I am pleased to welcome you to my personal blog, which I started in March 2009. I first became interested in blogging about five years ago, using old "blogger.com", which was cumbersome to use and I never mastered. About a year ago I discovered that Google had bought "blogger.com" and had revised it considerably, making it fun to use, so much so that I have devised at least 15 blogs on various subjects and frequently add posts and Gadgets to them.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Life after Death ... or Just Love after Death

Life after Death … or Just Love after Death?

[This post is from Albert Mohler's blog.]
Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 1:46 am ET
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I arrived in New York City over the weekend and discovered that the Rev. Forrest Churchhad died on Thursday, September 24, after a battle against esophageal cancer. Pastor of the Unitarian Church of All Souls on the Upper East Side for many years, Forrest Church was almost certainly the best-known and most influential Unitarian figure of the late twentieth century.
Forrest Church was in the public eye for most of his life. His father was the late Senator Frank Church [D-Idaho], who chaired committees that investigated the Central Intelligence Agency during the 1970s. Sen. Church also ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1976. After serving four terms in the Senate, Church was defeated for re-election in 1980. Then, in 1984, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He died just three months later.
Forrest Church was 61 when he died last Thursday. He lived only two years longer than his father. But Forrest Church did something that few people are able to do -- he wrote extensively about his own (impending) death. When told that his cancer was terminal, Forrest Church preached a sermon that was intended to help his congregation understand the process of death and dying. In the month that followed, he wrote a book about death and the experience of approaching his own death.
In Love & Death: My Journey Through the Valley of the Shadow, Church wrote of his understanding of death and its meaning. At the end of it all, the Unitarian pastor and philosopher wrote of "my abiding belief in love after death."
Significantly, Church wrote of his fascination with death. As a younger person, he had romanticized death and contemplated various scenarios of a famous demise. Later, though no longer believing himself to romanticize death, Church still seemed to see death in similar terms. Writing as a pastor, he told of a terminally ill church member who had committed suicide with the assistance of the Hemlock Society. Church wrote of his sympathy for her wish to remain in control of her life, even through her death. "I could only admire her," he wrote.
Forrest Church was a man of intelligence and culture -- assets no doubt valued by his socially elite congregation at All Souls. He was also a gifted writer. In helpful sections of the book, Church took on the "conspiracy of silence concerning death" and helpfully reminded his readers that all of us will surely die. Church saw our modern obsession with health as a barely-disguised effort to postpone death, but to no avail. Vegetarians and joggers die, the pastor reminds.
Church compared life to the voyage of the Titanic. In the end, every life hits an iceberg and sinks. His exhortation was for all people to "dare to live before you die."
He also tied his understanding of religion to the knowledge that we shall surely die. "I draw from a strong faith tradition which, if not orthodox, invites me to explore everything from the scriptures to ancient philosophy to current events," Church wrote. "But the object is always the same. For me, religion is our human response to the dual reality of being alive and having to die."
Therefore, "if religion is our human response to being alive and having to die, the purpose of life is to live in such as way that our lives will prove worth dying for."
Missing from the picture is any notion of life on the other side of death. The minister declared his belief in "love after death," but not in life after death. The reason for this becomes more clear as Church writes of Jesus Christ. "I have no idea whether Jesus was physically resurrected or not, but I suspect he wasn't," he wrote. "If I am right, for many people that would be it for Jesus, period, end of story. Christianity would be a delusion, a miscommunication of events faithfully transmitted from generation to generation."
Indeed, Church insisted that his faith was not grounded in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, but rather in the "spiritual rebirth of Jesus's followers."
The disciples experienced a "saving transformation" in which the love of Jesus was reborn in them, Church suggested.
It was the love of Jesus that survived his death, Church insisted -- not the life of Jesus. And that is a power available to all of us today, he promised. Forrest Church often repeated his "mantra" with words his church came to know: "Want what you have, do what you can, and be who you are."
Forrest Church was a classical religious and theological liberal. He rejected a supernatural Christ and did not believe in the virgin birth or the resurrection. He also denied that Christianity could be reduced to some mere admiration for the teachings of Jesus. While Jesus' teachings were "in many ways wonderful," those same teachings were "also flawed, limited by cultural and personal experience."
The Unitarian minister came to his theological liberalism quite early. At the age of ten, Forrest was given a Bible by his father. That Bible was the so-called "Jefferson Bible," produced by Thomas Jefferson as an experiment in removing all references to the supernatural Jesus from the New Testament. Known formally as The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, the Jefferson Bible ends with these words: "There they laid Jesus, and rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulcher, and departed." End of story. No resurrection. Jesus is simply sealed into the tomb.
If that is all there is to the life of Jesus, Christianity does indeed fall apart. Christianity would be a delusion and a misrepresentation of the truth. The New Testament clearly claims that Jesus Christ was physically raised from the dead -- and that his resurrection is the promise of our own. The New Testament clearly promises life after death, not merely love after death. This is where Christianity stands or falls.
The death of Forrest Church at age 61 is a sobering reminder of our mortality. More tellingly, it is a lamentable but important reminder of the centrality of the resurrection of Christ to our Christian understanding of death and eternal life. Without the resurrection of Christ, there is no hope for us after death. We are, as Paul warned, of all people most to be pitied, for we believed in a false hope.
The Christian hope is essentially grounded in the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Without life after death, love after death will not matter. No resurrection -- no hope.
I am always glad to hear from readers. Write me at mail@albertmohler.com. Keep up with regular updates on Twitter during the day by following www.twitter.com/AlbertMohler.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Eating Healthy, Living Healthy

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Eating Healthy, Living Healthy

[This article was from the front page of last week's Christian Index.]

