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Be Alert!

Moriel Ministries Be Alert! has added this Blog as a resource for further information, links and research to help keep you above the global deception blinding the world and most of the church in these last days. Jesus our Messiah is indeed coming soon and this should only be cause for joy unless you have not surrendered to Him. Today is the day for salvation! For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you would hear His voice, - Psalms 95:7

Monday, November 29, 2010

It Takes a Court to Define Sin?

1 Corinthians 6:1-6
Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life? So if you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church? I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren, but brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers?

ALBERT MOHLER.com - By Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. - September 27, 2010
When a scandal breaks in the media, attention to previous scandals comes almost as a reflex. With accusations swirling around Atlanta’s Bishop Eddie Long, the media have turned back to Ted Haggard, who, at the time of his own scandal, was pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, a large independent mega-church, and president of the National Association of Evangelicals.


Haggard resigned in 2006 after a male prostitute accused him of paying for sex and buying drugs. Confronted by the media, Haggard admitted to “sexual immorality” with the prostitute. Just last year, he admitted also to having engaged in “sexual immorality” with a male volunteer at New Life Church when the man was twenty-two, echoing the accusations against Bishop Long. In recent months, Ted Haggard has started a new church in Colorado Springs.


What makes all of this so instructive are comments made in the press by both Ted Haggard and his wife, Gayle. In light of the accusations against Long, Haggard told AOL News: “Nobody’s guilty until the court says he’s guilty.”


Nobody’s guilty until the court says he’s guilty?


In a legal context, that might have some cogency, but a church cannot possibly settle for this as a principle of how to deal with accusations of sin. The church does not need the courts to define either sin or its remedy. Haggard’s statement is particularly troubling given his own story.


On TV’s “Inside Edition,” Gayle Haggard said that Bishop Long “has been a great man. … He has done wonderful things. I hope they hold onto that knowledge as they try to understand what these allegations are about, if they are indeed true.”


The bizarre part of that statement is her encouragement to the church that it remember Bishop Long as a great man and “hold onto that knowledge as they try to understand what these allegations are about, if indeed they are true.”


Well, if true, I think we all know “what these allegations are about.”

Unedited :: Link to Original Posting
http://www.albertmohler.com/2010/09/27/it-takes-a-court-to-define-sin/



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Saturday, November 27, 2010

There's No Business Like the Religion Business

Minyanville Media Inc - By Justin Rohrlich - November 11, 2010
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:
"In metro Atlanta and elsewhere, the number of megachurches, which have long been defined as having a weekly attendance of 2,000 or more, are still drawing huge numbers of worshippers and receiving millions of dollars in the collection plate."


Amazingly, the North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, GA, has an annual budget of $40 million -- only $10.3 million less than the city of Alpharetta.


While some megachurches have hit hard times (the Rev. Robert Schuller's Crystal Cathedral recently filed for bankruptcy), their leaders have, historically, lived quite well.


Creflo A. Dollar, pastor of Atlanta's World Changers Church, preaches the "prosperity gospel," which may or may not bring prosperity to his flock. But it definitely brings prosperity to him.


Dollar and his wife Taffi live in a $3 million Atlanta mansion, as well as a $2.44 million Manhattan condo.


They get around in a private jet, two Rolls-Royces (although Creflo insists they only have one), and a Hummer.


It was this sort of profligate spending that piqued the interest of Senator Charles Grassley in 2007, when he requested detailed financial documents from Dollar and five other megachurch leaders to ensure they were not in violation of their tax-exempt status.


Dollar refused, citing some sort of bizarre legal issue, which he valiantly attempted to explain to Larry King: [see inbedded video here]


Three years later, Dollar apparently still has not complied with the Senator's request.
"If he sticks to his guns," Grassley said, "this will be the first nonprofit that I know of that hasn't cooperated with us over the last five or six years."
If nothing else, it certainly raises an eyebrow or two when the head of a "nonprofit" entity finds enough profit lying around to afford a home like this: ...


Edited :: See Original Report Here
http://www.minyanville.com/dailyfeed/theres-no-business-like-the/


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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Holy Ghost Hokey Pokey

The Apostasy is now broadcast across the planet with videos of ‘charismaniacs’ like this that make Evangelicals and Pentecostals look like idiots to the world and help to promote the demonic religions of Atheism, Humanism as well as making Islam and Roman Catholicism sane alternatives.
BE/\LERT!



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaJyljYa-0U

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The Progressive Church Commercial

This video spoof sadly sums up much of the Purpose Driven, Seeker Creeker mentality that has filled the last day church.
BE/\LERT!


Progressive Church Commercial



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MDnjN3CP4E



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Saturday, November 20, 2010

When the World Judges "The Church": Katy Perry's "Sesame Street" Segment Cut

When the secular world has to rebuke God's people... It has happened before


Jeremiah 40:2-3
Now the captain of the bodyguard had taken Jeremiah and said to him, "The LORD your God promised this calamity against this place; and the LORD has brought it on and done just as He promised. Because you people sinned against the LORD and did not listen to His voice, therefore this thing has happened to you.


Ed. Note: BEALERT! is not stating whether Katy Hudson (a.k.a. Katy Perry) is or is not a born again, saved Christian. That is a heart issue only the Lord knows. However, based on scriptures clearly laid out in Matthew, 1 Corinthians, 1 John as well as many others, believers are to judge the actions, lifestyles and major doctrines according to the plumb line of what is written in the full context of Genesis through Revelation. This is a case of someone growing up in the evangelical church, a child of pastors, and starting her career as a “Christian music artist” and then turning to the world and re-creating herself into pop-star Katy Perry. The recent episode of the children’s TV show Sesame Street in which Perry appeared with the Muppet Elmo is yet another situation involving a person tied to Evangelical Christianity where “the world” has cried out “too far”. Others who have brought shame upon the name of Christ because of there public dealings include Televangelists, politicians and business owners such as Erik Prince, founder of private military contractor Blackwater Worldwide now known as Xe Services LLC.

Katy Perry's "Sesame Street" Segment Cut
CBS NEWS America [CBS Corporation]/ASSOCIATED PRESS - September 23, 2010
NEW YORK - Katy Perry's cleavage is fine for her music videos and live performances - but not so for Elmo and "Sesame Street."
The children's show says it won't air a taped segment featuring the "California Gurls" singer and Elmo after receiving complaints about her outfit.
The pop star wore a gold bustier top as she sang a version of her hit song "Hot & Cold." But some felt it was too revealing for the kid set.
"Sesame Street" said in a statement Thursday that in light of the "feedback we've received" after the bit was aired on YouTube, they won't include it on the show. While the show said it would still be available on YouTube, it had been removed by the official Sesame Street YouTube channel. ...


