Witness the multiple contortions encountered in the refusal to answer the question, "If you can feel a heartbeat, what is that thing tht's being aborted? Is it a piece of tissue? Is it a separate human being?"
I hadn't seen this photo until a friend sent it to me earlier today. This "moment of prayer photo" was tweeted out 2/1/17 after President Trump announced the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court.
Among those pictured in the huddle are Trump; his sons Donald Jr. and Eric; Vice President Mike Pence; second lady Karen Pence; Chief of Staff Reince Priebus; Gorsuch and his wife Louise; and from the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's family, his widow Maureen Scalia and son Paul, a Catholic priest.
Daniel Greenfield castigates the spineless European governments and media for looking the other way or finding excuses for Muslim terrorist attacks. Greenfield writes:
In a Dusseldorf train station, Fatmir, a Muslim refugee from Kosovo, went on the attack with an axe. His victims included several adults and a 13-year-old girl.
The authorities are blaming his attack on that familiar standby; drug and psychological problems.
There have been quite a few Muslims in Germany boarding the crazy train and trying to ride it all the way to the 72 virgins, dazzling white camels and musk mountains of Islamic paradise.
In July, a Muslim refugee took an axe and assaulted passengers on a train in Würzburg while shouting, “Allahu Akbar”.
Muhammad Riyad, the unaccompanied Afghan minor, had come seeking asylum. He concluded his stay in Germany by slashing and stabbing a family from Hong Kong. His motive was hotly debated.
Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann insisted that he wasn’t an ISIS Jihadist. He denied that ISIS had ordered the attack. Then an ISIS flag was found in his room.
The Interior Minister vowed to follow every lead to determine his motive. To help him out, ISIS released a video of Muhammad brandishing a knife while vowing to “slaughter infidels”.
"They will slaughter you in your own back yard and they will live in your houses and break your rules and take your land. We will target you in every village, every city and every airport Allah Willing,” he ranted.
That was a strongly worded hint. But German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere argued that the attack occupied “a grey area between a crazed rampage and a terrorist act.”
If you don't read anything else today, you can call it a good and important day just by reading this article. (Available on p. 2 below.) As you probably know, assisted suicide propagandists latch on to mantras such as "death with dignity," "the right to die," and "self-determination" and in turn receive only limited effective pushback from opponents of euthanasia. But then along comes Liz Carr, a person who suffers from a genetic disorder that prevents her from extending her muscles, who crafts a musical which has performed in the U.K. to rave reviews.
I can only say, "Bravo!" and again, "Bravo!" A musical (!) is an extraordinary-- and entertaining -- way to engage in cultural debate and offers an important supplement to debates, speeches, documentaries, and interviews. My hope is that other creative people hearing of this musical will be inspired to give reign to their own creative juices and produce similar musicals or other inventive creations that relate to contemporary debates. I note that Dinesh D'Souza in a recent speech said he would be moving from documentaries to producing full length dramas in order to reach more people.
Here is a brief introduction to Ms. Carr's "Assisted Suicide: The Musical":
Tucker Carlson's interview with Shelby Steele deepened my understanding of liberals. I gained insight into the modern American liberal's profound sense of moral superiority and identity which renders ideological conversation and debate impossible. An opponent is evil and his or her speech must be shut down.
Partial transcript beginning at the 3:15 minute mark:
Liberalism is not an ideology. It is an identity. People who think of themselves as liberals really are adhering to an identity, to the idea of "my personal self." I am the kind of person who is above racism, who is above sexism. And if you take that position that I don't like, then you are challenging not just my ideas, but you are challenging me as a human being with a particular identity and that is why the passions, the ferocity of the Left that we see today in the streets and elsewhere.
