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Updated: 1 hour 14 min ago

Guilty or Not: It’s Time for Roy Moore to Withdraw

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 01:41

Whatever his liabilities, Roy Moore won his primary decisively. He beat the guy both Trump and the establishment wanted. So he is "the people's choice" and I respect the result of that election. In the very red state of Alabama, I'd expect him to win the general election. But then came the bombshell allegations of sexual misconduct with a 14 year old girl.

Smear Attacks are Not New

With the recent Harvey Weinstein disclosures, there's heightened awareness to the horrors of sexual assault. So the timing of the Washington Post piece was perfect for inflicting political damage.

That's why some of us were initially suspicious. After all, Moore has run in statewide elections before. This never came up until now -- almost 40 years after the alleged events took place.

The Allegations are Serious -- and Corroborated

One way to answer the "why now?" question is to recognize that the media scrutiny for a U.S. Senate race is far greater than for a typical Alabama race. We're talking about a national media presence. There's a big difference in the size, scope and budget for covering a Senate race.

Are the attacks politically motivated? The more important question is: Are these reports factual?

Are the attacks politically motivated? The media outlets might be biased, but three of the five accusers are Republicans. The more important question is: Are these reports true? The Washington Post spoke to other people, including people who remember hearing that these ladies were "seeing an older man" at the time. None of these women know each other -- yet their stories are strangely similar. That suggests a pattern in how Moore allegedly pursued teen women.

Still not convinced? A piece in a local Alabama paper goes one step further. It has on-the-record quotes from several people who were in the same town as Moore at the time that the alleged events took place. Moore, in his early 30s, had a reputation for hanging out in the mall and flirting with high school girls.

“These stories have been going around this town for 30 years,” said Blake Usry, who grew up in the area and lives in Gadsden. “Nobody could believe they hadn’t come out yet.”

Jason Nelms "recalled being told by a mall employee that they kept watch for an older guy who was known to pick up younger girls. Nelms said he was told later by a concession worker at the mall that it was Roy Moore." A former employee at one of the shops in the mall recalls an off-duty police officer who told him to "watch out" for Moore, that "if you see him, let me know. I'll take care of it." A former waitress in a diner recalls that Moore would stare at the girls and flirt with them.

So there's a clear pattern in what's alleged. And from a variety of unrelated sources. It paints a picture.

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Moore's Response Has Been Terrible

When the story broke it made sense that many GOP leaders would want to give Moore a chance to tell his side of the story. Yet Moore's response has made things worse.

At first, there was total denial. "Fake news." "A political attack, maybe from the establishment." Then Moore gave an interview to early supporter Sean Hannity -- a reliably safe host. What happened? As Gregg Jarrett observed, Moore was caught in a contradiction. On whether he dated high school girls, Moore said, "If I did, I'm not going to dispute anything." Later, "If I did, I don't remember." And then the third time -- sensing Hannity's disapproval of older men dating teens -- "Absolutely not." At this point, he'd essentially admitted to some of the allegations. Just not the truly scandalous one with 14 year old Leigh Corfman, the only one younger than the Alabama age of consent (16).

I get that older men dating teens was once more common than it is today. Note, however, that Moore’s contemporaries at the time, thought Moore was weird. Could it have been the frequency or intensity with which Moore pursued such girls? (The reason the mall cop was on the lookout for him.) Or the number of girls he considered? It’d have been one thing if Moore had taken a year to find and marry a nice 17 year old. Weird maybe, but okay. But to be “playing the field," to be regularly pursuing a wide variety of innocent/naive girls more susceptible to easy flattery than older women, to be known as a nuisance to the young ladies if not worse? That’s not an image that meshes well with a candidate known for conservative evangelical credentials.

His supporters haven't helped, either. Some compared the Washington Post story to the Access Hollywood tapes where Trump boasted of sexual conquests. So is that an admission that Moore was a playboy, or a denial? Others pointed to the age gap between Joseph and Mary as justification for an older man pursuing a teen. Yes, but Joseph and Mary were betrothed, pure, and then married. "Dating" as we know it was not done. Joseph wasn't playing the field.

Even if you think Moore never molested anyone, he's become toxic for the GOP brand.

Now there is a 5th accuser, Beverly Young Nelson. A woman who, if lying, is a terrific actress. Moore's response? As with Leigh Corfman, "I don't even know who she is." Ah, but she has a sweet note from Moore in her yearbook. Below this note, Moore wrote "Olde Hickory House," the name of the restaurant Moore now says he forgot. Moore's wife has suggested perhaps the note is a forgery -- that the restaurant didn't even exist at the time. Really? The hand-writing is a pretty good match to Moore's hand-writing. And the restaurant did exist in 1978.

As Senator Toomey said on Sunday, "The accusations have more credibility than the denial."

Guilty or Not, Moore is Toxic

Even if you think Moore never molested anyone, he's become toxic for the GOP brand. Yes, it’s bad if the AL Sen seat is lost. But it’s also bad for the GOP if Moore wins. Maybe worse. The Dems would tie the GOP to Moore and ride that association to victories in 2018, perhaps winning the House and the Senate. Yes, you need GOP senators to implement a conservative agenda. But the GOP needs to play the long game here. The fact that it's a special election and that Alabama's governor is a Republican gives them some options. It's time for Roy Moore to withdraw.

 

Dr. Alex Chediak (Ph.D., U.C. Berkeley) is a professor and the author of Thriving at College (Tyndale House, 2011), a roadmap for how students can best navigate the challenges of their college years. His latest book is Beating the College Debt Trap. Learn more about him at www.alexchediak.com or follow him on Twitter (@chediak).

Latest CMP Video: StemExpress Paid Bonuses Based on Number, Type of Baby Body Parts Harvested

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 00:38

StemExpress gave their workers more money to get more baby body parts faster from abortion patients, a new Center for Medical Progress video reveals.

In the video released today, former StemExpress procurement technician Holly O’Donnell talked to CMP founder David Daleiden about the company’s bonus structure. O’Donnell said workers received more money based on the number and category of baby body parts harvested.

More Money From Tissues

“You get more money from tissues, like if you got a brain or liver versus blood sample,” she said. “There's different tissue categories. There's category A, B and C. A is like brain, heart, liver, the really high demand [parts].” A procurement technician could make a bonus of $15 per tissue sample for 1 to 10 parts. 

StemExpress geared the pay structure toward getting older, intact babies they could harvest for body parts. “We wanted more gestated fetuses, it was a lot easier to get these and we could take more from it. It’s incentive for you to do your job better.”

O’Donnell said she endured “maximum pressure” to get baby body parts. "It was as many as you could get as quickly as you could. It didn't matter if a girl was throwing up in the garbage can, crying, pushing her over the edge."

“Some of these women don't want to do it and they're not sure if they want to do it,” continued O’Donnell. “But some of the workers there are numb to it, they don't understand how hard it is for some of these women." She said she wanted to tell the women to go home if they weren't sure. 

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Daleiden told O’Donnell, “It looks like it’s about maximizing volume, maximizing revenue, maximizing profit off of aborted fetal tissue.”

She responded, “Off of parts.” 

Abortion providers are allowed to transfer baby body parts for research with compensation equal to the cost of obtaining it. However, they may not sell human parts for a profit. One company's records show that it paid Planned Parenthood $60 for a fetus and sold the various baby body parts for more than $2,000.

A CMP video released last week shows that Planned Parenthood did not pay the shipping costs to transmit baby body parts. In fact, earlier CMP videos indicated had no costs associated with harvesting the fetuses for research.

The FBI Investigates

As reported in an earlier Stream article, the Justice Department is getting involved. The FBI has recently requested documents from the Senate regarding abortion providers who may have sold baby body parts for profit. In a letter to the FBI, Sen. Chuck Grassley wrote that the facts the Senate uncovered "raise a reasonable suspicion that these organizations ... may have engaged in a conspiracy to violate the fetal tissue law."

Grassley also wrote that the Department of Justice failed "to enforce the law that bans the buying or selling of human fetal tissue." He added that there was "substantial evidence" that the abortion providers violated that law.

In a statement today on nonprofit Susan B. Anthony List’s website, SBA President Marjorie Dannenfelser welcomed the Justice Department's investigation of Planned Parenthood. “Planned Parenthood sought to squeeze every last opportunity for cash from the sale of hearts, brains, lungs, and livers of the unborn children whose lives they end,” she said.

