My Photo
Location: Tallahassee, Florida, United States welcomes all opinions from any religion or viewpoint in the common appreciation of Chick tracts. This blog, however, will highlight religious events and controversies that would be of special interest to regular Chick readers. You don't have to agree with them or each other, but if you read Chick tracts or Battlecry, you might expect these type stories to be addressed. (Sorry, no personal attacks allowed.) All main postings are from writers and any responses are from the public

Monday, January 23, 2012

Author on Inquisition Book Discusses Findings

When author Cullen Murphy discusses new book, "God's Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World," he gets a lot of the same questions. Here are some of his answers.

1. What does "Inquisition" actually mean and refer to?

It was a means used by the Catholic Church to enforce orthodoxy. Inquisitors would go out into troublesome regions, question people intensively, conduct tribunals and mete out punishments, sometimes harsh ones, like burning at the stake. Depending on the time and place, the targets were heretics, Jews, Muslims, Protestants, rationalists and sometimes people who held superstitious beliefs. The Inquisition everyone has heard of is the Spanish Inquisition, but there was more than one Inquisition, and the earliest, at the start of the 13th century, wasn't in Spain. And although Jews were sometimes the focus of that first Inquisition, as they primarily were in Spain, the more urgent targets were Christian heretics in the south of France and northern Italy.

2. How many people were burned at the stake?

No one really knows. The inquisitors were excellent record-keepers -- at times truly superb. One surviving document gives the expenses for an execution down to the price of the rope used to tie the victims' hands. But a lot of the records have been lost. An estimate that has wide credibility among historians is that about 2 percent of those who came before Inquisition tribunals were burned at the stake, which would mean several tens of thousands of people. The rest suffered lesser punishments.

3. Over what period of time are we talking about?

Roughly 700 years. The official start is usually given as 1231 A.D., when the pope appoints the first "inquisitors of heretical depravity." The Spanish Inquisition, which begins under Ferdinand and Isabella, doesn't end until the 19th century -- the last execution was in 1826. At the outset, the main focus was on Jews and "judaizers" -- Christian converts of Jewish ancestry who were accused of secretly adhering to Judaism. The Roman Inquisition, created to fight the Reformation, and run from the Vatican, doesn't come to an end until the 20th century.

4. Does it survive in any form? I sometimes hear about theologians today getting into trouble.

The Vatican's Congregation of the Inquisition was formally abolished in 1908 -- but it may be more correct to say it was renamed. It was turned into the Holy Office, which in the 1960s became the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This is the department that Cardinal Josef Ratzinger ran before he became Pope Benedict XVI. It occupies the palazzo built for the Inquisition in the middle of the 16th century. And it's still the department that keeps an eye on what theologians write, sometimes calling them on the carpet.

5. When I think "Inquisition," I think "torture" -- is that real or is it a myth?

Torture was an integral part of the inquisitorial process, mainly to extract confessions -- just as it was part of the systems used by secular courts of the time. Modern historians explain that the Church tried to regulate torture, establishing clear guidelines for its use. Unfortunately, limitations on torture never really work -- that's one lesson from the Inquisition, and from the recent American experience. It's never hard to justify applying a little more physical coercion once you've decided that physical coercion is fine to begin with. Medieval inquisitors, limited to one session of torture per person, sometimes conducted a second or third or fourth, arguing that it was just a "continuance" of the first.

6. How does the Index of Forbidden Books fit into the picture?

It was created by the Roman Inquisition to deal with the onslaught of books -- many of them advancing ideas the Church didn't like -- made possible by the printing press, and over the centuries the Index grew and grew. It existed for a very long time -- it wasn't abolished until 1966. The impulse to criticize still has some life. A decade ago Josef Ratzinger expressed concern over the "subtle seductions" of Harry Potter.


Student Dies After Thanking God for Life

It was Ariane Noelle Patterson's 21st birthday, and she was grateful to be alive.

The Gardner-Webb University student took to her Twitter account on Jan. 17 and posted the message: "Thank you God for another year of life."

Hours later, she collapsed during a religion class and was rushed to nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead, the Associated Press reports.

The senior at the North Carolina Christian college was originally from Delaware and majored in religious studies, the Shelby Star reports. She had recently obtained a work-study position managing multimedia for campus ministries.

