Archive for the ‘This N That’ Category


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Damon Vix didn’t have to go to court to push Christmas out of the city of Santa Monica. He just joined the festivities.

The atheist’s anti-God message alongside a life-sized nativity display in a park overlooking the beach ignited a debate that burned brighter than any Christmas candle.

Santa Monica officials snuffed the city’s holiday tradition this year rather than referee the religious rumble, prompting churches that have set up a 14-scene Christian diorama for decades to sue over freedom of speech violations. Their attorney will ask a federal judge Monday to resurrect the depiction of Jesus’ birth, while the city aims to eject the case.

“It’s a sad, sad commentary on the attitudes of the day that a nearly 60-year-old Christmas tradition is now having to hunt for a home, something like our savior had to hunt for a place to be born because the world was not interested,” said Hunter Jameson, head of the nonprofit Santa Monica Nativity Scene Committee that is suing.

Missing from the courtroom drama will be Vix and his fellow atheists, who are not parties to the case. Their role outside court highlights a tactical shift as atheists evolve into a vocal minority eager to get their non-beliefs into the public square as never before.

National atheist groups earlier this year took out full-page newspaper ads and hundreds of TV spots in response to the Catholic bishops’ activism around women’s health care issues and are gearing up to battle for their own space alongside public Christmas displays in small towns across America this season.

“In recent years, the tactic of many in the atheist community has been, if you can’t beat them, join them,” said Charles Haynes, a senior scholar at the First Amendment Center and director of the Newseum’s Religious Freedom Education Project in Washington. “If these church groups insist that these public spaces are going to be dominated by a Christian message, we’ll just get in the game — and that changes everything.”

In the past, atheists primarily fought to uphold the separation of church and state through the courts. The change underscores the conviction held by many nonbelievers that their views are gaining a foothold, especially among young adults.

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life released a study last month that found 20 percent of Americans say they have no religious affiliation, an increase from 15 percent in the last five years. Atheists took heart from the report, although Pew researchers stressed that the category also encompassed majorities of people who said they believed in God but had no ties with organized religion and people who consider themselves “spiritual” but not “religious.”

“We’re at the bottom of the totem pole socially, but we have muscle and we’re flexing it,” said Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation. “Ignore our numbers at your peril.”

The trouble in Santa Monica began three years ago, when Vix applied for and was granted a booth in Palisades Park alongside the story of Jesus Christ’s birth, from Mary’s visit from the Angel Gabriel to the traditional crèche.

Vix hung a simple sign that quoted Thomas Jefferson: “Religions are all alike — founded on fables and mythologies.” The other side read “Happy Solstice.” He repeated the display the following year but then upped the stakes significantly.

In 2011, Vix recruited 10 others to inundate the city with applications for tongue-in-cheek displays such as a homage to the “Pastafarian religion,” which would include an artistic representation of the great Flying Spaghetti Monster.

The secular coalition won 18 of 21 spaces. The two others went to the traditional Christmas displays and one to a Hanukkah display.

The atheists used half their spaces, displaying signs such as one that showed pictures of Poseidon, Jesus, Santa Claus and the devil and said: “37 million Americans know myths when they see them. What myths do you see?”

Most of the signs were vandalized and in the ensuing uproar, the city effectively ended a tradition that began in 1953 and earned Santa Monica one of its nicknames, the City of the Christmas Story.

The Santa Monica Nativity Scenes Committee argues in its lawsuit that atheists have the right to protest, but that freedom doesn’t trump the Christians’ right to free speech.

“If they want to hold an opposing viewpoint about the celebration of Christmas, they’re free to do that — but they can’t interfere with our right to engage in religious speech in a traditional public forum,” said William Becker, attorney for the committee. “Our goal is to preserve the tradition in Santa Monica and to keep Christmas alive.”

The city doesn’t prohibit churches from caroling in the park, handing out literature or even staging a play about the birth of Jesus and churches can always set up a nativity on private land, Deputy City Attorney Jeanette Schachtner said in an email.

The decision to ban the displays also saves the city, which had administered the cumbersome lottery process used to award booths, both time and money while preserving the park’s aesthetics, she said.

For his part, Vix is surprised — and slightly amused — at the legal battle spawned by his solitary act but doesn’t plan anything further.

