Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Star-Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key - Final Verse

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Trinity Lutheran, Carrington ND, Leaves ELCA

CARRINGTON, N.D. – Trinity Lutheran Church in Carrington has voted to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Sunday’s vote, the second, passed 161-16, according to a note posted on the church’s door.

Calls to the church and pastor were not returned Monday. Many pastors take Mondays off after weekend services.

The Rev. William E. Rindy, bishop of the ELCA’s Eastern North Dakota Synod, confirmed Trinity’s decision to leave. He said the decision was a reaction to the 2009 churchwide assembly vote to allow people in committed same-sex relationships serve as clergy.

“It’s always sad when part of the family walks away from the table,” Rindy said, adding that he “wishes them God’s blessings.”

Rindy said Trinity is the sixth church in the synod to leave the ELCA since 2009.


High Winds Destroy Bell Tower at First Lutheran, Belle Plaine IA

BELLE PLAINE, Iowa - High Winds took out the bell tower at a Lutheran Church in Belle Plaine late Tuesday afternoon.

One church leader at First Lutheran Church, 1523 Sunset Dr. Belle Plaine, said calls about the collapse began coming in just after 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday. The 25-foot-tall tower was built in 1966. When it fell, the brick bell tower also took out a covered walkway at the front of the church.

At least a few members were inside the church for a bible study, but the collapse apparently caused by the wind took place in a different part of the church so no one was in danger. The main entrance to the church will be usable as soon as the debris gets removed.

Church leaders said they will begin removing the debris Wednesday as soon as the weather permits and an insurance adjuster gives permission. There was no damage estimate available yet.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Concordia Theological Seminary Names Rast President-elect

Seminary names president-elect

Concordia Theological Seminary named Lawrence R. Rast Jr. its president-elect Saturday.

Rast currently is the seminary’s academic dean and professor of American Christianity and American Lutheranism.

Rast joined the seminary’s Department of Historical Theology in 1996 after serving as pastor of Ascension Lutheran Church in Madison, Tenn., according to a statement from Concordia Theological Seminary.

He graduated from Concordia College in River Forest, Ill., in 1986 and earned master’s degrees in divinity and sacred theology from Concordia Theological Seminary.

In 2003, he earned a doctorate from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.

Rast was one of eight nominees to replace the Rev. Dean O. Wenthe, who announced his plans to retire this year.

In announcing the decision, the seminary said Rast will consult with the current president and the school’s board to determine when he will assume the duties of his new position.

Bride with Gun I

Nuns with Guns has been such a popular series (I am pandering now), I thought we'd try to have fun with a new topic.  (Plus the real news is so depressing, I need a break.)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Allen West on Obama's Attempt to Destroy Israel

ALLEN WEST on Israel and Barack Hussein Obama’s attempt to destroy it

Posted: May 19, 2011 | Author:

Congressman Allen West (FL-22), the man who SHOULD be our Commander-in-Chief, released this statement today:

Allen West

”Today’s endorsement by President Barack Obama of the creation of a Hamas-led Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders, signals the most egregious foreign policy decision his administration has made to date, and could be the beginning of the end as we know it for the Jewish state.

From the moment the modern day state of Israel declared statehood in 1948, to the end of the 1967 Six Day War, Jews were forbidden access to their holiest site, the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, controlled by Jordan’s Arab army.

The pre-1967 borders endorsed by President Obama would deny millions of the world’s Jews access to their holiest site and force Israel to return the strategically important Golan Heights to Syria, a known state-sponsor of terrorism.

Resorting to the pre-1967 borders would mean a full withdrawal by the Israelis from the West Bank and the Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. Make no mistake, there has always been a Nation of Israel and Jerusalem has been and must always be recognized as its rightful capital.

In short, the Hamas-run Palestinian state envisioned by President Obama would be devastating to Israel and the world’s 13.3 million Jews. It would be a Pavlovian style reward to a declared Islamic terrorist organization, and an unacceptable policy initiative.

America should never negotiate with the Palestinian Authority- which has aligned itself with Hamas. Palestine is a region, not a people or a modern state. Based upon Roman Emperor Hadrian’s declaration in 73 AD, the original Palestinian people are the Jewish people.

It’s time for the American people to stand by our strongest ally, the Jewish State of Israel, and reject this foreign policy blunder of epic proportions.

While the winds of democracy may blow strong in the Middle East, history has demonstrated that gaps in leadership can lead to despotic regimes. I have questions for President Obama: ‘Who will now lead in Egypt?’ and ‘Why should American taxpayers provide foreign aid to a nation where the next chapter in their history may be the emergence of another radical Islamic state?’

President Obama has not stood for Israel or the Jewish people and has made it clear where the United States will stand when Palestine attempts to gain recognition of statehood by the United Nations. The President should focus on the real obstacle to security- the Palestinian leadership and its ultimate goal to eliminate Israel and the Jewish people.”

