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eNews For The Week Of July 21, 2009


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In The News

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Articles and Commentary

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In The News

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Netanyahu Lifts Checkpoints, Encourages West Bank Economy

July 18, 2009

White House and State Department officials stressed to The Jerusalem Post on Friday that they were pleased by measures the prime minister had taken to lift checkpoints in the West Bank and to foster economic growth, as reports from the region mentioned improved economic and living conditions among Palestinians. The Netanyahu government has carried out several such actions in recent weeks but has felt they have been overlooked by the international community.

The Jerusalem Post

'Global Justice' Includes Reading Terrorists Miranda Rights

July 18, 2009

The Justice Department confirmed last week that FBI agents in Afghanistan are reading Miranda warnings to suspected terrorists captured there, a practice that Republican congressmen this week branded as "crazy" and "stupid."

CNSNews

Developing Nations Call For 'New World Order'

July 16, 2009

More than 50 heads of state from the developing world met last Wednesday in Egypt to tackle the fallout from the global economic meltdown, with calls for a "new world order" to prevent a repeat of the crisis. Cuban President Raul Castro said in a speech at the opening session of the Non-Aligned Movement summit that the financial crisis had hit developing nations the hardest.

AFP

California Schools Favor Islam

July 16, 2009

Though the California standards require the study of all religions, Islam is examined disproportionately. Moreover, the more extreme elements of the more radically Islamic societies are ignored, no matter how visible their acts are.

Campus Report Online

Netanyahu Would Accept Palestinian State If...

July 15, 2009

Netanyahu in a policy speech laid down conditions under which Israel would accept a Palestinian state. The two key conditions, the conservative prime minister said, were Palestinian recognition of Israel as the national homeland for the Jewish people; and a requirement that a future Palestinian state would be demilitarized.

CNSNews


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Articles And Commentary

The Fall of Capitalism and Rise of Islam

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A Muslim group met in Chicago on Sunday to rail against the evils of capitalism and to promote Shariah law. Demonstrators gathered outside to protest the event, called the "Fall of Capitalism and Rise of Islam," while speakers inside rejected the very Constitution that protected their freedom to speak. In the meanwhile, the number of Shariah courts in Britain has been growing, and not all of the people using those courts are Muslim.

Hizb-ut Tahrir:
The Muslim group Hizb-ut Tahrir held a conference in the ballroom at the Hilton in Oak Lawn on Sunday to blame capitalism for much of the suffering on the earth, including World Wars I and II, world poverty, violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, and even inner city drug use. The conference included videos and lectures by various speakers, as well as question and answer sessions. Notably, men and women at the conference were segregated, with women stashed away in the back of the room to prevent, according to organizers, "people from behaving like animals."

HT itself is not on the US government's list of terrorist groups, and claims to be dedicated to non-violent reform. The group's goals include the restoration of Turkey's Caliphate, which was abolished in 1924 in favor of Western reforms. HT ultimately wants to see worldwide implementation of Shariah law and government control of major industries in order to cure the economic and social ills of the nations.

Conference deputy spokesman Mohammed Malkawi denied that the group associates with terrorists and declared that HT favored using politics to achieve its purposes. Yet, HT has been called a "conveyor belt for terrorists" because it has produced people like 9/ll mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and one-time Iraqi terrorist leader Abu Musab Zarqawi. Malkawi claims to promote non-violent change, yet he would not specifically condemn Al Qaida and the Taliban in an interview with WBBM-TV in Chicago.

The extent of Sunday's blame-capitalism montage went beyond just pointing out the causes of the subprime mortgage fiasco or world economic troubles. One speaker blamed capitalism for the fact that he smoked marijuana and his grandmother played the lottery, and another even credited capitalism with responsibility for Michael Jackson's desire "to shed his black skin." Keynote speaker Abu Talha argued that capitalists were liable for the world's poverty, hunger, and war. "It is time to deliver the world to Islam, an idea whose time has come," he said.

HT is free to gather and promote its ideas in the United States, but its activities have been banned in other countries. It is even considered a fringe group by other Muslims. "They remain on the margins of the community. They're not embraced by any of the mosques in Chicago, in fact as a matter of fact I don't believe they can pass out any of their literature in these mosques they have to pass them outside," said Ahmed Rehab, with the Council on American Islamic Relations.

