Mikey Weinstein Strikes Again
Wednesday, August 13, 2014, 9:55 AM

Screen Shot 2014 08 13 at 9.54.43 AM 300x211 Mikey Weinstein Strikes AgainA number of years ago, I had the privilege to stay overnight in room 19 at the Central House Hotel in Boscobel, Wisconsin.  In 1898, John H. Nicholson and Samuel E. Hill shared this room in the crowded hotel.  They realized that both were Christian believers and had their evening devotions together.  That night, the two men decided to form an organization dedicated to Christian evangelism.  And on that meeting, Gideons International, a Christian organization devoted to evangelism through the distribution of Bibles, began.  From that humble beginning, Gideons presently operates in 194 countries and disseminates Bibles in at least 93 languages.  Perhaps best known is the fact that the Gideons place Bibles in hotel and motel rooms, but they also distribute Bibles to hospitals, colleges and universities, and jails and prisons.  Among the hotels where the Gideons’ Bibles were placed were hotels operated by our nation’s military.

On these pages over the past several years, I have written numerous times about the mischief caused by Michael “Mikey the Whiner” Weinstein, Esq., the founder and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (“MRFF”), a decidedly anti-Christian group.  While completely ignored by the Pentagon during the presidency of George W. Bush, he has been given an open door by Mr. Obama’s civilian leaders at the Pentagon and sycophantic generals and admirals.  You may recall that several years ago, Mikey Weinstein stated that U.S. troops who proselytize for their Christian faith are guilty of sedition and treason, and should be punished, by the hundreds if necessary, to stave off what he called a “tidal wave of [Christian] fundamentalists.”  Of course, there is a small, pesky issue raised by the First Amendment to the Constitution, but I digress.

Now by September 1, 2014, housekeepers at Navy Lodges and base hotels are being instructed to remove Gideon-placed Bibles from the rooms.  This comes from a directive from Rear Admiral Robert J. Bianchi, the head of NEXCOM (Navy Exchange Service Command).  Admiral Bianchi ordered housekeeping staff to impound all Bibles from the 34 Navy Lodges and the 24,000 rooms at the Navy Gateway Inns & Suites.  Admiral Bianchi’s directive came after MRFF filed a formal complaint over the placement of Bibles in the Navy hotel rooms.  This decision is particularly jarring as President Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat, wrote the introduction to the Armed Forces’ Gideon Bible that was given to every soldier, sailor, and Marine during World War II.

Of course, our Lord Jesus had a hard time getting a room at the inn, and now, His Holy Word will no longer be welcome either.  It seems to me that if the MRFF doesn’t want to see a Bible in the Navy hotel room, they can simply leave it in the drawer.  In 2012, the U.S. Air Force tried to remove Bibles from its hotels and lodgings, but reversed its decision after great public outcry.  If you wish to contact Admiral Bianchi, or his deputy, Michael Bockelman, to ask him to reinstate the Bibles in Navy hotel rooms, please call 1.757.631.3600 or 1.757.502.7496.  I have already left my message for Admiral Bianchi, and I am sure that he will enjoy hearing from “regular folks,” as our president refers to us.  Navy veterans are particularly encouraged to call.  Oh, I think that your congressman and senators might have an interest in this topic as well.  The Navy hotels are apparently simply throwing out the Bibles.  It should not be so.



Tomatoes & Morality
Wednesday, August 13, 2014, 9:51 AM

Here is an article from then next issue of Touchstone (Sept/Oct 2014) by Rachel Lu. The issue mails out in a week or so.

ts lil cover Tomatoes & MoralityFood for Thought

Rachel Lu on Growing Vegetables as a Primer in Moral Philosophy

I came late to the world of gardening. I had never grown so much as a radish until marriage and motherhood deposited me in a small, fenced backyard with an energetic toddler. At first I whiled away the hours reflecting on the academic papers I wasn’t writing. When that became torture, I used physical labor as a distraction, pulling the weeds and clearing the overgrown beds. This left me with muddy, empty spaces that demanded to be filled. Before long, I found myself wandering through garden centers and investigating plant nurseries. By midsummer, the progress of my backyard plants had become a source of endless enjoyment for me and my son.

