Archive for March, 2007

Sushi King All Sushi for RM2

March 30, 07

UPDATE: 2008 offer is from 7 – 10 April 2008.

Do you have a Sushi King member’s card? It costs just RM10 for an instant, on-the-spot application. The card entitles you to a 10% discount on your Sushi King bill. One or two makans in a group will already cover back the cost!

SushiKingCard

Yes, it says RM15 there, and that was the original price at the start of the year. Yesterday I just bought another Sushi King card after losing mine to the robbers, and it costs me only RM10, but no plates and calendar (which I already have form last time).

Thankfully, they still have the card on offer… Because from 9 to 12 April 2007, Sushi King restaurants in Malaysia are having the incredible offer of ALL SUSHI FOR RM2! If you hold a member’s card, up to 5 people can take advantage of this deal.

PS. If you look at the HTML address of this post, yes, I did mistake the offer to be RM2 al-you-can-eat buffet. Shame shame.

Response to the Letter to Dr. Laura on Homosexuality

March 29, 07

This post is a inspired by, and a response to a comment I got on my earlier post Teaching the Bible in US Schools.

————————————

James said at March 28th, 2007 at 8:55 pm:

I dont see a problem with discussing the Bible, so long as the discussion is balanced. I think the Bible, particularly the Old Testament contradicts itself… I particularly like an open letter to Dr. Laura that was written a while ago.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show. Recently, she said that homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned under any circumstance.

The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by an east coast resident, which was posted on the Internet. It’s funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:

When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15:19- 24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination – Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this?

Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? – Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

James: I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

———————————–

I’ve come across this ‘Letter to Dr. Laura’ before, and recognized that it is intentionally written as a sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek piece that takes certain verses out of their context and presents them as shocking bigotry to our modern sensitivities. And if you respond to something like this in a fit of righteous indignation, you’ll have fallen into the trap!

Rat’s Nest has a rather humourous response to the letter, however, citing various Jewish laws that address the questions. Worth a look-see:

   ResponseLetterDrLaura1   ResponseLetterDrLaura2   ResponseLetterDrLaura3

In fact, I recall a very amusing and sacrcastic humour site that purports to be ‘Where the worthwhile worship, unsaved unwelcome!’ Landover Baptist Church makes fun of real cases of over-the-top things some churches do like banning Pokemon because Pokemon is the devil. (The logic is some Pokemon have horns, and the devil has horns, so Pokemon is the devil. Never mind actual cows and deer.)

But when someone seriously confronts you with questions like these, how do you respond? Here I present my thoughts on the seeming conundrum.

THE FULFILLMENT OF THE LAW

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”Matthew 5:17-18

Jesus Himself said this in Matthew 5. Today, many believe that we as Christians are no longer bound by the Old Testament Laws, particularly those that Moses set for the Israelites. They feel that apart from the Ten Commandments which are basic guidelines, we are exempt from things such as not eating pork, ceremonial washing and bloody animal sacrifices.

Yet if so, why did Jesus say that He did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it? Does that  followers of Christ are still bound by the Jewish laws? Didn’t Jesus also, in the very same chapter, say things like:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”Matthew 5:38-42

Isn’t that directly contradicting the Law as given by Moses in Exodus 21:23-25: “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth?”

A SHADOW OF THINGS TO COME

Let’s read on through the New Testament. Paul explains the concept more clearly in his letters to the churches. For although God Himself gave the Law to Moses, the Law was but a shadow of the things to come…

“Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” – Colossians 2:16-17

Think of the person you most want to see. Imagine it’s dusk, and as he or she is walking towards you fromt the direction of the sunset, the first thing to reach you would be his or her shadow.

The shadow may represent him or her, and may look like a distorted shape of him or her. And you may be excited upon recognizing the shadow. But it is not the real thing. When the actual person comes, all your attention is going to be on the real thing. The shadow is still there, of course. But the actual person has come and fulfilled your hopes.

In fact, if you look closely at the Old Testament, you will find many other ‘shadows’ of Jesus. (It helps if you’re familiar with the entire Bible, so I encourage you to read through it at least once in this lifetime.)

There are many events in the Old Testament that have a striking parallel in the New Testament.  Perhaps I can explain this more clearly with an example.

In Genesis 22, God suddenly asked Abraham to prove his devotion by sacrificing his own son, Isaac. The very same son that God had given to him by divine promise, that God said would give rise to a great nation of many descendants. So Abraham obediently did as God asked – though you can imagine the anguish and confusion in his heart.

When Isaac noticed that they were not taking any animal with them, he asked where the lamb for the burnt offering was. And Abraham replied: “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”

(Note that Isaac was a grown man by then, and could have easily opposed his father. But he too was willingly obedient, even unto death. Also note that although Abraham had an older child, Ishmael, that was a child by his own efforts and not the child of promise by God’s will.)

And when Abraham was about to commit the deed, God stopped him: “Do not lay a hand on the boy. Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” And then God Himself provided the offering, a ram.

Now compare this account with the life and death of Jesus. For centuries, the Mosaic Law required sacrifices of blood and life of animals to temporarily atone for the people’s sins. But when Jesus came and gave His blood and life for us, He cleansed us of our sins completely.

(See Hebrews 10 which again says the Law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming, not the realities themselves. And also Hebrews 9, especially verse 23 ‘copies of the heavenly things’)

Jesus obediently gave Himself up to trial, torture and death on the cross… Just as Abraham obediently took Isaac to be sacrificed.