Planned Parenthood and its associates are terrified of having their sordid business model exposed. We commend the Trump administration for holding them accountable and urge Congress to follow through on the promise to redirect the half billion dollars in taxpayer funding the abortion giant receives each year.

Watch the CMP video:

 

New Critique of Theistic Evolution Coming; Editor Explains Its Importance

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 22:16

J.P. Moreland is one of the top 50 most influential living philosophers. He is a distinguished professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, and is one of my all-time favorite teachers. Today he is a colleague and a good friend.

I recently had the opportunity to interview him about his soon-to-be-released book, Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Critique. If you follow current discussions about the intersection of science and faith, then this is a book you need to get, study and discuss with others. In the meantime, enjoy this brief interview with Professor Moreland.

SEAN MCDOWELL: At this stage in your career, what motivated you to co-edit such a massive book (over 1,000 pages) critiquing theistic evolution?

J.P. MORELAND: At my age, I realize daily that I have less time than I used to and I want to make my time count. And as a Barna research study showed, one of the six top reasons people--especially young people -- are leaving the church is that the church is not keeping up with or teaching people how to interact with science.

The sad thing is that Christian scholars are, in fact, doing just this. The quality of Christian literature is getting better and better when it comes to showing that the Bible gets it right. Both theistic and naturalistic evolution are rationally inferior to Intelligent Design theory theologically, philosophically and scientifically. But people don’t know this, so a group of us decided to do the book Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical and Theological Critique.

The quality of Christian literature is getting better and better when it comes to showing that the Bible gets it right. ... But people don’t know this.

MCDOWELL: How would you assess the current debate over theistic evolution, creation and intelligent design?

MORELAND: As William Dembski told me recently, Intelligent Design theory has won the argument against Theistic and Naturalistic Evolution, but they have not won the war. Why? Because, sadly, people form their opinions about things based on whether those ideas are supported by respected universities. And ID theorists have not been able to get any science department in any major university to have an ID research center to formulate and test ID ideas. What are they afraid of?

This reaction is a result of irrational, group-think and academic embarrassment. But as far as the arguments go, ID is an explanatorily powerful and highly verified group of theories. At the same time, more and more secular scientists are admitting that Darwinism is taking on more and more water.

MCDOWELL: In one of your chapter titles, you say that theistic evolution “robs Christians of confidence that the Bible is a source of knowledge.” What do you mean by this and what support do you offer for this claim?

Many on both sides of the Atlantic are already calling our book “magisterial.”

Theistic Evolution is a revisionist treatment of the Bible. It’s based on the idea that if the Bible is going to be even partly credible, it must be constantly revised to keep up with what contemporary science says. Thus, Theistic Evolution supports scientism, the view that the hard sciences are the only or vastly superior way of knowing reality.

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This leads believers to wonder what will be revised next? The soul being replaced by the brain? Same-sex actions being determined by genes and brain chemistry and, thus, not immoral?

By supporting scientism and revising the early chapters of Genesis, TE contributes to scientism. And scientism creates a cultural climate in which biblical and theological claims cannot be taken seriously; they must be accepted by blind faith.

MCDOWELL: What makes the new book Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Critique different from previous books of this sort?

Many on both sides of the Atlantic are already calling our book “magisterial,” “the best book ever written against theistic and naturalistic evolution,” “the most authoritative critique of theistic evolution available.” The book contains chapters written by around 12 world-class scholars in European universities and about the same number of North American scholars. Each one is writing in his/her area of expertise.

No one with an open mind can look at the credentials of those who contribute to our volume and say that ID theory is foolish or irrational. They may still not buy ID theory, but from now on, it would be intellectually dishonest to claim ID theory is anti-intellectual or an expression of blind faith.

All we ask is that people read the arguments in the book with an open mind. If that happens, we authors believe many people will change their thinking.

MCDOWELL: I can imagine critics saying that this book positions Christians as being against science. Is this true? How would you respond to such a critique?

It would be foolish to say our book is against science, since 40% of the book is cutting edge science written by well-established and well-published scientists! Christians aren’t against science; they're against scientism. Moreover, our book alerts Christians and non-Christians that the case for ID theory is powerful and persuasive. It shows that the case against Theistic Evolution is very strong, indeed.

If our readers know a friend or relative who can’t become a Christian because of evolution, or a Christian who has accepted Theistic Evolution, please get them a copy of our book and ask them to read it with an open mind.

 

Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, best-selling author, popular speaker, part-time high school teacher, and the Resident Scholar for Summit Ministries, California. Follow him on Twitter: @sean_mcdowell and his blog: seanmcdowell.org.

 

Originally published at SeanMcDowell.org. Used by permission

Why the Allegations Against Judge Moore Are So Serious

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 21:44

What are we to make of the latest allegation of sexual assault leveled against Alabama senatorial candidate Judge Roy Moore? Did he really force himself on girls as young as 14 and 16 when he was in his 30s?

It's easy to lose sight of the seriousness of these charges in the midst of the political circus unfolding before our eyes. Will the Republicans condemn their own candidate without a fair hearing of the evidence? Will they lose an almost guaranteed senatorial seat in the battle to maintain power? Will the people of Alabama turn out in even greater numbers for Judge Moore, perceiving the attacks against him to be an attack against them, part of an elaborate left-wing scheme?

These are the questions circulating and growing by the minute. But they cannot take our eyes off the real issues here. If Judge Moore is guilty as charged, then he engaged in prosecutable criminal behavior against others. If is he not guilty, then others are engaging in prosecutable criminal behavior against him.

This is not just a matter of "he said, she said."

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In the words of Senator Ted Cruz, "Both last week and this week, there are serious charges of criminal conduct that if true, not only make him unfit to serve in the Senate but merit criminal prosecution."

Conversely, if the accusers are lying through their teeth, claiming that Judge Moore committed sexual crimes against them when they were under-age teens, then they would be guilty of bringing serious, false allegations against the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama and a current senatorial candidate.

Extremely Vile or Extremely Slanderous 

And here is where things get very tricky. Many of us have embarrassing things in our past. But they are part of our public testimony and do not disqualify us from serving in our vocations today.

In my case, I was a heavy drug user from 1969-1971. My life since then is a testament to God's faithfulness and mercy. In fact, my story, "From LSD to Ph.D." is quite well known.

Although I regret the sinful and idiotic things I did back then, I use my story to encourage others not to make the same mistakes I did. I've not had a drink of alcohol or abused a drug a single time in the last 46 years. The Lord is a Redeemer!

But in the case of Judge Moore, if the charges are true, this is something he never could have admitted to without disqualifying his entire legal career. He could only hope that things would stay quiet or he would have to deny the charges if ever accused. To say this was just a youthful indiscretion would hardly work. He was in his early 30s when these alleged acts took place.

The stakes are very high on many accounts. It remains my hope and prayer that the truth would come to light before it's time for Alabamians to vote.

This would also make a mockery of his very public, very bold stands for the Ten Commandments, and other Christian principles. It would give the impression that all his Christian acts were nothing more than hypocritical displays.

On the flip side, if the left has orchestrated a massive take-down effort against Judge Moore, this would be far beyond the pale of partisan politics. It would make the National Enquirer's sex-charges against then-presidential candidate Ted Cruz seem like child's play.

Not only would it mean that women have been persuaded (paid?) to come forward with slanderous charges against Judge Moore. It would even mean that someone forged his signature in a yearbook. (Judge Moore claims not to have known his latest accuser. But she seems to have a yearbook signed by him. This would be the most likely explanation if he's telling the truth: not only are his accuser's tears a fake, but the signature is a fake as well.)

Pray for the Truth

Emotions are very high on both sides of the debate. Judge Moore is one of the most hated and most loved political figures in America. For the staunchly conservative right, he has been a champion and hero. He’s refused to back down no matter the cost. And, if elected senator, he would be an absolute threat to the Republican and Democratic establishments. He’d be a man to remove before he can do more damage to the D.C. swamp.

Surely, some conservatives think, we cannot let him be taken down, even if he blew it years ago. But to hold to such a view is to sell one's morality for a seat at the political table. This is heinous and ugly and inexcusable.

Conversely, if he has walked in personal integrity for decades and has been the subject of hit-pieces and professional attacks for years, is it not impossible that the charges are being fabricated? Especially during such a volatile political season in America?

