Monday, August 1, 2011

The Language Of Christianity

Military Chaplains Concerned About The End Of Don't Ask Don't Tell

(Fox News)--The military's “Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy,” will be no more as of Sept. 20, when homosexual men and women will be allowed to serve openly in all branches of the U.S. armed forces.

But a number of military chaplains fear an unofficial version of the policy will take its place, one that muzzles and marginalizes chaplains who hold strict biblical beliefs about homosexuality.

"We've already seen that a chaplain had an assignment pulled because he was critical of the repeal of DADT," says retired Col. Ron Crews, a former U.S. Army chaplain.

rews, along with several other chaplain endorsers (denominations that sponsor military chaplains) are meeting with attorneys this week in Scottsdale, Ariz., to form a coalition that will provide legal and other support for chaplains and soldiers who might be disciplined over conflicts concerning their views on homosexuality. Crews is the executive director of the newly formed Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty.

"We need to cover our chaplains and all military personnel who hold traditional orthodox views on homosexuality, that their constitutional rights will not be infringed upon in this new environment," said Crews.

The government is assuring chaplains they have nothing to fear. A Department of Defense statement says, "Chaplains will continue to have freedom to practice their religion according to the tenets of their faith. Chaplains are not required to take actions that are inconsistent with their religious counseling ... or modifying forms of prayer or worship."

But Crews believes otherwise saying, "That line from the DOD is not the truth. They say there are no issues, but the issues are there."

One example, Crews says, is the military's “Strong Bonds” program, where chaplains council couples, often during retreats, on how to strengthen their marriages and family structures under the pressure of serving their country. Crews says the Department of Defense has had no instructions or guidelines on how to deal with same-sex couples.

If a chaplain holds Biblical orthodox views that see homosexuality as a sin, will he or she be reprimanded or disciplined or reassigned? Crews wonders, "Will they have to cut out chunks of the Bible that they can speak to soldiers about?"

But Chaplain Carleton Birch, spokesperson for the Army Chief of Chaplains, says the military as of right now doesn't recognize same sex marriages, even though six states have legalized it.

"We're working under the assumption that DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) is the law of the land and we haven't been working in anticipation of anything else right now," said Birch.

Crews says that's precisely the point. All the training that chaplains have been receiving for months anticipating the end of DADT was conditioned on DOMA being in place. But the White House announced back in the spring that the Defense of Marriage Act, which says marriage is only between a man and a woman, was not legally defensible. Several members of Congress last week also held hearings on the "Respect for Marriage Act," introduced by Sen. Diane Feinstin (D-Calif) in March, which aims to repeal DOMA.

Birch and others agree all bets are off if DOMA is repealed. "I don't think we know the implications yet."

Even though chaplains are free to exercise their religious beliefs in the pulpit, there are no guidelines for the trenches. And there are also no guidelines for soldiers who may be uncomfortable sharing close living and sleeping quarters with a gay or lesbian soldier. Crews asks "If a private first class is a assigned a homosexual bunk mate, will he be able to share his personal story about what his view on what sin is?"

Without guidelines or uniform rules, commanders will become judge and jury. That is why Crews and the conservative legal advocacy group The Alliance Defense Fund" are making this preemptive move.

20 Yr Old Dies From Blood Clot From Playing His Xbox For 12 Hours

(Yahoo News)--The family of a budding computer programmer have on Saturday launched a campaign to raise awareness about the health risks of playing online computer games after their son died following a marathon session on his Xbox.

A post-mortem revealed that 20-year-old Chris Staniforth -- who was offered a place to study Game Design at Leicester University -- was killed by a pulmonary embolism, which can occur if someone sits in the same position for several hours.

Deep vein thrombosis normally affects passengers on long-haul flights, but medical experts fear youngsters who spend hours glued to their consoles might also be at risk and have urged them to take regular breaks.

Professor Brian Colvin -- an expert on blood-related conditions -- said it was "unhealthy" for youngsters to spend long periods in front of their consoles.

"There's anxiety about obesity and children not doing anything other than looking at computer screens," he told The Sun.

David Staniforth has now launched a campaign to warn other parents of the dangers.

"Games are fun and once you've started playing it's hard to stop.

"Kids all over the country are playing these games for long periods - they don't realise it could kill them," he told The Sun.

A coroner's court in Sheffield was told how the youngster -- who had no underlying medical conditions -- was complaining of a low heart rate before collapsing outside a Jobcentre.

Staniforth's distraught father said his son would spend up to 12 hours playing on his Xbox.

Read More from Yahoo News

With Anti-Semitism On The Rise In Eastern Countries Christians Have a Chance To Support Jews

(One News Now)--Olivier Melnick is an expert on anti-Semitism and the Orange County branch director of Chosen People Ministries. He sees a rise in anti-Semitism and notes that governments are slowly chipping away at the Jews' freedoms by instating regulations that prohibit them from freely exercising their religion or voicing their opinions.