Abraham did not withhold his one and only son from God, but God stopped the sacrificial death in time. Yet God did not withhold from us His one and only Son… And Jesus did experience suffering and death on the cross.

And just as Abraham unknowingly foretold, God Himself provided the Lamb for the offering. Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, whose blood was given as an offering for our sins.

FOLLOWING THE CLUES FROM THE OLD TO THE NEW

You can find many other hints of God’s new covenant in Christ. The study of events that seem to have a correlation is called typology. You can read more about this topic at this site and another site.

And there are tons of examples! In fact, it has been said that the entire of the Old Testament serves the purpose of pointing to its ultimate fulfillment – Jesus.

Here are some of them:

When many people were being bitten by snakes, God commanded Moses to put a serpent symbol up, and anyone who looked at it would be healed of the venom. (Numbers 21:4-9). Jesus compared Himself to this: “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” (John 3:14-15) He was lifted up on a cross, and those who look to Him now are healed of their sins.

Jonah was in the belly of the great fish 3 days and 3 nights, as good as dead. Yet he was vomited out alive. So was Jesus really dead and in the belly of the earth and on the third day emerged resurrected (Matthew 12:40).

The Israelites as they traveled to the promised land displayed the symbol of our faith, centuries before the Romans made it a standard method of execution.

In fact, even the genealogy from Adam to Noah points towards the salvation of mankind through the Messiah!

There are countless other foreshadowings in the Old Testament. And of course, many prophecies that directly foretell what the Messiah would be like and would do. See if you come across any in your daily reading. 

When I read through the OT, often I am struck by how God hid little hints and sneak previews about His great plan of salvation in the least expected places! Our God has a keen sense of humour…

THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT

Besides, we are by no means Jews. The Mosaic Laws were meant specifically for the Jewish race. Paul speaks out many times in his letters against those factions who would force Christians to follow the old traditions such as circumcism in order to be saved. Nobody can ‘do’ anything to save themselves. All that is needed for salvation is the belief that Jesus has already saved you.

And what is the conclusion? That we can ignore the Ten Commandments? That it’s okay to murder, steal, kill and adulterize? That God permist us to worship other ‘gods’? After all,  we’re saved by faith no matte what we do, right?

Well, put it this way: Jesus never broke ANY of the Laws in His time. In fact, at his trial before the Sanhendrin, He was blameless of any accusation. The only true act that was ascribed to Him was claiming divinity, which is extreme blasphemy and punishable by death – but it was true He was divine!

What Jesus taught us was to follow not the exact letter of the Law, which can easily be abused (by the Pharisees in His time, and by OJ Simpson’s lawyers in our time)… But to follow the spirit of the Law, what it intends to accomplish.

And what is the spirit of the Law?

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:34-40)

It’s so simple, yet so hard to carry out in real life. But if we can follow these two Greatest Commandments, then we can clearly see the correct way to respond to all of the questions in the letter to the Letter to Dr. Laura.

Homosexuality is not just condemned in Leviticus 18:22, but also in Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1:26-271st Corinthians 6:9,  and of course the whole of Genesis 19 (Sodom and Gomorrah, particularly verse 5).

Isn’t that more than enough times to clearly see that homosexual relationships are not in accordance with God’s will? We can delve further into this subject by examining the Jewish laws and customs that had been practised during and since the Old Testament times, but I am not very familiar with that.

I shall end the list with the God-ordained example:

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24

This is reaffirmed by Jesus in Matthew 19:4-6. God intended sexual relations to happen only in marriage between one man and one woman. Two flesh becoming as one. No other ways about it.

And as the saying goes: God made them Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!

CONCLUSION

So according to the principle of Two Loves in Balance, what should we say to homosexuals then?

First, do not hate or condemn them. Show them unconditional (but holy) love, just as God showed His unconditional love for us when we still horrible, horrible, evil sinners. That is love for your neighbours.

Second, make it clear that although God loves them unconditionally, He also loes them too much for them to continue living in sin. It breaks His heart to see them not living their lives the way He intended (which is the best way, if the guy who created everything is any judge). Homosexuality just cannot be accpeted as sinless. That is love for God.

God gave us guidlines to live by… But He also gave us hearts and minds. And most importantly, He gave us Jesus as an example of how to live our lives, and Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us every second of our lives even today.

I hope I’ve given you a better understanding of how Christians think and behave (well, at least how they are supposed to), and the reasons why. May God bless you as you follow the Holy Spirit of the Law!

Christians Are The Most Persecuted People of All

March 28, 07

A long article, but very well researched and excellently written. It’s a piece on how although Christianity may seem to be the lead player among religions, what with America the EU and whatnot… In reality it is the most persecuted of all belief systems. (See also this WSJ piece.)

Anthony Browne is the rather well known correspondent for the TIMES. He also happens to be an atheist, which lends weight and objectivity to his piece.

Read on and learn that among other discriminations:

- Saudi Arabia bans churches, public Christian worship, the Bible and the sale of Christmas cards. Christians are regularly imprisoned and tortured on trumped-up charges of drinking, blaspheming or Bible-bashing.

- Egypt law states that Coptic Christians must get permission from the president to build or repair churches, but he usually refuses. Christian girls and even the wives of Christian priests are abducted and have their religion forcibly converted.

- In Indonesia, some 10,000 Christians have been killed in the last few years.

