Tag Archive: current-events


HS English Teacher Slams Common Core Standards in Resignation Letter

BY
FOX NEWS INSIDER
// APR 14 2014 // 10:40AM AS SEEN ON
AMERICA’S NEWSROOM
In a viral blog post, a Colorado public school teacher resigned from her position as a high school English teacher in protest to Common Core standards. Pauline Hawkins wrote in part:
“I can no longer be a part of a system that continues to do the exact opposite of what I am supposed to do as a teacher – I am supposed to help them think for themselves, help them find solutions to problems, help them become productive members of society. Instead, the emphasis on Common Core Standards and high-stakes testing is creating a teach-to-the-test mentality for our teachers and stress and anxiety for our students. Students have increasingly become hesitant to think for themselves because they have been programmed to believe that there is one right answer that they may or may not have been given yet. That is what school has become: A place where teachers must give students “right” answers, so students can prove (on tests riddled with problems, by the way) that teachers have taught students what the standards have deemed are a proper education.”

Hawkins has been teaching for 11 years at Liberty High School in Colorado Springs, but her tenure will come to an end when the school year ends. The Common Core standards have frustrated many teachers around the country after being created by the National Governors Association and adopted in 44 states.

Hawkins joined Martha MacCallum this morning on America’s Newsroom, explaining that what has frustrated her the most about Common Core is watching her own son, a third-grader, as he progresses through elementary school.

“He’s struggling to keep up with where they want him to be and he’d come home every day, crying, [saying] ‘I hate school,’” she said, adding that the government standards fail to take into account that every student learns differently.

“They have certain skills that they want the kids to have at a certain time, at a certain age, at a certain grade level. And kids just aren’t made like that. We’re all different,” said Hawkins, who added that there are “good intentions” behind the standards, but the implementation is much too rigid.

Hawkins said she and her colleagues have become overwhelmed by paperwork and data collection, taking valuable time away from creating lesson plans and helping students learn.

Watch the full interview above and let us know your thoughts on Common Core below.

Read more on the Common Core from Fox News:

Common Core Instructs Students to Learn About Gettysburg Address Without Mentioning the Civil War

Frustrated Father Writes Note in Response to Common Core Assignment ‘On Steroids’

HS Student’s Impassioned Speech Against Common Core Goes Viral

 

April 11, 2014
Nightmare: Feds seizing money from children for old debts of their parents
Thomas Lifson
In a case that is a perfect storm illustration of an arbitrary and incompetent federal government running roughshod over its citizens, “a single sentence tucked into the farm bill” had led to outrageous behavior. Marc Fisher of the Washington Post:

A few weeks ago, with no notice, the U.S. government intercepted Mary Grice’s tax refunds from both the IRS and the state of Maryland. Grice had no idea that Uncle Sam had seized her money until some days later, when she got a letter saying that her refund had gone to satisfy an old debt to the government — a very old debt.

When Grice was 4, back in 1960, her father died, leaving her mother with five children to raise. Until the kids turned 18, Sadie Grice got survivor benefits from Social Security to help feed and clothe them.

Now, Social Security claims it overpaid someone in the Grice family — it’s not sure who — in 1977. After 37 years of silence, four years after Sadie Grice died, the government is coming after her daughter. Why the feds chose to take Mary’s money, rather than her surviving siblings’, is a mystery.

Mary Grice is just unlucky, I guess. The feds want some money, and her name popped up, not those of her siblings. Tough luck when you get on the wrong side of the government. Her plight is not unique:

Across the nation, hundreds of thousands of taxpayers who are expecting refunds this month are instead getting letters like the one Grice got, informing them that because of a debt they never knew about — often a debt incurred by their parents — the government has confiscated their check.

The Treasury Department has intercepted $1.9 billion in tax refunds already this year — $75 million of that on debts delinquent for more than 10 years….

The feds are making up their own rules, and justice or personal responsibility are less important than the convenience of the bureaucrats:

Social Security officials told Grice that six people — Grice, her four siblings and her father’s first wife, whom she never knew — had received benefits under her father’s account. The government doesn’t look into exactly who got the overpayment; the policy is to seek compensation from the oldest sibling and work down through the family until the debt is paid.

The Federal Trade Commission, on its Web site, advises Americans that “family members typically are not obligated to pay the debts of a deceased relative from their own assets.” But Social Security officials say that if children indirectly received assistance from public dollars paid to a parent, the children’s money can be taken, no matter how long ago any overpayment occurred.

It doesn’t even matter if the parents took the money and went on a bender, the kids are stuck with the bill, on the theory that they should have received the benefit and it would be too complicated for the bureaucrats if they had to actually, you know, prove that they had benefitted even as an infant. The most important thing, after all, is that the government get the money it wants.

Will anyone in the GOP wake up and start a crusade against this obvious government run amok travesty? Of course, how many of them voted for the “farm bill”?