Ruth Smith has rarely met a fruit or vegetable she didn’t like. That’s good, because studies show that people who eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily seem to have half the cancer risk of people who eat only two servings.

Joe Westbury/Index
GBC Wellness Coordinator Ruth Smith leads a class on nutrition as staff member Alison Harvey begins her meal. Employees who learn to develop better lifestyle habits through the program are filing fewer insurance claims – and thus driving down medical costs – since the wellness program was launched three years ago.
Smith, a registered nurse with extensive experience in ministering to oncology patients, believes a healthy life is tied to healthy eating. You can’t call her a veggievangelist because of her soft-spoken approach. But she is seeking converts to a healthier lifestyle through patience and education.
Smith and her husband Kevin, who oversees Employee Services, came to the Georgia Baptist Convention in 2006. She currently serves as administrative secretary in the Church-Ministers Relations Department but her real love is her role as wellness coordinator.
It’s in that capacity that she serves as sort of a health chaplain to staff, teaching them correct eating habits, leading workshops, and offering advice on how to deal with various illnesses. She doesn’t practice her nursing skills as far as administering medication, but works largely to prevent staff from allowing their health to deteriorate to the point where they need medical assistance.
“That’s been the biggest shift in my job from the world of oncology to my role of wellness coordinator,” she says.
“I had an incredibly rewarding career working with cancer patients, treating diseases that had already manifested themselves. Now I work on the front-end to educate staff how to eat better and take care of themselves to prevent those diseases from occurring.
“I always felt oncology is where God called me but this is so rewarding in its own way.”
Smith believes education is the primary force to lead people to develop a healthy lifestyle. Good health is not about adopting a monotonous diet, she stresses, but enjoying all the healthy foods that God has naturally placed in the world. And that doesn’t include highly processed, packaged foods that have become the norm in most family diets.
“Prevention is the long-term answer to good health and you don’t get that overnight. But that is the only real way to lower the nation’s healthcare costs and eliminate so many chronic diseases that are lifestyle based,” she explains.

You’re not getting thinner; clothes are getting bigger.
Banana Republic and J.Crew have become popular with consumers because the number on the size label always seems to be smaller than it is elsewhere.
Not a surprise, says Barry Popkin, director of the University of North Carolina’s Inter-Disciplinary Obesity Center. Manufacturers discovered that fact by making what used to be a size 8 a 6 instead, something he believes has helped create complacency about what a normal body weight or size is.
He says close to half of people who are obese do not think it’s a problem.
The floating sizing chart came into vogue back in 1983 when the fashion industry abandoned a national size standard, freeing up designers to manipulate the sizes. The long-term result is especially intriguing: a woman’s size 14 dress in the 1940s is now a size 10.
Here are some other subtle changes American society has recently experienced:
 Boston’s baseball stadium features seats four inches wider than those in the old Fenway Park, which had become too narrow for today’s fans.
 In 2003 the FAA required airlines to add 10 pounds to the average passenger weight calculations to assure that airplanes were not overloaded.
Source: US News and World Report, January 09, 2009, The Wall Street Journal, CBS MarketWatch.
A good preventative measure is to eat the right food – which means plenty of fresh food and as little processed food as possible. Her nutritious view of salads is eye-opening to many who think of salads as bowls of iceberg lettuce and a token tomato that doesn’t fill or satisfy.
“Many of the most common salads you see at fast food restaurants are not the most healthy choices, being primarily iceberg lettuce with a vegetable or two of the lowest possible nutritional value,” she adds.
“If you are going to have a salad, try one with romaine and spinach, dark leafy greens, and build it with brightly colored vegetables which have the best nutrients – especially broccoli which is so good for you. For a protein go with garbanzo or a similar bean, add some avocado which is a good fat, and finish it off with a low fat dressing or even salsa.”
Once individuals start adding ingredients such as meat and cheese with all of the fat and calories, virtually all of the health benefits have been negated, she warns.
A well-balanced salad will be very filling and go far toward meeting an individual’s daily requirements of fiber and other basic nutrients. And when an individual eats fresh foods they don’t need to pay a premium for highly processed foods as a source of those nutrients.
Personally, she and her husband have greatly decreased the amount of meat in their diet and rely more on fruits and vegetable as a source of their nutrients.
Smith checks off the various health initiatives that, in her role as wellness coordinator, she has helped the state convention to implement in the past two years
• An annual blood draw that gives each staff person a snapshot of their health in critical areas such as blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, as well as blood pressure and kidney performance.
• An annual mammogram provided through an arrangement with the Northside Hospital mobile mammography unit.
• A monthly newsletter written by Smith.
• Nutrition and wellness classes that use “The Solution to the Diet Revolution” as the textbook. The book was written by Georgia Kostas, former director of nutrition at the Dallas, Texas-based Cooper Clinic.
• Encourage employees to use the fitness center to build exercise into their lifestyle.
As a result of the blood draw, several cases of diabetes, prostate cancer, and thyroid disease have been detected and helped individuals to receive immediate treatment from their personal physicians.
“Early detection is key in lowering insurance rates, whether you are an individual, a church, or an agency like the Georgia Baptist Convention,” she says.
“It’s especially true for individuals who procrastinate about getting their annual exams. Once a medical concern is identified, early treatment can lower long-term expenses.”
Mike Williams, assistant executive director and vice president for operations for the state convention, is especially pleased to see Cooperative Program dollars that have been saved through staff learning better eating habits, increasing their exercise, and taking better care of their health.
As a result, total health care claims – claims for prescription drugs, office visits to physicians, and hospital claims – dropped $306,790 between 2008 and 2009, or 5.82 percent.
One of the more tangible results is the state convention was named the 7th healthiest company in the nation among those served by Interactive Health Systems. The company provides the annual blood draw and provides test results for employees to monitor their vital statistics.
“Simply stated, when employees choose to improve their health, the number of health claims serviced by our health care providers lowers significantly,” he explained.

