Sunday, January 26, 2014

Mormons participate in food bank drive

Related to my comments in the post below, here's an example of a group that worships a false god and preaches a false gospel performing the same kinds of community service works as those of many evangelical churches. Another backlog item, as reported by Catherine Griwkowsky of the Edmonton Sun, September 22, 2013:

When Mormons come knocking at your door, they’ll be hoping to collect food for the Edmonton Food Bank.

Volunteers with the city-wide food drive on Sept. 28 will hope to collect canned fish or meats, canned beans, macaroni and cheese, school snacks such as granola bars, fruit cups and juice boxes as well as peanut butter.

The food bank and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will team up for the food drive.

“For some, eating three meals a day is a luxury and hunger never takes a holiday. For these reasons, the Food Bank must ensure continued flow of food out to our neighbours in need,” said Marjorie Bencz, executive director for the food bank.

The snacks will go towards youth programs and agencies such as Crystal Kids...

An example of a dead church morphing into a community centre

In evangelical churches in recent years, there has been an increasing emphasis on the church serving the world, with the result that churches are increasingly becoming community service centres, and are becoming harder to recognize as churches. In the item below from my backlog, we see what has happened to a mainline church in a small town. Pay attention to the mainline churches, because the liberalism that has destroyed them is increasingly infecting evangelical churches, which are heading in the same direction and will end up in the same place.

When an evangelical church adopts a phrase such as "Serve the World" as part of its slogan or mission statement, watch out; it's an indication that the church is turning in the direction of the social gospel, which is in fact a false gospel. I'm not saying that works such as those mentioned in the story below or community or social service works are necessarily bad, but if such works done by a church are not distinctively Christian, then the church is merely attaching its name to the sort of "good works" that anyone, saved or unsaved, might do. The further a church goes in the direction of serving the world, the more likely it is to become an institution of the world, and will no longer be recognizable as a Christian church.

As reported by Jim Coyle of the Toronto Star, July 14, 2012:

CODRINGTON, ONT.—It was the first morning of summer, before 9 o’clock already shirt-clingy, neck-swabbing hot, the air redolent with fresh-cut grass as two men on mowers kept the soccer field and baseball diamond in trim.

If this was Thursday, and it was, that meant line-dancing. And the parking lot outside the Codrington Community Centre was starting to fill.

Inside, coffee was already on the brew, the little public library was up and running, some line-dancing early-birds were chatting about their club’s new banner, and a directors’ meeting was starting about whether to improve the signage out front.

Let’s face it. The Codrington Community Centre signs have a lot of work to do.

There’s music night (mostly country) on Mondays at 7 p.m. Tuesday morning breakfast (at a bargain $3 a plate). Line dancing on Thursday mornings. Euchre every Friday at 8 p.m. Women’s Institute meetings the second Wednesday of every month at 7:45.

Not to mention the seasonal delights of trout barbecues, family days, roast-beef dinners and functions of some sort or other at Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween and Christmas.

The Codrington Community Centre is a blink-and-you-miss-it affair on Highway 30 north of the 401 — not far from where Trinity Anglican Church of Colborne was recently deconsecrated and just up the road from where Carman United Church is fighting for its survival, like many churches of all denominations these days around Ontario.

In some ways, the community centre was one rural area’s answer to the closing of a church — an expression of the notion that if God is love, and if love is action, authentic spirituality is found not in mere ritual piety, but in how people treat and care for one another.

Cathy McCann knows the sorrow of losing a church that can be a community’s place of comfort and joy and also the setting of life’s most important milestones.

McCann also knows that, sometimes, as T.S. Eliot wrote, “the end is where we start from.”

In 1929, Codrington United Church was built literally from the bricks of Wesleyan and Episcopal Methodist churches that it replaced and its construction included, along with its own, their original cornerstones.

Its building, a local historian wrote, was “a great example of co-operation in a common cause.” And for generations, it was the area’s community centre.

In 1968, owing to a diminishing congregations and church amalgamations, it was closed. And two years later — farming communities fearing that old churches risk suffering the indignity of becoming chicken barns — it was torn down.

Needless to say, there was huge sorrow and “everybody was disappointed,” said McCann, a Cobourg girl who’s lived in Codrington since she married husband Howard 52 years ago.

People had family pews. There were potluck dinners that required multiple sittings. “People had been raised in that church, maybe married,” McCann said.

“There was all the fundraising they did to restore that steeple. There was this little church, with this little congregation, but they were bound they were going to do it.”

And then it was gone, dismantled, various parts of it scattered around the region.

At its closure, members scattered to churches in Brighton and elsewhere, and probably a quarter “didn’t go anywhere,” she said, but drifted away, disillusioned...

...If, for most people, other houses of worship were eventually found, the loss of a local social anchor left a large hole. “We always used the church basement as our community centre,” Cathy McCann says.

The empty lot had been turned over to the local Women’s Institute and was for a time used as a park and the site of picnics and barbecues. After a time, thoughts turned to fundraising for a new community centre.

It was no easy task. There were negotiations and hoops to jump through with the municipality for any new development. There were also grants to pursue in those days from the former Wintario lottery. And, this being farm country, there were other ways to raise money.

There were bakes sales, hay rides, quilt draws, walkathons, bikeathons, yard sales. McCann’s family donated a woodlot and community volunteers “got together, cut firewood and sold it all winter.” Manure was bagged up and sold. “I don’t know what all we did.”

One thing McCann does now, she laughs now, is that “we did not know it was going to take seven years! But we were bound we were going to show (the at times unhelpful local) council we could do it.”

Do it they did. The original lot, unsuitable for the larger centre, was sold and another property a couple of lots south was purchased. The community centre was built in 1982. And, 30 years on, just about everything in its operation continues to be done by volunteers.

As McCann says, her choice of language a nod to the centre’s genesis, “in Codrington, no matter what we undertake, we are blessed with any number of willing workers.”

Liana Palmer is a retired parole officer from Warkworth Institute who arrived in the Brighton area in 1980 and has been an enthusiastic volunteer ever since.

In the last 30 years, there have been a lot of city folk retiring to the area who are delighted to find “this sense of community, because they didn’t have it in Toronto, or Ajax or Pickering,” she says.

“So our little Women’s Institute has grown a lot, because new people join it. And once you join, you’re volunteering for everything that happens here.”

She says they’re still trying to figure out a way to get teenagers more involved. Then again, who isn’t?

In 2011, as McCann reported in her recent newsletter, the Codrington hall was used 688 times — the centre for functions of one sort or another almost twice a day. In time, the board hired a maintenance person because the hall is so busy...

Monday, January 13, 2014

30 years ago: U.S.A. and Vatican reopen full diplomatic relations

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. John 18:36

So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:..
...And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.
The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth...
... And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
Revelation 17:3-4, 7-9, 18

On January 10, 1984, the United States and the Vatican reestablished full diplomatic relations after a hiatus of 117 years.