The cause of her death is still under investigation. See Chick's THIS IS YOUR LIFE.

Gays Petition and Get Christian Nurse Fired

A nurse practitioner whose alleged harassment of a lesbian Marine veteran sparked an online backlash campaign has been removed from her job.

A Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center spokesperson confirmed that nurse practitioner Lincy Pandithurai would "retire from federal service" effective Jan. 21. Pandithurai reportedly told Esther Garatie, a honorably discharged Marine Lance Corporal who was seeking treatment for severe depression and possible post-traumatic stress disorder, that the reason she was depressed and contemplating suicide was because she was a lesbian and needed Christ.

“The board was able to substantiate material portions of the veteran’s claims,” the spokesperson said in a statement as quoted by the Dallas Observer. "Our commitment to equal rights remains strong as we practice our core values of integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect and excellence."

Upon learning of Pandithurai's removal, the 28-year-old Garatie also issued a statement. "I really want to thank all of the people that have come together to support me and other veterans," she said "Thank you for standing up against anything like this ever happening -- to any veteran -- ever again."

As the Dallas Voice reports, Garatie initially sought treatment for severe depression and possible post-traumatic stress disorder in October, upon which Pandithurai inquired about her sexual orientation.

“She sat down and looked at me, and her first question was, ‘Are you a lesbian?’” Garatie wrote in a statement. “Her second question to me was, ‘Have you asked God into your heart? Have you been saved by Jesus Christ?’"

Following the incident, Garatie and a friend launched an online petition at calling for Pandithurai to be fired, which drew over 19,500 signatures. As The Advocate is reporting, the hospital launched an investigation in November in response to the petition, taking Pandithurai away from patients in the interim. See Chick's SIN CITY.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Man Marries Dead Girl Friend

A man recently married his deceased girlfriend in a combination funeral and wedding ceremony.

Chadil Deffy, also known as Deff Yingyuen, placed a ring on the finger of Sarinya "Anne" Kamsook, his girlfriend of 10 years, during the ceremony in Thailand's Surin province.

The couple had planned to get married in the future, but Yingyuen wanted to focus on his studies before tying the knot, the Thai-Asean News (TAN) Network reported.

Unfortunately, Kamsook unexpectedly died in an accident before the couple could set a date.

According to the Pattaya Daily News, the couple met at Thailand's Eastern Asia University nearly a decade ago, and wreaths were placed around campus in memory of Kamsook following her death.

And while some thought the service a bit strange, others expressed their sympathy for the groom.

"...I didn't know her, but in your photos, she looks young and full of life. I can't image the impact her death has caused in the lives of her loved ones. It was a very moving gesture of love, very moving. It makes you rethink a lot of things in life, things you take for granted," Facebook user Alejandra Yanez wrote in Spanish on Yingyuen's page. See Chick's THE TYCOON.

UK Convicts Three For Distributing Anti-Gay Tracts

Three men were convicted Friday of distributing anti-gay leaflets, and prosecutors called it a landmark case regarding the prosecution of hate crimes regarding sexual orientation.

A jury found the men to have distributed leaflets calling for homosexuals to face the death penalty. Two others were acquitted of the same charge.

"Everyone has a right to be protected by the law and we regard homophobic crimes, along with all hate crimes, as particularly serious because they undermine people's right to feel safe," said Sue Hemming, chief of the Crown Prosecution Service special crime division. No mention of the rights of citizens to hold controversial views and express them in public was acknowledged, nor did any human rights organizations criticize the draconian censorship measures.

Hemming said in a statement that the leaflet showed a mannequin hanging from a noose and said gay people were destined to go to hell.

One witness testified he felt he was being targeted and feared he would be "burned", Hemming said.

Ihjaz Ali, 42, Kabir Ahmed, 28, and Razwan Javed, 27, were found guilty in Derby Crown Court. Sentencing is set for Feb. 10.

The men were prosecuted under a relatively new law that took effect in 2010. It makes it a crime to promote hatred based on sexual orientation.

No details were publicized about whether the "speech criminals" were motivated by religious convictions or not (their names suggest they may have been Islamic.) Nor were there details if the leaflet contained scripture. This event is very troubling for British users of Chick tracts, however, since several tracts warn of the "death" of one's soul if they engage in unrepentant homosexual behavior.

