Monday, October 31, 2016

Reformation Day

HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN ME? - Pr. Marlowe Parks

October 31st 2016, Happy Reformation Day!

Pope takes Christian unity bid to Protestant heartland of Sweden

October 31, 2016

Pope Francis was is greeted by Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Loefven at Malmo airport on October 31, 2016 (AFP Photo/Vincenzo Pinto )

Malmö (Sweden) (AFP) - Pope Francis arrived in Sweden Monday on a historic mission to promote reconciliation and unity between Catholics and Protestants, riven by Christianity's nearly 500-year-old schism.

"It is an important trip," the pontiff told journalists on a plane carrying him from Rome to Sweden, a predominantly Lutheran nation hosting commemorations to mark the birth of Protestantism.

After arriving in the southern city of Malmo, Francis was to head to nearby Lund for an oecumenical service marking the start of a year of celebrations for the Reformation -- the dramatic 1517 event that created a Protestant branch of Christianity which rebelled against papal rule.

The event will also mark 50 years of reconciliatory dialogue between the Catholic Church and Lutheranism -- a Protestant branch that has traditionally been among the most fervent opponents to Vatican's authority and teachings.

Just by agreeing to attend, Francis has made a gesture that would have been unimaginable for all but his most recent predecessors, commentators say.

The popes of the 16th century spent huge amounts of time and energy trying to stifle or reverse the reforming wave launched by the German monk Martin Luther when he nailed his demands -- the "95 theses" -- to the door of a church in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517.

Monday's meeting comes eight months after Francis became the first pope in almost 1,000 years to meet an Orthodox Patriarch.

The current leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics has also reached out to Anglicans.

Ahead of the visit, Francis reiterated the importance he attaches to Christian unity at a time when both believers and belief itself are under pressure in many parts of the world.

"When Christians are persecuted and murdered, they are chosen because they are Christians, not because they are Lutherans, Calvinists, Anglicans, Catholics or Orthodox," Francis said in an interview with two Jesuit publications.

"An oecumenism of blood exists."

Some Catholic conservatives question whether there is anything about the Reformation worth celebrating.

Partly for that reason, every word of the sermon the ever unpredictable Francis delivers in Lund is likely to be closely scrutinised, as will remarks by Mounib Younan, the Palestinian president of the World Lutheran Federation.

The pontiff's body language will also be closely watched, particularly when he is led into the Lund cathedral by Antje Jackelen, the female archbishop who is the senior cleric in the Swedish Lutheran church.

"It is clear that in order to recognise priests within another church, this is not an advantage because it is not possible for us to have women priests," Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, told the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter on Monday.

"We accept of course the decision about having a woman archbishop. But it is an obstacle in the way of recognising the other church's tradition," Koch said.

Antje acknowledged, without touching on the issue of women's role in the church, that it has been complicated to organise the event in Sweden.

"It has not always been easy, partially because it is a completely unique experience and partially because there are so many chefs involved," Jackelen told Dagens Nyheter.

With its approval of women holding office, backing for gay marriage and openly lesbian and gay bishops, the Swedish church is liberal to an extent unimaginable for the vast majority of Catholic clerics.

The two traditions also differ in their approach to church governance -- hierarchical for Catholicism, flat for the Lutherans -- as well as on more esoteric theological questions.

- Shared communion? -

But they also share many religious customs, such as baptism, and Younan told AFP he would like to see Catholics and Lutherans authorised to take communion together -- something currently ruled out by Vatican doctrine.

"We are praying that one day we may celebrate the holy communion together, this is very important for me," Younan said, while stressing the importance of accentuating common ground.

"In this time when extremism is devouring all the world globally, we are giving an example to the whole world that this a common commemoration despite our disagreement in the past, a sign of unity and a sign that religion is no more a problem."

Monday's programme also includes an event in a stadium in Malmo that will be addressed by the bishop of the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo. It will conclude with a mass prayer for peace in the war-torn country.

The charity wings of the two churches are also due to seal a cooperation accord.

Sunday, October 30, 2016


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CAVUTO: “Former Republican governor, John sununu. What do you think of this?”

