Thursday, September 30, 2004

MinistryWatch calls for TBN reform

A Christian financial watchdog organization called Ministry Watch (who?--ed. Exactly) is calling for an overhaul of TBN. (blood is in the water and the sharks are circling?--ed. Let's not go too far.) It's really a so-what moment, except that the LA Times reported this in yesterday's edition. (plus the audacity of the watchdog group is humourous--ed.) Here are excerpts from the press release:
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(TITLE) MinistryWatch.com calls for establishment of an independent commission to take over governance of Trinity Broadcasting Network

(SUBTITLE)Dubious theology, likely personal enrichment and refusal to be authentically transparent all lead to call for dramatic steps.

MATTHEWS, N.C. – Newly revealed facts and allegations regarding questionable financial transactions at Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) – initially reported in the Los Angeles Times – coupled with MinistryWatch.com’s previous concerns about the dubious “prosperity theology” often heard on TBN and the unusually large profits and investments generated by TBN’s operations, have caused MinistryWatch.com to issue a second Donor Alert for this ministry.

Wall Watchers CEO Rusty Leonard observed, “Their exorbitant lifestyle is apparently financed by well-meaning donors who would naturally expect that their hard-earned money would go completely to further the Gospel of Christ, not to personally benefit the Crouch family.”

Mr. Leonard said, “Our concerns have only increased as a result of TBN’s public response, which is at times both caustic and misleading.” He continued "Accordingly, MinistryWatch.com is recommending a dramatic plan of action for the restoration of donor confidence in TBN. We are calling for the establishment of an independent commission to take over governance of TBN and thoroughly investigate and review what future steps should be taken to restore the world’s largest Christian television network to a place where authentic Christian theology is espoused and transparency in all activities is the norm.”

Mr. Leonard commented further upon TBN’s response to the newspapers’ articles, saying, “Since these facts and allegations have become public, TBN responded in a press release that demonstrated an attitude of arrogance and which lacked the humility one might expect from a Christian organization. This should be of grave concern to Christians because nonbelievers following this story may develop false lifelong impressions about Jesus Christ based upon TBN’s aggressive response.”

Indeed, said Mr. Leonard, TBN’s methods are ironic. “At present, the defense offered by TBN seems to be hypocritical in that it reflects a lack of faith in the Lord’s provision for the future of the ministry. Since TBN regularly asks its viewers to step out in faith and make donations larger than they feel able to do because ‘the Lord will ultimately provide for the donor’s needs,’ it seems odd that TBN itself is so lacking in a similar faith! In essence, TBN’s response indicates that TBN wishes its donors to trust in the Lord’s provision so that TBN will not have to!”

The plan outlined by MinistryWatch.com would allow for a full investigation of the issues by a newly formed, completely independent commission of Christian leaders. The specific recommendations include:

1) A commission of respected Christian leaders, composed of experts in counseling, theology, financial affairs, and other appropriate disciplines be put in place to establish a pathway of restoring Paul and Jan Crouch to a proper relationship with Jesus.
2) A new board of directors be selected who could lead TBN in a new direction where respect for the ministry’s mission and donors’ rights are the sole concerns.
3) The new board should also do a thorough overhaul of the ministry to put it on a path to teaching authentic Christian theology and which operates in a manner that rejects self-serving actions and is respectful of donors’ intent.
4) Future board composition should draw upon talents, treasures and time and be composed in a manner that guarantees independence.
5) The board should ensure that whistleblower protection and document destruction policies are in place, as required by law.
6) The board should establish an independent audit committee, with at least one board member a financial expert and other board members trained in accounting terminology.
7) Paul and Jan Crouch should step aside from leadership positions until this process is completed and the commission has concluded that true repentance has occurred. The commission would decide if the Crouch’s should return to any leadership position, as executives, board members or on-air personalities.

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(chuckle) This isn't really news, but the LA Times reported it and got a comment out of Paul Crouch's son:

An executive for TBN, the world's largest Christian network, rejected the idea but said he would meet with critics and review audited financial statements and other related documents with them. "We will turn over to them whatever we need to turn over," said Paul Crouch Jr., a network executive.
I am literally chuckling over #'s 1 and 7 above. If we take this all at face value, we have a Christian watchdog ministry publicly dressing down another ministry, telling TBN how to go about their business. It tells Paul and Jan Crouch, 'Step down, stop teaching what we don't want you to teach, and let some other people run your ministry.'

Paul Jr, no doubt following the sage advice of the same spiritual advisors who got TBN in this mess in the first place, basically says, 'no problem, we'll give our financial records to these nice folks.' Again, they choose the face saving, reputation preserving, compromising way of the world in the face of conflict.

OK, I hope TBN stops with the press releases and this story dies. I am a Christian, but I am not part of the TBN crowd. I don't want to blog about this anymore, but it's like a train wreck in slow motion, and it's hard not to look. Please, story, die down, go away, no mas.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Protest and conflict

Stephen Bennett gave a talk last weekend at Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, Il. Gay activists held a protest. Excerpts:

Protesters chanted "Shame!" and "House of Hate!" as parishioners of Calvary Memorial Church entered the service, where Stephen Bennett spoke about his life as a homosexual before he got married and had two children.

"We're talking about it because everybody else is talking about it," Rev. Ray Pritchard, the pastor, said after the service. "I think the church has a responsibility to speak to the issues that are foremost on people's mind....You don't have to agree with us. But I want to issue a challenge: Go home and read the Bible. Don't take my word for it."

"We sent a clear message that there are some in Oak Park and surrounding communities that know that hatred against any group needs to be opposed," Andy Thayer, co-founder of the Chicago Anti-Bashing Network, said of the evening protest.
Where to start, where to start? I have been thinking about homosexuality alot lately. If you read that little sidebar on the left, I tell you that I am an ex-gay. I haven't really talked about it on this blog and I am not sure why. It is about the only thing I could be considered an 'expert' on, or have a knowledge that is unique and not common to the common man. Write about what you know. I suppose that should apply to blogging, eh?

This thread over at parableman started me thinking. Not the main post, but some of the comments. Christians don't know much about homosexuality. Now, I am not of the camp that says you have to do something to understand something or be able to speak coherently about it. But, there is an understanding that one has, when he has lived through something, that others probably don't possess. God has been gracious and merciful to teach me about homosexuality in ways that someone who didn't live through it, wouldn't understand.

I've went thru a few stages post-homosexuality. When I was born again, and after the glow of newness wore off a bit, I felt led of the Lord. I felt He was leading me into some kind of ministry involving men who want to leave the homosexual life. I said to Him, I'll do anything you want, as long as it has nothing to do with homosexuality. I lived in that state for awhile. Then I came around a little. I said, OK, I'll work in that arena if you want me to. All the while, hoping He would take that cup away from me. Secretly hoping He would see my agreement with Him and then move on to something else.

I know I am rambling on. Sorry. I think I am almost past that last stage now. Accepting a reality where I am helping men who want help. I don't have problems with gays who don't want to change, who want to live a the normal gay life. But I know that there are many, many men who would jump out of that life if they were thrown a lifeline. I know many would like to be given the chance (not to mention those kids right now who are struggling with same sex attractions, who are being told by the whole wide world to just give in to them, it's natural). But it is a thankless ministry.

See, there's not a lot of love coming at you if you are an ex-gay. To a point, you are seen as a traitor, kind of like a black conservative. You are seen as a deluded self-hater. Gays generally hate you, and deny that you exist. The world doesn't really know about you, and those who do, deny that you can exist. Christians are wary of you, wondering when you are going to fall back into your sin. The failure rate is high. David Wilkerson said that only 1 in 1000 men succeed in leaving the gay life. This was 30 years ago, or so. Hopefully the percentage is alot better today, but I wouldn't think it's much better than 1 in 75 or 1 in 100. (and we are talking about those who Want to leave the gay life)

I am not like those Satan-led fools who think they are doing the Lord's work in their "ministry" to homosexuals by protesting at gay funerals. I am not a hater, I do not hate anyone. Unfortunatey, I think many people think that those kind of folks represent all Christians. They don't.

I am really going on and on here and not really saying anything.

Regarding that protest that led this post--Gays may win every debate about a ton of issues. But the one that they will never win is the God argument. God declares homosexual sex a sin. And He's not going to change His mind about that. And it's not hatred against a group of people when you say that. It's not hatred against drunkards when you say drunkenness is a sin. It's not hatred against talebearers when you say that gossip is a sin. It's a battle they can fight and fight til forever, and there will always be Christians willing to believe the Bible and say that that behaviour is sinful.

The myth is homosexuality is something you are. The truth is homosexual sex is something you do. I am living proof of that truth. Thoughts and behaviours can be changed. There's about 25 blog posts in this paragraph explaining what I mean, but...

