Wednesday, May 20, 2015

South Korean-born Canadian Presbyterian pastor has been detained in North Korea

Rev. Hyeon Soo Lim, pastor of Light Presbyterian Church in Mississauga, Ontario, has made about 110 missionary visits to North Korea over the years, but has been detained in that country since early in 2015. His activities in North Korea included involvement in private business and have led to some controversy and possible diplomatic difficulties. It's not for me to say whether Rev. Lim's actions have been prudent or not, but let's pray for his release, and that the Lord will be glorified through whatever circumstances Rev. Lim is in.

See Unravelling the mystery behind the detention of reverend Lim by Nathan Vanderklippe in the Toronto newspaper The Globe and Mail, May 19, 2015.

The Roman Catholic Church's influence in Ireland may be waning

See Irish support for same-sex marriage a questioning of faith as referendum looms by Mark MacKinnon in the Toronto newspaper The Globe and Mail, May 17, 2015. The discerning reader will note that among those supporting same-sex "marriage" is Bono, leader of the rock music group U2 and religious syncretist.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

50 years ago: Israel and West Germany establish diplomatic relations

On May 12, 1965, Israel and the Federal Republic of Germany established diplomatic relations, 20 years after the end of Nazi Germany's genocide of Jews during World War II. West Germany had recently paid Israel $75 million as the final installment of war reparations to the Jews. In March 1965, the Israeli Knesset had voted its approval of formal diplomatic relations with the Federal Republic of Germany.

By May 16, 1965, all Arab states except Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia had responded to this development by cutting diplomatic ties with West Germany.

Monday, April 13, 2015

After 55 years, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence has yet to receive any signals

The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord's: but the earth hath he given to the children of men. Psalms 115:16

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) was begun on April 8, 1960 in Green Bank, West Virginia by a radio astronomer named Frank Drake, who according to Scott Van Wynsberghe, came from a fundamentalist Christian family. Click on the link to read Mr. Van Wynsberghe's article Will E.T. Ever Phone?, from the Canadian newspaper National Post, April 8, 2015.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

State legislators defend rights of Christian groups on U.S. campuses

As reported by Kate Hardiman in The College Fix, April 9, 2015:

Some conservative state lawmakers have begun to take a stand against public universities that derecognize Christian groups for refusing to allow non-Christians to lead their campus clubs.

Kansas State Sen. Steve Fitzgerald (R-Leavenworth) recently sponsored SB-175, which passed the Senate handily 30-8. The legislation “prohibits state universities from taking action against student religious groups that require members to adhere to the group’s religious beliefs.”

In Missouri, state Rep. Elijah Haahr (R-Springfield) has proposed similar legislation, which was approved by the house and is now awaiting a vote in the Missouri Senate.

If these measures pass, they will join a handful of others states that have passed laws to protect religious student groups’ association rights in the last few years.

States such as Oklahoma, which passed a law last year that declares:

A. No public institution of higher education may take any action or enforce any policy that would deny a religious student association any benefit available to any other student association, or discriminate against a religious student association with respect to such benefit, based on that association’s requirement that its leaders or members:

1. Adhere to the association’s sincerely held religious beliefs;

2. Comply with the association’s sincere religious observance requirements;

3. Comply with the association’s sincere religious standards of conduct; or

4. Be committed to furthering the association’s religious missions, as such religious beliefs …

But not all attempts at passing such laws are successful. An effort in Colorado to pass a higher education Freedom of Association Act bill was shelved in February.

Supporters say these measures protect religious freedom on college campuses, while opponents argue they allow student groups to discriminate against those who hold beliefs contrary to the group but still seek membership.

Sen. Fitzgerald drafted the bill after universities in several states denied recognition and funding to student religious groups who did not comply with the school’s anti-discrimination policies.

“Animosity against religion, particularly Christianity and most especially Catholicism, is rising and becoming a new orthodoxy. This is caused mostly by a desire to be without rules. It is narcissism and self-indulgence with a vengeance,” Sen. Fitzgerald told The College Fix in an email.

Universities’ anti-discrimination policies, also called “all comers” policies, have wreaked havoc on many Christian clubs across the country.

All 23 California State University schools require that Christian groups allow non-Christians to lead their organizations, even individuals with beliefs antithetical to the clubs’ missions. Subsequently unrecognized, denied free access to university meeting space, and prohibited from advertising on campus and in dorms, among other hindrances, Cal State University Christian clubs have witnessed declining membership.

Rep. Haahr told The Associated Press these “all comers” policies are popping up around the country, adding “these policies are being used for one purpose. They are used to target religious groups.”

Meanwhile, clubs such as Cru, formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ, have declined to change their constitution to comply with California State Universities’ all-comers policies.

San Luis Obispo Missionary Leader Jamey Pappas previously told The College Fix that “we have no issue with anybody of any kind of race or religion coming to our weekly meetings and being a part of who we are. It’s a question of who’s going to be leading our students in a Bible Study, mentoring them individually, or deciding what kind of content goes into our weekly meeting, and we want people who agree with what we’re about.”

The controversy is reminiscent of the 2010 case Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, in which the Supreme Court upheld University of California, Hastings College of the Law’s policy requiring student groups to accept all students regardless of their status or beliefs.

The Christian Legal Society required members to subscribe to a “Statement of Beliefs” in which students promised to refrain from certain behaviors, some of which were contrary to the lifestyle of LGBT students. Hastings denied the Christian Legal Society recognition when they declined some students’ club membership due to their unwillingness to sign the statement. The Christian Legal Society ultimately lost their legal battle, and were forced to comply with Hastings’ anti-discrimination policies or lose their recognition.

Sen. Fitzgerald said he believes a pressing need exists to protect student religious groups.

“In Kansas we had a case in which a club was challenged by student government because of exclusivity based on religious belief. The case ended well. But, there are increasing numbers of cases around the country that are resulting in religious clubs and associations being forced off campus. Regretfully, it appeared that something had to be done to protect student rights in Kansas,” Senator Fitzgerald told The Fix.

Friday, April 10, 2015

60 years ago: The death of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
Genesis 3:1-5

On April 10, 1955, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a Roman Catholic Jesuit priest and philosopher, died at the age of 73. Father Teilhard trained as a paleontologist and geologist and believed in evolution, rejecting the biblical account of creation; he now knows better.

Fr. Teilhard was involved in the discovery of Peking Man in the 1920s and '30s, and has been accused of involvement in the Piltdown Man hoax of 1912. He conceived what he called the Omega Point, a point where man would merge into godhood; such views have earned Fr. Teilhard the nickname "Father of the New Age."

Friday, April 3, 2015

10 years ago: The death of Pope John Paul II

On April 2, 2005, Pope John Paul II died at the age of 84. Born Karol Wojtyla in Wadowice, Poland, he became a priest in 1946; a bishop in 1958; a cardinal in 1967; and was chosen in October 1978 to succeed John Paul I, who had died in September under suspicious circumstances (see the book In God's Name by David Yallop (1984)), after just over a month as pope.

John Paul II was the most-travelled pope in history, visiting 129 countries during his pontificate. He has been credited with providing leadership in the movement to bring down Communism behind the Iron Curtain and dictatorships elsewhere. John Paul II's pontificate was also marked by scandals involving finances and the revelation of sexual abuse of minors by priests. Readers who are interested in such things can conduct their own research--there's plenty of information available.

What I remember most about John Paul II is that while he affirmed traditional Roman Catholic doctrine, he pursued an agenda of uniting the world's religions--an agenda which is being aggressively continued by Pope Francis I. I particularly wish to remind the reader of the World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi, Italy in 1986, and Day of Prayer for Peace in the World, also in Assisi, in 2002. Go here to see my post on the 1986 event, and here for my post on Pope John Paul's address to the European Parliament in 1988, when Rev. Ian Paisley gave him the reception he deserved.

I find it interesting that Pope John Paul II died two days after the death of Terri Schiavo, a severely brain-damaged American woman who was ordered by a judge to be starved to death because her life was inconvenient to some people. Mrs. Schiavo and the family members who wanted to save her were Roman Catholics, and it's also interesting that this occurred several days after the 10th anniversary of the publication of Pope John Paul II's encyclical Evangelium Vitae, condemning abortion and euthanasia as crimes that no human laws could legitimize.

When Pope John Paul II died, Life magazine published an issue in tribute to him. Go here to see a photo of the cover. The small print across the bottom reads "With a Foreword by the Reverend Billy Graham." The reader may come to his own conclusions on that.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

10 years ago: The execution of Terri Schiavo

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: Deuteronomy 30:19

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. Amendment V, Constitution of the United States (bold added by blogger)

Note: Although I quote from, and post links to Wikipedia entries in this post, I don't regard Wikipedia as authoritative, as its entries may be biased and inaccurate. The reader should exercise prudence in using it.

On March 31, 2005, Terri Schiavo, who had been severely brain-damaged since collapsing in her apartment building 15 years earlier, died in hospital in Pinellas Park, Florida, 13 days after Pinellas-Pasco County Circuit Court Judge George Greer ordered her feeding tube withdrawn, guaranteeing her death by gradual starvation.

