Monday, 13 April 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, 12 April 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, 10 April 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, 3 April 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.