Why Akathleptos? Because it means Uncontainable. God is infinite. Hence, the whole universe cannot contain Him. The term also refers to the incomprehensibility of God. No man can know everything about God. We can know Him personally but not exhaustively, not even in Heaven.
Why Patmos? Because the church is increasingly marginalized and exiled from the culture.
Why Pen-Names? So the focus is on the words and not who wrote them. We prefer to let what we say stand on its own merit. There is precedent in church history for this - i.e., the elusive identity of Ambrosiaster who wrote in the 4th century A.D.
“Truth is so obscured nowadays, and lies so well established, that unless we love the truth we shall never recognize it." Blaise Pascal
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
The legacy of Roe v. Wade and its companion case Doe v. Bolton is a 43-year flight from reason and a society and political system distorted almost beyond recognition.
Is there a constitutional principle so sacrosanct that it can abide no exceptions? Perhaps the First Amendment? Nope. Courts have placed reasonable restrictions on free speech and the practice of religion. You can’t libel someone, nor can you sacrifice live animals. The Second Amendment? No again, as any number of gun laws attest. One can find reasonable exceptions to just about every constitutional principle.
But 43 years ago, trawling through the penumbra and emanations of the Constitution, Justice Harry Blackmun found an inviolable right that had somehow evaded the Founding Fathers: the right to kill a child in utero—mere inches from being fully born, even—for any reason or no reason. Read Roe v. Wade some time; you’ll see it’s a conclusion in search of reasons, an exercise in “raw judicial power,” in the words of dissenting Justice Byron White.
The legacy of that decision, and its less well-known companion case Doe v. Bolton, is a 43-year flight from reason and a society and political system distorted almost beyond recognition by the contortions it takes to accommodate a horrendous “right.” As the late Chuck Colson wrote, “The right to an abortion has proven to be a jealous god. In exchange for sexual freedom, it demands everything else: cherished ideals, right priorities, the First Amendment, and even decency. It insists that nothing be spared in its defense.”
That state of affairs is not surprising considering that both cases were based on lies. Norma McCorvey, the “Jane Roe” of Roe v. Wade, had told her lawyers she’d been gang-raped, but she at least was seeking an abortion. Sandra Cano, the “Mary Doe” of Doe v. Bolton, wasn’t even seeking an abortion. She was a homeless mother seeking a divorce and custody of her children.
Cano admits she was young, uneducated, and naïve. “I never wanted an abortion; I just wanted my children back,” she said. Her legal-aid attorney filed the case under false pretenses. Cano said she could barely read, never mind understand, the court documents they asked her to sign. In fact, in a sworn affidavit she said the signature on one legal document claiming she wanted an abortion wasn’t even hers.
These weren’t the only lies. One of the rationales cited in Roe was the supposed number of women dying from illegal abortions, allegedly in the tens of thousands. But Bernard Nathanson, founder of the Abortion Rights Action League, later said the numbers were simply made up.
During the debate over partial-birth abortion, abortion-rights people argued the procedure was rare—as if even one case of puncturing the skull of a nearly born infant and sucking out its brains would be acceptable. Imagine the outcry from the animal rights crowd should someone do that to a baby seal. Ron Fitzsimmons, the executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, admitted, “We lied through our teeth.” .......
...... The Supreme Court has gone from being the least dangerous branch of government to the one doing most violence to political comity because it has removed from the people many choices that should be part of the political process.
Nothing is more likely to induce political rage than a law you have no power to change, and that is what Roe did to the process of the people, through their political representatives, working through sticky moral issues such as abortion policy. (The same is true of other Supreme Court rulings, such as on gay marriage, that are beyond the scope of this article.) ........
Monday, January 30, 2017
The authors of "Talking to Foreign Fighters: Insights into the Motivations for Hijrah to Syria and Iraq," University of Waterloo sociologist Lorne L. Dawson, and George Washington University Program on Extremism Fellow Amarnath Amarasingam, published their findings after numerous conversations with 20 foreign fighters, mostly coming from the West. None of the jihadists cited socioeconomic grievances or other forms of disenfranchisement as a major role in their decisions to wage jihad abroad. Rather, the conversations largely revolved around their Islamist beliefs. Religion dominated discussion so much, the report said, that "it seems implausible to suggest that religiosity (i.e. a sincere religious commitment, no matter how ill informed or unorthodox) is not a primary motivator for their actions. Religion provides the dominant frame these foreign fighters use to interpret almost every aspect of their lives..."
The failure to understand the heart of the Islamic worldview is the seed for ultimate capitulation. Unfortunately, much of the modern church also falls into this category, having failed to discern the theology and worldview of Islam.
Sunday, January 29, 2017
Saturday, January 28, 2017
Of all the freedoms that puzzle non-Americans most, the Second Amendment must surely top the list. While most of the constitutional rights, such as freedom of religion and speech, enjoy similar recognition and respect in Europe, the right to bear arms seems far removed from our definition of freedom.
So when I knew I would be heading to Kentucky, the gateway to the South, experiencing the freedom of shooting was near the top of my “do list.”
Friday, January 27, 2017
When multiple readers pointed out the many flagrant falsehoods in the story, the Atlantic issued a formal retraction of its statement that there is “no heart to speak of” in a six-week old fetus. In addition, the original subtitle (“The technology has been used to create an ‘imaginary’ heartbeat and sped-up videos that falsely depict a response to stimulus.”) was changed without comment. It also silently removed other embarrassing errors in the piece, such as calling John Kasich the governor of Indiana.
As Thomas Williams, PhD points out,
Even the amended piece contains outright lies, taking the Atlantic’s “fake news” to a whole new level.
Weigel makes the ludicrous claim that ultrasound “made it possible for the male doctor to evaluate the fetus without female interference.” According to a 2015 study, women make up an impressive 85 percent of all residents in obstetrics and gynecology in the graduate medical education class of 2013-2014. This means that the vast majority of doctors wielding ultrasounds are women, not men.
Ultrasounds are not a weapon of the patriarchy, but an important scientific tool used more often by women than by men.
Weigel also claims that “science” attributes no meaning to an ultrasound image, and thus pregnant women who see an ultrasound will not recognize this meaning. The inference is that pregnant women should not see an ultrasound of their child, lest they mistakenly and “unscientifically” attribute some meaning to it (for example, the sex of their baby?).
“The origins of fetal ultrasound lie in stealth warfare,” Weigel ominously declares, and “opponents of abortion enlisted it in their cause. It became an article of faith that women would respond to seeing ultrasound images by ‘recognizing’ that the fetus gestating inside them was a ‘baby’—and, by extension, that abortion would be murder.”
Weigel’s solution? Keep women in the dark. If you don’t like the message, kill the messenger.
Thursday, January 26, 2017
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Justice Harry Blackmun invented the ‘trimester’ framework and admitted that it was arbitrary.
Yesterday marked the 43rd anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, which established a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion and made unconstitutional most state efforts to regulate abortion practices. The ruling rested on incredibly shaky legal reasoning, as the seven justices in the majority manufactured a mysterious “right to privacy,” discovered in the due-process clause of the 14th Amendment, to establish a woman’s right to choose abortion. In addition, in the majority opinion, Justice Harry Blackmun found that “the word ‘person’, as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn,” plausibly the most flawed legal argument since the dehumanizing decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford.
Even aside from these fundamental weaknesses, the details of how the case played out in court are often obscured by the pro-abortion-rights movement. If more Americans were aware of these little-known facts, more might oppose Roe and give credence to arguments in favor of unborn life ....
... Roe exemplifies the worst of legal procedure, both in the lies concocted on behalf of the U.S. abortion industry and in the contortions that Blackmun devised to justify the Court’s appallingly undemocratic decision, one that paved the way for the legalized murder of nearly 60 million unborn children.