The case was very much misreported in the media as a "right to die" case, when it would more accurately be termed a "right to kill" case. Mrs. Schiavo was not dead, and not dying; had not been charged with or convicted of any crime; and yet was ordered by a judge to be deliberately and gradually starved to death--a sentence that would likely have been ruled to be "cruel and unusual punishment" had it been imposed on a convicted murderer.

While Mrs. Schiavo was slowly starving to death, Florida Governor Jeb Bush and his brother, U.S. President George W. Bush, played legal games, pretending to act on Mrs. Schiavo's behalf while actually not exercising all their prerogatives, finally caving in and refusing to challenge Judge Greer's final order. According to the Wikipedia entry on the case, "If [Governor] Bush (or the Florida Legislature) had ignored Greer's order by attempting to remove her from the hospice, a confrontation between the Pinellas Park Police Department and the FDLE agents could have ensued." A confrontation is exactly what should have taken place. If Jeb or George W. Bush had shown up at the hospital with the intention of seeing Mrs. Schiavo's feeding tube reinserted--or had either Bush shown up with a glass of water for her--it's hard to imagine the police or National Guard refusing admittance to Governor or President Bush. As it is, we're asked to believe that a two-bit circuit court judge--who, in a corrupt practice unique to the United States, was elected to his position--could overrule the highest official in the state of Florida and the chief executive of the United States.

There were pro-life protesters outside the hospital in Florida (one prominent individual who was notable by his absence and silence was "America's Pastor," Rick Warren), and occasionally someone would attempt to go inside and take a glass of water to Mrs. Schiavo, only to be forcibly turned back by the authorities. For readers who have forgotten or are too young to remember, it might come as a shock to realize that attempting to ease the suffering of Terri Schiavo as she was being starved to death was actually against the law (Romans 13 extremists, please take note). As an aside, it's worth remembering that when Jesus' disciples picked grain on the Sabbath, the Pharisees accused them of breaking the law, and when the Pharisees were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus and wondered if He would heal on the Sabbath, He asked them if it were lawful to do good or to do evil, to save life or destroy it--and then He healed a man with a withered hand (Matthew 12:1-14; Luke 6:1-11). Jesus faced similar accusations from the Pharisees when He healed the invalid man at Bethesda (John 5:2-16).

One of the things that disturbed me about the Schiavo case is that some who claimed to be conservatives opposed government--especially federal government--intervention to save Terri Schiavo, arguing that such action was an invasion of the state's jurisdiction--or similar legalistic mumbo-jumbo. Such arguments struck this blogger as the sort of reasoning that Pharisees would have used. Such "conservative" opponents of Mrs. Schiavo's rescue really seemed to want her dead.

Those interested in the details of the Terri Schiavo case may conduct their own searches for information. The best commentary that I've seen on the case has come from veteran columnist Nat Hentoff. Mr. Hentoff is an ethnic Jew who's a professing atheist, but he's a strong advocate against abortion and euthanasia, and has a great reverence for and knowledge of the United States Constitution. He points out that Mrs. Schiavo's Fifth Amendment right not to be deprived of life and liberty without due process of law was denied, and that her death was in fact an execution ordered by a judge against someone who had not been charged with or convicted of any crime, but who was to be put to death because her life was inconvenient to certain people. I recommend the following columns by Mr. Hentoff:

November 5, 2003: Should Terri Schiavo stay alive? A legal answer

Novermber 11, 2003: New hope for Terri Schiavo

April 14, 2005: Polls distort Terri's life and death

July 7, 2005: The continuing case of Terri Schiavo

August 31, 2006: Michael Schiavo versus Joe Lieberman

March 26, 2008: Barack Obama vs. Terri Schiavo

April 3, 2008: Terri Schiavo's lifesaving legacy

Not Dead Yet is an organization advocating on behalf of people with disabilities and against euthanasia. A search of their site using the term "Terri Schiavo" will turn up useful information and commentary.

Mrs. Schiavo, like those of her family who wanted to save her life, was a Roman Catholic. I find it interesting that she died two days before Pope John Paul II died, and six days after the 10th anniversary of the publication of Pope John Paul's encyclical Evangelium Vitae, which condemned abortion and euthanasia as crimes that no human laws could legitimize.

We don't know if Terri Schiavo would be alive in 2015 had she not been executed, but Judge George Greer is still alive, and turns 73 in 2015. Judge Greer, a Republican--another possible shock, to those who think of Republicans as being the pro-life party--retired in 2010 when his term expired. According to his Wikipedia entry, he received at least five honours in 2005 from various legal associations, which speaks volumes about the "ethics" of the legal profession in the United States in the 21st century. As the son of an appeal court judge, I'm appalled and ashamed to see some of those who wear the robes of the judiciary now. When Judge Greer received the 2005 Special Justice Award from the Pasco Bar, the association's president, Joan Hook, was quoted as saying, "He is very meticulous in his decisions and he is a supporter of the law, doesn't let his emotions or personal feelings get in the way of his analysis of the law." Those "personal feelings" would presumably include anything resembling human decency or compassion. I imagine similar comments could have (and probably were) made about judges in Germany from 1933-1945 who didn't let their emotions or personal feelings get in the way of applying the laws of the Nazi regime. At the time of the Schiavo case, Judge Greer was reportedly affiliated with Calvary Baptist Church--associated with the Southern Baptist Convention--in Clearwater, Florida, but withdrew his membership after others in the church expressed opposition to his rulings--and to his presence in the church--and pastor William Rice asked him to clarify his position in the church.

Jeb Bush, who took office as Governor of Florida in 1999, finished his second term in 2007. He's being touted as a possible Republican Party nominee for President of the United States in 2016. Given the Republicans' recent history of pretending to oppose the Democrats while deliberately nominating bad presidential candidates, I wouldn't be surprised if Mr. Bush won the nomination.

George W. Bush finished his second term as President of the United States in 2009; the unprosecuted war criminal remains at large.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

70 years ago: Palestinian Arabs reject proposal for governing Jerusalem

Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.
Zechariah 12:2-3

File this under "some things never change":

On March 29, 1945, Palestinian Arab leaders rejected a proposal which would rotate the office of Mayor of Jersusalem among Muslim, Jewish, and Christian officials. The proposal, advocated by British High Commissioner Viscount John Gort, was accepted with reservations by Jewish leaders.

Viscount Gort subsequently appointed Sir William Fitzgerald, Chief Justice of Palestine, to investigate the issue and offer a solution. Chief Justice Fitzgerald issued his report on August 28, 1945; it called for dividing Jerusalem into Jewish and Arab boroughs, each with a mayor and council.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

25 years ago: The University of Alberta holds its first Blue Jeans Day in support of sodomy

Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Romans 1:24-32

On March 21, 1990, the University of Alberta held its first annual Blue Jeans Day, when people were supposed to wear blue jeans to express solidarity with sodomite rights activists. A recent similar event at the University of Saskatchewan had resulted in the burning of blue jeans by engineering students.

The day at the U of A probably set a record for the smallest percentage of people wearing blue jeans on campus in many years. I saw one girl, who today would be considered a hate criminal, wearing a t-shirt that read, "Homos don’t tell me what to wear." Many women were wearing skirts, which helped to make the occasion one of the most memorable and enjoyable days in the U of A’s history.

As an aside, this blogger was a participant in a pro-life rally on the University of Alberta campus eight days later as a counter to an appearance on campus by "Dr." Henry Morgentaler, Canada's most infamous abortionist. I noticed that people I'd seen wearing blue jeans in support of sodomite and lesbian rights on March 21 were publicly supporting abortion rights on March 29--and that connection is not a coincidence. Three days before "Dr." Morgentaler's appearance, American pro-life speaker Joseph Scheidler gave a talk at the University of Alberta. This blogger put up a number of posters on campus--in places where permission to put up posters wasn’t required--advertising Mr. Scheidler’s appearance, and within a day all but one of the posters had been torn down; such is the "tolerance" of pro-abortion activists.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Here they go again: Yet another "oldest known human" discovered

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, Romans 1:22

As I said in a previous post, I can't think of any area of so-called "science" that's more characterized by fraud, cover-up, and wild extrapolation based on insufficient evidence than that of man's alleged ancestors (e.g., Nebraska Man; Java Man; Peking Man; Piltdown Man).

Submitted for your approval is the latest discovery, as reported by Malcolm Ritter of Associated Press, March 4, 2015:

NEW YORK — A fragment of jawbone found in Ethiopia is the oldest known fossil from an evolutionary tree branch that eventually led to modern humans, scientist reported Wednesday.

The fossil comes from very close to the time that our branch split away from more ape-like ancestors best known for the fossil skeleton Lucy. So it gives a rare glimpse of what very early members of our branch looked like.

At about 2.8 million years old, the partial jawbone pushes back the fossil record by at least 400,000 years for our branch, which scientists call Homo.

It was found two years ago at a site not far from where Lucy was unearthed. Africa is a hotbed for human ancestor fossils, and scientists from Arizona State University have worked for years at the site in northeast Ethiopia, trying to find fossils from the dimly understood period when the Homo genus, or group, arose.

Our species, called Homo sapiens, is the only surviving member of this group.

The jaw fragment, which includes five teeth, was discovered in pieces one morning by Chalachew Seyoum, an Ethiopian graduate student at Arizona State. He said he spotted a tooth poking out of the ground while looking for fossils.