He says Jews are constantly painted in a negative light by groups who want to make their lives more difficult and want to remove the freedoms that they enjoy. The expert suggests the issue is almost as bad in Europe today as it was during the Holocaust, and he warns that persecution will increase against Jews in the United States.

"Recently... Europe ... tried to pass a way that you cannot kill animals in a way kosher law requires," Melnick reports. "Those are the same laws that were originally passed at the beginning, before the Holocaust, when the Germans were trying to strip the Jews of all their rights."

But though Jewish freedoms are under attack in the United States, he contends that Christians have a chance to be the "real friends" of Israel and the Jewish people.

"There is a great opportunity for Christians today in the 21st Century to really read their Bible properly, understand what God's plan for Israel and the Jewish people is, and be friends of the Jewish people," the Chose People Ministries director urges. "Christians today have a chance to make a difference with Jewish people and change something that took place 75 years ago, when the Jews were taken to the death camps and Christians looked the other way."

Melnick concludes that the world is "desensitized to the conflict between the Jews and the Arabs" and to the persecution of the Jews in the Middle East.

Read More from One News Now

Oakland California: Family Gunned Down While Feeding Homeless

(San Francisco Chronicle)OAKLAND -- Paris Powell made it his life's mission to feed and clothe the homeless and to help domestic violence victims on the rougher streets of Oakland. Now, after a gunman ended his life in front of his family, his pregnant widow wonders how she can move forward without her best friend.

Lalita Powell, 35, spoke at times forcefully and through tears Thursday as she recalled the shooting in East Oakland that killed her 29-year-old husband of two years and left her with a bullet lodged in her left shoulder. His stepdaughters, Shayla, 3, and Cristina, 7, and now his unborn child are fatherless, and Lalita Powell doesn't know why.

"My husband has no enemies, no criminal past, no drug involvement, no gang activity, nothing," she said. "I don't know if it was random, I don't know if that's the new way they jump people into gangs or something. It's not right. It's not fair. It doesn't seem real."

Just another night

All four family members were in their Ford Aerostar van early Wednesday, making their nightly rounds delivering hot dinners to the homeless as part of their nonprofit organization, the Rise Above Foundation.

They had visited several regulars on 62nd and 54th avenues and International Boulevard and decided to check on their friend William Holloway, 61, on 47th Avenue at about 12:30 a.m. Holloway, who used to be homeless, had gotten a job there as a security guard.

Paris Powell, proud of a new fish batter he had just created, gave Holloway a dinner of fried fish, chips and a drink. Holloway thanked the man he knew only as "Brother John."

That's when someone in a van pulled alongside the Powells' Aerostar. The sliding door opened and, without a word, a man fired four shots.

Shayla and Cristina screamed, and Lalita Powell began praying, "Oh my God, help us." She never got a good look at the shooter.

She whispered to her husband, "Are you OK?" He was still breathing, but didn't respond. She figured he "wasn't saying anything because he was trying to model what we should do."

Horrifying sight

The gunman left, and the family's van started moving. She thought her husband was taking them to safety, but when the Aerostar collided with a parked tractor-trailer rig, she saw he was covered in blood.

Police and paramedics came, and only then did Lalita Powell feel a "stinging-burn sensation" in her left shoulder and realize that she had been shot. It wasn't until hours later that she realized Shayla had been hit by a bullet that went straight through her left arm and past her ear, singeing off a patch of her hair.

Paris Powell was removed from life support Wednesday night. No arrest has been made.

On Thursday, Shayla, her arm bandaged just like her mother's, played happily with her sister. "She really doesn't fully understand as far as what happened," said Paris Powell's cousin Don Hamilton, 30. "She's very strong. The only thing she cares about is getting back to playing, and that says a lot right there."

No explanation

Like Lalita Powell, Hamilton has no explanation for what happened.

If his cousin "saw a bum walking up the street right now," Hamilton said, "he would just feed him and make sure they had a meal and just try to take care of him. His last act was taking care of other people, putting other people before himself."

The Powells arranged toy and blanket drives on top of creating menu plans for those on the street.

"We never fed slop," Lalita Powell said. "We always felt like just because they're homeless doesn't mean they have to eat any old thing. They're just like anyone else in society, so whatever we ate, they ate, and they ate good."

Her husband had been looking forward to having their first child together, she said. "He was just hopeful that he finally was going to have his own image, be able to cherish his own self, basically," she said. "He wanted to instill the good values and virtues that his grandmother taught and his mother."

She wants him remembered as a "pioneer in the community and a humanitarian. He's a sweet man, a very peaceful man."

Missionary Couple Build On Vision To Distribute God's Word

(Victoria Advocate)--Full-time missionaries Colby and Sarah Sturm have a vision: to bring current translation Bibles to peoples around the world.

And through their non profit organization Bibles for Peoples, that's exactly what they're doing.

But the Bibles the Sturms distribute aren't given without a strategic plan. When given in the United States, they're translated in current language, leather-bound, and engraved with individual names on the front.

