Charisma News | Breaking News. Spiritual Perspective. Fri, 20 Jan 2017 00:30:36 -0500 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Obama's Legacy? Exclusive Poll Finds Liberals Turning Against Israel

As President Barack Obama is set to leave office on Friday, a disturbing new survey of Americans' attitudes toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict suggests liberals, independents and millennials are turning against Israel. 

The survey, conducted by McLaughlin & Associates on behalf of Middle East expert and New York Times bestselling author Joel C. Rosenberg, a dual citizen of Israel and the U.S., polled 1,000 voters about President Obama's decision to abstain rather than veto a resolution in December 2016 condemning Israeli settlements in the disputed territory of the West Bank. 

The survey was conducted on Jan. 16 as Donald Trump, who urged that the U.S. veto the resolution, prepared to replace Obama as president. 

"President Trump and Vice President Pence are expected to be strongly pro-Israel, and that's encouraging—but growing numbers of liberals, independents and young people are breaking against Israel," said Rosenberg, a former aide to several American and Israeli leaders and the author of the forthcoming political thriller Without Warning. "This is just one more element of President Obama's disastrous foreign policy legacy. He did some good things vis-à-vis Israel. But far too often, he was castigating Israel as the major problem in the Middle East rather than supporting them as America's most important and faithful ally. You reap what you sow. 

"The mounting evidence is clear: as liberals in Washington, academia and the media are becoming more hostile towards Israel, liberal support for Israel at the grassroots level is cratering," Rosenberg added. "This is a serious strategic challenge, and one Israeli leaders and American friends of the Jewish state urgently must analyze and address." 

Although a plurality of Americans (37 percent) said Obama was wrong to betray Israel, a large number of Americans (29 percent) said Obama was right. Perhaps even more troubling for supporters of Israel, 25 percent said they could not decide between the two arguments, and nearly one in 10 said they did not care about the Israeli-Palestinian issue. 

Of self-described liberals, 53 percent supported Obama's action. Among those describing themselves as "very liberal," 56 percent wanted Washington to get even tougher on Israel, representing a shift in views over the last decade. Pew Research Center found in 2001 that approximately half of self-described liberal Democrats said they sympathized with Israel. 

Moreover, this new study showed nearly one in four independents (23 percent) agreed with Obama's harsh approach towards Israel. So did 33 percent of Catholics and 41 percent of millennials (ages 18-29). 

Those surveyed were asked: 

Which of the following statements is closest to your personal views about U.S. policy towards Israel?

  • I believe that President Obama was right to abstain on the recent U.N. Security Council vote that condemned Israel.
  • I believe President Obama was wrong for throwing Israel under the bus at the U.N. Security Council. {eoa}
Kristin Cole, Steve Yount/A. Larry Ross Featured Caucus Thu, 19 Jan 2017 16:45:00 -0500
61 True Deplorables About to Disrespect American Honor

On Jan. 20, 2017, the United States of America will celebrate one of its most treasured values in a grand public ceremony. A new president will place his hand on the Bible and take the oath of office.

It is a solemn, sacred and significant moment that is not really about the person being sworn in. The inauguration ceremony is actually about the most fundamental, non-negotiable value of this republic; the peaceful transfer of power subject to the will of the electorate according to a constitutionally established process.

In the more than two centuries of this nation's history, every transfer of power came by ballots, not bullets. No president ever seized power. No dictator ever came by the gun. Never in our history has some army colonel taken over the radio station and proclaimed himself "president for life." We have had our share of contentious elections, but we have never had a coup d'état.

In the inaugural celebration, the nation does not so much celebrate who the new president is but who we are as a people. It is certainly the new president who places his hand on the Bible, but it is the republic itself and its Constitution he swears to defend. In other words, whether it is Barrack Obama or Calvin Coolidge or, as is now the case, Donald J. Trump being inaugurated, the republic itself is the centerpiece of the festivities. The president is a visitor to the office and an oath-bound steward of its power.

Therefore, those who seek to de-legitimize any presidency undercut not the person so much as the constitutional process and the nation that designed it. Anarchists do what they do. One has come to expect it. Lacking sufficient vocabulary or brainpower to express themselves otherwise, they burn stuff. They are patently dismissible and therefore to be dismissed.

Likewise, Hollywood stars in search of a cause to lend meaning to their otherwise, self-absorbed and vacuous lives rant and squall like the fragile children they are. They record embarrassing videos in which they admit their emotional frailty and join the anarchists in the streets hoping to be—and probably arranging to be—caught on camera. Again, they are pathetic irrelevancies cherishing an illusion that America cares what they think. Like undisciplined toddlers having tantrums because they did not get their way, they hardly merit a rebuke, and it is hard not to laugh at their hysterics.

The word "deplorable" has enjoyed a phenomenal new celebrity in this election. I am happy for the good old word. It is a fine and functional adjective long ignored by a culture that found little deplorable. Suddenly, thanks largely to Hillary Clinton, the long-ignored word was lifted from near-anonymity to veritable star status.

Weepy Hollywood actors are not really deplorable. They are just pitiable. I cannot even bring myself to label rabid anarchists as deplorable. They seem more like anachronistic Bolsheviks desperately searching for a czar.

The deplorables, the truly reprehensible bad actors on Inauguration Day, will be those elected officials who refuse to take part in this particular inauguration. In so doing, they cannot de-legitimize Donald J. Trump. They do defame the same process by which they themselves were put in office. They were constitutionally elected and they swore to protect and defend that constitution.

They swore.

To opt out of participation in this festival of the democratic process is to say publicly that their oath meant nothing. To stay home and sulk—to refuse to be a part of this celebration of republican government and the peaceful transfer of power because their candidate lost?

Now, that is deplorable.

It has been reported that some 61 members of Congress will refuse to take part in the inauguration on Friday. I am not actually sure how many deplorables fit in your average basket, but I know that's 61 more than the republic needs, and they are deplorable indeed. {eoa}

Dr. Mark Rutland is president of both Global Servants and the National Institute of Christian Leadership. A renowned communicator and New York Times best-selling author, he has more than 30 years' experience in organizational leadership, having served as a senior pastor and a university president.

Dr. Mark Rutland Featured Caucus Thu, 19 Jan 2017 17:00:00 -0500
Fact or Fiction? Reports Claim Advisers Want Trump to Dance With Bruce Jenner

Multiple reports indicate Donald Trump's advisers encourage him to dance with friend Bruce Jenner at one of the inauguration balls.

"It's a brilliant idea," a member of the incoming administration told Page Six of the New York Post

Bruce Jenner transitioned to Caitlyn Jenner last year.

"The image of Trump dancing with Caitlyn would send a strong message that he supports gay rights and trans rights," Jenner reportedly said. "A picture is worth a thousand tweets." 

Jenner, an avid Republican, announced he would attend the inauguration. He and Trump have built a relationship over the years. 

"He seems very much behind the LGBT community because of what happened in North Carolina with the bathroom issue. He backed the LGBT community," Jenner said. 

But Jenner's rep denied dance rumors.

"This is a ridiculous story. There have been no discussions about whom Caitlyn will or won't dance with, or if she will dance at all. I can't deal with hypotheticals and have no idea what any Trump aides hope happens. Of course, the real question is, if they danced, who would lead?" {eoa}

Jessilyn Justice Featured Caucus Thu, 19 Jan 2017 16:00:00 -0500
Franklin Graham: This Country's Divided, but not for the Reason You'd Think

Nearly a million people are expected to attend president-elect Donald Trump's inauguration Friday, just as many are expected at counter-protests.

Media blames the growing chasm between conservatives and liberals on the election and Trump's victory. Evangelist Franklin Graham says that's not true.

"I told Fox News this morning that it wasn't Donald J. Trump that divided this country; this country has been divided for a long time," Graham says.

He continued: 

As we are just hours away from inaugurating the 45th president of the United States, we need to all pull together as Americans. Prayer is what will make a difference—God has the answers, if we'll look to Him. Last year I went to all 50 states and prayed with Christians on the steps of every state capitol. We confessed the sins of the nation and our own sins and asked God for help. I believe He has given us a new opportunity—a new day in Washington and in the leadership of this country. We need to go beyond politics and come together in prayer. Democrats and Republicans have to work together and make choices for the good of the nation. Politicians need to drop their inauguration boycott plans and show unity. Maybe we need to get back to the challenge of John F. Kennedy in his 1961 Inaugural address—"Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country." 

Do you agree? Sound off! {eoa}

Jessilyn Justice Featured Caucus Thu, 19 Jan 2017 15:30:00 -0500
Denomination Announces Controversial Decision, Despite Moral Dilemmas

Two groups of Church of England advisers have cautiously endorsed fracking for shale gas in the United Kingdom provided it does not conflict with climate change policy and robust regulations are put in place.

If the Church's advisory panel had come out against fracking, the decision would have been widely cited by lobbying groups active on climate issues as well as local issues to oppose further drilling and fracturing.

Instead its cautious endorsement, subject to conditions, is in line with an evolving consensus that does not oppose fracking in principle but is likely to remain wary in practice for the time being.

"Shale gas is a potentially useful element in achieving a transition to a much lower carbon economy," church advisers wrote in a briefing paper published on Tuesday.

"The government's public commitment to reducing the UK's carbon emissions ... provides a context which should ensure that shale gas is not treated as an alibi for ducking carbon reduction commitments."

Fracking can be a "morally acceptable practice" provided that it does not undermine the clean energy transition, that robust safety and environmental regulations are put in place, and that local communities are given a say.

"We recognize and sympathize with the concerns of individuals and communities who are directly affected by fracking," the report notes.

"It is essential that their legitimate concerns are heard and appropriate protections and compensation are in place."

The ethical assessment is contained in a joint briefing published on Jan. 17 by the Mission and Public Affairs Council and Environmental Working Group of the Church of England.

It is intended to help shape the church's thinking as well as provide input for the investment decisions of the Church Commissioners ("Shale gas and fracking," Church of England, December 2016).

The Church Commissioners manage an asset portfolio valued at around 7 billion pounds ($9 billion) on behalf of England's state church (Church Commissioners Annual Report 2015).

They are among the leadership of the movement for responsible and ethical investing and a key target for non-government organizations lobbying on climate and energy issues.

The guarded endorsement of fracking is broadly in line with current government policy, which supports carefully regulated development with compensation payments to local communities.

The authors conclude fracking for shale gas can be reconciled with climate commitments if it displaces imported liquefied natural gas and higher carbon energy sources such as coal.

The assessment relies heavily on the UK government's carbon budgeting framework which it says should ensure any increase in greenhouse emissions from shale gas must be offset by a reduction from other sectors.

"The government's commitment to (the 2015 Paris climate agreement) means that overall carbon consumption in the UK must be constrained whatever its source," the report observes.

"As shale gas is a cleaner option than some alternatives, the case can be made that, as transition to a low carbon economy is a gradual process, shale gas has an important role to play in such a policy."

The moral acceptability of fracking then rests on the robustness of the regulatory regime and its ability to engage with community concerns, according to the report.

"We are persuaded that a robust planning and regulatory regime could be constructed," the report concludes, but it will need "constant vigilance."

In practice, Britain's shale gas industry remains at an infant stage. Only four wells have been drilled into shale formations. Just one of those has been fractured so far and that induced seismic activity.

Britain's potential shale resource base is thought to be large but its technical recoverability and cost are subject to considerable uncertainty that can only be resolved by drilling.

The national government is broadly supportive of the practice and is encouraging more development in England but fracking moratoriums are in place in Scotland and Wales.

Domestic shale production is unlikely to occur on any significant scale within the next 5-10 years and Britain may never develop substantial onshore output given its complicated planning process.

Britain's local government machinery exhibits a formidable bias against any sort of development outside major urban centers, compounding the nation's housing shortage. {eoa}

© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

John Kemp/Reuters Featured World News Thu, 19 Jan 2017 15:00:00 -0500
Just in Time for Inauguration, Todd Starnes Announces Guide for Deplorables

Change may start at the White House, but it finishes at your house. That's the message Fox News radio host and commentator and best-selling author Todd Starnes is sending in his brand-new book, The Deplorables' Guide to Making America Great Again, to be released Feb. 7, 2017.

With the election of Donald Trump, the American people have spoken, potentially saving the Supreme Court and vowing to defend American sovereignty. But winning was just the beginning.

"After President Reagan brought morning to America, conservatives went into hibernation," Starnes said. "We grew complacent. And faster than you could say, 'Read my lips,' there was a community organizer bunking in the White House. Now, we've told Washington enough is enough, and we want to change the course of the country. President Obama called us bitter. Hillary Clinton called us irredeemable. The mainstream media called us backwater bigots. We were mocked by Hollywood and dismissed by academics. We were marginalized by the media—bullied and belittled by sex and gender revolutionaries."

In The Deplorables' Guide to Making America Great Again, Starnes reports from the front lines of the culture war in America and provides insights on what Americans can do to bring about real and lasting change in our nation. His book offers practical advice on fighting and winning the war on traditional values and lays out the plan to fight back against the secular humanists and social justice warriors.

Starnes' new book is packed with his signature wit, soul-stirring true stories and practical ways the "deplorables'" can fight to restore traditional American values. Pre-order on or visit

The Deplorables' Guide to Making America Great Again has also been endorsed by a "who's who" of "deplorable" Americans, including Duck Commander Phil Robertson, Tony Perkins, Dr. Robert Jeffress and the Benham Brothers, among others:

  • "The Deplorables' Guide to Making America Great Again should be required reading for every high school student and every patriot in America. Page after page, Todd reminds us that every generation has a responsibility to defend our freedom. Todd delivers a dose of deep-fried reality served up with a heaping helping of his signature Southern humor." —Former Arkansas Governor, presidential candidate and author Mike Huckabee
  • "This book provides timely, down-to-earth instruction on what everyday citizens can do to truly make America great again." —Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute
  • "Todd Starnes has done it again. Witty, whacky and way too honest. As I read this I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. Truth always hurts in a funny kind of way. Just get this book. You will either recognize yourself or you will recognize the other America. It really is time." —Dr. Don Wilton, First Baptist Church, Spartanburg, South Carolina, personal pastor and friend to Dr. Billy Graham

Starnes has been at Fox News Radio for more than a decade. His daily commentary is heard on hundreds of radio stations, and his syndicated column is read by millions. He is a frequent contributor on many Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network programs. Social science researcher George Barna also included Starnes as one of the top media influencers for evangelical Christians in the 2016 presidential election.

He has covered some of the biggest stories of the past decade—from presidential campaigns to the culture wars—interviewing an array of news-makers and celebrities. His annual Fox Radio Christmas show has become a national yuletide tradition, featuring some of the biggest names in Contemporary Christian music.

Starnes has authored four books—including God Less America, a collection of essays documenting the war on religious liberty—and is the recipient of a regional RTNDA Edward R. Murrow Award and the Associated Press Mark Twain Award for Storytelling.

In 2014, Starnes was awarded the National Religious Broadcaster's Board of Directors Award. He is also the recipient of First Liberty Institute's "Defender of the Faith" award, Vision America's "National Hero of the Faith" award, Bott Radio Network's "Watchman on the Wall" award and Pacific Justice Institute's "Light in Media Award."

Starnes is a frequent speaker at churches, Christian conferences, and Christian universities. He has delivered messages at the Ronald Reagan Ranch, the Billy Graham Training Center and the Family Research Council's Values Voter Summit. {eoa}

Beth Harrison/Hamilton Strategies Featured Caucus Thu, 19 Jan 2017 15:15:00 -0500
Robert Jeffress: 'The Demonization of Conservative Christians by the President Ends This Friday'

Earlier this week, Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, appeared on Lou Dobbs Tonight on the Fox Business Network to discuss Christianity in America.

Dobbs first showed two different statistics from the recent Pew Research poll that showed the number of Americans who identify as Christians had declined sharply, and that the number of American who identify as "religious nones"—atheists, agnostics, and those who have absolutely no religious leanings whatsoever—had nearly doubled during President Barack Obama's eight years in office.

Jeffress said he didn't really lay any blame on Obama for the changes in the numbers, saying instead he believes the "real numbers" haven't changed, only the "reported numbers." In a more secularized society, he added, atheists are more likely to say what they think, not what they think they should say.

"What I want to make clear is that I do blame Barack Obama for the last eight years is his marginalization and vilification of conservative Christians," he said. "To Barack Obama, if you believe in traditional marriage, you're a homophobe. If you believe that men shouldn't go into women's bathrooms and showers, you're a bigot. If you believe the unborn have a right to life, you must hate women.

"The good news is the vilification of conservatives Christians by the president of the United States is coming to an end this Friday with the inauguration of Donald J. Trump."

Dobbs then asked if Jeffress meant the U.S. would see a reversal of the secularism of the past eight years, which the host said appeared to be "sucking the very breath out of religion" in the U.S. The pastor clarified that he meant the biggest change will be that conservative Christians will no longer be "demonized" by the president and the administration.

"I've known Donald Trump for two years. I consider him a friend. I'm not under any illusion that he believes like I do on every issue, but at least he respects the views of conservative Christians and doesn't demonize them. He feels they have an important place in society, and most of all, he believes they have the right to the free exercise of our religious beliefs." {eoa}

Bob Eschliman Featured Elections Caucus Thu, 19 Jan 2017 15:00:00 -0500
Prophecy: 'The Holy Spirit Is Blowing Afresh Upon America'

Hank Kunneman, the senior pastor of Lord of Hosts Church in Omaha, Nebraska, and founder of One Voice Ministries, has shared a new word from the Lord regarding His plan for the United States after Inauguration Day.

In the vision, God told him our nation will once again be united, as its name announces. He also noted the Lord told him Americans should be celebrating the beginning of the new administration, which was the result of His divine movements, because of what is yet to come for our country.

Here's the entire prophecy as shared at The Elijah List:

"In the day when the Son of God stood within the house, as Jesus stood in the house," says the Spirit of grace, "and the power of the Lord was present to heal, but yet those in the room could not discern that the power of the Lord was present to heal them, and yet they stood and others sat criticizing in their hearts saying, 'How could this be?' So it is, America—listen to the word that I speak to you today:

"I have placed those in your House called White; this is My doing, this has been My saying, yet there are those who stand to despise, ignorant of that which I'm bringing to the room, to the House, by the way of My Holy Spirit. And as it was healing that day, do you not understand that there have been those in this land, My people called by My Name, who have cried out unto Me, and I have heard them and I have sent My plan to heal your land?

"And this promise is not just for you, but it is for your children and it is for the nations of the earth, for what is released in this House—the House of your government—shall touch the nations in a great way. Do not get caught up in the arguing, the fighting, the discussing; but discern that which I am releasing that will bring a nation together.

"United States, you shall be—you will be united—for there is a unity that is coming and there is a healing that is breaking forth, will you receive it? Will you receive it?

"Can you hear the sound of celebration?" says the Spirit of the Living God, "for this is the announcement of heaven from the lips of the Father and the Lord of the church, and upon the lips of the hosts, for even their trumpets are declaring 'celebration' upon the earth—for great things shall begin to unfold in this next season.

"Enough of the conspiracy theories that bring men to fear, enough of the speaking of martial law in your land, America, for this is the season to celebrate. Why should you celebrate? Because if you could see your future, if you could see the things that I have planned—this is why there has been such a great battle and continues to be a great battle to try to confuse, and to try to bring this nation into conflict.

"But I tell you—this nation shall be united as in the name that you bear, the United States. And here is why—for there shall be a wind that blows across this land again, for it shall be windy and the winds shall blow in very unusual places and in a very unusual way; and this again, the sign of the wind, shall be upon your streets and upon your cities and in your nation.

"This wind will not go away for a season, but this is a sign unto this land that the wind of the Holy Spirit is blowing afresh upon America. And here is what it shall accomplish," for God says, "Do you understand that even upon the place of the Oval Office, a vice president and a president shall join their hands and pray together? This is My promise to you and this is not just hope, this shall happen!"

And God says, "There shall be a sound that shall begin to spill out, and there shall be such a unity of agreement of prayer in the very high office of your land. And then the Cabinet shall gather and many in the Cabinet shall gather too, and they shall pray to the one and only true God; and they shall gather their hands and they will pray. They will pray for the peace of Jerusalem and they will pray for the peace of America.

"This shall spill out even upon Capitol Hill, and it shall be no strange thing when they shall open in prayer and they shall declare the name of My Son, for this land was dedicated to His honor and so it shall be brought back to Him," says the Lord.

"Do you hear the sound of celebration?" For God says, "The wind that blows is a wind of change; it is a wind that is blowing through the White House to break down satanic altars and altars that were prayed in dedication to false gods. And this wind shall blow upon the very place of your White House, your Capitol building, and there shall be an infilling of the Holy Spirit among many. This will be reported and this will be mocked," but God says, "let them mock, I will not be stopped.

"And this that I bring to you, America, will not be stopped, for this generation has a right to receive what I am pouring out upon all flesh; welcome to your future."

Bob Eschliman Featured Issues Caucus Thu, 19 Jan 2017 13:00:00 -0500
Sonny Perdue Becomes the 9th Evangelical to Join the Trump Cabinet

Two years ago, if someone had told you that Donald Trump would be the 45th president of the United States and that evangelical Christians would hold a majority of the seats around his Cabinet Room table, you probably would've laughed him out of the room.

But that's the reality we will face in the days ahead.

The president-elect made his 15th and final nomination to the Cabinet on Thursday morning, naming former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to serve as his Secretary of Agriculture. Perdue, who is a veterinarian by profession, grew up on a small family-owned farm and has spent much of his life working in agribusiness.

"Sonny Perdue is going to accomplish great things as Secretary of Agriculture," Trump said. "From growing up on a farm to being governor of a big agriculture state, he has spent his whole life understanding and solving the challenges our farmers face, and he is going to deliver big results for all Americans who earn their living off the land."

Perdue earned a doctorate in veterinary medicine in 1971 from the University of Georgia. Following his service as a captain in the United States Air Force, Perdue became a successful small business owner, concentrating in agribusiness and transportation. Today, those businesses have grown to include several locations across the Southeast.

The former Houston County planning and zoning board member first ran for the Georgia State Senate in 1990, and spent the next 11 years in the General Assembly. He resigned his Senate seat in 2001 to focus on his 2002 gubernatorial campaign.

He won election in both 2002—becoming Georgia's first GOP governor since Reconstruction—and 2006, but was constitutionally prohibited from seeking a third term.

