"Am I therefore become your enemy,because I TELL YOU THE TRUTH...?"
(Galatians 4:16)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Al Gore Wrong Again

On October 14, 1997, Vice President Al Gore said, “For those who argue that global warming is already changing the world’s climate, this year’s El Nino weather front is more than enough evidence”, the audience was told by Gore. In the next day, a report by the San Francisco Chronicle said: “Gore links El Nino to Global Warming”. The Vice President stated at the summit that growing frequency of El Nino episodes could be connected to the gradual heating of the atmosphere caused by emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.Ten years later residents in Argentina and Brazil are wondering if this winter will ever end. Buenos Aires recorded this Thursday (November 15th) the lowest November temperature in 90 years. Temperature in the Downtown weather station reached 2.5C. Since records began more than a century ago, only two days had colder lows in November. It was in 1914 (1.6) and 1917 (2.4). And ninety years ago the urban heat island effect was much less pronounced than nowadays. In Brazil's southernmost province Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil temperatures fell to 2.3C. In Sao Joaquim Monday's (Nov., 12) the temperature was -1.2 C with frost.The culprit is a developing la Nina , a cooling of the water in the eastern Pacific along the South American coast, that some climatologists believe could indicate a return to the la Nina dominated situation that dominated from1947 to 1977. El Ninos, a warming of East Pacific waters. have been more common since then. Some climatologists believe the el Ninos may have caused what the IPCC calls "global warming".NASA has recently indicated that the circulation of the Arctic Ocean has changed from the counterclockwise circulation of the 1990's to the pre-1990 clockwise circulation which could result in a cooling trend in the Arctic.Such a shift would be consist with the projected cooling trend mentioned in the previous post.

As in the days of Noah....

SIGN of the TIMES:Sexual abuse of public school students more widespread than parents think

A California investigator says there's an epidemic of sexual crimes against students in the state’s public schools, a problem largely overlooked by those responsible for protecting children. In a telephone interview with California Catholic Daily, Mary Jo McGrath, a Santa Barbara lawyer who assesses cases of suspected sexual molestation in schools, noted there are now “staggering numbers” of sexual abuse cases coming to light, and estimated the incidence as on average about one perpetrator per school. A seven-month investigation by Associated Press reporters found that, from 2001 to 2005, the teaching licenses of more than 2,500 educators nationwide were revoked for actions ranging from the bizarre to the sadistic. The reported frequency of sexual abuse-nearly three for every school day-indicates an extremely serious problem, one which McGrath says is largely ignored because the public does not want to consider the broader implications if something so repulsive is so widespread. For instance, the AP report examined the case of Rebecca A. Boicelli, a teacher in Redwood City who conceived a child with a 16-year-old former student, then went on maternity leave. She was then hired to teach in a nearby school district, where no one had told them about the teacher’s past. As Charol Shakeshaft, a leading expert in teacher sex abuse told the AP, “It's a dynamic so common it has its own nicknames-‘passing the trash’ or the ‘mobile molester.’" Who are the molesters? McGrath told California Catholic Daily that “80 to 90% are middle-class, middle-aged men who are married and have children. We think they molest mostly girls, although boys are far less likely to report abuse: a boy seduced by a female teacher gets the impression he’s ‘supposed’ to enjoy it, and a boy abused by a man is so confused and humiliated he won’t talk.” Said McGrath, “Often, people simply don’t want to believe that a married man with children can be afflicted by this aberrant sexuality. But it’s a crime of opportunity. Where a normal man might think, ‘Oh, that’s an attractive child’ and consciously reject the notion of approaching her, an abuser will look for his chance.” One big difference between suspected misconduct on the part of Catholic priests and that of public school teachers, says McGrath, is that investigators and prosecutors have access to extraordinarily full documentation in the case of priests: correspondence, medical and psychological counseling records, and employment history starting when the man was a seminary student. “Almost none of that,” she told California Catholic Daily, “would end up in a public school teacher’s personnel file.” McGrath said public student abuse victims can sue the school, the school district, and the state Department of Education in much the same way the Catholic Church was sued by victims of abuse at the hands of priests. “Supreme Court rulings in the last 20 years on civil rights and sex discrimination have opened schools up to potentially huge financial punishments for abuses,” explained McGrath. “I’m now training entire school systems how to recognize the early warning signals, the ‘red flags’ of abuse.”

As in the days of Noah....

China embraces Confucius again

"Once in disgrace as a lackey of the feudal class, Confucius may rise again to replace Marx as the guiding spirit of the Communist Party."
Confucius has returned. In fact he was never far away, not even in the darkest days of the Cultural Revolution. For years the government reviled Confucius as a representative of "old ways of thinking", a lackey of the feudal class and oppressor of slaves. Lin Biao, the disgraced heir apparent of Mao, was condemned not only as a traitor but as "a close follower of Confucius". It has always been like this in Chinese history. In the 3rd century BC, Chin—the first emperor and unifier of China—wanted to do away with history and tradition so that he would become the cornerstone of a new China. He ordered the Confucian classics to be burned and the scholars massacred, much as Mao Tse-tung did.What happened after Chin is happening after Mao: Confucius is making a comeback. it could hardly be otherwise. China is not China without Confucius.The ideology of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is in deep crisis. Even among Party leaders, it is hard to find a convinced Marxist, even though a portrait of Mao is still hanging in Tiananmen Square. From a pragmatic perspective, the CCP needs to justify its grip on power using the old dynastic rationale: Mao is the founder of a new dynasty and the CCP is his heir. The CCP is no longer a revolutionary party; but a political aristocracy that claims a monopoly on power to steer the country through an economic and social transformation unprecedented in human history and make it a great power. There are no obvious alternatives. The history of China in the 20th century has been so volatile, violent, chaotic and miserable that its citizens appreciate the relative prosperity and freedom, even if there is room for much improvement.But this leaves the CPP with two great problems: consistency and solidarity. For 30 years the Party has followed the pragmatic approach suggested by Deng Xiaoping: "To be rich is to be glorious." Hence it has followed capitalist development policies. But this has created a problem of consistency within the Party. The Marxist structures and slogans remain, but the ideology has evaporated. What is the source, then, of the regime's legitimacy?The other problem is social solidarity. China has the largest number of millionaires in the world and the companies with greatest market value. But there are vast differences between the well-developed coastal regions and the poor interior provinces, and between rural and urban areas. Corruption is rife and the socialist safety nets of the 1970s are being undone with nothing to replace them. Demonstrations and complaints have been increasingly frequent. Can the government withstand the stormy seas ahead?In view of this social turmoil, the Chinese Prime Minister, Hu Jintao, deliberately revived the ancient sage at the CPP's recent five-year congress in Beijing. Hu's slogan of the "Three Harmonies" is clearly Confucian: he-ping (peace in the world), he-jie (reconciliation with Taiwan), he-xie (social harmony). This is clearly a Confucian program.Ever since Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao took control of the main political positions of China at the end of 2002, they have consistently acted as ruler-scholars at the service of the people, in keeping with the Confucian ideal of a good ruler. Many of their slogans, such as "people first", "running the Government at the service of the people", and "seek harmony in differences," are literal quotations from Confucius or his follower Mencius.The rebirth of Confucian values is everywhere. The Chinese Government has fostered the creation of Confucius Institutes all over the world to promote Chinese language and culture; the curricula in schools and universities pay now more attention to the Chinese classics; it is becoming fashionable in the media to use expressions with Confucian undertones. One of the outstanding publishing success stories of the last few years has been the sale of almost four million copies of a simplified version of Confucius’s Analects.Confucius’ moral and social philosophy goes directly against the moribund Marxist orthodoxy but the CPP likes its emphasis on order, harmony, sense of responsibility, and authority. As the heirs of the Mao dynasty, they are seeking support for their position.However, this novel emphasis on Confucian values may be motivated by an honest drive to seek a solid foundation in the quicksands of social transformation.Hu and Wen are fully aware that Confucian ethics imposes reciprocal rights and duties on rulers and citizens. It demands obedience to authority, but imposes on the Government the duty of moral behaviour in favour of the people, to the point that it justifies rebellion against tyranny. They have begun a one-way trip away from Marxist ideology. Furthermore, the new generation of Chinese leaders believes that their first loyalty is to China and its people, not to the CPP. They have a deep sense of mission and responsibility rooted in the Confucian ideals of a good ruler -- even if the West views them as a despotic autocracy.
To read more go to:

As in the days of Noah....