Friday, January 20, 2012

MA Gives Special Status to Transvestites

Massachusetts officially became the 16th state to treat transgender citizens as a protected class today as Democrat Governor Deval Patrick hosted a ceremonial signing of the groundbreaking rights bill.

The law legally protects transgender individuals from discrimination in housing, education, employment and credit, in addition to providing additional civil rights and protections from hate crimes. (The new law mandates that the state punish criminals who hurt transvestites more than it would punish criminals who hurt average victims.)

"I sign this bill as a matter of conscience; people should be able to come before their government as equals," Patrick is quoted as having said as he signed "An Act Relative to Gender Identity" into law. Though Patrick had actually signed the bill in his office in late November, Thursday's event was a ceremonial start-of-the-year one that drew an overflowing crowd from the local transgender community, local network WWLP is reporting.

"This law is about affirming rights," Gunner Scott, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC), is quoted by Bay Windows as saying. "This law is for people who think they can deny us those rights... This piece of paper is not magic, but for many of us it is the result of hard work that will change our lives."

Still, many transgender rights activists found fault with the new legislation, drawing attention to its lack of public accommodation protections. Last fall's removal of such a protection, which would have required all "sex-segregated facilities" such as rest rooms or locker rooms to grant admission to people based on gender identity was heavily criticized by many who considered it a key component.

“Just because it’s such a basic right for people and the fact that it’s not protected is kind of atrocious,” said Kaylin MacNeil of Holyoke.

According to the Associated Press, an estimated 33,000 transgender citizens reside in Massachusetts.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Obama Offers Carrot and Stick to Iran in Secret Letter

An Iranian lawmaker claimed Wednesday that President Barack Obama called for direct talks with Iran in a secret letter to the Islamic Republic's supreme leader that also warned Tehran against closing the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

Obama administration officials denied there was such a letter.

Iran has threatened to close the waterway, the route for about one-sixth of the global oil flow, because of new U.S. sanctions over its nuclear program.

Conservative lawmaker Ali Motahari revealed the content of the letter days after the Obama administration said it was warning Iran through public and private channels against any action that threatens the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf.

"In the letter, Obama called for direct talks with Iran," the semiofficial Fars news agency quoted Motahari as saying Wednesday. "The letter also said that closing the Strait of Hormuz is (Washington's) red line."

"The first part of the letter contains threats and the second part contains an offer for dialogue," he added.

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast confirmed that Tehran received the letter and was considering a possible response.

In Washington, an Obama administration official denied that Obama sent a letter to Khamanei, saying communication of U.S. views were being delivered through other diplomatic messages. The official would give no further details. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor pointed to earlier comments from the Obama administration that noted the U.S. had a number of ways to communicate its views to the Iranian government. He said the U.S. remained committed to engaging with Tehran and finding a diplomatic solution to its larger issues with Iran's nuclear program.

Spokesmen have been vague on what the United States would do about Iran's threat to block the strategic Strait of Hormuz, but military officials have been clear that the U.S. is readying for a possible naval clash.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard, the country's most powerful military force, says Tehran's leadership has decided to order the closure of the oil route if Iran's oil exports are blocked. A senior Guard officer said earlier this month that the decision has been made by Iran's top authorities.

Iranian politicians have made the threat in the past, but this was the strongest statement yet that a closure of the strait is official policy.

Iran's regular army recently held naval war games near the vital waterway that were described by hard-liners as part of preparations to close the strait if sanctions are imposed. The Guard is planning major naval military exercises next month in the same region.

The U.S. last month enacted new sanctions targeting Iran's central bank and its ability to sell petroleum abroad over Tehran's nuclear program. The U.S. has delayed implementing the sanctions for at least six months, worried about sending the price of oil higher at a time when the global economy is struggling.

Closing the strait would have immense world economic impact. Iran is OPEC's second largest oil producer, and oil exports account for 80 percent of Iran's foreign currency income. To Tehran, an oil embargo would be tantamount to a declaration of war that could provoke the Iranian leadership to block the Hormuz strait.

At issue is Iran's nuclear program. The U.S., Israel and others charge that Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons. Their case was bolstered by a report from the International Atomic Energy late last year, citing evidence that Iran was employing methods and equipment used in making bombs.