"I am proud and honored to be joining President-elect Trump's administration as his secretary of agriculture," he said. "Beginning as a simple Georgia farm boy, making sure Americans who make their livelihood in the agriculture industry are thriving is near and dear to my heart, and I'm going to champion the concerns of American agriculture and work tirelessly to solve the issues facing our farm families in this new role."

Perdue and his wife of 44 years, Mary, have four children and 14 grandchildren. They served as foster parents for eight newborns who were awaiting adoption too.

He also has worn his Christian faith on his sleeve. As governor, during the worst drought his state has ever seen, he issued a call for prayer—and the rains fell. His nomination will mean nine of the 16 Cabinet positions—which includes Vice President-elect Mike Pence—will be filled by evangelicals.

Here's the list of other evangelicals who are slated to serve in key roles in the Trump-Pence administration:

  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions
  • Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke
  • Secretary of Health & Human Services Dr. Tom Price
  • Secretary of Housing & Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson
  • Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao
  • Secretary of Energy Rick Perry
  • Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos
  • Director of the EPA Scott Pruitt
  • U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley
  • Senior Counselor for Economic Initiatives Dina Powell
  • Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats
  • Director of Central Intelligence Mike Pompeo

During Thursday's final transition daily press briefing, the liberal mainstream media criticized Trump for selecting "another white man" for agriculture post. Spokesman Sean Spicer noted that several Hispanic candidates had been considered, but ultimately, the president-elect has been picking his nominees based on who will do the best job.

Spicer said there will likely be many "exciting" announcements regarding Hispanic roles in the administration coming up.

Bob Eschliman Featured Issues Caucus Thu, 19 Jan 2017 12:00:00 -0500
College Students Need Legos and Juice Boxes to Deal With Trump's Inauguration

Most millennial snowflakes have already evacuated the nation's capital well in advance of President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration.

But for those young people who were unable to escape reality, hope is not lost.

GUPride, an LGBTQ student organization at Georgetown University, is setting up a safe space to help young people deal with the aftermath of making America great again.

"Join GUPride for a night of self-care after a long week. We will have Legos, juice boxes and more," the Facebook invitation reads. 

It's unclear if sippy cups will be provided or if students should bring their own. GUPride did not return my calls.

The good folks over at Campus Reform got their hands on an email sent to club members with all the juicy details of what they called "Post-inauguration self-care."

"There will be Legos and stuffed animals and coloring books—come to embrace the inner child," the LGBTQ club declared.

The club invited its members to the event in a Welcome Back email, which was obtained by Campus Reform and included a section on "Post-inauguration self-care," where GUPride urged its members to "embrace the inner child."

And for those truly traumatized by the inauguration, I'm certain GUPride will have an adequate supply of diapers—just in case.

Todd Starnes Featured American Dispatch Opinion Thu, 19 Jan 2017 14:00:00 -0500
Christian Leaders Anoint the Doorway Trump Will Walk Through

Prior to Friday's inauguration ceremonies at the U.S. Capitol, a group of Christian faith leaders took time out to pray over the location of the event and even took time to anoint the doorway President-elect Donald Trump will walk through when he arrives.

The group says it has done this for previous administrations, regardless of political affiliation. As Peggy Nienaber, vice president of operations for Faith and Action, put it, "The gospel is neither Republican nor Democrat."

"When President-elect Trump and Vice President-elect Pence place their hand on the Bible for the oath of office, Christians are to be praying for them," she said. "The demands of the nation's highest office call us to put aside our differences and join in prayer."

Nathan Kistler, director of Hope on the Hill, added it was an honor to be able to pray over the very spot the president-elect will walk through before his inauguration. At this point in history, he noted, "America has never needed prayer more than we do right now."

"With all the massive preparations surrounding the inauguration, the most important and critical thing needed to be done is prayer," Rev. Patrick Mahoney, pastor of Church on the Hill and director of the Christian Defense Coalition, said. "For it is prayer that will shift, shape and transform history.

"At a time when America is divided, it is the platform of the unity of prayer that will bring us together. We come together, as we have for all presidents, to ask for Christ's direction, leading, guidance, protection and blessing over President-elect Trump and his administration. 

"We ask that he would turn to God for wisdom and strength and look to Him for every vital decision he will make. We also pray that God would ignite a spiritual awakening that would heal our nation." {eoa}

Bob Eschliman Featured Events Caucus Thu, 19 Jan 2017 11:00:00 -0500
Muslim Woman Praises Name of Jesus After She Experiences John 5:8 Miracle

An American missionary couple working with Ekballo Project answered God's call to Berlin, Germany, and have been ministering to refugees from the Middle East.

They recently baptized a young man named Nizar, who told them a story that demonstrates the power of Jesus' name.

"My uncle's wife, she couldn't walk," Nizar recounted to them. Due to a serious back problem, she was confined to her bed for a year and her weight swelled to 220 pounds.

"My uncle was really lost, he didn't know what to do," Nizar said. His uncle had little work and was facing the possibility of relocation to another city. Nizar says his uncle is one of the toughest people he knows. "He even has a tattoo on his body that says, 'Don't mess with me; I'll kick your (expletive).'

"He didn't have much money. He had to sell the things he had. It was a very hard time for him," Nizar said.

A few months went by, and his uncle decided to study the Quran and become more Islamic. But after spending several weeks in the Islamic scripture, he became disillusioned and said, "OK, let's see another thing."

So he began to converse with some of the Druze refugees about their faith. Their religion is considered a monotheistic Abrahamic religion, but it does not follow the Five Pillars of Islam. Their beliefs integrate features of Isma'ilism, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism and other philosophies.

The Druze call themselves "People of Unitarianism or Monotheism." After the uncle searched for answers among the Druze he concluded, "OK, I have found nothing here. Let's go to another place."

Then he found a New Testament and started reading. "He read and read and read. After one week he was bored," Nizar recounted.

One day Nizar's uncle walked into the living room, set the New Testament down, and began to pour himself a drink of arak, an anise-flavored, distilled alcoholic beverage.

"He was an alcoholic," Nizar noted. "When he was spiritual he left alcohol, but now he decided to go back."

At the same time, his wife was in the other room in severe pain.

At this point, he was desperate for any kind of breakthrough and cried out to God.

"OK, (God), what do you want from me? I have been through all this. You know that deep in my heart, I love You. I know that deep in my heart that I am Your child. Why am I suffering like this? Why do You let life hit me like this, break me like this?

"I was rich," he lamented. "I had a lot of money. I had a lot of friends. What do I have now? I have a sick woman on the bed in the other room yelling all day for a year."

Then he was stunned by a response from above, a voice that said: "Go to your wife and pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Put your hand on her back, and she will be healed."

Startled, he put the drink down, jumped up and rushed into her room.

"Come, woman, don't speak; turn," he instructed with some urgency.

"What are you doing?" she asked.

"Turn around!"

He placed his hand on her back and prayed: "In the name of Jesus Christ ... ."

Suddenly his wife felt something like a piece of hot metal piercing her back. "What are you doing?" she cried out. She thought he was stabbing her.

But it was not a knife entering her back; it was the healing power of Jesus, the God who heals!

After he prayed, she stood up and walked.

Soon, she went to the doctor to see what happened. They examined the X-rays and could see something happened, but could not explain it.

"After this, my uncle's faith is so strong he can't speak of anything except Jesus," Nizar says. "Now he has the strongest belief, and he's the most peaceful guy ever." {eoa}

This article originally appeared on Assist News Service. 

Mark Ellis/Assist News Service Featured World News Thu, 19 Jan 2017 13:00:00 -0500
Is Martin Scorsese's 'Silence' Prophetic?

One of the major themes explored in Martin Scorsese's film, Silence, is the question of how to respond when faced with a choice between denying one's faith or facing death.

Christians in 17th-century Japan were given this choice, and it's the same for Christians in many parts of the world today.

Throughout the film, the audience is shown Christians being told to step on—or, in one case, spit on—an image of Jesus or Mary. Some do; others can't.

This same choice was given to Zarefa, an elderly Iraqi Christian woman, when the Islamic State captured her town in 2014. During a raid on the house where she was staying, IS fighters found a few crucifixes and other Christian images—strictly illegal under IS rule.

"They forced me to spit on the cross," Zarefa recalls. "I told them that it was not appropriate, that it was a sin. He said that I must spit. 'Don't you see that I have a gun?' he asked me. I said to myself, 'Oh, the cross! I am weak, I will spit on you. But Lord, I ask you to take revenge for me. I cannot escape from this.'"

The shame is still visible on Zarefa's face when she recounts the memory. Her town, Qaraqosh, is liberated now, but she is still recovering from the traumatic two years that are only just behind her.

Zarefa's husband died shortly after Qaraqosh was captured. She remembers the warning signs in the days beforehand, when a group of teenagers on motorbikes chastised her for speaking in Syriac—a language closely related to the Aramaic that Jesus spoke.

"Speak our language!" they shouted in Arabic, the language of Islam.

By that time, many families had already left Qaraqosh, after IS had overpowered and completely overrun the Iraqi army, leaving the Christians unprotected.

For Zarefa, running was no option. Her husband was dying, and she had no enemies in the town; she thought the two of them would be left in peace.

But Zarefa soon found out there is no such thing as living in peace under IS rule.

She shared how, soon after IS came, her husband passed away, leaving her a widow and more vulnerable than ever.

She moved in with neighbors, but IS fighters repeatedly harassed them and stole all the valuables they could get their hands on. And not just valuables.

"One day, the man whose house I was a guest in never came home. Some people said he was killed and buried in an open area. Others said that he fell in a hole. Another one said that only God knows what happened to him. The fact is that we have not seen him since," Zarefa recalls.

From then on, it was just the two elderly, single women left. As soon as IS found out about them, they told the women to move to nearby Mosul.

"We told them that we don't want to leave; that we belong here," Zarefa says. "That this is our home; we want to stay here. But they made us leave against our will. In the night, they took us from our house, they put bags over our heads and asked us if we had converted to Islam."

Frightened, Zarefa says she "quickly told them that I had."

A few hours later, when their hoods were lifted, the two women found themselves in an IS women's prison full of mostly divorced women. (In the eyes of IS, it's a crime for a woman to divorce.)

After a few days, Zarefa and her friend managed to return to Qaraqosh as "Muslim" women, but when they arrived, they found three IS soldiers waiting to question them.

"They requested that we openly profess adherence to Islam," Zarefa says. "I begged them and asked them why we must do such a thing. 'We will not add anything to your case by converting to Islam,' we told them. 'Let us choose our own way and religion.'"

The leader of the group got angry, drew a gun, pointed it at Zarefa's heart and threatened to kill her if she didn't convert to Islam.

"What would you do if you were in our position?" she asks. "He said something, asked us to repeat it, and then asked if we were Muslims. 'Yes,' we said. 'Yes, we are.' And then they left."

But that was not enough; the harassment continued.

Zarefa says different IS fighters continually came to their home and demanded money and valuables at gunpoint. When they had taken nearly everything and she was left almost bankrupt, she hid her last savings—the equivalent of 250 dollars—in her bra.

But even that was discovered.

"They forced me to take it off, and then they took my money," Zarefa recalls, embarrassed by the memory. "Then that man pushed me down on the couch, put his gun on my chest, and threatened me because he was convinced there was more to rob. He shouted at me: 'We will be cruel to you until you obey.'"

Christians 'eager' to return home

Today, Jan. 18, the Iraqi army has announced it has recaptured "vast swaths" of Mosul east of the Tigris River, which runs through the city. The army says it's now preparing to fight to retake the area of Mosul west of the Tigris.

Despite ordeals such as Zarefa's, Iraqi Christians who fled outlying towns like Qaraqosh (east of Mosul) when IS came in 2014 are "eager" to return home, according to one young Christian in Karamles.

"We are eager to return to our liberated areas," Valentine told Al-Monitor.

The Rev. Thabet Habib, who pastors a church in the town, added: "The time has come for Christians to return to the liberated areas in Nineveh Valley, now that the military operations have ended." Though he admitted the return will be "gradual."

World Watch Monitor reported in December that the conflict with IS had left thousands of homes uninhabitable.

"It seems they wanted to make sure nothing of value would remain," Habib told World Watch Monitor. "The effect is a mounting feeling of hopelessness among the Christians when they discover the damage. They will really need time to recover from this news, to adjust to the new perspective of living in displacement longer than they might have expected."

Habib said as much as 80 percent of the infrastructure in the Hamdaniya district, where Karamles is located, had been destroyed.

But one resident, Sara Bahnam, told Al-Monitor she is desperate to return home.

"We are sick and tired of being displaced and paying rent in recent years. I will be the first to return to Hamdaniya and to my house, whatever the obstacles," she said.

Meanwhile, a U.S. bishop has said that the Syriac Catholic archbishop of Mosul told him he is against the construction of a "safe corridor" for religious minorities in Iraq.

Bishop Oscar Cantu told the Catholic News Service that Archbishop Yohanna Moshe told him: "We don't want to live in a ghetto. That is counterproductive. That makes us a target for our enemies. We have to live in a secure but integrated community where Chaldean Catholics, Syriac Catholics, Sunni Muslims, etc., have relationships with each other.

"We need an integrated reality, rather than a 'Gaza' where there's a wall and someone is guarding people going in and out." {eoa}

This article originally appeared on World Watch Monitor.

World Watch Monitor Featured World News Thu, 19 Jan 2017 12:00:00 -0500
Among the Potential Prophetic Destruction, Jesus Meets Muslims, Children

It sounds like the setting of a post-apocalyptic novel. Citizens are left in the shelled-out husk of a war-torn city. Those who were able to leave have fled. Electricity is turned on only intermittently by the government— otherwise it is dark, and the cold of winter has set in.

Water and food is scarce, and what little is brought in is quickly picked over by the masses or priced so high it's difficult to afford.

Without jobs, without order, gangs roam the streets at night, and you can't really trust the person next to you. Government officials go door to door in search of remaining rebel militants.

This isn't a piece of fiction. This is real life right now for the people living in Aleppo, Syria.

Steve Van Valkenburg with Christian Aid Mission shares, "Basically, the attitude of the people is that they're scared, they're not sure what's going to happen. The government is not sure who to trust. The government doesn't know if there are militia members just mixed in with those who are fleeing, and people who stayed behind may be actually militant members and may be pretending to be regular citizens. So there's a lot of door-to-door and searching by the government and a lot of just not being sure if the person next to you may be a suicide bomber.

"I personally don't think that Aleppo is going to become a nice, civilized place for a long time. You've got people who are going to be a problem, and it's going to take a long time to get things rebuilt—if ever they will—and the people are living among the carnage."

Van Valkenburg says Christian Aid Mission has multiple ministry partners currently in Aleppo, and they've been able to describe the reality of the situation.

"What they said was that some people are beginning to return to Aleppo, but what they're finding is there's not much to return to because things are all damaged. But where they went to when they fled really wasn't very good either."

But what's so surreal is, in the midst of Aleppo's rubble and carnage, the Holy Spirit is stirring.

"One encouraging thing was that an agency within the government has asked a ministry if they would have kids' programs all this week. So every other day, they're having kids' programs, and they're evangelistic programs. They've been very effective in the past and actually have seen thousands of people coming to their meetings," says Van Valkenburg.

"They invite the kids and often the parents, or at least the mother, will come also with the children. They will give out Bible coloring books where they tell stories of the Bible, and then they color and they give out crayons, and this is something that's very helpful emotionally to the kids. ... Also, they show gospel films. They just received a large shipment of Bibles in Aleppo, and so they can give those out, and they're expecting large crowds all during this week. And then the government is going to provide security for the people there."

Christian Aid ministry partners have also erected prayer tents throughout Aleppo and hosted prayer times—both near and within the areas where rebels vacated. And Muslims are coming to them for prayer.

"They have workers there all day long every other day just to pray with those people who want to come and pray. And of course, many people are just very bothered, they're at their wit's end, they have heavy burdens, and they're afraid and they're looking for somebody to come and help them. So even though they may be Muslims, they still are looking for somebody who will give them solace. ... As the missionaries pray with them, they can share the gospel, they can give out Bibles and tracts, and so there's a lot of spiritual, emotional needs met."

One of the biggest needs right now in Aleppo is heating and supplies to survive the rest of the winter.

"Now, the weather is very cold, and they burn anything they can find. The electricity is only turned on once in a while now. The government did turn on the electricity so they can have a special Christmas celebration, but for the most part, the electricity is not on. There's no water, no sewage; food supplies are scarce. The government brought in some trucks full of supplies, but of course they were quickly gone. Most of the food and goods are coming from surrounding areas into Aleppo, but they need to have food, they need blankets, they need all of the basic needs."

Van Valkenburg says one ministry is "bringing in hot water bottles and blankets to be able to distribute to people because of the lack of heating within the city and the lack of utilities and electricity and any of kind of fuel for warmth."

Christian Aid is helping their ministry partner supply blankets, hot water bottles, Bibles and supplies for the children's outreach. They're also working on food baskets and bringing in T-shirts, socks and gloves for kids.

So what can you do with this information? Well, first and foremost, you can intercede for Aleppo before the Lord.

"My encouragement would be that people would continue to pray for the people [in Aleppo] and specifically pray for their safety, for them to be able to have basic needs met and for their spiritual well-being. Pray for those who are seeking Christ [that they] would be able to find effective materials and workers there who can help them, and that hearts would be turned to the only hope there is, and that's Jesus Christ."

"We are regularly sending help to the Christians in Aleppo to enable them to reach out with the gospel and to show the love of Christ to the people there in that hurting area," says Van Valkenburg.

"There are good workers, good ministries happening within Aleppo. Even though many people have fled, there are still some people whom I very much appreciate, and our hats are off to them that they didn't have to be in Aleppo, but they're there because they want to have a ministry and they want to help." {eoa}

LYNDSEY KOH/Mission Network News Featured World News Thu, 19 Jan 2017 11:30:00 -0500
Cindy Jacobs: How to Diffuse Inauguration Distractions

As part of her 100-day prayer challenge, Cindy Jacobs issued a major strategy on how to war against inauguration destruction.

According to The New York Times"In addition to the usual range of threats, officials from federal, state and local agencies are preparing this year for what they say could be large-scale protests aimed at disrupting the ceremony and registering disapproval of Donald J. Trump's presidency at the moment the world is watching his ascension to office. A march planned for Saturday could attract as many as half a million people, one official said, putting additional stress on law enforcement." 

But this does not intimidate God's warriors. 

Click here to watch the video to see how you can join with believers around the globe to pray. {eoa}

Jessilyn Justice Featured Caucus Thu, 19 Jan 2017 11:00:00 -0500
The 'Transition' Will Continue Beyond Friday

Friday, Jan. 20, will not be the end of the "peaceful transition of power," but merely another stepping point in the process.

Confirmation hearings are underway for Cabinet positions that haven't even been formally nominated. There are more appointments yet to come. Confirmation votes to be had in the Senate. Swearing-in ceremonies.

Meanwhile, the government will begin operating under the new Trump-Pence administration.

Since taking the helm of the presidential transition team, Vice President-elect Mike Pence has relied upon Rick Dearborn to manage the day-to-day—and in some cases, minute-to-minute—details of the transition. But, with Dearborn about to begin his new job as deputy White House chief of staff, Pence has named a successor to continue leading the transition.

That successor will be Ken Nahigian, who had been serving as the PTT's head of president-elect support. In that role, he was overseeing all strategic planning and support to President-elect Donald Trump, the vice president-elect, their families and the various nominees.

"Ken has been a tremendous and critical asset to the transition," Dearborn said. "In the days following the election, his role evolved to not only manage president-elect support but also prepare our great cabinet designees for their hearings. The transition is in capable hands with Ken Nahigian, who has tirelessly supported it from Day One and will carry it through the finish line."

Nahigian, who operates a public relations and communications planning and strategy firm, also played an instrumental role in developing the transition's website, He also structured the incoming administration's post-election communications strategy, built up infrastructure resources for the Trump-Pence team to be ready for Day 1 and created a public-engagement network for the transition period.

"I'm honored that the president-elect, vice president-elect and Rick Dearborn have entrusted me with this responsibility, and it is my honor to continue my service to this new administration," he said. "It has been a tremendous honor to be part of this historic and successful process of building our government." {eoa}

Bob Eschliman Featured Issues Caucus Thu, 19 Jan 2017 10:00:00 -0500
Amid Potentially Violent Protests, This Church Choir Refuses to Back Down From Inauguration

Washington will turn into a virtual fortress ahead of Donald Trump's presidential inauguration on Friday as the U.S. capital braces for more than a quarter-million protesters expected during the Republican's swearing-in.

Police have forecast that some 900,000 people, both supporters and opponents, will flood Washington for the inauguration ceremony, which includes the swearing-in on the steps of the U.S. Capitol and a parade to the White House along streets thronged with spectators.

Many of those attending will be protesters irate about the New York real estate developer's demeaning comments about women, immigrants and Muslims, a vow to repeal the sweeping healthcare reform law known as Obamacare and plans to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

His supporters admire Trump's experience in business, including as a real estate developer and reality television star, and view him as an outsider and problem-solver.

Outgoing U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said police aim to separate groups to diffuse tensions, similar to last-year's political conventions.

"The concern is some of these groups are pro-Trump, some of them are con-Trump, and they may not play well together in the same space," Johnson said on MSNBC on Thursday.

About 28,000 security personnel, miles (kilometers) of fencing, roadblocks, street barricades and dump trucks laden with sand will be part of the security cordon around 3 square miles (almost 8 square km) of central Washington.

About 30 groups that organizers claim will draw about 270,000 protesters or Trump backers have received permits for rallies or marches before, during and after the swearing-in. More protests are expected without permits.

A protest group known as Disrupt J20 has vowed to stage demonstrations at each of 12 security checkpoints and block access to the festivities on the grassy National Mall.

Protests Around the World

By far the biggest protest will be the Women's March on Washington on Saturday, which organizers expect to draw 250,000 people. Hundreds of Women's March-related protests are scheduled across the United States and around the world as well.

There will be an anti-Trump protest in New York on Thursday evening when Mayor Bill de Blasio, filmmaker Michael Moore and actors Mark Ruffalo and Alec Baldwin, who portrays Trump on "Saturday Night Live," take part in a rally outside the Trump International Hotel and Tower.

