Signs of the Times (10/12/13)

Dean of Washington’s National Cathedral: It’s a Sin to Oppose Homosexuality

The dean of the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., claimed during his weekly address this past Sunday that it is a sin to oppose homosexuality, the Christian News Network reports. The message was part of a weekend tribute to the homosexual youth at the National Cathedral, and a commemoration of the death of Matthew Shepard, whose slaying sparked the passage of the federal “hate crimes” bill signed into law by Barack Obama in 2009. During his speech, Gary Hall blamed churches across the country for influencing American beliefs about homosexuality. “We must now have the courage to take the final step and call homophobia and heterosexism what they are,” he said. “They are sin. Homophobia is a sin. Heterosexism is a sin. Shaming people for whom they love is a sin. Only when all our churches say that clearly and boldly and courageously will our LGBT youth be free to grow up in a culture that totally embraces them fully as they are.” He proceeded to claim that churches that oppose homosexuality produce a culture that is harmful to children. “It’s more than tragic — in fact it’s shameful — that faith communities, especially Christian ones, continue to be complicit in putting our children at risk and abetting the attitudes that oppress them, thereby encouraging the aggressors who would subject our children to pain, humiliation and violence,”

  • While violence against LGBT people is wrong, Dean Hall is guilty of blasphemy and has become a tool of secular humanists to water down the gospel which clearly calls homosexualism a sin (Romans 1:26-31, 1Corinthians 6:9)

California Governor Signs Bill Allowing Non-Physician Abortions

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill on Wednesday legalizing non-physician abortions, CBN News reports. That means a nurse practitioner, midwife or physician assistant can perform abortions during the first trimester of pregnancy, after completing specific training. Planned Parenthood and other pro-choice groups have strongly supported the legislation, but opponents say it basically legalizes back-alley abortions for profit. “This bill is not about helping women, it is specifically designed to trivialize what an abortion is, and its risks,”‘ CNN quoted Anissa Smith, spokeswoman for the California ProLife Council. “Reducing the medical standards for abortion … defies logic for those who say they care about women,” she said. “The often repeated mantra of those supporting abortions rights is that abortions ought to be safe, legal and rare,” said Rev. Gerald Wilkerson, president of the California Catholic Conference. “With this change in California’s law, abortions are merely legal — no longer safe and rare.”

  • California is leading the way down the slippery slope of immorality, accelerating toward the cliff of end-time lawlessness

Obamacare Funds 111,500 Abortions per Year

The Obamacare (Un)Affordable Care Act has begun paying for an estimated 111,500 abortions per year with our tax dollars, reports National Review. “An analysis by the Charlotte Lozier Institute published this week suggests that the number of abortions that will be heavily subsidized via federal premium tax credits and Medicaid expansion is likely to be between 71,000 and 111,500 per year. This approaches one in ten abortions performed in the United States. The number is split roughly 50-50 between abortions subsidized by Abortion-Subsidizing Plans in states that have not barred them from their exchanges and abortions newly reimbursable under Medicaid expansion in states that use their own taxpayer funds to underwrite them.”

Obamacare Website Cost $634M to Build

The Obamacare website, which apparently underwent major code renovations over the weekend, still rejects user logins, fails to load drop-down menus and other crucial components for users that successfully gain entrance, and otherwise prevents uninsured Americans in the 36 states it serves from purchasing healthcare at competitive rates – Healthcare.gov’s primary purpose. The site is so busted that, as of a couple days ago, the number of people that successfully purchased healthcare through it was in the “single digits,” according to the Washington Post. The reason for this nationwide headache apparently stems from poorly written code, which buckled under the heavy influx of traffic that its engineers and administrators should have seen coming. But the fact that Healthcare.gov can’t do the one job it was built to do isn’t the most infuriating part of this debacle – it’s that we, the taxpayers, seem to have forked up more than $634 million of the federal purse to build the digital disaster.

Shutdown Update

Utah’s five national parks are expected to open Saturday with state funds and other states are expected to follow. Governors in at least four states have asked for authority to reopen the parks within their borders because of the economic impacts caused by the closures. The Statue of Liberty, Grand Canyon and Mount Rushmore will reportedly open this weekend after the Obama administration said it would allow states to use their own money to reopen some shuttered national parks. All 401 national park units — including such icons as the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Zion — have been closed since Oct. 1 because of the partial government shutdown. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees have been furloughed, and lawmakers from both parties have complained that park closures have wreaked havoc on nearby communities that depend on tourism.

Friday was pay day for many of the 2 million federal workers affected by the shutdown. For most employees, their paycheck was 40% lighter. Paychecks normally cover 10 working days. But for those affected by the shutdown, the paycheck only reflected six days of pay. And even some of those workers who remained on the job this week are seeing lighter paychecks until a budget on some sort is approved.

