Apr 29, 2012

Vandals smash windows at Mars Hill Church in southeast Portland


 "Hate Crime"?

Vandals smashed nine windows with rocks at Mars Hill Church in southeast Portland overnight and a group claimed responsibility in an email sent to FOX 12.


Apr 25, 2012

Editor threatens on-line contributor for reporting abusive comments


By now we have all witnessed malicious comments on news articles and editorials by on-line readers. Most on-line communities have guidelines encouraging proper and civil conduct in posting comments along with a method to report improper comments to the on-line community moderator.

I seldom use this method because I have felt that by allowing inappropriate comments to remain on articles readers get a better insight towards the character of the agency publishing the content article. However, I have communicated concern with comments on several occasions to our local newspaper, the Casper Star Tribune. My most recent encounter was interesting to say the least.

The editorial board ran an editorial suggesting that Wyoming begin considering charter schools in an attempt to help improve graduation rate and overall academic improvement. I posted a comment supporting the idea and gave examples of how the local school district wastes money and is “top heavy”.

Moments after I commented another reader, screen name embarcadero, commented, personally attacking me and with completely off topic remarks. I reported the distasteful comment through the “report to moderator” process. I then posted another comment referring back to the editorial article in an attempt to keep any further discussion on topic. Again, moments after posting, embarcadero fired another round of similarly distasteful remarks towards me and others; also mentioning them by name. These people were not mentioned in the editorial or commenting on the article. This was especially troubling to me so I reported that comment to be removed also. My second request read as follows:

Report number two: Continued personal attacks - "Hate Group". Also in violation of the following "Rules for Commenting":
  • Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Value
  • Be nice. No racism, sexism or any other sort of -ism that degrades another person.
  • Stay focused, and ask questions. Keep on the story's topic.
If embarcadero's (Sean Patrick Larvie) slanderous comments are not removed immediately I will follow-up in person on Monday April 23rd. by 9:00 A.M.

Thanks you,
 This happened in the late evening hours on Sunday so I knew that moderation would not be immediate. Consequently, with my second “report of abuse” I added that if the slanderous comments were not removed by 9:00 am Monday morning I would be following up in person.

The comments were removed as requested but later in the day I received an e-mail from the Editor, Darrell Ehrlick . It is posted here in its entirety:

Dear Mr. Smith,

William Zeiders, our online editor, forwarded a concern written by you regarding another online comment. When comments escalate or cause us concern, we review them.

Your comment is particularly concerning to me. One of the challenges anyone has is reading tone and intent into email. In this instance, I have opted to handle your comment internally, rather than follow another protocol that we could have employed. We have reviewed the comment you found offensive, like we do with all that are reported to us. However, in the future if you make similar reports that include a specific threat, then I will have to take the following action. You will be banned from online commenting on our site. Secondly, I will report it to law enforcement.

Again, I don’t believe this was your intent. However, I cannot intuit intention in email. If you have questions about our policies or have concerns, you can contact me. We must take all threats seriously, though. We have to believe you meant what you said. We will continue to take you at your word. 

Thanks for your understanding,


Editor Ehrlick apparently felt that by me saying that I would follow-up if the comments were not removed was some kind of a personal threat.

It is amazing to me that the chief editor of a statewide newspaper doesn’t know what follow-up means and would take it as a threat that would warrant banning me from their on-line community and secondly report it to law enforcement before consulting his dictionary. After all, Mr. Ehrlick is working in the field of journalism. The response by this newspaper and their chief editor is unfounded, absolutely absurd and completely beyond reason.

I can assure you that the comments directed towards me and others by embarcadero and then the threat by editor Ehrlick were far more concerning than me letting the Casper Star Tribune know that I would follow-up to make sure that action was taken to remove the comments as their policy outlines.