SUNUNU: “You used the right technical term. You said kind of hinting. This letter was kind of hitting, and I don’t think it’s going to go anywhere legally. It might but I doubt it. And I think Republicans have to be careful because in or two three days you may get a Comey, never mind, but it does provide a political reality, and in the context of the Wikileaks e-mails that are out there I think the Republicans ought to put is as part of the culture of corruption that is involved in the Clinton operation.

CAVUTO: “Do you think this will be resolved one way or the other in a few days?”

SUNUNU: “I doubt it. I doubt it. But there is always the possibility. And you must operate at if there is a possibility. And that is why I suggest that the focus be on the climate of corruption that’s adds to and that the climate of corruption that starts at the Clintons go toes the democratic national committee, where they stuck it to Bernie — and it’s really oozing down to local campaigned. I have a sound running for governor and the democratic candidate wouldn’t discuss irvs associated with the certain contract and re-open them. Nobody could figure it out. And then the found out he took 40,000 decide from the people that took it. There’s a culture of corruption that perfect E permeates the democratic process across the country. They’re attacking candidates on personal things and the Clintons have empowered this.”

CAVUTO: “Now, you’re quite right, always a possibility that the director comes forward and says, I’ve conditioned this and tried to be aware thief calendar and the time it is resolved. Even if that is not the case, the fact of the matter is, it was through an outside case that these e-mails came to light and I would imagine, governor, Americans who look as this who might not be in the weeds as you and I might be, they just look at this and say, this again. It’s a separate investigation. Into someone else and just seems like very complicated weeds, and all going back to the same issue of trust.”

SUNUNU: “Just think of what you’re saying if the clip tops may have become immune to all the corruption because there’s so much corruption. The Republicans have to deal with that. They have to put it into context and have to talk specifically. And this Bill Clinton inc. E-mail that came out from band is to me the. Classic smoking gun, if you will, on how the Clintons —“

CAVUTO: “Let me ask you, I know it’s is a political year. But we’re learning as well, governor, the White House indicated that it was not given any heads up on this FBI announcement, nor was anyone at the State Department, nor apparently any Clinton campaign officials. What do you make of all of that?”

SUNUNU: “I think there’s at least a little component of cover your butt in it, and I think the director Comey has to deal with certainly a large number of FBI agents who thought the mishandled the other one and I think he is just trying to — as part of this, thought the should do it the way you describe, without notifying anybody, so that he is not accused of having given them advance warning.”


Saturday, October 29, 2016

Rating Action: Moody's Affirms Aa3 LOC-backed Adventist Healthcare, Inc. MD's Variable Rate Revenue Bonds, Series 2005A

Global Credit Research - 25 Oct 2016

New York, October 25, 2016 -- Moody's Investors Service has affirmed the Aa3 long-term joint support letter of credit-backed rating of Maryland Health & Higher Educational Facilities Authority, Revenue Bonds (Adventist HealthCare, Inc. Project), Series 2005A (the Bonds). The short-term VMIG 1 rating assigned to the Bonds remains unchanged.


Moody's review of the long-term joint default analysis (JDA) rating of the Bonds resulted from Moody's downgrade of Adventist HealthCare, Inc.'s (AHC) rating to Baa3 from Baa2 on October 17, 2016. For more information on that rating action please see the rating update report published on such date.

The Bonds are supported by an irrevocable direct pay letter of credit provided by MUFG Union Bank, N.A. (the Bank). The long-term rating of the Bonds continues to be based on JDA, which reflects Moody's approach to rating jointly supported transactions. The JDA rating is based on (a) the long-term Counterparty Risk Assessment (CR Assessment) of the Bank as provider of the letter of credit, (b) the underlying rating of the Bonds, and (c) the structure and legal protections of the transaction which provide for timely debt service payments to investors.

Factors that Could Lead to an Upgrade

-Moody's upgrades the long-term CR Assessment of the Bank or the long-term underlying rating of the Bonds.

-The short-term rating upgrade is not applicable.

Factors that Could Lead to a Downgrade

-Moody's downgrades the long-term CR Assessment of the Bank or the long-term underlying rating of the Bonds.

-Moody's assessment of the default dependence between the Bank and AHC increases.

-Moody's downgrades the short-term CR Assessment of the Bank.


The principal methodology used in this rating was Rating Transactions Based on the Credit Substitution Approach: Letter of Credit backed, Insured and Guaranteed Debts published in December 2015. Please see the Rating Methodologies page on for a copy of this methodology.