While our overgrown government continues to punish Americans by making a grand show out of the government shutdown — barring veterans from visiting memorials, even throwing people out of their homes — they are, at the same time, shipping our tax dollars all over the world in the name of “helping the poor” and humanitarianism. During this “shutdown” our government is furnishing foreign governments with our money while so many are agonizing here at home. The State Department confirmed that foreign aid programs for the world’s poor will continue even as states are cutting local aid programs for America’s poor for want of funds.

Obama Allows Illegal Aliens Onto ‘Closed’ National Mall

The National Park Service has systematically barred frail, aged veterans from their war memorials; closed off vista points on open roads lest anyone actually look at Mt. Rushmore; shut down privately-owned businesses; barred military prayer and mass; and evicted elderly people from their homes. Nevertheless, it has finally discovered a group that deserves constitutional protection from government Stasi tactics: illegal aliens. The same National Park Service that has gone gestapo on America decided that a pro-amnesty rally was such an important expression of free speech that it had to open the previously “closed” open-air, untended National Mall to allow illegal aliens their right to constitutional free speech.

20,000 Barrels of Oil Spilled in North Dakota

When a pipeline rupture sent more than 20,000 barrels of crude spewing across a North Dakota wheat field, it took nearly two weeks for officials to tell the public about it. The break in a Tesoro Corp. pipeline happened in a remote area, and officials say no water was contaminated or wildlife hurt. But environmentalists are skeptical and say it’s an example of a boom industry operating too cozily with state regulators. “It shows an attitude of our current state government and what they think of the public,” said Don Morrison, executive director of the Dakota Resource Council, an environmental-minded landowner group with more than 700 members in North Dakota. “It’s definitely worrisome. There is a pattern in current state government to not involve the public.” The North Dakota Health Department was told about the spill on Sept. 29, after a farmer whose combine’s tires were coated in crude discovered oil spewing and gurgling from the ground. Although the state initially thought just 750 barrels of oil was involved, it turned out to be one of the largest spills in North Dakota history – an estimated 20,600 barrels over 7.3 acres of land, or about the size of seven football fields.

Calif. Governor Vetoes Semi-Automatic Rifle Ban

Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill Friday that would have imposed the nation’s toughest gun ownership restrictions on Californians, saying it was too far-reaching. The legislation would have banned future sales of most semi-automatic rifles that accept detachable magazines, part of a firearms package approved by state lawmakers in response to mass shootings in other states. It was lawmakers’ latest attempt to close loopholes that have allowed manufacturers to work around previous assault weapon bans. Gun rights groups had threatened to sue if the semi-automatic weapons ban became law. “I don’t believe that this bill’s blanket ban on semi-automatic rifles would reduce criminal activity or enhance public safety enough to warrant this infringement on gun owners’ rights,” the Democratic governor wrote in his veto message.

  • For a liberal CA governor to reject a gun control bill is rather remarkable and is a testament to the foolishness of gun control zealots

Economic News

A failure by Congress to raise the nation’s borrowing limit “could severely damage the global economy,” the International Monetary Fund said Tuesday as it trimmed its global economic forecast due to slowing growth in emerging markets.

Consumer confidence registered its sharpest one-week drop since the period immediately following the collapse of Lehman Brothers, according to recent Gallup polling. About three times as many people now say the economy is in poor shape as those who say it’s doing well. And consumers’ outlook for the future is also deteriorating quickly. Those who think the economy is likely to get worse outnumber those who think it’ll get better by a 69% to 27% margin.

The U.S. will pass Russia and Saudia Arabia as the top energy producer in 2013, according to a report by the Energy Information Administration published Friday. Since 2008, U.S. petroleum production has increased 7 quadrillion Btu, with dramatic growth in Texas and North Dakota, the report says. Natural gas production has increased by 3 quadrillion Btu over the same period, with much of this growth coming from the eastern U.S.

The number of people applying for U.S. unemployment benefits jumped by 66,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 374,000. But the spike was largely because California processed a huge backlog of claims and the partial government shutdown prompted some contractors to cut jobs. The sharp rise comes after the average fell to a 6½-year low last week.

PC shipments worldwide plummeted 8.6% in the third quarter, the sixth-straight quarterly decline. Personal computer sales took a huge hit in the all-important back-to-school shopping quarter for students amid enthusiasm for tablets. During the quarter, 80.3 million PCs were shipped compared with 87.8 million a year ago.