The stakes are very high on many accounts. It remains my hope and prayer that the truth would come to light before it's time for Alabamians to vote.

If the accusations are false, then let the entire conspiracy be exposed from the roots to the branches. Let no one go unpunished, and let Judge Moore be vindicated loudly and clearly. If the accusations are true, let Judge Moore immediately step down and throw himself on the mercy of the courts and public opinion, making the most heartfelt confession we have ever heard and demonstrating the fruits of repentance for the rest of his life, doing whatever he can to make restitution for lives hurt and followers betrayed.

The stakes, indeed, are very high.

Gunman Targets People at Random in California Town, Kills 4

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 20:40

RANCHO TEHAMA RESERVE, Calif. (AP) -- A gunman driving stolen vehicles and choosing his targets at random opened fire “without provocation” in a tiny rural Northern California town Tuesday, killing four people and wounding at least 10 others, including a student at an elementary school, before police shot him dead, authorities said.

The gunfire began shortly before 8 a.m. in the rural community of Rancho Tehama Reserve, a homeowners association of modest houses and trailers in rolling oak woodlands dotted with grazing cattle about 130 miles north of Sacramento.

Police offered no immediate word on the assailant’s motive, but a sheriff’s official said the shooter’s neighbors had reported a domestic violence incident a day earlier.

Brian Flint told the Record Searchlight newspaper in the city of Redding that his neighbor, whom he knows only as Kevin, was the gunman and that his roommate was among the victims. He said the shooter also stole his truck.

“The crazy thing is that the neighbor has been shooting a lot of bullets lately, hundreds of rounds, large magazines,” Flint said. “We made it aware that this guy is crazy and he’s been threatening us.”

Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston said officials received multiple 911 calls about gunfire at an intersection of two dirt roads in the upper reaches of the sparsely populated neighborhood. Minutes later, more calls reporting shots flooded in from different locations, including a small elementary school.

“It was very clear at the onset that we had an individual that was randomly picking targets,” Johnston said.

Witnesses reported hearing gunshots and children screaming at Rancho Tehama Elementary School, which has one class of students from kindergarten through fifth grade.

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Johnston said one student was shot at the school and flown by helicopter to a hospital, and another student was wounded in a car on the way to school. He said no one was killed there.

“The shooter targeted the school from outside the school and shot inside the school with multiple rounds,” Johnston said.

The assistant sheriff said the school locked its doors, and students and staff “sheltered in place” until deputies ushered them onto a school bus and led it to safety under heavy guard.

Johnston said authorities believe they know the identity of the shooter but declined to release his name pending further investigation. He appears to have fired a semiautomatic rifle and two handguns at seven locations, authorities said.

The shooter initially stole a neighbor’s truck and then carjacked a second vehicle before two deputies exchanged gunfire with him, Johnston said. No officers were hurt.

Salvador Tello said the gunman fired at a truck in front of him as he went to drop off his three children at school. Tello said he was about three blocks from the school when bullets made “big holes” in the truck.

He said he forced his children to duck down, slammed his vehicle into reverse and headed to the children’s grandmother’s house.

“I put my kids down and put my truck in reverse and went out,” he said. “I don’t believe it, because I wake up, take my kids, feed them cereal and put them in the truck and say, ‘Let’s go to school like a normal day.'”

On the way, he said he saw an apparent gunshot victim and police at another scene.

The rural subdivision is described on its website as a “quiet private country community” where “the people are friendly and the pace is relaxed.” The homeowner association’s website says there are 2,016 lots in the community and 1,346 voting members.

“It’s pretty quiet,” said 14-year resident Vince Broff, who lives about a mile from the school but was kept away from his home for more than three hours.

Before a law enforcement crackdown, marijuana farming was prevalent in the isolated area several years ago down and appeared to attract some crime, but “nothing this serious,” Broff said.

___

Elias reported from San Francisco. Associated Press writers Janie Har and Olga Rodriguez in San Francisco, Michael Balsamo in Los Angeles and researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York also contributed to this story.

 

Copyright 2017 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Latest: Jones Says He’s Not to Blame for Moore Claims

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 20:28

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Latest on Roy Moore and the special election in Alabama for the U.S. Senate (all times local):

3 p.m.

Alabama Democratic Senate candidate Doug Jones says he’s tired of people blaming his campaign for reports of sexual misconduct by his Republican opponent, Roy Moore.

Jones addressed the scandal Tuesday after a campaign stop in Birmingham.

Asked whether his campaign was in touch with Moore’s alleged victims, Jones said, “I’m tired of people blaming this campaign.”

He says he has not heard from the women who claim misconduct and has “not reached out to them.” He said anything suggesting otherwise is “absolutely absurd and consistent with a pattern of absurd comments coming from both Roy Moore and his campaign.”

Jones largely downplayed the allegations of misconduct against Moore during a brief press conference.

He said he’d continue to focus on issues important to Alabama voters and “let that play out over there.”

__

2:10 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has spoken to both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in recent days about the Alabama Senate race and the allegations against GOP candidate Roy Moore.

That’s the word from two Washington Republicans who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to publicly discuss the conversations.

Senate Republicans, led by McConnell, have called on Moore to step aside, but he has dug in. The GOP is relying on Trump, hoping he can have some sway with Alabama Republicans. The president was returning from his Asia trip on Tuesday.

Both Washington Republicans say White House officials share the GOP concerns about Moore, who faces allegations of sexual misconduct, and holding onto the Senate seat.

-- By Alan Fram

___

11:35 a.m.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he has “no reason to doubt” women who have accused Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct when they were minors.

Sessions made the comment under questioning Tuesday by Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee. Moore is running for the seat Sessions held until his confirmation earlier this year. But Sessions declined to say whether he thinks Moore should drop out of the race.

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Women have accused Moore of groping them when they were teenagers decades ago.

Sessions says that would normally be a case for state prosecutors. But he also says the Justice Department will “evaluate every case as to whether it would be investigated.”

Some Republicans have floated the idea of abandoning Moore and rallying around a write-in candidate, perhaps Sessions, who remains popular in Alabama.

__

10:52 a.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore “should step aside.” Ryan says allegations against Moore “are credible.”

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Ryan joined the growing chorus of Washington Republicans calling on Moore to quit the race after two women stepped forward describing how Moore groped them when they teenagers decades ago. Moore has called the reports false.

Senate Republicans, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have been struggling to find a way to force Moore out. His name remains on the ballot for the Dec. 12 special election against Doug Jones.

__

10:10 a.m.

Democrat Doug Jones has unveiled a new campaign ad in which Alabama voters, including Republicans, say they can’t vote for Roy Moore. Moore is facing demands from Washington Republicans to quit the race as women have emerged saying he groped them when they were teenagers decades ago.

Jones’ commercial, coming days after the revelations about allegations of sexual misconduct against the Senate GOP candidate, highlights brief statements from several people.

One man says he’s a lifelong Republican but “just can’t” vote for Moore.

A woman asks “Don’t decency and integrity matter anymore?”

Jones appears briefly at the end saying he approved the ad.

The election is Dec. 12. Moore has dismissed the accusations as false.

__

3:27 a.m.

Roy Moore’s support from his fellow Republicans is hemorrhaging. And a second woman has accused the Alabaman of groping her when she was a teenager in the late 1970s.

They were the latest blows to Moore’s effort to win an open Senate seat that suddenly seems up for grabs.

Moore denied the newest allegations and said he doesn’t know his accuser.

But in New York, a tearful Beverly Young Nelson detailed an attack she says occurred when she was 16 years old and he locked her in a car.

Last week, The Washington Post reported other alleged incidents decades ago.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he believes Moore’s accusers and wants the former judge to end his candidacy. Moore says McConnell should leave his post because he’s disappointed conservatives.

 

Copyright 2017 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Was Devin Kelley’s Atheism Responsible for His Rampage?

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 19:30

Devin Kelley, the Sutherland Church shooter, was an atheist. The evidence for that is quite clear, even if you haven’t seen it in the mainstream media. People who knew him said he was an atheist, he featured a favorite atheist quote on his Facebook page (possibly attributable to Richard Dawkins), and he "liked" four atheist Facebook pages. The information for this is all nicely compiled at the Shadow to Light blog. So was his atheism responsible for his rampage?