The conference organizers managed to argue that even the tyrannical, oppressive behavior of Islamic nations was the fault of the US.  Ironically, conference organizer Imam Jaleel Abdul Adil affirmed that he would willingly throw out the US Constitution in favor of Shariah – the very US Constitution that protects his freedom to criticize the US government. 

Shariah In Britain:
Shariah courts already exist in England. Britain has a relatively large Muslim population, and according to the 1996 Arbitration Act, Islamic courts are legally binding for those who submit voluntarily to their adjudication.

In London, the Islamic Sharia Council has been making decisions on divorce cases for years. The Muslim Arbitration Tribunal (MAT) has been operating in London, Bradford, Birmingham, Coventry and Manchester to handle disagreements between businessmen and mosques. As many as 5 percent of those who are involved in MAT cases are not Muslims, and observers note that there is a "creeping" trend of Shariah acceptance in Britain.

One reason for turning to Muslim courts is their acceptance of oral agreements as binding. British courts may not be willing to enforce oral agreements between businessmen, but Islamic courts are. In a recent case, a non-Muslim man took his Muslim business partner to court over a dispute about the profits in their car fleet company. The non-Muslim argued that the Muslim had broken an oral agreement, and the court decided an agreement did exist and awarded the non-Muslim £48,000.

Shariah, though, doesn't stop at oral agreements. Sheikh Suhaib Hasan, who was instrumental in introducing the Islamic court system to Britain in 1982, recently told The Times that enforcing hard-line Shariah punishments would give Britain "more peace and security." Dr. Hasan said he had no desire to come in conflict with the British legal system, and would not push for or expect Islamic punishments for things like theft or knife-violence because Britain is not a Muslim country. Still, in his opinion, punishments like amputating the limbs of thieves would make Britain safer because they acted as strong deterrents against crime.

The slowly growing acceptance of Shariah is of great concern to those who love political and religious freedom, not to mention the rights of women. If a woman is raped, under Shariah in Pakistan, for instance, she has to find four male witnesses to testify in her favor, else the blame for the crime falls on her and she can be punished for "adultery."

"It puts a woman in such a position that even if she is raped, in the end she is left to face charges of adultery. It is next to impossible for a rape victim to produce four male witnesses. Nobody times the act to make sure that four men are present," says advocate Mehboob, who works at the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in Lahore.

Public beheadings, stonings and floggings, amputations, and serious injustices toward women may not be the norm in Britain tomorrow, but these things are expected in countries under Shariah. The HT may promote Shariah as the cure for the world's ills, but the hard reality is that Shariah promotes the government's extreme control over a people, and we should all fear when its acceptance is allowed to "creep" in.

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The NEA Giant and A Slingshot

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The National Education Association is America's extremely dominant teachers' union with well over 3 million members. Republican and Democrat, Christian and Non-Christian teachers alike pay their NEA dues either because they believe in what the NEA does or because they see no other real choice. Yet, the NEA is anything but shy about its extreme left-winged agenda and its hatred of pro-family values. A multitude of Christian educators would love to get out of the NEA, but the path away from this powerful political organization is not necessarily smooth or clearly marked.

Contrary to what some people may believe, the NEA's goal is not to do what's best for children. The purpose of the teacher's union is to benefit its members. The NEA is also a well-financed tool to promote liberal politics, even politics that have absolutely nothing to do with education.

NEA's retiring General Counsel Bob Chanin offered telling remarks at the National Education Association's annual convention in early July. In a speech that can be watched on YouTube, Chanin told a large crowd of adoring NEA members that the NEA and its affiliates' first goal is not to close achievement gaps or reduce dropout rates or improve teacher quality.

These things are not "unimportant or inappropriate," Chanin said, "…but they need not and must not be achieved at the expense of due process, employee rights, and collective bargaining. That simply is too high a price to pay. When all is said and done, NEA and its affiliates must never lose sight of the fact that they are unions, and what unions do first and foremost is represent their members."

