well worth it, but you can't tell someone "the ends will justify the means" when they are in the middle of pain. They don't care. They just want the pain to end.

I do like telling people I run. It makes me feel like I'm a part of some elite crowd, like an athlete. It doesn't matter that I can only run a mile or two without stopping & many others can knock out 10 like it is nothing. They don't know that. I'm sure at my size they assume I can't really run that far, in fact many probably can't believe that I can run as much as I can but, that is okay. I may not love the sport yet, but I hear that that is something that eventually comes. I still don't feel like I can call myself a runner. Perhaps that is because I am still fairly new at the sport or that I don't do it often enough or, & probably more likely, that I haven't found the "love" for it yet, but that's okay, I still am. Right?

So, today (now yesterday) I had a Rocky moment. I've never seen the film, but I know the scene where Rocky is running up those Philadelphian steps then turns back & raises his arms in victory. We all know that scene. I did not reenact that scene when I made it up my hill, because that would have been nuts. hehe But, I did on the inside. Maybe it wouldn't be a big deal to many & it may not be a big deal to me in a few months, but for today, for a few short minutes, I was Rocky.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Christian History: "Tattoos of the Cross"

Tattoos of the Cross
Body art has become yet another way for people to express their beliefs and values. Young Christians have joined the trend, emblazoning Bible verses, crosses, or fish symbols on their biceps or ankles. But they are certainly not the first to do so in the history of the church.
During these long periods of maltreatment, the Coptic practice of tattooing arose.
In the fourth century A.D., the Montanists, a Christian sect relying heavily on the Book of Revelation, began tattooing themselves as "slaves of God" (Rev. 7:2-3). The earliest evidence of Coptic tattooing goes back to the eighth-century, when Egyptian monks began to brand their hands with Christian symbols. Some scholars believe they learned the practice from Ethiopian Christians, who branded crosses on their foreheads, temples, and wrists.
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While cross tattoos are no longer widespread among urban Copts, they remain popular among Egyptian Christian villagers as reminders of particular blessings and religious vows. To these Copts of both the past and present, cross tattoos have not been a sign of teenage rebellion or fashion forwardness. Instead, they have been enduring reminders of their Christian faith—showing the Copts' dedication to the One who bore the everlasting scars of mercy, grace, and truth.

Friday, March 20, 2009

TV Review: Kings

Well, I just finished watching the first episode of NBC's Kings. It is loosely based on the story of David; beginning with his anointing.

Saul is called Silas Benjamin and Jonathan is Jack. It is a modern day version set in a city with the appearance of any large American metropolis. David is a mechanic but his last name is Shepherd & he plays the piano rather than the harp. "Goliath" turns out to be a model of tanks on the front line. David has fallen in love with Silas' daughter practically with in minutes of meeting. And butterflies signify the Holy Spirit, hence the emblem of the country (the picture above).

All of those changes I don't mind, however, there is one that bothers me a little but still can be over looked being that this is NBC & not CBN, and another that really sticks in my craw.

The smaller issue (& granted this is no small issue but is understandable being a secular TV station, plus I'm not sure how the upcoming episodes may deal with this, so I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt), anyway, the smaller issue is David devotion to the Lord, starting in childhood, has yet to be addressed. In fact, David has yet to mention one thing about the Lord even though we have witnessed him fighting in battle, "slaying" "Goliath," his brother's death, & risking his life to stop the war. Maybe this is a topic that will come up in later episodes, so I'll give NBC the benefit of the doubt just now. :)

The big issue I have is two part & has to do with Jack (aka Jonathan). Jack is apparently homosexual, or at least bi-sexual. I know a lot of people try to read that into the story of David but there is just no evidence of that in the Bible. There are 3 instances in the Bible where it says that Jonathan loved David, & many people believe this means he loved him as more than "just a friend." However, most believe this just emphasizes the fact that Jonathan & David were best friends. Many people have friends that they love & no one questions those relationships, well, not always, at least. In fact, the wording in all three instances is Jonathan "loved him as himself," but we are all called to love others as we love ourselves.

The second part of the issue I have with Jack is...well...he doesn't seem to like David at all. He is quite jealous of David, to the point that he is about to betray not only his father but the country itself to a corrupt banker or whatever this guy is supposed to be. A very important part of the story of David's life is his friendship with Jonathan & they are getting that very, very wrong. Who knows, though, they may do something later on in the season to switch that around.