It's late. And if there is a place on the web to nominate the worst blog post of the year, I will be the first to nominate this uneven post. I guess what it is showing is a heart in conflict. I want to jump into the fray, but....but....but; there are a million excuses not to. God have mercy on me as I sit on the sidelines in conflict.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Debate Zingers

Polipundit has a post up inviting readers to contribute potential zingers to be used during the upcoming debates. Remember "Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”

Highlights:

My opponent’s habit of following the prevailing winds may work for windsurfing. But it is not a strategy for dealing with our enemies.

Senator Kerry, I’ve faced undecided voters before. But until this moment I’ve never met an undecided candidate.

No, not “Are you sure?” The correct zinger response to anything Kerry says is, “Is that your final answer?” (ala Who Wants to be a Millionaire)...Expanding on the “Is that your final answer” add, “or would you like to poll the audience?”

“I could respond to that comment, but I think I’ll wait a few minutes. By that time I’m sure Senator Kerry will have changed his position again.”

Senator I know you say you can win friends and influence people better than me, but I don’t even see Tom Dashle using YOUR picture!

“I’d like to hear Mr. Kerry explain how he’s going to get France to send troops to Iraq when he keeps telling everybody we shouldn’t be there ourselves. How do you say, “Join us in the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time” in French?


Do you get the impression that Bush honestly believes that he is running again to protect our nation from terrorism, and that Kerry is running for himself, just to get elected? I get that impression.

[aside]OK. I just saw a clip of Kerry from a week ago. He is surely more tan today that he was a week ago. No biggie. But it is a George Hamilton kind of tan. looks overdone. hmmm

misc.

Storyblogging Carnival II is up. Looks like it is a bi-monthly kinda thing so far. Check it out.

Christian Carnival XXXVII is now accepting submissions.

When fasting, it's important to remember not to eat...

Is it just me, or does John Kerry look a whole lot more tan today, then he did a few days ago.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

(Scriptive #1) John 15:5-6

A few days ago, a strong wind ripped through the backyard, leaving the weakest elm branches scattered around their former hosts, discarded. Monday, they'll come and take the limbs to the dump. Today, the dead leaves wither, curling inward and down, as if in prayer.

fictive: #1 ...library signs

Two deaf girls whisper violently at the library. Their quick hands paint speech on a canvas without plane--the memory of words hover above the oak table between them. Patrons eavesdrop with a curious glance.

The pope speaks on terrorism

This month, the pope has issued two statements concerning terrorism. Noted:

[H]umanity is facing a frightening upsurge in terrorism. The repeated heinous attacks against human life trouble and worry our conscience...In the death of Jesus, we find the moment in which the triumph of evil meets the final victory of Good...For believers, the Cross of Christ is an icon of hope for, through it, God’s salvific design came to pass...With our gaze set on the Crucified Christ and in spiritual union with the Virgin Mary, let us continue on our path...

May Mary shield humanity at a time of disturbing bursts of violence. May she shield more than ever the young generations who want to build a future of hope for all.
Personally, I prefer the living Christ of today, rather than focusing on the three days when Jesus was crucified and buried. I prefer the blessed hope of our Lord returning, rather than putting my hope in any icon or idol. And, I look to God, and Him alone, in these disturbing times of violence, rather than put my faith in the earthly mother of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

Jan Crouch in the hospital

I will make a note of this only because I have been following the TBN story. TBN issued a press release yesterday stating that Jan Crouch has been admitted to a hospital with severe abdominal pain. They have diagnosed her with acute pancreatitis and gall stones. May the Great Physician heal her body.

As an aside, I noticed the press release refers to her husband as Pastor Paul Crouch. Previous press releases have called him Dr. Paul Crouch. In an earlier post, I pointed out the folly of using the title 'Doctor' when your degree is a favor from a friend; namely, an honorary doctorate from Oral Roberts University. I have had some visitors from California lately, maybe a TBN staffer is reading my blog.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Marriage poll updates

First of all, Polipundit has an excellent, well-researched roundup on the companies that do national presidential polling. It is a fine example of blogging at its best. His article is something that the big media can't do, and I highly recommend it.

Voters in 10 states will decide in November whether to amend their constitutions to define marriage as between a man and a woman. There has been a few new polls since my last update a week ago, so here are all the latest numbers:

Oklahoma
poll taken Sept 20-22, 2004
75% favor amendment
22% oppose

Kentucky
poll taken Sept 7-9, 2004
72% favor amendment
25% oppose

Georgia
poll taken Sept 15, 2004
68% favor amendment
23% oppose

Michigan
poll taken Sept 15-19, 2004
54 % favor amendment
37 % oppose amendment

Utah
poll taken Sept 6-9, 2004
63% favor amendment
30% oppose amendment

Montana
poll taken May 24+26, 2004
60% favor amendment
31% oppose

Arkansas
2001 poll conducted by the University of Arkansas
63% favor amendment
32% oppose

Oregon
poll taken Aug 26-Sept 1, 2004
61% favor amendment
34% oppose

Ohio
poll taken Aug 18-27, 2004
62% favor amendment
26% oppose

No polls found for North Dakota. The margin in Michigan is the narrowest among the states voting. And in Utah, the language of the amendment is causing concern, so much so that all candidates for state attorney general have come out against it.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Probably not true--but it made me laugh out loud

A letter to Larry Elder.

Dear Larry,

Last Thursday I put out one of my Bush/Cheney signs in my front yard. Between midnight and 3:00 a.m. someone stole it. On Friday night I put out sign No. 2. Since I didn't have to get up early, I thought my dog and I would "stake out" our sign. This time I put the sign a little closer to the gate leading to my backyard. With my dog on an extra long leash, I planted myself on a lawn chair and read "Unfit for Command" by flashlight until about 1:00 a.m. Here comes the fun part . . . I noticed that the car coming down the street was slowing down and pulling over to the curb right next to my yard. Sure enough, he gets out of his car and heads right for my sign. Just as he was about to uproot and desecrate it, I opened my gate and let my dog make the initial introduction! As he ran to hide behind the rear end of his car, I promptly moved to the driver-side door, which was still open. It was a fairly nice car with power everything and still running. While my dog continued to "introduce" herself, I rolled up the window and hit the power door lock button. With that, I slammed the door, grabbed my Bush sign and headed into the back yard.

And now for the "rest of the story." About 40 minutes later, I heard a knock at the door. I opened the door to one of our city's finest . . . the Vancouver Police Department. The officer asked me what was going on and when I told him, he could not stop laughing! I followed him out to the perp's car and stood there while he asked the guy a few more questions. Upon learning that the guy lived a couple of streets down, I -- knowing what was about to happen -- asked him, "Why do you have Oregon plates on your car if you live just down the street (here in Vancouver, Wash.)?" Larry, Oregon has no sales tax, so often Washington residents will buy and register cars in Oregon to avoid paying sales tax . . . it's a crime and the fine is pretty stiff. Here comes the best part. . . . The look on this guy's face told me he knew he was about to get busted. When the officer asked for his license and registration, the "Democrat" mumbled that (his license) was suspended. Just for kicks and giggles I asked the officer if he smelled any alcohol coming from the guy! The officer looked at me, smiled and promptly gave him a field breathalyzer test. Guess what? You got it, he blew a .10, legally drunk in the state of Washington.

Sincerely,

John

(h/t Wizbang)

Exclusive interview with Paul Crouch's Reputation

Rocky River Press recently sat down with the reputation of Paul Crouch in its first one on one interview since allegations surfaced connecting Crouch to Enoch Lonnie Ford in a gay sex scandal.

ROCKY RIVER PRESS: You look a little tarnished. Are the recent gay sex allegations taking a toll on you?
PAUL CROUCH'S REPUTATION: That's coincidental. I just had a Botox injection which leaves behind an orange pallor.
RRP: You also seem to have lost a little weight?
PCR: Now that is true. I still have a healthy ego which helps my, um, stature. But the rabid dog media can have a deflationary effect on most reputations. Just because I happen to be attached to a well-known Christian, I am not immune.
RRP: Let's talk about Paul and Lonnie. You were there. Anything untoward happen?
PCR: It's important for me to be seen in a good light at all times. Presentation is everything. The illusion of grandeur is everything. Lonnie was the kind of guy who didn't know which fork to use for his salad. He had this funny laugh that could be heard throughout a restaurant. I felt during the times they spent together that I was seen in a lesser light amongst the unwashed masses. So, I tried to keep them apart as much as possible.
RRP: But what about the gay sex allegation at the Lake Arrowhead cabin? Any comment on that?
PCR: Paul left me in the car when they went into the cabin. A reputation isn't needed in private matters such as that.
RRP: But you are big and powerful? How could you be left behind in the car?
PCR: True, I am powerful. Thank you. But like most reputations, I am no match for the power of lust. Not that I know for sure that lust played a part in what happened.
RRP: So you have no firsthand knowledge of what occurred inside the cabin?
PCR: No.
RRP: You are the reputation of an important Christian leader. Is there any long-term damage to you here?
PCR: Maybe. My host is getting pretty old. I heard that that Rod Parsley guy is hot, hot, hot. I might join up with him if things get too out of control here. I'm not a specialist either. I don't have to limit myself to Christian leaders. I might branch out and find a politician to attach myself to. Or maybe a gay activist.
RRP: You'd dump Crouch if things started to look bad for him?
PCR: In a heartbeat.

