Tea Party Express Opposes Tea Party Candidate

In the special election for the congressional seat vacated by the shirtless congressman, the Tea Part Express is weighing in – against the Tea Party Candidate! (http://hotlineoncall.nationaljournal.com/archives/2011/05/ny-26-key-updat.php)

The Republican Party thought that the Tea Party was a good idea, that is until they resulted in the nomination of Christine O’Donnell, Sharon Angle, and Joe Miller.  Carl Rove said that the Tea Party cost the Republicans control of the Senate.

John Boehner is not exactly having an easy time controlling the Tea Party freshmen in his caucus.  In fact, at the National Press Club, a Tea Party spokesman said that the rating of congressmen would be based on a single vote – raising the debt limit.  Those who vote for it will receive a zero, and those that vote against it will receive 100 percent.  Never mind what not raising the debt limit will do to the world economy.

In the special election in NY26, a very red district, the Democrat is running neck and neck with the Republican nominee.  That is an indicator of how well the Ryan budget has played with seniors.  Enter Carl Rove.

The PAC American Crossroads plans to support the Republican against the Tea Party ads by running negative ads against him.  American Crossroads has received money from Tea Partiers, but is spending it to oppose them.  The Tea Party Express will be campaigning to make sure that the Republican wins.

When will the people in the Tea Party realize that they are being played?  Most of them are hard working Americans that are being sold on supporting a political agenda that wants to expand tax breaks for billionaires.

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Praying for Obama’s Death

Very shortly after the 9/11 attacks, President Bush said that Islam was a religion of peace (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygTbwGrTELc&feature=related).  Many Americans, however, rightly asked why (if Islam is a religion of peace) there was not a chorus of Muslim clerics were not condemning radical Islam.

Now, it is time to ask the same question about Christian clerics.

There is a bumper sticker being sold to the right wing that states: “Pray for Obama: Psalm 109:8”  You can buy one here:  http://www.zazzle.com/barrack_obamaour_prayer_for_you_psalms_109_8_bumper_sticker-128285576190667017

Nice, praying for our President, huh?  Well, not exactly.  Psalm 109: 8 says:

 8 May his days be few;  may another take his place of leadership.

The Psalm goes on to state:

9 May his children be fatherless
and his wife a widow.
10 May his children be wandering beggars;
may they be driven[a] from their ruined homes.
11 May a creditor seize all he has;
may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor.
12 May no one extend kindness to him
or take pity on his fatherless children.
13 May his descendants be cut off,
their names blotted out from the next generation.
14 May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the LORD;
may the sin of his mother never be blotted out.
15 May their sins always remain before the LORD,
that he may blot out their name from the earth.

 Psalm 109: 8-15 (New International Version)

Wiley Drake, a former officer of the Southern Baptist Convention, and pastor of First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park, CA prayed for Obama’s death. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUHS5u8v1Ck  ).  On November 19, 2009 he issued a press release stating that he no longer prayed for Obama’s death, he wanted him to live long enough to stand trial for treason!

There is also a national imprecatory prayer (praying for something that you want to happen) praying for the death of our President.  It reportedly numbers more than a million.  There is a good article in the Christian Science Monitor on this issue:  http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2009/1116/biblical-anti-obama-slogan-use-of-psalm-1098-funny-or-sinister

So, we should be asking, why didn’t the Southern Baptist Convention immediately condemn Drake, and why aren’t other Christian clerics condemning this?

But more importantly, what does the Bible actually say that we are supposed to do with regard to our leaders?  It says this:

 1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.
1 Timothy 2 (New International Version)

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Science vs. Religion and How the Debate is Holding the United States Back

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The United States is considered the “most religious” country in the world.  That is good and bad.  It is good if religion aligns one’s moral compass, and it is bad because religion interferes with education in some areas.

In the Bible, Adam eats the fruit of the “forbidden tree” and sins.  What is the forbidden tree? The tree of knowledge.