Edited :: See Original Report Here
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31749_162-20017419-10391698.html?tag=contentMain;contentBody

Katy Perry
WIKIPEDIA
Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson (born October 25, 1984),[1] better known by the stage name Katy Perry, is an American singer-songwriter, musician and actress. Born in Santa Barbara, California,[1] and raised by Christian pastor parents; Perry grew up listening to only gospel music and sang in her local church as a child. After earning a GED during her freshman year of high school, she began to pursue a music career. She released a self-titled gospel album in 2001 as Katy Hudson which was deemed unsuccessful due to the closing of its record label that year. She later recorded an album with production team The Matrix and completed the majority of a solo album from 2004-2005, neither of which was released.
After signing with Capitol Music Group in 2007, her fourth record label in seven years, she adopted the stage name Katy Perry and released her first Internet single, "Ur So Gay", that November, which garnered attention but failed to chart. She rose to fame with the release of her second single "I Kissed a Girl" in 2008, which went on to top international charts. Perry's first mainstream studio album, One of the Boys, followed later that year and subsequently became the thirty-third best selling album worldwide of 2008.[2] It was accredited platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America while "I Kissed a Girl" and her second single "Hot n Cold" both received multi-platinum certifications. Perry was ranked the ninety-seventh Artist of the 2000-10 decade by Billboard.[3] ...
Katy Perry was born Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson in Santa Barbara, California.[5] She is of English, German and Portuguese descent and is second child of two pastors,[6] she has an older sister and younger brother.[7] Her Evangelical mother, Mary Hudson (née Perry), grew up in Southern California and had "a tempestuous first marriage in Zimbabwe."[7] Her father, Keith Hudson, was a West Coast scenester in the 1960s.[7] Perry's maternal aunt and uncle were screenwriter Eleanor Perry and director Frank Perry,[8] through whom she is also related to Charles M. Schwab, the founder of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation.[9].
Perry was incorporated into her parents' ministry;[6] she sang in their church from ages 9 to 17.[5][10] She grew up listening to gospel music[11] and was not allowed to listen to what her mother called secular music.[10][12] Perry attended Christian schools and camps.[6] ...


Edited :: See Original Report Here
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katy_Perry


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Friday, November 12, 2010

Assembling the world's largest Jesus

REUTERS [Thomson-Reuters] - November 6, 2010 Workers build a statue of Jesus in Swiebodzin, 110 km (68 miles) west of Poznan, western Poland, November 4, 2010. The statue, whose body is 33 metres (108 ft) tall, is expected to be completed in November.



Edited :: See Original Report Here
http://www.canada.com/news/story.html?id=3779882


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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Turning Churches Against Israel

FRONTPAGE MAGAZINE - By Mark D. Tooley - October 19, 2010

“With God on Our Side,” the new anti-Israel movie produced by an evangelical pastor and aimed at evangelical audiences, is touring America this month, with anti-Israel British Anglican priest Stephen Sizer in tow [See Moriel's Archive page of articles on Stephen Sizer]. On October 27, it was originally going to be screened in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, doubtless hoping to appeal to young evangelical Congressional staffers, whose numbers and influence likely will increase in the new Congress. Now, for whatever reason, it instead will screen at a Lutheran church on Capitol Hill.

The Evangelical Left is anxious to neutralize evangelicals as America’s typically most pro-Israel demographic, especially by focusing on the plight of Palestinian Christians, who are portrayed as victims exclusively of Israeli oppression. “With God on Our Side,” predictably, portrays pro-Israel Christians as mindless zealots indifferent to Palestinian suffering and exploiting Israeli Jews as merely tools for precipitating the Second Coming. Hapless quotes from Christian Zionists are contrasted with thoughtful articulations from Palestinian Christians and other pro-Palestinian advocates.

Anglican priest Stephen Sizer, prominently featured in the film, bewails Christian Zionism on his website: “Aspects of this belief system lead some Christians in the West to give uncritical support to Israeli government policies, even those that privilege Jews at the expense of Palestinians, leading to great suffering among Muslim and Christian Palestinians alike and threatening Israel’s security as a whole.”

Rev. Sizer essentially advocates a Helen Thomas sort of theology. His blog even acclaimed Thomas for exclaiming that Jews need to “get out of Palestine” and go back to Poland or wherever. “Bring it on,” Sizer enthused in response to Thomas’s promise to keep speaking out. He has further explained:

“With God on our Side” is a direct challenge to the foolish idea that Christian Zionism has any biblical or moral foundation. It is an oxymoron, as absurd as to suggest that biblical Christianity and apartheid are in any way compatible. The Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa tried and failed and eventually repented. Would that Christian Zionists did the same.”

Sizer is incredulous that Christians would “justify on theological grounds the theft of land, the demolition of homes, the destruction of property, the creation of ghettos and the denial of fundamental human rights, in order to create what is increasingly becoming a racist state.” He insists in his blog that Christian support for Israel challenges “our understanding of the gospel, the centrality of the cross, the role of the church, and the nature of our missionary mandate, not least, to the beloved Jewish people.” And he deplores Christian Zionism as a “heresy conclusively refuted by the New Testament.” Sizer and “With God on our Side” are unwilling to accept that many evangelicals and other Christians have substantive reasons for supporting Israel other than a grimacing expectation of the End Times. Israel’s democracy, pro-Western stance, and resistance to Islamist terror are just a few reasons that many Americans, Christian or not, affirm Israel against its many enemies. But Sizer and his film are largely uninterested in the transgressions, and inferior human rights records, of Israel’s primary foes. Nor are they usually willing to critique radical Islam.

“With God on our Side,” with Sizer and producer Porter Speakman of Colorado as the chief promoters, is gaining an audience among some evangelicals. They screened their film at prestigious evangelical Wheaton College earlier this year. (The film features a Wheaton professor.) And “Christianity Today,” a flagship evangelical magazine, favorably reviewed the film this Summer. “A Christian pastor, Speakman asks such Zionists to reevaluate their absolute support of Israel,” the review observed. “He presents historical context, theological perspective, and on-the-ground impressions.” Agreeing with the film that “Palestinians’ claims to the land cannot be easily dismissed,” the reviewer uncritically accepted the film’s premise that “ordinary Palestinians, including fellow Christians, are being hurt by Israel’s policies,” without examining other more potent threats to Palestinian Christians. Admitting that “some” might see the film as “slanted,” the reviewer defended the film for ostensibly “telling a story” that its “intended audience has not heard.”

