Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Valentine's Day What's Wrong With Showing Love?

An interesting article from about Valentine's Day. This follows this post about Ash Wednesday. This follows this post about diseases like Zika.This follows this post about the papacy. For a free magazine subscription or to get the books recommended for free click HERE! or call 1-888-886- 8632.

Valentine’s Day is all about showing “love,” giving a card or flowers or chocolates to a loved one. All of that’s good, right?  Wrong.
Valentine’s Day is big business. According to the National Retail Foundation, Valentine’s Day for 2012 added around $17.6 billion to the U.S. economy—making retail spending for this day the second-largest behind Christmas.
It does matter to God how we worship Him.
For a lot of people it’s the holiday to express your love to someone special. According to Kemberly King, a business instructor at South University, young adults ages 25 to 34 spend the most on Valentine’s Day gifts. Interestingly, men will outspend women—almost 2 to 1—with the biggest categories for all spending being restaurants, candy, romantic getaways and flowers.
A quick Web search for the origins of Valentine’s Day will give you the basics of the accepted history of the day. A deeper search will acknowledge its pagan origins. The Good News has published a variety of articles on both of these aspects of the holiday.
While Valentine’s Day is the most promoted holiday after Christmas and Easter even among traditional Christian churches, it is definitely not a holiday with true Christian values.

How can “love” be wrong?

There’s nothing wrong in showing love to others—after all, isn’t that the most valued Christian characteristic? But what’s been lost in how we go about it, and how we worship God for that matter, is whether we are actually following what God teaches in the Bible.
It’s like an automobile manufacturer telling you to put only gasoline in the fuel tank, but then you decide that diesel fuel is just as good! It just won’t work.
Here’s a quick review of the background of Valentine’s Day—before exploring a deeper point about this holiday.
By most accepted historians, Valentine’s Day was an adaptation by the Catholic Church of the ancient pagan Roman celebration of Lupercalia, a fertility festival. The Catholic Church updated and connected it to a “Saint” Valentine sometime late in the third century A.D.(though there is some confusion as to who this person actually was). It really took off commercially as a holiday in the late 1800s, promoted as a day to show your “love” to others—especially romantic love to your special someone.
So what’s wrong with that? Here’s the problem: Lupercalia was an immoral fertility festival also featuring gluttony and drunkenness. At the end of the festivities young men would draw the name of a young lady from a box, and the two were considered a pair (sexually and otherwise) for the coming year.
As a festival, Lupercalia was dedicated to the Roman god Pan, recognized as the god of fields, groves and wooded glens—and pictured as having the hindquarters, legs and horns of a goat. This pagan deity was connected to fertility and the season of spring. None of what is connected to the feast of Lupercalia is worthy of a Christian’s observance.

But what’s wrong with a little paganism?

What about showing love on Valentine’s Day if I’m not doing it for pagan reasons? Isn’t that okay? No, because the expression of that kind of “love” is still rooted in a former pagan holiday. True Christians must not adopt pagan festivals as holidays, for they are to strive to please God in everything they do.
Even when you think you’re innocently observing a holiday like this, you’re still advancing the origins and meanings of the day—especially from God’s perspective, as He certainly knows where it came from. God said not to do this. He told the Israelites entering the pagan land of Canaan:
“When the Lord your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise . You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods” (Deuteronomy 12:29-31, emphasis added).
When we merge pagan teachings with what God instructs through the Bible, we weaken the truth and violate God’s clear command.

God’s way is true love

Showing love as God instructs is not wrong—romantic love included. It’s a good thing to express your love toward others through a card, flowers, dinner out or any number of other ways. But don’t do it under the trappings of a pagan holiday like Valentine’s Day! If someone is special to you, then do those things throughout the year rather than waiting until February 14th.
Our worship of God must first and foremost be according to His truth (John 4:24). Carryovers from pagan worship don’t honor Him!
God is personified by the characteristic of love (1 John 4:8). Godly love is genuine outgoing concern for others as God would love them—not as a selfish love. Divine love is reflected in keeping God’s commandments (1 John 5:3), including the Ten Commandments and instruction like that in Deuteronomy cited above.
True Christians should desire to faithfully observe God’s own Holy Days found in the Bible (see Leviticus 23 for a list of them). Celebrating holidays like Valentine’s Day in opposition to God’s instruction does not honor or obey Him—no matter how well intentioned or innocent we believe it to be.
It does matter to God how we worship Him. He expects us to understand the difference between what He has declared holy and the profane teachings, customs and traditions masquerading as godly worship (Ezekiel 22:26).

