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Filtering by Tag: News

The REAL Cause For Our Current Economic Situation

Thomas Whitley

Oh how I love where I live. The newspaper in our town just published the following letter to the editor:

North Carolina is listed as one of the highest unemployment rates in America. We used to be a state that would lift up the name of Jesus and not be ashamed to say, “I am a Christian.”

Our former Gov. Easley and his staff brought in the lottery. Our mayors will not have the nativity scene in their cities but would rather put up an idol “Santa and his flying reindeer.” Our politicians we voted for, and thought they were Christians, now want liquor served on the sidewalks.

When will we ever have men who are real men that will stand up and say as David did “I come in the name of the Lord”? All we have are a bunch of sissy-fied, braggarts, who go to church on Sunday and look halfway dignified in their beach clothes, and they live like the devil through the week thinking their political position will save them.

Matthew 6:24 - No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

If our sanctified preachers who preach out of any ole book printed in today’s society, would get back to preaching out of the “good ole book,” quit serving their drinks in their churches, quit having young (teen) girls get up in the pulpit, with scanty shorts on, acting like cheerleaders saying Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, stop having rock concerts, yes it happens!

If these preachers would fall on their knees and repent along with the people who have the name Christian, and humble ourselves, and pray and seek the face of God, turn from our wicked ways, then God will hear from heaven and forgive us where we have sinned and heal our land. He will show us how He can, through us, change our county and our nation.

Don’t laugh and sneer. God will not be mocked.

We can’t but God can. Because I love America but most of all I love God!

Carolyn Kuykendall
Kings Mountain

Seriously? The reason that we’re experiencing such high unemployment is because we’ve somehow lost God? I’m guessing that Carolyn Kuykendall would also say that the flood in New Orleans was because of the sinfulness of everyone that lived there.

I particularly enjoy the over-generalizations, the (negative) description of teen girls as “cheerleaders,” and the poor grammar. That always makes the claims that much easier to accept.

And I almost forgot the name-calling: “sissy-fied, braggarts.” I’m typically more inclined to listen to someone else’s position when they’re calling me names and being demeaning.

Clearly, Carolyn Kuykendall does not desire that people come closer to God, but rather that she can maintain her attitude of being better than everyone else that is not an ultra-conservative Christian who has imported their own opinions about social mores into their religion.

NOTE: Original can be found on the Shelby Star’s website here.

Holocaust Denying Bishop Apologizes ... Sort Of

Thomas Whitley

Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, reported today (original article can be found here) that Bishop Richard Williamson, who has recently been reinstated from his 20-year long excommunication by Pope B16, has written a letter and apologized. This letter, though contains no remorse for what was actually said about the Holocaust.

The letter was posted on Williamson’s personal blog and addressed to Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, who has been dealing with the rehabilitation of Williamson and other renegade bishops who had been excommunicated. The Holocaust denial had outraged Jewish groups and many others. It was not immediately clear if Williamson’s letter, which contained no apology for the content of his remarks, would ease that anger.

“Amidst this tremendous media storm stirred up by imprudent remarks of mine on Swedish television, I beg of you to accept, only as is properly respectful, my sincere regrets for having caused to yourself and to the Holy Father so much unnecessary distress and problems,” Williamson wrote.

If you ask me, which you obviously did because you’re reading this on my blog, I’d say this isn’t much of an apology. It’s like the child who is sorry that he got caught stealing cookies from the cookie jar, but who isn’t actually sorry he stole them. It smacks of immaturity and recklessness.

While some Jews have severed ties with the Vatican, Mordechay Lewy, Israel’s ambassador to the Holy See, “said the Jewish state has good relations with the Vatican, despite the flap over Williamson’s comments.”

I’m in agreement with the some 50 Catholic members of the US Congress in their letter to B16:

“We do not question your reasons for revoking the excommunication of Bishop Williamson or your right to do so, but we fail to understand why the revocation was not accompanied by an emphatic public rejection of his denial of the Holocaust,” the letter said.

