Friday, 30 November 2018

Roman Catholic university in Minnesota promotes interfaith dialogue, includes Protestant, Jewish, Muslim leaders on pastoral staff

The University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota was founded as a Roman Catholic institution in 1885. The following item from last year is another little example of the promotion of a false religious unity and a false peace that will become more prominent in the last days before the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. As reported by Jordan Osterman of the University of St. Thomas, April 27, 2017:

The Office for Campus Ministry has hired a Presbyterian minister, Jewish rabbi and Muslim faith leader onto its pastoral staff, another step forward in the university’s push toward supporting all faiths on campus and throughout the St. Thomas community.

Those new leaders include the Rev. Medhat Yoakiem of the Presbyterian faith; Tamara Gray of the Islamic faith; and Rabbi Alan Shavit-Lonstein of the Jewish faith. Father Patrick Tobin, who has been an associate chaplain in the Office for Campus Ministry at St. Thomas since 2012-13, will continue in his role alongside the three new associate chaplains. Each will support the pastoral care of four of the largest faith contingents within the student body, as well as promote the interfaith dialogue and respect among all faiths that has been a growing priority for St. Thomas.

“It’s a very exciting time,” said Father Larry Blake, chaplain and director of campus ministry. “As a Catholic university we are committed to enabling the spiritual growth of all our students. We recognize they come from diverse faith traditions and we want to honor that.”

Yoakiem is originally from Egypt and has held several spiritual leadership roles over the past decade in Egypt, Wisconsin, Rhode Island and Minnesota. Gray is originally from Minnesota and graduated from Macalester College, and for 20 years lived in Syria before returning to Minnesota, where she started doctoral work in leadership at St. Thomas. Shavit-Lonstein has been the rabbi-in-residence at the Jay Philips Center for Interfaith Learning at the University of St. Thomas, and was previously the rabbi at Temple of Aaron in St. Paul from 2002-14.

The hires and added dedication to interfaith elements of the St. Thomas community help bring the university more in line with the Catholic Church, said Father Larry Snyder, director of the Office for Mission.

“There’s a piece in Ex Corde Ecclesiae where Pope John Paul II says the university has an obligation to foster the spiritual development of all of its students, comma, especially Catholics. He’s not being exclusive at all. Our current efforts are to try to bring the university into compliance with that,” he said.

The new leaders already have begun making contact with students and becoming a part of the faith community at St. Thomas, Blake said, and all are looking forward to helping students in their respective faiths and creating more opportunities for interfaith dialogue.

Last spring also saw the initiation of an interfaith council, which features six students, six faculty and six staff, who meet three times a semester to discuss what the St. Thomas community is doing – and what it can do more of – to promote interfaith dialogue and learning. This fall, Student Affairs, the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning and the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center collaborated to form Tommies United. Tommies United is dedicated to bringing together student leaders from clubs and groups around campus and encouraging them to find ways to connect with and support one another.

“There was a great melding of conversations [at the first event], and it’s wonderful to see what students come up with when you put them to the task,” said Ed Kim, assistant director of campus life.

“We have these many cultural clubs, intercultural events, this pluralistic society on campus with so many international students. Even as we are a Catholic school we have people from many religions. We’re all for the common good, and more communication is really helpful for us,” added senior Jingru Liu. “As we meet with different people, communicate with different people, make the whole environment on campus more open, we can accept and understand and respect the differences and the similarities.”

Those thoughts embody the same interfaith ideals Pope Francis spoke of when he visited Sri Lanka in 2015.

“As experience has shown for [interreligious] dialogue and encounter to be effective, it must be grounded in a full and forthright presentation of our respective convictions,” he said. “Certainly, such dialogue will accentuate how varied our beliefs, traditions and practices are. But if we are honest in presenting our convictions, we will be able to see more clearly what we hold in common. New avenues will be opened for mutual esteem, cooperation and, indeed, friendship.”

The recent additions build on an already strong foundation of interfaith resources at St. Thomas, including the longstanding Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning and Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center. The Jay Phillips Center is a collaboration with Saint John’s University and, after many years of fostering Jewish-Christian relations, has expanded its mission to promote interfaith learning, friendship and service among people of various religions, which it does by sponsoring a host of interfaith activities, including artistic performances, lectures, panels, conferences, retreats and service programs. The Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center, an initiative of the theology department, is dedicated to developing Muslim and Christian leaders who grow in mutual understanding and advance peace, justice, and harmony in the world.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan promotes international ban on criticism defamation of Islam religions

It will come as no surprise if the Trudeaupian Canadian Parliament, with the possible exception of some members from Quebec, supports this. As reported by Asim Malik of the Pakistani television network Aaj News, November 20, 2018:

Prime Minister Imran Khan says Pakistan will spearhead efforts to get passed an international convention on preventing defamation of religions.

Addressing international Ramatul-lil-Alimeen Conference in Islamabad on Tuesday, he said nobody can be allowed to hurt the sentiments of billions of Muslims under the garb of freedom of speech.

Imran Khan said he will appoint an international law expert Ahmar Bilal Sufi as his special envoy to visit different countries to contact different experts and leaders to get the convention passed.

He said the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) achieved this distinct target not through mobilizing resources but inculcating a spirit in His followers to serve the humanity with selflessness.

The Prime Minister regretted that some elements in the West and Europe are indulging in blasphemous acts time and again on the pretext freedom of expression provoking the Muslim Ummah across the globe.

He said when a chain of reaction comes in the Muslim world; the same Western and European nations dub the Muslims as terrorists and extremists through their propaganda machines.

The Prime Minister also urged the religious scholars and intellectuals to promote true teachings of Islam.

He directed the Higher Education Commission to set up special chairs on Seerat un Nabi (SAWW) at three different universities ensuring a specific research on the life, character, and teachings of the last Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (SAWW).

He said it will help educate and enlighten our new generation as to how our holy Prophet (SAWW) carved out the first ever Islamic welfare state of Madina Munawwara.

The Prime Minister reaffirmed the commitment to transform Pakistan into a modern Islamic welfare state in line with the Islamic teachings and idealogy of its forefathers.

Episcopal bishops in New York differ over sodomite/lesbian "marriage"

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

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. II Timothy 3:5

As reported by Douglass Dowty of the Syracuse Post-Standard, November 12, 2018 (links in original):

Syracuse, NY -- The bishop who oversees the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York reaffirmed her support of gay marriage today after her fellow bishop in Albany voiced his opposition.

The local diocese, since 2015, has had a policy to be "open and affirm all marriages between adults, regardless of gender identity or orientation," Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe told | The Post-Standard on Monday. "We are called by God to love one another with honor, dignity and integrity, seeking the best of the other person."

Her Albany counterpart, Bishop William Love, issued an edict Saturday banning the marriage of same-sex couples in the Albany diocese's churches. He cited portions of the Old and New Testament to argue that same-sex marriage is not biblical.

Love said church leaders had been "hijacked by the Gay Rights Agenda" and suggested it was part of Satan's plan to divide the church.

"Satan is having a heyday bringing division into the Church over these issues," Love wrote in an 8-page letter, and "is deceiving the leadership of the Church into creating ways for our gay and lesbians brothers and sisters to embrace their sexual desires rather than to repent and seek God's love and healing grace."

The disagreement arises over a resolution adopted in July by the national Episcopalian church that will allow same-sex marriages nationwide. The resolution takes effect in December.

Perhaps most controversial is the provision that would allow an outside bishop to preside over a same-sex marriage, even if the local bishop refuses to allow same-sex marriage ceremonies.

Gay marriage is an issue that has divided many American churches. That includes Episcopalians, who are also called Anglicans. Some conservative Anglican churches have split from the national church over gay marriage and other issues.

Duncan-Probe, the Central New York bishop, said it was too early to know if Syracuse clergy would preside over same-sex marriages within Albany churches. She referred to a letter from the national church's presiding bishop, Michael Curry, who said he was still determining how the national church would proceed.

"We are committed to the principle of full and equal access to, and inclusion in, the sacraments for all of the baptized children of God, including our LGBTQ siblings," Curry wrote in a letter Monday afternoon.

But Curry noted that any clergy could decline to officiate a marriage for reasons of conscience. He did not say whether he would order the Albany diocese to allow outside clergy in to perform same-sex marriages.

Duncan-Probe said she was not bishop when the Syracuse diocese began affirming same-sex marriages. But she said her support was something discussed when she became bishop two years ago.

She highlighted Episcopalian participation in Pride parades, marches and festivals across the diocese, which stretches from the St. Lawrence to the Pennsylvania border.

"Bishop Love's statement yesterday may have wounded people," Duncan-Probe said. "My concern, and what's on my heart, is to say that God loves them. The Episcopal Church in Central New York is here to help people draw nearer to the loving, liberating, life-giving message of Jesus."

