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« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2006, 12:46:57 AM »

Project to Help U.S. Troops Spiritually Faces Financial Shortfall

by Randall Murphree
April 11, 2006

(AgapePress) - - Late last year, New Life Ministries initiated Every Soldier's Battle (ESB), a project to help U.S. military personnel maintain sexual purity and integrity. Dr. Stephen Arterburn is founder and chairman of New Life. New Life developed ESB kits in response to a chaplain in Iraq for materials for a Bible study among the troops there.

As the critical need in this area became more evident, New Life began trying to provide the ESB kits to other chaplains as well. By the end of March, the California-based ministry had shipped 20,000 ESB kits, and received requests for 10,000 more.

It has created a fiscal crunch in the ministry because only 8,000 kits have been funded by contributions. Consequently, New Life has depleted the ministry's operating and critical ministry budgets to cover this new project.

New Life COO Larry Sonnenburg told AFA Journal, "It's a need based on the response we've been getting and the requests that keep coming in."

Each man's kit costs about $50 and contains the Every Man's Battle book and workbook, Every Man's Bible, a daily devotional book and one other book. A kit for women has comparable resources.

"We still need your help to continue this campaign," said Sonnenburg. "The demand for kits has far outpaced the support." New Life has been inundated with letters of gratitude from both soldiers and chaplains.

Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, says "I can think of no better way to help our troops spiritually than this great project."

http://news.christiansunite.com/Religion_News/religion04295.shtml

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« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2006, 02:12:36 AM »

Christian Group's Brochure Offers Schools Help in Understanding Tolerance

by Jim Brown and Jenni Parker
April 13, 2006

(AgapePress) - - A California-based Christian group called Gateways to Better Education is offering students and teachers an alternative way to respond to an upcoming homosexual activist event being promoted in public schools.

April 26 marks another "Day of Silence," an annual event organized by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and designed to protest the perceived intolerance and the "silence that LGBT people face each day." The event is meant to highlight what GLSEN sees as bullying and harassment of LGBT or lesbian, "gay" bisexual and transgender students by others. But on the following day, April 27, many Christians nationwide will be holding the second annual "Day of Truth," an event established to counter the "Day of Silence" and to express a viewpoint that opposes the homosexual agenda from a Christian perspective.

With these objectives in mind, the group "Gateways to Better Education" is asking Christian students and teachers to circulate a handout that the organization hopes will help clear up confusion on campuses regarding the issue of tolerance. The handout is titled "Promoting Tolerance," and Gateways president Eric Buehrer says his group is distributing it because tolerance is a word that is all too often misinterpreted to mean acceptance. He feels a better understanding would be to define tolerance as showing respect and courtesy while holding firmly to convictions.

"Too often, when someone is rightly intolerant of a particular belief or behavior or action, that's labeled as hate or bigotry, and that doesn't have to be labeled that way." Buehrer contends. "When someone is intolerant of something," he insists, "what's most important is the character they exhibit in their intolerance."

Based in Lake Forest, California, Gateways to Better Education exists to involve, equip, and support Christian parents, teachers, administrators, and school board members in America's 92,000 public schools. The group seeks to encourage these individuals in efforts to bring the influence of their Christian faith and values into their various areas of activity in academic settings.

Needed: A Working Definition of Tolerance That Tolerates Truth
Gateways has noted that schools, particularly in recent years, have given an increasing amount of attention to issues surrounding tolerance, and the group has identified a growing need for a clear and practical definition of the term. Tolerance does not mean universally accepting everyone's ideas or behaviors, Gateways' president says, and yet many students have been taught to understand the concept that way.

Buehrer believes schools need to focus more on character issues and less on pushing ideas that confuse students over what to tolerate and what not to tolerate. "The problem," he asserts, "is that too many people think they're being tolerant when actually they're only expressing indifference -- like, 'Oh, whatever'; or apathy, 'Who cares?'; or even recklessness, you know, 'Why not?' -- and they interpret that as tolerance."

The Gateways to Better Education spokesman feels such misinterpretations are morally dangerous to young people. "When tolerance is improperly understood, it can actually lead to disarming students of their proper convictions," he says.

The "Promoting Tolerance" brochure is designed to help students keep their convictions while responding to differences, Buehrer adds. The information in it can help students respond to events like the "Day of Silence" with biblically-based tolerance, showing courtesy and respecting others' differences while holding onto their own Christian beliefs and values.

Teachers and others interested in obtaining the "Promoting Tolerance" resource can go to Gateways' website (www.gtbe.org) or call 1-800-929-1163 to request the brochure.

http://news.christiansunite.com/Religion_News/religion04306.shtml

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« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2006, 02:13:24 AM »

PFLAG's Palm Sunday Fundraiser Gets Attention of Massachusetts Activist

by Jim Brown
April 13, 2006

(AgapePress) - - A Massachusetts pro-family activist says a recent fundraising concert hosted by a high school in Concord on Palm Sunday encouraged and celebrated sodomy.

Last Sunday, Concord Carlisle High School hosted a fundraiser for the homosexual activist group Parents, Friends, and Family of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). The event featured homosexual-themed songs performed by the Boston Gay Men's Chorus.

