Sunday, August 13, 2017

Pope Francis orders Roman Catholic charity in Belgium to stop performing euthanasia in its psychiatric hospitals

As reported by Devin Watkins of Vatican Radio, August 11, 2017 (bold in original):

Pope Francis has ordered the Belgian arm of the Brothers of Charity religious order to stop offering euthanasia in its psychiatric hospitals.

The Holy See Press Office confirmed that the Pope gave his personal approval to a Vatican letter sent at the beginning of August, which gives the Catholic charity until the end of August to stop the practice at all of its 15 centers in Belgium.

Euthanasia is legal in the country, and in May the Brothers of Charity Group which administers the Belgian hospitals announced it would allow doctors to perform euthanasia on psychiatric patients.

The charity said in a statement it would be performed only if there were “no reasonable treatment alternatives”.

Joint letter affirming magisterium

Pope Francis also ordered Brothers of Charity who serve on the group’s board to sign a joint letter to their Superior General declaring that they “fully support the vision of the magisterium of the Catholic Church, which has always confirmed that human life must be respected and protected in absolute terms, from the moment of conception till its natural end.”

Brothers who refuse to sign the joint letter renouncing the practice of euthanasia will face sanctions under canon law, while the Catholic charity group can expect to face legal action and even expulsion from the Church if it fails to change its policy.

Brothers of Charity statement

Bro. René Stockman, General Superior of the Brothers of Charity, released a statement in response to the position of his Belgian brothers.

“The central point and the foundation within Christian ethics is that life is absolute, which cannot be touched. Life is a gift from God and entails an assignment. And because life is absolute, it is a state worthy of protection,” he wrote.

Mattias De Vriendt, a spokesman for the Belgium charity, said it had received the Vatican's request but had not yet responded.
He confirmed the charity's hospitals had received requests from patients seeking euthanasia recently but could not say whether any procedures had been performed.
As reported by Elise Harris of Catholic News Agency, August 10, 2017:
Vatican City, Aug 10, 2017 / 10:16 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis is cracking down on a Belgian Brothers of Charity-run organization, giving the group until the end of August to stop offering euthanasia to patients in their psychiatric centers.

In addition, each of the religious brothers serving on the board of the Brothers of Charity Group, the organization that runs the centers, has been ordered to sign a joint letter to their general superior, Br. Rene Stockman, declaring their adherence to Church teaching.

Brothers who refuse to sign the letter will face punitive action under canon law, while the group itself is expected to face legal action and could have its Catholic status revoked if it does not change its policy.

The Vatican order, sent at the beginning of August, follows several prior requests that the group drop the policy, which allows doctors to euthanize non-terminal mentally ill patients on its grounds.

In comments to CNA Aug. 10, Br. Stockman said he initially went to the Vatican for help in the spring, when the group, which is a state organization run by the order, decided to change their policy on euthanasia on the grounds that their stance was culturally abnormal.

Since the year 2000, the group has maintained a firm policy against euthanasia and how to cope with requests for it, he said, explaining that as a state organization, they take requests for euthanasia seriously, and try to help the patient regain their desire for life, “knowing of course that someone who is very depressive can have the tendency to ask for euthanasia.”

After doing everything possible to help alleviate any depression present in a patient, if the individual still requests euthanasia – which is legal in Belgium – the brothers would transfer them elsewhere.

“We don't accept that euthanasia should be done inside our institutes,” Br. Stockman said, noting that this had been the organization's firm policy until last year, when the group “started to deflect,” claiming that the Catholic position was “unique” in Belgium, where euthanasia is widely accepted, even for children.

The group argued that they had to “adapt,” and so developed a new vision that Br. Stockman said “we could not accept as a congregation.”

Despite the fact that all board members are Catholic, and some have high political profiles, in Belgium “secularization is very, very high, very strong,” Br. Stockman said, “so you have to ask yourself what is Catholic still?”

In response to the group's decision to change the policy, “we said very clearly first of all, for us respect of life must always be absolute,” the superior general said.

However, he said, the group responded that “respect of life is fundamental, but autonomy for the person is on the same level,” and once the two are placed on the same level, “then the autonomy of the patient becomes absolute, and not respect for life.”

Despite meeting resistance from Br. Stockman, the group insisted on implementing their new policy, which went into effect in June for each of the 15 psychiatric centers they run throughout Belgium.

As a response, the general superior went to the Belgian Catholic Bishops Conference and asked that they back him in the debate. When the organization continued to resist, despite pressure from the bishops conference, Br. Stockman took the issue to the Vatican.

He was eventually invited to present the issue before both the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, both of which became involved in investigating the issue.

The doctrinal congregation then promptly drafted a letter reiterating the Church's position on euthanasia and insisted that the group step back into line with doctrine. However, the letter was ignored.

Br. Stockman then received a specific mandate from the Congregation for Consecrated Life “to see that the organization can again be in line” with Church teaching.

Part of his mandate is enforcing the ultimatum and gathering the group's response by the end of August. Br. Stockman said he has not spoken with Pope Francis personally, but that it is the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life who conceived the ultimatum and presented it to the Pope, who gave it his full support.

Of the three brothers who are members of the organization's board of trustees – the majority of board consists of laypeople – Br. Stockman said he is still waiting for their answers, but is “quite positive about that, I can say that, I think the brothers will conform themselves.”

To ask the brothers to reaffirm their adherence to Church teaching is “logical,” he said, because “when you are a religious, then you have to be in line with the Church.”

“I know them and they are really under pressure from the whole mentality,” he said, but voiced confidence that they will send the letter without any problems.

As for the organization itself, the general superior said he has been in contact with the board members. “They said they received the letter and that they will discuss again in their board the situation,” he said, adding “I am waiting for the final answer.”

When asked if there was fear that even if the organization does change the policy back, they would be forced by the state to provide euthanasia, Br. Stockman said that thankfully, as of now institutions can't be forced, “so I think we also have to use this opening not to do it.”

“If the law changes and they say that institutions have to do euthanasia, then the situation becomes totally different. Then we have to ask ourselves, can we still continue as a Catholic hospital in a certain environment where we are forced to do euthanasia?”

“But until now we have the possibility to refuse euthanasia inside the walls of the institute,” he said.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

In England, as elsewhere, cannibalism is a manifestation of paganism

That was apparently the case 15,000 years ago, according to paleontologists. As reported by Sarah Kanpton of the London Daily Telegraph, August 9, 2017 (links in original):

Cheddar Gorge in Somerset’s Mendip Hills is one of Britain’s most beautiful natural wonders, with its sweeping limestone cliffs, and striking natural rock chambers.

But new evidence suggests the picturesque site had a deeply sinister past.

Paleontologists have discovered that around 15,000 years ago, British cave dwellers filleted and ate their dead relatives before inscribing markings on their bones in grisly prehistoric rituals.

It is the first time that such practices have been found in the Paleolithic, or Old Stone Age - which dates from 2.6 million years ago to around 12,000 BC - anywhere in the world.

Scientists from the Natural History Museum in London and University College London (UCL) compared hundreds of cut-marks found on both human and animal bones at Gough’s Cave, one of the Gorge’s most impressive caverns.

They discovered that one human bone had been disarticulated, filleted, chewed and then marked with a zig-zag design, before it was finally broken to extract the bone marrow.

Researchers ruled out that the marks were made during the butchery process because they were found on a part of the bone with no muscle attachments.

They concluded that the ‘zig-zagging incisions are undoubtedly engraving marks, produced with no utilitarian purpose but purely for artistic or symbolic representation.’

The scientists speculate that the marks may have represented the ‘story’ of the victim’s life or a memorial to how they died. Whichever, they agree it must have been part of a ritual or ceremony to mark the person’s passing, like modern day funerary rites.

Silvia Bello, Calleva Researcher at the Natural History Museum, says: “The engraved motif on the Gough’s Cave bone is similar to engravings observed in other Magdalenian European sites.

“However, what is exceptional in this case is the choice of human bone and the cannibalistic context in which it was produced.

“The sequence of modifications performed on this bone suggests that the engraving was a purposeful component of the cannibalistic practice, rich in symbolic connotations.

“Although in previous analyses we have been able to suggest that cannibalism at Gough’s Cave was practiced as a symbolic ritual, this study provides the strongest evidence for this yet.”

Gough’s Cave was first discovered in the 1880s and frequent excavations at the site have found evidence that humans lived there for thousands of years, including ‘Cheddar Man’, Britain’s oldest complete human skeleton, which dates from 7,150 BC.

DNA taken from the skeleton was been found to match that of Adrian Targett, a man living in the local area today.

The cave is 115 m (377 ft) deep and is 3.405 km (2.12 mi) long, and contains a variety of large chambers and rock formations.

