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Archive for December 14th, 2006

Seattle’s ‘War on Christmas’ an Unnecessary Skirmish

Posted by thelamp on December 14, 2006

The Grinch didn’t steal Christmas from travelers arriving and departing through the Seattle-Tacoma Airport after all. The week started out with another depressing story about removing a traditional Christmas symbol from a public place. Just like the Dr. Seuss tale, though, the saga in Seattle had a happy ending.

Even though such battles over Christmas are completely unnecessary, two powerful emotions fuel them every year: fear and love. Authorities answering to the secular culture fear lawsuits, so they quickly acquiesce and push Christmas in the closet at the feeblest threat.

Christians, on the other hand, love their Lord, Jesus Christ. Those who refused to be silent in Seattle made the difference.

“Christians must not silently watch and do nothing as the birth of Christ and the celebration of his life are minimized and pushed into the obscure corners of American culture,” said Pastor Rod Parsley, founder and president of the Center for Moral Clarity.

This particular drama began when the Port of Seattle was asked to display an eight-foot menorah, giving comparable recognition to the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah. Rather than accommodate that request, which may have led to requests from other religious faiths observing holy days at this time of the year, airport authorities decided that the trees had to be removed.

Removing the Christmas trees may have seemed like the easy way out at the time. Angry Christians proved otherwise. The airport’s tradition had been in place
for more than 25 years, with a tree placed over each of the 15 airport entrances.

This year, a Seattle rabbi – in conjunction with the Central Organization for Jewish Learning – reportedly threatened a lawsuit. Seattle residents didn’t take the news very well. By 9 p.m. Sunday, the Web site for the Seattle Times had received about 800 comments to a story that had topped the front page of the print edition, and rightly so. The celebration of Christianity’s beginning should not be held hostage by timid public officials who cower rather than defend the principle at stake.

It is pleasing to God when Christians resist efforts to accommodate the secular culture by diluting the celebration of Christmas. The trees didn’t have to go. In fact, Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky said he was “devastated, shocked and appalled” that the airport’s reaction was so drastic.

Airport administrators said that, by removing the trees, they hoped to stave off this decision until after the holidays. Removing the trees was a decision and a statement about the significance of religious tradition. Before the complaint was launched, the airport didn’t have a policy regarding Christmas trees because no one had made an issue of it before.

The mere threat of a lawsuit apparently is all it takes to scare public authorities, who lack the faith or will to defend Christianity. The roots of Christmas traditions trace back to the founding of this nation. At this rate, in another generation, they will be but a memory of what once was.

Officials in Seattle made a mistake by removing the trees, but at least arrived at the correct outcome by putting them back in their proper place. America is based on religious freedom, and the expression of religion should not be removed from public places simply to save cowards the inconvenience of defending Christians’ 1st Amendment rights.



Posted in Anti-Christian attitudes, Center for Moral Clarity, Christian Hypocrisy, Christianity, CMC, Family Matters, Freedom of Religion, Recent News & Events, Religion/Politics, Rod Parsley | Leave a Comment »

Fetal Pain Bill Fails in House

Posted by thelamp on December 14, 2006

As the 109th Congress concluded last week, Bible believers endured a setback in their battle to protect the sanctity of unborn life. The U.S. House of Representatives failed to reach the two-thirds majority needed for passage of the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act.

The legislation would have required that women undergoing an abortion at least 20 weeks into their pregnancy be informed that an abortion causes pain to their unborn babies. The vote in the House was 250-162 in favor of a move to suspend the rules and pass the legislation. A two-thirds majority was needed for such a procedural move.

Sadly, the vote was the last on a pro-life measure in the 109th Congress. It should be reassuring that 60 percent of the House endorsed the requirement for abortionists to inform women that the procedure may be very painful to the unborn child. Unfortunately, 60 percent support was not enough to make disclosing this critical knowledge a matter of law. The fact that it failed does not bode well for what can be expected next year, when the Congress moves in a new direction – away from life.