--Rocky River Press
(see sidebar about RRP)

Lawyers--Lord of TBN and Paul Crouch?

This is part 2 of today's soap opera concerning Paul Crouch and TBN and gay sex. Please read part 1 first.

TBN seems to think by making more statements that the whole thing will die down. Yesterday, they released their 2nd press statement responding to the last 10 days worth of LA Times coverage, including the Lonnie Ford interview. The opening 2 paragraphs are written by those looking like they have something to hide:

A recent article published by the Los Angeles Times was full of inaccuracies, condescension and mischaracterizations about the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), its ministry and operations," said TBN spokesperson Colby May.

"It also confirmed that the press at times refuses to understand, respect or appreciate religious issues, particularly Christian inspirational television. One has to wonder what it is these days regarding the elite press' integrity. Over the past year it has collected quite a shameful, dishonest record: B Jayson Blair, a reporter who concocted stories for the New York Times; Jack Kelly at USA Today who did the same; Dan Rather and CBS using fraudulent documents seeking to damage President Bush; and the LA Times, which lost 10,000 subscribers for its partisan attacks on Arnold Schwarzenegger. Readers deserve better," said May.
The whole 2nd paragraph is a blanket attack on the media. This is a deflection tactic used by Democratic political operatives, not a supposed Christian leader. 'The LA Times is wrong because, hey look at the shameful things the media has done.' This is how they open the press release before addressing individual facts in the news coverage. If this doesn't raise red flags with you, dear reader, double-check to see if your heart is beating.

Red flags duly raised, we look for a refutation of the gay sex allegations that started this whole mess. I have pointed out twice before that Crouch and his spokesman have given quotes that don't quite say, 'Crouch did not have sex with Ford.' They try to leave the impression that the sex didn't happen, but they don't come right out and say it. Searching the 19 paragraph press release, we see TBN uses only one paragraph, #9, to address that charge:

TBN officials also state that the newspaper also could not resist once again mentioning a previous story which reported a false allegation that the 70-year-old Dr. Crouch had a homosexual liaison a few years ago. What was omitted, of course, was that the false accusations were manufactured by a convicted child molester and drug user as part of a wrongful termination claim. The claim remains false, no matter how often the story is repeated.
Please read that paragraph carefully. Colby May is a TBN lawyer and this is a written press release. This was surely vetted by lawyers and they know exactly what they are saying.

false allegation about a homosexual liaison--Enoch Lonnie Ford probably details in his book what happened before, during, and after the liaison. His allegation about the liaison could be false if Crouch disputes one of the details. For example, Ford might say they got to the cabin at 9pm; but, Crouch says they really got there at 9:15pm and that would make the 'allegation' false. (what's the deal with putting in there that Crouch is 70-years old...he's so old, there's no way he could do this? what's the point of that little detail)

false accusations--see above. If a point in the allegation is false, then the accusation is also false. They are talking about the allegations made by Ford concerning the liaison, not the actual sexual encounter itself.

the claim remains false--What claim? Which claim? It looks like they are saying the wrongful termination claim is false. There could have been a host of reasons Ford wasn't rehired. Ford alleges it was because of the sexual encounter. TBN can dispute that allegation and say 'the claim remains false.' Doesn't mean the gay sex didn't happen, just means he wasn't fired for that.

Again, this statement, especially this paragraph, is fishy. It's lawyerspeak. It tries to spin that no gay affair happened without actually saying that no gay sex occurred between these two men. Take this, with the other non-statements issued earlier, the hush-money payoff, the $1 million offer, and what do you have? A lot of questions, with the fundamental question left unanswered. Honorary doctorate or not, Dr Paul Crouch isn't really behaving like an esteemed Christian leader.

Ultimately, it matters little whether or not a sexual encounter actually occurred between Ford and Crouch. What's galling me is the inept handling of this matter by Crouch and TBN. They keep digging themselves in deeper, releasing suspicious statements, and trusting lawyers instead of the Lord. Christians 'in-the-know' have many suspicions about the TBN leaders, and this whole sordid affair isn't alleviating any of them.

TBN, Paul Crouch saga continues

Paul Crouch, founder and patriarch of the Christian TV network, TBN, continues putting his trust in the legal system, instead of God. I don't want this site to be TBN central, but I notice I posted about the first salvo here, the official TBN response, a TBN lawyer's interview, and then 3 LA Times hack jobs on TBN's financing: here, here, and here. Now, before going into what transpired today, here's a recap of the relevant points.

--Enoch Lonnie Ford met Paul Crouch while in a TBN sponsored drug rehab in 1991. He later went to work for TBN. TBN paid some of Ford's debts, spoke with judges on his behalf, and gave him continued chances by employing him despite his continued run-ins with the law.
--Ford claims that, while he was employed by TBN, in 1996, Paul Crouch coerced him into having sex with him at a TBN-owned cabin at Lake Arrowhead.
--Ford was in prison for parole violation in 1997, when TBN lobbied on Ford's behalf with the legal system, saying he would have a job waiting for him when he was released. Ford criminal record includes convictions for drug offenses and for the statutory rape of a 17-year old boy.
--Upon release, TBN refused to employ Ford.
--Ford threatened a sexual harassment suit against Crouch for the gay sex encounter.
--Crouch, under the advise of his lawyers and spiritual advisors!, settled with Ford, Before he filed suit. The secrecy agreement handed $425,000 to Ford from TBN in 1998. No ministry money used.
--In April 2003, Ford walked on the set of TBN's Praise The Lord program and handed Crouch an autobiographical manuscript that included an account of the Arrowhead gay sex encounter.
--TBN offered to buy the manuscript for $1 million.
--Ford offered to sell the manuscript to TBN for $10 million.
--During negotiations, Crouch sued to enforce the secrecy agreement signed in 1998.
--Judge ruled that Ford could not publish the book without violating that agreement.
--LA Times runs a story detailing the above. TBN responds. LA Times does a hack job using anecdotes from Crouch's autobiography to paint him and TBN in a negative light.

Phew.

Anyway.... yesterday's foray into the absurd has TBN taking the LA Times to court to prevent them from running this article. In it, Ford gives an interview and tells his side of the story. He feels that TBN broke the secrecy agreement by sending out a press release after the LA Times' first story. Some of the details of that article:

"There were times that I didn't make the right decisions," [Ford] said. "This is all true. But this man is using my mistakes to get away with this." ..."I'll take a lie-detector test on national TV. Paul Crouch needs to be exposed, and the truth needs to get out."

...In October 1996, Ford said he and Crouch spent two nights at the same hotel in separate rooms. During that time, Ford said they worked out together at the hotel gym and ate expensive meals with bottles of wine and after-dinner drinks. "I knew what he was doing," Ford said. "He was seducing me."

After checking out of the hotel, Ford said, Crouch took him to a TBN-owned cabin near Lake Arrowhead. It was there, Ford said, that Crouch first had sex with him. "I did it because I didn't know if this man is going to throw me straight out of that cabin," Ford said. "And I didn't want to lose my job. I was going to be in trouble if I said no."

The next morning, Ford said, Crouch read a Bible passage to him in an attempt to reassure him about the night before. The passage, Proverbs 6:16-19, details seven "detestable" attitudes and acts in God's eyes. Ford said Crouch told him that because homosexuality wasn't listed, the Lord wasn't worried about what they had done. Still, Ford said, Crouch warned him to keep the encounter quiet "because people wouldn't understand."
In addition to characterizing the Arrowhead encounter as the "first" time they had sex, another tibdit the latest article discloses is that Ford now lives openly as a gay man. But, the craziest thing about the story is that TBN took the LA Times to court to prevent them from running this piece. (as they say, read the whole thing)

What in the world are they doing? Every step of the way, they are making foolish decisions, putting their trust in man and the legal system, instead of putting their trust in God. This whole mess started when they settled out of court for something that, they (sort of) claim, Paul Crouch is innocent of. We are to be of no reputation; and by trying to preserve their reputations they are reaping the fruit of what they sowed in folly.