The obvious over reaction by Mr. Ehrlick suggests a number of things, not the least of which is that they truly don’t want to be bothered by well meaning readers who assume that the Casper Star Tribune is actually serious about maintaining civility within their on-line community comments area. Of greater concern should be; what is the motive behind someone who believes that reporting abuse and following-up on the report is in any way a threat which would justify banning the person reporting abuse and then threatening to notify law enforcement? Something else is obviously at play here, bubbling under the surface. When someone in Mr. Ehrlick’s position can’t correctly identify a threat in a situation as simple as this, one must ask; what is the real issue? Could it be something as simple as insecurity or is it something larger, like a clash of worldviews and an editor with an agenda?

Check out embarcadero, who is Sean Patrick Larvie, and Darrell Ehrlick’s agenda should become a little more clear as you gain perspective. Any and all who disagree with either one of these gentleman are simply labeled as bigots. I have discovered that Mr Ehrlick believes these "bigots" must be banned from commenting and reported to law enforcement. Should the head editor of Wyoming's only statewide newspaper be so prejudiced?        


Apr 16, 2012

Authentic Love

“Authentic Love” -  Phil. 1:9-10

Hi, I'm Crawford Loritts with a Legacy Moment.

Some years ago, I had a disturbing conversation with a pastor. Without going into all the details, he told me of some families in his church who were breaking the law. This was not questionable stuff or gray area things, it was flat out wrong, no question about it. He said if the police came, they would be in big trouble.

I asked him if he or the other leaders in his church confronted them. I was fully expecting for him to say “yes.” His response made my jaw drop. He said, “We’ve chosen the law of love in this case. We’re looking past their behavior and affirming them as people.”

Now listen, love never ever endorses what is wrong. That’s not love. Love never says, “I’m going to ignore the wrong you’re doing, the self-destructive behavior, and the poor testimony this is projecting because I just want to affirm you as an individual.” No, true love cares enough to overcome fear of confrontation and speak the truth.

Philippians chapter 1, verses 9 and 10, really underscore this principle; “And this I pray that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment so that you may approve the things that are excellent in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ.”

Did you hear those words? God is calling us to operate from informed love. He says “real knowledge and discernment,” not just sentiment, not just a warm feeling. This type of authentic love produces Christ likeness. He says right here, “so you may approve the things that are excellent in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ.”

Here’s what I want you to remember today. Love is more than just a feeling. It is surrounded by knowledge and discernment, and it will never, ever endorse what is wrong.


Apr 11, 2012

Wyoming Supreme Court: Ban on abortion protest unconstitutional

BEN NEARY  Associated Press

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — A state court order that barred abortion protesters from appearing at Jackson's town square last year violated the protesters' constitutional rights, the Wyoming Supreme Court ruled Tuesday [April 10, 2012].

In a lengthy 3-2 decision, the state Supreme Court ruled the temporary restraining order issued by District Judge Timothy Day violated the First Amendment rights of protesters with the group Operation Save America.

Dozens of members of Operation Save America, based in Concord, N.C., descended on Jackson last May with graphic signs of aborted fetuses that they showed around town.

The group said it picked Jackson for its campaign in an effort to make Wyoming the first state in which no doctors would provide abortions. The group targeted a family practitioner whom it said was the only doctor in the state to offer abortions.

The restraining order that Jackson secured from Day last year barred the protesters from appearing within two blocks of the town square. The town's lawyer told Day that city police feared violence if the protesters came together with about 200 Boy Scouts and their families who were gathering for Elkfest, an annual auction of elk antlers.

The protesters weren't alerted beforehand that the town was seeking the court order.

"Assuming the town had established a compelling interest in the protection of its youth and in maintaining the peace, we would nonetheless find the temporary restraining order unconstitutional," Justice Michael Golden wrote for the court majority. "The town has not met its burden of establishing that the temporary restraining order ban was necessary to serve the town's interest and that less restrictive measures would not have been adequate."

Chief Justice Marilyn S. Kite and Justice William U. Hill wrote a dissent saying they believed the case was moot and that the constitutionality question shouldn't have reached the court.

