Saturday, February 27, 2016

School House Rock - The Preamble

For HRC:

South Dakota, ELCA, Transgenders, and Bathrooms

The South Dakota state legislature recently passed a bill that “require(s) public-school students to use facilities that match their biological sex, according to the Washington Times.”

“…Under the bill, 'every restroom, locker room, and shower room located in a public elementary or secondary school that is designated for student use and is accessible by multiple students at the same time shall be designated for and used only by students of the same biological sex.'" The governor has yet to sign the bill.

ELCA South Dakota synod bishop, David Zellmer, does not like this bill and he took to social media to lobby for its defeat saying, “I have contacted South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard and urged him to veto HB 1008 – legislation that would prevent transgender students in public schools from using restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity.”

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I have contacted South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard and urged him to veto HB 1008 – legislation that would prevent transgender students in public schools from using restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity. This is a bill that ostracizes transgender students, putting them at risk in our schools.

This is not how we treat our neighbors. We are called to love and protect our neighbor in need. Let us stand in their corner rather than against them. These are the children of our own families, congregations, and communities. Let our love for them lead us to take action for their protection. I urge you to take action and contact Governor Daugaard and ask him to veto this dangerous bill. His contact information may be found here.

Please join me in praying for our South Dakota children that this bill would effect and for a proper resolution.

In the hope of mercy and equality,

Bishop David Zellmer
South Dakota Synod, ELCA

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Ten Days to Save EU Migration System

Brussels (AFP) - The EU has until a March 7 summit with Turkey to curb the number of migrants coming to Europe or else the bloc's migration system might "completely break down", migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said Thursday.

"In the next 10 days, we need tangible and clear results on the ground. Otherwise there is a risk that the whole system will completely break down," Avramopoulos told a press conference after interior ministers dealing with the crisis met in Brussels.

The EU official also warned of an imminent humanitarian crisis in Greece, the main arrival point for migrants in Europe, or on the western Balkans route most take to richer northern European countries.

"The situation is very critical. The possibility of a humanitarian crisis is very real and very near," Avramopoulos said.

Kasich Campaign Update

John Kasich
The math and the path are a mess for John Kasich. But if you're wondering why he's not dropping out, you've come to the right place. Read more in Ohio Politics Roundup.

Time for a John Kasich reality check: "The Ohio governor is clinging to dwindling hopes that he can win this year's Republican presidential nomination. ... No matter how bad the delegate math looks, he seems determined to ride it out until at least March 15, when Ohio and Florida hold key primaries. ... The governor's advisers believe a win over [Donald] Trump in Ohio, coupled with a [Marco] Rubio loss to Trump in Florida, will reshape the race into what Kasich wants most: A one-on-one with Trump."

Saturday, February 13, 2016

How Shall We Regard the Bible

A criticism of our teaching on the inerrancy and authority of the Bible is that we first must somehow convince people of the Bible’s authority and only then can the Gospel of forgiveness in Christ be shared and believed. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. The message of damnable sin and complete forgiveness in the cross and resurrection of Jesus creates faith in Jesus. Such faith recognizes the voice of the Good Shepherd in the Scriptures: “My sheep hear my voice. I know them and they follow me” (John 10:27).

As sheep precious to the Savior, we recognize the Bible to be what Jesus did: the very Word of God. “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son” (Heb. 1:1).

Antonin Scalia Quotes

Justice Antonin Scalia Quotes

Speaking to college graduates:

“Never compromise your principles, unless of course your principles are Adolf Hitler’s, in which case you would be well advised to compromise them as much as you can.” – Justice Scalia

“Indeed, follow your star if you want to head north and it’s the North Star. But if you want to head north and it’s Mars, you had better follow somebody else’s star.” – Justice Scalia

On following your conscience:

“More important than your obligation to follow your conscience, or at least prior to it, is your obligation to form your conscience correctly.” – Justice Scalia

“Sometimes people come up to me and inquire, ‘Justice Scalia, when did you first become an originalist?’ As though it’s some weird affliction, you know, ‘When did you start eating human flesh?'” – Justice Scalia

On the game of soccer:

“If it were impossible for individual human beings (or groups of human beings) to act autonomously in effective pursuit of a common goal, the game of soccer would not exist.” – Justice Scalia

On the lack of a Constitutional right to abortion:

“You think there ought to be a right to abortion? No problem. The Constitution says nothing about it. Create it the way most rights are created in a democratic society. Pass a law. And that law, unlike a Constitutional right to abortion created by a court can compromise.” – Justice Scalia

On the Constitution being a tool for change:

“A Constitution is not meant to facilitate change. It is meant to impede change, to make it difficult to change.” – Justice Scalia

On disagreeing with people:

“I respect the people who have them, but I think those views are just flat out wrong,” – Justice Scalia

On his combative arguments in the Supreme Court:

“I attack ideas. I don’t attack people. And some very good people have some very bad ideas. And if you can’t separate the two, you gotta get another day job.”- Justice Scalia

On the F-word being used in modern television:

“I occasionally watch movies or television shows in which the f-word is used constantly, not by the criminal class but by supposedly elegant, well-educated, well-to-do people. The society I move in doesn’t behave that way. Who imagines this? – Justice Scalia

On arguing:

“I love to argue. I’ve always loved to argue. And I love to point out the weaknesses of the opposing arguments. It may well be that I’m something of a shin kicker. It may well be that I’m something of a contrarian.” – Justice Scalia

On Bush v. Gore:

“I and my court owe no apology whatever for Bush versus Gore. We did the right thing. So there!” – Justice Scalia

On his big family:

“Well, we didn’t set out to have nine children. We’re just old-fashioned Catholics, you know” – Justice Scalia

On God’s blessings on America:

God has been very good to us. One of the reasons God has been good to us is that we have done him honor.” – Justice Scalia

On free speech:

“I think Thomas Jefferson would have said the more speech, the better. That’s what the First Amendment is all about.” – Justice Scalia

On the constitutionality of flag burning:

“If I were king, I would not allow people to go about burning the American flag. However, we have a First Amendment, which says that the right of free speech shall not be abridged.” – Justice Scalia

On the Second Amendment:

“Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our Nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.” – Justice Scalia

In response to a Boston Herald article:

“From watching too many episodes of ‘The Sopranos,’ your staff seems to have acquired the belief that any Sicilian gesture is obscene,” – Justice Scalia

Defending a state’s right to make it’s own immigration laws:

“If securing its territory in this fashion is not within the power of Arizona, we should cease referring to it as a sovereign State.” – Justice Scalia

His dissent in the Supreme Court ruling declaring Obamacare constitutional:

“This Court, however, concludes that this limitation would prevent the rest of the Act from working as well as hoped. So it rewrites the law to make tax credits available everywhere. We should start calling this law SCOTUScare.” – Justice Scalia

“Under all the usual rules of interpretation, in short, the Government should lose this case. But normal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved.” – Justice Scalia

On the separation of powers and gridlock:

“If a bill is about to pass that really comes down hard on some minority [and] they think it’s terribly unfair, it doesn’t take much to throw a monkey wrench into this complex system. Americans should appreciate that; they should learn to love the gridlock. It’s there so the legislation that does get out is good legislation,” – Justice Scalia

“If you read the rest of the section, you would say, to find a way to find a meaning that the language will bear that will uphold the constitutionality. You don’t interpret a penalty to be a pig. It can’t be a pig. And what my dissent said.” – Justice Scalia

In reaction to criticism from Obama:

“What can he do to me? Or to any of us? We have life tenure and we have it precisely so that we will not be influenced by politics, by threats from anybody.” – Justice Scalia

His best friend in the Supreme Court:

“My best buddy on the court is Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has always been.” – Justice Scalia

On hunting with Dick Cheney:

“Dick Cheney is a very good wing shot.” – Justice Scalia

On breaking the law:

“I have exceeded the speed limit on — on occasion.” – Justice Scalia

On being controversial:

“A man who has made no enemies is probably not a very good man.” – Justice Scalia

On whether moral principles are enforced in the Constitution:

“As I have observed before, the Constitution does not forbid the government to enforce traditional moral and sexual norms. … It is enough to say that the Constitution neither requires nor forbids our society to approve of same-sex marriage, much as it neither requires nor forbids us to approve of no-fault divorce, polygamy, or the consumption of alcohol.” – Justice Scalia

On trying to legislate through the courts:

“Persuade your fellow citizens it’s a good idea and pass a law. That’s what democracy is all about. It’s not about nine superannuated judges who have been there too long, imposing these demands on society.” – Justice Scalia

On being a good judge:

“If you’re going to be a good and faithful judge, you have to resign yourself to the fact that you’re not always going to like the conclusions you reach. If you like them all the time, you’re probably doing something wrong.” – Justice Scalia

Antonin Scalia 1936 - 2016

Chelsea Clinton left Church at 6 years of Age

Chelsea Clinton claimed this week, while campaigning for her mother’s presidential bid, that at the age of six she made the decision to stop attending church because it preached that abortion was wrong.

