Thursday, August 23, 2012

Greg Laurie: Hope, Change Can Only Come Through Spiritual Solution

Exclusive Interview: So. Calif. Evangelist on America's Spiritual Problem, Harvest America

Hoping for positive change in the United States that he says can only come through a spiritual solution, evangelist Greg Laurie is spearheading Harvest America planned for Sunday. It is his largest evangelism event in the more than three decades of his ministry's existence.

Nearly 1,800 churches and venues have signed up to host a live simulcast of Harvest America, a first-of-its-kind Christian outreach for Laurie's Harvest Ministries.
Known for his large stadium events where hundreds and often thousands of people come down onto the field or venue floor toward the end of the evening and make a commitment to Jesus, the event on Sunday is designed so that those making professions of faith will have someone alongside them at whatever venue they are watching.
"There is nothing this country so desperately needs as spiritual revival and I am so thankful that God gave this vision to Greg and the Harvest team to put this phenomenally massive outreach together," wrote Pastor Levi Lusko, who serves as the host at Harvest events. "Especially as we move towards a presidential election, everyone is clamoring for hope and change; but the answer to our country's problems isn't who is living in the White House, but rather who is coming on a white horse – Air Horse One – I'm talking about Jesus Christ!"

Egypt's Brotherhood Launches Violent Attacks Against Secular Media, Crucifies Opponents

Last week in Egypt, when Muslim Brotherhood supporters terrorized the secular media, several Arabic websites—including Arab News, Al Khabar News, Dostor Watany, and Egypt Now—reported that people were literally being crucified. The relevant excerpt follows in translation:
A Sky News Arabic correspondent in Cairo confirmed that protestors belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood crucified those opposing Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi naked on trees in front of the presidential palace while abusing others. Likewise, Muslim Brotherhood supporters locked the doors of the media production facilities of 6-October [a major media outlet in Cairo], where they proceeded to attack several popular journalists.
The attacks and violence—both in front of Egypt's presidential palace and at major media facilities -- are well-documented. An August 9 report by El Balad, a widely read Egyptian website, gives more details:
Last Wednesday, August 8, "thousands of the Muslim Brotherhood's supporters" attacked 6-October's media facilities, beat Khaled Salah—chief editor of the privately owned and secular Youm 7 newspaper—prevented Yusif al-Hassani (an On TV broadcaster) from entering the building and generally "terrorized the employees."
El Balad adds that the supporters of Tawfik Okasha, another vocal critic of President Morsi—the one who widely disseminated the graphic video of a Muslim apostate being slaughtered to cries of "Allahu Akbar"—gathered around the presidential palace, only to be surrounded by Brotherhood supporters, who "attacked them with sticks, knives and Molotov cocktails,El Balad's website logo crucifying some of them on trees, leading to the deaths of two and the wounding of dozens."
Far from condemning these terrorists, Al Azhar, Egypt's most authoritative Islamic institution, has just issued a fatwa calling for more violence and oppression, saying that "fighting participants in anti-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrations planned for 24 August is a religious obligation."
Most of the aforementioned Arabic sites point out that these attacks are part of the Muslim Brotherhood's campaign to intimidate and thus censor Egypt's secular media from exposing the group's Islamist agenda, which Youm 7, On TV and Okasha do daily. (Note: Okasha's channel was recently shut down, despite Morsi's previous reassurances that "no station or media will be shut down in my era.")


Silence in Washington as Morsi Tramples Democracy in Egypt

Just over a week ago, Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi effectively precipitated a palace coup. He sacked his top intelligence chief, the country’s military leadership, and other key members of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) in the space of five days.
A constitutional document limiting his powers was largely scrapped. Meanwhile, the Obama administration deliberately ignores the unfolding debacle, a monster of its own creation, and forges ahead with a policy completely contrary to American security interests. “We had expected President Morsi at some point to co-ordinate changes in the military leadership, to name a new team,” said George Little, the Pentagon press secretary. “The United States…look[s] forward to continuing a very close relationship with the SCAF.”
The ostensible basis of that very close relationship was initially illuminated by the Washington’s Post’s David Igantius, who contended that one of the reasons Obama administration officials “appear to have confidence” in what has occurred is because Egypt’s newly appointed defense minister, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, had “extensive contact with United States in his previous post as head of military intelligence,” and because “he spent a year of professional training in the United States.”
National Review’s Andrew McCarthy reveals the nonsense behind such an assessment, noting that even the Wall Street Journal, which he describes as “stuck on the democracy project dogma,” was forced to admit that al-Sissi “has a broad reputation within military circles as a Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer.” The same WSJ article encapsulates the administration’s dogmatic thinking as well, noting that “U.S. officials expressed confidence that Gen. Sissi will maintain close ties with the U.S., which provides Egypt with $1.3 billion a year in military aid, and uphold Egypt’s peace deal with Israel.”
Al-Sissi is hardly an anomaly. As the New York Times discovered (no doubt, much to their chagrin), the Egyptian military’s new chief of staff, Gen. Sedky Sobhi, wrote a paper seven years ago, while attending the United States Army War College in Pennsylvania as a student. In it he argued that the United States’s presence in the Middle East, along with its “one sided” support of Israel, was fueling hatred and miring the U.S. in an “unwinnable global war” with Islamist militants. Sobhi further contended that it was wrong to characterize Al Qaeda and other militant groups as merely “irrational terrorist organizations.” “I recommend that the permanent withdrawal of United States military forces from the Middle East and the Gulf should be a goal of U.S. strategy in this region,” he wrote, adding that the United States should pursue its objectives through “socioeconomic means and the impartial application of international law.”