“Even animals that are to be slaughtered are first rendered unconscious,” said Pastor Rod Parsley. “Yet that same provision is not being afforded to unborn children.”

During floor debate on the bill, Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., its chief sponsor, cited expert testimony showing that unborn children have “a developed system of pain perception and response” by 20 to 22 weeks into the pregnancy.

It’s a shame that 40 percent of the men and women representing America in the House of Representatives could not put themselves in the place of those little unborn children who have no voice, no hope and no defense.


Posted in Abortion, Anti-Abortion, Anti-Christian attitudes, Center for Moral Clarity, Children, Cloning, CMC, Democrats, Democrats & The Left, Embryonic Stem Cell, Family Matters, Food/Health Related, Health related, Health Sciences & Medicine, Partial Birth Abortion, planned parenthood, Political, Recent News & Events, Religion/Politics, Republicans and Democrats, Stem cell debate, Young Ladies/Teens | Leave a Comment »

Reentry Programs Vital for Healthy Communities

Posted by thelamp on December 14, 2006

A record 7 million people – or one in every 32 American adults – were imprisoned, on probation or on parole by the end of last year, the Justice Department announced in November. Of those, 2.2 million were in prison or jail, an increase of 2.7 percent over the previous year, according to a report released Nov. 28.

The fact is, every year an increasing number of Americans are incarcerated. Most will one day return to neighborhoods across the country. The Second Chance Act, which died in the 109th Congress, would have gone a long way toward helping released felons become productive citizens.

“We must remember these are American citizens who were punished for their offenses, not lost to society. As more mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, uncles and cousins join the population of ex-offenders, the more important it becomes to give them opportunities to repair their lives,” said Pastor Rod Parsley, founder and president of the Center for Moral Clarity. “Families and neighborhoods need Christ-centered compassion and direction, to help those who have wandered return to communities and prevent the potential for repeated criminal offenses.”

More than 4.1 million people were on probation and 784,208 were on parole at the end of 2005. Prison releases are increasing, but admissions are increasing more. Failure to help these men and women restore their lives will result in a crisis that affects all parts of a community.

Men far outnumber women in prisons and jails, but the female population is growing faster. During the past year, the female population in state or federal prisons increased 2.6 percent, while the number of male inmates rose 1.9 percent. By year’s end, 7 percent of all inmates were women. The gender figures do not include inmates in local jails.

These figures fail to capture incarceration’s impact on the thousands of children left behind by mothers in prison. It is good news that across the nation, Christians are engaged with inmates and their children. Such programs have been going on for a long time, but they are now more important than ever.

The Bible urges followers to visit those who are in prison, but the compassion of forgiveness does not end there. For those coming out of the criminal justice system, the outside world can be a startling adjustment, beginning with finding housing, employment and transportation.

Many of God’s repentant children do not have a place to live once they leave the corrections system, and find themselves homeless. Helping ex-offenders maintain stability may help keep them from going back to prison.


Posted in Center for Moral Clarity, CMC, Evangelism, Family Matters, Recent News & Events, Rod Parsley | Leave a Comment »

TV Viewers Want Less Sex and Violence

Posted by thelamp on December 14, 2006

A new poll reveals powerful evidence that Americans would prefer to see more of their religious values reflected in television programming. On Nov. 29, Zogby International and the American Bible Society released a finding that, contrary to popular belief, the public is interested in moral-infused entertainment options on both the small and silver screens.

Since its inception in 2004, the Center for Moral Clarity has been a voice for decency in media. The American Bible Society shares CMC’s belief that the desire for morality and values in popular culture has been ignored by those making decision about television programming.

To back up that belief, the Bible Society set out to turn its theory into fact. The Bible Society and Zogby International, a prominent polling organization, conducted a survey. It tested the hypotheses of the demand for decency in America.