Iran has consistently denied that, saying its nuclear program is peaceful, aimed at producing electric power and isotopes for cancer treatment.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Perry Urges Restraint Against Soldiers Who Desecrated Dead

Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry on Sunday accused the Obama administration of "over-the-top rhetoric" and "disdain for the military" in its condemnation of a video that purportedly shows four Marines urinating on corpses in Afghanistan.

Perry's comments put him at odds with Sen. John McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, who said the images could damage the war effort.

"The Marine Corps prides itself that we don't lower ourselves to the level of the enemy," McCain said when asked about Perry's position. "So it makes me sad more than anything else, because ... I can't tell you how wonderful these people (Marines) are. And it hurts their reputation and their image."

No one has been charged in the case, but officials in the U.S. and abroad have called for swift punishment of the four Marines. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said last week that he worried the video could be used by the Taliban to undermine peace talks.

A military criminal investigation and an internal Marine Corps review are under way. The Geneva Conventions forbid the desecration of the dead.

Texas Gov. Perry said the Marines involved should be reprimanded but not prosecuted on criminal charges.

"Obviously, 18-, 19-year-old kids make stupid mistakes all too often. And that's what's occurred here," Perry told CNN's "State of the Union."

He later added: "What's really disturbing to me is the kind of over-the-top rhetoric from this administration and their disdain for the military."

Later appearing on the same show, McCain said he disagreed.

"We're trying to win the hearts and minds" of the Afghanistan population, he said. "And when something like that comes up, it obviously harms that ability." See Chick's WHERE DID THE GO?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Baptist Endorse Catholic Conservative Santorum over Moderate Mormon Romney

A week before the South Carolina primaries, more than 150 conservative evangelical leaders met in Texas and voted to throw their weight behind former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum. The endorsement, which will likely come with grassroots support and fundraising assistance, marks a last-minute effort to help a socially conservative candidate dethrone current frontrunner Mitt Romney.

"Rick Santorum has consistently articulated the issues that are of concern to conservatives, both economic and social," said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, speaking on behalf of the attendees. "He has woven those into a very solid platform. And he has a record of stability."

Added Perkins: "He obviously is not up to some of the other candidates in terms of fundraising, but those issues can be corrected. With this strong consensus coming behind him, that can aid in the fundraising that he needs to be successful in the primary."

The group of religious conservative leaders met on Friday and Saturday at the Brenham ranch of former judge and Southern Baptist leader Paul Pressler. The assemblage did not release a full list of its members, although radio host James Dobson, Don Wildmon of the American Family Association and pastor Jon Hagee were among the invited.

Santorum emerged as the winner after three rounds of balloting, with the final vote between him and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Santorum eventually received the support of more than two-thirds of those voting. Texas Gov. Rick Perry also received strong support.

Romney sent a surrogate to address the group, but the former Massachusetts governor received very little backing. Yet his poor showing did not follow some wave of attacks from participants, Perkins said -- they simply did not spend much time thinking about him.

"It was not a bash-Mitt Romney weekend," Perkins said. "This was more of a discussion of the positives of the conservative candidates and their vision for the future, and we focused more on how to get America back on the right road and make America great again."

Perkins added that Romney's Mormon religion was not a factor in the lack of endorsement. "That was not even discussed. If it was, it was a sidenote," he said. Still, he did not mince words in discussing the former Massachusetts governor.

"[I]t's not news that there is not a strong support among conservatives for Mitt Romney," Perkins said. "You've seen that across the country, and that was reflected here."

Perkins said many of the leaders at the Texas gathering were involved in get-out-the-vote efforts in Iowa, where Rick Santorum secured a late endorsement from conservative leader Bob Vander Plaats. A late surge in Iowa put Santorum in a close second place there, just eight votes behind Romney.

Santorum's campaign did not return a request for comment on Saturday's announcement.

The evangelicals who gathered in Texas this weekend included leaders with networks in both South Carolina and Florida, which is holding its primary contest on Jan. 31.

Even though many of the members felt strongly about other candidates, Perkins said, the desire to oust President Barack Obama moved them toward a consensus -- a lesson they learned after splintering four years ago.

"Part of the backdrop of this meeting was not to see what happened in 2008 repeated again, where conservatives either stayed on the sidelines or were fragmented among the several conservative candidates, allowing a moderate candidate to emerge -- John McCain -- who was not successful in securing the presidency," he said.