There's a complete shutdown of any honest intellectual exchange because you are not threatening my ideas, you are threatening me, and I don't have the patience to be reasonable and argue with you on the basis of reason. I need to literally extinguish or annihilate you in your position. You see the anti-Trump sentiment in many ways. Annihilate him! There is nothing redeeming in this man! And so forth, because... liberalism is an identity
It’s perfect comedy. There’s the self-serious straight man; the swaggering two-year-old, strutting her stuff like she owns the place; the surprise punchline of the baby rolling in; and then the Kramer-esque entrance by mom, reducing to pulling the door shut from her knees as she struggles to control the chaos around her. . . . Everyone’s timing is superb. You couldn’t script it better.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Somali-born research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, founder of the AHA Foundation (which exists to protect women and girls from abuses), author of a February Op-Ed piece, "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Sharia?," yesterday wrote an article regarding the International Women's Day saying:
. . . As a moral and legal code, Sharia law is demeaning and degrading to women. It requires women to be placed under the care of male guardians; it views a woman’s testimony in court as worth half that of a man’s; and it permits a husband to beat his wife. It’s not only women’s legal and sexual freedoms that are curtailed under Sharia but their economic freedoms as well. Women generally inherit half of the amount that men inherit, and their male guardian must consent to their choosing education, work, or travel.
In Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan, and parts of Nigeria, where Sharia law underpins the judicial system, women’s rights suffer greatly.
There is a growing trend among some feminists to make excuses for Sharia law and claim it is nothing more than a personal moral guide, and therefore consistent with American constitutional liberties. Yet the rules that such “Sharia-lite feminists” voluntarily choose to follow are also invoked to oppress women—to marry them off, to constrain their economic and human rights, and to limit their freedom of expression—who have not consented to them. The moral conflict between Sharia and universal human rights should not be dismissed as a misunderstanding, but openly discussed.
D'Souza delivered a really terrific speech at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas on March 7, 2017. He knows history as few others do, and tells facts about fascism, slavery, and the Democratic party that will astonish you. Stay tuned for the Q&A. Terrific. Note: the video has a long lead-in. The introduction doesn't begin until about the 19:30 minute mark.
As I explained in my book Big Agenda: President Trump’s Plan to Save America, the source of this civil war mentality is a profound rejection of the American idea. This is the idea that we are equal citizens regardless of our origins, and that we are accountable as individuals for what we do. The left’s creed – identity politics – is an anti-American, racially charged determination to reject individual accountability and individual freedom, and to establish in their place group privileges, and racial/gender hierarchies. These hierarchies are based on the malicious premise that whites, heterosexuals and males are oppressors and - in the words of the Democratic platform - America is a society governed by “systemic racism,” which needs to be fundamentally transformed.
This collectivist, racial creed is the heart and soul of today’s Democratic Party and its allies in the mainstream media. It is the inspiration for the war Democrats have declared on the newly elected government of Donald Trump. In his inaugural address, Trump addressed the war in uncompromising but thoroughly American terms. “Through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other…. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice…. Whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American Flag.” This is the American creed, and it is the voice of the American people who elected Trump in November 2016.
Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association attended St John's Church in Washington, D.C. with about 200 others the morning of Donald J. Trump's inauguration as the 45th President of the United States. I found Wildmon's description of the service quite interesting; he provided information I had not read elsewhere. Wildmon wrote:
As we entered the small sanctuary, I pointed out to Alison the front pews, where small cards on the first three rows read “Reserved for the Pence family, “Reserved for the Trump family” and “Reserved for Secret Service.” We found a seat about eight rows back, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Trump and Pence families.
At 8:30 Vice President-Elect Mike Pence walked down the aisle with his wife and family. At 8:35 President-Elect Donald Trump came down the aisle with his wife and the Trump family. It was really quite surreal.
The service included hymns, Scripture reading, and a short sermon by Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas. Dr. Jeffress delivered a message from the book of Nehemiah. After he concluded, Dr. James Dobson came to the pulpit and asked Mr. Pence to stand. Dr. Dobson challenged him to live for God every day and then prayed over him.
Next, evangelist James Robison walked to the pulpit and asked Mr. Trump to stand. The evangelist then talked directly to Mr. Trump about the importance of honesty and integrity. Before praying for him, Robinson said he believes God is going to use Donald Trump for “such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). The service lasted about 30 to 40 minutes and was one of the most remarkable spiritual events I have ever seen. I think everyone in the room was moved by the power of God. [more . . .]