The discovery is described in a paper released Wednesday by the journal Science.

Arizona State’s William Kimbel, an author of the paper, said it’s not clear whether the fossil came from a known early species of Homo or whether it reveals a new one. Field work is continuing to look for more fossils at the site, said another author, Brian Villmoare of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Analysis indicates the jaw fossil came from one of the earliest populations of Homo, and its age helps narrow the range of possibilities for when the first Homo species appeared, Kimbel said. The fossil dates to as little as 200,000 years after the last known fossil from Lucy’s species.

The fossil is from the left lower jaw of an adult. It combines ancestral features, like a primitive chin shape, with some traits found in later Homo fossils, like teeth that are slimmer than the bulbous molars of Lucy’s ilk.

Despite that mix, experts not involved in the paper said the researchers make a convincing case that the fossil belongs in the Homo category.

And they present good evidence that it came from a creature that was either at the origin of Homo or “within shouting distance,” said Bernard Wood of George Washington University.

The find also bolsters the argument that Homo arose from Lucy’s species rather than a related one, said Susan Anton of New York University.

The new paper’s analysis is first-rate, but the fossil could reveal only a limited amount of information about the creature, said Eric Delson of Lehman College in New York.

“There’s no head, there’s no tools, and no limb bones. So we don’t know if it was walking any differently from Australopithecus afarensis,” which was Lucy’s species, he said.

It’s the first time that anything other than isolated teeth have turned up as a possible trace of Homo from before 2.3 million years ago, he said.

“This fills a gap, but it hasn’t yet given us a complete skeleton. It’s not Lucy,” Delson said. “This is always the problem. We always want more.”

Also on Wednesday, another research team reported in a paper released by the journal Nature that the lower part of the face of Homo habilis, the earliest known member of the Homo branch, was surprisingly primitive. That came from reconstruction of a broken jaw that was found 50 years ago.

The finding means the evolutionary step from the Ethiopian jaw to the jaw of Homo habilis is “not so large,” said an author of the Nature study, Fred Spoor of University College London and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.
Click on the links for the full text of the Science article Deep roots for the genus Homo, and a preview of the Nature article Reconstructed Homo habilis type OH 7 suggests deep-rooted species diversity in early Homo.

Whenever I hear about yet another discovery of a fossil of man's alleged ancestors, I make a point of going beyond the headline, and reading the article to see just how meager the evidence is. The fossil evidence seldom consists of more than part of a jawbone, a few teeth, and maybe a few other bone fragments. I wasn't disappointed when I read the article by Mr. Ritter--the latest findings are just more of the same. When the discoveries turn out to be nothing special, don't expect much coverage of that.

Incomplete human skull found in Israel offers clues to ancient human migration

Evolutionists believe that human life began in Africa, but how about the possibility that life began in the Middle East and branched out from there? In any event, the upper part of an ancient human skull has been found in Israel. As reported by Malcolm Ritterof Associated Press, January 28, 2015:

NEW YORK – Long ago, humans left their evolutionary cradle in Africa and passed through the Middle East on their way to Europe. Now scientists have found the first fossil remains that appear to document that journey, a partial skull from an Israeli cave.

The skull dates from around 55,000 years ago, fitting into the period when scientists had thought the migrants inhabited the area. And details of its anatomy resemble ancient skulls from Europe, Israel Hershkovitz of Tel Aviv University in Israel wrote in an email.

He and others present the finding in a paper released Wednesday by the journal Nature. The skull, which lacks facial features and its base, was found in Manot Cave in the Galilee region of northern Israel.

The migrants are called modern humans because of their anatomy. The earliest remains of modern humans in Europe date to about 45,000 years ago.

Experts not connected with the work were impressed. “This is the first evidence we have of the humans who made this journey,” apart from some ancient tools, said Eric Delson of Lehman College and the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Although finding a fossil that fits so well with what was believed about the ancient migration might be expected, “we didn’t have it before,” he said.

“We could predict theoretically what we would find. They’ve found it. … Up until now, that was a ghost.”

Katerina Harvati of the University of Tuebingin in Germany said the skull gives clues about the anatomy of the migrants. Since Neanderthals were already known to inhabit the area, the skull also documents that they and modern humans co-existed there, as suspected, Harvati said.

That supports the idea that Neanderthals and modern humans interbred there, experts said. Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London wrote in an email that the skull is the first fossil of a modern human from western Asia that is well-dated to the estimated time of the interbreeding, some 50,000 to 60,000 years ago.
Click on the link to see a preview of the Nature article Levantine cranium from Manot Cave (Israel) foreshadows the first European modern humans.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Monkey King is worshipped as a god in eastern China

All who make idols are nothing,
and the things they treasure are worthless.
Those who would speak up for them are blind;
they are ignorant, to their own shame.
Who shapes a god and casts an idol,
which can profit nothing?
People who do that will be put to shame;
such craftsmen are only human beings.
Let them all come together and take their stand;
they will be brought down to terror and shame.

The blacksmith takes a tool
and works with it in the coals;
he shapes an idol with hammers,
he forges it with the might of his arm.
He gets hungry and loses his strength;
he drinks no water and grows faint.
The carpenter measures with a line
and makes an outline with a marker;
he roughs it out with chisels
and marks it with compasses.
He shapes it in human form,
human form in all its glory,
that it may dwell in a shrine.
He cut down cedars,
or perhaps took a cypress or oak.
He let it grow among the trees of the forest,
or planted a pine, and the rain made it grow.
It is used as fuel for burning;
some of it he takes and warms himself,
he kindles a fire and bakes bread.
But he also fashions a god and worships it;
he makes an idol and bows down to it.
Half of the wood he burns in the fire;
over it he prepares his meal,
he roasts his meat and eats his fill.
He also warms himself and says,
“Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.”
From the rest he makes a god, his idol;
he bows down to it and worships.
He prays to it and says,
“Save me! You are my god!”
They know nothing, they understand nothing;
their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see,
and their minds closed so they cannot understand.
Isaiah 44:9-18 (NIV)

As reported by Yao Yuan and Zhang Yizhi of ">Xinhua, February 20, 2015 (bold in original):

FUZHOU, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) - On a downtown street in Fuzhou of east China's Fujian Province, a niche hosts a deity that will both excite and baffle fans of the classical novel Journey to the West.

Clad in golden armor and with a cudgel in hand, the Monkey King, or Qi Tian Da Sheng, quietly stares at the fruit offered by his human followers. A banyan tree at its side is surrounded by burning incense. A banner declares "every prayer will be answered".

Most Chinese associate the Monkey King with the monkey-turned-demon-slayer in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) novel. But here in Fuzhou, it is also a tutelary spirit worshiped at hundreds of temples and outdoor locations.

As most Chinese New Year revellers are busy venerating a ruminant at the start of the Year of the Sheep, the Monkey King is chief among a number of alternative deities popular in Fuzhou.

"[The deities are] like a guardian angel for families. Many Fuzhou families have one -- the God of Illuminating Sky, the Riverside Goddess or the Monkey King," Fuzhou resident Lin Yuemei says.

In Ruyi Hexin Temple on Fuxin Road, another Monkey King statue the size of a child is ready for a grand parade scheduled after the Chinese New Year.

"Fuzhou people call it 'the Parade of Gods', during which the King will patrol the neighborhoods under his administration and bless his people," explains You Xiang, deputy director of the temple's management committee.

Simulating a Chinese emperor's inspection tour, temple workers will carry the statue through several streets banging gongs and lighting firecrackers. Local believers will lay out tables laden with tributes to welcome the King and later join the parade, which will increase to 200 or 300 people at its culmination.

"All tributes to our King must be vegetarian, like fruit, mushrooms and tofu, as he is not only a Taoist god but also a Buddha," You adds.

MYSTERIOUS PAST

Fuzhou, capital of Fujian Province, is known for its many local beliefs -- some neighborhoods even worship a deity of their own. Many of the city's thearchy were local celebrities deified for their charitable or heroic deeds.

One prominent Fuzhou god, "Zhao Tian Jun", or God of Illuminating Sky, was said to be a Taoist monk who used red lanterns to lead residents to escape the city on the eve of a deadly riot. After his death, grateful Fuzhou people built a temple to honor him as a god of peace and safety.

But the origin of the Monkey King belief has many versions: ape worship, a monkey Buddha, a monkey demon converted by a goddess into the heavenly cause -- there are a thousand Monkey Kings in a thousand priests' eyes due to a lack of historical records.

"Unlike those orthodox deities recognized by ancient Chinese governments, our belief relies mostly on story-telling in every temple to pass it on and there are few written descriptions," You says.

One thing is certain: people in Fuzhou were worshipping the Monkey King long before the novel made the character a household name. Historical records suggest the city had a temple for the monkey in the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Some academics say the belief can be traced to the ancient worship of apes.

"Prehistoric Chinese in the mountains worshiped monkeys. The powerful Monkey King figure in the novel met the believers' expectation for an almighty god and made the belief more popular," according to Gan Mantang, a sociology professor at Fuzhou University.

Vague as his identity might be, the monkey god never lacks followers. Belief in the Monkey King has become prominent in Fujian Province, and in Fuzhou, he is worshiped in about 700 to 800 temples, says Zheng Konglin, vice head of Fuzhou's Taoist Association.