“The bishop’s remarks about the Holocaust echo those of neo-Nazis, Islamist extremists, racists and others who choose hatred and violence over peaceful co-existence among peoples of all races and ethnicities.”

Lifeway's Warning Labels

Thomas Whitley

I am absolutely appalled by this. Lifeway has begun putting warning labels on books that

…may have espoused thoughts, ideas, or concepts that could be considered inconsistent with historical evangelical theology.

These waring labels are marked Read with Discernment. Should we not read everything with discernment, Lifeway? Especially books that you accept without question.

The announcement (which can be found here) goes on to say that the reason they are still making these books available is

…because we believe the books do present content that is relevant and of value to Christians and/or because pastors, seminary students, and other ministry leaders need access to this type of material, strictly for critical study or research to help them understand and develop responses to the diversity of religious thought in today’s postmodern world.

Lifeway, are you afraid that people will begin to think for themselves? Are you afraid that people will learn that there are other, more peaceful, more egalitarian ways to view the world? Furthermore, do you not realize that much (most) of the Bible is “inconsistent with historical evangelical theology”? I think the Bible deserves one of your fancy warning labels as well, what with people hammering stakes through others’ temples, other people having more than one wife and multiple concubines and it being acceptable, Abraham and Moses and everyone else pre-exile being polytheistic (henotheistic at best), and young ladies tricking their father so they can have sex with him.

Give it some thought, Lifeway, and quit being so scared. It’s really not becoming.

Jews Severing Ties with the Vatican

Thomas Whitley

A USA Today article (found here) speaks of Israel’s chief rabbinate severing its ties with the Vatican.

Israel’s chief rabbinate severed ties with the Vatican on Wednesday to protest a papal decision to reinstate a bishop who publicly denied 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust.

The Jewish state’s highest religious authority sent a letter to the Holy See expressing “sorrow and pain” at the papal decision. “It will be very difficult for the chief rabbinate of Israel to continue its dialogue with the Vatican as before,” the letter said. Chief rabbis of both the Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews were parties to the letter.

This is quite saddening, as their relationship had been quite good since 2000 when the relationship was formally made by Pope John Paul II’s visit to Jerusalem. I cannot say, thought, that I find fault in the move of these Jews. The Church needs to realize that there are consequences to their actions.

B16 “expressed his ‘full and indisputable solidarity’ with Jews.” These words seem to be too little, too late. The old adage proves once again to be true: actions speak louder than words. The Pope’s action of reinstating Bishop Williamson has been heard around the world, while his verbal solidarity with Jews is but a whisper.

NB: Thanks to my mom for sharing the article with me.

Delaying Digital

Thomas Whitley

Just when I thought those ridiculous commercials were done for, I read this just now:

“The U.S. Senate passed a bill on Monday to delay a nationwide switch to digital TV signals, giving consumers nearly four more months to prepare.

The transition date would move to June 12 from Feb. 17 under the bill that was fueled by worries that viewers are not technically ready for the congressionally-mandated switchover.”

Please tell me I won’t have to see Terry Bradshaw give another “how-to” on hooking up a digital converter box. It was quite painful. I don’t know if I can handle four more months of those mind-numbing commercials.

Bush's Final News Conference, Israel, Hamas and Advice from Mom

Thomas Whitley

This morning during President Bush’s last scheduled news conference he said

“Hamas must stop firing rockets into Israel if it wants a cease-fire.” (BreakingNewsOn)

My question is, does Israel not have to stop attacking Gaza?

I am not a Hamas supporter, but I do have to question my country’s unquestioning support of Israel. Can Israel do no wrong? I am all about strong, faithful relationships with friends and allies, but part of those relationships should include being able to stand up against them when necessary.

It is not that I think Israel should not be responding to the attacks coming from Gaza and Lebanon, but we should be telling both sides to stop firing if they want a cease-fire, not just Hamas.

My mother’s advice still proves to be true, and it is especially appropriate in this situation, sometimes we have to be the bigger person. At some point, America and Israel need to be the bigger persons.

