It’s all in the Terms of Service

I never read the Terms of Service.

TOSI’ve scanned a few, but it always comes back to my not wanting to spend the time;  Plus the fact that they read like a Fund Prospectus, written by a Philadelphia lawyer:  dull, drab, and confusing.

This is America, after all.  We expect, demand, and in most instances receive the highest good faith from those that we deal with.  In fact, when the occasional bad apples are discovered, we expect them to be flushed from the pool with the simple act of exposing their misdeeds.  That’s the way we do business in the good old U.S. of A.

It shouldn’t be any different on the internet, but it is.  There are a lot more bad actors in this wild, wild west of commerce.  And, by not reading those pesky terms of service, I open myself up to their shenanigans, forfeiting whatever little may be left of my privacy, among other things.

But, this post isn’t about my lackadaisical approach to reading the fine print on commercial websites.  It’s about an idea I’ve been playing with in my mind for a few weeks now, and has only recently come to head in two unrelated cyber places:  Facebook, and GoFundMe.

In the first case, a FB friend of mine, Thomas Lipscomb was banned from FB with no explanation.  Questions to FB administration were unanswered, with a closing response of, “this decision is final,”  no appeal, no explanation, nothing.  No one is questioning that Facebook has the right to do what they did.  It’s all in the Terms of Service, you see.  Thomas, just like everyone else on FB must agree to those terms of service, or they will not be allowed to play.

The second case came about after the arrests of six Baltimore police officers.  Some well-meaning people started a campaign to raise money for defense costs at GoFundMe.  After a number of complaints by the politically correct crowd, the admins at GFM took down the site.  They shut down the fundraising campaign  in less than one hour, citing their right to do so, yada yada yada, in accordance with the Terms of Service.  And, just so you know, you MUST agree to abide by the Terms of Service, or you cannot enjoy the privileges of membership.

This practice isn’t exclusive to FB and GFM.  In fact, it is standard practice on the commercial internet.

The idea that has been swimming around my mind goes like this:  If commercial websites are allowed to pick and choose with whom they will interact, and if such practices are justified by the fine print in the Terms of Service, then why can’t brick and mortar firms be allowed to do the same thing?

If, for example, a Christian baker were to have carefully crafted TOS posted on their physical premises (or on their websites), in which they state unequivocally that any potential customer must agree to abide with the TOS prior to making a service request, well, you see where I’m going here. They could simply point to the TOS any time they want to, with or without explanation, it would make no difference.  No difference at all.

As a disclaimer, I am not a lawyer, nor have I played one on TV.  But, I did stay at a Holiday Inn recently.  (BTW,  I read the Terms of Service posted on the door of my room).

see also: One Way Contracts:

Have you seen Him?

The empty tomb. (photo by Sam Morris)

The empty tomb. (photo by Sam Morris)

1 Corinthians 15:3-8 (KJV)

3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:

6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

 

For the remainder of us, born out of due time:  Have we seen Him?  Do we recognize His voice?  Do we know Him?

Christ is risen, indeed.

 

Monday thoughts

Romans 1: 19-20

19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

 
Luke 6:35

…do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again;

 

The video which follows was produced in Thailand, “The Land of the Free.”

 
If I ever needed evidence of  “that which may be known of God is manifest in them,”   it is presented here.

Certainly, the Spirit of the Gospel is alive and well in southeast Asia.

The video is poignant, thought-provoking, and extremely well-made.  Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone Has A Story

I wanted to write something about MSU’s run to the Finals of the 2013 College World Series. It was improbable. It was emotional.  It was wonderful.  

I spent a lot of time thinking about my Dad.  How he loved these Bulldogs!  And how, towards the end of his life, he would have to turn off Jim Ellis’ radio broadcast because it was just too hard for him to listen as State would either grind out another victory, or suffer a tough loss. 