In the 1990s, the temple regarded as the Monkey King's "ancestral temple" on Fuzhou's Pingshan Mountain registered 243 offshoot temples, including in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

SURVIVING TIMES

It was not always so. The worship was condemned as "superstitious activity" during China's Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). The ancestral temple of the Monkey King was torched while worshippers from You's temple retreated underground.

"We managed to rescue the monkey head," You says, pointing to a peach-sized head now installed on an ornately dressed statue. "Its body was gone, so we placed it on a tea cup to continue our worship."

The belief began to regain strength in the 1980s: the ancestral temple was rebuilt; Ruyi Hexin Temple resumed the Parade of Gods tradition and has seen increasing participation in recent years.

"Now, more people see it as a part of the culture, rather than superstition," says Zheng Kui, a member of the temple's committee.

The biggest threat now comes from Fuzhou's rapid urbanization and the demolition of old neighborhoods.

Many local beliefs are community-based. When the old neighborhoods were demolished and their residents relocated, the temples lost attendance.

The original Ruyi Hexin Temple and its neighborhood were demolished by the city government in 2007. The new venue built to house the celestial monkey is small and cramped, but You still felt lucky as they were resettled close to the parish.

"After all, the King still lives with his people. Many temples have been relocated far from the original sites."

Ancient religious beliefs and practices persist among China's officially atheistic Communist leaders

As reported by Lu Chen of The Epoch Times, May 16, 2014:

It was par for the course that Li Chuncheng, the former deputy Party Secretary of Sichuan Province, would have been accused of "using his official position to gain benefits for others," as well as "accepting huge bribes." But what about "abusing his position to engage in feudal superstitious activities"?

That rare accusation was made public recently in the announcement of the official political takedown of Li, a top provincial Party official and ally to the former security czar Zhou Yongkang.

The charges, made by the Central Discipline and Inspection Commission last month, threw an unwelcome spotlight on a problem that, officially, should not exist: supposedly atheist communist Party officials engaging in "superstitious" beliefs and practices that the Party all but stamped out over decades of furious political campaigns.

Stories abound in Chines media of officials hiring Taoist masters to perform exorcisms, conduct spiritual ceremonies, or hold fortune-telling sessions. Li Chuncheng was said to be obsessed with such activities.

A favourite among communist cadres is hiring masters of feng shui, the ancient Chinese practice of geomancy, to orient buildings in favourable ways. Sometimes the construction of government offices in accordance with these principles can cost the taxpayer dearly.

Li once spent more than 10 million yuan (C $1.8 million) to hire a feng shui master to perform a ceremony to save the souls of the dead, when he relocated his ancestors' tombs. The money consisted of government funds and money he received in bribes, according to the Chinese media Caixin.

Li also hired Taoists to perform exorcisms after a series of accidents happened at a building project in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, according to China Business News.

In China's political circles, officials obsessed with fortune-telling and using feng shui are not a minority: promotions, political power, and money are all on the line.

A report by Cheng Ping, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Governance, shows that more than half of the 900 county-level civil servants working for the government believe in face reading, fortune-telling, astrology, and feng shui, according to party mouthpiece Xinhua News.

The abundance of these activities is ironic given how the Communist Party has always strictly upheld atheism, and prohibited Party members from being involved in any religion.

"A Communist Party member is not a regular citizen, but a member of the Marxist Party, an absolute atheist. Communist Party members can not have religious beliefs and cannot participate in any religious activities. Whoever insists on doing so without changing his attitude must quit the party," says the regime's United Front Work Department on its website outlining the rules for Party members.

But Chinese traditional beliefs, including Buddhism and Taoism, have been part of China's folk traditions for thousands of years--far longer than the party's mere 65 years of rule.

Campaigns like the Great Cultural Revolution, that lasted from 1966 to 1976, sought in an unprecedented way to completely eradicate religion and traditional practices in China. Party leader Mao Zedong called for destroying the "Four Olds," referring to "old ideas, old culture, old customs, and old habits." Numerous temples, statues, and religious books were violently destroyed.

A political mobilization of similar fereocity struck China in 1999 under the leadership of Jiang Zemin, the Party chief at the time, as he sought to eradicate the practice of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline rooted in China's ancient traditions.
And as reported by Lu Chen in The Epoch Times, February 5, 2015:

...According to a Feb. 4 commentary published in regime mouthpiece People’s Daily, some communist leaders “consult neither Marx nor Lenin, but instead various ‘masters'” when they face challenges in their lives and careers.

The article criticized Party functionaries for seeking their solutions in the supernatural, accusing them of “confused faith and demoralized spirit.”

“Such phenomena cannot be ignored. Some leaders and cadres are obsessed with burning incense, prayers, and engaging in Feng Shui. Their offices are littered with ‘auspicious stones’ and piles of fortune beads.”

Feng Shui, also known as geomancy, is the ancient tradition of orienting objects such as buildings, furniture, or plants in a spiritually harmonious or auspicious manner.

Though the Communist Party promotes atheism and materialism through state propaganda and education, “superstitious” activities are commonplace in the Party itself.

Li Chuncheng, disgraced former deputy Party head of Sichuan Province, spent tens of millions in public funds to have a Daoist master hold an exorcism for him, according to a report by regime mouthpiece Xinhua.

Zhou Yongkang, who formerly headed China’s vast internal security forces, had his own personal Feng Shui master, Cao Yongzheng, who was also his “most trusted man,” according to the mainland Chinese magazine Caixin. Zhou is now under official investigation, allegedly for corruption and misuse use of power.

Other officials consult experts to help them determine the lucky days on which to begin and conclude their projects.

The Communist Party bars its officials from holding religious beliefs.

“Such superstitious trends have long been denounced,” reads the People’s Daily commentary. “Party cadres ought to be clear on matters of faith.”

The rampant practice of so-called superstitious activity in the communist elite reflects the emptiness of Marxist ideology, according to political commentator Zhang Dongyuan, speaking to the Epoch Times.

After dozens of years of atheist propaganda and indoctrination, not only did the people refuse to abandon their faith, but huge damage was wrought upon traditional Chinese society and culture, Zhang said. Chinese officials profess the tenets of Marxism-Leninism only to advance their careers, but few if any have true faith in communism.

“It’s failed completely,” Zhang said.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Shirley MacLaine's New Age views on the Holocaust and disability provoke outrage in Britain

And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? Have not I the LORD? Exodus 4:11

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: Hebrews 9:27

As reported by Sam Creighton of the London Daily Mail, February 12, 2015:

Her bizarre New Age views on topics such as reincarnation and UFOs have often left the public baffled.

Now Shirley MacLaine has provoked widespread fury by claiming the victims of the Holocaust may have brought their fate upon themselves.

The veteran Hollywood actress suggests the six million Jews and millions of others systematically murdered in Hitler’s death camps in the 1940s were ‘balancing their karma’ for crimes committed in past lives.

She also suggests that cosmologist Professor Stephen Hawking may have subconsciously given himself his debilitating motor neurone disease.

Miss MacLaine’s comments, in a recently published book, were attacked last night by Jewish campaigners and other activists as offensive and wrong.

In her memoir, the 80-year-old, who won an Oscar for Terms Of Endearment, writes: ‘What if most Holocaust victims were balancing their karma from ages before, when they were Roman soldiers putting Christians to death, the Crusaders who murdered millions in the name of Christianity, soldiers with Hannibal, or those who stormed across the Near East with Alexander? The energy of killing is endless and will be experienced by the killer and the killee.’

A spokesman for the Community Security Trust, which campaigns against anti-Semitism, said: ‘The first impressions are that these comments will offend and bemuse many Jews – and many other people too.’

In her book What If..., Miss MacLaine, who was raised a Baptist but is well known for her unconventional views on reincarnation and alien life, suggests Professor Hawking had subconsciously brought his crippling medical condition on himself.

She says he may have created his illness in order to ‘free his mind’ from the needs of his body, so he could focus completely on his scientific research.

Miss MacLaine, who has previously insisted that she lived on Atlantis in an earlier life, claims to be friends with the scientist, whose life inspired the award-winning film The Theory Of Everything, starring Eddie Redmayne.

Her book – subtitled A Lifetime Of Questions, Speculations, Reasonable Guesses And A Few Things I Know For Sure – poses the question: ‘Did he “create” the disease that has crippled him in order to learn to be dependent on caregivers and the kindness of strangers so that he could free his entire mind to the pursuit of knowledge?

‘Did he “create” the disease that has crippled him?' asks Miss MacLaine of the disabled cosmologist Stephen Hawking, pictured with Eddie Redmayne

‘What if he inadvertently chose to set an example of himself to show the rest of us that cosmic travel and universal understanding are available, regardless of one’s physical condition or circumstance?

'If Jesus chose to die in a state of martyrdom, then Stephen Hawking could just as readily have chosen to live in a dual state of being: visibly physical weakness and unseen knowledge and power. What if all reality is an illusion?’

Her views were branded ‘utterly ridiculous’ by disability charity Scope, while a spokesman for Disability Rights UK added: ‘She obviously has some very confused ideas that a lot of disabled people will be baffled by.

'It’s completely wrong to say people choose their disabilities, especially Professor Stephen Hawking, who has a genetic condition.’