"No evidence was presented in this case that Operation Save America will return to Jackson and attempt to assemble or display posters during another scheduled event such as the Boy Scouts expo and auction or, in the event it does, that the town will again file for a temporary restraining order without providing notice and an opportunity to be heard," Kite and Hill stated.

Rusty Thomas of Waco, Texas, is assistant director of operations for Operation Save America. He said Tuesday his group intends to return to Jackson next month. "I just got the news, and just tears of rejoicing," he said of the court ruling. "The timing is incredible."

Thomas said the group believes the ruling "strikes a blow for liberty and puts our government, both the federal and state authorities, on notice that the First Amendment is alive and well in the United States of America."

Flip Benham, director of Operation Save America in Concord, said Tuesday the group has applied to the town of Jackson for permits to hand out materials next month but hasn't received them yet.

"What they've done is put us off. They've said they're going through new criteria for permits," Benham said. He said the group's experience in Jackson was the first time it has ever been restrained "from presenting the gospel."

Attempts to reach town officials were not immediately successful Tuesday.

Audrey Cohen-Davis, lawyer for the town, argued before the Wyoming Supreme Court in November that it was proper for the town to secure the restraining order.

"Parents taking their Boy Scouts to the Elkfest event did not expect to have a group subjecting their children to such material," Cohen-Davis said in November.

Jack Edwards, a lawyer in Etna, represented Operation Save America.

"I think it's important to realize that the First Amendment, and the cases from the U.S. Supreme Court that have interpreted that amendment, were not to protect speech that people welcome and that people enjoy, but the basis for that amendment is to protect speech that causes arguments and dissent in the public square," Edwards said Tuesday.

The state supreme court ruling comes just days after the state of Wyoming reached a settlement with another anti-abortion group, WyWatch Family Action.

In the agreement approved last week by U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal of Cheyenne, Wyoming admitted it violated WyWatch's constitutional rights by removing anti-abortion placards from a tunnel leading to the state Capitol during last year's legislative session.

The state agreed to pay WyWatch $1 in nominal damages and $30,000 in attorney fees. WyWatch was represented by the Alliance Defense Fund, a national advocacy group for social conservatives.

Freudenthal allowed the American Civil Liberties Union to enter the WyWatch case to argue on the group's behalf that the state had violated the group's constitutional rights. Linda Burt, director of the Wyoming ACLU, said Tuesday that the courts decided both cases correctly by protecting public speech.

"While we disagree with both of the organizations involved in these cases, we firmly respect their right to discuss these issues in the public square," Burt said. "The remedy for speech that you disagree with is more speech, and more debate and more information, and disallowing this kind of speech that you disagree with does not support that."

Related: Original story


Apr 9, 2012

Mike Wallace Interview With Margaret Sanger Surfaces After Death

by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 4/9/12

Following the death of journalist and reporter Mike Wallace, an interview he conducted with Planned Parenthood founder and eugenicist Margaret Sanger made the rounds across the Internet over the weekend.

Below are clips from the interview Margaret Sanger gave to Mike Wallace in 1957. During the interview, the full version of which can be seen here, Sanger talks to Wallace about why she became an advocate for birth control, abortion, stopping so-called overpopulation, and talks about the Catholic Church, and morality.

Angela Franks is one of the foremost authorities on the life and pro-abortion and pro-eugenics views of Sanger. She profiled Sanger for LifeNews in February:

Margaret Sanger was many things admirable: a vibrant personality, a brilliant organizer, a canny reader of the temperature of the times, a woman who built powerful institutions in a man’s world. But she was also many things ugly and even despicable: an egotist who frequently clashed with others; a free-love advocate who had a dizzying number of affairs and who hurt many men as a result; and a eugenicist who argued that “birth control is nothing more or less than the facilitation of the process of weeding out the unfit, of preventing the birth of defectives or of those who will become defective.”

Even Planned Parenthood has had to drop the denials of Sanger’s commitment to eugenics and now urges us all instead to avoid judging those of another historical era. After all, as Hillary Clinton basically said in 2009, Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, and he still did some pretty nifty things. Take what you like and leave the rest, that’s the new approach to Sanger.