“That was such a unique and blatant example of the violation of the First Amendment that I felt I had to act,” said the 44-year-old set builder. “If I had another goal, it would be to remove the `under God’ phrase from the Pledge of Allegiance — but that’s a little too big for me to take on for right now.”

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and religion, but also states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” That has been interpreted by courts as providing for separation of church and state, barring government bodies from promoting, endorsing or funding religion or religious institutions.

http://www.centurylink.net/news/read.php?rip_id=%3CDA2KIIUG0%40news.ap.org%3E&ps=1011&page=1

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“Sing to the LORD a new song;   sing to the LORD, all the earth.”Psalm 96:1

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. And yet, as human beings we tend to be creatures of habit even as we wish for different circumstances in our lives and in our world. As Einstein makes clear, however, there is only one way to change the circumstances we see in our lives:  If we don’t like the results, we need to change the equation.

The psalmist seemed to understand that when he wrote: “Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD all the earth.” When will the whole world sing a new song? According to Jewish belief, that will only happen in the messianic times when the world reaches a state of perfection. In fact, Jewish tradition teaches that in the messianic era, an eighth note will be added to the seven-note musical scale. The music will be unlike anything that anyone has ever heard before! But this addition to our musical repertoire is more than just a change in human perception. It will be a reflection of a serious change in human behavior.

For far too long humanity has sung the same song. A song of war and sadness. A song of depravity and deception. We have sung dirges of hate and ballads of oppression. Yes, there have been high notes in history, and at times, even a great symphony. Yet by and large, our song has stayed the same with the same sorry chorus. History tends to repeat itself. But it doesn’t have to.

Friends, it’s time to change our tune. It’s time to do something different so our world can be different. And the changes start with us. Do you dance to a song of worry all day long? Try to tune in to the wavelength of faith. Do you walk to the beat of an angry drum? Try to slow the rhythm and sing a tranquil tune instead. An amazing thing happens when even one person whistles a happy, catchy new tune. Everyone around them wants to join in!

So “sing to the LORD a new song,” your new song, and soon others will be singing it, too.

http://www.holylandmoments.org/devotionals/sing-a-new-song-3


A new loudspeaker system has been installed in the church. It was given by one of our members in honor of his wife.

Next Sunday, a special collection will be taken to defray the cost of the new carpet. All those wishing to do something on the new carpet will come forward and get a piece of paper.

Eight new choir robes are currently needed, due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.

Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles, and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.

The outreach committee has enlisted 25 visitors to make calls on people who are not afflicted with any church.

Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.

The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.

On the main page of the Internet web site for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada: “In a show of near anonymity, the convention approved full communion with the Anglican Church of Canada.”

Father is on vacation. Massages can be given to church secretary.

The audience is asked to remain seated until the end of the recession.

Announcement: “The cost for attending the Fasting and Prayer Conference includes meals.”

The agenda was adopted.  The minutes were approved.  The financial secretary gave a grief report.

Stewardship Offertory: “Jesus Paid It All.”

http://www.beliefnet.com/Entertainment/Joke-of-the-Day/Daily-Joke.aspx?d=20121117&source=NEWSLETTER&nlsource=44&ppc=&utm_campaign=HealthHealing&utm_source=NL&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_term=live.com


NEXT week, voters in Massachusetts will decide whether to adopt an assisted-suicide law. As a good pro-choice liberal, I ought to support the effort. But as a lifelong disabled person, I cannot.

There are solid arguments in favor. No one will be coerced into taking a poison pill, supporters insist. The “right to die” will apply only to those with six months to live or less. Doctors will take into account the possibility of depression. There is no slippery slope.

Fair enough, but I remain skeptical. There’s been scant evidence of abuse so far in Oregon, Washington and Montana, the three states where physician-assisted death is already legal, but abuse — whether spousal, child or elder — is notoriously underreported, and evidence is difficult to come by. What’s more, Massachusetts registered nearly 20,000 cases of elder abuse in 2010 alone.

My problem, ultimately, is this: I’ve lived so close to death for so long that I know how thin and porous the border between coercion and free choice is, how easy it is for someone to inadvertently influence you to feel devalued and hopeless — to pressure you ever so slightly but decidedly into being “reasonable,” to unburdening others, to “letting go.”