Miss MacLaine, who played Lady Grantham’s American mother in Downton Abbey, writes that she is recognised more for her part in the ITV drama than for any of her film roles.

She also suggests that she felt so at home on the set because she may have lived in the 1920s during a past life.

Representatives for Miss MacLaine declined to comment last night.
Miss MacLaine's comments are indeed "utterly ridiculous," but all she's saying is what New Agers believe, so it comes as no surprise to this blogger to see her expressing such opinions. It's been my experience that if you talk with a hardcore New Ager about Adolf Hitler and the Jews and you can keep the conversation going long enough, eventually, the New Ager will end up defending Mr. Hitler and blaming the Jews. 23 years ago, a knowledgeable brother in Christ and I had a conversation with a New Ager (let's call him "Miles") who told us that we all create our own reality in our imaginations, and when the subject of Adolf Hitler and the Jews came up, Miles followed that logic said that the Jews created their situation for themselves (I have it on good authority that shortly thereafter, Miles was found unconscious in his truck because, for some reason, he created a reality in his imagination in which he accidentally hit his head on the top of the doorway and knocked himself out).

While the Bible teaches that the world we inhabit is real--although fallen--Hinduism teaches that the world is illusory. Reincarnation in Eastern religion is a form of punishment in which the individual suffers the punishment for sins committed in previous lives. Karma is the enforcement of the law against one's sins from previous lives, and no one can interfere with that. This explains why Hinduism in India produces indifference toward suffering; those who are suffering are getting exactly what they deserve, and to interfere with that by alleviating suffering is to interfere with one's karma. Not only are you not supposed to interfere with karma by alleviating suffering, you're not even supposed to notice such things as disability, poverty, or filth.

I have to take issue with Miss MacLaine's statement that Jesus "chose to die in a state of martyrdom." He didn't die as a martyr, but as the Saviour, shedding His blood--innocent, sinless blood--on the cross as an offering to satisfy His Father's conditions for payment of the penalty for man's sin. He wasn't reincarnated, but resurrected from the dead. The Lord Jesus Christ is God Incarnate, not reincarnate.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
Romans 3:23-25

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: I Peter 3:18

And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. I John 2:2

And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. I John 4:14

Monday, February 9, 2015

Peruvian paganism proves fatal for Canadian woman

For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
II Timothy 3:6-7

As reported by Betty Ann Adam of the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, February 5, 2015:

A Saskatoon woman who died in the Peruvian jungle after drinking a nicotine-based tea during a spiritual ceremony was "a seeker" who had travelled extensively on a spiritual quest, her mother said.

Jennifer Joy Logan, 32, died Jan. 17 at a retreat centre in the rainforest about two hours outside of Puerto Maldonado in southeastern Peru, said her mother, Berdeena Logan.

According to the Canto Luz centre's website, it offers retreats and ceremonies using ayahuasca, which Wikipedia describes as "a psychedelic brew made out of Banisteriopsis caapi vine in combination with various plants," and which is used for "divinatory and healing purposes by the native peoples of Amazonian Peru."

Participants purge before consuming that brew.

Police have not concluded their investigation.

Berdeena Logan said she and Jennifer's sister, Amy Logan, went to Puerto Maldonado and met with people from the Canto Luz centre who were present during the incident and who are devastated, Berdeena said.

"She had a drink and it was a nicotine-based tea for purging for a spiritual ceremony. She was vomiting, which was to be expected, and then she started convulsing and went unconscious," she said.

The shaman assistants she spoke to said they performed CPR, but they were two hours away from medical help. They used a motorcycle to transport her but she died en route to Puerto Maldonado, Logan said.

"This has never happened to them. They were good people but something terrible, terribly went wrong." An autopsy found Jennifer died from a pulmonary edema.

Berdeena's nephew, who speaks Spanish, joined her and Amy in Peru for three days. The family had difficulty obtaining permission to bring Jennifer's remains back to Canada. Authorities wanted to keep the body in Peru for a year as physical proof in a murder investigation and then exhume her if necessary, Logan said.

"It was a very intense experience ... We just had countless hurdles. And then the embassy stepped in at that point and really came through for us so we could bring her ashes home. We did what we had to do and we brought her home."

Jennifer graduated from Aden Bowman high school and held a bachelor's degree in geography and international studies from the University of Winnipeg and a master's degree in geography from York University.

According to her obituary, she travelled and worked with trafficked women and girls in Nepal, worked on housing issues while attending university and, as chair of World University Services of Canada, worked to provide scholarships for people in refugee camps and then befriended and mentored them when they arrived in Canada.

She travelled in Canada, Tibet, Thailand, Europe, India and Saudi Arabia. "She had done a lot of things. She had been in India for a couple of years and she had been in ashrams in silent meditation and had taken yoga for several weeks up in the mountains in India," her mother said.

"She was a seeker and a searcher always. She was so committed to making a difference. This offered indigenous plants, you could go in the jungle and (there was) naturopathic healing. But she was a very healthy person. This was just in pursuit of knowledge, natural."

Her father, Fraser Logan said, "She liked to investigate things like that, just had no prejudices, formed her own opinions as she went along."
When I read this article, it reminds me of my favourite episode of the television series Dragnet '67, The LSD Story. Near the end, Joe Friday enters a crash pad and finds two male hippies. One of them is sitting against a wall, and his friend says, "He's been like that all day; he wanted to get really far out." Sgt. Friday replies, "He made it; he's dead." (Dum-da-dum-dum)

Unfortunately, this young woman's spiritual quest led her to look for the truth everywhere except the only real source of truth, the Lord Jesus Christ:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6

Sunday, February 8, 2015

10 years ago: Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas declare a cease-fire

'Peace, peace,' they say,
when there is no peace.
Jeremiah 6:14b (NIV)

On February 8, 2005, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, meeting in the Egyptian resort of Sharm al-Sheikh, declared a truce to end four years of violence. Mr. Abbas said that the cease-fire, which began immediately, would lead to a "new era of peace and hope;" Mr. Sharon vowed to cease military action against Palestinian targets after terrorist groups halted violence. The talks between the two Middle Eastern leaders included agreements on the release of Palestinian prisoners and the handover of five West Bank towns to Palestinian control. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the agreement was the best chance for peace in years.

Messrs. Sharon and Abbas didn't sign a formal cease-fire agreement, which is just as well, since the "new era of peace and hope" didn't last, and there won't be permanent peace until the return of the Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
Isaiah 9:6-7

Friday, February 6, 2015

Supreme Court of Canada strikes down ban on assisted suicide

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: Deuteronomy 30:19

For whoso findeth me [wisdom] findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord.
But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.
Proverbs 8:35-36

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, Romans 1:22

The Nazification of Trudeaupia--still officially known as Canada--"progresses," as reported by Bruce Cheadle of Canadian Press, February 6, 2015:

OTTAWA -- The Supreme Court of Canada shifted the goalposts Friday on one of the most fundamental of human laws.

In a charter precedent that will go down in the history books as Carter vs. Canada, the court unanimously struck down the ban on providing a doctor-assisted death to mentally competent but suffering and "irremediable" patients.

The emphatic, unanimous ruling prompted tears of joy and frustration on both sides of the debate, reverberated through provincial health ministries and doctor's offices across Canada, and left skittish federal parliamentarians groping for time to digest the implications.

Kay Carter said she did not want to end up 'an ironing board on a bed' and was terrified of 'dying inch by inch.' Carter travelled to a clinic in Switzerland years ago to drink a toxic dose of sodium pentobarbital and end her life.

"The prohibition on physician-assisted dying infringes on the right to life, liberty and security of the person in a manner that is not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice," the nine justices flatly asserted.

The judgment -- left unsigned to reflect the unanimous institutional weight of the court -- gives Parliament a year to draft new legislation that recognizes the right of clearly consenting adults who are enduring intolerable physical or mental suffering to seek medical help in ending their lives.

It does not limit physician-assisted death to those suffering a terminal illness.

And to put an exclamation mark on the ruling, the court awarded special costs against the government of Canada for the entire five-year course of the litigation, less 10 per cent to be paid by the government of British Columbia.

The court suspended its judgment for 12 months, during which the current law continues to apply, placing enormous pressure on Parliament to act in what is an election year.

At least six reform bills on right-to-die issues have been defeated over the past two decades and the Conservative government of Stephen Harper insisted last fall that it would not support changing the status quo.

The political toxicity of the issue was immediately apparent Friday: Not a single MP asked the government a question about the decision during question period, despite the presence of Justice Minister Peter MacKay in the House.

"This is a sensitive issue for many Canadians, with deeply held beliefs on both sides," MacKay said in a subsequent release.

"We will study the decision and ensure all perspectives on this difficult issue are heard."

For the families of Gloria Taylor and Kay Carter, two now-deceased women who originally sought a B.C. court's help to end their suffering, it was an unqualified victory.

Lee Carter, who accompanied her 89-year-old mother to Switzerland to legally end a life ravaged by debilitating disease, raised a bouquet of flowers to the heavens in the Supreme Court lobby as she tearfully recalled her mother's legacy.

"Justice, dignity and compassion were the defining qualities of my mother," Carter, flanked by her family, told a crush of reporters.

