News Briefs From Planet Earth
Alice Cooper Rebels
LOS ANGELES, Calif. (EP) - Shock-rocker Alice Cooper, who alarmed parents in the 1970s and paved the way for such acts as Marilyn Manson, calls giving his life to Christ "the most rebellious thing I've ever done." Cooper, whose stage performances have included simulated hangings and decapitations of baby dolls, told London's Sunday Times Magazine, "Drinking beer is easy. Trashing your hotel room is easy. But being a Christian, that's a tough call. That's real rebellion." Cooper, 52, is a pastor's son who began exploring the Christian faith after confronting a serious alcohol abuse problem. His 28th album, Dragontown, will be released this fall. He says he's still rocking as hard as ever, but now, "If I write a song about horror, I'm writing about real horror - eternal damnation."
Babies Left To Die
OAK LAWN, Ill. (EP) - A delivery room nurse who criticized her hospital's abortion policy has been fired. Pro-life activist Jill Stanek lost her job at Christ Hospital and Medical Center. Officials at the hospital insist that the discharge had nothing to do with Stanek's views. Since 1999 Stanek has publicly criticized the hospital's policy allowing the use of labor-induced abortion, in which an abnormal baby is delivered in the second trimester. The procedure can produce fetuses that live for as long as an hour outside the womb before dying of neglect. Hospital spokesman Michael Maggio acknowledged, "She was the main reason our hospital became the center of attention in the abortion debate," but insisted "that had nothing to do with it."
Actress Anne Heche Leaves Lesbianism,Says She Was Abused, Mentally Ill
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (EP) - Actress Anne Heche, who is probably best known as the lesbian partner of comedienne Ellen DeGeneres, has left the lesbian lifestyle and now says she suffered from years of mental illness brought on by childhood sexual abuse.
In a Sept. 5 interview with ABC's Barbara Walters, Heche said her father sexually abused her as a child. Heche said she feared she would die of AIDS, the disease that killed her father in 1983.
The abuse caused her to develop multiple personality disorder and to believe she was frequently talking directly with God, she said. "I had a fantasy world that I escaped to. I called my other personality Celestia," Heche said. "I called the other world that I created for myself 'The Fourth Dimension.' I believed I was from that world. I believed I was from another planet. I think I was insane."
Heche discussed her relationship with DeGeneres, whose claim to fame is playing the first lesbian character in a lead role in a prime-time comedy. The two were romantically involved before a high profile breakup in August of 2000, but are no longer even friends. Hours after the breakup, Heche was found wandering and incoherent in central California.
Now Heche, 32, has left lesbianism behind, and on Sept. 1, married cameraman Coley Laffoon.
The Traditional Values Coalition noted that with her marriage, Heche has joined thousands of others who have turned from the homosexual lifestyle to form traditional one-man/one woman families.
"Miss Heche is defying the most basic doctrine of the homosexual movement which once applauded her and gave her awards," said the Rev. Lou Sheldon, chairman of the coalition. "She has changed - by her choice - to stop being a homosexual, and she joins the ranks of thousands of others who make the same moral choice every day."
Sheldon continued, "Sooner or later, the truth will prevail and America will realize that no homosexual is 'born that way.' No matter how loudly the homosexual lobby proclaims its message of despair, the number of people who say 'no' to homosexuality will continue to increase."
Oprah Winfrey's Deception
CHICAGO, Ill. (EP) - Though Oprah Winfrey may mean well, she's playing a major role in leading people into New Age deception, according to the Christian Research Institute. The cult-watching organization's Christian Research Journal recently analyzed Winfrey's work and identified her as "the biggest contemporary disseminator of New Age belief systems." Author Kate Maver noted that Winfrey's guests include New Age gurus Marianne Williamson and Gary Zukav, and that while the self-help books recommended by Winfrey may mention Jesus, they "are, in fact, wholly antagonistic to the gospel." Maver concludes that Winfrey's intentions are good, and observes that the television host's popularity is "a symptom of the decades-old search for meaning in self-obsessed American culture."
Is Recruitment Greater Than Repentance
WASHINGTON, D.C. (EP) - Too many church leaders are more concerned with congregation size than with discipleship, Prison Fellowship founder Chuck Colson told the Willow Creek Association's WCA News. "We get much more interested in recruitment than in repentance," he said. "I think that's a great weakness." He said church governing boards are making a mistake when they evaluate pastors only on church growth. "They don't ask if it's a good church, whether they are discipling and equipping people, how many ministries they have in the community, or whether or not they're evangelizing," he said. "The first question is, 'How big is it?'"