For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on

For any affected securities or rated entities receiving direct credit support from the primary entity(ies) of this rating action, and whose ratings may change as a result of this rating action, the associated regulatory disclosures will be those of the guarantor entity. Exceptions to this approach exist for the following disclosures, if applicable to jurisdiction: Ancillary Services, Disclosure to rated entity, Disclosure from rated entity.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.

Please see for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

Randy Matlosz
Public Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Joann Hempel
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Public Finance Group
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Related Issuers

Adventist HealthCare, Inc., MD

Raoul Dederen, 91, longtime Seminary professor and dean, passes to his rest

Mountainside encounter led Belgian to Adventism, marriage


As the year 1944 was ending, German forces were battling Allied troops just a few miles from the town of Pepinster, Belgium. In a contest later known as the “Battle of the Bulge,” the Nazi battalions were forced to retreat, their plans to keep the port of Antwerp away from the Allies in tatters.

During those dark days, a 19-year-old Catholic named Raoul Dederen, staring down the “millennium” proclaimed by Adolf Hitler, a so called “thousand-year Reich,” turned towards the message of hope delivered to him by some Seventh-day Adventist friends. While guns roared nearby, Dederen was baptized into a faith whose millennial expectations were not centered in histrionic rantings, but “the blessed hope” of Jesus’ soon return.

Dederen, who went on to become one of the most-beloved professors at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs, Michigan, passed to his rest Oct. 24, 2016, at the age of 91.

He was one of my favorite teachers with his signature emphasis on the doctrine of Christ.

“For every student who has ever valued clarity and organization at the front of the classroom, Dr. Dederen was the premier example of both,” says Bill Knott, editor of Adventist Review and Adventist World, and a student in Dederen’s seminary classes in the early 1980s.“Even on dark, cold Michigan mornings, Dr. Dederen could make a 7:30 a.m. class sparkle with his wit, his eagerness, and his clear command of his topics.I still keep the notes I took in those classes near at hand as a witness to one of the most systematic minds I have ever encountered.”

Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson, world church president, said Dederen "was a great and longtime friend" whose loss was sad news.

"Dr. Dederen was one of my seminary teachers and helpful mentor of mine," Wilson said via email. He "was one of my favorite teachers with his signature emphasis on the doctrine of Christ. He was very animated and interested in so many things of life. It was a privilege to travel with him for about three weeks early in my work as Ministerial Association secretary in the then Africa-Indian Ocean Division. We traveled to various places together in Rwanda, Burundi and the Congo. He was a wonderful teacher in the classroom or in the field instructing pastors."

Wilson added, "He was a precious friend and I plan to see him soon when the Lord returns to continue our conversation and to sit at the feet of Christ, our Savior, whom Dr. Dederen loved, about whom he taught and for whom he lived."

My sister and I, while sledding down the snowy hills not far from home, ran into two or three young Adventists ... As we walked up the slopes, they shared their faith with us, starting with the doctrine of the millennium.

A Pivotal Encounter

For Dederen, encountering Adventism in the midst of humanity’s greatest crisis thus far, the Second World War, was pivotal.

“There was so much destruction, pain, and blood,” Dederen told Ministry Magazine editor Nikolaus Satelmajer in 2006. “I was often disturbed by the fact that my Catholic faith hardly answered my questions, especially about good and evil as well as about my future and that of Europe. I refused to go along with Jean-Paul Sartre’s philosophy, very popular at the time. I refused to accept the view that man faces an absurd world with feelings of anguish and disgust.”

His encounter with Adventism “started with a snow party in the winter of 1942,” he told Satelmajer. “My sister and I, while sledding down the snowy hills not far from home, ran into two or three young Adventists ... As we walked up the slopes, they shared their faith with us, starting with the doctrine of the millennium.”

One of those young Seventh-day Adventists was Louise Fyon, whom he married in 1947, and with whom he shared life for 68 years. Louise Dederen, an archivist at Andrews University who was developed the Heritage Center there, received the school’s John Nevins Andrews Medallion, becoming the first woman and first non-academic at the school to do so. Raoul Dederen also received the John Nevins Andrews Medallion for his academic work.

