Friday, April 8, 2011

U.S Veteran Grills Rep. Jim Moran Over Troops Not Getting Paid In Face Of Govt. Shutdown

At a town hall meeting held by Rep. Jim Moran, a U.S. veteran grilled him about the stalled budget talks on the Hill and how a government shutdown would impact America's troops.

Biblical Studies Offered To Junior High Students At U.S School

Becky Yeh - OneNewsNow California correspondent - 4/8/2011 4:05:00 AM
The California Released Time Christian Education program is driving its way into junior high schools, and one Christian education leader says the program is reaching out to students during a "tender age."

In the midst of a busy school day, several white mini-buses coated with colorful drawings pull up near bustling classrooms, taking groups of students out of school for an hour. Students pack into the vibrantly decorated buses and are taken off-site to be taught the Bible and about loving others.

In the Chino Valley Unified School District, the program is now being offered to those in junior high school. James Na, president of the region's school district, tells OneNewsNow that the program is flourishing. He points out that pre-teens and early teens are in a critical age in life and must be given the foundation of biblical truth.

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Charity Donates Eyeglasses To Japan Victims

Operation Blessing International is working to help restore the vision to some of the victims of Japan's earthquake and tsunami disaster.

The Virginia Beach, Va. charity aid organization has partnered with a team of optometrists and lens technicians to set up three free eye clinics. They are providing free eyeglasses to those who lost their glasses.

Operation Blessing has purchased 1,400 pairs of prescription and reading glasses to distribute to survivors in need.

China: Unregistered Church To Hold Open Air Meeting May Face Arrest

One of the largest unregistered Protestant churches in Beijing plans to risk arrest by worshipping in the open air this Sunday (April 10) after eviction from the restaurant where they have met for the past year.

The owner of the Old Story Club restaurant issued repeated requests for the Shouwang Church to find another worship venue, and authorities have pressured other prospective landlords to close their facilities to the 1,000-member congregation, sources said. Unwilling to subject themselves to the controls and restrictions of the official Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM), the congregation has held three services each Sunday in the restaurant for more than a year.

Church members have said they are not opposed to the government and are not politically active, but they fear authorities could find their open-air worship threatening.

“Normal” (state-sanctioned) religious assembly outdoors is legal in China, and even unregistered church activity is usually tolerated if no more than 50 people gather, especially if the people are related and can cite the gathering as a family get-together, said a source in China who requested anonymity. Although the congregation technically risks arrest as an unregistered church, the primary danger is being viewed as politically active, the source said.

“For a larger group of Christians to meet in any ‘unregistered’ location led by an ‘unregistered’ leader is illegal,” he said. “The sensitivity of meeting in a park is not being illegal, but being so highly visible. Being ‘visible’ ends up giving an impression of being a political ‘protest.’”

The congregation believes China’s Department of Religious Affairs has overstepped its jurisdiction in issuing regulations limiting unregistered church activity, according to a statement church leaders issued this week.

“Out of respect for both the Chinese Constitution [whose Article 36 stipulates freedom of worship] and Christian conscience, we cannot actively endorse and submit to the regulations which bid us to cease all Sunday worship activities outside of [the] ‘Three-Self Patriotic Movement’ – the only state-sanctioned church,” according to the statement. “Of course, we still must follow the teachings of the Bible, which is for everyone to submit to and respect the governing authorities. We are willing to submit to the regulations with passivity and all the while shoulder all the consequences which . . . continuing to worship outside of what is sanctioned by these regulations will bring us.”

The church decided to resort to open-air worship after a prospective landlord backed out of a contractual agreement to allow the congregation to meet at the Xihua Business Hotel, the church said in its statement.

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Division In The Church: 42% Believe Bible Requires Tithing While 58% Do Not

By Dan Gilgoff, Religion Editor

Thou shalt not be required to financially support your church – but you should anyway.

That’s the upshot of a new informal survey of evangelical leaders finding that less than half believe that the Bible requires church members to tithe, the practice of giving at least 10 percent of one’s income to the church.

The survey, conducted by the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) among its 100-member board of directors, found that 42% of evangelical leaders believe the Bible requires tithing, while 58% do not.

“The Old Testament called for multiple tithes, sort of combining government taxes with religious stewardship,” NAE President Leith Anderson said, reacting to the survey.

“Since there is such a strong evangelical tradition of tithing, I was a little surprised that a majority of our evangelical leaders say the tithe system of the Old Testament does not carry over to the New Testament or to us,” Anderson said in a statement.

The National Association of Evangelicals, the nation’s biggest evangelical umbrella organization, would not say how many of its 100 board members responded to the survey, which was conducted in February.

The board includes such influential figures as the heads of the Salvation Army, the Assemblies of God - a major Pentecostal denomination - and the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

The injunction to tithe comes from the Old Testament, or what Jews call the Hebrew Bible, which tells of Abraham and others giving ten percent of war spoils, a harvest or other goods as offerings to God or religious leaders.

