Doggy disciples

The name “Islam” means “submission” or “obedience,” but move over, Mohammed, the Christians are about to take obedience to a whole new level with their program to raise up ministers of the Gospel—on four legs.

A program offered at one Wyoming church gives dogs with their owners the opportunity to spread comfort and the message of Christ.

The eight-week Canines for Christ session will be at Ascension and Holy Trinity Church, at 334 Burns Ave., beginning Jan. 19, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Canines for Christ is a Christian-based, animal-assisted therapy ministry. Dogs and their owners work together to train the pets to visit places that include hospitals, nursing homes, hospice facilities, special-needs facilities and cancer centers.

Yeah, friendly, well-trained dogs are a great way to overcome people’s natural wariness around strangers, and make them more vulnerable to your attempts to exploit them in their weakness. Still, believers are always preying on the young and/or the helpless, so this program doesn’t change much. I can’t help wondering, though, what will happen when the revival comes to town, and the minister lays his hands on the sick and shouts, “Heal!”

Bible distribution program in FL

The Christian Post reports that a conservative Christian group has begun a probably-illegal Bible distribution program in local high schools in the area.

Volunteers from a Florida-based group have distributed Bibles to the lunchrooms of several high schools in the Sunshine State.

World Changers of Florida, a conservative organization, distributed the Bibles on Wednesday, with a focus on high schools in Orange County.

There are apparently some restrictions on the program, but definitely not enough to comply with the First Amendment.

“Passive distribution means the Bibles may be placed on one unmanned table for distribution in a location where students normally congregate during non-instructional time,” reads the memo. “The representatives may only be allowed to replenish Bibles if they run out and must remove any undistributed literature at the end of the distribution day.”

Has the ACLU heard about this? Anybody got any copies of The God Delusion they’d like to make available for distribution in the same cafeterias?

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Christians go 1 for 4 in ECHR

To follow up on the earlier story of 4 Christians who claimed human rights violations, the Richmond and Twickenham Times reports that only one succeeded.

The four Christians claimed their employers’ actions went against articles nine and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protected their rights to “freedom of thought, conscience and religion” and prohibited religious discrimination. All but Miss Eweida’s case were unsuccessful.

So, not being allowed to wear a cross on a necklace at work, that’s a human rights violation (if you’re a Christian), but not being allowed to marry isn’t a violation (if you’re gay)? I can’t argue the merits of Ms. Eweida’s case because I don’t know all the details, but at least two of the other three plaintiffs were specifically seeking a court judgment in favor of their desire to discriminate against gays and to refuse to allow them to receive equal treatment. If denying someone the right to wear a necklace is officially a human rights violation, those two should not merely have lost their lawsuit, they should have been found guilty.

“Don’t treat us like we treat gays!”

Usually I leave the World Net Daily beat to Ed, but this came up in my Google alerts, and I couldn’t resist.

The European Court of Human Rights is set to deliver a key verdict early next week in a major case against the United Kingdom surrounding anti-Christian discrimination.

I’m not sure exactly how the UK managed to “surround” this alleged anti-Christian discrimination, but the four cases concern two women who were wearing crosses in violation of company policies prohibiting jewelry, plus a counselor who refused to provide sex therapy to gays, plus a borough clerk who refused to officiate at gay marriages. I’m not sure what the specific legal merits are in each case, though the reason this lawsuit is coming up in the ECHR is because the Christians have failed to win their lawsuits anywhere else. Then again, look who’s representing them.

“These cases are of a primary importance because they raise the matter of the toleration of Christians by the Western postmodern society,” explained director Grégor Puppinck with the European Center for Law and Justice, which filed a brief in the case supporting the plaintiffs.

The European Center for Law Injustice (excuse me, “and Justice”)? That would be the expatriate branch of the American Center for Law Injustice (darn, did it again), would it not?

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“Forcing” Christians to violate their religious beliefs?

Holy Antichrist, Batman! Hold onto your utility belts, because, as CNS News breathlessly reports, the Obama administration has found a way to legally force Christians to violate their religious beliefs, despite the First Amendment.