Diplomatic relations between the U.S. and the Holy See began in the 18th century when the Papal States (before their absorption into Italy) agreed to open several Mediterranean ports to U.S. shipping. In 1797 John B. Sartori, an Italian, was named U.S. Consul...

In 1847, at the request of President James K. Polk, the U.S. Senate established a diplomatic post in the Papal States...until 1867 when anti-Catholic elements in the United States succeeded in getting the diplomatic mission eliminated.

Informal relations resumed in 1939 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Myron C. Taylor as his "personal envoy" to the Holy See...

In 1981, President Reagan named William A. Wilson, a Catholic, to the post. Wilson served until 1984, when the Vatican and the U.S. began full diplomatic relations and Wilson was made the first U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See.
Columbia (Knights of Columbus magazine), June 1990, p. 8 (cited by Dave Hunt, A Woman Rides the Beast (1994), p. 226)

Carl McIntire, President of the International Council of Christian Churches, expressed his displeasure at the establishment of diplomatic relations between the U.S.A. and the Vatican in his newspaper, the Christian Beacon, January 12, 1984:

...The Roman Catholic Church and its state of a few acres are one. The Pope is the head of both, though both do not exist separately.

The arguments are now being presented. One: a personal representative has been doing the job since Roosevelt. The argument is reversed. He was appointed because we would not have an ambassador, but now we must have him as an ambassador because he was appointed.

Second: all the other nations are now doing it, 112 of them, even Great Britain, and only the U.S. and Russia are holding out. But we have a different concept of religious equality and liberty and should maintain our separation regardless of others.

Third: They can provide information not obtained in other channels. This betrays their entire position: the state is only a few acres, but the church is world-wide and does not occupy territory as a state in every country. The priests have their confessions which are supposed to be secret, but they gather through the confessional all manner of information not dealing with personal sins which they communicate to Rome to be provided to ambassadors. This is the direct use of religion under the guise of a state.

Fourth: The Pope is said now to be an international figure for peace and his leadership is influencing other nations. Here again it is using a religious leader an all his journeys, which he said were pastoral visits--U.S.A., England, Central America, Africa, the Philippines. Now the Pope becomes a world political leader, receiving a U.S. ambassador.

For the U.S. government to give prestige to this religious leadership is a devastating undermining of all the Protestants’ faith, especially those who are opposing the ecumenical movement. He uses the word, ecumenical, more frequently, perhaps more than any other church leader in the world. All of this must be dealt with.

Our radio program now will deal with these in the days that are ahead of us. We are planning a second Protestant pilgrimage to Washington.

It was our opposition that had a major part in reversing President Truman’s appointment of General Mark Clark as ambassador to the Vatican, which he withdrew in 1952. The issues are still the same, with the Roman Catholic church now more powerful.

It must now be in our lovely land of religious equality before the law.

Should the United States Have An Ambassador to the Vatican?

Statement by Dr. Carl McIntire on behalf of the International Council of Christian Churches on the appointment of an ambassador to the Vatican

January 10, 1984

The appointment of an ambassador to the Vatican destroys the equality of the churches before the law. There are several twists that have been used to mislead our people. The appointment of a personal representative was first made because an ambassador was not desired. Now his appointment has prepared the way for the securing of an official ambassador.

The effort to separate the church from the state collapses when the state covers only a few acres of geography in contrast to the broad world area from which the Roman Catholic Church gathers its information. The Vatican has no civil authorities and its value to the United States is confined to the material its network of priests can provide. In recent months the Pope has been traveling on pastoral visits. Now we are being told that the Pope, as an international figure, a position gained by such travel, with its political acumen and the information he possesses from these journeys, is of such value to the United States that he deserves to have a U.S. ambassador at his right hand.

But what is even more distressing is that everywhere he goes he is advocating church unity, which is without question a religious emphasis, and his concept of unity is that the church may be reunited throughout the world in one encompassing structure. This view is not accepted by millions of Christians who believe that their unity is spiritual and their fellowship with one another is in Jesus Christ and not in a visible ecclesiastical structure. The appointment of a U.S. ambassador to the Vatican now is tantamount to a de facto recognition and promotion of the ecumenical movement. This boundary is beyond the church itself and involves the liberal, pluralistic churches of the West.

There are reasons to oppose such a Vatican recognition which did not exist in 1952. The Bible-believing Christians throughout the world who have been lifting their voices against the development of a one-world church and the relation that such a structure would have to a world political leader are now more vitally concerned than ever. The United States must not give credibility or assistance to the Pope’s leadership in building both the world church and its corollary, a world state.

The Protestants of this country must now pay closer attention to the pressures in Washington brought by Roman Catholics who occupy positions under appointment in the State Department. All of the civil rights statutes require that there be no discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin.

Little Opposition to Vatican Ambassador

The announcement of the appointment of a United States Ambassador to the Vatican is justified in the press report on the ground that there was little opposition to it, that the opposition in 1952 that President Harry Truman faced did not develop.

The fact is there was not time for it to develop. The actions of Congress in rescinding objections which have stood in the past were done without any public knowledge. It has taken the Christian churches of the country by surprise...There simply has not been opportunity to confront the President with the will of the people. Constitution Hall in Washington must now be rented as it was in 1952, and the widest possible publicity and an array of speakers brought to the platform to let the President know that he is going to lose thousands and thousands of votes.

Religious liberty, the recognition of one state church as he has done transcends all other actions. He may boast of his improvements in the economy and tying the country with the Roman Catholic Church and all it has meant historically. The desire that our founding fathers had that Rome would not have preference or even an acknowledgment in this land across sea has now simply been dashed...

President Reagan is losing the support of fundamental and evangelical Christians all over the country, and they are not hesitating to say so. What this means to the future of the United States cannot be calculated.

Moreover the Vatican position on the Soviet Union is certainly not the position the United States has, and the influence of the Vatican in this area upon the United States would be damaging for the future of the country.
According to this Associated Press article from January 23, 1984:

Chicago--The Rev. Billy Graham worked behind the scenes last spring to help President Reagan assess what the reaction of evangelical leaders would be to U.S. establishment of full diplomatic ties with the Vatican, The Chicago Sun-Times reported yesterday.

Graham, who since Watergate has downplayed his relationship to U.S. presidents, summed up his findings in a confidential, seven-page letter to Interior Secretary William P. Clark, then the president’s national security adviser, the newspaper said.

"If anyone can do it and get away with it, it is Mr. Reagan," Graham reported, quoting a comment from one of his contacts.

A copy of the letter was obtained by The Sun-Times, the newspaper said.

On Jan. 10, Reagan established full diplomatic ties for the United States with the papal state after a break of 117 years. He nominated William Wilson, an old friend and California real estate developer, as ambassador.

