The Hidden Roots of Betsy Devos’s Educational Policies | The University of Chicago Divinity School

Source: The Hidden Roots of Betsy Devos’s Educational Policies | The University of Chicago Divinity School

Here it is, in case you want to understand the roots of Betsy Devos’s hyper-Calvinistic theocratic views on education.

GDP Comparison of States in the US and Other Countries

(Source, HERE)

Romania’s GDP (gross domestic product) compares with that of South Carolina.

Walter Brueggemann on Idolatry

A really prophetic message.

William Yoder – A Commentary on Evangelist Franklin Graham in Moscow

franklin graham
Franklin Graham

Note of the blogger: The text below proves, again, what an embarassment the foolishnes of Franklin Graham is to his illustrious father. Read for yourself (I have undelined certain passages, for out help). I need to say no more. (D.M.)

* * *

God: Big Enough to Stomach Us Both

M o s c o w — Rev. Franklin Graham’s visit to Moscow from 28 October to 1 November was surely the most “politically incorrect” visit of a Western church leader to Eastern Europe in decades. A foreboding of things to come had arisen when Graham assured at the outset that he was praying for Vladimir Putin. Franklin Graham, chairman of the “Billy Graham Evangelistic Association” had previously only visited Russia in 1984 along with his famous father. Franklin did hold evangelistic campaigns in Ukraine in July 2007 and June 2014.

Ukrainian Baptists had ridiculed the “Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists” for a statement on 30 May 2014 which lauded the divorced Russian leader for “protecting and strengthening spiritual and moral values”. Graham repeated the transgression in his meeting with RUECB leadership on 28 October by assuring that Putin “defends Biblical values from the attacks of secularism”. On the basis of his statements in Moscow, Graham sees Putin as a major defender of the historic Christian faith. Barack Obama on the other hand is “without a Christian worldview” and “promotes atheism”.

Mainstream media – the “Washington Post” for ex. – have repeated branded Putin a “fascist”. Yet Graham insisted in Moscow that millions of simple Americans would like to see Vladimir Putin candidate for the office of US President. God has given Putin the wisdom necessary to “lead a massive country, which God has blessed”. Graham met personally with the Russian president for 45 minutes during the Moscow sojourn. Continue reading “William Yoder – A Commentary on Evangelist Franklin Graham in Moscow”

Grace Halsell – What Christians Don’t Know About Israel

Palestine Israel

American Jews sympathetic to Israel dominate key positions in all areas of our government where decisions are made regarding the Middle East. This being the case, is there any hope of ever changing U.S. policy? American Presidents as well as most members of Congress support Israel — and they know why. U.S. Jews sympathetic to Israel donate lavishly to their campaign coffers.

The answer to achieving an even-handed Middle East policy might lie elsewhere — among those who support Israel but don’t really know why. This group is the vast majority of Americans. They are well-meaning, fair-minded Christians who feel bonded to Israel — and Zionism — often from atavistic feelings, in some cases dating from childhood.

I am one of those. I grew up listening to stories of a mystical, allegorical, spiritual Israel. This was before a modern political entity with the same name appeared on our maps. I attended Sunday School and watched an instructor draw down window- type shades to show maps of the Holy Land. I imbibed stories of a Good and Chosen people who fought against their Bad “unChosen” enemies.

In my early 20s, I began traveling the world, earning my living as a writer. I came to the subject of the Middle East rather late in my career. I was sadly lacking in knowledge regarding the area. About all I knew was what I had learned in Sunday School.

And typical of many U.S. Christians, I somehow considered a modern state created in 1948 as a homeland for Jews persecuted under the Nazis as a replica of the spiritual, mystical Israel I heard about as a child. When in 1979 I initially went to Jerusalem, I planned to write about the three great monotheistic religions and leave out politics. “Not write about politics?” scoffed one Palestinian, smoking a waterpipe in the Old Walled City. “We eat politics, morning, noon and night!”

As I would learn, the politics is about land, and the co-claimants to that land: the indigenous Palestinians who have lived there for 2,000 years and the Jews who started arriving in large numbers after the Second World War. By living among Israeli Jews as well as Palestinian Christians and Muslims, I saw, heard, smelled, experienced the police state tactics Israelis use against Palestinians.