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Obama at Baltimore mosque quoted Muhammad from speech endorsing caliphate and beheading

A timely post about from  about Obama's mosque visit. This follows this previous post about it. This follows this post about about Pope Francis and Iran. This follows this article about American energy independence and preventing money from going to hostile countries. For more, you can read two very interesting books HERE.You can follow me here.

Obama at Baltimore mosque quoted Muhammad from speech endorsing caliphate and beheading

Obama said: “Whoever wants to enter paradise, the Prophet Muhammad taught, ‘let him treat people the way he would love to be treated.'”
That saying comes from this hadith:
It has been narrated on the authority of ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Abd Rabb al-Ka’ba who said:
I entered the mosque when ‘Abdullah b. ‘Amr b. al-‘As was sitting in the shade of the Ka’ba and the people had gathered around him. I betook myself to them and sat near him. (Now) Abdullah said: I accompanied the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) on a journey. We halted at a place. Some of us began to set right their tents, others began to compete with one another in shooting, and others began to graze their beasts, when an announcer of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) announced that the people should gather together for prayer, so we gathered around the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). He said: It was the duty of every Prophet that has gone before me to guide his followers to what he knew was good for them and warn them against what he knew was bad for them; but this Umma of yours has its days of peace and (security) in the beginning of its career, and in the last phase of its existence it will be afflicted with trials and with things disagreeable to you. (In this phase of the Umma), there will be tremendous trials one after the other, each making the previous one dwindle into insignificance. When they would be afflicted with a trial, the believer would say: This is going to bring about my destruction. When at (the trial) is over, they would be afflicted with another trial, and the believer would say: This surely is going to be my end. Whoever wishes to be delivered from the fire and enter the garden should die with faith in Allah and the Last Day and should treat the people as he wishes to be treated by them. He who swears allegiance to a Caliph should give him the piedge [sic] of his hand and the sincerity of his heart (i. e. submit to him both outwardly as well as inwardly). He should obey him to the best of his capacity. It another man comes forward (as a claimant to Caliphate), disputing his authority, they (the Muslims) should behead the latter. The narrator says: I came close to him (‘Abdullah b. ‘Amr b. al-‘As) and said to him: Can you say on oath that you heard it from the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ)? He pointed with his hands to his ears and his heart and said: My ears heard it and my mind retained it. I said to him: This cousin of yours, Mu’awiya, orders us to unjustly consume our wealth among ourselves and to kill one another, while Allah says:” O ye who believe, do not consume your wealth among yourselves unjustly, unless it be trade based on mutual agreement, and do not kill yourselves. Verily, God is Merciful to you” (iv. 29). The narrator says that (hearing this) Abdullah b. ‘Amr b. al-As kept quiet for a while and then said: Obey him in so far as he is obedient to God; and diqobey [sic] him in matters involving disobedience to God. (Sahih Muslim book 20, no. 4546)
Immediately following the passage Obama quoted comes an exhortation to obey the caliph and to behead rival claimants. So embedded within the very same passage that Obama was using are endorsements of ideas that Obama would probably reject as having nothing to do with authentic Islam. It is extremely unlikely, of course, that Obama has seen this passage, but his (i.e., his speechwriters’) use of this quotation follows the same pattern as his use of Qur’an 5:32: he quotes selectively (although no Muslims are accusing him of “cherry-picking”!), ignoring inconveniently violent passages that are right next to the passage he quotes.
Is it not extremely telling that Barack Obama, in making the case that Islam teaches peace, can’t find even a few passages that are unequivocally peaceful, and instead has to grab his peaceful passages from amid exhortations to violence? Doesn’t that tell us something about Islam as a whole — something that Obama and the Western political and media establishment will never tell us?
Obama at Islamic Society of Baltimore, Allah
From Obama’s speech last Wednesday at the Islamic Society of Baltimore:
So let’s start with this fact: For more than a thousand years, people have been drawn to Islam’s message of peace. And the very word itself, Islam, comes from salam — peace. The standard greeting is as-salamu alaykum — peace be upon you. And like so many faiths, Islam is rooted in a commitment to compassion and mercy and justice and charity. Whoever wants to enter paradise, the Prophet Muhammad taught, “let him treat people the way he would love to be treated.” (Applause.) For Christians like myself, I’m assuming that sounds familiar. (Laughter.)
​FBI unable to crack San Bernardino killers' cell phone
UK: Three government buildings now ruled by Sharia, alcohol banned
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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

What are Ash Wednesday and Lent? Does the Bible tell us to celebrate these days?