Graham said in the letter that he made several "discreet inquiries" on a "confidential basis, and no mention was made of the fact that the inquiries were being made at the request of the White House."

Graham told Clark the reactions to expect from several "recognized leaders among evangelicals," then wrote, "I honestly don’t know what I personally would recommend that the president do.

"One person said, ‘If anyone can do it and get away with it,’ it is Mr. Reagan," the letter said.

"I think he would need to cover his political bases and be sure he brought people into the picture who might cause him trouble--Jews, Catholic Bishop’s Committee, National Council (of Churches), etc.

"It may be also that some people (like Jerry Falwell) could be persuaded to keep silent on the issue," it continued.

Graham said he and his associate, John Aker, made the inquiries and that he asked Gilbert Beers, editor of Christianity Today, "to raise the issue with Jerry Falwell, since he knows him better than I do."

Graham’s assessment of his colleagues stated that Falwell would be placed "in a very difficult position and hopes that the issue is not raised" because his Moral Majority includes both Roman Catholics and Baptists.

Falwell said after the announcement of full relations that he thought Reagan’s motives were "very sincere and pure" but that appointment of an ambassador to the Vatican was "a practical mistake."

"If the Southern Baptists were asking for an ambassador to Nashville, I’d be opposed to it," he said.
Dr. McIntire offered his comments in the Christian Beacon, January 26, 1984:

Graham Involved in Reagan’s Vatican Ambassador Decision

The revelation that Billy Graham was used by President Reagan to prepare for his decision to send a U.S. representative to the Vatican indicates how he himself has given up the Protestant position and heritage of our land. He not only would make no recommendation to the President, but he did advise him, "If anyone can do it and get away with it, it is Mr. Reagan."

And Mr. Reagan proceeded to attempt to do so...

...There can be no possible way of accepting or justifying the recognition of the Pope as a part of the political activities of the United States...
Billy Graham, with his typical compromise, political butt-kissing, and mischief-making, continued to give up the Protestant position to the extent that when Pope John Paul II died in 2005, Life magazine published a special commemorative issue, and Billy Graham wrote the introduction, praising John Paul II.

Mr. Reagan apparently had the Cold War on his mind when he restored diplomatic relations with the Vatican. The U.S.A. and Vatican City acted as allies in helping to bring down the Soviet Union, with the Vatican’s intelligence--better and quicker than that of the United States, according to Alexander Haig, U.S. Secretary of State (1981-1982)--and the political activities of Pope John Paul II playing major roles, acknowledged by Mr. Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, Soviet leader from 1985-1991. The story was told by Carl Bernstein in The Holy Alliance: Ronald Reagan and John Paul II, Time, February 24, 1992.

In the words of Mr. Hunt:

At this point we will leave it to the reader to consider the Vatican’s motivation in such heavy political intervention. The fact remains that such a role on the world scene, with its unholy alliances, political intrigues, and earthly goals, would be anathema to Christ’s true bride.

The Vatican has long been involved in clandestine activities and self-serving partnerships with many nations...

...Apparently Christ, whose kingdom at the beginning was "not of this world," had changed His mind. He who commissioned his disciples to call converts out of the world to heavenly citizenship with His gospel of redemptive grace has apparently decided to work with the nations of this world to create a paradise down here...

...Rome has not changed. Her ambitions remain very much of this world. Of course, it is in Christ’s name that she wants to reestablish her "reign over the kings of the earth."
Dave Hunt, A Woman Rides the Beast (1994), pp. 225-226.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Pharaoh in recently-discovered Egyptian tomb identified as Sobekhotep I

As reported by Voice of Russia, January 7, 2014:

The tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh King Sobekhotep I, believed to be first king of the 13th Dynasty (1781BC-1650BC), has been discovered by a team from the University of Pennsylvania at Abydos in Middle Egypt, 500km south of Cairo.

The team from the University of Pennsylvania had discovered the quartzite sarcophagus of Sobekhotep I, which weighed about 60 tonnes, a year ago, but was unable to identify who it belonged to until last week, the ministry said.

Its identity was established after the team found fragments of a slab inscribed with the pharaoh's name and showed him sitting on a throne, Antiquities Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said in a statement.

"He is likely the first who ruled Egypt at the start of the 13th dynasty during the second intermediate period," the minister said.

The discovery is important as not much information was available about Sobekhotep I "who ruled Egypt for four years and a half, the longest rule at this time," said Ayman El-Damarani, a ministry official.

The tomb's discovery in the southern archaeological site of Abydos is expected to reveal more details about his life and rule, he added.

The team also discovered the remnants of canopic vases traditionally used to preserve internal body organs, along with gold objects owned by the king.

Since new royal tombs are rarely discovered, and as only ten from the 13th Dynasty are known—all at Dahshur, just south of Cairo—this is an important find. King Sobekhotep I ruled for only about three years, at a time when Egypt was entering a period of decline. In fact, the chronological evidence for this period is so complex that scholars are still debating the order of the 13th Dynasty kings.

Sobekhotep I’s tomb was constructed from limestone brought from the Tura quarries near modern Cairo, while his burial chamber is made from red quartzite. The burial was originally topped by a pyramid. Among the further finds are a 60-ton quartzite sarcophagus, a stele bearing the name of the king, an image of Sobekhotep I enthroned, parts of the canopic jars that once contained the pharaohs internal organs, and funerary objects.

Excavation at the tomb is ongoing, though Egypt’s antiquities chief, Mohamed Ibrahim, hopes to open the site to the public, once the tomb has been restored.
Go here and here for more information.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Royal Canadian Air Force doesn't need permission to fly drones in Canada

RCAF drones are absolutely necessary, of course, for national security--and what could possibly go wrong? Another backlog item, as reported by David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen, August 17, 2013:

Canada’s air force has determined that, unlike its counterparts in the United States and Europe, it does not need approval from civil aviation agencies to fly drones in domestic airspace and it will operate those unmanned planes as it sees fit, according to newly released Department of National Defence documents.

But the air force acknowledges that flying the drones in domestic airspace shared by civilian jetliners and other aircraft will be challenging.

The issue of whether to allow unmanned aerial vehicles — or UAVs — to operate in domestic airspace is currently being hotly debated in Europe. In June, Germany’s defence officials were accused of wasting more than $1 billion after they purchased long-range UAVs, only to be told by the European Aviation Safety Agency that the aircraft would not be allowed to fly in Europe. The aircraft did not have a proper collision-avoidance system, the safety agency determined.

The debate was further fuelled by the leak last month of two videos to German news outlets. One showed a German military UAV almost colliding with a passenger jet over Kabul, Afghanistan; the other showed German military personnel fleeing from an out-of-control Heron UAV, also in Afghanistan. The Heron later slammed into a military transport plane sitting on the runway.