My research led to a book entitled Journey to Jerusalem. My journey not only was enlightening to me as regards Israel, but also I came to a deeper, and sadder, understanding of my own country. I say sadder understanding because I began to see that, in Middle East politics, we the people are not making the decisions, but rather that supporters of Israel are doing so. And typical of most Americans, I tended to think the U.S. media was “free” to print news impartially. Continue reading “Grace Halsell – What Christians Don’t Know About Israel”

Discurs al lui Ben Carson la Casa Alba

Un discurs superb. Rev. Ben Carson este pastor adventist evanghelic (unii adventisti NU sunt evanghelici, ci aproape ‘se inchina’ profetesei lor, Ellen White). El este un candidat potential la presedintia Statelor Unite.

The Map of the World According to a Delusional American Presidential Candidate

The world as it appears to be perceived by the ridiculous American Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Political pathologies have no limits. And the US is no exception.

Donald Trump World Map

Source, Huffington Post.

Russian Baptists Fail to Assume Responsibility for Their Shameful Support of Putin Invasion in Ukraine


Orthodox Metr. Hilarion addressing the forum

Relationships between Russia and the US are deteriorating rapidly because of the aggressive neo-Soviet imperialism promoted by Putin, primarily in Ukraine, but, in fact everywhere in the world where he has interests. This unavoidably affects Russia’s image in the world. Not that Putin cares very much about that – it was not care for the world that made him a KGB spy and then president of Russia. However, such image deterioration has economic consequences, and that really hurts (not so much the Russian people, who really do not count, but the interests of the oligarch’s who support the Russian dictator). Thus, the new Russian ‘tsar’ started sending around his ‘slaves’ to try saving what they can.

This is the context for the so-called ‘Russia-USA Forum of Christian Leaders’, in which a delegation of Russian Orthodox, led by Metr. Hilarion Alfeyev, in charge of foreign affairs for the Moscow Patriarchate, and of Russian Evangelical leaders, mostly Baptists and Pentecostal/charismatics (nota bene, there were no Catholic leaders involved), have met with a number of Protestant/Evangelical American leaders, in an attempt to clean up the tarnished face of ‘mother Russia’. The convenor of this religiously dubious and politically misguied meeting was the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, more precisely, its constantly embarassing president, Franklin Graham. Continue reading “Russian Baptists Fail to Assume Responsibility for Their Shameful Support of Putin Invasion in Ukraine”

Most Commonly Spoken Language Other Than English in the US

US map - Most Commonly Spoken Language Other Than English

From the Facebook wall of Riad Kassis.

The Stereotype Map Of Every U.S. State — According To British People

US stereotype map

(Source, HERE)

Obama’s Accreditation Reforms on Higher Education – Accredited Online

Obama’s Accreditation Reforms on Higher Education – Accredited Online.

An interesting article on the proposed reform of the higher education accreditation system in the US.

Here is the comment I have left on the website:
Very interesting.
Although Romania has a centralised school and university accreditation system, as required by the European Union, it is rid with corruption and bureaucracy, and is not really able to create the educational standards expected.
The reform measures proposed by President Obama, if applied and effective, could provide an incentive for reconsidering the system used presently in Romania.
Presently, the civil society is trying to o=get organised and put pressure on the government and political parties in order to create a national consensus on the needed reform of the educational system, one of the least effective in Europe at the present time.

A Circle of Protection for the Poor – A Pastoral Letter to US Congress

Christian Leaders Call on Lawmakers to Reaffirm Their Commitment to a Circle of Protection

With Congress planning to recess on Aug. 5 before addressing budget sequestration, more than 5,000 Christian leaders have issued a reminder that lawmakers must make hungry and poor people a priority as they consider our nation’s fiscal challenges.

The pastoral letter asks elected officials working to reduce our national debt to maintain a circle of protection around programs that effectively alleviate hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world. The pastoral letter was initiated by the Circle of Protection, an alliance of Christian leaders who have met with key members of both parties, urging them not to balance the budget on the backs of hungry and poor people.

In the letter, members of the Circle of Protection thank President Barack Obama for his efforts to reduce the deficit while limiting cuts to programs serving poor people, and they let him know that they are praying for him. The faith leaders then ask lawmakers from both parties to work together to end hunger and poverty by engaging in respectful, bipartisan dialogue and by ending brinksmanship. They further ask lawmakers to develop a plan that finds revenue and savings without increasing poverty and to frame budget discussions in terms of moral choices understandable to the American people. Continue reading “A Circle of Protection for the Poor – A Pastoral Letter to US Congress”

Poll shows a double standard on religious liberty | Religion News Service

Poll shows a double standard on religious liberty | Religion News Service.