Joe Westbury/Index
GBC Executive Director J. Robert White, right, accepts an award on behalf of Georgia Baptists from Pat Lorida, vice president of Interactive Health Solutions. IHS recognized the state convention as one of the 103 healthiest companies in America for 2008 in its network of 2,000 organizations.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Emerson's History:

Perhaps my favorite author has always been Ralph Waldo Emerson. He was born in 1802 in Boston in a line of clergymen and died with pneumonia in 1882. He was educated at Harvard, entering at age 14, served a short time as a minister, considered himself a farmer, made his living as a lecturer, and is now famous for his essays. I think my favorite of these is History. I have selected several paragraphs from this essay that I always enjoy reading:

"There is one mind common to all individual men. Every man is an inlet to the same and to all of the same. He that is once admitted to the right of reason is made a freeman of the whole estate. What Plato has thought, he may think; what a saint has felt, he may feel; what at any time has be-fallen any man, he can understand. Who hath access to this universal mind is a party to all that is or can be done, for this is the only and sovereign agent.

Of the works of this mind history is the record. Its genius is illustrated by the entire series of days. Man is explicable by nothing less than all his history. Without hurry, without rest, the human spirit goes forth from the beginning to embody every faculty, every thought, every emotion, which belongs to it in appropriate events. But the thought is always prior to the fact; all the facts of history preexist in the mind as laws. Each law in turn is made by circumstances predominant, and the limits of nature give power to but one at a time. A man is the whole encyclopaedia of facts. The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn, and Egypt, Greece, Rome, Gaul, Britain, America, lie folded already in the first man. Epoch after epoch, camp, kingdom, empire, republic, democracy, are merely the application of his manifold spirit to the manifold world.

"Our admiration of the antique is not admiration of the old, but of the natural. The Greeks are not reflective, but perfect in their senses and in their health, with the finest physical organization in the world. Adults acted with the simplicity and grace of children. They made vases, tragedies, and statues, such as healthy senses should,—— that is, in good taste."

The world exists for the education of each man. There is no age or state of society or mode of action in history, to which there is not somewhat corresponding in his life. Every thing tends in a wonderful manner to abbreviate itself and yield its own virtue to him. He should see that he can live all history in his own person. He must sit solidly at home, and not suffer himself to be bullied by kings or empires, but know that he is greater than all the geography and all the government of the world; he must transfer the point of view from which history is commonly read, from Rome and Athens and London to himself, and not deny his conviction that he is the court, and if England or Egypt have any thing to say to him, he will try the case; if not, let them for ever be silent. We are always coming up with the emphatic facts of history in our private experience, and verifying them here. All history becomes subjective; in other words, there is properly no history; only biography. Every mind must know the whole lesson for itself, — must go over the whole ground. What it does not see, what it does not live, it will not know. What the former age has epitomized into a formula or rule for manipular convenience, it will lose all the good of verifying for itself, by means of the wall of that rule. Somewhere, sometime, it will demand and find compensation for that loss by doing the work itself. Ferguson discovered many things in astronomy which had long been known. The better for him.
History must be this or it is nothing. Every law which the state enacts indicates a fact in human nature; that is all. We must in ourselves see the necessary reason of every fact, — see how it could and must be. So stand before every public and private work; before an oration of Burke, before a victory of Napoleon, before a martyrdom of Sir Thomas More, of Sidney, of Marmaduke Robinson, before a French Reign of Terror, and a Salem hanging of witches, before a fanatic Revival, and the Animal Magnetism in Paris, or in Providence. We assume that we under like influence should be alike affected, and should achieve the like; and we aim to master intellectually the steps, and reach the same height or the same degradation, that our fellow, our proxy, has done.

All inquiry into antiquity, — all curiosity respecting the Pyramids, the excavated cities, Stonehenge, the Ohio Circles, Mexico, Memphis, — is the desire to do away this wild, savage, and preposterous There or Then, and introduce in its place the Here and the Now. Belzoni digs and measures in the mummy-pits and pyramids of Thebes, until he can see the end of the difference between the monstrous work and himself. When he has satisfied himself, in general and in detail, that it was made by such a person as he, so armed and so motived, and to ends to which he himself should also have worked, the problem is solved; his thought lives along the whole line of temples and sphinxes and catacombs, passes through them all with satisfaction, and they live again to the mind, or are now.

Civil and natural history, the history of art and of literature, must be explained from individual history, or must remain words. There is nothing but is related to us, nothing that does not interest us, — kingdom, college, tree, horse, or iron shoe, the roots of all things are in man. Santa Croce and the Dome of St. Peter's are lame copies after a divine model. Strasburg Cathedral is a material counterpart of the soul of Erwin of Steinbach. The true poem is the poet's mind; the true ship is the ship-builder. In the man, could we lay him open, we should see the reason for the last flourish and tendril of his work; as every spine and tint in the sea-shell preexist in the secreting organs of the fish. The whole of heraldry and of chivalry is in courtesy. A man of fine manners shall pronounce your name with all the ornament that titles of nobility could ever add.