The poll, entitled “What Is More Offensive on Television: Religion or Sex and Violence?” was conducted by Zogby International from Nov. 17 through Nov. 20.
The results indicate that 85 percent of American viewers want more religious values, more references to the Bible, and less sex and violence shown on television. That contradicts what most television networks and advertising executives argue in defense of the incessant sex and violence.

The Bible plays a critical role in the ongoing development of our culture and the social fabric of our country. Although America is a nation of many faiths, and in some instances no faith, Americans still believe that the Bible’s teachings and values are an essential part of our common character.

With their theory proven true in the results of the Zogby poll, the Bible Society aims to open up a much-needed debate on values and faith-based messages in popular culture.

“Television has become America’s drug of choice – a kind of electronic Valium. It seems that producers and TV executives are going out of their way to see how far they can stretch the viewing public’s tolerance for taboo,” said Pastor Rod Parsley. He added, “Of course, they have the right to peddle this trash to viewers, but they should have the decency not to.”

The Zogby poll results negate the commonly held reasoning of advertising and marketing professionals who argue that continued censorship of television shows and movies by removing faith and value based messages will yield higher profits. These results send the resounding message to give viewers a choice. The American Bible Society should be applauded for challenging media executives to heed the truth.


Posted in Anti-Christian attitudes, Center for Moral Clarity, Christian Hypocrisy, Christianity, Christianity and Homosexuality, CMC, Family Matters, God, Recent News & Events, Religion/Politics, Rod Parsley, Spiritual | Leave a Comment »

Adoption a Better Use for Embryos

Posted by thelamp on December 14, 2006

A Virginia couple recently overcame their struggle with infertility by adopting two sons: one was a toddler from Russia while the other was a frozen embryo left over from another couple’s in-vitro fertilization.

Suzanne Stanmeyer of Potomac Falls delivered the couple’s son after embryos donated by the child’s genetic parents were implanted in her womb. The donors had been blessed by achieving pregnancy without the need for the frozen life in development and agreed to donate embryos to help the Stanmeyers build a family. It’s wonderful that God’s creation was allowed to grow into a child rather than expire at the hands of researchers.

“Human embryonic stem-cell research requires the killing of an embryo to harvest stem cells. The temptation to destroy embryos for this speculative research is great,” said Pastor Rod Parsley. “As Christians, we should seize the moment and capitalize on these advances, rather than destroy human life. Since an embryo is God’s gift of life, adoption seems a much more fitting result than research.”

The Stanmeyers are proponents of embryo adoption, which they advocate as a way both to make some infertile couples parents and to save the lives of frozen embryos that otherwise would be destroyed. The trend is growing as more infertile couples learn about it.

The National Embryo Donation Center in Knoxville, Tenn., estimates that about 200 embryos have been adopted nationally. Most of the adoptions occurred in the past three years. The increase in embryo adoption is a promising trend.

The National Embryo Donation Center has performed 71 embryo transfers resulting in 42 pregnancies since opening in 2003. Another facility, Snowflakes Embryonic Donation Program in Fullerton, Calif., reported 121 births since starting in 1997 and has 18 clients awaiting childbirth. A center in Cincinnati known as Embryos Alive, reported this month that it has had seven pregnancies in the past three years through embryo adoption.

A 2003 poll of more than 400 fertility clinics nationwide found that about 400,000 embryos were frozen in storage. That number has definitely increased over the past three years.

President Bush focused attention on embryo adoption in 2002 as an alternative to human embryonic-stem-cell research. To help foster a culture of life, the federal government provides grants of about $1 million yearly to raise awareness of this alternative. The number of adoptions is small but growing, which is an indication that more embryos will experience life than death.


Posted in Abortion, Anti-Abortion, Anti-Christian attitudes, Center for Moral Clarity, Children, Christianity, Cloning, CMC, Embryonic Stem Cell, God, Health related, Health Sciences & Medicine, Recent News & Events, Religion/Politics, Rod Parsley, Stem cell debate | Leave a Comment »