The following analysis written by Matthew Vadum is one of the most comprehensive analyses available. At the end I have offered additional links related to the Ninth Circuit's ruling. Vadum writes:
Three unelected federal judges in San Francisco yesterday ordered the Trump administration to continue accepting visitors and would-be immigrants from seven dangerous countries that are incubators of Muslim terrorism.
When President Trump learned his temporary ban on the admission of aliens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen that was put on hold Feb. 3 by Seattle-based Judge James L. Robart would continue in abeyance, he got on Twitter immediately.
At 6:35 p.m. Eastern time he tweeted in all caps: “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!”
The open-borders crowd doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on. That may be why at a press conference celebrating the outrageous ruling, a member of Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s (D) team deployed the phrase “social justice” to justify the decision. “Social justice” is a magical amulet that nullifies anything the Left doesn’t like, including the president’s executive order. Its very invocation is an admission that a cause is illegitimate and un-American.
The Ninth Circuit’s fairy dust-based decision is “an intellectually dishonest piece of work,” said retired Judge Andrew Napolitano.
If Paul Sperry (writing in today's New York Post) is right, the United States remains subject to the tentacles of a failed and discredited Obama who has put in motion an apparatus to torpedo Trump's vision of an "America First" presidency. (HT: Drudge) Quite maddening! Other presidents don't fight their successors! Sperry writes:
When former President Barack Obama said he was “heartened” by anti-Trump protests, he was sending a message of approval to his troops. Troops? Yes, Obama has an army of agitators — numbering more than 30,000 — who will fight his Republican successor at every turn of his historic presidency. And Obama will command them from a bunker less than two miles from the White House.
In what’s shaping up to be a highly unusual post-presidency, Obama isn’t just staying behind in Washington. He’s working behind the scenes to set up what will effectively be a shadow government to not only protect his threatened legacy, but to sabotage the incoming administration and its popular “America First” agenda.
I greatly enjoyed an article in yesterday's Wall Street Journal titled "There's No School Like the Kitchen." The online version carries the subtitle, "Cooking helps kids learn, appreciate different cultures and refine their motor skills." I found Lorraine Allen's article both intriguing and convincing. She writes:
My husband and I cook daily for our 8-year-old daughter because, like 15 million other Americans (an estimated two children per classroom), she has food allergies. For our daughter, this ritual is inspiring and educational. She loves helping out—rolling dough, mixing sauces—and creating her own dishes, from tarts to homemade linguine. At age 6 she opened her own allergy-friendly bakery. I’m no gourmet chef, but I spent much of my own childhood helping my grandmother in the kitchen, a lucky thing, I now know.
As our child grows, I’ve come to realize that helping in the kitchen develops far more than basic cooking skills. Children gain countless crucial developmental skills, and because they absorb these lessons in a hands-on, playful way, they are immediately engaged without parental nagging.
For toddlers, the kitchen is a perfect place to hone their gross and fine motor skills, using their hands to wash and peel produce, stir sauce, or dig out a measure of flour or pinch of salt. A preschooler will gain important cognitive skills from sorting forks and spoons, matching lids on sippy cups, and avoiding a hot stove.
I agree with Trump on many things, but his stated moral equivalence between Russia and the United States must be regarded as profoundly twisted and disturbing. David French properly takes Trump to task.
I didn’t think I’d ever see the day when a Republican president equated America with Russia — and did so in a way that echoed the worst of fever-swamp radical leftism. There has already been enough commentary on Trump’s headline-grabbing initial response to Bill O’Reilly’s claim that Vladimir Putin is a “killer.” Trump said, “There are a lot of killers. We have a lot of killers. Well, you think our country is so innocent?” I’d like to focus on the follow-up, when O’Reilly gave him an opportunity to amend his statement:
O’REILLY: I don’t know of any government leaders that are killers.
TRUMP: Well — take a look at what we’ve done, too. We made a lot of mistakes. I’ve been against the war in Iraq from the beginning.
