Signs of the Times (10/16/14)

David’s Tent” Offers 24/7 Praise and Worship Outside White House for 50 Days

Christians from all 50 states will gather in Washington D.C. throughout the next month as the third annual “David’s Tent” event stretches for 50 days of music and worship. David’s Tent is based off of the book of Chronicles when King David sent up a tent outside his palace to house the Ark of the Covenant. The event, held at the White House Ellipse began Sept. 15 and will conclude Nov. 4. Bands from across the country come to lead worship around the clock for 50 days. In addition to music, there is also prayer and scripture reading. “What we have introduced this year at David’s Tent is Ezra’s Platform, an area where people can come and read aloud from God’s Word. Within our first 10 days, we proclaimed all the way through from Genesis to Revelation; now we’re reading it again day and night, alongside songs of worship,” founder Jason Hershey said. The organizers of the event obtained the proper licenses to hold event, which Hershey said is a miracle itself in today’s time of religious oppression.

Conservative Bishops Slam Vatican’s Gay Overture

Conservative Catholic bishops distanced themselves Tuesday from a document showing an unprecedented opening toward gays and divorced people, saying it doesn’t reflect their views and vowing to make changes to the final version. The provisional document produced at the halfway point of a two-week meeting on family life said gays had gifts to offer the church and that their partnerships, while morally problematic, provided gay couples with “precious” support. It said the church must welcome divorced people and recognize the “positive” aspects of civil marriages and even Catholics who live together without being married. The document was remarkable both in what it said and what it didn’t say: Gone were assertions of Catholic doctrine present in most church documents that gay sex is “intrinsically disordered” and that couples who cohabitate are living in sin. In their place were words of acceptance and welcome. Under furious assault from conservative Catholics, the Vatican backtracked Tuesday on its surprisingly positive assessment of gays and same-sex relationships.

  • The great falling away (2Thess. 2:3) is pitching itself off the cliff with increasing alacrity. Perhaps Malachy was right about this Pope being the last one before the Tribulation and the glorious Second Coming

City of Houston Demands Pastors Turn Over Sermons

The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court. “The city’s subpoena of sermons and other pastoral communications is both needless and unprecedented,” Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Christina Holcomb said in a statement. “The city council and its attorneys are engaging in an inquisition designed to stifle any critique of its actions.” ADF, a nationally-known law firm specializing in religious liberty cases, is representing five Houston pastors. They filed a motion in Harris County court to stop the subpoenas arguing they are “overbroad, unduly burdensome, harassing, and vexatious.”

  • ‘Free’ speech is increasingly being compromised. Soon it will only allowed if it’s politically correct.

Nebraska Schools Avoiding Terms “Boys” & “Girls”

A school system in Lincoln, Nebraska is asking teachers to make their classrooms more gender-inclusive by avoiding the words “boys” and “girls.” “Don’t use phrases such as ‘boys and girls,’ ‘you guys,’ ‘ladies and gentlemen,’ and similarly gendered expressions to get kids’ attention,” a handout from Lincoln Public Schools stated. Instead, teachers have been told to creatively refer to their students. Examples include telling all students that like milk to line up, followed by students that prefer juice. When addressing the whole class, teachers are encouraged to invent a classroom name such as “purple penguins” the handout said. The teachers were told to “Always ask yourself, ‘Will this configuration create a gendered space?'”

  • How can these people not see how ridiculous and absurd this is?

California Churches Forced to Provide Abortion Coverage

The California Department of Managed Health Care is requiring employers, including churches and other religious organizations, to provide elective abortions in their insurance policies. In response to the mandate, Life Legal Defense Foundation and Alliance Defending Freedom have filed a complaint on behalf of seven California churches, according to Charisma Magazine. “Forcing a church to be party to elective abortion is one of the utmost-imaginable assaults on our most fundamental American freedoms,” said ADF Senior Counsel Casey Mattox. “California is flagrantly violating the federal law that protects employers from being forced into having abortion in their health insurance plans. No state can blatantly ignore federal law and think that it should continue to receive taxpayer money.”

Supreme Court Allows Texas Abortion Clinics to Stay Open

Late Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a terse, unsigned statement, that parts of the Texas abortion facility safety standard law could not be enforced. This will allow the 14 abortion clinics to reopen that were closed earlier this month by a decision of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The ruling noted that Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Anton Scalia would have allowed the law to be enforced. “This decision by the Supreme Court places the profits of abortion businesses that cannot meet minimum safety standards above the lives of women,” said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue. “We have seen first-hand through our investigations in Texas the conditions and practices that endanger women every day. We take some hope in the fact that this ruling is only temporary. We remain confident that the Texas law will be upheld once all the evidence is presented.”

Ebola Update

A second hospital worker who helped care for Ebola patient Thomas Duncan has tested positive for the disease, prompting local officials to warn Wednesday that more cases are “a real possibility.” The unidentified health care worker, who was described as a woman who lived alone without pets, reported a fever Tuesday and was immediately isolated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. At an early morning news conference, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said he could not rule out more cases among 75 other hospital staffers who cared for Duncan and were being monitored by the CDC.