Columbus needs a planet to shape his course upon. Newton and Laplace need myriads of ages and thick-strewn celestial areas. One may say a gravitating solar system is already prophesied in the nature of Newton's mind. Not less does the brain of Davy or of Gay-Lussac, from childhood exploring the affinities and repulsions of particles, anticipate the laws of organization. Does not the eye of the human embryo predict the light? the ear of Handel predict the witchcraft of harmonic sound? Do not the constructive fingers of Watt, Fulton, Whittemore, Arkwright, predict the fusible, hard, and temperable texture of metals, the properties of stone, water, and wood? Do not the lovely attributes of the maiden child predict the refinements and decorations of civil society? Here also we are reminded of the action of man on man. A mind might ponder its thought for ages, and not gain so much self-knowledge as the passion of love shall teach it in a day. Who knows himself before he has been thrilled with indignation at an outrage, or has heard an eloquent tongue, or has shared the throb of thousands in a national exultation or alarm? No man can antedate his experience, or guess what faculty or feeling a new object shall unlock, any more than he can draw to-day the face of a person whom he shall see to-morrow for the first time.

Broader and deeper we must write our annals, — from an ethical reformation, from an influx of the ever new, ever sanative conscience, — if we would trulier express our central and wide-related nature, instead of this old chronology of selfishness and pride to which we have too long lent our eyes. Already that day exists for us, shines in on us at unawares, but the path of science and of letters is not the way into nature. The idiot, the Indian, the child, and unschooled farmer's boy, stand nearer to the light by which nature is to be read, than the dissector or the antiquary.

E.P. Whipple, the well-known American critic, wrote soon after Emerson's death:

"What distinguishes the Emerson was his exceptional genius and character, that something in him which separated him from all other Emersons, as it separated him from all other eminent men of letters, and impressed every intelligent reader with the feeling that he was not only 'original but aboriginal.' Some traits of his mind and character may be traced back to his ancestors, but what doctrine of heredity can give us the genesis of his genius? Indeed, the safest course to pursue is to quote his own words, and despairingly confess that it is the nature of genius 'to spring, like the rainbow daughter of Wonder, from the invisible, to abolish the past, and refuse all history.'"

Friday, September 25, 2009

Why Do the Heathen Rage? — International Blasphemy Day

Posted: Friday, September 25, 2009 at 3:19 pm ET

 [This post is from Albert Mohler's blog.]
Ready for a day to honor blasphemy?  According to press reports, September 30 is set as the observance of the first-ever International Blasphemy Day. This could be interesting.

The choice of September  30 looks back to that date in the year 2005, when the publication of cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad's face sparked outcry and protests in the Muslim world and threats toward the West.

Now, as Religion News Service reports, the Center for Inquiry is planning a day of observances to mark the occasion.  Ron Lindsay, a lawyer who serves as president of the Council for Inquiry International, said that the day was part of the group's effort to expose religious beliefs to investigation.  In the words of the RNS report, the goal is "to expose all religious beliefs to the same level of inquiry, discussion and criticism to which other areas of intellectual interest are subjected."

Here is one feature of the day as planned by CFI:

You've never seen Jesus like this before: dripping red nail polish around the nails in his feet and hands, an irreverent riff on the crucifixion wounds. The provocative title of the painting: "Jesus Does His Nails."  Blasphemous? Absolutely. Deliberately provocative? You bet.

Artist Dana Ellyn told RNS that she is an "agnostic atheist" whose purpose is to be provocative.  "My point is not to offend, but I realize it can offend, because religion is such a polarizing topic," she said.

Among other things, CFI International also plans a "blasphemy contest," "in which participants are invited to submit phrases, poems, or statements that would be, or have been, considered blasphemous." Winners are to receive a t-shirt and mug.

Bet you can't wait to see those.

More seriously, participants are also to be encouraged to take up the "Blasphemy Challenge" in which individuals register their blasphemy in the face of Mark 3:29.  In that verse, Jesus warns, "whoever blasphemes the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin" [ESV].  Those who take up the "Blasphemy Challenge" record video submissions which must include the words, "I deny the Holy Spirit."

The Blasphemy Day events are certain to draw media attention, which is no doubt the whole point of the observance.  That is how a group like CFI can gain publicity for itself and its cause.

How should Christians respond?

First, take no offense. Refuse to play into the game plan of those sponsoring International Blasphemy Day.  The Lord Jesus Christ was and is despised and rejected of men.  Our Lord bore the scorn heaped upon him by his enemies. Christianity is not an honor religion. Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are not commanded to defend his honor, but to be willing to share in the scorn directed to him. Is the servant greater than his master?

Islam is an honor religion, and the major forces in the world today seeking to criminalize blasphemy are Islamic. The riots on the streets of many nations in protest of the Danish cartoons do represent what faithful Muslims believe their religion requires them to do.  Not so for Christianity. We must be those who take to the streets with the Gospel -- not with a protest against our honor or the honor of our Lord.  When Christians forget this, we lose our Gospel witness.  The history of the church includes far too many instances of this loss. We dare not add another.

Second, mourn the blasphemy. The warning of Jesus is clear -- blasphemy has eternal consequences.  The worst form of blasphemy is the refusal to hear and believe the Gospel.  For that sin there can be no forgiveness. We must mourn the blasphemy, not because honor is at stake, but because souls are at stake with eternal consequences.  God will ultimately and perfectly defend his honor.  On that day, there will be no escape for unrepentant blasphemers.

Third, see this observance for what it really is -- an unintended testimony to the existence of God and the foolishness of those who deny Him.  The sheer foolishness of a blasphemy contest with t-shirts and mugs betrays the lunacy of it all.  They can do no better than this?  One testimony to the power of God is the fact that his self-declared enemies come off as so childish and manic. The heathen rage and God sees the foolish grasshoppers.