American evangelicals are utterly confused, a recent Barna poll shows, in terms of religious freedom. On one side they are worried that secularists will take away their freedom of belief, yet, at the same time, they are not willing to allow the same freedom for people of other faiths.
Guys, you can’t have the cake and eat it too.

NT Wright on US Politics

NT Wright on US politics

Rabbi Michael Lerner – Why U.S. and Israel Should Welcome the Palestinian Move at U.N.

Editor’s note: Rabbi Michael Lerner is editor of Tikkun: A Quarterly Journal of Politics, Culture and Society, chair of the interfaith Network of Spiritual Progressives and rabbi of Beyt Tikkun synagogue in Berkeley, California. He welcomes feedback: rabbilerner.tikkun@gmail.com

(CNN) — Israel’s security can only be assured when its neighbors believe that it is no longer oppressing the Palestinian people but instead living in peace and harmony with them.

The de facto strategy of past and present Israeli governments of seeking security through domination and by pushing Palestinians out of their homes, or allowing right-wing religious fanatics to create settlements throughout the West Bank to ensure that no Palestinian state could have contiguous parts, has not and cannot work to provide safety for Israel.

Israel’s fate and its well-being are intrinsically linked to the well-being of the Palestinian people. It’s time for the powerful to show generosity to the relatively powerless.

So those in the U.S. and Israel who want Israel to be secure should welcome the Palestinian Authority’s decision to seek observer status as a nonmember state in the United Nations. The authority has agreed to return to negotiations with Israel without conditions once that status has been granted. The goal is creation of a state living in peace with Israel in borders roughly approximating those of the before than 1967 war, with minor border changes mutually agreeable through negotiations. Continue reading “Rabbi Michael Lerner – Why U.S. and Israel Should Welcome the Palestinian Move at U.N.”

Martin Marty – The Religious Right after the Election

Through the years your Monday Sightings has never commented on presidential campaigns, and the contest held this year is no exception. Today, self-liberated from the practice of opting-out, we can survey the comments on “public religion” in the campaign and election just past. We usually footnote these columns with reference to newspaper and internet coverage of the topic of the week. This year we will list a few, but doing so is hardly necessary: by today your computer can come up with scores, if not hundreds of stories and editorials on the subject. Scan them and you will find rare unanimity on this kind of issue: the Religious Right, aka the Christian Right, aka the Evangelical-Catholic Right experienced losses on its key chosen issues enough to raise questions about its influence: has it been over-rated all along? Continue reading “Martin Marty – The Religious Right after the Election”

2010 U.S. Religion Census: Religious Congregations & Membership Study

You may find HERE the very interesting results of one of the most extensive study of religions in the US.

This is how it is presented on the web site:

The 2010 U.S. Religion Census: Religious Congregations & Membership Study (RCMS) is a county-by-county enumeration of religious bodies in the US. A quick overview is available here. It is an update of the 1952, 1971, 1980, 1990, and 2000 studies originally done by the National Council of Churches and the Glenmary Research Center. Since 1990, the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies (ASARB) has sponsored the studies.

Each participating religious body supplies the number of churches, full members, adherents, and attendees for each county. See “Data Collected” for more information. Our data collection office can assist any group with compiling their data to the county level.

You may download HERE the summary of the findings.

Kathy Kelly – The Ghost and the Machine

The Ghost and the Machine

by Kathy Kelly with research by the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers

Fazillah, age 25, lives in Maidan Shar, the central city of Afghanistan’s Wardak province. She married about six years ago, and gave birth to a son, Aymal, who just turned five without a father. Fazillah tells her son, Aymal, that his father was killed by an American bomber plane, remote-controlled by computer.

That July, in 2007, Aymal’s father was sitting in a garden with four other men. A weaponized drone, what we used to call an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or UAV, was flying, unseen, overhead, and fired missiles into the garden, killing all five men. Continue reading “Kathy Kelly – The Ghost and the Machine”

Military archbishop: US invasion led to fewer Iraqi Christians :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Military archbishop: US invasion led to fewer Iraqi Christians :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).

A very sad consequence of war waged by a (supposedly) Christian nation (whatever that means) in a Muslim land.

Is ‘Europe’ a Dirty Word?