 

The Great Deception Of The Church

By Charles R. Fuqua, J.D.

 

There is a great deception that is very widespread in the Church. It is that the Pharisees loved the law of God and were zealous for its enforcement. The exact opposite was true. The Pharisees hated the law of God and invented an entire system of loopholes so that they could give the appearance of godliness but violate the spirit and intent of the law. What difference does it make that most of the Church has a factual misunderstanding of this? A misunderstanding of facts leads to false doctrine. Since Christians know the condemnations Jesus gave against the Pharisees, they do not want to be guilty of being like the Pharisees. They want to avoid any trace of legalism. The problem is that many in the Church, wanting to avoid the legalism of the Pharisees are guilty of the very sin of the Pharisees (despising the law of God) because they misunderstand what the Pharisees taught.

 

Matthew 15:1-9 is sometimes used to show that Jesus condoned the breaking of God’s Law. Verses 1-3 begin:

 

Then Jesus was approached by a group of Pharisees and lawyers from Jerusalem, with a question: ‘Why do your disciples break the ancient tradition? They do not wash their hands before meals.’ He answered them: ‘And what of you? Why do you break God’s commandment in the interest of your tradition?’

 

The Pharisees are not accusing Jesus’ disciples of breaking God’s law, but rather of breaking the ancient tradition; sometimes referred to as, “the tradition of the elders”. This is not God’s law but, Pharisaic tradition. The Pharisees developed a system of laws and rules that were extremely complicated. Unless a person was a trained doctor of the law, the laws were almost impossible to understand. Therefore, those who were learned in the law were often able to trap people in the maze of the law, while they violated the spirit of law themselves by knowing the loop-holes. Jesus answered them beginning in verse 3:

 

Why do you break God’s commandment in the interest of your tradition? For God said, ‘honor your father and mother’, and ‘the man who curses his father or mother must suffer death.’ But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, anything of mine which might have been used for your benefit is set apart for God, then he must not honor his father or his mother.’

 

God’s law is clear, a person should give respect and honor to his parents. This includes taking care of parents in their old age. The Pharisees would say that their wealth was dedicated to God, then they would live in luxury and splendor and ignore the needs of their aged parents. In Matthew 15:6 Jesus continues:

 

You have made God’s law null and void out of respect for your tradition. What hypocrisy! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: ‘This people pays me lip-service, but their heart is far from me; their worship of me is vain, for they teach as doctrines the commandments of men.’

 

Jesus’ disciples were not disobeying the laws of God, they were disobeying the traditions of the Pharisees. Paul was a Pharisee and many times he criticizes the laws or traditions of the Pharisees. Some people do not understand this and believe that Paul is criticizing God’s law.

 

The true measure of a person’s love for Jesus is that persons love for God’s Law. John 14:15 says, “If you love me (Jesus) you will obey my commands.” What are Jesus’ commands? To understand this we must understand who Jesus is. Jesus is God in the flesh, therefore, the commands of God are Jesus’ commands. How do we know if a person loves Jesus? “If you love me you will obey my commands”. Jesus reemphasized this point in John 14:21: “‘The man who receives my commands and obeys them – he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my father; and I will love him and disclose myself to him.’”

 

What did Paul and his fellow Pharisees believe? When Israel went into the Babylonian captivity, temple worship was abandoned and the Israelites began worshiping in synagogues. The learned rabbis studied the Law of God. They were in effect lawyers and clergymen rolled into one. While in the Babylonian captivity, influenced by Babylonian culture, they began writing commentaries on God’s Law. These commentaries are referred to as the traditions of the elders, or more properly the Babylonian Talmud. These Pharisaic rabbis taught that when the dead were resurrected they could attain eternal life if they had kept the law. However, the Pharisees found that law keeping was very difficult; moreover it got in the way of many pleasurable and profitable practices. So, in their commentaries (the Talmud) they established loop holes in the law. These loopholes were a means by which a person could appear to be keeping the letter of the law while in fact, being in total violation of the spirit of the law.

 

A very interesting passage is found in Luke 11:52, “‘Alas for you lawyers! You have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not go in yourselves, and those who were on their way in, you stopped.’”[i] Compare this to Matthew 23:13, “‘Alas, alas for you, lawyers and Pharisees, hypocrites that you are! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces; you do not enter yourselves, and when others are entering, you stop them.’”

 

These Pharisaic lawyers took away the key of knowledge that opens the door to the kingdom of heaven by teaching that salvation comes through keeping their traditions, rather than through faith. Some teachers today teach that in Old Testament times people received salvation by keeping the law, but since the death of Christ salvation comes through faith. This cannot be true. If, in Old Testament times, salvation came through keeping the law, then no one was saved before the time of Christ, because no one except Christ himself has ever been able to keep the law. To understand all of Paul’s writings, these principles must be understood. Since Paul so adamantly teaches that salvation does not come by keeping the law, some biblical scholars today have erred in teaching that the Old Testament taught that salvation came by law keeping. In fact, the Old Testament clearly teaches that salvation comes through faith. It was Paul’s own Pharisaic background that he was teaching against.