An interesting article from about Ash Wednesday and Lent. This follows this post about the Super Bowl. This follows this post about diseases like Zika.This follows this post about the papacy. For a free magazine subscription or to get the books recommended for free click HERE! or call 1-888-886- 8632.

The Bible does not mention Ash Wednesday or Lent, and the early New Testament Church did not observe these days. Here is how the BBC Religion page describes Ash Wednesday and Lent:
“Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent for Western Christian churches. It’s a day of penitence to clean the soul before the Lent fast.
“Roman Catholic, Anglican, and some other churches hold special services at which worshippers are marked with ashes as a symbol of death and sorrow for sin…
“The Christian churches that observe Lent in the 21st century (and not all do significantly) use it as a time for prayer and penance. Only a small number of people today fast for the whole of Lent, although some maintain the practice on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. It is more common these days for believers to surrender a particular vice such as favourite foods or smoking” (BBC ).
Lent is counted differently by those of the Western Catholic tradition and those of the Eastern Orthodox tradition. “ The western church excludes Sundays (which is celebrated as the day of Christ’s resurrection) whereas the eastern church includes them. The churches also start Lent on different days. Western churches start Lent on the 7th Wednesday before Easter Day (called Ash Wednesday). Eastern churches start Lent on the Monday of the 7th week before Easter and end it on the Friday 9 days before Easter. Eastern churches call this period the ‘Great Lent ‘” (BBC ).
Various biblical events and customs are referred to by those who celebrate these days. The Bible mentions people mourning in sackcloth and ashes. The Bible also talks about repentance and fasting, and the number 40 is prominent in various biblical events.
“The justification for the Lenten 40-day preparation for Easter is traditionally based on Jesus’ 40-day wilderness fast before His temptation by Satan ( Harper’s Bible Dictionary, ‘Lent’; Matthew 4:1-2; Mark 1:13). The problem with this explanation is that this incident is not connected in any way with Jesus’ supposed observance of Easter. The 40-day pre-Easter practice of fasting and penance did not originate in the Bible” (The Good Friday—Easter Sunday Question ).
Some have suggested that Lent may be connected to earlier, pagan holidays. In Ezekiel 8:14, the prophet in vision saw women weeping for the pagan god Tammuz. “It has been suggested by some scholars that the practice of ‘weeping for Tammuz’ was the actual origin of Lent, the Roman Catholic 40-day period of abstinence prior to Easter (starting after Mardi Gras, ‘Fat Tuesday,’ on Ash Wednesday). Consider that the name Easter itself is derived from Ishtar, the ancient Babylonian fertility goddess and Tammuz’s mother”. (See the Bible commentary on Ezekiel 8 for details. )
The Bible does teach the importance of fasting and self-examination, but it does not teach a 40-day period called Lent or an Ash Wednesday of putting ashes on the forehead. These customs appear to have pagan origins, and are not practiced by the United Church of God. We seek to follow the customs and practices of the early New Testament Church as described in the Bible. For more on the biblical religious festivals, such as the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the spring, see God’s Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind .

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Don’t Let Chis Christie’s Tough Guy Act Fool You—He’s Terrible On Immigration And Protecting American Workers

An interesting article from about Governor Christie. This follows this post about Mexico and heroin. This follows this post about Pope Francis and immigration. Remember, “Amnesty” means ANY non-enforcement of existing immigration laws! This follows this comment and this post about how to Report Illegal Immigrants! Also, you can read two very interesting books HERE.
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Don’t Let Chis Christie’s Tough Guy Act Fool You—He’s Terrible On Immigration And Protecting American Workers