In the end, this was something that made me very proud to be an alumnus of the People’s University.  Words, however,  fail me at the moment.  Fortunately for the Bulldog Nation, Bob Carskadon at #HailState Beat (The official blog of MSU Athletics) tells this story the way it should be told:

The best season in MSU history comes to an end

As we grow older, the more people we meet and with each new person we talk to, we learn that everyone has a story.

Children and adults, astronauts and teachers, white, black, tall or short, individuals lead their own lives, however little of it we see. Each has a past with a corresponding present and future.  Among all the masses, inside of every building and any place we turn, there are people.

renfroe frazier fansAt Mississippi State, affectionately called the People’s University, they know it as well as any.  John Cohen, head coach of MSU’s baseball team, said as much less than one month ago.  Moments after winning the Starkville Regional – the first one on MSU’s campus in 10 years – and advancing to a Super Regional, Cohen didn’t talk about his team or hitting or pitching.  “It’s the people who make Mississippi State special,” he said.  He praised the fans, the members of the athletic department and the citizens of Starkville over his team’s successes.  A couple weeks later, his Bulldogs arrived in Omaha, and again, it was the people who made Mississippi State special.  This time, it was the people on his team.

Sure, State was playing great baseball. They were hitting better than they had all year and the pitching staff had found a groove.  But the people of Omaha, the media covering the College World Series, baseball fans across the country and MSU faithful everywhere fell in love with people, not players.  ‘The Bench Mobb’ (second B is silent), made up of goofballs from the pitching staff, dancing, clapping, encouraging and even rapping in the dugout, were the stars of the two-week event.

SGCJBAYSVZEKLKB.20130615233817Wes Rea became television’s favorite first baseman, the SEC football prospect who turned down the gridiron because he wanted to go to Omaha and play in the World Series.  Trevor Fitts singlehandedly saved Power Point with the presentation he gave Cohen asking his permission for the team to have facial hair, while also leading the charge for Team No Undershirt.

Not a soul has come in contact with Luis Pollorena and not been touched by his story of childhood leukemia and his dedication to giving back now with the life wasn’t expected to have.  Sledgehammers, mullets, rally dances, vine videos and Johnny Cash.

Not to mention the unheralded stories.  Mitch Slauter, who was baptized in front of his teammates on the morning before his Senior Day at Dudy Noble Field.  Sam Frost, the SEC’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year, perhaps a more impressive honor than any.  This team showed us that everyone has a story, with countless more left untold.

And that’s what made this team special. You couldn’t help liking them and rooting for them, MSU fan or not.  The biggest crowd in the history of TD Ameritrade Park showed up not just because it was MSU’s first appearance in a National Championship, but because it was a team so easy to cheer for.

In a lucky twist, one of the most likeable teams turned out to be one of the best teams in MSU history.  photo (3)From a matter of talent, others may take the top spot, but these Diamond Dawgs have just completed the best season in the history of Mississippi State sports.  In 120-plus years, they were the first to make it this far.  But through their success, they may not be the last.

After hosting a Regional for the first time in a decade, sweeping a Super Regional and starting 3-0 in Omaha, losing in the National Championship was a terrible, terrible feeling for these Bulldogs.

Standing in the dugout, faces stained with tears and sweat, embraces between players, coaches and the like, the first feeling is defeat.  Watching another team dogpile on the mound, gloves and hats thrown in the air while fireworks explode overhead and confetti falls across the stadium is, in that moment, the lowest of low.  But, while a victory celebration took place on the field, cheers rose up in the stands.

“Maroooooon!”

“Whiiiiiite!”

Even late in the game, with the Bulldogs down more than a handful of runs and the outcome all but certain, MSU fans were louder than they had been all night.

They were cheers of support, not of victory.  The unspoken words behind the noise said, “Thank you. We’re proud of you.”  Reaching the College World Series and playing for a National Championship meant an incredible amount to Cohen’s baseball program. It would take more money than MSU has to buy that kind of exposure, and nothing can replace the experience.