When Christians commit crimes, unbelievers frequently blame it on their religion. Try to tell an atheist, though, that three of the great murderers of the 20th century, Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong, were motivated by their atheism. More often than not they’ll answer, “Atheism isn’t a belief. There’s nothing in it that would motivate a person to do anything like that.” Richard Dawkins once wrote,

What I do think is that there is some logical connection between believing in God and doing some, sometimes, evil things, but there's no logical connection between them [Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot] being atheists and doing evil things. It's just incidentally true that, say, Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin happened to be atheists, but that wasn't what drove them. What drove them was a political ideology. It had nothing to do with atheism.

Which led me to wonder whether atheists’ actions have anything at all to do with what they believe. Still the question arises, did Kelley’s atheism have anything to do with his motives. Discussion on atheist sites, including one that Kelley “liked," the "Friendly Atheist," is running really defensive.

Atheism Doesn’t Cause People To Do Wrong

So let’s look at this. Does atheism cause people to do bad things? 

I'd say no. I'd say no even though many of history's deadliest mass murderers  were atheists.

Atheism doesn't cause people to do bad things. It doesn't have to. Christian doctrine teaches that we're born with propensity to do wrong. We don't need to be atheists to be that way.

Atheism doesn't cause people to do bad things. It doesn't have to.

Every parent knows they don't have to teach their children to be selfish. Kids who aren't taught not to lie or to steal grow up lying and stealing. Kids who grow up with some measure of physical or social power, who aren't taught not to use that power to hurt others, often grow up abusing their power their whole lives long. 

But Atheism Doesn’t Give Any Reason To Do Right

Devin Kelley didn't need atheism to be the kind of person he was. Here's what he did need, though, and didn't have: He needed a good reason not to kill. He needed strength of character to overcome his murderous urges. He needed to know that humans have more than just an eyeblink's existence (as a quote on his web page said), that we all matter eternally. He needed to know life is for loving and serving others, not for harming and using them.

Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot needed the same things. Like Devin Kelley, they didn't get it. Especially from their atheism. Especially if atheism “isn’t a belief,” as its proponents are fond of saying. Of course that’s not true, but it’s at least true that atheism is empty of any morality-producing content. That much isn’t there, at any rate. 

So atheism doesn't cause self-centeredness, abuse of power, and murderousness. It merely allows it. To the one who wants to do wrong, it says, “Hey, do what you want; I’m not stopping you.”

Atheism doesn't cause murderousness. We can come up with that well enough on our own. What we need is something to keep us from going there.

True Christian religion doesn't permit any of that. Because it’s based on the loving, self-sacrificing character of God revealed in Jesus Christ, and on the truth that each person is created in God's image, Christianity teaches us to love and to serve others for their good.

The Moral Guidance Kelley Couldn’t Find

Atheism has no such moral compass built in. Atheists may have good moral beliefs, but those beliefs don't come from a belief that the life and the universe are a purposeless accident.

The so-called "Friendly Atheist" likes to list the sins of Christians on his blog. He probably thinks they show that what I'm saying here is wrong. No, what it shows is more of what goes wrong when people direct their lives by some principle other than Christian morality, some motivation other than that which God wants us to order our lives by. 

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Atheism doesn't cause murderousness. We can come up with that well enough on our own. What we need is something to keep us from going there; something to teach us there's a better way to live than seeking our own way.

The great majority of atheists know what’s right and wrong, but they didn’t get it from their morally empty atheism. They got it from somewhere else -- the law of God stamped in their hearts (Romans 2:14-15), for one thing. 

I can’t get into the late Devin Kelley’s head. I don’t know how much his atheism contributed to his outrageous actions. I do know this much: When he most needed help to find moral guidance, his atheism gave him nothing. 

Why Can’t I Be Transracial?

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 17:59

Speaking at Oberlin College in 2001, transgender activist Lynn Hyckman stated:

The basic assumption of transgenderism is the transgressing of gender norms. Whether that means completely passing from one end to the other, or finding a space that combines or defies the binary in our society, it comes down to exploring outside of the norm you were assigned because of the discomfort that you feel in it.

This prompted me to ask in 2011:

But why stop with combining or defying sexual categories? Why not create self-identified categories of race or color or nationality? How about, “Even though I was assigned the ethnic identity of a white American at birth, I identify myself as a black Viking.” Why not? Perhaps on the inside I really am a black Viking! Or why limit our self-identification to earthly categories. Why should that boundary be sacrosanct? Why not identify yourself as an extraterrestrial (or maybe “interterrestrial,” combining both earthly and alien identities)? Are ridiculous concepts such as these all that different from “the transgressing of gender norms” and “def[ying] the binary in our society”?

Of course, I understood the parallels were real but inexact:

I do realize, of course, that there are people who truly struggle with their sexual identity, and I'm fully aware that others are born with indefinite (or dual) sexual identities. In no way do I intend to minimize those struggles. Given the choice, however, of embracing the philosophy behind this transgender, genderqueer, omnisexual rhetoric seriously or of raising my voice to saying that something is seriously amiss, I take the latter choice.

White to Filipino

Well, as outlandish as these words may have sounded in 2011, they can hardly sound outlandish today.

Not with the massive strides made by transactivism in the last few years. Not with a white woman (Rachel Dolezal) identifying as black, hence transracial. Not with some people (allegedly hundreds of thousands) identifying as part animal, hence transspecies. (Just look up otherkin or therian.)

And not with the news that "a man in Florida who was born white now identifies as Filipino as part of a reportedly growing 'transracial' community."

Note the last three words of that sentence carefully: a growing 'transracial' community.

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The man was given the name Adam at birth but goes by Ja Du. He "said he’s part of a growing 'transracial' community in which people are born one race, but identify with another."

He explained that "he truly identifies with the Filipino culture. When he's around its music and food, 'I feel like I'm in my own skin.'"

"I'd watch The History Channel sometimes for hours," he went on. "You know nothing else intrigued me more but things about Filipino culture." And this is part of the reason he now identifies as Filipino.

Why Not?

But why not? If Bruce Jenner is a woman and Rachel Dolezal is black (with supporters), why can't a Caucasian American be a Filipino?

If desire is substituted for reality, there’s no end to the social madness that follows. (This video on "The Man Who Became a Woman Then a Dragon" documents some extreme examples.)

There are even medical professionals who affirm the possibility of being transracial. After all, if it makes you happy, why not?

It's one thing to enjoy a culture. It's another thing to imagine that you are biologically part of that culture.

In the words of psychologist Dr. Stacey Sheckner, "If someone feels that they feel at home with a certain religion, a certain race, a certain culture, I think that if that's who they really feel inside, life is about finding out who you are. The more knowledge you have of yourself, the happier you can be."

She added, "If that's who they are, and they want to celebrate it and enjoy it, then you have to think what harm is it doing? All they want to do is throw themselves into that culture and celebrate it."

But it's one thing to enjoy, throw yourself into and celebrate a culture. It's another thing to imagine that you are biologically part of that culture. Is there no such thing as "reality check" anymore? In many circles, the answer is no.

It’s Got to Stop Somewhere

That's why there are women's schools accepting male-to-female transgenders. That’s why male-to-female athletes are breaking women's sports records. It’s why women's prisons are housing biological males who identify as women (but are still attracted to women). Is it that far of a leap, then, to imagine white identifying as blacks or Caucasians as Asians?

Transgender identity, or gender dysphoria (formerly called gender identity disorder) is determined by psychological evaluation alone. There is no biological test for it. So why not something similar for being transracial? If I can convince the doctor that I really identify as a black Viking, why not?

Again, I don’t mean to minimize the pain of those who struggle with gender identity. Nor do I mean to denigrate Ja Du's love for everything Philippine. I'm just saying this has got to stop somewhere, and it has got to stop soon. Otherwise, we might all have to identify as Martians and go populate Mars. Unless, of course, we actually are Martians.

Amazon Producing Lord Of The Rings TV Show to Compete With Game Of Thrones

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 16:31

Amazon announced Monday that it will begin production of a Lord of the Rings TV series, to compete with popular shows like Game of Thrones.

Amazon's series will depict events preceding J.R.R. Tolkien's novel The Fellowship of the Ring, according to the company's Monday press release. The announcement comes two months after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos called for the company to produce its own mega-popular series like Game of Thrones. The rights deal signed between Amazon and Tolkien Estate and Trust also allows for a potential spin-off series.