“I find it quite insulting sometimes when people say to my mom, my dad or me that they question our faith,” she said at a fundraiser, according to

Then things got really bizarre.

“I was raised in a Methodist church and I left the Baptist church before my dad did because I didn’t know why they were talking to me about abortion when I was 6 in Sunday School. That’s a true story.”

Read more:

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Concordia College Cuts Costs to Balance Budget

MOORHEAD – Under financial stress, Concordia College said Friday it plans to discontinue nine majors and one concentration, including several languages.

The cuts will not be immediate but the college will no longer accept students in those majors.

There are 38 students now in the majors to be cut, 12 of whom are scheduled to graduate in May. The college said it will help those who remain finish their majors on time by way of courses by special arrangement, independent studies or substitution of requirements.

The cuts could also mean a loss of jobs for instructors in those majors by the end of May though tenured professors will have a year's notice, college President William Craft said earlier this week. The college was also offering an incentive for faculty members age 55 and older to retire early.

Why Even Have Immigration Laws?

In a shocking reversal of policy, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents are being told to release illegal immigrants and no longer order them to appear at deportation hearings, essentially a license to stay in the United States, a key agent testified Thursday.

What's more, the stand down order includes a requirement that the whereabouts of illegals released are not to be tracked.

"We might as well abolish our immigration laws altogether," suggested agent Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council.

Des Moines Register calls for Audit of Dem Caucus

Iowa's largest newspaper called Thursday for an audit into the results of the state's Democratic caucus, pointing to confusion and problems at numerous polling sites -- and declaring “something smells in the Democratic Party.”

The Des Moines Register, in an editorial, wrote that “once again the world is laughing at Iowa” over alleged discrepancies and disorganization surrounding caucus results and called the process a “debacle.”

The editorial pointed in part to Hillary Clinton's razor-thin margin of victory over Sen. Bernie Sanders in seeking an audit.

The battle for first between her and Sanders was so tight the winner was not declared until Tuesday, with less than half a percentage point separating the two. In some precincts, local delegates were even decided by a series of coin tosses, though the effect may have been negligible on the final tallies of what are known as state delegate equivalents.

But other issues were reported as well.

“Too many accounts have arisen of inconsistent counts, untrained and overwhelmed volunteers, confused voters, cramped precinct locations, a lack of voter registration forms and other problems. Too many of us, including members of the Register editorial board who were observing caucuses, saw opportunities for error amid Monday night’s chaos,” the editorial board said.

Reaction to Obama;s US Mosque Visit

President Obama's first visit to a mosque has drawn sharp criticism from members of the Republican party. He's not the first president to visit a US mosque. His predecessor President George W. Bush visited a mosque in the first week after the 9/11 attacks, and delivered a very similar message. Both visits included presidential pleas for compassion amid heightened mistrust of Muslims in the wake of terror attacks. But the reaction this time around, was much more critical. A new poll released on the same day as Obama's visit offers insight into why that may be.

Americans are sharply divided about the kind of tone they feel the next president should adopt when discussing Islam, and those divisions lie clearly along partisan lines, according to a Pew poll released Wednesday.

Some 65 percent of surveyed Republicans say the next president should speak bluntly of Islam regardless of generalized criticism, pollsters found. On the other side of the aisle, however, seven in 10 Democrats said the next president should speak carefully about Islamic extremism to avoid criticizing the religion as a whole.

But the difference wasn’t always this stark. Even 2002, soon after the 9/11 attacks, Republicans and Democrats perceived American Muslims similarly: About 40 percent in each party felt that very few Muslims, if any, living in the US have anti-American tendencies. Flash forward 14 years, and for those on the right, that figure is now 29 percent, while it’s 54 percent for the liberals.

That shift in public opinion is reflected in – and arguably amplified by – Republican presidential contenders' swift criticism of Obama's visit.

GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump was among the first to criticize Mr. Obama for his trip. When asked on Fox News Channel about the president's excursion, he said, "Maybe he feels comfortable there.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Iowa and Trump