CULTURE of DEATH:Suicide Friendly TV From the BBC

Is it just me, or does it also seem to you that the popular entertainment is increasingly pro-suicide, assisted suicide, and euthanasia in its themes and plot lines? The latest example, alas, was brought to us by BBC's Torchwood-one of my favorite programs, a spin-off of another favorite, Dr. Who.Torchwood follows the trials and tribulations of a secret team of investigators assigned to protect earth from space alien incursions and other unexplainable phenomena. Alright, I know it isn't an original premise, but the show is lively, well written and acted, edgy, and (sometimes too) sexy.The episode in question involved a small plane landing in the present, having been brought here due to some kind of time/space anomaly from 1953. The rest of the show follows members of the Torchwood team as they help the time travelers adjust to never being able to return to their own era.One of the passengers, let's call him Ted, searches for his family and finds that his wife is long dead and his only son is now an old man dying of Alzheimer's disease. Distraught, Ted steals a Torchwood Team car, drives to his now abandoned home, parks in the garage, and tries to commit suicide by auto exhaust.The leader of Torchwood, Capt. Jack, gets there just in time. When Ted is revived, he tells Capt. Jack that he wants to die, that whatever Capt. Jack does, he will kill himself. Jack suggests weakly that he can meet new people, start a family. Ted says he already did that once and now he just wants to die. Well, that settles that! Without further ado, Capt. Jack assists Ted in committing suicide. It is presented as a compassionate and respectful decision, one that Capt. Jack personally disagrees with, but which must be allowed out of respect for Ted's freedom.Such terminal nonjudgmentalism (as I call it) is a continual and repeated theme in popular entertainment. Million Dollar Baby has the Clint Eastwood character euthanizing the boxer because she doesn't believe her life will be worth living with quadriplegia. In Star Trek Voyager, Captain Janeway assists a suicide after going through a nonsense ethical hearing filled with bioethical buzzwords. Law and Order has had several pro-assisted suicide programs involving AIDS and other maladies. And the list goes on. What's more, I can't remember the last time I saw a program with suicide prevention as its theme, nor a depiction of the benefit so many receive by being prevented from committing suicide.I suppose the Hollywood types (yes, I know BBC is in the UK) think such suicide friendly plots are modern and modernity sells. But here's a sickening thought: Perhaps, rather than influencing the culture, these screen writers and directors are merely reflecting the time in which we live, where our worship of unfettered "choice" is actually a mask for not really giving much of a damn.
by Wesley J. Smith

As in the days of Noah....

LEWDNESS WATCH:Game banned over lesbian scene

Singapore - Singapore has banned an Xbox video game because it contains a sex scene between a woman and a female alien character, the city-state's censors said on Thursday.
"Mass Effect," a futuristic space adventure published by Microsoft, has been banned from sale because of "lesbian intimacy" between two characters, said Chetra S., deputy director of the Board of Film Censors, in a statement.
According to a report by The Straits Times newspaper, the human-alien duo are depicted kissing and caressing each other in a scene that ends with the alien saying, "By the gods, that was incredible, commander."A Microsoft spokesperson in Singapore said Microsoft respected Singapore's decision to ban the game, which is to be launched globally on November 20.
"'Mass Effect' features realistic content and interactions in the context of the science-fiction story line," Ian Tan, marketing communications manager for Southeast Asia said."The game takes a mature approach to various relationships amongst characters throughout the game and the content in question is another dynamic of that."Chetra, of the censors' board, said Singapore's video games industry is largely self-regulated, with game importers responsible for declaring to the censorship board that the game content falls within a set of guidelines."This helps to ensure that games are suitable for a general audience and do not feature exploitative or gratuitous sex and violence, or denigrate any race or religion," Chetra said.Other video games that have been banned this year include "God of War II," for nudity, and "The Darkness," for "excessive violence and religiously offensive expletives," Chetra said.Chetra said the city-state's Media Development Authority, which oversees the censors' board, will introduce classification for video games next year, a move that could allow games such as "Mass Effect" to be passed under a mature classification.Authorities in Singapore have banned gay festivals and censored gay films, saying homosexuality should not be advocated as a lifestyle choice.Under Singapore law, gay sex is deemed "an act of gross indecency," punishable by a maximum of two years in jail. Despite the official ban on gay sex, there have been few prosecutions.

As in the days of Noah....

DECEPTION WATCH:Hillary Clinton to Attend Saddleback Church AIDS Event

According to a CBS report Hillary Clinton will be attending the Global Summit on AIDS and the Church, to be held at Saddleback Church in California from November 28th to December 1st.The CBS news story states: "Presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., will attend a meeting on AIDS at the Saddleback Church hosted by pastor and "The Purpose Driven Life" author Rick Warren and his wife Kay, church officials announced Thursday." The article quotes Clinton as saying: "I commend Rick and Kay Warren for their work to fight HIV/AIDS ... Our churches have a powerful role to play in raising the consciousness of the nation and the world to this pandemic and urge compassion for the sick and the suffering."A PR News Wire press release issued on 11/15 from the Global Summit on AIDS and the Church office in Lake Forest, California states:
The Warrens have extended invitations to leading presidentialcandidates. Five invitees, including former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.),former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, have expressed a desire to participate and are currently working on scheduling issues....
The HIV/AIDS initiative of Saddleback Church is a key part of the P.E.A.C.E. plan, an overarching humanitarian strategy launched three years ago. This worldwide effort is to mobilize 1 billion church members to Promote Reconciliation, Equip servant leaders, Assist the poor, Care for the sick and Educate the next generation. One session of the Summit will feature a report about the P.E.A.C.E. plan progress and the lessons learned over the past three years as a result of sending out more than 7,500 members to test the plan in 69 countries.Rick Warren has, on a number of public occasions, discussed his global peace plan and what he calls a new reformation which he says will include people from all faiths:
Who's the man of peace in any village - or it might be a woman of peace - who has the most respect, they're open and they're influential? They don't have to be a Christian. In fact, they could be a Muslim, but they're open and they're influential and you work with them to attack the five giants [of the P.E.A.C.E. Plan] And that's going to bring the second Reformation."-Rick Warren, May 2005, Pew Forum on Religion
Under the recommended reading list for Saddleback's HIVAIDS Community are two books by mystic Henri Nouwen. 1 One of the books, In the Name of Jesus, is also recommended by Kay Warren on http://www.pastors.com/. This is the book where Nouwen says Christian leaders must move from the moral to the mystical:
Through the discipline of contemplative prayer, Christian leaders have to learn to listen to the voice of love ... For Christian leadership to be truly fruitful in the future, a movement from the moral to the mystical is required" (pp. 6, 31,32).
After years of following the mystical way, this same Henri Nouwen, near the end of his life, stated:
Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God's house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God.-From Sabbatical Journey, Henri Nouwen's last book, page 51, 1998 Hardcover Edition
For more information on Warren's global peace plan and other related topics, see
Speakers at this year's AIDS event at Saddleback.
As in the days of Noah...

