News for social, fiscal & national security conservatives who believe in God, family & the USA. Upholding the rights granted by God & guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, traditional family values, "republican" principles / ideals, transparent & limited government, free markets, liberty & individual freedom. All content approval rests with the ARRA News Service Editor. Opinions are those of the authors. While varied positions are reported, beliefs & principles remain fixed. No revenue is generated for this site - no paid ads accepted - no payments for articles. Fair Use doctrine is posted & used. Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru] - firstname.lastname@example.org (Pub. Since July, 2006)Home Page
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Barna Lists the 12 Most Significant Religious Findings from 2006 Surveys
(Ventura, CA) – Even though George Barna has been conducting national public opinion surveys for a quarter-century, surprises emerge each year from those studies. The California-based researcher traditionally ends each year by identifying some of the unexpected and most significant findings of the passing year. Barna released his list of the twelve most noteworthy results of 2006, and described a few themes that ran through this year’s surveys.
Although large majorities of the public claim to be “deeply spiritual” and say that their religious faith is “very important” in their life, only 15% of those who regularly attend a Christian church ranked their relationship with God as the top priority in their life.
Three out of every four teenagers have engaged in at least one type of psychic or witchcraft-related activity.
The notion of personal holiness has slipped out of the consciousness of the vast majority of Christians.
The growing movement of Christian Revolutionaries in the U.S. distinguished themselves from an already-select group of people – born again Christians – through their deeds, beliefs and self-views.
Involvement in a house church is rapidly growing, although the transition is occurring with some trepidation: four out of every five house church participants maintain some connection to a conventional church as well.
Five of the highest-profile Christian leaders – Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, James Dobson, Tim LaHaye and T.D. Jakes – were unknown to a majority of the population. Most of those leaders were also unknown to most born again Christians. [Read More]
Beebe Wants Legislative Support on Elimination of Grocery Tax
Little Rock, AR (AP)- Governor-elect Mike Beebe (D) says receiving the support of the leadership in the Legislature will be vital in trying to eliminate the state's sales tax on groceries. Specifically, he wants the support of incoming House Speaker Benny Petrus (D-Stuttgart) who has said he would rather see a targeted rebate or refund for those with middle and low incomes instead of an overall grocery tax cut. Beebe campaigned on phasing out the six-cent tax. Several bills pre-filed in the Legislature have offered different ideas on how to either phase out or immediately eliminate the tax. Beebe hopes he and Petrus will "be able to talk to each other in such a way that I can convince him." Beebe will be sworn in as governor January 9th. The upcoming legislative session begins January 8th. [Will this campaign promise survive?]Tags:Arkansas, grocery tax, Mike Beebe
$1 Million Given to Start Cancer Center in Rockefeller's Name
Little Rock12/28/06 - Governor Huckabee gave $1 million to the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences Thursday as seed money for a cancer research center in honor of late Lieutenant Governor Win Rockefeller. The money will go toward establishing the Winthrop Paul Rockefeller Cancer Research Institute, in honor of Rockefeller, who died in July after battling a rare blood condition. UAMS officials and Rockefeller's widow say they hoped private donations and state funds could eventually help pay for the $124 million center. Earlier this year, legislators approved a $40 million bond issue to be paid by tobacco settlement revenues to establish the new cancer center. Tags:Arkansas, Mike Huckabee, Win Rockefeller
Who Will Be the Leading GOP Presidential Contenders in 2008?