The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.  And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.

Genesis 2: 15 -17.

Now why should man not eat from the tree of knowledge?  Because knowledge was the province of the priests and elders who were more educated than the average man.  If man were allowed to eat from the tree of knowledge, he could form his own opinions, and understand how the world worked.  That would threaten the priests and elders.

Well before the Bible, the priests in Greece invented a cleaver device that used steam pressure to open the doors of the temple when they made a hand motion.  This highly impressed those worshipping in the temple, and showed the power of that god.  But if the people knew how the device worked, they would know that it was not the god that opened the doors, but a device that a man had built.  That would not be good, because the temple priest (and the god of that temple) would not be seen as powerful.

For centuries, the Catholic Church was the final authority not just on moral issues, but on issues of how the world was created and how it worked.  Any challenge to that authority was blasphemy and heresy.

Then along came this radical Galileo Galilei and his telescope.  He claimed the radical idea that the earth moved around the sun rather than vice versa.  Such an idea was completely contrary to the teachings of the church, which was the final authority on all such matters.  While some in the church agreed with Galileo and confirmed the observations that he made with his telescope, others in the church refused to even look through it.

The controversy resulted in Galileo’s trial for heresy for teaching what he had actually observed.  At the end of the trial,

“it was decided at the Holy Congregation […] on 25 Feb 1616 that […] the Holy Office would give you an injunction to abandon this doctrine, not to teach it to others, not to defend it, and not to treat of it; and that if you did not acquiesce in this injunction, you should be imprisoned”

While the Catholic Church lacks this kind of power in today’s world, doesn’t the decision sound a bit like the debate over evolution?  Not only does it sound like it, there was actually a trial in the civil courts over the teaching of evolution – the famous “Scopes Monkey Trial.”

Evolution remains a hot topic in the U.S.  Science dealt the non-evolutionists a major blow when the entire human genome was mapped.  It seems that the first 30 percent of the human genes are exactly the same as those of a daffodil, and you get to 99.5 percent of the human genome before hmans are differentiated from monkeys!

Christian conservatives claim that can’t be right, because man was created by God, and not evolved from monkeys.  These same conservatives, however, have no problem having amniosentesis to check for birth defects – which is based on exactly the same science!

A conservative friend also does not believe that the earth is more than 8,000 years old, and that carbon dating does not work.  First, the notion that the earth is only 8,000 years old is not in the Bible.  It was calculated by Scottish preacher in the mid 1800’s based on the number of generations from Adam to Jesus!  The same friend, however, has no problem with using radiation to treat cancer, which is based on the same science – the half life of radioisotopes!

The Bible is based on what people believed at the time.  Science, and the scientific method of investigation, was not created until about the time of Galileo.  His observations shook the church to its foundations because it challenged the authority of the church.  Likewise, new advancements in science challenge the biblical view of the world and the authority of those that teach it.  No surprise, they are fighting to retain their power (and relevance) just like the Catholic Church did.

The amazing thing is that the sequence of evolution (but not the one day timing) follows the Bible nearly exactly.  First the heavens and earth, then water, then plants, then animals, then man.  What they are actually fighting about is whether each item was created in one day or over millions of years.  At the time that Genesis was written, man had a limited knowledge to explain the world.  Science has changed that.

As we know, Adam ate the forbidden fruit, and he did not die.  And Genesis 5:5 tells us that he lived for 930 years!  This is not the only inconsistency in Genesis.  For example, Genesis 1:3-5 tells us that God created the light and the darkness on the first day, while Genesis 1:14-19 tells us that He created it on the fourth day.

This is not offered to denigrate the Bible, it is cited to show the difference between a book written to explain natural phenomena as they were then understood, and science, whcih explains them only when they are capable of being replicated every time.

So why does this make a difference?  Science threatens the religious community because it threatens their beliefs, and ultimately the power of that community.  It is also much easier to believe in the Bible and watch football on Sunday afternoon than it is to delve into the significance of decoding the human genome or the half life of radio isotopes.