Another thing that is bothering me a bit is the personal reporter. Silas has this guy that follows him around all the time recording everything that goes on. At times, Silas will as the guy to read what he has written or will tell him what to say so that it either completely lies or exaggerates circumstances to make him look better. If I were a conspiracy theorist (& I am quickly becoming one), I would say that this is a commentary of the writers to make it appear that the Bible isn't 100% accurate. Just a thought.

All in all, though, I did quite enjoy the show. I'm still quite amazed that they were allowed to speak of God so often & in a not-so-blasphemous way. It interests me that in today's world, where God & Christianity & the Bible are so hated, such a show would be made & aired on one of the most watched networks in America. I pray that the people who watch this show will be curious enough to read the story for themselves. It is a wonderful story about a great man, with great opportunities, who fell for temptation many times, but always returned to his Lord. God does not expect us to be perfect but he does expect us to come to him when we have fallen & beg for his forgiveness. It is always there, we just have to ask.

Our Amazing Planet: Underwater Volcano Near Tonga

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Christian Persecution: "Court Allows College to Deny Christian Club"

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Court Allows College to Deny Christian Club

A California law school can deny funding and recognition to a Christian club on campus because the group excludes membership to homosexuals and non-Christians, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

Leaders for the national Christian law club say they allow anyone to attend their meetings, but began requiring all members to sign a statement of faith in 2004.

UC Hastings College of Law currently has more than 60 student organizations, including a feminist group, a Jewish student society, a pro-choice group, and several clubs based on race and nationality.

The CLS Statement of Faith is as follows:

Trusting in Jesus Christ as my Savior, I believe in:

One God, eternally existent in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  • God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
  • The Deity of our Lord, Jesus Christ, God's only Son
  • The presence and power of the Holy Spirit in the work of regeneration.
  • The Bible as the inspired Word of God.
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    Watch the video on the site. It explains much more.

    My question is, if I as a white, Christian, Republican, Conservative, Pro-Life, woman join a Mexican/Asian/African-American, Jewish, Democrat, Pro-Choice, Fraternity?

    Politics: Well, the House passed that 90% taxation of big banks.

    First, our politicians seem to "rush" everything lately. Which gets them into these problems in the first place. If you rush things, you'll get sloppy & that is certainly what happened here.

    Second, our government hears about someone getting money & they have to quickly figure out how to get that money from that person before it ever reaches their hands. Can't let America prosper now, can we?

    Christian Persecution: Is is closer than we think?

    Mom & I were talking the other day & I mentioned that I had been taking my Bible to work this past week because I had gotten behind in my daily reading to keep up with my church's "New Testament in a Year" commitment. I told her I was just waiting for the day when I would be fired or at least asked not to bring it to work. She said she didn't think that would happen. Then I told her about the case of the British Airways employee who was fired for wearing a cross necklace & the British nurse who was suspended for offering to pray for one of her patients.

    Mom was a bit surprised but things are much different here in America. If you read my earlier post, you will see that Missouri has now advised police that Christians should be considered possible potential terrorists. Here are a few other cases that have been publicized recently:

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    Hospice Chaplain Resigns Over 'God' Ban

    A hospice chaplain in Florida has resigned in protest to a ban on use of the words "God" and "Lord" in public settings.

    Rev. Mirta Signorelli had worked for seven years at Hospice by the Sea in Boca Raton. Signorelli said the chaplains were told in February to "cease and desist from using 'God' in prayers."

    The hospice CEO said the ban on religious references only applies to staff meetings, but Signorelli claims the ban will also force her to censor her words while leading prayers in the chapel and when meeting patients.

    "If you take God away from me," Signorelli told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, "it's like taking a medical tool away from a nurse."

    — Devon Williams

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    Christian Doctor Fired for Ties with Christian Group

    The city of Minneapolis suspended Dr. Michael Campion, a psychologist who administered employment testing for the city, after officials learned of his affiliation with the Illinois Family Institute, a pro-family, Christian organization.

    In 2006, the city hired a testing company to evaluate Campion. Though the results showed no evidence that his work was flawed or biased, the city still terminated its relationship with Campion.

    Jim Campbell, litigation counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, was disappointed by the city's actions.

    "The government shouldn't penalize Christian contractors for their beliefs," Campbell said. "When the city of Minneapolis terminated their relationship with this doctor for no reason other than his affiliation with a pro-family group, it clearly violated his constitutional rights."