Human bones have been found intermingled with butchered large mammal remains as well as flint, bone, antler, and ivory artefacts including a 13,000 year old carving of a wooly mammoth.

They team has previously found skulls at the site which had been turned into bowls or cups, possibly to eat or drink from.

The research was published in the journal PLOS ONE.
Click on the link to see the original article An Upper Palaeolithic engraved human bone associated with ritualistic cannibalism in PLOS One, August 9, 2017.

Modern pagans in England and elsewhere are already marking their own bodies; it's only a matter of time before they start eating and marking dead bodies.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Unflushed toilet leads to arrest of burglary suspect

...and be sure your sin will find you out. Numbers 32:23b

Another argument in favour of proper hygiene--if you use the toilet while committing a crime, always be sure to flush. As reported by Jeremy Childs of the Ventura County Star, August 7, 2017 (updated August 8, 2017):

Fecal matter left at the scene of a Thousand Oaks burglary last October led to the arrest of a suspect from Ventura, police said.

Andrew David Jensen, 42, was arrested July 28 on suspicion of committing a burglary on Oct. 7, 2016, in the 2900 block of Cottonwood Court, authorities said.

While searching the crime scene, police found fecal matter in an unflushed toilet that possibly had the suspect's DNA, according to Detective Tim Lohman of the Thousand Oaks Police Department. Authorities took a sample and submitted the evidence to the Ventura County Sheriff's Office Forensic Services Bureau for processing.

Once a DNA profile was processed, scientists submitted the results to the Combined DNA Information System to see if the profile matched a known suspect, police said.

On July 25, the California Department of Justice informed Thousand Oaks police that the profile matched Jensen.

Authorities arrested Jensen on suspicion of first-degree residential burglary, a felony. His bail was set at $70,000 and he is scheduled to appear at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in Courtroom 12 of Ventura County Superior Court.

It wasn't the first time fecal DNA has helped lead authorities to a crime suspect in Ventura County.

The case of the 1997 murder of Ventura teenager Jake Bush during a burglary remained "cold" for years. However, DNA extracted from feces left inside the burglarized home helped identify Marco Casillas, of Port Hueneme, as a suspect in 2014. Casillas was convicted of the death and sentenced in March to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
HT: Dracul Van Helsing

Saturday, August 5, 2017

London Underground caves in to SJWs

There's no safe place from Social Justice Warriors. As reported by Simon Veazey in The Epoch Times, July 27, 2017 (updated July 28, 2017):

BIRMINGHAM, England—The words “ladies and gentlemen” have survived eight centuries of British obsession with class, breeding, and manners. Now, however, they have been deemed too discriminatory for the 150-year-old London Underground.

It’s not because “lady” and “gentleman” once referred to the bourgeoisie nobility and landowning classes of the 12th century. Nor because they echo back to the days when Victorians argued over whether gentlemen or ladies were born or bred, and when a gentleman’s behavior was defined by his deportment toward the “weaker sex.”

In place of “ladies and gentlemen,” public announcements on the underground will now start with terms such as “good morning, everyone” to avoid offending those who do not wish to be greeted as either sex.

Mark Evers, director of customer strategy at Transport for London (TfL), said in a statement: “We want everyone to feel welcome on our transport network. We have reviewed the language that we use in announcements and elsewhere and will make sure that it is fully inclusive, reflecting the great diversity of London.”

TfL oversees the public transport system, including the underground train system, known to Londoners as “the tube,” that carries an average of 3.5 million passengers daily.

Among Londoners, the announcement prompted indifference, praise, annoyance, and, of course, British humor.

Some joked about renaming stations such as Seven Sisters to conform with new politically correct ideas.

A variety of organizations, notably those that campaign under the LGBT umbrella, welcomed the new policy.

At Hammersmith underground station, the reaction of passengers was mixed.

“I’d be happy with the greeting ‘good morning, everyone,'” said Gabi Hieber, 41, from West London. “But if they change it for the silly reason of not offending any transgender people, then I think it’s actually rubbish...”

...Richard Curry, spokesperson for the Traditional Britain Group, said the change was “a very subtle but sinister form of authoritarianism.”

“This attempt to control language is an attempt by a very vocal but very small minority to impose their will on the rest of us,” he said via email. “This is a flight from basic biological reality and amounts to not only the telling of a lie, but an attempt to get the rest of society to become complicit in this lie.”

Frank Furedi, emeritus professor of sociology at Kent University, has spoken out on the issue of politically correct “linguistic policing” at universities. He was also critical of TfL’s move.

“It is quite remarkable how speedily cultural attitudes on very fundamental matters can change now within weeks and months rather than decades,” Furedi said.

“The fact that this has happened is symptomatic of the emptying out of traditional culture.” He said that a sense of “cultural malaise” has “opened the door to just about anything.”

Such language policing is part of a “very morally illiterate form of social engineering,” he added.

“It’s almost as though people have forgotten the Orwellian lessons and have started to become Orwellian themselves.”

Furedi said the policing of language actually comes from a very small minority with power, who think they are demonstrating benevolence. He said that those who are “offended” are not only a tiny number, but are actively choosing to be offended.

Ironically, the conduct for British gentlemen and ladies was traditionally focused on not causing offense at all costs.

“True courtesy, indeed, chiefly consists in accommodating ourselves to the feelings of others, without descending from our own dignity, or denuding ourselves of our own principles,” wrote Cecil B. Hartley in “The Gentlemen’s Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness” in 1860, just a few years before the first trains rolled out on the London Underground.

But even Hartley might have struggled to apply his principles to potential offense at the very words “ladies and gentlemen.”

Star Trek: Discovery prohibits any mention of God

As reported by James Hibberd of Entertainment Weekly, July 27, 2017:

The imposing Captain Gabriel Lorca strides across the Starship Discovery bridge, squinting at the raging battle on the viewscreen, rattling off orders to his crew with rapid precision. There’s a Federation ship under attack by Klingons, and the Discovery is rushing to join their fight. “Lock on the Bird of Prey!” Lorca barks. “Basic pattern Beta 9. Hard to port! Fire at something, for God’s sakes!”

Too late.

The Klingons blast the Discovery. Lorca and his shipmates lurch hard to one side. The high-tech set’s thousands of lights flicker anxiously, conveying the ship’s wounds.

The director halts the action and Lorca, played by British actor Jason Isaacs of Harry Potter fame, steps off the stage. The episode’s writer, Kirsten Beyer, approaches to give a correction on his “for God’s sakes” ad lib.

“Wait, I can’t say ‘God’?” Isaacs asks, amused. “I thought I could say ‘God’ or ‘damn’ but not ‘goddamn.’ ”

Beyer explains that Star Trek is creator Gene Roddenberry’s vision of a science-driven 23rd-century future where religion basically no longer exists.

“How about ‘for f—’s sake’?” he shoots back. “Can I say that?”

“You can say that before you can say ‘God,’ ” she dryly replies.
Vox Day, on his Vox Popoli blog, sums it up nicely in his post Anything But God (August 3, 2017):

Star Trek is a show for atheists and pedophiles. Now they're openly pandering to the former; it won't be too terribly long before they start pandering to the latter.

For further reading, see:

Pedophilia and Star Trek

The Dark Herald: Star Trek and Communism

Star Trek - Gene Roddenberry was a Misogynistic Hack

HT: Vox Popoli

Friday, August 4, 2017

Man claiming to be Roman Catholic priest is arrested for sexual assaults on teenage boys

If a pervert is looking for sex with youths, it might seem easier to recruit victims by claiming to belong to an occupation that's prominently associated with such activity. As reported by Kevin Maimann of Metro News, August 1, 2017:

ALERT’s Internet Child Exploitation Unit has arrested a man who claimed to be a Catholic priest on sexual assault charges in connection with two teenage boys.

Detectives say Justin Georges Stephen Coulombe, 33, has identified as a clergy member publicly and online but has no affiliation with the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton or any other diocese in Canada or the U.S.

ICE began investigating in June after the mother of one of the alleged victims went to police with information about “sexually graphic messages” that had been exchanged online.

The relationship with the boy became sexual, investigators say.

“This case is troubling. It leads me to believe that a young man was groomed, and this contact that occurred in person was set up to take place over time,” said Det. Brian Cross with ICE.

Cross said the boy’s mother “absolutely did the right thing” in bringing the information to police.

The alleged offenses against the second teenage boy happened online, where the victim was sexually extorted through online images.
Cross said the alleged assaults took place under various online platforms.

Both victims were under age 16.

“The victims in this case will require a lot of support moving forward for many years to come in order to cope emotionally with what’s been done to them,” Cross said.

ICE investigators worked with Edmonton police to execute a search warrant on a residence in north Edmonton on July 27, where they seized “multiple electronic devices” and arrested Coulombe.

Officers found child pornography images on the machines.