I remember the day (March 4, 1999) I heard on the news that Supreme Court Justice Blackmun had died - and thinking that in an instant he suddenly grasped the enormity of the horror he had perpetrated and was now accountable to God for the blood of 60 million unborn children and counting. Blackmun had ironically been appointed by President Nixon but would become one of the most liberal justices in the history of the court. He is prima facia evidence that a false worldview can have devastating consequences no matter how gifted or respected one may be.
It was the progressive Republican President Richard M. Nixon who nominated Blackmun to the U.S. Supreme Court on April 4, 1970. Blackmun was confirmed by the Senate on May 12, 1970, by a 94–0 vote. This Senate vote demonstrates how easily deceived people can be. As Ellis Washington noted in 2012,
"To study the jurisprudence of Justice Blackmun is an excursion into a complex labyrinth of the hypocritical, duplicitous and genocidal."
In his 1994 swan song case, Callins v. Collins, Justice Blackmun, in a famous dissent, decreed in exasperation: “From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death.”
Justice Blackmun’s tenure on the Supreme Court and ultimately his jurisprudence legacy is clearly marked in blood no matter how liberals, progressives, feminists and revisionist historians try to elevate him as a champion of “women’s rights,” In reality Blackmun will go down in history as the author of Roe v. Wade, the bloodiest majority opinion in the history of the Supreme Court, a decision that, since 1973, has legalized the infanticide of over 60 million innocent babies in America … and counting.
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Heb 10:31)
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Just as there are physical laws of the universe, so there are moral laws. Transgress either, and you're in for a world of hurt.
... Two weeks after the publication, he told another journal that the article was a hoax prompted by a desire “to expose the sloppiness, absurd relativism, and intellectual arrogance” of "certain precincts of the academic humanities.”
He added that “Anyone who believes that the laws of physics are mere social conventions is invited to try transgressing those conventions from the windows of my [twenty-first floor] apartment.”
Twenty years later, as George Will notes in the Washington Post, it’s clear that little if anything has changed. To be certain, no one is calling gravity “socially-constructed,” but as Will put it, “Twenty years on, one lesson of Sokal’s hoax is that many educators are uneducable.”
... Nevertheless, as Chuck Colson liked to say, just as there are physical laws of the universe, so there are moral laws. Transgress either, and you’re in for a world of hurt.
In fact, my job sometimes brings me into contact with highly-educated intellectuals who left Earth long ago and are genuinely mad with respect to reality. They live in a fabricated delusion devoid of any common sense.
Monday, January 23, 2017
The mask comes off - the true nature and heart of that worldview is now on graphic display for all to see
The mask is now off for the real nature of progressive liberalism after Trump's election and subsequent inauguration. The supposed champions of tolerance, empathy, peace, love, and racial equality have been unmasked as hyper-hypocrites of intolerance, violence, vulgarity, hatred and racism of the worst kind with astonishing episodes of tantrums and meltdowns reminiscent of a spoiled child.
The State Department held stress workshops after the election so they would not “become paralyzed by fear.” EPA employees were caught crying before, just after the election, as were White House aides. Energy Department employees were granted counseling.
A senior U.S. Secret Service agent posted Facebook condemnations of President Trump during the past seven months, including one in which she said she wouldn't want to "take a bullet" for him. She explained herself saying she viewed his presidential candidacy as a "disaster" for the country, and especially for women and minorities. Kerry O'Grady, the special agent in charge of the Secret Service's Denver district, oversees coordination with Washington-based advance teams for all presidential candidate and presidential trips to the area, including all upcoming or future trips by the president, vice president or Trump administration officials. Despite her senior security role, she has made her disdain for Trump and his incoming administration clear to her Facebook followers, who included current and former Secret Service agents and other people who were employees at the time of the posts. O'Grady's negative stance regarding Trump did not end when he became president. O'Grady posted the logo for the women's March on Denver as her Facebook cover backdrop on Inauguration Day, Friday, Jan. 21 at 12:25 p.m. When one of her Facebook followers commented that "none of these women represent me #justsayin," O'Grady countered that "all of these women represent me! Proud to say it! #nasty." At 11:23 p.m. on Inauguration Day, she updated her profile picture to an artist's rendering of Princess Leia with the words, "A woman's place is in the resistance." (O'Grady appears to have removed the pre-election posts after fellow and former Secret Service agents complained to her supervisors and the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General, which investigates agency complaints of misbehavior, according to two sources familiar with the timing of the posts' removal.)
Last week, Marc Lamont Hill, professor at Morehouse College, characterized Jim Brown, Steve Harvey, Martin Luther King III and others as “mediocre negroes being dragged in front of TV as a photo-op for Donald Trump”, and over the weekend, actor Shia Laboeuf put a uniquely bizarre shouting tantrum on full display,
A Kentucky woman, Heather Lowrey, suggested on Twitter it would be "kind” for someone to assassinate Donald Trump, who was inaugurated as president three days later.
On Friday when Trump was inaugurated, Bre Payton noted, "... many people lost their minds. Pundits melted down on live TV, protestors destroyed Washington DC, and some literally threw temper-tantrums." She goes on to list some of the most unhinged reactions here. Below is a video recorded as Trump is inaugurated ...
On inauguration day, a Saturday Night Comedy writer (Katie Rich) tweeted that Trump's 10-year old son (Barron) would be the nations first "homeschool shooter". Comedy Central writer Stephen Spinola joined in the attacks by tweeting Friday that Barron resembles a “rapist” with a “small PP.” Spinola even joked that he hoped Barron would rape his own mother. Spinola followed his comment with another tweet: “I don’t want my Mom to get raped, but if she does I hope it’s by Barron Trump – small pp would be painless & we’d win lots of money in court.” Comedian Matt Oswalt also took a crack aimed at the 10-year-old Trump, tweeting: “Barron Trump is wandering around the White House right now looking for stuff to burn.” (In contrast to the vicious mocking of Barron, public figures and members of the media vehemently denounced any targeting of Obama's daughters [Sasha and Malia], as the girls were considered off limits to jokes and public scrutiny.)
A high school art teacher in Dallas posted an Instagram video of herself "shooting" an image of Donald Trump with a squirt gun and screaming "die" during Friday's inauguration. A copy of the video went viral (below) on Twitter before the original source was identified. How would her to be the teacher for your kids?
Images taken during the violent unrest in Washington DC this week show an anti-Trump Antifa protester displaying a photo of an ISIS flag and an ISIS beheading video on his phone to intimidate Trump supporters.
As Donald J. Trump was sworn in on the steps of the U.S. Capitol as the 45th President, hundreds of masked protesters went on a rampage throughout downtown Washington, D.C. Police in riot gear attempted to maintain order with pepper spray and concussion “Flashbang” grenades whilst being attacked with bricks that were pulled from the sidewalk. The protesters torched private cars, attacked Trump supporters, and lit fires in the street.
Thanks to Washington, D.C.’s felony rioting statute, 230 anti-Trump protesters will face up to ten years in jail for rioting. One week before the inauguration it was reported that protesters were planning to destroy property. One protester, Tom Faison, told The Washington Post that the property damage was done with “nuance and intention.” The Post also reported that a majority of the arrested protesters were not residents of Washington, D.C., Maryland, or Virginia. Tom Massey, 32, of Philadelphia was among those arrested, and he told The Post, “I think there should have been more violence yesterday.”
Anti-Trump protestors got rowdy, attacking, and spitting on "Gold Star" families (who lost military family members in combat) attending the American Legion Salute to Heroes Inaugural Gala Friday. Ryan Manion, who lost her brother in Iraq in 2007 and Amy Looney, whose husband died in Afghanistan in 2010, were spat upon by anti-Trump protestors while walking into and leaving the American Legion’s Salute to American Heroes Inaugural Gala Friday night. According to Manion, whose Facebook post on the incident has been shared almost 2,000 times, they were not black-bloc-style rioters but mostly regular protesters, and many of them were women.