An example of where this debate has cost the United States is the area of stem cell research.  For religious reasons, federal tax dollars were not allowed to be used for this research.  Other countries that do not share the U.S. religious view have advanced far ahead of our country in the next great area of medical research.  As that research is commercialized, we will lose out on the opportunity to grow that sector of our economy.

No less than George Washington spoke directly to this issue:

Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than thsoe which spring from any other cause. [George Washington, letter to Sir Edward Newenham, June 22, 1792]

There is nothing which can better deserve our patronage than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness. [George Washington, address to Congress, 8 January, 1790]

If Washington were alive today, he would be appalled with the religion vs. science debate.

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Does God Want Man to Kill Endangered Species?

There was a press report recently about a minister that led a rally to provide more water to California farmers.  The problem was that to do so would result in destroying the single habitat of an endangered animal.

Now if the creationists truly believe that God created everything, and that everything that he created has a purpose, should one of His creatures be completely eliminated to serve man’s needs?

Just askin’.

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Are Judaism and Islam Right? Or is Christianity?

To Abraham, God revealed himself as the only god at a time when most cultures worshiped multiple gods.   To Moses, the God of Abraham spoke these words regarding how he wished to be treated by man:

2 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

3 You shall have no other gods before me.

4 You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

7 You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

8 Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Exodus 20 (New International Version)

The second commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me.” is the crux of the division in the three world religions that have descended from what God revealed to Abraham.  Judaism recognizes only one God (Yaweh – His name in Hebrew scripture); Islam recognizes only one God (Allah – His name in the Q’ran); while Christianity recognizes the “Holy Trinity” of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost as three different forms of the one God.

Ironically, probably the best explanation of how the Holy Trinity works can be found in Bill Maher’s movie “Religulous”.  A man at a Christian theme park (I know, a whacked idea) says that water is like the Holy Trinity because it can be water, ice and steam and still be the same thing.

The concept of the Holy Trinity was itself a source of great controversy for more than three centuries after the death of Jesus, a controversy known as the Arianism.  When the Roman Empire adopted Christianity as an official religion, the debate raged inside the Empire.  It was finally settled (sort of) in Constantinople in 360 after previous meetings of church leaders had failed to resolve it.  The next emperor, Valens, was a strong adherent to the Arian view and burned churches and persecuted those that did not follow this logic.

Judaism and the Islam reject the notion of a Holy Trinity because of God’s commandment.  They insist on a strict interpretation of monotheism.  Indeed, it is confusing to understand how God (the Father as he is referred to in Christianity) is the same as Jesus (the Son as he is referred to in Christianity).

So which religion(s) are interpreting the Bible correctly?  Food for thought.

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Story About Rupert Murdoch’s Efforts Against Australian Natives May Boomerang

It seems that Rupert Murdoch (the owner of Fox News and The New York Post) is controversial not only in the U.S., but in his native Australia as well.  He controls a vast amount of the press there too, and Truthout reports that he has used his influence against efforts to help out the natives.  (http://www.truthout.org/how-murdoch-press-keeps-australias-dirty-secret/1305298464)

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You Can’t Relax and Be a Christian!

Well, for all of you heathens that practice yoga, the definitive word has come down from on high: you can’t practice yoga and be a Christian!  There is an article from Right Wing Watch that highlights the latest pronouncement from the Pharisees: ( http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/afa-writer-condemns-christians-who-practice-yoga)

Do these people not realize that pronouncements like this make religion look silly?  The message of Jesus Christ is love and acceptance, not condemnation.

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Newt Plays Fast and Loose With the Facts

Fact Check lists a number of statements by New Gingrich that have been made recently, some of which are off the charts.  For example, he claims to have been responsible for balancing the budget for two years when he wasn’t serving in Congress!

This is a link to the article: (http://factcheck.org/2011/05/factchecking-gingrich/)

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