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Newsletter for September 3, 2008

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  • American News
    American News Commentary  * Originally Published as EPOCH Commentary*   - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Vol. 11, No.
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 3, 2008
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      American
      News Commentary
       * Originally Published as EPOCH Commentary*  
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      Vol. 11, No. 10   September 3, 2008    © 2008
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      A SINCERE WORD OF THANKS to all of
      our readers who wrote to express their appreciation
      for our Evangelical viewpoint on the news events
      of our times -- the important and the whimsical.
      We value your email comments; send them to us at:
      - - - - - - - - - -
      QUESTION OF THE WEEK: WHAT DO THE
      PARTY PLATFORMS SAY ABOUT ISSUES
      IMPORTANT TO CHRISTIANS? -- AND
      OTHER ITEMS IN THE NEWS
       
      Based on the amount of print space and air time
      devoted to it -- the top news item this week is the
      same as last week: a national political convention.
      This week it has been the Republican convention
       in St. Paul, Minnesota.
       
      This evaluation of last week's Democrat convention
      from Jonathan Garthwaite in Townhall.com is worth
      noting: "Even with Joe Biden by his side, Roman
      pillars surrounding him, and Bill and Hillary
      behind him, the Barack Obama at Mile High was
      the same inexperienced, liberal radical we have
      always known him to be. No amount of rock
      concert lighting, Broadway stagecraft, lofty
      rhetoric - or even fireworks -- will change that." 
      Or this from John LeBoutillier in Newsmax.com: 
      "The speech just ended, and my immediate
      reaction is that Obama is the weakest link in an
      otherwise fantastically smooth-running campaign
      operation. Sure, he gives/reads a speech well;
      but the speech itself says very little." But that 
      convention is now past history -- but was
      unquestionably  marked by great oratory.
       
      Neither convention offered any surprise; we
      knew who the Vice President nominees were --
      Joe Biden for the Democrats and  Governor Sarah
      Palin for the Republicans. The Republicans at their
      convention did not have star attractions like Ted
      Kennedy and the two Clintons to feature, and had
      to make do with a presentation of conservative
      ideas and ideals which set them apart from their
      more liberal opponents. But the Republicans never
      had in mind as expensive and spectacular a show
      as the Democrats put on.
       
      And the Republican convention was interfered with
      by Hurricane Gustav, preventing President Bush
      from being there in person to speak to the delegates,
      but doing so by video. The gravity of the natural
      disaster of Gustav, and looming international threat
      of Russia's aggression in Europe, presented an
      opportunity on Thursday for John McCain to speak
      on the serious dangers confronting America and the
      world in direct contrast to Barak Obama's mantra
      of "change" in his coronation speech amid all the
      show business glamour and pyrotechnic highlights
      just a week ago.
       
      But the abbreviated Republican convention did
      hear from First Lady Laura Bush, and her potential
      successor Cindy McCain, and even from the former
      Democrat, but now Independent Senator Joe.
      Lieberman.    
       
      But out of both conventions came the respective
      platforms upon which the election will be contested.
      These platform provisions are definite and are
      absent the hype which characterized both of the
      conventions. These are the issues upon which the
      parties will base the upcoming campaigns to elect
      their candidates. In other words the platforms
      represent what you will be voting for when you cast
      your ballot for Republican or Democrat candidates.  
       
      Political party platforms are lengthy and massive
      documents. We shall not in any way attempt to
      reproduce them in full, but will limit our review to
      a brief presentation of their stated positions on a
      few issues which are of particular concern to
      American Christians.
       
      Here are a few of those subjects randomly selected
      -- on Abortion the Republican platform includes
      these words, "We assert the inherent dignity and
      sanctity of all human life and affirm that the
      unborn child has a fundamental individual right
      to life which cannot be infringed."  By contrast,
      the Democrat platform includes these words, "The
      Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally
      supports Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to
      choose a safe and legal abortion ... and we
      oppose any and all efforts to weaken or
      undermine that right." 
       
      On Marriage, the Republican platform: "Because
      our children's future is best preserved within
      the traditional understanding of marriage, we
      call for a constitutional amendment that fully
      protects marriage as a union of a man and a
      woman... A Republican Congress enacted the
      Defense of Marriage Act [N.B.- signed into law
      by President Clinton] affirming the right of states
      not to recognize same-sex marriages licensed in
      other states." Again, by contrast, the Democrat
      platform: "We support the inclusion of all families
      in the life of our nation, and support equal
      responsibility, benefits and protections...We
      oppose the Defense of Marriage Act ."
       