Perhaps, as advocates contend, you can’t understand why anyone would push for assisted-suicide legislation until you’ve seen a loved one suffer. But you also can’t truly conceive of the many subtle forces — invariably well meaning, kindhearted, even gentle, yet as persuasive as a tsunami — that emerge when your physical autonomy is hopelessly compromised.

I was born with a congenital neuromuscular weakness called spinal muscular atrophy. I’ve never walked or stood or had much use of my hands. Roughly half the babies who exhibit symptoms as I did don’t live past age 2. Not only did I survive, but the progression of my disease slowed dramatically when I was about 6 years old, astounding doctors. Today, at nearly 50, I’m a husband, father, journalist and author.

Yet I’m more fragile now than I was in infancy. No longer able to hold a pencil, I’m writing this with a voice-controlled computer. Every swallow of food, sometimes every breath, can become a battle. And a few years ago, when a surgical blunder put me into a coma from septic shock, the doctors seriously questioned whether it was worth trying to extend my life. My existence seemed pretty tenuous anyway, they figured. They didn’t know about my family, my career, my aspirations.

Fortunately, they asked my wife, who knows exactly how I feel. She convinced them to proceed “full code,” as she’s learned to say, to keep me alive using any and all means necessary.

From this I learned how easy it is to be perceived as someone whose quality of life is untenable, even or perhaps especially by doctors. Indeed, I hear it from them all the time — “How have you survived so long? Wow, you must put up with a lot!” — even during routine office visits, when all I’ve asked for is an antibiotic for a sinus infection. Strangers don’t treat me this way, but doctors feel entitled to render judgments and voice their opinions. To them, I suppose, I must represent a failure of their profession, which is shortsighted. I am more than my diagnosis and my prognosis.

This is but one of many invisible forces of coercion. Others include that certain look of exhaustion in a loved one’s eyes, or the way nurses and friends sigh in your presence while you’re zoned out in a hospital bed. All these can cast a dangerous cloud of depression upon even the most cheery of optimists, a situation clinicians might misread since, to them, it seems perfectly rational.

And in a sense, it is rational, given the dearth of alternatives. If nobody wants you at the party, why should you stay? Advocates of Death With Dignity laws who say that patients themselves should decide whether to live or die are fantasizing. Who chooses suicide in a vacuum? We are inexorably affected by our immediate environment. The deck is stacked.

Yes, that may sound paranoid. After all, the Massachusetts proposal calls for the lethal dose to be “self-administered,” which it defines as the “patient’s act of ingesting.” You might wonder how that would apply to those who can’t feed themselves — people like me. But as I understand the legislation, there is nothing to prevent the patient from designating just about anyone to feed them the poison pill. Indeed, there is no requirement for oversight of the ingestion at all; no one has to witness how and when the lethal drug is given. Which, to my mind, leaves even more room for abuse.

To be sure, there are noble intentions behind the “assisted death” proposals, but I can’t help wondering why we’re in such a hurry to ensure the right to die before we’ve done all we can to ensure that those of us with severe, untreatable, life-threatening conditions are given the same open-hearted welcome, the same open-minded respect and the same open-ended opportunities due everyone else.

Ben Mattlin is a freelance journalist and the author of “Miracle Boy Grows Up: How the Disability Rights Revolution Saved My Sanity.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/01/opinion/suicide-by-choice-not-so-fast.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

 

Obama’s America 2016

Posted: November 1, 2012 in This N That

If you want to see the movie everyone is talking about, click the link below.  This is very interesting!

http://butthurt.co/obama/2016/


The American armed forces exist to defend our nation, not to conduct social  science lab experiments in which our troops serve as human subjects. Try telling  that to this administration.

The first anniversary of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Sept. 20, has  come and gone. Now, there is mounting evidence that proves our warnings were not  idle chatter. The threat to freedom posed by this radical sexual experiment on  our military is real: It is grave and it is growing.

Activists inside and outside our government who pushed the repeal have  deployed a smoke screen around the fact that once the military was forced to  exalt homosexuality in the ranks, the all-too-foreseen consequence reared its  ugly head.

