Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Meet the Amazing 12-Year-Old Who Makes It Her Mission to Help the Homeless in Her Community

While many might avert their eyes when passing by the homeless, Lauren Weaver doesn’t ignore them. She worries about them. In fact, she’s the heart of a growing operation called “Lauren’s Way” that helps provide some of Florida’s homeless with the items they need most — and she’s only 12 years old.
The story of Lauren’s Way started five years ago, though, when girl was 7 years old. Living near a park in Vero Beach, Ryan Weaver explained that his daughter frequently saw the same homeless man there.
She would ask questions like “Why is he dirty?” “Why does he look so sad?” and “Where does he eat and sleep?” Ryan told TheBlaze.
“I had never been put in that place and being that young … I thought everyone had a home, parents and a warm bed,” Lauren told us. “I was sad and worried about him.”
Encouraging her to think of something she might be able to do, the then second grader told her parents she wanted to give him a Christmas present. Taking $25 from the money she had been saving for an iPod — a sum which her parents said they would match for the gift — Lauren took to the store to purchase items that the local homeless shelter told her family a man like the one she saw might need most. Fifty dollars though didn’t make one box, it made seven.
“I had seen him so many times. So many times,” Lauren recalled. “When I finally got to talk to him, he was so nice.”


The 12 Best Pro-Life Statements From 2012

The following are the 12 best statements from 2012, as compiled by pro-life writer and attorney Kristi Burton Brown at the Live Action blog:
1) Affirming that we never need to give in on matters of principle and life, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, on the contraceptive mandate in ObamaCare:
The only thing we’re certainly not prepared to do is give in. … Not violate our consciences, and not obey what we consider to be something immoral. That we’re committed on.
2) Reminding us that our position on life defines our society, Senator Marco Rubio, at the Susan B. Anthony List annual dinner:
The issue of life is not a political issue, nor is it a policy issue, it is a definitional issue. It is a basic core issue that every society needs to answer. The answer that you give to that issue ends up defining which kind of society you have.

Congressman Paul Ryan
3) Hitting a home run on faith, science, and ultrasounds, Congressman Paul Ryan, during the vice presidential debate:
I don’t see how a person can separate their private life from their public life or their faith. Our faith informs us in everything we do. My faith informs me about how to take care of the vulnerable, about how to make sure that people have a chance of life.
Now, you want to ask about why I’m pro-life. It’s not simply because of my Catholic faith. That’s a factor of course. But it’s also because of reason and science.
You know, I think about ten and a half years ago, my wife Janna and I went to Mercy hospital in Janesville where I was born for our seven week ultrasound for our first born child, and we saw that heart beat. Our little baby was in the shape of a bean, and to this day we have nick named our first born, Liza, bean.
4) Taking a courageous stand on the reality of modern science and innocent life, Canadian MP Stephen Woodworth:
Don’t accept any law that says some human beings are not human beings! No Member of Parliament should remain silent in the face of any law that says some human beings are not human beings.
Now there might be some people who can convince themselves that a child magically transforms into a human being when their little toe pops out of the birth canal…However, I’ve concluded that modern medical science will inform us that children are in reality human beings at some point before the moment of complete birth.
History is littered with disastrous examples of laws which pretended some people were not human beings to achieve some desired result or suit someone’s philosophy…Just laws must be based on accurate evidence, not arbitrary lines unrelated to reality. If there’s no objective criteria for who’s a human being, then personhood and the fundamental rights that go with it can be defined in any way any powerful person or group decides. Is that the Canada you want?
5) Personalizing the issue and demonstrating the true strength of women in the face of adversity, an anonymous mother who wrote her story, “My Miracle Baby,” on the Embrace Grace blog:
It wasn’t until I met Bryan when everything changed. He was supposed to end up being a one night stand but the plans changed. I happened to get pregnant with a miracle baby. … In the back of my mind, I kept thinking, what if God is giving me a miracle baby to help me? What if this time, a baby would change everything? All of these thoughts went through my head as I sat there and listened to Bryan talk down to me about the pregnancy and how big of a mistake it was. I just sat there let him go off on me but when he was done, it was like God lifted me up and spoke for me. I said, ‘I am keeping this baby and there is absolutely nothing you can do nor say that will change my mind.’


