August 4, 2011
I don’t know who comes up with these “national days”, but National Chocolate Chips Day is worthy! (Note some references say May 15 for this celebration, rather than August 4; let’s just celebrate both days.) Chocolate being a major food group in and of itself, chocolate chips provide a convenient way to incorporate chocolate into lots of things, or simply to pop into your mouth.
You can learn more about production of chocolate chips as well.
Enjoy your chips!
August 4, 2011
In late June, FRC reported on the story of Iranian pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, who has been sentenced to death because of his “apostasy” — he left Islam and has become a Christian and house church leader.
Now, according to Compass Direct news, Pastor Nadarkhani “awaits the outcome of a judicial investigation into his spiritual background to see if he will be executed or, if possible, forced to become a Muslim, according to Christian groups with ties in Iran.” Yet “even if the investigation releases him from the charge of apostasy, it is likely the charge of evangelizing Muslims will still carry a lengthy prison sentence, sources said.”
In other words, the Iranian judicial system is trying to manipulate the pastor into saying he was forced to convert to Christianity as a teenager. Here’s what the Iranian court said about his appeal to his death sentence: According to Part 2 of Article 265 of the Islamic Republic Criminal Law, this case was received by and must be returned to the state court of Gilan Section 11, and further investigated to prove that from puberty (15 years) to 19 he was not Muslim by his acquaintances, relatives, local elders, and Muslims he frequented. He must repent [of] his Christian faith if this is the case. No research has been done to prove this; if it can be proved that he was a practicing Muslim as an adult and has not repented, the execution will be carried out.
The death sentence was issued even though there “is no Iranian criminal statute requiring the execution of those who abandon Islam. In September 2008 members of the Iranian parliament began writing a law instituting the death penalty for men, and life imprisonment for women, who leave Islam.” Instead, according to Jason DeMars, president of a ministry that works with Iranian believers, “the judges who issued the ruling appear to be relying on at least one fatwa, or religious edict, written by the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, and on edicts issued by Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi, a current religious leader in Iran. The edicts are based upon Shiite interpretations of the Quran and Hadith, a written record of the sayings and actions of Muhammad.”
Thankfully, Christians around the world are praying for Pastor Nadarkhani, his family, and for the hearts and minds of those making a decision about his fate (for example, see the Swedish Christian site World Today). We can be assured that the God Who knows the hairs of our heads is in control, even as we petition Him to strengthen this courageous brother in Christ and deliver him from his persecutors.
In addition to praying, call the Iranian Interest Section at the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington, DC at (202) 965-4990. You can also contact the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran at the United Nations: Email — firstname.lastname@example.org; Phone — (212) 687-2020.
August 3, 2011
Once again, theMSMmainstream mediais giving us an anniversary better left unnoted. This time, theyre telling us that on this day 45 years ago, a lone shooter climbed up into the Tower at the University of Texas in Austin and began randomly shooting at students and visitors to that beautiful campus.
This is exactly what our friends in theMSMshould not do. They should know this by now. Do we want more mass murders, like the recent bloody episode inNorway? Then go ahead and put the killers pictures on the covers of news magazines, publicize their names and their bloody deeds, show photos of their victims, provide timelines, print graphics of their bullets trajectories, and always, always show the grieving family members of their victims.
But if we want to stop this madness, we should listen to researchers who have studied suicide and mass killings. They know that contagion and suggestibility play a real role in sparking these events. They know, for instance, that when a single car accident claims the life of a famous movie actor or singer, there is a measurable increase in copy cat deaths that may well be hidden suicides.
No small part of the Hollywoodappeal of certain rebels without a cause is due to their premature deaths in circumstances that strongly suggest self-murder. In Europe, the author of Lhomme revolte—The Rebelwas widely believed to have done himself in.
Mass killers and suicides are closely aligned with assassins in their mindset. Serious studies of President Kennedys killer show him to have been a loser, a nobody, a Communist-inspired misfit who first tried to kill a right-wing army general. Only when he missed that shot did he reach for a perverse kind stardom by killing the hope that John F. Kennedy represented for millions.