Because the NEA's goal is to benefit teachers and not students, NEA-associated teachers' unions will protect and defend even bad teachers to prevent them from being fired. If principals want to clean up their failing schools and get the best teachers out there, they can face a hard time getting rid of lousy or incompetent teachers who happen to be tenured. It can cost school districts tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in litigation costs just to fire one teacher.

The NEA is also extremely bold about its leftist politics.

In Chanin's speech, he spoke openly against the American conservatives who disagreed with his politics, saying, "Why are these conservative and right-wing b****rds picking on NEA and its affiliates? I will tell you why: it is the price we pay for success." As though anybody could "pick on" the goliath-sized 3.2 million member teachers' union.

While only 45 percent of public school teachers register as Democrats, a full 93 percent of NEA donations to political action committees and officers went to Democrats between 1990 and 2008, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Almost 10 percent of the NEA's total $352,958,087 in receipts in 2007 went to political activities and lobbying, primarily for liberal causes. Another $80.6 million went as "contributions, gifts, and grants" to left wing causes, including ones that had nothing to do with education, like stopping social security reform.

The teachers' union is not just politically unbalanced, but it heavily promotes causes that Christians consider immoral. For instance, the NEA has aggressively advanced the homosexual agenda and abortion. This year the NEA voted against remaining neutral on the abortion issue, and has historically promoted abortion rights. The NEA has also strongly supported gay marriage and gay and lesbian education in the schools. The Gay and Lesbian Issues Caucus is one of the largest groups influencing NEA policy, and the NEA has strongly opposed the idea that gays and lesbians can change their sexual orientation.

Options:
Many teachers feel they are stuck paying dues to the NEA, whether they want to or not. Others are afraid that they will endanger their jobs if they try to leave the union. There are a number of approaches that teachers can take to deal with the grossly political, often immoral agenda of the NEA.

Call Local Representatives: The NEA is supposed to represent teachers, which means teachers should have some clout when it comes to NEA decisions. NEA member teachers can contact their representatives and make their voices heard on significant issues. The more involvement by more conservative teachers, the better. 

Leave: The NEA has the power it does because it receives over $350 million in dues every year from teachers, whether or not they agree with the association's politics. There are ways for teachers to avoid giving money to the NEA:

In Right To Work states, no teacher can be forced to join a union, and teachers do not have to pay any fees to teachers' unions at all. In other states, teachers may still be required to pay an "agency fee" for union representation in case of a lawsuit, but they do not have to contribute to a union's direct political giving. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 teachers who have religious objections to joining a union can choose to have all of the money they would pay in dues go instead to a non-religious charity.

Liability insurance, which protects teachers in case of a lawsuit, can be found outside of the NEA. Non-union teachers associations like the Association of American Educators and the Christian Educators Association International offer liability insurance and do not get involved in politics.

Kick Out the NEA: In states where teachers are required to pay fees to a union, a group of teachers can hold elections to vote for "decertification." Laws for decertification have to be followed carefully (see the link below), but a group of teachers does have the power to drop their local union.

For more information on options for teachers who want to keep their money out of the NEA's coffers, please see the links below.

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Women in the Bible

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The Apostle Paul has gotten a lot of flak over the years for his statement that women should be silent in the churches. He's also had plenty of women irritated at him for saying they should submit to their husbands. Yet, while the Bible has been accused of promoting ancient patriarchal social structures or even downright misogyny, the Bible actually promotes women and provides excellent examples of women who were honored.

The Bible was written, just like all books, in a male-dominated society. Yet, even in a time before the 19th Amendment and Title IX, the Bible does a great deal to promote the cause of women. Women are treated with respect in its pages, and not as scapegoats or the property of men as in certain other religions. Even though Eve is credited with taking the first bite of that fruit, she's not faulted with the fall of humanity; Adam is (1 Cor 15:21-22).   It's important for us to look at the treatment of women throughout the Bible.

Old Testament:
In Exodus 35:25-26, women took part in providing for the tabernacle, the holy tent where God would speak face to face with Moses. These "wise hearted" women used their creativity and skill for the glory of God by spinning beautiful blue, purple, scarlet and linen cloths. Apparently, their hearts were spiritually stirred up to do the work along with the men.

