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3rd Inaugural Christian Gala

Thank you for joining us for the 3rd Inaugural Christian Gala in Washington, D.C!

For a small charitable donation, TVCELI is providing pictures free of charge from the Christian Gala to our friends.  Just click on a donation amount and we will immediately send you to a portfolio full of memories.

…and as always, thank you for your support!

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Iran Admits That Islam has a Violence Problem – But Will They Act to Stop It?

They say acceptance is the first step in rehabilitation, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani acknowledged in remarks at a press conference in Tehran today that Islam has a violence problem.  On the face of it, such a statement seems like a step in the right direction:

He voiced concern that damage was being done to Islam’s reputation by the violence in its heartlands, and urged all Islamic nations in the region to stop the ‘violence, terror and massacres’.

This being Iran, though, there was another agenda at work.  Its greatest rivals in the region are not America or Britain, but Sunni states such as Saudi Arabia, and Rouhani implied that they are to blame for much of the violence he spoke of:

Hassan_Rouhani

‘How many bombs and missiles have you purchased from America this year?’ Mr Rouhani asked. ‘If you had distributed the money for those bombs and missiles among poor Muslims, nobody would be going to bed hungry.’

Nevermind that Iran itself is the world’s most notorious sponsor of terrorism, having long supported violent anti-Israel groups such as Hezbollah.  Its policy toward Israel is itself violent and unchanging.

Iran’s recent efforts to prop up the regime of Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad made Rouhani look especially hypocritical when discussing his purported sorrow at seeing Muslim children flee places such as Syria for the safety and security of non-Muslim countries.  After all, a senior Iranian general was killed two months ago in Syria while helping organize government forces.

These children Rouhani spoke of wouldn’t have to flee their homes if Iran wasn’t so desperate to keep its violent ally in power, and Islam wouldn’t have such a violence problem if Iran wasn’t so consumed by hatred for our Israeli allies.  It is nice to see some kind of acknowledgement of how Islam has come to be defined by its terrorists, but unless Iran recognizes it own responsibility for this happen, change is unlikely.

Reporter Kicked Off Campus for Asking About Liberal Bias

When the student paper at Cornell University wrote a story showing how 96% of political donations from professors went to Democrats, you would think the administration would be concerned with this lack of intellectual diversity.   After all, it’s impossible for students to learn about the full range of viewpoints available when virtually all their professors share the same one.

The school actually did the exact opposite – when a reporter came to the school to ask about the story, they promptly kicked him off campus.  They also refused to explain why.  The motivation seems clear enough, though: to avoid being accountable for creating a one-sided atmosphere.

Cornell_logo

The school is a private one, so it has the right to kick someone off, but a college which chooses to ban speech in this way cannot seriously hold itself up as a place of higher learning.  One professor interviewed by the student paper, who also served as a vice provost in the administration for four years, summed up the impact:

“[I was] concerned that there were not enough conservative voices in the faculty… a lot of the time conservative professors don’t want to work here.”

Every one of the 13 separate colleges at Cornell showed the same bias, from engineering to arts and sciences.  The Cornell Sun story quoted multiple students whose professors often inserted their personal political views into class and acted dismissively toward opposing ideas instead of fostering discussion of them.

The school has offered no further explanation on its decision for this bias or its to kick the reporter off campus who was asking students about it.  The TV news segment where the reporter was kicked off can be seen here:

Should America Still Shoot Deserters?

It says a lot about the American military that Bowe Bergdahl is the only notable example of a soldier deserting his unit despite over 14 years of tough fighting in Afghanistan.  For those not familiar with him, Bergdahl walked off his base in 2009 due to dissatisfaction with his leadership.  This idea turned out to be just as stupid as it sounds, and he was quickly captured by the Taliban and held for five years.

Because nobody abandons their post anymore, there isn’t much recent precedent about how to punish somebody that does.  Only one soldier has been executed for desertion since the Civil War, and that decision was made in part to stop others from deserting.  Thanks to the professionalism of the U.S. Army, that isn’t a problem now.