However, he said, there was no discussion at the meeting about urging other candidates to drop out of the race.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Transgender Girl Scout Causes Cookie Boycott

A California-based teen is hoping to spearhead a national boycott of Girl Scout cookies after the organization's controversial decision to admit a 7-year-old transgender child to a Colorado troop this past fall.

The girl, which World News Daily has identified only as Taylor from Ventura County, Calif., appears in a YouTube video in which she claims her organization is using proceeds from sales of the popular cookies to "[promote] the desires of a small handful of people."

"Right now, Girl Scouts of the not being honest with us girls, its troops, its leaders, its parents or the American public," Taylor, who claims to have been a Girl Scout for eight years, says in the clip. "Girl Scouts describes itself as an all-girl experience. With that label, families trust that the girls will be in an environment that is not only nurturing and sensitive to girls' needs, but also safe for girls."

She goes on to note, "I am asking you to take action with me and boycott Girl Scout Cookies." The video eventually concludes with a tagline for the Honest Girl Scouts site, which describes itself as a group "concerned with the alarming choices GSUSA has been making," and "advocating for a change back to simply building girls of good character."

Last fall's decision to admit Bobby Montoya after initially excluding her has already been met with considerable controversy. In December, three Louisiana-based leaders resigned and dissolved their troops in the wake of the incident, with one calling it "an almost dangerous situation" for children, according to The Baptist Press.

At the time, the Girl Scouts of Colorado released a statement through the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), noting, "If a child identifies as a girl and the child's family presents her as a girl, Girl Scouts of Colorado welcomes her as a Girl Scout."

After confessing to having difficulty switching from male to female pronouns when discussing her child, Montoya's mother Felisha Archuleta defended her daughter to ABC, saying, "I believe he was born in the wrong one would know he's a boy unless they pulled his pants down."

What would happen if someone did that and others saw it? Well, they would probably lose their cookies (unless they already boycotted them). See Chick's THE TRIAL.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tebow Gets Last Laugh Against Critics

You'd think that the Tim Tebow story couldn't get any more bananas. You'd be wrong. See, it's not just that Tebow transformed himself into a legitimate passer in the playoffs. Or that Tebow is about to go against the guy who drafted him, Josh

McDaniels. How about the fact that the guy who's renowned for writing John 3:16 on his eye black just happened to throw for 316 yards on Sunday in the Broncos win?

Because that actually happened.

The result, as with anything relating to Tim Tebow was predictable, is a Google-splosion:

Timothy is fairly popular. Especially when his passing yards = Bible verses.

Think about this: Beyonce and Jay-Z, arguably two of the 10 most famous people on the planet, had a baby -- TOGETHER! -- and they rank third on the things that

the world is searching about, behind two things relating to Timothy J.C. Tebow. (Not to mention the other two searches out-pacing everything else but the new Fusion and baby Beyonce.) It's pretty insane.

And for those that are curious about the further weirdness of statistical anomalies, before last night there were 46 quarterbacks who had thrown for 316 yards in either a playoff or regular season game in NFL history. This morning? There are 47. If only that had any significance to Mr. Tebow ...

And one more, just for kicks: there's only one other playoff game in NFL history

featuring someone who passed for 316 yards. Sadly, the other person's name isn't

"John." (But Tebow's boss is John Elway, so, yeah.)

We'll just have to settle for someone named Daunte.

UPDATE 2:50 p.m. ET: OK, so we're not quite done yet. As our brilliant commenters point out below, Tebow completed 10 passes. That means he averaged 31.6 yards per pass. His final pass was to Thomas who just happens to have been born on Christmas Day. (!)

Oh and this: the Steelers-Broncos game was the most-watched wild-card game since 1988. In the final quarter-hour, the overnight rating was 31.6. Strange indeed!

As it turns out, the lone interception thrown in the game on Sunday night came from Ben Roethlisberger. What down and distance were involved when he threw it? Third and 16. Of course.

Pope Condemns Gay Marriage

Pope Benedict said on Monday that gay marriage was one of several threats to the traditional family that undermined "the future of humanity itself".

The pope made some of his strongest comments against gay marriage in a new year address to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Vatican in which he touched on some economic and social issues facing the world today.