Duncan-Probe also released a public letter today echoing her support.
Bishop Love makes some excellent points in his letter, but I disagree that the people under discussion are our "brothers and sisters" in the Christian faith. These aren't people who are "struggling with their sexuality," but have given themselves over to it. I also disagree with Bishop Love that his opponents on the issue are people of goodwill; such people have proven in the Episcopal Church and elsewhere that they're not people of goodwill, but are out to subvert the churches and society. If Bishop Love really does believe the Bible to be the word of God, as he claims, he should come out of the Episcopal Church, which is increasingly proving itself to be hopelessly apostate. He should heed the words of II Corinthians 6:17:

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

As for "Bishop" Duncan-Probe, she looks the type.

90 years ago: Protestant pastor in Georgia is convicted of libel against Knights of Columbus

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Exodus 20:16

But speaking the truth in love, Ephesians 4:15a

On November 30, 1928, it was reported from Savannah, Georgia that Rev. W.F. Larowe had been sentenced to three months in jail after being convicted of criminal libel in connection with the circulation of a false oath of the Knights of Columbus. His sentence was probated after a recommendation of the jury for extreme mercy.

I don't know the details of the case, but I do know this: no matter how opposed to the true Christian faith and gospel an individual or organization may be, if you're going to make and/or circulate a public accusation against them, you should be able to back up your accusation with at least enough evidence to avoid conviction for libel.

Financial Post Magazine provides evidence of the moral collapse of a once-great country

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death...
...Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.
Proverbs 14:12, 34

Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; Jeremiah 22:13a

But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
For the love of money is the root of all evil:
I Timothy 6:9-10a

For those who may be unaware, the Canadian government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau succeeded in passing legislation legalizing the recreational use of cannabis; the legalization came into effect on October 17, 2018. There was no good reason for this legalization to take place, but Mr. Trudeau, whom I call the "Manchurian Pothead," and his colleagues have been smoking marijuana illegally for years, and now they're in a position to make their behaviour legal.

Financial Post Magazine is the magazine of The Financial Post, the daily business section of the National Post newspaper. Click on the link to see the cover story of the magazine's October 2018 issue:

The Cannabis Power List: Movers and shakers we’re buzzing about in the pot world

An accompanying sidebar:

20 power players putting down roots in the cannabis industry

The reader of these articles will notice that there's no hint of any moral issues involved--it's just a business, with tremendous opportunities for increased riches, although with regulatory aspects that have yet to be determined. I find Trudeaupia Canada increasingly unrecognizable.

3,000-year-old beka weight discovered in Jerusalem

As reported by the City of David Foundation, circa November 23, 2018:


During the sifting of archaeological soil taking place in the Emek Tzurim National Park, under the auspices of the Ir David Foundation, a particularly surprising artifact was found: a tiny stone weight engraved with ancient Hebrew letters spelling Beka.

The weight, dated to the First Temple period, was found in archaeological soil originating from the Western Wall foundations, north of the City of David, at the foot of Robinson's Arch. The soil was transferred from the excavation area to the sifting site in the Emek Tzurim National Park for careful sorting and during the sifting process the weight was uncovered.

The Beka weight was used to weigh the half-shekel donation brought by the Jewish people for the maintenance of the Temple and the census, and it is mentioned in the Bible in Exodus 38, Verse 26:

“One beka per head; [that is,] half a shekel, according to the holy shekel, for each one who goes through the counting, from twenty years old and upward, for six hundred three thousand, five hundred and fifty [people].”

Archaeologist Eli Shukron, who directed the excavations on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, explains that “When the half-shekel tax was brought to the Temple during the First Temple period, there were no coins, so they used silver ingots. In order to calculate the weight of these silver pieces they would put them on one side of the scales and on the other side they placed the Beka weight. The Beka was equivalent to the half-shekel, which every person from the age of twenty years and up was required to bring to the Temple.” It should be noted that the biblical shekel weighed 11.33 grams. According to Shukron, “Beka weights from the First Temple period are rare; however this weight is even rarer, because the inscription on it is written in mirror script and the letters are engraved from left to right instead of right to left. It can therefore be concluded that the artist who engraved the inscription on the weight specialized in engraving seals, since seals were always written in mirror script so that once stamped the inscription would appear in regular legible script. “Apparently, the seal craftsman got confused when he engraved the inscription on the weight and mistakenly used mirror script as he was used to doing. From this mistake we can learn about the general rule: The artists who engraved weights during the First Temple period were the same artists who specialized in creating seals. The Bible, the artifact found close to Solomon’s Temple, north of the City of David, the Temple foundations – everything is connected.”

The artifact will be on display to the general public during Hanukkah in Emek Tzurim National Park.

The sifting project in Emek Tzurim National Park, under the auspices of the Ir David Foundation, together with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, is a large-scale archaeological project that offers the public an opportunity to have an archaeological experience without the need for prior knowledge. The project, earning the name “The Archaeological Experience,” is closely guided by archaeologists and allows participants to become an “archaeologists for a day” when they sift through the soil and find treasures from the past. Among the artifacts discovered so far in this project: King Hezekiah's seal, coins from various periods of Jerusalem, arrowheads, jewelry and more.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Israeli Sanhedrin invites 70 nations to Hanukkah dedication of altar for Third Temple

The Biblical end times prophetic scenario continues to unfold; as reported by Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz of Breaking Israel News, November 29, 2018 (bold in original):

The nascent Sanhedrin released a declaration to the 70 nations for Hanukkah to be read at a ceremony in Jerusalem on the last day of the holiday. The ceremony will include the consecration of a stone altar prepared for use in the Third Temple. The declaration is intended as an invitation to the nations to participate in the Temple and to receive its blessings.

The altar is currently in the form of loose stone blocks ready to be transported to the Temple Mount and stored in a manner that will enable them to be transported and assembled at a moment’s notice. When complete, the altar will be a square nine feet on each side and five feet tall, and includes a ramp for the priests to ascend. The decision to prepare the blocks and all the details of their composition is the result of a long study performed by the members of the Sanhedrin in conjunction with the Temple Institute. The stones are made of aerated concrete and are fit for use in the Temple. There are plans underway to prepare a new set made of actual stones which are considered the ideal material from which to build the altar.

A full-dress reenactment of the Korban Olah Tamid (the daily offering) will take place. Kohanim (Jewish men of the priestly caste descended from Aaron) wearing Biblically mandated garb will lead the ceremony. The location is still unclear as the Jerusalem municipality is weighing security concerns that a Jewish ceremony of this sort will precipitate Muslim violence if performed in view of the Temple Mount. Also at question is whether the Kohanim will ritually slaughter a lamb or whether prepared meat will be brought. Though the Sanhedrin has received all of the necessary permits from the government organizations in charge of slaughtering animals, they are still waiting for the municipality to approve that part of the ceremony. In either case, the meat will be roasted on the newly consecrated altar.

The priests will also perform the korban mincha in which the grain offerings that accompany the korban tamid are offered along with nesachim, a wine libation.

A large menorah will be lit as part of the ceremony. Rabbi Hillel Weiss explained the significance of the ceremony being held on the last day of Hanukkah.

“According to Jewish tradition, the tabernacle and Aaron the Priest were consecrated for service on the last day of Hanukkah,” Rabbi Weiss explained to Breaking Israel News. “It is fitting that we should invite the nations to the ceremony since Hanukkah is about bringing light to the darkness. The Jews were meant to do this for the entire world,” he said, quoting the Prophet Isaiah.

For He has said: “It is too little that you should be My servant In that I raise up the tribes of Yaakov And restore the survivors of Yisrael: I will also make you a light of nations, That My salvation may reach the ends of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6

“The Jews were brought back to Israel for the purpose of spreading the light to the nations,” Rabbi Weiss said. “As the sages instructed the Jews to pray every day, ‘A new light will shine upon Zion,and we should all merit to this light very soon.’ This light is Torah, the light of Torah which comes from Zion, which reveals the hidden aspects of God.”

The ceremony will also be part of the Sanhedrin’s ongoing effort to establish a Bible-based international organization to replace the United Nations. To this end, they charged Rabbi Yoel Schwartz, president of the Sanhedrin’s Court for the Noahides, with preparing a declaration that would describe the spiritual basis for the organization. Rabbi Schwartz is one of the most respected Torah scholars of this generation, a prolific writer, and winner of the Moskowitz Prize for Zionism.

The text of the declaration is printed below:

The Song of Israel and the World – Sanhedrin’s Declaration

“The name Yisrael, by which Jacob was called and all of his descendants after him, indicates the connection of the people of Israel to the Creator, and this connection is also strengthened through the singing of the Song of God, which is achieved through the Book of Psalms. The highest purpose of song is to praise the Creator.

It is for this purpose that on the 25th of Elul (Sept. 3), the Sanhedrin and the Mikdash Educational Center hosted the World Creation Concert as a musical gathering for all nations to give thanksgiving to the creator, to share with all mankind the gratitude for His mercies that fill creation. All of humanity needs to prepare for the day that the Lord will reign in Zion, when they too will make pilgrimage to Jerusalem to take their part in the Temple service.

The sages teach us that the world stands on three things: on Torah, on the Temple Service, and on acts of loving-kindness. Lacking the Temple service the world is like a throne that stands on two legs.

We are very close to the time about which the prophets of Israel prophesied that the God of the world who created everything will be called by the world in the name of the God of Israel, for only the people of Israel remained attached to Him.