A Texas doctor has apologized for what he calls mistakes in how his hospital handled Ebola, as schools close out of fear that they’re vulnerable to the virus. Also on Thursday, officials are considering barring 76 hospital workers who treated an Ebola patient from boarding airplanes. The second Dallas nurse who tested positive for Ebola flew a day before it was known that she might be suffering from the virus and should not have been cleared to fly. She reported to the CDC that she had a fever, she said, but was told she could go ahead and continue her travel. Now, 132 passengers on her flight are wondering if they were exposed.

New cases of Ebola could reach 10,000 per week by December as the virus outbreak races out of control in West Africa, a World Health Organization official said Tuesday. WHO Assistant Director-General Bruce Aylward also said the death rate, which had been estimated at about half of those who become infected, has risen to about 70%.The disease is expanding into more areas of those countries. New strategies such as handing out protective equipment to families and setting up very basic clinics is a priority. Over the last month there have been about 1,000 new cases per week.

Ebola May be Droplet-Borne Transmitted

It is highly unlikely that Ebola has mutated to become airborne. It is, however, droplet-borne — and the distinction between the two is crucial. Airborne diseases are far more transmittable than droplet-borne ones. Droplet-borne means that the disease-causing germs are so small they can live dry, floating in the air for extended periods, thus capable of traveling from person to person at a distance. Chickenpox, measles and tuberculosis are droplet borne diseases. Droplets of mucus and other secretions from the nose, mouth and respiratory tract transmit the diseases, including influenza and smallpox. When someone coughs, sneezes or, in the case of Ebola, vomits, he releases a spray of secretions into the air. This makes the infection droplet-borne. Some hospital procedures, like placing a breathing tube down a patient’s air passage to help him breathe, may do the same thing. Some hospital protocols are not accounting for this form of transmission.

Study Links Ohio Earthquakes to Hydraulic Fracturing

Fracking caused hundreds of earthquakes along a previously undiscovered fault line in Ohio. That’s the conclusion of research by scientists at Instrumental Software Technologies, Inc. (ISTI) and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), who published their findings in the most recent issue of the journal Seismological Research Letters (SRL). “There were earthquakes where there had not been any in the past records,” ISTI’s Paul Friberg, a seismologist and paper co-author, told “Not just 10 earthquakes, but about 500 much smaller ones that could only be observed using an advanced data processing technique.” Though many of the quakes were positive magnitude — as in a magnitude of 0.1 or greater — they were all more than two miles below the surface, making them too deep to be felt. Based on similar conclusions drawn in Pennsylvania, Ohio put in place new monitoring requirements for fracking operations; they must inspect areas for fault lines before beginning work.

Pentagon Withheld Information about Chemical Weapons during Iraq War

American troops were exposed to chemical weapons multiple times in the years following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, while the Pentagon kept their discoveries of the expired or degraded weapons secret from investigators, fellow soldiers, and military doctors, according to a New York Times report. American troops reported finding approximately 5,000 chemical warheads, shells, or aviation bombs in the years following the 2003 invasion of Iraq. On at least six occasions, soldiers were wounded by those weapons, which had been manufactured before 1991. In all, the paper reported that 17 U.S. soldiers and seven Iraqi police officers were exposed to chemical agents during the war. The Army, further, reportedly admitted to The Times that it had not followed its guidelines for treating soldiers exposed to chemical weapons in the years following the invasion. It vowed to identify troops and veterans who had been exposed and follow up on their cases.

  • This shocking report indicates that Weapons of Mass Destruction were found in Iraq after all, but the Pentagon did its best to hide the truth. Turns out Bush was right after all.

FBI Chief: Citizens Should Be ‘Deeply Skeptical’ of Government

“I believe that Americans should be deeply skeptical of government power,” FBI Director James Comey told CBS News’ Scott Pelley in an interview for “60 Minutes” that will air on Sunday. “You cannot trust people in power. The Founders knew that,” he said. “That’s why they divided power among three branches, to set interest against interest.” His comments come in light of numerous leaks since last year by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealing that agency’s extensive telephone and Internet surveillance programs. He also commented that cell phones introduced last month by Apple Inc. designed to avoid surveillance by law enforcement had “gone too far.”

  • Trust of government continues to sink due to increasing reports of corruption and prevarication

Economic News

Retail sales fell 0.3% in September as consumers backed off on purchases of cars, home goods and clothing, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Excluding autos sales fell 0.2%. After surging up 10.4% in August, auto sales fell 0.8% in September. Clothing and accessories stores saw sales drop 1.2%. Electronics purchases helped offset the decline with sales up 3.4%, possibly affected by the release of the new iPhone. Apple says it sold more than 10 million iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models, a record for a new model, in the three days after the phones went on sale. Overall sales are up 4.3% in the past 12 months.