He told diplomats from nearly 180 countries that the education of children needed proper "settings" and that "pride of place goes to the family, based on the marriage of a man and a woman."

"This is not a simple social convention, but rather the fundamental cell of every society. Consequently, policies which undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself," he said.

The Vatican and Catholic officials around the world have protested against moves to legalise gay marriage in Europe and other developed parts of the world.

One leading opponent of gay marriage in the United States is New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, whom the pope will elevate to cardinal next month.

Dolan fought against gay marriage before it became legal in New York state last June, and in September he sent a letter to President Barack Obama criticising his administration's decision not to support a federal ban on gay marriage.

In that letter Dolan, who holds the powerful post of president of the U.S. Bishops Conference, said such a policy could "precipitate a national conflict between church and state of enormous proportions."

The Roman Catholic Church, which has some 1.3 billion members worldwide, teaches that while homosexual tendencies are not sinful, homosexual acts are, and that children should grow up in a traditional family with a mother and a father.

"The family unit is fundamental for the educational process and for the development both of individuals and states; hence there is a need for policies which promote the family and aid social cohesion and dialogue," Benedict told the diplomats.

Gay marriage is legal in few European countries, including Spain and the Netherlands.

Many Churches that have allowed gay marriage, women priests, gay clergy and gay bishops have been losing members, and some of those have become Catholic. The Vatican has taken steps to facilitate their conversion.

In 2009, Benedict decreed that Anglicans who leave their Church, many because they feel it has become too liberal and secular, can find a home in Catholicism in a parallel hierarchy that allows them to keep some of their traditions and honor scripture.

The Vatican has since set up "ordinariates," structures similar to dioceses, in Britain and the United States to oversee ex-Anglicans who have converted and be a point of contact for those wishing to do so. See Chick's SIN CITY.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Osteen Says Gays Sin to Oprah

Pastor Joel Osteen reaches millions through his sermons, and he tries to preach in a more positive way than some of his notable contemporaries. But because he doesn't focus on sin in his sermons doesn't mean that he doesn't believe in it. He clarified his stance on sin and homosexuality on "Oprah's Next Chapter" (Sun., 9 p.m. EST on OWN).

Although he was clearly uncomfortable saying he was against homosexuality to a host who is in favor of it, he didn't dodge Oprah's question and answered it directly: "Sometimes we look at gay being a bigger sin than being proud or not telling the truth," Osteen said. "I don't think God categorizes sins." While he squirmed before a frowning Oprah Winfrey, Osteen did confirm that he sees homosexualty as a sin, based on what he's read in scripture.

He also said that he believes homosexuals can get into Heaven, just as other people with sin in them can. Forgiveness is a big part, but "To think that we're all going to be without one sin?" Osteen mused. "I hope that's true, but I don't think any of us would make it to Heaven.

"It's a hard thing in a sense because I'm for everybody. I'm not against anybody. I don't think anybody's second class," Osteen said. He'll be showing this in his reality television endeavor with Mark Burnett, spotlighting mission trips undertaken by his Lakewood Mega Church. See Chick's REVEREND WONDERFUL.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

God Hinted the Next President to Robinson?

Christian conservative leader Pat Robertson says he has a secret straight from God: He knows who the next president of the United States will be.

"I think He showed me about the next president, but I'm not supposed to talk about that so I'll leave you in the dark -- probably just as well -- but I think I know who it's gonna be," Robertson said Tuesday on the Christian Broadcasting Network's "700 Club."

Robertson then went on to recite the message he claimed to have been told by God. According to Robertson, God doesn't support President Barack Obama's agenda and says that only "overwhelming prayer" can bring a new leader who will stop the country from "disintegrating":

Your country will be torn apart by internal stress. A house divided cannot stand. Your president holds a radical view of the direction of your country which is at odds with the majority. Expect chaos and paralysis. Your president holds a view which is at the odds with the majority -- it's a radical view of the future of this country, and so that's why we're having this division. This is a spiritual battle which can only be won by overwhelming prayer. The future of the world is at stake because if America falls, there's no longer a strong champion of freedom and a champion of the oppressed of the world. There must be an urgent call to prayer.

Robertson frequently delves into the political realm with his evangelism.

He earlier counseled the GOP presidential candidates to avoid stepping into radical territory with their campaigns.