"We just felt that it was a fundamental right for Canadians that they should have this choice."

A few steps away, Taylor Hyatt of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition said the Supreme Court has abandoned the disabled, even though the judgment insists the most vulnerable can be protected.

"The ruling actually wants people with disabilities to end their lives when they believe their suffering, and the condition doesn't have to be terminal," said a distraught Hyatt.

"From my point of view, all legal protection has been stripped."

Others objected on religious grounds.

"The court has ruled that in some circumstances the killing of a person will be legal," said the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. "Euthanasia has come to Canada."

The decision reverses the top court's 1993 ruling in the case of Sue Rodriguez, a fact the decision attributes to changing jurisprudence and an altered social landscape.

Two decades ago, the court was concerned that vulnerable persons could not be properly protected under physician-assisted suicide, even though courts recognized the existing law infringed a person's rights.

But the experience of existing jurisdictions that permit doctor-assisted dying compelled the courts to examine the record.

"An individual's response to a grievous and irremediable medical condition is a matter critical to their dignity and autonomy," says the judgment.

"The law allows people in this situation to request palliative sedation, refuse artificial nutrition and hydration, or request the removal of life-sustaining medical equipment, but denies the right to request a physician's assistance in dying."

The 69-page judgment avoids the term "suicide" throughout, using instead the less morally freighted "death" and "dying."

The court also weighed in on the "existential formulation" of right to life, which it said is not the same as a "duty to live." Imposing a duty to live, said the court, "would call into question the legality of any consent to the withdrawal or refusal of lifesaving or life-sustaining treatment."

The nine Supreme Court justices also noted that when their court struck down the country's prostitution laws in 2013, it recognized that the legal conception of "gross disproportionality" has changed since the Rodriguez decision.

The court agreed with the trial judge "that a permissive regime with properly designed and administered safeguards was capable of protecting vulnerable people from abuse and error.

"While there are risks, to be sure, a carefully designed and managed system is capable of adequately addressing them."

That is now Parliament's task, while Canadians watch and prepare to go to the polls within the next eight months.
Go here to see the full text of the judgment.

The Supreme Court of Canada, which in 1988 struck down Canada's law restricting abortion, once again proves itself to be an active agent of evil. The court is right on one thing, though: their ruling is based in large part on the changing view of Canadian society on the subject of euthanasia, and that's true. Trudeaupia was becoming a pro-death country at the time of the ruling in the Sue Rodriguez case in 1993, and it's much more so in 2015. The Supreme Court "justices" are reflecting the godless direction of the society around them and inventing a legal rationalization to justify it.

As for any new law that may be enacted subsequent to Carter vs. Canada, I suspect that it will be a compromise that will satisfy few people (maybe no people), and won't have the effect of saving any lives. Since the Supreme Court ruling in 1988, there has been no law at all on abortion; I think Canada and North Korea may be the only countries in the world to boast that distinction. The Progressive Conservative government of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney devised a compromise bill that would have had no real effect in limiting abortion; it passed in the House of Commons, but died on a tie vote in the Senate in 1991. The last thing Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants, especially in a year when an election is likely, is to have to tackle a moral issue. Mr. Harper has made it clear to his own "Conservative" caucus that he doesn't want any change to the the status quo on abortion, and the same is likely to be true on the issue of euthanasia. Mr. Harper can't run fast enough or far enough from moral issues, yet the typical easily-duped Canadian evangelical pastor thinks--erroneously, in my view--that Mr. Harper is a fine Christian.

The "progressive" elements who hold sway in Trudeaupia are deluded into thinking that the society is "moving forward," when actually, the latest Supreme Court ruling shows that it's moving backward into ancient paganism, in the days before Hippocrates in the 5th century B.C., when the doctor was as likely to kill as to heal. The following passage from the Hippocratic Oath was a revolutionary statement:

Nor shall any man's entreaty prevail upon me to administer poison to anyone; neither will I counsel any man to do so. Moreover, I will get no sort of medicine to any pregnant woman, with a view to destroy the child.

Far from "progressing," Trudeaupia is a society that is well along the road to collapse. The legalization of abortion and euthanasia and the promotion of sodomy aren't indications that the judgment of God is coming on the country, but indications that the judgment of God upon Canada is already under way. God has been all but officially banned from this country--despite the preamble to the Constitution Act, 1982, that mentions the supremacy of God--but He will have the last word.

One of the marks of a society in collapse is the Orwellian use of language. The Supreme Court of Canada's Carter vs. Canada judgment is a good example: death is a right, but life isn't, while suicide, the issue that is actually the subject of the court case, isn't even referred to as such in the ruling.

The Supreme Court "justices" seem to be completely ignorant of history, and seem to be completely unaware of what happened in Germany from 1920-1945. The slaughter of millions of people under the Nazi regime didn't begin with Adolf Hitler's coming to power in 1933; it began with a short book by a law professor and a psychiatry professor in 1920. The University of Minnesota Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies provides a concise review of The Release of the Destruction of Life Devoid of Value (Life Unworthy of Life). Its measurement and form by Karl Binding and Alfred Hoche:

The little booklet only including 60 pages and first published in 1920, was of an outstanding importance for the discussion of "euthanasia", even after the beginning of the "Third Reich". With his juridical arguments in support of the killing of "life devoid of value", which clearly opposed all preceding positions, Prof. Dr. jur. Dr. phil. Karl Binding (1841-1920), a highly respected penal law expert, triggered off an avalanche. In his part of the booklet, Dr. med. Alfred Hoche, a professor in psychiatry from Freiburg, provided a cost-benefit analysis regarding psychiatric care and described sick and disabled people as "people with deficits", "elements of minor value" ,"mentally dead" and "ballast existences" .On the basis of a regulated procedure of applications and after the examination by a commission consisting of two physicians and a legal practitioner, both authors requested the painless killing of "incurably" sick persons against their will. They especially referred to inmates of "fools homes" and to cases without hope in "mental homes".

After the publication of the paper, the statements of both authors raised a broad opposition (thus Ewald Meltzer in his reply dated 1922); however, since the commencement of the worldwide depression, their ideas found more and more followers. The Nazi policy of extermination clearly referred to the explanations of Binding and Hoche.
The famous artcle Medical Science Under Dictatorship by Dr. Leo Alexander in the New England Journal of Medicine, July 14, 1949, explains how the acceptance of euthanasia in Germany in the early 1920s produced genocide within 20 years. When Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, he broadened policies and practices that were already in place.

According to the Supreme Court of Canada, "a permissive regime with properly designed and administered safeguards was capable of protecting vulnerable people from abuse and error.

"While there are risks, to be sure, a carefully designed and managed system is capable of adequately addressing them."

It's apparent from the above statement that the Supreme Court of Canada have read Drs. Binding and Hoche's book, Dr. Alexander's article, or any other history of the origin of the Nazi euthanasia program. I've read an English translation of the Binding-Hoche book, and what surprised me about it--besides its shortness--was that the authors weren't calling for large-scale slaughter of those whom they regarded as defective. For example, if a person was mentally retarded but happy, he wasn't to be killed. The authors called for strict regulation and proper protocols to be followed, and seriously believed that euthanasia could be controlled. However, as Dr. Alexander and others have pointed out, the definition of who qualified for euthanasia became broader and broader, and eventually included millions of Jews.

I don't share the Supreme Court's optimism about safeguards, given the history of Germany in the first half of the 20th century, and Belgium and the Netherlands in recent years. In the Netherlands, for example, the legalization of voluntary euthanasia has led to an increase in the number of people being put to death without their consent (and it's ironic that Dutch physicians, while under the oppression of Nazi occupation during World War II, refused to enact the Nazis' euthanasia policies, while current Dutch physicians are voluntarily performing euthanasia).

The Canadian Press article notes that the Supreme Court doesn't limit euthanasia to people who are terminally ill. We're now in Jack Kevorkian territory; many of the people "Dr." Kevorkian killed weren't terminally ill, but merely unhappy.

As for a "right" to assisted suicide, doesn't that entail a duty to provide the assistance? What if a Christian doctor objects on biblical grounds to performing euthanasia? Will he be threatened with loss of his medical license if he refuses to respect the patient's "right?" "Freedom of conscience and religion" are the first "fundamental freedoms" mentioned in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but those freedoms are increasingly under attack in Trudeaupia. If fundamental freedoms of conscience and religion come up against a "right" to assisted suicide, which rights will prevail?

The way things are going in Trudeaupia, this may turn out to be a moot point by the time any such case ends up in court, because if the medical profession follows the lead of several provincial law societies, there won't be any Christian doctors, as anyone who expresses less than 100% approval of the activist homosexual agenda will likely be barred from entering the profession (this is a subject for another post, if I ever get around to doing it).

Another thing to watch out for is the probability of euthanasia becoming a preferable option to long-term and palliative care. In a country with an aging population and rising health care costs, it will be difficult to avoid the temptation to kill someone with a shot instead of letting the processes of aging and dying take their courses. This is already a possibility or reality in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. I especially recommend 'Father of Palliative Care' Slams Quebec Euthanasia Bill, reported by Justina Reichel in The Epoch Times, February 12, 2014, which includes the following excerpt:

Longtime anti-euthanasia activist Alex Schadenberg, international chair of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, says Quebec should take heed of the example of legalized euthanasia in other countries—particularly Belgium, whose legislation Bill 52 is modeled after.