See Also Chris Christie Won’t Block Obama’s Bridge To Amnesty  by Ann Coulter
His girth aside, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has rarely registered a blip on the 2016 campaign’s radar. The Real Clear Politics poll average currently finds him in 6th place with 3.5%. Unlike in the cases of Walker, Bush, Fiorina, Carson, Rubio, and Cruz, the Republican Establishment and the Main Stream Media has never pretended he was surging and about to take Trump out. In fact, he’s never broken 5% in the polls. Despite this, George Will (or his intern) recently suggested that Christie may very well be at “the center of the stage at the Cleveland convention.” [Keep an eye on Chris Christie, Washington Post, January 15, 2016]. Unlikely—but Christie could impact the race.
With the Trump-Cruz truce over, the Establishment now hopes for a war of mutual destruction. As Christie has been such a non-entity throughout the election, he’s remained relatively unscathed. With Kasich and Bush all but finished, Christie and Rubio are fighting for the scraps.
As I and others at have emphasized over and over again, Trump’s base is not ultraconservative Tea Partiers who hate the GOP Establishment for not cutting Medicare spending. Trump does well amongst virtually all Republican demographics but, as Josh Kraushaar has noted, he is strongest among the “more moderate, more secular, more blue-collar” voters [The Crackup of the Republican Establishment, National Journal, October 19, 2015] Cruz, in contrast, depends heavily from conservative and evangelical voters.
This is not to say that Trump and Cruz are not also competing for many of the same voters. While Cruz is running a traditional Tea Party campaign, he has also echoed Trump’s positions on trade and immigration—going as far as to say he would appoint Trump to build the wall and negotiate trade deals. Cruz has managed to gain support of many hardline conservative immigration patriots like Tom Tancredo and Steve King who likely would be otherwise inclined to support Trump.
The most conservative popular talk radio hosts, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity have been very favorable to both Trump and Cruz—though Limbaugh and Levin have now all but endorsed Cruz. Yet even if Limbaugh and Co. completely turned on Trump and their listeners followed, Trump has a comfortable enough lead right now that he could probably do without them.
Unless a candidate peels off Trump’s working class base he’ll easily win the GOP nomination. Rick Santorum, who is running on an immigration patriot campaign and wrote a book called Blue Collar Conservatives, never even made it to the main debate stage. Scott Walker, who also flirted with immigration patriotism and governs a heavily working class Midwestern state dropped out. John Kasich represents Ohio, the key state for these voters, but his campaign appeals to liberal media elites and big money donors rather than his constituents.
Chris Christie is the only remaining candidate with a potential to draw off these voters. George Will gushes that “Christie could be an alternative alpha persona, but without the ignorance.” Christie’s shtick as a fat, no-nonsense guy from New Jersey who loves Bruce Springsteen ostensibly appeals to working class whites. As Sean Trende has written:
Christie is probably the only other candidate running in Trump’s “lane.” That is to say, while Ted Cruz and Paul could be seen as running in the “Tea Party” lane, and Carson and Huckabee are in the “evangelical” lane, Christie is the only candidate who really has a foot in Trump’s “tough guy/strong leader” lane. He draws from a lot of the same demographics as Trump,
[Laying Odds on the GOP Presidential Race, Real Clear Politics, December 10, 2015]
But despite these similarities in style and appeal, it’s vital to realize that on the key issue of immigration, Christie and Trump could not be more different.
Recently Christie has tried to sound tough. During the debate last week, he said
Now, I for seven years was the U.S. Attorney of New Jersey. I worked hard with not only federal agents but with police officers and here’s the problem, sanctuary cities is part of the problem in this country. That’s where crime is happening in these cities where they don’t enforce the immigration laws.
[6th Republican debate transcript, January 14, 2016]
In the December National Security Debate, a Facebook questioner named Carla Hernandez asked: “If the Bible clearly states that we need to embrace those in need and not fear, how can we justify not accepting refugees?”
2015-12-13-CNN-Debate-BlitzerCNN’s Wolf Blitzer added, in the helpful MSM way:
Governor Christie, you say there should be a pause in allowing new refugees to come into the United States, including orphans under the age of five. What do you say to Carla?
But Chris Christie doubled down, saying
And it was widows and orphans, by the way, and we now know from watching the San Bernardino attack that women can commit heinous, heinous acts against humanity just the same as men can do it. And so I don’t back away from that position for a minute. When the FBI director tells me that he can vet those people, then we’ll consider it and not a moment before because your safety and security is what’s most important to me.
[5th Republican debate transcript, December 15, 2015]
Good red-meat stuff. But there is an unfortunate complication: Christie’s recent tough rhetoric on immigration completely contradicts his longstanding pro-Amnesty career.
Thus while Christie repeatedly harps back to his career as a prosecutor and speaks out against sanctuary cities, he actually tried to force cities to be sanctuaries against their will.
Christie’s New Jersey is in fact one of the most attractive states for illegal aliens. Several municipalities, including the state’s two biggest cities, Newark and Jersey City, and also its capital, Trenton, have sanctuary policies.
The 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Control Act both outlaws sanctuary cities and enables for states and localities to enter into 287(g) agreements to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. But Christie has never done anything to combat the Sanctuary Cities.
Worse, in 2007 Don Cresitello, the (Democratic) Mayor of Morristown NJ, appealed to then-US Attorney Chris Christie for the town to enter into a 287(g) program. Morristown had been overrun with illegal aliens including gang members. One of these illegal aliens killed a ten year-old boy after being twice arrested for crimes involving knives and released without being reported to immigration authorities.