In a legal argument formally presented in federal court in the case of Hobby Lobby v. Kathleen Sebelius, the Obama administration is claiming that the First Amendment—which expressly denies the government the authority to prohibit the “free exercise” of religion—nonetheless allows it to force Christians to directly violate their religious beliefs even on a matter that involves the life and death of innocent human beings.

It’s a long screed that’s only missing one thing: any mention of any Christian being forced to violate their religious beliefs. What they’re complaining about is the fact that health plans have to cover contraception, which includes medications that rabble-rousers like to call “abortion-inducing drugs.” But this ignores the plain and simple fact that nothing in the Obama health-care program ever requires Christians to have an abortion. Christians like the evangelical founders of Hobby Lobby might not like abortion, and they might like to use their financial position to try and impose their religious views on their employees, but in fact it’s none of their business what kind of health care their employees choose to pursue.
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New year, same old hate

The Catholic Church in England has issued a broad denunciation of child abuse, including child sexual abuse, and called for a full investigation of any individual or organization involved in systematically molesting children or aiding and abetting in such molestations. Or wait, I read that wrong. The real evil they want to combat, according to the NY Daily News, is two adults being able to experience the same kind of loving, committed marital relationship as any other couple.

Roman Catholic leaders in England and Wales took to the pulpit on Sunday to rail against proposed legislation that would allow same sex couples to legally marry.

“Government policy cannot foresee the full consequences, for the children involved or for wider society, of being brought up by two mothers without a father’s influence or by two fathers without a mother’s influence.” Most Reverend Bernard Longley, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham, told parishioners in a letter that was read aloud during Sunday services.

Ah, see, I knew there was something about children in there.

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Dutch website helps people leave Catholic Church

Reuters is reporting some good news: in the Netherlands, you can go to a web site that will help turn Catholics into ex-Catholics, and the Church’s anti-gay stance is driving traffic to the site.

Tom Roes, whose website allows people to download the documents needed to leave the church, said traffic on ontdopen.nl – “de-baptise.nl” – had soared from about 10 visits a day to more than 10,000 after Pope Benedict’s latest denunciation of gay marriage this month.

“Of course it’s not possible to be ‘de-baptized’ because a baptism is an event, but this way people can unsubscribe or de-register themselves as Catholics,” Roes told Reuters.

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Clay County schools lose a good man

The Florida Times-Union reports that the Clay County school district has lost an unusually talented superintendent.

Ben Wortham closed his office door behind him last week ending a 43-year journey that has taken him from the classroom to superintendent of Clay County schools…

Three weeks after he became superintendent in 2008, the state cut the district’s funding by 5 percent. That was a $16 million loss in the middle of the school year. It was the first in a continuing series of similar state funding cuts to school districts statewide…

He said the district’s weathered the financial storm “with just a minimum of disruption to our district in the way of classroom and personnel.”

Clay is designated “an academically high performing” district by the Florida Department of Education. It’s one of 17 such districts statewide.

It also ranks 12th by student achievement statewide. It has an overall grade of “A” from the state. Clay’s graduation rate is 94 percent, while its dropout rate is 1.2 percent annually.

He was defeated by a fellow Republican who made a campaign issue out of “See You At The Pole” prayer rallies.

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Don’t ask, don’t say “I do”…

…is over.

Cadet Chapel, the landmark Gothic church that is a center for spiritual life at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, hosted its first same-sex wedding Saturday.

Penelope Gnesin and Brenda Sue Fulton, a West Point graduate, exchanged vows in the regal church in an afternoon ceremony, attended by about 250 guests and conducted by a senior Army chaplain.

via West Point chapel hosts its first same-sex wedding, Boston.com.

So, what are you doing for the end of the world?

I don’t have a whole lot on my mind today, so I thought I’d just open up a thread for you guys to talk. My suggested topic is the end of the world, as scheduled by the Mayans for the 21st of this month (or not). Any parties being planned? Seen anybody building any mountain-top bomb shelters in your area? Has Nostradamus come back from the dead yet?

What bemuses me the most is the number of people who apparently expect the world to end next week, on 12/12/12, instead of 12/21/12. Somehow the number 12, repeated 3 times, is sufficient proof for—well, whatever.

Anyway, open topic: share your favorite Mayan calendar story, or bring up something completely different. It’s up to you.