Several vigilante websites, like Encycopedia Dramatica, have compiled web posts that link to someone believed to be Coulombe talking openly about being attracted to boys, under various online identities, but Cross said no official complaints were made against the suspect until the teen boy’s mother came forward.

Coulombe moved to Edmonton from Langley, B.C. in January 2017, after previously having lived in Edmonton.

Police believe there may be more victims in Alberta or B.C. and are asking anyone with more information to come forward.

Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton spokesperson Lorraine Turchansky said she has not heard of any other cases involving impersonation of Catholic priests in the city but that it's important people know Coulombe is not affiliated with the church.

“It’s hurtful, really, when someone does that and tarnishes the image of our priests, who work so hard to serve people and to help people and not to harm them," Turchansky said.

Coulombe has been charged with:

- luring to commit the making of child pornography (x2)

- luring to commit an offence against a child

- sexual interference

- invitation to sexual touching

- sexual assault

- possession of child pornography

- extortion

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Employees of Wisconsin company are embedded with microchips

And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name...
...And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
Revelation 13:16-17, 14:9-11

As reported by Jefferson Graham and Laura Schulte in USA Today, August 1, 2017:

RIVER FALLS, Wis. — A local firm here made good today on its vow to embed employees with microchips.

Sporting "I Got Chipped" T-shirts, some 40 workers at Three Square Market, a firm that makes cafeteria kiosks aimed at replacing vending machines, got tiny rice-sized microchips embedded in their hands.

Company officials said it was for convenience, a way for them to bypass using company badges and corporate log-ons to computers. Now, they can just have their hands read by a reader, similar to using a smartphone to pay for goods.

The company would like to see payments go cashless, as iPhone users do with Apple Pay. Except in this case, consumers use their hand instead of a smartphone to pay.

The chip is not a tracker nor does it have GPS in it, so the boss can't track your movements, company officials say. Still, to those who worry about Big Brother having more control over our lives, Three Square Market President Patrick McMullan says you should, "take your cell phone and throw it away."

The chips come from Biohax Sweden, a company that says it has nearly 3,000 people using it in Europe. The founder of that company, Jowan Osterlund, has struck alliances with companies to pay to have the chips installed in employees or pass them out at tech fairs.

Three Square Market employees say they were having the chip installed to be part of the larger team, and help develop the technology.

The chip ceremony was held in the company's cafeteria, where a local tattoo artist, was on hand to perform the installation.

The entire process took about a minute. It started with Osterlund cleaning the skin, finding a spot in the hand to pinch, then asking the employee to inhale and exhale as he inserted a syringe, install the chip, and place a band-aid over the spot.

"The pinch hurt more than the injection," says McMullen. "It stung for about an hour and half afterwards, but now it's getting back to normal."

But what seemed normal in Wisconsin played out differently across the Internet.

During our Facebook Live interview with McMullen, Chris Malak from Winneconne, Wis., said, "I have a co-worker who can never keep track of their keys thus always asking for mine and no idea what her pass word are. This would be good for her. But as for me, hell no."
Go here to see an interview with Three Market Square Chief Executive Officer Todd Westby on the company's plan to insert microchips into their employees.

Prophecy is one of the most useful tools Christians have in defending the truth of the Bible. Most Biblical prophecies have already been fulfilled, some have yet to be fulfilled, and some are in the process of being fulfilled. The prophecies in Revelation cited above weren't capable of fulfillment until recently, because the technology didn't exist. The technology does exist now, and the prophecy of the mark of the Beast is in the process of being fulfilled. Skeptics may claim that Biblical prophecies of a "mark" in the right hand or forehead without which no one may buy or sell, and the existence and gradually increasing acceptance of microchip implants, is just a coincidence, but the skeptics can't deny that the prophecies are in the Bible--and they've been there for over 1,900 years.

In the case of Three Square Market, the fulfillment of the prophecy in the passages from Revelation isn't exact--this photo shows an employee receiving the implant in his left hand, not his right--but the stage is clearly being set.

It's one thing to imagine how Biblical prophecy will be fulfilled, and it's another thing to hang around long enough to see it being fulfilled--and not necessarily as I imagined. When I read these prophecies in my early years as a Christian in the 1970s, and 1980s, I imagined that there would be a lot of force involved in getting people to receive the mark of the Beast. However, over the last 15 or 20 years, I've come to believe that my earlier view was wrong--rather than being forced to take the mark of the Beast, people will want it. Submitted for your approval, the following article by Jefferson Graham in USA Today, July 29, 2017 (updated August 1, 2017) (link in original):

LOS ANGELES — Charlene Li wants to be chipped.

“I am so ready,” says the long-time author and principal analyst for the Altimeter Group.

She’s referring to having a microchip embedded in her body, one that would do many of the things her smartphone could do now.

This week science fiction came to the heartland when a small Wisconsin company announced it would begin implanting microchips into employees hands. The pitch: This will be a convenience for them to ditch the company badge and corporate log-on for computers. Instead, the chip identifies them.

For Li, “as a woman, we don’t generally have outside pockets in our clothes so we have to carry a purse for my keys and phone and other things," she says. "If I had a chip, I wouldn’t have to lose things, and I could pay for things, open my car doors, so many options.”

Tuesday, the Wisconsin firm, Three Square Market, will stage a “chips and salsa,” party at its company headquarters near the Minnesota border, where it expects to chip up 50 of its 85 employees.

The announcement set up off alarm bells with some readers, who asked about the health risks (experts say they’re minimal, for now) and worried about them being evasive).

First, a reality check. The tiny, rice-shaped microchips do not have GPS. They are similar to the chip inside smartphones that let us pay for goods at the store by holding it under a reader. They can identify us, but they can’t track us — yet.

Still, it got us wondering. Beyond company ID and logging onto the computer, how else could an implanted chip improve (or worsen) our lives?
We went to a farmer’s market this week to ask folks. Their take:

— Replace passwords forever. Haley Cameron, 20, a hostess for a Hermosa Beach, Calif., restaurant says she has so many passwords and always forgets them. If they were already in you, “you wouldn’t have to memorize things or write them down,” she says.

— Goodbye passports. “It would be more efficient," says Mari Calisto, 17, a Hermosa Beach student. "At the airport it would be really quick to scan your ID” ... “and you wouldn’t have to worry about carrying a lot of paperwork.”

— Ditch the phone. Implant a chip that would allow you to receive phone calls through an accessory earpiece — as they communicated in the 2012 remake of Total Recall, when actual phones were implanted in bodies, and the characters held their hands to their ears to make calls. “I wouldn’t want to use the phone anymore. It’s all about the chips,” says Stephen Blackshear, 17, a Hermosa Beach student.

— Medical Safety. You could put vital information into the chip, says Bob Hoffman, 71, a retiree in Hermosa Beach. “If someone passed out, they might be able to read from the chip what allergies or medical problems they had.”

— Keeping track of criminals. Instead of ankle bracelets that monitor the movement of those under custody, “maybe they could trade it for chipping,” says Joe Terry, a farmer from Lawndale, Calif.

— Buy goods at stores quicker. Amazon is testing a new supermarket concept in Seattle that eliminates cash registers and lets customers pay with an app. For Li, an embedded chip would do even better.(Three Square Market sells kiosks that replace vending machines for employees, and is encouraging paying for food with the chip.)

— Business cards are so yesteryear. “When I meet people and they would say, can I connect with you, I say, read my chip,” says Li. “There’s no exchange of business cards, I'd just show up in their contacts.”

Click here to listen to our complete interview with Li about being chipped on the #TalkingTech podcast.
While the Scripture dwells on the negative aspects of receiving the mark of the Beast, the article above mentions a number of positive aspects, which I suggest are helping to soften people up for accepting the microchip. Another motivation, as stated in the earlier article, is to be "part of the larger team"--which sounds somewhat coercive and suspiciously cultic to me, especially with so many workers wearing t-shirts reading "I Got Chipped." It's also worth noting that while the microchipping technology comes from and is accepted in Sweden--which long ago abandoned its Christian heritage--it's now gaining increasing acceptance in the United States, which still retains a vestige of its Christian heritage.

I suggest that a pre-Tribulation, pre-millennial Rapture would hasten acceptance of the mark of the Beast. Imagine, if you will, the sudden disappearance of untold numbers of Christians. Those who are left behind won't likely recognize that those who have disappeared are Christians who've gone up in the Rapture--when the Antichrist is revealed, God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie (II Thessalonians 2:11).

More likely, the reaction of those left behind will be panic because of the disappearance of large numbers of people, with no way of tracing where they went. (New Agers--and "Christian" dominionists--will likely say that the "good guys" have been left behind, while the "bad guys" who have been holding back the introduction or progress of the New Age have been removed either for re-education or destruction.) The reaction will likely be "Where did they go? Who's next? If this happens again and I disappear, I want those left behind to be able to find out where I went. Give me that microchip before this happens again."