Dan Olson, a Purdue University sociology professor who has studied tithing, says the new survey doesn’t mean Christian leaders think those in the pews shouldn’t give.

“Most of those leaders would probably say, ‘you really ought to tithe, but the term ‘requires’ gets at a theological point,” he said.

“Most Christians would say the laws of the Old Testament are not what save you – you’re supposed to be giving out of a spirit of freedom, not because you’re bound to laws,” he said.

Read More From CNN Belief Blog

Maryland County Citizens Fighting To Stop Law To Make All Bathrroms/Locker Rooms Coed

Posted: April 06, 2011
By Bob Unruh
© 2011 WorldNetDaily

A citizens group that unsuccessfully fought a Montgomery County, Md., plan to create "coed showers" by protecting cross-dressing possible sex offenders who gain access to women's locker rooms by alleging they are "transgendered" has issued an alert that Maryland residents need to contact their state lawmakers now or the plan could be imposed statewide.

The state's HB 235 would prohibit discrimination based on "sexual orientation" or "gender identity" with regard to housing, leasing property and "in the provision of certain services or facilities."

Officials with the website, who organized when Montgomery County was considering its own plan in 2007 and 2008, said there are a number of problems with the idea.

First, it would force "individuals, employers, religious institutions, roommates, schools and public accommodation facilities to ignore reality and disregard a person's legitimate 'assigned sex at birth.'"

That would include alarming circumstances that could develop because of the ready access it could be interpreted to provide to males who want to invade the privacy of women's locker rooms and restrooms, they said.

"In Montgomery County, women were afraid and outraged when a man in a blue dress went into female locker areas in a health club," the organization explained. "He would have been protected under this proposed law."

The alarm is being issued now by the organization Parents and Friends of ExGays and Gays because the state legislative proposal, thought to have been abandoned, suddenly is surging forward in the law-making process. A hearing is scheduled tomorrow.

"The Maryland legislative session ends on Monday at midnight. Despite promises by Senate President Mike V. Miller that HB 235 would stay in rules committee, it passed to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee yesterday and a hearing is planned for Thursday. We are told that they plan to pass this radical bill despite public outcry in the last few days of the session," the organization warned.

It provided a process for constituents to e-mail their lawmakers.

The NotMyShower website, run by the group Maryland Citizens for a Responsible Government, said classifying a daily choice – to appear as which gender – the same as the immutable race characteristic fails to serve the state's residents.

The coalition explains that even Johns Hopkins Hospital stopped sex reassignment surgeries because the procedures did not cure Gender Identity Disordered, but HB 235 "enforces ideology over opinions of respected medical professionals and the needs and concerns of the public."

The coalition warns that since schools and day care centers are not exempted, there will be unexpected impacts on children who are in the trust of "transgender" or "cross-dressing" teachers.

"In Montgomery County, children are taught that transgenderism is doing anything outside of the gender norm and that one can change their body to match the way they feel. There is no mention of the risk of steroids, that gender identity confusion is a disorder, or that some transsexuals regret their decision. No one has studied the effect on a child's developing gender identity of having a kindergarten teacher begin the school year as a male and end as a female. HB235 plays Russian roulette with vulnerable children," the organization said.

The proposal also would take away "the freedom of Marylanders to disagree with those who cannot accept their gender, mandates acceptance of ideology" and other complications, the coalition worries.

Further, it would punish employers who would be forced to deal with "cross-dressers … who obtain sexual arousal from dressing like women."

While the legislation would ban "discrimination" against cross-dressers and others, employers would have no way to knowing what they could do.

"'Appearance' could even change from hour to hour during the work day. Gender Identity can change at will. Gender Identity is not an immutable class like other protected classes such as race or sex. … With HB 235, your employee can be Molly in the morning and Mark in the evening. The bill gives no restriction," it warned.

Companies even could be banned from asking questions of an employee if there are worries about men and women sharing dressing areas or "if a customer has privacy concerns, for example, about male employees dressed as females monitoring female dressing rooms."

Serve Jail Time In One U.S State You Will Have To Pay To Stay

Posted: Apr 05, 2011 1:55 PM EDT
By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

SHARP COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - In an effort to discourage crime and raise funds, the Sharp County Jail is now charging for the privilege of being incarcerated.

In Sharp County if you get in trouble with the law...A. You may go to jail. B. You may have to pay a fine and C. When you get out of jail you may get a bill for your stay.

It's called "Pay for Stay."

Sharp County Sheriff Mark Counts says he got the idea from another sheriff.

"Randolph County Sheriff Gary Tribble showed me. And it's something that I thought would be a great way to bring in revenue."

In March, Sheriff Counts asked for and received the Pay for Stay Ordinance from the Quorum Court. Primarily Counts said this fee will help defray Medical expenses.