Far from taking the hardcore Joe Arpaio stance, Cresitello told NJ Ledger columnist Paul Mulshine that “We’re not going to go after jay walkers”—but that he wanted to be able to deal with the MS 13-led drug and prostitution rings.
Christie accused Cresitello of “”hyperbole and grandstanding and demagoguery” [Morristown’s mayor was right on immigration, August 14, 2007] To this day, Christie still refers to him as a “demagogue” on immigration.
In 2008, then-prosecutor Christie told a church group
Being in this country without proper documentation is not a crime…The whole phrase of “illegal immigrant” connotes that the person, by just being here, is committing a crime…Don’t let people make you believe that that’s a crime that the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be doing something about. It is not.
[Christie at church forum: Illegal immigrants aren’t criminals, Julie O’Connor, Star-Ledger, April 28, 2010]
While Christie is technically correct that “unlawful presence” is a civil rather than criminal offense, deportation is a civil remedy (as opposed to a criminal remedy like imprisonment). The issue with “unlawful presence” is not that it is a serious crime, but that every second an illegal alien is in the country, he is breaking the law. Moreover, unlawful entry (i.e jumping the border rather than overstaying a visa) is a crime, and in order to function in society most illegal aliens commit a host of other crimes like Social Security and document fraud. [Is Illegal Immigration a Crime?, by Brett Snider, Findlaw, July 9, 2014]
Christie opposed Arizona’s SB 1070, saying: “This is a federal problem, it’s gotta have a federal fix. I’m not really comfortable with state law enforcement having a big role.” [Gov. Chris Christie calls for Republican Party rebranding, Maggie Haberman and Ben Smith, Politico, June 30, 2010]
Yet Christie was quite prepared to addressing illegal immigration on the state level when it came to granting in state tuition for illegal aliens. He surrounded himself with illegal aliens, Democratic politicians, and Hispanic ethnic lobbyists from the Latino Leadership Alliance when he signed the NJ Dream Act. He called opponents of the act “cold hearted” and described the illegal alien DREAMer job thieves as “an inspiration.” [Chris Christie trumpets signing of Dream Act in Union City, Jeena Portnoy, Star-Ledger, January 7, 2014]
Christie portrays himself as a no-nonsense straight talker. His campaign slogan is “Telling it like it is.” In 2010, Christie told ABC News he supported “a commonsense path to citizenship for people.” [Christie: Take my bipartisan example to pass immigration reform, Jordy Yager, The Hill, July 25, 2010]
Yet on the biggest immigration issue that faced our country over the last few years: the Gang of 8 Amnesty, he refused to say whether he supported the bill—or a path to citizenship. When Chris Wallace asked him “Do you still favor comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship?” Christie responded” “What I favor is fixing a broken system, and the fact is that everybody knows the system is broken. And what Congress needs to do is get to work, working with each other and the president to fix a broken system that’s not serving our economy well, not serving our country well.”[Chris Wallace Tests Chris Christie’s Conservative Credentials, Fox News, November 10, 2013] He repeated that same type of evasion when ABC News asked him [Christie Defers to ‘National Leaders’ to Devise ‘National Solution’ on Immigration, by Matt Vespa, CNS News, November 12, 2013]
And just like the rest of the GOP field, Chris Christie reversed his support for a path to citizenship when his poll numbers tanked. In May, he told Megyn Kelly that citizenship was “an extreme way to go.”
Kelly reminded Christie that about five years ago, he expressed support for giving some undocumented immigrants an opportunity to legalize.
Christie said: “I’ve learned over time about this issue and done a lot more work on it. Just immediately going to a path to citizenship, as Hillary Clinton is proposing to do, is just pandering politics.”
[Chris Christie says he opposes path to citizenship, questions Rubio’s readiness, Fox News Latino, May 19, 2015]
In other words, Christie had no substantive objection to a path to citizenship.
Later in July, Alisyn Camerota of CNN quoted Christie’s previous “commonsense path to citizenship” line and he responded
Well, first of all, yes, I agree with everything I said in there. We don’t have the resources from a law enforcement perspective to forcibly deport those folks, not in those numbers. We simply don’t.
Christie then demurred from giving citizenship but said he wanted to still give illegals work authorization, noting
I have to tell you the truth, I—we have a number of undocumented immigrants here in New Jersey, many whom I’ve met over the course of my governorship. None of them has ever come to here and said that, “Governor, the reason I came here was to vote.” They said they came here to work. So let’s deal with the work situation first, and then we’ll deal with everything else.
[Transcript: Chris Christie Shares Views on Justice System, Immigration, CNN, July 17, 2015]
In an interview yesterday, Christie tried to veer right on immigration again, telling Byron York he opposes raising legal immigration limits or legalizing any illegal aliens until “after we get under control both our border situation and our visa situation.” He also endorsed the term “attrition through enforcement” and said he supported E-verify to “encourage some people to leave on their own.” [A few questions for Chris Christie on immigration, Washington Examiner, January 18, 2016] This contradicts his emphatic statement from less than a year ago that “I’m not someone who believes that folks who have come here in that status [illegally] are going to engage in self-deportation.” [Gov. Chris Christie: Many Undocumented Workers Won’t ‘Self-Deport’, by Charlie Spiering,, April 21, 2015] As I’ve shown above, this is just the latest of Christie’s many equivocations and flip flops on immigration.
Chris Christie has gotten away with these flip-flops, obfuscations, and just plain terrible statements because no-one has really paid attention to him.
Yet as George Will and other Establishment Poohbahs start talking him up, no amount of tough talk and Bruce Springsteen quotes will be able to hide Chris Christie’s scandalously anti-American worker immigration record.
Washington Watcher [email him] is an anonymous source Inside The Beltway.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Editorial: Pope to visit U.S. Border: How many people are the Vatican OR Mexico allowing into their own countries?