Two books of the Bible, Ruth and Esther, are devoted to the excellent women whose names those books bear. Ruth became the great-grandmother of King David, and therefore the ancestor of Jesus himself, and Esther's courage saved the lives of all the Hebrew people living in the kingdoms ruled by Babylon.

Deborah was a strong woman and a prophetess who judged Israel: "And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment." – Judges 4:5

In 2 Kings 22:14-20, Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, Asahiah all went to Huldah the prophetess to receive instruction from the LORD.

Job, one of the most esteemed men who ever lived, gave his daughters an inheritance with their brothers. Job 42:15

God often has compassion for women in the Old Testament, like Hannah (1 Sam 1:2-20), Leah (Gen 29:31), and the two women in 2 Kings 4.

Solomon's statements about women can sometimes be considered humorous. He speaks both of foolish women and of wise women, of ladies wicked and virtuous. He had his share of wives, though, some of whom he apparently wished he could escape, as seen in statements like:

"It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house." - Proverbs 21:9

"It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman." - Proverbs 21:19

"A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike." - Proverbs 27:15

As much as we can enjoy some light-hearted humor at Solomon's expense, his words demonstrate something important; his wives certainly felt free to speak their minds.

And while many women resent her for her perfection, the last chapter of Proverbs is dedicated to describing an especially amazing woman.

New Testament:
Women are treated with great importance in the New Testament.  Jesus' decent treatment of women, from prostitutes to foreigners, bordered on scandalous. The Gospels tell of many occasions in which Jesus healed women, even one considered "unclean" according to the Law (Mark 5:25-34; Lev 15:25).   Jesus spoke one-on-one with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4), and on several occasions he came to the defense of women (John 8:3-11,Luke 7:37-50). Women loved him and a group of them followed him (Mark 15:40-41), and some of his most encouraging words were spoken to women (John 11:23-26, 38-40).  Mary was welcomed to sit at Jesus' feet (Luke 10:39-42), taking the posture of a disciple.  Women were the first to learn of his resurrection (Luke 23:55-24:10), and Mary Magdalene was apparently the first person he appeared to after he rose (John 20:14-17).

Paul is not such a criminal as many women might think. Paul gives one of the most excellent, beautiful descriptions of how a man should treat his wife that can be found anywhere, ancient world or present:

"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it… So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh." -Ephesians 5:25, 28-31

Paul tells men to lay down their lives for their wives, to cherish them, and to love them as they love their own bodies. If all husbands behaved that way toward their wives, women would have no problem respecting their husbands.

Paul gladly accepts the ministry of women on several occasions. Paul, Luke and Silas found a safe house in the home of a certain businesswoman in Thyatira named Lydia (Acts 16:14-15, 40).  Paul worked with several women in the ministry, like Priscilla (Rom 16:3), and he speaks with great warmth and appreciation of Phoebe (Rom 16:1-2), telling the Romans to "assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you." 

And about women keeping silent in churches? In the context of 1 Corinthians 14, Paul is talking about maintaining order during church gatherings. It's notable that just 3 chapters prior, in 1 Cor 11:5, Paul made it clear that women do prophesy. When were they supposed to prophesy then, if not in church gatherings? There have been several female prophets in the Bible, and they spoke to groups that also included men. Anna the prophetess is a notable example (Luke 2:37-38). It's obvious from the context that Paul's purpose was not to subjugate women, but to keep order when the people came together. Some have suggested that women, who were not necessarily literate, had been making a lot of noise during gatherings by asking their husbands questions.  It was causing disruption, just as people prophesying all at once caused disruption. Paul finishes the whole section by saying, "Let all things be done decently and in order."

Ultimately, Paul says, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." -Galatians 3:28

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The views and opinions expressed in these articles, enews and linked websites are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views held by Koinonia House. Koinonia House is providing this information as a resource to individuals who are interested in current news and events that may have an impact on Christian Life and Biblical trends. Koinonia House is not responsible for any information contained in these articles that may be inaccurate, or does not present an unbiased or complete perspective. Koinonia House disavows any obligation to correct or update the information contained in these articles.

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