Lee Ann Kay, who wrote a letter to school officials protesting the Palm Sunday event, says among other things, the fundraising concert was disrespectful to those who worship Jesus Christ. "Holy Week is particularly important to Christians," she says, "and to celebrate homosexual practices on Palm Sunday, I believe, is a slap in the face to students at the high school whose families uphold traditional moral and religious beliefs."

She also is concerned because of the implication of the event. "[T]his fundraiser for homosexuality [also] sends the false message to students that homosexuality is normal and it's healthy," Kay notes, "and we all know that homosexuality is dangerous to the health and welfare of students and society."

The family activist shares that her letter to the Concord superintendent of schools protesting the event went unacknowledged -- and that when she called the principal of the high school to protest the event, he hung up on her after she voiced her concerns. "He told me that he made the decision to sponsor this fundraising event for PFLAG on Palm Sunday," she says.

"We had some conversations about the effects this event would have on our community. Mr. DeLong denied that the fundraiser encourages homosexual experimentation among students -- and he abruptly ended our conversation when I pointedly said to him, 'You are celebrating sexual perversion on Palm Sunday.'"

Although Kay is not a lawyer, she suspects the pro-homosexual event was illegal because the state has regulations prohibiting political organizations from fundraising in public buildings. PFLAG is actively involved in promoting same-sex "marriage" in Massachusetts.

http://news.christiansunite.com/Religion_News/religion04308.shtml

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« Reply #18 on: April 14, 2006, 02:14:09 AM »

Pastor's Visit to France Reveals 'Cultural Warfare' Going On

by Allie Martin
April 13, 2006

(AgapePress) - - A northeast Mississippi pastor says tensions between Muslims and Christians in France are at an all-time high.

Rev. Terry Pierce, pastor of Tupelo Free Will Baptist Church, and two other area ministers from his denomination recently traveled to southern France to encourage and minister to missionaries working with Muslims in that area. Pierce says the missionaries face difficult situations as they work with Muslims who come to France looking for jobs, but oftentimes cannot find work.

The pastor, who hails from southern Illinois, encourages Christians in America to pray for missionaries who are trying to share the message of the gospel with the Muslims. "Pray for them to just be encouraged as they build relationships both in the French culture and in the Muslim community," he says.

Pierce explains the significance of the mission work in southern France. "We can't get missionaries into North Africa," he points out, "but being at that port city, they are able to take the gospel into there." The pastor then re-emphasizes the importance of prayer for the missionaries' work. "We all know that the Word is more powerful than anything else -- and so as that Word goes into Algeria and other North African countries, we know that God will bless them."

During his week-long stay in France, Pierce and others in his group witnessed the aftermath of the recent riots carried out by Muslim youth in the area. He also recalls his encounter with another aspect of the "cultural warfare" he saw occurring between the French and the Muslims.

"They have these things called al-Salams," he says. "They'll be 30 stories tall, with their laundry literally hanging off the balconies -- and [the area] was so dangerous that I filmed a little bit of it when I went through and took some pictures." He says he believes terrorists are being recruited from that community.

According to Pastor Pierce, the French police discourage foreigners from entering those areas. "They tell you if you're French or if you're American [and] you go into those areas, [they] will not come and get you if you get caught in there," he shares.

http://news.christiansunite.com/Religion_News/religion04309.shtml

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« Reply #19 on: April 14, 2006, 02:14:49 AM »

Hopegivers Perseveres Despite Leader's Imprisonment, Hindu Radicals' Persecution

by Allie Martin and Jenni Parker
April 13, 2006

(AgapePress) - - The president of a ministry that reaches out to orphans in India remains behind bars on charges made by militant Hindus. Dr. Samuel Thomas, president of Columbus, Georgia-based Hopegivers International, was arrested more than a month ago, accused of publishing and distributing a book that is allegedly offensive to those who follow the Hindu religion.

The executive director of Hopegivers International has called upon Christians around the world to pray and to advocate for the safety of the ministry's president, whose life has been threatened repeatedly by the Hindu extremists. Dr. Thomas has an upcoming court date set for April 24, and attorneys for the organization are working to prepare his defense, even as they appeal to India's central government and national government officials to intervene.

Although the ministry insists it had nothing whatsoever to do with the writing or publishing of the banned book, local government and law enforcement authorities have done nothing to stop the campaign of violence and terror that has been waged against the Christian group.

Some Hopegivers officials believe the authorities in the northern state of Rajasthan, India, many of whom belong to a powerful Hindu political party, are behind this terrorism and are promoting it -- or that they are, at the very least, looking the other way while the authorities in Kota aid and abet radical Hindus in the persecution of the ministry's local staff and leadership.

Meanwhile, the ministry and its programs are suffering the effects. Schools, bookstores, churches, orphanages, and other outreaches supported by Hopegivers International have had their operating licenses revoked by Kota officials. On February 20, the police revoked the documents without any hearing or due process, even stripping licensure of the Christian organization's affiliated hospitals, its leprosy and HIV-AIDS outreaches, its printing presses, and other institutions.