One Washington protest will come amid a haze of pot smoke as pro-marijuana activists show their opposition to Trump's choice for attorney general, Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, a critic of pot legalization.

The group plans to distribute 4,200 joints at the inauguration and urge attendees to light up. Possession of small amounts of marijuana is legal in Washington but public consumption is not.

Interim Police Chief Peter Newsham said officers were prepared for mass arrests, although authorities hoped that would be unnecessary.

"If we do have a mass arrest, we'll be able to get people processed very quickly," he told Washington's NBC 4 television station.

Police and security officials have pledged to guarantee protesters' constitutional rights to free speech and peaceable assembly.

Friday's crowds are expected to be less than the 2 million who attended Obama's first inauguration in 2009, and in line with the million who were at his second, four years ago.

The inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue will pass the

Trump International Hotel, a rallying point for protesters since the election now encircled by security fences.

In a sign of the Trump-related angst gripping Washington, the dean of the Washington National Cathedral said this week its choir would sing "God Bless America" at the inauguration despite misgivings by some members.

"Let me be clear: We are not singing for the President. We are singing for God because that is what church choirs do," the Reverend Randolph Marshall Hollerith said in a letter.

Trump will attend an interfaith prayer service at the cathedral on Saturday, closing out the inaugural ceremonies. {eoa}

© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Ian Simpson/Reuters Featured Caucus Thu, 19 Jan 2017 10:30:00 -0500
What's Behind the Seemingly Unrelenting Rise of Satanism?

Interest in Satan and Satanism has experienced a tremendous resurgence in recent years.

At one time, satanists were generally feared and shunned by society, but now Satanism is steadily being accepted into mainstream culture. Until recently, the Church of Satan founded by Anton LaVey in 1966 was the most prominent satanic organization in the world, but now it is rapidly being overtaken by a relatively new group known as the Satanic Temple.

It is headquartered in Salem, Massachusetts, and was founded in 2013 to combat the influence of evangelical Christianity in politics. It has grown explosively over the past several years, and at this point, the organization's leadership claims it has a global membership of somewhere around 100,000.

On Saturday night, the chapter of the Satanic Temple in Los Angeles held what was described as "their biggest event ever:"

On Saturday, the Satanic Temple of Los Angeles held their biggest event ever: a massive satanic mass, complete with a live bloodletting ritual. The purpose of the mass, according to the Satanic Temple's website, was "to inspire personal and societal liberation." The event, which was held in partnership with Das Bunker, doubled as a fundraiser for a number of causes, including the women's reproductive rights campaign, lawsuits concerning violations of the First Amendment and providing education and assistance to individuals incarcerated in our for-profit prison system. Once attendees made it past the massive line to get in, there was live painting and first-come-first-serve tattooing.

In most Christian churches, if the program goes over an hour. people start to become quite restless. In contrast, these satanists gleefully celebrated their dark arts well into the night. At this event in Los Angeles, the doors opened at 9 p.m., and a series of very twisted events led up to "a bloodletting ritual" that didn't end until nearly 3 in the morning...

A one-hour invocation ritual followed at 1 a.m. The crowd later took part in a bloodletting ritual from 2:15 a.m. to 2:45 a.m.

The Satanic Temple Los Angeles had teased the event ahead of time, saying it had faced "rampant opposition" in the months leading up to it.

I actually know someone who belongs to the Satanic Temple. At one time, he was seriously considering becoming a Christian, but now he is very proud to call himself a satanist.

And a lot of these satanists are far more committed than most people who call themselves Christians.

A single individual with a passion for a cause can accomplish a great deal. Unfortunately, all too often, these individuals are working for the wrong side. For example, a public school teacher in Boca Raton, Florida decided that he wanted to put up a "satanic display" in a public square this past holiday season, and despite tremendous opposition, he was able to achieve his goal.

Earlier this month, the city of Boca Raton gave Smith permission to install a satanic display at Sanborn Square downtown. That is the same park where other religious organizations install a nativity scene and menorah during the holiday season.

Smith is a known activist for separating religion from government. He argued if the city allows one religious display on public property, it has to allow them all, even if they are offensive.

His display included the words "May the children hail Satan." Bremer said that is not a message a middle school teacher should spread.

You have got to be quite sick to do that sort of thing, but the truth is that a new brand of militant Satanism is on the rise all over the nation.

Back in July, the Satanic Temple announced it would be launching a series of after-school programs for elementary students all over America, and so far, they have established nine clubs.

If you can believe it, this includes an after-school club in heavily Mormon Utah:

Utah's first After School Satan Club kicked off with an open house Wednesday at Vista Elementary School.

The club, for children between the ages of 5 and 12, encourages students to think critically and have a scientific understanding of the world around them, according to Chalice Blythe, Utah chapter head for the Satanic Temple.

"Kids naturally have that ability to be curious and question things," Blythe said. "We're basically just saying we should bolster that."

The Satanic Temple says they do not intend to encourage kids to worship Satan. In fact, it may surprise you to learn that many "satanists" do not actually believe in a literal being named Satan at all. According to CNN, the Church of Satan considers "Satan" to simply be "a symbol of pride, liberty and individualism ..."

The Church of Satan, founded in the mid-1960s, explains it this way on its website: "Satan to us is a symbol of pride, liberty and individualism, and it serves as an external metaphorical projection of our highest personal potential. We do not believe in Satan as a being or person."

And the official stance of the Satanic Temple is quite similar:

The Satanic Temple, which formed in recent years to fight a perceived intrusion of Christian values on American politics, says, "we do not promote a belief in a personal Satan. To embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions."

Of course, there are many satanists out there who take the worship of Satan quite seriously. These hardcore satanists tend to keep a much lower profile because they are often involved in things that could get them thrown in prison if they were to be discovered.

And as Christian occult expert Bill Schnoebelen likes to point out, one of the places you are most likely to find a satanist is at your local church. Many hardcore satanists are obsessed with sabotaging churches and other Christian organizations, and this Sunday, you could end up sitting next to a satanist at your church and might not ever realize it.

Even though much of the church tends to ignore it, spiritual warfare is a very real thing, and often the dark side takes it a lot more seriously than we do.

At the Vatican, they are also deeply alarmed by the rise in Satanism we are witnessing. In fact, the Vatican says so many people are becoming possessed that it is causing a real "emergency" within the Catholic Church.

A rise in demand for exorcisms has caused a shortage of priests able to carry them out, the Vatican's exorcist has warned.

The church says a sharp rise in people wanting to experiment with Satanism and the occult means that more and more people are seeking out exorcisms, believing they have been overtaken by evil forces.

But as demand grows, there is a lack of priests able to carry out the ceremonies to battle the devil's work, causing a real "emergency" within the Catholic Church.

Unfortunately for most of the people experimenting with these things, the truth is, they don't have any idea whom they are actually dealing with.

Satan and the forces under his command are very real, and they are locked in an epic conflict with the God who created all things. The Bible makes it clear that this conflict will reach a dramatic conclusion during the period of time just before the return of Jesus Christ, and many of us believe we have now entered the period of time the Bible refers to as "the last days."

Our world is a very dark place, and things are going to get a lot darker. But in the end good will triumph over evil, and that is a fact that should be of great comfort to all of us. {eoa}

Michael Snyder Featured Opinion Thu, 19 Jan 2017 10:00:00 -0500
President Challenges Abusive Priests to 'Showdown'

Undeterred by a blessing from Pope Francis, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte launched an angry rebuke on Thursday of priests and bishops critical of his drugs war, accusing them of homosexuality, corruption and of abusing children.

Duterte was furious over concerns by the Catholic Church of alleged extrajudicial killings during his crackdown and lambasted clergymen for denouncing him instead of using their influence to get people off drugs.

His no-holds-barred tirade came a day after one of Duterte's top advisers met Pope Francis at the Vatican and said the Pontiff had told him he would bless the Philippines, and "also bless your president."

In a speech to policemen, the firebrand leader of one of only two majority Catholic Asian countries challenged the church to a "showdown" and threatened to expose priests and bishops for a litany of abuses.

"Most people here are Catholics. If you are a good priest, make them understand that they will die," he said, referring to drug users.

"You criticize the police, you criticize me. For what? You have the money. You are all crazy ... when we were making confessions to you, we were being molested. They are touching us. What is your moral ascendancy, religion? What is the meaning of it?"

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines had no immediate comment when contacted by Reuters.


Duterte's aide, Jesus Dureza, was at the Vatican this week to deliver a letter from the president, thanking the Pope for his 2015 visit to the Philippines.

Duterte had famously called the Pope a "son of a bitch" for causing traffic snarl-ups, and later apologized, saying his remark was aimed at incompetent officials.

The Pope's blessing did not stop Duterte chiding the church, which is among a few institutions willing to oppose his war on drugs. Police figures show 7,042 people have been killed during the campaign, 2,250 in anti-drugs operations and most of the other deaths still being investigated.

Duterte said members of the clergy had wives and were engaging in homosexual acts, practices prohibited by the Catholic Church. Priests were also misusing state funds, he said, and they could not explain where vast amounts of money from public donations had gone.

"You expose me, fine. I expose you. Why? Your mistake is just all right, but ours is not? Bullshit. That is a big joke," he said.

"You asked for it. So if you really want a showdown, showdown. Make a change.

"If you cannot mend your ways, if you cannot even give justice to the small boys that you have molested in the past, you do not have that moral ascendancy to lecture on the sanctity of life."

Responding to Duterte's comments, Father Roy Bellen, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Manila, said the church was aware of its weaknesses and despite limitations, it was fighting to root out its bad elements.

"Yes, there's still work to be done inside and outside of the church," he said. "We can never do everything, but whatever is in reach, we do it." {eoa}

© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Neil Jerome Morales/Reuters Featured World News Thu, 19 Jan 2017 09:30:00 -0500
The End of the Obama World Order

For the past eight years, Barack Obama has been using the power of the U.S. presidency to impose his vision of a progressive world order on the entire globe.

As a result, much of the planet will greatly celebrate once the Obama era officially ends on Friday. The Obama years brought us the Arab Spring, Benghazi, ISIS, civil war in Syria, civil war in Ukraine and the Iran nuclear deal.

On the home front, we have had to deal with Obamacare, "Fast and Furious", IRS targeting of conservative groups, Solyndra, the VA scandal, NSA spying and the worst "economic recovery" since the end of World War II. And right at the end of his presidency, Barack Obama has committed the greatest betrayal of Israel in U.S. history and has brought us dangerously close to war with Russia.

So is the end of the Obama world order worth celebrating?

You had better believe it is.

Of course, Obama and his minions are in a great deal of distress that much of their hard work over the past eight years is about to be undone by Donald Trump. On Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden warned the elitists gathered at the World Economic Forum in Davos that their "liberal world order" is in danger of collapsing...

Vice President Joe Biden delivered an epic final speech Wednesday to the elites at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The gist of his speech was simple: At a time of "uncertainty," we must double down on the values that made Western democracies great and not allow the "liberal world order" to be torn apart by destructive forces.

And without a doubt, we definitely want it to collapse.

During his time in the White House, Barack Obama has used the full diplomatic power of the government to promote "abortion rights," "gay rights" and other liberal values to the farthest corners of the globe. Here at home, the appointment of two new Supreme Court justices under Obama paved the way for the Supreme Court decision that forced all 50 states to recognize gay "marriage." During his final press conference on Wednesday, Barack Obama told the media he was particularly proud of this:

Obama said he's particularly proud of the "transformation" on gay rights during his presidency, which saw monumental Supreme Court decisions on gays in the military and same-sex marriage. Obama said his role was mostly to deliver "a good block downfield to help the movement advance."

He said gay and lesbian activists deserve most of the credit, and singled out talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres, to whom he awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom last year.

And the final press conference of his presidency also afforded Obama the opportunity to talk about UN Security Council Resolution 2334. Sadly, Obama still does not have any regrets for betraying Israel so dramatically.

"It was important for us to send a signal, a wake-up call, that this moment may be passing, and Israeli voters and Palestinians need to understand that this moment may be passing," he said.

As far as many of us are concerned, Jan. 20 cannot get here soon enough.

Somehow, we have survived as a nation for the last eight years, but without a doubt, a massive amount of damage has been done.

Many are hoping Donald Trump will be able to start repairing that damage and will work hard to set this nation on a positive course once again.

It still doesn't seem quite real to me that Donald Trump will soon be residing in the White House. Perhaps after I watch him being inaugurated on Friday I will feel differently. And I certainly am not expecting any miracles under Trump, but it sure will be nice to have a new face in the Oval Office.

Right at this moment, moving trucks are in the front of the White House, and those who worked for Obama are packing up and leaving. This is a somber moment for them, but a joyous one for tens of millions of patriotic Americans. Many of us have been waiting for this for eight long years, and by Friday morning the current White House staff will all be gone:

In between closing out final projects and typing up reports on the work they've done, White House staffers are packing away their knickknacks, coffeemakers and photos. The boxes stack up in offices already vacated by staffers who have departed over the past few weeks.

By Thursday night, all must be gone to make way for Trump's team.

Before they leave the building for the final time, they'll go through a checklist that completes their formal separation from the White House: cell phones handed in, computers locked and papers properly filed to be archived. The last step, aides said, is the hardest: handing in the badge that provides access to the complex day or night.

But just because the left lost the election does not mean they are ready to roll over and give up.

On the contrary, emotions are running extremely high on the left, and many of them are preparing to make the inauguration of Donald Trump as chaotic as possible.

For instance, on Tuesday night a man actually set himself on fire in front of the Trump International Hotel in Washington...

A protester set himself on fire outside Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.

The 45-year-old man, who has not yet been identified, said the act was in protest of the President-elect's looming inauguration.

Witnesses described how he yelled "Trump" several times as "flames ran up his back" before [he lay] down in the street.

And it is being reported that radical leftists plan to blockade major roads and metro lines throughout the D.C. region on Friday in an attempt to prevent people from getting to the inauguration of Trump.

So let us rejoice that the Obama world order is ending, but let us also understand that the battle is not over.

In fact, the truth is that the war for America is just beginning.

The election of Donald Trump has energized the left like never before, and they are going to hit his administration with everything that they have got.

Donald Trump is going to need our support, our voices and our prayers if he is going to have any chance to succeed.

And all Americans should want him to succeed, because our nation is at a crossroads, and if we go off on the wrong path, we may never find our way back. {eoa}

Michael Snyder Featured Opinions Caucus Thu, 19 Jan 2017 09:00:00 -0500
DisruptJ20 Organizers Say They 'Intentionally Overstated' Their Plans

At the end of the second installment of his current investigative series, Project Veritas founder James O'Keefe warned the organizers of DisruptJ20 to not lie when they get questioned by the FBI about their plans to attack President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration on Friday.

In a new report, however, those same organizers claim they purposely exaggerated their plans in order to invoke the chaos they were seeking. While we're not sure that's exactly the kind of admission they would want to make, here's what they said in an interview with U.S. News & World Report:

By virtue of us making those claims, it whips people up into the kind of panic that accidentally ends up causing the chaos we want. You can say "all of Metro is being blockaded" and people will stay home.

The group now claims it's purposely scaling back its plans to disrupt the inauguration, not because of O'Keefe's videos, but rather because of construction-related road closures that already preclude their activities. Still, they're trying to claim victory.

Following O'Keefe's first video, they released the following statement:

DisruptJ20 proudly carries forward the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

King participated in civil disobedience to raise unprecedented awareness of the ills of racism, poverty and militarism. Today, we commemorate him by planning acts of civil disobedience in the streets and in the open during the Inauguration. We have been transparent in these intentions for the entire duration of our organizing.

Over the last few weeks, we have exposed four confirmed infiltrators who have tried to integrate themselves into our organizing. These are people who were working with James O'Keefe and Project Veritas. We must make this clear: These groups are doing the dirty work of Nazis, white nationalists and other groups who are furthering Trump's assault on vulnerable communities.

Two infiltrators appeared at an antifascist organizing meeting and immediately fell under suspicion due to their vague backstories, poor education about our movement and unusual dress. Social media checks showed that one, who called herself "Tarah," was a failed actress who was friends on Facebook with James O'Keefe.

One of these infiltrators was someone calling himself "Tyler." Due to suspicions, the organizers initiated their vetting process with a false flag operation. Our allies at the DC Antifascist Coalition met with Tyler. Because they thought it would be a humorous venue, they arranged to meet with Tyler at Comet Ping Pong, which has recently been targeted by right-wing fake news outlets. Though the coalition members did not know who he was working for, they knew Tyler was not who he said he was. So, they met in advance of their meeting with Tyler and planned to give him false information about the what they felt was the most humorous red herring available: a false plot to use stink bombs at an event called the Deploraball with the so-called "Alt Right." Tyler, as it turned out, was recording a video for Project Veritas.

False plans were discussed with Tyler. They spoke of false plans in order to protect themselves, and did not discuss any real intentions. It is laughable that Project Veritas believes that organizers would discuss secret "stink bomb" plans with an unknown individual in a public venue. Project Veritas' lack of judgment portrays the poor quality of their work.

The group had, however, purchased tickets to the Deploraball for the purpose of videotaping.

"The group had no intention of causing any damage or disruption at the Deploraball," said one of our organizers, who appears in the Veritas video. "Instead, the intent was to capture on video any compromising moments from the performers or speakers, such as the Nazi salutes that similar groups gave in November, broadcast widely by The Atlantic."

Other infiltrators include Marissa, who, using her real first name, appeared at a small planning meeting on Saturday, Jan. 7, with brown hair and all-American demeanor. Then the same woman appeared with dyed neon red hair and heavy gothic makeup to our DisruptJ20 Action Camp on Saturday, Jan. 14. She was recognized immediately and promptly escorted away from the event.

At every meeting, we reaffirm our commitment to not harming anyone. We stand by our principles and are committed to building the broadest possible resistance to Trump's agenda.

Wednesday afternoon, O'Keefe provided a video update indicating there have been new legal developments based on both videos he released this week. He also shared he was interviewed for Sean Hannity's nationally syndicated radio program with a reporter from The Huffington Post who validated Project Veritas' work.

You can see that video above. {eoa}

Bob Eschliman Featured Issues Caucus Thu, 19 Jan 2017 09:00:00 -0500
Evangelical Faith Leaders Plan to Hold a 'Special Inaugural Prayer Event'

Also on Thursday afternoon, evangelical faith leaders from around the country are going to gather in Washington, D.C., for a special prayer event.

Dr. Jim Garlow and Pastor Dan Cummins of Skyline Church in San Diego, Calif., and The Jefferson Gathering—a weekly worship service held for members of Congress and Capitol Hill staffers, are leading the event with support from Tony Perkins of Family Research Council and David Barton of Wallbuilders. Additionally, Mike Evans of Friends of Zion Heritage Center in Jerusalem will also take part.

The event will begin at noon EST at Greater New Hope Baptist Church, located about a mile and a half from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. It will be a time of worship and prayer to thank God for what He has done.

A description of the event states:

This "Special Inaugural Prayer Event" will focus on prayers for the nation, Administration, the Cabinet, Congress and Appointees, racial unity and for millennials. Masters of ceremonies for the event will be Jim Garlow and Audrea Taylor. Those participating include Congressman Trent Franks, Congressman Jody Hice and leaders including Bishop Melvin Brown, Dan Cummins, James and Shirley Dobson, Bishop Harry Jackson, James Robison, Samuel Rodriquez, Alveda King, David Barton, Robert Morris, Judy Wade, Michele Bachmann, Jentezen Franklin, Charles Huang, Ralph Reed, Ronnie Floyd, Robert Jeffress, Tony Perkins, Jonathan Cahn and others. Worship for the event will be lead by Josh Garlow.

Stephen Amerson, who frequently sings at Jefferson Gathering services, will perform during the pre-inauguration prayer service.

Following the prayer service, beginning at approximately 1 p.m. EST, participants will have an opportunity to hear from Israeli members of the Knesset and U.S. members of Congress. They will be discussing the U.S.-Israeli relationship, and there will be a Genesis 12:3 call to "bless Israel." {eoa}

Bob Eschliman Featured Press Releases Caucus Thu, 19 Jan 2017 08:00:00 -0500
Why We Need Another Damascus Road Revelation

A popular mountain peak frequented by tourists in Israel is Mount Bental in the Golan Heights. From the top of this mountain, one can see into Lebanon to the northwest and into Syria to the east, bringing home just how small Israel is and how close are her enemies: Hezbollah in South Lebanon, ISIS and other jihadist groups in Syria, not to mention the Syrian Assad regime.

Looking down into Syria, one can see a modern highway built in the general vicinity of one of the ancient roads leading into Damascus. The conversion of Saul in Acts 9 took place on just such a road, so this is a great place to review that story and act upon its lesson.

Saul was an enemy of the believers in Jesus and had the authority of the high priest in Jerusalem to capture and bring them bound to Jerusalem.

The believers in Damascus were terrified and must have prayed much for Saul, because the next part of the story is nothing short of a miracle. Jesus appears to Saul before he even reaches the city and causes him to lose his sight. Ananias is then told to find Saul, lay hands on him, and pray for him to receive the Holy Spirit. Saul spends the rest of his life as: "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God" (Rom. 1:1).

Praying for Our Enemy

The lesson from this story is to pray for everyone—even one's enemies, who are bent on doing harm. Today, there is a great spiritual battle brewing over the region, and the same forces that want to destroy Israel and Christian communities are killing each other in the quest for control. Mount Bental is the perfect place from which to intercede for all the people caught up in this turmoil.

The Middle East, the birthplace of Christianity, was predominantly Christian before the Islamic forces invaded in the seventh century. A thousand years ago, there were more Christians in the Middle East than in Europe. Even a century ago, more than 20 percent of the region's population was Christian.

Today, estimates put the Christian population in the region at less than 5 percent and likely to become extinct. The second-largest Christian community in the Middle East, after the Copts of Egypt, is the Syriac/Assyrian Christians from Iraq, Syria and surrounding areas. They are now displaced; many are refugees and will never regain their community's size and strength.

Hearts should break over the human toll and suffering this conflict has and could still potentially cause. All the peoples of the Middle East—Jew, Christian and Muslim—are, in one way or another, victims of the spiritual stronghold over the region that causes hatred, violence and death.