That audience is supposedly naïve and mindless evangelicals who have been insulated from any criticism of Israel until exposed to “With God on our Side.” It’s not clear what caves or compounds those pious fools live in. But this film, no less propagandistic and vapid than it alleges its Christian Zionist targets to be, offers a simplistic counter narrative that portrays Israel as the moral equivalent of apartheid South Africa. The tiny percentage of Palestinians who are Christian are useful props for this film and its advocates who, like much of the Evangelical Left, are not typically interested in persecuted Christians unless Israel is the villain.

Anti-Israel activists often especially fault U.S. evangelicals for America’s pro-Israel tilt. But polls usually show that pro-Israel sentiment in America includes not just evangelicals but also Mainline Protestants, Catholics and Jews. End times scenarios do not motivate the pro-Israel beliefs of most Americans or even most evangelicals. But “With God on our Side” constructed a cheap straw man based on stereotypes, maybe because it could not proffer more substantive arguments.

Mark Tooley is President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (www.theird.org) and author of "Taking Back the United Methodist Church."

Unedited :: Link to Original Posting
http://frontpagemag.com/2010/10/19/turning-churches-against-israel/


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Saturday, October 23, 2010

'Hillsong takeover' - from TV 7 in Perth, comments by Philip Powell and others

Hillsong is a $50 million a year business. Its wealth is fuelled by donations from its followers - as much as 70% of their income.
TVW 7 PERTH, Perth, Western Australia [Seven Media Group Pty Ltd] > 7 News Today Tonight - August 23, 2010


Ed Note: Many thanks to Philip Powell for sending this to Be Alert! I encourage all to visit the Christian Witness Ministries Fellowship website for a plethora of information and resources for the last days church.
- Scott Brisk, Philippians 1:9-11

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Thursday, October 07, 2010

800 Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skepticism of "Man-Made" Global Warming (AGW) Alarm

POPULAR TECHNOLOGY.net - July 25, 2010 The following papers support skepticism of AGW or the negative environmental or economic effects of AGW. Addendums, comments, corrections, erratum, replies, responses and submitted papers are not included in the peer-reviewed paper count. These are included as references in defense of various papers. There are many more listings than just the 800 papers. This list will be updated and corrected as necessary.


Criticisms: All criticisms of this list have been refuted or a change made to correct the issue. Please see the notes following the list for defenses of common criticisms. I make every attempt to defend the list where possible, in many cases my comments correcting the misinformation stated about the list are deleted and I am blocked from replying. Please email me if you have any questions or need me to address something, populartechnology (at) gmail (dot) com.


Disclaimer: The inclusion of a paper in this list does not imply a specific personal position to any of the authors. The reason for this is a small minority of authors on the list would not wish to be labeled skeptical yet their paper(s) or results from their paper(s) support skeptic's arguments against AGW alarm.


Formatting: All papers are cited as: "Paper Name, Journal Name, Volume, Issue or Number, Pages, Date and Authors". All "addendums, comments, corrections, erratum, replies, responses and submitted papers" are preceded by a " - " and italicized. Ordering of the papers is alphabetical by title except for the Hockey Stick, Cosmic Rays and Solar sections which are chronological.


"I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told by AGW voices that there are NO qualified skeptics or peer reviewed/published work by them. Including right here by RC regulars. In truth there is serious work and questions raised by significant work by very qualified skeptics which has been peer reviewed and published. It should be at least a bit disturbing for this type of denial to have been perpetrated with such a chorus. It’s one thing to engage and refute. But it’s not right to misrepresent as not even existing the counter viewpoints. I fully recognize the adversarial environment between the two opposing camps which RC and CA/WUWT represent, but the the perpetual declaration that there is no legitimate rejection of AGW is out of line."


- John H., comment at RealClimate.org

See this link for for listings and links to peer-reviewed papers
http://www.populartechnology.net/2009/10/peer-reviewed-papers-supporting.html

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Character of Our Leaders

Historical Quote: "The people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature." President James Garfield FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Video: Copy Machines, a Security Risk?

CBS NEWS America [CBS Corporation] - April 19, 2010 This year marks the 50th anniversary of the good, old-fashioned copy machine. But, as Armen Keteyian reports, advanced technology has opened a dangerous hole in data security. Ed. Note: Many still live under the false assumption that if one has nothing to hide and does nothing wrong then they have no reason to be afraid of ever encroaching laws that destroy our civil liberties in the name of security or new technologies that make life easier and are also being marketed as a means of safety and identity protection. However, as this report clearly shows, it is this very technology that is easily flawed by unforeseen security breaches or a lack or understanding or concern on the part of the public that is increasingly putting all of us, no matter how careful in danger. One can easily see how in the near future many will be demanding a solution to the consequences of our entire society becoming dependant on technology that is so easily manipulated for evil means. Lord Jesus Christ come quickly! BE/\LERT! http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6412572n FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

No mosque at Ground Zero

Pat Condell on Ground Zero mosque: "Is it possible to be astonished, but not surprised?" Pat Condell ably articulates everything that's wrong about the mosque at Ground Zero. For further information go to: http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010/06/pat-condell-on-ground-zero-mosque-is-it-possible-to-be-astonished-but-not-surprised.html