Georgia Police Turns Sonic Blaster on Demonstrators

There's more evidence that the Saakashvili regime in Georgia is using sound weapons against opposition protestors. This English-language footage from Russia Today shows riot police rolling through the streets of Tblisi in pickup trucks, small dishes in hand. A high frequency pulse follows."Georgian police used an acoustic gun-it's a non-lethal weapon that disorients people for a period of time," says one "special weapons expert." "Similar such guns are also used by the Iraq police," the Russia Today piece claims. That, I'm not so sure about. But the sonic systems-which can also be used as a long-range "hailer," projecting sound far, far away-have been tested out by American troops in Iraq. They were employed by the New York Police Department during the last Republican National Convention and by military police during Hurricane Katrina. A cruise ship even used a sonic blast to ward off Somali pirates in '05.Reader TM points out that short-range versions of the same technology can be bought online-for as little as $898 a pop.
To watch the video go to:
As in the days of Noah....

Saudi builds security force of 35,000 to guard oil

RIYADH-Saudi Arabia is building up a special 35,000-strong rapid reaction force to protect its energy installations from attacks by militants targeting the world's largest oil exporter.The kingdom started recruiting and training the industrial security force a year ago,after a failed al Qaeda attack on the world's largest oil processing plant at Abqaiq in February 2006.The network's Saudi branch vowed more strikes on oil facilities after the attack, the first to directly target the kingdom's oil sector since militants began a campaign against the U.S.-allied Saudi royals in May 2003.Al Qaeda's Saudi-born leader, Osama bin Laden, has called for it to take aim specifically at oil."There is a new threat to oil installations from terrorists that has to be confronted," Interior Ministry spokesman General Mansour al-Turki told Reuters."We can't just rely on a security system that was built some time ago for a different kind of risk."Saudi Arabia pumps around 9 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil, over a tenth of global supplies, and severe damage to its infrastructure could have far-reaching effects.The kingdom is keeper of most of the world's three million barrels per day (bpd) of spare oil capacity, a reserve crucial to the global energy system to deal with any surprise supply disruption.
To read more go to:
As in the days of Noah...


"These things I have spoken unto you that in me ye might have peace,In the world ye shall have tribulation:but be of good cheer;I have overcome the world."
JOHN 16:33

US slams UN Human Rights Council, says body too focused on Israel

The United States criticized the UN Human Rights Council on Friday for focusing all the time on Israel while failing to address human rights violations in Zimbabwe, North Korea, Iran, Belarus and Cuba.Israel took the unusual step of calling a vote at a UN General Assembly committee on a resolution that would normally have passed by consensus, saying it wanted to put its criticism about the work of the Human Rights Council on the record.The General Assembly established the 47-nation council based in Geneva last year to improve the United Nation's image on human rights. It replaced a commission widely criticized for ignoring rights violations in some developing countries.Friday's vote on a resolution endorsing the council's working rules, including a periodic human rights review for all countries, passed overwhelmingly, but Israel won backing from the United States, Canada, Australia and three other countries in voting against.Explaining the US "no" vote, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said the new body had failed to address the "deficiencies that had politicized the council and prevented it from acting as a serious and effective human rights institution."He said it had been "a very bad first year" for the council because of its "relentless focus" on Israel and failure to address serious human rights violations in other countries such as Zimbabwe, North Korea, Iran, Belarus and Cuba.Israel's deputy ambassador, Daniel Carmon, said the council had shown double standards and hypocrisy."It is high time to see moral conviction in the Human Rights Council - so that it becomes a shield to protect victims of human rights and not a weapon for those who abuse them," he told the committee.Khalilzad said Washington welcomed the council's unanimous and strong condemnation of Myanmar's violent repression of protests in September, but said it needed to act as strongly on other situations around the world."The Council will be the world's most important human rights mechanism if and only if it consistently focuses on the worst human rights violations in the world," he said. "We hope that the Human Rights Council will stand in solidarity with victims of human rights violations around the world, not with the perpetrators."French Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert, who voted in favor, said he shared concerns about the council's focus on Israel but he said the resolution had pass to allow the council to do its work effectively.

As in the days of Noah....

Iran touts IAEA report, demands West apologize

Iran called on its Western foes on Friday to apologize to the Islamic Republic after the release of a UN nuclear agency report which Tehran said showed it had been telling the truth about its atomic plans.The IAEA said in its report on Thursday that Iran had made important strides towards clarifying past nuclear activities but was forced to admit Tehran continued to enrich uranium at an industrial level, in defiance of the UN Security Council.The United States said the report only served to show that Iran was still defying the international community and that Washington would proceed with allies to draft broader United Nations sanctions against it.But that may prove difficult to accomplish in light of the report. A meeting of world powers on tougher sanctions was cancelled on Friday after China pulled out, European diplomatic sources said. Political directors from Britain, France, Germany, the United States, Russia and China had been scheduled to meet on Monday to assess the IAEA report."There is frustration on the Western side over China and Russia not having the same sense of urgency about Iran, and this problem may well increase due to this report," said a European official.Iran has threatened to stop cooperating if hit with more sanctions. Russia and China want to preserve strong trade ties with Iran and say isolating the Islamic Republic could lead to wider Middle East conflict.The United States recently imposed unilateral economic sanctions and has not ruled out military action against Iran. Britain has also been pushing hard for a third round of sanctions, including restrictions on energy and financial investment in Iran.
Israel: Iran stalling for time while it develops weapons
Israel issued its first official response to the report on Friday, saying that the IAEA's findings prove Iran's continuing defiance and plans to push ahead with its nuclear program."As far as Israel is concerned, the report shows the need for the international community to be resolute in its actions against Iran, including the implementation of heavier sanctions," the Foreign Ministry said in a written statement. "If anything, the report does not indicate any transparency on Iran's part… it only shows that the volume of information Iran is providing the IAEA with regarding its nuclear activities is diminishing, in clear violation of UN orders," said the statement, "it is clear that Iran is merely working to buy time from the international community while it continues to develop nuclear weapons."

As in the days of Noah....

Vatican:Ties with Israel worsening

A senior Vatican diplomat who served as papal envoy to Israel has described [[[Vatican-Israeli relations as worsening, blaming the Jewish state for failing to keep promises related to church land, taxes and travel restrictions on Arab clergy.]]]Archbishop Pietro Sambi lashed out at Israel in an interview posted Friday on Terrasanta.net, an online publication about the Holy Land.''If I must be frank, the relations between the Catholic Church and the state of Israel were better when there were no diplomatic ties,'' said Sambi, interviewed earlier in the week in Washington, where he now serves as Pope Benedict XVI's envoy to the United States.''The Holy See decided to establish diplomatic relations (in 1993) with Israel as an act of faith, leaving to latter the serious promises to regulate concrete aspects of the life of the Catholic community and the Church'' in Israel, Sambi said.Among the issues hanging are the status of expropriated church property, services that Catholic groups perform for Israel's Jewish and Arab population, and tax exemptions for the Church.The Vatican diplomat also cited a current sore point - the granting of permits for Arab Christian clergy traveling to and around the West Bank.Israel has rescinded some travel privileges for those clergy because of security concerns.Israel and the Palestinian territories are home to a small Christian minority.Sambi complained that the Knesset, Israel's legislature, has failed to give necessary approval to various accords that had been signed by both sides, and noted that an impasse over taxes has been discussed on and off for nearly 10 years without resolution.He blamed the situation on Israel's ''absence of political will.''''Everyone can see what kind of trust you can give to Israel's promises,'' Sambi said.Asked about Sambi's criticisms, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said: ''Israel is interested in good relations with the Vatican and Israeli and Vatican officials are working to overcome gaps that exist.''Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said the interview with Sambi ''reflects his thinking and his personal experience'' during the diplomat's former posting in Israel. Lombardi said the Holy See reiterated the hope, expressed in September when Benedict met with Israeli President Shimon Peres, for a ''rapid conclusion of the important negotiations'' and a common solution to ''existing problems.''Tensions between the Vatican and Israel grew this year after the Pope decided to revive an old Latin mass calling for the conversion of Jews. Several months earlier the Vatican's ambassador to Israel announced he would boycott a Holocaust memorial service because of allegations that during World War II Pope Pius XII was silent about the genocide being perpetrated against Europe's Jews.
As in the days of Noah....