Humanity created religions such as Christianity and Islam that served as instruments throughout history to bring humanity closer to this great day, when everyone would recognize the God of the world that was revealed on Mount Sinai in a desert that belongs to no people. It should be emphasized that the Ten Commandments that were given at that time belong to all the nations. They were heard all over the world in 70 languages so that every nation would hear these things in their own language, the echo of things. This is as witnessed by the reality that it is the only book in the world printed in every language that has a printed book and was hinted at by the Prophet Zephaniah.

For then I will make the peoples pure of speech, So that they all invoke Hashem by name And serve Him with one accord. Zephaniah 3:9

At that time, we will all serve the one Creator and fulfill the moral obligations incumbent on all mankind. This was the case since the beginning of creation, when he charged Adam with these obligations, and once again he charged those who left the ark after the Flood and Noah with his sons, and again at Mount Sinai, giving to humanity seven ironclad rules.

These are the seven messages of the Creator of the world to humanity known as the Seven Noahide Laws:

Belief in God: He who created everything. There is none besides Him and no one should turn away from Him.

Blessing Hashem (God, literally ‘the name’): Respecting the Creator and the sages who are familiar with His Torah, and respecting the places of worship where the Torah is learned and prayers are recited to him. It is forbidden, God forbid, to speak harshly against them or to curse them.

Stealing: The preservation of the rights of others to property and honor and body and not to desire to take anything belonging to others that is not for sale.

Laws: To establish courts to judge justice and to direct society and obey the orders and decisions of the courts.

Killing: Do not shorten the lives of people, including the lives of the terminally ill. The opposite is also true; to invest efforts to heal diseases and maintain health.

Have mercy on creatures: Not to be cruel to animals. One of the most forbidden acts is eating the organ or limb from a live animal. The animal must first be killed in a way that is less distressing such as cutting the neck.

Prohibition of prostitution: The mitzvah (Bible commandment) to build a proper family life. It is a severe prohibition to commit adultery with a married woman. It is also forbidden to perform a same-sex marriage. Also forbidden is sexual intercourse with animals and homosexuality.

Therefore, anyone who receives upon himself all of these seven rules in front of a rabbinic court has a special status in Judaism. Even though they are not Jewish, they have entered into a full partnership in the service of God.

God’s call to return his people to his land will show that the belief of some nations that Israel was in exile as a punishment was a mistaken belief. The exile was only in order for Israel to serve as an example to the nations for serving God. Were it not for the exile, Muhammad would not have known God and would have been idolatrous like his other brothers. Were the Jews not in Rome, the idolaters would have remained to this day. The Torah was translated into Greek, and the nations copied the word of God because there were Jews in the Egyptian exile.

Now, it is time for the Creator’s people to return to their land, and from here light will come forth to the world. And when we merit it, and the Temple will be restored and built on its place, then even more will all the nations realize that the time has come to worship God. The crisis of religion today is a preparation for the true worship of the Lord.

In conclusion: Anyone who wants to accompany us, to be a partner in serving God, and to connect with his people, must be a believer in the God who was revealed at Sinai, and to be as the people of Israel who were present there and preserved this status to this day.

We see God’s hand clearly in the miracle of the Jewish state that arose again two thousand years after its destruction. It is incumbent upon all those who accompany us to try as much as possible to spread the belief according to the prophets, just as the Jews guarded and observed their words and to prevent, God forbid, the spread of man-made religions. Those who do so must also aid the Jews in observing what God commanded them. God required of the Jews an additional amount, more than he required from the other nations, since the Jews will serve as the priests of the mankind. And the other nations should not, God forbid, try to influence his people to join their religions.”

Rabbi Dov Stein, Secretary of the Sanhedrin, described the dire need to replace the United Nations.

“We now live in an era when threats are global and not limited to one country,” Rabbi Stein told Breaking Israel News. “This is true of weapons, environmental issues, and even social issues. The solutions must come from a universal effort. The United Nations has failed in its mandate by rejecting God as the creator and the Noahide Laws common to all of mankind.”

As an example, Rabbi Stein described the resolution being drafted to make abortions and assisted suicides a “universal human right” which the rabbi said violated the Noahide law prohibiting murder.

“They have rejected the basics of humanity that were given at Sinai. We have to re-educate the world in order to address these issues. We need a universal organization that will return to the Bible, re-educate the world. This is not a religious initiative. This is a national initiative with each nation bringing its special aspect, all nations joining together in Jerusalem, where the world was created.”
The Sanhedrin today are as they were in the time that our Lord Jesus Christ walked the Earth, whom He condemned by quoting Isaiah 29:13:

Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Mark 7:7

The modern Sanhedrin, like their ancient counterparts, continue to proclaim law rather than grace. The perceptive reader will notice that the modern Sanhedrin implies that Muhammad knew God and was not "idolatrous like his other brothers." On the contrary, Muhammad worshipped a false god, and was a false prophet. The Sanhedrin's statement is an example of the deception that the Lord warned would characterize the end times prior to His return.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Muslims in Topeka distribute free turkeys for Thanksgiving

Engaging in charitable activities such as giving away turkeys for Thanksgiving is a nice thing to do, but it's a mistake to confuse such social gospel activities with the true gospel, since non-Christians can perform the same acts. Submitted for your approval, the case of the Islamic Center of Topeka, as reported by Shanna Sloyer in the Topeka Capital-Journal, November 17, 2018 (updated November 19, 2018):

A line formed Saturday morning behind the Let’s Help building on S. Kansas Avenue despite gray skies and chilly temperatures.

The Islamic Center of Topeka had volunteers on hand to distribute 150 free turkeys and Thanksgiving meal trimmings to Let’s Help clients. This is the fifth year the organizations have teamed up to provide for members of the community in need during the holidays.

“This is a blessing,” said Loretta McFarland as she waited in line. “It helps families. They don’t have to go out and spend a lot of money. It’s just gracious that they would go out and do this.”

Rehan Reza, president of the Islamic Center of Topeka, contacted Let’s Help five years ago with an idea. He had seen a similar partnership in Kansas City and was inspired to bring the program to Topeka.

“In Kansas City, the Muslim community was doing this before me,” Reza said. “They give away almost 400 turkeys a year. I live in Topeka, and I think (the) community needs it, to have nice food with their family at Thanksgiving time.”

Along with the Islamic Center of Topeka, the Topeka Rotary Club donates money to purchase food, and Let’s Help provides a space for distribution.

“In our religion, charity is one of the five pillars. We try to help people whenever they need it,” Reza said.

Recipients of free turkeys were required to sign up ahead of the event, and members of the Islamic Center of Topeka were on hand to distribute them. Volunteer Ron Hasan was among them.

“I love doing this,” Hasan said. “I like helping people.”

The mission of Let’s Help is to break the cycle of poverty. The agency serves an average of 350 meals Monday through Friday and two Saturdays each month. It also distributes 3,600 emergency food boxes each year.

Linda Kehres, executive director of Let’s Help, said partnerships like this one are critical to keeping the agency going.

“Our community partners give generously every year, which allows us to provide needed services to those most vulnerable in our community,” she said. “We are grateful to the Islamic Center of Topeka for their generous gift this holiday season.”

"Faith groups" in Topeka use Thanksgiving as an occasion to promote false religious unity

Can two walk together, except they be agreed? Amos 3:3

Thanksgiving, once a holiday for giving thanks to the God of the Bible for the harvest He had provided, has been used for almost 40 years by various "faith groups" in Topeka, Kansas to promote a false religious unity and social gospel initiatives. The reader of the items below will notice the mention of not only Christian Science but the Shrine, which is associated with Freemasonry. As reported by Phil Anderson of the Topeka Capital-Journal, November 16, 2018 (link in original):

At least one gathering, Interfaith of Topeka’s 38th annual Community Thanksgiving Service, will feature the participation of individuals from various faith traditions. The service will take place at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18, at First Baptist Church, 3033 S.W. MacVicar.

The interfaith program will honor community youths, with students from Topeka High School, Seaman High School and Hayden High School providing music.

Topeka High School students and principal Rebecca Morrisey will demonstrate restorative justice principles used in their school and other local schools to create positive relationships after conflict. A freewill offering will benefit the Topeka Center for Peace and Justice, which sponsors restorative justice training in schools.

A reception and exhibits by local faith groups will follow the service. For information, call (785) 554-8068.

Several other Topeka congregations will hold Thanksgiving services this coming week.

Among them is the First Church of Christ, Scientist, 2600 S.W. Fairlawn, which will have its annual Thanksgiving Day service at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 22, at the church.

Kathy Thurbon Henry, a member of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, said the Thanksgiving service is held each year at the direction of the denomination’s founder, Mary Baker Eddy, who lived from 1821 to 1910. Other Christian Science churches across the U.S. also will have Thanksgiving Day services on Thursday morning.

The order of the Thanksgiving service is determined by leaders of the Boston-based church. Henry said the service begins with a hymn, followed by a reading of the Thanksgiving Proclamation of the President of the United States, or governor of the state, or both. Readings from the Bible, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” hymns and the reading of a lesson-sermon will follow.

