"Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first!"
That rallying cry was the conclusion of a speech before the U.N. General Assembly last July by Malala Yousafzai. But this was no ordinary call for better schools, of the kind that is heard with increasing regularity today in America.
Malala is the Pakistani teenager shot in the head by the Taliban in October 2012 for advocating the education of girls in her homeland. Thursday she won the European Parliament's prestigious Sakharov Prize for her courage. The world waits to see if, on Friday, October 11, she will also become a Nobel Peace Laureate, too. more >>
I recently read on a politically conservative website that "God cares little for governments or powers. God's business is the human soul." This hit me like an intellectual pothole-it rattled and flattened me, like a car discovering a crater in the road at full speed. I didn't have to think about whether I'd hit my head against an idiotic idea, I knew that by the welt rising on my theological and history-minded forehead.
The belief that God's business isn't that of human government but only that of the human soul is to diminish God to a narrow-minded deity unworthy of the God of the Bible. Such an idea makes God both cruel and unjust-cruel since He chooses to leave us in this savage present instead of taking us immediately into that glorious future; unjust since He doesn't really care whether human beings live in peace or in anarchy. And that is an injustice most cruel.
Older generations of Christians, including the Pilgrims who first came to America, possessed a richer theology. They appreciated and practiced Paul command in 1 Timothy 2:1–2. It was out of the Pilgrims' understanding that God not only cared for the human soul but also for the human body and the world humans inhabit that lead them to construct churches, organize communities, establish grammar schools and universities, commission missionaries, and exercise political power. Motivated by a theology of a God who loves the world not just the soul, their children and their children's children followed their example, establishing hospitals, founding relief organizations, building businesses, fighting for freedom, and creating constitutions-all for the common good. more >>
In what the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) considers a victory for free speech, a sign reading "God Bless America" has been returned to a public display at a North Carolina library, after it was removed on suspicion of violating the separation of church and state.
"This situation reveals two fundamental misunderstandings of the law," Travis Barham, ADF spokesman and litigation staff counsel told The Christian Post in a Wednesday interview. Nevertheless, Barham praised the officials who "quickly realized that they had overstepped their bounds and quickly took corrective action."
In the entryway to the Fairview Library in North Carolina lies a display case which the library allows community groups to reserve on a first-come, first-serve basis. Last month, a private organization set up a Constitution Week display that included a God Bless America sign. A library official allegedly removed the sign, claiming "the sign could not be displayed because someone might complain about it, even though the library had received no complaints," according to the ADF website. more >>
Catholic Charities declared on Monday that it would not accept a $1,500 donation being offered by a Chicago restaurant because it mocks the communion wafer in a controversial burger on its menu called "Ghost."
On Oct. 1 Kuma's Corner located in the Avondale neighborhood in Chicago, Ill., began selling Ghost as a tribute to Swedish heavy metal band Ghost B.C.
"Okay Mortals, it's the first of the month and we are proud to announce the following: In the spirit of our undying reverence for the lord and all things holy, we give you the Ghost which we think is a fitting tribute to the supreme blasphemous activities carried out by the band itself," noted the restaurant in a post on its Facebook page. more >>
The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee distributed a letter to 135 school superintendents throughout the state last week, telling them that school-sponsored prayer before football games is a violation of the Constitution's First Amendment that prohibits an endorsement of religion. In response to similar letters sent in the past, legal groups have countered the ACLU's claims by arguing that students have a constitutional right to free speech and religious expression.
"Our experience is that many public school administrators and educators struggle with how the constitutional guarantees of religious freedom apply to prayer during their school-sponsored events," Hedy Weinberg, the ACLU's executive director, said in an ACLU-Tennessee press release accompanying the letter.
"Our goal is to make sure that school systems statewide understand these First Amendment guarantees and commit to protecting religious freedom for all students, including athletes, and for their families who attend the games," Weinberg adds. The press release goes on to say that the ACLU, a nonprofit group, chose to send the letter to certain superintendents reading reports of prayer at football games. more >>
On July 23, a bipartisan majority of the House approved amendment 35 to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, effectively defunding square circles . . . er "atheist chaplains." The amendment codified current Department of Defense Policy under which chaplains must be certified by a religious organization whose primary function is to perform religious ministries, whose beliefs are sincerely held, and whose practices and rituals are not illegal or contrary to public policy. In other words, a chaplain is to be religious.
That chaplains are religious is not surprising, since Merriam-Webster's defines a military chaplain as "a priest or other . . . religious leader who performs religious services for a military group." That military chaplains believe in some outside being is not surprising: after all, the chaplaincy's motto is, Pro Deo et Patria (For God and Country).
What is surprising is that prominent humanists like Jason Heap would apply to be chaplains. more >>