Churches, the Constitution, and Christmas Celebrations: “Go tell it on the Mountain!”


Every Christmas season, it seems that the “war on Christmas” begins afresh and with renewed vigor.  For some, the season that proclaims “peace on earth” seems to be anything but, with demands to remove any and all religious references to the celebration of Christmas. And this year is no exception.
For instance, Western Piedmont College in North Carolina recently replaced the word “Christmas” with the word “holiday” in a student club’s announcement of a Christmas tree sale designed to raise money for charity.  It was only after attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter to the college that it reversed its decision and reinstated “Christmas.”
In another case, a Little Rock, Arkansas, school was threatened with a lawsuit if it allowed its students to view a play based on the television special “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
There isn’t enough space here to tell all of the stories of attempts to sanitize religious words from traditional Christmas carols, remove nativity scenes, ban religious references on Christmas ornaments, replace the word “Christmas,” or in some other way to secularize any public celebration of Christmas.
In cases like these, it is easy to become misinformed, or perhaps to begin to accept the mantra that the Constitution requires a purely secular celebration of Christmas in the public square.  But this is not the case, and churches can (and should) do a lot to regain a proper focus in society on the celebration of Christmas.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys have created a resource for churches called Seasonal Religious Expression that explains the law regarding celebrations of Christmas both publicly and privately.  Here are some highlights that are of particular interest to churches:
  • Churches may erect and maintain Christmas displays on their own private property.
  • Churches can encourage their city or county to display religious symbols of the Christmas season on public property as long as they are displayed amongst other secular symbols of Christmas.
  • Churches may sponsor a private display of religious symbols of Christmas on public property in places where the government allows for displays to be erected by private groups.
As your church celebrates the Christmas season this year, there is no reason to be intimidated by secularist groups bent on removing Christianity from Christmas.  The Constitution does not require such a radical removal of faith from public view.
Alliance Defending Freedom is here to help, and we urge you to take advantage of our Christmas resource.  And if you become aware of attempts to remove religious Christmas displays from public view, contact us so we can help restore sanity to Christmas celebrations.
Standing together we can “go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born!”

Remember those who are in prison

SAN FRANCISCO–For Gao Zhisheng’s family, visiting the imprisoned Christian at his remote exile in western China takes days.
Gao’s father-in-law and older brother made the trek in January: The pair rode a train nearly 2,000 miles from Shaanxi Province into the craggy mountains of the desert region of Xinjiang after obtaining clearance from prison officials to visit Gao. Then they took a public bus to its last stop, where they hired a motorcycle driver to travel the lone road to Shaya Prison, where the dissident has been jailed. When the father and son reached the first security checkpoint, a guard delivered cruel news: Despite official assurance to the family, no one could see Gao.
The dejected men tried the trek again in March. This time officials allowed a visit, but gave strict orders: Don’t talk about Gao’s case. Don’t mention his lawyers. Discuss only family and health. Finally, after the days-long trip, and the hour-long orientation, prison guards allowed the men to visit Gao for 30 minutes.
Nearly 6,000 miles away, Gao’s wife, Geng He, can recount that story openly near her home in northern California. Geng fled to the United States with her two children in 2009 after Chinese authorities harassed her family for years.
Here she’s free to bring attention to her husband’s plight, but she’s deeply lonely without him. And she struggles to explain the ordeal to their 8-year-old son: “It’s very hard for him to understand why daddy disappeared.”
Gao’s disappearance into the Chinese prison system is a mysterious saga. But at least one thing seems clear: Chinese officials remain determined to silence the Christian attorney who challenged an oppressive system.
Like other dissidents in Communist China, Gao, 48, has contended publicly for freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and justice for the oppressed. And like others, he’s paid a steep price: prison sentences, abuse, and separation from family.


Gabby Douglas: Grace, Gold, and Leaps of Faith