“Mary Baker Eddy is the discoverer and founder of Christian Science,” Henry said. “She ordained the Bible and her book ‘Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures’ as the pastor. Readings from these books comprise our sermons, and members of our church are elected to be the readers.”

Though the structure of Christian Science Thanksgiving services are the same each year, Henry said, the readings are different.

Henry said Thanksgiving provides an opportunity for people to reflect on God’s blessings over the past year. The service at First Church of Christ, Scientist, has a time for testimonies, giving attendees the chance to express their thankfulness.

“I think it’s important to pause and take time to reflect on all the blessings we have received in the past year,” Henry said, “and also to have the opportunity to publicly give thanks for what those blessings were.”

June Rockey, another member of First Church of Christ, Scientist in Topeka, said the congregation looks forward to the service each year.

“It’s one of our favorite services of the year,” Rockey said. “It helps set the tone for the rest of the day.”

Rockey said the service typically lasts less than an hour, allowing attendees to make it home in time for Thanksgiving dinner and family gatherings.

Other Thanksgiving events include:

• A community service at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18, at Oakland Presbyterian Church, 2810 N.E. Thomas. Several churches in the Oakland neighborhood will participate in the annual service, which has been held around Thanksgiving for more than 50 years. Participating congregations include Oakland Christian Church-Disciples of Christ, Grace Baptist Church, Oakland United Methodist Church, Oakland Church of the Nazarene and Oakland Presbyterian Church. The service will feature a community choir. Refreshments, including pie and cake, will be served after the program.

• A service at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 21, at Faith Lutheran Church, 1716 S.W. Gage.

• A service at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 21, at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 3625 S.W. Wanamaker.

• A multi-church service with participants from Lutheran and Episcopal congregations at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 21, at St. David’s Episcopal Church, 3916 S.W. 17th.

• A Thanksgiving service at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 22, at the Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ, 2420 S.E. Bellview.

• A Thanksgiving Day service at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 22, at Grace Episcopal Cathedral, 701 S.W. 8th.

• A Thanksgiving Day service from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday, Nov. 22, at Mount Olive Primitive Baptist Church, 701 N.W. Gordon.
A year earlier, as reported by Mr. Anderson in the Capital-Journal, November 7, 2017:

For the 37th consecutive year, Interfaith of Topeka will sponsor a Community Thanksgiving Service featuring participation from various religious groups that are active in the capital city.

The event, which is held in a different house of worship each year, will take place at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 19, at St. David’s Episcopal Church, 3916 S.W. 17th. The church is on the northwest corner of S.W. 17th and Gage.

Roger Neufeld Smith, president of Interfaith of Topeka and pastor of Southern Hills Mennonite Church, called the service “one of the jewels” of the capital city.

He said those who have grown weary of the tone of public discourse in recent years will find much to like in the service, particularly in light of “the rhetoric of this past presidential campaign” and the ongoing violence in Topeka and across the nation.

“I think people are frustrated and don’t know what they can do,” Smith said. “Well, Interfaith of Topeka can be a resource for people to do something to respond to the violence and the over-heated rhetoric.

“This Thanksgiving service is our premier event of the year. It’s a time to see all the faith groups in action — to see them pray, to see their expressions of faith.

“I think it’s a great event, and I’d hope we’d fill this church on Sunday night and see people of goodwill come forward to do something about the violence and the controversy and the incivility toward each other.”

Smith added that many who attend the Thanksgiving service for the first time “would be surprised at how much we have in common among our faith groups.”

The theme for this year’s service is “For the Children.” The service will feature several children’s choirs along with other musicians, poetry readings, and prayers from representatives of various faith groups in Topeka.

Susan Zuber-Chall, treasurer of Interfaith of Topeka and co-chairwoman of the Thanksgiving program, said the Thanksgiving program takes on a family-friendly feel.

“It reminds people that we are a family,” said Zuber-Chall, a member of Temple Beth Sholom. ” We are the human family.”

Zuber-Chall added that since Thanksgiving is known for being a time when families come together, it was appropriate to have “so many different faiths involved” in Sunday night’s service, as they represented a chance for people to “come and be with their human family.”

The Rev. Vicki L. Smith, rector of St. David’s Episcopal Church, said so many different groups coming together serves as “a statement of unity in a very divisive time. And we need to make that statement.”

Beyond that, she added, the service “gives us, as adults, the opportunity to model for children that we can get along, that we can respect each other, and it’s important that we do that.”

Kathy Thurbon, co-chairwoman of the Thanksgiving program and a member of First Church of Christ Scientist, said she attended her first such service last year when it was held at University United Methodist Church.

“It’s very inspirational,” Thurbon said. “I found it very uplifting. I came away with kind of a joyful sense overall, and thought it was wonderful to see the different faiths and what they had to present.”

A freewill offering will be received at Sunday night’s service, and donations will be presented to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Topeka, Let’s Help and the Topeka Arab Shrine.

Representatives of each of those groups will make short presentations.

A reception with refreshments and displays about different faith groups will follow the service.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Perverts in Taiwan whine as same-sex "marriage" is rejected in national referendum

In Taiwan, as in the United States and Canada, alphabet perverts can't get what they want through democratic means, and have to rely on activist judges who are willing to do their bidding, legislating a deviant social agenda from the bench. At least in Taiwan the people were given an opportunity to express their views in a referendum; as reported by Channel NewsAsia, November 26, 2018:

The results of Saturday’s referendums on equal marriage rights has been interpreted by some as a resounding rejection of same-sex marriage by Taiwanese, but rights advocates said the campaign was heavily skewed in favor of the anti-gay rights camp.

Of the five referendums on Saturday that touched on gay issues, three reached the required threshold of more than 4.94 million “yes” votes, a quarter of eligible voters, needed to pass.

Referendum #10 — which asked “Do you agree that the Civil Code should define marriage as the union between a man and a woman?” — garnered 7,658,008 “yes” votes and 2,907,429 “no” votes.

There were 7,083,379 votes in favor of referendum #11 — which asked: Do you agree that in the course of mandatory public education (in junior-high schools and elementary schools), the Ministry of Education and schools at various levels should not teach classes regarding gay people that are stipulated by the Gender Equity Education Act (性別平等教育法)?” — and 3,419,624 votes against it.

Referendum #12 — which asked: “Do you agree that the right to persons of the same sex to create a permanent union should be guaranteed by an institution other than marriage as defined by the Civil Code?” — garnered 6,401,748 votes in favor of it and 4,072,471 against.

The proposals that did not pass were No. 14, which asked: “Do you agree that the right to marriage of persons of the same sex should be protected by legislation under the chapter on marriage of the Civil Code?” — and No. 15, which asked: “Do you agree that mandatory education should, as stipulated by the Gender Equity Education Act (性別平等教育法), implement gender equality education, which includes emotional, sexual and gay and lesbian education?”

There were 6,949,697 votes against No. 14 and 3,382,286 in favor of it, while No. 15 garnered 6,805,171 votes against it and 3,507,665 in favor.

Chinese Regional Bishops’ Conference secretary-general Chen Ko (陳科) yesterday said the referendum results were “an indication that the position of Taiwanese society is that same-sex marriage is unacceptable.”

Chen said the results of the pro-gay referendums were a surprise.

Based on the way society has reacted to annual gay pride parades, acceptance of gay people did not seem to be a problem, but the results on the question about same-sex marriage suggest Taiwan is not ready for such a change, Chen said.

“Taiwanese tend to be more conservative when it comes to marriage, finding it hard to accept changes made to the definition of marriage,” Chen said.

Happiness Alliance president Tseng Hsien-ying (曾獻瑩), one of the initiators of Referendum #11, said: “People used their ballots to make their voice heard. Family values and inclusion of those values in the education of the next generation are mainstream public opinion that the government should heed.”

Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights, an LGBTIQ rights group, on Saturday reminded the government it is obliged to put the Council of Grand Justices’ Constitutional Interpretation No. 748 in favor of same-sex marriage into law despite the referendum results.

The grand justices on May 24 last year ruled that the Civil Code’s definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman was unconstitutional and ordered that the law be amended or another law legalizing same sex-marriage be introduced within two years.

The anti-gay rights camp poured hundreds of millions of New Taiwan dollars into advertisements to brainwash society with propaganda aimed at inciting fear, hatred, prejudice and bias against gay people, the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights said in a statement.

“We will not give up our fight and we believe that justice will come to society,” it said, adding: “We would like to remind the government that the referendum results do not alter the fact that the grand justices’ ruling must be acted on before May 24, 2019.”
Dr. Steve Turley attributes financial support for the pro-pervert campaign in Taiwan to George Soros, which comes as no surprise to this blogger. I'm not as optimistic as Dr. Turley about the direction of society, but time will tell.

Monday, 26 November 2018

30 years ago: Disgraced televangelist Peter Popoff underwhelms Edmonton

This blogger first became aware of Peter Popoff early in 1979, coming across his weeknightly radio broadcast. Mr. Popoff was offering, and spending most of his time talking about, his book The Other Side of Life: An Astonishing Glimpse Into the Future; he was a few decades ahead of the curve when it came to books by people claiming to have gone to Heaven. I was just starting to read the Bible in those days, and the Lord protected me from falling for deception of the kind promoted by Mr. Popoff.