God doesn't condemn people merely for having a piece of technology put in their bodies--there are no biblical condemnations, for instance, of pacemakers, or pieces of steel in the case of fractured bones--but there is a condemnation for receiving the mark of the Beast. Since the passages in Revelation talk about the mark as "of the beast," and say that those who receive it "drink of the wine of the wrath of God," there has to be a major religious component to accepting the mark, involving allegiance to the Antichrist and rejection of Jesus Christ.

All of these developments indicate that the return of the Lord Jesus Christ is imminent and draws ever nearer. Maranatha!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Cambodian widow marries calf she believes to be the reincarnation of her husband

Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. Romans 1:25

As Paul Harvey would say, "It is not one world." However, this is no more nonsensical than what's being shoved in our faces every day by animal rights fanatics and alphabet perverts in the formerly culturally-Christian West. As reported by the Hyderabad Deccan Chronicle, July 24, 2017:

Love for animals is an important sentiment prevalent among several people across the world, but some people seem to take things to a new level. While bovines have been getting a lot of attention from people in India, a woman in Cambodia is leaving everyone behind with her affection for a calf.

74-year-old Khim Hang has married a calf who she believes to be a reincarnation of her deceased husband Tol Khut. The heartbroken lady who lost her husband a year back said that her husband’s soul came to her followed by the calf licking her hair, neck and then kissing her which was enough to convince Khim Hang that it’s her husband.

Khim Hang says that the five-month-old calf does everything including going upstairs in the house just like her husband did. Her children are also convinced that the calf is their father from his behaviour with relatives and Khim Hang’s grandchildren.

The family tucks the calf in bed and it sleeps with Tol Khut’s favourite pillow as Khim Hang has vowed to care for it till her death and asked her children to care for the calf after her death. People from all over the country have been flocking to their house to see how the calf stays with the family.


Monday, July 31, 2017

Yet another apostate church in Edmonton supports alphabet perversion

Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Romans 1:24-32

It's no longer a novelty to see stories like this; file it under "Yet another one"--as reported by Michelle Guthrie of Metro News, July 17, 2017:

After hateful homophobic posters were plastered around 118 Ave last week, a local church is looking to spread a message of their own.

Parishioners from St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church took to the street Sunday to hang rainbow-clad posters reading: “God loves you. And so do we.”

Last week anonymous posters were hung around central Edmonton bearing the names of local churches, Bible scriptures, and hateful messages towards the LGBTQ community. Several of the churches have since told Metro they are not responsible for the messages.

Although St. Andrew’s was not listed on the posters, Minister Mark Chiang said they felt an obligation to counter the message that local churches were homophobic.

“The congregation here has been wonderfully supportive,” said Mark Chiang, the minister at St. Andrew’s. “(They have) a great love for the community.”

Chiang, who is openly gay, said the posters aren’t the first time he’s seen hate like this—but what was different this time was that people, like advocate Janis Irwin and people in his own church community, were speaking out.

“I was encouraged by (the community’s) response to this,” he said. “You can’t just let this sort of stuff go, we should respond in some way. But it’s tricky because you don’t want to respond in a way that just fuels more homophobia.”

He said it’s important not to attack churches for their views, but wants people to know that many churches are becoming more welcoming to the LGBTQ community.

“Things are changing,” he said.

Chiang hopes the new posters will challenge other churches to question and talk about the issue in their own communities.

“I am worried about a young person seeing [the posters] and thinking they need to make a choice between their sexuality and their spirituality, when they don’t have to make that choice,” he said.

“In a lot of churches it’s still a debate, but there’s a lot more love and education going on and increased awareness than what those posters showed.”
As reported by Michelle Guthrie in Metro News, July 18, 2017:

Minister Mark Chiang woke up Tuesday morning to find many of the colourful posters his church had put up around 118 Avenue in support of the LGBTQ community had been vandalized or torn down.

Congregants at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church hung the posters Sunday, which read: ‘God loves you, and so do we.’

They made the flyers in response to homophobic posters spotted around the city’s core last week, Chiang said.

He said in a message that the vandalism “ain’t going to stop me,” as he headed off to print more.

Chiang, who is gay, told Metro on Monday that his community was “wonderfully supportive” of the LGBTQ community.

“(They have) a great love for the community,” he said.

Chiang said he plans to put up more posters as early as Tuesday, and his church remains committed to fighting the hate.

“You can’t just let this sort of stuff go, we should respond in some way.”

40 years ago: Sodomites in Toronto torture and murder a 12-year-old shoeshine boy

On July 28, 1977, Emanuel Jaques, the 12-year-old son of Portuguese immigrants, was working as a shoeshine boy on Yonge Street in Toronto when he was lured into an apartment with the promise of money for help in moving photographic equipment. Over the next 12 hours, he was tortured and sexually abused by four sodomites before being strangled and drowned in a kitchen sink. One of the killers turned himself in several days later; Emanuel's body was found on the roof of the building where he was killed, and the other killers were arrested at Sioux Lookout, Ontario as they were travelling westward by train.

Details of the crime shocked Toronto and the rest of Canada. The main thing I remember is that the mainstream media as late as 1977 didn't shy away from mentioning the homosexual aspects of the crime; it would never be covered like that now. Homosexual acts were legalized by the Canadian government of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1969, and by 1977, police in Toronto were no longer hassling sodomites along the Yonge Street strip. This blogger wonders if Emanuel Jaques might still be alive if police in Toronto had continued their previous policy.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Exorcist in Myanmar sentenced to death for ritual killing of three children

Surprisingly, this item is about pagan superstition in Asia, and not about "Christian" charismania. As reported by Esther Htusan of Associated Press, June 20, 2017:

YANGON, Myanmar -- A court in Myanmar sentenced a self-styled exorcist to death on Tuesday for killing three children during a ritual he carried out after telling their parents their offspring were possessed by evil spirits.

A police officer in Thanlyin, the township where the trial was held, said the court sentenced Tun Naing for the deaths of two girls, aged 8 months and 2 years, and a 3-year-old boy. The children suffered fatal injuries last October when Tun Naing punched and kicked them. The officer, contacted by phone, declined to give his name.

Superstition and belief in spirits is common in Myanmar, especially in rural villages in the Buddhist-dominated country.
Tun Naing, 30, had pleaded guilty when he was brought to trial in November last year, telling the court, "I lost control of my mind and I killed them."

Tun Naing received an additional sentence of seven years in prison for severely injuring a 4-year-old girl in a separate ceremony in another village. Witnesses to that incident alerted the police, who arrested him.

Death sentences are rare in Myanmar, and none have been carried out since 1988. However, the death penalty is still applied when there is clear evidence of a capital crime such as murder, said Kyaw Myint, a veteran lawyer.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Comerica Park in Detroit introduces biometric readers to identify regular attenders

And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Revelation 13:16-17

This blogger finds it hard to believe that lineups for tickets at Comerica Park are very long, given the way the Detroit Tigers are playing this year. However, the world doesn't seem to want to pass up an opportunity to soften up people for accepting the mark of the beast. As reported by Frank Witsil of the Detroit Free Press, July 25, 2017:

If you’ve ever had to stand in one of those looong lines to get into Comerica Park, you might have wanted to give the gate attendant the finger.

Well, now you can. Sort of.

The Detroit Tigers are trying out a new system that identifies you by your fingerprints, similar to the newest smartphones, to lessen the time it takes to get through security.

The Detroit stadium is among the first nationwide to get biometric readers. The Tigers debuted the system Monday at Gate A — the main gate across from the Fox Theatre.

"Once you are in the system, so to speak, you have the ability to enter different venues and perform different transactions," said Ed O'Brien, the head of sports business development at New York-based Clear, which installed the system. "The way we view our long-term sports fan experience is, you'd never have to carry a wallet again."

To use the biometric system, you must register your fingerprints, which is free. Registration at Comerica was offered Monday and will be available at a kiosk on game days. To sign up, which takes about five minutes, you'll need your ID and to correctly answer a series of questions, the company said. You then scan all 10 fingers.

Once your information is in the system, you are good to go, and you never have to register again.

In addition, the ballpark will allow registered users to bring one adult with a ticket and an unlimited number of unregistered children with tickets through the line with them.

The purpose of the exceptions, O'Brien said, is to benefit season-ticket holders and families. As more ticket holders register, the company plans to add more special entrance lanes. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Beyond stadium entry, Clear envisions a world in which people use their fingertips — and eyes — to buy concessions, enter offices and perhaps even start their cars.

In addition to baseball, O'Brien said the company is in conversations with other professional sports arenas in Detroit — Ford Field and Little Caesars Arena — to add the technology.