O’REILLY: Yes, mistakes are different than –
TRUMP: We made a lot of mistakes, OK, but a lot of people were killed. So, a lot of killers around, believe me.
When I was a young man living for the first time in the heart of leftist America, I was stunned at the number of books and lectures that made the case that there was no moral difference between the United States and its enemies. Some even went so far as to declare that we were somehow worse than the Soviets — or on some kind of par with Imperial Japan for Nazi Germany because, after all, we dropped a nuclear weapon. We engaged in area bombing. They killed. We killed. What’s the difference?
I wrote last week about the importance of the model bill drafted by the Goldwater Institute — the Campus Free Speech Act. In my latest Forbes article, I elaborate on the problem and why state legislators must take action.
Free speech is far too important to leave to the campus crowd of administrators, faculty, and zealous students who are little inclined to stand up for free speech. Mostly, anti-speech views rule — that is to say, speech is tolerated only if it aligns perfectly with “progressive” ideology. Since campus officials have shown that they cannot be entrusted with the crucial task of justifying and defending free speech, it’s time for state lawmakers to step in. Sure, the academic elite will howl that such legislation interferes in “their” domain, but public colleges and universities are not theirs to run.
Let us hope that legislators who want to restore the First Amendment and its values on our campuses introduce the model bill in each state. It certainly won’t pass everywhere, but the debate will be enlightening.
** Update: Lt. Gov. Dan Forest of North CArolina issued a news release 2/7/16:
Lt. Governor Dan Forest to Push for Campus Free Speech
Raleigh, NC – Lt. Governor Dan Forest today announced his intention to work with members of the General Assembly to pass the “Restore Campus Free Speech Act”. Recently, in spectacles that have been broadcast around the nation, speakers at college campuses are being denied their first amendment rights to freedom of speech. This proposed legislation would ensure the First Amendment right of freedom of speech is upheld on North Carolina public university campuses.
What a wonderful foretaste of heaven! The video below celebrates the praises of God in Hebrew, Spanish, Japanese, German, Dutch, Chinese, Korean, French, Finnish, Portuguese and English. I agree with the friend who sent this to me; it would have been still more wonderful if singers in Arabic and Swahili could have participated! But they will be there in that future Day! Scripture says, before long there will be "a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.. crying out with a loud voice, 'salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb!'" (Rev. 7:9)
This morning a friend sent me a link to a David Brooks' New York Timesarticle expressing hysteria against Donald Trump. Here is what I wrote my friend in reply:
Brooks has written insightful books, but as a political analyst his judgments are often faulty. He predicted Obama would be an effective president because he was impressed with the crease in his pants! He slurs and slanders the Trump administration by throwing around loaded terms such as "ethnic nationalist administration" and to accuse the administration of the "aroma of bigotry" is itself cross-eyed propaganda alien to facts. Trump hasn't done anything he didn't say he would do and the countries identified for specific scrutiny are the ones singled out by the Obama administration. One must understand that the left is determined to discredit this administration no matter what it does. It is at war. (Cf. the delay in confirming cabinet choices). Yes, Trump is a loose cannon in many ways, and the administration could have gone about things more wisely, but the issue goes beyond Trump's character and personality; the left simply cannot allow a "wrecking ball to political correctness" to succeed. Political and philosophical commitments are at stake! If Trump does endure, it certainly won't be with the help of the media.
The video below is MUST-VIEWING. PP is one of the slimiest organizations imagineable. The leaders constantly talk about "pre-natal care," but when contacted, 92 out of 97 "clinics" said they only do abortions.
Washington, D.C. (January 24, 2017) – Today, Live Action released a new investigative video debunking Planned Parenthood’s claim that it provides critical prenatal care to pregnant women. The abortion giant has insisted that prenatal care is one of its core services that women will lose if its taxpayer funding is cut off. But Live Action’s investigation proves those services are virtually nonexistent at the abortion chain.
“The Prenatal Care Deception” is the first in Live Action’s “Abortion Corporation” series of investigative videos highlighting Planned Parenthood’s own employees saying its focus is providing abortions, not women’s health care. Live Action is releasing the investigative series as Congress plans to redirect Medicaid dollars away from Planned Parenthood to local health clinics and also vote on the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.