International Blasphemy Day will come and go. Take note, ponder its meaning . . . and skip the t-shirt.


I am always glad to hear from readers.  Write me at mail@albertmohler.com.  Follow regular updates throughout the day at www.twitter.com/AlbertMohler.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Diversity boss: Whites must 'step down'
Obama appointee declares positions of power should go to 'people of color, gays'
Posted: September 23, 2009
4:34 pm Eastern

By Chelsea Schilling
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

FCC diversity 'czar' Mark Lloyd
With former Obama green jobs czar Van Jones gone, along with his views about whites directing poisons to minorities, focus is now shifting to race-based views of "diversity czar" Mark Lloyd, who has suggested "white people" step down from positions of power to allow "more people of color, gays" and "other people" to take those positions.

Lloyd, the Federal Communications Commission chief diversity officer appointed to the newly created position by President Obama in early August, has talked about issues such as a 100 percent tax on broadcast outlets to collect money to provide alternative viewpoints, mandatory diversity in station ownership and the idea of requiring broadcast businesses to cater to the demands of local activism committees.

It's time to put up or shut up, America. Literally. Get the book that shows how to fight the assault on your freedom of speech!

Prior to his recent appointment, Lloyd was vice president for strategic initiatives at the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. He was also a senior fellow at the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress and has worked as a reporter and producer at NBC and CNN.

At a May 2005 Conference on Media Reform, Lloyd appeared as a speaker in a discussion on why media policy should be considered from a "racial angle."

First, he addressed affirmative action policies:

"During the Clinton administration, largely because of Congress, who was then very concerned about affirmative action and believed that – although affirmative action largely benefited white women – that affirmative action was largely viewed as something that was benefitting blacks – not necessarily any of the other racial groups [chuckle] but by blacks. And that blacks had gotten enough and it was time to do something about this. These affirmative-action programs needed to be stopped. We have not made much improvement since we had begun to pull back from those things in the mid-1990s."

Lloyd also spoke about the challenge of communication in "rooms full of whites."

The conversation about how we communicate with each other despite being aware of the clear impressions that I know that I make in rooms that I walk into, when people hear my voice, is a challenge. How much do I express the ... I think really pretty obvious complaints of black Americans in rooms full of whites.

He later spoke about his concerns about whites occupying important leadership positions:

"There's nothing more difficult than this. Because we have really, truly good white people in important positions," Lloyd said. "And the fact of the matter is that there are a limited number of those positions. And unless we are conscious of the need to have more people of color, gays, other people in those positions we will not change the problem."

He continued, "We're in a position where you have to say who is going to step down so someone else can have power."

Lloyd has pushed for reinstatement of the "Fairness Doctrine" and, according to the Washington Times, "spoken publicly of getting white media executives to 'step down' in favor of minorities" and prescribed policies to make liberal talk radio more successful.

Lloyd's comments also sparked controversy when he praised Chavez during a June 2008 Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, saying the Venezuelan president had led "really an incredible revolution – a democratic revolution."

Chavez kicked the nation's oldest television network, RCTV, off the air in 2007 by refusing to renew its license, the Washington Times reported. He replaced it with a state-run station that aired cartoons and old movies while protesters marched in the streets. Chavez has also indicated that he may try to close down Globovision, a TV station that has criticized him.

In addition to his comments at the May 2005 Conference on Media Reform about affirmative action and rooms "full of whites," Lloyd also told the crowd, "There are few things I think more frightening in the American mind than dark-skinned black men.

"Here I am," he said.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A History Lesson

[This was a Facebook email I received today. I left off the pictures.]

A History Lesson

If there is anyone out there that doesn't know this, this is the best visual presentation
I ever saw... Now don't be mad, just remember who did this.

Our Social Security
Franklin Delano. Roosevelt (Terms of Office March 4, 1933, to April 12, 1945), a Democrat, introduced the Social Security (FICA) Program. He Promised:

1.) That participation in the Program would be Completely voluntary,
2.) That the participants would only have to pay 1% of the first $1,400 of their annual Incomes into the Program,
3.) That the money the participants elected to put Into the Program would be deductible from Their income for tax purposes each year,
4.) That the money the participants put into the Independent 'Trust Fund' rather than into the General operating fund, and therefore, would Only be used to fund the Social Security Retirement Program, and no other Government program, and
5.) That the annuity payments to the retirees would never be taxed as income.
Since many of us have paid into FICA for years and are now receiving a Social Security check every month -- and then finding that we are getting taxed on 85% of the money we paid to the Federal gove rnment to 'Put Away' -- you may be interested in the following:


Dwight David Eisenhower
34th. President, Republican,
Term Of Office: January 20, 1953 to January 20, 1961

Insert by Vincent Peter Render,

If I recall correctly, 1958 is the first year that Congress, not President Eisenhower, voted to remove funds from Social Security and put it into the General Fund for Congress to spend.
If I recall correctly, it was a democratically controlled Congress.
From what I understand, Congress logic at that time was that there was so much money in Social Security Fund that it would never run out / be used up for the purpose it was intended / set aside for.

-------------WORSE STILL------------------------------------------------

Lyndon Baines Johnson 36th. President, Democrat
Term Of Office: November 22, 1963 to January 20, 1969

Question: Which Political Party took Social Security from the Independent 'Trust Fund' and put it into the General Fund so that Congress could spend it?

Answer: It was Lyndon B. Johnson (Democrat, Term of Office: November 22,1963 to January 20, 1969) and the democratically Controlled House and Senate.
Question: Which Political Party eliminated the income tax Deduction for Social Security
(FICA) withholding?
Answer: The Democratic Party.