- In Pakistan, dozens of Christians have been killed in bomb and gun attacks on churches and Christian schools in the last few years.

- In Nigeria, thousands of Christians have been killed in the last few years.

- In Sri Lanka, religious tension led to 44 churches being attacked in a four month period, with 140 churches being forced to close because of intimidation.

- In India, there have been hundreds of attacks against the Christian community. The government’s affirmative action programme for untouchables guarantees jobs and loans for poor Hindus and Buddhists, but not for Christians.

- In China,  more than 100 ‘house churches’ were closed down and dozens of priests imprisoned. If you join the Communist party you get special privileges, but you can only join if you are atheist.

- Dr Paul Marshall, senior fellow at the Centre for Religious Freedom in Washington, estimates that there are 200 million Christians who face violence because of their faith, and 350 million who face legally sanctioned discrimination in terms of access to jobs and housing.

- The World Evangelical Alliance wrote in a report to the UN Human Rights Commission last year that Christians are ‘the largest single group in the world which is being denied human rights on the basis of their faith’.

- The BBC, despite being mainly funded by Christians, is an organisation that promotes ridicule of the Bible, while banning criticism of the Koran.

- And in Malaysia… Well, I mustn’t get ahead of myself. You can read about it for yourself.

Let me end the list with a quote from 2nd-Century church leader, Tertullian: “The blood of martyrs is the seed of the church.”

How true it is. From the very blood that Jesus shed on the cross for our sins, to the first martyr Stephen, to all the faithful Apostles but John, to Paul and the early church fathers… And to the end of days as Revelation prophecizes.

Also take a look at my related posts, BBC Execs: Okay to Throw Bible in Trash But Not Koran, Teachers Drop the Holocaust to Avoid Offending Muslims and Follow Christ Today Lucky Draw Contest! Article sourced from Sourced from Australian Prayer Network.

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CHRISTIANS – THE MOST PERSECUTED PEOPLE GROUP ON EARTH

By Anthony Browne, Europe correspondent of the Times.

Rising nationalism and fundamentalism around the world have meant that Christianity is going back to its roots as the religion of the persecuted. There are now more than 300 million Christians who are either threatened with violence or legally discriminated against simply because of their faith — more than any other religion. Christians are no longer, as far as I am aware, thrown to the lions. But from China, North Korea and Malaysia, through India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, they are subjected to legalised discrimination, violence, imprisonment, relocation and forced conversion. Even in supposedly Christian Europe, Christianity has become the most mocked religion, its followers treated with public suspicion and derision.

I am no Christian, but rather a godless atheist whose soul doesn’t want to be saved, thank you. I may not believe in the man with the white beard, but I do believe that all persecution is wrong. The trouble is that the trendies who normally champion human rights seem to think persecution is fine, so long as it’s only against Christians. While Muslims openly help other Muslims, Christians helping Christians has become as taboo as jingoistic nationalism.

On the face of it, the idea of Christians facing serious persecution seems as far-fetched as a carpenter saving humanity. Christianity is the world’s most followed religion, with two billion believers, and by far its most powerful. It is the most popular faith in six of the seven continents, and in both of the world’s two biggest economies, the US and Europe. Seven of the G8 richest industrial nations are majority Christian, as are four out of five permanent members of the UN Security Council. The cheek-turners control the vast majority of the world’s weapons of mass destruction.

When I bumped into George Bush in the breakfast room of the US embassy in Brussels, standing right behind me were two men in uniform carrying the little black ‘nuclear football’, containing the codes to enable the world’s most powerful Christian to unleash the world’s most powerful nuclear arsenal. Christians claiming persecution seem as credible as Bill Gates pleading poverty. But just as armies from Christian-majority countries control Iraq as it ethnically cleanses itself of its Christian community, so the power of Christian countries is of little help to the Christian persecuted where most Christians now live: the Third World.

Across the Islamic world, Christians are systematically discriminated against and persecuted. Saudi Arabia — the global fountain of religious bigotry — bans churches, public Christian worship, the Bible and the sale of Christmas cards, and stops non-Muslims from entering Mecca. Christians are regularly imprisoned and tortured on trumped-up charges of drinking, blaspheming or Bible-bashing, as some British citizens have found. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia has announced that only Muslims can become citizens.

The Copts of Egypt make up half the Christians in the Middle East, the cradle of Christianity. They inhabited the land before the Islamic conquest, and still make up a fifth of the population. By law they are banned from being president of the Islamic Republic of Egypt or attending Al Azhar University, and severely restricted from joining the police and army. By practice they are banned from holding any high political or commercial position. Under the 19th-century Hamayouni decrees, Copts must get permission from the president to build or repair churches — but he usually refuses. Mosques face no such controls.

Government-controlled TV broadcasts anti-Copt propaganda, while giving no airtime to Copts. It is illegal for Muslims to convert to Christianity, but legal for Christians to convert to Islam. Christian girls — and even the wives of Christian priests — are abducted and forcibly converted to Islam. A report by Freedom House in Washington concludes: ‘The cumulative effect of these threats creates an atmosphere of persecution and raises fears that during the 21st century the Copts may have a vastly diminished presence in their homelands.’

Fr Drew Christiansen, an adviser to the US Conference of Bishops, recently conducted a study which stated that ‘all over the Middle East, Christians are under pressure. “The cradle of Christianity” is under enormous pressure from demographic decline, the growth of Islamic militancy, official and unofficial discrimination, the Iraq war, the Palestinian Intifada, failed peace policies and political manipulation.’