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Peace Lutheran, Edmond OK, Leaves ELCA

Okla. Church Votes to Leave ELCA

By Audrey Barrick | Christian Post Reporter at:

An Edmond, Okla., church voted overwhelmingly on Sunday to cut ties with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America over the denomination's liberal direction.
Joe Palmer, president of the congregation
In a 110-5 vote, Peace Lutheran Church agreed to leave the ELCA – the largest Lutheran denomination in the country with around 4.5 million members. This was the second and final approval needed to leave. The congregation also determined in a separate vote to affiliate with the newly formed conservative body, the North American Lutheran Church.

Peace Lutheran joins hundreds of other congregations in withdrawing from the ELCA following the body's vote in 2009 to let non-celibate gays and lesbians serve as clergy.

Peace Lutheran Church Council member Jim Smith told the Edmond Sun, "Our reaction was we felt we needed to get back to basic biblical teachings."

The NALC was formed last year in response to the pro-gay action to provide discontent Lutherans a new home. While homosexuality was a major issue prompting many Lutherans to reconsider their ties with the ELCA, they maintain that the large denomination was also moving away from the authority of Scripture.

Mary Hendrickson of Peace Lutheran stated on Facebook, "It was also the departure of the authority of scriptures and basic Lutheran and Christian truths and values that brought Peace to the decision to vote to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church synod."

If accepted by the NALC, Peace Lutheran will officially become a member of the conservative denomination on July 1.

This year, the NALC is preparing to elect a new bishop during its August convocation to serve a four-year term. Currently, Bishop Paull Spring, 72, is leading the body but said he will not be available for reelection.

Lutherans are not the only mainline Protestants experiencing divisions.

Presbyterian congregations are mulling a decision to leave the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) following an approval this month to open ordination to partnered homosexuals. A majority of the 173 presbyteries (district governing bodies) approved a change to the PC(USA)'s constitution that would delete the requirement that clergy live "in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness.”

The approval has been viewed by conservatives as a departure from the beliefs and practice of the historic and global church.

First Presbyterian Church of Orlando told the Orlando Sentinel that it may be cutting ties with the PC(USA).

Members of Presbyterians for Renewal which have pushed for reform from within the PC(USA) are also considering a fellowship "beyond the PC(USA)."

"We have prayed that our denomination would uphold this biblical standard, and we have worked to maintain it. But now a line has been crossed," the conservative group said.

While mulling its future, Presbyterians for Renewal is also advising against ill-considered actions and reminding conservative members that they can amend the church constitution again. "We who oppose this decay in ordination standards are still free to work to restore the clarity that has been lost and even to raise the level of accountability."

"We who are committed to holding fast the clear teaching of scripture must pray and work all the more to discern how to move forward with biblical faithfulness in and for a denomination that has lost its way."

Notably, the exodus from the PC(USA) began long before this month's final approval for gay ordination, with conservative congregations unhappy with the denomination's continual liberal direction on homosexuality and continual departure from biblical truths such as the "singular" saving Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Both the PC(USA) and the ELCA have experienced membership decline over the last two decades. The ELCA reported its largest ever drop of 90,000 members in 2009.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Government - Bad Problems, Bad Solutions

Geert Wilders: A Warning to America

A Warning to America
Speech of Geert Wilders, Cornerstone Church, Nashville, 12 May 2011

Dear friends from Tennessee. I am very happy to be in your midst today. I am happy and proud to be in this impressive church.

My friends, I am here to speak words of truth and freedom.

Do you know why America is in a better state than Europe? Because you enjoy more freedom than Europeans.

And do you know why Americans enjoy more freedom than Europeans? Because you are still allowed to tell the truth.

In Europe and Canada people are dragged to court for telling the truth about islam.

I, too, have been dragged to court. I am an elected member of the house of representatives in the Netherlands. I am currently standing in court like a common criminal for saying that islam is a dangerous totalitarian ideology rather than a religion.

The court case is still pending, but I risk a jail sentence of 16 months.

Last week, my friend Lars Hedegaard, a journalist from Denmark, was fined because in a private conservation, which was recorded without his knowing, he had criticised the way women are treated in islamic societies.

Recently, another friend, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, a human rights activist from Austria, was fined because she had criticised islam’s founder Muhammad. She had said that Muhammad was a pedophile because he had married a 6-year old girl and raped her when she was 9.

Unfortunately, there are many similar cases.

I am especially happy to be in your midst because here I can say what I want to say without having to fear that I will be dragged to court upon leaving this church.

My dear American friends, you cannot imagine how we envy your First Amendment. The day when America follows the example of Europe and Canada and introduces so-called “hate speech crimes” which is only used to punish people who are critical of islam, that day America will have lost its freedom.

My friends, let us hope that this never happens.

Last week, we celebrated Liberation Day in the Netherlands. We celebrated the liberation from the nazi occupation in 1945. Many American soldiers, including many young Tennesseans, played a decisive role in the liberation of the Netherlands from nazi tyranny. We are immensely grateful for that. Young Americans gave their lives so that the Dutch might be free. I assure you: The Dutch people will never forget this.