The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits fell to a 14-year low last week. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 23,000 to a seasonally adjusted 264,000, its lowest level since 2000, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

Employers added 248,000 jobs in September, yet average hourly pay fell a penny to $24.53. Wage growth has barely kept pace with inflation, limiting how much Americans can spend. Meanwhile, the U.S. producer-price index booked a surprise drop of 0.1% last month versus August. It was the first decline in more than a year.

Benchmark West Texas sank 4% to $82.32 a barrel – a 28-month low – extending an autumn slide that cast more clouds over the energy sector but brightened the outlook for consumers who’ll benefit by a continued slide in gasoline prices. The key members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are undercutting other exporters’ prices and maintaining production or even boosting output as global demand is slowing and North America oil production surged. U.S. gasoline prices averaged $3.19 a gallon Monday and have dropped 21 cents in the past month. Prices are likely to drop an additional 20 cents or more by early November.

Persecution Watch

Ward Melville High School in New York has reversed its decision to ban students from forming a Christian community service club. The Long Island school had previously denied Students United in Faith from gathering, but after a public outcry, the club will meet like other school clubs do. Club members joined with the Liberty Institute to fight the school’s ban.

Islamic State

Fierce U.S. airstrikes killed “several hundred” Islamic State fighters in and around the besieged Syrian city of Kobani, helping to swing some of the momentum back to the ethnic Kurds who have been battling the militants for months. Other sources fear the Islamic State fighters could be waiting out the airstrikes and preparing their next ground offensive.

The U.S. has a “winning strategy” to defeat ISIS, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff told CNN’s Kyra Phillips in an exclusive interview on Wednesday. He added that he “can’t foresee” sending “large ground combat forces into Iraq.” ISIS has inched closer to the Iraqi capital Baghdad this week and continued fighting in strategically important Anbar Province. Is it possible that ISIS could gain control of Baghdad? “I don’t see that happening,” he said. “I’m confident we can assist the Iraqis to keep Baghdad from falling.”


Russian-backed separatists continue to fire on Ukrainian government forces and appear to be preparing a new advance Mariupol, a front-line city near the Russian border, a top commander of the Ukrainian National Guard said Wednesday. “Today there was more shelling on Mariupol and gun fights, but this time it was from the Berdyansk side also,” said Andriy Klos, chief of staff of the Azov Brigade, an all-volunteer unit defending the first major city west of the Russian border along the Sea of Azov. “So I think the (rebels’) area is expanding,” he said in an interview with USA TODAY. The continued fighting illustrated the fragile nature of a cease-fire between the Ukrainian national government and pro-Russian rebels who are seeking to separate from Ukraine.

North Korea

With that unique haircut, and familiar wide smile, North Korea’s young dictator resurfaced Tuesday in the traditional style of his tightly controlled nation. The only clue to Kim’s almost 40-day absence from public view was the walking cane he leaned on. Kim’s absence sparked rumors of a serious illness or possibly a coup. Analysts in South Korea said Tuesday that Kim remained in full control of the nation.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong police tightened their grip on the city Wednesday as officers dragged away dozens of pro-democracy activists, tore down barricades and removed concrete slabs that protesters have been using for more than two weeks as they call for genuinely free elections in the South China city. During a night of clashes near the city government’s headquarters, a group of officers appeared to lead a man to a dark corner, where they kicked and beat him for four minutes, according to video aired Wednesday by Hong Kong television channel TVB. Outraged viewers said this would only serve to fuel expanded protests. Hong Kong’s leader, the city’s embattled Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, said Thursday that he was ready to participate in talks with pro-democracy protesters.


A powerful 7.4-magnitude quake shook the Pacific coast of Central America on Tuesday, causing some damage and killing at least one person in El Salvador. The quake was deep (43 miles) but close to El Salvador’s shoreline — about 38 miles from the municipality of Intipuca. There was light structural damage to the local hospital, and rescue crews responded to at least 12 collapsed homes. A woman was killed when an electrical utility pole fell on her.


Hurricane Gonzalo was moving through the Caribbean Tuesday morning as a Category 2 storm, disrupting travel across the region after causing structural damage to homes in Antigua. Antigua and the Leeward Islands took the brunt of the storm on Monday, when Gonzalo was still a Tropical Storm, downing trees and ripping roofs off of homes on the island nation of some 80,000. Winds, which gusted up to 88 mph, damaged a luxury hotel on the west coast of Antigua, killing at least one person, injuring 12 others. Now major Hurricane Gonzalo is set for a collision course with Bermuda on Saturday, just days after Tropical Storm Fay brought down trees and power lines and damaged homes on Antigua.

An avalanche following a blizzard in central Nepal has killed 25 with some 70 people still missing along or near the popular Annapurna trail. The route is about 100 miles northwest of the Nepalese capital of Katmandu and was filled with international hikers. October is traditionally peak hiking season because the weather is normally clear and the air is cool. Because of local festivals, there were also many Nepalese residents on the trails at the time of the disaster. The blizzard was the tail end of a cyclone that hit the Indian coast a few days ago.

After 48 hours and more than two dozen tornadoes spawned in the south-central U.S., two people have been killed and thousands were still without power across multiple states Wednesday from Arkansas to Illinois to Florida.

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