In the 1980s, Mr. Popoff became widely known as a televangelist, performing phony faith healings, ostensibly hearing directly from God. In 1986, secular humanist skeptic and magician James Randi exposed Mr. Popoff as a fraud, receiving his revelations from his wife, communicating through an earpiece. The exposure of Mr. Popoff as a fraud led to his declaration of bankruptcy in September 1987. However, you can't keep a con good man down, and Mr. Popoff wasn't one to let debunking and bankruptcy stop him. He started down the comeback trail, and on November 26, 1988, performed in one of the meeting rooms on the second floor of the Chateau Lacombe hotel in downtown Edmonton--a considerably smaller venue, with a considerably smaller audience, that he had attracted a few years earlier.

This blogger attended with fellow cultwatcher Chris Milner, and witnessed an entertaining, albeit bare-bones performance, with no miraculous healings, and no instant divine revelations. Although Mr. Popoff performed no miracles for his audience in Edmonton, he was able to tell stories about alleged miracles that he had recently performed elsewhere. My favourite was when he claimed that he had prayed that a recently-deceased man who was being transported for burial would be raised to life. According to Mr. Popoff, the man woke up in the hearse, and the driver of the hearse, a backslidden Pentecostal preacher, promptly pulled the car over, got down on his knees, and rededicated himself to the Lord. As they used to say in Get Smart, "I find that very hard to believe."

We weren't the only ones who weren't fooled by Mr. Popoff; on our way out, we met a discerning Christian named Steiner Bremnes, who perceptively observed that since Mr. Popoff had been exposed, he seemed to have lost his spiritual gift.

Mr. Popoff eventually found the prosperity gospel to be effective--for him--and within a few years he was back on television, raking in millions of dollars while using the methods that had made him notorious in the first place, and is presumably still going. Howard Cosell's comment about the "coaching business" can also apply to the televangelist business: "Bad apples seem to always float back to the surface of the barrel..."

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Survey of dubious accuracy finds that the young and educated support the role of religion in public life in Canada

The survey that's the subject of the following article was done online by people who were rewarded by points and prizes in exchange for participating, which leads this blogger to believe that it was done by people who were ticking off boxes as quickly as possible without necessarily having any knowledge of the subject. If you think the "old technology" telephone survey yields more accurate results, that isn't necessarily so, either; the Angus Reid company doesn't tell the public, but does tell prospective workers, that 70% of the people they call refuse to talk to them. For what it's worth, as reported by Joseph Brean of the National Post, November 23, 2018:

Proponents of religious faith in public life in Canada tend to be younger, more highly educated, and more likely to have voted Liberal, according to a new survey.

The counter-intuitive discovery puts the lie to the common impression that support for public religiosity in areas like health care, social services and education is driven by evangelical church goers and deeply observant, older, conservative “holy rollers,” said Angus Reid, chairman of Angus Reid Institute.

“What we find is exactly the opposite,” Reid said.

He said there is a “mythology” on the political left that says declining church attendance goes hand in hand with support for what he calls “uber-secularization” of society, or the “extinguishment of faith and religion from any portion of the public square.”

Not so, according to the report, Faith in the Public Square, done in partnership with Cardus, which describes itself as a non-partisan, faith-based think tank and registered charity dedicated to promoting a flourishing society.”

“The largest segment of Canadian society (at 37%), quite independent of whether they have any religious views or not, sees an important role for religious and faith groups across many dimensions of Canadian society. They strongly support religious freedom. They see religious and faith groups playing an important role in health, in social services, social justice issues. They believe that faith and religion are critical for the formation of citizenship and strong values,” Reid said in an interview. “There is a very significant segment that is alive and well and quite dug in, in many respects, on this question.”

When asked about how faith operates in their own lives, Canadians tend to break down roughly like this: 20% are atheist, 20% are religiously committed, 30% are privately faithful, and 30% are spiritually uncertain.

But the pie chart looks different when the emphasis shifts to the role faith should play in public life, this survey suggests. It found that there are more proponents of faith in the public square (at 37%) than there are opponents (32%) or those who are uncertain (32%).

The survey describes these groups using what it calls a Public Faith Index, based on responses to 17 questions.

Public faith is a topic of frequent and intense public debate, from niqabs and religious symbols in the public services in Quebec, to the funding of religious schools and the appropriateness of Christian prayers at local council meetings. In the past, it has coloured political debate on everything from abortion access to whether Canada should participate in war.

This survey sought to measure opinion on, for example, whether faith is good for citizenship, whether the tenets of various faiths should be taught in high schools, and whether politicians ought to be conversant in the basics of the various religions in Canada.

It found, for example, that 38% of Canadians thought religious and faith communities were making a positive contribution to health care, while 15% felt the contribution was negative. There were similar results for social justice causes, such as poverty and overseas development. But in social services, fully 51% thought the contribution was positive, and just 11% felt it was negative. In education, the numbers were more evenly split, 28% positive and 25% negative.

It also found deep divisions between the three segments. For example, 93% of public faith proponents agree that religious and faith communities strengthen Canadian values such as equality and human rights. But 81% of public faith opponents disagree with this proposition.

In education, a solid majority, 57%, of opponents thought the beliefs of the world’s major religions should not be taught public high schools, while 36% thought just the basics should be taught.

Another curious finding is that fully 25% of public faith proponents say they have never read a religious text.

A key caveat to the general conclusion about a strong segment of young, educated, Liberal proponents of public faith is the province of Quebec. For example, if you exclude Quebec, the percentage of Canadians who are proponents of public faith rises to 42%.

“Quebec, on any issue associated with religion or faith, is a totally distinct society,” Reid said.

The survey of 2,200 Canadians was conducted in early November, via the Angus Reid Forum, an online community in which people can participate in surveys in exchange for reward points and prizes. Because they were not randomly selected, a true margin of error cannot be calculated, but a randomized poll of similar size would have a margin of error of 2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

British Columbia mall and Salvation Army clear up misunderstanding over performance of Christmas carols

Although intolerance and persecution of Christians is increasing, what was initially reported as an example of this in Prince George seems instead to have been just a misunderstanding. As reported by Nick Faris of the National Post, November 19, 2018:

A British Columbia mall that disapproved of Christian Christmas carols being performed at a Salvation Army fundraising event on its premises has backtracked, assuring the charity that two songs about the birth of Jesus won’t be banned from future shows under the mall’s prohibition on religious music.

The Pine Centre Mall in Prince George, B.C., has restored the Christ in Christmas, with management deciding over the weekend that Mary’s Boy Child and Go Tell It On The Mountain don’t threaten its ability to remain non-partisan and non-sectarian.

Neil Wilkinson, the captain of the Salvation Army’s Prince George chapter, says he was standing to the side of a small concert his organization held to kickstart its annual Christmas kettle campaign on Friday afternoon when the mall’s promotions manager informed him that the carols a local trio was singing in front of them violated Pine Centre policy.

“I watched her angst rising,” Wilkinson said. As soon as the singers finished their set, Wilkinson continued, he walked up to the microphone, thanked the assembled crowd, wished them Merry Christmas and cut short the event with one act left on the docket.

“I chose to shut things down before it compromised any relationships the Salvation Army has in the community,” he said.

As it turns out, Wilkinson need not have fretted. He says another mall official told him the following day that the two carols constituted “traditional Christmas music” and, as such, were permissible forms of expression at the mall despite their lyrics’ constant references to Jesus, the Lord, the Bible and Christianity.

The American composer Jester Hairston wrote Mary’s Boy Child in 1956 to hail the long-ago birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem: “Hark, now hear the angels sing, a king was born today / And man will live for evermore, because of Christmas Day.” Go Tell It On The Mountain, meanwhile, is an African-American spiritual that exhorts people to disperse “over the hills and everywhere” to proclaim Jesus’ birth.

The group that sang Mary’s Boy Child and Go Tell It On The Mountain opened their set with two other songs, at which point the promotions director approached Wilkinson to ask for the noise level to be toned down. The musicians were using guitar amps rather than performing acoustically, an expectation Wilkinson said the Salvation Army forgot to tell them about.

Wilkinson said the promotions director continued to stand beside him and expressed her misgivings when Mary’s Boy Child and Go Tell It On The Mountain were played.

Pine Centre Mall’s general manager, Rachel Olson, did not return calls seeking comment before deadline on Monday. She told the Prince George Citizen newspaper that the carol flap was “just a misunderstanding and miscommunication amongst all parties … The Salvation Army and Pine Centre Mall have an amazing relationship that goes back years and they will continue to be here and we will continue to support them in all the ways that we can.”

In future, Wilkinson said, mall management has asked to approve in advance any carolling the Salvation Army wants to hold at its kettle location. He added that he and Olson came to a verbal understanding on Saturday that Mary’s Boy Child and Go Tell It On The Mountain would be allowed at future shows.

