Hurricane Memorial Worries ACLU

The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana is unhappy with plans for a memorial to be located in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, honoring the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The memorial would be a well-lit 13-foot by 7-foot stainless-steel cross strategically mounted near the shoreline of the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet at Shell Beach. The cross and accompanying stone monument, listing the names of the 129 parish residents who died in the hurricane, are earmarked for what the parish says is private land and are to be financed with donations, according to parish president Henry “Junior” Rodriguez.

A letter was sent in July by the Louisiana ACLU executive director Joe Cook explaining that the government promotion of a patently religious symbol on a public waterway is a violation of the Constitution’s call for the separation of church and state, reports the Associated Press.

Rodriguez said, however, that he sees nothing improper about the memorial. “The memorial is being coordinated by a group of volunteers on their own time, and no public money is going to the project that will be on private land,” stated Charlie Reppel, Rodriguez’s chief of staff. “The committee members are all volunteers, including me. We are putting in a lot of unpaid overtime.”

While the ACLU thinks a memorial to the storm and its victims is “clearly appropriate,” said Cook, St. Bernard’s is “still all very questionable. I think there is official government involvement with the endorsement and advancement of this clearly religious symbol.”

Teens Coping With Unwanted Pregnancies Dr. Prisci…

Teens Coping With Unwanted Pregnancies

Dr. Priscilla Coleman, a research psychologist at Bowling Green State University, led a study which found that adolescent girls who have an abortion are five times more likely to seek help for psychological and emotional problems than those who keep their baby, reports

A 2004 survey found that 64 percent of American women reported that they felt pressured into abortion. “When women feel forced into abortion by others or by life circumstances, negative post-abortion outcomes become more common,” Coleman wrote. “Adolescents are generally much less prepared to assume the responsibility of parenthood and are logically the recipients of pressure to abort.”

Coleman feels that the scientific evidence is strong and compelling that abortion poses more risks to women than giving birth.

A Brief History of Evangelicalism according to Sojourners

A long but interesting read.

The Dangers of Being Christian by Chuck Colsom

The Dangers of Being Christian
Religious Freedom in the Islamic World

August 17, 2006

Earlier this year on Good Friday, a man entered Mar Girgis Church in Alexandria, Egypt, and stabbed one worshipper to death and wounded two others. He then went to another church and stabbed three other Christians.

The events in Alexandria were a reminder of the, at best, tenuous status of Christians in the Islamic world.

The Egyptian government immediately dismissed the possibility that animus toward Christians played a role in the attacks. Egypt’s Interior Ministry said that the attacker suffered from “psychological disturbances.” How convenient.

Egyptian Christians, known as Copts, did not buy it, and for good reason: Police officials had a different version, announcing that “three men had been arrested in four simultaneous church assaults.” According to the police, these assaults had killed one and injured another seventeen.

That sure sounds like a coordinated attack to me. CBS News put it this way: The Egyptian government has a history of “[playing] down incidents that can be perceived as sectarian in nature.” By “sectarian,” it means violence against Christians.

This isn’t the only manifestation of the Copts’ second-class status. Copts, who constitute at least 10 percent of Egypt’s population, are discriminated against in employment, especially in government. And to add insult to injury, they face “severe restrictions” when it comes to building or repairing their churches.

The Copts aren’t the only besieged ancient Christian community in the Islamic world. Iraq’s Christian community, often called Assyrians or Chaldeans, dates back to at least the second century. If any group has an historical claim to their part of Iraq, they do.

Yet sadly, an increasing number of Iraqi Christians have concluded that “there is no future” for them in Iraq. According to Lawrence Kaplan of the New Republic, “Sunni, Shia, and Kurd may agree on little else, but all have made sport of brutalizing their Christian neighbors.” Christians “routinely disappear from the sidewalks of Baghdad;” others are kidnapped and held for ransom. They are, as Kaplan puts it, “today’s victims of choice.”

Since, as one Christian put it, “we have no militia to defend us,” and neither Iraqi nor Americans officials are willing to protect them, Christians are leaving their ancestral home.

Christians in other Islamic countries are treated even worse. In countries like Saudi Arabia, Christians must practice their faith in secret. While being a Christian, in and of itself, isn’t illegal, saying or doing something that lets others know it is. And, as we witnessed with Abdul Rahman in Afghanistan, conversion from Islam to Christianity is a crime punishable by death, as it is in many parts of the Islamic world.

The Islamic world’s treatment of its Christian minority raises crucial questions for our effort to export democracy as a way to combat terrorism�an effort I support. But if democracy means anything, it means the protection of fundamental human rights like freedom of religion. So long as Christians remain targets of religious persecution in the Islamic world, not only will there be no future for Christians; there will be no future for true democracy, either. Our government and Christians must keep up the pressure.

Reflections on the Lebanon I Know by Deanna Murshed

Appreciated this essay. I have intentionally neglected to comment on Israel-Lebanaon because I am frustrated by it. Both sides proclaim they want to destory the other and I find the reasons to be arbritrary. They are fighting not over detained soliders or of principle or out of self-defense but because they have always hated each other. In the meantime, I am praying for the safety of the innocents, the mutual-destruction of the malice-filled, and for God’s will to prevail.