Dennis Prager consistently offers thoughtful, astute, and succinct observations on life and culture. I almost always find his observations compelling. He is the author of a number of books including The Ten Commandmens: Still the Best Moral Code. He is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host and creator of Prager University.com which offers important short video [YouTube] commentary on issues of the day. What follows is his guide to basic differences between Left and Right. In almost every case I think he is right on target.
Source of Human Rights
Right: the Creator
Left: basically good (Therefore, society is primarily responsible for evil.)
Right: not basically good (Therefore, the individual is primarily responsible for evil.)
Filmmaker Ami Horowitz recently traveled to the West Bank to explore the accusation that Israeli check points across the region disrupt Palestinian daily life. Horowitz and his crew drove hundreds of miles across the West Bank in a Palestinian car with a Palestinian driver and they were never stopped.
In the video, Horowitz interviews Palestinians at the border with Israel, asking them how long it takes to get across. The answer from those featured in the video? About ten minutes. They admit that it takes just one minute when it’s their turn to go through the border.
The video then features a split screen shot of the West Bank–Israeli border and the U.S.–Mexico border to showcase how many more cars get through the check point in the former over the same time period. In the short demonstration, seven cars pass the West Bank border in the time that zero cars pass the U.S. border.
In Horowitz’s experience, it appears that Palestinians have few issues crossing borders or being subjected to internal checkpoints. /corner
Senator Ted Cruz in his questioning of Sen. Jeff Sessions for Attorney General of the United States provided a litany of the lawlessness practiced by President Obama and his Department of Justice during the past eght years. This video should be referred to again and again as an accurate historical record of a particularly disgraceful (and dangerous) period of American history which hopefully no future generation will experience again.
Andrew Brunson is an American pastor and missionary from North Carolina who has been living in Turkey and preaching the Good Word for more than twenty years. His services were curtailed in October, however, when he was arrested by Erdogan’s goons and he’s currently in prison facing “terrorism” charges. Throughout this ordeal there has been little to no help from the Obama administration and now the pastor’s family has reached out to the Trump transition team. The Daily Caller has the latest details.
A Christian social activist group has been in touch with the Donald Trump transition team in hopes of freeing an American pastor who has been held in a Turkish prison for three months on bogus terrorism charges, The Daily Caller is told.
“We’ve reached out, and they’re obviously aware,” Jordan Sekulow, the executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice, says of the case of Andrew Brunson, a native of North Carolina who has served as a missionary in Turkey for 23 years.
“We haven’t seen the engagement from our highest level officials. They’re on their way out, and it doesn’t seem like necessarily it’s on their priority list,” Sekulow added of the outgoing Obama administration.
“It’s going to take more action from the Trump administration.”
The American Center for Law and Justice has been following this story from the beginning. Last month they published an extensive summary of the events to date which will bring you up to speed on Brunson’s situation.
With North Korea on the verge of developing ICBMs capable of carrying nuclear bombs to the United States and elsewhere, the day of reckoning is now upon us. We can no longer continue dithering. As Charles Krauthammer says,
Since the early 1990s, we have offered every kind of inducement to get North Korea to give up its nuclear program. All failed miserably. Pyongyang managed to extort money, food, oil and commercial nuclear reactors in exchange. But it was all a swindle. North Korea was never going to give up its nukes because it sees them as the ultimate guarantee of regime survival.
Krauthammer rightly notes,
"If they can miniaturize their weapons to fit on top of the rocket and control re-entry, they'll be able to push a button in Pyongyang and wipe out an American city."
I've always considered Shannon Bream quick, articulate, and an exceptionally talented news person at Fox. Yesterday I learned she is a 1993 graduate of Liberty University. Her walk with the Lord is upfront and full of vitality. Here she is delivering the 2013 commencement address at Liberty University.
Update: It was announced today that Tucker Carlson will replace Megyn Kelly at the 9:00 PM program and Martha MacCallum will replace Tucker Carlson at his 7:00 PM slot. Both are good people!