This is part 1 of what has transpired. Part 2 is found here, and concerns TBN's latest response to this whole mess.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Troubled teen needs help

Evangelical Outpost has posted 'This Weekend's Useless Post.' It is a fictional (I think) letter from a troubled teen asking for advice:

Dear Joe, My parents are driving me crazy. I’m fifteen but they treat me like I’m ten. They act like I am incapable of doing anything right. Everything I do is wrong. All I ever hear is how when I’m their age I’ll see things differently and that I’m too young to understand. They don’t realize that the world has changed since they were my age. Kids know more at fifteen nowadays than eighteen years olds used to know. Help me out, Joe. What can I do to get them to understand me? [signed] Frustrated Teen
Joe goes on to give pearls of wisdom to the young teen. I'm not a frequent reader of his; but, I think this question and his answer are meant to be comedy and nothing serious. But it sparks something within me.

The question alluded to is a good one. It is something I have been thinking on lately; so, let me put words to paper and see if I can articulate what's on my mind. What should a teen do when he thinks his parents aren't doing something the right way? How can a teen affect the situation in a godly way?

I think the key to this kind of situation is the authority of the parent. Children are to honor their parents and submit to them. This is true whether the parents are acting godly or not. They are to submit to the authority that God has placed within the parent. Their job is not to change the parent or chastise the parent for what they perceive to be wrong behaviour. The teen's job is to submit.

Authority comes from God. He vests authority in certain people in certain situations. The President has authority over the citizens. A husband has authority over his wife. And parents have authority over their children. The principle of Satan is rebellion against authority. The principle of God is submission to authority--humility is currency in the Kingdom of God, for God gives grace to the humble but resists the proud and rebellious.

In the parent-child relationship, a child's responsibility before God is to submit to the parent's authority. Only then can God work to 'fix' the relationship, for He resists rebellion and pride in all its forms . The proper alignment between the three parties is God first, then the parent, then the teen. In order to affect the situation for the Kingdom of God and for the betterment of the parent-child relationship, the teen must first align himself in God's proper order.

God removes authority and can change those in authority. Permanent change in an individual happens when the Creator changes you. Authority comes from God and is changed from the top down, not the bottom up. If a child counters a parent's ungodliness with reviling, talebearing, discord, and pointed correction, the child is following the principle of Satan and is in rebellion. No lasting change will happen in this dynamic. A teen may think he is speaking the truth in love, but he is acting out of self-will and under the principle of Satan, which is rebellion.

Obedience is better than sacrifice and it is the Father's desire to see His children submit to His authority. To submit to God Himself means to submit to His authority. We cannot submit to God's authority and rebel against the authority that He has vested in certain individuals who are above us in God's order.

So, when a teen submits to a parent, God sees humility and a heart devoted to following Him. He has found godliness and a teen walking in faith, not self-will; and God will move heaven and earth to bring godly harmony in that relationship, for He has found one who obeys.

Activist Journalists

ABC News regarding Rathergate and CBS news producer Mary Mapes:

John Carlson, a former commentator at KIRO-TV who is host of a conservative radio talk show in Seattle, remembers Mapes as a talented producer with whom he often argued politics in the newsroom. Mapes was "quite liberal" and disliked the current President Bush's father, he said. "She definitely was someone who was motivated by what she cared about and definitely went into journalism to make a difference," Carlson said. "She's not the sort of person who went into journalism to report the news and offer an array of commentary"
Activist journalists reporting the news in a biased way; activist judges making interpreting laws to further a liberal agenda; activist teachers propelling liberal ideas by what they teach, and what they ridicule; activist clergy taking liberties with the word of God... it's a miracle that conservatives even exist in our nation.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

I Do Exist

Here is a press release of a new documentary. Some helpful websites first:

Dr Warren Throckmorton
Noe Guitierrez
I Do Exist
-----------------press release-----------------
Documentary “I Do Exist” To Premiere Nationwide October 8-11

Schools, colleges and churches all over the country will be showing a new video that documents transformation in the lives of people who have gone from gay identified to straight during the weekend of October 8-11 in proximity to National Coming Out Day activities on October 11.

“The documentary I Do Exist features people who have a story to tell that is not often heard. Many in our country are skeptical that people who once identified as homosexual can make profound transformations. This 52-minute film introduces the audience to five such people along with expert commentary,” said producer Warren Throckmorton, Ph.D.

Also, featured in the film is Dr. Robert Spitzer, from Columbia University. Dr. Spitzer is well known for his research in diagnosis and sexual orientation. Dr. Spitzer is also renowned for his role in removing homosexuality from the list of disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association in 1973.

One of the video participants was once featured in an award winning film as a gay man. Noe Gutierrez was in the video “It’s Elementary” explaining what being gay was like to middle school children. Mr. Gutierrez has since become heterosexual and talks about his process of transition on the I Do Exist video.

Dr. Ted Baehr, Publisher of MOVIEGUIDE.ORG said about I Do Exist: "This is a wonderful and necessary video to dispel some of the confusions of our age, and it is highly recommended by MOVIEGUIDE®.

"The purpose of the national launch is to raise awareness and encourage discussion concerning the topic of change in sexual identity. October 11 is National Coming Out Day when the gay political group, the Human Rights Campaign, publicizes the message that the only healthy response to same sex attractions is to declare a gay, lesbian or bisexual identity. The film I Do Exist gives the narratives of five people who have chosen a different path, one that involves a profound personal transformation.

Monday, September 20, 2004

LA Times doesn't quit with TBN and Paul Crouch

ANOTHER story today in the LA Times regarding TBN and Paul Crouch. So far, they have run a story on Paul Crouch's gay affair, the TBN official response to that story, then a report on TBN using the prosperity gospel as a means for its financing. Now today they run a story about Crouch's dealing with the FCC that happened between 1993-2000. The short piece is basically taken from Crouch's own autobiography and details TBN's attempt to own more TV stations than the FCC allowed at the time.

It's all similar to the dishonorable and deceitful 'anonymous donor' story I mentioned a few posts ago. A recap of the LA Times piece:

--crouch wants more tv stations than the law allows
--crouch starts new company with his black secretary, a hispanic pastor, and himself
--crouch claims new company minority controlled
--crouch tries to acquire new tv stations
--advocacy groups cry foul and fight against crouch
--fcc calls new company a sham, denies applications
--crouch holds telethon, raises $65 million in viewer pledges
--crouch gives $65 million to advocacy groups so they go away
--crouch appeals fcc verdict, loses appeal
--crouch appeals again to higher court, wins
--crouch claims God is responsible for outcome, because He never loses a case

There's not really any story here. Nothing new, nothing relevant. Makes you wonder why the LA Times runs with it. Are they going to keep hammering away until they see blood?

Extreme Memorabilia

I like to look at old stuff as much as the next guy. Yeah, Babe Ruth's glove is cool and those leather helmets they used to wear in football are pretty funny to look at. But, I have never understood the value people attribute to such things. A little piece of cardboard worth $100,000? Well, if you have the right baseball card for the right player in the right year it can be worth that much. A baseball worth $500,000? To me, it's all silly.

Not to this guy. He went to an extreme in an effort to catch Barry Bond's 700th home run ball, buying up 6500 seats at Dodger Stadium for Oct 1-3. He was about 2 weeks off as Barry hit #700 (and #701) this last week. Maybe he'll get lucky and Barry will go on a tear: #714 and #715 are the Babe Ruth numbers (tying and passing) and they should be worth something.

LA Times hacks away at TBN

The LA Times continued its denuding of TBN in an article entitled 'TBN's Promise: Send Money and See Riches.' This is billed as part 2 of 2, a continuation of it's Sunday piece referenced by me in a previous post. The article focuses on TBN's use of the prosperity gospel as its primary fundraising tool. It's no news to informed Christians; but, they make sure to pick a few flamboyant evangelist quotes to point out the extremism of that false gospel. A couple anecdotes from the story:

[Paul and Jan Crouch] launched their own network in 1973. After two nights on the air on KBSA-Channel 46 in Santa Ana, they were broke. So the next night, they staged a telethon.The phones hardly rang.

Then Paul Crouch hit on an idea, he recalled in his autobiography, "Hello World!" He told Jan to announce on the air that an anonymous donor had promised to give $20,000 — on condition that viewers pledge the same amount that night. The anonymous donor was Crouch, and the $20,000 was money the couple had already loaned the network. If viewers came through with $20,000, they would forgo repayment of the loan. By evening's end, viewers had phoned in $30,000 in pledges, enough to keep TBN on the air.