But this run, this experience, is far bigger than baseball. In doing something no one in Maroon and White had done before, it became a Mississippi State benchmark.  Academics and athletics, football and softball, men’s and women’s.

These Bulldogs proved it can be done.  No one had to tell themselves they believed. They did believe.

Just as the state of Mississippi can claim generosity, hospitality and countless professional successes over any other shortcomings, so can Mississippi State now claim time at the top in spite of any days at the bottom.

When you’re a kid, you always believe your team is the best in the country, that they can win it all.

With age, realism and awareness set in. You know what limitations your team has.  But now, for the first time, Bulldog fans have made it within reach of doing what they imagined as children.  The baseball team knows it can win it all, and now everyone else has seen.

Quarterbacks and defensive linemen watched their diamond counterparts and said, “Mississippi State really can win a National Championship.”  Tennis players, basketball coaches and those from every sport saw the realization of dreams.  Now they don’t just have to say, they know, “It can be done.”

Following a season-ending loss, and career-ending for some, the sting of defeat bit hard in MSU’s dugout.  Red-eyed Hunter Renfroe embraced Trey Porter, faces buried in each other’s shoulders, knowing they had played their last time together. Their careers in Maroon and White jerseys had come to an end.

The last person back to the dugout, Jonathan Holder found his pitching coach Butch Thompson.  No words were said. They didn’t need to be, and neither would’ve been able to take them in, anyway. A steady hug said everything they wanted to share.  The athletic director, the president of the university, half of MSU’s entire department staff and a horde of media watched from the far side of the dugout as tears flowed.

The end had come, so quick and so hard.  It was goodbye for many, and the start of a long offseason for others.  But just as it signified the end of a season, it symbolized the beginning of something else.

In a short moment between the final explosion of fireworks and the beginning of celebratory music, the smallest of Mississippi State fans stood next to his dad, looking over the dugout at the team he had always believed in his young heart could win it all, and with the optimism borne through youth, offered the best encouragement he could.

“We’ll get ‘em next year, guys.”

Thanks, Bob.  Well done, sir.

Christ is Risen. Easter Sunday 2013

cesar_chavezs_86th_Easter-SundayThe most holy day of the Christian calendar, Easter Sunday, is the day that is celebrated to mark the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead. But not at Google. No, at Google, this isn’t Easter Sunday. It is Caesar Chavez’s 86th birthday.

 

bingContrast this with Bing, a large display of Easter Eggs.  Google has been my default search engine for years.  To “google” something is understood to mean to search for somthing on the web.

I think I’m going to change the default setting on my personal laptop to Bing.  Couldn’t hurt.  Plus, they have more respect for my faith than google does.

 

To my friends on the inner webs, “Happy Easter!  Christ is Risen!”

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Good Friday

good-friday

Because he lives, I can face tomorrow.  Because he lives, All fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future.  And life is worth the living Just because he lives.

 

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Habemas Papem

Breaking:  7:07 PM ….  Holy (white) Smoke!!  Awaiting the new Pope‘s first public appearance in Vatican City!

Update:  7.45  PM …   Amid great excitement, cheering crowds, and a festive atmosphere, the  new Pope about to be  announced to the world.

Watch LIVEstream Here 

Pope Francis I

Pope Francis I

Update:  8:12 PM …   “A man of the people”, a reformer from Argentina, 76 years old,  Cardinal Jorge M. Bergoglio is announced as the new Pope.

Update 8:22 PM … Pope Francis I is the new Vicar of Christ

..

We’ve No Less Days

I picked up the copy of the Sunday bulletin for the 60th anniversary service of the Alta Woods UMC.   On the front page was the customary wide-angle photo of the church sanctuary.  In the lower left of the photo was another steeple, that of the Alta Woods Baptist Church.  If the photo could pan a hundred yards or so to the right, you would see the Alta Woods Presbyterian Church, and a few hundred yards to the right of that was the Carmelite Monastery.