Obamacare Sued by 'Best Place to Work for Women' to Stop Forced Group Insurance Coverage for Abortifacients, Sterilization, and Contraception

Federal and State Civil Rights Violations Cited in New Lawsuit Filed by Thomas More Society and the Jubilee Campaign's Law of Life Project in Federal District Court in Chicago for Private Employer
CHICAGO, Aug. 23, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- Triune Health Group, recently named by Crain's Chicago Business as the Best Place to Work for Women in the Chicago metro area, filed suit yesterday in U.S. District Court against the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services ("HHS"), the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the Illinois Department of Insurance for a "declaratory judgment" and injunction to prevent and stop an infringement of their civil rights. Christopher Yep, founder, president and CEO of the family-run business, along with Mary Anne Yep, co-founder, Vice President and Chief Personnel Officer, and the company as a whole, are suing the federal and state governments for violating their fundamental rights to religious liberty and free speech by requiring them to provide group insurance coverage of abortions, sterilization, and birth control for their employees.

The Yeps, devoted Catholics, embrace a belief which is embedded in Triune's mission statement that each individual be "treated with the human dignity and respect that God intended." The Obamacare mandate, administered by HHS and the other federal agencies named in the lawsuit, as well as the Illinois insurance mandate, administered by Illinois' Department of Insurance, require the company to provide abortion-related and contraceptive coverage for its employees and their families, which imposes a gravely oppressive burden on the Yeps' deeply held religious beliefs.

"The federal and state governments are coercing our clients to violate their conscientious convictions, which is completely at odds with the resounding declarations of our Founding Fathers and our modern Supreme Court jurisprudence," said Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Chicago-based Thomas More Society, the national public interest law firm representing Triune and the Yeps, together with the Jubilee Campaign's Law of Life Project. "As a federal court ruled just last month in Colorado, no government official may impose such an insupportable burden on American citizens' deeply held religious beliefs without a compelling reason. But there is no compelling reason here, when so many other options are available for providing these services, which are fully compatible with Triune's corporate mission statement and the Yeps' religious beliefs," said Brejcha.

Sam Casey, managing director and general counsel for the Jubilee Campaign's Law of Life Project, also had high praise for the Yeps' courage in standing up for their fundamental rights, applauding the Yeps for "taking a stand to defend their right to run their business in a way that does not conflict with their faith and religious conscience."

The Obama Administration has defended forcing private employers to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception, with an argument that people of faith forfeit their religious liberties once they opt to engage in business. But last month, Colorado-based Hercules Industries and the Catholic family that owns and runs it won a federal injunction to suspend the Obama Administration's mandate against that company. The newly filed Triune case also asserts the primacy of religious liberties and free speech on behalf of a private company and its owners, who view business as a form of religious stewardship and an integral part of their lives as faithful Roman Catholics.

Triune Health Group has won public plaudits, not only as "the best" employer for women but also as an outstanding employer for everybody, having also placed very high on Crain's 2012 "Best Place to Work" list.

The new lawsuit by Triune and the Yeps also names as defendants the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Department of the Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, and Illinois Department of Insurance Director Andrew Boron.

A copy of the court filing is available here or available upon request.

About the Thomas More Society
Founded in 1997, the Chicago-based Thomas More Society is a national public interest law firm that seeks to restore respect in law for life, marriage, and religious liberty. The Society is a nonprofit organization wholly supported by private donations. For more information or to support the work of Thomas More Society, please visit

About the Jubilee Campaign's Law of Life Project
The Law of Life Project is a public interest legal organization dedicated to legally defending the right to life and dignity of the human being from biological conception until natural death in all matters worldwide where such a defense is required. Jubilee Campaign is an international charitable organization that seeks to be a "voice for the voiceless" promoting the human rights of all, particularly women and children in countries which imprison, terrorize or otherwise oppress them.