Also, all bank accounts were frozen and the business administrators of the mission and orphanage in Kota were arrested and held without bail as police investigations continue. Threats were also made to cut off electricity and water to the facilities. In many ways, the Christian organization's facilities have been under siege, with little recourse to any kind of justice.

Standing Strong, Meeting Needs Amid Persecution
But Hopegivers International communications director Bill Bray says the ministry's local staff in Rajasthan are standing strong, despite the extreme persecution and government opposition. "Not a single school has closed," he notes. "We just began a new term last Monday, the students are coming back, and the faculty is carrying on without salary."

Admittedly, the ministry is experiencing serious hardship, both due to the strain the Hindu militants' opposition has put on operations and due to the legal expenses involved in fighting for the release of Thomas and other ministry leaders and workers. Nevertheless, Bray notes, "All the orphanages are still open; we're feeding over 10,000 orphans a day," and other outreaches continue as well.

"Even though we don't have bank accounts, and we can't pay our bills in the normal way, we are getting food," the Hopegivers spokesman adds. "People are delivering food from all over India and bringing cash to the orphanages -- other Christians, other Christian organizations, even Hindu organizations."

Hopegivers has organized a Legal Defense Fund to help free Dr. Thomas and the other members of the ministry's staff who have been arrested. The ministry's executive director, Michael Glenn, says while prayer is the most important thing right now, financial support is also needed, as are more correspondents for the letter-writing campaign that has been initiated on the president's behalf.

Christians across India are offering their prayers and their support as well. Recently, hundreds of Christians in India's capital of New Delhi turned out for a rally to protest the arrest and incarceration of Dr. Thomas, and comparable numbers showed up for another peaceful rally in Jaipur, Rajasthan. The Indian believers marched through the streets of the cities, raising an outcry over the Christian leader's arrest and the atrocities being committed against Christian missionaries and institutions in Rajasthan.

The Global Council of Indian Christians, which organized the rally in the capital, has called on the National Human Rights Commission in New Delhi to take "appropriate action" to ensure Dr. Thomas' safety and well being. Meanwhile, the Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations in the USA has joined with thousands of Christians across India and around the world to protest the growing persecution of religious minorities in Rajasthan.

http://news.christiansunite.com/Religion_News/religion04310.shtml

Additional information on ChristiansUnite.com is available on the Internet at http://www.christiansunite.com/
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« Reply #20 on: April 14, 2006, 02:15:34 AM »

Catholic Group Criticizes Notre Dame Official's Response to 'V Monologues'

by Jim Brown
April 13, 2006

(AgapePress) - - A conservative Catholic group is criticizing the University of Notre Dame for once again allowing a homosexual film festival and a vulgar feminist play on the Indiana school's campus.

Notre Dame's President John Jenkins recently stated that he saw "no reason to prohibit performances of the V Monologues on campus." His position comes as a surprise to some who object to the play's content, which includes profanity and graphic descriptions of lesbian sexual relationships.

The prestigious Catholic school near South Bend, Indiana, has hosted the V Monologues for the last five years and a "gay and lesbian" film festival for the last two years. Patrick Reilly, president of the Catholic watchdog group the Cardinal Newman Society (CNS), says he is not surprised the university is continuing to allow homosexual activism on its campus.

"What is surprising," the CNS spokesman notes, "is that Father Jenkins had made it very clear a few weeks ago in a public address to the university that he found these events to be totally inconsistent with the Catholic identity of the institution."

For Jenkins now to "turn around and not impose even the slightest restriction on these events, smacks of hypocrisy," Reilly asserts. However, he acknowledges that that very hypocrisy could be part of a larger trend: he points out that a majority of Notre Dame's faculty employed over the past few decades were hired without the administration expressing any expectation that they support the school's Catholic identity.

In fact, the president of the Catholic watchdog group believes most Notre Dame faculty are strongly resistant to any idea of restoring the school's faith-based identity. And he feels it is disingenuous for administrators like Jenkins to claim Notre Dame is not endorsing the V Monologues and other pro-homosexual events when it is obviously funding them.

In light of the school's apparent indifference to its church roots, Reilly wonders whether some sort of official sanction may be in order. "A bishop does have a right to declare an institution no longer Catholic," he says, and "this certainly ought to add to the evidence, at least, of such a concern."

But as far as how individual Catholics should respond to a production like the V Monologues goes, "The question is just whether it's sinful, whether this is scandalous, whether we're leading people away from the church," Reilly contends. "And I think there's no doubt that these events clearly scandalize the faithful."

The Cardinal Newman Society has led several national protests against productions of the V Monologues over the past few years. The group's efforts have dramatically reduced the number of Catholic campus performances and readings of the play from 32 in 2003 to 22 this year.

http://news.christiansunite.com/Religion_News/religion04311.shtml

Additional information on ChristiansUnite.com is available on the Internet at http://www.christiansunite.com/
Copyright 2003 ChristiansUnite.com. All rights reserved.
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« Reply #21 on: April 14, 2006, 02:16:17 AM »

Christian Superintendent Protests Universal Criticism of Public Schools

by Jim Brown
April 13, 2006

(AgapePress) - - A public school superintendent in South Dakota says he wants to dispel the notion that all public schools are harmful to children. Christian administrator Dr. Gary Harms contends that many public schools do not fit the description of some liberal education institutions on the east and west coasts and in some urban areas.