"Those people in the Republican primary have got to lay off of this stuff," he exclaimed in October. "If they want to lose, this is the game for losers."

Despite this warning, he's been especially vocal on social issues such as gay rights, which have proven to be quite visible in Iowa. The entire GOP field opposes gay marriage rights, drawing a number of gay activist protests along the campaign trail in Iowa, a state where such unions have been legalized (but without a public vote).

Robertson has been more controversial with his comments, recently saying that gays can "un-acquire" their sexuality. It's just the latest in a string of comments that gay activists seek to silence.

On Tuesday, however, Robertson said that God told him the nation's downfall would be triggered by an economic collapse. He suggested that God told him this would come about if Obama was elected to another term.

"And God said, this is not my judgment, they are bringing it upon themselves," Robertson explained. See Chick's SIN CITY.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Late Term Abortion Doctors Charged With Murder

A murder case against two doctors who allegedly completed late-term abortions in Maryland after starting them in New Jersey could be the first to test a state law tied to the "viability" of an unborn fetus.

Steven Chase Brigham, 55, the owner of American Women's Services clinics, and his employee, Nicola Irene Riley, 46, were arrested last week after a 16-month criminal investigation by Maryland authorities.

Officers who searched the Elkton, Maryland clinic during the investigation found 35 fetuses in a freezer, a source with knowledge of the case told Reuters.

A series of earlier investigations by state medical boards revealed that Brigham illegally initiated abortions at a clinic he owns in Voorhees, New Jersey, and then allegedly completed the procedures at a clinic in Maryland, where he was not licensed.

In New Jersey, late-term abortions can be performed only in a hospital or licensed ambulatory facility; there is no such restriction in Maryland.

Brigham faces multiple charges including five counts of first-degree murder. Riley also faces multiple charges, including one count of first-degree murder.

Brigham is awaiting extradition from Voorhees, New Jersey. His attorney, C. Thomas Brown, could not be reached for comment.

A hearing for Riley is scheduled for Tuesday morning in Salt Lake City, her attorney, Sharon Krevor-Weisbaum said.

"I can tell you we strongly believe the charges are without legal basis," Krevor-Weisbaum said, adding that she had not yet seen the indictment, which was filed under seal.

She said the fetal homicide statute in Maryland does not apply to her client because that law provides exceptions for licensed doctors, like Riley.

Maryland criminal law states that people can be charged with murder if they "intend to cause the death of the viable fetus." The law does not define "personhood" and states it is not intended to infringe on a woman's right to have an abortion.

But state law also defines a fetus as "viable" if "there is a reasonable likelihood of the fetus' sustained survival outside the womb."

Brigham provided abortions to five patients ranging from 18 to 33 weeks pregnant, according to a report by the New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners.

The determination of whether those fetuses were "viable" could occur in court.

"This is probably the first case that Maryland has ever seen with this factual scenario using this statute. It's a unique situation," Cecil County State's Attorney Ellis Rollins told Reuters when the case emerged on Friday. He declined further comment on Monday.

The Maryland Department of Mental Health and Hygiene has proposed a draft law to better define when an abortion can be performed legally, and specifically cites Brigham and Riley's case.

The New Jersey medical report said Brigham started the five late-term abortion cases in his New Jersey clinic, giving patients injections that either softened the cervix or caused "fetal demise." The patients then traveled to Maryland where the abortions were completed, the report said.

Brigham completed some himself and Riley completed others under Brigham's supervision, the report said. Brigham's New Jersey license was suspended in October 2010 and he received a cease-and-desist warning in Maryland a month earlier.

Brigham argued to the board that the procedures in New Jersey are only preliminary to an abortion and that he only consulted doctors at the Maryland clinic.

The criminal investigation began in August 2010 when a woman nearly six months pregnant sought an abortion at Brigham's New Jersey clinic, where she received the preliminary injections.

She then drove to the Maryland clinic, where Riley performed the abortion procedure with Brigham present, the New Jersey report said.

At the time, Riley held medical licenses in Maryland, Utah and Wyoming. Her Maryland license has since been suspended.

During the procedure, the woman suffered an injured uterus and bowels. Riley took her to a nearby hospital and she survived, police said.