The Salvation Army has launched its kettle fundraising campaign with musical performances at the mall for several years running, dating to before Wilkinson became the local captain eight Christmases ago. He said a few singers have told him they’d like to perform there later this holiday season, but noted he’d refrain from organizing more carolling if that’s what the public prefers.

“Our goal as the Salvation Army is to be a source of hope in the community,” Wilkinson said. “If our carolling is not helpful, well, then we’re happy to pull back.”
As reported by Christine Hinzmann of the Prince George Citizen, November 17, 2018:

A Facebook post claiming a choir performance at Pine Centre Mall that ended earlier than scheduled late Friday afternoon to kick off the Salvation Army's annual Christmas kettle campaign was shut down due to "material being performed that was offensive" is being downplayed by both the church and the mall.

In his original post on Facebook, which Rod Walker subsequently took down, he wrote in part "MALL ADMINISTRATION, accompanied by SECURITY, came out. Some things were said about material being performed that was offensive to some. Salvation Army was asked to leave, and the music ceased. KICKING THE SALVATION ARMY OUT OF THE MALL. IN PRINCE GEORGE, CANADA!!"

Walker's post spread quickly through Facebook, as numerous people shared it with their social media friends and commented on it.

Walker told the Citizen in an interview Saturday that he stood behind his Facebook post. Walker, according to his post, arrived at the mall as the event was ending and said one of the performers told him they were asked to leave the mall because the group performed Go Tell It On The Mountain.

Salvation Army Captain Neil Wilkinson said he was not escorted out of the Pine Centre Mall by security, contrary to comments made on the original Facebook post.

It was Wilkinson's choice to end the performance and leave early.

Everything went well as the Bel Canto Choir performed without amplification, Wilkinson said. Then another group started to perform with electric guitars and an amplified microphone.

"We are partly at fault," Wilkinson said. The performers were not supposed to have any kind of amplification during their performances.

The music selection was also an issue when the group sang Mary's Boy Child and Go Tell It On the Mountain, he added. The music is Christian and there were complaints made to the administration of the Pine Centre Mall about it.

"That's when I decided to shut it down," Wilkinson said. "The Salvation Army does not bare any ill will. We are very grateful for all our community partnerships. This is the first time we were asked not to sing religious music. The Salvation Army is a spiritual organization. We are Christian and being Christian is part of who we are."

"This is just a misunderstanding and miscommunication amongst all parties - no children were removed from the property," Rachel Olson, Pine Centre Mall's marketing director, said. "No kettles were removed from the property."

Olson said there was not an agreement in place with the Salvation Army and that meant they did not know what the expectations for their performance at the mall would include. There is an agreement in place for the kettle campaign and it will continue as scheduled, she added.

"We've spoken to the Salvation Army and we're all good," Olson said. "Things just got blown up. The kettles are still here, no children were involved - nothing crazy like that. That's not what happened. The Salvation Army and Pine Centre Mall have an amazing relationship that goes back years and they will continue to be here and we will continue to support them in all the ways that we can."
I sympathize with the objections over amplification; when and why did ear-splitting noise become equated with "worship?" If any objections are raised over the singing of "religious songs," a good response might be to say that songs about the birth of Jesus Christ aren't religious songs, but songs about a significant historical event. This blogger couldn't help noticing, though, that the Salvation Army is willing to stop singing about the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ in order to raise money for their community service, perhaps indicating a preference for the social gospel over the true gospel if push comes to shove.

Friday, 23 November 2018

Erotic fresco found in bedroom of Pompeii home

Erotic art seem to have been commonplace in Pompeii--and the city was suddenly destroyed. Coincidence? No--decadence! As reported by Russia Today, November 20, 2018 (updated November 21, 2018) (link in original):

A “sensual” depiction of a legendary Spartan queen having sex with a swan has been unearthed in the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii. Further evidence, not that it was needed, that people just love erotic pictures.

The newly discovered fresco, which captures a scene from classical mythology, was found in a bedroom in the town that was destroyed when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD.

It depicts the figure of Leda being impregnated by the Roman god Jupiter, who has taken the form of a swan. The incredibly detailed artwork shows Leda protecting the swan with her cloak as he sits on her lap.

Archaeologists uncovered the, incredibly vivid, fresco on Friday during works to bolster Pompeii’s structures after rains and wear-and-tear caused some ruins to collapse, the body that oversees the ancient site said.

Depictions of Leda and Jupiter were not uncommon in Pompeii but the archaeological park’s director Massimo Osanna praised the discovery as exceptional because the skilled artist had painted it to make it appear that Leda was looking at whoever entered the bedroom.

“Leda watches the spectator with a sensuality that's absolutely pronounced,” Osanna told Italian news agency ANSA.

He noted the fresco's context in the Greek “myth of love, with an explicit sensuality in a bedroom where, obviously beside sleep, there could be other activities.”

The painting was found in an opulent house where another splendid fresco was discovered earlier this year. Osanna said one theory is that the owner was a rich merchant who wanted to display his good taste by filling his house with myth-inspired art.

Leda is an important figure in classical mythology. She was said to have borne children fathered by the god Zeus, the Greek version of Jupiter, and by a mortal king of Sparta. She is the mother of Helen of Troy and the twins Castor and Pollux.

Centuries after the destruction of Pompeii the story of the swan's seduction of Leda became a favoured subject in Renaissance Italy and inspired works by Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.

The fresco is the latest in a series of impressive recent finds in Pompeii. Last month graffiti was discovered that shifted the timeline of the catastrophic eruption by several months while the separate discovery of six skeletons huddled together shed further light on how people reacted as Vesuvius laid waste to their world.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

69-year-old Dutchman wants to legally alter his birthdate in order to get more dates on Tinder

The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Psalms 90:10

Submitted for your approval, the following excellent example of what Rush Limbaugh calls "illustrating the absurd by being absurd." I can't argue with the man's logic: if someone can claim to be a different sex an be recognized as such in contradiction to biological fact and observable reality, why can't someone then claim to be a different age than that which is officially recorded?

As reported by Jeremiah Rodriguez of CTV News, November 8, 2018 (updated November 9, 2018):

A Dutch motivational speaker, 69, has kicked off a battle to legally lower his age by 20 years in order to boost his employment chances and, he says, stop being discriminated against on Tinder according to him.

Emile Ratelband said he wants to change his birthday to March, 11, 1969 — 20 years to the day after he was actually born in 1949.

He told the Dutch court in the small town of Arnhem, 96 kilometres east of Amsterdam, that his wish was comparable to people changing their sex if they identified as transgender.

Last Monday, he says city officials told him it was “impossible because it’s never happened before” and laughed at him. But Ratelband contends that there is no law “forbidding him” from changing his age.

“If you don’t like your name, you can change your name. If you don’t like your sex, you can change your sex. So I thought we also have to do this with age,” Ratelband told in a phone interview Thursday.

He argued that if children of the Dutch soldiers who alongside the Nazis could change their name, why shouldn’t he? The former TV personality said he’d be willing to renounce his pension if he won his case.

He says his doctor told him his biological age was closer to 40 to 42 years old because he has lived a “fairly healthy” life the past 40 years -- no smoking or drugs, including caffeine, and regularly playing sports.

Ratelband says his doctor even called him a “young god.”

“I’m so vibrant, so active and so healthy and I was suffering the pain that I felt like I was 48 but I didn’t have the guts to change my birth certificate,” he said. “I think this is a very good example of changing the world.”

Despite having a relatively successful career as a positivity guru and self-described “consciousness expander,” he says his age gets in the way of getting more matches on dating apps.

“When you’re 69 on Tinder, nobody reacts. And a friend told me you can change your birthday and do a little bit of Photoshop-ing,” he said. “But I’m not going to lie on Tinder.”

So if he’s legally 49, he said wouldn’t be hoodwinking any prospective dates.

He says he noticed that most of the unemployed people in his town were over 50 years old and claims that citizens older than 60 years rarely get mortgages.

“(For) many people around the age of 50-55, life is already over,” Ratelband said. He says the whole case boils down to “making the most of your life.”

More than half a century ago, a person’s path in life and identity was more locked in, Ratelband argues. Ratelband says he told the court that the world has changed and people are “more independent” too.

Ratelband says he has a “great hope” of winning his case and having the judges tell him: “Mr. Ratelband, it is completely right what you say, you’re free to do so.”

He sees himself as a pioneer and expects “a lot of people” to follow his example. But if the case doesn’t shake out the way, he says he’ll simply take it to a higher court.
Mr. Ratelband has lost the first round of his court battle, but he's young enough to continue the fight; as reported by U.S. National Public Radio, December 4, 2018 (links in original):

A 69-year-old Dutchman who lost a court case on his request to reduce his official age by 20 years says he plans to appeal.

Emile Ratelband says he feels younger than his real age and, as NPR previously reported, he maintains his life, and performance on dating apps, would improve if his legal age were 49. He said he would be willing to delay receiving a pension.

A district court in the eastern Dutch city of Arnhem was not convinced.

"[U]nlike the situation with respect to a change in registered name or gender, there are a variety of rights and duties related to age, such as the right to vote and the duty to attend school," the court wrote in a statement. "If Mr Ratelband's request was allowed, those age requirements would become meaningless."