Russian parliament votes for suspending European arms treaty

Russia's upper house of parliament voted Friday to suspend participation in a key European arms control treaty, backing President Vladimir Putin's proposal in a show of defiance to the West.The Federation Council voted unanimously for a law suspending Russia's obligations under the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty that limits the deployment of tanks, aircraft and other heavy weapons across the continent.Putin called for Russia's temporary withdrawal from the treaty amid mounting anger in the Kremlin over US plans to build a missile defense system in eastern Europe.Putin justified what he called a suspension of Russia's participation in the agreement by pointing to NATO's own failure to ratify an amended version.Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, approved the legislation last week, and it will take effect December 12th.No weapons' limitations Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called on the West to ratify the amended CFE treaty, saying that it was the only way to "put in order" arms control in Europe, Russian news agencies reported. Under the moratorium, Russia will halt inspections and verifications of its military sites by NATO countries and will no longer be obligated to limit the number of conventional weapons deployed west of the Urals.The 1990 arms control treaty set limits on the deployment of heavy conventional weapons by NATO and Warsaw Pact countries, to ease tensions along the border between the old Eastern bloc and Western Europe.The treaty was revised in 1999 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russia ratified the updated treaty in 2004, but the United States and other NATO members have refused to follow suit, saying Moscow first must fulfill obligations to withdraw forces from Georgia and from Moldova's separatist region of Trans-Dniester.Russia on Thursday announced that it had completed withdrawal of its conventional forces, though not its peacekeeping troops, from Georgia.

As in the days of Noah....

Germany could consider separate EU steps on Iran

BERLIN-Germany would consider the possibility of separate EU measures against Iran if the U.N. Security Council fails to agree on a new sanctions resolution, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Friday.Reacting to the latest report on Iran's nuclear program by the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the United States said on Thursday it would work with its allies for a third round of U.N. sanctions against Tehran for refusing to suspend nuclear enrichment.But Russia and China, permanent veto-wielding members of the Security Council, are opposed to more sanctions. As a result, France has been pushing for the European Union to impose its own separate U.S.-style sanctions against the Islamic Republic.A German Foreign Ministry spokesman was asked at a regular news conference what Germany, which diplomats have been saying opposed the idea of separate EU measures, would do if the Security Council failed to approve tougher sanctions."The foreign minister has made clear that if this is the case we would take up this issue in Europe and consider together what steps could be taken by Europe," spokesman Martin Jaeger said.He also said that Thursday's report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna "makes clear that Iran has still not fulfilled its international obligations as laid down in resolutions of the U.N. Security Council and shows that enrichment activities continue."On the positive side, he said the report by IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei noted that some progress has been made in dealing with open questions about Iran's past nuclear activities. But he said this was not sufficient."We need not just clarity about the past but also to demonstrate that Iran's nuclear program is entirely peaceful," he said. "There must be progress with the enrichment issue."

As in the days of Noah....

Iran could build atom bomb within one year, says nuclear watchdog

Iran has expanded its capacity to enrich uranium and now has 3,000 centrifuges operating-enough potentially to produce an atom bomb within a year-the United Nations nuclear watchdog reported yesterday.But the Islamic Republic has also taken tentative steps towards calming international fears about having secret plans for a nuclear device, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.Iran’s deft diplomatic high wire act is likely to further frustrate efforts by the West to push further sanctions through the UN Security Council. Instead, the IAEA conclusions looked set to bolster the arguments of China and Russia that Tehran needs more time to open its books.According to the report, Iran has given limited - but as far the agency can tell truthful - detail about its past nuclear work while still refusing to obey a UN demand for the suspension of the uranium enrichment programme.“Iran has provided sufficient access to individuals and has responded in a timely manner to questions and provided clarifications and amplifications on issues raised,” said the ten-page report.It added that the IAEA was “not in a position to provide credible assurances about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran”.Tehran yesterday lost no time in trumpeting the findings as a vindication of its defiance against the West. President Ahmadinejad said: “The world will see that the Iranian nation has been right and the resistance of our nation has been correct.”Iran’s official news agency said the US, France and Britain knew in advance they were “going to suffer a blow by the scheduled report” and were resorting to “extortion” by presenting the IAEA with a list of additional questions for Tehran to answer.Britain and the US have made plain that they are not satisfied and will pursue further sanctions from the Security Council and the European Union. The Foreign Office issued a statement yesterday saying: “If Iran wants to restore trust in its programme, it must come clean on all outstanding issues without delay.” The US envoy to the IAEA, Gregory Schulte, had already stated: “Selective cooperation is not good enough.”But China’s foreign minister Yang Jiechi, visiting Tehran yesterday, indicated support for Iran’s “right to peacefully use nuclear energy”. Yang’s spokesman said Iranian officials had told him they do not intend to develop nuclear weapons, adding: “China also hopes all parties show flexibility and make its due efforts to the peaceful resolution of the issue.”The IEAE report confirmed that Iran, which insists its programme is for peaceful purposes, has expanded uranium enrichment to around 3,000 centrifuge machines. This number is enough to start industrial production of nuclear fuel and could provide the material needed for an atom bomb within a year.There is growing concern among senior military sources in Washington - among whom enthusiasm for military action has waned - that such a level of production could trigger an air strike from Israel on Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility.Israel’s prime minister Ehud Olmert was yesterday forced to deny a Reuters report that he was already preparing specific measures to counter a nuclear Iran.Speculation about Israel’s intentions has been fueled by its recent air strike against an alleged nuclear plant at Dayr az-Zawr in Syria. One source has suggested that the Pentagon did not know about the plan until Israeli F- 151 aircraft were already on their way to the target on September 6.Another claimed that the airstrike was designed to send a message to Iran which has surrounded its Natanz nuclear facility with the same air defence weapons purchased by Syria to defend Dayr az-Zawr. “It showed Iran that Israel can hit them whenever they want,” said the official.Tehran’s co-operation with the IEAE has included handing over a long-withheld blueprint showing how to shape uranium metal into hemispheres for a nuclear warhead. The Iranians claim this document was given to them unsolicited by rogue Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan.Iran also provided information about a new centrifuge system called the “P2” - believed to operate with technology provided by Khan - which can refine uranium two or three times faster than the earlier prototype.Yesterday’s IEAE report added, however, that Iran’s “cooperation has been reactive rather than proactive”.

As in the days of Noah....

Teaching hospital coming to Bethlehem

Israel-CURE International plans a hospital in Bethlehem.The U.S. based Christian medical charity announced last week that it plans to open a $16.5 million state-of-the-art medical training center and hospital in Bethlehem,Palestine. This new facility will be the first specialty surgical care available to Palestinian children in the West Bank.Dr. Scott Harrison, who founded CURE International and serves as the organization's president, says that this cardiac and orthopedic hospital fills a major need where medical care is severely limited.The project is also a cooperation between Christians, Muslims and Jews who are working together to provide medical care for the children in the area. Harrison says that "The Bethlehem hospital is unique in that it is bringing together three faith groups to build a facility of healing in a very volatile region." The group will serve together at teh hospital and will receive additional training at some of the leading hospitals in Jerusalem.The governor of Bethlehem says they will set the example for co-existence and bring the message of peace, tolerance, freedom, and acceptance of all people.CURE International is a Christian medical charity which operates teaching hospitals throughout the developing world and is committed to the physical and spiritual healing of disabled children.

As in the days of Noah...