There needs to be much prayer for the protection of Israel and the Christians, but also for the gospel to go forth throughout the region in even greater ways than it already is. Indications are that the region is more open to the gospel than ever before. Throughout the Muslim world, Jesus is appearing to people in dreams and visions, and they are turning to Him. What began as a small trickle in the early 1980s has mushroomed to now millions of Muslims who have turned to Christ.

God Chose Israel for Blessing

God loves all the peoples of the Middle East, as they are part of the world He loved and sent His Son to die for (John 3:16). This is just as true for the Arabs or Muslims, as it is for anyone else. God's choice of Israel was not to bless the Jewish people to the exclusion of others, but that through them He would bless all the families of the earth (see Gen. 12:3). In fact, it is because of God's love for the world that He brought into existence the nation of Israel through whom He would bring about His redemptive plan.

Millions of people are caught in the crossfire of the forces of evil that hate God, His plan and His people. Let's pray for them. A Damascus Road revelation of the Prince of Peace is their only hope. {eoa}

Susan M. Michael is US Director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem and her articles can be found at

For information on the ICEJ's tours to Israel go to

Susan Michael/ICEJ Featured Standing With Israel Opinion Thu, 19 Jan 2017 06:00:00 -0500
Church on the Hill Wants You to Pray Over the Inaugural Parade Route

Thursday at noon, Church on the Hill of Washington, D.C., will lead a prayer walk down Pennsylvania Avenue from the U.S. Capitol to the White House—the same route President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will walk 24 hours later following their inauguration.

The event, which will be broadcast via Facebook Live, will begin at noon EST. The church is inviting Christians from all across the country to join in a prayer for God's protection over the inauguration, His leading and direction for the Trump administration, and healing and restoration in America.

Rev. Patrick Mahoney, Pastor of Church on the Hill and Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, issued the following statement about the event:

We invite people from all across the nation to join with Church on the Hill as we conduct a prayer walk on the exact same route that President Trump will walk the following day to the White House after his inauguration. Through Facebook Live Video, all Americans can join with us as we seek God for protection over the inauguration and God's leading, blessing and direction for the Trump administration. 

After a very divisive and bitter campaign season, our nation can come together in unity around the platform of prayer, crying out in one voice for God to bring healing and restoration to our nation. Regardless of our political, cultural and ideological differences, Christians are called to pray for those in leadership. 

This 'virtual prayer walk' ensures the Trump presidency will begin, not with partisan politics and division, but corporate prayer from the Christian community interceding for God's direction and mercy over the next four years. {eoa}

Bob Eschliman Featured Press Releases Caucus Thu, 19 Jan 2017 07:00:00 -0500
Report: Someone Tried to 'Assassinate' Trump Ally Roger Stone

Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, Roger Stone—a close ally to President-elect Donald Trump and his former campaign manager—was virtually a constant, appearing on numerous conservative and alternative news sources, including InfoWars, to provide his analysis of the race.

Tuesday, he reported to InfoWars host Alex Jones he was the target of an "assassination attempt":

I became extremely ill. This manifested itself in over 14 days of high fever, delirium, night sweats, I had lesions on my chest and my face ...

The general consensus is I was poisoned. I was poisoned with polonium or a substance that has the characteristics of polonium, and this made me exceedingly ill.

Polonium, discovered in 1898 by Marie and Pierre Curie, is both incredibly rare and lethally radioactive—one gram is capable of poisoning 20 million people, of which about 10 million would die. The metal was used most famously in the 2006 murder of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, who had defected to the British MI6.

Litvinenko is believed to have been slipped the substance in a cup of tea. Many undocumented cases of polonium's use by the Soviet KGB are also rumored, leading to speculation that Stone could have been targeted by Russian agents.

He discounts those claims and points in a different direction:

"I come back to the deep state. I come back to our own people. This is about stopping the Trump agenda. I would blow the whistle on this whole bogus Russian narrative that they just won't let go of."

See the entire explanation in the video above. {eoa}

Bob Eschliman Featured Issues Caucus Thu, 19 Jan 2017 06:00:00 -0500
How Today's Headlines Eerily Line Up With Ezekiel 38

Pastor Carl Gallups believes the Arab Spring's birth ignited the potential fulfillment of Ezekiel 38.

"I know it's much more complex than this, but I trace it to this," Gallups tells Jim Bakker. "Arab Spring was brought about by a consortium of sources, and I believe demonic as well, but we do know Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, secretary of state, were directly involved." 

World leaders now trace the Syrian refugee crisis and "unsolvable" civil war directly to the Arab Spring.

Gallups believe it could be the manifestation of the Gog and Magog prophecy.

Watch the video to see how. 


Jessilyn Justice Featured Opinion Thu, 19 Jan 2017 08:00:00 -0500
Why You Must Pray for Donald Trump

When President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in this Friday as our nation's 45th president, he will stand in front of the U.S. Capitol and place his hand on two Bibles: One that was used for Abraham Lincoln's inauguration in 1861, the other a gift from Trump's mother when he graduated at age 9 from Sunday school at the First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, New York.

Trump won't be hiding his affiliations with evangelical Christians at the ceremony. He will be surrounded by religious leaders, some who supported his campaign and others who criticized his rhetoric. They include Paula White, a Pentecostal pastor from Florida who is sometimes credited with bringing Trump to faith; evangelist Franklin Graham; Hispanic minister Sammy Rodriguez (who denounced Trump's anti-immigrant comments) and African-American preacher Wayne T. Jackson of Detroit. A rabbi and a Catholic cardinal will also join Trump on the stage.

Yet in spite of the two Bibles and the six ministers on the platform, many Christians aren't fully supportive of our next president. Most African-American and Hispanic Christians did not vote for Trump, younger Christian voters were skeptical of his campaign, and other believers opposed him because his views on women and immigrants seemed incompatible with Christianity.

So when Trump lays his hand on those Bibles and pledges to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States," he will lead a divided nation. But if you are a Christian, you have an obligation to pray for your president no matter how you voted in November. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 commands us to pray "for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty."

Praying for our leaders is not optional. It does not depend on your mood or your opinions. Here are eight ways I plan to intercede for President Trump regularly:

1. Pray for his protection. There will be more than 28,000 security officials at the inauguration on Friday, and Trump's decision to spend some of his time at his home in New York City will increase the security threat during his time in office. Pray that he and his family will be protected from assassins' bullets and terror attacks. May civility triumph over violence.

2. Pray that Trump will govern with God's wisdom. God rewarded Solomon because he asked for wisdom instead of wealth, long life or vengeance on his enemies (see 1 Kings 3:11-12). Pray that Trump will order his priorities like that. Despite Solomon's tragic character flaws, his legacy was wisdom. We can ask God to give our president the same grace.

3. Pray that God will set a guard over Trump's mouth. It is no secret that Trump often speaks (or tweets) before he thinks. He can be impulsive and short-tempered. Yet a man in his position must use discretion, or else his impetuous words can close doors and ruin diplomacy. The psalmist prayed: "Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips" (Ps. 141:3). Pray this on behalf of our president.

4. Pray for wise and righteous advisers to surround him. Godly leaders cannot do their jobs alone. Even the best leaders have failed because they trusted the wrong people. Pray that Trump will not select his counselors based on party, race, pedigree or political cronyism but on godly character and proven wisdom. Pray especially that Vice President Mike Pence, who is an evangelical Christian, will rely on the Holy Spirit to advise the president.

5. Ask for the spirit of reconciliation. Some segments of our divided society want nothing to do with Trump now that he has won the presidency. Some media outlets have become downright hostile, breaking all rules of journalistic objectivity. Even some Christians will be tempted to harbor resentment and nurse political grudges throughout his term in office. Pray that God will grant forgiveness and healing so that leaders on all political levels can have constructive dialogue. And pray that Trump will reach out with kindness to Democrats, the media, minorities, immigrants, foreign leaders and Republicans who opposed him.

6. Bind all evil forces assigned to manipulate our president. The specter of Islamic terrorism looms over the United States, and dark forces have already infiltrated. On the other side, it is obvious that Russia desires to manipulate our nation. Our only hope lies in prayer to the God who is able to expose and outwit the schemes of the wicked. This is truly a time for spiritual warfare, and intercessors must not come off the wall in this hour. Pray that no foreign government, terrorist organization, multinational corporation or demonic principality will use Trump as a tool. We must stand strong against the spirit of anti-Christ that promotes dictatorship, persecution of Christians and hostility toward Israel.

7. Pray that Trump's door will always be open to the church. The loudest voices of secular culture—from Bill Maher in Hollywood to atheists in academia—would be happy if religion were removed from public life. Pray that Trump, who claims to have a personal faith in Jesus Christ, will unapologetically welcome Christian leaders into his company and seek their counsel.

8. Pray that our nation will enjoy God's peace and blessing during the Trump administration. God's will is for America to experience peace and prosperity so we can continue to export the gospel to the nations. This must happen whether a Democrat or a Republican is in the White House. As we cry out for God's mercy on our nation, pray that He will allow us to be a light to the world as we finance global missions, feed and heal the world's poor and share Christ's love at home and abroad. {eoa}

J. Lee Grady Featured Opinion Thu, 19 Jan 2017 07:00:00 -0500
Prophecy: Know You Not That You Have Served My Angels?

Marketplace ministers, listen up. Charisma Media Publisher and Executive Vice President-Media Group Dr. Steve Greene is getting strategic prophetic words from the Lord these days about kingdom builders in the business world.

As he was preparing a business training program this morning, the Lord told him to begin to write as he was led by the Holy Spirit. Consider these powerful prophetic words:

The Lord says to those who serve customers today to serve others as you would serve Me. Serve with humility and not only out of duty. You seem to be going through motions that repeat with a daily boredom.

Know you not that you have served My angels? Unaware of My presence?

Give love unto the people I send you this day as you would give to Me if I asked for your help.

You have been gifted with a ministry of helps. You are called to serve the one who stands near you seeking help.

You are called to change the outcome of someone's day today. Serve the unlovely with your full capacity and with your full heart.

This is the day I have made for you to serve My people and My angels I will send your way.

This is in line with my 2017 prophecy about the angels of abundant harvest being released. You can read that at {eoa}

Be sure to sign up here for Dr. Greene's leadership e-newsletter

Jennifer LeClaire Featured Watchman on the Wall Opinion Thu, 19 Jan 2017 06:00:00 -0500
America, Liberals Have Come Down With a Bad Case of TDS

An epidemic of biblical proportion is spreading across the fruited plain at this very hour.

The Centers for Disease Control has yet to identify the malady—but it seems to be an isolated outbreak impacting liberals, millennials, fashion designers, Hollywood celebrities and the entire prime-time lineup at CNN.

The affliction is called Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS). Symptoms include delusional ranting and a feverish flop sweat.

I write extensively about the epidemic in my new book, The Deplorables' Guide to Making America Great Again. Liberals say it's the most deplorable book in America.

Congressional Democrats have become so incapacitated by the illness that dozens will be unable to attend president-elect Trump's inauguration.

Georgia Congressman John Lewis was stricken with a rare strain of the disease that caused him to foam at the mouth while muttering about Trump being an illegitimate president.

Based upon his unintelligible ramblings, I'm afraid the congressman's cheese has done slid off his cracker.

Meanwhile, a number of Radio City Music Hall Rockettes were also infected—causing some to weep uncontrollably after they learned they would be performing for the new president.

"This was such a horrible bomb to drop on us at Christmas," one of the dancing girls told Marie Claire magazine. "We work so hard, we're so tired. We're sleep-deprived, our bodies are exhausted. We don't really have lives, even in our off-season ... we really respect each other, and care about each other, and that's why this is so difficult."

How terribly unfair it must be for the Rockettes to earn a paycheck by performing for people who share differing political opinions.

Trump Derangement Syndrome is a cruel disease that has even impacted the nation's religious community.

All Saints Church Episcopal church in Pasadena, California, has decided to refrain from mentioning the president-elect's name during prayers over fears it might trigger micro-aggressions among parishioners.

Meanwhile, reports of some congregants spontaneously combusting upon hearing Trump's name have been proven untrue.

There are also unconfirmed reports that San Francisco, Brooklyn and Los Angeles have been designated as sanctuary cities to house the afflicted.

Researchers are not sure if Trump Derangement Syndrome will dissipate after Inauguration Day—but there are fears it might linger.

So if you come across an afflicted liberal—please direct them to the nearest safe space or containment zone. {eoa}

Todd Starnes Featured American Dispatch Opinion Wed, 18 Jan 2017 17:00:00 -0500
This Is the Lineup for Friday's Inaugural Parade

Continuing a tradition that began in 1801 with President Thomas Jefferson, President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence will lead a procession from the Capitol to the White House following their inauguration.

More than 8,000 people will follow the newly sworn-in president and vice president as they proceed 1.5 miles down Pennsylvania Avenue. This week, the Presidential Inaugural Committee announced those participating in the inaugural parade in the order of planned appearance.

The parade is divided into five divisions. Here is the complete order of appearance:

First Division

  • United States Army, staff element
  • United States Army Field Band
  • United States Military Academy
  • United States Army
  • United States Army Color Guard
  • United States Army National Guard
  • United States Army Reserve
  • New York Police Department Emerald Society Pipes and Drums
  • Caisson Platoon of the Third Infantry Regiment
  • Nassau County Firefighters' Pipes and Drums (New York)
  • Wounded Warrior Project
  • Disabled American Veterans
  • Paralyzed Veterans of America
  • New York Military Academy
  • The Marist College Band (New York)
  • Boone County Elite Equestrian Drill Team (Kentucky)
  • West Monroe High School Marching Band (Louisiana)
  • Texas State University Strutters
  • Talladega College Band (Alabama)
  • Boy Scouts of America

Second Division

  • United States Marine Corps, staff element
  • United States Marine Band
  • United States Marine Corps
  • United States Marine Corps Color Guard
  • United States Marine Corps Reserve
  • Navajo Code Talkers Association
  • United States Border Patrol Pipes and Drums
  • United States Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations
  • Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Motorcycle Drill Team
  • Culver Academies Black Horse Troop and Equestriennes (Indiana)
  • Columbus North High School Marching Band (Indiana)
  • Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors
  • Norwich University Regimental Band and Drill Team (Vermont)
  • Rural Tractor Brigade
  • University of Tennessee Marching Band
  • Boy Scouts of America

Third Division

  • United States Navy, staff element
  • United States Navy Band
  • United States Naval Academy
  • United States Navy
  • United States Navy Color Guard
  • United States Naval Reserve
  • Merced County Sheriff's Posse (California)
  • Coastal Florida Police and Fire Pipes and Drums
  • Multi-Jurisdictional Mounted Police Drill Team and Color Guard (Michigan)
  • 1st Infantry Division Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard
  • Girl Scouts USA
  • Franklin Regional High School Marching Band (Pennsylvania)
  • Fishburne Military School Army JROTC Caissons Battalion (Virginia)
  • Lil' Wranglers (Texas)
  • Boy Scouts of America

Fourth Division

  • United States Air Force, staff element
  • United States Air Force Band
  • United States Air Force Academy
  • United States Air Force
  • United States Air Force Color Guard
  • United States Air National Guard
  • United States Air Force Reserve
  • The Citadel Regimental Band and Pipes (South Carolina)
  • The Citadel Summerall Guards
  • 1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment
  • Olivet Nazarene University Marching Band (Illinois)
  • Military and Department of Defense Kids Overseas (U.S. Naval Air Station, Sigonella, Italy)
  • Tupelo High School Marching Band (Mississippi)
  • Mid America Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team (Michigan)
  • Palmetto Ridge High School Marching Band (Florida)
  • Boy Scouts of America

Fifth Division

  • United States Coast Guard, staff element
  • United States Coast Guard Band
  • United States Coast Guard Academy
  • United States Coast Guard
  • United States Coast Guard Color Guard
  • United States Coast Guard Reserve
  • Cleveland Police Mounted Unit (Ohio)
  • North Carolina Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association
  • Palm Beach Police Honor Guard (Florida)
  • Russellville High School Marching Band (Arkansas)
  • Colorado Freedom Riders
  • Frankfort High School Marching Band (West Virginia)
  • Boy Scouts of America
  • United States Merchant Marine Academy Staff
  • United States Merchant Marine Academy Band
  • United States Merchant Marine Color Guard
  • United States Merchant Marine Academy Company
  • First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry
  • Virginia Military Institute
Bob Eschliman Featured Events Caucus Wed, 18 Jan 2017 16:00:00 -0500
Anti-Trump Republicans Deserve to Be Blacklisted

During the recent presidential campaign, a strangely disparate group of Republicans set themselves apart from the conservative-populist majority to establish what became known by its social media handle as #NeverTrump. 

Some questioned Donald Trump's fitness for the highest office in the land from a strict application of their own standards of public decorum and personal rectitude and just couldn't bring themselves to vote for a candidate that did not live by their personal moral code.

Others looked at the evolution of Donald Trump's positions on various issues, such as the right-to-life and the Second Amendment and decided, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that Trump could not be trusted to pursue a conservative agenda—even when the alternative was the election of Hillary Clinton. 

And more than a few revealed that their brand of "conservatism" looked a whole lot more like Hillary Clinton's view of the world and the failed Big Government Republicanism and neo-con policies of George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush than they did the conservatism of Ronald Reagan, Phyllis Schlafly, Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley Jr. 

Among the most prominent and outspoken of the #NeverTrump crowd were neo-con and Bush-era Republicans who had worked in the national security field. 

They set themselves outside the conservative-populist wave that swept Trump into office by signing one or both of two public "Never Trump" letters during the campaign, declaring they would not vote for Trump and calling his candidacy a danger to the nation. 

One letter, with 122 names, was published by War on the Rocks, a website devoted to national security commentary, during the primary season in March. The other, with 50 names, including some repeat signatories, was published by the New York Times during the general-election campaign in August. 

Among those who signed at least one of the letters are Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, the first two secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security; two former U.S. trade ambassadors, Carla Hills and Robert Zoellick; two former heads of U.S. intelligence agencies, John Negroponte and retired Air Force Gen. Michael V. Hayden. 

In other words, the people who perpetrated the disastrous Bush policies on trade and national security against which Trump campaigned. 

And let's be clear, the letters were personal, attacking Trump's character and temperament, asserting that he "lacks self-control and acts impetuously," and had demonstrated "erratic behavior" and is "fundamentally dishonest." 

And most importantly, they attacked the policies that won Trump the Republican nomination for President and defeated Hillary Clinton: denouncing Trump's pledge to build a wall along the border with Mexico, his plans to stop the importation of jihad and Muslim terrorism and his professed desire for better relations with Russia. 

And now these people want jobs or advisory positions in Donald Trump's administration? 

We weren't for Trump during the primaries, and said so. But when the choice was between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, that was no choice at all—we were for Trump and did everything we could to help secure his victory. 

However, yesterday, the Washington Post's David Nakamura detailed the complaints of some of the "Never Trump" letters signers who fear they are at the bottom of the pecking order in the new D.C. order Donald Trump and his outsider administration are creating. 

The hardest question facing the broader conservative movement in the aftermath of Trump's victory is what place do those individuals who spoke and worked and acted in ways that advanced the election of Hillary Clinton have in the new conservative world that is slowly evolving from Donald Trump's victory. 

That the millions of voters who elected Donald Trump would want their advice or want them in positions of influence in the government seems unlikely—at least without some acknowledgement that they missed the validity of the reasons for the great tidal wave that swept Trump into office. 

What's more, in some case their conduct was so egregious—for example openly supporting Hillary Clinton by signing the New York Times letter—that it put the future of constitutional liberty in such jeopardy that grass-roots conservatives won't want them back, no matter how distinguished is their past government service.  

Those individuals showed themselves to be political opportunists and elitists, not committed limited-government, constitutional conservatives, and if the Trump team has a blacklist, as far as millions of grass-roots conservatives are concerned, that's OK, because their exile should be permanent. {eoa}

This article was originally published at Used with permission.

ConservativeHQ Featured Opinions Caucus Wed, 18 Jan 2017 15:00:00 -0500
This Is What President Obama's 'Fundamental Transformation' Looks Like

"We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America." So declared Barack Obama in Columbia, Missouri on Oct. 30, 2008, on the cusp of his historic presidential election.

It was a stunning statement, boldly revolutionary, surpassed only by the response of those in attendance, who, rather than pausing to reflect upon such an audacious assertion, wildly applauded. To be sure, these Obama enthusiasts would have ecstatically cheered anything he said at that moment. There was a full-fledged Obama personality cult in motion at that time. He could've promised a box of "Lucky Charms" cereal in every home and gotten a giddy reaction. Obama himself admitted to serving as a kind of "blank screen" upon which Americans desiring some warm and fuzzy "hope and change" could project whatever they wanted.

But even then, the words "fundamentally transform" should have alarmed everyone. We Americans generally don't do fundamental transformation. We make changes, yes, small and large, but who among us—other than the most radical revolutionaries—actually want to fundamentally transform the nation? Many people think that America has many problems, but those can be addressed without a fundamental transformation. Ask professors who teach history or political ideologies (as I have for two decades) and we will tell you that totalitarianism is the ideology that fundamentally transforms. Indeed, the textbook definition of totalitarianism, which I've scribbled on the chalkboard every fall and spring semester since 1997, is to seek to fundamentally transform—specifically, to fundamentally transform human nature via some form of political-ideological-cultural upheaval.

That being the case, I winced when Barack Obama said that, and then felt sick to the stomach when I watched people blissfully and blindly applaud without question or objection.

But now here we are, at the end of Obama's presidency, a two-term one, and the question begs to be pondered: Did Barack Obama fundamentally transform the United States of America, as he promised?

The answer is absolutely yes.

That fundamental transformation, however, has not happened in areas where many might have hoped (or feared) in 2008. It has not been a fundamental shift in the attitudes of the vast majority regarding the role of government, taxation, regulations, economics, education or even health care, where Obama had his signature legislative achievement. It hasn't happened in foreign policy, though Obama has made a seriously detrimental impact in regions from Eastern Europe to the Middle East.

The reality is that the true fundamental transformation has been in the realm of culture, notably in matters of sexual orientation, gender, marriage and family. The shift there has been unprecedented and far beyond anyone's imagination eight years ago. Looking back, that was where Obama's heart was, and that was where his deepest impact will be felt. Changes there, more than anywhere, seem irreversible by anything other than the miraculous, than anything short of a religious revival or dramatic shift in spiritual-moral thinking.