“As we made our way through the crowd, we were spit at and called some of the worst and most vile things I have ever heard come out of a person’s mouth,” Manion wrote on Facebook. “These people had such hatred in their eyes when they screamed at us. After leaving the event we walked outside and was first pushed by a man in a mask hiding his face, then told by 2 women that we ruined this country… As the one woman screamed the other pushed up against me and colored all over my mom’s shawl I was wearing with permanent marker. I am angry and I am scared. My brother and Amy’s husband gave their lives to protect the freedoms that we hold so dear.”
Watch video here of a woman on a flight who demanded a quiet unobtrusive Donald Trump supporter seated next to her be moved, but quickly found out that’s not how the world works. She was escorted off the plane by police.
During Saturday’s Women’s March in Washington, DC, Ashley Judd ranted, “I am not as nasty as your own daughter being your favorite sex symbol, like your wet dreams infused with your own genes.” Judd said, “I am not as nasty as racism, fraud, conflict of interest, homophobia, sexual assault, transphobia, white supremacy, misogyny, ignorance, white privilege. I’m not as nasty as using little girls like Pokemon before their bodies have even developed. I am not as nasty as your own daughter being your favorite sex symbol, like your wet dreams infused with your own genes. But, yeah, I’m a nasty woman, a loud, vulgar proud woman. I’m not nasty, like the combo of Trump and Pence being served up to me in my voting booth. I’m nasty like the battles my grandmothers fought to get me into that voting booth. I’m nasty, like the fight for wage equality. Scarlett Johansson, why were the female actors paid less than half of what the male actors earned last year? See, even when we do go into higher paying jobs, our wages are still cut with blades sharpened by testosterone.”
Along with the expected Nazi and Hitler references, the most common theme of the protestors centered around sex organs and sexual acts. the most used noun on any poster was some vulgar reference to a vagina. In fact, whether in print or of a more knit variety, there were more references to female genitalia at this women’s march than apparently in all of the dirty gas station men’s rooms across the U.S. Protestors donned “p**sy hats” and conducted what they deemed a “p**sy riot,”
(Interestingly, Linda Sarsour, one of the organizers behind Saturday’s Women’s March, that was held in Washington, D.C., was recently spotted at a large Muslim convention in Chicago posing for pictures with an accused financier for Hamas, the terrorist group. She openly advocates for including Sharia law in the United States. Sharia law would punish the female protestors for vulgarity in publicly displaying “p**sy caps” and other brazen symbols of womanhood. It would also allow men to beat their wives and daughters for participating in the protest. Although she thinks President Trump will turn back the clock by 300 years, Sarsour forgets that Islam never left the Middle Ages in its primeval view of women.)
On-air, CNN analyst Bakari Sellers let slip a revelation about the Women’s March Saturday. “It’s not about women, it’s about liberalism,” he said.
Madonna gave a profanity-lace tirade (which the mainstream media dutifully broadcast) and said "I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House," Madonna performed two songs during her appearance at the Women’s March, “Express Yourself” and “Human Nature.” During “Human Nature,” the singer changed the song’s lyrics to include “Donald Trump, suck a d***.” Two days after the inauguration, Madonna tweeted and then deleted an obscene message to the president and his protection team, stating: “F— Donald Trump and F— the Secret Service.”
Comedian Chelsea Handler said Melania Trump 'barely speaks English' despite the First Lady speaking several languages (unlike Chelsea.) The First Lady speaks at least five languages, including English, French, Italian, German, and Slovene. This isn't the first time Chelsea has gone after Melania Trump's accent. She shared several tweets over the course of the presidential campaign making fun of the First Lady. When asked what she would tell the President if she saw him, she replied "F--k off. I mean, gross."
Josef Joffe, the editor-publisher of German weekly Die Zeit, suggests the easiest way to end the “Trump catastrophe” is to murder the president in the White House.
Nothing resembling this was done by conservatives following the election of Bill Clinton or Barack Obama.
Ultimately, what I believe is really at heart of these lawless actions is abortion. Whether screaming about Planned Parenthood, ObamaCare, the Supreme Court, bathroom privileges, redefining marriage, redefining gender, and so on, the progressive left -- especially the feminist left -- is consumed with sex. Most of this energy is concentrated on keeping the “right” to kill children in the womb. Tellingly, pro-life women were excluded from the march. When it initially looked like pro-life groups were going to be allowed to participate, the radical pro-abortionists went ballistic. Declaring that the killing of children in the womb is “central” to feminism, Jessica Valenti was “horrified” that pro-life women were going to be allowed to march with what she must deem as “real feminists.”
As one commentator said on television, the protests "make no sense" ... unless it's about abortion". The protestors resort to lawless and violent actions to defend the lawless and violent act of abortion which is now threatened. Their "freedom" to murder unborn babies is jeopardized. I heard one pro-abortion progressive activist on television say in a Freudian slip - "women should be able to choose to have their baby, or not to have their baby - an acknowledgement that what is aborted is not merely a "mass" of living cells, but a baby. Hollywood actor and producer Michael Ian Black tweeted to his two million Twitter followers that abortions save money. “Not a recommendation to the Republicans trying to replace Obamacare,” he typed, “but aborted babies are A LOT cheaper than babies carried to term."
There is no question of the progressive liberal worldview being propagated by the major media networks. As reported here, During their morning and evening news shows, the three broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) covered the women’s march 129 times more than they did the 2016 March for Life last year. And it’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not they will cover the 2017 March for Life Friday. According to the Media Research Center’s analysis, the networks covered the Women’s March on Washington 129 times more than 2016’s March for Life. The difference, of course, is the event that was covered was pro-abortion while the other, largely ignored event, is pro-life. MRC notes that this pattern of coverage has been consistent over the years. Anyone depending upon the three broadcast network for news is bombarded with their fanciful and delusional worldview. Their coverage of the annual ‘March for Life’ in two days, both in time and tone, will tell you everything you need to know about their support for abortion.
No picture better illustrates the demonic spirit behind progressive liberalism than this one ...
As reality rudely slaps progressive liberals in the face, the mask has come off. The true nature and heart of that worldview is now on graphic display for all to see.
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Unanswered prayer is hard to take. “Ask and it will be given,” Jesus promises. When we ask and ask, and it’s not given, we wonder if Jesus had his fingers crossed when he said that.
This is a common dilemma, a regular topic in sermons, pastoral care, and home Bible studies. We pay far less attention to the equal difficulty of answered prayer. We ask and ask, and God answers, but the gift doesn’t come with the wrapping we expect or in the form we want. Answered prayers are hard to distinguish from the unanswered.
Faithful Israelites ask the Lord to purge idolatry, throw out unscrupulous kings, drain the swamp. And he sends . . . Nebuchadnezzar, who burns the temple and cracks the walls of Jerusalem. Habakkuk doesn’t much like this answer: The law is ineffective, injustice spreads, and things are horrible. But the Chaldeans? Really, Lord?
Over the past several decades, American Christians have felt a growing sense of marginalization and ostracism. We’re mocked by popular and elite culture and our beliefs are trampled in law and public policy. Even uttering traditional Christian views of sodomy (sin, unnatural act) is condemned as bigotry.
We’ve prayed for relief. We ask and ask, and God sends . . . Trump? .......
Saturday, January 21, 2017
Wondering where this passage originated? Many would likely contribute it to a contemporary source. But this text comes from an post-WW2 analysis of Adolf Hitler's strategies and use of the "Big Lie" to manipulate and control the masses, as prepared by the United States Office of Strategic Services. (i.e., see here).
A "big lie" (German: große Lüge) is a propaganda technique. The expression was coined by Adolf Hitler, when he dictated his 1925 book Mein Kampf, about the use of a lie so "colossal" that no one would believe that someone "could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously." Hitler falsely claimed the technique was used by Jews to blame Germany's loss in World War I on German Army officer Erich Ludendorff, similar to the way the blood libel, the claim that Jews sacrificed babies, was used as justification to persecute Jews throughout the middle ages.