PFC Bergdahl abandoned his unit in 2009

But that doesn’t mean deserting can just be ignored.  Somehow, the military commission in charge of Bergdahl’s case seems ready to do that:

In a memorandum dated Friday, the legal team said it agreed with Lt. Col. Mark Visger’s conclusion that their client be referred to a special court-martial and receive neither jail time nor a punitive [dishonorable] discharge.

The recommendation, which hasn’t been announced publicly by the U.S. military, is a significant development for Bergdahl, who in March was charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

This decision is ridiculous.  There is still one level of review left, so the Army may come to its senses.  But it is an insult to even suggest that someone who abandons their post in wartime should just be released.  He deserves a dishonorable discharge and a jail sentence at a minimum – and he should feel very fortunate if that’s all that happens to him.  Nobody made him join the Army, and nobody should feel sorry for him if he received the traditional punishment for traitors – a bullet – instead of a plane ticket home.

This hesitancy to punish one of the worst crimes a soldier can commit against his country is a prime example of the kind of fundamental weakening of America we have seen under the Obama administration.  Make no mistake: our enemies notice this kind of decision, and it makes them bolder about fighting our troops and attacking our interests overseas.  No commander should enjoy punishing a soldier, but a good commander knows it is sometimes necessary.  It will be a worrying sign if all the punishment Bowe Bergdahl receives is being kicked out of the same Army he voluntarily abandoned when it needed him.

Recognizing the Heroism of Brave Christians in Syria

There has been a lot of discussion recently about religious freedom in America, and for good reason – the courts and bureaucrats deep in government have been chipping away at that freedom.  But today we ask you to reflect on the sacrifices of Christians halfway around the world, including 12 brave souls who stood up for the freedom to believe in Jesus and were brutally killed for it.

These missionaries were from Syria.  Even as civil war spread across that country, they insisted on staying in their homeland, and they insisted on bringing the word of Christ to those trapped by the violence.

The black flag of ISIS
The black flag of ISIS

Christian Aid Mission describes the situation:

‘Every time we talked to them,’ the director said, ‘they were always saying, ‘We want to stay here – this is what God has told us to do. This is what we want to do.’ They just wanted to stay and share the gospel.’

These missionaries knew ISIS militants were approaching the town where they lived and worked, but they refused to flee the terrorists, believing the work of sharing Christ to be too important to abandon.

They were soon captured by ISIS forces and given a chance to renounce Christianity and spare their own lives.  Instead they prayed publically in the name of the Jesus, continuing to follow a peaceful path until the terrorists beheaded and crucified them in front of the entire town.

This is reality of terrorism – and the danger it poses both to America and Christians everywhere.  As we continue to fight to uphold our values, I ask that you join us in taking a moment to appreciate the sacrifice of these missionaries and all those who risk their lives in the name of the Lord.

Safeguarding the “precious possession” of religious liberty

Speaking at the White House on the first day of his visit to the United States, Pope Francis touched on what has been an area of great concerns for Christians across our nation over the past few years – the right to religious liberty.  As is necessary from a visiting dignitary of his stature, he referred to a domestic problem without directly criticizing his host:

Mr. President, together with their fellow citizens, American Catholics are committed to building a society which is truly tolerant and inclusive, to safeguarding the rights of individuals and communities, and to rejecting every form of unjust discrimination. With countless other people of good will, they are likewise concerned that efforts to build a just and wisely ordered society respect their deepest concerns and their right to religious liberty. That freedom remains one of America’s most precious possessions.

Judging by the actions of the current administration, this was a necessary and pointed reminder.  From forcing businesses to pay for contraceptive coverage to bankrupting companies who refuse to participate in same-sex weddings, it has been increasingly difficult to exercise religious freedom in America without serious consequences.  And the courts have been a mixed bag, with the Supreme Court standing tall in Hobby Lobby but lower federal courts upholding massive fines against businesses refusing same-sex services.  This battle will only continue in the years ahead.

Message to CAIR: No Christian Would Recognize the Jesus of the Koran

Mr. Ibrahim Hooper with the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) performs a rather odd pirouette attempting to link the teachings of Jesus Christ to those of a peaceful, tolerant Mohammed (Jesus and Mohammed are Brothers, December 7th, 2012). Instead of navel-gazing on possibilities, one might suggest Mr. Hooper simply open a newspaper to find out how amazingly inaccurate this spin truly is.