John Wilkes Booth was different. He was no loser, and certainly not a nobody. He was as famous an actor in 1865Americaas Brad Pitt is today. But he wanted to live out the fantastic characters he portrayed on stage. After shooting the president at Fords Theater that dark and gloomy Good Friday night, he fled the scene. He tried to reachVirginia, a state still in rebellion. He expected a heros welcome there.
Booth had broken his leg jumping down from the presidential box. He had galloped out ofWashingtonjust ahead of War Sec. Edwin Stantons order to close all the bridges. Hiding out in the thick woods ofSouthern Maryland, Booth and his accomplice were cold, hungry, dirty. Still in intense pain, Booth begged for just one thing: newspapers.
Like the American idol he was, he hungered to see his name in the papers, to see how people were applauding his desperate act. Imagine his chagrin when he learned that even in Confederate Virginia, he was denounced as an ignoble coward, a vicious villain.
Bill Bennett, host of the Morning in America talk show, challenged NBC News several years ago. The suits at NBC decided to air the video made by the Virginia Tech shooter.
But we might have learned something from that video, the networks news editors protested. After they went ahead, broadcasting that video rant, Bennett asked if we were in any doubt the killer was mad at the world, and had paranoid delusions of persecution before subjecting the country, and especially the victims families, to that deranged mans harangue.
Bill Bennett is right. Lets not give them what they want. Ever.
August 3, 2011
Many of us are familiar with the heroic and historic work of William Wilberforce in abolishing the slave trade in Great Britain in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Less well-known is the work of the Earl of Shaftesbury, Anthony Ashley Cooper (1801-1885). President of the British and Foreign Bible Society and stout advocate of the formation of a Jewish state in the Holy Land, this “peer of the realm” used his position to help the poor and mentally ill - out of his faith in Christ. As a conservative (Tory) Member of Parliament, he enacted legislation “that prohibited employment of women and children in coal mines, provided care for the insane, established a ten-hour day for factory workers, and outlawed employing young boys as chimney sweeps.” He also had a great heart for evangelism: “His commitment to spread the gospel led him to start a movement to hold religious services in theaters and music halls. Controversy ensued, forcing him to defend the movement in the House of Lords against charges that Christianity would be compromised if it were associated with scenes of frivolous entertainment.”
As Dan Graves writes, “Lord Shaftesbury was fierce in his conviction that Christ must be the center of a living faith. He spoke harshly against deistic tendencies. Yet he was a warm friend of the atheistic Prime Minister Palmerston who gently mocked his belief. The people, however, did not mock. When he preached Christ, they listened with respect. At his funeral, hundreds of thousands of poor stood hatless in a pouring rain to show their love for the man who had loved them.”
At a time when some Christians are calling for retreat from engagement in public affairs, we would do well to consider such men as Wilberforce and Shaftesbury, who grasped that the Gospel could not be preached with unashamed faces if, while doing so, those who proclaim it ignore grave social and cultural needs.
August 2, 2011
In the tsunami of words leading up to last weekends analysis of the congressional deal on the debt ceiling, many of the principals and their spokesmen outdid themselves in overflowing rhetoric. One stands out in particular, however. Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D-MO) called the bi-partisan leadership agreementwhich has yet to be approved by the rank-and-filea sugar-coated Satan sandwich. Cleaver, who is an ordained minister, is generally to be found on the left-most fringes of the House of Representatives Congressional Black Caucus. Clearly, I dont agree with Mr. Cleavers politics, but Im intrigued by his use of language.
What jumped out at me first was the memorable phrase sugar-coated. President Abraham Lincoln used that term in his famous July 4, 1861, Message to Congress. The government printer objected to Lincolns sentence: With rebellion thus sugar-coated, they have been drugging the public mind of their section for thirty years… But thats not dignified, objected John D. Defrees. He might have said its not presidential. With the country being torn apart, with Congress reconvening in just days, President Lincoln might have turned on Defrees and ordered him to print it and pipe down. But he didnt. He just smiled tolerantly and said: Well, Defrees, if you think the time will ever come when people will not understand what sugar-coated means, Ill alter it; otherwise, Ill let it stand. We do still understand what sugar-coated means. So that phrase has stood for the past one hundred fifty years.
Thank you, Congressman Cleaver, for bringing this venerableLincolnexpression back into public usage. I can appreciate your quotable quote at least that much.