 

The religious guides of Christ’s day were the Pharisees. They wanted to make sure that the common people were truthful in their dealings with them, but the Pharisees had developed loopholes in the law of truth-telling that benefited them. When they took an oath they would swear by something that was sacred, but since they were the doctors of the law, they would invent loopholes in their oaths so that they could get out of their contracts. They developed an intricate system of swearing whereby some oaths were binding and others were not. The common people couldn’t figure out their system and were often tripped up in it. The Pharisees were absolute masters at inventing loopholes and traps in the law, but Jesus pointed out how their devices perverted the intent of the law. Matt 23:16-23:

 

16. Woe to you, blind guides, who say, `Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.” 17. Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold? 18. And, `Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.” 19. Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? 20. Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it. 21. He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwells in it. 22. And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it. 23. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.

 

This hatred for legalism by many in the Church, should lead them to love the Law for God and hate the false teachings of the Pharisees, but because many in the Church have a factual misunderstanding of the teachings of the Pharisees it leads them to hate the law of God. Good evidence that this is the case is, that in spite of the fact that many psalms praise God’s law, you find very few contemporary songs extolling the virtues of God’s law.

 

Charles Fuqua is the author of God’s Law – The Only Political Solution. He is available to speak at churches and any other group setting. GodsLawForAmerica.com, CharlesRFuqua@gmail.com, 870-612-3570.

 

Charles R. Fuqua | 870-612-3570

CharlesRFuqua@gmail.com

Published on #1 News Site on the Threat of Islamic Extremism (http://www.clarionproject.org)
Christians Increasingly Misled into Interfaith Ties With Islamists

Reverend Deborah Lindsay, Minister of Spiritual Care at First Community Church in Ohio, is a YouTube viral video star because of her call on Christians to avoid anti-Muslim sentiment. Unfortunately, her chief outreach partner is a Muslim Brotherhood-tied mosque named the Noor Islamic Cultural Center.

A video of her sermon, uploaded in September 2010, has been viewed over one million times. Her outreach to Muslims was also the subject of an article in the Columbus Dispatch. In it, she is quoted as comparing jihad to Lent.

“When we think jihad, we think holy war. And that may be what it means to fanatics and terrorists, but what the vast majority of Muslims understand jihad to be is ‘struggling in the way of God…The way of God being goodness, justice, mercy and compassion. It is a personal, spiritual endeavor,” she said.

An example of jihad, she says, would be making friends or being appreciative of what you have.

That type of misunderstanding is promoted by the MyJihad campaign led by a chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity whose leadership has privately discussed how to use deceptive semantics. The campaign distracts from examination of the Islamist ideology by redefining jihad so vaguely that it becomes a meaningless term.

The audience, especially non-Muslims like Rev. Lindsay, is led to believe that this vague “spiritual” struggle is an alternative interpretation of jihad. Actually, these interpretations are complimentary and are not in competition.

Look at the official ruling of the Reliance of the Traveler, an authoritative book on Sharia endorsed by Al-Azhar University, the highest school of Sunni learning. Section o.9.0 states:

“Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada, signifying warfare to establish the religion. And it is the lesser jihad. As for the greater jihad, it is spiritual warfare against the lower self (nafs), which is why the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said he was returning from jihad.”

The dual nature of jihad is best exemplified by the fact that the MyJihad website hosted a videotaped sermon from Imam Zaid Shakir about jihad and terrorism. Shakir justified Hezbollah’s bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon, saying it did not qualify as an act of terrorism.

Shakir, co-founder and senior faculty member of Zaytuna College, has his own record of extremism and approval of violent jihad. The MyJihad campaign’s own sources acknowledge the two forms of jihad but the campaign only talks about the spiritual form, giving the false impression that a new, replacement interpretation is being offered.

While it is true that most Muslims do not favor waging the subversive and often violent “lesser” jihad, we must be aware of the tricks played by those who do.

In her sermon, Rev. Lindsay praises the Islamic Circle of North America as a moderate organization that is spreading “peace” and “hope” by giving away tens of thousands of the copies of the Koran. She is under the impression that ICNA’s interpretation of jihad is at odds with the subversive one.

Actually, ICNA is named in a 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood memo as one of “our organizations and the organizations of our friends.”

The stated goal of the network ICNA belongs to is to wage a “kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers.” The document explicitly states that the network is to “possess a mastery of the art of ‘coalitions’” and use “their hands” (those of the non-Muslim Americans) for its objectives.