Of course, the origin of the "big lie" is much more ancient. It was originally perpetrated with devastating effect by the author of evil millennia ago in Eden. Mankind continuously fails to heed the warning of Ecclesiastes 1:9: "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun."
Friday, January 20, 2017
As discovered by the congressional investigations, here's what Planned Parenthood and the mainstream media do not want you to know:
1) The pro-abortion crowd doesn't value the disabled.
Advanced Biosciences Resources (ABR) had a “technician” embedded at a Planned Parenthood clinic who reportedly harvested and sold the skin of a Down Syndrome baby for $325. Yes, that’s correct, in America today, you can buy the skin of an aborted Down Syndrome child for $325. The same baby’s leg was sold for $325.
2) Selling baby parts is very profitable.
To be clear, the law is unambiguous; it is illegal to make a profit providing organs or any part of a human for research or medical treatment.
But Planned Parenthood and their business partners made a lot of money selling aborted baby body parts, according to the report. The House investigation found one case where Stem Express harvested an intact aborted baby’s brain at a Planned Parenthood clinic. They reportedly paid Planned Parenthood $55 but sold the brain to a researcher for over $3000 – that’s a 2,800% profit. Planned Parenthood reportedly made their money on volume sales and “charitable donations” from these body harvesting companies.
The Senate investigation published invoices which showed in June 2014 ABR bought a fetus from Planned Parenthood for $60. From that one fetus ABR “sold its brain to one customer for $325; both of its eyes for $325 each ($650 total) to a second customer, a portion of its liver for $325 to a third customer; its thymus for $325 and another portion of liver to a fourth customer; and its lung for $325 to a fifth customer.”
Then, the report says, they piled on fees for “disease screening” and shipping. That one aborted baby reportedly brought the company $2,275. The House Investigative Panel found Stem Express generally marked up the baby parts by 400% to 600%.
3) A bountiful harvest
And “harvesting” is exactly what they were doing. The House investigation uncovered how “technicians” would look at the patient list in advance and try to sell the baby parts before the abortion. After securing the advance sale (with its massive profits) the technician would then be allowed to go and ask the pregnant woman to sign a consent form.
This is a huge ethical breach. The person seeking consent from a vulnerable patient is supposed to be neutral in the process. In a letter to HHS last June, the panel wrote: “The fact that StemExpress was attempting to interest a customer in fetal body parts before an abortion had taken place raises serious concerns that there may have been coercion or undue influence upon the patient to consent to procurement” (their emphasis).
4) Sticks and stones
And like any other business, there can be frustrations between buyers and sellers. The House Panel uncovered an email exchange between an excited Stem Express “technician” and a researcher who wanted to know if she could expect some parts the next day because she needed to book time at a very expensive research machine. But a baby’s body is a frustratingly fragile thing. Rather apologetically, the Stem Express employee told the researcher he had a body but: “The calvarium [skull] is mostly intact, with a tear up the back of the suture line, but all pieces look to be there. The limbs, one upper and one lower, are totally intact, with one upper broken at the humerus, and one lower broken right above the knee. Please let me know if these are acceptable.”
They were. The deal was done and a baby’s body, complete with a broken leg and arm, was shipped overnight to the researcher.
5) Kermit Gosnell was not alone.
If there is one thing the abortion defenders agree on, it’s that mass murderer Dr Kermit Gosnell was a one-off, an aberration. In a Supreme Court judgment referencing Gosnell, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg described him as “rogue.”
Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic explained most people believe “Gosnell is an aberration that says nothing larger about abortion in America.”
And Slate writer William Saletan described Gosnell as an “outlier.”
But then you read the House Investigation Report. They have interviewed, taken evidence, and secured affidavits from employees and patients of a Texas abortion doctor (whose name they have redacted). I have made a movie and written a book about Kermit Gosnell and his 30-year killing spree, and the similarities with this Texas doctor are shocking.
According to one employee, the doctor would perform around 40 late second- or third-trimester abortions every week. Of these abortions, “three to four infants would show signs of life.” And just like Gosnell, the doctor would immediately kill them, according to the testimony. The employee said he employed Gosnell’s techniques of “snipping the infant’s spinal cord with scissors.”
However, he reportedly also cut the neck with Sopher forceps: “twisting the infants head: using forceps… or his finger to crush the ‘soft spot’ of the infant’s head.”
Sometimes the doctor would also kill by crushing the stomach of the child or “inserting his finger down the throat,” according to the testimony.
And just like Gosnell – the doctor reportedly would manipulate ultrasounds to make babies appear smaller so he could perform illegal late-term abortions. And just like Gosnell, he had unqualified staff administering drugs and carrying out abortions, according to the report.
6) Planned Parenthood HQ accused of conspiring to break the law.
After the baby selling scandal broke, Planned Parenthood told the media they had a policy that prevented their affiliates from profiting from the process. But they didn’t mention that they had brought the policy in just as the CMP scandal developed. In fact, this report suggests a “criminal conspiracy” over their failure to have guidelines before this.
According to the Senate Judicial Committee report, in 2001 Planned Parenthood did have a policy stating its clinics had to have an independent accountant verify they were not profiting from the sale of body parts. Those who did not follow these guidelines could be thrown out of the Planned Parenthood network, they were warned. In 2011, when they found their clinics were ignoring the guidelines, Planned Parenthood quietly deleted the guidelines from its requirements. By doing so, Planned Parenthood headquarters made it quite clear they would not stand in the way of their clinics profiting from the sale of baby parts.
Or, as the Senate Committee put it, by behaving “in a manner that facilitated the continuation of those fetal tissue payments. Planned Parenthood and the affiliates actions may implicate the federal criminal conspiracy statute 18USC/ 371.”
7) Privacy for thee and not for me
Planned Parenthood and the companies it was selling baby parts to fought tooth and nail against the investigations. They claimed privacy was an issue. But the House Investigation states they never cared about privacy when there was a lot of money to be made selling the body parts of their patients’ babies. They would regularly give confidential information about their patients to help the companies plan their harvesting in advance, the report says. And Stem Express would reportedly share this information with clients so they could look at what might be available and place advance orders.
The committee said: “the [Planned Parenthood] abortion clinics did not have a valid reason to provide, patients’ PHI [Protected Health Information]. Instead the abortion clinics shared patients’ PHI with Stem Express in furtherance of contractual agreements that financially benefited StemExpress and the clinics.” They recommended an investigation “and, if OHRP agrees that [privacy] violations occurred, to take all appropriate actions.”
8) Planned Parenthood falsely claimed to help cure AIDS.
Yes, you read that right – in order to convince women to allow them to harvest their baby’s body parts, the Planned Parenthood consent form told the vulnerable women that the parts had been used to find a cure for AIDS.
As a Planned Parenthood official admitted under oath to the House investigation, “there is no cure for AIDS. So that is probably an inaccurate statement.”
They also reportedly misled clients about what they were actually harvesting. The consent form only described “pregnancy tissue” — not a baby’s arms, legs, eyes, brains, and skin.
There is no ethical difference between the culpability of the U.S. populace and the German populace of the Third Reich who vociferously proclaimed ignorance of the Holocaust that transpired in the Nazi concentration camps. Just as Germany did, we will stand accountable one day.
Thursday, January 19, 2017
... Obama wants congratulations because the Islamic State hasn’t marched an army across the Rio Grande and sacked San Antonio, or sent a squad of terrorists to take out a shopping mall with signed, dated, notarized orders from Raqqa in their pockets ... In truth, the number and frequency of deadly terrorist attacks on U.S. soil grew substantially worse under Obama. The raw number of fatalities under his predecessor, of course, is distorted by the horrific carnage of 9/11.