Saturday, July 10, 2010

F.C.C. Moves to Expand Role in Broadband

NEW YORK TIMES [NYTimes Group/Sulzberger] - By Edward Wyatt - June 17, 2010 A version of this article appeared in print on June 18, 2010, on page B2 of the New York edition WASHINGTON - The Federal Communications Commission voted 3 to 2 on Thursday to move toward giving itself the authority to regulate the transmission component of broadband Internet service, a power the commission’s majority believes is central to expanding the availability of broadband. The vote formally begins a period of public comment on an F.C.C. proposal to overturn a previous commission ruling that classified broadband transmission as a lightly regulated information service. The proposal would designate broadband transmission as a telecommunications service, which, as with telephone service, would make it subject to stricter regulation. The commission has said it intends to exempt broadband service from most of the regulatory options it has under the stricter designation, keeping only those regulations that are necessary “to implement fundamental universal service, competition and market entry, and consumer protection policies.” It would not regulate Internet content. Opponents of the reclassification say that it would give the F.C.C. the power to regulate rates charged to consumers by broadband service providers, something that Julius Genachowski, the chairman of the commission, has said that it does not intend to do. The F.C.C. began reconsidering its broadband regulation policies after a federal court of appeals in April invalidated the approach that the commission had long taken. That decision involved the commission’s ability to require that Internet service providers not discriminate against any content or application. The F.C.C. claimed that Comcast had done so in blocking access by its users to BitTorrent, a file-sharing service. Mr. Genachowski said the commission was seeking comment on three possibilities - keeping regulation as it is, imposing a full telecommunications regulatory regime, and a “third way” approach of limited regulation. He likened that approach to the way the commission has regulated mobile phone services for nearly 20 years. “The third way approach was developed out of a desire to restore the status quo light-touch framework that existed prior to the court case,” Mr. Genachowski said. “Let’s not pretend that the problems with the state of broadband in America don’t exist; let’s not pretend that the risk of excessive regulation is not real, or, at the other extreme, that the absence of basic protections for competition and consumers is acceptable.” Commissioners Michael J. Copps and Mignon Clyburn joined Mr. Genachowski in voting to open the comment process, while Meredith Attwell Baker and Robert M. McDowell opposed it. In her dissenting statement, Ms. Baker said the proposal “will place the heavy thumb of government on the scale of a free market to the point where innovation and investment in the ‘core’ of the Net are subjected to the whims of ‘Mother-May-I’ regulators.” Future commission members, she said, could overturn current decisions to regulate broadband service only lightly. Unedited :: Link to Original Posting http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/18/business/18fcc.html FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

F.C.C. Proposes Rules on Internet Access

NEW YORK TIMES [NYTimes Group/Sulzberger] - By Edward Wyatt - May 6, 2010 A version of this article appeared in print on May 7, 2010, on page B3 of the New York edition [...] Opponents, including some telecommunications companies that provide broadband Internet service, said the approach would create uncertainty and legal battles that would slow the development of technologies that could benefit consumers. ... The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said in April that the F.C.C.’s classification of broadband service as an “information service” rather than as a “telecommunications service” did not allow it to sanction Comcast for slowing or blocking access by its customers to an application known as BitTorrent, which is used to share large data files including video and audio. The new approach, which the F.C.C. called a “third way,” would rely on a legal theory that recognizes the computing function and the broadband transmission component of retail Internet access service as separate things subject to different regulation. The approach is similar to one that the commission has used to regulate aspects of wireless communications service, Mr. Genachowski said. And it relies in part on a 2005 United States Supreme Court decision, National Cable and Telecommunications Association v. Brand X Internet Services. In that case, the court said that Congress gave the F.C.C. the authority to decide how it would regulate Internet service. ... Telecommunications companies said they believed the F.C.C. had overstepped. The National Cable and Telecommunications Association, with whom the F.C.C. sided in the Brand X case, called the decision “fraught with legal uncertainty and practical consequences which pose real risks to our ability to provide the high-quality and innovative services that our customers expect.” Thomas J. Tauke, an executive vice president at Verizon, said the new approach was “legally unsupported” and could only bring “confusion and delay to the important work of continuing to build the nation’s broadband future.” ... Consumer advocates praised the decision, at least in part. Public Knowledge, a consumer interest group, said it supported the approach but was dismayed by the commission’s decision that “open access” provisions of the Communications Act - which require companies to share access to the physical lines of connection that enter consumers’ homes - did not apply to broadband access as they did to basic telephone service. Joel Kelsey, a policy analyst for Consumers Union, said the F.C.C. “appears to have found a way to ensure it has the authority to protect consumers from potential anticompetitive actions by providers of broadband services.” Comcast, which successfully fought the commission over its regulatory authority, said in a statement that it was prepared “to work constructively” with the F.C.C. on “limited but effective measures” to preserve an open Internet, as long as they did not put the industry under a regulatory cloud. Edited :: See Original Report Here http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/07/technology/07broadband.html FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Mandatory ISP filter due mid-2011

ZDNet.com.au [CBS Corporation/CBS Interactive] - By Liam Tung - December 15, 2009 Mandatory ISP filtering legislation will be introduced around the middle of 2010, after which there will be a one year period to implement and activate the filtering technology. The Federal Government today announced it will introduce amendments to the Broadcasting Services Act, which will by 2011 require all ISPs to block refused classification-rated material hosted on overseas servers. As part of the new legislation, the government intends to explore what additional process could be implemented around how websites are added to the government's "Refused Classification" (RC) list. Minister for Communications Stephen Conroy today released a discussion paper seeking stakeholder feedback on how the new list should be overseen and by which agency. "The government will immediately undertake public consultation with the release today of a discussion paper on additional measures to improve the accountability and transparency of processes that lead to RC-rated material being placed on the RC Content list," Conroy said. It appears though that the government has already decided how the RC list will be generated, indicating it would be compiled via "public complaints mechanism". It is not clear yet what this mechanism is. Other sources for the new RC list would include known URLs shared between international agencies. The obvious contender for the new RC list's oversight is the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), which manages a list of locally hosted illegal content, and issues so-called "take-down" notices to local operators. Options Conroy said would be considered included appeal mechanisms, notification to website owners of RC content and the review by an independent expert and report to the Parliament. While it's still uncertain whether ACMA will be appointed to the role, Conroy today flagged that the agency would be allocated extra funds to boost the security of the RC Content list. It also intends to send automated updates to the ISPs. Unedited :: Link to Original Posting http://www.zdnet.com.au/mandatory-isp-filter-due-mid-2011-339300060.htm FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Defending Israel Under Siege: Special Edition eResponse World Report | Simon Wiesenthal Center

Zechariah 12:2-3 "Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around; and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah. "It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it. This is a special collection of reports provided by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Please click the link below: SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER - June 3, 2010 Defending Israel Under Siege: Special Edition eResponse World Report Simon Wiesenthal Center FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Concerning the BP Oil Spill: What happened to the media and why does no one bring this up?