Harms, a school superintendent in Aberdeen, South Dakota, believes a strong Christian influence remains in many school districts in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Kansas, and down through the Bible Belt. As evidence of that influence in his district, he notes, at least 11 of 19 songs performed at a local high school's spring concert had their roots in the church.

In addition, the school administrator says, student-led prayer at graduation and off-campus faith-based instruction during school hours are permitted in his district's schools, and abstinence is at the core of the school system's sex education curriculum. "Our district patrons would be disappointed if we did not carry through with the values that are started in the home and are also reinforced in the churches," he notes.

"We're limited, of course, by law in what we can and cannot do within our buildings," the Aberdeen superintendent says, "but it doesn't mean that we are as liberal and as disallowing as some of the schools in California and Massachusetts."

Of course, Harms admits that liberal efforts to squelch Christian expressions of faith and free speech in public schools do occur, even in the heartland. For instance, three years ago veteran teacher Barbara Wigg successfully sued the Sioux Falls, South Dakota, school district over its ban on her participation in an after-school Bible club.

However the Aberdeen school official insists that such religious discrimination does not occur in his district's schools. And, although intelligent design and other alternatives to the theory of evolution are not officially a part of the district's science curriculum, he says Aberdeen teachers are not discouraged from discussing intelligent design theory or creationism with their students.

"There are many Christian administrators and teachers within our country," Harms insists, "and for us to be generalized as public schools that are creating some controversy either unwittingly or knowingly is really unfair.

"There are some absolutely wonderful public schools that are encouraging students to hang onto what they believe and what they've been taught, both at home and in the church," Harms adds. For that reason, the superintendent says, he gets really tired of hearing "generalizations" warning people against educating children in public schools.

http://news.christiansunite.com/Religion_News/religion04312.shtml

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« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2006, 02:17:39 AM »

20 Reasons There Is Hope for America

by The Church Report
April 13, 2006

(AgapePress) - - If you believed everything you read in the liberal press, you would think that Christian leaders were actively working in Washington to dismantle our government and set up a theocracy, similar to that in Iran. The facts, however, say something different -- but one thing is clear: the old guard of Christian political involvement has some powerful new members.

We looked at 20 of the top Christian "political" organizations in an attempt to see through the liberal smokescreen and see what old members were still in their seats of power, and who the young whippersnappers who had gained seats at the table were. The results, in no particular order, were quite eye-opening as the influence of these organizations is quietly being felt around the country, and their connections to each other are many and varied.

Read 'Special Report: Top 20 Christian Organizations'

The Family Research Council (FRC) is the powerhouse of Christian influence in Washington. Founded in 1983 by Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family, the FRC is led by former Louisiana state representative Tony Perkins. The FRC reportedly has the ear of many members of Congress, the White House, and Christians nationwide. FRC is actively involved in educating religious leaders about moral issues being affected by decisions in Washington, and also in representing those leaders directly to the decision makers themselves. You will find them well represented on news channels and radio stations nationwide, and at meetings where key strategies are planned -- like the Arlington Group.

The Arlington Group is a networking organization, similar to the conservative networking organization, the Council for National Policy. However it is limited in scope and only deals with moral values at risk in America. The assault on traditional marriage is a key area that the group, and its exclusive membership of around 100 leaders, focuses and coordinates on. Members include FRC's Tony Perkins, Focus on the Family's Dr. James Dobson and Rev. Rick Scarborough, head of the judicial-focused Judeo-Christian Council for Constitutional Restoration (JCCCR).

The JCCCR is an outgrowth of years of work with churches nationwide by Rev. Rick Scarborough. He is a Baptist minister whose life was changed when he took a stand against pornographic sex education in his daughter's school. Today the JCCCR is an active presence on Capitol Hill and hosts regular conferences that attract key conservative leaders. Both Rev. Scarborough and the group's executive director Philip Jauregui, former legal counsel to Chief Justice Roy Moore, are a common sight on Capitol Hill. The JCCCR is a key driving force behind the "Values Voter Contract with Congress," which is also heavily supported by Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum and Ambassador Alan Keyes of RenewAmerica.

Eagle Forum -- led by the Margaret Thatcher of American conservatism, Phyllis Scholarly -- is a long-time force in Washington, DC. Based in both St. Louis and Washington, Phyllis Schafly's influence extends far beyond the halls of Congress as her opinion is held in high regard by most Christian organizations who work in "political" arenas. Her behind-the-scenes leadership has been a powerful voice of reason and experience as more and more Christians take the biblical mandate of societal involvement seriously. Key strategy sessions often find her and Ambassador Alan Keyes, former presidential candidate and the head of RenewAmerica, at the same table.

Ambassador Keyes' and RenewAmerica's influence is profound, and his ability to see through political pandering and cut to the heart of an issue being discussed is well documented. A key area where Ambassador Keyes pulls no punches is the issue of abortion -- and he has, on numerous occasions, been known for "calling the kettle black" when others in the room see a shade of gray. His direct comments are usually accompanied by nods of agreement from the others in the room, which reveals the deference this man is shown.