A (Not so) Green New Year

Thomas Whitley

The always lovely Green Inc. blog on the New York Times has quite an interesting article out today about the annual New Year’s celebration in New York. The article boasts that the ball is being lit by LED (light-emitting diodes) as opposed to halogen and incandescent bulbs. This I am all for as I fully understand how much less energy LED bulbs use than do halogen and incandescent bulbs. However, I am a bit confused at the need to double the size of the ball.

This year the ball, made of crystal triangles, has been doubled in size to measure 12 feet in diameter. It will stay aloft all year long and also features three times as many L.E.D. bulbs (32,256 bulbs to be precise).

Let me get this logic right…because we’re trying to be more “green” we’re using bulbs that use less energy, in that case we can double the size that the ball has been in the past, which results in using twice as much energy as could be used if the ball remained the traditional size. There is a huge breakdown in logic here, in my opinion.

But it doesn’t stop there. Not only is the ball being doubled in size, but the plan is to leave the ball aloft all year long and, apparently, leave it lit all year too:

Jeff Straus, the president of Countdown Entertainment and co-organizer of Times Square New Year’s Eve, has promised that the ball will be “a bright sparkling jewel” this year “entertaining New Yorkers and tourists from around the world not only on December 31, but throughout the year.”

James Kanter does briefly address the breakdown in logic, but then goes on to say

it remains unclear whether keeping the ball illuminated year-round will cancel out the energy savings from using L.E.D. lights.

It seems to me that this is not the right question to be asking. The question, instead, should be regardless of whether we could burn this ball all year long at the same amount of energy as it took to burn the previous ball with its halogen and incandescent bulbs for a short period of time, why would we use a hundred times more energy than we need to? What is gained by leaving the ball lit year round? This seems to be merely a move of arrogance and pride. If Jeff Strauss and Countdown Entertainment were really serious about being “green,” then they should be making every effort possible to use as little energy as possible. It seems clear, though, that this is not their real concern. Rather, Jeff Strauss and Countdown Entertainment are merely jumping on the Green Bandwagon because of its great marketability.

Green Fail.

Newsweek Trashes Bible, Part 2

Thomas Whitley

Earlier I wrote about the Newsweek article written from the perspective of a biblical support of gay marriage. Today, David Henson over at unorthodoxology has posted this about where the article goes wrong. The essence of his argument is summed up in the following quote (though I strongly encourage you to read the entire post, it’s not that long):

So, again, I’ll argue the simple point. If this debate has boiled down to the absurdity of a definition, why not just change the word?

Get rid of state-sponsored marriage. Let the state grant only civil unions or domestic partnerships. And let churches, synagogues, temples and mosques grant marriages. All it takes is a one-word change on a certificate, from marriage to union.

The terms of the debate, quite literally, will be changed. Then, the argument that marriage is between one man and one woman can be both true and false, depending on your house of worship.

Is he right that marriage is essentially a religious sacrament and that this actually violates the separation of church and state? Should we move to system of just granting everyone civil unions?

This is quite an interesting idea.


Newsweek Trashes Bible

Thomas Whitley

At least that’s what the American Family Association is saying.

Now, I appreciate debates/arguments over what the Bible says on many issues, homosexuality included. And I have no problem with the AFA purporting their interpretation.

What is amusing/sad is the manner in which they go about it.

“Miller’s article is one of the most biased and distorted pieces concerning homosexual marriage ever published by any major news organization. The article is much too long for this e-mail.”

While the AFA may not agree with Lisa Miller’s article (which can be found here), she does not distort. Her interpretation is certainly different, but it is not distortion. It is also amusing to me that they say “The article is much too long for this e-mail” knowing that most of their readers will not click though and read Miller’s article. Moreover, the e-mail offers Al Mohler’s response and encourages its readers to read Mohler’s article before reading Miller’s. Are they afraid that if someone reads Miller’s article without Al Mohler glasses that they will be tainted or not be able to clearly discern for themselves?

I very much appreciate that the e-mail offers both sides, but am troubled by the implication that people need to read Al Mohler before they read Lisa Miller so they can know what to think about the article. Further, I do very much take issue with the AFA asserting that someone else has distorted the Bible for the simple reason that they read the Bible and came down on a different side than did the AFA. I am fond of referencing Jewish rabbis who say that every verse has 70 interpretations.