Size of Oil Spill Underestimated, Scientists Say NEW YORK TIMES [NYTimes Group/Sulzberger] - By Justin Gillis - May 13, 2010 Two weeks ago, the government put out a round estimate of the size of the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico: 5,000 barrels a day. Repeated endlessly in news reports, it has become conventional wisdom. But scientists and environmental groups are raising sharp questions about that estimate, declaring that the leak must be far larger. They also criticize BP for refusing to use well-known scientific techniques that would give a more precise figure. The criticism escalated on Thursday, a day after the release of a video that showed a huge black plume of oil gushing from the broken well at a seemingly high rate. BP has repeatedly claimed that measuring the plume would be impossible. The figure of 5,000 barrels a day was hastily produced by government scientists in Seattle. It appears to have been calculated using a method that is specifically not recommended for major oil spills. ... Edited :: See Original Report Here http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/14/us/14oil.html However ... on Day 2 of the Crises Crews fear oil rig will spill 336,000 gallons a day Coast Guard says the threat to the environment is worse now that the rig has sunk HOUSTON CHRONICLE [Hearst Corporation] - By MATTHEW TRESAUGUE - April 22, 2010 A drilling rig that burned for more than a day before sinking Thursday has fouled Gulf of Mexico waters with a potentially major spill of crude oil, officials said. The collapse of the oil rig could disgorge up to 336,000 gallons of crude a day into waters about 40 miles off the Louisiana coast. U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry said the sunken rig, the Deepwater Horizon, increased the threat for environmental damage, which previously appeared minimal. With new challenges from the collapsed rig, a growing assemblage of cleanup crews began to work in the area, hoping to stop the oil before the spill were to reach the shore. Meteorologists predicted a change in the Gulf's current today that would push the oil toward the Louisiana and Mississippi coastlines. But Landry said the spill isn't expected to reach the coast. “We have the ability to keep it offshore,” she said. BP, the oil company that leased the offshore rig, said it had mobilized four aircraft that can spread chemicals to break up the oil and 32 vessels that can recover more than 171,000 barrels of oil a day from the surface. BP officials also expected to have a million feet of boom in place to help contain the spill by today. “We have contingency plans in place to respond to any anticipated situation, and the full resources of BP are being mobilized to implement those plans,” said David Rainey, vice president of Gulf exploration for BP. Even then, federal and BP officials said it wasn't clear whether oil was flowing from the well after the platform sank because they didn't know what was happening underwater. ... Edited :: See Original Report Here http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/deepwaterhorizon/6971824.html FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Outraged by Glenn Beck’s Salvo, Christians Fire Back

Ed Note: Glen Beck is correct in his statement about the “social gospel” and churches that preach “social justice. Jim Wallis is a false teacher that needs to be exposed. However, also pray for Glen Beck as he is deceived by his Mormon false religion as well. He needs his eyes to be opened and to receive atonement for his sins by the True Jesus Christ of Scripture, not the “Mormon Jesus” half-brother of Satan. See more here: "Five Questions If You're a Mormon" By James Jacob Prasch http://www.moriel.org/Discernment/5Q_5_Mormon/01_Intro.html
NEW YORK TIMES [NYTimes Group/Sulzberger] - By Laurie Goodstein - March 11, 2010 Last week, the conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck called on Christians to leave their churches if they hear preaching about social or economic justice, saying they were code words for Communism and Nazism. This week the remarks prompted outrage from several Christian bloggers. The Rev. Jim Wallis, who leads the liberal Christian antipoverty group Sojourners, in Washington, called on Christians to leave Glenn Beck. “What he has said attacks the very heart of our Christian faith, and Christians should no longer watch his show,” Mr. Wallis wrote on his blog, God’s Politics. “His show should now be in the same category as Howard Stern.” In attacking churches that espouse social justice, Mr. Beck is taking on most mainline Protestant, Roman Catholic, black and Hispanic congregations in the country - not to mention plenty of evangelical churches and even his own, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mr. Beck said on his radio show on March 2, “I beg you, look for the words ‘social justice’ or ‘economic justice’ on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words.” “Am I advising people to leave their church? Yes! If I am going to Jeremiah Wright’s church,” he said, referring to President Obama’s former pastor in Chicago. “If you have a priest that is pushing social justice, go find another parish. Go alert your bishop.” Religion scholars say the term “social justice” was probably coined in the 1800s, codified in encyclicals by successive popes and adopted widely by Protestant churches in the 1900s. The concept is that Christians should not merely give to the poor, but also work to correct unjust conditions that keep people poor. Many Christians consider it a recurring theme in Scripture. Mr. Beck himself is a convert to Mormonism, a faith that identifies itself as part of the Christian family, but is nevertheless rejected by many Christians. ... Edited :: See Original Report Here http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/12/us/12justice.html FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Comedy Central developing Jesus Christ cartoon

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER [Nielsen Business Media] > The Live Feed - By James Hibberd - May 5, 2010 Comedy Central might censor every image of the Prophet Muhammad on "South Park," yet the network is developing a whole animated series around Jesus Christ. As part of the network's upfront presentation to advertisers (full slate here), the network is set to announce "JC," a half-hour show about Christ wanting to escape the shadow of his "powerful but apathetic father" and live a regular life in New York City. In the show, God is preoccupied with playing video games while Christ, "the ultimate fish out of water," tries to adjust to life in the big city. "In general, comedy in purist form always makes some people uncomfortable," said Comedy Central's head of original programming Kent Alterman. When asked if the show might draw some fire, especially coming on the heels of the network's decision to censor the Muslim faith's religious figure on "South Park," Alterman said its too early in the show's development to be concerned about such matters. "We don't even know what the show is yet," he said. Like all Comedy Central executives, Alterman declined to address the recent controversy over "South Park," where the network aired a heavily redacted episode after the show's creators were threatened by an extremist Islamic Web site. "JC" is produced by Reveille ("The Office"), Henrik Basin, Brian Boyle ("American Dad"), Jonathan Sjoberg and Andreas Ohman. Unedited :: Link to Original Posting http://livefeed.hollywoodreporter.com/2010/05/comedy-central-developing-jesus-christ-cartoon-series.html FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Reagan and the occult