In the world’s most economically successful Muslim nation, Malaysia, the world’s only deliberate affirmative action programme for a majority population ensures that Muslims are given better access to jobs, housing and education. In the world’s most populous Muslim nation, Indonesia, some 10,000 Christians have been killed in the last few years by Muslims trying to Islamify the Moluccas.

In the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, most of the five million Christians live as an underclass, doing work such as toilet-cleaning. Under the Hudood ordinances, a Muslim can testify against a non-Muslim in court, but a non-Muslim cannot testify against a Muslim. Blasphemy laws are abused to persecute Christians. In the last few years, dozens of Christians have been killed in bomb and gun attacks on churches and Christian schools.

In Nigeria, 12 states have introduced Sharia law, which affects Christians as much as Muslims. Christian girls are forced to wear the Islamic veil at school, and Christians are banned from drinking alcohol. Thousands of Christians have been killed in the last few years in the ensuing violence.

Although persecution of Christians is greatest in Muslim countries, it happens in countries of all religions and none. In Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka, religious tension led to 44 churches being attacked in a four month period, with 140 churches being forced to close because of intimidation. In India, the rise of Hindu nationalism has lead to persecution not just of Muslims but of Christians. There have been hundreds of attacks against the Christian community, which has been in India since ad 100. The government’s affirmative action programme for untouchables guarantees jobs and loans for poor Hindus and Buddhists, but not for Christians.

Last year in China, which has about 70 million Christians, more than 100 ‘house churches’ were closed down, and dozens of priests imprisoned. If you join the Communist party, you get special privileges, but you can only join if you are atheist. In North Korea, Christians are persecuted as anti-communist elements, and dissidents claim they are not just imprisoned but used in chemical warfare experiments.

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, director of the Barnabas Trust, which helps persecuted Christians, blames rising global religious tension. ‘More and more Christians are seen as the odd ones out — they are seen as transplants from the West, and not really trusted. It is getting very much worse.’ Even in what was, before multiculturalism, known as Christendom, Christians are persecuted. I have spoken to dozens of former Muslims who have converted to Christianity in Britain, and who are shunned by their community, subjected to mob violence, forced out of town, threatened with death and even kidnapped. The Barnabas Trust knows of 3,000 such Christians facing persecution in Britain, but the police and government do nothing.

You get the gist. Dr Paul Marshall, senior fellow at the Centre for Religious Freedom in Washington, estimates that there are 200 million Christians who face violence because of their faith, and 350 million who face legally sanctioned discrimination in terms of access to jobs and housing. The World Evangelical Alliance wrote in a report to the UN Human Rights Commission last year that Christians are ‘the largest single group in the world which is being denied human rights on the basis of their faith’.

Part of the problem is old-style racism against non-whites; part of it is new-style guilt. If all this were happening to the world’s Sikhs or Muslims simply because of their faith, you can be sure it would lead the 10 O’Clock News and the front page of the Guardian on a regular basis. But the BBC, despite being mainly funded by Christians, is an organisation that promotes ridicule of the Bible, while banning criticism of the Koran. Dr Marshall said: ‘Christians are seen as Europeans and Americans, which means you get a lack of sympathy which you would not get if they were Tibetan Buddhists.’

Christians themselves are partly to blame for all this. Some get a masochistic kick out of being persecuted, believing it brings them closer to Jesus, crucified for His beliefs. Christianity uniquely defines itself by its persecution, and its forgiveness of its persecutors: the Christian symbol is the method of execution of its founder. Christianity was a persecuted religion for its first three centuries, until Emperor Constantine decided that worshipping Jesus was better for winning battles than worshipping the sun. In contrast, Mohammed was a soldier and ruler who led his people into victorious battle against their enemies. In the hundred years after the death of Mohammed, Islam conquered and converted most of North Africa and the Middle East in the most remarkable religious expansion in history.

To this day, while Muslims stick up for their co-religionists, Christians — beyond a few charities — have given up such forms of discrimination. Dr Sookhdeo said: ‘The Muslims have an Ummah [the worldwide Muslim community] whereas Christians do not have Christendom. There is no Christian country that says, “We are Christian and we will help Christians.”’

As a liberal democrat atheist, I believe all persecuted people should be helped equally, irrespective of their religion. But the guilt-ridden West is ignoring people because of their religion. If non-Christians like me can sense the nonsense, how does it make Christians feel? And how are they going to react? The Christophobes worried about rising Christian fundamentalism in Britain should understand that it is a reaction to our double standards. And as long as our double standards exist, Christian fundamentalism will grow.

BBC Execs: Okay to Throw Bible in Trash But Not Koran

March 28, 07

Some older news from October last year, but very telling of the state of the world today. 

So… It’s apparently okay to treat Christianity like dirt, but not okay to apply the same treatment to any other forms of beliefs. My further comments at bottom of post.

—————

From WorldNetDaily 23 Oct 2006:

BBC confesses bias
on religion, politics
Internal memo reveals execs saying
Bible tossed in trash OK, not Quran


Posted: October 23, 2006
5:00 p.m. Eastern

© 2006 WorldNetDaily.com

An internal British Broadcasting Corporation memo reveals senior figures admitted the national news agency was guilty of promoting left-wing views and anti-Christian sentiment.