By Jim Brown, Dec 28, 2006 WASHINGTON, DC (AgapePress) - A conservative activist and political commentator predicts three 2008 Republican presidential candidates will set themselves apart from the rest of the pack over the next year. The three candidates Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation is referring to are Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Weyrich, who has been involved in politics for decades, says twice Governor Huckabee had him "on the seat of his chair" during a recent forum. According to Weyrich, the former Baptist preacher "can speak like no other candidate." Read MoreTags:Election 2008, GOP, presidential candidate, RepublicanTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Massachusetts' Court says legislators must decide on one-man-one-woman definition. The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has ruled that it is unconstitutional for state lawmakers to refuse to vote on an initiative that calls for marriage to be limited to one man and one woman in that state. The ruling could not have been better for advocates of traditional, biblically-based marriage, Brian W. Raum, the senior legal counsel for the the Alliance Defense Fund told WorldNetDaily . . .[Click for more] Tags:marriage amendment, MassachusettsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Court sides with pro-life group in campaign finance ruling
Baptist Press -- Free speech advocates recently gained an important victory in their support of advertising on legislative issues during election campaigns. A special three-judge panel ruled Dec. 21 in favor of a pro-life organization that paid for issue ads during the 2004 election, saying such advertising does not violate a campaign finance reform law. The panel, which consisted of an appeals court judge and two federal judges in the District of Columbia circuit, voted 2-1 to uphold Wisconsin Right to Life's challenge to part of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. The law is commonly referred to as "McCain-Feingold" for its prime Senate sponsors, John McCain, R.-Ariz., and Russell Feingold, D.-Wis. . . . [Click for more] Tags:pro-life, campaign finance, rules, free speech
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Saddam Hussein, the shotgun-waving dictator who ruled Iraq with a remorseless brutality for a quarter-century, was taken to the gallows and executed Saturday morning just before 6 am Iraq time (Friday evening US time). The execution came 56 days after a court convicted Saddam and sentenced him to death for his role in the killings of 148 Shiite Muslims from a town where assassins tried to kill the dictator in 1982. Iraq's highest court rejected Saddam's appeal Monday and ordered him executed within 30 days.
At his death, he was in the midst of a second trial, charged with genocide and other crimes for a 1987-88 military crackdown that killed an estimated 180,000 Kurds in northern Iraq. Experts said the trial of his co-defendants was likely to continue despite his execution. Many people in Iraq's Shiite majority were eager to see the execution of a man whose Sunni Arab-dominated regime oppressed them and Kurds. Read More ...
Blogger Leon Wolf on Redstate.com cites Mike Huckabee's fiscal failures as Arkansas' governor: rated dead last among the nation's governors by the Cato Institute for tax rates and revenue variables, and was given a "C" on spending. His manifold fiscal failures have been widely chronicled by the Club for Growth, and the Cato Institute has widely criticized him for his expansion of the nanny-state in Arkansas. Huckabee has also favored in-state tuition rates for illegal immigrants, and state funded scholarships for the same. [Read More]Tags:Arkansas, Mike Huckabee, fiscal failures
Reid & Durban Too Busy on Junket to Attend President Ford's Funderal
Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the incoming assistant majority leader, will miss the state funeral for former President Gerald Ford at the Capitol Rotunda on Saturday night, opting instead to lead a delegation to South America for what has been described as a weeklong visit to Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru. The senators are scheduled to be in Cuzco, Peru, on Sunday, which would give them an opportunity to view the nearby Machu Picchu Inca ruins and anything else in advance of New Year's Eve. [Read More]
Former Republican President Gerald Ford Dies at 93
Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr., the 38th and only unelected president in America's history, has died, his wife, Betty, said Tuesday. He was 93. "My family joins me in sharing the difficult news that Gerald Ford, our beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather has passed away at 93 years of age," Mrs. Ford said in a brief statement issued from her husband's office in Rancho Mirage. "His life was filled with love of God, his family and his country."
He was born Leslie King on July 14, 1913, in Omaha, Neb. His parents were divorced when he was less than a year old, and his mother returned to her parents in Grand Rapids, where she later married Gerald R. Ford Sr. He adopted the boy and renamed him.
Ford studied at the University of Michigan where he also played center on the football team. He was on the University of Michigan's 1932 National Championship football team and was named most valuable Michigan player in 1933. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts in economics in 1935, Ford went to Yale University as an assistant football and boxing coach instead of accepting pro football offers. Accepted into Yale Law School in 1938, Ford received his law degree in 1941. Returning to Grand Rapids, Ford started a law practice with fellow classmate from the University of Michigan. However, the attack on Pearl Harbor changed his plans.
Ford volunteered and joined the Navy. He was commisioned as ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve on 13 April 1942 and on April 20 reported for active duty. During the one year he was at the Preflight School, he was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade on 2 June 1942, and to Lieutenant on March 1943. He was released from active duty under honorable conditions on 23 February 1946.For his naval service, Gerald Ford earned the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with nine engagement stars for operations in the Gilbert Islands, Bismark Archipelego, Marshal Islands, Asiatic and Pacific carrier raids, Hollandia, Marianas, Western Carolines, Western New Guinea, and the Leyte Operation. He also received the Philippine Liberation with two bronze stars for Leyte and Mindoro, as well as the American Campaign and World War II Victory Medals.
Republican Ford defeated the incumbent in the party primary and was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1948, representing the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. He was elected House Minority Leader in 1963 and served in the House until 1973. When Spiro Agnew resigned, Ford became the first vice president appointed under the 25th amendment to the Constitution.