      On Religious Liberty, the Republican platform:
      "We affirm every citizen's right to apply
      religious values to public policy and the right
      of faith-based organizations to participate in
      public programs without renouncing their
      beliefs."  The Democrat platform, "We will
      restore vigorous federal enforcement of civil
      rights laws in order to provide every American
      an equal chance of employment, housing,
      health, contracts and pay."

      By way of summary: The Republican platform
      opposes abortion and same-sex marriage, and
      supports the religious freedom provided for in
      the Bill of Rights. The Democrats support and
      endorse abortion and same-sex marriage, and
      have pledged to remove the Defense of Marriage
      Act, and their stance on religious liberty is based
      on civil rights principles. The choice for Christians
      is obvious. In making this decision, one would do
      well to remember the email message from Barack
      Obama to CBN in which he said: "Whatever we
      once were, we're no longer just a Christian
      nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim
      nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and
      a nation of nonbelievers." In one sentence he
      wiped out our nation's Christian heritage which was
      established by our founding fathers.
       
      Nancy Pelosi vs the Catholic church: although
      claiming to be a Roman Catholic who boasts that
      she regularly receives communion despite Catholic
      doctrine which would deny communion to those who
      support abortion -- Nancy Pelosi accuses the
      church of being wrong, and argues that her opinion
      is right. Archbishop Charles Chaput was firm in
      meeting Ms. Pelosi's arguments: "Speaker of the
      House Nancy Pelosi is a gifted public servant
      of strong convictions, and many professional
      skills. Regrettably, knowledge of Catholic history
      and teaching does not seem to be one of them."
      Other Catholic authorities agreed: Cardinal Justin
      Rigali said that Pelosi "misrepresented the history
      and nature of the authentic teaching of the
      Catholic Church against abortion," and added,
      "Since the first century the Church has affirmed
      the moral evil of every procured abortion. This
      teaching has not changed and remains               
      unchangeable." Washington Archbishop Donald
      Wuerl affirmed, “As the Catechism and early
      Church documents make clear, abortion is
      always an evil. That is an unchanging teaching."
      New York Cardinal Edward Egan said that Pelosi
      and others who defend abortion "should not be
      providing leadership in a civilized democracy."
       
      The Rev. Thomas Reese, at Georgetown University
      Theological Center concluded, "It is a big mistake
      for politicians to talk theology." And not only is
      Speaker Pelosi in trouble with the church; Senator
      Biden will not be permitted to speak at  Catholic
      schools, even if elected Vice President. (Ruling of
      the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, to which Biden
      belongs) 
       
      No Founding Fathers quote this week; instead
      we offer this comment from Chuck Colson, founder
      of the Prison Fellowship: "The Bible is the rock on
      which the Church stands or falls. The texts were
      written with meticulous care, based on
      manuscripts accumulated over the centuries
      before Christ—and then, by faithfully recording
      the apostles' teaching. Archeological discoveries
      are mounting, supporting the Bible's historicity.
      No book has ever been so challenged nor found
      so reliable." - from "Breakpoint," Aug. 29, 2008
       
      A Few Random Afterthoughts . . .
       
      For what it's worth, Forbes.com published this
      week a list of the "100 Most Powerful Women"
      in the world. At. No. 1 is Angela Merkel, German
      Chancellor. At random places in the list of 100 are
      these familiar names: No. 7, Condoleezza Rice; No.
      28, Hillary Clinton; No. 35, Nancy Pelosi; No. 36,
      Oprah Winfrey; No. 44, Laura Bush; No. 58, Queen
      Elizabeth II; and No. 72, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It
      is of interest that the USA led all nations, with 50
      names out of the top 100.
       
      Obama vs free speech: Members of Barack
      Obama’s campaign HQ in Chicago tried to shut
      down a local  show on the city’s most powerful
      radio station, WGN, because they didn’t like a
      conservative guest who was scheduled to discuss 
      Obama’s ties to local terrorist William Ayers. One
      strange aspect of the attempt to stifle free speech is
      that WGN is conceivably the most liberal station in
      the Chicago, strongly supporting Obama's campaign.
      If this can happen just during an election campaign, 
      it makes one wonder what sort of oppressive climate
      an Obama presidency would impose on the country?
       
      A small group increasingly heard from: the
      total number of atheists in this country seems to be
      in the range of 2% - 5% of the US Population,
      and agnostics approximately the same. Yet they
      seem to have a voice far beyond their numbers.
      The organization, "Freedom from Religion" has
      been sponsoring billboards in various US cities,
      and now in Phoenix, AZ, with the message:
      "Imagine No Religion."  The co-president
      of the sponsoring organization said that to date
      they have encountered little opposition to the
      billboards. We have come so far from the nation
      America started out to be.  
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