Unfortunately, however, the Europe which your fathers and grandfathers fought and died for is not the Europe we are living in today.

I travel the world to tell people what Europe has become. I wish I could take you all on a visit to my country and show you what Europe has become. It has changed beyond recognition as a result of mass immigration. And not just any mass immigration, but mass immigration driven by the dangerous force of islam.

My friends, I am sorry. I am here today with an unpleasant message. I am here with a warning. I am here with a battle cry: “Wake up, Christians of Tennessee. Islam is at your gate.” Do not make the mistake which Europe made. Do not allow islam to gain a foothold here.

Islam is dangerous. Islam wants to establish a state on earth, ruled by islamic sharia law. Islam aims for the submission, whether by persuasion, intimidation or violence, of all non-Muslims, including Christians.

The results can be seen in Europe.

Islam is an ideology of conquest. It uses two methods to achieve this goal: the first method is the sword. Do you know what figures on the flag of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a country where Christian churches are banned and Christians are not even allowed to wear a tiny crucifix? There is a huge sword on that flag, just below the islamic creed. The message is clear. Without the sword islam would not have been able to spread its creed.

The second method is immigration. Islam’s founder Muhammad himself taught his followers how to conquer through immigration when they moved from Mecca to Medina. This phenomenon of conquest through immigration is called al-Hijra. My learned friend Sam Solomon has written a perfect book about it.

I had a copy of Sam’s book sent to all the members of the Dutch Parliament. But most of them are worse than Saint-Thomas in the Bible. Thomas did not believe what he had not seen. Most politicians refuse to believe the things they see before their very eyes.

In Europe we have been experiencing al-Hijra for over 30 years now. Many of our cities have changed beyond recognition. “In each one of our cities” wrote the well-known Italian author Oriana Fallaci shortly before her death in 2006, “there is a second city, a state within the state, a government within the government. A Muslim city, a city ruled by the Koran.” – end of quote.

How did the Europeans get into this situation? It is partly our own fault because we have foolishly adopted the concept of cultural relativism, which manifests itself in the ideology of multiculturalism.

Cultural relativism advocates that all cultures are equal. However, cultures wither away and die if people no longer believe that its values are better than those of another culture.

Islam is spreading like wildfire wherever people lack the guts to say that their values are better than the Islamic values.

Islam is spreading like wildfire because the Koran explicitly tells Muslims that they are “the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind” and that non-Muslims are “the worst of creatures.”

Islam is spreading like wildfire everywhere in the West where political, academic, cultural and media elites lack the guts to proudly proclaim, as I believe we all should proclaim:

Our Judeo-Christian Western culture is far better and far superior to the islamic culture. We must be proud to say so!

Multiculturalism is a disaster. Almost everyone acknowledges this today, but few dare say why. Let me tell you why: Multiculturalism made us tolerate the intolerant, and now intolerance is annihilating tolerance.

We should, in the name of tolerance, claim the right not to tolerate the intolerant. Let us no longer be afraid and politically correct, let us be brave and bold. Let us tell the truth about islam.

Before I continue I want to make clear that I do not have a problem with people. I always make a distinction between the people and the ideology, between Muslims and islam.

Indeed, I have no problems with Muslims, but I do have a problem with the totalitarian Islamic ideology of hate and violence. The fact that there are many so-called moderate Muslims, does not imply that there exists a moderate islam. A moderate islam does not exist and will never exist.

And because there is no such thing as a moderate islam, the islamization of our free Western societies is an enormous danger.

Only two weeks ago, the British press revealed how the so-called “London Taliban” is threatening to kill women who do not wear veils in the London borough of Tower Hamlets.

In some neighbourhoods Islamic regulations are already being enforced, also on non-Muslims. Women’s rights are being trampled. We are confronted with headscarves and burqa’s, polygamy, female genital mutilation, honor-killings where men murder their wives, daughters or sisters because they do not behave in accordance with Islamic rules.

Polls show that the influence of those Muslims who live according to islam’s aggressive requirements is growing, especially among young people.

Among 15-year-old German Muslims, 40 percent consider islam more important than democracy.

Among Muslim university students in Britain, 40 percent support sharia. One in three of those students considers it legitimate to kill in the name of islam.

Christians are asked to follow the example of Jesus. Muslims are ordered to follow the example of Muhammad. That is why islam is dangerous. While Christianity preaches love, islam preached hatred and practices violence. Hatred and violence for everyone who is not a Muslim.

Muhammad personally participated in the ethnic cleansing of Medina, where half the population once was Jewish. Muhammad helped to chop off their heads. On his deathbed, he ordered his followers to cleanse Arabia of all Jews and Christians.

To this very day, Christian symbols are prohibited in Saudi-Arabia. If you wear a cross in Saudi Arabia, they sent you to jail.

And now, Europe is beginning to look like Arabia.

Just today, a poll revealed that in Brussels, the capital of the European Union, half the islamic youths are anti-semitic. It is dangerous for Jews to walk the streets in Brussels.
If you wear a cross or a kippah in certain urban areas in Europe today, you risk being beaten up. In the capital of my own country, Amsterdam, a tram driver was forced to remove his crucifix from sight, while his Muslim colleagues are allowed to wear the veil.