ICNA is a derivative of the radical Jamaat-e-Islami group of Pakistan. It is currently pressuring the White House to defend its leaders in Bangladesh from prosecution. A senior ICNA official named Ashrafuzzaman Khan was sentenced to death in absentia for his involvement in horrific war crimes in 1971.

The Clarion Project recently published jaw-dropping excerpts from an ICNA teaching guide for members. It explicitly calls for supporting violent jihad, secret operations, resurrecting the Caliphate and implementing Sharia governance, even in the U.S.

Rev. Lindsay’s main outreach partner is the Noor Islamic Cultural Center, a radical mosque that has her as a guest speaker. If the name sounds familiar, it may be from the case of Rifqa Bary, a teenage girl who converted to Christianity from Islam and ran away from her family. Her father, who she fears may kill her for becoming an apostate, is a member of the mosque.

Noor Islamic Cultural Center founder and chairman, Dr. Hany Saqr, was identified by an Egyptian newspaper as a Muslim Brotherhood operative. A 1992 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood phone book lists him as a member. Saqr was identified as a leader of the East Region for the Brotherhood, a member of its Executive Office and a member of its Board of Directors. The phone records of Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzouk, then a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood official, show he was in communication with Saqr in 1992.

According to a court filing by Bary’s lawyer, an FBI document identified one of Sarq’s subordinates as “providing $735,000 to Hamas while under Dr. Saqr’s direction.” It also states that Saqr used to be an imam for another mosque and “the largest known Al-Qaeda cell in the U.S. since 9/11 was operating out of the mosque.”

Salah Sultan used to be the Noor Islamic Cultural Center’s scholar in residence and a religious director at a local Islamic elementary school named the Sunrise Academy. Unfortunately for Sultan, counter-terrorism expert Patrick Poole lived only about a mile away and turned Salah into a stunning example of Islamist operations inside the U.S.

When Poole first brought attention to Sultan’s extremism, the Noor Islamic Cultural Center’s media and the Interfaith Association of Central Ohio slandered Poole, with one columnist calling him a “Muslim basher.” The documentation about Sultan was firm then and is overwhelming now.

There are photos of him with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal and Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. He is on the board of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, led by the terrorism-linked Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi who is the spiritual leader of the Brotherhood and Hamas. In Egypt, Sultan frequently appeared alongside Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood when he was running for president.

At one Morsi rally, Sultan referenced the Islamic hadith that appears in the Hamas charter that reads, “The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!”

Sultan has urged the murdering of the Israeli ambassador to Egypt. In one television appearance, he endorsed a Brotherhood fatwa that says “every Zionist who enters Egypt—tourist or not—should be killed.” At one event, he led a crowd in chanting, “To Jerusalem, we are going as martyrs in millions.”

He was scheduled to lead a hajj to Mecca in 2002 with Anwar al-Awlaki, who would soon become a senior Al-Qaeda operative and a Hamas-linked cleric named Imam Muhammad al-Hanooti. When Osama Bin Laden was killed, Sultan praised him because he “had raised the banner of jihad for the sake of Allah and had served a lofty goal” and American “terrorism” is worse than his.

Sultan preaches that 9/11 was a U.S. government conspiracy to oppress Muslims. The attacks on Christians in Egypt are covert “acts of Jews,” according to Sultan, as was the assassination of President Kennedy. He supports democratic participation by Muslims in the U.S., but only in order to move the country towards the standards of Sharia.

The aforementioned court filing also alleges that the Noor Center has extremist speakers like Imam Siraj Wahhaj, Muzammil Siddiqi, Raeed Tayeh, Eric Erfan Vickers, Shaker ElSayed, Wagdi Ghoneim and a preacher linked to efforts by Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia, to recruit Somali youth. In 2013, two mosque members were indicted for money-laundering.

This mistaken embrace of Islamists is part of a broader issue. Rev. Lindsay’s church is affiliated with the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Both are members of the Shoulder-to-Shoulder Coalition, an interfaith bloc allied with the Islamic Society of North America, another U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity. The coalition is deployed by American Islamists when they came under criticism.

The two groups cited by Rev. Lindsay, ICNA and the Noor Islamic Cultural Center, do believe in the non-threatening “greater” spiritual jihad—but that’s not the whole story. They also advocate the “lesser” subversive and violent jihad. They are just intelligent enough to know which one is better to magnify publicly.

Rev. Deborah Lindsay did not respond to my email with information about the Noor Islamic Cultural Center.

 

Ryan Mauro is the ClarionProject.org’s National Security Analyst, a fellow with the Clarion Project and is frequently interviewed on top-tier TV stations as an expert on counterterrorism and Islamic extremism.

The Institute on Religion and Democracy contributed to this article.