There was no evidence that Ratelband had experienced age discrimination, the court said. And it rejected his argument on the basis of free will, writing that "free will does not extend so far as to make every desired outcome legally possible."

"Mr Ratelband is at liberty to feel 20 years younger than his real age and to act accordingly," the court continued. "But amending his date of birth would cause 20 years of records to vanish from the register of births, deaths, marriages and registered partnerships. This would have a variety of undesirable legal and societal implications."

Ratelband was not discouraged by the decision. "The reaction of the judges is fantastic, is great," he said.

"You know why? Because we have a strategy," he added, referring to his plan to address on appeal the specific reasons the judge gave in rejecting the age change.

Ratelband says he expects his appeal to be heard in the coming months.

Ratelband denied bringing his case in order to criticize or discredit transgender people, although he has repeatedly compared his quixotic crusade to their battle to have their gender identity recognized.

In the Netherlands, Ratelband's actions, and the international exposure he's garnered, have been met with mockery and bemusement.

"The Netherlands laughs at the crazy Emile, who meanwhile gives interviews around the world," wrote the Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad.

It called Ratelband's claim that he's younger than his true age "absurd."

Ontario psychic charged with pretending to practice witchcraft

Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. Exodus 22:18

365 Every one who fraudulently

(a) pretends to exercise or to use any kind of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment or conjuration,

(b) undertakes, for a consideration, to tell fortunes, or

(c) pretends from his skill in or knowledge of an occult or crafty science to discover where or in what manner anything that is supposed to have been stolen or lost may be found,

is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

R.S., c. C-34, s. 323.
Criminal Code of Canada (bold in original)

The law is about to be changed, but while it's still in force, it strikes this blogger as amusing that pretending to practice the things mentioned above is a crime, but actually practicing them isn't. As reported by Nick Faris of the National Post, October 22, 2018 (link in original):

An Ontario psychic has been charged with pretending to practice witchcraft for allegedly bilking upwards of 20 clients out of more than $100,000 in cash and jewellery, a score police say she achieved by telling highly vulnerable customers she needed to “cleanse” their property of “evil spirits” in order to cure their ailments.

Police in Milton, Ont., arrested 32-year-old Dorie Stevenson last week on charges of extortion, fraud exceeding $5,000 and pretending to tell fortunes for a fraudulent purpose, an antiquated crime that could soon be removed from Canada’s Criminal Code by legislation Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government introduced last year.

The Halton Regional Police Service launched an investigation into Stevenson, the proprietor of Milton Psychic, in May on the word of one victim who alleged she’d swindled them out of more than $60,000. The number of professed victims is now greater than 20, Det. Const. Sarah McCullagh said Monday, adding that Stevenson, who uses the pseudonym Madeena, is believed to have taken these patrons for sums as large as $85,000.

“She’d be preying on their embarrassment to not come forward to the police, because people were too embarrassed that they’d given that amount of money to someone,” McCullagh said.

Police believe Stevenson tended to target desperate clients who approached her in a state of severe vulnerability. Some were ill or in debt, McCullagh said; others were lamenting the end of a romantic relationship. McCullagh alleged that Stevenson extorted these people by warning “bad things will happen to them or their family members” if they didn’t lend her money or jewellery she claimed she could bless for them.

McCullagh said Stevenson’s alleged victims agreed to these transactions on the understanding she’d return their property once the bill or ornament they’d handed over had been purified. Customers allege Stevenson fostered their trust by giving back small portions of their money, only to stop answering phone calls as soon as they began to ask for the full amount.

Stevenson didn’t respond to phone and email messages on Monday. Police released her from custody shortly after she was arrested last Thursday and she’s expected to make her first court appearance in November.

Milton Psychic is registered as a business in Ontario in Stevenson’s name, according to McCullagh, and police believe she has worked there since 2013. Milton Psychic’s website describes Madeena as a “superior reader, healer and advisor of all psychics” and advertises a range of services that include palm, crystal ball, tarot card and rune stone reading, in addition to intangible exercises such as evaluations of a client’s aura, energy or past life. Customers can pay $75 for one reading or $130 for two.

“I am aware that you could have had false hopes and promises made to you that has (sic) led you into a deeper path of confusion,” an introductory note on the website reads. “Once you have experienced a reading with me, you will know that you have found and experienced the truest gift and guidance you have been searching for.”

Stevenson’s arrest could mark one of the very last times a Canadian is arrested for the deceitful practice of witchcraft. Bill C-51 — legislation that would, among other amendments to outdated sections of the Criminal Code, repeal a ban on fraudulently pretending to practice different forms of witchcraft — is currently in its third reading before the Senate, signifying that it is on the verge of becoming law.

McCullagh said Halton police considered not pressing the witchcraft charge on this basis, but opted to proceed because Bill C-51 has yet to be enacted. She said that the force doesn’t want Stevenson’s arrest to be viewed as a condemnation of the pagan or Wiccan religions, but merely of the fraud they say Stevenson executed.

“It’s not illegal to tell someone’s fortune. It’s not illegal to go to a psychic,” McCullagh said. “But when somebody is using this in order to commit a fraud, that is the criminal offence.”

McCullagh said the majority of alleged victims police have heard from came forward in the days after Stevenson’s arrest, and they’re hoping more will get in touch with their stories. In the meantime, the force is urging people seeking to get their fortune told to only visit psychics who are “reputable,” and to stay away entirely if they might be emotionally or financially susceptible to a possible scam.

“Also, if you are told there is a curse on you, don’t believe them,” McCullagh said. “Go there for entertainment purposes only. Do not take everything they say to heart.”
December 28, 2018 update: Another woman in Ontario has been charged with the same offense, as reported by Kathleen Harris of CBC News, December 19, 2018 (links in original):

A northern Ontario woman was charged with fake witchcraft just two days before the archaic offence was removed from the Criminal Code.

Timmins police charged 33-year-old Tiffany Butch on Dec. 11, accusing her of demanding money in return for lifting a curse. Two days later, Section 365 of the Criminal Code — which prohibits "pretending to practise witchcraft" — was formally repealed.

It's likely that Butch, who goes by the nickname "White Witch of the North," will be the last person in Canada to be charged, and potentially tried, for the offence.

Marc Depatie, a spokesperson for the Timmins force, said police and prosecutors work with the laws that are on the books at the time of the alleged offence, pointing to historical sexual offences as an example.

"That's why police and the Crown attorneys keep ancient, or aged, versions of the Criminal Code on hand, to see what laws apply," he said.

Depatie said the fact that the offence was about to be scrubbed from the Criminal Code was not a factor in the decision to lay the charge. Elements of the case were "best captured" by that section of the Criminal Code in consultation with the local Crown attorney's office, he said.

"(In) this particular set of circumstances, the person gave them a sense of foreboding that a dreadful thing was about to happen to their family at some point ... (that) they should provide them with financial compensation so they could perform some sort of mystical service that would prevent that from happening," Depatie said.

Section 365 was removed under Bill C-51, which received Royal Assent on Dec. 13. It wiped out so-called "zombie" offences that are considered obsolete or redundant, or have been found to be unconstitutional — things like challenging someone to a duel, distributing crime comics, issuing trade stamps and publishing 'blasphemous' libel.

Butch denies the allegations and said she believes she was framed by other psychics.

"People proclaimed me a witch here and gave me a nickname, but I'm not a witch. I'm a psychic," she said in a telephone interview.

Butch said she adopted the "White Witch of the North" nickname because she thought it was "cute," but insists she has never pretended to be a witch or illicitly demanded money.

"Absolutely not. I don't know who this person even is, and none of my customers from October to now have put in any complaints with me or asked me for refunds back," she said.

Butch plans to get a lawyer to fight the charge and is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 22.

Timmins police issued a release Monday stating that the accused maintains an alias and "holds herself to be a self-proclaimed spiritualist, medium and clairvoyant." The department also reminded people to be wary of "extravagant claims of impending danger" made by anyone who claims to have "clairvoyant or mystical powers."

In October, police charged a Milton, Ont. woman with fraud, extortion and pretending to practice witchcraft, alleging the fortune-teller had scammed vulnerable people out of tens of thousands of dollars.

Stephen Coughlan, a professor at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University, said Bill C-51 was a useful but modest step in cleaning the Criminal Code of outdated offences such as the one related to witchcraft. In addition to removing some obsolete offences, it also takes out a number of "reverse onus" provisions that required an accused to prove their innocence on particular points.

But Coughlan said several provisions which have been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court — in some cases twenty-five or thirty years ago — remain on the books.

A bill is now before the Senate to remove more zombie laws, but Coughlan called its targets "low hanging fruit" that make up a small portion of what needs to be fixed.

"Even when they are done, the code will remain riddled with inconsistencies and overlap, and will still fail to provide guidance on such crucial things as the mental states required before behaviour can be called a crime," he said in an email. "No amount of tinkering can accomplish the fundamental changes that are needed."

The Criminal Code was created in 1892 to outline offences, penalties and procedures. It has had only one major overhaul in the 1950s and another review in the 1970s...