In June 2008, the Christian church authorities in the Danish town of Arhus decided to pay so-called “protection money” to islamic so-called “security guards” who assure that church goers are not harassed by islamic youths.

On March 31st, 2010, Muslims entered the Roman Catholic cathedral of Cordoba, Spain, and attacked the guards with knives. They claimed the cathedral was theirs.

Last month, the bishops of Sweden sent out a letter to priests advising them to avoid converting asylum seekers from islamic countries to Christianity, because the converts would risk losing their lives.

In the Netherlands, the city authorities in Amsterdam register polygamous marriages. The authorities in Rotterdam serve only halal meals in municipal cafeterias. Theaters provide separate seats for women who are not allowed to sit next to men. Municipal swimming pools have separate swimming hours for men and women, Muslim lawyers do not have to stand when the judges enter court rooms.

Meanwhile Jews are no longer safe on our streets. In Amsterdam, the city of Anne Frank, Jews are again being harassed in the streets. Even political leaders acknowledged that life has become unsafe for Jews in Holland. Do you know what they said? They advised Jews to emigrate. Jews are already running for Israel. But I say: Jews must not leave, violent Muslims must leave!

What is needed, my friends, is a spirit of resistance.

I repeat: What we need is a spirit of resistance.

Why? Because resistance to evil is our moral duty. This resistance begins with expressing our solidarity to Christians, Jews, indeed, to all people worldwide, who are the victims of islam. There are millions of them.

We can see what islam has in store for us if we watch the fate of the Christians in the islamic world, such as the Copts in Egypt, the Maronites in Lebanon, the Assyrians in Iraq, and Christians elsewhere.

Almost every day, churches are arsoned and Christians are assassinated in islamic countries.

In a report on the persecution of Christians in the world, Archbishop Twal of Jerusalem, wrote recently– I quote: “In the Middle East to be Christian means accepting that you must make a great sacrifice. All too often and in many places, Christians suffer various threats. On some occasions, their homes and churches are burnt, and people are killed. How many atrocities must we endure before somebody somewhere comes to our aid?” – end of quote.

Indeed, how many atrocities before we come to their aid?

Rivers of tears are flowing from the Middle East, where there is only one safe haven for Christians. You know where that is. The only place in the Middle East where Christians are safe is Israel.

That is why Israel deserves our support. Israel is a safe haven for everyone, whatever their belief and opinions. Israel is a beacon of light in a region of total darkness. Israel is fighting our fight.

The jihad against Israel is a jihad against all of us. If Israel falls, we, too, will feel the consequences. If Jerusalem falls, Athens, Rome, Amsterdam and Nashville will fall. Therefore, we all are Israel. We should always support Israel!

Today, we are confronted with political unrest in the Arab countries. The Arab peoples long for freedom. However, the ideology and culture of islam is so deeply entrenched in these countries that real freedom is simply impossible as long as islam remains dominant.

A recent poll in post-revolution Egypt found that 85 percent of Egyptians are convinced that islam’s influence on politics is good, 82 percent believe that adulterers should be stoned, 84 percent want the death penalty for apostates. The press refers to the events in the Arab world today as the Arab spring. I call it the Arab winter.

Islam and freedom, islam and democracy are not compatible.

The death of Osama bin Laden last week was a victory for the free world, but we will be confronted with Islamic terrorism as long as islam exists, because islam’s founder Muhammad himself was a terrorist, worse than Bin Laden.

And here is another truth: The rise of islam means the rise of sharia law in our judicial systems. In Europe we already have sharia wills, sharia schools, sharia banks. Britain even has sharia courts.

In my own country, the Netherlands, sharia is being applied by the courts in cases relating to divorce, child custody, inheritance, and property ownership. Women are always the victims of this because sharia discriminates women.

This is a disgrace. This is not the way we should treat women.

My friends, I told you that we have just remembered Liberation Day to commemorate the young Americans and all the heroes who offered their lives to free the Netherlands from nazi tyranny. It would be an insult to them if we Europeans would give up that precious freedom for another totalitarian ideology called Islam.

That is the goal for which my party and I work day after day. And we are having success.
In the Netherlands, we are successfully starting to roll back islam. The current Dutch government is a minority government which can only survive with the backing of my party, the Party for Freedom.

We have 24 seats of the 150 seats in parliament and we support the government, in return for measures to prohibit certain aspects of sharia law.

We have achieved that the Netherlands will soon ban the burka and the niqaab.

We will also restrict immigration from non-Western countries by up to 50% in the next four years. We are not going to allow islam to steal our country from us. It was the land of our fathers, it is our land now, our values are based on Christianity, Judaism and Humanism and we will pass this on to our children with all the freedoms that the previous generations have fought for.