Obama's cultural revolution on the sexual-gender-family front is all around us. We see it in the culture of fear and intimidation by the forces of "diversity" and "tolerance" who viciously seek to denounce, dehumanize, demonize and destroy anyone who disagrees with their brazen newfound conceptions of marriage and family, even as our position (not theirs) has been the prevailing position of 99.99-plus percent of human beings who have bestrode the earth since the dawn of humanity. Instead, in the Obama era, we are the ones portrayed as the outliers, as abnormal, as extremists, as "haters." If you dissent from this new vociferous breed of human-nature redefiners, they sue you, they jail you, they smear you, they boycott you, they harass you, they ruin you—and they do so (with no sense of their hypocrisy) in the name of "tolerance" and "diversity." Whether you're a Baptist grandma who bakes cakes or a Catholic photographer who takes wedding photos or a Mormon florist who arranges flowers, they refuse your appeals to your conscience; they steamroll you. Changes by Obama and his allies here have constituted a major attack on religious liberty, where two-century-old First Amendment guarantees have been torched by modern culture warriors discerning heretofore unknown higher rights like "marriage equality" and co-ed toilets.

That is a fundamental transformation of a culture, and a nation that did not exist prior to Barack Obama's ascent.

The manifestations of this are so ubiquitous that laying them out here isn't necessary, but I'd like to offer just a handful of brief illustrations and images:

The first was the Newsweek cover from May 2012 showing Barack Obama with a rainbow halo over his head above the words, "The First Gay President." This was in response to Obama coming out for same-sex "marriage," which for five years he had claimed to oppose. This public shift occurred as Obama was ramping up his reelection campaign, just as Hillary Clinton would do later that year when she announced her 2016 campaign. After that announcement, Obama went wild with an aggressive agenda of fundamental transformation on the sexual-gender-family front, one that picked up speed, depth, and arrogance throughout his second term.

The second is another image, more profound than the Newsweek creation/coronation because it was real. It was from June 2015, when the Obama White House, the nation's first house, was lit up in the colors of the "LGBTQ" rainbow on the day of the Obergefell decision, when a Catholic Supreme Court justice, Anthony Kennedy, led the liberal bloc of the court in redefining marriage and imposing this nonexistent "Constitutional right" on all 50 states. If ever there was a picture of Obama's fundamental transformation of America, that was it.

Third was the bathroom fiat, when according to Barack Obama's word, all public schools were ordered to revolutionize their restrooms and locker rooms to make them available to teenage boys who want to be called girls (among other gender novelties). It is hard to conceive a more surreal example of executive overreach. Truly, George Washington is rolling over in his grave.

Fourth is an ironic moment of Obama's own doing, one that got virtually no press coverage. It occurred at a town hall meeting in London last April, where Obama was scolded by a young man for not doing enough to "recognize nonbinary people" such as himself. This young man wanted the British government to "respect pronouns"—using not words like "he" or "she" but rather "hir" or "ze"—in addition to "commit to gender-neutral toilets." "I really, really wish that yourself and [British Prime Minister] David Cameron would take us seriously as transgender people," pushed the student. "And perhaps you could elucidate as to what you can do to go beyond what has been accepted as the LGBTQ rights movement, in including people who fit outside the social norms."

It was almost hilarious to observe Barack Obama, of all people, reprimanded for inadequacies in this area, which brings me to my final example.

That London incident might have prompted a remarkable action by the Obama White House a few weeks later, which also got virtually no news coverage: The White House press office released two extraordinary fact sheets detailing Obama's vast efforts to promote "LGBT" rights at home and abroad. Not only was it telling that the White House would assemble such a list, and tout it, but the sheer length of the list is striking to behold. It is hard to find any similar roster of such dramatic changes by the Obama White House in any policy area. The list runs page after page.

In short, what we see here is the true Barack Obama legacy, the genuine fundamental transformation. It has occurred not in economics, government or foreign policy, but in culture. When we look back at Barack Obama's eight years, we should visualize not Obamacare or something in foreign policy but that White House illuminated in rainbow colors on June 26, 2015, or a rainbow-haloed Obama coronated as the "first gay president." Those are the crowning images of the fundamental transformation of America that Barack Obama achieved. {eoa}

Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. His latest book is 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative. His other books include The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mentor and Dupes: How America's Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.

This article first appeared at the National Catholic Register and was re-published at Used with permission.

Paul G. Kengor/Center for Vision and Values Featured Opinions Caucus Wed, 18 Jan 2017 14:00:00 -0500
Joe Biden Says the 'New World Order' Faces Collapse

In his final speech, delivered at the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Vice President Joe Biden lamented the recent losses faced by the "progressive democratic movement" has suffered.

Pointing to Russia as the cause of much of the threats to Western globalist interests, he suggested the New World Order is now facing imminent collapse.

"Whether we reinforce the ties that bind us, or whether we unravel under current pressures—those choices must be made in every nation, and they will determine what kind of world we leave to our children," he said. "For the past seven decades, the choices we have made—particularly the United States and our Allies in Europe—have steered our world down a clear path ...

"Our careful attention to building and sustaining a liberal international order—with the United States and Europe at its core—was the bedrock of the success the world enjoyed in the second half of the 20th century."

Below is the complete transcript of his speech:

Ladies and gentlemen, it's a great honor to once again address this distinguished forum.

But this year, in these early days of 2017, there's a palpable uncertainty about the state of our world.

For the members of the media in the audience, I want to make it clear that I am not referring to the imminent transition of power in my country.

In two days, there will be a new President of the United States, but the challenges we face and the choices we must make as an international community do not hinge exclusively on Washington's leadership.

Whether we reinforce the ties that bind us, or whether we unravel under current pressures—those choices must be made in every nation, and they will determine what kind of world we leave to our children.

For the past seven decades, the choices we have made—particularly the United States and our Allies in Europe- have steered our world down a clear path.

After World War II, we drew a line under centuries of conflict and took steps to bend the arc of history in a more just direction. Instead of resigning ourselves to ceaseless wars, we built institutions and alliances to advance our shared security.

Instead of punishing former enemies, we invested billions in helping them rebuild.

Instead of sorting the world into winners and losers, we outlined universal values that defined a better future for all our children.

Our careful attention to building and sustaining a liberal international order—with the United States and Europe at its core—was the bedrock of the success the world enjoyed in the second half of the 20th century.

An era of expanding liberty.

Unprecedented economic growth that lifted millions out of poverty.

A community of democracies that-to this day—serves as the fulcrum for our common security and for our capacity to address the world's most pressing challenges.

Strengthening these values—values that have served our community of nations so well, for so long—is paramount to retaining the position of leadership Western nations enjoy and preserving the progress we have made together.

But in recent years, it has become evident that the consensus upholding this system is facing incredible and increasing pressures—from both within and without.

Today, I'd like to speak to the sources of those pressures, and about why it is imperative that we act urgently to defend the liberal international order. Here in this exclusive Alpine tower, where CEOs of multinational corporations rub elbows with leaders of nations, it is easy to embrace the intellectual benefits of a more open and integrated world.

But it is at our own peril that we ignore or dismiss the legitimate fears and anxieties that exist in communities all across the developed world.

The concern mothers and fathers feel about losing the factory job that has always allowed them to provide for their families.

Parents who don't believe that they can give their children a better life than the one they have.

These are the pressures that are undermining support for the liberal international order from the inside.

Globalization has not been an unalloyed good.

It has deepened the rift between those racing ahead at the top and those struggling to hang on in the middle, or falling to the bottom.

One year ago, I spoke here in Davos about the challenges we face in mastering this fourth industrial revolution—about how we can ensure that the benefits and the burdens of globalization and digitization are shared more equitably.

In my country, there used to be a basic bargain, embraced by both major political parties. It was something everyone agreed on.

If you contributed to the success of the enterprise, you shared in the profits. Today that bargain is fractured.

Advanced technology has divorced productivity from labor—meaning we're making more than ever, but with fewer workers.

There's a shrinking demand for low-skill laborers, while highly educated workers are getting paid more and more—contributing to rising inequality.

International trade and greater economic integration has lifted millions of people in the developing world out of abject poverty—improving education, extending life expectancies, opening new opportunities.

Standards of living are still well below middle class expectations in the United States and Europe, but the change is real.

Meanwhile, for many communities in the developed world that have long depended on manufacturing, the opposite is true.

Their relative standard of living has declined. They feel shut out of opportunities. And their economic security feels jeopardized.

Taken together, these forces are effectively hollowing out the middle class—the traditional engine of economic growth and social stability in Western nations.

We cannot undo the changes technology has wrought in our world—nor should we try.

But we can and we must take action to mitigate the economic trends that are stoking unrest in so many advanced economies and undermining people's basic sense of dignity.

Our goal should be a world where everyone's standard of living can rise together.

There's an urgency to taking common sense steps like: increasing cognitive capabilities through access to education and job training. Ensuring basic protections for workers. Expanding access to capital. And implementing a progressive, equitable tax system where everyone pays their fair share.

Compounding these economic worries are people's fears about the very real security risks we face.

If you look at the long sweep of history, or even just the trend lines in wars and other incidents of large-scale violence over the past 50, 60, 70 years—as a practical matter, we are probably safer than ever.

But it doesn't feel that way.

Daily images of violence and unrest from all over the world are shared directly on our televisions and smart phones- images we rarely would have seen in a pre-digital age.

It's fostered a feeling of perpetual chaos- of being overrun by outside forces.

Communication technologies have fostered incredible progress—making information more open and accessible, breaking down the barriers between people and nations, facilitating greater scientific collaboration, empowering ordinary citizens to challenge injustice and hold their governments accountable.

But they have also given hateful individuals a megaphone to spread their virulent, extremist ideologies.

Radical jihadists not only recruit and find haven in the ungoverned desserts of Iraq and Syria—they do the same in the ungoverned spaces of the Internet.

Borders seem less real. Terrorist attacks feel inescapable. Fears about unrelenting migration mount as people continue to flee violence and deprivation in their homelands.

And in the wake of these understandable fears, we have seen a series of alarming responses.

Popular movements on both the left and the right have demonstrated a dangerous willingness to revert to political small-mindedness—to the same nationalist, protectionist, and isolationist agendas that led the world to consume itself in war during in the last century.

As we have seen time and again throughout history, demagogues and autocrats have emerged- seeking to capitalize on people's insecurities.

In this case, using Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, or xenophobic rhetoric to stoke fear, sow division, and advance their own narrow agendas.

This is a politics at odds with our values and with the vision that built-and sustains-the liberal international order.

The impulse to hunker down, shut the gates, build walls and exit at this moment is precisely the wrong answer.

It offers a false sense of security in an interconnected world.

It will not resolve the root causes of these fears—and it risks eroding from the inside out the foundations of the very system that spawned the West's historically unprecedented success.

We need to tap into the big-heartedness that conceived a Marshall Plan, the foresight that planned a Bretton Woods, the audacity that proposed a United Nations.

We cannot rout fear with retrenchment. Rather, this is the moment to lead boldly and recommit ourselves to our common principles-which remain essential to my nation, and to liberal democracies the world over.

Of course, there are those who do not share this vision for the world.

Those who wish to dissolve the community of democracies and our supporting institutions in favor of a more parochial international order-where power rules and spheres of influence lock in divides among nations.

We hear these voices in the West- but the greatest threats on this front spring from the distinct illiberalism of external actors who equate their success with a fracturing of the liberal international order.

We see this in Asia and the Middle East—where China and Iran would clearly prefer a world in which they hold sway in their regions. But I will not mince words. This movement is principally led by Russia.

Under President Putin, Russia is working with every tool available to them to whittle away at the edges of the European project, test for fault lines among western nations, and return to a politics defined by spheres of influence.

We see it in their aggression against their neighbors. Sending so-called "little green men" across the border to stir violence and strains of separatism in Ukraine. Using energy as a weapon-cutting off gas supplies mid-winter, raising prices to manipulate nations to act in Russia's interests. Using corruption to empower oligarchs and coerce politicians.

We see it in their worldwide use of propaganda and false information campaigns: Injecting doubt and political agitation into democratic systems. Strengthening illiberal factions, on both the left and the right, that seek to roll back decades of progress from within our systems.

We even saw it in the cyber intrusions against political parties and individuals in the United States, which our intelligence community has determined with high confidence were specifically motivated to influence our elections.

But it's not only the United States that has been targeted. Europe has seen the same kind of attacks in the past.

And with many countries in Europe slated to hold elections this year, we should expect further attempts by Russia to meddle in the democratic process.

Again, their purpose is clear—to collapse the liberal international order. Simply put, Russia has a different vision for the future, which they are pursuing across the board.

They seek a return to a world where the strong impose their will through military might, corruption or criminality while weaker neighbors fall in line.

And from the first moments of our administration—even as we sought a reset with then-President Medvedev—President Obama and I have made it clear that this is no way for nations to behave in the 21st Century.

When I addressed the Munich Security Conference in February of 2009, I said: "We will not recognize any nation having a sphere of influence. It will remain our view that sovereign states have the right to make their own decisions and choose their own alliances."

That's been our position throughout the past eight years, and it is a position we must all continue championing in the years ahead.

The United States has not always been the perfect guardian of our order.

We have not always lived up to our own values- and some of our past missteps provided fodder for the forces of illiberalism.

But President Obama and I have worked consistently over the past eight years to lead not only by the example of our power—but by the power of our example.

And this is the challenge that will—by necessity—define the foreign policy agendas of all our nations as we move forward. So although I will only be the vice president of the United States for 48 more hours—I am here today to issue a call to action.

We cannot wait for others to write the future they hope to see.

The United States and Europe must lead the fight to defend those values that have brought us to where we are today.

Fight to create more equitable and more inclusive growth for people at every level.

Fight for democracy wherever it is under threat—be it at home or abroad.

Fight to lift up the forces of inclusivity while opposing intolerance in all its guises.

Fight the urge to embrace isolationism and protectionism.

Fight back against the dangerous proposition that facts no longer matter.

That the truth holds no inherent power in a world where propagandists, demagogues, and extremists carry sway.

To win this fight, we must continue to invest in our democratic alliances.

As it as has been for seven decades, the unity of our transatlantic connection is essential to addressing global challenges.

Defending the liberal international order requires that we resist the forces of European disintegration and maintain our long-standing insistence on a Europe whole, free and at peace.

That means fighting for the European Union-one of the most vibrant and consequential institutions on earth.

The EU has contributed to the prosperity of millions—fueling reforms that have improved living standards and driving the peaceful resolution of disputes between nations.

That means keeping open the door for membership in European and transatlantic institutions to those states on Europe's eastern edge—where people in places like the Balkans and Ukraine continue to strive to be part of the incredible undertaking that is the European Union.

The EU has been an indispensable partner to the United States-and as the EU and the UK begin to navigate a new relationship, it remains profoundly in America's interest to maintain our close relationships with both parties.

All of our peoples are safer when we work together.

We must continue to stand up for those basic norms of modern nations—the principles of territorial integrity, freedom of navigation, and national sovereignty.

The right of all nations "to make their own decisions and choose their own alliances."

To that end-we must: bolster Europe's energy independence so that nations are not subject to outside manipulations; improve our cyber defenses; and combat misinformation to prevent outsiders from perverting our democratic processes.

And the single greatest bulwark for our transatlantic partnership is the unshakable commitment of the United States to all our NATO Allies.

An attack on one is an attack on all. That can never be called into question. And we must continue to stand with Ukraine as they resist Russia's acts of aggression and pursue their European path.

In two days, the United States will engage in the act that has defined our exceptional democracy for more than 200 years-the peaceful transition of power from one leader, and one political party, to another.

And it is my hope and expectation that the next President and Vice President, and our leaders in Congress, will ensure that the United States continues to fulfill our historic responsibility as the indispensable nation.

But we have never been able to lead alone—not after World War II, not during the depths of the Cold War, and not today.

The United States, our NATO allies, all the nations of Europe—we are in this together. As the oldest and the strongest democracies in the world, we have a responsibility to beat back the challenges at our door.

We must never forget how we got here. Or take for granted that our success will continue.

It is only by championing the liberal international order- by continuing to invest in our security, reaffirming our shared values, and expanding the cause of liberty around the world-that will retain our position of leadership.

Because if we don't fight for our values, no one else will.

The idea of Europe whole, free, and at peace—in my opinion—constitutes one of the most audacious and consequential visions of the past century.

The notion that after centuries of conflict, Europe could reinvent itself as an integrated community—one committed to political solidarity, the free flow of goods and people, and a solemn obligation to collective defense—and succeed in achieving it.

The United States believed in it. Peoples across Europe believed in it-aspired to it. And you did it.

The success of the European enterprise was essential to America's security in the 20th century—and it remains so today.

The Atlantic Alliance is still the bedrock of addressing so many 21st century threats—from terrorism to the spread of diseases like Ebola to climate change.

You've heard me make this case for four decades. But I am not alone in this belief. America's commitment to Europe and NATO is thoroughly bipartisan.

Just last month, my good friend and frequent sparring partner, Republican Senator John McCain traveled to Estonia where he said: "The best way to prevent Russian misbehavior [is] by having a credible, strong military and a strong NATO alliance."

On the same trip, another leading Republican Senator, Lindsey Graham, assured Ukrainian troops serving on the front line: "Your fight is our fight."

That's the same sentiment I expressed two days ago, when I made my sixth trip to Ukraine as vice president.

History has proven that the defense of free nations in Europe has always been America's fight—and the foundation of our security.

Throughout more than four decades of incredibly divisive foreign policy debates, there has always been a consensus about the value of the transatlantic relationship.

That will not change.

And as I re-enter private life, I want to assure you today that I will stand with you as you carry this fight forward.

I will continue to use my voice and my power as a citizen—doing whatever I can to keep our transatlantic alliance strong and vibrant—because our common future depends upon it.

Bob Eschliman Featured Issues Caucus Wed, 18 Jan 2017 13:00:00 -0500
Trump Takes Ownership of His Inauguration Speech

In the next-to-last daily press briefing before the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence, incoming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer gave the liberal mainstream media—bolstered by the participation of the White House Press Corps—some "color" about the president-elect's upcoming inaugural speech.

The biggest surprise was that Trump was writing and editing the speech himself.

"He's been making little edits here and there—adding something, or moving something around—as he practices it," Spicer said. "He's been seeking guidance from his advisers, like Stephen Miller and Kellyanne [Conway], but it's going to be a very personal speech in which he intends to talk about his vision for the country."

Spicer said Trump has reviewed previous inaugural speeches to get a sense of the issues they addressed, and for style and length, but the words he's put to paper are very much his own. The speech is expected to be approximately 20 minutes in length.

The hands-on approach to the speech may also give Americans a sense of the way Trump intends to lead the nation as president.

"This is an opportunity for the president-elect, on a very personal level, to share where he wants to see the nation go," Spicer said. "It will be a very unique speech to him, with the words and message coming directly from him.

"I've watched a lot of speeches being written over the years, but I've never seen someone so personally engaged in the process as President-elect Trump." {eoa}

Bob Eschliman Featured Events Caucus Wed, 18 Jan 2017 12:00:00 -0500
Persecution Watch: Neighbors Find Christian Man With Throat Slit

A Coptic surgeon was found murdered in his flat on Friday (January 13) in Upper Egypt, making him the fourth Coptic Christian murder victim in 10 days.
Married father of two Bassam Safwat Atta, 35, who lived in Dairut City in Asyut Governorate, had a single gash in his neck and was lying face down drenched in blood, according to a neighbor who found him.

The neighbor, Mokhles Nageh, who forced entry into the flat at the request of Dr. Atta's wife, told World Watch Monitor that the doctor's mobile phone and keys were beside him on the ground, along with a bloodstained knife.

Mr. Nageh, who is also a Copt, added: "There wasn't any sign of violent struggle in the apartment. Everything was in its place and nothing was missing, including money and Bassam's wife's jewelry."

A cousin of the deceased, who did not wish to be named, said there were 40,000 Egyptian pounds (US $2,100) in the flat. 

Other deadly incidents

Youssef Lamei was murdered in Alexandria on January 3 by an alleged "professional" killer after being threatened by Salafist Muslims.

Then on January 6, when Copts celebrate Christmas, a Coptic couple, Gamal Sami, 60 and his wife, Nadia, 48, were found in bed, their throats having been cut.

According to Nadia Sami's brother, no valuables had been taken from their home and they had been killed because of their faith. Although the police are keen not to label the incidents as sectarian and claimed the couple had died in a robbery, Copts have been terrified by the nature of the killings and believe the victims were singled out because of their faith.

What happened on Friday?

Dr. Atta's cousin told World Watch Monitor that Dr. Atta's wife, Nehal Reda, a gynecologist, was not in Dairut last Friday because she was working at a hospital in Manfalut City, 34 km away. Dr. Reda asked their neighbor and Dr. Atta's brother, Maqar, to knock on the door of their flat after she had repeatedly tried to phone her husband. She had also called a colleague at the private clinic where her husband was due to be working that afternoon and was told he had not seen him or been able to reach him by phone.

One of Dr. Atta's colleagues at Dairut hospital, Dr. Michael Ramsey, told World Watch Monitor: "On Friday evening at about 7 p.m., I received a call from one of my colleagues, telling me that Dr. Bassam had been killed and was being taken to the hospital. I immediately headed there and when I arrived in reception I saw his body, with a large wound to the front of the neck, seven centimeters long and two centimeters deep.

"It was a big shock—Bassam was a very close friend. We lost a very good man. He had a good relationship with everyone in the hospital. We learnt from him gentleness and humility. He was called 'the doctor of the poor' because he treated many poor people in his private clinic for free. Everyone—Muslims and Christians alike—loved him. He always sought to do good, and he was well thought of by everyone."

Mr. Nageh suggested Dr. Atta had been the victim of a professional killer: "This crime was meticulously planned and carried out by a professional killer. He chose a suitable time to carry out his crime; he knew he was alone in the apartment because his wife and two children were in Manfalut City. Plus he knew what he was doing because he cut the vein in Bassam's neck like a professional."

Nageh added that the lack of evidence of struggle or theft "indicates that the purpose of killing Bassam wasn't robbery."

Local priest Fr. Abraam Tharwat praised Dr. Atta as "very kind and religious" and said he was also known as the "doctor of the poor" in his home village of El-Kodeya, where he would treat the needy in their homes for free.