Contact: Tom Ciesielka,
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    ‘Unconstitutional’?: Atheists Target High School Coach for Allowing Churches to Feed Football Players

    The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), an atheist activist group based in Madison, Wisconsin, is taking a football coach to task, claiming that he violated the First Amendment by allowing local churches to prepare meals for team members. The organization sent a letter to Walker County Schools in LaFayette, Georgia, demanding that officials immediately investigate Mark Mariakis, the Ridgeland High School coach.
    While the atheists want an examination into alleged pre-game foods that churches purportedly prepared for the players, the FFRF also addressed claims that Coach Mariakis prayed with the football players, used Bible verses in motivational speeches and on team shirts and took part on the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a faith-based organization.
    According to the FFRF, a local individual complained about the food that the teens are given on game days. The group also said that a minister typically delivers remarks to the players that focus upon Christianity as well — another violation that has the activists fired up.
    “Taking public school football teams to church, even for a meal, is unconstitutional,” FFRF attorney Andrew Seidel wrote in a letter to the district. “This program is an egregious violation of the Establishment Clause and must cease immediately.”


    Most College Grads Are Working Jobs That Only Need A High School Diploma

    After four years of college, many graduates are ending up in jobs that only require the ability to operate a cash register with a smile.
    After commencement, a growing number young people say they have no choice but to take low-skilled jobs, according to a survey released this week. And while 63% of “Generation Y” workers — those age 18 to 29 — have a bachelor’s degree, the majority of the jobs taken by graduates don’t require one, according to an online survey of 500,000 young workers carried out between July 2011 and July 2012 by, a company that collects data on salaries.
    Another survey by Rutgers University came to the same conclusion: Half of graduates in the past five years say their jobs didn’t require a four-year degree and only 20% said their first job was on their career path. “Our society’s most talented people are unable to find a job that gives them a decent income,” says Cliff Zukin, a professor of political science and public policy at Rutgers.
    The jobs that once went to recent college graduates are now more often going to older Americans. Over the past year, workers over 55 accounted for 58% of employment growth, says Dean Baker, a co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a nonprofit think tank in Washington, D.C. Why? Employers think older workers are a safer bet and more likely to stay, he says. Unemployment hovered at 6.2% in July for workers over 55, according to the Labor Department, but was more than double that rate — 12.7% — for those ages 18 to 29. 

    Pastor Rick Warren Cancels Obama-Romney ‘Civil Forum’ Because Candidates Are Too Uncivil

    WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) — Pastor Rick Warren says he’s canceled plans for a “civil forum” featuring the presidential candidates because their campaign is so uncivil.
    Neither the Obama campaign nor the Romney campaign says their candidate had committed to appearing at the forum at Warren’s Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., near Los Angeles. However Warren said that both candidates had indicated they were interested and the church had started traffic and security planning. The forum had been planned for this week.


    New study says full frontal nudity on prime-time TV up 6,300% over last year

    Think family-friendly viewing times mean family-friendly content? 
    Maybe not.
    The Parents Television Council (PTC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating parents about television content, has released a new study looking at nudity on prime-time broadcast television which reveals a major increase over the 2011-2012 season. 
    The study found that there were 76 incidents of full nudity on 37 shows compared to 15 incidents in 14 shows the previous ratings season, representing a 407 percent rise in incidents. Almost 70 percent of the scenes that featured such nudity were on shows which aired prior to 9pm, compared to 50 percent of the full nudity scenes which aired before 9pm during the 2010-2011 season.
    In addition, the study says only five of the 76 full-nudity depictions contained an “S” descriptor to warn parents to the explicit nature of the episode.
    But perhaps the most jaw-dropping finding was in regard to full-frontal nudity. While just one incidence of this occurred during the 2010-2011 study period, 64 documented full-frontal incidences occurred this past season, a 6,300 percent increase .
    Examples of the content used to illustrate this point included a scene from ABC’s “Don’t Trust the B- in Apartment 23” in which Chloe sits on the kitchen counter – her breasts, buttocks, and genitals pixilated. On “Suburgatory,” George and Noah argue in the steam room and Fred opens his towel, his genitals pixilated. NBC’s “The Office” contained a scene in which Robert jumps into the pool during a party, his genitals blurred, and on “America’s Got Talent,” Nick Cannon takes a camera behind-the-scenes and knocks on Howie’s trailer. He invites him in despite being totally naked, where his genitals are blurred out.
    A full breakdown of the study can be viewed here.