Let those who want to rob us from our freedoms, stay in their own countries. We do not need them. If you want to wear a burqa, stay in Saudi-Arabia. If you want four wives, stay in Iran. If you want to live in a country where the islamic ideology is dominant, stay in Pakistan, if you don’t want to assimilate in our society, stay in Somalia. But don’t come over here.

We are also going to strip criminals who have a double nationality – for instance Dutch and Moroccan, and who repeatedly commit serious crimes, of their Dutch nationality. We will send them packing, back to their homeland.

My friends, what the Party for Freedom has achieved, shows that it can be done. We can fight the islamization of our societies.

Dear friends, here is my warning. Make no mistake: Islam is also coming for America. In fact, it is already here. America is facing a stealth jihad, the islamic attempt to introduce sharia law bit by bit. Last March, a judge in Tampa, Florida, ruled that a lawsuit against a mosque and involving the control of 2.4 million dollars, should proceed under Islamic law.

My friends, be aware that this is only the beginning. This is also how it started in Europe. If things continue like this, you will soon have the same problems as we are currently facing.

Leaders who talk about immigration without mentioning islam are blind. They ignore the most important problem Europe and America are facing. I have a message for them: it’s islam stupid!

My friends, fortunately, not all politicians are irresponsible. Here, in Tennessee, brave politicians want to pass legislation which gives the state the power to declare organisations as terrorist groups and allowing material supporters of terrorism to be prosecuted. I applaud them for that. They are true heroes.

Yesterday and today, I met some of those brave legislators. They told me that Tennessee in particular is a target of islam. Help them win their battle.

They need your support.

While Tennessee is in the frontline, similar legislative initiatives are also being taken in the states of Oklahoma, Wyoming, South Carolina, Texas, Florida, Missouri, Arizona, Indiana. It is encouraging to see that so many politicians are willing to resist islam.

This gives us hope and courage. I am not a pessimist. We can still turn the tide – even in Europe – if we act today.

There are five things which we must do.

First, we must defend freedom of speech.

Freedom is the source of human creativity and development. People and nations wither away without the freedom to question what is presented to them as the truth.

Without freedom of speech we risk becoming slaves. Frederick Douglass, the 19th century black American politician, the son of a slave, said – I quote – “To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.”

I have already told you about my court case. This legal charade will not, however, prevent me from saying the truth. Never. I will speak out, even if they drag me before 500 courts and threaten to jail me for a thousand years.

The fact that we are being treated as criminals for telling the truth must not deter us. We are doomed if we remain silent or let ourselves be silenced. Let us not forget, this is our first and most important obligation: defend the right to speak the truth.

Second, we must end cultural relativism and political correctness. We must repeat it over and over again, especially to our children: Our Western culture based on Christianity and Judaism is superior to the islamic culture. Our laws are superior to sharia. Our judeo-christian values are better than islam’s totalitarian rules.

And because they are superior and better, we must defend them. We must fight for our own identity, or else we will lose it. We need to be warriors for the good, because the good is worth fighting for. Neutrality in the face of evil is evil.

Third, we must stop the islamization of our countries. More islam means less freedom. There is enough islam in the West already. We must stop immigration from non-Western countries, which are mostly islamic countries. We must expel criminal immigrants. We must forbid the construction of new hate palaces called mosques.

We must also close down all islamic schools because educating children in a spirit of hate is one of the worst things imaginable. We must introduce anti-sharia legislation everywhere in the free world. Enough is enough.

Fourth, we must take pride in our nations again. We must cherish and preserve the culture and identity of our country. Preserving our own culture and identity is the best antidote against islamization.

And fifth, last but certainly not least, we must elect wise and courageous leaders who are brave enough to address the problems which are facing us, including the threat of islam.
Politicians who have the courage to speak the truth about islam.

Politicians who dare to denounce the devastating results of the multicultural society.
Politicians who – without political correctness – say: enough is enough.

You and I, Americans and Europeans, we belong to a common Western culture. We share the ideas and ideals of our common Judeo-Christian heritage. In order to pass this heritage on to our children and grandchildren, we must stand together, side by side, in our struggle against Islamic barbarism.

That, my friends, is why I am here. I am here to forge an alliance. Our international freedom alliance. We must stand together for the Judeo-Christian West.

We will not allow islam to overrun Israel and Europe, the cradle of the judeo-Christian civilization.

My friends, we will stand together.

We will stand firm.

We will not submit. Never. Not in Israel, not in Europe, not in America. Nowhere.

We will survive.

We will stop islam.

We will defend our freedoms.

We will remain free.

Thank you.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

St Peter's, Columbus IN, to be Razed, Glass will be Saved


The 1904 sanctuary of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church on Fifth Street will be demolished this year, church officials say, but one important element in its history will be preserved.
The building, between Lafayette Avenue and Pearl Street, has not been used as a place of worship since completion of the newer Gunnar Birkets church in 1988 and has essentially been shuttered since 2003.

“We haven’t awarded any demolition contracts at this point,” said Gary Goshorn, executive director of St. Peter’s Ele-mentary School. “However, it’s our intent to have it torn down before the start of the next school year.”