Sharing this passion for protecting the unborn, and often in the same room, is Father Frank Pavone, who heads Priests for Life and who is considered a key leader in the fight to protect life in America. Father Pavone is considered a go-to man on the life issue, and there is hardly a pro-life press conference or a meeting on the subject that does not have him in a prominent position. At those same meetings you will also usually find the presence of two lesser-known but very influential men, Rev. Rob Schenck of Faith and Action and Tom Smith of America 21.

Faith and Action has a solid presence on Capitol Hill from their offices right next door to the U.S. Supreme Court. Faith and Action is not a lobbying organization, however; it is specifically a missionary organization to Capitol Hill, but its influence is just as profound. Many days will find staff members in prayer sessions with decision makers in Washington, and their sharing of the gospel with those in power has changed lives for the better. A few houses down on the very same street you will find America 21. Tom Smith, the head of the group, is a quiet, focused individual whose legal expertise and outside-of-the-box thinking has made him a voice of reason and influence in many policy discussions and strategy sessions. He was a lead influence in the drafting of the Constitution Restoration Act, along with Herb Titus, former dean of Regent University, and is a profound force in the battle to protect innocent life in America that is daily raging in our courts.

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« Reply #23 on: April 14, 2006, 02:19:27 AM »

Fighting the battle in our courts and found in many of the same strategy sessions are organizations such as the Alliance Defense Fund, Liberty Counsel, the Foundation for Moral Law, and the American Center for Law & Justice. These organizations actively work within the court system, fighting to protect the freedoms granted to American citizens by our founding documents.

The Alliance Defense Fund, led by Alan Sears, provides effective pro-bono legal defense on religious issues, as does Mat Staver's Liberty Counsel. Liberty Counsel led the recent fight in the U.S. Supreme Court to protect the display of the Ten Commandments in McCreary vs. ACLU, a court case that saw most of these top 20 organizations filing supporting amicus briefs. The American Center for Law & Justice, led by Jay Sekulow, is believed to have very close ties to the current White House, which sets it as quite different from, but just as powerful as, the Foundation for Moral Law, which was founded by former Chief Justice Roy Moore, who is currently running for Governor of Alabama and is not known as an establishment insider.

Equally as important as the direct hands-on fight in our nation's court system is the ongoing battle for the hearts and minds of the American people. This is where organizations like Joyce Meyer Ministries (JMM), the Center for Reclaiming America, and Vision Forum Ministries come into play -- and again, these organizations are well represented when decisions are made.

JMM's "Stand Up and Be Counted" program is reported to have over 140,000 active participants spread across the country. This program uses the web and direct email campaigns to deluge members of Congress on issues of moral importance, and also to educate Christians about their heritage, their freedoms, and their duty to protect both. Likewise, D. James Kennedy's Center for Reclaiming America is focused on both education and influence. Both organizations put a huge emphasis on educating people, and thus empowering them to make a difference.

Equally as focused on education, but with the emphasis of future leaders, is Vision Forum Ministries. Another non-lobbying organization that has made our list, Vision Forum is effectively raising up leaders and working to see that those who lead our country in the future are grounded in a biblical worldview. Led by Doug Phillips, son of Howard Phillips who still leads the Conservative Caucus and has the ear of many conservative leaders, Vision Forum is quietly making waves that will be felt in the coming decades.

Working alongside some of these organizations we find a couple of very effective Internet communication organizations that have had profound success in harnessing the power of the Internet. RightMarch.com and the American Family Association are found at most strategy sessions involving Christian organizations in Washington, DC, and their trademark is effectively activating concerned citizens using technology and the Internet. RightMarch.com is led by William Green and Phil Sheldon, and their involvement in the recent battles over Supreme Court nominees was quiet, yet profound, and contributed significantly to the confirmation of both Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. The American Family Association led by Don Wildmon has an extensive reach into the lives of concerned Christians and has reportedly been quite effective both in Washington and in influencing corporate America.

Finally, we find both the Traditional Values Coalition and Concerned Women for America, which work hand in hand with many of these organizations and often are seated at the same table during key strategy sessions.

The Traditional Values Coalition, led by Rev. Lou Sheldon, is currently having a profound influence through educational efforts on Capitol Hill. Also working on Capitol Hill on similar issues is Concerned Women for America, the brainchild of Beverly LaHaye, which educates and activates women from across the country and, at the same time, employs a staff of highly effective activists in Washington.

Today, these are the top 20 Christian political organizations in America, along with an honorable mention for the Conservative Caucus.

These names are always changing -- more will be added, some will fade -- but one thing is true: these organizations are organized and are working together like never before towards common goals and moral purposes. Their agenda is that which they see in the Word of God -- and Catholics, Protestants, Baptists, and others are working hand in hand to ensure that our nation continues to be a nation where the freedom to acknowledge God and promote morality to our children is a freedom honored and protected for generations to come.

http://news.christiansunite.com/Religion_News/religion04307.shtml

Additional information on ChristiansUnite.com is available on the Internet at http://www.christiansunite.com/
Copyright 2003 ChristiansUnite.com. All rights reserved.
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« Reply #24 on: April 20, 2006, 11:41:12 PM »

Reality TV Is Setting for New Suspense Story from Christy-Winning Novelist

by Randall Murphree
April 19, 2006

(AgapePress) - - The surreal world of "reality" TV gets pretty crazy in Atlanta lawyer Randy Singer's latest suspense novel, The Cross Examination of Oliver Finney (WaterBrook). The award-winning novelist has spun another intriguing tale, this time in a context made popular by prime-time TV. Singer's Directed Verdict won a 2003 Christy Award for excellence in Christian fiction.