Now, as to your Satan sandwich line, its odd, but a lot my friends agree with you, but for entirely different reasons. They know the devil is in the details. And they surely dont like these details.
Id like to raise a point of order, though, Congressman Cleaver. My question is this: Why is it the atheizers are not objecting to your use of religious language and imagery in describing a measure coming before you in the House of Representatives? They are zealous to jump on any small town council where Jesus name is invoked. They are forever seeing a dreaded establishment of religion where we see only free exercise.
How come theyre not picketing you, Mr. Cleaver, when you invoke Satans name in a public policy debate? Do we need to capitalize it? Do we need to give it the Rolling Stones honorificTheir Satanic Majesties Request? Hey, if its an establishment of religion to cite the name of Jesus, does their strange silence mean Satanism is OK? Wheres the ACLU in all of this?
Or, are these folks really an Anti-Christian Litigation Unit? Are they perfectly content when left-wing politicians employ religious language and imageryso long as its not Christian or not conservative? Is it only when Christians gather for prayer and discuss public policy that these atheizers become exercised?
Their phony talk of defending civil liberties for all of us is what is truly sugar-coated. In fact, their deep hostility to Christianity is obvious. And there just may be another
dish on the secular menu. But its not Congressmans Cleavers Satan sandwich. With so many attacks and so many kinds of assaults, youd have to say the atheizers are cooking up a Satanic Stew.
August 1, 2011
The economic news released by the Commerce Department last Friday was not good at all. The Washington Times has a good editorial summarizing it in Mondays edition (see Obamaa Economic Collapse). The preliminary estimate for second quarter 2011 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was an anemic 1.3%. More alarming was the revision of first quarter GDP downward from 1.9 percent to 0.4% — essentially flat, no growth at all. In Politico, House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan has a noteworthy commentary piece making the point that the current debt/deficit debate has a huge health care component. It is that component that is exploding government deficits and slowing economic growth and job creation all being disastrous for family well-being. Ryan makes one interesting point in passing: currently, about one quarter of all federal government spending goes to health care.
Family Research Council
August 1, 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C. Family Research Council (FRC) expressed strong opposition to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Obama administrations mandate that health care plans cover contraceptives with no cost-sharing to the patient.
The 2010 health care law, commonly known as Obamacare, requires coverage of preventive services for women to be covered with no cost to the patient, andHHSis adopting theInstituteofMedicines (IOM) recommendation to mandate contraceptive coverage. This means the cost will be shifted to other plan participants. Included in the list of mandated services are Plan B and Ella, both of which can destroy human embryos. The mandate only offers very limited conscience protections for some religious entities, such as churches, that fulfill certain criteria.
Jeanne Monahan, Director of FRCs Center for Human Dignity, made the following comments:
HHSoffered a fig leaf of conscience protection for certain churches that fulfill very specific criteria. However, religious groups that provide social services, engage in missions work to people of different religious faiths, religious health insurance companies, let alone religious health care providers and individuals in such health plans are not protected from any discrimination whatever. The new rule will force many Americans to violate their consciences or refrain from participating in health care insurance, further burdening an already costly system.
The mandate will include FDA-approved drugs like Ella and Plan B that are misleadingly labeled emergency contraceptives despite the fact that they can actually destroy a developing baby prior to or after implanting in the mothers womb.HHSfailed to address this problem in the interim rule published today despite many public comments on this very issue.
For an administration that promised to protect conscience laws in effect now, this decision completely ignores opinion, research and science that do not support a pro-abortion ideology. In the words of one of the committee members who objected to theIOMrecommendations, the evaluation for evidence lacked transparency … the process tended to result in a mix of objective and subjective determination through the lens of advocacy.
This administration is promoting mandates that will violate the consciences of millions. Therefore,FRCurges Congress to pass the bi-partisan Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2011, sponsored by Reps. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Dan Boren (D-OK), which would protect the conscience rights of those who object to being forced to cover, provide or pay for such drugs.
Last January, FRCsent a letter to Secretary Kathleen Sebelius urging HHSto reject the inclusion of abortion or contraceptive drugs as mandatory covered benefits at no cost to patients. FRCreceived no response or even acknowledgement of the letter. Click here to download a copy of FRCs letter: http://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF11A26.pdf