Aside from the outer shell, little remains of the original building, which underwent a major renovation in 1968.

“Were we to attempt to save the old building, we’d essentially be restoring a 1968 structure,” Goshorn said.

The link to the origin of the building that will be preserved is the series of stained glass windows in its walls.

The windows are so important to the history of the congregation that church leaders voted to have them removed and put in secure storage until a use can be found for them.

The church contracted with the Botti Studio of Architectural Arts in Evanston, Ill., to secure the glass before the building is demolished.

Church historians believe that the windows were original to the building, and the materials used in making them came from the Kokomo Glass Co. in northern Indiana.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pocatello Council Rejects Grace Lutheran


POCATELLO, Idaho -- The Pocatello City Council voted Thursday night to deny a request from Grace Lutheran Church to have a public hearing to change the zoning laws surrounding the former Ballard Medical building.

Around 245 people showed up in the city council chambers in support of Grace Lutheran's attempt to expand into a Christian high school and events center in the Ballard building.

They recited the pledge of allegiance, they prayed and they waited -- parents, Grace students and its administrators -- to see what the council would say.

But the council turned them down, with just one dissenting vote from council member Gary Moore.

Council member Roger Bray said granting the church a public hearing in front of the Planning and Zoning Committee would take away from the council's ability and duty to make governing decisions.

He also said the zoning laws are in place for a reason, and breaking them would be a careless move.

But the city does make zoning exceptions from time to time, and Grace pastor Jonathan Dinger said in an interview before the meeting that he did not understand why they could not get a chance at one.

"Our lawyer has said to us, there is a legal argument they can make. They're not lying. It's a weak argument. The argument we have, our lawyer says, you've got the title deed in hand, is a tremendously strong argument," Dinger said.

"Zoning regulations are in place to protect property owners and that includes corporate property owners by preventing careless degradation or casual erosion of established areas by preserving them for ongoing specified use," said Bray.

"Because I am in favor of this project doesn't mean I don't support ON Semiconductor. It doesn't mean I don't support ISU," said Moore.

The support Grace got from the city came only in the form of the council saying how great of a value the church is to the community. Two council members who voted against Grace's proposal said they have children or grandchildren who go to the church's school.

After the meeting, Dinger said he was disappointed and wished he had more of a chance to argue the points the council members made against him.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Grace Lutheran Church, Red Lion PA, Damaged by Gunfire

Police: Bullets strike Red Lion church steeple
by ELIZABETH EVANS The York Dispatch
Updated: 5/03/2011 11:45:25 AM EDT

Someone shot up a Red Lion church, leaving five bullet holes in several metal panels covering the steeple, police said.

York Area Regional Police said a worker doing repairs on the steeple of Grace Lutheran Church, 220 N. Charles St., discovered the damage on April 26.

All the bullet holes are on the southwest side of the steeple and are believed to have been fired from the direction of West High Street, police said.

The vandalism happened between Nov. 1 and April 26, police said.

Anyone with information about it is asked to call Officer Kevin Spangler at 741-1259.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Geert Wilders' Final Remarks

Free Geert banner

Below are the final remarks made by Geert Wilders at his trial in Amsterdam today, May 2nd, 2011:
Mister President, members of the Court:

I recently tried to have Your Honors removed from the case for your refusal to register a statement of perjury against Mr. Hendriks. My challenge of the court did not succeed. I must accept that. I do wish to say, however, that I was more annoyed by another declaration of the President of the Court on the day of the official hearing of Mr. Jansen. He said that I was a free man, that I could not be compared to Mr. [Gregorius] Nekschot because I was a free man.

Mister President, you could not be more wrong. For almost seven years now, I have not been a free man. I lost my freedom in 2004. I live as a prisoner with guards without you having convicted me. Without protection I am even less certain of my life than I am now. Mister President, you would not use the words “free man” if you could change places with me for one week.

Mister President, members of the court, I am here as a suspect again today. I have said so before: This penal case is a political trial. An attempt is being made here to silence a politician who speaks on behalf of one and a half million people and who already pays a heavy price for that every single day. Formally, only I stand on trial here, but in practice the freedom of speech of millions of Dutchmen is on trial.

This trial is not merely a political trial. It is also an unjust trial.. When you look at the order of the court (to prosecute me) it is clear that the verdict has already been passed. The court has issued an order to prosecute me in which it concludes that I am guilty of incitement to hatred. The court has concluded that my statements as such are of an insulting nature. The court has concluded that I am guilty of the most serious charge: the incitement to hatred and discrimination. The court has concluded that it expects that the criminal prosecution will indeed lead to a conviction. Mister President, members of the court, the court has already done your job. Long before I was brought to trial before you, I was found guilty and was condemned. Hence my right to a just trial has been violated.

Alas, this is but the tip of the iceberg. Without any doubt, the judges who presided this case have conveyed a semblance of partiality. I have been denied 15 of the 18 witnesses whom I wanted to call. Every high representative of the judicial power has given his view on this case, and often to my disadvantage. But Counselor Schalken was the worst.