The biometric reader at Comerica is similar to what Clear uses with the Transportation Security Administration and has installed at airports, including Detroit Metro, to get flyers through security faster.

Clear has biometric scanners at 30 major airports, including those in Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Orlando, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington.

A privately held company that started in 2010, Clear also has technology that scans eyes.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Chilean Senate votes to relax some restrictions on abortion

The measure seems reasonable, watch for the boundaries to be expanded, as has happened elsewhere. As reported by Associated Press, July 21, 2017:

SANTIAGO — Chilean lawmakers took a major step toward legalising abortion in some cases on Wednesday, a dramatic development in one of the region’s most traditionally conservative countries.

In a marathon session lasting well past midnight, the Senate voted to allow abortions when a mother’s life is in danger, when the foetus is not viable and in cases of rape.

A version of the bill was approved in 2016 by the Chamber of Deputies. The legislation will now be returned to Chile’s lower house to be reconciled with a version passed there. That is expected to happen within the week, allowing it to become law.

President Michelle Bachelet supports the measure and has said she would sign it the law. But opposition lawmakers from the conservative political bloc Chile Vamos say they would appeal it to Chile’s Constitutional Tribunal, which could rule it unconstitutional.

Chile is one of just four countries that currently prohibit abortion in all cases. A handful of others have rules so restrictive that they amount to de facto bans.

Views have been shifting in Chile on a number of social issues that were once taboo. The predominantly Roman Catholic nation began to allow divorce only in 2004, and in 2015, Congress recognised civil unions for same-sex couples.

The changing attitudes mark a generational shift as younger people born after the 1973-1990 military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet come of age. The trend has been more evident since a wave of student protests demanding education reform began in 2011 and has accelerated as a string of priest sex-abuse scandals prompted many Chileans to question Catholic doctrine.

Currently women who get abortions in Chile are subject to up to five years in jail, as are doctors or medical personnel who assist with the procedure. A woman who arrives at a hospital with signs that she has had an abortion is supposed to be reported to the police, or the hospital faces sanction.

“I am not in favour of abortion, but I think we are talking about three exceptional cases,” said lawmaker Carolina Goic, who heads the center-left Christian Democratic Party. “The State’s answer cannot be simply sending women to jail.”

“It’s a historic morning,” Bachelet said in front of the presidential palace after the bill passed. “The Senate approved depenalising abortion in three cases, which means we can be a country where women can make the best decision possible when faced with such situations.”

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Never incriminate yourself in front of a parrot

...and be sure your sin will find you out. Numbers 32:23b

Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter. Ecclesiastes 10:20

When will criminals ever learn? If you're planning to commit a crime with a parrot in the vicinity, make sure you get rid of the parrot. As reported by Kenza Bryan of the London Independent, July 21, 2017 (links in original):

A woman has been convicted of murdering her husband after his last words were apparently repeated by the pet parrot who witnessed the attack.

Glenna Duram, 49, shot Martin Duram, 46, five times before turning the gun on herself in a failed suicide attempt.

Ms Duram was found guilty of first-degree murder after eight hours of deliberation by Newaygo County jury in Michigan.

Her husband’s African Grey parrot, Bud, may have repeated the pair’s final conversation to Mr Duram’s ex-wife, Christina Keller.

Ms Keller took the parrot in after the attack in May 2015, and has said: “I believe with all my heart that those are the last words of Marty.”

“I recognise two different voices screaming and yelling and it always ends with ‘don’t f*****g shoot’.”

The parrot has not been used in court proceedings, though this possibility was initially considered by the prosecutor.

The victim’s mother, Lillian Duram, reportedly said: "That bird picks up everything and anything, and it's got the filthiest mouth around."

Ms Duram will be sentenced on 28 August on a murder and firearm charge.

African Greys are known for their ability to mimic human speech and can have the cognitive ability of a young child.

Parrots of this species are native to equatorial Africa and weigh 400g on average.

An African Grey was considered for use as evidence by the defence in a 1993 murder trial.

It repeated “Richard, no, no, no,” suggesting defendant Gary Joseph Rasp was not guilty, though Rasp was convicted and it was ruled the evidence could not be used.

50 years ago: Pope Paul VI visits Turkey

Those too young to remember a pope before John Paul II might be surprised to know that he wasn't the first Roman Catholic pontiff to visit other lands in efforts to promote ecumenism. On July 25, 1967, Pope Paul VI arrived in Istanbul to begin a two-day visit to Turkey; he visited the Orthodox Patriarchal Church of St. George in Istanbul--becoming the first Roman Catholic pontiff to enter an Eastern Orthodox cathedral since 1054--and exchanged vows of ecumenical unity with Patriarch Atheganoras I. Pope Paul also addressed greetings to President Cevdet Sunay and the government of Turkey; Armenian Patriarch Snork Kalustian; and the leaders of the local Muslim and Jewish communities.

On July 26, Pope Paul concluded his visit by celebrating eucharist at the Church of St Anthony in Istanbul before visiting Ephesus and Smyrna. He addressed messages to Roman Catholic and Orthodox believers in Ephesus, and visited the Cathedral of St. John in Smyrna.

Pope Paul VI's visit to Turkey was another step toward religious unity, which has, in the 50 years since, expanded from a unity of visible "Christianity" to encompass a unity of all religions--which the Lord Jesus Christ will destroy with the brightness of his coming (II Thessalonians 2:8).


Thursday, July 20, 2017

10 years ago: The death of Tammy Faye Bakker

So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof. Proverbs 1:19

On July 20, 2007, Tammy Faye Messner, formerly Tammy Faye Bakker, died at the age of 65. Mrs. Messner, born Tamara LaValley, was the daughter of Pentecostal preachers, and was married to Jim Bakker from 1961-1992. The two founded the PTL Club (Praise the Lord) television program in 1974, and spent years preaching a false gospel of financial prosperity, using donations from viewers to finance their opulent lifestyle. The "ministry," which included the Heritage USA theme park, collapsed in sex and financial scandals in 1987, and Mr. Bakker went to prison for fraud. The couple divorced, and Mrs. Bakker married building contractor and family friend Roe Messner in 1993.

Mrs. Messner spent her final years promoting alternative medicine and becoming a sodomite icon, appearing in sodomy pride parades. She died after an 11-year battle with cancer, which I suspected may have been caused or exacerbated by chemicals from the outrageously large amounts of makeup she always covered herself with.

See my posts 25 years ago: The PTL scandal breaks, while Oral Roberts demands $8 million--or else! (March 17, 2012) and 25 years ago: PTL gives Jim Bakker the left foot of disfellowship (May 14, 2012).

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

40 years ago: British sodomite newspaper is convicted of blasphemous libel

Be not deceived; God is not mocked; Galatians 6:7a

It's hard to believe that this happened in the United Kingdom as recently as 1977, but this can be filed under "Scenes I'd like to see--again." As reported by BBC News, July 11, 1977:

The Gay News and its editor Denis Lemon have been found guilty of blasphemous libel in the first case of its kind for more than 50 years.

The case was brought as a private prosecution by the secretary of the National Viewers and Listeners Association, Mary Whitehouse.

She objected to a poem and illustration published in the fortnightly paper last year about a homosexual centurion's love for Christ at the Crucifixion.

After the jury gave their 10-2 guilty verdict at the Old Bailey Mrs Whitehouse said: "I'm rejoicing because I saw the possibility of Our Lord being vilified. Now it's been shown that it won't be".

The poem, The Love that Dares to Speak its Name, by Professor James Kirkup, 54, was distributed to the jury and reporters. However, the judge, Mr Alan King-Hamilton, ordered that it could not be published.

Prosecuting Counsel John Smyth told the court: "it may be said that this is a love poem - it is not, it is a poem about buggery."

The defence argued that far from being "vile" and "perverted" the poem glorified Christ by illustrating that all of mankind could love him.

During the six-day trial columnist and TV personality Bernard Levin and novelist Margaret Drabble testified that the Gay News was a responsible paper that did not encourage illegal sexual practices.

Blasphemous libel is akin to the ecclesiastical charge of heresy - once punishable by death - and in the UK is an offence under common law and the 1697 Blasphemy Act.

The last time a case was brought in the UK was in 1921 when a Mr Gott was sentenced to nine months in prison for publishing a pamphlet that suggested that Christ looked like a clown as he entered Jerusalem.

Represented by playwright and novelist John Mortimer, QC, Mr Lemon, 32, sat silently in the dock as the verdict was given.
The aftermath, as reported by BBC News:

The next day Denis Lemon was given a nine-month suspended jail sentence and a £500 fine. The Gay News was fined £1,000 but with court costs the paper had to pay £10,000.
The paper and its editor appealed against the decision in spring 1978, but the Law Lords upheld the convictions.