 
I would see a group of the Carmelite Nuns each Saturday morning at the A&P as they did their grocery shopping.  I didn’t really know how to address them, “Miz” just didn’t seem right, so I just called them “Sister”, even though I wasn’t a Catholic.  It didn’t seem to bother them, though.  And between school, the A&P, and sleep, the true passion of my week was the time that I was able to spend with the youth of Alta Woods United Methodist Church.  Because for me, there was only one “Alta Woods.”  And coming back to celebrate this occasion was something  wonderful.  So full of tenderness and love, that I believe  that the celebration, not just the date on the calendar, is the real gift  to share and remember.

Forty years ago, the youth group was huge.  I don’t remember exact numbers, but I think maybe 100 or so high-school aged folks would get together each Sunday afternoon for choir and Sunday evening for MYF, and on Wednesday evenings for Bible Study.  Some of the parents in the adult Sunday School classes could probably give a better estimate, as they volunteered to feed this ravenous bunch of teenagers every Sunday afternoon.
Late night Kung Fu episodes at Sue Mac’s, choir tours, and lot of other activites contributed to what Travis Tichenor described to me this morning as  “a magical time that we were all fortunate to be a part of.”  I’ll always be grateful to Travis for inviting me to come to the youth choir that Sunday that my family visited Alta Woods for the first time.  I got that chance today, to thank him.  That was cool.   I suppose I should have also thanked him for prompting Sam Morris to let me sing the solo part of “I Believe in You.”   I was the new guy, and way to diffident to ask for myself.  David White told me today that he thinks of that song every time he thinks of me.

I didn’t get much time to talk with Murray  Nichols.  I hate that.  I spent many hours with ol’ Murray in his red VW.  Murray made me an 8-track copy of the first Dan Fogelberg concert that was broadcast on WZZQ.  I played that tape until it was unplayable.   I think I learned all the guitar and vocal parts to every song on that tape.  Thanks Murray.  I miss you, Bud.

I wish I could have gotten to everyone that I wanted to visit with.  And for those that couldn’t come, I missed them too.  The memories were as sweet as the pecan pie at the covered dish lunch.  It was delicious, by the way, and my wife didn’t believe me when I told her later, that I didn’t go back for seconds.  But I couldn’t have seconds and see the people that I wanted to see.  These are the people who shared their love for God with me, who loved me and welcomed me to their lives, and to this day, even though I rarely see them, are some of my best friends that I have, or will ever have.   And, even though it hadn’t occurred to me until just now, I spent only two years in this nurturing cocoon.  In my typical Baby-Boomer fashion, I find myself surprised to realize that the entire history of this congregation didn’t revolve around those two years.  So many other souls have been a part of the Alta Woods family, so many I’ve never known, but on this day, we were one in the Spirit, breaking bread together.

And now I am reflecting on memories of years gone by, of places and people dear to me.  Family, friends, fellowship, tender love:  it really doesn’t get any better than this in this lifetime.   And that, my friends, makes the next one even more amazing to contemplate.

May We All Have A Blessed Easter

He Has Risen

MERRY CHRISTMAS From Sons Of The South

First this beautiful classic.

Since this holiday brings family together, families that we don’t get to chose, but God Bless’em they are ours, we have this humorous song.

May you all have a wonderful Christmas.

Happy Easter!

Jesus died for our sins, a fact that too often we selfishly accept without a thought.

Easter is the celebration of Christ’s resurrection, a powerful notice to Christians that he is the Son of God.

My internet friend Jim Baxter sent me a wonderful email a few days ago. It was about the fact that God has no name.

Even when Moses, directed by God, asked of Him, “Who shall I say sent me?” He replied, “Just say I Am hath sent me.”

Jim also included this quote:

“In the name above all names, Jesus.” Phil 2:9

God was not of this Earth as himself, but as Jesus; he is this earth, he is us and he is the universe.