For example, I wonder if the Egyptian Copts currently living under the threat of shariah law, forced upon them by their own government, would agree that the Islamist view of Jesus the prophet reconciles with the Christian idea of Jesus the Christ?

What was probably the most outrageous statement from Mr. Hooper was the line “(d)isrespect towards Jesus is very offensive to Muslims.”

An interesting statement, considering that when Jesus is maligned in the Middle East, there are no riots, no embassies burning, no protests erupting in violence occur.

This lack of violence in response to the offense of Islamists and others isn’t because Christians are not deeply offended when Jesus Christ is maligned — in fact, the outrage is all the more sincere because who Christians believe Jesus is.

Yet the Islamic experience is far different. When Pope Benedict XVI quoted a Byzantine scholar who reflected on this tradition of force and violence in Islam back in 2006, how did the Islamist main street respond? With force and violence.

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TVCELI Unveils Top 10 Worst NIH Grants

Want to find out where the government is spending your money?  TVCELI has just unveiled it’s Top 10 Bizarre and Wasteful NIH Grants for your perusal… and there are some really ridiculous grants that would make even the most avid liberal wince in pain reading them.  Porn, pot, measurements of the male anatomy, even money to Communist China — it’s all in there.

The impact of the “fiscal cliff” due to sequestration is $1.2 trillion dollars stretched over the course of 10 years — a total impact to the projected budget, not actual spending, of $100 billion a year.

The task of Congress is to bend back the projected future spending away from something that looks like a 45◦ angle and turn it back to a more digestible 15◦ angle, thus allowing an economic recovery to absorb the future costs of entitlements, defense spending, and core services essential to the federal government.

Sequestration is ultimately a patchwork solution designed to hurt.  The real task requires a combination of efforts, but the perception of government bureaucrats holding the American economy hostage in order to preserve their budget lines must be erased entirely.

If sacrifices are to be demanded of the American people, government must make sacrifices equal to the demand upon American families.  There is no better place to begin than to end the sea of regulations killing American jobs, bizarre grant projects, and objectively wasteful spending within government.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is one agency that illustrates the problem in all agencies — a government-wide pandemic of spending that is real money to real people.

HuffPo: Boy Scouts Determine Soul Worth More Than $150K

Whelp… the thought police are at it again.

This time, UPS has decided to rescind it’s gift of $150,000 to the Boy Scouts of America because of the refusal to allow homosexuals to serve as Scout Masters for young boys as young as 11 years old.

Not willing to stop at mere acceptance in society, organizations such as GLAAD would rather trample upon your constitutional right to free association as well… or at least, intimidate the heck out of those who choose to associate with folks GLAAD doesn’t like:

Among those to applaud the UPS move was Zach Wahls, the Iowa student whose impassioned pro-gay marriage speech to his state’s legislators became the most-watched political clip of 2011 on YouTube after going viral twice last year.

“UPS showed true bravery today in standing with the 80,000 Americans, including thousands of Scouts and Scout leaders, who oppose the Boy Scouts’ hurtful anti-gay policy. That bravery is what Scouting is all about,” Wahls, who is also a regular HuffPost Gay Voices blogger, said in a Change.org petition. “Corporate America gets it better than most: policies that discriminate aren’t simply wrong, they’re bad for business and they’re hurting the Scouting community. You would think that after all the Boy Scouts have lost as a result of this policy, they would understand that.”

Added GLAAD President Herdon Graddick: “Equality is not only good for business, but supported by a vast majority of Americans. The time is now for the BSA to end this outdated and unpopular ban before other corporate funders pull dollars and scouting families drop their support.”

Now we have no idea how pressured UPS was to do something like this, and of course given the sort of heat that Chick-fil-A was exposed to, we doubtlessly suspect that their example is being used as a hammer on countless other corporate organizations who want to support good, ethical environments for young men in their formative years.

The question that should really shock folks is why homosexual groups want in on that so desperately.  Why are they willing to go after UPS and other corporate sponsors of the Boy Scouts?

The right of free association stops at their right to get to your children, so it would seem.