Showing Respect For Atheists
RINGGOLD, Ga. (EP) - A small town in Georgia is displaying the Ten Commandments and the Lord's prayer in the wake of terrorist attacks. In what organizers call an effort to appease atheists, organizers are also displaying an empty picture frame, "for those who believe in nothing." Councilman Bill McMillion, who came up with the idea, explained to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "If they don't believe in (the other two), they can go stand in front of it and believe anything they want to." Mayor Joe Barger noted, "The blank frame is for those who we don't know who they are." The American Civil Liberties Union is considering a lawsuit.
Osama bin Laden With Sin
(AgapePress) - Osama bin Laden's organization has been linked to "Jihad warriors" who have been attacking Christian-dominated areas of Indonesia and attempting to convert Christians at gunpoint. More than 10,000 people have been killed and 300,000 people displaced in Jihad attacks in the Maluku islands in less than three years. The attacks are carried out by Indonesia's Laskar Jihad movement, and strong evidence suggests that this group may well be connected with Osama bin Laden. The Los Angeles Times reported that Ja'far Umar Thalib, the 39 year old leader of the Laskar Jihad movement, fought alongside bin Laden in Afghanistan during the 1980s.
Most mainstream Muslims have rejected Osama bin Laden's extreme interpretation of Islam, which calls for a "holy war" against the United States, waged by suicide bombers whose victims include Christians and Jews, women and children. Bin Laden has also said that suicide attackers will receive a special reward in paradise after their death. Most Islamic leaders believe that their faith forbids suicide attacks, particularly against civilian targets, and argue that those responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks cannot be considered religious martyrs. Much of the Islamic world has officially denounced the attacks, including bin Laden's own family in Saudi Arabia. Abdallah Awad Abbud bin Laden, head of the family, said the attacks, "violate Islam and are totally rejected by all religions and by humanity at large."
Southern Utah Residents United in Their Dislike for UN, Big Gov't.
(AgapePress) - Towns in southern Utah are taking bold measures to defend their constitutional rights, but never did they imagine that their battle against the United Nations and big government would attract so much national attention.
CNSNews reports the town of Escalante is considering a city ordinance that would require most heads of a household to own a gun. Virgin, a town 40 miles away, adopted a similar law earlier this year.
Recently, the town of Washington City passed a resolution that supports repealing the 17th Amendment, which makes the election of U.S. senators a popular vote rather than a decision by state legislatures. Supporters say the proposal would make senators more beholden to their constituents' interests.
Meanwhile, CNSNews reports a federal mandate protecting a desert tortoise habitat has blocked off 75,000 acres of land and forced Washington City to spend over $150,000.. Residents of southern Utah already feel burned by the Clinton Administration's 1996 decision to create the Escalante-Grand Staircase National Monument, which forced closure of two million acres of coal-rich land to mining and development, limiting land-use rights for farmers and ranchers.
However, even more than the federal government, locals fear the UN and its aggressive measures on the environment, gun control, and population control.
In a symbolic protest of the UN, the La Verkin City Council passed an ordinance July 4 declaring the village a 'UN-free zone,' making it a misdemeanor to engage in UN activities. Now Virgin and a pair of other towns - Toquerville and Hurricane - are considering their own UN-blocking ordinances.
"I believe my rights come from God, not from the United Nations," says Hurricane resident Don Tait. Tait and others feel the UN's goal is to become a global government that will sabotage rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
Are Most Americans Devoid of Devoutness?
(AgapePress) - The United States of America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. The national motto is "In God We Trust." And most Americans claim they believe in God. But is America today truly a religious nation?
Polls indicate that at least 80% of Americans claim to have a believing faith in God. However, Lee Edwards of the Heritage Foundation says the 80% may not be as devout as they imply they are.
"They are believers in God; I think they're church-goers. I think they do think that there is a heaven, that there are angels," Edwards says, "but I don't think that (the majority of them) always apply ? some of that feeling to their day-to-day circumstances. But I think they basically are good people who do believe in God and who do try to get to church on Sunday."
Edwards says the religious make-up of America is like a bell curve - secular socialists on the left, devout believers on the right, and the majority of the nation composed of believers who are varied in their commitment.
Younger Graham Pleads for U.S. Intervention in Sudan To End Slavery
(AgapePress) - The head of one of the largest international Christian relief organizations is encouraging President George W. Bush to take action to help Christians in the Sudan.
Franklin Graham is president of Samaritan's Purse. Recently, on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, Graham said he finds it hard to believe that slavery is still legal in the African nation of Sudan in the 21st century. He is encouraging President Bush to take a strong stand against legalized slavery in the Sudan.
"I'm just hoping and praying that our nation and that our President will stand up and say, as the head of this country, that we'll use our diplomatic power to try to end slavery, we will use our economic power to do everything we can to end slavery and, if need be, we will use our military power," Graham said.