In an event that is getting scant coverage outside of the U.S. southwest, the Pope is going to visit the border town of Juarez, which is across from El Paso, TX. It had been reported that the pope might cross the border with some undocumented workers, although now that is unlikely.

However, he is planning to denounce the U.S. for immigration restrictions at the border from Mexico's side. What restrictions? The U.S. allows over 1 million legal immigrants per year, plus visa holders, plus the illegal ones who are a result of lack of enforcement.  This comes to at least 3 million per year, 30 million per decade, about a 10 percent increase of the nation's population in a decade.

How many people are the Vatican OR Mexico allowing into their own countries?

Pregnancy Center Fights Back After City Censors Ad for Helping Women Find Abortion Alternatives

An interesting story from about censorship of pro-life advertising. This follows this post about a recent indictment. For two very interesting books click HERE.
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A pro-life pregnancy center whose ads were rejected by the city of Fort Wayne, Indiana continued its fight Tuesday against the city’s discriminatory practices.

Attorneys representing Women’s Health Link filed an appeal Tuesday to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals after a lower court sided with the city in January, the Journal Gazette reports.
Women’s Health Link provides pregnant women with help, support and abortion alternatives. The 11-by-17-inch ad that it submitted to the city has a smiling woman’s face and the words “You are not alone” and “Free resources for women seeking health care” with the organization’s website and telephone number, according to court documents.
The case began in 2013 when Women’s Health Link asked to place advertising cards in the interior of the city public transportation company Citilink’s buses, LifeNews previously reported. Citilink denied the request twice, saying that Women’s Health Link is associated with Allen County Right to Life, a pro-life organization, and that the Women’s Health Link website discusses “controversial issues.”
Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing Women’s Health Link, filed a lawsuit against the city in April 2014, arguing that the city is discriminating against the pregnancy center’s viewpoint. ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot commented on the new appeal.
“City officials can’t run ads from non-profit groups, such as the United Way, and then single out Women’s Health Link’s nearly identical ad for censorship,” Theriot told LifeNews. “The First Amendment protects freedom of speech for all people, regardless of their political or religious views. Because government has a responsibility to ensure equal access to community advertising, we have filed this appeal and hope the 7th Circuit will reverse district court’s decision.”
Citilink reportedly has permitted many non-profit and government organizations to place public service announcements with various messages in the interior of their buses, including the state of Indiana, Parkview Health and the United Way.

The new appeal comes after U.S. District Judge Robert L. Miller Jr. sided with the city in a January ruling. Miller ruled that the Citilink advertising policy “unequivocally prohibits advertising” that declares or implies an endorsement or a point of view, is noncommercial and advocates a position on political, religious or moral issues, according to the local news report.
ADF attorneys argue in the complaint that the city’s policies violate Women’s Health Link’s “fundamental rights, including its right to freedom of speech and freedom of association.”