William Jefferson Clinton
(Bill Clinton)
42nd. President
Democrat Term of Office: January 20, 1993 to January 20, 2001

Albert Arnold Gore, Jr.
(Al Gore)
45th. Vice President

Democrat Term of Office: January 20, 1993 to January 20, 2001

Question: Which Political Party started taxing Social Security annuities?
Answer: The Democratic Party, with Albert Arnold Gore, Jr. (Al Gore) [Vice President Term of Office: January 10, 1993 to January 20, 2001] casting the 'tie-breaking' deciding vote as President of the Senate, while he was Vice President of the US .....

------------------THE STRAW THAT BROKE THE CAMEL'S BACK !! -----------------

James Earl Carter, Jr
(Jimmy Carter)
39th President, Democrat
Term of Office: January 20, 1977 to January 20, 1981

Question: Which Political Party decided to start giving Annuity payments to immigrants?



"Damn", have you ever seen a Jack-ass eating briers...!


Then, after violating the original contract (FICA), the Democrats turn around and tell you that the Republicans want to take your Social Security away!

And the worst part about it is uninformed citizens believe it!

If enough people receive this, maybe a seed of Awareness will be planted and maybe changes WILL evolve!
Maybe not, some Democrats are awfully sure of what isn't so. But it's worth a try. How many people can YOU send this to?

Actions speak louder than bumper stickers.


Thomas Jefferson
3rd. President, Democrat
Term of Office: January 20, 1777 to January 20, 1781

"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have".
Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, September 17, 2009

President Awards Medal of Honor

Obama Awards Medal of Honor to Soldier Killed in Afghanistan

By Nicholas Johnston
bg-promo-img-01.pngSept. 17 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration, to a U.S. Army staff sergeant who died three years ago while trying to save a wounded comrade.
After his patrol was ambushed by enemy fighters, then-Staff Sergeant Jared C. Monti rebuffed another soldier’s offer to attempt a rescue, saying: “No, he is my soldier. I am going to get him.”
“Jared Monti saw danger before him and he went out to meet it,” Obama said in a ceremony at the White House today before presenting the medal to Monti’s parents, Paul and Janet. “The actions we honor today were not a passing moment of courage, they were the culmination of a life of character and commitment,” he said.
Monti, who was 30 years old when he died, is the first member of the armed services to receive the Medal of Honor from Obama and the sixth person to receive the award for serving in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. All six awards have been awarded posthumously.
More than 3,400 Medals of Honor have been awarded since it was first authorized by Congress in 1861.
According to the official narrative of Monti’s actions, his 16-man patrol was attacked on the evening of June 21, 2006, in Nuristan Province, along the border with Pakistan, where they had been dispatched to disrupt insurgent activities.
Approximately 50 enemy fighters ambushed the patrol, firing on them with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns. During the battle, Monti realized that one of his soldiers, Private 1st Class Brian J. Bradbury, had been severely injured and separated from the patrol.
“After tightening down his chin strap, Staff Sergeant Monti, without hesitation or concern for his own safety, moved out from behind the protection of the large rocks into the open, and into the face of enemy fire,” the citation says.
Monti tried twice to reach Bradbury and was driven back by enemy fire. On his third attempt he was mortally wounded by a rocket-propelled grenade, falling a few meters from Bradbury.
He tried to crawl back toward cover but was unable because of his injuries. Obama recounted Monti’s last words to his fellow soldiers in the 10th Mountain Division, some of whom attended the ceremony: “I’ve made peace with God. Tell my family that I love them.”
About 20 enemy fighters were killed in the battle. Monti, Bradbury and two other U.S. soldiers, Staff Sergeants Patrick L. Lybert and Heathe Craig, died.
Monti, a native of Raynham, Massachusetts, joined the National Guard while still in high school and went to Army basic training when he was 18.
He was awarded a Bronze Star during a prior tour of duty in Afghanistan and was posthumously promoted to Sergeant 1st Class.
Obama said Monti was a “consummate” sergeant, “caring for his soldiers and teaching his troops.”
“He called them ‘his boys’,” Obama said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Nicholas Johnston in Washington atnjohnston3@bloomberg.net
Last Updated: September 17, 2009 15:48 EDT


Home >> Army News, Current Events, Fallen Heroes, Operation Enduring Freedom, Soldier Stories >> MEDAL OF HONOR TRIBUTE
September 16th, 2009
The Medal of Honor serves as the Nation’s Highest Award for Valor. It represents the bravest of the brave and those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty. Yet, it wasn’t until this week that I truly understood the power and magnitude symbolized by this medallion.

On Thursday and Friday, the White House, Department Of Defense, U.S. Army and the nation will pay homage to SFC Jared C. Monti for his unselfish dedication to protect and defend his fellow Soldiers in time of war.

Being a civilian worker amidst so many Army Personnel, I wanted to learn a little more about the Medal and exactly how someone is chosen for such an honor. So, I began my research. I found the Army’s Medal of Honor micro site, which contained information about the process. But more important, the site included stories of the most recent recipients of the award.

As I clicked through the names, I saw an array of persons; each with a different and life-changing story.

The first story I came across was of SPC. Ross McGinnis (awarded posthumously June 2, 2008) who threw himself onto a grenade thrown into his humvee from above after not being able to deflect it. He sacrificed his body to absorb the impact of the explosion, saving everyone in his humvee and within close proximity of the blast. He was 19 years old.