The Heron is the same type of drone the Canadian military leased for its Afghanistan operations.

Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) planners examining the proposed purchase of UAVs predicted back in 2011 that flying drones in commercial airspace would become an issue, but noted they didn’t have to worry.

The RCAF doesn’t need approval from Transport Canada or Nav Canada to fly the aircraft domestically, according to the documents obtained by the Ottawa Citizen through the access-to-information law.

The RCAF pointed out that the Canadian situation is very different from Europe and the U.S., where civilian agencies set the rules. The air force concluded that it saw no significant risks to routine operation of UAVs in Canada.

But the briefing note also added that “in the domestic environment in both high-use and uncongested airspace regions the employment of military unmanned aircraft will provide greater challenges.”

The Conservative government wants to purchase a fleet of up to 18 medium-altitude UAVs for the RCAF. No specific costs have been released but the project’s price tag is estimated to be over $1.5 billion.

The solution to operating in civilian airspace will be based on air traffic management and collision and avoidance systems, the RCAF has determined. “An autonomous ‘sense and avoid’ capability will be pursued to permit ever increasing access to Canadian Airspace,” the briefing added.

Such technology would allow UAVs to automatically avoid mid-air collisions.
Capt. Holly-Anne Brown of the RCAF noted in an email sent Thursday to the Citizen that while aerospace firms are working on a sense-and-avoid system for UAVs, that is not considered an essential requirement for the Canadian military’s planned purchase of such aircraft.

“The RCAF has procedures in place that will ensure the safe operation of any UAVs we operate,” she added.

Access to airspace for any of the Canadian Forces unmanned aerial vehicles “will be conducted in a deliberate and co-ordinated fashion, and through incremental steps, to ensure the safety of all airspace users,” Brown also stated.

In addition, there is significant co-ordination between the military and Transport Canada and Nav Canada, she added.

But Steve Staples, president of the Ottawa-based Rideau Institute, says the debate in Europe raises serious concerns about UAV flight safety in Canada. “It’s one thing to be flying a drone over the desert in Afghanistan but it’s something else to fly them over Ottawa or Toronto,” said Staples, who is spearheading a campaign against the military’s purchase of armed UAVs.

He said the lack of civilian safety oversight could lead to an accident in the future.

Staples pointed out that the 2011 report from the military’s flight-safety branch acknowledged 10 Canadian UAV crashes between 2007 and 2010. Most of those happened in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and involved engine failures. Since the early 2000s, there have been 42 accidents involving Canadian Forces UAVs.

While the military conducted experiments with UAVs in domestic airspace in 2004, the RCAF briefing note pointed out that “nowhere was civilian approval or permission required or sought.”

Although Canadian Forces UAVs do not routinely operate outside their restricted airspace at this point, that constraint is entirely self-imposed by the military, it added.

Some police forces in Canada operate small UAVs but need special permission from Transport Canada to fly them.

Drones to fly over pipelines in Alberta

Pipelines today, the entire province tomorrow--all for our good, of course. Another backlog item, as reported by Sarah O'Donnell of the Edmonton Journal, August 12, 2013:

Unmanned aerial drones may one day watch over the pipelines that criss-cross Alberta's landscape, and the province is hoping to develop such cutting-edge technology with Nevada's help.

Alberta has signed a new agreement with the U.S. state on developing drones to boost the province's reputation in the aerospace industry, as it pushes for economic development beyond the energy sector.

The three-year deal, signed at the recent U.S. Council of State Governments-West meeting in Las Vegas, pledges the two governments will work together in the developing field of unmanned vehicle systems, commonly referred to as drones.

Though military use of these small aircraft often dominates headlines - particularly last week as U.S. drone strikes continued in Yemen - a growing sector is working to harness the technology equipment for civilian use.

Alberta, home to the Canadian Centre for Unmanned Vehicle Systems in Medicine Hat, is one of the hot spots.

"The technology has been proven in the military applications, but it is moving toward the civilian, commercial, industrial and agricultural applications: things like pipeline surveillance, forestry monitoring and the agricultural sector as well," said Derek Cummings, spokesman for International and Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Cal Dallas.

"It's a growth industry," Dallas said. "It's an opportunity to diversify our economy, so there are benefits for us for sure."

About 70 companies, military agencies and educational institutions are working in Alberta on the research, development and testing of these complex systems, the provincial government says.

Other companies are beginning to integrate the technology into their business. Stantec, for example, recently purchased its first unmanned aerial vehicle to help with its mapping and topographical work. The small plane has a wingspan of almost one metre, weighs 630 grams and takes high-resolution pictures.

Still, the sector only accounts for a fraction of province's $1.3-billion aerospace and defence industry. Nationwide, most aviation-related research and development in the country's $22-billion aerospace industry is in Ontario and Quebec.

Provincial officials believe these small, unmanned aircraft have a big future in Alberta, particularly with the Canadian centre of excellence located at Medicine Hat's airport. The federal government also is weighing whether to approve an unmanned vehicle training centre in southeast Alberta near Foremost, with restricted airspace that would allow companies and researchers to fly tests of the equipment beyond their line of sight.

Nevada, meanwhile, has applied to become home to one of six Federal Aviation Administration-approved unmanned vehicle test sites in the U.S.

Officials with ING Robotic Aviation, an Ottawa-based company with thousands of hours experience supporting Canadian troops in Afghanistan with aerial surveillance, said the two jurisdictions are a good fit.

Nevada has a long history of aviation experimentation, said Jeremy Byatt, ING's senior counsel of corporate affairs.

Alberta is a place where there are huge growth opportunities for the sector, such as using the remotely piloted aircraft to help monitor the thousands of kilometres of pipeline across the province. ING, for example, plans to open its first Alberta office in Calgary this week.

"Free speech for me, but not for thee" at Carleton University

As the old saying goes, a liberal is someone who says, "Everyone has the right to my own opinion." I've never seen anyone more intolerant than sodomite/lesbian/(insert pervert group here) advocates, who can't stand the thought of even one person being less than 100% supportive of their aggressive agenda. Those who are old enough to remember when this movement began will recall that originally it was just about having homosexual acts removed from the Criminal Code. The advocates didn't argue that their behaviour was the moral equivalent of heterosexual behaviour, much less marriage. Who would have thought, 40-50 years ago, that the pervert rights movement would lead to payment of benefits to same-sex "partners;" adoption of children by such couples; and sodomite/lesbian "marriage"? As recently as 20-25 years ago, it was those who supported such "marriages" who were the way-out fringe element in society; now it's those who uphold the laws of nature and the traditions of anything historically regarded as civilization who are regarded as extremists.

For a particularly egregious example of the intolerance of the advocates of perversion, this backlog item is submitted for your approval. As reported by Katherine DeClerq of Canadian University Press, January 30, 2013:

The Carleton Free Speech Wall was an initiative put forth by the Carleton Students for Liberty Society (SFL) that was meant to measure the level of discourse on campus. For five days, students were encouraged to write on the wall and enact their rights of free expression.