In the new title, Singer grabs our sympathy right away by introducing a character called simply The Patient, a 35-year-old billionaire who has just been diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. Doctors warn him to anticipate a series of symptoms, each worse than the one before -- "behavioral changes, impaired judgment, memory loss, reduced cognitive function, vision loss, partial paralysis."

Then comes the clever story line. Grappling with his own mortality, The Patient begins to second-guess his agnostic attitude toward religion. Subsequently, in a bizarre quest for meaning in life, he decides to produce the greatest television reality show ever -- a debate among adherents of the world's major religions plus a proponent for science-not-religion.

For his TV extravaganza, The Patient hand-picks one representative from each religion. Each contestant must not only be a worthy advocate for his faith, but also be terminally ill. Judge Oliver Finney, a persnickety but wise, cigar-smoking 59-year-old whose body is losing to lung cancer, is chosen to argue for the Christian faith.

Next, a few diverse and antagonistic characters converge. Pitted against the spirited Finney are Kareem Hasaan, a Moslem; Dr. Hokoji Ando, a Buddhist; Swami Skyler Hadji, a Hindu; and Victoria Kline, an atheistic scientist. (A Jewish rabbi withdrew from the contest.) During their stay on a remote island, participants are forbidden any communication or contact off the island.


Author Randy Singer   �
Finally, the element of suspense emerges. Along the way, the contestants discover what they believe to be a conspiracy/plot among the show's creator and producers to hurry death for at least one of them.

Finney devises a subversive means of Internet communication via a code through which he is able to enlist the assistance of Nikki Moreno, his protege and law clerk. Both Finney and Nikki have appeared in some of Singer's earlier novels, but his books are not sequential, each having its own set of unique characters and story lines.

A stark contrast to Finney's crusty public persona as quirky jurist is his reputation as scholarly theologian. He has, in fact, published the popular The Cross Examination of Jesus Christ. Well, not in fact, for Finney is, in fact, fiction.

Now don't grow confused. Here's the lowdown:

Fiction: Judge Finney is the fictional author of The Cross Examination of Jesus Christ in the novel The Cross Examination of Oliver Finney.

Fact: Randy Singer is author of The Cross Examination of Jesus Christ, a non-fiction companion book to his novel The Cross Examination of Oliver Finney.

Singer's creativity shines bright in this clever marriage of fiction and nonfiction. While reading his novel, readers can enjoy Nikki's decoding the judge's messages using clues from the judge's book. At the same time, readers are challenged to solve the novel's suspense by decoding Singer's messages in The Cross Examination of Jesus Christ. The bonus benefit of reading the latter volume is that we're likely to become better advocates for our Christian faith.

There's one drawback to Singer's master plan. The novel is so well written, the story so captivating, that it's hard to slow down long enough to try our decoding skills. It's another vintage Singer suspense story. And maybe it will lead us to the second book as well.

http://news.christiansunite.com/Religion_News/religion04330.shtml

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« Reply #25 on: April 20, 2006, 11:42:07 PM »

Author Not Optimistic About Cornell Univ. Giving ID a Fair Shake

by Jim Brown
April 19, 2006

(AgapePress) - - A leading proponent of intelligent design predicts a new course on the subject being offered at Cornell University this summer will attempt to undermine the theory.

Cornell professor Allen MacNeill will be teaching a four-credit course called "Evolution and Design: Is There Purpose in Nature?" The course will reportedly be a history of biology class that examines ethics and philosophy. Among the books the course will use is Debating Design: From Darwin to DNA by Dr. William Dembski and Michael Ruse.

Dembski, a former professor at Southern Seminary in Louisville, doubts the course will accurately portray intelligent design. "Given that I regard myself as a fair-minded person -- and given that I understand the professor of the class has called me a bald-faced liar -- I would guess that [it's] probably not going to be a fair treatment," Dembski offers. "But who knows?"

The author offers another "given" -- that taking into account a claim by Cornell president Hunter Rawlings that ID is a "religious belief masquerading as a secular idea," the class will likely have a strong pro-Darwinist bias.

"I would think that [for] the president of Cornell, this is not a way of him endorsing it or thinking there's anything of intellectual merit there," Dembski conjectures. If anything, he adds, "the academic mainstream ... is hunkering down, stonewalling, [and] wanting to say there's nothing of merit here, we've got to shut this down -- and if we're going to teach a course on it, it's purely to debunk it."

Dembski believes the Cornell course is a concession to a "wider cultural movement" that is more sympathetic to intelligent design.