"Without really realizing it at the time, I had put into motion one of God's most powerful laws — the law of giving and receiving, sowing and reaping," Crouch wrote. "Thirty, 60 and 100-fold blessing is, indeed, a glorious truth and blessing for those who will simply obey the word of the Lord!"
Ahem... I wonder why he puts this story in his autobiography. It's deceitful and dishonorable.

Philip McPeake is [a] donor for whom God's economy of giving did not deliver. Out of work and out of luck in November 1998, McPeake heard the Rev. R.W. Schambach make an impassioned plea for donations on TBN's Kansas City television station, KTAJ.

Schambach promised that if viewers sent $200 as a down-payment on a $2,000 pledge, God would give them the rest within 90 days — with a bonus to follow.

McPeake sent in his money and waited for his luck to change. When it didn't, he complained to the Missouri state attorney general's office and the Federal Communications Commission. TBN refunded his donation.
(chuckle) Schambach is the closer they bring in every telethon to get the most donations possible. Probably had to have a meeting with the legal team to figure out what could and could not be said regarding the return on viewer's "investment."

Sunday, September 19, 2004

LA Times keeps TBN in the spotlight

Last weekend, the LA Times exposed the legal wranglings of Paul Crouch trying to keep an alleged gay affair out of the public eye. This weekend, they took a look at TBN itself (article here--reg req). Nothing really new and earthshattering here other than a few specifics of what many have suspected. If this story picks up nationally, the TBN empire could be plucked down from its pedestal. A few particulars from the article:

Though it carries no advertising, the network generates more than $170 million a year in revenue, tax filings show. Viewer contributions account for two-thirds of that money...

TBN has posted surpluses
[ie. profits--ed] averaging nearly $60 million a year since 1997. Its balance sheet for 2002, the most recent available, lists net assets of $583 million, including $238 million in Treasury bonds and other government securities and $31 million in cash. It has 400 employees across the country...

[Jan and Paul Crouch] project the image of a happily married couple. But off the air, they lead separate lives and rarely stay under the same roof, according to former TBN employees and others who have spent time with the couple...

In all, the network owns 30 residences in California, Texas, Tennessee and Ohio — all paid for in cash, property records show. These include two Newport Beach mansions in a gated community overlooking the Pacific. One of them was recently on the market for an asking price of $8 million...

Whitmore said she regularly used ministry money and a network-owned van to stock the bars in Paul's and Jan's separate condominiums at Trinity Music City. Whitmore said the Crouches directed her to make the purchases at a store called Frugal McDougal, hoping it would not be recognizable on credit-card statements as a liquor store.
Hmmmm. $269 million in cash and bonds on hand. It's a far cry from when Jesus sent out his disciples commanding "them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse (Mk 6:8)."

And that whole liquor thing... In a previous article the Times describes the newest Crouch house as having a wetbar and this article talks more about alcohol consumption. Also, there was Benny Hinn saying Paul Crouch blamed his gay sex encounter on being drunk. What's with all the liquor references?

We know that judgment must begin at the house of God (1Pet 4:17). I'm wondering if we are seeing some of the beginnings of that here.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Louisiana amends constitution

ABC NEWS:

Louisiana voters overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment Saturday banning same-sex marriages and civil unions, one of up to 12 such measures on the ballot around the country this year. With 95 percent of precincts reporting, the amendment was winning approval with 79 percent of the vote and support for it was evident statewide. Only in New Orleans, home to a politically strong gay community, did the race appear to be close, and even there the amendment was passing by a small margin.
We'll have to wait until tomorrow to see the final numbers, but I would say 79-21 is overwhelming. Louisiana is the 5th state to amend their constitution in regards to gay marriage. 10 more vote in November.

We'll probably have to wait a month or two for this to become official. Gay activists fought this amendment hard, as they are doing in most of the other 10 states. So, we can probably expect some post election lawsuits as well. Gay marriage advocates are in denial over the result. John Rawls, a lawyer for Forum for Equality:
"I am disappointed that so many Louisianians either did not read the amendment or are so afraid of gays that they voted for this amendment anyway,"
Afraid of gays? Whatever. I would like to think that Americans have a fear of ending up like the rubble of Sodom, but I don't hold my breath that a majority feels that way. For whatever reason 79% said no to gay marriage. The collective reprobate mind of the gay culture has to find reason for their rejection. The people's ignorance, fear, or hate are 3 common excuses. They ignore the scriptures to their peril--the Creator declares homosexual behavior to be unnatural, the unseared conscious of man tends to agree.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Honorary reputations

Agape Press spoke with one of Paul Crouch's lawyers regarding the gay, hush money embroglio that the TBN founder has gotten himself into. Lawyer Colby May says, regarding the accuser, Lonnie Ford:

"He has made a charge that he had a homosexual encounter with Dr. Crouch -- and of course that is utterly untrue, utterly false," May says. "When you're a public figure in this modern age, people can say almost anything and, quite honestly but sadly, people want to believe the worst."
Maybe I am nitpicking. Maybe I am taking this whole amateur statement analysis thing a step too far, but this comment sounds fishy to me. The 'of course,' the double use of 'utterly,' and the redundant emphasis of 'untrue' and 'false' in the statement makes me think he is trying too hard to convince people the charges are false. He could have just said, 'No, Crouch didn't have a sexual encounter with Ford.' But he spins a bit, and that makes me wonder if he is telling the truth.

Bits and Pieces: Why did they pay the money to Ford in the first place? There was no lawsuit, only a threat of one. Crouch says he listened to his spiritual advisors when making this decision. What kind of advisor says to pay Ford $425,000 to go away if the charges are baseless? And, why did they offer Ford $1 million for his manuscript if the charges are baseless?

Why do they insist on calling him Dr Crouch? Dr. Paul Crouch, his wife Dr. Jan Crouch, Dr. Creflo Dollar, Dr. Joyce Meyer and many other TBN luminaries, are only doctors because they received honorary doctorates from Oral Roberts University. Even Bob Hope got an honorary doctorate from ORU; we didn't refer to him as Dr. Hope, did we? No, this golden, padded reputation is what Crouch was trying to maintain. Not working so far.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Crouched amid the tares

4 days ago, I posted about Paul Crouch and the gay sex accusations against him. My point was that he was taking the wrong tact in this whole messy affair. The facts are these--Enoch Lonnie Ford is trying to extort money from Paul Crouch alleging they had a gay sex encounter. Crouch, after paying him once to keep it quiet, sues to shut him up.

This was a worldy solution to the problem. He was trying to save his man-made reputation through the court system, and keep the affair quiet. Well, now it's out; so, I guess that didn't work. Crouch's network, TBN, officially responded to the LA Times article in a mildly disturbing press release. The opening sentence of the press release says:

In a recent article in the Los Angeles Times reporting a story that Dr. Paul Crouch, the founder and president of Trinity Broadcasting Network, was allegedly involved in a wrongful termination and sexual harassment case in 1997 is deplorable and the scandalous claims leveled against him are false.
This opening sentence is grammatically incorrect. Now, I am not the grammar police and I am sure my grammar isn't perfect; but, this press release was crafted by professionals (or it should have been). So what are they declaring 'deplorable'? The LA Times running an article on Crouch's legal procedings? The wrongful termination? It implies, without saying it flat-out, that Paul Crouch didn't have gay sex with a former employee. But, it doesn't really say that, does it? (a cool site on statement analysis is found here)

Note the 2nd sentence:

The accuser is a convicted felon and longtime drug abuser who has been imprisoned for years for serious crimes ranging from child sexual molestation to using illegal drugs such as crack cocaine.
This is what galls me about the press release. "The accuser is..." response is of the kind you see in politics, or in the corporate world. In the world, to deflect allegations, you besmirch the accuser without addressing the conflict. I am not justifying the extortioner. He is clearly operating in the wrong spirit here and he clearly has a criminal history. I am pointing out the worldy response of a supposed Christian leader.

Later, Ford, the accuser:

threatened to sue TBN by alleging wrongful termination and sexual harassment, directing his most salacious allegations towards Dr. Crouch personally. In an effort to address this matter in 1997, Dr. Crouch sought the advice and counsel of some trusted advisers, attorneys and spiritual leaders. The consensus viewpoint was that it would be better for TBN and Dr. Crouch to reach a financial settlement rather than to fight the accuser in court. This course of action was deemed less expensive and would avoid the bad publicity, time and effort that it would take to fight the false claims...The importance of the settlement does not rest on the money paid, but rather on Dr. Crouch's vehement denial of the allegations made against him...
Translation: according to Crouch he compromised, and agreed to something that he professes to be a lie. This may be a fool's way out, but it is not the way of truth. Having to go as far as point out the importance of the settlement, to the unwashed and unlearned among us, certainly leaves you with the impression that the charges are true.