On Jan. 21, Arun Smith, Campaign Coordinator for the Challenge Homophobia and Transphobia Campaign, removed the display from the Unicentre Galleria.

“When we talk about free speech we forget to talk about the structures behind it and the way free speech can be used to reinforce and create violence and hatred,” said Smith.

“In the case of the free speech wall, it’s unregulated free speech, and unlimited free speech will always dissolve into hate speech, and that is exactly why, to prevent the triggering of students, the expression of hatred and the invalidation of people’s identities, I took down the wall.”

Ian CoKehyeng, president of SFL, maintained that the comments on the wall were primarily positive, and that he was surprised at the maturity of the campus.
“You can’t have the good without the bad,” said CoKehyeng in response to some of the negative comments written on the Carleton Free Speech Wall.

“We wanted to challenge the monopoly of opinions that we felt were happening on the university campus and create a marketplace of ideas. We didn’t know what the end goal was going to be — it could have ended really badly or ended very well, [but] it has been very positive.”

However, Smith does not believe that the positive messages outweighed the alleged negative overtones of the others. He cited phrases such as “abortion is murder” and “traditional marriage is awesome” as examples of how the Carleton Free Speech Wall was not conducive to a safe and tolerant university space.

CoKeyheng explained that Smith had always been wary of the project, insisting that it would create an unsafe space on campus.

“[Smith] was already complaining about it before the wall was up, accusing us of putting up a platform for potential homophobia,” said CoKehyeng.

A second wall has been erected Unicentre and there have been no further damages.
The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), the organization that sponsored the project, was saddened by the display’s removal, but said that they were proud of the way the SFL rebounded its efforts.

“It’s very disappointing to see that level of ignorance about what free speech is about. The person who stole or removed the wall had their opportunity, along with everybody else, to express their opinions,” said JCCF president John Carpay. “If we allow personal subjection of hate to be a tool for censorship, then neither Smith nor anyone else has any free speech left over.”

“These students have character and persistence, and it is good to see that they won’t allow themselves to become completely discouraged by this.”

Student Affairs at Carleton University is currently considering the application of sanctions against Smith based on the Student Rights and Responsibilities Code for damage to property under $500.00. Disciplinary action can include a fine and an apology.

Student Affairs has confirmed that this is the first incident of its kind at Carleton.
As reported by Tristin Hopper in the National Post, January 22, 2013:

...Installed on Monday in the Unicentre Galleria, one of campus’ most high-traffic areas, the wall was really more of a 1.2 x 1.8 meter wooden plank wrapped in paper and equipped with felt markers.

By Tuesday morning the wall was gone, destroyed in an act of “forceful resistance,” by seventh-year human rights student Arun Smith.

“In organizing the ‘free speech wall,’ the Students for Liberty have forgotten that liberty requires liberation, and this liberation is prevented by providing space … for the expression of hate,” he wrote in a 600-word Facebook post in which he identified himself as an anti-homophobia campaigner.

Calling the area around the wall a “war zone,” he intimated that it was “but another in a series of acts of violence” against gay rights.

In a Tuesday afternoon Twitter exchange with a CBC reporter, Mr. Smith dubbed free speech an “illusory concept” and declared that “not every opinion is valid, nor deserving of expression...”

...In truth, the wall’s only overt references to sexual orientation were pro-gay, such as “QUEERS ARE AWESOME,” “Gay is OK” and “I [Heart] Queers.”

The only comment that verged into anti-gay territory was a scrawl reading “traditional marriage is awesome.”

According to Mr. CoKehyeng, the four-word phrase prompted a visit from Ryan Flannagan, the university’s director of student affairs.

“He saw that it wasn’t inciting hate speech at all, so he let that one slide,” said Mr. CoKehyeng...
The reader will note that's it's a "human rights" student who exhibited the most intolerance--which is why for the last several years I've been saying that I don't believe in human rights; I believe in freedom, as opposed to "human rights." My friend Ezra Levant's book Shakedown: How Our Government is Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights (2009) is must reading, and not just for Canadians (The U.S.A., unfortunately, has increasingly been adopting Canada's bad ideas in recent years, which is why Americans should pay attention to what's going on in The Great White North to see what they should be avoiding).

That such an innocuous statement as "traditional marriage is aweseome" would be perceived as an "act of violence" against sodomite rights shows that such activists are not only incapable of distinguishing speech from behaviour, but that their whole movement isn't about affirming anything positive on their own behalf as much as it is bent on destroying traditional morality (and National Post columnist Jonathan Kay provided appropriate commentary on students who have been in university for seven years without yet, apparently, earning a degree).

"Rev." Fred Phelps sends hate tweets to a Canadian university

Perhaps the greatest hustler in the history of the movie business was Kroger Babb, who spent more than 30 years from the late 1930s to the early 1970s producing and promoting "exploitation" films. His best known film was Mom and Dad (1945), which featured footage of a live birth. To promote the movie, Mr. Babb orchestrated his own protest campaign, fabricating letters and leaflets to newspapers and churches, ostensibly from people concerned about the film's moral basis, in an attempt to generate controversy and attract huge numbers of people to see a movie that would otherwise be ignored. Mr. Babb's approach worked so well that Mom and Dad was reportedly the third-highest-grossing movie of the entire decade of the 1940s; its box office receipts were estimated to be anywhere from $40 million-$100 million, for a movie that cost just $63,000 to make.

As Mr. Babb manufactured protests against his movies in an attempt to increase his success, I've long been suspicious of "Rev." Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. If I were a sodomite/lesbian activist, I would either pay Fred Phelps to caricature Christian opposition to perversion or, if he's actually sincere in his views, I would strongly encourage him to continue and encourage as much publicity for him as possible. As this backlog item from a year ago shows, he's not above sending nasty tweets to those involved with the production of a play he doesn't like. Usually "Rev." Phelps threatens to show up in person to protest an event and then chickens out after the resultant publicity, but on this occasion he was content to remain online. Perhaps he figured that it wouldn't be worth the bother of even threatening to show up in St. John's in January--or maybe he's unaware that Newfoundland is in Canada. As an aside, it should be pointed out that it's far from a proven fact that hatred of homosexuality was the main factor motivating the murderers of Matthew Shepard.

As reported by Laura Howells in the Memorial University of Newfoundland newspaper The Muse, January 9, 2013:

A local production of the Laramie Project recently received hate-messages from the Westboro Baptist Church.

The Laramie Project was a production put off by the MUN theatre class 4401 at the LSPU Hall.

The play tells the true story of Matthew Shepard, a 21 year old man who in 1998, was beaten and left to die for being gay. Shepard’s funeral was picketed by the notoriously homophobic Westboro Baptist Church (WBC), who delivered such provocative messages as “God hates fags,” among other similar hate-slogans.