No one knew what a “lone wolf” terrorist was until Obama came along. The departing President seems to think “lone wolves” are less of a problem than big-ticket, carefully-planned professional atrocities like 9/11… but that’s the exact opposite of what his own intelligence community says. They’re warning that isolated extremists using the Internet to connect with global terrorist ideologies are difficult to spot in advance, and our resources are stretched to the breaking point keeping tabs on them.
The situation worldwide is even worse, with the number of annual terrorist deaths increasing over 400 percent since Obama took office. ISIS happened on Obama’s watch, while al-Qaeda and the Taliban are resurgent. The hellish mess he made of Syria will threaten the security of Western nations for years to come.
5. Race Relations:
One of the outgoing President’s most surreal claims is that race relations improved on his watch — perhaps the clearest instance in modern history of a politician saying, “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”
... Polls show most Americans think race relations have gotten worse — in fact, the percentage that finds them poor today is almost equal to the percentage that found them in good shape when Obama took office. Also, public perception that the government makes racial tensions worse (prominently including the police force) has grown more negative.
It is, to put it mildly, a staggering disappointment that racial tensions grew worse under the President who was supposed to be a historic healer, and that black Americans seem so widely disappointed with their situation as 2017 dawns. (And that’s not just a matter of opinion — there are hard numbers on black employment, median income, home ownership, and welfare dependency to back up their sense of dismay.)
6. Government Debt:
The national debt was $10.6 trillion when Obama took office, while complaining that George W. Bush’s deficits were not only too high, they were downright unpatriotic.
Obama would go on to add more debt than Bush in just three years of his spendthrift presidency. He leaves office with a national debt of $19.7 trillion, coming just shy of doubling the debt all by himself… and all we got for it was a mediocre economy, dwindling workforce, and sky-high welfare dependency.
8. Foreign Relations:
Terrorism is worse under Obama because he bungled foreign relations comprehensively, in every corner of the globe, agitating and emboldening sinister forces. He clocked out when ISIS rolled into Iraq, made a bloody disaster of Libya, watched Yemen come apart at the seams, poured American credibility down the rat hole of Syria, let the Taliban come back in Afghanistan, responded with Twitter hashtags when an ISIS affiliate pulled off mass kidnappings in Nigeria, brought Islamists to power in Egypt, delivered pallets of cash to the terror masters of Iran, stabbed Israel in the back, and sent an aging folk singer to serenade Paris after a terrorist massacre.
Obama and his foreign policy team were driven by the weird conviction that they could fix the world by doing the opposite of what every previous administration had done. Beating up on America’s allies was much easier than fighting its enemies. Obama would make history by being the first American leader to seriously entertain the grievances of anti-American groups around the world.
9. Health Care:
No amount of Democrat spin can conceal the breathtaking disaster of ObamaCare, which spent $2 trillion to achieve the goose egg of net improvement in Gallup’s poll. (The cost projections get worse every year, too. The 10-year Congressional Budget Office projection in 2016 was $136 billion more expensive than it was in 2015.) Remember when the liars who foisted the Affordable Care Act on us claimed it would be revenue-neutral?
... ObamaCare is imploding, with so many insurers fleeing its mismanaged markets that many Americans are dealing with functional monopolies. Nothing close to this desperate situation existed before Obama seized control of the health insurance industry. It’s not easy to think of a less efficient, more costly, more liberty-destroying way to help the fairly small group of people who couldn’t get decent insurance policies in 2009. (Forcing the people who didn’t want to buy insurance to make a purchase at gunpoint is a very different matter.)
10. Trust in Government and Media:
Both are at all-time lows, although it should be noted trust levels for both have been low for a long time, and trust in government tends to shift along partisan lines.
Obama’s presidency clearly hurt both metrics. He produced a string of expensive big government flops that shook public faith in Washington, prominently including ObamaCare and its train-wreck launch. Big media burned away its credibility protecting Obama, pushing Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, and getting the 2016 election spectacularly wrong. Their conduct since the election — pumping out Fake News stories, falling for hate-crime hoaxes, loudly announcing that investigative reporting was about to make a comeback after eight years in hibernation — has only confirmed the public’s distrust.
Conservatives are people who have been mugged by reality. This is why the majority of liberals tend to be young people who have been shielded from hard, cold reality up to that point in their lives. They are idealists until reality slaps them in the face ... at which point either their worldview shifts or they suffer the consequences of stubbornly sticking with a delusional worldview.
After Titanic struck the iceberg, many initially believed the ship was truly unsinkable and refused to get into the lifeboats with the tragic result of many of the initial lifeboats being launched with less-than-full capacity. At 11:40 PM on Sunday, April 14th, Titanic collides with an iceberg that rips through six of her fourteen water-tight compartments and causes substantial enough damage to spell her doom. About an hour after the collision, the decision is made to begin loading lifeboats. The plan is to evacuate women and children first. Tragically, there aren’t enough lifeboats for all the Titanic passengers. In fact, the ship’s twenty lifeboats only have room for half of the individuals on board. And that is bad enough. But the really tragic thing is that a significant number of the lifeboats launch with many empty seats. In fact, by some estimates after the fact, less than 800 passengers use the lifeboats, even though there is adequate capacity for well over 1,100. The massive Titanic sinks at 2:20 AM Monday, April 15th. An estimated 300 people needlessly lost their lives because they could not face reality.
As Pastor Jonathan Hoover observed in June 2015 on his blog,
Life with the crowd isn't safe if the crowd is going down with the ship.
Alexis De Tocqueville said that “America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” He was spot on. As a culture, we’re in the big middle of ceasing to be good… in many ways. Now it’s not the Titanic that’s sinking. It’s the majority—the “unsinkable” majority. It’s that undefined group that moralizes, litigates and legislates by virtue of its sheer size. Because of it’s mammoth dimensions, many think it can’t sink. They’re wrong. It’s sinking underneath our feet right now. And you and I have a very difficult decision to make. The lifeboats are available to us. They represent a new life… one that is characterized by being in the minority. It doesn’t look as stable or steady as life with the crowd, and in some ways, it may seem more dangerous. But make no mistake—the ship is sinking.
Getting into that lifeboat marked “minority” may mean your future looks a little less assured, it may mean someone might call you an unpleasant name or make you the butt of an embarrassing joke. You could be accused of hatred, discrimination, or backwardness. You might be seen as a trouble-maker, a non-conformist, or an impediment to progress. But the ship is sinking. And getting off the ship is more important than being liked and loved.
And, lest you think I’m being flippant about such a terrible event as the sinking of the Titanic to compare it to our current cultural situation, you should know that I deeply grieve the fact that our country is slipping away from the principles that guided it’s construction. My heart aches when I see our national culture get farther away from God each year. But that is why I refuse to stay on the ship.
I’ve made up my mind. I want to be a lifeboat person. I’m willing to let life be choppy for a little while if it means I don’t have to go down with the ship. Perhaps that is what Joshua was trying to say when he remarked:
Joshua 24:15a,c (NLT)
But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. … But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.”
The ship is sinking. Let’s make the tough call and man the lifeboats. It’s time.
Until or unless more Americans shift their worldview from the delusional one that many hold, this ship will continue to sink lower and lower - until the inevitable happens. National repentance would be a good start on the road back to reality.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
I never meant to start an argument about addiction. I had carried my private doubts on the subject around in my head for years, in the “heresy” section where I keep my really risky thoughts. And I don’t recommend disagreeing in public with Hollywood royalty, either, which is how it happened. In such a clash, most people will think you are wrong and Hollywood is right, especially if your opponent is Chandler Bing, the beloved character from Friends. Of course, he wasn’t really Chandler Bing, just an actor called Matthew Perry—but an actor with an entourage so big it filled an entire elevator at the BBC’s new studios in central London where we quarreled.