Europe seems to have become a sort of scare word, if not, indeed, a swear word for Republicans involved in the presidential campaign. Thus, Romney warned his electorate that Obama ‘wants us to turn into a European-style welfare state”, while Santorum dreaded that the same infamous person is “trying to impose some sort of European socialism on the United States.”

Such statements reveal not only the classic irationality of election campaigns, but also the utter cultural ignorance of most American politicians. Nicholas Kristof ofthe New York Times, in an article from which I have borrowed the quotations above, is asking what would be so bad if something like what is below would happen in America:

It’s a languid morning in Peoria, as a husband and wife are having breakfast. “You’re sure you don’t want eggs and bacon?” the wife asks. “Oh, no, I prefer these croissants,” the husband replies. “They have a lovely je ne sais quoi.”

He dips the croissant into his café au-lait and chews it with zest. “What do you want to do this evening?” he asks. “Now that we’re only working 35 hours a week, we have so much more time. You want to go to the new Bond film?”

“I’d rather go to a subtitled art film,” she suggests. “Or watch a pretentious intellectual television show.” Continue reading “Is ‘Europe’ a Dirty Word?”

Obama’s exemplary response

The Obama government was better prepared for Irene than the Bush government was for Hurricane Katrina six years ago, writes the left-liberal daily Der Standard on the safety measures in New York: “Bush and [the director of the US Federal Emergency Management Agency Michael] Brown had criminally underestimated the havoc Hurricane Katrina would wreak in the overflooded streets of New Orleans. … In stark contrast to Barack Obama, the crisis manager of Hurricane Irene. He doesn’t take anything lightly; not for him the quirky phrases of his Texan predecessor. Katrina raged a lot more violently than Irene. … But Obama’s caring competence and the matter-of-fact approach of [New York Mayor] Michael Bloomberg provide a pleasant contrast to Bush. Perhaps the radical individualists of the Tea Party need to be reminded of a couple of home truths: It’s Uncle Sam, the allegedly so superfluous state, who organises the response to the elements.” (29/08/2011)
(See HERE the full article in German.)

Who Is Funding the Spread of Islamophobia in the US?

MJ Rosenberg argues in a recent article that,

It has been just about a decade since Islamophobia exploded in this country. That was of moment that the World Trade Center and Pentagon were hit by al Qaeda terrorists. It existed prior to 9/11, but the losses that day and the general terror it inflicted upon this country made many, many Americans much more wary of Arabs and, fairly quickly, fearful of the religion the terrorists professed.

The first sign that 9/11 would be exploited to advance various agendas came from Binyamin Netanyahu, who was quoted in the New York Times as saying the attacks would be good for Israel:

Asked tonight [September 11, 2001] what the attack meant for relations between the United States and Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister, replied, ”It’s very good.” Then he edited himself: ”Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.” He predicted that the attack would ”strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we’ve experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive hemorrhaging of terror.” Continue reading “Who Is Funding the Spread of Islamophobia in the US?”

Why Are Finland’s Schools Successful (and Romania’s Are Not)?

According to education columnist Linda Fandel, the reasons why schools in Finland are considered the best in the world (see HERE) are:

  • Careful selection and lengthy preparation of teachers
  • A clear and rigorous national curriculum
  • Constant, enthusiastic help for struggling students
  • Ongoing review of how to make the system better

All this, according to Fandel (see HERE), could be summarised by three words: Relationships, Engagement, Student Centred.

Scot McKnight was pointing us recently to a very good article on this topic. Here are a few quotes: Continue reading “Why Are Finland’s Schools Successful (and Romania’s Are Not)?”

Martin Marty – American Christians and Capitalism

This is a hot topic, that needs to handled carefully at this time of history.

Marty talks about it in one of his latest Sightings, because of new survey done by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI). According to it, ‘more Americans (44 percent) see the free market system at odds with Christian values than those who don’t (36 percent), whether they are white evangelicals, mainline Protestants, Catholics or minority Christian’ (see HERE). This opinion is held even more strongly members of minority groups. Thus: Continue reading “Martin Marty – American Christians and Capitalism”

Tony Campolo on US-Israeli Relations

Christian Approaches to Healthcare

healthcare

My virtual friend RomGabe recommends a link to a blog post on the dabate about healthcare in America.

The blogger (Steve Hayes – a very interesting person) organised a syncroblog on the healthcare debate and you can find in his post a link to the other related articles.

Continue reading “Christian Approaches to Healthcare”