I encourage you to read both articles and let me know what you think.

"I'm only doing what the Holy Spirit tells me to do"

Thomas Whitley

I hope that you have heard of the atrocities going on in Nigeria. My guess, though, is that if you have heard about it you have heard a one-sided story. MetaCatholic has a great post that offers both sides of the issue. What has bothered me the most, though, is a quote that is included in this story from the Archbishop of Nigeria (a Christian):

When asked if those wearing name tags that read “Christian Association of Nigeria” had been sent to the Muslim part of Yelwa, the archbishop grinned. “No comment,” he said. “No Christian would pray for violence, but it would be utterly naive to sweep this issue of Islam under the carpet.” He went on, “I’m not out to combat anybody. I’m only doing what the Holy Spirit tells me to do. I’m living my faith, practicing and preaching that Jesus Christ is the one and only way to God, and they respect me for it. They know where we stand. I’ve said before: let no Muslim think they have the monopoly on violence.”

How many other “Christians” think they are just “doing what the Holy Spirit tells them to do” while reminding Muslims that “they have the monopoly on violence”?

This resonates today especially as we who (pseudo) follow the Christian calendar celebrated peace on this second Sunday of Advent.

Wikipedia Gets Germany's National Archive

Thomas Whitley

Well, not all of it, but about 11 million pictures. In a story posted by The Local (Germany) today, the archive’s deputy director, B. Kuhl said that this is an attempt to broaden the archive’s reach. (To see original story go here)

This could certainly have big implications as to the reputation of Wikipedia. Many professors dislike or even loathe wikipedia, even as it continues to get stricter about peer revision. With Germany’s national archives adding from their collection, can Wikipedia still be seen as an unreliable source?

I think this is a great idea. Germany’s national archive is on to something. Wikipedia is used by nearly everyone on the Internet now and the German national archive is trying to tap into the vast sea of users.

ReadWriteWeb has already picked up on the shift away from traditional learning styles to a learning style that is heavily dependent on the web. Check out their article Education 2.0: Never Memorize Again?.

Facebook's Site Browser

Thomas Whitley

According to the BBC, Facebook is releasing a system called Connect that ” lets Facebook members use their login credentials to access other websites.” Not only that, is “also gives feedback about what a Facebooker’s friends have been doing on those partner sites.”

Why would Facebook do this? The BBC hits the nail on the head: “to ensure that they do not become a place that members go but are the only place they have to go as they can use their login information to get at content anywhere else.”

Is this a good thing?

Facebook is hoping it will bring even more advertisers to their social networking site, but how will the users be affected? They seem to be promising that it will not share information without first getting permission from the users as they have been prone to do in the past.

Is this something you would use? Why or why not?

(The BBC article can be found here)

Addicted to Aid?

Thomas Whitley

The BBC has a great article today about why many African countries have been receiving aid from Western countries for more than 40 years and yet have not risen from the sometimes proverbial and oft-times real ashes of their failures.

Most people would chock it all up to corruption, but Sorious Samura thinks otherwise.

Samura holds that many African countries have become dependent on foreign aid, comprising sometimes up to 10% of their GDP or half or half of their government spending. As long as this is the case, Samura says, these governments will continue to more focused on their donors than on their people.

You can read the article here.

After reading Samura’s article, what do you think? Is there a way to continue giving aid where it is needed without creating a crutch?

Is Interfaith Dialogue Possible?

Thomas Whitley

Today Pope Benedict XVI (or B16 as I like to call him) wrote a letter that seems to question interfaith dialogue.

The pope’s letter said that “an inter-religious dialogue in the strict sense of the word is not possible.” It went on to say that “a true dialogue is not possible without putting one’s faith in parentheses.” (See the NY Times article here)

Now, I ask you. Do you think that inter-religious or interfatih dialogue is possible without “putting one’s faith in parentheses”?

Should we even attempt interfatih dialogue?

I certainly think so, but what you think? Why?