In violation of his agreement, and in an attempt to extract yet more money from TBN and Dr. Crouch, in late 2003, the accuser threatened to shop an autobiographical manuscript to the media should TBN and Dr. Crouch not agree to buy the manuscript for an exorbitant sum of money. Rather than even contemplating a second round of what Dr. Crouch considered extortion, and with the support of his present advisers and attorneys, Dr. Crouch and TBN fought the accuser in court where the accuser and his false claims were soundly defeated.
This sound defeat came after Crouch offered Ford $1 million for his manuscript and Ford asked for $10 million. After these negotiations failed, the court proceedings were allowed to run its course. The above statement leaves you with the impression that the gay sex allegations are the false claims that were soundly defeated. Not so. The court proceedings involved whether Ford, the accuser, could seek a book publisher after signing the secrecy agreement in 1998. Ford's claim was that he could publish his book. The sound defeat is that an arbitrator ruled that he couldn't publish the book without violating the 1998 settlement.

Nowhere in this statement does Crouch say that he did not have gay sex with Ford. A close look at Crouch's actions leave you with the impression that he did. Benny Hinn claimed Crouch told him that the sexual encounter happened because Crouch was drunk. Maybe TBN is hoping readers of this press release are, at the least, mildly intoxicated.

Frankly, the only thing the world and the TBN crowd care about in this matter is whether or not Crouch had a gay sex encounter. Homosexual adultery is a big thing for people in Christian leadership; but, to me, more telling are Crouch's actions after the alleged encounter.

UPDATE: Searching for sensible reaction in the blogosphere regarding Crouch is difficult. A few pagans folks seem to be dancing in the streets over this. I did find 2 reasonable posts. Marcus Brown's reaction which is in line with what I said above:

Hmmm ... sounds more like an attack against the character of the accuser than the charges themselves. Basically, because the accuser was a drug addict and a felon, then he shouldn't be believed....I think it's becoming clear that Crouch has messed this up pretty badly. If the charges being made against him are TRUE, then he's lying and trying to pay off his accuser to shut him up. If the charges are FALSE, then why did he try to cover this up for so long and spend $425,000 of his supporters' money to pay off a blackmailer? Seems like a pretty poor use of the money.
And Rich Glasgow expresses his embarrassment:
I've been embarrassed by Paul and Jan Crouch since the first time I ever saw their gaudy, gilded, 18oo's style bordello TV soundstage...I'm also embarrassed that so many people find them to be inspiring enough to send them millions of dollars each year. I don't get it! Why not send your money to the local orphanage or how about helping out some widows in your local community. Get real Christians! These glitzy charlatans are about as Christlike as the Pharisees of Christ's era who lived to be praised by men...O' sure, they were religious! But religion is nothing if it is antithetical to the teachings of Jesus. It's time to wake up, Christians!

Haloscan

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog......hopefully it'll work this time.

Marriage Amendments: state by state poll numbers

Voters in 11 states will decide this election season whether or not to amend their constitutions in regards to gay marriages. 10 states will decide in November; Louisiana votes this weekend. Generally, the amendments will define marriage as between a man and a woman. Here are the poll numbers from each state regarding this issue:

Michigan
poll taken July 6-8, 2004
61% favor amendment
34% oppose

Montana
poll taken May 24+26, 2004
60% favor amendment
31% oppose

Kentucky
poll taken July 27, 2004
71% favor amendment
25% oppose

Oklahoma
poll taken July 8-12, 2004
82% favor amendment
15% oppose

Utah
poll taken June 14-17, 2004
62% favor amendment
32% oppose

Oregon
poll taken Aug 26-Sept 1, 2004
61% favor amendment
34% oppose

Arkansas
2001 poll conducted by the University of Arkansas
63% favor amendment
32% oppose

Ohio
poll taken Aug 18-27, 2004
62% favor amendment
26% oppose

Georgia
Exit polls 3-2-04 primaries
50% say no to any special recognition of gay relationships
25% say yes to civil unions
16% say yes to gay marriage
(Georgia numbers were taken during this year's primary season, where Bush ran unopposed. 70% of people polled were Democrats, 10% Republican, 20% Other)

No polls found for Louisiana or North Dakota.

It seems clear that the constitutional amendments will be passed in all 11 states. They will join 5 states--Alaska, Hawaii, Missouri, Nebraska and Nevada--who have already amended their state constitutions on this issue.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Hurricane Ivan the Terrible

Tomorrow is Rosh HaShanna. According to God's calender, this is the beginning of a new year. Hurricane Ivan is expected to hit ground tomorrow. A warning of the type of year that awaits us?

Some prophetic snips I have found on Hurricane Ivan. Some are from registration required prophetic lists, so no links. I don't know any of these people personally. So this is grain of salt time.

vereneum on a prophetic list:

I saw a large foot come down from the sky and appear to kick NewOrleans right off of the map. When I first heard of Ivan I beganwondering if perhaps it was possible that Ivan would be the agency bywhich this was done. Regardless, I am praying for New Orleans atthis time, as well as all of our brothers and sisters.....and thosethat would yet become so....
Vision of Hurricane Ivan: Robin Paisley

John1965 on a prophetic list:

God is going to judge America with fire. Hurricane Ivan is the trumpet heralding this judgment. What Ivan does will be in microcosm what God will do in America overall. It is a storm of wind and water to reflect the storm of wind and fire that God is sending. It is going to make landfall on Rosh HaShanna, the New Year, because the relationship between God and this nation will be entering a new era. It is like America is turning a corner.
Joni Ames on a prophetic list:

Hurricanes Frances, Ivan & Matthew--I had an incident happen Friday morning, Sept. 3rd when I awoke...this isn't a prophetic word - I'm just running it by you all for prayer. I heard, "Frances is just preparing the way for the "I" and the "M" because I am the I AM." I felt it referred to the hurricanes that began with the letters "I" and "M."....

Bob Jones has said that sin opens the door to destruction. He told me he's been saying for some time now that he saw that there would be a "category 10" that would rip into Mobile Bay in Alabama. (He knows the scale only goes to 5, but says it would be worse than any other recorded, unless prayer changed it.) He said a "Jubilee" (fish jump out of the ocean to their death in droves) would be a sign it was coming, and that when the Category 10 would actually come, it would finally un-seat the spirit of Leviathan that has been there in Mobile Bay for years, and bring revival. - By the way, the original name of Mobile Bay was Bay of the Holy Spirit!

(The comment from Ames about the 'I' followed by the 'M' signifying the great I AM--that really resonates within my spirit)

And finally, from the Ivan news blog. This idol won't spare anything or anyone:

Generations of New Orleanians, have prayed to Our Lady of Prompt Succor to save the city from hurricanes. But prayers to the Blessed Mother to save the Crescent City from Ivan were prayed places other than the National Shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor on State Street, which was locked tight Wednesday.

Hurricane Ivan and Southern Decadence

A few posts ago, I linked Bill Koenig and his thoughts on the Florida hurricanes relating to the USA's pressure on Israel to give up its land. I posted it, not 100% sure that there is a correlation. I just found it interesting. Well, something just clicked for me in the last hour about another hurricane, and it has filled me with dread. Here are the reasons:

Bill Koenig, postulates that there is a connection between America's actions and God's judgement in the following areas:

1)Israel is pressured to give up her land.
2)Pro-abortion legislation becomes law, or major pro-abortion events take place.
3)Pro-gay legislation becomes law, or major pro-gay events take place.

Over this past Labor Day weekend, New Orleans hosted an event called Southern Decadence. Billed as the largest gathering of homosexuals in the south, 120,000 gays were expected to attend the 34th annual event.

Hurricane Ivan is heading towards New Orleans. It is a category 4 storm that, with a direct hit, could sink the city.

Pray.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

CBS Blog-lash

Sept. 9, 2004, will be remembered as a paradigm-shifting day in media history. That was the day the "blogosphere" took down CBS News... (read the whole Newsday story)

Well, I suppose when you use a typewriter repairman as a document expert, you may deserve to go down.

The blog-lash is so quick, that a new website has sprung up dealing specifically with Rathergate.

UPDATE: ...and Hugh Hewitt is calling for congressional hearings.

Congress has held hearings on Howard Stern and "wardrobe malfunctions" at the Superbowl. It has held hearings on the networks' disastrous performance on election night 2000. Now a network is party to a fraud committed with the obvious intent of influencing an election. Where are the hearings? This is very serious stuff, and the rise of technology capable of influencing elections is a worry on many minds. (See John Fund's new book Stealing Elections.) It doesn't do much good for Congress to arrive to conduct an autopsy. It should act before the fraud spreads.