Islam and the Nation-State

Throughout the world, one of the most prevalent causes of war, terrorism, and political instability is the ongoing weakening of the nation-state system. There are several reasons that the nation-state as a political unit of sovereignty is under threat. One of the most basic causes of this continuous erosion of national power throughout the world is the transformation of minority-dominated enclaves within nation-states into ungovernable areas where state power is either not applied or applied in a haphazard and generally unconstructive manner.While domestic strife between majority and minority populations has been an enduring feature of democratic and indeed all societies throughout history, the current turbulence constitutes a unique challenge to the nation-state system. This is because much of the internal strife between minority and majority populations within states today is financed and often directed from outside the country.Traditionally, minorities used various local means to engage the majority population in a bid to influence the political direction or cultural norms of the nation state. The classic examples of this traditional minority-majority engagement are the black civil rights movement in the US in the 1960s and the labor movements in the West throughout the 20th century. By and large, these movements were domestic protests informed by national sensibilities even when they enjoyed the support of foreign governments.Today while similar movements continue to flourish, they are now being superseded by a new type of minority challenge to national majorities.This challenge is not primarily the result of domestic injustice but the consequence of foreign agitation. The roots of these minority challenges are found outside the borders of the targeted states. And their goals are not limited to a call for the reform of national institutions and politics. Rather they set their sights on weakening national institutions and eroding national sovereignty.Muslim minorities throughout the world are being financed and ideologically trained in Saudi and UAE funded mosques and Islamic centers. These minorities act in strikingly similar manners in the countries where they are situated throughout the world. On the one hand, their local political leaders demand extraordinary communal rights, rights accorded neither to the national majority nor to other minority populations. On the other hand, Muslim neighborhoods, particularly in Europe, but also in Israel, the Philippines and Australia, are rendered increasingly ungovernable as arms of the state like the police and tax authorities come under attack when they attempt to assert state power in these Muslim communities.Logic would have it that targeted states would respond to the threat to their authority through a dual strategy. On the one hand, they would firmly assert their authority by enforcing their laws against both individual lawbreakers and against subversive, foreign financed institutions that incite the overthrow of their governments and their replacement with Islamic governments. On the other hand, they would seek out and empower local Muslims who accept the authority and legitimacy of their states and their rule of law.Unfortunately, with the notable exception of the Howard government in Australia, in country after country, governments respond to this challenge by attempting to appease Muslim irredentists and their state sponsors. The British responded to the July 7, 2005 bombings by giving representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood an official role in crafting and carrying out counter-terror policies.
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"He that hateth me,hateth my Father also.
If I had not done among them the works which none other man did,they had not had sin:but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.
But this cometh to pass,that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law.They hated me without a cause."
JOHN 16:23-25

How the UN Helps Terror

Breakdown and Introduction
At the beginning of November, Col. Nir Press, of the IDF’s Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration, registered a complaint with the United Nations Relief and Welfare Agency (UNWRA) regarding the use by terrorists of an UNRWA school in Beit Hanoun on October 31 for shooting mortars. The IDF has aerial photos from an unmanned vehicle that showed the terrorists shooting from the school. Israel did not fire at the school in return.[1]
John Ging, Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, responded[2] that the masked terrorists had gained entry into the school after threatening the life of the guard.
Karen AbuZayd, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations who has been UNRWA's Deputy Commissioner-General since August, however, told the press a different story: She said that all teachers and students and the one guard employed at the school had been moved out following an Israeli incursion into the area. According to her, UNRWA only discovered militants had been inside the school after seeing television footage a week ago. "This is a problem when we're not there, what happens to our schools," she said.
She does not explain what happened to the guard whose life was threatened.
UN Secretary-General Ki Moon is sufficiently concerned about this incident to have now ordered an investigation.
This particular incident has not occurred in isolation, however, and must be set into fuller context:
Before September 2005
UNRWRA and terrorism in Gaza
The connections of the UNRWA refugee camps in Gaza to terrorism – and specifically to Hamas – date back well beyond recent events.
The genesis of radicalism in the UNRWA camps was traced by these authors in March 2003.[3] A state of indefinite, stateless limbo, the impression that Israel was denying them their “inalienable right to return,”[4] and unsatisfactory living conditions all promoted anger and a move to a radical stance. Added to this was (and is) an educational system that in Gaza, as well as in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) , utilizes Palestinian Authority textbooks that promote jihad and deny the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state.
Evidence of radicalism in the UNRWA camps was apparent – but largely ignored – for some years:
A full ten years ago, UNRWA schools were seen decorated with Hamas graffiti and a map of a Palestine that ran from the river to the sea, covered with pictures of machine guns.[5]
An UNRWA food distribution center in Beach Camp, Gaza, was reported to be “decorated with murals of exploding Israeli boats and burning jeeps.” At a nearby boys elementary school “posters glorifying suicide bombers” were stripped from classroom walls.[6]
IDF Colonel (ret.) Yoni Fighel, a former military governor in the territories, gave testimony in 2002 to the fact that UNRWA employees were members of Hamas.[7]
By 2003, it was clear that “the UNRWA camps have become centers of terrorist activities. It is often in the camps that terrorists are recruited, trained, and dispatched, and weapons manufactured; camps (and UNRWA facilities) are utilized for hiding terrorists and weapons. Camps provide a safe haven for terrorists from outside, while residents of the camps themselves are involved in terrorist activities.”[8]
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As in the days of Noah...

Italy's Third World Future

Como, Italy…Boatloads of illegal immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa and Arab North Africa land in Italy’s southern provinces, and then proceed northwards to the wealthier regions Lazio (Rome), Tuscany (Florence), Veneto (Venice), Piedmont (Turin) and Lombardy (Milan and Como).These illegal immigrants can be seen in all the tourist spots throughout Italy and even in smaller towns such as Como, near the Swiss border. Their presence, while annoying to tourists and natives, is becoming increasingly menacing with their involvement in a new wave of crimes previously unseen in Italy.The annoyance lies in the audacity with which these Third World infiltrators push their wares in people’s faces, often in a provocative way. The police look on passively, no doubt instructed not to interfere. Inquiring into this untenable situation (immigrants constitute now 6.2% of Italy’s 58 million population), which may eventually prove to be detrimental to tourism and national identity, native Italians shrug their shoulders in a gesture of resignation. When prodded, most express their frustration by saying, “Our government promises a lot with words but does nothing in actuality.”Italians, known for their love of life and tolerance towards others are getting fed up, albeit not totally focused on action. The October 30th, 2007, murder of an Italian woman by a Romanian immigrant brought the issue of immigrants’ threat to public security into sharper focus. Former center-right Prime Minister and opposition leader Silvio Berlusconi called on the Prodi government expel the Romanian immigrants (a large number of them are Gypsies/Roma people). Rome’s center-left Mayor Walter Veltroni was in a panic, demanding the central government act immediately.On November 6th, 2007, the Prodi government came up with a decree, giving officers of the Interior Ministry the power to expel immigrant-citizens of EU countries. The decree does not however relate to the illegal immigrants that in proportion to their numbers commit far more crimes. It remains to be seen whether the new decree will be enforced?In scores of impromptu interviews with local citizens during a recent visit to Italy, it was apparent that political-correctness and fear of being labeled “racist” have muted citizen’s complaints. Italians and other Europeans have remained relatively silent in the face of the ever-rising number of illegal immigrants (many of them Muslims from North Africa and Albania) who are in breach of Italian law (and that of other European Union member states as well). The only logical explanation for their inaction and seeming resignation to the marked changes taking place around them may just be a sense of guilt.Most Italians and other European Union member states are beginning to recognize that their state’s fundamental character is threatened by the apparently unstoppable influx of uneducated and unskilled immigrants-legal and illegal. Compassion towards these illegal immigrants is commendable; after all, they simply seek to better their lives and that of their families. But then, one must consider the implication for countries such as Italy (and for that matter the other EU states) if the flow of illegal immigrants continues.
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Abourezk and the ADC: Apologists for Terror