A couple of days after the original trial two socialist newspapers published the offending poem as a protest against censorship.

The Gay News was launched by Denis Lemon and a team of five others in 1972 with very little funding or journalistic experience. By 1977 it had a circulation of 20,000.

Mr Lemon fell ill with an Aids-related illness and sold the paper in 1982 - it closed down in 1983.

He died in July 1994.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

50 years ago: Jerusalem is declared to be unified under Israeli control

Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it...
...In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem...
... In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
Zechariah 12:2-3, 6, 8-9

On June 28, 1967, Israel declared Jerusalem reunified under its sovereignty, three weeks after her capture of the Arab sector in the Six-Day War. See my post 50 years ago: The Six-Day War (June 10, 2017).

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Israeli government abandons its plan to open mixed-sex prayer area at Jerusalem's Western Wall

More evidence that the man-made religion of Judaism is not a monolith--especially in Israel--and that ultra-Orthodox Judaism wields considerable power in Israel; as reported by Aron Heller of Associated Press, June 25, 2017:

JERUSALEM — The Israeli government froze a long-overdue plan Sunday to open a mixed-gender prayer area at Jerusalem's Western Wall, a major policy reversal that infuriated the liberal streams of Judaism that represent most Jews in the United States.

Israel had approved the plan in January 2016 to officially recognize the special prayer area at the Western Wall — the holiest site where Jews can pray — a compromise reached after years of negotiations between liberal Israeli and American Jewish groups and the Israeli authorities. It was seen as a significant breakthrough in promoting religious pluralism in Israel, where the ultra-Orthodox authorities govern almost every facet of Jewish life.

But the program was never implemented as powerful ultra-Orthodox members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition government raised objections to the decision after they had initially endorsed it. Under ultra-Orthodox management, the wall is currently separated between men's and women's prayer sections.

Netanyahu, trying to placate both his coalition partners and wealthy American Jewish donors, had promised the new $9 million plaza for mixed-gender prayer would be established.

On Sunday, he ordered top aides to formulate a new plan but said little more. In another controversial decision Sunday, his government promoted a bill to maintain the ultra-Orthodox monopoly over conversions.

It set off a cascade of criticism from liberal groups both in Israel and abroad.

"I'm outraged by this government decision. I think it shows cowardice. For two years we negotiated in good faith with the government," said Anat Hoffman, chair of the Women of the Wall group, which has pushed for egalitarian access to the wall. "And then today they decide that it is null and void, that they're not going to implement it, that equality is out the window."

Earlier in the day, her group held its weekly prayers at the site and was harassed by ultra-Orthodox worshippers.

American Jews, who have long lamented Israel should be as accepting of their religious practices as they are of their financial and political support, have been pushing for the new prayer area and had warned that if the deal did not go through it would lead to a dangerous rupture with North American Jewry.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the President of the Union for Reform Judaism, the largest stream of Judaism in the United States, said the decision could lead many to rethink their support for Israel.

"There is a limit to how many times you can be delegitimized and insulted," he said. "This is the core mission of the Jewish state — to be a home for all Jews ... it is unthinkable but the unthinkable just happened."

Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, head of the New York-based Rabbinical Assembly, an association for Conservative movement rabbis, said the decision was not surprising given the clout of ultra-Orthodox parties yet shocking nonetheless for its divisive message. Still, she said it would not affect her devotion to Israel.

"The people of Israel still need our support and our love and the fact that an unbelievably, spectacularly shortsighted government cannot see its way to understand the critical importance of unity of world Jewry is something that is the fault of the politicians," she said.

"Israel is turning its back on the institutions through which we love Israel."

The liberal Jewish groups had accused Netanyahu of delaying implementation because of pressure from the two ultra-Orthodox parties that keep his narrow coalition afloat. They have already petitioned Israel's Supreme Court to implement the decision and still hold out hope it will overturn it.

Ultra-Orthodox rabbis strictly govern Jewish practices in Israel such as weddings, divorces and burials. The ultra-Orthodox religious establishment sees itself as responsible for maintaining traditions through centuries of persecution and assimilation, and it resists any inroads from liberals it often considers to be second-class Jews who ordain women and gays and are overly inclusive toward converts and interfaith marriages.

Arieh Deri, head of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, said he was pleased the government blocked a plan that would have harmed the "sanctity of the site."

"Preserving the status quo of the Western Wall reflects the will of most of the people," he said. "There is no room there for destructive factions whose only purpose is to desecrate the site."

The liberal streams have made strides in recent years, establishing synagogues, youth movements, schools and kindergartens, and Israel's secular majority has become more accepting. But they still have very little political backing, and authorities have generally tended to regard them as a somewhat alien offshoot imported from North America that does not mesh with how religion is typically practiced in Israel.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, one of the few dissenting votes, said freezing the plan "represented a severe blow to the unity of the Jewish people, to various Jewish communities and to the relations between Israel and the Jewish diaspora."

Yair Lapid, a leading opposition figure, accused Netanyahu of national irresponsibility and of forfeiting his role as leader of the Jewish people.

"Israel today became the only democracy in the world where there is no equal rights for Jews," he wrote on his Facebook page. "This is an insulting, irrational affront to the deep religious feelings of millions of Jews."

Sunday, June 25, 2017

300 years ago: The founding of the Premier Grand Lodge of England

On June 24, 1717, The Premier Grand Lodge of England, the first Masonic Grand Lodge in the world, was founded in London. In 1813 it united with the Ancient Grand Lodge of England to create the United Grand Lodge of England.

I don't feel like going into detail on the anti-Christian nature of Freemasonry, but there are a number of excellent critiques of Freemasonry from a Christian perspective. A couple that this blogger has found useful are The Facts on the Masonic Lodge (1989) and The Secret Teachings of the Masonic Lodge: A Christian Perspective (1990) by John Ankerberg & John Weldon.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Some people are still foolish enough to fall for the frauds of psychics and astrologers

How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Proverbs 1:22

The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going. Proverbs 14:15

As reported by Edmonton Police Service, June 14, 2017:

The Edmonton Police Service has received numerous reports of fraudsters posing as astrologers and psychic readers.

It was reported that some persons were lead to believe they were cursed with black magic and/or witchcraft.

In a recent investigation, an Edmontonian was convinced into paying up to $ 100,000 in cash and gold to have black magic removed from their life and to have access more money.

“It is difficult to track these alleged fraudsters,” explains Det. Glen Haneman with Southeast Division. “Often, these individuals quickly disappear when they believe they could be caught.”

These fraudsters typically use fake names and target vulnerable people by promising resolution to their personal problem and leave business cards or pamphlets on parked vehicles.

Examples of astrology and psychic fraud:

Unrealistic promises to solve personal and financial problems.

Request for a small amount of money upfront for performing healing rituals.

Gain your confidence and present a plan requiring thousands of dollars as offerings (for prayers, chain of rituals etc.).

Claim to remove “black magic and/or witchcraft.”

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Aga Khan donates Islamic garden to the University of Alberta

As reported by the University of Alberta Botanic Garden, April 7, 2017 (links in original):

A spectacular new garden will bloom in 2018 at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden, located 15 minutes southwest of Edmonton.

The Aga Khan Garden, Alberta was made possible by a contribution in excess of $25 million by His Highness the Aga Khan, Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslim community. The gift arises from the long-standing relationship between the University of Alberta and the Aga Khan, highlighted by a Memorandum of Understanding first signed with the Aga Khan University in 2006 and an honorary doctorate given to His Highness in 2009.

Thomas Woltz, of award-winning Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, was asked by the Aga Khan to study other Mughal Islamic gardens while developing a design that also incorporates the plants and topography of Northern Alberta.

With secluded forest paths, wide, stepped terraces that change with the seasons, geometric water features that stream into wetlands and a spectacular orchard of local plants, the 4.8-hectare Aga Khan Garden will be an amazing experience for area residents and visitors alike. It will be situated around the existing Calla Pond at the heart of the University of Alberta Botanic Garden.

“The Aga Khan Garden will be a place to connect with nature, a place of inspiration and a place where cultural understanding will grow,” said David Turpin, president of the University of Alberta. “We are honoured and grateful that the Aga Khan, a champion of openness and understanding between cultures, selected the University of Alberta for this wonderful gift.”

Believing that parks can be tools for social and economic benefit, His Highness has restored and built magnificent parks and gardens around the globe as part of the broader development programs of the AKDN, including parks in Cairo, Kabul and Delhi. (Aga Khan University is also part of the AKDN.)

The Aga Khan Garden is the first garden in Western Canada, the second in North America, and the 11th in the world to be supported by His Highness.