Next Blog: Interpretations of a Delusion

That "next blog" button on blogspot is fascinating. I like to see where it takes me. Meghan writes on her blog:

i'm scared to death. whatever good intentions i may have, i dont trust myself. there are so many possible futures ahead of me. but to me, all of them are pass or fail.

Gay marriage among the religions

The following numbers are from the Pew Forum, from their just released 2004 survey on religious life in America. They reference many topics and here are the gay marriage poll numbers. (link here) (scroll to page 45 in the document to see this table) (also, a few of my comments below)

The numbers below are formatted in this manner:
(1st percentage)--(2nd percentage)--(3rd percentage)
(favor traditional marriage)--(favor civil unions)--(favor gay marriage)

ENTIRE SAMPLE 55% 18 27
Evangelical Protestant 75% 13 12
Traditionalist Evangelical 89% 8 3
Centrist Evangelical 67% 16 17
Modernist Evangelical 42% 24 34
Mainline Protestant 47% 27 26
Traditionalist Mainline 72% 18 10
Centrist Mainline 44% 29 27
Modernist Mainline 29% 33 38
Latino Protestants 71% 9 20
Black Protestants 72% 10 18
Catholic 48% 22 30
Traditionalist Catholic 71% 18 11
Centrist Catholic 52% 19 29
Modernist Catholic 20% 29 51
Latino Catholic 52% 14 34
Other Christian 77% 8 15
Other Faiths 30% 20 50
Jewish 16% 29 55
Unaffiliated 31% 19 50
Unaffiliated Believers 58% 10 32
Secular 23% 24 53
Atheist, Agnostic 7% 21 72

Some comments:

It seems the more liberal or "modern" the religion, the more apt they are to want gays unions to be codified.

I am surprised that only 16% of Jews favor traditional marriage. Homosexual behavior is explicitly condemned in the Torah. Christians try to find ways around that, but how can the Jew?

93% of atheists are in favor of gay unions and marriage.

89% of traditionalist evangelical protestants favor marriage to remain between a man and woman only. This is the strongest pro-marriage group. From what I can tell, this group includes the Southern Baptists, Assemblies of God, Lutheran-Missouri Synod, and Presbyterian Church in America, plus a lot of smaller denominations)

They also survey opinions on abortion. Some correlations:

Catholics support some kind of recognition of gay relationships 52-48. This is the exact percentage in which they support abortion according to the poll.

The entire sample is 55-45 pro-traditional marriage. The entire sample is 52-48 pro-abortion. (abortion numbers are on page 40 in the document)

0% of Jews think abortion should always be illegal. (must be a small sample; has to be)

Black and Latino Protestants are more opposed to gay unions than they are to abortion. (by 18% and 9% respectively)

Of the "other" "faiths"--Buddhists, Wiccans, Hindus, New Agers (and Muslims, which probably account for most of the 'anti' numbers)--70% support gay unions, 79% support abortion.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Edwards Calls for Blog Reform

ORONO, Maine (RRP) - On the campaign trail today, Democratic Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards called for blog reform, including licensure for all bloggers. "It's dangerous to have unregulated opinion circulating on the internet," said Edwards. "The American people won't stand for this nonsense. The American people know that John Kerry and I will protect the American people when we take office."

On the heels of Rathergate--an attempt by bloggers to discredit and dismantle CBS News--Edwards was firm in his stance of legislating blogs. "This isn't about the grass roots dissemination of information. This is about the American people being deceived by the dirty tricks of right-wing zealots sitting in their boxer shorts in front of their computers."

Edwards drew a parallel between bloggers and a common profession to hammer home his point. "Hairdressers have to go through a lot of schooling to get licensed to practice their craft. And other than John's stylist, whose work we hope is worth 2 points in the polls, hairdressers have no influence on our electoral process."

"But, bloggers can have a huge influence on our democracy. To protect the American people, under a Kerry administration, we will require that all bloggers have a college degree and we will require a federal license to operate a blog," said Edwards. "Bloggers will have to undergo a stringent 30-hour education program to be licensed, and then bi-monthly reeducation classes to remain licensed. Our democracy depends upon the flow of information, and the American people can rest assured that John Kerry will protect that flow."
--Rocky River Press
(see sidebar for source)

Bill Koenig links Florida Hurricane...

...with America's pressure on Israel to divide it's land. Jeff King has been following this more closely than I have.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Vietnam Vets for Truth

Missed this on C-SPAN, but Deacon at Powerline writes it up:

The Vietnam Vets for the Truth held a rally in Washington D.C. I watched most of it on C-SPAN. John O'Neill of the Swiftvets delivered a fine speech. But the most moving speech I heard was by Larua Bartholomew Armstrong, daughter of Lt. Col. Roger ("Black Bart") Bartholomew, a First Air Cavalry rocket artillery helicopter pilot who was killed in Vietnam on Thanksgiving Day 1968, when she was eight years old. Ms. Armstrong's focus, and that of the other speakers too, was on John Kerry's activity after he finished his time in Vietnam. She made the point that one "didn't have to attack the warrior to attack the war" -- a point so basic that even an immature leftist like me had the decency to grasp it in 1971. Yet John Kerry did not. And, getting to the heart of John Kerry's role, she noted that what the winter soldiers did in 1971 did not require courage; it just required a high visibility leader with access to Ted Kennedy and a willingness to betray the men he served with.

Ms. Armstong concluded with a story about her father and Rick Rescorla, the security chief for Morgan Stanley, who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11. In the early 1990s, Rescorla told Armstrong that her father, "Black Bart," had saved his life in Vietnam. He did so by flying his helicopter into a creek bed where Rescorla was stranded, and pulling him out just before the enemy arrived. Bartholomew received no medal for this; he was just doing his duty. So was Rescorla, on 9/11, when he safely evacuated 3,700 people before he perished. Many of them likely would have perished too had not Bartholomew saved Rescoria's life in Vietnam.

These are the kind of men that John Kerry branded as war criminals.

Dislogue Dan was at the event.

IMSHIN

Israeli blogger Imshin has a few posts about 9-11. From a country where terrorism can be a weekly occurence, she speaks from experience. I'll give you the main page link, but check out her 9-11 and 9-12 posts. Snips:

I got a very strong feeling that the anniversary of 9/11 was a bit of an annoyance this year, a nuisance. It crept up while everyone was busy with other things....There is a word I am thinking about today. The word is DENIAL....[remember] someone did this, it didn't just happen.
UPDATE: David at Israellycool remembers the reactions of Israelis and Palestinians on 9-11-01.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Gay Affair

The LA Times is reporting on the legal wranglings of Paul Crouch and a former employee over a long ago homosexual affair. Story is here. (reg req)(do you know about bugmenot for newspaper registrations?) Excerpts:

Televangelist Paul Crouch, founder of the world's largest Christian broadcasting network, has waged a fierce legal battle to prevent a former employee from publicizing allegations that he and Crouch had a sexual encounter eight years ago.

The source of the allegations against him is Enoch Lonnie Ford, who met Crouch at a TBN-affiliated drug treatment center in 1991 and later went to work for the ministry.

After Ford threatened to sue TBN in 1998, claiming that he had been unjustly fired, Crouch reached a $425,000 settlement with him. In return, Ford agreed, among other things, not to discuss his claim about a sexual encounter with the TV preacher.
But in the last year, Ford has threatened to go public with his story, prompting a flurry of legal maneuvers — conducted in closed court hearings, sealed pleadings and private arbitration.

TBN and Crouch went on the legal offensive after they learned that Ford had written a book manuscript that included an account of the alleged sexual encounter.

In a dramatic flourish, Ford had appeared at a TBN broadcast studio in Costa Mesa, minutes before the start of a "Praise-a-thon" fundraiser, and, without comment, handed Crouch a copy of the manuscript.
Other bits. Crouch offered Ford $1 million to not publish the manuscript. Ford thought $10 million would be a more fair price. Ford had a history of difficulty with homosexuality, pleading no contest to having sex with a 17-year old boy and serving 6 months in jail.

A Ford friend, Sandi Mahlow, "said he broke down in tears after returning from a weekend spent alone with Crouch at a TBN-owned cabin near Lake Arrowhead. Mahlow said Ford told her that he and Crouch had engaged in sexual acts."

The LA Times continues:

Despite TBN's efforts to keep Ford's charges secret, they surfaced in an unrelated 1998 lawsuit. A former bodyguard for TBN personality Benny Hinn testified in a deposition that during a European bus tour that year, Hinn had told a group of associates about "a sexual relationship that Paul Crouch had with his chauffeur."