Another book by Dembski -- The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance through Small Probabilities -- is also among the recommended readings for the course, as are Darwin and Design: Does Evolution Have a Purpose? by Michael Ruse and Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution by Michael Behe. Dembski says regardless how Professor MacNeill may "skew" the discussion about ID in class, students will benefit from reading the books being used as the basis for class discussions.

http://news.christiansunite.com/Religion_News/religion04331.shtml

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« Reply #26 on: April 20, 2006, 11:42:52 PM »

VOM Rejoices Over Christian Schoolmaster's Release from Pakistani Prison

by Allie Martin and Jenni Parker
April 19, 2006

(AgapePress) - - A Christian accused of blasphemy has been released after years in a Pakistani prison. Five years ago Parvez Masih was running a private middle school comprised of Christian and Muslim students near Lahore, Pakistan, when he was arrested and jailed on false charges of blaspheming the prophet Muhammad.

Muslims who ran a rival school reportedly became jealous of the success of Masih's facility, Iqbal Memorial School, and a teacher at the Muslim school is believed to have instigated the accusations against the Christian educator. It was shortly after he responded factually to some of his Muslim students -- who asked him if Muhammad truly had a nine-year-old wife -- that Masih was arrested and charged with blasphemy.

Todd Nettleton is a spokesman with Voice of the Martyrs (VOM), a ministry to the persecuted Church. He notes that in Pakistan, an accusation of blasphemy, even without evidence, is enough to land a believer in jail. "Often, blasphemy charges are used as a way to settle disputes," Nettleton says, "even a property dispute, or even an argument. If you accuse the Christian of blasphemy, he is arrested."

According to VOM reports, the Christian school leader was arrested on April 1, 2001, and was soon thereafter taken to a nearby river, where his captors demanded at gunpoint that he deny his faith in Jesus. However, despite being subjected to violence and threats, Masih refused. And later, after the Christian man was jailed, several of his cellmates repeatedly fought with him, and he suffered three separate police beatings as well.

During the years of Masih's imprisonment, VOM has been helping to support him as well as his family members, who have run the Christian school in his absence. The financial hardship during his incarceration has not only put a strain on the jailed headmaster's family but has also hurt the school, causing its enrollment to drop from 150 students in 2004 to 70 in 2005.

But finally, after years of inhumane treatment, threats, beatings and trials, Masih was found not guilty of violating Pakistan's Law 295C -- blaspheming the prophet Muhammad -- and was released. However, Nettleton says the former captive is not out of danger.

"We have heard stories in Pakistan before," the VOM spokesman says, "of Christians being set free from prison only to be gunned down in the streets. And so there is still a need for us to pray for Parvez Masih and his family, that God will watch over them, as he is now a free man."

VOM's monthly assistance to the family went to help pay for Masih's medicine, clothing and food expenses in jail, as well as to help his family members travel to court hearings and meet other financial needs.

Voice of the Martyrs has asked its supporters to consider donating to the ministry on behalf of Masih and his family. A statement on the VOM website also calls on supporters to "join us in thanking the Lord" for Masih's release and to continue praying for him as he readjusts to life outside of prison.

http://news.christiansunite.com/Religion_News/religion04332.shtml

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« Reply #27 on: April 20, 2006, 11:43:34 PM »

Retired AF Pilot Upset About Media Focus on Military's Iran Plans

by Chad Groening
April 19, 2006

(AgapePress) - - A former military attach� to President Bill Clinton says it's not wise for members of the media to put American troops in danger with unsubstantiated reports about future military actions. He says he is concerned about a recently published report that the Bush administration is planning possible military action against Iran.

In the April 17 issue of The New Yorker magazine, reporter Seymour Hersh cited mostly unidentified current and former officials who stated that President Bush considers Iran's new president as "a potential Adolf Hitler," and sees regime change in Tehran as the ultimate goal. The article went on to state that the Pentagon is making plans to attack Iran, even with nuclear weapons if necessary, to damage or destroy that nation's underground nuclear sites.

From 1996 to 1998 Lt. Col. (Ret.) Robert "Buzz" Patterson was responsible for the president's Emergency Satchel -- otherwise known as the "Nuclear Football" -- a black bag with the nation's nuclear capability that accompanies the president at all times. The former Air Force pilot says it is really "nothing new" that the U.S. has plans to stage a preemptive attack in Iran.

"In the Pentagon, in the U.S. military, we have war plans for virtually every imaginable scenario that we might find ourselves in, to include -- I guarantee you -- a potential invasion or retaliation with Iran," Patterson says.

He says that, according to his sources in the Pentagon, such plans were in the works as far back as six to nine months ago. "We already had plans in place going back that far because we knew about Iran's nuclear capability," he says. "And we can't let them acquire the bomb, bottom line," he adds.

That being the case, the retired Air Force officer still takes issue with the New Yorker article. "Seymour Hearst's article doesn't do anything but aid and abet the enemy, in this case Iran," says Patterson. "And if we do have to strike, hopefully we won't lose any U.S. Air Force pilots, or Marine pilots, or Navy pilots because of Seymour Hearst's irresponsibility."

As upset as he is about Hersh's article, Patterson says there are members of Congress who he believes are far worse in aiding and abetting the enemy. He calls them part of the "fifth column" movement.