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"We are delighted that Amazon, with its longstanding commitment to literature, is the home of the first-ever multi-season television series for The Lord of the Rings," said Matt Galsor, a representative for the Tolkien Estate and Trust and HarperCollins. "The team at Amazon Studios have exceptional ideas to bring to the screen previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien's original writings."

Some fans have speculated that the show may follow the events of Tolkien's Silmarillion, which depicts what is essentially the creation myth of Middle Earth.

Amazon Prime heads to Middle Earth. https://t.co/QowUmf8t3S pic.twitter.com/YVciEX3u2t

— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) November 13, 2017

Amazon has made no concrete announcement regarding the show's premise, however, and "stories preceding J.R.R. Tolkien's Fellowship of the Ring" cover most of the universe's timeline.

 

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Copyright 2017 The Daily Caller News Foundation

GOP Bill Aimed at Overhauling Taxes to get Trump Push

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 14:40

WASHINGTON (AP) -- As Republicans stake their claim to middle-class rescue in tax cut legislation deemed to carry tax hikes for millions, President Donald Trump plans an in-person appeal to lawmakers as the proposal faces a crucial vote in the House.

Underscoring the sharp political stakes for Trump, who lacks a major legislative achievement after nearly 10 months in office, Trump will meet with House Republicans on Thursday ahead of an expected vote on the tax overhaul legislation.

Promoted as needed relief for the middle class, the House and Senate bills would deeply cut corporate taxes, double the standard deduction used by most Americans, and limit or repeal completely the federal deduction for state and local property, income and sales taxes. Republican leaders in Congress view passage of the first major tax revamp in 30 years as imperative for the GOP to preserve its majorities in next year’s elections.

Trump’s planned pitch on Capitol Hill, after returning from his Asia trip, was disclosed by a White House official who wasn’t authorized to discuss publicly the president’s schedule and spoke on condition of anonymity. In the meantime, Trump tweeted into the debate Monday by urging Republican leaders to get more aggressive in the tax legislation. He called for a steeper tax cut for wealthy Americans and the addition of a contentious health care change to the already complex mix.

At the same time, a nonpartisan analysis of the Senate version of the tax overhaul legislation showed it actually would increase taxes for some 13.8 million moderate-income American households.

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The assessment by Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation emerged as the Senate’s tax-writing committee began debating and working through the measure.

Trump’s latest tweet injected a dose of uncertainty into the process as the Republicans try to deliver on his top legislative priority. He commended GOP leaders for getting the tax legislation closer to passage in recent weeks and then said, “Cut top rate to 35% w/all of the rest going to middle income cuts?”

That puts him at odds with the House legislation that leaves the top rate at the current 39.6 percent and the Senate bill, with the top rate eased to 38.5 percent.

Trump prodded the lawmakers: “Now how about ending the unfair & highly unpopular individual mandate in (Obama)care and reducing taxes even further?”

With few votes to spare, Republican leaders hope to finalize a tax overhaul by Christmas and send the legislation to Trump for his signature.

The key House leader on the effort, Rep. Kevin Brady, said he’s “very confident” that Republicans “do and will have the votes to pass” the measure this week.

Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said he doesn’t expect major changes to the bill as it moves to a final vote in the House. Still, he said Trump’s call for removing the requirement to have health insurance as part of the tax agreement “remains under consideration.”

Trump and the Republicans have promoted the legislation as a boon to the middle class, bringing tax relief to people with moderate incomes and boosting the economy to create new jobs.

“This bill is not a massive tax cut for the wealthy. … This is not a big giveaway to corporations,” Sen. Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, insisted as the panel had its first day of debate on the Senate measure.

The overhaul will bring “much-needed tax relief to American workers and families,” the Utah Republican said.

Hatch downplayed the analysis by congressional experts showing tax increases in 2019 for 13.8 million households earning less than $200,000 a year. That group, about 10 percent of all U.S. taxpayers, would face tax increases of $100 to $500, and there would be bigger increases for some, especially those earning between $75,000 and $200,000.

Hatch said “a relatively small minority of taxpayers could see a slight increase in their taxes.”

The committee’s senior Democrat, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, said the legislation has become “a massive handout to multinational corporations and a bonanza for tax cheats and powerful political donors.”

The congressional analysts previously found a similar magnitude of tax increases under the House bill.

Neither bill includes a repeal of the so-called individual mandate of Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, the requirement that Americans get health insurance or face a penalty. Several top Republicans have warned that including the provision, as Trump wants, would draw opposition and make passage tougher.

Among the biggest differences in the two bills: the House bill allows homeowners to deduct up to $10,000 in property taxes while the Senate proposal eliminates the entire deduction. Both versions would eliminate deductions for state and local income taxes and sales taxes.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., asked whether the Senate’s proposed repeal of the property tax deduction could bring higher taxes for some middle-class Americans, acknowledged there would be some taxpayers who end up with higher tax bills.

“Any way you cut it, there is a possibility that some taxpayers would get a higher rate,” McConnell told reporters after a forum in Louisville, Kentucky, with local business owners and employees. “You can’t craft any tax bill that guarantees that every single taxpayer in America gets a tax break. What I’m telling you is the overall majority of taxpayers in every bracket would get relief.”

____

Associated Press writers Bruce Schreiner in Louisville, and Kevin Freking and Zeke Miller in Washington contributed to this report.

Copyright 2017 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Keurig CEO Sorry Over Decision to Pull Hannity Ads: ‘Appearance of Taking Sides’

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 14:32

The CEO of Keurig apologized Monday for pulling ads from Sean Hannity's show on Fox News following his coverage of sexual assault allegations against Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore.

CEO Bob Gamgort apologized to Keurig's employees for their decision to pull their advertising from Hannity's show in a memo obtained by The Washington Post. Gangort said it is an "unacceptable" situation, and that the move unintentionally gave the appearance of "taking sides" in the Moore allegations. He said the company would typically "pause" ads in a situation like this and review the strategy at a later date, but that the decision to broadcast that pause over Twitter was "highly unusual."

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"This gave the appearance of 'taking sides' in an emotionally charged debate that escalated on Twitter and beyond over the weekend, which was not our intent," Gamgort wrote in the memo. "Clearly, this is an unacceptable situation that requires an overhaul of our issues response and external communications policies and the introduction of safeguards to ensure this never happens again ... The nature of social media and the internet news environment is that stories like this explode, and generally do not disappear quickly."

Here's part of the memo that Keurig CEO Bob Gamgort sent to company employees today regarding "Hannity" flap. pic.twitter.com/bGNEfGapqd

— ErikWemple (@ErikWemple) November 13, 2017

Supporters of Moore, who has been accused of molesting a 14-year-old girl when he was in his 30s, and fans of Hannity called for a boycott of Keurig over the weekend, after the brand announced it would pull the ads.

The company responded to a Twitter inquiry asking Keurig to rethink its advertising agreement with Hannity's program Saturday, explaining they have worked with Fox News to prevent their ads from airing during Hannity's show.

"Angelo, thank you for your concern and for bringing this to our attention. We worked with our media partner and FOX news to stop our ad from airing during the Sean Hannity Show," Keurig tweeted at a Twitter commenter.

Hannity said that he would buy "500 coffee makers" late Sunday evening to give away to fans who put out the best video of smashing their Keurigs coffee makers.

 

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Copyright 2017 The Daily Caller News Foundation

Pastor of Sutherland Springs Church Forgives Shooter, Encourages Others to Do the Same

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 13:45

Pastor Frank Pomeroy says he forgives the shooter who killed almost half of his congregation, including his 14-year-old daughter Annabelle Pomeroy, in last week’s massacre in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

In his sermon yesterday to more than 700 people, Pomeroy stressed the need to forgive and choose life. “This past weekend our country was attacked, our state was attacked, our church was attacked,” he told the crowd under a large white tent. “We celebrate and remember the veterans who fought and died so that we can have freedom in this country. But last weekend, men, women and children also fought and died for the freedom we have here this morning. We have the freedom to proclaim Christ. Folks, we have the freedom to choose, and rather than choose darkness as one young man did that day, I say we choose life.”