Muslim Brotherhood

 

Wyoming welder faces $75,000 a day in EPA fines for building pond on his property

Barnini Chakraborty
By  Published March 14, 2014
  • Johnson family pond.jpg

    Johnson family.CREDIT: ANDREW JOHNSON

All Andy Johnson wanted to do was build a stock pond on his sprawling eight-acre Wyoming farm. He and his wife Katie spent hours constructing it, filling it with crystal-clear water, and bringing in brook and brown trout, ducks and geese. It was a place where his horses could drink and graze, and a private playground for his three children. But instead of enjoying the fruits of his labor, the Wyoming welder says he was harangued by the federal government, stuck in what he calls a petty power play by the Environmental Protection Agency. He claims the agency is now threatening him with civil and criminal penalties – including the threat of a $75,000-a-day fine. “I have not paid them a dime nor will I,” a defiant Johnson told FoxNews.com. “I will go bankrupt if I have to fighting it. My wife and I built [the pond] together. We put our blood, sweat and tears into it. It was our dream.” But Johnson may be in for a rude awakening. The government says he violated the Clean Water Act by building a dam on a creek without a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. Further, the EPA claims that material from his pond is being discharged into other waterways. Johnson says he built a stock pond — a man-made pond meant to attract wildlife — which is exempt from Clean Water Act regulations. The property owner says he followed the state rules for a stock pond when he built it in 2012 and has an April 4-dated letter from the Wyoming State Engineer’s Office to prove it. “Said permit is in good standing and is entitled to be exercised exactly as permitted,” the state agency letter to Johnson said. But the EPA isn’t backing down and argues they have final say over the issue. They also say Johnson needs to restore the land or face the fines. Johnson plans to fight. “This goes a lot further than a pond,” he said. “It’s about a person’s rights. I have three little kids. I am not going to roll over and let [the government] tell me what I can do on my land. I followed the rules.” Johnson says he was “bombarded by hopelessness” when he first received the administrative order from the EPA. He then turned to state lawmakers who fast-tracked his pleas to Wyoming’s two U.S. senators, John Barrasso and Mike Enzi, and Louisiana Sen. David Vitter. The Republican lawmakers sent a March 12 letter to Nancy Stoner, the EPA’s acting assistant administration for water, saying they were “troubled” by Johnson’s case and demanding the EPA withdraw the compliance order. “Rather than a sober administration of the Clean Water Act, the Compliance Order reads like a draconian edict of a heavy-handed bureaucracy,” the letter states. The EPA order on Jan. 30 gave Johnson 30 days to hire a consultant and have him or her assess the impact of the supposed unauthorized discharges. The report was also supposed to include a restoration proposal to be approved by the EPA as well as contain a schedule requiring all work be completed within 60 days of the plan’s approval. If Johnson doesn’t comply — and he hasn’t so far — he’s subject to $37,500 per day in civil penalties as well as another $37,500 per day in fines for statutory violations. The senators’ letter questioned the argument that Johnson built a dam and not a stock pond. “Fairness and due process require the EPA base its compliance order on more than an assumption,” they wrote. “Instead of treating Mr. Johnson as guilty until he proves his innocence by demonstrating his entitlement to the Clean Water Act section 404 (f)(1)(C) stock pond exemption, EPA should make its case that a dam was built and that the Section 404 exemption does not apply.” The EPA told FoxNews.com that it is reviewing the senators’ letter. “We will carefully evaluate any additional information received, and all of the facts regarding this case,” a spokeswoman for the agency said. The authority of the EPA has recently been called into question over proposed rule changes that would redefine what bodies of water the government agency will oversee under the Clean Water Act. The proposed changes would give the agency a say in ponds, lakes, wetlands and any stream — natural or manmade — that would have an effect on downstream navigable waters on both public land and private property. “If the compliance order stands as an example of how EPA intends to operate after completing its current ‘waters of the United States’ rulemaking, it should give pause to each and every landowner throughout the country,” the letter states. For now, the matter remains unresolved. Johnson says he’s not budging and there’s been no indication from the EPA they will withdraw the compliance order. Regardless of the outcome, Johnson says his legal fight with the government agency is a teachable moment for his kids “This is showing them that they shouldn’t back down,” Johnson said. “If you need to stand up and fight, you do it.”

Harvard journal says “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” is ancient, not a modern forgery
By Michelle Boorstein, Published: April 10 E-mail the writer
A new report claiming to support the authenticity of a papyrus fragment that quotes Jesus as saying the surprising words “my wife” set off new debate Thursday over what can be definitively known about Jesus and how early Christians saw matters of gender and sex.

Two years ago, Harvard Divinity School historian Karen King announced the discovery of the fragment. In the meantime, experts on subjects ranging from ancient script to carbon ink to early Christianity have discussed whether it could be a modern forgery and, if not, what significance its words might have.

On Thursday, the Harvard Theological Review’s April edition included several articles on the document’s composition, saying it probably dated from between the sixth and ninth centuries and might be even older.