As part of the criminal investigation that followed, police found 35 fetuses in a freezer at the Maryland abortion clinic.

Freezing fetuses is "normal practice," Krevor-Weisbaum said, noting doctors preserve the fetuses until proper medical waste procedures can be conducted. She did not know if the murder charges were connected to the frozen fetuses. See Chick's WHO MURDERED CLARICE?

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Israel Outraged Jews Play Holocast Card On Them

Images of ultra-Orthodox Jews dressing up as Nazi concentration camp inmates during a protest drew widespread condemnation Sunday and added a new twist to a simmering battle over growing extremism inside Israel's insular ultra-Orthodox community.

Orthodox Jews are facing increasing criticism for their efforts to separate men and women in public spaces, and Saturday's protest, in which a child mimicked an iconic photo of a terrified Jewish boy in the Warsaw Ghetto, added to the outrage.

Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered Saturday night in Jerusalem to protest what they say is a nationwide campaign directed against their lifestyle. The protesters called Israeli policemen Nazis, wore yellow Star of David patches with the word "Jude" – German for Jew – dressed their children in striped black-and-white uniforms associated with Nazi concentration camps and transported them in the back of a truck.

Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial denounced the use of Nazi imagery as "disgraceful," and several other survivors' groups and politicians condemned the acts.

"We must leave the Holocaust and its symbols outside the arguments in Israeli society," said Moshe Zanbar, chairman of the main umbrella group for Holocaust survivors in Israel. "This harms the memory of the Holocaust."

Six million Jews were killed by German Nazis and their collaborators during World War II. About 200,000 aging survivors of the Holocaust live in Israel.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews make up 10 percent of Israel's population. In the past, they have generally confined their strict lifestyle to their own neighborhoods. But they have become increasingly aggressive in trying to impose their ways on others, as their population has grown and spread to new areas.

Extremist sects within the ultra-Orthodox community have been under fire of late for their attempts to ban mixing of the sexes on buses, sidewalks and other public spaces.

In one city, extremists have jeered and spit at girls walking to school, saying they were dressed immodestly. They've also battled with police over street signs calling for segregation and attacked journalists who have covered their neighborhoods. In recent weeks, a few young Israeli women have caused nationwide uproars for refusing the orders of religious men to move to the back of public buses.

These practices, albeit by a fringe sect, have unleashed a backlash against the ultra-Orthodox in general, the climax of which came last week in a large demonstration where protesters held signs reading, "Free Israel from religious coercion," and "Stop Israel from becoming Iran."

Rabbi Yitzhak Weiss, one of the organizers of Saturday's protest, said the use of Nazi symbols was intentional and aimed at highlighting what he said was a campaign by the secular media against his community.

"The idea was to convey a clear and simple message: that wild incitement against the ultra-Orthodox community will not be tolerated," he told The Associated Press. "The Israeli media's incitement is reminiscent of the German media's before World War II."

One of the protesters, Yaakov Israel, told Channel 2 TV that his community feels "persecuted" by the Israeli establishment. "We feel what is being done to us here is a spiritual Holocaust," he said.

It's not the first time ultra-Orthodox zealots have referred to the Holocaust in their political struggles. But the sight of children dressed in garb that conjures up images of the darkest period in Jewish history was unprecedented. It sparked angry rebuttals that only exacerbated Israel's brewing religious war.

Israeli leaders condemned the display and called on the ultra-Orthodox leadership to speak out against it.

"This is a terrible offense against the memory of the Holocaust victims who were forced, secular and Ultra-Orthodox alike, to wear the yellow star in the ghetto on their way to extermination, and there is no demonstration in the world that can justify this," said opposition leader Tzipi Livni.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak called the display "shocking and horrifying" and a "crossing of a red line."

The American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, an umbrella organization of U.S. survivors, expressed its "utter contempt at this disgraceful exploitation" of the Nazi symbols.

"We who survived and witnessed these Nazi crimes are particularly offended that demonstrators so blithely used children in this public outrage. They have insulted the memory of all the Jewish victims, including those who were ultra-Orthodox," the organization's vice president, Elan Steinberg, said in a statement.

"The Nazis made no distinction in their murderous treatment of our people – whether one was ultra-Orthodox, traditional, or nonbeliever, you were marked for cruelty and death." See Chick's HOLOCAUST.