Our debate wasn’t even supposed to be about addiction. I’d been asked onto the corporation’s grand but faded late-night current affairs show Newsnight to talk about drug courts, one of many stupid ideas suggested by the idea of addiction. I reckoned my main opponent would be the other guest, Baroness (Molly) Meacher, whose name sounds like something out of The Beggar’s Opera. While she looks like the sort of harmless, kindly housewife who knits next to you on the bus, she is in fact a campaigner for the wilder sorts of drug liberalization. If this Chandler Perry wanted to horn in, well and good. Who cared? Yet when I began to sense sarcasm mingled with unearned superiority oozing from the character from Friends, I decided to let my impatience show.
Hence my rash, irreversible plunge into an argument which has been going on ever since, consuming billions of electrons on social media, and which will probably still be going on when I die. I heard myself using the words “the fantasy of addiction.” There. I’d done it. Let the heavens fall.
Chandler Bing called me various names and was even more sarcastic than before ...
Hitchens goes on in his essay to lay out a powerful argument that addiction is a concocted fantasy that fatally removes responsibility from the individual. He points out there is a difference between struggling with a compulsion and "addiction" that removes all responsibility from the individual ("it's not my fault; I have an addiction".) He correctly points out that people successfully conquer "addictions" all the time, something that is not possible if the science of addiction was true.
The false "science" of addiction conveniently relegates the true concept of sin into irrelevance.
I have a friend with a PhD who specializes in "addiction". Intelligent and articulate, he is well-known and respected in the field. He authored a book on addiction (mostly 5 star reviews on Amazon) and is a highly-respected consultant in the field both nationally and internationally. While he is a Christian, he is firmly ensconced in the secular wordview articulated by the "science" of addiction. [Yes, the brain may undergo physical changes - but (as Hitchens points out) so does the brain of a London taxi driver after memorizing all the London streets prior to getting his taxi license. It's an organ adapting to change.] What's interesting is that by his own admission, people that he seeks to help with food addictions experience high failure rates (80% and higher.) As I've often heard him say, "They can't help it."
The high failure rate is attributable to the treatment itself which sources the problem to a physical addiction and fails to recognize the true spiritual source of the compulsion. A classic case is the dangerously obese person who refuses to deal with the root of their problem and undergoes stomach bypass surgery in a futile attempt to short-circuit their "addiction". Alcoholics Anonymous articulates a false worldview that "once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic." But this flatly contradicts the truth that the Christian is a new creation in Christ (2 Cor 5:17) and will experience a decreasing influence of sin as he/she matures in Christ.
Sanctification is the life-long process whereby the indwelling Holy Spirit of God, imparted at the moment of justification, increasingly conforms us to the character and image of Christ. We become more and more Christ-like (Phil 2:13-14). It is a lifelong process in which believers become conformed to the image of Christ, relying on the power of God to mortify sin in their lives. As Christians, we were saved from the penalty of sin when God brought us to repentant faith in Christ; we are presently being saved from the power of sin as the Holy Spirit sanctifies us, and we will someday be saved from the presence of sin when we meet Christ face to face in glory.
In contrast to our justification which is solely the work of God, sanctification is a synergistic process in which we are to cooperate with God (Phil 2:12-13). This is why sanctification is different from everyone and why we all battle sin until we die (Rom 6:12; 13:13). However, sin is not a necessity for the Christian, since believers are no longer slaves of sin, but have been set free through redemption (Gal 5:24; John 8:31-36). Our motivation for sanctification is not law, but love (1 John 4:19). Becoming Christ-like is not an obligation that we have been given, but a privilege that we have. God wants our motivation to righteousness to be because we love Him. Our power for sanctification is nothing external and not even the Law, but the indwelling Holy Spirit of God (Gal 5:18, 22-25).
The "science" of addiction cannot be reconciled with the truth of sanctification.
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
The National Association of Scholars released the study here, reporting how students in American colleges are being systematically indoctrinated into the "new civics" of social justice activism. The report’s findings suggest that the suppression of free speech on college campuses is only the tip of a very large iceberg. What lies beneath the surface is a massive, publicly funded program of indoctrination through a remaking of the curriculum as a vehicle for advancing the political agenda of progressivism. While the overwhelming vast majority of college faculty in the liberal arts and humanities are liberal and progressive and classroom propaganda is a growing problem, the “New Civics” seeks the transformation of the entire institution and all academic disciplines into “change agents.”
This should not be a surprise to any Christian. The world always seeks to impress false worldviews on us. We are incessantly bombarded with the world's version of false "truth" via public education, movies, TV, radio, music, music videos, newspapers, magazines, art, video games, Madison Avenue advertising, peer pressure, the workplace, civil government, the military, the medical system, etc, etc. The world is on a never-ending quest to divorce us from Truth.
This is why Scripture warns that if we are comfortable with the world which in full-scale rebellion against the Creator, we are in enmity with God (James 4:4). Constant vigilance is required. Anchoring our worldview in Scripture is the strongest possible bulwark. Otherwise, we are ships without a rudder subject to ever-changing cultural tides and trends.
False ideas about truth lead to false ideas about life.
Monday, January 16, 2017
“Christians throughout the world continue to risk imprisonment, loss of home and assets, torture, beheadings, rape and even death as a result of their faith,” the report stated.
The World Watch List (WWL) ranks the 50 countries across the globe where persecution of Christians is most severe. In 25 years of chronicling and ranking the political and societal restrictions on religious freedom experienced by Christians worldwide, Open Doors researchers identified 2016 as the “worst year yet.”
Sunday, January 15, 2017
Saturday, January 14, 2017
To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? – John 18:37-38
The Benghazi 9/11 attack that killed four brave Americans was caused by a YouTube video. Michael Brown had his hands up and shouted “Don’t shoot” before Ferguson cop Darren Wilson shot him. Man-caused global warming is settled science. Bruce Jenner is a woman. Donald Trump’s adviser Steve Bannon is a white supremacist. Vladimir Putin hacked America’s election system and Trump is his puppet.
... A journalist’s job, I have long said, is to be a professional truth-teller, but that raises the ultimate question: As Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?”
Traditionally minded Americans, conservatives, evangelical Christians and countless others see truth one way. But those on “the left” – code for a worldview of churning rebellion against the Judeo-Christian, capitalist, Constitution-honoring ways of previous generations of Americans – have their own very different notions of truth.
Of course, Americans have the cherished constitutional right to believe whatever “truth” they want, however absurd it might be. But there is a big price to pay, both as individuals and as a nation, for embracing lies as truth.
... Indeed, liberal media bias has metastasized into nothing less than a war on truth.
... Fake news, when codified over time, becomes fake history – which is what we find, for example, in the ubiquitous but irredeemably dark, America-hating “history” textbook by Howard Zinn, “A People’s History of the United States.” This book is routinely assigned as required reading for our children throughout America’s public high schools and colleges. According to Zinn’s “fake history,” America is at core an evil, racist, predatory ration that has grown in wealth and power only by exploiting minorities throughout its bloody history. Scant reference can be found to the enormous, unparalleled good that America has done for the world, its incredible generosity toward other nations, the hundreds of thousands of young lives sacrificially given for others in wars like WWII, and the multiplicity of ways America have elevated, fed, supported, protected and liberated so much of the rest of the world.
... Underlying today’s wall-to-wall fake news and fake history is what we could call fake truth – that is, core baseline assumptions about life that are simply not true. Yet they are the very themes we see reflected in so many misleading leftist-oriented news reports day after day.
A few such underlying assumptions include:
- Islam is a religion of peace. (Islam has been an imperialistic, warlike religion for 14 centuries and shows no signs of changing now – indeed, using intimidation and terror, it is engaged in an aggressive expansion campaign throughout the world,)
- Homosexuality, as a sexual preference, is genetically hardwired into people from birth and cannot be changed. (There is no evidence of a “gay gene,” but overwhelming evidence that early childhood influences, especially abuse, play a major role in later self-identification as homosexual.) However, actual gender identity – whether one is physically a male or a female – is fluid and can change. (This is literally impossible since, for example, all 37.2 trillion cells in a grown man’s body are permanently branded with male “Y” chromosomes.)