A problem emerging in Belgium, says Schadenberg, is that the definition of “psychological pain” is difficult to define and ever-expanding. Patients who opted for assisted death have included a woman going blind and another with chronic depression.

Belgium is now considering widening the law to include children with disabilities and people with dementia.

“Over time they keep extending it,” he says. “People are asking for it out of fear or other reasons.”

Since Belgium legalized euthanasia in 2002, statistics show that medically assisted deaths have consistently risen. The number of reported assisted deaths rose from 954 in 2010 to 1,432 in 2012, representing 2 percent of all deaths in the country.

A 2010 study of the Flanders region of Belgium published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that 32 percent of assisted deaths were carried out without patient request and 47 percent went unreported.
Click on the link for full text of the article Physician-assisted deaths under the euthanasia law in Belgium: a population-based survey by Kenneth Chambaere, Johan Bilsen, Bregje D. Onwuteaka-Philipsen, Freddy Mortier, and Luc Deliens, published in Canadian Medical Association Journal, Vol. 182 No. 9, June 15, 2010, pp. 895-901.

This blogger is the son of a judge, and I'll vouch for my late father's wisdom, but it may surprise some readers to find that not all those who wear the robes of the judiciary are wise. To dispel any such misconceptions, I recommend another book: Hitler's Justice: The Courts of the Third Reich by Ingo Müller, published in 1991. Mr. Müller points out that not only did the Nazis have the law on their side, but the Nazis were strongly supported by German lawyers, judges, and law professors. It's been a few years since I read the book, but if I recall correctly, Mr. Müller found only one example of a judge who dared to resist the Nazi regime. This judge, whose name I forget, was from Bremen, and refused to implement Nazi laws. One might think that he would have been executed or imprisoned, but his punishment consisted merely of being forced into early retirement on a full pension.

Just one question, Chief: Why do countries such as Canada, Belgium, and the Netherlands still view the Nazis as villains when these countries are increasingly adopting the Nazis' policies?

February 9, 2015 update: Andrew Coyne of the National Post has a good column on the judgment, dated February 6, 2015. I'm not a great admirer of former pastor and former politician Stockwell Day, but I agree with his comments on the Supreme Court of Canada, in an interview with Jen Gerson of the National Post, February 8, 2015.

February 15, 2015 update: Dr. Paul Saba of Lachine, Quebec, co-president of the Coalition of Physicians for Social Justice, has written a column titled Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: The Supreme Court Makes a Medical Error in Judgment, from The Epoch Times, February 11, 2015, which includes the following excerpt:

A Motion for Declaratory Judgment was filed in the Superior Court of Montreal on May 27, 2014, to challenge articles in the Quebec proposed Bill 52 pertaining to euthanasia. Lisa D’Amico, who is a handicapped person, and I are co-plaintiffs in the case.

This motion is instituted against the Attorney General of Quebec and also impleads the Attorney General of Canada. It seeks to obtain a declaration to the effect that it is not possible in Quebec for patients to provide free and informed consent to euthanasia due to their vulnerability, which is exacerbated by a lack of resources in the health care system, and because of their medical condition and the lack of universal access to palliative care for all persons who require such care, particularly to diminish suffering.

According to the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians, euthanasia is an act consisting of deliberately causing the death of another person in order to put an end to suffering. Palliative care does not include the practice of euthanasia.

Appropriate palliative care is not offered uniformly on the whole in the Quebec territory or in all hospitals, and is only available at a rate of 20-60 percent depending on the region (Commission spéciale sur la question de mourir dans la dignité, March 2012, page 26). A majority of patients do not therefore have access to palliative care and will not be in a position to make a choice that would truly be free and informed...

...Since the Supreme Court of Canada has opened the door for allowing the euthanasia of our most vulnerable citizens, we are continuing our motion in the Superior Court of Montreal to have Bill 52 declared invalid.

We are also calling on the Canadian Parliament, which is the ultimate legislative branch of our country, to defend the most vulnerable of its citizens and not to allow the assisted suicide or euthanasia of its citizens.

Defrocked Roman Catholic priest is sentenced to 19 years in prison for sexual abuse of Inuit children in Nunavut

The reader will notice that the Oblates allowed this degenerate to live in homes maintained by the order despite an international warrant for his arrest. As reported by Canadian Press, February 5, 2015:

IQALUIT, Nunavut—A defrocked Arctic priest was sentenced to 19 years in prison for dozens of horrendous sex offences against Inuit children, while his victims received a plea from the sentencing judge.

“Your anger must be put aside,” Justice Robert Kilpatrick told the victims of Eric Dejaeger in his written decision released Wednesday. “Your trust in others must be restored. You must learn to rely on the good around you.

“Despite what has happened to you, there is still much good in people.”

Dejaeger’s acts took place 35 years ago in the remote Nunavut community of Igloolik where he was an Oblate missionary. The details of the 32 convictions are so appalling, Kilpatrick’s sentencing judgment comes with a warning of graphic content.

His crimes, committed between 1978 and 1982, included indecent assault, unlawful confinement, buggery, unlawful sexual intercourse and bestiality.

The victims include 12 boys, 10 girls and one dog. Most were between the ages of eight and 12, although they could have been as young as four and as old as 18.

Many testified at trial that Dejaeger, now 67, trapped them into sex by threatening them with hellfire or separation from their families if they told. Sometimes he dangled food in front of hungry children as a lure.

During victims impact statements, witnesses described permanent mental and physical scars.

One man said that the smell of moldy wood still takes him back to the mission’s boiler room where Dejaeger raped him. A woman told court she blames Dejaeger for the scars that have been diagnosed on her womb. Many spoke of lingering anger and depression and of attempts to flee those feelings through booze and drugs.

Kilpatrick wrote that such damage calls out for a harsh sentence—especially in a territory where high rates of sexual abuse blight many lives.

“An exemplary sentence is needed to reflect not only the high moral blameworthiness associated with the crimes, but to denounce and deter sexual offences against children and adolescents in Nunavut,” he wrote.

“Your selfishness has devastated a generation of young Roman Catholic parishioners in Igloolik,” he wrote. “For many victims, the commission of your offence has marked the end of living and the beginning of their survival.”

Dejaeger received eight years worth of credit for time served and will spend no more than 11 years in jail for these offences. Although his lawyer told the judge that his client feared dying in prison, Kilpatrick said Corrections Canada is capable of dealing with Dejaeger’s health concerns.

Dejaeger has already served one five-year sentence on 11 counts of assaulting children in Baker Lake, Nunavut. In 1995, after he had served that sentence, he learned RCMP were about to charge him with the Igloolik offences and fled to his native Belgium.

Oblate officials have acknowledged that they knew Dejaeger was about to depart. Dejaeger testified Canadian justice officials told him the easiest thing would be for him to quietly leave.

For 16 years, he lived in homes maintained by the Oblates despite an international warrant for his arrest. Eventually, journalists revealed he was living in Belgium. He was returned to Canada in 2011.

He still faces four sex abuse counts in Edmonton.

Lutheran pastor in Edmonton resigns just before being arrested on child pornography charges

A backlog item:

As reported by Brett Wittmeier of the Edmonton Journal, October 17, 2014:

An Edmonton pastor has been charged with possessing child pornography following an investigation that began with a complaint to a church official.

Richard John Docekal, 58, was pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church — located at 13850 119A St. — in early September, when an individual brought allegations of child pornography to Don Schiemann, a regional president of the Lutheran Church-Canada.

Schiemann passed the complaint on to police the next day. The Internet child exploitation unit of the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT) opened a month-long investigation.

Docekal was arrested on Oct. 9 and charged with possession and distribution of child pornography. ALERT’s forensic teams are currently analyzing a significant number of electronic devices seized from Docekal’s home.

Police seized dozens of manual drawings depicting sexual assaults against children, said Sgt. Mike Lokken. There is no evidence that any sexual contact was made with any children.

“They were depicting some pretty horrific stuff in these images,” Lokken said. “Anybody that’s attracted to this material, it’s disturbing.”

According to a biography on an archived version of his former church’s website, Docekal had been pastor at the Carlisle neighbourhood church since 2007. The American-born pastor graduated from a Lutheran seminary in Fort Wayne, Ind., in 1994 and pastored in Oklahoma and Ohio before coming to Edmonton in 2001, gaining Canadian citizenship in 2007. Initially, he was a regional vacancy and supply pastor for the Lutheran Church-Canada.

According to his denomination’s website, he also served as chaplain of Faith Lutheran School in northeast Edmonton.

The Winnipeg-based Lutheran denomination released a statement Friday. Docekal officially resigned from the church and denomination on Oct. 2, a day after a meeting with Schiemann about non-criminal activities that were part of the complaint, which were “of concern regarding his role as a pastor.”

The denomination is co-operating with the authorities and Schiemann will provide pastoral care to Docekal’s former church...

...Docekal also worked with the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, the Lutheran Layman’s League and the Good Samaritan Society. He spoke as a guest speaker about problems with cohabitation at the 2011 Getting Real About Sexuality conference at the Concordia University College of Alberta.
As reported by Caley Ramsay of Global News, October 17, 2014:

EDMONTON — A 58-year-old church pastor, who has been charged with possession and distribution of child pornography, says the charges are not what they seem.