King said authenticating what she calls “The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” doesn’t prove that Jesus was married but sheds light on early Christians’ discussions about whether “the ideal mode of Christian” life was a celibate one, King wrote in the Review.

It’s not known who wrote the fragment, which is in Coptic, but in it Jesus speaks of his mother, his wife and a female disciple called “Mary,” King wrote. “The main point of the [fragment] is simply to affirm that women who are wives and mothers can be Jesus’s disciples,” King wrote.

Experts on ancient and contemporary Christianity saw the conversational value in the fragment, even if they disagreed on its historical import.

Hal Taussig — a New Testament professor who worked with King on the fragment and has written about other ancient Christian writings found in recent decades — said the words on the fragment are “breathtaking” and support the idea that Mary Magdalene “was a major leader in the early Jesus movement.”

Taussig said he believes the document is ancient and ostensibly as important as documents that make up the accepted New Testament.

“Everything we have is a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy. We have no original documents,” he said Thursday. “What you have are traditions of writing.”

Taussig said that even considering a non-celibate Jesus would be a “huge shift” for some. “This is where people will take the most offense,” he said. “But for many married people, this might make Jesus feel closer.”

The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit who last month came out with a travelogue based on Jesus’s life, said there is a lot of evidence that Jesus was single.

“It’s incredible that the four Gospel writers wouldn’t have mentioned Jesus’s wife if he had one. They mentioned everyone else in his family,” Martin said. “There are Gospels that talk about Jesus turning stones into birds. … There is a natural desire to know as much as we can about Jesus.’’

Martin added: “But funnily enough, people who are quick to accept the veracity of this” appear to be liberal Christians who question the veracity of other biblical accounts, including that of the Resurrection, Martin said.

The Harvard Review included an article by a Brown University Egyptologist, Leo Depuydt, who said the document looked fraudulent and “hilarious.” He said he had never seen ancient Coptic manuscripts with boldface letters before.

“The effect is something like: ‘My wife. Get it? MY wife. You heard that right.’ The papyrus fragment seems ripe for a Monty Python sketch,” he wrote.

Liberal Actress Lena Dunham: It was a ‘Huge Disappointment’ When I Realized I was Straight

April 10, 2014 By Greg Campbell

Sometimes, people are just born straight…

Lena Dunham, the leftist crusader and star of HBO’s Girls has come forward with her disappointment in realizing that she is heterosexual.

In a recent interview with the NY Post, the ultra-left celebrity admitted that she was disappointed when she realized she was straight, but was thankful that her sister came out as homosexual because then someone in her family was representing her values.

According to the NY Post:
Lena Dunham spoke warmly about her sister coming out as gay at age 17 at the Point Honors Gala at the New York Public Library on Monday.

“This is probably the most attractive room I have yet to enter,” she told the crowd at the event for the Point Foundation, which helps LGBTQ students.

“Gay men clean up real good, which is probably why I have dated so many of you,” she joked.

The “Girls” star thanked her sister Grace, now 22, saying, “I have always felt a strong and emotional connection to members of the LGBTQ community. It was actually a huge disappointment for me when I came of age and realized that I was sexually attracted to men. So when my sister came out, I thought, ‘Thank God, now someone in this family can truly represent my beliefs and passions.’”
Of course, a person’s sexuality is entirely their business; however, at the same time that homosexual activists attempt to downplay the differences between homosexual partnerships and heterosexual partnerships, it serves as a glaring contradiction when homosexuality is celebrated and affirmation of one’s heterosexuality can be classified as a “disappointment.”

Lois Lerner Held in Contempt!

April 10, 2014 By Jennifer Burke

Lois Lerner has refused to answer questions regarding her role, or the actions of the IRS, in the targeting, harassment, and intimidation scandal of Tea Party and conservative groups. Now, the House Oversight Committee, chaired by Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, has voted 21–12 to hold her in contempt. Lerner, who was in charge of the tax exempt division in the IRS, made what amounted to an opening statement during her first appearance before the House Oversight Committee before invoking the Fifth Amendment.

Republicans on the committee have contended that Lerner gave up her right to plead the Fifth by delivering an opening statement in which she claimed that she had done nothing wrong. In making a statement, their argument is that they have the right to question her about her claims.

While Democrats on the committee accuse Republicans of election year political maneuvering and McCarthyism, many damaging facts have come out, all of which the left is ignoring, that implicates not only Lerner in this scandal, but also Democrats including Rep. Elijah Cummings.

President Obama has claimed that there is not a smidgen of corruption in the IRS scandal, despite the fact that a full investigation has never been done. The left has declared the scandal to be phony. Democrat Cummings has worked at every turn to obstruct justice and block answers from being found.

Earlier this week, Lerner was referred to the Justice Department by the House Ways and Means Committee for potential prosecution of her actions. If convicted of the crimes for which she has been accused, she could face 11 years in prison. Given Eric Holder’s refusal to conduct a full investigation into the IRS scandal, holding Lerner in contempt would give those targeted by her and the Democrats for their political beliefs at least some justice. The resolution of contempt now moves to a vote in the full House.