Ronald Reagan had an interest in lucky numbers and newspaper horoscopes. Less known is that a certain scholar of occult philosophy had a lifelong influence on the 40th president of the United States. Mitch Horowitz, editor-in-chief of Tarcher/Penguin and the author of "Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation," reveals the details. THE WASHINGTON POST [Wash Post Group/Graham] - POLITICAL BOOKWORM Blog - Written by Guest blogger Mitch Horowitz (Posted by Steven E. Levingston) - April 30, 2010 In spring of 1988, White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater acknowledged publicly what journalists had whispered for years: Ronald and Nancy Reagan were devotees of astrology. A tell-all memoir had definitively linked the first lady to a San Francisco stargazer, confirming speculation that started decades earlier when Reagan, as California’s governor-elect, scheduled his first oath of office at the eyebrow-raising hour of 12:10 a.m. Many detected an effort to align the inaugural with promising heavenly signs. Fitzwater also confirmed the president’s penchant for “lucky numbers,” or what is sometimes called numerology. There was more to the story than the White House let on. In a speech and essay produced decades apart, Reagan revealed the unmistakable mark of a little-known but widely influential scholar of occult philosophy, Manly P. Hall. Judging from a tale that Reagan borrowed from Hall, the president’s reading tastes ran to some of the outer reaches of esoteric spiritual lore. Hall, who worked in the Reagans’ hometown of Los Angeles until his death in 1990, attained underground fame in the late 1920s when, at the age of 27, he published a massive codex to the mystical and esoteric philosophies of antiquity: The Secret Teachings of All Ages. Exploring subjects from Native American mythology to Pythagorean mathematics to the geometry of Ancient Egypt, this encyclopedia esoterica won the admiration of readers ranging from General John Pershing to Elvis Presley. Novelist Dan Brown cites it as a key source. After publishing his great work, Hall spent the rest of his life lecturing and writing within the walls of his Egypto-art deco campus in L.A.’s Griffith Park neighborhood. He called the place a “mystery school” in the mold of Pythagoras’s ancient academy. It was there in 1944 that the occult thinker produced a short work, one little known beyond his immediate circle. This book, The Secret Destiny of America, caught the eye of the future president, then a middling Hollywood actor gravitating toward politics. Hall’s concise volume described how America was the product of a “Great Plan” for religious liberty and self-governance, launched by a hidden order of ancient philosophers and secret societies. In one chapter, Hall described a rousing speech delivered by a mysterious “unknown speaker” before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The “strange man,” wrote Hall, invisibly entered and exited the locked doors of the Philadelphia statehouse on July 4th, 1776, delivering an oration that bolstered the wavering spirits of the delegates. “God has given America to be free!” commanded the mysterious speaker, urging the men to overcome their fears of the noose, axe, or gibbet, and to seal destiny by signing the great document. Newly emboldened, the delegates rushed forward to add their names. They looked to thank the stranger only to discover that he had vanished from the locked room. Was this, Hall wondered, “one of the agents of the secret Order, guarding and directing the destiny of America?” At a 1957 commencement address at his alma mater Eureka College, Reagan, then a corporate spokesman for GE, sought to inspire students with this leaf from occult history. “This is a land of destiny,” Reagan said, “and our forefathers found their way here by some Divine system of selective service gathered here to fulfill a mission to advance man a further step in his climb from the swamps.” Reagan then retold (without naming a source) the tale of Hall’s unknown speaker. “When they turned to thank the speaker for his timely words,” Reagan concluded, “he couldn’t be found and to this day no one knows who he was or how he entered or left the guarded room.” Reagan revived the story in 1981, when Parade magazine asked the president for a personal essay on what July 4th meant to him. Presidential aide Michael Deaver delivered the piece with a note saying, “This Fourth of July message is the president’s own words and written initially in the president’s hand,” on a yellow pad at Camp David. Reagan retold the legend of the unknown speaker – this time using language very close to Hall’s own: “When they turned to thank him for his timely oratory, he was not to be found, nor could any be found who knew who he was or how had come in or gone out through the locked and guarded doors.” Where did Hall uncover the tale that inspired a president? The episode originated as “The Speech of the Unknown” in a collection of folkloric stories about America’s founding, published in 1847 under the title Washington and his Generals, or Legends of the Revolution by American social reformer and muckraker George Lippard. Lippard, a friend of Edgar Allan Poe, had a strong taste for the gothic – he cloaked his mystery man in a “dark robe.” He also tacitly acknowledged inventing the story: “The name of the Orator…is not definitely known. In this speech, it is my wish to compress some portion of the fiery eloquence of the time.” Regardless, the story took on its own life and came to occupy the same shadow land between fact and fiction as the parables of George Washington chopping down a cherry tree, or young Abe Lincoln walking miles to return a bit of a change to a country-store customer. As with most myths, the story assumed different attributes over time. By 1911, the speech resurfaced in a collection of American political oratory, with the robed speaker fancifully identified as Patrick Henry. For his part, Hall seemed to know almost nothing about the story’s point of origin. He had been given a copy of the “Speech of the Unknown” by a since-deceased secretary of the occult Theosophical Society, but with no bibliographical information other than it being from a “rare old volume of early American political speeches.” The speech appeared in 1938 in the Society’s journal, The Theosophist, with the sole note that it was “published in a rare volume of addresses, and known probably to only one in a million, even of American citizens.” It is Hall’s language that unmistakably marks the Reagan telling. Biographer Edmund Morris noted Reagan’s fondness for apocryphal tales and his “Dalíesque ability to bend reality to his own purposes.” Yet he added that the president’s stories “should be taken seriously because they represent core philosophy.” This influential (and sometimes inscrutable) president of the late-twentieth century found an illustration of his core belief in America’s purpose within the pages of an occult work little known beyond its genre. Lucky numbers and newspaper horoscopes were not Reagan’s only interest in the arcane. Full Report Posted on the Be Alert! Blog http://voices.washingtonpost.com/political-bookworm/2010/04/reagan_and_the_occult.html FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Survey: Most Young People Are 'Lost' Despite 'Christian' Label