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Roman Catholic dioceses in Guam and Minnesota file for bankruptcy amid lawsuits over sexual abuse

As reported by Catholic News Agency/Eternal Word Television Network News, November 7, 2018:

Hagatna, Guam - The Archdiocese of Agaña, Guam has announced that it will file for bankruptcy, following mediation efforts in September regarding clerical abuse claims in the country.

Archbishop Michael Byrnes said the bankruptcy declaration “will bring the greatest measure of justice to the greatest number of victims,” allowing them to know “that they've been heard and understood,” the Associated Press reported.

Leander James, an attorney working with alleged victims in the country, welcomed the announcement, saying, “Bankruptcy provides the only realistic path to settlement of pending and future claims.”

There are currently $115 million in lawsuits from over 180 abuse claims pending in Guam.

In March, the Archdiocese of Agaña announced plans to sell its chancery property and move offices, as part of a broader move to liquidate and sell archdiocesan property to settle sex abuse cases.

Anthony Perez, another victims’ attorney, explained that the local diocese will not necessarily be forced to close its doors.

“In my discussions with attorneys from my team with extensive experience in these types of bankruptcies, this filing will allow the archdiocese to reorganize and still be operational after the claims are paid and the bankruptcy is closed,” he said, according to the Associated Press.

In March, Guam Archbishop Anthony Apuron was found guilty of “certain” charges and sentenced to be removed from office and forbidden from living in the archdiocese. Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Michael Byrnes as Apuron’s successor.

The Vatican did not state the charges for which Apuron was found guilty. He had been accused of a multitude of offenses, including raping his nephew in 1989 or 1990.

Apuron maintains his innocence and immediately filed an appeal, which Pope Francis said he was personally evaluating.
As reported by CNA/EWTN News, November 20, 2018:

Winona, Minn. - The Diocese of Winona-Rochester will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, it was announced Sunday. Bishop John Quinn wrote a letter explaining the decision, which was distributed in bulletins throughout the diocese.

In a recorded video statement posted on the diocesan website, Quinn said he was sorry, and that on behalf of his brother priests, he “offer(s) an apology to these survivors and acknowledge their pain and suffering,” and pledged to “remain vigilant” to prevent abuse in the future. He also said it was important to create an “environment of healing” for both abuse survivors and their families.

Quinn explained that due to the 121 claims of child sexual abuse by priests within the diocese, and after praying for guidance as to how to best heal the pain of these survivors, the diocese would file for bankruptcy. A total of 17 priests in the diocese have been accused of sexual abuse.

This move is the “most just and equitable way to hold ourselves accountable, to bring healing and justice to the survivors, and to find a path forward for our diocesan community,” said Quinn.

“By proactively taking this step, we will begin to bring healing and justice to survivors, holding ourselves accountable for the abuse that occurred in the past,” said the bishop. The diocese will continue to work with survivors and their legal counsel.

Filing for bankruptcy will allow the diocese to reorganize their finances, and continue to provide social service work. Quinn said there was “no way to predict” how long this was going to take, but he promised complete transparency and will continue to provide updates throughout the process.

He did, however, say that he does not anticipate a day-to-day change for members of the diocese, and that no parishes or parish schools will be closing due to the bankruptcy filing. This is because they are separate legal entities, he explained.

Survivors of clerical sexual abuse in the diocese will be compensated, said Quinn, by a combination of insurance, savings, money from the sale of assets, and other sources.

“I am committed to keeping our children, and vulnerable adults, safe from sexual abuse,” said Quinn.

“I want to assure you: all clergy against whom credible accusations have been previously made are either deceased, or have been removed from ministry, laicized, and no longer function in any priestly capacity in the diocese.”

Quinn explained that since 2002, the diocese has implemented a program in order to ensure the safety of children in the diocese. As part of this program, every member of the clergy, as well as diocesan employees and volunteers, undergoes a background check.

“I pray for God’s grace during this difficult period, as well as for guidance and strength from the Holy Spirit,” said Quinn.

“I believe that we will walk together toward healing, reaffirming our dedication to carrying out ministries across southern Minnesota. I also ask for your continued prayers and support as we work together to offer healing to those who have suffered unconscionable abuse and to forge a path forward for all of us.”

Quinn also said that he welcomed suggestions from members of the public on how the diocese could work to become a safer environment.

Monday, 19 November 2018

100 years ago: The death of Mormon Church President Joseph Fielding Smith, Sr.

But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,
I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.
Matthew 22:31-32

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

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:
By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water...
...For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
I Peter 3:18-20, 4:6

On November 19, 1918, Joseph Fielding Smith, Sr., President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 1901, died of pneumonia resulting from pleurisy, six days after his 80th birthday. Mr. Smith, a nephew of Mormon Church founder Joseph Smith, had five wives and fathered 45 children, although he officially opposed polygamy because he believed it was more important for Utah to achieve statehood within the U.S.A.

On October 3, 1918, six weeks before his death, Mr. Smith, the Latter-day Saints' "Prophet, Seer and Revelator" received the "Vision of the Redemption of the Dead," which he submitted to the counselors of the First Presidency, the Council of the Twelve, and the Patriarch on October 31, and it was unanimously accepted by them. The revelation is now part of the Mormon scripture Doctrine and Covenants as section 138.

Some excerpts:

27 But his ministry among those who were dead was limited to the brief time intervening between the crucifixion and his resurrection;

28 And I wondered at the words of Peter—wherein he said that the Son of God preached unto the spirits in prison, who sometime were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah—and how it was possible for him to preach to those spirits and perform the necessary labor among them in so short a time.

29 And as I wondered, my eyes were opened, and my understanding quickened, and I perceived that the Lord went not in person among the wicked and the disobedient who had rejected the truth, to teach them;

30 But behold, from among the righteous, he organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority, and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men; and thus was the gospel preached to the dead.

31 And the chosen messengers went forth to declare the acceptable day of the Lord and proclaim liberty to the captives who were bound, even unto all who would repent of their sins and receive the gospel.

32 Thus was the gospel preached to those who had died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets.

33 These were taught faith in God, repentance from sin, vicarious baptism for the remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands,

34 And all other principles of the gospel that were necessary for them to know in order to qualify themselves that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

35 And so it was made known among the dead, both small and great, the unrighteous as well as the faithful, that redemption had been wrought through the sacrifice of the Son of God upon the cross.

36 Thus was it made known that our Redeemer spent his time during his sojourn in the world of spirits, instructing and preparing the faithful spirits of the prophets who had testified of him in the flesh;

37 That they might carry the message of redemption unto all the dead, unto whom he could not go personally, because of their rebellion and transgression, that they through the ministration of his servants might also hear his words...

...50 For the dead had looked upon the long absence of their spirits from their bodies as a bondage.

51 These the Lord taught, and gave them power to come forth, after his resurrection from the dead, to enter into his Father’s kingdom, there to be crowned with immortality and eternal life,

52 And continue thenceforth their labor as had been promised by the Lord, and be partakers of all blessings which were held in reserve for them that love him...

...57 I beheld that the faithful elders of this dispensation, when they depart from mortal life, continue their labors in the preaching of the gospel of repentance and redemption, through the sacrifice of the Only Begotten Son of God, among those who are in darkness and under the bondage of sin in the great world of the spirits of the dead.

58 The dead who repent will be redeemed, through obedience to the ordinances of the house of God,

59 And after they have paid the penalty of their transgressions, and are washed clean, shall receive a reward according to their works, for they are heirs of salvation.

60 Thus was the vision of the redemption of the dead revealed to me, and I bear record, and I know that this record is true, through the blessing of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, even so. Amen.
Although the passages cited my Mr. Smith in I Peter don't tell us the exact words spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ to the spirits in prison, a reasonable inference is that He proclaimed that He had fulfilled the prophecies and completed His work of salvation. There's nothing in these passages to indicate that He was offering the possibility of salvation after death. Indeed, the vision received by Joseph Fielding Smith contradicts the statement of the Lord in Matthew 22:31-32 and Hebrews 9:27. The God of the Bible is the God of the living, but Mormonism is obsessed with the dead.

The perceptive reader will notice in paragraphs 58-59 of the vision clear proclamations that salvation is by works and not by the grace of God. Mormonism then and now believes that the blood of Jesus Christ is not sufficient to pay for all sins, but there are sins for which the sinner must shed his own blood, contrary to the biblical teaching that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin (I John 1:7). The Mormon "gospel" is not the true gospel of Jesus Christ at all, but a false gospel, which, according to Galatians 1:6-7, is not a gospel at all.

Since the Vision of the Redemption of the Dead received by Mormon "Prophet, Seer and Revelator" Joseph Fielding Smith, Sr. flatly contradicts the clear statements of the Bible, I conclude that Mr. Smith's vision didn't come from God; it's a false revelation, and Mr. Smith was a false prophet.

Joseph Fielding Smith, Sr. was succeeded as Latter-day Saints President by Heber J. Grant. Mr. Smith's son Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr. served as President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1970-1972.

See also my post Researcher claims that Mormons are still baptizing Holocaust victims and other dead Jews (December 29, 2017).