"There is a fifth column -- and I can name you some folks that come to mind," he says. "John Murtha, Teddy Kennedy, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Howard Dean. They are doing nothing to support our troops overseas and everything to support our enemy -- and that is a fifth column in my estimation."

Patterson is author of two New York Times bestsellers: Dereliction of Duty: How Bill Clinton Compromised America's National Security, and the recently released Reckless Disregard: How Liberal Democrats Undercut Our Military, Endanger Our Soldiers, and Jeopardize Our Security.

http://news.christiansunite.com/Religion_News/religion04333.shtml

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« Reply #28 on: April 20, 2006, 11:44:26 PM »

Population Research Expert Criticizes Dutch Proposal to Penalize Stay-At-Home Moms

by Mary Rettig
April 19, 2006

(AgapePress) - - An official with the Population Research Institute says a proposed law in the Parliament of the Netherlands discriminates against educated women who choose not to work outside the home.

The Institute's vice president of communications, Joseph D'Agostino, says a prominent female Dutch Parliament member has proposed fining college-educated women for opting to stay at home and take care of their children rather than to get jobs. Apparently, Member of Parliament Sharon Dijksma considers that choice a waste of a government-sponsored education.

According to Expatica news reports, Dijksma calls the decision by any eligible, college-educated woman not to seek a job in the paid workforce a "destruction of capital." The lawmaker recently explained her position, declaring to women across the Netherlands, "If you receive the benefit of an expensive education at the cost of society, you should not be allowed to throw away that knowledge unpunished."

But D'Agostino feels the Dutch legislature would be sending the wrong message by approving the MP's proposal. He says the Dutch government should be rewarding women -- not punishing them -- for choosing to stay home with their children because, for one thing, those women are more likely to have more than child.

Currently, the Institute spokesman notes, the birthrate of the Netherlands is plummeting. At the moment, he points out, that statistic is not even high enough to replace the country's current population. Since housewives are more likely to have larger families than career-oriented women, he believes a better policy for the Dutch government would be to encourage women who choose stay-at-home parenting.

Also, D'Agostino contends, the government should realize there is nothing wasteful about women with college educations staying home with their kids. "I think that children can very much benefit from having an educated person with them all day every day," he says, "and if that person is their mother, all the better. I don't really understand how that would be a waste."

That is especially true at the present time, "when home schooling has become so common and so popular because our schools are so awful," the population research official notes. "And so it's really important that whoever is taking care of the children should really have that kind of education, because the schools themselves are so bad that people just can't send their kids there."

D'Agostino believes MP Dijksma's proposal emerges from a socialistic, big government mentality. "In the Netherlands people are very heavily taxed," he explains, "and then people get some of their money back in the form of certain benefits, like free college tuition."

However, the Population Research Institute's vice president of communications points out, this kind of socialist system that the Netherlands employs, with its offers of "free" services and benefits, unfortunately allows the government and its agents "to then try to take over your life."

MP Dijksma "wants to do that by penalizing women who choose to take care of their children rather than work full time," D'Agostino asserts. He maintains that her proposal to charge college-educated Dutchwomen for "wasting" their schooling by not getting jobs outside the home is not only ludicrous but bad for the nation as well.

http://news.christiansunite.com/Religion_News/religion04329.shtml

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« Reply #29 on: April 20, 2006, 11:45:27 PM »

Idaho Group Urges Support for Measure Blocking Eminent Domain Seizures

by Allie Martin
April 19, 2006

(AgapePress) - - A Christian values and religious freedom advocacy group is urging pastors, their congregants, and others in Idaho to support a petition drive to protect churches and church members' private property from eminent domain abuses.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Kelo v. City of New London, Connecticut, et al. that the Constitution of the United States does not prevent government officials from condemning churches and private homes under eminent domain and seizing the property for commercial development projects.

However, individual states can pass laws prohibiting abuses of "eminent domain" and of the government's condemnation powers. The Kelo decision has prompted citizen activists in a number of U.S. states to push for such protections and to urge their lawmakers to move on enacting the necessary legislation.

Pastor Bryan Fischer is executive director of the Idaho Values Alliance. He says a petition drive has been initiated in an effort to put on the November ballot a proposed state law that would protect individuals and churches from entities seeking to exploit eminent domain to take their property. The proposal would prohibit local governments from condemning churches, homes, or businesses for private development projects.

"Any church in America can be vulnerable to eminent domain abuse," Fischer observes. "In fact," he notes, "the more attractive the location of a church is, the more vulnerable it is to abuse because greedy local governments can look at the best locations as prime spots for commercial development."

The Idaho Values Alliance spokesman believes the Kelo decision placed the free-speech rights of religious individuals and institutions at stake. "The motivation seems to be clear," he notes. "Churches generate no property tax revenue for local governments, and businesses do; so it's made churches especially vulnerable to eminent domain abuse."

Organizers must gather 70,000 signatures by April 30. Fischer is mobilizing an army of volunteers to gather the needed signatures by the deadline in order to get the proposed law on Idaho's November ballot.

http://news.christiansunite.com/Religion_News/religion04328.shtml

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