Pakistan is a perennial recipient of billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars. It's an occasional ally/frequent enemy, sometimes actively conspiring against U.S. interests, sometimes actually firing on U.S. troops (incidents so notorious they now have their own Wikipedia page), and — of course — it's the home of increasingly virulent jihadist extremism. And, no, this extremism isn't confined to the fringes of Pakistani society but is sometimes even manifested in its appellate courts.
Last week, a Pakistani court of appeals upheld Asia Bibi's death sentence for blasphemy. She's a Christian and a mother of five.
Death. For allegedly saying bad things about Mohammed. more >>
I attended Catholic school for one year as a child. My second-grade year in Philadelphia's St. Athanasius left me with a strong sense of the mystery of the church. The most mysterious space there was the confessional booth. I wasn't allowed to enter because I wasn't Catholic, so I just sat and watched others enter with pinched brows. Then they would exit with peace painted over their faces.
There is a scene in the book Blue Like Jazz where author Donald Miller sets up a confessional box in the center of the Reed College campus. But Miller's confessional worked in reverse. Students of Reed, which is known as the most liberal campus in the country, entered the confessional booth with curiosity, cynicism, skepticism, or worse—to disprove this thing called Christianity. But what they encountered upon entry was disarming—even healing. Rather than prompts to confess their sin, Miller sat on the other side of the veil and confessed of the sins of the church. This was a revolutionary act in the context where, according to Gabe Lyons and David Kinnaman's modern classic, UnChristian, the general consensus about Christians is decidedly negative.
The authors of Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith (Zondervan, September 2014) took Miller's cue. We thought: What if the church at large began to own its sin and confessed it to the world? And what if we took those confessions and worked them out through active repentance? more >>
American citizen Jeffrey Fowle was freed by North Korea on Tuesday, after having been arrested in May for leaving a Bible at a sailor's club in the city of Chongjin. While Fowle is to be flown home to his family in Ohio, the White House has urged the two other American citizens held by North Korea to be released as well.
"While this is a positive decision ... we remain focused on the continued detention of Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller and again call on the DPRK to immediately release them," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
Fowle, a 56-year-old street repair worker from Miamisburg, Ohio, was accused by the North Korean government of religious proselytizing, which is considered a serious offense in the Pacific nation. more >>
When it comes any issue, what is best for America is not what drives Obama. Even with Ebola, he is like the trendy new song, "I'm all about the base, 'bout the base, not the trouble."
As with any "crisis," Obama and his 24/7 political machine do not "let a good crisis go to waste" without using it to create another government department so they can act like they know what they are doing.
Obama has appointed a political hack, lawyer Ron Klain, to be his Ebola "Czar." Klain has no experience in medicine. He was Chief of Staff for both Al Gore and Sheriff Joe "Plugs" Biden, so you know he is smart. He has no healthcare experience, other than trying to stop Al Gore from drinking gravy all day and keeping sharp objects away from Joe Biden. more >>
The Washington Post this week drew attention to a new Pew poll indicating that a majority of Americans believe it's time to move away from the policy of mandatory minimum sentencing in nonviolent criminal cases. Many people probably don't realize that in the American legal system, judges aren't actually permitted to do their jobs and judge. Their authority is curtailed by statutes that prescribe minimums for how much time a person must serve for certain crimes. This policy is particularly pernicious in situations where the crime is of a nonviolent nature, as are most minor drug offenses. The poll results represent a significant shift in public opinion since 2001, when the American public was about even split in their opinion of mandatory minimum sentencing. Like so much of our bloated federal apparatus, the prison system is flailing under the weight of an unfunded mandate. There are simply too many prisoners, and not enough resources to meet the demands of their incarceration.
When it comes to criminal sentencing, politicians and policymakers walk a tightrope. They don't want to appear to be soft on crime, but at the same time they want to demonstrate a pragmatic, effective use of public resources. One recalls how George H. W. Bush bludgeoned Michael Dukakis in the 1988 Presidential campaign with the Willie Horton case, a lamentable miscarriage of justice that garnered national attention. In 1974, Horton fatally stabbed a gas station attendant and dumped his body in a trashcan. Convicted of murder, Horton was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole and incarcerated in a Massachusetts prison. He was released in 1985 as part of a weekend furlough program but never returned, instead fleeing to Maryland where he raped a woman after brutally assaulting her boyfriend. He was later captured, tried, and sentenced in Maryland by a judge who refused to return him to Massachusetts stating, "I'm not prepared to take the chance that Mr. Horton might again be furloughed or otherwise released. This man should never draw a breath of free air again."
Politicians across the country didn't miss the lesson of that campaign, and ever since they have wanted to appear tough on crime. The reality, however, is that we simply can't afford to lock up every criminal who runs afoul of the criminal justice system. In 2011 the Atlantic ran a piece on the skyrocket cost of incarceration in America. At that time, one year at Princeton cost $37,000, while a year at a New Jersey state prison cost $44,000. Clearly, this is an untenable situation. So, in an era of tight budgets, how should our government mete out justice effectively and efficiently? I offer four very simple, common sense solutions: Lock them up, Tie them down, Dry them out, and Make them pay. more >>
South Carolina Republican Anthony Culler, who is challenging incumbent Democratic Rep. James Clyburn of the 6th district has come under fire from his party and other conservatives for branding same-sex couples as "gremlins" who "want to destroy our way of life."
"Same-sex 'marriage' is a pestilence that has descended on our society, against our will, by those in the courts and government that do not value the traditional family. These people, like my opponent SC-6 Congressman Jim Clyburn who OPENLY supports same-sex 'marriage,' seek to destroy the traditional family and the values we cherish," noted Culler in the post. more >>