From St. Anselm’s Proslogium CHAPTER XXII:

He alone is what he is and who he is. –All things need God for their being and their well-being.

THEREFORE, you alone, O Lord, are what you are; and you are he who you are. For, what is one thing in the whole and another in the parts, and in which there is any mutable element, is not altogether what it is. And what begins from non-existence, and can be conceived not to exist, and unless it subsists through something else, returns to non-existence; and what has a past existence, which is no longer, or a future existence, which is not yet, –this does not properly and absolutely exist.

But you are what you are, because, whatever you are at any time, or in any way, you are as a whole and forever. And you are he who you are, properly and simply; for you have neither a past existence nor a future, but only a present existence; nor can you be conceived as at any time non-existent. But you are life, and light, and wisdom, and blessedness, and many goods of this nature. And yet you are only one supreme good; you are all-sufficient to yourself, and need none; and you are he whom all things need for their existence and wellbeing.

I know from a personal God Moment, that he is real, it isn’t a question of belief or faith for me. I have felt his love and omnipotence, and its irresistible force. It was out of love that he gave us existence and gave us Jesus, so we could know his love for us. All one needs to do is acknowledge what Jesus means to us, even if one ignores all the wondrous things about us, to dwell in his love forever.

God has given us everything and he lets us know in so many ways.

That video is just an example of the wonders of God’s universe and all that is in it. It is the beauty of God’s math made simple.

May you all have a Blessed Easter Sunday and Praise God for this day.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

The story of our savior is retold this time each year.

From my blog buddy, Ma Sands, this year’s telling of the nativity.

May you all be blessed with Christ’s spirit.

Seasonal Videos Gone Viral

From Gateway Pundit, two terrific seasonal videos that are racking up views.

First, with nearly 10,000,000 views in 18 days.

Next, with over one and a half million views in 9 days.

To my Christian friends, Merry Christmas.
To my Jewish friends, Happy Hanakkah.

Coming Full Circle-The Importance Of A Foundation

I don’t really follow basketball and never had a real affection for the game. However, at this time of year, with the sudden elimination tournaments and the win or go home motivation added to the game, I do find the games fascinating. In the men’s NCAA tournament upsets are in abundance, and the thrill of the underdog players and their fans when they knock out a previously higher ranked opponent is fun to watch.

I also enjoy watching the women’s NCAA tournament, as the quality of play has advanced dramatically in the past twenty years. These tough young female competitors have as strong a desire to win as anyone. Yet, they are still young ladies not far removed from being young girls, and the foundations established in their young lives are quite evident.

I was watching the end of the Oklahoma vs Notre Dame game, which went into overtime. These two teams were slugging it out, contesting each shot and playing with an intensity that was unyielding. The young star for OU that made the game winning three point basket in a tie game with only seconds left had a redemptive experience, as she had confessed earlier to shying away from being the star last year, not wanting to be in a position to win the game. She had vowed to never allow that to happen again. It was wonderful to watch.

After the two teams exchanged handshakes, the OU women then gathered on the court in a circle, held hands and were led in prayer by an injured player. Yes, indeed their foundations were strong, and given added strength by their teammates.

I found the moment inspiring and also a reminder that these young women are being tested in athletic competition on a grand stage. This stage, however, is not as grand as the stage of life we have to perform on each and every day, and the thought that many of these young women haven’t really been tested spiritually yet, entered my mind. Most haven’t experienced the emotional highs and lows that life can present without warning. They don’t know so very much, but knowing they have a strong foundation I have faith that irrespective of what life has in store for them, they have an excellent chance of not only surviving, but thriving.

I read something a long time ago where the writer stated that “life is pain.” At the time I thought the writer was correct, but after gaining more life experience I’ve come to the conclusion that he/she was wrong. Life is filled with joy and pain, with both being equally important. The absence of one diminishes the effect of the other. What matters is the spiritual foundation the person was given.