News of the memo, reported by British media, comes as the BBC continues to struggle against claims of biased reporting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and distorted coverage of the global fight against terror, reports the Israeli YnetNews.com.

The admissions of bias were made at a recent “impartiality” summit the BBC held. Most executives admitted the corporation’s representation of homosexuals and ethnic minorities was unbalanced and disproportionate, YnetNews.com said. The British news agency, the report said, leaned too strongly towards political correctness, the overt promotion of multiculturalism, anti-Americanism and discrimination against the countryside.

At the summit, executives were given a fictitious scenario in which they were asked to make a judgment.

In the illustration, Jewish comedian Sasha Baron Cohen would participate in a studio program in which guests were allowed to symbolically throw in a garbage bin things they hated.

What would you do, the executives were asked, if Cohen decided to throw kosher food, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bible and the Quran in the trash.

Everything would be allowed, the executives said, except for the Quran, for fear of offending the British Muslim community.

The BBC also revealed its executives favored interviewing terrorist leader Osama bin Laden if the opportunity arose, the Washington Times reported.

The executives were presented with a current hot-button issue in Britain, the wearing of Muslim veils. Should a veiled woman be allowed to present the news, they were asked. The BBC’s diversity editor said yes, since news anchors were allowed to wear crosses.

A senior BBC executive admitted to the British paper Daily Express, “There was a widespread acknowledgement that we may have gone too far in the direction of political correctness. Unfortunately, much of it is so deeply embedded in the BBC’s culture, that it is very hard to change it.”

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Cross-check it with Daily Mail 21 Oct 2006 and Wikipedia’s references.

Now, don’t get me wrong and take out an order on my life.

All I’m saying is: If it’s considered not permissible to show a Koran thrown into the trash, shouldn’t it be similarly not permissible to show a Bible being dumped? If it’s insensitive to multi-culturalism to print cartoons that make fun of Mohammad, shouldn’t it also be rude to print cartoons mocking Jesus?

Or from the other angle, if Christianity can be ruthlessly lambasted and ridiculed, why are other religions given protected status?

Is it simply because that real Christians, and even shallowly nominal ones, would never rise up in a mob frenzy and burn cars, flags and people in protest of the affront to their religion? Perhaps if we started doing that, politicians and media moguls would start giving us a modicum of respect and civility (out of fear).

Let’s face it: Everyone can pick on us because when it’s all said and done… Christians are the nicest people. And the world knows it. And the world takes every advantage of it.

Funny how in these countries that the rest of the world thinks are ‘Christian’, it seems that only Christianity is allowed to be so viciously attacked. And funny how even though secular humanism rules these nations, every time they do something that offends another culture they are labelled as ‘Fascist Christian Crusaders’.

How to sum it all up… Hmm. Jesus put it this way:

“All men will hate you because of Me.” – Luke 21:17 (about the signs of the end of the age)

Fake Police and Rela Rob and Rape

March 28, 07

See how sneaky and cunning Johor crooks are? Shouldn’t the real cops take offense at this and swear revenge or something?

————–

From The Star 28 Mac 2007:

Indons robbed, woman raped

JOHOR BARU: A group of men posing as policemen and Rela members robbed several Indonesian workers staying at a house in Taman Impian, Skudai. 

One of them raped a 23-year-old woman, believed to be the wife of one of the workers, before escaping with cash and mobile phones. 

The victims said the intruders identified themselves as police and some had Rela uniforms when they broke into the house at 3am on Monday. 

Johor Baru (South) OCPD Asst Comm Shafie Ismail said the woman had been sent to the Sultanah Aminah Hospital for treatment.  

Muar Robbers Rampas Rubber

March 27, 07

Hey, guess what?

…..Sorry, too easy already, so no prizes. It’s MORE JOHOR CRIMES! Bute at least not in Johor Bahru itself lah. And nobody died, thankfully.

————–

From The Star 27 Mac 2007:

Muar police urge rubber factories to beef up security

MUAR: Police here want all rubber processing factories to beef up security following the hijacking of three trailer-trucks laden with processed rubbed from a factory near Bakri. 

Muar police chief Asst Comm Mohd Nizar Mohd Ali said six men surprised four security guards, tied them up and drove away in the trucks at 1.15am on Monday. 

Speaking to reporters here, he said two of the trucks had been found empty – one in Kota Tinggi and the other in Simpang Renggam – while the third had yet to be located. 

“The factory was preparing to export several tonnes of Standard Malaysian Rubber (SMR) worth about RM650,000 to South America and Mexico when the trucks were hijacked. 

“Looking at the modus operandi, we believe the hijackers may be linked to those who have been hijacking trucks along the North-South Expressway,” he said Tuesday. 

Following the incident, police wanted all rubber processing factories here, including one in Grisek, to be on the alert and to tighten security. 

ACP Mohd Nizar said police would also send patrol units to check and monitor the factories. 

“We will also seek assistance from the Malaysian Rubber Council to help in our investigation, especially on the potential buyers of such material. 

“We know that not many companies are involved in processing rubber for export and we hope the council can help us in this matter,” he added.

WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING JOHOR GOVERNMENT AND POLICE FORCE

March 27, 07

DAMN IT! DAMN IT! DAMN IT! DAMN IT! DAMN IT!

Our of all the headlines in today’s Star Online, only two are about violent crimes. And wouldn’t you know it, both cases would have to happen in JOHOR BAHRU!