“On the 150th anniversary of Canada, it is appropriate that we are creating together a Mughal-style garden which echoes the great contributions that Muslims have made to world heritage,” said His Highness the Aga Khan. “The Mughals built the Taj Mahal and Humayun's Tomb and the gardens around them, so the university's embrace of this project is an inherently pluralistic act. The creation of this garden therefore both deepens an existing partnership and illustrates the pluralistic nature of this country. Measures like this should be encouraged, both here and abroad.”

“Our diversity makes us stronger,” said Alberta Premier Rachel Notley. “This garden will serve as a living reminder of the diverse heritage of our open and welcoming province, which is a big part of what makes Alberta such a great place to live. On behalf of the province, I express my deep gratitude for this generous gift.”

The addition of the new Aga Khan Garden is expected to increase the number of annual visitors to the University of Alberta Botanic Garden from 75,000 to 160,000. An interpretive program will help visitors understand the featured plants and the art and design of the garden. Information about Islamic traditions, music, sound and poetry will also be provided.

The Aga Khan Garden is considered a gift that will celebrate both the 150th anniversary of Canada and the Diamond Jubilee celebrations that mark 60 years since the Aga Khan became the 49th Hereditary Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims.

A new Memorandum of Understanding signed on April 7 between the University of Alberta and the Aga Khan University and its sister agencies in the AKDN serves as the foundation for academic, cultural and scientific exchanges in areas of interest and benefit to both institutions.

The University of Alberta Botanic Garden, part of the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences, is an award-winning visitor attraction, a 97-hectare research site and home to year-round adult and children's education programming.

To see videos and design drawings of the new Aga Khan Garden, visit uab.ca/akg.

Bald men in Mozambique may be targets of attacks for their body parts

This blogger still has hair on the sides and back of the head, but that may not be enough to serve as protection, and I'm not enthusiastic about putting it to the test. As Paul Harvey would say, "It is not one world." As reported by BBC News, June 7, 2017:

Bald men in Mozambique could be targets of ritual attacks, police have warned, after the recent killing of five men for their body parts.

Two suspects have been arrested in the central district of Milange, where the killings occurred.

"The belief is that the head of a bald man contains gold," said Afonso Dias, a police commander in Mozambique's central Zambezia province.

Albino people have also been killed in the region for ritual purposes.

Three men have been killed in the past week alone.

The BBC's Jose Tembe in the capital, Maputo, says police think the notion of a bald head containing gold is a ruse by witchdoctors to get clients to take a person's head to them.

"Their motive comes from superstition and culture - the local community thinks bald individuals are rich," Commander Dias is reported as having told a press conference in Maputo.

The suspects are two young Mozambicans aged around 20, the AFP news agency reports.

A regional security spokesman, Miguel Caetano, told AFP that one of the victims had his head cut off and his organs removed.

The organs were to be used in rituals to advance the wealth of clients in Tanzania and Malawi, Mr Caetano said, citing the suspects.

There has been a spate of killings of people with albinism in East Africa in recent years, with their body parts used to make charms and potions by witchdoctors.

Brain of Roman Catholic "Saint" John Bosco stolen from Italian basilica

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. Revelation 21:8

Submitted for your approval, yet another piece of evidence that Roman Catholicism is a religion of superstition and idolatry. I don't know Italian, so I had to rely on Google Translate for this post; I apologize for any awkwardness in the translation. As reported (originally in Italian) by the Rome newspaper Il Messagero (The Messenger), June 3, 2017:

The urn containing the brain of St. John Bosco was stolen from the Basilica of Colle Don Bosco, in the province of Asti. It is learned from investigative sources. The relic was behind the main altar, at the bottom of the basilica built in the native places of the founder of the Salesian congregation.

The theft would go up last night. According to the information, the community would notice the theft at the closing time of the Church, each year targeting numerous pilgrims devoted to the Holy, whose congregation is present in nineteen countries around the world with 1,600 institutes. Carabinieri investigations, coordinated by Asti's prosecution, are taking place in the utmost research.
"Invite anyone who has taken away the relic to return it immediately, without any conditions." This is the appeal of Archbishop of Turin, Cesare Nosiglia, who denounces the "deep moral misery" inherent in what happened. The Archbishop also invites all priests of the diocese of Turin to "remember the Salesian community in the celebrations of tomorrow, Pentecost Solemnity."

A committing theft, perhaps to demand a ransom, the impulsive gesture of a devotee or a brawl. Asti's lawyer, who coordinates the carabinieri's investigation into the theft of Don Bosco's relic at the time, does not rule out any hypothesis, including that of Satanism. Investigations are the military of the provincial command of Asti: scientists have picked up every trace useful to identify the perpetrators of the crime scene. The basilica is always guarded by the Salesians. There are no cameras inside. Present instead on the outside. Examining recorded images could help the investigation, which is conducted in the strictest sense. According to a first reconstruction, it seems that theft authors did not make any mistakes, just to overcome the protections at a time of distraction. Behind the altar of the lower basilica, in fact, broken glass was not found.

Colle don Bosco is the hill that rises in the village of Becchi, hamlet Morialdo of the municipality of Castelnuovo, where San Giovanni Bosco was born on 16 August 1815. The basilica was consecrated in 1984. The relics of the saint are placed behind the altar of the lower church , To indicate the birthplace of the founder of the Salesians and Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. Dear Father, in Bergoglio, on the occasion of 200 years of his birth in 2015, Pope Francis paid homage to the basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Turin. "I am so grateful to the Salesians for what they did for my family, who was very attached to them," he said on that occasion. "My mom and daddy," added Francesco, "have been married to a Salesian missionary from Patagonia from Lodi, who has helped me greatly in my vocation." Giovanni Melchiorre Bosco, who died in Turin in 1888, was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1934.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Psychic injured in freak car crash "didn't foresee it happening"

And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: Luke 4:23a

Yet another one--those stupid enough to buy tickets for his shows might want to ask for a refund. As reported by Josiah Destin of the Phoenix Arizona Republic, June 7, 2017 (link in original):

A psychic medium from Litchfield Park is recovering after being hit by a car that struck a window in a Ontario, Canada, restaurant where he was eating May 30, 2017.
Blair Robertson recalls the moment a white Lexus crashed through the front window of a restaurant in Canada, launching the psychic medium into the air and pinning him against a wall.

"I didn't foresee it happening."

Litchfield Park resident Robertson, 51, jokes about the May 30 accident even as he is recovering from injuries.

He was having lunch with a mentor and fellow psychic when the car plowed through the window at Silks Country Kitchen in Virgil, Ontario. Robertson and his friend were seated at a table by the window.

"It basically sounded like a bomb going off," Robertson said. "It took place one second in time."

The crash was captured on a restaurant surveillance camera, which Robertson has posted on his Facebook page along with updates on how he is doing.

"I see my table flying up. My friend disappears behind the table. Next thing you know I'm flying in the air and then I land. ... The car grabbed my leg and pull me back down. It pinned my leg under the car in a very weird position,'' he recalled, in an interview with The Arizona Republic.

"My leg was in the shape of an 'L.' My left foot was on its side and I have no idea how it wasn't snapped off."

With an injured left rib, swollen leg, bruises throughout his body and whiplash in his neck, Robertson is amazed he is still alive.

"There must have been angels there," Robertson said.

Police said the 85-year-old woman who was driving the car was not impaired, the Toronto Sun reported.

The owner of the restaurant, Jenifer Phelan, told The Republic she was at the restaurant at the time and heard the crash.

"We've been here for 22 years and nothing has ever happened like this before," Phelan said. "They were very brave. I can't even imagine that happening. He (Robertson) was very happy with the emergency crews, and there were volunteer firefighters a couple shops away who came immediately."

Phelan said it took the shop about three hours to clear all the broken glass and board up the windows. Insurance will cover the cost of all the damage, she said, adding the restaurant is fully reopened.

Robertson, who presents live psychic shows, just finished a nine-show Ontario tour.

He has five shows scheduled in Arizona in July.
See also my previous post Noted astrologer and psychic fails to foresee his own murder (September 1, 2016)

Pope Francis appoints an abortionist to the Pontifical Academy of Life

I don't know Italian, so I had to rely on Google Translate for this post; I apologize for any awkwardness in the translation. As reported (originally in Italian) by Franca Giansoldati in the Rome newspaper Il Messagero (The Messenger), June 14, 2017:

Storm in the Vatican. In 1994 Pope Wojtyla with Motu Proprio Vitae Mysterium established a Pontifical Life Academy, open to scholars of any nationality and religious faith, to promote research aimed at strengthening the defense of life "in direct relation to Christian morality and the directives of the Church Magisterium ". At 23 years, something seems to have been jammed, at least judging the list of members appointed by Pope Francis, under the guidance of Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, president of the academy. Surprisingly among the illustrious names listed there is that of professor Nigel Biggar, an Anglican moralist theologian, a famous professor at Oxford University, who is an abortionist. Of him are known some moral studies related to a possible abortive line at 18 weeks of the fetus, certified brain activity and consciousness. Of course, for Catholic morality and for the Academy of Life, called to defend the very moment of conception, it was a tough blow. The name of Professor Nigel before arriving on the Pope's table for the honorary assignment was studied by Monsignor Paglia and sent to the Secretariat of State. Evidently even in that place something was omitted and so the name slipped through the control loops, contrary to other names of ultra liberal scholars, also proposed by Straw as members of the Academy of Life but rejected in the inner circle .