Israel-based author and commentator, Caroline Glick, spells out the significance of the recent U.S. and U.N. moves against Israel and what they portend for the future. She warns of the 50-nation January conference on Israel hosted by France likely to conclude by adopting another U.N. resolution further de-legitimizing Israel on the world stage. Glick suggests strategies for defeating the looming U.N. vote and offers her thoughts on how Israel and the U.S. should proceed given the worldwide anti-Israel movement ratified by Obama. Anything Glick writes constitutes "must-reading." She writes: [my bolding]
UN Security Council Resolution 2334 was the first prong of outgoing President Barack Obama’s lame duck campaign against Israel.
US Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech on Wednesday was the second.
On January 15, stage 3 will commence in Paris.
At France’s lame duck President François Hollande’s international conference, the foreign ministers of some 50 states are expected to adopt as their own Kerry’s anti-Israel principles.
The next day it will be Obama’s turn. Obama can be expected to use the occasion of Martin Luther King Jr. Day to present the Palestinian war to annihilate Israel as a natural progression from the American Civil Rights movement that King led 50 years ago.
Finally, sometime between January 17 and 19, Obama intends for the Security Council to reconvene and follow the gang at the Paris conference by adopting Kerry’s positions as a Security Council resolution. That follow-on resolution may also recognize “Palestine” and grant it full membership in the UN.
- "A marriage of prose and detail so fine and fastidious that it takes the breath away."
- This book is better than a movie. For the Glory is the best biography I’ve read on its subject, and may be one of the best non-fiction books I’ve ever read.
This is a book now high on my "to read" list. I previously blogged about Eric Liddell here, and the post is worth visiting because it not only talks about Liddell, but also about the book, Shantung Compound, that describes the living condition Liddell and others endured in a Japanese internment camp in China along with hundreds of others during World War II.
In October, at 85, he set his latest distance-running record, completing the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 3 hours 56 minutes 34 seconds and becoming the oldest person to run 26.2 miles in under four hours.
His training discipline (none) I found particularly interesting:
At the Toronto Marathon, he raced in 15-year-old shoes and a singlet that was 20 or 30 years old. He has no coach. He follows no special diet. He does not chart his mileage. He wears no heart-rate monitor. He takes no ice baths, gets no massages. He shovels snow in the winter and gardens in the summer but lifts no weights, does no situps or push-ups. He avoids stretching, except the day of a race. He takes no medication, only a supplement that may or may not help his knees.
I unfortunately experienced a dearth of Christmas music this year, so when I came across this lovely Hillsdale College Choir rendition of "O Holy Night," I definitely wanted to post it on my blog not only to enjoy it many times myself, but to share it with others also. Enjoy! (You might also seriously consider suggesting Hillsdale College to any serious-minded high school senior in search of a first-rate liberal arts education.)
That Obama hates Israel should not have taken anyone by surprise, but apparently it did, including American liberal Jews who chose not to consider seriously the facts Stanley Kurtz laid out 5 years ago. So now with the U.N. Security Council vote (on the eve of Hanukkah of all days!) we have Israel stripped of territory it has occupied for the past 1,000 years (Jewish Quarter of East Jerusalem and the Western Wall) plus so much else. Thank you, Mr. Obama.
Here is a worthwhile discussion of Obama's treachery.
My own feeling is that this U.N. action against Israel will be a catalyst for a major shakeup of the world's international relationships. As someone presciently said of President-elect Trump months before he was elected, "Trump is a wrecking ball to the spirit of political correctness." Similarly, I think he will be a "wrecking ball" to the world's international alignments as they appeared at the end of 2016. The world needs "shaking up" in a positive way. Charles Krauthammer says "it is time to rethink our slavish devotion, to an institution that devotes itself to attacking an ally and to undermining American interests." Absolutely! That's a first step.