Senior military officials have allowed personnel in favor of repeal to speak  to media while those who have concerns have been ordered to be silent. Two  airmen were publicly harassed in a Post Exchange food court as they were  privately discussing their concerns about the impact of repeal. A chaplain was  encouraged by military officials to resign his commission unless he could “get  in line with the new policy,” demonstrating no tolerance for that chaplain’s  religious viewpoint. Another chaplain was threatened with early retirement, and  then reassigned to be more “closely supervised” because he had expressed  concerns with the policy change, again demonstrating no tolerance for that  chaplain’s religious viewpoint.

At an officer training service school, a male serviceman sexually harassed  another male serviceman through text messages, emails, phone calls and in-person  confrontations. The harassing male insisted the two would “make a great couple.” The harassed serviceman reported the harassment, but the command failed to take  disciplinary action.

Service members engaged in homosexual behavior protested a service school’s  open-door policy for all students that prohibited the closing of room doors for  the purpose of hiding sexual behavior. The protesters claimed that they had a  right to participate in sexual behavior with their same-sex roommates.

A senior chaplain was stripped of his authority over the chapel under his  charge because, in accordance with federal law, he proclaimed the chapel to be a “sacred space” where marriage ceremonies would only be between one man and one  woman.

The Navy has allowed sailors openly engaged in homosexual behavior to choose  their bunkmates. Imagine in this new age of “tolerance” if a sailor asked to be  moved from a close-quarters berthing area because of his concern about another  sailor’s sexual appetites. We already know what would happen, because tolerance  has never been a two-way street.

Obviously, the recent “study” (aka propaganda) claiming that the repeal went  off without a hitch should be shredded post-haste. It has no connection to  reality.

This is just the first wave in the first year of the assault on the  constitutionally protected freedom of our service members. Remember, the groups  that forced their sexual experiment on the armed forces represent the lesbian,  homosexual, bisexual and transgender community. It’s only a matter of time  before a man who claims to be transgender demands to be placed with women during  training, in the showers and in the barracks. The women in the units will have  no recourse, especially if their objection to living, changing, bathing and  bunking with a man is based on sincerely held religious beliefs. They would have  two choices: Either accept this outrageous imposition silently or be charged  with bigotry, hatred, intolerance and every other name the advocates of this  agenda can throw at them. Neither choice is acceptable. When “sensitivity  training” is in full force, these women just might face discipline and punitive  separation merely for speaking up and requesting a reasonable measure of privacy  and protection of their religious freedom.

This outrageous social science lab experiment could have been easily  prevented. The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty has worked closely with  members of Congress to enact legislation, which  has already passed the House, to protect freedom of conscience for chaplains and  those they serve.

Even more outrageous is that we have to ask Congress to protect freedom of conscience for  chaplains and those who serve in the military. The fact that Congress  excluded a religious freedom protection amendment (authored in partnership with  Alliance Defending Freedom), to the repeal sends a clear message that our  current leadership does not consider, much less respect, the constitutional  implications of their actions while they bow in allegiance to the powerful and  aggressive lobby of those who supported the repeal.

Col. Ron Crews, a retired Army chaplain, is executive director for  Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty.

CREWS: Homosexuals in the military demand special privileges – Washington Times http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/sep/25/homosexuals-in-the-military-demand-special-privile/#ixzz28Nk2ikQh Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

Posted: September 23, 2012 in This N That

This is very thought provoking! I am reblogging this to my blog, if you don’t mind, so others can read, and hear this. It’s sad, that only 3 yrs after this aired, prayers were voted out of schools.

Lord Jesus Saves︵‿ †

Red Skelton’s Pledge of Allegiance

January 14,1969

I have to say the first time watching this made me cry.
Pay close attention to his last line because what he said years ago is now happening and it is very sad.
Red Skelton July 18, 1913 – September 17, 1997

As a kid I grow up watching the Red Skelton Show back in the fifties and sixties. For those who don’t know he was the funniest clown of all time.

Each show concluded with his trademark line: “Good night, and God bless.”
As a schoolboy in Vincennes, Indiana, one of Red Skelton’s teachers explained the words and meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance to his class. Skelton later wrote down, and eventually recorded, his recollection of this lecture. It is followed by an observation of his own.
I – – Me; an individual; a committee of one. Pledge – – Dedicate…

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