The evangelist - himself the son of another well-known evangelist, Rev. Billy Graham - is pushing Christians to bombard the White House with phone calls and letters, demanding action to stop slavery in the African nation. He said concerned believers should let Bush know that the U.S. will not stand by while fellow believers are being enslaved.
"Many times we, as Christians, keep quiet, thinking that nobody is paying any attention, no one's listening and 'who cares about what I think,' "Graham said. "I tell you what, the government does care, and when you do write - especially if they get ten, fifteen, a hundred, or ? a thousand letters at the White House in the next couple of days - I'll guarantee you this will go upstairs."
Since World War II, more than two million people have died and four million have fled their homes as a result of fighting and war-related famine and disease. Secretary of State Colin Powell told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in March, "There is no greater tragedy on the face of the earth than the one unfolding in Sudan."
Graham's organization has been operating relief efforts since 1993 in southern Sudan, where most of the suffering has occurred. In that region, Christians and others of African descent have resisted the governments attempt to impose Arabic culture and Islamic law. The group's ministry includes a hospital, a camp for boys, and airlifts of food into areas of Sudan where, according to Samaritan's Purse, the government has manipulated a famine.
China Is Bad Choice
(AgapePress) - ?An evangelical leader says the selection of Beijing to host the 2008 Summer Olympics marked a "sad day for human rights." The International Olympic Committee awarded China with the highly coveted prize, despite the country's long history of massive human rights violations, many of which include the brutal persecution of Christians and other religious adherents. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, is outraged by the IOC's decision. Land says the communist regime is currently trampling the rights of more human beings than any other government in the world. To Land, awarding the 2008 Games to Beijing is comparable to taking the recalcitrant, obstreperous bully who has been sentenced to detention hall four out of five days of every week the entire school year and giving him the Good Citizen of the Year Award."
Report: U.S. Recognition of Palestinian State Derailed by Attacks
(AgapePress) - A report says in the days just before the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Bush Administration was preparing a major initiative which could have led to the U.S. giving official recognition to a Palestinian state.
The Washington Post reports Secretary of State Colin Powell was to unveil the plan in a speech scheduled for mid-September. The Administration also was contemplating a meeting between President Bush and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat during the United Nations General Assembly meeting that had been scheduled to start in late September.
The Post says the White House initiative and the Powell speech had already been approved by the National Security Council just days before the terrorist hijackings. The report states there were a number of things in Powell's speech, which would have pleased the Palestinians, but there was also a call for them to crack down on the violence of their supporters.
The newspaper says that since September 11, Arab diplomats have redoubled their efforts to push the Bush White House into playing a more vigorous role in a Middle East settlement. There is even an indication that some Arab countries - on whom the Administration is calling for support in its war against terrorism, are voicing some reluctance to do that because of America's tradition of close ties to Israel.
Meanwhile, WorldNetDaily is quoting the head of intelligence for Arafat's Palestinian Authority, who denies there is an Arab terrorism in Israel. Tafik Tirawa says, "Those who open fire on Israelis are not terrorists."
Your Donation To Red Cross At Work?
(AgapePress) - ...The Red Cross says it is giving relief benefits to homosexuals who lost their so-called domestic partners" in the September 11 terrorist attacks. Spokesman for the agency, Stacey Grissom, says the "Red Cross is a neutral and impartial organization" and does not consider things such as sexual orientation when designating such funds. CNSNews says other large relief agencies such as the United Way are also sending donations to victim organizations that in turn have indicated they will offer financial assistance to homosexual domestic partners.
Former Muslim: God of Abraham Not the Same as God of Mohammed
(AgapePress) - The founder of Florida-based Zennah Ministries says Islam requires that all Muslims take part in "jihad," or holy war - if not with the sword, at least with their hearts.
W.L. Cati is founder of the ministry, which is dedicated to helping women who have been in relationships with Muslim men. She was married to a Muslim for 15 years and says she was forcibly converted to Islam during the marriage.
Cati says she was angry when she saw an Islamic cleric participate in the National Prayer Service following the September 11 terrorist attacks and take the same stage as evangelist Billy Graham.
"I was literally jumping up and down in my living room, screaming and crying and yelling at the TV, and asking God, 'What am I supposed to do?' - because it was a total, diabolical lie," Cati says. "I made the statement lately that I served both those gods. I've served Allah, and I've served Jehovah - and they are nowhere related to each other whatsoever. The God of Abraham is not - I make it real clear - is not the god of Mohammed."
Cati says contrary to what is being portrayed in the media, Islam calls for all Muslims to take part in jihad if not with the sword, then in the heart. "They must perform it either by their throat [saying, talking, praying] ... by their heart ... by the hand [possessing things, rape, looting] ... or by the sword," she says.
According to Cati, Islam is not a religion of peace. It is "from the pit of hell," she says