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One parishioner from San Antonio called the service “forgiving and loving.” “I think that you do have to make choices,” said Thomas Lloyd Archer. “And people coming here are making the right choice to forgive and to recognize our lone limitations and our own sin. And our own need for redemption and help.”

The First Baptist Church sanctuary was transformed into a memorial. Over the week, volunteers removed the carpeting and furnishings and painted the building white inside and out. Twenty-six chairs were set up inside, each marked with names of the victims. Red roses were propped up on each seat. One chair held a pink rose for the unborn child killed.

Pomeroy said Sunday that the memorial would be open to remind people that the victims lived for Christ. “That building will be open so that everyone who walks in there will know that the people who died lived for their Lord and Savior and would want them to live for the same as well.”

Watch:

 

FBI Requests Documents From Senate About the Sale of Baby Body Parts, May be Investigating Planned Parenthood

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 13:43

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has requested documents from the Senate regarding abortion providers who may have sold baby body parts for profit.

The FBI’s request could mean that it is investigating whether Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers made money off of the baby body parts they sent to researchers, The Hill reported.

Last December, Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, referred Planned Parenthood and affiliates to the FBI for possible investigation. In his letter dated December 13, 2016, Grassley wrote that the facts the Senate uncovered “raise a reasonable suspicion that these organizations … may have engaged in a conspiracy to violate the fetal tissue law.”

Grassley also wrote that the Department of Justice failed “to enforce the law that bans the buying or selling of human fetal tissue,” and that there was “substantial evidence” that the abortion providers violated that law.

Grassley offered to provide the unredacted documents to the FBI if requested. That offer included the Senate’s report on the matter.

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While abortion providers are allowed to transfer baby body parts for research with compensation commensurate with the cost of obtaining it, they may not sell it for a profit. One company’s records within the unredacted documents show that it paid Planned Parenthood $60 for a fetus and sold the various baby body parts for more than $2,000.

The report added:

The companies involved in transferring fetal tissue have been free to receive substantial payment with impunity, relying on an expansive interpretation of the exception to the ban on buying and selling fetal tissue.

Military Photo of the Day: November 14, 2017

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 13:41

U.S. Army soldiers participate in a live fire exercise during their annual training at Fort Stewart in Georgia on January 25, 2017.

Thank you to these brave soldiers for serving our country.

 

 

 

 

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Why Mommies Matter

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 13:39

What would you do to enhance your baby's mental and emotional well-being?

Erica Komisar, a New York psychoanalyst, says she is in the business of making people uncomfortable. She succeeded brilliantly with the publication of her new book -- which has made a lot of people not just uncomfortable, but downright angry.

Mommies and Emotionally Healthy Babies

The book is titled Being There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters. Komisar wrote it after noticing a disturbing trend: A huge increase in the number of kids being diagnosed at an earlier age with mental disorders and emotional problems.

Komisar writes, in just one year -- from 2011 to 2012 -- the number of children "diagnosed with psychiatric disorders rose to a staggering 19 percent"

For instance, Komisar writes, in just one year -- from 2011 to 2012 -- the number of children "diagnosed with psychiatric disorders rose to a staggering 19 percent" -- nearly a fifth of all children. And the number of kids hospitalized for eating disorders "has increased 119 percent in the last decade," she notes.

Komisar points to the shocking prediction of the U.S. Census from 2015: Approximately one fourth of all American kids "will be diagnosed with a mental disorder before the age of 18."

Komisar's 27 years of practice and research led her to an inescapable conclusion: Children are at a higher risk for these problems when, she says, "the essential presence of a mother is missing."

Komisar massively documents her assertions: Decades of research "confirms the more time a woman can devote to the joy and job of mothering a child in the first three years," she says, "the better the chance her child will be emotionally secure and healthy throughout his life."

Motherhood and a Career

And now you know why the heads of feminists and liberals are exploding. They think Komisar (who, by the way is a feminist and a liberal herself) is attempting to take women at warp speed back to the 1950s.

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It's not surprising that today's mothers think their babies won't miss them if they grab their briefcases and go back to a full-time job six weeks after giving birth. They believe what our culture taught them -- that they can easily juggle career and motherhood; that babies thrive just as well in daycare as at home with their moms; that mothers and fathers are fungible; that when it comes to motherhood, it's all about "quality time" -- even if it comes at the end of a long workday when mothers are exhausted.

Stay-at-home moms can also fail to be "present" for their babies if they ignore them while talking on the phone, checking emails-or volunteering for too many church events.

In short, women all too often careen into motherhood with absolutely no idea of how much their babies need them.

"Your baby does not care if she has a bigger room or a Florida vacation; what she wants is you." -- Komisar

This is why young people should consider the research about the needs of babies if they expect to have children one day, and begin planning for parenthood even before they've met a future spouse. For instance, are wives prepared to make career sacrifices, if necessary, to care for the kids for a few years? Are couples willing to settle for a smaller home, fewer vacations and less income during the years mom is nurturing the babies?

Thinking about those awful mental health statistics, I hope and pray they will be. As Komisar points out, "Your baby does not care if she has a bigger room or a Florida vacation; what she wants is you and the safety and security of being in your presence."

Of course, many moms MUST work for economic reasons, and we should support them all we can. And if you read Being There, you'll find advice on how working moms can maximize their time with their kids.

So, I suggest we ignore the angry catcalls from the left (which I always do anyway), and embrace Komisar's arguments. If enough people do, America will end up with happier, healthier children.

 

Originally published on Breakpoint.org: BreakPoint Commentaries, November 13, 2017. Re-published with permission of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview.

Leaders and Scholars at Museum of the Bible Answer the Critics

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 13:36

On Friday, the public gets its first look at Museum of the Bible -- the latest addition to the worldwide capital of high-end museums, Washington, D.C.

Media outlets from the Washington Post to PBS have noted the new museum's impressive size and scope. Across eight floors, Museum of the Bible displays thousands of ancient artifacts and offers interactive experiences. It's been brought to life at a cost of over 500 million dollars.

The visionaries behind the museum are Steve and Jackie Green, owners of arts and crafts retail chain Hobby Lobby Stores. To implement the vision, the board of directors hired Cary Summers as CEO in 2010. Summers had previously headed up two major gated attractions: Nazareth Village in northern Israel and Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri.

It's not hard to see biblical parallels as Summers races to finish this complex project. "For 30 years, I've used Nehemiah as a role model," he says. "He was sort of the king's chief of staff as cupbearer. He took on this massive building project of the walls around Jerusalem. He faced opposition, and had to rely on God to get it done with team cooperation and effort."

Museum of the Bible is massive -- and has already faced great opposition.

Museum Aims to Fascinate and Educate Visitors

Encountering media bias has been par for the course, as leaders expected. Yet some recent friendly fire has surprised them.

From its first announcement in 2010, critics charged that the founders would seek to use the museum to proselytize their evangelical views. Yet Steve Green's efforts to clarify their mission have slowly satisfied most detractors.

"The intent has always been to build a nonsectarian museum," he told the Washington Post in 2014. "The evolution has been my understanding of what exactly that means. ... It's not as important what I think when it comes to the Bible."

Encountering media bias has been par for the course, as leaders expected. Yet some friendly fire has surprised them lately, as one headline claimed Jesus is an "afterthought" in the museum.

"The person who wrote that really never looked around the museum," says Summers. "The Greek text known as the New Testament revolves around the story of Jesus. We're filled with it in the museum from a historical point of view. Christ is highly represented within what we're doing and showing."

The CEO claims such critics don’t understand their mission. "The question that's being asked without it being said is, Why isn't there proselytizing? Why aren't there tracts to get to salvation? But we have no agenda other than to help our visitors appreciate the role that this unique book has played in history," he says.

Summers points to his experience heading up the "real" Nazareth Village. Located in Israel 20 miles inland from the coast, the open-air experience stands on 15 acres. The village recreates cultural customs from the time of Christ. It includes a winepress, a carpentry shop and an ancient synagogue. It draws over 70,000 visitors every year, a fraction of the million plus expected at Museum of the Bible.

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"Nazareth is in an 80 percent Muslim town, but the village thrives there. Because all we do there is just present the Bible," he says. "That's all this museum does too. We present the Bible, and allow you as an individual to make up your mind about it."

Many aspects have been recreated in the museum's own version of Nazareth -- though not all. Will the museum ever feature sheep or other livestock as seen at Israel's Nazareth Village? "It will never have live animals, I can assure you of that one," he says with a laugh.