"One-Way Sympathy" by Chuck Colson

From Chuck Colson’s Breakpoint article “One-Way Sympathy” (8/15/06)

“Since the start of the Danish cartoon controversy earlier this year, Vatican officials have expressed sympathy with Islamic outrage over the depictions of Muhammad. This sympathy comes from knowing what it’s like to have your beliefs treated with disrespect and even contempt. Yet in much of the Islamic world, that sympathy isn’t a two-way street.

That’s why the Vatican issued a statement “urging Islamic countries to reciprocate by showing more tolerance toward their Christian minorities.” As Angelo Soldano, the Vatican’s Secretary of State put it: “If we tell our people they have no right to offend, we have to tell the others they have no right to destroy us . . . “

Destroy is not too strong a word. The anger originally directed at Denmark is increasingly being directed at Christians. In Turkey, a priest was murdered in an attack that the Turkish media has connected to the cartoon controversy. In Pakistan, protesting mobs have ransacked churches and beaten Christians. In Beirut, which, unlike Pakistan, has a large Christian population, a Christian neighborhood was attacked by a Muslim mob.

By far the worst attacks have occurred in Nigeria. In the state of Borno, attacks left as many as fifty-one Christians dead, including a priest. The Christian property destroyed included at least six churches, both Catholic and Protestant, the Bishop’s home, and a Christian bookstore.

The rioters, who went on a rampage after hearing a Muslim cleric denounce the cartoons, sent a clear message with their choice of targets: These are our true enemies, the Christians. This led to a deplorable, yet predictable, response: Nigerian Christians retaliated against Muslims, killing one and burning a mosque. This is tragic…”

This blog seems to gravitate towards religious freedom and I appreciate the awareness created by Colson.

Many Muslims in Britian Tell of Feeling Torn Between Competing Identities

LONDON, Aug. 12 — As a Muslim, Qadeer Ahmed says, he believes that violence against civilians is never justified. But as a British Muslim, he is not surprised to find the country once again at the center of a reported terrorist plot by homegrown extremists.

“When people say it’s Bush and Blair against the world, it’s difficult to argue with them,” said Mr. Ahmed, 37, a leader of the largest mosque in High Wycombe, where half a dozen young British Muslims were among the 24 arrested Thursday in what the authorities said was an elaborate plan to blow up planes on trans-Atlantic routes.

Despite government efforts over the last several years to reach out to community leaders — a tricky proposition, given that Muslims hardly speak with one voice — many Muslims have hardened their resentment of their country…”

Identity is defintely part of the problem. As a first-generation American-born Middle-Easterner, I believe my family raised us to be proud of our heritage but integrating with our new home. It probably also has something to do with the fact that my parents didn’t hate the country they were immigrating to as many Muslim immigrants seem to indicate.

If you are a Muslim in pursuit of a better life, that’s great. May you be welcome to whatever country you desire. However, you must contribute to that new society, help it, build it and at the very least not be a burden to it. (Or at the very, very least, not destory it but this is not the intention of this post).

It’s a NY Times article, it’s not anti-Muslim and I am not implying that all those Muslims polled are in terrorists (but some obviously are). But I am surprised of the attitude that they have towards their new countries and I suspect this is major part of the general problem, part of the attitude behind the “clash of civilizations” we discuss.

Found another related to the subject in today’s emails.
Young Muslim Rage Takes Root in Britain

World Trade Center

Watched “World Trade Center” tonight. Found it to be touching. As odd as it sounds, the movie isn’t really about Sept. 11th, meaning you don’t really “learn” anything new aside from seeing it from teh rescuers’ perspectives. The story focuses on the lives of two men and their families.

Seeing this in New York was part of the experience (and about 20 miles from where the Towers were). There were a lot of tears and there was no talking. Eveyone knows someone who was affected. Even us. We have an aunt and a cousin that were in World Trade 1 and are grateful to the Lord that made it out but even so, it was difficult to watch.

I only recommend this movie to those who know they feel they want to see it.
If this movie bombs at the box office, fine. But I am glad Oliver Stone made this movie. I love going to the movies to laugh and to be moved so as long as we are making Scary Movies and Pirates … we ought to make movies that are about us too.

Christianity Today’s review of WTC

University Blocks Christian Groups University of …

University Blocks Christian Groups

University of Wisconsin officials are being warned that their refusal to recognize Christian student groups is illegal, according to WorldNetDaily. In recent weeks, the University of Wisconsin-Superior has denied recognition of the school’s InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison has derecognized the Knights of Columbus. The university claims the groups violate the school’s “anti-discrimination policy” by not allowing non-Christians to serve in leadership positions, according to the Alliance Defense Fund. The school’s ruling denies these groups access to campus facilities and student funding.

David French, director of ADF’s Center for Academic Freedom, sent a letter to school officials with the warning.

“Christian student groups shouldn’t be treated differently from other student organizations,” he said. “The University of Wisconsin has decided to force campus student organizations to violate their core beliefs, even in the face of controlling federal case law that bars them from doing so. … This is just another example of the university’s position of ‘free speech for me, but not for thee.’ To the University of Wisconsin, Christian speech must be marginalized or censored.”

Baby Born Alive Killed at an Abortion Clinic

So barbaric. Nauseating.
I don’t see many thngs black and white but this seems rather obvious to me.
Though I don’t know why an 18 year old girl expecting to give birth goes to an abortion clinic to begin with, did no one in that building have a concept of life? How about law? Conscience? I wonder if the investigation will reveal if the “doctors” and “nurses” have slaves too.

If you read the article, read the comments too.