In 1974, Ford, who had never run on a national ticket, took the office of President minutes after Nixon flew off into exile. "My fellow Americans," he said, "our long national nightmare is over. Our Constitution works. Our great republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule." He then added: "I am acutely aware that you have not elected me as your president by your ballots. So I ask you to confirm me with your prayers." He was in the White House only 895 days.
But he revived the debate a month later by granting Nixon a pardon for all crimes he committed as president. That single act, it was widely believed, cost Ford election to a term of his own in 1976, but it won praise in later years as a courageous act that allowed the nation to move on. The decision to pardon Nixon won Ford a John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in 2001, and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, acknowledging he had criticized Ford at the time, called the pardon "an extraordinary act of courage that historians recognize was truly in the national interest."
He was the longest living president, followed by Ronald Reagan, who also died at 93. Ford had been living at his desert home in Rancho Mirage, Calif., about 130 miles east of Los Angeles. Tags:president, Gerald Ford, GOP, Republican, dead, diesTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Al Qaeda has sent a message to leaders of the Democratic party that credit for the defeat of congressional Republicans belongs to the terrorists. "...you aren't the ones who won the midterm elections, nor are the Republicans the ones who lost. Rather, the Mujahideen -- the Muslim Ummah's vanguard in Afghanistan and Iraq -- are the ones who won, and the American forces and their Crusader allies are the ones who lost," Zawahri said, according to a full transcript obtained by ABC News. Zawahri calls on the Democrats to negotiate with him and Osama bin Laden, not others in the Islamic world who Zawahri says cannot help. [Read More]
Arkansas Bill Introduced to Stop PayDay Preditory Lending
State Rep. David Johnson, D-Little Rock, and state Sen. Shawn Womack, R-Mountain Home, filed House Bill 1036, last week which would prohibit businesses (payday lenders) from charging more than 17 percent interest on a consumer loan and would set a fine of $300 per transaction for violations of the statute.The state constitution already prohibits interest rates of more than 17 percent on consumer loans and credit sales, but there is no state statute imposing a penalty for exceeding that limit. Payday borrowers typically are charged a fee that some say is the equivalent of a high interest rate - often more than 300 percent. [Read More]
German government declares war on homeschooling families
Repercussions could affect U.S. home educators The German government, in a throwback to its National Socialist Workers Party heritage, has declared war on homeschool families, promising to bring those with banned "religious convictions" into alignment with the state regulations.The word comes through the Netz-Bildung Freiheit (Net-Education Freedom) organization in Germany, a coalition of efforts lobbying on behalf of the constitutional right of German parents to have their children's education "conform" to their own religious and philosophical convictions . . . [Click for more]
A pro-family group is expressing skepticism about the accuracy of a new report that says 95 percent of Americans have had premarital sex. A study by Lawrence Finer of the Alan Guttmacher Institute finds that 99 percent of Americans had sex by the age of 44, and 95 percent had done so before getting married.The "reality-check research," as Finer calls it, was based on interviews of more than 38,000 people, some 33,000 of them women, in 1982, 1988, 1995 and 2002 for the federal National Survey on Family Growth. The study purportedly examined how sexual behavior before marriage has changed over time . . . [Click for more]
Donald Trump Files $10 Million Lawsuit After Being Cited for Large US Flag
Donald Trump is suing Palm Beach, FL for $10 million after being cited for flying an oversized U.S. flag over his Mar-a-Lago Club. Attorneys for the club filed a complaint Thursday, saying that flying the flag is a constitutionally protected expression of free speech - and that the large flag is a proper match for the size of the real-estate mogul's patriotism.
In the lawsuit, Trump's attorneys accuse the town of selectively enforcing its ordinances. Other locations in the town display flags that violate statutes, the lawsuit alleges. All damages awarded to the club would be donated to veterans of the war in Iraq, the lawsuit said. "The day you need a permit to put up the American flag, that will be a sad day for this country," Trump said in October. Read More
At Christmastime, the nature of the season often forces us to confront things we've "let slide" during the year in pursuit of mundane things.It could be our role as a spouse or parent, our relationship with God, or our willingness to sacrifice for the sake of others that we begin to reflect upon more seriously.As we watch those around us immerse themselves in the symbols, traditions, and story of Christmas, we may even find ourselves committing to be a better person, God willing, as we reconsider the importance of things that matter most--things of eternal consequence that often get shuffled aside in this "temporal" world . . . [Click for more]
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.." ~ John 3:16-17
Merry Christmas from the Arkansas Republican Assemblies editorial staff.