Middle East

An apparent desire on the part of several European governments to move towards dismantling the regime of sanctions against Iran’s renegade nuclear program and normalize relations with the clerical regime in Teheran is viewed with alarm by Israeli officials. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made room in his schedule over the next few days to conduct several interviews with prominent European media outlets in an effort to sway public opinion against this course of action. Press reports ahead of next week’s nuclear talks in Geneva indicate that Teheran will demand a loosening of sanctions in exchange for what Israel calls “cosmetic changes” to their nuclear efforts, and many EU governments have indicated they will give the deal serious consideration.

Syria

Syrian villagers described watching rebels advance on their homes, as mortars thudded around them. By the end of the August attack, 190 civilians had been killed, including children, the elderly and the handicapped, a human rights group said Friday in its most detailed account of alleged war crimes committed by those fighting the Damascus regime. Human Rights Watch said the offensive against 14 pro-regime villages in the province of Latakia was planned and led by five Islamic extremist groups, including two linked to al-Qaeda.

Egypt

The State Department said Wednesday it would freeze hundreds of millions of dollars in aid for Egypt, most of it in military assistance because of the military takeover of the government and the continuing unrest. Secretary of State John Kerry says that “by no means” was the decision a withdrawal from relations. He says Americans should feel comfortable supporting a foreign government, but that Egypt’s current authorities have not met that standard. “Egypt will not surrender to American pressure and is continuing its path towards democracy as set by the roadmap,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty said Thursday.

Libya

Libya’s Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has been freed after being kidnapped by armed gunmen early Thursday morning in what opposition rebels say was an arrest over “corruption and security issues” following a U.S. raid Saturday that captured a suspected al-Qaeda terrorist. The Associated Press reported there were indications that Libyan forces intervened and that the prime minister was not freed voluntarily. “The revolutionaries have collected a lot of documents against Mr. Zidan about corruption and security issues. He knew about the American raid against Abu Anas el Libi and he did nothing to prevent that,” said Jamma Zubian, of the High Committee of Revolutionaries, based in Tripoli.

Central Africa

Church leaders in Central African Republic (CAR) issued a joint appeal for urgent action from the international community to prevent “genocidal interfaith civil war” in the troubled nation in the heart of Africa, Open Doors USA reports. Prominent church leaders representing all known denominations in the country issued the appeal on Oct. 6 after a three-day conference in the capital of Bangui hosted by Open Doors on the request of the local church leaders. Since the government of President Bozize was deposed in a coup by the Seleka coalition of Michel Djotodia in March, the country has been engulfed in lawlessness. “In this situation, Christians are specifically most affected,” the church leaders explained. An immense humanitarian crisis is in the making. It is estimated that at least 4.6 million people’s lives have been disrupted by the violence.

North Korea

North Korea refused to sign a non-aggression agreement that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry offered last week on condition of denuclearization. A National Defense Commission spokesman said the U.S. should stop sanctions meant to punish its February nuclear test and provocations including military exercises on the Korean Peninsula. Earlier this week, North Korea criticized joint two-day naval drills among the U.S., South Korea and Japan, which the allies said were aimed at improving readiness to maritime disasters. North Korea called the drills as a military confrontation.

Earthquakes

A moderate offshore earthquake gave a jolt to cities in far Northern California, but there are no reports of damages or injuries. The magnitude-4.9 quake struck shortly after 4 p.m. about 32 miles northwest of the coastal city of Eureka at a depth of about 6 miles. Eureka police Sgt. Rodrigo Sanchez says the quake gave the area a sharp jolt that felt like it lasted less than a second.

Weather

Alaska’s temperatures are rising twice as fast as those in the lower 48, prompting more sea ice to disappear in summer. While this may eventually open the Northwest Passage to sought-after tourism, oil exploration and trade, it also spells trouble as wildfires increase, roads buckle and tribal villages sink into the sea.

A typhoon that flooded villages and farms in the Philippines’ major rice-growing region Saturday has killed at least 13 people. Power outages affected Aurora province, where Typhoon Nari made landfall late Friday, and five nearby provinces due to downed poles and emergency shutdowns that were intended to prevent accidents. Nari slammed into the coast with 150 kilometer (94 mile) per hour winds and gusts of up to 116 mph. The typhoon drenched Manila overnight but caused no widespread flooding in the sprawling capital of 12 million that floods often because of poor infrastructure and clogged drainage and water canals.

Cyclone Phailin pounded India’s Eastern coast with wind and rain Saturday as officials continued a massive evacuation operation. As of 8:30 a.m. ET, Cyclone Phailin was making landfall near Gopalur, India, the Weather Channel reported. According to meteorologist Eric Holthaus of Quartz magazine, its estimated wind speed at landfall was 141 mph. The coastal state of Odisha evacuated more than 600,000 people ahead of the storm, now the strongest ever recorded in the Indian Ocean. The cyclone, which has been building up over the Indian Ocean since Friday, could bring a storm surge of 20-30 feet.

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