    — Devon Williams

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    Pennsylvania Cop Punished for Refusing to Arrest Christians

    Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) filed a lawsuit Monday against officials of Pennsylvania's Kutztown University and its police chief. The officials punished a police officer who refused to arrest a group of Christians sharing their faith on campus.

    Steven Armbruster was ordered by K.U. Police Chief William Mioskie to remove the group of Christians from campus for "disorderly conduct." Armbruster, who said he saw no evidence of disorderly conduct by the Christians, explained to Mioskie that he believed this would violate the group's constitutional rights. Armbruster was placed on administrative leave, suspended without pay for five working days and threatened with termination.

    "Police officers who understand and respect the constitutional rights of American citizens should be commended, not punished," said ADF-allied attorney Randall L. Wenger.

    — Devon Williams

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    Here is a video that explains what happened at Kutztown University that day. As you will see the peaceful Christians are forced to endure insults & have their First Amendment rights stomped on by the angry crowd yet they, the Christians, are the ones that are arrested for "disorderly conduct."

    Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? -- Romans 8:35

    That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. -- 2 Corinthians 12:10

    32Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. 33Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. -- Hebrews 10:32-34

    Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. -- Revelation 2:10

    Politics: "Obama compares AIG, big banks to 'suicide bombers'"

    Obama compares AIG, big banks to "suicide bombers"

    Why is it that liberals can compare just about any political opponent they wish to terrorists but when it comes to fighting the real thing, they wilt?
    Our president is campaigning in California, trying to sell the public on his massive $3.8 trillion budget. Here's what he said at a town hall meeting:
    "Here's the problem," Mr. Obama said, "It's almost like they've got -- they've got a bomb strapped to them and they've got their hand on the trigger. You don't want them to blow up. But you've got to kind of talk them, ease that finger off the trigger."
    Maybe we should send our president to the Middle East. Just think how many lives he could save by talking down suicide bombers in Israel, Iraq, and other places.
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    My favorite quote from the article:
    "Maybe we should send our president to the Middle East. Just think how many lives he could save by talking down suicide bombers in Israel, Iraq, and other places."

    Politics: Missouri's description of a "possible terrorist"

    Wahoo! I'm on a roll today, ain't I? hehe

    Well, buckle up, because I am about to reveal the scariest yet. And, surprisingly enough it didn't come from the White House. I know! Crazy!


    Missouri police given chilling instructions

    Police in Missouri apparently are being instructed to keep on eye on conservatives.
    According to this AP article the government of the state of Missouri has issued a report "informing" state police that people with third party bumper stickers on their cars or who believe the NAFTA superhighway is an attempt create a North American Union are subversive members of paramilitary militias and potential terrorists.
    The Missouri Information Analysis Center (a division of the state police) has compiled an enemies list of warning signs for state police officers, signs that are supposed to help them determine potential terrorists. Such signs include Ron Paul bumper stickers, or "Right to Carry" handgun stickers (I have to wonder: does it include Support Your Local Police stickers, too?) and our friendly state troopers are warned to proceed with extreme caution against such radicals.
    Don`t believe me? See for yourself. (pdf-sorry.)

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    Who is being targeted in this report? The state police are warned that Christians, "sovereign citizens", those opposed to abortion, tax revisionists, and anti-illegal immigrant advocates are potential would-be terrorists.
    Oh, and you better not fly your flag upside down; that was given as another example of something a terrorist would do.
    Were this an isolated incident, it would be easy to dismiss. But couple this with some other politically motivated incidents, such as Barack Obama`s "truth squad" in which he encouraged the prosecution of people who protested him too aggressively
    along with Obama`s proposal for a national militia trained and funded like one of the branches of the military, and you have a very disturbing trend here.
    It seems that there are some in this state who have no problem using the force of law to repress their enemies.
    How long before we see this nationwide?
    Where is the ACLU?
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    So, basically, if you disagree from liberals you are now labeled a "possible terrorist," or at least in Missouri?

    I believe I just saw a few pieces of the Constitution fly out the window.

    (Actually, I was under the impression that flying the American flag upside down was a military sign of distress.)

    My, how things have changed in a few short years!