Though a majority of teens and young adults identify as Christian, a new study suggests that only 15 percent of them have personal relationships with Christ and are deeply committed. THE CHRISTIAN POST - By Audrey Barrick - April 27, 2010 Though a majority of teens and young adults identify as Christian, a new study suggests that only 15 percent of them have personal relationships with Christ and are deeply committed. Most American "Millenials" – those born between 1980 and 1991 – don't pray regularly. Few read their Bibles or other religious texts, and many don't attend church on a weekly basis, according to a LifeWay Research study. "[W]e cannot forget the vast majority of lost young people in this generation. Our hearts should be broken with this reality," said Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources. "We should be convicted if we do not yet have a heavy burden to reach this generation." Sixty-five percent of Millennials called themselves a Christian in the study that was conducted on 1,200 young Americans in August 2009. But Rainer estimates that 85 percent of young people are lost. "Many are either mushy Christians or Christians in name only," Rainer told USA Today. "Most are just indifferent. The more precisely you try to measure their Christianity, the fewer you find committed to the faith." According to the study, one-third of all Millennials agreed strongly that they have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today. Nearly a quarter agreed somewhat. Rainer, who has been researching the younger generation for an upcoming book, has hope in the few who are deeply committed Christians. "Millennial Christians will not settle for business as usual in our churches," he said. "They will not be content with going through the motions, programs without a purpose, and spectator Christianity. They take their faith seriously, and they have little patience with churches that focus most of their resources on the members." While most surveyed young people believe Christian churches are relevant today, only 28 percent agreed strongly. Half of those who trust Christ as Savior, and 67 percent who self-identified as "Christian" indicated they do not attend worship services on a weekly basis. More than half (56 percent) of self-identified Christians rarely or never read the Bible and 38 percent rarely or never pray by themselves. Notably, almost three out of four Millennials agreed that they are more spiritual than religious. Even those who trust Christ as Savior were particularly likely to describe themselves as more spiritual than religious (74 percent). The study noted that the popular SBNR label "is no longer a term that means 'I don't have any particular beliefs but believe in spirituality in general.'" Forty-four percent of self-identified Christians agreed strongly that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. Among those who trust Christ as Savior, 81 percent agreed strongly. Only 16 percent of young people who don't attend religious worship services indicated the same strength of accord. Moreover, 26 percent of Christians agreed strongly that salvation is through God's grace alone. In other findings, only a quarter agreed strongly that the Bible is the written word of God and is totally accurate in all that it teaches. Only 30 percent strongly believe Jesus Christ was sinless. And the most common belief among Millenials about life after death is that "no one really knows." "Millennials are the most religiously diverse generation in our culture’s history," Rainer said. "Unsure of the afterlife and the life of Jesus, Millennials present the church with a great opportunity to engage them in conversations dealing with the nature of truth and its authority as God." Unedited :: Link to Original Posting http://www.christianpost.com/article/20100427/survey-most-young-people-are-lost-despite-christian-label/ FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

The top 25 churches reported in the 2010 Yearbook are in order of size

1. The Catholic Church, 68,115,001 members, up 1.49 percent. 2. Southern Baptist Convention,16,228,438 members, down 0.24percent. 3. The United Methodist Church, 7,853,987 members, down 0.98 percent. 4. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 5,974,041 members, up 1.71 percent. 5. The Church of God in Christ, 5,499,875 members, no membership updates reported. 6. National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc, 5,000,000 members, no membership updates reported. 7. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 4,633,887 members, down1.62 percent. 8. National Baptist Convention of America, Inc., 3,500,000 members, no membership updates reported. 9. Assemblies of God (ranked 10 last year), 2,899,702 members, up 1.27 percent. 10. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 1(ranked 9 last year), 2,844,952 members, down 3.28 percent. 11. African Methodist Episcopal Church, 2,500,000 members, no membership updates reported. 11. National Missionary Baptist Convention of America, 2,500,000 members, no membership updates reported. 11. Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. 2,500,000 members, no membership updates reported. 14. The Lutheran Church-- Missouri Synod (LCMS), 2,337,349 members, down 1.92 percent. 15. The Episcopal Church, 2,057,292 members, down 2.81 percent. 16. Churches of Christ, 1,639,495 members, no membership updates reported. 17. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, 1,500,000 members, no membership updates reported. 17. Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc., 1,500,000 members, no membership updates reported. 19. The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, 1,400,000 members, members, no membership updates reported. 20. American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A., 1,331,127 members, down 2.00 percent. 21. Baptist Bible Fellowship International (ranked 22 last year), 1,200,000 members, no membership updates reported. 22. Jehovah’s Witnesses (ranked 23 last year) 1,114,009members, up 2.00 percent. 23. United Church of Christ (ranked 22 last year), 1,111,691 members, down 2.93 percent. 24. Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee), (ranked 25 last year), 1,072,169 members, up 1.76 percent. 25. Christian Churches and Churches of Christ (ranked 24 last year), 1,071,616 members, no membership updates reported. Edited :: See Original Report Here http://www.washingtontimes.com/weblogs/belief-blog/2010/feb/12/latest-church-growth-stats-in/ FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Meet President Obama's 'spiritual cabinet'