Gardening, as I discovered, is a wonderful primer in moral philosophy. It is a clear, tangible, and literally delicious way of experiencing the progression of created beings through their natural lifecycle. A well-tended garden offers resounding, joyful affirmation of the sturdy Aristotelian principle that optimal conditions enable living things to flourish. No one is a moral relativist when fertilizing his tomatoes.

Also, Touchstone readers may be interested in this piece by Rachel Lu over at thepublicdiscourse.com. The Pleasures of Prudence: How Over-Regulation Hurts Doctors, Teachers, and All Workers



Mere Links 08.12.14
Tuesday, August 12, 2014, 10:00 AM

The Centurions’ Intercessors
Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, Preachers Institute

Among those sections that the gospels of Matthew and Luke-independent of Mark-have in common, almost all are directly didactic. That is to say, those sections almost invariably consist of the explicit teachings of Jesus, with no attention to events in his life.

Ginsburg Wants to Make Abortion “Right” Equal to Second Amendment
Wesley J. Smith, LifeNews

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader] Ginsburg believes adamantly that women are denied “equal citizen stature” by boundaries placed around access to abortion. Not only that, but in an angry dissent to the 2007 Supreme Court ruling upholding the federal ban on partial birth abortion, she (joined by Justice Breyer among the current justices) railed against the majority allowing “moral concerns” to “override fundamental rights.”

Christians Feel Abandoned in Spite of Obama’s Action in Iraq
John Burger, Aleteia

Patriarch Sako “disappointed” by limited response from US.

Why missionaries put their lives on the line
Daniel Burke and Ashley Fantz, CNN

Christians have long debated the effectiveness of missions, with some arguing that they can, at times, cause more harm than good – both to missionaries and the people they are trying to help.



Mere Links 08.11.14
Monday, August 11, 2014, 10:00 AM

You can’t have a Culture of Life if you have no culture at all
Anthony Esolen, LifeSite

It should be obvious to anyone who thinks about it for a moment that it is always far easier to destroy than to create. One bomb or wrecking ball can shatter in an instant the cathedral that it took human hands and minds fifty years to build. What is true of buildings is true of culture generally.

What Kind of Support Should We Expect for Persecuted Christians?
David Curry, Christian Post

At what point will the intentional targeting and cleansing of Christians, especially in the troubled Middle East, be not just a story, but the story, in the media and elite circles of government? This one is easy; it won’t happen. Persecution of Christians will not become a major humanitarian crisis for a couple of key reasons.

Stop Calling Sex Safe
Chad Bird, The Federalist

As long as we continue to describe intercourse as safe or unsafe, we perpetuate the very problems we seek to avoid.

Coercive Sterilization: An On-Going Crime Against Humanity
Arina O. Grossu, Aleteia

For eugenic goals and population control, governments continue to coerce the disadvantaged into undergoing temporary and permanent sterilization.



Ebola Crisis Brings West Africans to Church
Monday, August 11, 2014, 9:54 AM

Many of us remember the aftermath of the Islamist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.  In the weeks following the attacks, churches throughout the United States were packed, at least for a time.  During our national time of desperation and sadness, and the loss of thousands of murdered Americans by al-Qaeda, many Americans sought solace from God against the forces of evil.  In a similar way, many West Africans filled churches this past Sunday seeking God’s mercy and salvation.  They gathered together in worship and prayer despite official warnings to avoid public gatherings.

Since I asked for prayer last week for the victims and families of those afflicted by the Ebola virus, hundreds more have died.  Both Sierra Leone and Liberia have declared states of emergency to face the highly contagious and incurable Ebola disease that kills up to 90 percent of those infected.  Pastor Martee Jones Seator of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Monrovia, Liberia, said, “Everyone is so afraid.  Ebola is not going to shake our faith in any way because we’ve been through difficult times.”  The Reverend Marcus MacKay said, “We are in trouble here.  We are in trouble.  But you know what?  There is no way this devil is going to do its work!”  Bishop Abu Aiah Koroma of the evangelical Flaming Bible Church of Freetown, Sierra Leone, called Ebola “a devil.”  Pastor Enoch Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Nigeria and many other clergy around the world have offered prayers for a “quick divine intervention” against the Ebola.