A woman is carjacked and dragged to death. Another woman is robbed and gang raped in her own home.

And I wanna ask: WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING JOHOR GOVERNMENT AND POLICE FORCE?!!!!!!!!!

I am very angry and upset that you can waste manpower on stopping yellow-lights running. That you let us all suffer while you enjoy the contract pay-offs for endless road renovation because you use cheap materials that wear down instantly, while ignoring serious problems like innocent girls getting gang raped every day.

That you all can go on BLAHLBLAHBLAH about the bloody Iskandar Make-Yourselves-Richer Development Region while crime is killing your present citizens dead! What is your logic in pumping billions into infrastructure and business when current businesses are being destroyed by crime?! Are you just setting up MORE TARGETS for the insane crime rate in Johor?!

Do we commoners have to wait until YOUR wives, YOUR children and YOUR oh-so-important possessions are targeted before you do anything about it? Like this case where I dare say action was taken only because a politician’s family member happened to be the victim.

Yeah, put me in jail for rudely lambasting you in my blog! It’s not like you ever catch any REAL criminals and put them in jail! It’s probably safer in there than on our streets anyway.

Cuh. Johor Bahru… You disgust me.

I know it’s not fair to blame the police or their bosses for any of this. They’re trying their best to do their job. But for how many years has the soaring crime rate been rising ever faster? How much more commonplace have violent crimes become? What have they been doing all this while to allow crime to reach this epidemic stage?!

What can you do when desperation over the dangerous state of your living area clutches at your heart… Again? And again, and again? Every time I hear of yet another horrifying story of crime in Johor Bahru… AGAIN!

But as for the victims of the crimes… May God rest your souls and spirits, and may He grant you swift and exacting justice.

And to the vicious criminals, in the spirit of true forgiving Christianity and God’s boundless love, I pray that you will repent and grieve over your wickedness…

But if not, then I fiercely, strongly, sincerely and fervently hope you die in the most horrible manner possible. Rot in pieces, you filthy scumbags full of hateful s**t. I will gouge out both your eyes if I ever meet you in person.

This is how much these two most recent cases have affected me… That when I re-read them, deep in my heart I am saying to God about those evil criminals: “Please kill them Lord.”

God help me. God help us all… Because no one else can.

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From The Star 27 Mac 2007:

Carjack victim in coma dies of internal bleeding

Lee: She was attacked by the Iskandar gang

JOHOR BARU: A 22-year-old woman who slipped into a coma after being dragged behind her car by a group of carjackers last week died yesterday. 

The victim, Lee Hui Ling, died at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital at 8.15am. 

The cause of death was internal bleeding in the head due to an injury sustained during the robbery last Monday. 

On that day, Lee was about to enter her house in Taman Johor Jaya here after meeting friends at about 5am when she was attacked by members of the notorious Iskandar Gang. 

The five suspects dragged her after she put up a fight before escaping with her Honda City. 

Johor Baru (South) OCPD Asst Comm Shafie Ismail said police were working hard to detain the suspects. 

The Iskandar Gang is also believed to be responsible for the attack on Pengkalan Rinting Assemblyman Low Teh Hian’s brother, Ee Chong, 51, in Taman Daya last week. 

The suspects were believed to be under the influence of syabu during the incident.  

CONTINUATION: The Star 28 Mac 2007

—————————————

From The Star 27 Mac 2007 again:

Woman gang-raped over small loot

JOHOR BARU: Four robbers, unhappy with their loot, grabbed a 22-year-old woman in the house and took turns raping her. 

The men, armed with parangs were believed to have entered the house in Kampung Felda Ulu Tebrau, Ulu Tiram, through the back window at about 4.20am here yesterday while the family of five were still sleeping. 

The suspects held the victims at knifepoint and ransacked the house for 20 minutes. 

Not happy with the RM2,000 worth of cash, four mobile phones and a gold ring, two of the robbers dragged one of the daughters into a room and took turns raping her while the robbers held the family at bay. 

Johor Baru (South) OCPD Asst Comm Shafie Ismail said that the other victims were unharmed. The robbers, believed to be Indonesians, escaped. 

“The rape victim has been sent to Sultanah Aminah Hospital for treatment and a medical check up,” said ACP Shafie. 

ACP Shafie said 30 police personnel were now on a manhunt for the culprits. 

He urged anyone with information to contact the police hotline at 07-2212999 or the nearest police station. 

In an unrelated case in Segamat, police raided a “mini casino” and seized cash and items worth RM20,924. 

Acting on a tip-off, seven policemen raided a two-storey house in Chaah and detained 12 men, including a 16-year-old, at 12.05am on Saturday. 

Among the items seized were cash amounting to RM20,924 and some 120 chips.  

Global Cooling: The Impending Catastrophe of Our Times

March 26, 07

Be warned! Be warned! GLOBAL COOLING will be the death of us all!

We must rally together and pressure the governments of the world to take action before it’s too late, in order to prevent an ecological catastrophe! Perhaps by making an Academy Award winning documentary and flying around the world while leaving the lights on all the time at home (like this guy does).

Whoops! Did I say global cooling? Maybe I meant global warming. After all, that’s what Kyoto Protocol and An Inconvenient Truth are all about. Right?

But no, I really did mean global cooling.

Back in the 1970s, environmentalists and reputable scientists were warning us of the terrible threat that global cooling posed to the entire world. (NOTE: More media-propogated than science-supported, see http://tinyurl.com/mxlcr  for details, kudos to ‘Tom Dubya’.)