Having said all this, I was reminded of a video I saw several days ago at I Am Second. I couldn’t find a method for downloading off of their site or I would have posted it earlier without a narrative. It is from author Anne Rice, and I found her story quite compelling, and indicative of the importance of a strong foundation.

I hope you find her witness as inspiring as I did.

Christian Relationships

I received an email today, and wanted to post it for for your consideration:

Brothers & Sisters of Christ,

A young woman of God by the name of Latonya has decided to start a Christian Blog for women. Please support this young lady as she discusses topics about relationships. Her blogs are for women of all ages: who are single, married, divorced, dating etc……and each blog includes reference scriptures.

If you or other Christian women you know have questions or insightful wisdom they can add, please visit: http://wisdomforladies.blogspot.com.

Let’s spread the Word!

Best wishes to you Latonya. Hope your new blog is a smash! I’m adding a link to Wisdom for Ladies in The Roll, right-hand sidebar.

HE IS RISEN!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JESUS!

jesus01.jpg
Jesus’ coming was foretold in prophecies, long before his birth, and no other has had the impact on mankind, as he.
Teaching and guiding any who would listen, and shaping the world even for those who chose to ignore him, no other being on Earth has changed life like Jesus, for so many, and for so long.
I celebrate his birth, and can only pray to live the life he wished for us all.
Please take a moment to reflect on what this day, his recognized Birthday, means to us, flawed as we are.  He has always loved us.

Check out Coz on the radio

Our pal Mike, aka “The Coz” will be on the radio, this afternoon.

He will be performing some of his original tunes, and talking about his faith.  Should be interesting.

Break a leg, Coz.

Go here to listen, aprox 3P Central.

The Ring Thing

By now nothing that goes on in public schools should surprise me. We live in a through-the-looking-glass world where students are suspended for smoking cigarettes, but can get free condoms from the school nurse, where prayer is not allowed but t-shirts glorifying rap music and its odious messages are commonly worn, and where students graduate knowing how to TM while barely being able to read and speak articulately.

So why should it surprise me that an English school has forbidden a fifteen year old Christian girl from wearing a small silver ring that symbolizes her commitment to chastity until marriage? If you want the details, see this article here, although a Google search of Lydia Playfoot turns up quite a bit of material. Suffice to say, she has been told by the school to remove the ring or face expulsion.

I have two BIG problems with this.

First, this same school allows Muslim girls to wear their head scarves, and Sikh girls to wear the silver bracelets of their faiths. This I have no problem with. Freedom to express one’s religion is a basic human right. But hey, guys, point of order here: don’t Christians have the same rights as Muslims and Sikhs?

And perhaps more importantly, does anyone really think it’s such a hot idea to punish a teenager when she’s actually trying to do the right thing? Anyone who has ever been the parent of a teenager knows what a demoralizing experience this can be. There are just so many ways teens can screw up their lives: drugs, alcohol, sex, violence, gangs. No matter how hard you try to steer them away from these, many just blithely embrace some or all of these self destructive behaviors while regarding their parents as hopelessly out of touch simpletons. Any parent who can shepherd their teen to adulthood while keeping them in one piece has done something to be proud of.

Nowadays this process is harder than ever because there are just so many other influences on teens that parents must now compete with. Peer pressure used to mean the kids at school. Now, thanks to the Internet, it means kids all over the world. Kids are being urged by way too many people to make really, really bad decisions.

So in a world where teenagers kill just because they want to “see what it feels like”, it is refreshing to hear about a girl like Lydia Playfoot, who is actually doing the right thing and encouraging others to do the same. But instead of getting the praise she deserves, all she’s getting is a whole lot of undeserved aggravation. It is a sad indictment of our culture when a teenage girl is turned into a pariah for NOT having sex. The scarlet letter A used to stand for “adulteress”. I guess now it stands for “abstinence”.