The next link was the story of SFC Paul R. Smith (awarded posthumously April 4, 2005). On a task to seize Baghdad’s International Airport his brigade was attacked by enemy fire. SFC Smith fired on the advancing enemy from the unprotected position atop the APC and expended at least three boxes of ammunition before being mortally wounded by enemy fire. Sgt. 1st Class Smith’s actions saved the lives of at least 100 Soldiers, caused the failure of a deliberate enemy attack hours after 1st Brigade seized the Baghdad Airport, and resulted in an estimated 20-50 enemy soldiers killed.

As I continued to scroll through the names of the distinguished honorees and read the stories, I could not help but wonder if people actually realize what our men and women do to protect this land in which we live.

They sacrifice, they are selfless, they are brave and they are heroes. Heroes whom have risked their lives, Heroes whom have paid the ultimate price and Heroes who live by the Army’s creed:

I will always place the mission first

I will never accept defeat

I will never quit

I will never leave a fallen comrade

So, this post is dedicated to all the men and women who, on a day to day basis, work to protect us from foreign enemies and protect the soil in which we call America. And to SFC Monti and the other Medal of Honor recipients that have exemplified what it means to be a brave and selfless human being and have gone above and beyond the call of duty; we say thank you.

Visit http://www.army.mil/medalofhonor/monti/ to read about SFC Jared Monti’s story of heriosm and valor.

Posted byashmccallinArmy News, Current Events, Fallen Heroes, Operation Enduring Freedom, Soldier StoriesMedal of Honor, SFC Jared Monti, U.S. Army

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Tale of Two Atheists by Albert Mohler

Posted: Monday, September 14, 2009 at 2:59 am ET
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The Wall Street Journal may be an unusual venue for theological debate, but this past weekend's edition featured just that -- a theological debate of sorts. The "of sorts" is a necessary qualifier in this instance, because The Wall Street Journal's debate was not, as advertised, a debate between an atheist and a believer. Instead, it was a debate between two different species of atheists.
The paper's "Weekend Journal" section front page for the September 12-13, 2009 edition featured articles by Richard Dawkins and Karen Armstrong set in opposing columns. The paper headlined the feature as "Man vs. God: Two Prominent Thinkers Debate Evolution, Science, and the Role of Religion." Well, the feature at least looked interesting.
Dawkins, after all, is probably the world's most famous atheist. At the same time (and not coincidentally, he would insist) he is also the world's foremost defender of Darwin and evolutionary theory. Karen Armstrong is a popularizer of works on world religion. She takes a basically benign view of religion, arguing that the different religions of the world are avenues toward the same quest for meaning. A former nun, she has written several books on themes and figures related to Islam, and she is a critic of what she terms "fundamentalist" religion. She is a critic of "fundamentalism" on whom the media can depend for comment.
The paper presented the articles by Dawkins and Armstrong in an interesting format. The article by Dawkins is headlined, "Evolution Leaves God with Nothing to Do." Armstrong's essay is headlined, "We Need to Grasp the Wonder of Our Existence."
Predictably, Dawkins begins his article with Charles Darwin and the theory of evolution. Evolution, Dawkins claims, has simply displaced God. "Evolution is the universe's greatest work. Evolution is the creator of life, and life is arguably the most surprising and most beautiful production that the laws of physics have ever generated," he asserts. Quoting a T-shirt, Dawkins insists that evolution "is the greatest show on earth, the only game in town."
As for God, evolution just renders deity a useless and vacuous concept. "Where does that leave God?," Dawkins asks. "The kindest thing to say is that it leaves him with nothing to do, and no achievements that might attract our praise, our worship or our fear."
Evolution, he continues (presumably less kindly), "is God's redundancy notice, his pink slip." God, who never existed in the first place, has now been fired.
Demonstrating the point that this exchange is really not a meaningful debate, Karen Armstrong begins her essay with this amazing statement: "Richard Dawkins has been right all along, of course -- at least in one important respect. Evolution has indeed dealt a blow to the idea of a benign creator, literally conceived. It tells us that there is no Intelligence controlling the cosmos, and that life itself is the result of a blind process of natural selection, in which innumerable species failed to survive."
Furthermore, she asserts that human beings "were not the pinnacle of a purposeful creation; like everything else they evolved by trial and error and God had no direct hand in their making."
And yet, Armstrong insists that Darwin really did God a favor by forcing us to give up our "primitive" belief in his actual existence -- thus freeing us to affirm merely a "God beyond God" who exists only as a concept.
Along the way, Armstrong offers a superficial and theologically reckless argument that comes down to this: Until the modern age, believers in God were not really believers in a God who was believed to exist. Then along came Sir Issac Newton and the "modern" belief that God must exist in order to be God. When Darwin came along to show "that there could be no proof for God's existence," he was doing God a favor -- allowing his survival as a mere symbol.
She makes statements that amount to elegant nonsense. Consider this: "In the ancient world, a cosmology was not regarded as factual but was primarily therapeutic; it was recited when people needed an infusion of that mysterious power that had -- somehow -- brought something out of primal nothingness: at a sickbed, a coronation or during a political crisis." So she would have us to believe that, in centuries past, cosmology was merely therapy. She simply makes the assertion and moves on. Will anyone believe this nonsense?
Armstrong calls for the emergence of "a more authentic notion of God." Her preferred concept of God would be about aesthetics, not theology. "Religion is not an exact science but a kind of art form," she intones.
Interestingly, it is Dawkins, presented as the unbeliever in this exchange, who understands God better than Armstrong. In fact, Richard Dawkins the atheist rightly insists that Karen Armstrong is actually an atheist as well. "God's Rotweiller" sees through Armstrong's embrace of a "God beyond God."
He writes: "Now, there is a certain class of sophisticated modern theologian who will say something like this: "Good heavens, of course we are not so naive or simplistic as to care whether God exists. Existence is such a 19th-century preoccupation! It doesn't matter whether God exists in a scientific sense. What matters is whether he exists for you or for me. If God is real for you, who cares whether science has made him redundant? Such arrogance! Such elitism."
Clearly, this "certain class of sophisticated modern theologian" refers to those theologians who embrace theological non-realism. Dawkins clearly lumps Karen Armstrong in the same category of deluded theologians.
"Well, if that's what floats your canoe, you'll be paddling it up a very lonely creek," Dawkins warns. "The mainstream belief of the world's peoples is very clear. They believe in God, and that means they believe he exists in objective reality, just as surely as the Rock of Gibraltar exists. If sophisticated theologians or postmodern relativists think they are rescuing God from the redundancy scrap-heap by downplaying the importance of existence, they should think again."
We should at least give Dawkins credit here for knowing what he rejects. Here we meet an atheist who understands the difference between belief and unbelief. As for those, like Armstrong, who try to tell believers that it does not matter if God exists -- Dawkins informs them that believers in God will brand them as atheists. "They'll be right," Dawkins concludes.
So the exchange in The Wall Street Journal turns out to be a meeting of two atheist minds. The difference, of course, is that one knows he is an atheist when the other presumably claims she is not. Dawkins knows a fellow atheist when he sees one. Careful readers of The Wall Street Journal will come to the same conclusion.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Heavens (and the Hubble) Are Telling the Glory of God