The church, led by its pastor Rev. Fred Phelps, has since gone on to picket the funerals of AIDS victims, American soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and many other institutions or individuals who the WBC deems to be “nation-destroying filth.”

The St. John’s production of the Laramie Project was protested online by Fred Phelps’ son, Fred Phelps Jr. Phelps sent the Laramie Project NL hate-messages via Twitter such as “LSPU Hall are a group of fag enablers” and “You will burn in Hell for all of eternity.”

Jon Aylward was the lighting designer for the Laramie Project. He says that the messages from the WBC were “some of the most vile messages [he'd] ever seen typed on a screen.”

“The cast and crew turned a blind eye to the whole thing,” said Aylward. “No matter what angle we took with it, Laramie was controversial before our involvement and will probably remain so for many decades to come. Our concern, first and foremost, was to tell the story.”

Aylward says that while the production was never about garnering a reaction from the WBC, it was certainly an invigorating experience.

“It was more exhilarating for us than anything else,” said Aylward. “[The WBC] are in the media all the time; they react to everything. But this time, ‘we’ were the ones that were creating that reaction! It was an empowering feeling for everyone.”

Aylward says that while the WBC’s reaction to the production certainly increased the project’s publicity, the play’s success was based solely on its own merit.

“Controversy helped to put people in the seats, but all the controversy in the world couldn’t have created those standing ovations.”

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Inuktitut Bible app available for free download

Another backlog item, as reported by the Iqaluit newspaper Nunatsiaq News, March 28, 2013 (links in original):

The Inuit language bible, produced in Inuktitut syllabics last June after 34 years of work, is now available for download online.

The Inuktitut Bible application can be downloaded for free on a number of devices, including computers, iPads, iPhones, iPods and android phones.

However, the app won’t work on older Blackberry smartphones, but it will work on computers and laptops.

The online version of the Inuktitut Bible took about a year to develop, because of the “unusual font” of Inuktitut, according to a spokesperson from the company that helped develop the app in Kitchener, Ontario.

Last June, the Inuktitut Bible was dedicated at the new St. Jude’s Cathedral in Iqaluit.

The cathedral’s dedication services featured the consecration of the Anglican Church’s new Inuktitut Bible, produced by a team lead by Bishop Benjamin Arreak.

Andrew Atagotaaluk, the former Bishop of the Arctic, had earlier praised the project, saying that for the first time, readers of syllabics could read all books of the Old and New Testament in the Inuit language.

The Inuktitut Bible also marked the first time in Canada that a translation was done by first-language speakers of Inuktitut rather than by missionaries.

The first draft of that Bible was completed after 23 years of collaboration between the Canadian Bible Society and the Diocese of the Arctic of the Anglican Church of Canada.

The online Inuktitut Bible can be downloaded here, by selecting Inuktitut from a pull-down menu.
I'm suspicious of anything coming from the Anglican Church of Canada, but if that's all that's available, so be it. If it took 34 years for this version of the Bible to be published, it's unlikely that another Inuktitut version will be coming out soon.

No paranoia here: Turkey clears kestrel of suspicions of being an Israeli spy

Another backlog item, as reported by the Times of Israel, July 26, 2013:

A bird captured in Turkey on suspicion of being an Israeli spy was released after a thorough examination revealed that the falcon was not in the employ of the Mossad.

Resident of the Ağın district in the eastern province of Elazığ became concerned after a kestrel, with a tag reading “24311 Tel Avivunia Israel,” ventured nearby, Turkish media reported Friday.

After capturing the winged invader, locals turned it over to Turkish authorities, who had the bird X-rayed at a nearby university, according to the Turkish news outlet Hurriyet.

The bird was apparently registered as an “Israeli spy” by medical personnel.

After determining that the bird had been tagged for research purposes and not snooping, authorities released the kestrel back into the sky.

Israeli use of non-human spies is apparently a large concern in the Middle East. In May of 2012, authorities in Ankara dissected a European bee-eater after becoming concerned that it was carrying an Israeli listening device, and in December an eagle with an Israeli tag in Sudan was captured and touted as a Mossad spy.

In 2010, an Egyptian official said Israel-controlled sharks could be involved in a number of attacks on tourists in the Red Sea.
While the Turks are correct in not underestimating Israeli cleverness and resourcefulness, such willingness on their part to believe in enemy conspiracies is not a recent phenomenon. Submitted for your approval is the following item from The Times of London, April 6, 1920:

"SERLO KOLMS" IN CONSTANTINOPLE.
--------------
THE GENERATION OF A MYTH.

(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.)

CONSTANTINOPLE, March 18 (by mail).

...it was with a feeling of resentment that a large section of us, on reaching the landing-stage at Kadikeui to depart for Galata by the most popular morning boat, discovered that something was happening at the European side which we did not understand. The ticket offices were closed. An empty steamer pulled solemnly alongside. The officials, pressed for explanations, remarked that there had been an order for the boats to stop running.

The public nervously watched the other side of the water. One or two, blessed with the eye of faith, averred that they could see Allied soldiers disembarking at Seraglio Point. Forthwith an explanation was found. The Allies were landing troops on the bridge between Galata, and Stambul, and therefore the boats were not running.

PUZZLED CROWD.

The crowd settled down to lounge about near the landing stage, or to sit in the adjacent cafes. Then came the buzzing of a seaplane, which performed various evolutions above Kadekeui and Haidar Pasha. The crowd promptly thickened. It was a lovely day, bright and clear, and the seaplane was worth watching. We became quite interested. Next came a green-grey launch, flying the tricolour of France, and carrying a disproportionately lengthy naval gun; she performed more evolutions on the water in front of us, and suddenly broke off to stop a tug which had apparently trespassed and send it back to Haidar Pasha.

At this all felt that the explanation that troops were landing could not be correct. Something more was needed. It was supplied by the Nationalist Orator, a fearsome gentleman who pounces mercilessly on friends, acquaintances, and comparative strangers on ferry steamers, and expounds the beauties of Nationalism to them in sonorous tones. Having collected a little group around him by artifices such as were used by Mr. Joseph Finsbury in "The Wrong Box," he explained that the patriotic sailors of the ferry company had gone on strike as a protest against the scandalous language used by Lord Curzon and Mr. Lloyd George against Turkey.

For a moment many accepted the explanation which X. Effendi repeated in French for the benefit of Europeans, adding that the sailors had thereby shown "a laudable and patriotic initiative." But he had barely ceased to perorate when a cabman whose Turkish was fluent if he had no French arrived to inform us that no trains were running and that the British had seized Haidar Pasha Station. The strike had hardly accounted for this!

A GREEK "SPELLBINDER."