Weekend Box Office: The Choice; Hail, Caesar!

Here is an interesting article from reviewing some of the movies that came out over the past weekend. This follows this post about some of the movies from last week and THIS POST about some movies that have been released over the past few years that you might have missed! This all follows this post about guidelines to choosing good movies to watch yourself!

Weekend Box Office: The Choice; Hail, Caesar!

By Debbie Schlussel
Well, maybe the movies are getting a little better as we inch our way to May blockbusters. The studios held screenings at the same time on the same night for all three new movies debuting in theaters today. And I could only pick one of the others to see at early showings last night (both were at the same time). So, I did not see “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” (which sounds dumb to me–just saying). I was pleasantly surprised by the pro-life nature of one of this weekend’s new movies.
* “The Choice” – PG-13: This is a pro-life and a pro-religion movie–a refreshing surprise and departure away from the typical Nicholas Sparks movie. (Sparks produced this and it’s based on one of his many best-selling novels.) It’s not one of his usual cloying, manipulative tear-jerker chick flicks, although it starts out to be and is packaged like one. But looks are deceiving.
I don’t want to give too much away, but I feel that one of the trailers I saw for this movie already gives some of it away, so I won’t give away what the trailer doesn’t. The film, as the title indicates, is about a choice–well, actually many choices, each of them important, but one more important than all of them. At first, you believe that the choice is really only about a woman’s choice between two competing suitors who want her to spend their lives with them. And it is that. But that’s the trick. Instead, it is about the bigger choice: whether to keep a loved one alive when he or she is in a coma and all of the medical professionals urge pulling the plug. It’s also about the choice to believe in G-d–to realize that there is a higher power above us all who has a grander plan that supercedes ours. Best laid plans . . . .
Gabby (Teresa Palmer, an Aussie who does a great American accent and resembles a blonde Kristen Stewart) is a medical student who’s moved to a small North Carolina coastal town. Her new next door neighbor is Travis (Benjamin Walker), a veterinarian. When they meet, it’s because she’s angry that he’s playing music loud and claims that his dog has impregnated hers. But, eventually, they hit it off and fall in love, despite her belief in G-d and his lack of belief. She asserts that all of the beautiful nature around them (the cinematography in this is gorgeous) and the other things that are happening in life remind her that there is a greater power and that G-d has such a larger plan that is much bigger than us. Travis, though, doesn’t believe in G-d because his mother died of cancer when he was 14, and he says the only thing you can believe in and rely upon are your friends and family. Still, their relationship grows over a month. And Gabby takes Travis to church, where his widower father is in his glory (he turned to Christianity, the Bible, and faith when he wife was sick and died).
The thing is: Gabby is already in a long-term, serious relationship with a boyfriend, a local, wealthy doctor (Tom Welling, TV’s Superman of “Smallville” fame), who is out of town for a month to open his family’s new medical clinic. When he returns, Gabby is torn between the two men, and the two men fight for her love. That is the first choice made in this movie.
But there is another choice involving life or death. There is a serious accident, and Gabby ends up in a coma. She’s signed a “do not resuscitate” document. So what do to? Is there really a higher power who has plans we don’t know–plans beyond what available science and medicine can do?
That’s the real message of this movie and it provides the answers that I’m sure liberal movie critics will hate, but I loved.
While this movie looks to be formulaic and predictable in its beginning, it throws you for a loop in what it’s really about.
In 2004, another movie threw us for a loop. In my first ever formal movie review column, I wrote about the bait-and-switch pro-euthanasia message that was really the agenda of “Million Dollar Baby,” which was promoted and billed as “Rocky in a Sports Bra.” It wasn’t. My review was quoted by Rush Limbaugh on his nationally-syndicated radio show, as well as the New York Times, USA Today, and a number of other media outlets. Soon after, I began regularly reviewing movies.
But this movie isn’t like that. The movie lets you know in at least one trailer that I saw that it’s about a romance that involves a very serious choice after a very serious accident and shows the female protagonist surrounded by tubes in a hospital bed.
Since this isn’t your typical chick flick and it’s got a great message, it’s a very bearable–and, in fact, enjoyable–romance to which to take your significant other on the upcoming Valentine’s Day weekend, next week. Guys, this is one of the more pleasant ones to sit through.
But it’s not for kids and probably won’t be embraced by religious conservatives, given that premarital sex is involved in a couple of scenes. Still, it’s a classy movie for the most part and tastefully done.
It’s rare that Christianity and the pro-life issue are portrayed so positively in a Hollywood production, and I am proud to add that the movie production involves two of my fellow Jewish co-religionists, director Ross Katz, and producer Peter Safran and his The Safran Company.
Even if you are not into the message, it’s an entertaining movie.
Watch the trailer . . .