Counts, "The average cost of taking someone just to see the doctor or dentist costs a hundred dollars a time and it's really eating into our money set aside for medical expenses. When we have 33 inmates like we do this morning, someone is always getting sick and having to go to the doctor.

How the plan works is that if a person is found guilty and spends time in jail, a fee per day is charged and they are given a bill at the end of their stay. So for a 10 day stay Counts says.

Counts, "We charge 35 dollars a day to stay in jail then there's a $350 dollar cost added to their restitution."

Cook says it primarily will pay for the increased costs in food and medical expenses. And yes, he admits it will be tough to collect from some people. However the state has a plan to help.

Counts, "If you have somebody that owes you money you can go after their income tax, get it filed with the state. I know that there will be people we will get nothing from but any little bit will help."

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Fighting To End Modern Day Slavery

Kevin Bales, president of Free the Slaves, speaks with CNN about the realities of modern-day slavery. He also shares his experience of the first person he ever met who had come out of the horrors of slavery.

Read More From CNN Freedom Project

Lost Tales Of Dr. Seuss To Be Published

SAN DIEGO -- A book containing previously unpublished stories by the whimsical San Diego author known as Dr. Seuss will be on store shelves later this year.

"The Bippolo Seed and other Lost Stories" contains seven new stories written by Theodor Seuss Geisel.

"In these stories, we'll meet new characters. So you're going to meet the twins Todd and Tadd, you'll meet Gustav the Goldfish and a small boy name Henry McBride, as well as the other characters Dr. Seuss is known for," said Susan Brandt, president of Dr. Seuss Enterprises in La Jolla.

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109 Year Old Throws Out First Pitch On Her Birthday

Thursday was a very special day for Midland resident Violet Smith.She was chosen to throw the honorary first pitch at the Great Lakes Loons season opener.“When I think about it, no, I don’t think I’m nervous,” she told TV5's Catherine Bodak before the game.

Besides the pitch, there was something else very special about Thursday. Smith celebrated her 109th birthday.“I never thought I’d make it, and I’m glad I feel as good as I do,” Smith said about her big day.Smith has two children who were at Dow Diamond for support and to help her get ready for the big moment. A son, Richard, from Arizona and daughter, Marj, from West Bloomfield Township.“I brought a baseball along so we can practice a little bit this afternoon before we go,” 72-year-old Richard Smith said. “I’m sure she will do really well.”Marj said their family has always been very athletic and she is grateful to share this day with her mother."You can imagine how wonderful it has been to have her around for 109 years,” she said.Smith's toss bounced a few times, but it eventually made its way to the catcher

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As U.S Govt. Shutdown Looms Harry Reid Says Main Hang Up On Budget Is Over Abortions

Washington (CNN) -- Top Democrats and Republicans raced against the clock Friday to avoid a partial government shutdown, negotiating behind closed doors while publicly trading accusations about the cause of the standoff.

Democrats said Republicans were hung up on abortion and other issues relating to women's health. Republicans insisted the size of spending reductions were still the main cause of the dispute.

If Congress and the White House fail to reach an agreement by midnight, when the current spending authorization measure expires, parts of the government will close down.

That means 800,000 government workers will be furloughed and a range of government services will halt, though essential services such as law enforcement will continue to function.

President Barack Obama discussed the issue over the phone Friday morning with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, according to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

Reid indicated earlier in the day that abortion is the lone remaining stumbling block for negotiators.

"This all deals with women's health. Everything (else) has been resolved. Everything," Reid said. "It's an ideological battle. It has nothing to do with fiscal integrity in this country."

Republicans have been pushing to strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood during the budget talks. They are also trying to get federal dollars now set aside for family planning and women's health turned into block grants for states, according to a Democratic source.

Such a move -- opposed by Democrats, according to the source -- would give governors and state legislatures more ability to cut funding for services opposed by conservatives.

Boehner immediately disputed Reid's assertion that abortion is the key sticking point.

"There's only one reason that we do not have an agreement as yet, and that issue is spending," the speaker said.

Reid insisted that negotiators have already agreed on a $38 billion cut from current spending levels for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends on September 30.

"The speaker is the one who came up with the number," Reid insisted. "We didn't invent it."

Despite the differences, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, insisted a deal could be hammered together. "A resolution is within reach," he said. "The contours of a final agreement are coming into focus."

Reid told reporters he would try to push a one-week funding extension through the Senate in order to give negotiators more time. Such a move, however, would require the agreement of every senator -- something Reid is unlikely to get.

The GOP-controlled House of Representatives passed its own version of a one-week extension on Thursday. That measure, which passed 247-181 in a largely party-line vote, would fund the Pentagon for the remainder of the current fiscal year. But it also would slash federal spending by another $12 billion and included so-called "policy riders" that stipulate political and ideological restrictions, such as no government funding for Planned Parenthood.

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