Sadly, as in any crisis, charlatans, false prophets and teachers, and other unscrupulous persons prey on vulnerable victims and their families.  Elements of the Nigerian government have warned the public to be wary of some clergy who claim to have a cure for Ebola.  Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, Senior Pastor of Trinity House Church in Nigeria, sparked outrage for posting recently on his Facebook page his solution to Ebola, which involved the laying on of hands for those infected.  The senior pastor of the Synagogue Church of All Nations of Nigeria, T. B. Joshua, said that he would donate 2,000 bottles of his “Anointing Water” to the affected countries of West Africa.  There is no information that the special water has been sent to West Africa.

Please continue to pray for the thousands of living victims of Ebola.  Please also pray that an outbreak of Ebola does not come to the United States.  Media reports indicate that in the event of a widespread Ebola outbreak, our nation’s doctors, hospitals, and medical system is not prepared.  But when it does come here, as was the case after 9/11, I suspect that our churches will again be packed to overflowing.  At least until the crisis subsides.  May God save us all.



Mere Links 08.08.14
Friday, August 8, 2014, 10:00 AM

When the Baby Carriage Comes Before the Marriage
Laurie DeRose, Family Studies

Couples who didn’t marry before having a child opted out for a reason—so their relationships face tough odds.

The Evangelical Academy
Richard Mouw, First Things

The Jesuits, in setting up their colleges and universities, have typically not required their non-Jesuit colleagues to share their vows. But there is nothing about their sense of academic propriety as such that would prohibit that kind of boundary-setting.

Law and Morality in Public Discourse: How Christians Can Rebuild Our Culture
Charles J. Chaput, Public Discourse

It’s in seeking Jesus Christ with all our hearts that culture is built and society is renewed. It’s in prayer, the sacraments, changing diapers, balancing budgets, preaching homilies, loving a spouse, forgiving and seeking forgiveness—all in the spirit of charity—that, brick by brick, we bring about the kingdom of God.

Assemblies of God Turns 100 and Looks to a Multiethnic Future
Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service

The U.S. denomination has some 3.1 million faithful — with a membership that is 41 percent nonwhite, up from 31 percent a decade ago.



Mere Links 08.07.14
Thursday, August 7, 2014, 10:00 AM

Gay, Christian and … celibate: The changing face of the homosexuality debate
Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Religion News Service

For years, those who were gay or struggled with homosexuality felt like they had few good options: leave their faith, ignore their sexuality or try to change. But as groups like Exodus have become increasingly unpopular, Rodgers is among those who embrace a different model: celibate gay Christians, who seek to be true to both their sexuality and their faith.

ISIS Is on the Verge of Expelling Northern Iraq’s Religious Minorities
Nina Shea, The Corner

While much attention is being given to the destruction of Nineveh’s ancient monuments, the suffering of the province’s religious minorities at the hands of the jihadists is being given short shrift by both the media and our political leaders. Individual lives and entire civilizations are being destroyed, not in conflict – there hasn’t been much — but through the deliberate convert-or-die policies of the Islamist extremists.

How Government Threatens Religious Charity: Lessons of New York’s ‘Met Council’ Scandal
Howard Husock, Forbes

In other words, the Council—and non-profits all across the country—have great incentive to curry favor with elected officials but no legal means to do so. Thus, we should not be surprised that when an illegal means of doing so comes to light.

Hobby Lobby’s Liberty, and Ours
Robert Sirico, RealClearReligion

Religious liberty has long been considered our “first freedom” in America. So why are we spending so much time defending this freedom in court now?



Pastor Saeed Abedini Urges Christians to Stay Strong for His Glory
Thursday, August 7, 2014, 9:24 AM

On these pages over the past several years, I have written about the plight of Pastor Saeed Abedini.  Pastor Abedini, an American citizen, has been imprisoned under the Islamic mullahs of Iran since September 2012.  He is presently serving an eight year sentence for his Christian activities in one of the most brutal hell-hole prisons in Iran.  Although his case has garnered international attention and many have advocated on his behalf, he remains in prison for his Christian faith.  Pastor Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, has said, “Nothing has given Saeed and our family more strength than knowing that we are not forgotten, and that many are praying for us and taking the time to write letters and encourage us.”  We are admonished in Hebrews 13:3 to “Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”  But in addition to Pastor Abedini, there are numerous other Christians who are imprisoned in Iran for their Christian faith.