Presently the crowd began to thin. A great part of it drifted towards a cafe. The writer followed. There sat a happy Greek sailor in his shirt-sleeves. He had seen a great personage, Djemal Pasha, he believed, being marched through the streets in the custody of British soldiers in the small hours of the morning. With vigorous gesture, he described the how and the when in excruciating Turkish mingled with Greek.

I left him spell-binding. That evening I heard more. Yes, it was pretty certain that three Turks had been caught trying to blow up the British general with dynamite bombs. (The general had denied it, but of course there might be political and diplomatic reasons for his denial!)

One of my neighbours who had seen something for himself on the other side found that his servants knew more than he though they had not crossed the water. One had seen captive Nationalists conducted to a launch and British troops occupy Haidar Pasha Station.

"It was very well done," said he; "this time unimportant people were left alone."

"But do you know why?" asked another, who regards the cinema as the greatest educational influence of the age. "The English have brought "Serlo Kolms" (Greeks are as weak over the "sh" as the tribe of Ephraim) out to Constantinople. A wonderful man that! He just puts his nose in the air and smells out evil-doers. How brilliant an idea to employ him!"

Thus do myths arise in the Near East. I shall be surprised if Yanni, grown older and more garrulous, does not one day describe to his wondering and believing friends how he witnessed the dramatic arrest of Djemal Pasha by "Serlo Kolms" on that memorable March 16, 1920.

"Serlo Kolms" is a real being to many frequenters of our cinemas, and recently a newspaper advertising a coming feuilleton published the notice "Sherlock Holmes a Constantinople" in several successive numbers. This was taken literally by certain Greek and Turkish readers, who blamed a rival newspaper for failing to report the presence of this celebrity here! It is now an article of faith with many that Sherlock is here and at work, presumably in the "I" branch.
HT: Hal Lindsey Media Ministries, This week on 'The Hal Lindsey Report', August 23, 2013

Monday, January 6, 2014

1,700-year-old curse tablet discovered in Jerusalem

Another backlog item, as reported by Israel Antiquities Authority, October 2013:

A rolled-up sheet of lead bearing a Greek inscription was recently discovered in archaeological excavations the Israel Antiquities Authority is conducting in the Giv‘ati parking lot in the City of David, funded by the ‘Ir David Fellowship. This is a curse tablet bearing a spell that was probably written by a professional sorcerer or wizard.

According to Dr. Doron Ben-Ami and Yana Tchekhanovets, the excavation directors on behalf to the Israel Antiquities Authority, “the tablet was discovered in one of the rooms of an enormous building from the Roman period, which was excavated at the site in recent years. The building, which was constructed during the third century CE at the northern end of the City of David spur, was destroyed in the earthquake that struck the region in 363 CE, as evidenced by the many coins found amongst the collapse of its second story. A wealth of artifacts from this period was recovered from inside the ruins that were excavated in the building’s northeastern corner. Besides the lead tablet, the finds include a large amount of roof tiles stamped with the impression of the Tenth Legion that was garrisoned in the city following its destruction in 70 CE, bone and ivory objects, ceramic figurines and other finds attesting to the rich material culture of the structure’s inhabitants. Fresco remains found in the collapse are evidence of the second story walls decorated with painted floral and geometric patterns.

The lead tablet, which at the time of its discovery resembled a small narrow pipe, was sent to the laboratories of the Israel Antiquities Authority in order to be opened. After many days of toiling, Lena Kupershmidt, an IAA conservator, was the first person to set eyes on the ancient script since it was rolled up some 1,700 years ago. She needed much patience and nerves of steel to open the lead tablet because any attempt to do so quickly might have caused permanent damage to the inscription. When the tablet was finally unrolled it turned out it was in an excellent state of preservation, and included a Greek inscription that covers the entire surface of one side of the tablet, as well as part of the other side.

The tablet was sent for analysis and deciphering to Dr. Robert Daniel of the University of Cologne, Germany, a world renowned expert in the field. According to Dr. Daniel the text was written in cursive script and it was obviously not created by Kyrilla herself, rather by a professional sorcerer hired by her. The inscription invokes the curse a woman named Kyrilla wants cast on a man by the name of Iennys, probably in the wake of some legal dispute, the nature of is unclear. To this end she calls upon the help of the gods of the underworld, among them Pluto, Hermes Persephone, and even the Mesopotamian goddess Ereshkigal is asked to assist.

“I strike and strike down and nail down the tongue, the eyes, the wrath, the ire, the anger, the procrastination, the opposition of Iennys” – so says Kyrilla in one portion of the curse tablet. What we have here might be a metaphorical description of actions taken by Kyrilla designed to gain control over her legal opponent. At the same time we cannot rule out the possibility that writing the text on the tablet was literally accompanied by Kyrilla striking the image (?) of Iennys with a hammer and nails in a kind of ancient voodoo ritual.

Kyrilla hid the tablet in a place associated with Iennys and therefore the second floor room inside the ruins where the tablet was discovered was probably his residence. Alternately, a courtroom might have been situated in this corner of the Roman building where the trial of Kyrilla and Iennys was conducted. Kyrilla evidently concealed the object shortly before the structure was destroyed in the earthquake, after which the building was abandoned and never reinhabited.
The article A Juridical Curse from a Roman Mansion in the City of David by Doron Ben Ami, Yana Tchekhanovets, and Robert Walter Daniel was published in Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik, Volume 186 (2013), pp. 227-236, but doesn't yet seem to be available online for free.

500-year-old Jewish skeleton discovered in Brazil

Another backlog item:

The Lord shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth. Deuteronomy 28:25

As reported by Jewish Telegraphic Agency, July 19, 2013:

Brazilian archaeologists unearthed what they said are the 500-year-old remains of a Jewish man in Recife.

A report Thursday in the online edition of the Rio de Janeiro-based O Globo described the discovery earlier this month of a perfectly preserved skeleton of a male adult. The skeleton was found during earthwork in Recife, in northern Brazil, where Portuguese Jews in 1636 built the first known synagogue in the New World.

Marcos Albuquerque of the Federal University of Pernambuco, who oversaw the dig around the skeleton, told O Globo he had no doubt the man was Jewish and that he was buried sometime in the 16th century.

“In Christian tradition, it is customary to bury the dead with their hands crossed over their chest, but this man was buried with hands laid alongside his body before rigor mortis set in,” Albuquerque said. “Furthermore, the body was buried in simple shroud without jewelry or any other private belonging and without casket.”

The body was found five feet underground, O Globo reported, during the construction of a tunnel, Tunel da Abolicao, in Recife’s central neighborhood of Madalena. The tomb is situated approximately 1.5 miles east of the Kahal Zur synagogue, which Jews who fled the Portuguese and Spanish Inquisitions built in Recife, which was then still a Dutch colony.

Determining exactly when the man was buried would require the removal of a piece of the skeleton for carbon dating.