- America is still a deeply racist nation. (The U.S. is unquestionably the least racist nation on earth, twice electing a black man as president after, decades earlier, having widely embraced Martin Luther King’s “dream” of a color-blind America.)
- Capitalism is inherently predatory and is failing as an economic system in America. (Free-market capitalism is hands-down the most successful economic system in world history, delivering a far higher standard of living to far more people than any other system.)
- America’s highest law demands a “constitutional separation of church and state.” (No such phrase exists in the U.S. Constitution and the First Amendment says nothing of the sort.)
- “Man-caused global warming” is settled science. (At least one petition has signatures of more than 31,000 American scientists, including over 9,000 with Ph.D.s, specifically refuting that position.)
Your worldview ultimately determines your understanding and grasp of truth. The worldview of the mainsteam media and most political elites is light-years away from the Biblical perspective. Like the Pied Piper, they lead the gullible into misery and destruction.
Friday, January 13, 2017
The failure to grasp the root of both good and evil (both of which are realities and not only principles) is paramount to the rising impotence of the church. When confronted with real evil, it is impossible to deny its' reality (i.e., the barbaric ISIS propaganda videos.) Without the true knowledge of good and evil, we are rudderless ships at the whim of changing cultural currents and tides. Good exists not only as a moral principle, but as an entity - i.e., God Himself who defines good by His very nature.
I increasingly believe the strongest philosophical argument for the existence of God is the moral argument. The moral argument begins with the fact that all people recognize some moral code (that some things are right, and some things are wrong). Every time we argue over right and wrong, we appeal to a higher law that we assume everyone is aware of, holds to, and is not free to arbitrarily change. Right and wrong imply a higher standard or law, and law requires a lawgiver. Because the Moral Law transcends humanity, this universal law requires a universal lawgiver. This, it is argued, is God. Without God there would be no objective basis for morality, no life, and no reason to live it. Yet all these things do exist, and so does God. Thus, the moral argument for the existence of God.
So too, does evil exist not only as a moral principle but as a specific entity. An Italian Bishop is speaking out after witnessing his first exorcism--an event he said would convince anyone of the existence of the devil. "All you have to do is witness an exorcism to understand that evil is a specific entity, as well as a reality," Archbishop Erio Castellucci told the Italian daily Il Resto del Carlino. The Archbishop says he'd seen possessed people but had never witnessed an exorcism. Then, in 2015 he was called by two priest exorcists in his archdiocese to be present during an exorcism for a man considered a "difficult case."
Archbishop Casellucii says when he walked into the parish church in Modena where exorcisms are performed, the demon-possessed man started to scream, "Get out, get out of here, you will have a bad death." After that he fell into a trance-like state.
"Then it seemed as if he had woken up and in an instant drove his fingernails into the back of my hands," Archbishop Castellucci continued. "He had a diabolical look on his face and he uttered unrepeatable insults and curses." The man "told me I would die in a traffic accident and while he was saying it he looked pleased." Archbishop Castellucci says he wasn't concerned about the curses. "My life is in the hands of the Lord Jesus and certainly not in that demon's. I wasn't worried at all. The word of God teaches that the curses are ineffective," he explained.
Following the exorcism, Archbishop Castellucci told reporters that discernment is important in cases of alleged possession, because many cases belong more to "the competence of a psychiatrist than an exorcist." He went on to stress the importance of prayers of deliverance to help bring healing (Mark 9:29).
Our understanding of good is directly proportional to our understanding of God. The better we know God through the revelation of Jesus Christ, the stronger our grasp of good becomes. Without the true knowledge of good and evil, we are Don Quixote flailing at windmills.
Thursday, January 12, 2017
The preaching of the Gospel as a sacramental event is at the heart of Reformation theology. Preaching is also at the heart of Reformation faith—preaching as an indispensable means of grace and a sure sign of the true church. Where is the church? According to Article VII of the Augsburg Confession (1530), the church is that place where the Word is purely preached and the sacraments are duly administered. The Second Helvetic Confession (1566) went even further when it declared that “the preaching of the Word of God is the Word of God.”
Of course, preaching—unlike the printing press—was not a new invention of the Reformation era. Far from it. Think of Augustine and Chrysostom in the early church, Bernard of Clairvaux, John Hus, and the many mendicant friars who fanned out across Europe in the Middle Ages. St. Francis preached the Gospel to a Muslim sultan, and Savonarola declared God’s judgment on the sinful leaders of Florence. Bernardino of Siena, the great Franciscan herald, preached to throngs in the fifteenth century, calling on his listeners to repent, confess their sins, and go to Mass. The Protestant reformers knew this tradition and built upon it, but they also transformed it in two important respects .......
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
... In the midst of his struggle, Heyer got married and had two children. He worked as an engineer for a while and achieved significant financial success.
"But the difficulty that I faced was that I couldn't shut the thoughts or the feelings off," he said. He turned to alcohol to cope with his issues, and eventually his life came crashing down around him.
He and his wife split after 17 years of marriage, and he lost his job when he began making the physical transformation into becoming a woman. He got breast implants, began taking hormones, had electrolysis to reduce the hair on his face, and he had his genitals removed.
... After studying psychology while still living as a woman, however, he says he eventually realized that a person can't actually change genders and that he was delusional.
... "The church, what it did for me was it allowed me to really get to the point where I asked the Lord for forgiveness. I began to pray for forgiveness. And I realized that the critical point is understanding that you can accept Jesus Christ, but there's a point where that doesn't become real...until you're walking with Christ," he said.
"Because the real truth that Christ is alive is the fact that you see a transformed life. And so what happened in my life is that when I finally... got down on my knees and was working through these things many years after I had accepted Christ – probably 10 to 15 years after I accepted Christ – I finally felt that I was broken enough as a man that I got on my knees and prayed."
... Today, Heyer says he no longer struggles with his gender identity and uses his testimony to speak out in support of those who have similar struggles and against those who advocate sex reassignment surgery as the solution to the gender identity problems.
A Swedish study published online in February 2011 examined individuals who had sex reassignments between 1973 and 2003, and found that switching sexes can have a significant negative impact on the individual and is not a good solution to someone's gender identity crisis. "This study found substantially higher rates of overall mortality, death from cardiovascular disease and suicide, suicide attempts, and psychiatric hospitalizations in sex-reassigned transsexual individuals compared to a healthy control population," the study's authors write in their conclusion. "This highlights that post-surgical transsexuals are a risk group that need long-term psychiatric and somatic follow-up."
... He emphasizes the point that SRS is cosmetic surgery only, that it is "scientifically, medically and surgically impossible" for a man to actually be changed into a woman, but also says other people need to show compassion toward those who are struggling with gender identity issues.
Today Heyer is married again, and he says that he has found happiness in being the gender that God created him to be.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
The Ft. Lauderdale Airport shooter is a Muslim convert who years before joining the U.S. Army took on an Islamic name (Aashiq Hammad), downloaded terrorist propaganda and recorded Islamic religious music online, according to public records dug up by the investigative news site of an award-winning, California journalist. This is pertinent information that the Obama administration apparently wants to keep quiet, bringing up memories of the Benghazi cover up, in which the president and his cohorts knowingly lied to conceal that Islamic terrorists attacked the U.S. Special Mission in Libya.)
The gunman in the shooting rampage at Ft. Lauderdale Airport attack has a recent history of mental problems, having told the FBI in Nov 2016 that the government was "forcing" him to watch ISIS propaganda videos by invading his mind. While there is little doubt the gunman is deranged, there is another side to this coin.