When Transparency Silences Media Critics

Some religious critics and humanist groups continue the drumbeat against the museum. A now-resolved incident often gets recounted, involving artifacts found to be from Iraq.

Federal authorities recently notified Steve and Jackie Green that certain items in their personal collection were likely stolen from sacred sites in Iraq or Syria. (To this day, unrest persists in these nations.) Third-party antiquities brokers then sold the ancient tablets to the family, providing documents now shown to be false. In July, the family paid a fine and surrendered the items to proper authorities.

Mainstream media has had a field day with the case. An extensive museum feature story in The Guardian gave the Secular Coalition for America its last word. "Green was already fined $3 million after he was caught illegally smuggling artifacts into the country for this museum. Hopefully, he learned his lesson," stated their spokesman.

The atheist group and reporter were apparently unaware of museum policies on acquisitions. A team of scholars documents the background of artifacts, openly addressing any questions. Prof. Gordon Campbell, a resident historian at the museum affiliated with the University of Leicester in England, explains in an interview.

"We observe standards that are wholly consistent with the Association of American Museums and the usual professional bodies," says Campbell. "As with all amateur collections that have become professional, we're still dealing with what happened at the beginning when someone didn't know the right questions to ask. Honesty and transparency are the watchwords when it comes to all of this."

Indeed, a team of museum scholars recently found that some of their collection's Dead Sea Scrolls fragments might not be authentic. They publicly released their findings and have updated museum signage for the artifacts affected.

Campbell thinks it can be an educational tool for visitors. "The signs we're putting up say in essence: This fragment is very interesting, but there's some evidence that it's a forgery. What do you think? When you do that in a museum, everybody flocks to it," he says.

Excellence Speaks for Itself

As secular design teams studied for the job, Jackie Green says, “they became engaged with it. In meetings, they would say stuff to us like, 'We never knew the Bible was so powerful.'"

As the museum has moved from concept to construction in recent years, the team has gotten used to hard questions. "The three big design firms we engaged for the history, impact and stories floors are all secular," says Campbell.

He worked with New York City design firm C&G Partners on aspects of the impact floor and BRC Imagination Arts in Hollywood on parts of the stories floor. In his lead role on the history floor, Campbell has partnered with The PRD Group. The Virginia firm previously worked on several Smithsonian museums.

"They come with an extraordinarily professional knowledge of how to tell stories and how to display things," observes Campbell. "Their knowledge of the Bible is modest, but they learn it."

Museum co-founder Jackie Green also had positive experiences with the design groups. "They are very creative, very talented -- the best of the best," she says. "As they did their research and read the Bible in order to create what needed to be on each floor, they became engaged with it. In meetings, they would say stuff to us like, 'We never knew the Bible was so powerful.'"

"Though I never had a personal experience of sharing my faith with them, they were touched by being a part of the project," notes Green, who recently co-authored This Dangerous Book about the museum's creation. "That's on point for the mission of the Museum of the Bible, for all people to be engaged with this significant book."

On Friday, November 17, Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., opens to the public. Watch for further stories on the museum later this week.

How the Pro-Abortion Movement Uses Words to Deceive

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 02:00

We have always known that pro-abortion rhetoric is built on misleading slogans and deceptive terms. But I was reminded today of just how deceptive much of the terminology is when I read a 2016 interview with actor Kelsey Grammer.

Before getting to Grammer's comments, the first and foremost example of abortion deception is the "pro-choice" moniker, since the pro-abortionists are anything but pro-choice.

Of course, they want to be able choose to abort their babies. But they certainly don't want pregnant women to be exposed to the other choices they have, including giving their babies up for adoption or choosing to keep their children. When you walk into an abortion mill, choice is a one-way street.

Sterilized Terminology

Then there are the sterilized terms for the brutal work of abortion, like POC, standing for "products of conception." This is the term used for aborted baby parts, including eyes and hands and feet. They can be found carefully stored in bottles and other containers before being disposed of by the abortion providers. (For a gut-wrenching description, go here.)

Unfortunately, the power of a catchy slogan or a medical term is that it often takes the place of critical thinking. It's much easier to repeat a sound bite than to think through an issue. And when it comes to an emotionally-charged issue like abortion, sound bites rule the day.

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As for Grammer's interview, somehow I missed it when it came out last year, but he took issue with the term "reproductive rights."

In an interview with the UK publication The Times, the Emmy-winning actor slammed the phrase, saying,"It gets a bit dishonest to call something reproductive rights when you clearly have a choice well before a baby is conceived."

Exactly. If the woman doesn't want to reproduce, she doesn't have to have unprotected sex.

“Reproductive Rights”

But that's only the beginning of the deception.

What could be more dishonest and misleading than the term "reproductive rights" when it comes to pro-abortion activism?

First, having an abortion has nothing to do with either reproduction or rights. Any woman can have as many babies as she wants to have (or, is able to have). No one in the pro-life movement is stopping her. To the contrary, to the extent that deciding to have children is a right, all pro-lifers encourage that right. Go ahead and reproduce!

Perhaps telling the truth about abortion would destroy the industry rather than support it.

Second, pro-abortionists could not have picked a more deceptive term than "reproductive rights," since we are talking about ending a pregnancy rather than producing a baby. It would be more accurate to call this "fetus-killing rights" or "terminating pregnancy rights" rather than "reproductive rights."

Perhaps these are not so catchy? Perhaps telling the truth about abortion would destroy the industry rather than support it?

Exposing the Lies

But truth doesn't stop headlines from blaring nonsense like this, from March 20, 2017 on The Hill: "Defunding Planned Parenthood is a violation of women’s reproductive rights."

And how, exactly, is that? Which "reproductive right" will be violated if the government doesn't help Planned Parenthood perform more abortions?

The bad news is that millions of people continue to believe lies. The good news is that people like Grammer, who used to be "pro-choice," have been converted.

Let's keep exposing the lies. The more lies exposed, the more lives saved.

Coffee, Rats, Snake News and More Moore

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 00:10

As I mentioned in my last post, I am at that point in my pre-vacation run-up that my brain is toast. And though toast is one of my favorite things on the planet, it helps little when it comes to writing longer articles. Instead, it’s more like crumbs and crusts as I look over the breakfast buffet of breaking stories.

But first, an update on a story we covered last time.

More on Roy Moore

Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore is threatening to sue the Washington Post over its story alleging sexual misconduct by Moore 40 years ago. Memo to Moore: Threatening to sue only makes you look guilty. You file the suit then talk about it. (It also doesn’t help your case another woman has come forward.) Meanwhile, a fun fact: Had Moore drowned the girl and run as a Democrat in Massachusetts, he’d be considered a Lion in the Senate.

Also in the Senate, but certainly no lion, Mitch McConnell again declared this morning that Moore should “step aside” from his Senate race. And maybe McConnell’s right. Let’s see what voters in Alabama have to say. Still, McConnell spent millions of dollars, and tons of sweat, trying to defeat Moore in the primary. #ReturnonInvestment. If only McConnell had put this much energy into repealing Obamacare.

Meanwhile, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser began a “Rat Walk” this morning as part of a campaign to rid the Nation’s Capital of rats. No word on when she plans on stopping by Capital Hill. Memo to Mayor Bowser: Your task will be much easier once Americans “Drain the Swamp.”

More on Hannity

As we mentioned in the earlier story, Media Matters has launched a full-throated effort against Sean Hannity’s advertisers. One that took the bait was Keurig. They pulled their ads from his TV show. Many Hannity fans responded by destroying their Keurig coffee machines, often in creative ways. Still waiting for the video meme of a flying Keurig knocking Hillary Clinton down. But the day is young.

Hannity went further Sunday night:

Deplorable friends, I am buying 500 coffee makers tomorrow to give away!! Details on radio and TV. Hint; best videos!!

— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) November 13, 2017

The counter-protest seems to be working.

In a memo to employees Monday, Keurig CEO Bob Gamgort said the company didn’t intend to be “taking sides” in the Roy Moore debate. According to Gamgort, announcing on Twitter Keurig were cutting off advertising on Hannity’s TV show was “done outside of company protocols.” He called the mess an “unacceptable situation,” adding, “Our company and brand reputations are too valuable to be put at risk in this manner.”