One of the most energetic opponents of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week was the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), which sent letters to the presidents of all the colleges hosting IFAW events, urging them to censor the speakers in advance and not allow the Week’s activities to go on. The ADC’s President, former U.S. Representative Mary Rose Oakar, charged in the letter that “these planned activities seek not to increase awareness, tolerance, and understanding, but instead promote intolerance, fear, and bigotry…ADC is deeply troubled by the possibility that a tiny handful of student with a narrow political agenda, backed by a well-funded special interest group, would organize this type of hateful and bigoted event on your campus. I urge you to ensure that hate speech and demonstrations of bigotry and racial and religious profiling not be tolerated on your campus.”It was ironic that the ADC would charge the Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week speakers with promoting “hate speech” and “bigotry,” since the ADC itself has never hesitated to ally itself with genuine purveyors of hate speech and worse. ADC then-President Hamzi Moghrabi said in 1994: “I will not call [Hamas] a terrorist organization. I mean, I know many people in Hamas. They are very respectable…I don’t believe Hamas, as an organization, is a violent organization.” This despite the “glory record” Hamas featured on its website up until just a few years ago – a record that openly celebrated the murders of innocent civilians. In 1996, Moghrabi’s successor as ADC’s President, Hala Maksoud, declared: “I find it shocking that [one] would include Hezbollah in…[an] inventory of Middle East ‘terrorist’ groups.” Similarly, the ADC’s Communications Director Hussein Ibish said in 2000: “Everywhere Hezbollah fighters, derided by the Israeli and U.S. governments as ‘terrorists,’ conducted themselves in an exemplary manner.”And the ADC’s founder, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, traveled last summer to Damascus and said on Hizballah's Al-Manar TV that Hamas and Hizballah were “resistance fighters.” He added that the U.S. government designated them terrorist organizations “at the request of Israel. That name was done at the request of Israel – that the United States calls them terrorist organizations.” Venturing farther and farther into paranoid conspiracy theorizing, he stated that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, “the Zionists were looking around for another enemy to have, because to them the Soviet Union was an enemy because they wouldn’t allow Jewish emigration. So they used that as an organizing tool, basically, and when the Soviet Union collapsed, there was no more organizing about the Soviet Union. So they looked around, and they said: Well, the Muslims. Let’s find the Arabs and the Muslims, and make them the boogeyman. And that’s what they did.” What, then, of 9/11? “[T]he Arabs who were involved in 9/11 cooperated with the Zionists, actually. It was a cooperation. They gave them the perfect excuse to denounce all Arabs. It’s a racist sort of thing, really racist – you know, picking out these 19 or 20 terrorists – they were terrorists – and saying all the Arabs are like them. So, you know, people in America don’t really look at it that deeply, and they accept what the government and the press are saying.”Such inflammatory rhetoric is nothing new for Abourezk. In a 2006 interview with Counterpunch, he revealed some of the assumptions that led the ADC to try to stop Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week: “Racism against people of Arab descent is getting worse, the fires of which are being fanned by the President and by Congress and the media. We continually hear about ‘radical Islamists’ performing acts of terrorism, but did we ever hear Adolf Hitler called a ‘Christian terrorist,’ or a ‘Christian Dictator?’ Or did anyone ever refer to Timothy McVeigh as a ‘Christian terrorist’?”
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As in the days of Noah....

Judge Declares Hate Crimes Amendment Covering Gays Unconstitutional

A state court struck down amendments to Pennsylvania’s version of a hate crime law Thursday, declaring the statutes that cover crimes committed with bias against sexual orientation unconstitutional.The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled 4-1 against the enactment of the 2002 amendment because it did not retain the original purpose of a bill that addressed agricultural vandalism and crop destruction.Judge James Gardner Colins wrote in the majority opinion that the court agreed with petitioners that HB 1493 “did not retain its original purpose as it moved through the enactment process,” thus violating Article III of the state Constitution.He declared the provision “unconstitutional and therefore null and void.”President Judge Bonnie Leadbetter dissented, but did not issue an opinion explaining why.The court’s decision was based more on a procedural issue regarding the passage of amendment rather than on the constitutionality of adding “sexual orientation” as a protected class under the law.Still, the ruling was declared a victory for members of Repent America (RA), a conservative Christian group known for holding protests outside public events for gays and lesbians. Eleven members of the group, which believes homosexuality is a sin, were arrested in 2004 for picketing at a Philadelphia event for homosexuals called “OutFest.”Although charges were later dropped or dismissed, according to RA, seven members of the organization filed a lawsuit in 2005 to challenge the constitutionality of the amendment used to charge them with a felony.The group praised the court’s decision. “The Court rightly found that there was no logical or legal connection between trampling down a hay field and assaulting someone on the basis of sexual orientation," said the group’s attorney Aaron Martin in a statement Thursday.“This is a victory for constitutional government, so let us be thankful,” stated RA director Michael Marcavage Thursday.It was not immediately clear whether Gov. Ed Rendell's administration or the Legislature would appeal.Rendell urged lawmakers in a statement to immediately pass "appropriate legislation" reinstating the measure. He noted that the law would also protect “religious minorities.”Conservative Christian groups, however, believe such hate-crime laws would infringe on their freedom of speech and incriminate them for expressing their moral views on issues such as homosexuality.Many are closely watching an advancing federal legislation that would add “sexual orientation” to a list of federally protected classes under a 1964 act that prohibits job discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.The Employment Non-discrimination Act, which was passed by the House last week, is set to be introduced in the U.S. Senate. The White House has pledge a veto from President Bush if it makes it to his desk.

As in the days of Noah...

Judge OKs Bible Distribution on Sidewalk Outside School

A Florida federal judge upheld the constitutional rights of a member of Gideons International Wednesday, allowing him to resume passing out Bibles on a public sidewalk outside a school until his case is resolved.Christian legal group Alliance Defense Fund filed a suit in April on behalf of Thomas Gray, who was threatened with arrest by sheriffs alleging that he had “no right” to distribute Bibles within 500 feet of the school. In the suit, Gray is challenging the constitutionality of the Florida statute.The district court on Wednesday granted a motion for preliminary injunction on the disputed statute, thereby prohibiting the state from enforcing it.“It is in the public interest to protect to constitutional freedoms,” wrote U.S. District Court judge K. Michael Moore in the written ruling.Gray and other members of Gideons Key Largo Camp never stepped on school grounds when they passed out Bibles during their evangelistic activity on Jan. 19. The group even notified the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office of their plans ahead of time and school officials on the day of the distribution. Both had agreed to allow the activity.
But Monroe County sheriffs later arrested two Gideon members for being within the school’s safety zoneAttorneys with ADF contend Gray and other Christians have a constitutional right to express their faith on public property.“Christians are not second-class citizens under the Constitution when it comes to free speech,” said ADF senior legal counsel David Cortman Thursday.“We are pleased that Mr. Gray will have the opportunity to continue his activities without fear of harassment or arrest while the lawsuit moves forward.”

As in the days of Noah....