* “Hail, Caesar!” – PG-13: I have mixed feelings about this latest offering from Ethan Coen and Joel Coen a/k/a the Coen Brothers. While it is light and entertaining, there isn’t anything very suspenseful or interesting about it.
And I had a couple of beefs with it. First, there is the belittling and mocking of the Communist threat that was present in Hollywood at the time of this movie (the early 1950s). The threat was very real, and now the threat–a bunch of morally-bankrupt far-lefties who generally hate America–is running Hollywood, which is why America is so depraved. There’s also the mocking of the ’50s’ singing-and dancing musicals as just a bunch o’ gay men. Danny Kaye and Fred Astaire are rolling over in their graves right now.
But I loved the ’50s style and glamor that is ever-present in this movie, despite the presence of two obnoxious lefties (George Clooney and Josh Brolin) in starring roles. The Coens went to great lengths to consult experts on ’50s synchronized swimming and tap-dancing and use these in the movie. It’s very charming and glamorous, and it’s entertaining eye candy.
Brolin is Eddie Mannix, a devout Catholic and head of Capital Pictures, a film studio which is owned by some rich guy back in New York. Mannix is being courted to leave his job and go for a higher-paying, easier, more cushy job at Lockheed, and he’s considering the offer, given all the stress and long hours of what he’s doing at Capital. His job includes a lot of “fixing” of scandals. He must deal with a drunk star actress who is posing for sleazy photos, grooming the image of a cowboy and western actor whom he wants in “higher brow” fare that takes place in the salons of the wealthy, and then there’s the pregnant starlet who is single (and whom he is trying to get married off so the kid won’t be born out of wedlock. In the meantime, his star actor in a Romans-versus-Jesus film has been kidnapped. And, on top of it all, there are feuding twin sister gossip columnists (played by Tilda Swinton in the vein of Hedda Hopper) trolling around for dirt for their newspaper columns. While we are watching this all unfold, we see five different movies being filmed.
There is an old-style Western with gun-slinger Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich–the Jewish actor who was discovered by Steven Spielberg at a friend’s Bat Mitzvah can even lasso your finger with spaghetti, as he does in the movie). He’s the one being groomed for fancier stuff, and he’s also fixed up with a Carmen Miranda type of actress, whom the studio wants him to date . . . all for his and the studio’s public image. But he can’t get rid of his Southern accent and it makes a mess of snobby English director Laurence Laurentz’s (“Laurence Laurentz Presents!”) fancy movie about the bored and wealthy in a fancy mansion–in which the studio has forced Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes) to cast Doyle as the lead.
Then, there is the tap-dancing musical about sailors about to set sail for months without women. That’s the one in which gay sex is heavily implied. It stars Burt Gurney (Channing Tatum). And there’s “Hail, Caesar!,” which features movie star airhead Baird Whitlock (Clooney). Whitlock is poisoned on the set by two extras (including Sienfeld’s Wayne Knight — Newman!). Then, he’s kidnapped by a group of Communists, called “The Future,” which demands $100,000 in ransom.
And there is also the Esther-Williams-style synchronized swimming movie, starring DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson). When the cameras stop, she is a boisterous, low-class, pregnant chick with a high-pitched obnoxious, New-York-accented voice. Mannix is repeatedly begging her to allow him to arrange a marriage, so she doesn’t have an illegitimate kid, which would be bad for the studio and its movies (including her movie). How times have changed since that golden era.
And that’s what I mostly liked about this movie. It harkens back to the Golden Age of Hollywood, when morals there and in the rest of America actually counted for something (as did American patriotism) and when bad moral behavior was scandalous and embarrassing. Now it’s applauded and promoted by the studios.
This is supposed to be a comedy and there are some parts that are funny, but it’s not really that funny, and the laughs are far and few between (as well as inconsistent), relative to what you’d expect from the Coen Brothers. The best scene in the movie is that in which a rabbi, a Catholic priest, a Methodist minister and other religious leaders feud over “Hail, Caesar!” when they are called by Mannix to consult on the movie. Very funny scene.
The movie is relaxing and light, but not earth-shattering. It’s also fun and a good escape.
Watch the trailer . . .

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