Here's part of the memo that Keurig CEO Bob Gamgort sent to company employees today regarding "Hannity" flap. pic.twitter.com/bGNEfGapqd

— ErikWemple (@ErikWemple) November 13, 2017

Figures a company that sells coffee and coffee pots would quickly know when a bad backlash is brewing. But unlike their pods, this will have a messy clean-up.

Meanwhile, I’m not going to destroy my Keurig. I need the caffeine if I’m going to keep writing about liberal efforts to hurt people they disagree with. (Plus, we just got these awesome hot chocolate pods. Hot chocolate trumps politics.)

The Photo Bomb

Much merriment’s being made in liberal media circles of a viral photo of President Trump at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

.@realDonaldTrump joins other leaders in a handshake with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, right, during the opening ceremony of the 31st ASEAN Summit pic.twitter.com/mfqTU8AmUr

— Doug Mills (@dougmillsnyt) November 13, 2017

Yeah, it’s worth a giggle. But here’s the problem. The photographer is Doug Mills of the New York Times. He deliberately posted the unflattering shot of the U.S. President as revenge. Mills was in a huff because the White House Press Pool wasn’t allowed into a particular group of meetings Friday at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. Mills -- a representative of the most powerful newspaper in the country -- sent out a photo in an effort to sabotage Trump. (How many other acts of political sabotage is the Times allowing today?)

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Even the Washington Post caught Mills’ tantrum with a headline: “News photographer who protested White House restrictions on access gets revenge with revealing shot of Trump.” And, as the Post points out, “Surely there were many other frames Mills could have chosen that made Trump look more distinguished.”

The Post's writer David Nakamura went onto say: “In ways both subtle and stark, Trump’s awkward grimace reveals the messy reality of high-stakes geopolitics that an airbrushed official portrait of the ASEAN ‘family would gloss over.”

This statement is worse than fake news. It is what I call Snake News. As with the photo, it is the deliberate attempt by media to deceive and distort information in order to damage. Look to the British account of the traditional handshake ceremony. It describes how “Trump laughs through awkward Asia leaders’ group photo.” A jovial, human moment the Post and Times turn into an attack.

Baby Snake News: The Hill wrote about the photo and the mockery it’s getting, but didn’t bother mentioning the motivation.

The AP did a similar trick Sunday with a photo of President Trump arriving to meet Philippine President Duterte. It depicts Trump from behind, head slightly bowed as he approaches. Then again, they’re probably so used to Obama actually bowing to foreign leaders they thought nothing of it.

Anti-Trump Hotel

First the NFL, now even lodging has turned political. News comes this morning that an anti-Trump hotel will open in Washington, D.C., in 2018, just down the street from Trump International Hotel. According to Bloomberg, the Eaton Workshop hotel is billed as “the world’s first politically motivated hotel.” Golly, they make it soooooooo easy sometimes.

It’s also the first hotel where guests demand others pay for their room fees. They’ll let illegals stay for free, and put the extra cost on your tab. Their slogan? “We’ll leave the light on for you, except when our solar powered generators fluctuate.” In each night stand there is a copy of Rules for Radicals. The curtains not only block sound and light, they block unintended micro-aggressions. Yes, the coffee makers in the room will be Keurigs. Their exercise room won’t have Stairmasters because the name is too evocative of slavery. And forget a free Continental breakfast. That’s too Eurocentric. And no Happy Hour at the hotel bar. As long as Trump is President no one’s allowed to be happy. Check-Out time is noon, January 20, 2025.

It’s Been a Year, We Still Don’t Know Who’s Behind Worst NSA Leak in History

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 00:06

U.S. investigators remain stymied after more than a year of investigating as to how some of the most sensitive hacking tools developed by the National Security Agency fell into the hands of hackers, The New York Times reports.

The hunt for the mole, moles, or leaks has reportedly caused a major drop in morale at the agency as employees are subjected to intense security checks. These checks include polygraph tests, turning over their passports, and other scrutiny detracting from day to day jobs.

Intelligence officials characterized the leak of hacking tools as far outstripping any damage done by 2013 leaker Edward Snowden. The leaked information has slowly been posted online by a hacking group known as "The Shadow Brokers" purportedly selling the information. Some officials feared the Russian government may be behind the group.

The leaks appear to come from different parts of the NSA raising the possibility of multiple vulnerabilities. Much of the information appears to come from within the agency around 2013, raising questions as to why it is being released now.

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The Russia theory too, however, puzzles some experts.

"The problem with the Russia theory is, why? These leaked tools are much more valuable if kept secret. Russia could use the knowledge to detect NSA hacking in its own country and to attack other countries. By publishing the tools, the Shadow Brokers are signaling that they don't care if the U.S. knows the tools were stolen," cybersecurity expert Bruce Schneier noted in The Atlantic in March 2017.

"We don't know what else [they] may have, and most important, we don't know how this information got out of the National Security Agency, and that's 15 months after the first leak occurred," former CIA Director Mike Morell told CBSNews Monday, adding ominously "we don't know if they're stealing information as we sit here right now ... essentially, the technology we developed at Fort Meade is being used to hack into our governments and companies and some of our personal information."

 

Follow Saagar Enjeti on Twitter. Send tips to saagar@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Copyright 2017 Daily Caller News Foundation

Hope on Display in Texas

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 21:30

The first thing I noticed when I recently flew into Texas is the flags at half-staff. The second thing I noticed is churches with open doors. In Dallas, where I happened to be a few days after the Sunday shooting in Sutherland Springs, a funeral was going on when I walked through the doors of St. Catherine of Siena Church, looking for a midday Mass. It was holy business as usual, as it continues to be in churches throughout the country, many of them united in prayer with their brothers and sisters in Christ, who suffered the largest mass shooting in a church in United States history.

People of Hope

Listening to Frank Pomeroy, the pastor of First Baptist, the site of the shootings, we seem to see the antidote to evil: The witness of people of hope. Because they’ve encountered redemption, they have a freedom from fear, even as they confront some of the greatest of human fears. In the hours after the shooting, which included the murder of his youngest child, Pomeroy declared an act of faith in his most vulnerable state, still leading his church with example of trusting in God’s providence, telling reporters: “I don’t understand, but I know my God does.”

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Speaking of that Christian hope on display in Pomeroy, the now pope emeritus Benedict said in 2007:

It is not the elemental spirits of the universe, the laws of matter, which ultimately govern the world and mankind, but a personal God governs the stars, that is, the universe; it is not the laws of matter and of evolution that have the final say, but reason, will, love -- a Person. And if we know this Person and he knows us, then truly the inexorable power of material elements no longer has the last word; we are not slaves of the universe and of its laws, we are free.

‘A Safe Place’

On Thursday morning at St. Dominic’s in San Francisco (I was moving around a bit this week), the priest celebrating the 8 a.m. Mass said: “This is a safe place, where you can commune with God.” Days after the massacre in Texas, to anyone who just happened to be walking in without context, it may have sounded like an act of defiance or a tempting of fate. His homily explained the significance of the day on the church calendar, marking the dedication of the basilica of John Lateran in Rome, the official seat of the bishop of Rome -- the pope. This year, it seemed to have so much more added meaning -- about why we have such sacred spaces and what they’re meant for: a strengthening of mission, to show the world why faith is important and what it’s all about.

Vulnerability

Pope Francis visited Colombia this summer, and one night while in Bogota, a group of children and teenagers waited for him as he returned to where he was staying. One girl named Maria said to him: “We want a world where vulnerability is recognized as essential in the human. That far from weakening us, strengthens and dignifies us. A place of mutual encounter that humanizes us.”

“Vulnerability is the essence of the human person,” he responded to her, visibly moved. “We are all vulnerable,” he said, “all of us. Inside, in our feelings, there are many things that do not work inside us, but no one sees them. And others we see, all of them. And this vulnerability needs to be respected, caressed, healed as far as possible, so that it bears fruit for others. We are all vulnerable.”

Faith and hope mean seeing the world as it is and the human person as it was created, and wanting to love people while helping them reach that same understanding. We’re all united with the people of First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in our vulnerability, and don’t we pray to display the same kind of hope in the face of all evil?

 

Kathryn Jean Lopez is senior fellow at the National Review Institute, editor-at-large of National Review Online and founding director of Catholic Voices USA. She can be contacted at klopez@nationalreview.com.

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