Exodus Youth Aim to Reverse 'Anti-Homosexual' Church View

Exodus Youth, part of the evangelical ministry Exodus International that deals with the issue of homosexuality, is aiming to reverse a "disturbing" trend seen across churches and perceived widely by young Americans – that the Church is anti-homosexual.Homosexuality is a topic that churches are still struggling to address in a culture that is increasingly accepting gay and lesbian lifestyles. It's a struggle that hasn't come across to many Americans in a positive light."I think for a long time, the church just hasn't known how to talk about homosexuality," said Exodus Youth Director Scott Davis."They've been very uncomfortable with the topic."So when they do talk about it, they tend to talk about just the moral side of whether it's right or wrong without any real understanding of where people are coming from – so it comes across as very harsh," he commented.The younger generation of Americans is reportedly more open and accepting of homosexuality than any other generation. A majority (75 percent) of 18- to 34-year-olds say homosexuality should be an acceptable alternative lifestyle compared to less than half (45 percent) of Americans age 55 years and older, according to a recent Gallup Poll.In the midst of higher gay tolerance levels, most young people are criticizing the Church for staunch opposition toward gays and lesbians. A recent Barna Group survey found that 91 percent of young non-Christians describe present-day Christianity as "anti-homosexual." Moreover, 80 percent of young Christians hold the same perception.Davis wasn't too surprised by Barna's findings."As I talk to youth around the country on the topic [of homosexuality], some of the most frequent questions we get from them are 'What's the big deal about homosexuality?' and 'Why does the Church make such a big topic of this?' and 'Why is this the worst sin than any other?'" he explained."They believe that's what the Church is teaching on this," Davis added."There's no doubt that the evangelical Church desperately needs to change the way it has dealt with the issue of homosexuality in the past. It is our goal to mobilize the youth of today to reverse the church's problems of the past," he said.In the last decade, however, there has been a dramatic shift in the attitudes of church leaders toward homosexuality, Davis acknowledged. More are promoting compassion and love toward homosexual individuals while still maintaining their biblical stance and opposing homosexual behavior.But even when Christians demonstrate a loving heart toward homosexuals, they're still uncomfortable with the issue. "So it comes across very badly," Davis said.Exodus Youth is working with colleges, youth workers and churches to help students understand what the Bible has to say about homosexuality and how to reach out to their gay-identified peers with Christ-like compassion."We are seeing an outpouring of teens and young adults who are seeking biblical clarity on the subject of homosexuality," said the Exodus director.The organization's newly created Truth & Tolerance series teaches God's full design of sexuality rather than just shaking the finger at what's wrong."[It] explains how God has designed our bodies and our sexuality to be used particularly between a husband and wife," Davis explained. "And when you start from that basis ... and come to homosexuality, obviously that's just one of many ways that we live apart from what God desires sexuality for." Homosexual desires are placed on the same square footing as lust, pornography and other forms of heterosexual struggles. Both homosexual and heterosexual temptations are "all expressions of our fallen state as human beings," Davis asserted.It's what you do to deal with that temptation that matters."It's not a sin to be tempted," he said. "We have to decide if we're followers of Christ and live in a way that's holy and honoring to Him."For the individual struggling with homosexual desires as well as the individual experiencing heterosexual temptations, Davis says Christ's call on their life is to be chaste and to live a holy life.Exodus Youth ran its second annual "Allies, Too" campaign last week, rallying Christian students around the country to both promote campus safety for all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, and to further "throw off the dishonest, unfair labels of bigotry and hatred" some attach to those who disagree with homosexuality."There's a real polarization that's being thrust upon us that you are either loving and approving of homosexuality or you're hateful and disapproving of homosexuality," said Davis. "That's just a false choice."The ministry director encouraged true tolerance in which there can be honest debate and actual dialogue.And when introducing a homosexual friend to Christ, Davis cautions against trying to convert them."It isn't our job to try and change people. That's the Holy Spirit's job," he said."We say they (homosexuals friend who don't know Christ) need Christ; it's no different from any other person who's outside the faith," he noted. "He does require all of us to change, to repent of our former lives and to come to Christ. He promises that He'll do the job of transforming us. That's just the basic Christian message."

As in the days of Noah.....

Why Muslims Follow Jesus

The number of new Christians in the world each year surpasses that of new Muslims, with the major growth for Protestants coming through conversion.And the experience that most influenced Muslims was the lifestyle of Christians, according to a recently released survey that offers a glimpse into why Muslims are opening their hearts to the Gospel and Jesus Christ.The survey, conducted by Fuller Theological Seminary’s School of Intercultural Studies between 1991 to 2007 among 750 Muslims that had decided to follow Christ, was able to track some influences that helped the converts make their decision. The respondents were from 30 countries and 50 ethnic groups- representing every major region of the Muslim world. According to the survey, some participants said that they saw no discrepancy between what Christians preached and what they practiced in their lives.An Egyptian said he recognized the contrast between the love of a Christian group at an American university and the unloving ways of Muslim students and faculty at a university in Medina, according to an article on the survey featured in Christianity Today magazine.Others noted that Christians treat women as equals and Christians have loving marriages.“Many Muslims who faced violence at the hands of other Muslims did not see it in the Christians they knew…,”wrote the survey’s authors-Dr. J. Dudley Woodberry, Russell G. Shubin, and G. Marks-in Christianity Today. “Muslim-on-Muslim violence has led to considerable disillusionment for many Muslims….”The next most important influence was the power of God to answer prayers as well as healing. These revelations of God include supernatural intervention such as Christian prayers healing disabled people when Muslims could not and deliverance from demonic powers.The third most popular influence listed by respondents was dissatisfaction with the Islam they have followed. The former Muslims said they were unhappy with the Qur’an, which they said emphasized God’s punishment more than His love and the use of violence to impose Islamic laws.“This disillusionment is broad in the Muslim world. Many Iranians became interested in the gospel after the Khomeini revolution of 1979 brought in rule by clergy. Pakistanis became more receptive after President Zia ul-Haq (1977-1988) tried to implement Islamic law. And Afghans became more open after Islamist Taliban conquest and rule (1994-2001),” the authors noted.It is also noteworthy that more than one in four respondents (27 percent) said dreams and visions were a factor in their decision to commit themselves to follow Christ. For 40 percent of respondents, visions or dreams occurred at the time of conversion, and for 45 percent they occurred after they committed to following Christ.Moreover many converts were attracted to the assurance of salvation and forgiveness. In Islam, God forgives and punishes whoever He will so Muslims have no certainty of salvation. But in Christianity, a person can be sure of their salvation if they place their faith in Jesus Christ.Muslims who read the Bible were also convinced that the Bible is the truth and were attracted to the unconditional love of God. The survey noted that although the number of new Christians each year is greater than the number of new Muslims, the annual growth rate of Muslims (1.81 percent), however, is higher than for Christians (1.23 percent), according to the article.The Islamic studies expert said the higher Muslim growth rate is “hardly surprising” because there is a larger Christian population so more people need to become Christians for the growth rate to increase.

As in the days of Noah...


"Nevertheless,I tell you the truth;it is expedient for you that I go away:for if I go not away,the Comforter will not come unto you;but if I depart,I will send him unto you.
And when he is come,he will reprove the world of sin,and of righteousness,and of judgment:
Of sin,because they believe not on me;
Of righteousness,because I go to my Father,and ye see me no more;
Of judgment,because the prince of this world is judged.
I have yet many things to say unto you,but ye cannot bear them now"
JOHN 16:7-12

'Tis the Season for Terror Threat Warnings

A "write in" threat pulled down off the Internet prompted the Department of Homeland Security to advise law enforcement of a "low credibility" threat to "malls and Jewish schools" in New York, sources tell ABC News.The threat, specific to New York, is based on fragmentary information that someone in France is teaching young men to use explosives and encouraging these attacks, sources say.It comes one week after an FBI intelligence report warned of threats to malls in Los Angeles and Chicago.Both reports come at a time of year when it has become traditional since September 2001 for both federal and regional law enforcement to issue a series of alerts, bulletins and awareness heightening reports.And federal officials caution that they have sent the reports, despite a lack of credibility, simply to keep local and regional law enforcement informed.The information circulated today was titled "Virtual Write In Warns of Unsubstantiated Threat to Malls and Jewish Schools in New York."The source of today's information is significantly different than that of last week's threat information.That information came from a human source with "indirect access" to al Qaeda who was known to the U.S. intelligence community for several years and deemed reliable in the past. The information, however, was deemed uncertain because it came through a sub-source and may have been obtained "under duress," according to persons familiar with a classified version of that report.
In the aftermath of media accounts, the FBI and DHS noted that they were not able to establish the credibility of the report."Al-Qa'ida messaging has clearly stated they intend to attack the U.S. or its interests; however, there is no information to state this is a credible threat," an FBI spokesman said at the time.In the bulletin issued today, DHS noted, "This threat is deemed non-credible. The author, possibly located in Argentina, likely provided the threat information to create additional hysteria on the heels of last week's media coverage of a threat to malls in Chicago, Illinois and Los Angeles, California."