[update: the Airport shooter was an Islamic convert. See here. The Ft. Lauderdale Airport shooter is a Muslim convert who years before joining the U.S. Army took on an Islamic name (Aashiq Hammad), downloaded terrorist propaganda and recorded Islamic religious music online, according to public records dug up by the investigative news site of an award-winning, California journalist. This is pertinent information that the Obama administration apparently wants to keep quiet, bringing up memories of the Benghazi cover up, in which the president and his cohorts knowingly lied to conceal that Islamic terrorists attacked the U.S. Special Mission in Libya.)
After an end-of-the-year ISIS video showing pre-teens hunt down and kill bound prisoners in an abandoned building, the Islamic State released an even more gory follow-up with children as young as preschool age murdering prisoners tied to broken carnival rides.
In what world does this not classify as "insane"?
In Apr 2015, an article in a British paper reported here that Britain's most senior counterterrorism officer warned ISIS was attracting people with mental health issues.
The Islamic State (Isis) is not attempting to form terror cells based on the model of al-Qaeda to commit attacks in the West, but instead radicalise misfits, criminals and the mentally ill to carry out lone-wolf attacks, according to a UK police chief.
Speaking at the Counter Terror Expo in Olympia, west London, Scotland Yard Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, head of specialist operations at the Metropolitan Police, said that the group aggressively targeted potential recruits through social media, and was actively attempting to recruit "the vulnerable, people with violent backgrounds, very young people and those with mental health issues".
And what is it about Islamic terrorism that makes it so attractive to the mentally ill? In 2014 Hugh Fitzgerald insightfully offered the following reasons:
- Islam offers a Total Regulation of Life. Like the Junior Woodchucks of America, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, you get special Arabic words to learn: Allahu Akbar, alhumdulillah, Jihad, Kuffar, things like that. You get to make up a special name, in Arabic, for yourself. It can express your origin in a particular country: Al-Amriki, Al-Frangi, Al-Britani, just the way those to the manner born can be called Al-Misri (from Egypt) or Al-Shami or Al-Hijazi. You can give yourself a new first name: Stephen might choose to become Suleiman. A new identity, and an instant Community of Bruvvers, fellow Believers, one for all and all for one (that can be especially important in prison). [note: Islam is the fastest growing religion in American prisons.)
- Islam offers a Complete Explanation of the Universe. Life is so confusing, so overwhelming. But to the True Believer, life suddenly becomes simple. See Eric Hoffer. There is the Enemy -- in Islam,it's the non-Muslims, the Unbelievers, the Kuffars, the Ungrateful Ones. There is the Cause for which one subsumes one's own personality (not that such people ever had much of one to begin with), ready to do everything, ideally, for that Cause. And Islam is all about a Cause -- the Cause of Islam itself. The true object of worship in Islam is not Allah, but Islam. It is for Islam that we live and die. And Muslims, to the precise extent that they take Islam to heart (and someone may not take Islam to heart, and then do so, but converts ordinarily are among the most fanatical, the least willilng to modify their behavior, or to embarrassedly or uneasily try to ignore some of the tenets and teachings of Islam).
- Islam is attractive as a Gang. In prisons in the Western world, where Musliims represent such a disproportionate number of those incarcerated (in France Muslims may be 5% of the population, but constitute 60% of the prison population, and similar figures can be found in every other country in Western Europe) Islam is attractive as a Gang, the biggest and most dangerous Gang, and the one you want to belong to, for your own protection against others, and of course, against that Muslim Gang. Western governments have yet to do the obvious and sane thing, which would be to put Muslims in prisons for Muslims only, keeping them away from others who might otherwise convert to this dangerous doctrine.
- Islam legitimizes criminal behavior. It makes the convert feel good about his behavior, not ashamed or guilty. Have you raped, or stolen from, or killed people who are not Muslims? That's not only not a crime, but they had it coming to them. Not only have you not done wrong, but if you continue to do what you are doing, you can see it in a new light: you are merely helping yourself to the Jizyah that the Infidel nation-state, for now, prevents you from claiming. If you rape seductively-dressed Western women who aren't wearing a niqab, or chador, or even a hijab, and whose skirts may be short, and who may wear lipstick and rouge, then they are asking for it. The little English girls who were made sex slaves deserved what they got. So for a certain kind of convert to Islam, his life now becomes justifiable; he's been a warrior for Islam all along.
- Islam provides a permanent source of enmity -- the Infidel -- whom you can blame for all of your woes. That's very relaxing. In the Western world, we find so many different things to blame if things go wrong -- and things always go wrong. But in Islam, you can always blame the Infidel for everything. And that's what Muslims do, with their conspiracy theorizing, all the time.
In 2015, the mother of a Wisconsin man (Joshua Van Haften, 34) accused of trying to join the Islamic State group said he's a mentally ill loner who often makes boastful comments to try to win acceptance. Federal prosecutors charged Joshua Van Haften, 34, with trying to provide material assistance to a foreign terrorist group. He was arrested at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago flying back from Turkey after a failed attempt to join the group in Syria.
Radical Islam ultimately is a death cult with no basis in sanity - i.e., witness the barbaric and sadistic videos constantly produced by the Islamic State. As such, it is a magnet for those suffering mental health issues. The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child speaks of the Islamic State selling young children into slavery, pressing mentally handicapped kids into service as suicide bombers, using them as human shields against American air strikes, and conducting mass executions of children by beheading them, crucifying them, and burying them alive.
In 2104, Jeet Heer authored an article in The New Yorker entitled "The Line Between Terrorism And Mental Illness" theorizing a clear link between mental illness and an attraction to Islamic terrorism.
Rather than hastily framing attacks in the context of a battle between the West and the Muslim world, it may be more productive, in terms of diagnosis and prevention, to look at more profiles of self-styled ISIS fellow-travelers who commit attacks as individuals. What we know of Zehaf-Bibeau’s biography offers some instructive clues. According to reports published in the Globe and Mail and elsewhere, he had a history of mental illness and of run-ins with the law, involving drug possession, theft, and making threats. He battled an addiction to crack cocaine and, in the weeks leading up to the attack, he was living in a homeless shelter. Dave Bathurst, a friend of Zehaf-Bibeau and himself a Muslim, told the Globe, “We were having a conversation in a kitchen, and I don’t know how he worded it: He said the devil is after him.” Bathurst said his friend often spoke of the presence of shaytan—the Arabic term for devils and demons. “I think he must have been mentally ill.”
... “Islamic-extremist online recruiters are very good at pulling in people who are mentally vulnerable,” Heather Hurlburt, of the Washington-based think tank New America, said.
... It’s natural to see terrorism and counter-terrorism as a drama of violence and retribution played out on the international stage. Both Zehaf-Bibeau and Couture-Rouleau certainly seem to have seen themselves as part of a similarly apocalyptic saga—Zehaf-Bibeau, in particular, was said by people at the shelter where he was staying in Ottawa to have spoken in his last days about the end of the world. But it’s worth remembering that Zehaf-Bibeau talked not just about an external battle but an internal struggle with demons, spiritual beings he felt had a real existence. That was a battle he was fighting in his own mind, which may have been the ultimate source of the violence that he inflicted on the world.
In 2015, Simon Cottee offered the following in an article in The Atlantic entitled "Pilgrims to the Islamic State",
ISIS’s caliphate project, because it offers a bracing utopian alternative to Western secular society, speaks directly to those who feel their lives are worthless, spiritually corrupted, empty, boring, or devoid of purpose and significance, and who see no value in their own societies. It promises, in short, salvation and ultimate meaning through total commitment to a sacred cause.
The Islamic worldview often finds ready acceptance in the deranged mind. Indeed, a contemporary psychological analysis here of Islam's founder in 2012 based on his dark history offers a tentative diagnosis of schizophrenia. Ultimately, it can be effectively argued that Islam is not a religion per se, but a theocracy and terrorist cult that hides behind the mask of religion in order to achieve its goal of world domination. As such, it often appeals to the mentally deranged. In addition to mental illness, I suspect much of the extreme Islamic barbarism is also demonic. Only Christ can deliver one from this depth of madness.
At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored (Dan 4:34)