"We lost a person dear to our hearts. We ask God to comfort his family and all of us," he said. 

Dr. Atta's body was transferred to the hospital morgue for a post-mortem on Friday evening. His funeral was held in El-Kodeya the following day, and he was buried in the family cemetery.


This article originally appeared on World Watch Monitor.

World Watch Monitor Featured World News Wed, 18 Jan 2017 15:00:00 -0500
Have You Fallen Prey to the Deception of the American Dream?

The idealism of the American dream so permeates society that the average American is latched to metaphorical debtors' chains.

This is the result of direct abuse of biblical financial wisdom, Michael Snyder says. Rather than learning to be content and an honest steward of resources, Americans embraced a credit-card lifestyle so they could live like millionaires.

But Snyder warns a day of reckoning is coming.

Watch the video to see what will happen. 


Jessilyn Justice Featured Marketplace Wed, 18 Jan 2017 14:00:00 -0500
Why Pentecostal Churches Will Lead the Way in Revolutionizing the Country

Pentecostal churches hold the power to bring about prosperity and revolutionize the political and social sphere not just in the country, but on the (African) continent.

Churches with welfare programs and outreach ministries nearly single-handedly improved the quality of life in Zimbabwe, African journalist Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu writes in a recent analysis.

But it's not just any church; charismatic and Pentecostal churches who practice the gifts of the Holy Spirit are seeing miracles manifest in their congregations.

"It is undeniable that the new religious phenomenon represented by the charismatic Pentecostal and apostolic sects attracts a much larger number of those aged roughly between 15 and 50 years, give or take five years either way," Ndlovu writes.

"Unlike the well-established conventional denominations, the charismatic churches highlight the message of economic prosperity and physical health through miracles and prayer. Their message appeals more to those to whom the current Zimbabwe economic situation has neither a promise nor hope. The message gives them a hope to achieve their economic dreams and hope for higher social status. Added to the miracles, the obviously well-to-do status of some of the pastors consciously motivates young people to become their followers, giving them hope that they will sooner than later emulate them (the well-to-do pastors)," he continues.

The churches' focus on fundraising accumulates wealth and appears to break the cycle of poverty among many attenders.

However, the focus on money hinders some churches, Ndlovu says. Many wealthy pastors fail to spread their messages to more rural areas, potentially widening Zimbabwe's societal class division.

Meanwhile, Roman-Catholic churches, with funding from umbrella organizations, plod through rugged terrain to meet the needs of the least of these.

Though Christianity is one of the top religions in Zimbabwe, many argue the country is far from Christian.

The Standard offered this commentary: 

However, the majority of these indigenous churches cannot even be called Christian because they do not believe in the Bible, in Jesus Christ or in Christian theology. Their teachings are a hodge-podge of Christian teachings, traditional ancestor worship and witchcraft. Among them are most indigenous apostolic churches, which are split into several sects.
They believe in polygamy and child marriage. In these churches, everything goes. The only serious sins they preach against are smoking and drinking.
However, these apostolic churches form a very important segment of Zimbabwean society. While campaigning during last year's elections, President Mugabe, a Roman Catholic from childhood, had to woo their votes by attending their services bedecked in their white robes, complete with the shepherd's staff. Today a good number of them are Zanu-PF rally-attending faithfuls. 

Yet still there is hope, especially as Pentecostalism booms.

If these churches seek Jesus above money, Ndlovu says, Zibabwe will see genuine societal change.

Churches who follow biblical mandates to care for the poor, orphans and widows could see their community landscapes shift.

"It is very obvious that Zimbabwe needs more of those social facilities, and that charismatic Christian sects need to be conscious of their social responsibilities by building such facilities plus orphanages and old people's homes. Old age comes to everyone in spite or in defiance of miracles; and the aged, like babies, must be taken care of by, in particular, the churches," Ndlovu concludes. {eoa}

Jessilyn Justice Featured World News Wed, 18 Jan 2017 13:00:00 -0500
'Ghost Churches' on Jordan River May Finally Be Reopened, But With an Explosive Caveat

Ghost churches on the western bank of the Jordan River, near where Jesus is believed to have been baptized, could be reopened to pilgrims as part of a project to remove booby traps and land mines.

The river banks were once a war zone between Israel and Jordan and were littered with thousands of mines and unexploded ordnance. The two neighbors made peace in 1994, but it took many years before some mine-clearing began.

Both claim that the site where John the Baptist and Jesus met is on their side of the river. The Gospel of John refers to "Bethany beyond the Jordan" without further details.

In 2002, Jordan opened its site, showing remains of ancient churches and writings of pilgrims down the centuries to bolster its claim. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 2015.

The site in the Israeli-occupied West Bank opened in 2011 and has stairs for pilgrims to descend into the muddy river. It has more visitors than the Jordanian site but its churches, mostly built in the 1930s, has remained strictly off-limits.

The Halo Trust, a Scottish-based charity that has cleared minefields worldwide and was once sponsored by the late Princess Diana, is looking to raise $4 million to make western site safe.

It says it will need two years to clear the small churches along 100 hectares (247 acres) of land that belongs to the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, and that Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian authorities support the endeavor.

The mined area is about a kilometer (half-mile) from the cleared area at Qasr al-Yahud where Christian pilgrims already flock to be baptized.

"Over 450,000 tourists from all over the world come to visit this site every year and Halo believes that after (the church area) is cleared and rebuilt, the local economy will benefit," Halo's West Bank project manager Ronen Shimoni told Reuters.

Christians are also baptized on the Jordanian side, where several churches from different denominations have been built in recent years to welcome pilgrims.

Qasr al-Yahud is near the Palestinian town of Jericho and about a 30-minute drive from Jerusalem.

Halo says some of the seven abandoned church buildings were boobytrapped by Israel after it captured the West Bank in a 1967 war, making the work for the group's team of 35 to 40 sappers, mainly from Georgia, more complex.

At the time, Israel planted the explosives to help secure its frontier against infiltration from Jordan.

"We are expecting to find around 4,500 targets. Most are anti-tank mines, but there are also anti-personnel mines and a few hundred unexploded ordnances, abandoned explosives, and improvised devices inside the churches," said Michael Heiman of Israel's Defense Ministry. {eoa}

© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Ori Lewis/Reuters Featured World News Wed, 18 Jan 2017 12:00:00 -0500
This Popular Ideology Is 'Universal Acid' Eating Away at Morality

The BBC recently broadcast a documentary called Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best? Set almost entirely in Canada, it tells the stories of several families dealing with "gender confusion" and exposes the effect gender ideology has had on individuals and society. The story of Kenneth Zucker was particularly striking.

Kenneth Zucker is a world-leading child psychologist specializing in gender dysphoria. He treated more than 1000 children over three decades in his gender identity clinic in Toronto. He does not believe in the increasingly popular "gender-affirming" approach to treating gender dysphoria, which encourages children to embrace how they feel about their gender. Rather he practices what he calls "developmentally informed therapy." "Transgender" activists accused Zucker of practicing "reparative" or "cure" therapy, and when a new law in June 2016 banned all "reparative therapy," he lost his job and had his clinic shut down.

One of Zucker's former colleagues explained the reaction from other psychologists practicing developmentally informed therapy:

"People are now probably fairly terrified of taking any stance that is out of step with what trans activists are demanding. They would certainly look and say 'If somebody as prominent as Ken Zucker could lose his job for being reluctant to join the trans bandwagon, what could happen to me if I expressed any reservations?'" Dr. Ray Blanchard, CAMH Adult Gender Clinic (retired).

Zucker's experience is just one example of the profound influence gender ideology has had on public life over the past few decades. It is now affecting everything: 

  • Medicine: In the medical literature, the name of the condition involving cross-gender identification has changed from "gender identity disorder" to "gender dysphoria," shifting the emphasis from incongruence as a disorder to the distress (dysphoria) associated with the experience of that incongruence". [1] This has the effect of changing the focus from a disorder in the mind (so fix the mind) to a disorder in the body (so fix the body). Those who wish to treat gender identity disorder as a disorder (such as Zucker) have their clinics shut down and lose their jobs, no matter how many people they have helped in their long careers.
  • Politics: There has been a concerted effort to include "transgender people" by name in increasing amounts of legislation. "Sex reassignment" is a protected characteristic in the Equality Act 2010. And there is now a Private Members' Bill in the House of Commons seeking to make "gender identity" a protected characteristic. This would be a huge step, extending the reach of the Equality Act from those who have had or are proposing to have "sex reassignment" surgery to anyone who "'identifies" in a cross-gender way.
  • Law: The Crown Prosecution Service recently issued a consultation reviewing its policy on 'homophobic and transphobic "hate crime." The concept of "hate crime" creates a separate category for crime against certain groups of people and privileges them above others.
  • Language: There has been a shift in language in many government, EU and U.N. documents from "sex" to "gender." This changes the definition from a fixed characteristic (sex) to a more malleable one (gender). 
  • Science: Activists deliberately ignore scientific studies that challenge the "new normal." If these evidence-based studies suggest that it may be harmful to encourage children to change their body in order to conform with their cross-gender identification, the authors are labelled the "Anti-Trans All Stars" and subjected to all manner of vitriol and false accusations
  • Education: This week MPs narrowly rejected a new clause to the Children and Social Work Bill which would have made "LGBT inclusive" sex education compulsory in all schools. Before Christmas, a new book was published entitled Can I Tell You About Gender Diversity?, saying that the terms "boys" and "girls" should not be used in schools because students who identify as "transgender" might feel excluded. 
  • Family: At the heart of it all are individual cases. "Bethany" is a 14-year-old girl who wants to change her name to a boy's name. Her parents are concerned for her mental health (she started self-harming) and fear that she will be taken away from them because, like Dr Zucker, they do not think a "gender-affirming" approach is in her best interests. Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) told the parents that unless they allow "Bethany" to change her name, she will be at risk of suicide.

Why is it so all-pervasive? Isn't this just about people's personal and private lives? And why are activists ignoring so much scientific evidence and so quickly overhauling medical practice and historic legislation?

We like to think we are rational people, that we think before we act and that all we do is based on empirical evidence. In our minds, rational inquiry is the first filter we put on anything. But these examples reveal this is not entirely true. Scripture has the truth:

"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it" (Prov. 4:23, NLT).

There is of course an exhortation here but also a maxim; everything we do flows from our hearts. And the object on which our hearts are set will determine all else. Gender ideology is pervasive because everything we do flows from our hearts, and the hearts of many are set on anything but the God who made us. When we reject God, we try to remove every trace of him from private and public life. Like a wife rejecting her husband, we clear out the house and get rid of all his possessions and anything which reminds us of him. But this means removing all images of him as well. And we are His image:

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them" (Gen. 1:27).

He made us "male and female," and this is a significant part of what it means to be made in His image. We cannot expect to reject God and keep his world intact. In seeking to remove every trace of Him, we must remove "male and female" altogether. Not just from individuals but from all aspects of life.

We cannot expect gender ideology to remain a private matter. It is a universal acid. It affects everything it touches. {eoa}

This article originally appeared on Christian Concern. 

Christian Concern Featured Opinion Wed, 18 Jan 2017 11:30:00 -0500
Project Veritas' Latest Video Exposes Another Plot to Shut Down Inauguration

The First Amendment protects the right for Americans to assemble and protest peacefully. It doesn't protect chaining subway trains, blocking traffic or throat-punching people you disagree with.

In the second installment of its new video series, Project Veritas has exposed even more efforts by the DisruptJ20 militant activist groups to shut down President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration on Friday. Project Veritas founder, investigative journalist James O'Keefe, made the following statement about the latest installment:

"This video exposes the collusion between the various groups under the DisruptJ20 umbrella. The video shows that DJ20 is not simply a movement of fringe groups but instead a nefarious organization."

Many of the activists in the videos below used profanity and other obscenities that required us to break down the presentation into four parts.

Part 1:


Bob Eschliman Featured Events Caucus Wed, 18 Jan 2017 11:00:00 -0500
President Obama Laid a New Landmine for President-Elect Trump

Tuesday, President Barack Obama commuted the sentence of former U.S. Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, a former military intelligence analyst who shared hundreds of thousands of highly classified documents with WikiLeaks.

The move was considered the laying of yet another potential landmine for President-elect Donald Trump.

Manning, who now identifies as a woman named "Chelsea," pleaded guilty to distributing more than 700,000 documents illegally as well as video of a 2007 airstrike in Baghdad that killed two journalists. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2013, but Obama reduced that to seven years—most of which has already been served.

He will be released on May 17.

Manning has attempted suicide numerous times while in custody at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange had pledged to turn himself in on allegations of rape from Sweden if Manning was pardoned—although it's unclear if he will follow through as a result of Obama's commutation.

He issued the following statement via WikiLeaks' official Twitter account:

Thank you to everyone who campaigned for Chelsea Manning's clemency. Your courage & determination made the impossible possible.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was less celebratory:

Chelsea Manning's treachery put American lives at risk and exposed some of our nation's most sensitive secrets. President Obama now leaves in place a dangerous precedent that those who compromise our national security won't be held accountable for their crimes.

Former Deputy Attorney General Tom Dupree said Obama's move now makes it even more difficult to prosecute Assange for publishing the documents he received from Manning. Commuting the sentence makes it "much tougher to then say we're going to drop the hammer on the person that published that information," he said.

The Manning commutation created an additional problem for the incoming administration. It was part of an announced 209 commutations and 64 pardons, which means Obama has now issued 1,597 grants of commutation over the course of his two terms, the most by any president.

White House Neil Eggleston said:

"[W]e must remember that clemency is an extraordinary remedy, granted only after the President has concluded that a particular individual has demonstrated a readiness to make use of his or her second chance. Only Congress can achieve the broader reforms needed to ensure over the long run that our criminal justice system operates more fairly and effectively in the service of public safety."

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) told FOX News that Obama was "undermining our ability on criminal justice reform by granting clemency at an alarming rate." {eoa}

Bob Eschliman Featured Issues Caucus Wed, 18 Jan 2017 10:00:00 -0500
The 3-Prong Prayer Strategy To Ensure God's Will Is Done in the White House

A coalition of Christians from across denominational lines are uniting to pray for President-elect Donald Trump during his first 100 days in office. 

Their mission: "appealing to heaven to change the spiritual climate in our nation." 

"It is critical that we stand together As One for the new administration as it takes power in January," the As One Prayer Initiative said on its web site.

Click here to join the 100-day Prayer Challenge.

Post prayers for the nation via Twitter or on The As One Facebook page using the hashtag #Pray100!

The basic strategy revolves around a period of prayer-walking, fasting and corporate prayer events that will run from January 20 - April 29.

"President Trump has an aggressive 100-day policy. If we do not lift our voice in prayer for this president and his policies, then we will not have a right to complain about what happens during this time frame," according to the ministry. "Not only that, but we are commanded to intercede first for those in authority over us that we can lead a quiet and peaceable life (1 Tim. 2:1-3)."

The coalition includes well-known evangelical leaders Dutch Sheets, Lou Engle from the National Prayer Committee and Mike and Cindy Jacobs of Generals International.

The vision for the 100 days of prayer was birthed after a meeting of leaders hosted by Dick Eastman at the International headquarters of Every Home for Christ. 

They came away with new hope that the U.S. is going to experience a great awakening.

Across America, Christians have been rising up in prayer to ask God to renew the nation.

The Presidential Prayer Team is encouraging churches all across the nation to join in focused prayer for the President during its USPRAY100 Campaign. The prayer effort begins on Jan. 23, 2017, the first full day in office for the new president and his staff, and ends May 2, 2017.

In September, CBN launched a 40-day, 50-state "Pray for America". Prayer themes included repentance, forgiveness, seeking the Lord, unity as a people and protection and blessing four our nation. 

Franklin Graham traveled to all 50 states for prayer rallies in 2016. 

Several other groups are praying for the new president.

"POTUS Shield" is surrounding the new president and government with prayer.

Similar prayer initiatives were held for President Obama and other past presidents when they were first elected. 

"We all need to grow up in our faith and pray prayers that don't protect our political agendas," said Phil Miglioratti of Pray.Network.

"No matter what side you're on, or who you voted for, none of that should matter when it comes to prayer." {eoa}

Reprinted with permission from Copyright The Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc., All rights reserved.

Charlene Aaron/CBN News Featured Culture Wed, 18 Jan 2017 11:00:00 -0500
Why I'll Be Dancing In the Streets on Inauguration Day

We've had eight years of the absolute worst two-term president in the history of the United States.

We've had eight years of war and strife, the lowest economic growth in American history, record numbers of mass shootings, record numbers of people on food stamps, record numbers of high health insurance costs and record numbers of high national debt.

We've had the worst rioting since 1967, and the highest poverty level in American history, while multitudes still dare to call his presidency a success.

I think President Obama's track record in the past eight years is incomprehensible. He hates America and everything American, including our flag, our Constitution, our Bible, Christians, our military and vets.

He is the most corrupt president we've ever had. He loves our enemies and hates our allies. It is so difficult to believe that this man was elected by the people to become our president.

I'm convinced that Obama and his minions were out to systematically destroy our nation according to Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, of which Obama was a disciple, supporting radical Muslim groups worldwide, opening our southern border and turning a blind eye to the genocide being perpetrated on Christians all over Africa and the Middle East. The more damage Obama did, the more arrogant he became.

During Obama's two terms, our nation and our government have been infiltrated by people set on destroying us, including a host of Muslim loyalists, some supposedly with ties to radical Islam. It would have gotten worse if Hillary Clinton was elected, as she was his chosen predecessor to place the final nail in the coffin, so to speak, and turn our nation into a full-blown socialist nation, à la Europe. What would have followed shortly thereafter, perhaps sooner than many of us have thought, would have been atheistic communism in a nation that would've lost her birthright.  

Eight years of broken promises and leading from behind. Eight years of eroding the values and destiny this nation was founded upon. Eight years of division, mismanagement and feigned diplomatic powerlessness, all marketed under the hideously deceptive slogan of "hope and change." And, as one of his final acts, he betrayed America's closest ally Israel in an act of utter cowardice.

A part of those eight years included hearing Obama praise Planned Parenthood, that abortion-loving, baby-killing machine; gloating in a lit-up, rainbow-colored White House on that dreadful night of June 26, 2015 when same-sex "marriage" was instituted as a federal law by the SCOTUS; as well as his infamous statement during his 2012 speech that "the future does not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam."

As one who has a strong Christian worldview, those three statements or actions were highly offensive to me (Jesus Christ is Lord of all). Think about them for a moment. Murder of the most innocent, abomination of the highest degree according to Romans 1:18-32, and a stand for false religion (Jesus Christ is Lord of all). That is all you need to know about the evil character of this man.

I have great respect for the office of the presidency of the United States of America, but from the beginning of his reign, this man was not my president. I prayed for him many times, asking God to grant him repentance, that his eyes would be opened to see the truth that is in Jesus, and I'm still hopeful that he will be delivered from the darkness and evil that blinds him and binds him. May God have mercy on his soul.

Half the nation is still blinded to the powers of darkness that attempted to hijack our nation through this miserable president in the last eight years.

I'm so glad Barrack Hussein Obama is leaving the White House this week. I'm so glad the Lord miraculously intervened, stopped the madness and extended mercy to our nation.

Stop listening to the liberal media who have turned on our new president, Donald Trump. Some of you have been blinded by the arrogant press coverage that constantly harps on his rough outward exterior and all the blunders he has made. I have seen that the mind and will of God is different toward this man. I wasn't sure of Mr. Trump at first, but now I am hopeful and actually believe he will be one of the most transformational presidents America has ever had. 

Knowing the prospect of the evil and darkness that has been aborted and the hope and light that is now being birthed, I rejoice. God has fooled everyone, including the liberal media. The curse that had been upon this nation has been removed.

That is why I will be dancing in the streets on Inauguration Day. {eoa}

Bert Farias Featured The Flaming Herald Opinion Wed, 18 Jan 2017 10:00:00 -0500
This State Is Preparing to Defund Planned Parenthood in Spite of Obama's Threats

Last year, the Republican-controlled Iowa House of Representatives voted to fully defund Planned Parenthood, but the Democrat-controlled Senate voted the bill down.

With the GOP now in control of both chambers, a new version of that same legislation is already rolling toward approval. But that may be the least of abortionists' worries this legislative session.

The decision to fully de-fund Planned Parenthood comes with a $3 million "price tag" in the form of the loss of a federal block grant for Medicaid. But the state plans to tap into another federal grant to replace that money, directing it only to healthcare providers who do not provide abortions.

Gov. Terry Branstad, who will soon retire to become President-elect Donald Trump's ambassador to China, urged lawmakers to act quickly to defund the abortion industry in the state in his final Condition of the State speech. Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, who will take over for him, also supports the move.

This week, however, Sen. Mark Chelgren (R-Ottumwa) introduced Senate File 26, a bill that would allow any woman who has received an abortion at any time to sue the physician who performed the abortion for emotional distress caused by the procedure. The bill passed almost immediately out of its subcommittee on a party-line vote, sending it to the full Senate Judiciary Committee.

Planned Parenthood decried the bill, claiming that 95 percent of women who have abortions do not regret their decision—based on a three-year-old study of less than 700 women conducted by the University of San Francisco. Other documented studies, with larger samples, found the following statistics:

  • within the first few weeks, between 40 and 60 percent of women questioned report negative reactions;
  • within eight weeks after their abortions, 55 percent expressed guilt, 44 percent complained of nervous disorders, 36 percent had experienced sleep disturbances, 31 percent had regrets about their decision and 11 percent had been prescribed psychotropic medicine by their family doctor;
  • up to 10 percent were classified as having developed "serious psychiatric complications";
  • 30 to 50 percent of post-abortion women report experiencing sexual dysfunctions, of both short and long duration, beginning immediately after their abortions; and
  • among teenage abortion patients, half suffered a worsening of psychosocial functioning within seven months after the abortion.

The University of Colorado came to this conclusion:

Among the most worrisome of these reactions is the increase of self-destructive behavior among post-abortion women. In a survey of over 100 women who had suffered from post-abortion trauma, fully 80 percent expressed feelings of "self-hatred." In the same study, 49 percent reported drug abuse and 39 percent began to use or increased their use of alcohol. Approximately 14 percent described themselves as having become "addicted" or "alcoholic" after their abortions. In addition, 60 percent reported suicidal ideation, with 28 percent actually attempting suicide, of which half attempted suicide two or more times.