As in the days of Noah....

Mr.Chavez's Coup:A constitutional 'reform' could complete Venezuela's transformation into a dictatorship.

TENS OF thousands of Venezuelan students marched to the Supreme Court in Caracas last week to protest the new "socialist" constitutional reform that President Hugo Chavez is preparing to impose on the country. On their return, students from the Central University of Venezuela were fired on by gunmen who roared onto the campus on motorcycles. Nine were hurt; university officials later identified the shooters as members of government-sponsored paramilitary groups. That's just one example of the ugly climate of intimidation Mr. Chavez is creating in advance of a Dec. 2 referendum that he expects will formally confirm him as de facto president for life and give him powers rivaling those of his mentor, Fidel Castro.Mr. Chavez's apologists like to dismiss the Venezuelan forces opposing his deconstruction of democracy-which include the Catholic Church, the private business community and labor unions as well as students-as a corrupt elite. So it's worth noting what some of Mr. Chavez's long-standing allies are saying about his constitutional changes. The political party Podemos, whose members ran for parliament on a pro-Chavez platform, call it "a constitutional fraud." Mr. Chavez's recently retired defense minister, Gen. Ra¿l Isa¿as Baduel, said it was an "undemocratic imposition" and that its approval would amount to "a coup."In fact, Mr. Chavez's rewrite would complete his transformation into an autocrat. It would lengthen his presidential term from six to seven years and remove the current limit of two terms, allowing him to serve indefinitely. He would have broad powers to seize property, to dispose of Venezuela's foreign exchange reserves, to impose central government rule on local jurisdictions and to declare indefinite states of emergency under which due process and freedom of information would be suspended. As a populist sop, one provision would reduce the workday from eight to six hours; that benefit, the state's control over national television and the voting process, and the apparent intention of many Venezuelans to stay away from the polls are expected to deliver the necessary ratification.The strength and courage of the resistance to Mr. Chavez is nevertheless growing. Despite the attacks by government goons, students have continued to march by the thousands. Bloggers have posted photos and videos of the government-sponsored violence. Opposition leaders have continued to speak out despite being labeled "traitors" by Mr. Chavez and harassed with death threats. Venezuela is on the verge of succumbing to a dictatorship that will isolate and retard the country, maybe for decades. It's encouraging that so many of its people aren't prepared to give up their freedom without a fight.

As in the days of Noah...

China pulls out of Iran sanctions meeting

China has pulled out of a meeting to discuss new sanctions on Iran, European diplomats said on Friday, highlighting the obstacles western powers face in their quest to increase pressure on Tehran over its nuclear programme.The US had wanted to agree a set of prospective measures by the end of this month, which could be quickly taken to the United Nations Security Council if  Iran failed to comply with UN demands to rein in its nuclear programme.But China’s decision not to participate in the scheduled meeting next week of political directors from the Security Council’s five permanent members, plus Germany, means that no such agreement is likely to be in place by that time. The meeting is now unlikely to take place next week.“It’s pretty well understood why the Chinese have postponed,” said a British official. “It was a mixture of genuine diary difficulties coupled with the track record of resistance on their part to moving swiftly towards an outcome.”This comes despite an agreement among the big powers in September to “finalise a text” on new sanctions and bring it to a vote at the Security Council, unless two international reports assessed that Iran had made progress on complying with UN demands.The first of those reports, by Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said this week Iran had provided new information about the nuclear programme’s past, but the agency’s current information about the programme was “diminishing”. The second report, by Javier Solana, EU foreign policy chief, is due this month.“If both reports show that there is no progress or political outcome then we are going for a further resolution,” said a French official. “We prefer action at the UN but we are also ready to pursue measures at the European Union.” Germany also described Mr ElBaradei’s report as “on the whole ... not encouraging”.However, China and Russia have consistently been reluctant to impose additional sanctions on Tehran, and have instead encouraged Mr ElBaradei in his efforts to broker a deal with Iran on disclosing more about its nuclear past.Yesterday, some diplomats said that without further progress, the US and the EU could seek to take a new resolution to the Security Council before securing the backing of Moscow and Beijing-a high risk approach.Britain and France also face difficulties in persuading the EU to agree sanctions, because of reservations among Germany, Spain and Italy about proceeding with unilateral steps that go beyond UN sanctions.

As in the days of Noah...

Dry South: Corps Cuts Flow From Ga. Lake

ATLANTA-Federal biologists signed off on a plan Friday to reduce the flow of water from Lake Lanier, the main water source for Atlanta and the focal point of a three-state water fight as the Southeast contends with a historic drought.The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided that federally protected mussels can live with less water from Lanier, which could allow drought-stricken Georgia to keep more water in the drying lake.The Army Corps of Engineers immediately reduced the flow of water from Lanier to Florida by 5 percent, and said it could cut it by 17 percent depending on lake levels."We feel like we've got the most flexible system to meet the needs, from the headwaters of Lake Lanier down to Apalachicola Bay," Brig. Gen. Joseph Schroedel said.Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue has criticized the federal government for continuing what he calls excessive water releases from north Georgia reservoirs even as the drought threatens Atlanta's water supplies.The fast-growing Atlanta region relies on the lake for drinking water. But power plants in Florida and Alabama depend on healthy river flows, as do farms, commercial fisheries, industrial users and municipalities. The corps also is required to release adequate flows to ensure habitats for species protected by the Endangered Species Act, such as the mussels.Florida and Alabama have balked at Georgia's effort to keep more water, arguing that its demands were unreasonable and that reducing the flows downstream could cripple their economies.The 78-page Fish and Wildlife report, released Friday, could set off another round of legal challenges, but federal officials said the states have promised to collaborate on a long-term water pact."They're all neighbors, there all working together," Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said. "We'll get through this."More than a quarter of the Southeast is covered by an "exceptional" drought—the National Weather Service's worst drought category.Earlier this month, at a three-state water meeting in Washington, the corps said it wanted to temporarily cut the flow of water to Florida by 16 percent until the drought breaks, but needed the approval of Fish and Wildlife.It made for a temporary truce in a tug-of-war that has pitted the states against each other for the better part of two decades, but has intensified as record drought descended over much of the region. However, Florida backed away from the agreement last week, saying the reductions could cause a "catastrophic collapse of the oyster industry" and "displace the entire economy" in the Florida Panhandle.Meanwhile in Washington, a panel of federal appeals judges questioned whether the corps has the authority to divvy up portions of the lake for drinking water instead of producing power.In one of seven active lawsuits in the water wars, attorneys for all three states argued before the panel over a 2003 settlement in which the Corps agreed to allow Georgia to use nearly 25 percent of Lanier for drinking water storage.The long-term agreement, which has not yet been implemented, is a linchpin of Georgia's water plans for the coming decades. Currently, the state gets water from Lanier under smaller, short-term contracts. Florida and Alabama have fought the agreement, arguing that Lanier was built to produce hydropower and that under federal law only Congress has authority to significantly alter the functions of federal reservoirs.The three judges presiding over the case appeared to sympathize with Florida and Alabama during oral arguments, sharply questioning attorneys for Georgia and the Corps over claims that the shift is not significant enough to trigger congressional involvement.At one point, an attorney for the corps acknowledged that the agency has never made such a large change without first getting congressional approval.The court is expected to issue a decision in the coming months.

As in the days of Noah.....