Posted: Friday, September 11, 2009 at 2:31 am ET
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The images now flowing from theHubble Space Telescope are simply stunning. Vast nebulae appear as delicate butterflies and the vast reaches of the universe are coming into new focus.  All this comes after a feat of modern engineering and expertise as a rescue mission to the telescope last spring replaced two cameras and repaired broken equipment.  The rescue mission cost approximately $1 billion, but the life of the orbiting telescope was extended at least five years.
No one envisioned this kind of longevity for Hubble when the telescope was first put into orbit in 1990.  Named for astronomer Edwin P. Hubble (1889-1953), the telescope's location in orbit around the earth avoids the distortions of the earth's atmosphere.
Now, with images streaming from the Hubble, scientists are elated and NASA is relieved. "The hair was standing up on the back of my neck to see the potential of this telescope," said John Grunsfeld, one of the astronauts who fixed the telescope back in the spring. Heidi Hammel of the Space Science Institute said, “We’re giddy with the quality of the data we’re getting."  Astronaut Mike Massimino simply said, "Thank God, we didn't break it."
It is easy to see why. The images are simply amazing, even to a non-astronomer.  These visions have never been seen by human eyes before. In these and so many other ways, this generation has glimpsed the grandeur of the creation like no generation before us.
One interesting facet of the publicity around the new images from Hubble is the inadequacy of the comments offered by so many.  Consider this portion of an account by the Associated Press:
The butterfly photo shows details, such as gassy folds in what looks like butterfly wings, that the Hubble previously could not see, said Hubble senior scientist Dave Leckrone.
The glow in that photo and others is hot gas and dust pushed out from the stars, Leckrone said. In a way, it's like a lightbulb, with the star as the filament but the overall glow from the gas, he said.
The images, especially the butterfly, don't just show science, but can evoke a sense of spirituality, Leckrone said.
"What I see is the grandeur of creation, however it got there," Leckrone told The Associated Press.
The Associated Press offers a very credible news story on the Hubble excitement. But consider the statement provided by Dave Leckrone:  "What I see is the grandeur of creation, however it got there."  As the report indicates, Leckrone suggested that the Hubble images should evoke "spirituality," and not merely a respect for science.
Leckrone may well be speaking honestly about his lack of concern for "how it got there," but I doubt that is all there is to it.  How can intelligent people consider the grandeur of the cosmos without pondering, "how it got there?"  In the end, the "how" question (or the "who" question) determines the meaning of the cosmos itself.  If the universe (and what lies beyond) is merely an accident of physics, the grandeur is simply in the sheer unlikeliness of it all.  Beyond this observation, little more can be said.  We are left to ponder the cosmos as a freakish accident that provides human beings (also accidents) with an opportunity for amazement.
If, on the other hand, the cosmos is the work of a sovereign and holy Creator, the cosmos is itself a reflection of His character and power -- and the theater of His glory.
According to The New York Times, astronaut K. Megan McArthur reacted to the images coming from the newly-repaired Hubble with this: “I’m in awe of the human ingenuity that could conceive of such a thing and then make it happen."  Well, the human ingenuity displayed in the Hubble is indeed impressive -- deeply so.  But how do we explain even the wonder of this human ingenuity?  Furthermore, how can one's wonder stop at human ingenuity?  The real wonder is not Hubble, but what Hubble has allowed us at last to see.
"The heavens are telling the glory of God," sings the Psalmist, "and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands." [Psalm 19:1, NASB]  Every atom of creation cries out the glory of God.  The Hubble Space Telescope now shows the glory of God in the universe in a new dimension -- and in breathtaking color and complexity.  To see these images is to view the work of the Creator in a glory newly disclosed, newly visible to human eyes.
To read of the vast distances and dimensions seen and measured by Hubble's technology is to be reminded just how small our planet really is -- and how even smaller we humans are.  As the Psalmist reflected:  "When I consider your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him?" [Psalm 8:3-4, NASB]
The cosmos does reveal the glory of the Creator -- indeed it is inevitably so.  The heavens -- and Hubble -- are telling the glory of God.  He who has eyes to see, let him see.
Photo credit, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration).  Main Hubble page with images available here.
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