Christmas, 2006, comes at a markedly inauspicious time for celebrating the birth of the Prince of Peace. Our country has entered another year of a strange, shadowy global war, and, despite battlefield successes that portend ultimate victory, our nation's political leaders are still warring over war here at home: how best to wage it, and whether to treat it as a military conflict or as a courtroom battle. Also on the home front, we are warring over Christmas itself. Added to the common complaints of crass commercialism, the frenzied dashes through shopping malls, and the fast-clicking through e-commerce websites are sharp-edged debates this year over commercial establishments following government schools and public venues in banishing Christmas. This is stunning hypocrisy to say the least, with large-scale sellers coveting Christmas shoppers' business while simultaneously signaling their greater fealty toward the multicultural secularism of the liberal elite.
Practical-minded shoppers tend to dismiss such foolishness, returning to their search for "the perfect gift," but has anyone ever purchased such a thing? We know perfection cannot exist in this world, as all the wars attest. Instead, gift-givers are seeking something that is well suited to the intended recipient; something that perhaps will even delight the receiver. Who can gainsay a giver's motives?
Undeniably, Nativity accounts treat giving as an important part of the Holy Birth. Historically, the actual year of Christ's birth is thought to be between 6 B.C. and 4 B.C., at the end of Herod's reign in Judea. The first mention of Christmas as a formal Nativity feast occurred much later in a Roman almanac dated A.D. 336.
The Christmas star that guided the Wise Men to Bethlehem may have been any of a number of recorded astronomical events coinciding with the likeliest dates of that first Christmas. Halley's Comet appeared in 12 B.C., and ancient Chinese texts note "exploding" stars, or novas, observed in both 4 and 5 B.C. Exceptionally bright planetary conjunctions occurred in 2, 6, and 7 B.C.; among these, a most promising candidate for the Holy Star was the triple conjunction of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn in 6 B.C. The Wise Men are said to have followed the Holy Star to lay gifts, symbolic of His life, before the Baby Jesus: gold, because He was a king; frankincense, as he was a divine king; myrrh, to foreshadow that His suffering and death would be our preservation.
The prophet Isaiah wrote of the coming Messiah, "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light..." Well before the birth of Jesus, man longed for light in the days of greatest darkness. Early Christians selected December 25th for the Nativity feast to proclaim that Jesus Christ was the real Light of the World, the true "Son of Righteousness," the foretold Messiah. As Jesus later said, he had not come to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them, just as He fulfilled the deepest longings of human minds and hearts.
The Christ Child was Himself referred to as a “Gift” given by Our Heavenly Father to redeem sinful humans. The Holy Birth involved the Incarnation first; the spiritual wrapped in material form: holy, eternal God, enshrined in perishable human flesh. Such was our Perfect Gift, for restoration of full fellowship between God and man.
God, in His mercy, has bestowed many other gifts on this blessed land. Consider the many Decembers, reasserting hope during dark days as heavenly gifts to America, coming at critical junctures in our nation's Founding. On December 11, 1620, prior to disembarking at Plymouth Rock, the voyagers signed the "Mayflower Compact," often cited as America's original document of civil government and the first to introduce self-government. On December 16, 1773, the "Sons of Liberty" tossed chests of tea from British ships into Boston harbor in protest of Britain's unjust taxes. This, of course, was the Boston Tea Party.
Our American Christmas heritage as celebrated during early colonial days (continuing today) derives, like so much else here, from the mingled Christmas traditions of immigrants from many lands, with differing religious beliefs and customs of worship and celebration. Our name for this Holy Day arises from the old English Cristes Maesse, or Christ's Mass. As the name suggests, the holiday was first observed in Early America among the Anglicans, Roman Catholics, Lutherans and Moravians who settled predominantly in the Middle Atlantic colonies and the South. Influenced by Puritanism and Calvinism, the New England Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Baptists and Methodists treated the new celebration with greater circumspection.
In fact, some New England colonial authorities outlawed Christmas from 1649 until 1658 and the General Court of Massachusetts set a fine in 1659 of five shillings per offense, punishing the observance "of any such day as Christmas or the like, either by forbearing of labour, feasting, or any such way." About the same time, the Assembly of Connecticut forbade the reading of the Book of Common Prayer, the keeping of Christmas and saints days, the making of mince pies, the playing of cards, or performing on any musical instruments.