The fact is that Americans have to really think about why we still invest, support, and, in a sense sort of psychically invest in the U.N., which was a great idea 70 years ago when it was an idea. But it’s a complete failure, and it’s a farce. Sixty percent of its activity is devoted to reports, attacks, denunciations, and demonization of one state — the one Jewish state on the planet, a dot on the map. . . Time to rethink our devotion, slavish devotion, to an institution that devotes itself to attacking an ally and to undermining American interests. [my emphases]
Keller pastors Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. He is known for his thoughtful sermons which attract a large and varied audience. He has lectured at Google on three occasions that I am aware of (here, here, and here), as well as at Oxford and other universities. Keller is also a prolific author. Just before Christmas New York Times writer Nicholas Kristof published an interview with Keller titled, "Am I a Christian, Pastor Keller?" I think it really good, both the questions and answers, and commend it to you.
(Note: I have blogged about Tim Keller several times. Simply google "Muddling Toward Maturity - Tim Keller" for a list of posts.)
On the surface, Hollywood is a land of loose morals, where materialism rules, sex and drugs are celebrated on screen (and off), and power players can have a distant relationship with the truth. But movie studios and their partners have quietly — very quietly, sometimes to the degree of a black ops endeavor — been building deep connections to Christian filmgoers who dwell elsewhere on the spectrum of politics and social values. In doing so, they have tapped churches, military groups, right-leaning bloggers and, particularly, a fraternity of marketing specialists who cut their teeth on overtly religious movies but now put their influence behind mainstream works like “Frozen,” “The Conjuring,” “Sully” and “Hidden Figures.”
The marketers are writing bullet points for sermons, providing footage for television screens mounted in sanctuaries and proposing Sunday school lesson plans. In some cases, studios are even flying actors, costume designers and producers to megachurch discussion groups.
I found it a fascinating article, filled with marketing details and personalities new to me. As I read I began to wonder, might these developments be a sign that God is beginning to answer many people's prayers for Hollywood to change its direction and offer uplifting and morally challenging films on a more regular basis? One can hope -- and continue to pray. Read the whole thing.
Egypt receives $1.5 billion dollars of U.S. miitary and economic aid a year. The Egyptian government is not serious about protecting Egyptian Christians. Withholding aid money until Egypt protects its Christians makes total sense. We need to press Trump to initiate a vigorous freedom of religion foreign policy. As John Stonestreet writes:
[Egyptian Christian] Copts have been, at best, second-class citizens since the 1952 coup that created the modern Egyptian state. Repression, discrimination, and violence have all been part and parcel of their existence.
While the Egyptian government obviously didn’t attack the worshippers at St. Peter’s or attack Christians in Minya, the Egyptian government is largely indifferent to the fate of its Christian citizens.
Actually, it’s even worse than that. Mistreating Copts was the way that Egypt’s rulers, including the present one, have burnished their Islamic identity. And, until recently, virtually no one, especially in the West, said “boo!” about it. The sad truth is that Copts had to start dying in significant numbers for anyone to take notice, and that “anyone” includes their brethren in the West. [more...]
Seven men and one woman named by Mr. Trump to run vast government agencies share a common trait: once they are confirmed, their presence is meant to unnerve — and maybe even outright undermine — the bureaucracies they are about to lead.
Some of those chosen — 17 picks so far for federal agencies and five for the White House — are among the most radical selections in recent history. Other presidents’ nominees, even when controversial, were often veterans of the Washington bureaucracy and generally believed in it. But a number of Mr. Trump’s most important selections have no experience in federal government and a great drive to undo it. [more...]
Let us hope so! Government by the Administrative State - the bureaucracy - has led to tyranny. It is time to roll the bureaucracy back to manageable levels where we the people, through our elected representatives, become responsible for the laws and regulations under which we choose to live.
WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald J. Trump on Thursday named David M. Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer aligned with the Israeli far right, as his nominee for ambassador to Israel, elevating a campaign adviser who has questioned the need for a two-state solution and has likened left-leaning Jews in America to the Jews who aided the Nazis in the Holocaust.
Mr. Friedman, whose outspoken views stand in stark contrast to decades of American policy toward Israel, did not wait long on Thursday to signal his intention to upend the American approach. In a statement from the Trump transition team announcing his nomination, he said he looked forward to doing the job “from the U.S. embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.” [more. . .]