 

Sebelius Resigns After Troubles Over Health Site
By MICHAEL D. SHEARAPRIL 10, 2014

WASHINGTON — Kathleen Sebelius, the health and human services secretary, is resigning, ending a stormy five-year tenure marred by the disastrous rollout of President Obama’s signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act.

Mr. Obama accepted Ms. Sebelius’s resignation this week, and on Friday morning, he will nominate Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, to replace her, officials said.

The departure comes as the Obama administration tries to move beyond its early stumbles in carrying out the law, convince a still-skeptical public of its lasting benefits, and help Democratic incumbents, who face blistering attack ads after supporting the legislation, survive the midterm elections this fall.

Sylvia Mathews Burwell in 2013.Budget Chief Is Obama’s Choice as New Health SecretaryAPRIL 10, 2014
Officials said Ms. Sebelius, 65, made the decision to resign and was not forced out. But the frustration at the White House over her performance had become increasingly clear, as administration aides worried that the crippling problems at HealthCare.gov, the website set up to enroll Americans in insurance exchanges, would result in lasting damage to the president’s legacy.

Even last week, as Mr. Obama triumphantly announced that enrollments in the exchanges had exceeded seven million, she did not appear next to him for the news conference in the Rose Garden.

The president is hoping that Ms. Burwell, 48, a Harvard- and Oxford-educated West Virginia native with a background in economic policy, will bring an intense focus and management acumen to the department. The budget office, which she has overseen since April of last year, is deeply involved in developing and carrying out health care policy.

“The president wants to make sure we have a proven manager and relentless implementer in the job over there, which is why he is going to nominate Sylvia,” said Denis R. McDonough, the White House chief of staff.

Last month, Ms. Sebelius approached Mr. Obama and began a series of conversations about her future, Mr. McDonough said. The secretary told the president that the March 31 deadline for sign-ups under the health care law — and rising enrollment numbers — provided an opportunity for change, and that he would be best served by someone who was not the target of so much political ire, Mr. McDonough said.

“What was clear is that she thought that it was time to transition the leadership to somebody else,” he said. “She’s made clear in other comments publicly that she recognizes that she takes a lot of the incoming. She does hope — all of us hope — that we can get beyond the partisan sniping.”

Republicans seized on Ms. Sebelius’s departure to heap even more criticism on the law she helped pass and carry out. “No matter who is in charge of H.H.S., Obamacare will continue to be a disaster,” said Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, said her resignation was “cold comfort to the millions of Americans who were deceived about what it would mean for them and their families” under the health care law.

The resignation is a low point in what had been a remarkable career for Ms. Sebelius, who as governor of Kansas was named by Time magazine as one of the five best governors in the country and was even mentioned as a possible running mate for Mr. Obama in 2008. The two had bonded when Ms. Sebelius endorsed his presidential bid early in 2008, becoming one of the highest-profile Democratic women to back him over Hillary Rodham Clinton, and helping him deliver a big win in the Kansas caucus.

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White House officials were quick to point out the many successes during Ms. Sebelius’s tenure: the end to pre-existing conditions as a bar to insurance, the ability for young people to stay on their parents’ insurance, and the reduction in the growth of health care costs. In addition, Ms. Sebelius helped push through mental health parity in insurance plans and worked with the Department of Education to promote early childhood education.

Ms. Sebelius said in an interview on Thursday that she had always known that she would not “be here to turn out the lights in 2017.”

“My balance has always been, when do you make that decision?” she added.

The president had been under pressure for months to fire Ms. Sebelius. But he had resisted, in part because he did not want the Department of Health and Human Services to undergo more upheaval amid all the problems plaguing HealthCare.gov, and in part because of his general reluctance to publicly rebuke top officials.

In November, Mr. Obama defended the secretary, saying in an interview with NBC News that she “doesn’t write code; yeah, she wasn’t our I.T. person.” As recently as last week, Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, rejected any suggestion that Ms. Sebelius would be fired.

On Thursday, Mr. McDonough praised Ms. Sebelius as “a fierce advocate,” and said she had been “tenacious in her belief” in the president’s health care law. “She’s fearless in her defense of this idea at the heart of the Affordable Care Act,” he said. “The president has commented to me countless times how much he admires that.”

But the Affordable Care Act faces a range of obstacles, political and otherwise, in the months ahead, and Mr. Obama is hoping that Ms. Burwell can smoothly steer the department and bring stability to its operations. In addition to the midterm elections, in which the health care law is the target of a flood of negative ads, the administration is grappling with policy questions: how it will levy the penalty on individuals who lack insurance, how much premiums will go up in the coming year, and how ultimately to administer the requirement that employers provide insurance.