The doomsayings were similar: Predictions that catastrophic climate change would destroy civilization, warnings that reduced agricultural output would lead to mass starvation, a media frenzy perpetuated by reputable publications, sweeping environmental restrictions put into place, and various knee-jerk reaction measures being taken by the public.

And today in the 2000s, we see the same pattern of panic and alarmism over global warming. Make up your mind, people! Which one is it?

Now, it’s not to say that just because global cooling was a false alarm, global warming is therefore also a false alarm.

But shouldn’t such a strikingly ironic lesson from the past lend pause to our fearful actions before we spend (or waste) trillions to accomplish nothing? Some citizens of 1975 believed in gobal cooling as much as some citizens of the present believe in global warming.

To give credits, I found this topic at, and copy-pasted the text and images from Sweetness & Light‘s blog (whether Sweetness & Light got it from somewhere else is another matter). Image of the entire Newsweek article from this link.

—————-

Newsweek1975GlobalCooling

The Cooling World
By Peter Gwynne

Newsweek, 28 April 1975

There are ominous signs that the Earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production — with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth. The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only 10 years from now. The regions destined to feel its impact are the great wheat-producing lands of Canada and the U.S.S.R. in the North, along with a number of marginally self-sufficient tropical areas — parts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indochina and Indonesia — where the growing season is dependent upon the rains brought by the monsoon.

ClimateChangeEarthAres

The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it. In England, farmers have seen their growing season decline by about two weeks since 1950, with a resultant overall loss in grain production estimated at up to 100,000 tons annually.

During the same time, the average temperature around the equator has risen by a fraction of a degree — a fraction that in some areas can mean drought and desolation. Last April, in the most devastating outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded, 148 twisters killed more than 300 people and caused half a billion dollars’ worth of damage in 13 U.S. states.

To scientists, these seemingly disparate incidents represent the advance signs of fundamental changes in the world’s weather. Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the trend, as well as over its specific impact on local weather conditions. But they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century. If the climatic change is as profound as some of the pessimists fear, the resulting famines could be catastrophic.

“A major climatic change would force economic and social adjustments on a worldwide scale,” warns a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences, “because the global patterns of food production and population that have evolved are implicitly dependent on the climate of the present century.”

A survey completed last year by Dr. Murray Mitchell of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reveals a drop of half a degree in average ground temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere between 1945 and 1968. According to George Kukla of Columbia University, satellite photos indicated a sudden, large increase in Northern Hemisphere snow cover in the winter of 1971-72. And a study released last month by two NOAA scientists notes that the amount of sunshine reaching the ground in the continental U.S. diminished by 1.3% between 1964 and 1972.

           GraphFallingTemperatures

To the layman, the relatively small changes in temperature and sunshine can be highly misleading. Reid Bryson of the University of Wisconsin points out that the Earth’s average temperature during the great Ice Ages was only about seven degrees lower than during its warmest eras — and that the present decline has taken the planet about a sixth of the way toward the Ice Age average.

Others regard the cooling as a reversion to the “little ice age” conditions that brought bitter winters to much of Europe and northern America between 1600 and 1900 — years when the Thames used to freeze so solidly that Londoners roasted oxen on the ice and when iceboats sailed the Hudson River almost as far south as New York City.

Just what causes the onset of major and minor ice ages remains a mystery. “Our knowledge of the mechanisms of climatic change is at least as fragmentary as our data,” concedes the National Academy of Sciences report. “Not only are the basic scientific questions largely unanswered, but in many cases we do not yet know enough to pose the key questions.”

Meteorologists think that they can forecast the short-term results of the return to the norm of the last century. They begin by noting the slight drop in overall temperature that produces large numbers of pressure centers in the upper atmosphere. These break up the smooth flow of westerly winds over temperate areas. The stagnant air produced in this way causes an increase in extremes of local weather such as droughts, floods, extended dry spells, long freezes, delayed monsoons and even local temperature increases — all of which have a direct impact on food supplies.

“The world’s food-producing system,” warns Dr. James D. McQuigg of NOAA’s Center for Climatic and Environmental Assessment, “is much more sensitive to the weather variable than it was even five years ago.”

Furthermore, the growth of world population and creation of new national boundaries make it impossible for starving peoples to migrate from their devastated fields, as they did during past famines.

Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects.

They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed, such as melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers, might create problems far greater than those they solve. But the scientists see few signs that government leaders anywhere are even prepared to take the simple measures of stockpiling food or of introducing the variables of climatic uncertainty into economic projections of future food supplies. The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality.

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National Football Strategies

March 26, 07

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Teaching the Bible in US Schools

March 26, 07

BibleInSchool 

I came across a very interesting article in TIME magazine online. It’s about the teaching of secular classes on the Bible in US schools. I’ve included some edited snippets below. Read the full text at
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1601845-1,00.html

The author of the piece is David Van Biema, TIME’s senior religion writer.

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Not 20 ft. away sat a blond atheist who asked that her name not be used because she hasn’t outed herself to her parents. Why take a Bible class? I asked her. “Some of my friends are Christian,” she said, shrugging, “and they would argue about, like, whether you can be a Christian and believe in evolution, and I’m like, Okaaaay … clueless.”