“I would never harm anybody. I have never harmed anybody,” Richard John Docekal told Global News Friday.

Docekal, who is from Edmonton, was arrested and charged on Oct. 9 after a tip from the public sparked an investigation in early September.

Docekal was a senior pastor with All Saints Lutheran Church in Edmonton at the time of the alleged offences. But in a post dated October 6, 2014 on the Lutheran Church Canada website, Docekal resigned as pastor from the clergy roster.

Police say the charges relate to dozens of cartoon-like drawings of children, some depicting “horrific sexual assaults.”

Sgt. Mike Lokken, a member of the Internet Child Exploitation unit, said it’s not alleged the pastor made the drawings but did possess and distribute them.

“The charges stem around something that happened about two years ago … There’s no indication at this time that there were any contact offences.”

On Friday, Docekal spoke to Global News about the arrest, saying police seized drawing from him, which he described as fiction and art.

“I am not a predator,” he said. “I’m not a danger to anyone.”

Investigators say they have not yet found any photos or videos and they don’t believe Docekal created any child porn. However, they are not calling the drawings art.

“I would say it’s fair to say dozens of pictures,” said Lokken. “I can say that they’re not just children posing naked. It does depict sexual assaults of children.”

Lokken said officers have searched Docekal’s home and seized computer and mobile devices.

“We’re doing forensic analysis of those devices and that’s ongoing. We haven’t determined whether there will be any more charges...”

...A biography posted on the ZoomInfo website says “Rich” Docekal was installed as the senior pastor at All Saints in July 2007, shortly after he became a joint U.S.-Canadian citizen. He graduated from theological school in Indiana in 1994 before serving in parishes in Oklahoma, Missouri and Ohio.

He moved to Edmonton in 2001 and filled church vacancies in the region, including one in Fort McMurray. He is also listed as working with the Good Samaritan Society.

The biography adds that Docekal, along with his wife and daughter, “live the idyllic Canadian dream in Edmonton.”

Docekal has been released and is to appear in court Oct. 31.

Anyone who may have more information about this case is asked to contact police, Crime Stoppers or Cypertip.ca.
Lutheran Church-Canada issued the folowing statement on October 17, 2014:

EDMONTON – On Friday, October 17 the Alberta Integrated Child Exploitation Unit announced that Rev. Richard Docekal had been arrested on charges of possession and distribution of child pornography.

On the evening of September 8, President Don Schiemann of the Alberta-British Columbia District was informed of serious allegations against Rev. Docekal. Included in these allegations were suggestions of child pornography. President Schiemann immediately informed police of these allegations on September 9, and the Integrated Child Exploitation Unit began an investigation.

Rev. Docekal was also implicated in other activities which were of a non-criminal nature but which were of concern regarding his role as a pastor in Lutheran Church–Canada. As his ecclesiastical supervisor, President Schiemann conducted an investigation into these charges and found them warranted. Events culminated in an October 1 meeting, following which Rev. Docekal resigned both as pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church (Edmonton) as well as from the clergy roster of Lutheran Church–Canada.

Rev. Docekal was arrested and charged by police on October 9.

Lutheran Church–Canada’s Alberta-British Columbia District office has been cooperating fully with authorities as they investigate the allegations. Because the matter is now before the courts, Lutheran Church–Canada is unable to make further comments at this time, other than to pray for God’s guidance and mercy in what is a difficult time for many.

If you have any information about this case, Lutheran Church–Canada encourages you to contact Edmonton Police, Crime Stoppers, or Cypertip.ca.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

More evidence that today's yesterday's evangelicals are tomorrow's today's liberals

Another backlog item:

I like to constantly draw the reader's attention to the prescient warning from Samuel Tow in 1983, Today's Evangelicals, Tomorrow's Liberals. That "tomorrow" has been here for quite some time, and Dr. Tow's warning has come to pass. Submitted for your approval as evidence is the following example of a mainline church and an evangelical church supporting the same non-Christian cause.

From the Religion Calendar of the Edmonton Journal, October 18, 2014, p. G12 (bold in original, links inserted by blogger):

Power of Words--Scrabble Benefit: Saturday, 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., at Southminster-Steinhauer United Church, 10740 19th Ave. Supporting African grandmothers who are raising the millions of AIDS-orphaned children. Proceeds to the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign under the Stephen Lewis Foundation. Cash donations at the door. Visit edmontongrandmothers.org.

Scrabble Benefit: Oct. 26, 2 p.m., at the Sherwood Park Alliance Church, 1 Clover Bar Rd. Eastside Grannies of Sherwood Park need players and sponsors to help African grandmothers who are raising 14 million orphaned grandchildren, having lost their adult children to AIDS. For information or for a pledge package: Carol, 780-464-4195, dmaier@shaw.ca or Cathy, 780-439-6785.

The Stephen Lewis Foundation, started by and named after a socialist politician and former Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations, sounds like a good cause, but is not Christian. As for the churches mentioned above, Southminster-Steinhauer United Church is the mainline church, with the slogan:

exploring an expansive Christianity and embracing the spirit of the Earth Charter

Click on the links to see what is meant by "expansive Christianity" and the Earth Charter, and you'll see that Southminster-Steinhauer United isn't a Christian church, but one that promotes and practices outright paganism; their god isn't worth worshipping, and they follow a false Jesus. You'll find this church mentioned in another item in this post, which gives a clue to something else it promotes.

Sherwood Park Alliance Church is the "evangelical" church mentioned in the item above. If you click the link for Mission and Vision, this is the first thing you see:

Reclaiming God's Dream.

Broken. Separated. Distant. Alienated. This was the state of our relationship with God after sin severed intimacy. Renews. Chooses. Accepts. This is what God does for us to see His dream of relationship with humanity restored.


Reading that makes me wish I had a flower in my hair (and enough hair to go with it). This looks like something from the late 1960s or early '70s, and more resembles the 1969 Tommy James and the Shondells song Crystal Blue Persuasion than anything you read in the Bible. I used to think "God's dream" sounded nice, until a few years ago when it occurred to me (long after it should have) that nowhere in the Bible does it say that God has a dream or dreams, while there are numerous instances of God giving people dreams (e.g., Genesis 20:3; Matthew 2:12). God doesn't have a dream, but He does have an agenda and a prophetic timetable he's working out, and it's being fulfilled right on schedule.

There were a number of other items in the Journal's Religion Calendar that day that offer an interesting snapshot of the religious scene on October 18, 2014 (bold in original, links inserted by blogger):

Tibetan Nuns' Project: Sunday, noon to 1:30 p.m., at Garneau United Church, 11148 84th Ave. Ann Salmonsen speaks about her recent trip to India and a Tibetan Buddhist nunnery that is working to improve conditions for Buddhist women refugees. Free admission. For details, call Garneau United Church, 780-439-2501 or email: garneauuc@shaw.ca

Dancing For Fun: Sunday, 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., at St. Augustine's Anglican Church, 6110 Fulton Rd. Weekly at the lower level. Circles, mixers, line dances. Couples and singles, teens welcome. No experience necessary. Refreshments provided. For more information contact 780-467-5180. $3 per person.

St. Albert Affirm Celebration: Oct. 25, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., at St. Albert United Church, 20 Green Grove Dr. Celebration begins with a diversity fair and potluck dinner at 5 p.m. featuring musical enetertainment, including Edmonton Vocal Minority, as well as a speech by Rev. Nancy Steeves of Southminster Steinhauer United Church. Free admission; dinner guests encouraged to bring a food contribution. For more information, go to stalbertunited.ca

Yoga & Exercise: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m., at Robertson-Wesley United Church, 10209 123 St. Gentle Hatha Yoga class every Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Circuit exercise class every Thursday, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. offers cardio and weight training at your own pace. Register today; class size limited. Email: tmail@rwucorg or call 780-482-1587.

Yoga for Christians: Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., ending Nov. 5, at Providence Renewal Centre, 3005 119th St. Prayer of the Heart and Body, with Glenda Sartore. Multi-level yoga practice suitable to both beginners and seasoned yoga practitioners. Wear comfortable clothing and bring a yoga or exercise mat, a blanket, and a strap. Eight weeks: $112, no drop-in. For more information and to register, go to providencerenewal.ca or call 780-701-1854.

Christian Meditation: Mondays, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Star of the North, 3A Saint Vital Ave., St. Albert. Experience the ancient tradition of prayerful stillness. Call for access information, 780-459-5511. Event cost by donation.

Emmaus Inclusive Catholic Community: Celebration of Eucharist, Sundays at 2:30 p.m., presided over by a member of Roman Catholic Women Priests. For information, visit emmauscatholic-community.ca or contact Lori at 780-720-3444, ldexter@telus.net

Edmonton Vocal Minority describes itself as "Edmonton's Queer musical voice." You'll notice that it's mentioned in the item that includes a speech from the female minister at the church that's supporting the same cause as the evangelical church in Sherwood Park. When you see the words "affirm" or "affirming" in relation to the United Church of Canada, it means that they're affirming homosexual behaviour--something that God doesn't affirm, but condemns (e.g., Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:24-32).