In our increasingly secular world, there are many who find her extroverted brand of Christian faith cloying, but that is more of a reflection of our society than it is on her. I find it rather ironic that while the western world is predominantly Christian, Christianity itself is becoming ever more marginalized. Devout Christians are often looked down upon by the intelligentsia as rubes and simpletons. And yet in Muslim, Jewish, and other cultures, religious faith is still viewed as a virtue.

But one does not need to embrace orthodox Christianity to recognize the value of her message, or to be disturbed by the school administration’s attempts to squash that message, which should be regarded as a breath of fresh air. What parent in the world wouldn’t sell their soul just to hear their teen say, “Mom, Dad, I’ve been thinking about it, and I’ve decided not to have sex until I’m married. Is that OK?” In a world where so many influences are telling her to do otherwise, Lydia Playfoot is doing the right thing. Ring or no ring.

–Smith

“taking up a glowing cinder with the tongs and lighting with it the long cherry-wood pipe which was wont to replace his clay when he was in a disputatious rather than a meditative mood”–Dr. John H. Watson

Please visit my blog at murderofravens.wordpress.com

Moral equivalency at UPI

I ran across this article on the UPI site

How much difference is there really, then, between members of the Christian Right who justify the bombing of abortion clinics and Islamic extremists who are ready to justify suicide bombing?

Oh, give me a break.

So, tell us UPI, is there really any difference between members of the Western Press and Soviet-era media organs like Pravda, or contemporary agenda journalism as practiced by al-Jazeera?

Devout belief of any kind is a two-edged sword. It offers believers a sense of identity and community and gives them meaning and purpose in what is unquestionably a chaotic and overwhelming world. Yet throughout history, religion has also been a major source of human conflict. How many more lives will the “virtuous” claim as they do what they consider God’s work?

The sad truth is that the author of this wretched piece of moral equivalency probably “feels” like he is taking an unbiased look at both Christianity and Islam.

Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's OasisIt is useless to confront him with facts — because facts conflict with his world view. But, if the Pravda or al-Jazeera comparisons fail to get his attention, perhaps comparing the Unibomber, modern-day eco-terrorism, or the writings of Al Gore with the suicide/homocide extremism of the Islamic supremists might serve the purpose.

related, Doug Ross: If it bleeds, it leads, except when it comes to alQaeda

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Huckabee withdraws from Carter confab

Q: What do former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Senators Lindsay Graham (S.C.) and Charles Grassley (Iowa), former President Jimmy Carter,former President Bill Clinton, former vice president Al Gore, and journalist and author Bill Moyers all have in common?

A: They are all scheduled to speak at the New Baptist Covenant, Jan. 30-Feb. 1 pan-Baptist gathering, organized by Jimmy Carter and Mercer University President Bill Underwood to promote unity among the North American Baptists.

Or, perhaps I should say, “were scheduled to speak.” That was before former President Jimmy Carter’s anti-Bush rant in the weekend edition of the Arkansas Gazette. As you know, the worst President in US history said, “I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history.” Although he has since backed off his criticism, it’s important to remind liberals that words mean things.

Mike Huckabee has decided to cancel his plans to speak at the Carter-sponsored conference.

images3.jpg“I’m deeply disappointed by the unusually harsh comments made in my state this past weekend regarding President Bush and feel that it represents an unprecedented personal attack on a sitting president by a former president, which is unbecoming the office as well as unbecoming to one whose conference is supposed to be about civility and bringing people together,” Huckabee said yesterday.

Bravo!

Graham and Grassley should join him.

Religion and Spirituality.com has the story.