But there was even more bad news for Planned Parenthood this week. Previously, the state's nine individual pro-life groups had often sought their own separate agendas, which made it difficult to marshal the political clout necessary to get things accomplished at the Statehouse.

Those days are over.

Seven of the groups signed a declaration, with the support of the remaining two, that states:

As we are all representatives of Iowa organizations with the intent to eliminate abortion and any of its related industries for both moral and legal reasons in our state;
As we all agree that the legislature of our state needs guidance from citizens and religious leaders to maintain its moral compass;
As we all agree that every life, from the time of conception, must have a voice and be protected by the laws of any moral state;
We hereby bind together under the name of God, without malice or ill intent, with unity of purpose and all deference and humility toward the cause, our organizations under this coalition with the following principles:

We shall represent the pro-life point of view before all public officials, accepting that some diversity of strategy may exist, but we all value saving lives of the unborn;
We shall train leaders and volunteers for effective social and political action and dissemination of factual information, documentation and publications supporting the cause;
We shall inform pro-life voters about timely issues and legislation and arm them with facts to aid our public officials in the completion of good and just works furthering the cause of protecting the unborn;
We shall challenge pro-abortion deception in the public arena;
We shall convert pro-choice or undecided citizens to the cause for life with factual information, understanding and compassion.

Today, the pro-life community needs to play an active role in government like never before. If we are going to change policy and influence decisions, it is imperative that people of faith and moral fiber should commit to doing the hard work, with the forbearance and tenacity to achieve our goals without recognition to ourselves, but to give that glory to God.

We are driven by the belief that people have the right and responsibility to be involved in the world around them, and our coalition is committed to representing the pro-life cause and educating Iowans on the critical issues facing our society. We hereby pledge, with our signature to this document, to achieve these common goals presented here.

The FAMiLY Leader, the Christian pro-family activist organization that spearheaded the unification effort, released a brief statement about the declaration in which its leader, Bob Vander Plaats, noted this was the first time the Iowa pro-life movement was unified in the 44 years since Roe v. Wade:

"It is great to be a witness and a participant in such a historic pro-life event. Never has society been so ready or the time been more right for change. This coalition looking through a common lens with a singular focus, saving unborn lives, will help make those changes happen." {eoa}

Bob Eschliman Featured Issues Caucus Wed, 18 Jan 2017 09:00:00 -0500
If God Chose Trump, Did God Choose Obama?

Democracy may be based on the principle of "one person, one vote," but some people who supported Donald Trump believe the Master of the universe cast the master ballot.

"God raised up, I believe, Donald Trump," said former U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann after he won the GOP nomination. "God showed up," the Rev. Franklin Graham said to cheers at a post-election rally.

For those who share this view, Trump's victory was nothing short of miraculous, especially given that he beat out 16 other in the Republican primaries—some of them evangelical Christians with long political resumes.

"For me, that has to be providence. That has to be the hand of God," said Paula White, an evangelical pastor Trump has tapped to pray at his inauguration.

While it is unclear how many people accept this version of events—polling organizations contacted by RNS didn't have statistics on it—conservative Christians appear most likely to embrace it.

But taken to its logical conclusion, the belief that God is in control of earthly events leads to noxious moral positions and bad public policy, warns William Schweiker, an ordained Methodist minister and professor of theological ethics at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

"It means it's OK with you and it's God's will that millions of people starve to death because of our actions," he says.

"We don't need to worry about the nations going under water because of climate change."

For those who see Trump's inauguration on Friday (Jan. 20) as disastrous, the idea that God endorsed him is easy to dismiss as wishful thinking on the part of conservative Christians who came out for the winner in such overwhelming numbers.

But theologians across faith traditions have taken the question of God's role in human affairs quite seriously for millennia.

Among those who study religion and politics—even among those who don't believe in God or reject the notion that he puts his thumbs on the electoral scales—the belief remains relevant if only because so many people hold it.

And while many scholars of divinity deem it theologically problematic, they still invite study of the issue. It's an unsettled question in many minds, and complicated: Not everyone who believes God intercedes in human affairs believes so in the same way. Not everyone who believes God put Trump in office likes Trump.

The question of God and the election begs bigger questions—about the nature of God, and if and how God becomes involved in earthly affairs. It is also a question of comfort. For some believers, a God who picks the president is a God close at hand.

"At bottom, it is connected to the belief that God cares about our lives, which is a great thing," says Wheaton College theologian Vincent Bacote, who nevertheless subjects to close scrutiny any claim that God intercedes in American elections.

The divine ballot

Popular evangelical speaker Ken Ham, founder of the Creation Museum, blogged about Trump during the campaign: "I doubt he truly understands what real Christianity is."

Yet Ham does not doubt that God gave Trump the presidency.

"God is in total control," Ham says. "He makes that very clear in the Bible where he tells us that he raises up kings and destroys kingdoms. He even calls a pagan king, Cyrus, his anointed, or his servant to do the things that he wants him to do."

It's an idea that sits well with many evangelicals who voted for Trump. The bragging and often crass president-elect, like the Persian King Cyrus in the book of Isaiah, may not behave as a God-fearing man should. But isn't that just like God to use a far-from-perfect person to fulfill God's grand plan?

Still, belief in God's sovereignty and the Bible's flawed prophets does not make the case for God choosing Trump for many mainline Protestant and Catholic theologians.

It's a problem of theodicy— the tension between an all-powerful God and the fact of evil in the world—says Schweiker, who teaches that theology subjects religious belief to debate and rational argument.

"If you say God's in control of everything then you've got to say that God is a really (obscenity) he says.

A God in total control is not a problem for Ham in light of any tragedy, from the Holocaust to a tsunami. "People single out particular events and say, 'Where was your God?'" says Ham, who is not disclosing his choice in the presidential election.

"But we've got to stand back and look at the big picture," Ham continues. "That was their turn to die. You're going to die. The important thing is to look at yourself and ask, 'Am I ready to face death, am I reconciled with my Savior so when I die I'll spend eternity with him?'"

This perspective riles Schweiker, who did not vote for Trump and asks of Ham: "He thinks there is no moral difference between natural death and murder?"

If God chose Trump, did God choose Obama?

On the first day of this year's spring semester at evangelical Wheaton College, Bacote asked his students about the role of God in the recent election. One said his relatives believe God works through imperfect individuals.

Assuming the student's relatives had voted for Trump, Bacote asked him: "Did your relatives say that about Barack Obama?"

Bacote himself doesn't rule out God's involvement in politics.

But the professor questions how anyone could be so sure about God favoring any particular candidate, how anyone could be "so dialed into how providence operates." He points to the Bible.

"If one is taking Scripture seriously you have to ask, 'Where do you find the United States in the Bible?' Well, you don't."

And, Bacote continues, if God had a hand in one contest, then did he have a hand in them all?

"Was God involved in gubernatorial races? Mayoral races?"

Ham, by contrast, believes Trump, even before he takes the oath of office, is already working in harmony with God.

Trump has appointed Christians to important positions in the new administration.

And around his Kentucky home this year, Ham says, more people said "Merry Christmas," as opposed to the "Happy Holidays" they had offered in previous years.

Ham's certitude might draw challenges from theologians like Bacote. But he might get points for consistency.

"If Hillary Clinton would have won," Ham adds, "we would need to accept that God had put her there for whatever reasons."

God's to-do list

Talking about God and the 2016 election, the discussion often turns to parking.

Schweiker, the Methodist theologian, arguing against those who see God's hand in even mundane human affairs, offers the example of the "little old man who prays for parking places and then gets a parking place and says it's God's act for him."

But in attributing a prime parking spot or cash found on the sidewalk to God, people tend to point to their own specific experiences without considering the negative effects on others, Schweiker says.

"That little old man may have kept a very sick person from getting a parking place and getting to the hospital on time," he says. "Since Christians are supposed to love their neighbors, that's a bit of a problem."

Carmen Fowler LaBerge, who hosts "The Reconnect," a Christian radio show, also offers the parking space example—not necessarily to challenge claims that God intervenes in everyday human affairs but to show the various ways Christians can approach the issue.

"The fun part about this conversation," says LaBerge, "is that it ranges from 'What is God's will for all of known history?' and then there's like, 'God's will that I get a particular parking space.'"

Many Christians believe God intercedes in mortal lives in grand terms: his plan that the human story have a particular ending, for example, as described in the New Testament.

LaBerge, a board member of the National Association of Evangelicals, says she knows God's will because she has "read to the end of the book."

When it comes down to the way a sovereign God works on a smaller scale, as she and all human beings go about their days, LaBerge sees it this way: "God made me a free person ... in the way I live my life, the choices I make, the words I use."

She applies this view to her thinking on God and whoever wins an election.

"If God's hand is on the scales, what I can tell you is the way it is happening is through human agency. It's the way the Holy Spirit is leading individuals to discern and then to act," LaBerge says.

She says "if" God's hand is on the scales. What about Christians who are sure about God choosing Trump?

Even those who share Schweiker's objections to the idea of God steering humans to parking may understand this year's election as a sharp turn in the course of history, with the stakes high enough to explain God's direct intervention.

The belief may be tempting, but the Rev. James Bretzke counsels against it. He does not imagine the Holy Spirit could have had anything to do with Trump's election.

The Jesuit and Boston College professor of moral theology also invokes the concept of free will and agrees that God has chosen flawed people to work his will in the past ... but not Trump in 2016.

Those God chose in the Bible were flawed because they were unassuming and unexpected, he says. Gideon was an ordinary shepherd. David was the last of his brothers. And David was a flawed leader. "But ultimately what sets him apart is when confronted with his sins he acknowledged them" and repented.

"I don't think that's the Donald J. Trump life story," Bretzke says. "I don't think that's where I would put the smart biblical money." {eoa}

© 2017 Religion News Service. All rights reserved.

Lauren Markoe/RNS Featured Elections Caucus Wed, 18 Jan 2017 10:30:00 -0500
Former President George H.W. Bush Hospitalized

 Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush has been hospitalized in Houston for an undisclosed illness, local media reported on Wednesday.

Bush, 92, the oldest living former American president, was in stable condition and "doing fine" at the Methodist Hospital in the Texas Medical Center, Jean Becker, his office chief of staff, told a CBS affiliate in Houston.

Bush is expected to go home in a couple of days, Becker told television station KHOU, without giving a reason for his hospitalization.

Reuters was not immediately able to reach the family spokesman Jim McGrath or the hospital.

Bush is the father of former President George W. Bush and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who sought the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

The elder Bush, a Republican like his sons, served as vice president during Ronald Reagan's two White House terms before being elected president in 1988. He served four years in the White House.

Bush has used a wheelchair in his later years and was hospitalized twice in 2014—once for seven weeks with pneumonia and again for breathing difficulties. In July 2015 he broke a bone in his neck in a fall at the family home in Maine.

Bush's public appearances have been rare since he entered his 90s. In October 2015, Bush, sitting his wheelchair, wearing a brace on his neck and clad in a Houston Astros jersey, tossed out the first pitch at the team's playoff game against the Kansas City Royals.

In 2016, he marked the 75th anniversary of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor by attending a ceremony at his library at Texas A&M University where Bob Dole, the former Republican Senator from Kansas, was presented with an award for public service. {eoa}

© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Brendan O'Brien/Reuters Featured U.S. News Wed, 18 Jan 2017 09:45:00 -0500
What Does It Mean to Be a Mediocre Negro?

What do NFL stars Jim Brown and Ray Lewis, Family Feud host Steve Harvey, rapper Kanye West, megachurch pastor Darrell Scott, Dr. Ben Carson and Martin Luther King III have in common? They are all black. They have all met with (or worked with) President-elect Trump and spoken of their interaction positively. And they are apparently guilty of being "mediocre negroes" in the eyes of CNN-contributor and Morehouse College professor Marc Lamont Hill.

Speaking about Trump's new "diversity coalition," Hill described them as "a bunch of mediocre negroes being dragged in front of TV as a photo-op for Donald Trump's exploitative campaign against black people."

And speaking of Steve Harvey, who recently met with Trump and said he would be working with Dr. Carson to help HUD, Hill opined, "My disagreement is the way in which [Steve Harvey is] being used by folk like Donald Trump. Again, his intention is just to have a seat at the table. But when you're at the table, you should have experts at the table. You should have people who can challenge the president at the table."

When Hill was castigated for this comment, he quickly claimed he wasn't talking about Jim Brown, the NFL legend who stood side by side with Muhammad Ali for years, or of Steve Harvey, or even of Ben Caron, whom he described as a "mediocre choice for HUD" but an "extraordinary human." Instead, he stated that he "referred to the Trump Diversity Council," of which neither Brown nor Harvey were a part.

I will take Hill at his word, but it's quite odd, to say the least, to mention Harvey in the very same interview in which he speaks of these "mediocre negroes," also stating, "Because they keep bringing up comedians and actors and athletes to represent black interests, [it's] demeaning, it's disrespectful, and it's condescending. Bring some people up there with some expertise, Donald Trump, don't just bring up people to entertain."

So these "comedians and actors and athletes"—which would certainly include Brown, Lewis, Harvey and probably West—are not "mediocre negroes," simply because they didn't appear in the photo-op for the president's diversity council? Really? And he can use the same word, "mediocre," when speaking of Carson as the presumptive head of HUD but he didn't mean to say that Carson was a "mediocre negro." Seriously?

Either way, whomever he was speaking about, how is it not ugly and racist to call a fellow black a negro, let alone a mediocre negro?

Can you imagine if a conservative white broadcaster like Sean Hannity—or even a conservative black commentator like Larry Elder—said something like that on Fox News? The moral indignation and the calls for that person's head would be both nonstop and over the top. (Just think of what happened to sports commentator and baseball great Curt Schilling, himself a conservative, fired from ESPN after what was deemed an offensive Facebook meme about bathroom access for transgenders.)

But a black commentator on liberal CNN can use the derogatory term "negro," surely pointing back to an earlier period in our history when blacks quietly suffered indignation and segregation, and to date, to my knowledge the network has neither rebuked him nor distanced itself from his comment.

More insultingly, some of those who have been part of Trumps National Diversity Council include Bruce Levell, a prominent Georgia Republican; Alveda King, Dr. King's niece; Lynne Patton, vice president of the Eric Trump Foundation; Brunell Donald-Kyei, an attorney and former Democratic Lt. Gov. candidate for the state of Illinois; and Dr. N. Denise Mitchem, vice president of corporate relations and government affairs pf UST Global—all of them black. Are they part of Hill's group of "mediocre negroes"?

As for Hill's accusation that all these people are being used as tools "for Donald Trump's exploitative campaign against black people," does that "exploitative campaign" include things like improving the quality of life in the inner-cities, providing more job opportunities for black Americans, undoing the destructive policies of the left, and appointing people like Carson to head up HUD?

What I find most galling, though, is that, for quite a few years now, "blackness" is measured by one's ideology rather than by the color of one's skin (or even by the person's life experience). Consequently, black friends of mine who are conservative are commonly told by their fellow blacks that they are "not black enough" or "not black anymore," as if they have not had the same life experiences or are not subject to the same racial profiling.

Black is now an ideology more than a skin color. (Similarly, "gay" not only describes a sexual orientation but an ideology, and conservative gays are seen as betraying their real identity.)

Not surprisingly, on his Prager U video "The Top 5 Issues Facing Black Americans," Taleeb Starkes, himself black, listed as problem No. 4 "Lack of Diversity," decrying the virtual absence of "honest dialogue between blacks and blacks."

Dare to differ with the party line, and you're a traitor to the cause and a traitor to your people. You're hardly even black anymore. You're just a "mediocre negro."

In my book, it's not much better for a black man to refer to a fellow black as a "mediocre negro" because of a difference in ideology than for a white man to use a racial expletive to refer to a black person because he hates the color of his skin.

Are they not both blatant examples of racism? And are not Hill's comments the latest example of divisive and destructive identity politics?

If you read this, Mr. Hill, surely you can do better. Surely you can step higher, unless your agenda is to divide and destroy.

Is it?

Michael Brown Featured In the Line of Fire Opinion Wed, 18 Jan 2017 09:30:00 -0500
Toxic Masculinity? America's Universities Turning Men Into Women

Universities across the fruited plain are trying to convince men to grow lady parts. And that's a problem, America.

Campus Reform recently reported on efforts to provide "safe spaces" to fight back against what the academic world calls "toxic masculinity."

Instead of a country full of manly men, our universities want a nation full of Pajama Boys.

Oregon State University is hosting a "health masculinities conference." Students will "engage in collective imagining to construct new futures for masculinities, unrestricted by power, privilege and oppression."

Brown University has a program titled, "Masculinity 101"—for "students who identify as men," Campus Reform reports.

Get a load of the course description for "Unlearning Toxic Masculinity": "Men will often resort to violence to resolve conflict because anger is the only emotion that they have been socialized to express. Unfortunately, the way that young men are conditioned to view sex and their need to be dominant and have power over others also contributes to instances of sexual assault and other forms of interpersonal violence on college campuses."

In the hit Broadway musical My Fair Lady, Professor Henry Higgins laments in a song, "Why can't a woman be more like a man?" Today, Professor Higgins might be singing a different tune, "Why can't a man be more like a woman?"

Could you imagine the Greatest Generation flitting about town after a spa and dishing about their innermost thoughts with life coaches?

In today's re-engineered version of manhood, guys no longer have friends—they have bromances, and they settle disputes by hugging it out.

Men's magazines are now filled with articles like, "Should a Man Show Nipple?" and "What Men Know about Wearing Eyeliner." A survey by found that 20 percent of men have no problem wearing makeup.

In my book, "Dispatches From Bitter America," I pondered these developments.

Can you imagine John Wayne using moisturizer and a concealer stick to hide razor nicks? Would today's version of The Godfather accessorize with Dolche Gabana while settling "family" business with group hugs?

A few years ago, I conducted an unscientific poll to determine what the average American woman looks for in a man.

The poll results were not all that surprising. Ladies want a man who loves God and loves his family. They also want a man who, in no particular order:

1. Has a job,

2. Drives a pickup truck,

3. Uses the bathroom standing up,

4. Eats meat

5. And is willing to carry them out of a burning building.

In other words, they want the kind of man made in God's image, not the image of some effeminate intellectual stuffed in skinny jeans sipping chai tea with his pinky finger extended. {eoa}

Todd Starnes Featured American Dispatch Opinion Wed, 18 Jan 2017 09:00:00 -0500
Trump Names Two More White House Hires

President-elect Donald Trump announced Tuesday his selection of Christopher Liddell as Assistant to the President and Director of Strategic Initiatives and Reed Cordish as Assistant to the President for Intragovernmental and Technology Initiatives.

Both have been members of the president-elect's transition team. Liddell has been the special adviser on presidential appointments and Reed Cordish has directed the agency "beachhead" or "landing" teams.

In his new position, Liddell will lead the Strategic Development Group, which will focus on priority projects. He will also interface with private sector forums.

"It is an honor to take on this role for the president-elect and the country," he said.

He has been the chief financial officer of Microsoft, International Paper, WME-IMG and General Motors. At General Motors he was also vice chairman and led the company's $23 billion return to public market, which at the time was the largest in history.

He has also been the chief executive officer of an Asia-Pacific multinational public company, and was the executive director of the Romney campaign's transition planning team, where he authored a book on presidential transitions. He has a bachelor's of engineering from the University of Auckland, and a master's in philosophy from Oxford University.

Cordish will be responsible for presidential initiatives that require multi-agency collaboration.

"I am humbled by the role and excited to work with the incredible people within the West Wing and the agencies to effect change," he said.

In addition, he will focus on technological innovation and modernization. He is a principal and partner of The Cordish Companies, an international real estate development and entertainment company.

He is also president of Entertainment Consulting International, a national entertainment and restaurant operating company he co-founded. He has a Bachelor of Arts from Princeton University, where he was awarded the William Roper Award for scholastic and athletic excellence.

Together, Liddell and Cordish will form and oversee a series of high impact task forces.

"Chris Liddell and Reed Cordish have led large, complex companies in the private sector, and have played instrumental roles throughout the transition," Trump said. "Their skill sets are exactly what is needed to effect substantial change, including system wide improvement to the performance of the government. I am delighted that they will be part of my executive team." {eoa}

Bob Eschliman Featured Issues Caucus Wed, 18 Jan 2017 07:00:00 -0500
The Inauguration Proves the Hate Is Coming From the Left

Don't let the low-information media lie to you: the real bullies and bigots are on the left. 

One of the unexpected results of Donald Trump's victory at the polls is that the mask has been pulled off the left revealing the ugly hatred which is no longer thinly disguised. 

We conservatives disagree with the left about any number of things, including the mainstreaming of homosexuality and transgenderism, but we don't hate anybody. Disagreement is not hatred. 

But for the left, disagreement is all about hatred. They falsely accuse us of it, and yet are blind to its rancid presence in their own ranks. This refusal on their part to recognize that they are, in fact, the real haters is not only an instance of spectacular self-deception, it's now become dangerous. 

The Trump inauguration is flushing the left from cover, and it's not pretty. In fact, it's mean, vulgar, and alarming. 

Andrea Bocelli is a world-class tenor who had agreed to perform at Trump's inauguration. That is, until the haters on the left threatened him with death to the point that Bocelli's own security team told him to stay home in fear for his life. "[H]e has been advised it simply [is] not worth the risk." 

Bocelli has been blind since the age of 12. Let's remember that Trump has been relentlessly accused and vilified for mocking a disabled reporter, which he didn't do. But even so, that raises the question: Which is worse: making fun of a disabled man or threatening to kill him? 

Jennifer Holliday, one of the original Broadway stars of Dreamgirls, likewise accepted an invitation to perform at the inauguration, even though she voted against the president-elect. That plan only lasted until the brown-shirted enforcers of the Gay Gestapo (to use Tammy Bruce's phrase) descended on her like a pack of hyenas. They threatened her with physical violence and branded her an "Uncle Tom" (Aunt Tomasina)? Stunned at their vitriol, she apologized all over herself and immediately backed out of the event. 

Holliday told The New York Times, "It brought a lot of threats from people already saying I'll never work again. If that's what America has come to, where we all hate and bully people, there's no more freedom of speech. I know everybody hates me now, but that shows we are all just hateful people now—we don't even want to work together." 