Counselor Schalken, who co-authored the decision to prosecute me, makes a habit of discussing my trial and arguing his case at elegant dinner parties for intellectuals. Counselor Schalken dined with my witness, Mr. Jansen – note that he was one of the only three witnesses whom I was allowed to call – three days before Mr. Jansen was to be interrogated by the court. During this dinner Mr. Schalken TRIED to influence Mr. Jansen. The fact that he did not succeed is irrelevant..

Mr. President, members of the court, stop this unfair, political trial.. Respect our Dutch freedoms. If this trial continues, despite the fact that the principle of the presumption of innocence has been violated, and if I am convicted, not only my freedom will be infringed, but also the right of all Dutch people to hear the truth.. The 19th century black American politician Frederick Douglass, the son of a slave, put it as follows: “To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.”

Mr. President, members of the court, I end with a quote of George Washington, who said: “If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” Mr. President, members of the court, do not let this warning become reality. Stop this charade, this political trial where I have already been convicted by the court even before I was a suspect. Stop it now. If you do so, and I passionately hope you will, this will benefit freedom of speech as well as the respectability of the judicial power and the rule of law.

St. John Lutheran Church, Hatton ND, Leaves ELCA

Hatton church votes to leave ELCA

By: Stephen J. Lee, Grand Forks Herald at

St. John Lutheran Church, the congregation in Hatton, N.D., where native son, pioneer aviator and famed Arctic explorer Carl Ben Eielson was baptized and buried, voted Sunday to leave the nation’s largest Lutheran denomination and join another.

Steve Iverson, president of the 700-member congregation, said the vote Sunday — the second of the two required to leave — was 76 for leaving, 15 for staying, an 84 percent majority.

The 91 total voters is pretty close to the weekly attendance of 98, reported in the 2009 yearbook of the ELCA.

The congregation then immediately voted 80 to 10 — one member was in the basement and missed the vote — to join Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ, an organization formed a few years ago as an alternate to the ELCA.

Bethany Lutheran, a small rural congregation southeast of Hatton, which has been yoked in a parish with St. John, decided to remain in the ELCA and has linked up with two rural congregations, Little Forks, southwest of Hatton, and Goose River, west of Hatton, Iverson said.

Iverson said while the controversial vote in 2009 at the ELCA national assembly to allow gays and lesbians in lifelong, committed, monogamous relationships to serve as pastors was part of the reason for leaving.

That vote “has generated waves throughout the ELCA, but that’s not really the issue,” he said. “It’s just a symptom of what’s going on and it’s all part of what society is willing to accept versus what the Bible is willing to accept.”

“I do believe the majority of the congregation does believe that the ELCA is a very politically driving organization right now,” Iverson said.

St. John hasn’t had a permanent pastor for nearly two years and sort of delayed calling a new one, knowing it would probably vote to leave, Iverson said.

The congregation will rely on retired clergy in the area for pulpit supply while interviewing possible pastors, he said.

St. John posted a “potential” opening on a website with ties to the LCMC three weeks ago and already has received several applications, Iverson said.

Bishop Bill Rindy, head of the Eastern North Dakota Synod, attended Sunday’s meeting, about the third time he’s spoken to the congregation about its plans, Iverson said.

Fallout from the 2009 clergy decision has hurt the ELCA in the pocketbook. A church official reported in January that churchwide revenue for the past year was down $8 million, or 13 percent, from the previous 12-month period.

Many congregations have decreased or stopped giving to regional or national ELCA departments over disagreements with the gay and lesbian clergy vote, other issues, which coupled with the downturns in the economy the past three years have led to cutbacks at the national office in Chicago.

Hundreds of the 10,000 congregations in the ELCA have taken at least one vote on whether to leave the ELCA, officials have said. With about 4.4 million members, the ELCA is the nation’s largest Lutheran group and one of the largest Protestant churches in the United States.

At least three other congregations in the Eastern North Dakota Synod have completed two votes to leave, including Peace Lutheran in Devils Lake late last year, which will join the newly formed North American Lutheran Church, as will its pastor, the Rev. Rafe Allison, who left the ELCA roster.

St. John Lutheran gave about $30,000 per year to the ELCA in what are called “benevolences,” according to the ELCA yearbook.

The congregation got some national attention 81 years ago.

The funeral of Eielson, March 26, 1930, drew throngs estimated at 5,000 to 10,000 that filled the center of the city of 800, which is St. John Lutheran and its lot. Eielson was 32 when he died Nov. 29, 1929, piloting a plane in Alaska. He was buried in the St. John cemetery a half-mile north of Hatton.

Sunday’s vote is the start of a new thing for the congregation formed by Norwegian immigrants more than 120 years ago.

“The only bad part is there are 15 people who didn’t want to leave. I hope we will not lose any members. But overall, had we stayed in the ELCA, we would have lost a lot of members.”

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Usama Bin Laden Dead

Usama bin Laden killed by US Navy SEALS.