National acknowledgement of Christmas returned during the Revolutionary War, and mirrored its ebb and flow. The so-called Christmas Campaign victories of General George Washington in 1776 at Trenton and Princeton were followed a year later by the Revolutionary Army's retreat to Valley Forge, the trail marked by bloody footprints in the snow. Washington wrote in discouragement of "A character to lose, an estate to forfeit, the inestimable blessing of liberty at stake, and a life devoted, must be my excuse," and about how "it was much easier to draw up remonstrances in a comfortable room by a good fire-side, than to occupy a cold bleak hill, and sleep under frost and snow, without clothes or blankets."
Massachusetts was the first state to make Christmas a legal holiday, in 1856. By that time, most of our shared Christmas traditions were set, and Harper's Weekly, on January 3, 1863, featured a drawing of encamped soldiers receiving Christmas gifts from home. Christmas become a federal holiday under President Ulysses S. Grant's 1870 declaration.
Nearly all Americans celebrate Christmas today in some way, a uniformity that belies the variance with which, as in colonial days, Americans approach this holiday. The Babe of Bethlehem's birth was announced by angels saying, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord...Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!"
Is the Christ Child's American birthday still that universal? We uniformly believe it is! His earthly arrival brings true delight to believers but perfection for doubters and deniers too. "O come let us adore him" is neither threat nor coercion, but instead a personal invitation. It is in the nature of a gift to be freely given, and freely received, for true gifts are not forced in either way.
As George Washington acknowledged, in his despair in 1777, another gift God has bestowed upon Americans is "the inestimable blessing of liberty." The first freedom enshrined in our U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights is religious liberty which includes the liberty to honor Christmas freely and publicly. Our troops in harm's way, surely, are fighting for Christmas in that very sense so that we all may freely proffer adoration for that miraculous and perfect Gift of the first Christmas. A very Merry Christmas from us to all of you. PL Booth, The Blue Eye View
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. ~ John 1:14 (NKJV)
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!' ~ Luke 2:8-14 (NKJV)
More than 2,000 years ago...mankind received its Savior, and to those who had dwelled in darkness, the light of hope had come. Each Christmas, we celebrate that first coming anew, and we rejoice in the knowledge that the God who came to Earth that night in Bethlehem is with us still and will remain with us forever. Christmas is a season of hope and joy, a time to give thanks for the blessing of Christ's birth and for the blessings that surround us every day of the year.... [This] Christmas, we pray [especially] for freedom, justice and peace on Earth. We remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and for our freedom, and we ask for God's blessing on their loved ones. We ask God to watch over all of our men and women in uniform. Many are serving in distant lands, helping to advance the cause of freedom and peace. Our entire Nation is grateful to them and prays for their safe return. Laura and I send our best wishes for a blessed and merry Christmas. ~ President George W. Bush
He rules the world with truth and grace. ~ Isaac Watts
I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. ~ Charles Dickens
The Incarnation...illuminates and orders all other phenomena, explains both our laughter and our logic, our fear of the dead and our knowledge that it is somehow good to die, and which at one stroke covers what multitudes of separate theories will hardly cover for us if this is rejected. ~ C.S. Lewis
Regarding not the day, let us give God thanks for the gift of His dear Son... If it be possible to honor Christ in the giving of gifts, I cannot see how while the gift, giver and recipient are all in the spirit of the world... But we have a Christ gift the entire year. ~ Charles Spurgeon
The concerted effort to minimize Christmas has resulted in it being our national “Happy Holiday”. The Christmas season is now the holiday season. Christmas parties are now holiday parties. Christmas is a time for giving and receiving presents and in many homes, nothing more. Who is this fellow, Jesus Christ, anyway? ~ Lyn Nofziger
Holiday and Holy Day, Christmas is more than a Yule log, holly or tree. It is more than natural good cheer and the giving of gifts. Christmas is even more than the feast of the home and of children, the feast of love and friendship. It is more than all of these together. Christmas is Christ, the Christ of justice and charity, of freedom and peace. ~ Francis Cardinal Spellman
The place that the shepherds found was not an academy or an abstract republic; it was not a place of myths allegorized or dissected or explained away. It was a place of dreams come true. ~ G.K. Chesterton
More than any gift or toy, ornament of tree, let us resolve that this Christmas shall be, like that first Christmas, a celebration of interior treasures. ~ Ronald Reagan
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