The Vatican embarrassment is now palpable. Also because in the Statute of the Academy, in Article 6, it is clear and clear that the new academics (doctors, biologists, theologians, jurists, philosophers, sociologists, anthropologists) are invited to sign the "Certification of the Servants of Life" . Which means that "the quality of Academic is lost in the case of a public and deliberate action or public statement contradicting these principles". In short, another mess for Pope Francis to break in record time, as he already mounts an underground protest from the conservative part of the Church that has long been concerned about the changes - they say - to doctrine and perpetually seeking pretexts to arise. Meanwhile, Professor Nigel Biggar, who ended up in social media dust and targeted by critical articles on his open-minded appraisal of voluntary interruption of pregnancy, replied Twitter saying that his liberal past on abortion is known, but the reason for the Which was named by the Academy of Life is his "opposition to assisted suicide".
One lesson from this is, as always, never trust a Jesuit.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Astronomers create the largest map yet of the Universe

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
Psalms 8:3-4

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Psalms 19:1

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Revelation 4:11

As reported by the Chinese news agency Xinhua, May 29, 2017:

A slice through largest-ever three-dimensional map of the Universe. Earth is at the left, and distances to galaxies and quasars are labelled by the lookback time to the objects (lookback time means how long the light from an object has been traveling to reach us here on Earth). The locations of quasars (galaxies with supermassive black holes) are shown by the red dots, and nearer galaxies mapped by SDSS are also shown (yellow).

LOS ANGELES, May 28 -- Based entirely on the positions of quasars, an international collaboration of astronomers with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) have created the first map of the large-scale structure of the Universe. It could also help improve our understanding of dark energy.

"To unveil the mystery of the cosmic acceleration, the astronomers have been trying to map the Universe from now to the remote past. The Chinese astronomers, especially those from National Astronomical Observatories of Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC) working on observational and theoretical cosmology, have been playing key roles in the large international collaborations of the eBOSS galaxy survey," Xue Suijian, professor and deputy director of the National Astronomical Observatories of China (NAOC) under Chinese Academy of Sciences, told Xinhua on Sunday.

Quasars are the incredibly bright and distant points of light powered by supermassive black holes. As matter and energy fall into a quasar's black hole, they heat up to incredible temperatures and begin to glow.

It is this bright glow that is detected by a dedicated 2.5-meter telescope here on Earth. The telescope's observations gave the scientists the quasars'distances, which they used to create a three-dimensional map of where the quasars are.

"These quasars are so far away that their light left them when the Universe was between three and seven billion years old, long before the Earth even existed," said Gongbo Zhao from the National Astronomical Observatories of Chinese Academy of Sciences, the study's other co-leader.

To make their map, the international research team used the Sloan Foundation Telescope to observe an unprecedented number of quasars. During the first two years of the SDSS's Extended Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (eBOSS), astronomers measured accurate three-dimensional positions for more than 147,000 quasars, according to SDSS.

And to use the map to understand the expansion history of the Universe, the astronomers had to go a step further, using measurements of a phenomena known as baryon acoustic oscillations (BAOs), which are the present-day imprint of sound waves which travelled through the early Universe, when it was much hotter and denser than the Universe we see today.

But when the Universe was 380,000 years old, conditions changed suddenly and the sound waves became "frozen" in place. These frozen waves are left imprinted in the three-dimensional structure of the Universe we see today.

The results of the new study also confirm the standard model of cosmology that researchers have built over the last twenty years. In this standard model, the Universe follows the predictions of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity - but includes components whose effects we can measure, but whose causes we do not understand, according to the study.

There is still work to be done however, and the eBOSS experiment continues using the Sloan Telescope at Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico, USA, in order to observe even more quasars and increase the size of any future maps.

"Besides eBOSS, the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI), which is a larger galaxy survey mapping the Universe using remote astronomical objects up to 10 billion light years from us, will start observations in 2018, and Chinese astronomers will continue contributing great efforts," Xue said.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Euphemisms abound in current discussion of drinking

euphemism
noun eu·phe·mism \ˈyü-fə-ˌmi-zəm\
: the substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant; also : the expression so substituted


For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: Proverbs 23:21a

Now that scientists have discovered that drinking alcohol at an early age can lead to an early death, don't be surprised if they announce similar discoveries about the early practice of smoking, drug use, or other bad habits.

The following article abounds in euphemisms: "alcohol abuse disorder;" "alcohol use disorder;" "abuse sufferers;" "alcohol addiction." I'm surprised "alcohol dependency" and "alcohol-dependent" weren't included. The term "drunkenness" does get mentioned, which is far more honest. The Bible never uses such euphemisms, or even terms such as "alcoholism" or "alcoholic"--terms popularized by Alcoholics Anonymous in an effort to relabel a sin as a disease--but uses such terms as "drunkenness," and says that "drunkards" will not inherit the Kingdom of God (I Corinthians 6:10). I'm not going to mention the innumerate use of the word "DOUBLES" in the original headline.

As reported by Alexandra Thompson in the London Daily Mail, June 9, 2017 (bold in original):

Getting drunk before your 15th birthday nearly doubles your risk of an early death, new research reveals.

Those who get inebriated at a young age are 47 percent more likely to die prematurely, a study found.

Researchers believe early drinking may increase a person's risk of suffering a life-threatening alcohol abuse disorder in later life.

Lead author Dr Hui Hu from the University of Florida, said: 'Early onset of drinking and drunkenness are associated with alcohol use disorders and therefore may play a role in elevated alcohol use disorder-related mortality rates.'

Other experts add excessive alcohol-consumption at a young age can increase a person's 'risk-taking behavior' and lead to mental health issues.

How the study was carried out

Researchers from the University of Florida analyzed the drinking habits and death records of almost 15,000 adults, who were followed for three decades.

The researchers examined data from the early 1980s that asked the participants if they had ever been drunk and how old they were when it first occurred.

At the time of the interviews, most participants were aged between 18 and 44-years-old.

Key findings

Compared to study participants who said they never got drunk, those who did so at least once before they turned 15 were 47 percent more likely to die during the study period.

Getting drunk at 15 or older increased the risk of death during the study by 20 percent.

Some 61 percent of the study's participants said they had been drunk at some point, with around 13 percent of first-time cases occurring before they turned 15.

Of those who got drunk young, around 37 percent were suffering from an alcohol abuse disorder at the time of the interviews, compared to 11 percent of abuse sufferers who did not get intoxicated until they were older.

By the end of the study, 26 percent of those who got drunk young had died, compared to 23 percent of those who got drunk later and 19 percent who had never been inebriated.

Why early drinking is risky

Excessive drinking at a young age is thought to be linked to alcohol abuse in later life.

Dr Hu said: 'Early onset of drinking and drunkenness are associated with alcohol use disorders and therefore may play a role in elevated alcohol use disorder-related mortality rates.'

Yet alcohol addiction may not be the only factor contributing to young drinkers' early death risk.

Dr Hu said: 'We found that an estimated 21 percent of the total effects of early drunkenness were mediated through alcohol use disorders, suggesting that many other factors in addition to alcohol use disorders may play important roles.'

Dr Michael Criqui, a public health researcher at the University of California, San Diego, who was not involved in the study, said: 'We know that alcohol abuse leads to earlier mortality, but it is also possible that earlier abuse reflects other genetic or environmental characteristics that lead to earlier mortality.'

Early drunkenness may point to other factors such as risk-taking behavior, mental health issues or a lack of social or economic support that influences health and longevity, noted Dr. Gregory Marcus, a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, who was not involved in the study.

How to interpret the results

Dr Marcus said: 'No one should interpret these data to mean that their fate is sealed.

'On the contrary, these findings are useful exactly because they may help us identify those at risk so we can prevent these adverse outcomes.'

Yet Mr Joy Bohyun Jang of the institute for social research at the University of Michigan, who was not involved in the study, added that the study demonstrates an early mortality risk exists even among people without alcohol addiction, which all drinkers should be aware of.

He said: 'Those with alcohol use disorders may receive attention to their alcohol use behaviors by practitioners or they themselves may be cautious about their alcohol use.

'But what this study tells us is that those without alcohol use disorder may need the same level of attention if they experience drunkenness early in their life.'