St Paul's Lutheran Church Damaged in Alabama Storms

Reaching Out after Deadly Twisters in the South
by LCMS World Relief and Human Care

Debris surrounds the damaged Cullman County Courthouse in downtown Cullman, Ala. A tornado hit the area about 3 p.m. April 27, also damaging St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and School in Cullman. Credit: Mark Almond/Birmingham News/Landov
Members of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and School in Cullman, Ala., are among the masses dealing with major damages after powerful storms cut a wide swath through the South on April 27, killing more than 250 people in six states in what news reports call the deadliest twister outbreak in nearly 40 years.
“It’s pretty bad . . . it’s quite something,” said Rev. Warren J. Ruland, St. Paul’s pastor, as he drove to Birmingham the next morning to purchase automobile gasoline so he could assist with the start of massive clean-up efforts.

Ruland was one of many in shattered Southern communities taking stock of destruction from twisters that reportedly flattened towns and prompted municipal officials to ask for prayers. The pastor told of walking Cullman’s debris-strewn streets and seeing devastated homes, huge uprooted trees and “dirt and glass everywhere.” “With no power or gas, hopefully all this won’t start wearing on people’s nerves,” Ruland said.

The twister extensively damaged St. Paul’s Lutheran School, collapsing the second story into the first floor. “There’s no way we can have school there,” Ruland said. Strong winds blew out windows at the church, but the pastor said he was hopeful that the building sustained no structural damage and could hold services on Sunday.

St. Paul’s is one of many congregations throughout the South that LCMS World Relief and Human Care (WR-HC) contacted on April 28, although communication proved difficult because of widespread power outages.

Early reports include no news of LCMS member fatalities, according to officials of the Southern and Mid-South districts, which include the states of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida’s western tip (Southern District) and Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky’s southern counties (Mid-South District). Early reports also indicate congregation members in the Southern District sustained major home damage, according to district leaders, but no additional details were yet available.

“It is difficult to fully comprehend the death and destruction that has occurred over the past 36 hours across much of the South,” said Rev. Glenn F. Merritt, director of Disaster Response with WR-HC. “Our brothers and sisters are reeling from tornadoes, floods, fires, wind and hail damage. Hundreds of lives have been lost, thousands of homes and businesses have been damaged or destroyed, countless lives have been interrupted or altered, yet the Church is there to bring encouragement and help.”

As pastors throughout the South continue to check on members and neighbors in hard-hit communities, LCMS World Relief and Human Care made available initially up to $50,000 to assist with response efforts. The funds, made possible by caring WR-HC donors, will enable congregations to reach out to members of both their churches and their communities and help with emergency needs.

“Our hearts go out to the thousands of families who are suffering, among whom are LCMS folks,” said LCMS President Matthew C. Harrison. “God help us — and He does — demonstrate compassion in Jesus’ name.”

Plans also are in the works for Merritt and WR-HC’s Rev. Carlos Hernandez to travel to Alabama as soon as possible to assist with needs assessments and offer pastoral care.

Earlier in the week, WR-HC also awarded a $3,500 to Zion Lutheran Church, Maryland Heights, Mo., to assist families recovering from April 22 Good Friday storms in the St. Louis area. The congregation has turned its fellowship hall into an emergency supplies distribution center that is open to the public.

The LCMS mercy ministry also issued an $8,250 grant to the Iowa West District to help members of St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Mapleton, which was hit by an April 9 storm.

On April 27, the Southern District’s Gene Menzel was on the road, traveling in conjunction with LCMS-related work from Huntsville, Ala., to his home in New Orleans, La. He said that traveling along some of the same path as the horrific storm reminded him of the suffering that followed Hurricane Katrina and the importance of the Church helping people in need.

“It’s important that in the afterglow of Easter and as we battle the things of this life that we are there to extend the Word of hope and encouragement,” said Menzel, executive assistant for Parish Services. “It’s important that our congregations and our members can reach out and be God’s hand of love during this time.”
Likewise, Merritt called on LCMS members to give generously in an urgent time of need.

“Even as we wait for final word on the toll of death and destruction, the Church is on the scene, standing by Her members and professional church workers as they reach out to one another and their communities. Assistance is being offered at every level, skilled disaster responders and counselors are being deployed and mercy is shining through the darkness of despair as the LCMS responds,” he said. “Your help is needed now so that together we can continue to reach out to those in need through our districts and congregations.”

Because LCMS World Relief and Human Care’s tornado relief fund was depleted by last year’s tornado relief efforts, gifts are urgently needed to respond to this spring’s wrath of twisters and recent storms in the Midwest and the South.
To contribute to the Synod’s tornado disaster response:
  • Mail checks (noting “Tornado Disaster Relief” in the memo line) to LCMS World Relief and Human Care, P.O. Box 66861, St. Louis, MO 63166-6861.
  • Call toll-free 888-930-4438.
  • To make an online donation for LCMS “Tornado Disaster Relief” efforts, please click the Give Now button below.
Give Now

Any funds not needed for this relief effort will be used for other disaster purposes as determined by LCMS World Relief and Human Care. Your gift is tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.