“But out of respect to the religious issue, we left the body where it was found,” Albuquerque said.
Go here to see an article in Portuguese about the dig.

Majority of Israel's Jews oppose building synagogue or Temple on Temple Mount

Another backlog item, as reported by Kobi Nahshoni of Ynet News, July 16, 2013:

The majority of the Israeli public is in favor of freedom of religion for Jews on the Temple Mount but is against building a synagogue or the Temple itself at the holy site, according to a survey conducted ahead of the annual Jewish fast day of Tisha B'Av, which takes place Tuesday.

The poll, commissioned by the Israel Independence Fund and the Joint Forum of Temple Mount Organizations, was conducted by the Maagar Mochot research institute in honor of the period of mourning commemorating the destruction of the first and second Jewish Temples.

The survey included 523 respondents – a representative sample of the adult Jewish population in Israel. The maximum sampling error was 4.5%.

Although the Western Wall draws its sacredness from the Temple Mount, 66% of respondents said it was the holiest place in the Land of Israel, while only 29% favored the Temple's location itself. Two percent mentioned the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, another 2% chose the tomb of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai in Meron, and 1% - Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem.

A breakdown of the responses according to religious affiliation reveals that the secular and traditional public sees the Western Wall as the holiest site (67%), while the national-religious and ultra-Orthodox chose the Temple Mount (49-54%).

Secular and traditional Jews, by the way, visit the Western Wall once every few years (44%) while religious and haredi Jews arrive at the site several times a year (53-54%).

55% interested in visiting Temple Mount
As opposed to the Western Wall, there appears to be an inverse proportion between the affinity to the Temple Mount and respondents' level of religiousness: The higher their conservatism – the more distant they feel from the Temple site. This stems from the halachic prohibition to get too close to holiness, which deters them from going up to the Mount.

Forty-nine percent of respondents believe it is important for Jews to visit the Temple Mount (including 45% of secular-traditional Jews and 78% of national-religious Jews), but 40% view it as unimportant (65% of haredim and those defined in the survey as "hardalim" – religious Zionist Jews inclines significantly toward haredi ideology). Among those in favor, 57% said it should only be done according to the rules of Halacha.

The survey participants were asked, "Will you be interested in visiting the Temple Mount as part of a tour of Jerusalem?" Fifty-five percent said yes (60% of secular-traditional Jews and 68% of national-religious Jews), and 38% said no (75% of haredim-hardalim). Yet 58% would not say a prayer even if it were possible (61% of secular-traditional and 70% of haredim-hardalim), and 34% would pray (including 73% of national-religious Jews).

About 50%: Muslim Waqf controls Mount
What about the establishment of a prayer house (or actual synagogue) on the Mount? Forty-nine percent are against the idea (47% of secular-traditional Jews and 85% of haredim), and 30% are in favor (52% of national-religious).

"May the Temple be built soon in our lifetime?" Only 30% are in favor of rebuilding the Temple today (43% of national-religious), while 45% are against it (45% of secular-traditional Jews and 62% of haredim).

Forty-nine percent of the public believes the Temple Mount is under the sovereignty of the Muslim Waqf, and only 19% think the State of Israel controls the site (others mentioned Jordan and the Palestinian Authority as well). Among those who claim there is no Israeli sovereignty, 47% said the State must take control of the holy site and 11% would put it in the hands of a Jewish religious authority.

59%: Divide Mount between Jews, Muslims
According to 48% of respondents (58% who had an opinion), the State must guarantee freedom of access and ritual on the Temple Mount for Jews as well, as required by the Protection of Holy Places Law (48% of secular-traditional Jews and 70% of national-religious Jews believe so). On the other hand, 35% agree with the ban on Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount (52% of haredim-hardalim).

Forty percent said that by allowing the current situation, in which there is no freedom of religion for Jews, the police were surrendering to violence and threats on the part of Muslims (64% of national-religious, 54% of haredim-hardalim and 34% of secular-traditional Jews said so), while 36% believe that the law enforcement authorities are simply maintaining law and order (39% of secular-traditional Jews).

So what is the solution? Fifty-nine percent are in favor of an arrangement dividing the Temple Mount between Jews and Muslims according to defined areas and times, as is the custom at the Cave of the Patriarchs (60% of secular-traditional, 65% of national-religious and 46% of haredim-hardalim). Twenty-three percent are against this proposal.
We know that the Temple will be rebuilt, with the possibility that some of the land in the vicinity will be left for the Gentiles:

And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
Revelation 11:1-2

Washington synagogue's Sabbath practices include yoga

Another backlog item:

Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
For the customs of the people are vain:
Jeremiah 10:2-3a

Judaism, like Christianity, is increasingly open to the deception of Eastern religion, as reported by Ynet News, June 15, 2013:

Shabbat is the Hebrew word for the Sabbath, the Jewish holy day. The asanas are the body positions for yoga. At the Sixth & I historic synagogue in downtown Washington, Shabbat and the asanas are coming together for Shabbasana - yoga for the Sabbath.

The first step was a successful one-time yoga class for Yom Kippur. Shortly after that, the rabbi of the sixth and I historic synagogue asked Greg Marzullo to make it a regular event.

"That would sort of infuse Jewish spirituality into the yogic practices without diminishing either," says Marzullo. "We didn't want it to be this sort of mishmash blend where it weakened both tradition, but we wanted it to be something that bolstered the inherent wisdom present in both traditions."

About 30 Washingtonians squeeze into a multipurpose room for one reason – to see how they can leave the work day behind and use yoga to transition to the Sabbath.

"I do yoga on my own, but I'm also Jewish and I celebrate Shabbat. This is the first time I've ever done yoga before Shabbat, so I thought it was a cool opportunity," says one of the yoga class participants.

He is one of more than 20 million Americans who practice yoga. In the past five years, interest in yoga has grown by more than 30%. For some of the participants at this class, the teacher is the big draw.

"I was really curious to see what he'd do with Shabbat and this notion of making time and space for yourself in a specifically Jewish way," one of the participants says.

"Yoga's about finding yourself, peace and love and spirit. Shabbat's about being spiritual and finding peace in the week. Shabbat separates out the rest of the work week from the day of rest, so it’s all coming together," says another participant.

The class is representative of many Americans who try yoga: There are many beginners and a few true experts. No one is expected to do each pose perfectly. This Friday night class is really about transition – from the non-stop workaholic world of Washington to the day of rest and prayer.

Having moved from the warrior pose to the much more relaxed child pose, after the class students are invited to Shabbat services in the main assembly room.

Shavasana is the Sanskrit word for the posture of rest, and Shabbasana – yoga for the Sabbath – is about coming to relaxation and preparing for Shabbat.

And with the growing popularity of yoga in America, some think it might be the next big idea – especially for Jewish Americans.