"It makes a bigger impact when they're personalized," Colby Sturm, 22, said.

The Sturms are also drawn to the New Living Translation because of its reading ease, and inclusion of study notes, and guides on how to come to know Jesus Christ as a personal savior.

"This is not a Hooked on Phonics Bible. God has blessed this translation . you can understand it clearly," said Sarah Sturm, 21.

Two weeks ago, the young, married couple returned to Cuero from Mexico, where they took their vision to peoples living in isolated, impoverished areas of the country - where Bibles translated in current Spanish vernacular, and sometimes even the Bibles themselves, are hard to come by.

"The translations of the Bibles available down there are older . written in language similar to the King James Version, sort of, which was last updated in the 1960s. It's also the Spanish of Spain, not of Mexico," Colby Sturm said.

"And even if they could get a Bible in some of the poorer areas, they probably couldn't afford it," Sarah Sturm, added.

About two years ago, impassioned with a love for God's word, Colby Sturm raised about $600 at a church garage sale, which was matched by a private donation, and purchased 200 Spanish language Bibles to transport to Mexico.

"I put them in a duffle bag, and bought a bus ticket," the Cuero native said. "It was more Bibles than I needed when I got down there."

He attempted to drop them off at Christian-based Mexican Indian Training Center in Cordoba, Veracruz, in Central Mexico. But when he got there, it seemed they were fully stocked on the written word.

"I thought, 'Hey, God, these Bibles need to go somewhere," Sturm recalled.

An old friend Sturm met on a previous mission trip arrived at MITC and asked if he wanted to travel to Chiapas to distribute the Bibles to a prison. A team of doctors were heading down there to perform medical and dental assistance on the inmates, Strum said.

He stayed two days, and distributed 100 Bibles to prisoners in their modern tongue. And when he returned home to Cuero, Bibles for Peoples was born.

Read More From Victoria Advocate

Egypt: Thousands Protest In Tahrir Square Demanding An Islamic State

Calls for an Islamic state have taken over Cairo’s Tahrir Square as the largest demonstration since February has been mobilized by the country’s Islamist organizations. Ultraconservative Muslims turned out in force Friday as hundreds of thousands filled Cairo's central Tahrir Square in a rally marked by a growing rift in the protest movement.

South of the capital, gunmen fired on a car carrying Christians, killing two. While the motive was unknown, similar events have sparked religious violence in the past.

In the largest crowd to fill the square since the popular uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak in February, Salafis chanted for the implementation of strict Islamic law — spurring accusations that they violated an agreement to keep the rally free from divisive issues.

They have come in a show of force to demand that the country’s caretaker authority, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, cease its plans to present a set of principles that will form a framework for a new constitution.

Islamist group’s such as the Muslim Brotherhood – Egypt's best organized political force – and the former terrorist organization Gamaa Islamiya along with disparate Salafist bodies argue that only God’s word is greater than a constitution and that only a parliament chosen by free election can set the terms for a constitution. These groups stayed away from recent demonstrations that sought to keep up pressure on the military council that took power after former president Hosni Mubarak's fall, leading to smaller crowds.

The groups believe that they will poll enough support to dominate such a parliament and thereby set the terms. They fear that a kind of bill of rights could close off the possibility of a state run by Islamic laws.

The secular youths who once dominated this central Cairo square are in a distinct minority these days, and especially on Friday, dominated as it is by Islamists.

Liberal parties endorse the measure in an effort to limit what they fear will be outsized Islamist influence on the new document should religious groups win a large share of the parliament. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has accepted the idea.

Read More from The Globe And Mail

Sex Club Posing As A Church Gets Busted In Texas

(Christian Post)--Glenn Hudson is in some trouble with the City of Dallas after the city claims he was caught operating a sex club in a building that is licensed as a church.

A lawsuit filed against Hudson says that his Harry Hines Boulevard building has a certificate of occupancy that applies only to churches, mosques or synagogues, but that he's really operating a business out of it called The Playground, “a swingers club that ... caters to adults, often couples, who wish to engage in random consensual sexual activities with other adults other than their spouses.”

The club is located in an industrial complex and the building has no religious markings on it.

WFAA-TV in Dallas obtained the lawsuit, which says undercover Dallas police officers went into the club and found televisions with pornography playing on them, topless female dancers, and a room where visitors had access to beds and condoms.

The station reports that Hudson claims to be an ordained minister, though the city says his license was obtained through a website. He was previously arrested twice for the possession of marijuana and once for carrying a weapon illegally. He is currently serving probation after having pleaded no contest to all three charges.

The Playground case is the second lawsuit of its kind against Hudson. Last week, the City of Dallas filed a suit against him for running The DarkSide, which he claims is also a church. But in a request for a temporary restraining order against the establishment the city says it “is actually an after-hours dance club – often referred to as a 'rave' club – that offers young patrons a place to drink, dance, have sex, and buy, sell, and use illegal drugs.”

Read More From Christian Post