Williams signed up for a similar reason. “If somebody is going to carry on a sophisticated conversation with me, I would rather know what they’re talking about than look like a moron or fight my way through it,” she says. The class has “gotten a lot of positive feedback,” she adds. “It’s going to really rise in popularity.”

Polls suggesting that over 60% of Americans favor secular teaching about the Bible. It is argued that teaching the Bible in schools–as an object of study, not God’s received word–is eminently constitutional. The Bible so pervades Western culture that it’s hard to call anyone educated who hasn’t at least given thought to its key passages. The current civic climate makes it a “now more than ever” proposition.

Is it constitutional? Marc Stern, general counsel for the American Jewish Congress, says that for over a decade, any legal challenges to school Bible courses have focused not on the general principle but on whether the course in question was sufficiently neutral in its approach.

According to Religious Literacy, polls show that nearly two-thirds of Americans believe the Bible holds the answers to “all or most of life’s basic questions,” but pollster George Gallup has dubbed us “a nation of biblical illiterates.” Only half of U.S. adults know the title of even one Gospel. Most can’t name the Bible’s first book. The trend extends even to Evangelicals, only 44% of whose teens could identify a particular quote as coming from the Sermon on the Mount.

SIMPLY PUT, THE BIBLE IS THE MOST influential book ever written. Not only is the Bible the best-selling book of all time, it is the best-selling book of the year every year.

According to one estimate, Shakespeare alludes to Scripture some 1,300 times. As for the rest of literature, when your seventh-grader reads The Old Man and the Sea, a teacher could tick off the references to Christ’s Passion–the bleeding of the old man’s palms, his stumbles while carrying his mast over his shoulder, his hat cutting his head.

If literature doesn’t interest you, you also need the Bible to make sense of the ideas and rhetoric that have helped drive U.S. history. “The shining city on the hill”? That’s Puritan leader John Winthrop quoting Matthew to describe his settlement’s convenantal standing with God. In his Second Inaugural Address, Abraham Lincoln noted sadly that both sides in the Civil War “read the same Bible” to bolster their opposing claims.

When Martin Luther King Jr. talked of “Justice rolling down like waters” in his “I Have a Dream” speech, he was consciously enlisting the Old Testament prophet Amos, who first spoke those words. The Bible provided the argot–and theological underpinnings–of women’s suffrage and prison-reform movements.

Recently, the Democratic Party seems to have come around to the realization that a lot of grass-roots Democrats welcome use of Bible rhetoric in speeches.

Evangelical pundit Chuck Colson favors Bible-literacy courses. “Would I prefer a more explicitly biblical Christian teaching?” he asks. “Of course. But you can’t do that in public education. What you can do is introduce the Bible so that people are aware of its impact on people and in history and then let God speak through it as he will.”

The American Jewish Congress’s Stern, who has participated in Supreme Court establishment-clause-violation cases, sees Bible class as a plus for anyone following in his footsteps. “Take creationism,” he offers. “Unless you are literate in the first two chapters of Genesis, you have no idea what people are fighting about. People are tired of the culture wars. There’s a broad middle who want to do something productive.”

The author visited New Braunfels high in early February. Jennifer Kendrick is a conservative Protestant. But her students don’t know that, and nothing in the class I saw suggested it.

Kendrick aces the compulsories–notes John Locke’s use of the Beatitudes and Frank Zappa’s riffs on “the meek shall inherit the earth,” and ponders why various politicians have found it more convenient to attribute the “city on a hill” to Winthrop rather than to Matthew.

When a student asks how Jesus could say the meek shall inherit the earth, when Christianity inherited it only after attaining tremendous strength, she suggests, “When he was giving the sermon, people took it not just as a physical award but an emotional or spiritual kind of award. Later on, when they became more powerful, say, in the Crusades or something, they weren’t trying to inherit the earth. They were trying to take it over.”

Explaining why Jesus’ famous sermon took place on a mount, she reminds the students that Matthew was writing for Jews, and a mount is where Moses received the Ten Commandments. “So, supposedly,” she says, “Jesus is the new covenant, the new law, for the Jewish people.”

She gives over much of the class to a Socratic symposium on Jesus’ simplest yet most difficult sayings, which reveals a lot about the class’s earnest attempts to make sense of rather disparate worlds.

“‘Turn the other cheek’–Does that mean we’re supposed to let them hit you on the other cheek too?” she asks. A boy answers, “You should, you know, just take what’s coming. It’s not like if someone hits you. If someone doesn’t give you the right change back, you shouldn’t come back looking for a fight.” A girl argues that it is more of an ideal than a mandate. “So it’s a guideline,” asks Kendrick, “and you apply it to the situation and see what fits?”

This, in turn, upsets a girl in the third row, who asks, “Does that mean that the Ten Commandments are exceptions?”

Kendrick: “That they’re literal?”

Everyone: “Yes!”

Trying to make sense of both this consensus and his possible future, an ROTC cadet notes, “Some people say, ‘Thou shalt not kill’ is really ‘Thou shalt not murder,’ and in Ecclesiastes it says, ‘There’s a time for war and a time for peace.'”

And, oh yes, there should be one faith test. Faith in our country. Sure, there will be bumps along the way. But in the end, what is required in teaching about the Bible in our public schools is patriotism: a belief that we live in a nation that understands the wisdom of its Constitution clearly enough to allow the most important book in its history to remain vibrantly accessible for everyone.

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You can see also an update on the teaching of the Bible at Bible Textbook Approved in Alabama, USA.


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