Trackposted to Perri Nelson’s Website, Rightlinx, Right Celebrity, Big Dog’s Weblog, stikNstein… has no mercy, Adam’s Blog, Pirate’s Cove, The Pink Flamingo, Webloggin, CORSARI D’ITALIA, and Right Voices, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Chavez compares colonization to Holocaust, demands apology from Pope

carichavez.gifCaracas, Venezuela. Friday evening, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez asked Pope Benedict XVI to apologise to Amerindians. During his official visit to Brazil last week, the Pontiff said colonization of the Americas involved no transgression to local Amerindians and their culture. Claiming his Amerindian origins, President Chávez took offence and compared colonization to the Holocaust. (h/t Rahul)

Acutually, I think Rahul was being somewhat generous to Commandante Chavez in limiting his criticism to the Holocaust comparison.

Chavez also had some choice words for the Catholic Church….

Finalizó el mandatario venezolano asegurando que Cristo llegó mucho después a América y no con Cristóbal Colón. «Con Colón llegó el anticristo», dijo.

My Spanish is rusty, and perhaps y’all might fix a word or two, but the gist of this is…

“Finally, the venezuelan commander assured that Christ didn’t arrive in America with Christopher Columbus. With Columbus, the anti-Christ arrived”.

(Caricature by Cox & Forum)

semi-related:  Venezuelans rally for TV station 

Inside the mind of America: the UK Press takes Virgina Tech tragedy as an opportunity to enjoy a bit of America Bashing.

TelegraphUK

“In the land of the verbally incontinent, Cho Sueng-hui was speechless. You can just imagine his kernel of resentment and jealousy being fed by the laughter and banter on campus until it became a festering cancer of hatred.”

Vimto writes – (he is having difficulty with the formatting today – apologies!) ….

It was hard to avoid the news of the Virginia Tech campus murders this week. Through a great deal of media speculation about the massacre one thing is sure – Cho Sueng-hui has got the posthumous publicity he craved. …. 

There has been an orgy of America bashing in the UK media (see the quote above for just one example). We seem to love to get proof that the American dream is corrupted and cancerous. And the media can sum up the cancer they perceive at the heart of the American dream in one word, ‘GUNS’.

Funny how the very same people who always want to look for deeper causes for gun and knife crime in this country are monosybillic when it comes to America – ‘Guns’ they cry. And that is that. Sorted.

Now it is not my intention to justify America but to try to get a Godly perspective on this terrible outrage.

Firstly the guy was clearly mentally deranged. As a Psychiatric Nurse I am convinced of that. But how much, (if at all) the mental illness absolved him from the moral responsibility of his actions only God knows. And anyway – he isn’t something so very strange, there are dangerous paranoids all over the globe. This isn’t about America. It’s about the human condition.

Secondly: the media searches for the underlying causes but they will not admit that the real and present danger is the deepest cause of all – it’s called ‘sin’. If you take away guns sin will manifest itself in new and perhaps more horrendous ways. Sin always finds a way to kill and terrorise. Just look around the world, people are crying ‘peace, peace’, but anyone with their eyes open knows there is no peace. Even in ‘so called’ peaceful nations. The world’s attention goes to Virginia Tech but ignores the blood on it’s own doorstep.

This week a few news items went under the radar. In Turkey 3 Christians were butchered – throat slit. Their crime? Distributing Bibles.

Click

In China over 40 Christians including a pastor’s wife were given forced abortions via injection. China carries out over 1 million forced abortions a year.

Click

The abortions carried out in the name of liberty in our countries accounts for nearly a quarter of our populations. Such carnage is abhorrent in the Lord’s eyes, though mostly hiden form ours. Unlike us, God does not get his news from the BBC or the Times or the Mirror. He sees into the very hearts of men.

To be a Christian, to be responsible Christian, requires us to see the world as God would have us do for “we have the mind of Christ”.

So I’ll leave Cho Sueng-hui to the judgement of God and I’ll pray for the students and families of those caught up in the Virginia Tech Massacre. Them I shall shut my mouth and stay silent.

And I’ll say to all who gloat over America’s tragedy – remove the log from you own eye, lest you be judged with the hypocrites.

May the Lord Jesus have mercy on us all.

(The above is my Pastor’s address in the fellowship notices).

         

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