Apr 5, 2012

Wyoming agrees to settle abortion protest lawsuit

 By The Associated Press

CHEYENNE — The state of Wyoming settled a federal lawsuit filed by an anti-abortion pro-life group.
Under the settlement, the state admitted that state officials violated the constitutional rights of WyWatch Family Action by removing a display of materials it posted in a tunnel leading to the state Capitol last year.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal approved the settlement and dismissed the lawsuit on Thursday.
Under the settlement, the state admits that it unconstitutionally prevented WyWatch from engaging in protected expression during the 2011 legislative session. The state agreed to pay the group $1 in nominal damages and $30,000 in attorney fees.

The State Building Commission, composed of the state's five statewide elected officials, this year banned all outside groups from displaying materials in the tunnel.


Apr 1, 2012

Changing Culture


By T.M. Moore

Christians are rightly concerned about the state of culture in our day. The fear is that, as the culture continues its decline into mere sensuality and self-indulgence, it will drag our children and us down with it.

Which makes it appropriate to ask, Are you changing culture, or is culture changing you?

For the followers of Christ there is no middle ground. We're either actively engaged in bringing the reality of God's Kingdom to light amid the cultural contexts of our lives, or we're allowing those cultural contexts to dim or obscure the light of Christ. Either the light of Christ in us is shining in the culture, or the bushel basket of the culture is turned upside-down over our heads.

All of us spend our lives in a variety of cultural settings. Our Personal Mission Fields unfold within the various cultural spheres in which we live and work. Every cultural setting is characterized by norms, protocols, and practices which embody the values and priorities of those spheres. What messages do the cultural spheres of our lives proclaim?

The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it. Thus, we who are ambassadors of Christ and His Kingdom have a responsibility to bring the manifestation of that Kingdom to light wherever we occupy space for the Lord. Our Kingdom citizenship should make a difference - in our homes, schools, work places, communities, and the like – showing that we are there, living for Christ and seeking to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Him (Matt. 5:13-16; 2 Cor. 10:3-5).

The way things ought to be
Changing the culture in which we travel is a high calling and ongoing task. Can you envision ways the cultural arenas of your life would be different if they were wholly devoted to Christ and His Kingdom? If things were more the way we think they ought to be, what would that look like?

Cultivating a vision for transforming culture is the starting-place for this work, and Scripture is the place to turn for nurturing such a vision. By learning the Biblical meaning of such concepts as beauty, goodness, and truth, and then by envisioning the outworking of those concepts in our various cultural spheres, we can begin to get an idea of where we might establish goals and objectives for our own work in changing the culture around us.

"Culture" is not some abstract, far-off idea which is only amenable to shaping by academics and "cultural types." We are all involved in culture, all the time - using it, making it, and either shaping or being shaped by it. We can't escape culture, and we must not allow culture to define the values and practices of our lives. Instead, we need to take up the challenge of changing culture, in as many ways as we can to reflect the beauty of Christ, the goodness of God, and the truth of His Word.

If our culture is not the way we think it ought to be, then we can do something about that.

Culture - along with the people in our lives - is where the cutting edge of the Kingdom engages the world, through each of our lives. God is determined to bring His Kingdom to light on earth as it is in heaven, and we are the tools of His Spirit for sculpting, crafting, and creating a new world for the glory of God.

We don’t have to let the culture change us or our children. If we will sharpen our culture-making skills and take up the daily challenge of shaping the world, we might begin to see our culture start to reflect the reality of Christ's rule.

Christians are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. These are transforming attributes which bring wholesomeness and goodness to the world. Believe this, and act on it, and you may be surprised to see what God is able to do through you in bringing the light of Christ to your world.

If we’re not changing the culture in which we participate, shaping it in the ways of beauty, goodness, and truth, then we’re probably being shaped by the culture according to its own vision of the way things ought to be.

Change the culture, or be changed by it. You’re making that choice every day.


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