Ms. Sebelius was not Mr. Obama’s first choice to lead the department; he wanted former Senator Tom Daschle in the job, but Mr. Daschle withdrew after acknowledging that he had underpaid his taxes for several years. She was hailed as a gifted political leader in Kansas who could work with legislators of both parties. But those skills were less evident in Washington, and she became a more distant figure within the administration.

In addition to the political battles over the passage and carrying out of the Affordable Care Act, she clashed with conservatives over contraception, and faced frequent calls for her political head by Republicans after the health care website failed to function properly last year.

In hearings on Capitol Hill, Ms. Sebelius sometimes grew rattled under questioning by lawmakers. In one hearing at the end of October, Ms. Sebelius declared that HealthCare.gov “has never crashed.”

“It is functional,” she added, “but at a very slow speed and very low reliability, and has continued to function.”

She made that statement even as large screens in the hearing room showed a live shot of the website with a page that said: “The system is down at the moment. We are experiencing technical difficulties and hope to have them resolved soon.”

An appearance on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” last October went even worse. Mr. Stewart challenged her to “sign up for Obamacare” before he could download every movie ever made. “We’ll see which happens first,” he joked. She struggled to defend the website and the law.

The television appearance prompted headlines like “Kathleen Sebelius’s ‘Daily Show’ Disaster” and accusations from Republicans that she was being misleading. Democrats squirmed at her stiff and halting performance, which did little to inspire confidence.

But Ms. Sebelius has not been at the center of public attention in recent weeks. Her national television exposure has been limited after the poor public performances, but she has continued to make small appearances and has been active on Twitter to press for people to sign up for insurance. She submitted to another questioning before a Senate committee on Thursday and later acknowledged that the idea of not doing “a hearing every three weeks sounds pretty good to me.”

Ms. Sebelius said she hoped — but did not expect — that her departure would represent the beginning of a more cooperative period in Washington to make health care better.

“If I could take something along with me,” she said, it would be “all the animosity.”

» Muslims Divided on Presbyterian Easter Egg Hunt

Leaders from Dearborn’s Arab-American community gathered at Cherry Hill Presbyterian Church Sunday morning, showing their support for what they call an event for the entire community that will include an egg hunt and relay race, among other things.

Osama Siblani, local activist and publisher of the Arab American News, said he believes recent news reports of concern over flyers being distributed at a public school in Dearborn for the church’s Eggstravaganza planned for Saturday did not reflect the feelings of the majority of the region’s 46,000 Arab Americans.

“We’re here to support the church as Muslims and Arabs,” he said Sunday morning, standing outside the church’s rear entrance with leaders from the church and the Arab-American community. “We believe the church is doing the right thing bringing the community together, bringing our children together so we can understand each other and love each other.”

Attorney Majed Moughni, who is Muslim and has two young children in Dearborn elementary schools, told the Free Press last week that his children were upset by receiving at school the flyer for Eggstravaganza, which includes images of eggs and a bunny. “My son was like, ‘Dad, I really don’t feel comfortable getting these flyers, telling me to go to church. I thought churches are not supposed to mix with schools,’ ” Moughni had said.

Moughni has said he was concerned about “using school teachers paid by public funds … to pass out these flyers that are being distributed by a church. I think that’s a serious violation of separation of church and state.”

Sunday afternoon, Moughni said he was shocked that so much came from his bringing attention to the matter and said other parents have responded to him through social media supporting his stance.

“I’m standing up for my children,” he said. “My position hasn’t changed.”

Pastor Netta Nichols of Cherry Hill Presbyterian Church said the church has received many e-mails, phone calls and messages through social media both for and against the event, including some she wish she had not seen. She said the church has used the Dearborn schools in the past to get information out to the community. The invitation was meant for everyone — regardless of religious background — as a way of strengthening community ties. The event is the result of a yearlong mission study on the needs of their community.

“I do believe Mr. Moughni’s concern is more with the school system sending out a flyer for an event that’s happening at a church. It’s a surprise it’s become such a major discussion,” Nichols said. “We just want people to get to know each other. This is a changing community, and it has been changing for years. We want to live in an atmosphere of peace and harmony.”

Muslim and Arab-American leaders at the church Sunday said they felt much was made of nothing with regards to the event.

“This ‘lone wolf’ voice does not represent the (Muslim) community,” said attorney Nabih Ayad, chairman of the Arab-American Civil Rights League.

Fatina Abdrabboh, director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, said egg hunts are among the memories from her childhood.

The flyer advertises an egg hunt, egg toss and relay race. Siblani noted that the word “Easter” did not appear on the flyer. Nichols said school officials had requested and received edits before the flyer was sent home with students.

Siblani said several Muslim and Arab-American organizations were donating money to help with costs for the event. He said he plans to be there as well.

___

(c)2014 the Detroit Free Press

 

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