Democrats and liberals have: booed the inclusion of God in their platform at the 2012 convention (this is disputed, but it is the perception); endorsed a regulation that would allow transgendered students to use the bathroom and locker room corresponding to their identity; attempted to force small businesses to cover drugs they believe induce abortions; attempted to force nuns to provide contraceptive coverage; forced Brendan Eich to step down as chief executive officer of Mozilla due to his opposition to marriage equality; fined a small Christian bakery over $140,000 for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding; vigorously opposed a law in Indiana that would provide protections against similar regulations – despite having overwhelmingly supported similar laws when they protected Native American religious rights – and then scoured the Indiana countryside trying to find a business that would be affected by the law before settling upon a small pizza place in the middle of nowhere and harassing the owners. In 2015, the United States solicitor general suggested that churches might lose their tax exempt status if they refused to perform same-sex marriages. In 2016, the Democratic nominee endorsed repealing the Hyde Amendment, thereby endorsing federal funding for elective abortions.
The worst attack on Egypt’s Christian minority in recent years occurred yesterday, Sunday, December 11, 2016. St. Peter Cathedral in Cairo, packed with worshippers celebrating Sunday mass, was bombed; at least 27 churchgoers, mostly women and children, were killed and 65 severely wounded. As many of the wounded are in critical condition, the death toll is expected to rise.
As usual, witnesses say that state security was not present and that police took an inordinate amount of time to arrive after the explosion. Preliminary investigations point to a bomb placed inside an unattended lady’s purse on one of the rear pews of the women’s section, though more recent revelations indicate there was a male suicide bomber involved.
Mutilated bodies were strewn along the floor and pews of the cathedral. “I found bodies, many of them women, lying on the pews. It was a horrible scene,” said one witness.
Ibrahim makes important points about what life is like for Christians in Egypt so I would encourage reading the whole piece. (Bolding emphasis is my own)
-- Update: I learned that First lady Michelle Obamam, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former first lady Laura Bush also refused to wear the hijab on their visits to Saudi Arabia.
Her decision not to wear a hijab during her meeting with the Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al Saud, was not met warmly by Saudi’s who took to Twitter to express their anger, the Express has reported.
One translated Tweet read: “The German Defence Minister: not wearing the hijab in Saudi was deliberate. This is an insult to Saudi Arabia.”
According to an Iranian newspaper, Von der Leyen said: “No woman in my delegation will be required to wear the abaya, as the right to choose one’s attire is the right shared by men and women equally.”
The abaya is a loose robe-like dress, worn by women in Muslim countries, which covers the whole body except for the head, feet and hands.
The hijab is the word used to describe headscarves worn by Muslim women which cover their heads. [more . . .]
. . . The incoming administration is still a work in progress, the president-elect is still tweeting the night away, and plenty could still go wrong. But those of us who worried aloud that there might not be much daylight between Trump and Clinton are thankfully being proved wrong.
If there had been a second Clinton administration, do you think we’d have gotten Pruitt [for EPA chief]? How about Jeff Sessions at Justice, or General James Mattis at Defense? Or Trump’s promised upgrade in immigration enforcement to be carried out by General John Kelly, the clear-eyed So-Com commander who has warned about radical Islam’s inroads in Central and South America (and a Gold Star dad whose son laid down his life in Afghanistan, fighting our jihadist enemies)? Do you figure Hillary would have tapped teachers-union scourge Betsy DeVos for the Education Department? Or a staunch Obamacare critic such as congressman (and doctor) Tom Price to run HHS?
String Theory, by David Foster Wallace. This book has nothing to do with physics, but its title will make you look super smart if you’re reading it on a train or plane. String Theory is a collection of five of Wallace’s best essays on tennis, a sport I gave up in my Microsoft days and am once again pursuing with a passion. You don’t have to play or even watch tennis to love this book. The late author wielded a pen as skillfully as Roger Federer wields a tennis racket. Here, as in his other brilliant works, Wallace found mind-blowing ways of bending language like a metal spoon.