Over the past several months, the United States and a number of European nations have released billions of dollars of frozen Iranian funds to the mullahs based upon their assurances that Iran would “halt” some aspects of its nuclear program and continue to “negotiate” their nuclear program in exchange for easing of international sanctions.  Although I am skeptical that the Iranian mullahs will ever want to give up their nuclear program, no efforts was made to release Pastor Abedini as a precondition to release of the frozen funds.  Mr. Obama has only made one public statement regarding Pastor Abedini at a National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., last February.  In his remarks, Mr. Obama said the following:

We pray for Pastor Saeed Abedini.  He’s been held in Iran for more than 18 months – sentenced to eight years in prison on charges relating to his Christian beliefs.  And as we continue to work for his freedom today, again, we call on the Iranian government to release Pastor Abedini so he can return to the loving arms of his wife and children in Idaho.

However, the Iranian mullahs ignored Mr. Obama’s appeal.  But they sure took the billions of cash.  Pastor Abedini’s young children have pleaded with Mr. Obama to help bring their dad home.  You can watch the poignant video of heartbroken children here.  Pastor Abedini also wrote a deeply powerful and beautiful letter to his wife, which you can hear in this video.

Please pray for this beautiful and great saint of God and for his family.  Please also pray for the many other Christians imprisoned in Iran.  And during this congressional recess, when your elected representatives are holding town halls in your community, please ask them what they are doing to bring back Pastor Abedini, an American citizen, held by the butchers of Teheran.



Mere Links 08.06.14
Wednesday, August 6, 2014, 10:00 AM

Cultural Engagement
Russell Moore, Ligonier Ministries

All I knew how to do, though, was preach the gospel. Yes, I knew what was happening on MTV, and I’d often contrast biblical reality with that, but I fit nobody’s definition of cool—including my own.

Haggling with the Almighty
Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, Preachers Institute

As types of Christ our Intercessor with the Father, the Old Testament speaks of several men who were efficacious in intercession. Three of these are Abraham, Moses, and Job.

The Down Syndrome Community’s Death Debate
Matthew Hennessey, First Things

No college or university would tell potential students not to enroll. No lung cancer organization would tell people smoking is a fine thing to do. And no group that purports to represent the interests of people living with Down syndrome should present abortion of unborn babies with Down syndrome as a perfectly legitimate option. It just doesn’t make sense.

Nuns on the Bus vs. ISIS?
Mark Tooley, Juicy Ecumenism

The liberal Catholic activist group Network, headed by Sister Simone Campbell, famous for “Nuns on the Bus,” is asking supporters to urge President Obama to exercise strong “diplomacy” against the “violence” in northern Iraq.



Mere Links 08.05.14
Tuesday, August 5, 2014, 10:00 AM

Aborting in the Name of Jesus
Russell Moore , Moore to the Point

It is one of the most disturbing articles I’ve ever read. The current issue of Esquire magazine profiles the “abortion ministry” of Willie Parker, a doctor who flies in and out of my home state of Mississippi to perform abortions at the state’s only abortion clinic. The word “ministry” isn’t incidental. Dr. Parker says he aborts unborn children because Jesus wants him to.

IRS Strikes Deal With Atheists To Monitor Churches
Investor’s Business Daily

Government’s assault on religious liberty has hit a new low as the IRS settles with atheists by promising to monitor sermons for mentions of the right to life and traditional marriage.

The Repeating of Christian History
Shannon Holzer, The Imaginative Conservative

Though Christianity is currently legal in the United States, its enemies still use the same tactics as their ancient predecessors did when it was legally banned.

Why Doesn’t Living Together Before Marrying Decrease the Risk of Divorce?
Scott Stanley, Family Studies

Why isn’t cohabitation before marriage associated with a lower divorce risk? Two big factors: selection and inertia.


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