RELIGION NEWS SERVICE [Advance/Newhouse] - By Daniel Burke - March 10, 2010 Near the end of a bumpy first year in office, President Obama readied for a Christmas vacation in Hawaii, but before he left, he called on a group of five ministers for a spiritual recharge. Like previous prayer calls, this one was more personal than political. "He certainly does not ask us how we would run the country and what issue to pursue or not pursue," said Bishop Charles Blake of the Los Angeles-based Church of God in Christ, who was on the call. For 10 minutes, the president and the pastors prayed for peace, an economic recovery, protection for U.S. soldiers, and for Obama to be guided by a wisdom and power beyond himself. Glimpses into Obama's spiritual life have been rare since he became president. He split with his longtime Chicago pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, after the fiery minister nearly derailed Obama's campaign, and has not joined a church in Washington. "Having been burned, for lack of a better word, during the campaign and early days of his administration, I would not be surprised that he would be rather discreet about any revelations of his religious life," Blake said. Still, he Obama continues to champion the role of faith in public life, frequently summoning the spirits of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr and even St. Thomas Aquinas to frame his policies in moral terms. Like previous presidents, Obama regularly seeks the counsel of longtime Washington insiders, including Sojourners founder Jim Wallis, Reform Rabbi David Saperstein and retired Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, to shape decisions about the Iraq war, health care reform and the economy. But Obama has also turned to a group of fresh--and relatively unfamiliar--faces to manage religious issues in his administration. They are recalibrating America's engagement with Muslims, revamping the White House faith-based office and tending to the president's own soul. A year into Obama's presidency, each of the following seven people has become an essential member of what might be called his "spiritual cabinet." Joshua DuBois His official title is director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Unofficially, Joshua DuBois is the administration's go-to guy for almost all things religious. He travels as Obama's roving ambassador to religious gatherings, connects the president with faith leaders for spiritual counsel, helps scout Washington churches for the first family, and handles the frequent media queries about Obama's faith. Before stepping into politics, DuBois, 27, was a pastor at small Pentecostal church in Massachusetts, and his approach to the president bears traces of his former calling. DuBois sends daily devotionals to Obama's Blackberry--often a Bible verse or an excerpt from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, or a snippet from the works of theologians Richard and Reinhold Niebuhr, particular favorites of the president. More publicly, DuBois is tasked with overhauling the White House faith-based office and managing its branches in 12 federal agencies. Under Obama, DuBois is steering the office away from the Bush administration's policy of direct funding to religious charities, and attempting to rescue it from charges that it improperly blends church and state. Denis McDonough When Denis McDonough was in eighth grade, he heard his older brother, a Catholic priest, deliver a homily entirely in Spanish. McDonough soon learned Spanish himself, and became an expert on bridging cultural gaps. Now, as Obama's deputy national security adviser and chief of staff of the National Security Council, McDonough is working to strengthen international bonds strained by the Bush administration's go-it-alone approach to foreign policy. Traveling by the president's side on overseas missions, the 40-year-old Minnesotan is a crucial player in Obama's quest to engage Muslims, find common cause with the Vatican, and restore the country's moral authority. McDonough helped craft Obama's landmark address to Muslims last June in Cairo, and the robust defense of American foreign policy--including the waging of "just wars"--during the president's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in Norway. A key component of Obama's foreign policy is the Catholic concept of the common good, McDonough said. "It's a general posture of seeking engagement to find mutual interests, but also realizes that there is real evil in the world that we must confront," he said in an interview at his West Wing office. "The president also recognizes that we are strongest when we work together with our allies." In addition, McDonough has schooled Obama on the internal politics of the Catholic Church, an institution he knows intimately. His brother Kevin was vicar general of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, another brother is a priest-turned-theologian, and his best friend in Washington is a priest. A graduate of St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn., he helped vet a young theologian on the faculty, Miguel Diaz, to become ambassador to the Vatican last May. Rashad Hussain As Obama pursues a "new beginning" between the U.S. and Muslims around the world, he frequently seeks the counsel of Rashad Hussain, a 31-year-old White House lawyer. Hussain briefed Obama before his first interview as president--with Al Arabiya, a television station based in the United Arab Emirates. He has also contributed to Obama's two major speeches to Muslims--in Ankara, Turkey and Cairo--offering insights about the history of Islam in America and suggesting suitable verses from the Quran. Hussain has also traveled to the Middle East with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and, closer to home, helped organize a Ramadan dinner at the White House that replaced the usual crowd of ambassadors with young American Muslims. In naming Hussain as his envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Obama noted that the young Muslim is a hafiz (someone who has memorized the Quran). But Hussain and others said Muslims abroad are more likely to take note of his White House credentials, and access to the Oval Office, as he seeks partnerships in education, health, science and technology. "For many years, Muslim communities have been viewed almost exclusively through the lens of violent extremism," Hussain said in an interview. "We do not feel that we should engage one-quarter of the world's population based on the erroneous beliefs of a fringe few." Melissa Rogers When the Obama administration decided that Bush's faith-based office was on shaky legal ground, it sent Melissa Rogers to firm up the foundation. For the last year, the 43-year-old church-state expert has chaired Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. DuBois called Rogers, the director of the Center for Religious and Public Affairs at the Wake Forest University School of Divinity, "one of the country's foremost experts on faith and public policy," who is "respected across the board," by liberals and conservatives alike. Her legal and political acumen helped Rogers guide the council's 25 members, who run the theological gamut from Baptist to Hindu, to reach a consensus on more than 60 recommendations for revamping the White House faith-based office, which were presented on Tuesday (March 9). Twelve of the proposals aim to put the faith-based office on more solid constitutional footing by clarifying its "fuzzy" rules, as Rogers says, on charities that accept direct government aid; insulating charity clients from proselytism; and making government partnerships with local groups more transparent. Rogers said she expects the faith-office to enact many of the reforms--and be better off for it. "The more we can come to agreement on the church-state issues, the more durable the policies are," Rogers said, "and the more time and energy we have to focus on people who are in need." Joel Hunter and Sharon Watkins When Obama wants to pray privately, he has repeatedly called Joel Hunter, a Florida megachurch pastor, and the Rev. Sharon Watkins, president and general minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Politically, Hunter, a registered Republican, and Watkins, who heads a liberal-leaning denomination, may not always agree, but, like Obama, both are committed to transcending traditional barriers. Hunter, 61, pastors the 12,000-member Northland Church outside Orlando, and leads a new crop of centrist pastors calling for a cease-fire in the culture wars. He's also pushing to broaden the evangelical agenda to include issues like poverty, immigration and the environment. Watkins, 55, who Obama tapped as the first woman to preach at the post-inauguration National Prayer Service last year, leads a denomination where Christian unity and overcoming divisiveness are central to its DNA. Watkins caught Obama's eye during the 2008 presidential campaign when she closed a tense meeting between Obama and Christian leaders with a prayer that seemed to bond the room's mix of liberals and conservatives. "It's just in her bones to try to bring people together," said Verity Jones, former publisher and editor of DisciplesWorld, a journal that covered the denomination. Hunter and Watkins both declined to comment on their roles in Obama's spiritual life, invoking the rare pastor-president privilege. "He takes his role very seriously," said Hunter's spokesman, Robert Andrescik. "He just doesn't talk about it--all the more because it's the president." Lt. Carey Cash The pastor who's preached to Obama most often since he became president is a 6-foot-4-inch Southern Baptist Navy chaplain whose great uncle was country music legend Johnny Cash. Like President George W. Bush, Obama has often preferred to worship outside the fishbowl of Washington, in the seclusion of Camp David's Evergreen Chapel, where Cash "delivers as powerful a sermon as I've heard in a while," Obama says. White House officials say Obama has worshipped at the Maryland retreat a half-dozen times, and his daughters, Sasha and Malia, have attended Sunday school there. Before his stint at Camp David, Cash, 39, was an All-American football player for the Citadel, and a chaplain for the Marine's 1st Battalion in 2003 in the Iraq war, during which he baptized 59 soldiers, including one in Saddam Hussein's former presidential palace in Baghdad. The Memphis native was raised in a deeply religious household--his mother is a Christian author--and has harsh words for Muslims, writing in his 2004 book that Islam "from its very birth has used the edge of the sword as the means to convert or conquer those with different religious convictions." Cash's three-year rotation at Camp David began in 2009, so Obama has nearly two more years to hear him preach, but they may not form the usual pastor-parishioner bond. Former Camp David chaplains say there is often little interaction between president and pastor outside of the services. "We used to tell people our job is to run it like a five-star resort," said Patrick McLaughlin, who was chaplain at Camp David from 2002-2005. "One of the things you value when you go on vacation is peace and quiet." http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/10/AR2010031003208_pf.html FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.