The witness, Mario C. Licciardello, quoted Hinn as saying: "Paul's defense was that he was drunk."

Hinn and six others mentioned by Licciardello, who died in 2000, told The Times that Hinn never made such remarks. However, Rick Jones, a retired police officer and ordained minister who worked for Hinn, said he heard Hinn talk about Crouch's alleged homosexual relationship on that bus.

Jones said he was disgusted by the talk and "got up and walked away. I didn't want to hear gossip."
It's like a car wreck. You don't want to look; but, you catch yourself peeking. God help me for that part of my heart that chuckles at Crouch's troubles. For that was my initial reaction to all this, exposing a part of me, beneath the surface, that I don't want to see. When men fall from the pinnacle, from their insulated podium of reputation and power, those who disagree with them can find a perverse pleasure. God have mercy.

For Crouch, taking your brother to court is not the answer. Trusting the legal system to aid the situation is not the same as trusting God. As a matter of fact, the choice to go legal probably shuts God out of the equation, which is not good for a Christian. Simply speaking, 1Cor 6 says we don't take our brother to court. And if Ford is not a brother, we are to not have the faith of the Lord Jesus with respect to persons. So if we treat a brother one way, we should be consistent in treating others the same way. So who can we take to court? You decide. I vote love, and prayer, and a sovereign God.

What happens if Ford publishes his book? (not even asking if the affair happened or not). Crouch's reputation would suffer. But I know that we are to be of no reputation. I know our flesh and the world has a way of doing things that make sense to the natural mind. But for Christians, the world's solutions are not recourse for our difficulties. By choosing the world's ways in this matter, Crouch brings the spiritual law of sowing and reaping into effect. Even if he wins the court battle, that law says Crouch will probably reap some unintended results from his decision to fight in court.

Kerry blames Bush for Florida Hurricanes

FLIPVILLE, Ohio (RRP)--Long shot presidential candidate John Kerry rallied the troops before a large group of supporters in Flipville today. Speaking before a group calling themselves Wiccans Aiding Comrade Kerry (WACK), Senator Kerry laid blame for Florida's recent wave of hurricanes squarely at President Bush's feet.

"Mother Nature has chosen to afflict our nation," said the candidate. "These hurricanes have hit our shores as a reply to the economic and educational policies of President Bush. It's the wrong weather in the wrong nation at the wrong time. I pledge during a Kerry administration that our nation will see no hurricanes, no blizzards, and no tornados."

Chased down by reporters for further comment as he entered his campaign bus, Kerry added, "I don't wear my faith on my sleeve; but, I know Mother Nature. That's how I know what I know. The goddess and I are on a first name basis. She calls me John, I call her Amy."

--Rocky River Press

ON POETRY

Sometimes, when I remember, I visit Ron Silliman's blog. He writes on poetry and poetics, a critic of sorts. I usually comprehend about 10% of his writing. I have an odd fascination with poetry, with literature. I rarely read a book of poems all the way through. Nor do I remember what I read. I have read almost all of Shakespeare's plays, but I couldn't give a plot outline of more than 2 or 3 of them.

One has to admit, Silliman has an expertise, a small circle of knowledge that only one in a million possess. In a quest for uniqueness, I once thought of poetry as an avenue of worth. Some days, I ponder the big picture. Like a chessmaster, the poetry critic labors at excellence in a field over the head of the common man; the work displayed in a near empty arena. An unimportant excercise in the grand scheme of things? Sometimes I wonder what isn't.

A Silliman sample:

Of all the major projects undertaken by the New American generation of poets – which for the sake of definition lets presume consists of the 44 poets included in Donald Allen’s groundbreaking anthology that gave its name to such different tendencies of poetry as the New York School, the Black Mountain or projectivist poets, the San Francisco Renaissance and the Beats – only one appears never to have been published in book form, Robert Duncan’s booklength critical volume, The H.D. Book. The reasons for this are many and complicated, but the major blame – if we are to use that word – lies with Duncan himself.
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I first got into poetry and writing through my college dorm-mate's girlfriend, Jan. During her visits to our room, I would pretend to do homework while she feigned interest in her boyfriend. After a semester of this, my roommate moved out and, shortly thereafter, they broke up. One afternoon, she came over and pressed her lips into me, pinning me to my closet door. We started dating.

She was an English Lit major. At the time I was studying business education. Faced with a future of teaching typing to 8th graders and accounting to 11th graders, I changed over to English Lit. Plus, she liked a few of the things I wrote. I vaguely remember a poem about axes and a bloody murder.

(Embarrassed, I admit one other woman that similarly influenced my life. Another girlfriend, Eva, thought earrings looked cool in guys. I still have the hole in my earlobe to remind me.)

------

For 2 years, I was an editor of the college's annual literary journal. My work entailed sitting around an oak table deciding whether to publish the submitted works of angst-filled freshman girls and the boys who lust for them.

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I remember one poem I had published in the above journal. Submitted for your amusement.

Back sides, track
sides of cities
standing.
Tar paper doorways,
dull ends of dead ends
and rock-
knocked windows

all lead

to a father and daughter
skating on a small pond
beyond the farmer's field.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

NOT A TRAGEDY

Wizbang:

Of late, I've noticed the repeated use of the word "tragedy" in the news. It's not a surprise; it's such an all-purpose word, and it fits in to most sad stories.

I'm sorry, but I object. To me, "tragedy" should befit only circumstances that were accidental, or inadvertent, or unavoidable. Earthquakes are tragic. Many fires and other such disasters qualify as tragedies.

But some events are not tragedies. 9/11 was no tragedy, and my blood boils when I hear it called such. It diminishes the sheer evil of the event. It was an atrocity - no other term applies. It was a deliberate, conscious act of evil that has nothing tragic about it.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Evolutionary Typography

$17,600 to the person who can recreate the CBS Rathergate documents with an IBM Selectric typewriter available in 1972. This reminds me of Kent Hovind's $250,000 offer to anyone who can scientifically prove the universe came into being through evolution. I have a feeling neither reward will be collected.

War on Terror--No, War on Jihad

Boots and Oil regarding the war on terror says, 'Getting the terrorists to like us won't work. Worrying about whether or not they like us puts us in their power. The terrorists have demonstrated their malevolence. There isn't much you can do to change their minds.'

Boots references this article in the National Review which argues that "To be sure, our national obsession to obscure militant Islam and remain willfully ignorant of its tenets is not Kerry's fault. He is far from alone in maintaining that we are fighting a war on "terror" rather than on jihadists."

I get it. Mark at Nothing Left gets it. Bush gets it (sorta). Kerry and the politically correct folks don't get it.

Ravening Bush, per Kerry

LIBERAL POLITICIANS should really stop it with the bible stories in public. Wizbang notes that John Kerry brought up the story of the Good Samaritan at a campaign stop in front of the National Baptist Convention. Saying Bush is one of those who walk away from those in need, and implying that he and John Edwards would be good Samaritans. Wizbang points out the disparity in charitable giving between Bush and Kerry (period noted is where Kerry was between rich wife #1 and rich wife #2), showing Bush gave 9 times more to charity than Kerry.

I remember a few weeks ago when Kerry was teaching us the truth found in the book of James that faith without works is dead, therefore vote Democrat this November. We know that Kerry doesn't wear his faith on his sleeve. He shared this insight with us when he said he believed that life begins at conception. And in perfect Kerry fashion, that belief has no bearing on his pro-abortion stance.

In Wizbang's referenced news story, Kerry also calls George Bush the false prophet which comes to you in sheep's clothing. He is referencing Mt 7:15 which states, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." Only the most liberal baptist church would allow a Catholic to preach from their pulpit, so it makes me wonder how all these folks perceived Mr Kerry up there preachin' the word.

Drillwife wonders also: "I question Kerry's faith and I question his right to use a religious backing to bad mouth President Bush. It's not right to hide behind the Bible. In fact it's just down right sacreligious and the worst kind of blasphemy." Don't agree 100% about that what Kerry did was "hide" behind the bible, but I get the jist. Imagine if one of those pastors got up there and decried Kerry as a false prophet, a ravening wolf. The ACLU surely would look after the rest of us by threatening lawsuits and such.

Just Dan notes Kerry's rhetoric was some of the most divisive I can imagine ... and his point [was], to tell them how "divisive" Bush is.. True, true.

Jeff wonders if Bush could get away with quoting Bible verses in any context, much less in direct reference to his opponent.

Personally, I don't know any serious Christian who would throw out such a serious verse in direct reference to another person in such a setting. However real or mature Bush's faith is, I can't see him doing this to another person. I think he takes his faith a little more seriously than that, and wouldn't use the Bible to shallowly pander for votes, by demeaning an opponent like Kerry did.