    Politics: "Indefensible & Dishonorable"

    Indefensible and Dishonorable (updated)

    Veterans groups who met with Obama, Emanuel and VA head Eric Shinseki on Monday were told that Obama wants to have veterans pay for their service-related medical issues through their own private insurance companies.
    And then recruiters would have to include in their pitch "Oh, and if you are wounded, you are responsible for your medical expenses."
    This president is totally lacking any idea of fundamental American values. It is apparently a foreign concept to him that our country must take care of those who put their lives on the line to defend our freedom and prosperity. Then again, freedom and prosperity are apparently not too high on his value list. While this issue is such an outrage that no Congress person in his or her right mind would ever support it, the fact remains that Obama and his inner cabal think it is a good idea, good enough to use more political capital on.

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    "After an outcry from veterans organizations and congress, Obama decided Wednesday afternoon to drop his proposal to bill veteran's private insurance
    carriers for treatment of combat-related injuries. Press secretary Gibbs said the president has 'instructed its consideration be dropped.' A veterans' spokesman issued a statement saying that the administration is 'upholding our sacred
    trust with America's veterans. Veterans of all generations are
    celebrating this decision."
    Still, for someone to even consider, much less announce to the world that he/she would consider such a thing should expose what kind of person he/she is.

    After reading about this on several different sites, my opinion of Pres. Obama fell even lower. Only a couple of months in office & he is already starting to show his "true colors."

    I think this author (Joseph Smith) put it perfectly when he said...
    "This president is totally lacking any idea of fundamental American
    values. It is apparently a foreign concept to him that our country
    must take care of those who put their lives on the line to defend our
    freedom and prosperity. Then again, freedom and prosperity are
    apparently not too high on his value list."
    Here is part of another article from the same site but another author (Mark Moran). It is a fabulous article that, unless you are an Obama fan or an extreme leftist, I would totally recommend you reading in it's entirety. Of course, after today, many of you may believe I am one of those conspiracy theorists. Well, maybe I am & I think I look fabulous in my foil hat. :D

    Agitator in Chief Backhands Military

    Up until this point in American history, no President has ever dreamed of denying our men and women of our Armed Services medical care for their injuries and forcing them to use their private insurance.
    I have done the research on Obama. I know he is a radical leftist.
    In order for Obama to tear down this country and rebuild it in his socialist utopia, he needs to destroy the very pillars of this country's foundation. One of those pillars is a strong, proud military that is sworn to protect this nation's constitution.
    If cost cutting were the true objective, then he could start by eliminating healthcare and education for illegal immigrants.
    The real issue here is that the President even suggested this to begin with. His suggestion gives us very clear insight into the depth of his radicalism and how ordinary Americans are going to have to stand up and fight back his threat to our way of life.

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    Politics: "House to vote on 90% tax for AIG bonuses"

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    House to vote on 90 percent tax for AIG bonuses
    The House is scheduled to vote today on a bill that would levy a 90 percent tax on bonuses paid to employees with family incomes above $250,000 at companies that have received at least $5 billion in government bailout money.
    "We figured that the local and state governments would take care of the other 10 percent," said Rep. Charles Rangel of New York, chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.
    Edward Liddy, who was brought in last year by the government to run AIG, told a House subcommittee Wednesday that the company was contractually obligated to pay the bonuses but that some of the recipients have begun returning all or part of them.
    "The fact is that the bill the president signed, which protected the AIG bonuses and others, was written behind closed doors by Democratic leaders of the House and Senate. There was no transparency," said Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the senior Republican on the Senate Finance Committee.

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    "President Barack Obama, who took office just under two months ago, told reporters Wednesday that his administration was not responsible for a lack of federal supervision of AIG that preceded the company's demise."

    "But Obama added, 'The buck stops with me.'"

    First he says "not responsible," then he says, "The buck stops with me."

    Mr. Obama, if "the buck stopped with" you then you would have taken responsibility. That is what it means by "the buck stops here."

    Also, what the heck do you mean "not responsible?!" You signed the bailout bill that kept AIG & the other huge "banks" from filing bankruptcy.

    Basically, Washington is saying, "Here, save your company, but don't honor your legal contracts or take care of your employees."

    But really, what do you expect from a President that doesn't want to take care of his country's military when they are injured protecting him & his freedoms. (Don't know what I'm talking about? Stay tooned. hehe Trust me, there is much more to come.)

    I think it is crap that many of these guys/gals would take bonuses after what their institutions have gone though this last year, however, the government levying such taxes is criminal.

    I applaud those that have chosen to give back their bonuses. I know I would be tempted to "take the money & run."

    So, "CHEERS" to those returning the bonuses & "JEERS" to the government trying to control everyone & everything. This country is becoming more Orwellian every day, it seems.