Here Ms. Holliday admits the left is all about hate and bullying. It is not about love, compassion and tolerance in the slightest degree. Consider for a moment the left's response to Ms. Holliday compared to their response to the Christian bakers in Oregon. LGBT activists insisted that the bakers must do business with those whose values they don't share. But with Ms. Holliday, it's the other way around: They are insisting she must not do business with those who don't share her values. It reveals that LGBT crowd's coercion of the bakers and other Christian vendors is not about tolerance at all but about a naked exercise of raw, unprincipled, oppressive and tyrannical government power. 

And let's not forget Milo Yiannopoulos, the out, loud and proud homosexual star of Breitbart. This Trump supporter was scheduled to speak at UC Davis over the weekend, but his event had to be canceled due to threats of violence when protesters jumped the barricades and threatened to throw them at police. "The decision was made initially because the lives of the officers were threatened, the lives of the students were threatened as well as the property of the school," Executive Director of the Davis College Republicans Andrew Mendoza said. 

The left has been unhinged for some time, shouting a worldview that is angry, mean-spirited, vengeful and untethered to reality. They are like a 2-year old throwing a volcanic temper tantrum in the dairy aisle at Safeway. If such a 2-year old had the power, he would reduce the entire building to rubble. Now that the infantile left is virtually without political power, their rage has become a menace to society, because they have a capacity to do harm a two-year old does not. {eoa}

Bryan Fischer is host of the two-hour weekday "Focal Point" program on American Family Radio.

This article was originally published at Used with permission.

Bryan Fischer/American Family Radio Featured Opinions Caucus Wed, 18 Jan 2017 06:00:00 -0500
Woman Takes on Role of Jesus in Controversial Broadway Play

A woman played the Son of God in a recent performance of Jesus Christ Superstar. The all-female cast performed the controversial musical earlier this week.

The play follows the ministry of Jesus but through the eyes of Judas.

Noted Broadway actress Morgan James played Jesus, while Shoshana Bean embodied Judas. 

"Jesus Christ Superstar illuminates the transcendent power of the human spirit with a passion that goes straight to the heart," Highline reports.

"I'm so excited. It feels like Christmas morning! Which is fitting, cause, you know... #JCS11617" James tweeted. 

One fan wrote: "Last night I experienced the Holy Spirit seeing @ShoshanaBean @morganajames & the cast of JCS. An inspirational night I'll never forget."

 So what all went down? Watch the video to see! 


Jessilyn Justice Featured Culture Wed, 18 Jan 2017 08:00:00 -0500
Is It Cool if I Just Watch Church Online and Go About My Weekend?

In the modern age, church comes in many forms: In person, on TV, downloadable podcasts and online streaming.

With faith on the go to match your busy schedule, is that enough to maintain a relationship with Jesus Christ? 

A reader asked evangelist Billy Graham a similar question.

"I've always been pretty independent, and the idea of going through all the hassle of getting up and going to church has never attracted me," the reader asks. "What's wrong with just watching a church service on TV? I'd be hearing the same message I'd hear if I went, wouldn't I?" 

There are benefits to flexible, technological church, Graham says.

"I'm thankful God has enabled some churches to extend their outreach through radio and television (and even the internet). People who are older (as I am) or have health problems are especially grateful for the opportunity to hear God's Word and share in a church service in this way," Graham says. 

But if you're a faithful member or attender in a local body, you may already know why church is more than a sermon.

Graham continues:

First, you'll miss the opportunity to be part of the congregation—to sing with others, to give to God's work and especially to get to know other believers and learn from them (and they from you). The Bible says, "And let us consider how to may spur one another to love and to good works. Let us not forsake the assembling of ourselves together ... but let us exhort one another" (Heb. 10:24-25).
But you also may miss the opportunity to serve Christ alongside your fellow believers. A vital church isn't just inward-looking; it also looks outward and seeks to serve others in the name of Jesus.
The most important thing I can urge you to do, however, is to make sure of your personal commitment to Jesus Christ. Have you invited Him to come into your life, and are you seeking to follow Him every day? The Bible says, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2a).

Do you agree? Let us know! {eoa}

Jessilyn Justice Featured Culture Wed, 18 Jan 2017 06:00:00 -0500
Treasures in Heaven: You Can Take It With You

An old saying has it that, "You can't take it with you." Yeshua (Jesus) contradicted that adage by citing the common Jewish belief that resources given to the needy will be repaid and rewarded in the Messianic Era and the World to Come.

"Treasures in heaven" does not refer to literal treasure stored up someplace beyond the sky; instead, it means "treasure with God." That is to say, "Invest in the things of God, and He will reward you."

"Lose your money for your brother and your neighbor, but do not let it rust under a stone to be lost. Lay up your treasure according to the commandments of the most High, and it will bring you more profit than gold. Store up charity in your storehouses and it will deliver you from all affliction" (from an ancient piece of Jewish wisdom literature called Sirach, 29:10-12)

A person who accrues wealth for himself risks losing that wealth. Life is temporary and uncertain. Thieves might steal. Time destroys. Wealth depreciates. James, the brother of the Master, expounds upon Yeshua's teaching as follows:

"Come now, you rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have stored up treasures for the last days" (James 5:1-3).

How does one store up treasure with God? Yeshua says, "Sell your possessions and give alms. Provide yourselves purses that do not grow old, an unfailing treasure in the heavens, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Luke 12:33-34).

A man's heart (that is, his mind, thoughts and intentions) will be focused on the accumulation of his wealth. If he has accumulated wealth on earth, his mind will be focused on earthly matters, but if he has invested in the things of God, his mind will be focused on matters of godliness.

In the Apostolic Era, the famous convert to Judaism, King Izates of Adiabene, sent an enormous sum of money to Jerusalem for famine relief. His brothers and countrymen criticized him for squandering the family inheritance. His reply, recorded in the Talmud, reveals influence from the teaching of Yeshua:

"My fathers stored up below and I am storing above ... My fathers stored in a place which can be tampered with, but I have stored in a place which cannot be tampered with ... My fathers stored something which produces no fruits, but I have stored something which does produce fruits ... My fathers gathered for this world, but I have gathered for the future world" (Talmud Tractate Bava Batra 11a). {eoa}

Daniel Thomas Lancaster is a writer, teacher and the Director of Education at the Messianic ministry of First Fruits of Zion (, an international ministry with offices in Israel, Canad, and USA, bringing Messianic Jewish teaching to Christians and Jews. He is the author of several books about the Jewish roots of Christianity and the Jewishness of the New Testament, and he is the author of the Torah Club Bible study program ( He also serves as the teaching pastor at Beth Immanuel (, a Messianic Jewish synagogue in Hudson, Wisconsin. Daniel can be reached at

Daniel Thomas Lancaster Featured Standing With Israel Opinion Wed, 18 Jan 2017 06:00:00 -0500
Toby Keith Responds to Backlash for His Scheduled Inaugural Performance

Country music star Toby Keith is among the artists slated to perform at a concert for President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration. And Keith say he is not apologizing for his participation.

In a statement defending his inauguration gig, Keith said, "I don't apologize for performing for our country or military."

"I performed at events for previous Presidents Bush and Obama and over 200 shows in Iraq and Afghanistan for the USO," he added.

Keith's announcement comes after several performers canceled appearances at "The Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration."

Broadway star Jennifer Holliday canceled her appearance Saturday, calling her original decision to perform a "lapse of judgment."

The Tony- and Grammy-winning artist faced pressure from her fans not to participate.

In a letter to The Wrap, Holiday apologized to the LGBT community and said she was "uneducated on the issues that affect every American at this crucial time in history and for causing such dismay and heartbreak to my fans." 

Lee Greenwood and 3 Doors Down will join Keith at inauguration festivities.

Greenwood sang at the inaugurations of Ronald Reagan, George Bush and George W. Bush.

"I'm honored to be part of history again and sing for President-elect Donald Trump," Greenwood said. "This is a time to overcome challenges in our country and band together." 

Thursday's concert will take place on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Jan. 19, one day before Trump is sworn into office.

Actor Jon Voight is also scheduled to participate in the event in some capacity. {eoa}

Reprinted with permission from Copyright The Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc., All rights reserved.

CBN News Featured Caucus Tue, 17 Jan 2017 16:00:00 -0500
Is Hosea 4:3 Coming to Pass Before Our Very Eyes?

Nearly 100 false killer whales died after being stranded in shallow waters, according to multiple reports.

The U.S. Coast Guard first spotted the dolphin breed off the coast of Hog Key, Florida. They reported 95 in total, 82 dead and 13 still stranded in mangroves.

"The remote location makes it challenging for biologists to get to the scene. National Park Service [conducted] aerial flyovers to assess the situation make it easier for teams heading out to the scene by boat. To date, 82 animals have died, 13 are unaccounted for. In the coming months biologists will try to determine why this happened by using samples collected during necropsy (non-human autopsy)," NOAA said in a release

According to an NBC affiliate, there have only been two previous strandings of False Killer Whales in Florida, neither with major death tolls.

The stranding could be a sign of the end times, as it appears to fit the Hosea 4:3 prophecy.

The passage reads: "Therefore the land dries up, and everyone who lives in it withers with the beasts of the field and the birds of the sky; even the fish of the sea disappear." {eoa}

Jessilyn Justice Featured U.S. News Tue, 17 Jan 2017 15:00:00 -0500
TD Jakes: Eddie Long Was a Mighty Man of Valor

Potter's House Pastor T.D. Jakes says he is mourning with the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church family over the death of Senior Pastor Eddie Long.

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of a mighty man of valor, embattled warrior, learned and beloved pastor and man I call friend, Bishop Eddie L. Long," Jakes posted to Facebook. 

Long died Sunday after a "gallant private fight with cancer," the church said. He was 63.

"We will miss his enigmatic catchphrase uttered just above a whisper, 'watch this ...,' his love for the gospel shared liberally and a ministry that impacted lives around the globe," Jakes continued. 

The pastor reached out to those who are grieving: 

To the New Birth family, no words can ease the pain of your loss. I pray for the balm of Gilead to heal your broken hearts. To his beloved widow, Vanessa, and his children who feel the brunt of the loss most deeply and profoundly, we pray for you especially. You have not a High Priest who cannot empathize with your present circumstance. We stand in the gap for you in your time of suffering, waiting patiently for the glory that is to be revealed to us. And pray that the God of all comfort would fill you to overflowing with a peace that passes all understanding. {eoa}

Jessilyn Justice Featured U.S. News Tue, 17 Jan 2017 14:00:00 -0500
Did Lindsay Lohan Convert to Islam?

Did actress Lindsay Lohan embrace the prophet Muhammad and convert to Islam? 

Rumors sparked when the troubled actress purged her Instagram, leaving only a bio written in Arabic: "Alaikum salam." The phrase translates to "and unto you peace," a greeting associated with Islamic etiquette. 

Her mother, Dina Lohan, actively denied the conversion rumors, but Lindsay's fans around the world welcomed her to Islam.

The Instagram purge is not the first indication Lohan may have swapped religions. Last year, the actress came under fire for carrying a Quran while working with Syrian refugees.

"They crucified me for it in America," she said. "They made me seem like Satan. I was a bad person for holding that Koran ... I was so happy to leave [America] and go back to London after that because I felt so unsafe in my own country. If this [Islam] is something that I want to learn, this is my own will." 

Lohan is far from the first celebrity to trade the Christianity of her birth for a Muslim religion. Hollywood stars like Dave Chappelle, Janet Jackson, Akon, T-Pain and Dr. Oz all reportedly follow a vein of Islam. {eoa}

Jessilyn Justice Featured World News Tue, 17 Jan 2017 13:00:00 -0500
Presidential Transition Moving to Washington, D.C.

Even before the Nov. 8 election, President-elect Donald Trump's transition team has been working furiously behind the scenes to ensure the seamless and peaceful transition of power from the Obama Administration to the new Trump Administration.

There have been a few hiccups along the way, but with 72 hours to go before the inauguration, the transition process has moved into its final stage.

The transition team is moving out of its offices at Trump Tower in Manhattan on Tuesday and will go to work in the official transition office space in Washington, D.C., for the first time on Wednesday. During Tuesday's morning press briefing, incoming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer gave a quick update on the situation.

So far, 20 of 21 Cabinet-level positions have been filled. The last, secretary of agriculture, should be filled soon. The confirmation process is continuing to move forward in spite of efforts by Democrats to stall it out.

For an administration the liberal mainstream media has tried to describe as one no one wanted to work for, not only has Trump assembled an impressive Cabinet and White House staff, but there are tens of thousands of Americans who would like to work for him. At last count, more than 84,000 Americans have submitted resumes to work for the Trump administration.

The liberal mainstream media is doing its best to continue to paint the transition in the worst possible light, and that was fairly evident during Tuesday's question-and-answer session. Here's a summary of some of the questions Spicer had to address:

From the Chicago Tribune: Forty Democrats have said they refuse to attend and now because of Trump's war of words with Rep. John Lewis, many others are considering a boycott, as well. Response: Trump would love to have them all attend, but if they choose not to, it opens up some really great seats for others who would like to be there.

From CNBC: The president-elect said the House version of the border adjustment tax is too complicated, so does that mean it won't happen now? Response: Trump is still discussing the legislation with congressional leaders, and he's still committed to making it happen.

From NBC: The D.C. Metro System is rife with breakdowns and other failing infrastructure issues, so has the president-elect taken those into account for Friday? Response: The inaugural committee has been telling visitors to plan for all sorts of delays, but the Metro should be asked how it is planning to address potential problems.

Spicer, answering other media questions, noted that Trump is likely to swear in new members of his Cabinet on Friday, as they are confirmed, and that he will likely take a few immediate executive actions, which are still being hammered out with his key advisers. Over the weekend, he will do a few more planning activities with his staff before a "flurry of activity" takes place on Monday.

Among the administration's top priorities is the repeal and replacement of Obamacare. Health and Human Services Secretary-designate Dr. Tom Price has shared some of his thoughts on how that would happen. Spicer said that is one of the reasons why Trump picked him to lead those efforts: because he has been impressed with the Georgia congressman's work and plans in this area, and that details on the replacement plan would be coming soon.

The president-elect's spokesman also noted that additional staff hirings would be announced in the next couple of days ahead of the inauguration.

The inaugural committee also announced details for Trump's inauguration on Tuesday. He will be sworn in using his personal Bible as well as the Bible used at Abraham Lincoln's first inauguration. As is customary, the oath of office will be administered by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

The Presidential Inauguration Committee issued the following statement:

"In his first inaugural address, President Lincoln appealed to the 'better angels of our nature,' said PIC Chairman Tom Barrack. "As he takes the same oath of office 156 years later, President-elect Trump is humbled to place his hand on Bibles that hold special meaning both to his family and to our country."

President-elect Trump's Bible was presented to him by his mother upon his graduation of Sunday Church Primary School at First Presbyterian Church, Jamaica, New York, on Children's Day, June 12, 1955. The Bible is a revised standard version published by Thomas Nelson and Sons in New York in 1953 and is embossed with his name on the lower portion of the front cover. The inside cover is signed by church officials and is inscribed with his name and the details of when it was presented.

The Lincoln Bible was purchased for the first inauguration of President Abraham Lincoln by William Thomas Carroll, Clerk of the Supreme Court. The Bible is bound in burgundy velvet with a gold-washed white metal rim along the edges of the covers. It is part of the collections of the Library of Congress and has been used at three inaugurals: 1861, 2009, and 2013. {eoa}

Bob Eschliman Featured Issues Caucus Tue, 17 Jan 2017 12:00:00 -0500
Will There Be War on the Streets of Washington, D.C., During Friday's Inauguration?

The stage is set for a potentially very ugly confrontation between radical leftist protesters on one side and law enforcement authorities and Trump supporters on the other side.

It is being estimated that hundreds of thousands of supporters will be arriving in Washington, D.C., to celebrate the inauguration of Donald Trump, but it is also being estimated that hundreds of thousands of people will be coming to the capital city to specifically protest the inauguration of Trump.

These protesters plan to set up blockadesdisrupt inaugural balls and generally cause as much chaos as they possibly can. In fact, a spokesperson for #DisruptJ20 says that the goal of his organization is for Trump to be inaugurated "amid complete chaos."

"We would like the headline the next day to be Donald Trump inaugurated amid complete chaos, not Donald Trump, inaugurated amid applause," said Legba Carrefour, who is an organizer with #DisruptJ20.

Needless to say, causing "complete chaos" is going to bring many of these protesters into direct confrontation with law enforcement. If these anarchists do what they say they are going to do, law enforcement personnel with be forced to intervene physically. The following comes from #DisruptJ20's official "call to action":

Trump's success confirms the bankruptcy of representative democracy. Rather than using the democratic process as an alibi for inaction, we must show that no election could legitimize his agenda. Neither the Democrats nor any other political party or politician will save us—they just offer a weaker version of the same thing. If there is going to be a positive change in this society, we have to make it ourselves, together, through direct action.

From Day One, the Trump presidency will be a disaster. #DisruptJ20 will be the start of the resistance. We must take to the streets and protest, blockade, disrupt, intervene, sit in, walk out, rise up and make more noise and good trouble than the establishment can bear. The parade must be stopped. We must de-legitimize Trump and all he represents. It's time to defend ourselves, our loved ones, and the world that sustains us as if our lives depend on it—because they do.

In addition to law enforcement, many Trump supporters have made it quite clear that they are not going to put up with physical obstruction or intimidation by radical leftists. "Bikers for Trump" is one such group, and they are anticipating that 5,000 of their members will be attending the inauguration. According to Bikers for Trump founder Chris Cox, his organization is "prepared to form a wall of meat" if necessary:

The bikers are certainly used to being outnumbered and we are prepared to form a wall of meat. We're anticipating a celebration here. We don't anticipate any problems. We have a strict code of conduct where we don't condone violence. But again, in the event that we're needed, you can certainly count on the Bikers for Trump.

We'll be shoulder-to-shoulder with our brothers, and we'll be toe-to-toe with anyone that is going to break through any police barriers, that's going to be assaulting women, spitting on them, throwing things at them. We are anticipating a peaceful transition of power.

The backbone of the biker community is the veteran. So these are guys that aren't really used to backing down. You certainly won't see bikers out there screaming, calling for destruction of private property or the death of police officers.

Tensions will be running extremely high in D.C. over the next week, and it isn't going to take much to spark a major incident.

On Monday, an incredibly shocking undercover video was released that shows three members of the Anti-Fascist Coalition talking about how they could potentially use butyric acid to disrupt an inaugural ball that is scheduled for Thursday evening. The following is from a Lifezette article about this undercover video...

"I was thinking of things that ... that would ruin the evening, ruin their outfits or otherwise make it impossible to continue with their plans. Make sure they get nothing accomplished," Green says in the video.

"If you had ... a pint of butyric acid, I don't care how big the building is, it's closing," says Kuhn. "And this stuff is very efficient, it's very, very smelly, lasts a long time and a little of it goes a long way," Green chimes in eagerly.

If you have not seen this video yet, you can view it here. These radicals clearly do not have any problem harming people in order to make a political statement. If you are not familiar with butyric acid, it is often used to create "stink bombs," but in higher concentrations, it can actually be quite dangerous.

Inhalation of butyric acid may result in soreness of throat, coughing, a burning sensation, and labored breathing. Ingestion of the acid may result in abdominal pain, shock, and collapse. Physical exposure to the acid may result in pain, blistering and skin burns, while exposure to the eyes may result in pain, severe deep burns and loss of vision.

Just like Islamic terrorists, these radical leftists want to create fear, and they want to get as much attention as possible.

One of the attention-grabbing stunts that they have planned is to literally block people from getting to the inauguration. If protesters are able to successfully block a few of the main roads and a couple metro lines, they literally will be able to paralyze transportation throughout the entire city. And according to one of the main organizers, this is precisely what they plan to do. The organizer said:

Early in the morning, we're going to be doing blockades. We're going to be blocking checkpoints into the security zones. We're also going to be blocking roads and other modes of transit into the event.

We are going to do everything we can from trying to stop people from being able to access the Inauguration.

The good news is that tens of millions of dollars is being spent on security, and officials are closely monitoring what these radical leftist groups are trying to do. So it is unlikely that the protesters will be able to completely disrupt the inaugural celebrations. The following comes from The Washington Post:

By week's end, the nation's capital will have transformed into a virtual fortress of roadblocks, fences and armed police. Streets will be barricaded with trucks filled with sand. Five Metro stations will close Friday. Crossing Pennsylvania Avenue will be next to impossible.

The peaceful transfer of power is made possible by overlaying a tight security grid using 28,000 security officials over 100 square blocks of prime downtown real estate—from the White House to the Capitol and beyond, with a price tag in the tens of millions of dollars.

Let's hope law enforcement personnel are able to keep the protests relatively bottled up over the course of this week, because the potential exists for things to spiral out of control very rapidly. Sometimes there is a temptation to allow protesters a little space so that they "can blow off steam", but if scenes of chaos and violence start appearing on television, there is a very real possibility that the streets of Washington, D.C., could quickly come to resemble a war zone. {eoa}

Michael Snyder Featured Opinions Caucus Tue, 17 Jan 2017 12:00:00 -0500
Pastor Imprisoned for Prophesying Death of President

The Zimbabwe government imprisoned a pastor after he said God told him President Robert Mugabe would die this year.

Pastor Patrick Mugadza's lawyer, Gift Mtisi, told the BBC he was relaying a "message from God. Police would have to prove that God didn't say it." 

Mugadza reportedly prophesied the dictator would die on Oct. 17, 2017.

"He's admitting to the facts. He says he didn't lie—that's a message from God. Police will have to prove God didn't say it," the lawyer said. 

Mugabe already surpassed the average Zimbabwean life expectancy by more than 30 years.

According to The New York Times, "Life expectancy in Zimbabwe under President Robert Mugabe fell from 62 years in 1990 to 36 in 2006. And, as described in a recent report by Physicians for Human Rights, this man-made catastrophe has only gotten worse in the last two years. To end their agony, Zimbabweans need new leadership." 

Mugabe joked he died last year, but was resurrected.

"Yes, I was dead, it's true I was dead. I resurrected as I always do. Once I get back to my country I am real," Mugabe reportedly said in September. {eoa}

Jessilyn Justice Featured World News Tue, 17 Jan 2017 11:30:00 -0500