A graduate of Belgium’s Athénée Royal, Dederen earned his master of arts and moral science doctorate degrees from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. Beginning in 1947, he served forseven years as an Adventist pastor in Belgium, followed by ten years on the faculty of the French Adventist Seminary in Collonges-Sous-Salève. During that latter period, Dederen began and completed his doctoral studies.

A 1964 guest teaching invitation at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs led to Dederen’s being invited to join the faculty there. He became a professor of systematic and historical theology, and served as dean of the Seminary from 1989 until his retirement in 1991, when he became an active emeritus professor, still teaching and advising doctoral students until 2001.

“While at the Seminary he taught major courses dealing with revelation and inspiration, the doctrine of the Church, the doctrine of Christ, Roman Catholic theology, and ecumenical trends,” his colleague Darius Jankiewicz noted.

Publishing Emphasis

“In addition to his pedagogical and administrative responsibilities, he devoted himself to publishing ministry,” Jankiewicz said. “He wrote a multitude of articles that appeared in numerous Adventist and non-Adventist peer-reviewed journals and magazines and also contributed chapters to numerous books.”

Jankiewicz said Dederen’s work as editor of the Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology, published in 2000, “was one of his major contributions to the theology of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.” For 20 years, Dederen participated in meetings the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches as an observer.
In 2002, before beginning a series of overseas meetings, Dederen was diagnosed with cancer, undergoing an operation to remove his “stomach, the spleen, and part of the pancreas,” as he later recalled. Being fed through a tube and told assisted living was his best option, Dederen and his wife opted for him to return home. He recovered sufficiently to live another 14 years; Louise Dederen preceded him in death in December 2015.

Along with the vast legacy of his published work, and the memories of thousands of students and Seventh-day Adventist church leaders, Dederen is survived by granddaughters Francine Bergmann and Sheila Besirli, and their families. A funeral service and interment is planned for Ann Arbor, Michigan.



Nowhere does the article mention the fact that Mr. Raoul Dederen signed (for the GCSDA) the Lima Text or B.E.M. Document at Lima Peru in 1982...

The next section contains words taken from Spiritism in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, pp. 86-88, by Colin and Russell Standish, Hartland Pub., 1995; and “Capitulation to the Ecumenical Movement,” by Colin Standish:
Every effort is being made to de-emphasize the great pillars of the Christian faith. We cannot forget the congress that convened in Lima, Peru, in 1981, in which almost all of the Christian communions of the world met, including a representative from the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
“Over 100 theologians met in Lima, Peru in January 1982, and recommended unanimously to transmit this agreed statement—the Lima Text—for the common study and official response of the churches. They represented virtually all the major church traditions: Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Old Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, Reformed, Methodist, United, Disciples, Baptists, Adventists, and Pentecostal.
“The churches’ response to this agreed statement will be a vital step of the ecumenical process of “reception.” (Lima Test, emphasis ours).
Dr. Raoul Dederen, professor at the Seminary at Andrews University, was the Seventh-day Adventist representative at this meeting.

B.E.M. Baptism, Eucharist, and Ministry.


It's Trump or the political elite this cycle, says Ben Carson on game day

Dr. Ben Carson tailgates before the rivalry University of Michigan, Michigan State University game on Oct. 29, 2016. He was in Michigan, his home state, to support Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Emily Lawler |

By Emily Lawler |

on October 29, 2016 at 12:31 PM, updated October 29, 2016 at 2:14 PM

EAST LANSING, MI – Former presidential contender Dr. Ben Carson said at a tailgate on Saturday that Michiganders should support Republican nominee Donald Trump, who represents the people against political elite and their "minions in the media."

"I think a lot of people are starting to recognize that this election is not about Democrats and Republicans. This is about the political ruling class and their minions in the media and the people," Carson said at an appearance to support Trump during the football game between Michigan State University and the University of Michigan.

"And as more people realize that, I think you're going to see them abandoning the party loyalty and start thinking about their children in America," Carson added.

And in Michigan, where Trump is trailing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the polls, Carson gave Trump good chances for winning Michigan on Nov. 8.

"I think they're actually pretty good. Because having grown up here one thing I know about Michigan is that there are a lot of people here with common sense," Carson said.

He said Trump had exactly the right solutions for Michigan's manufacturing sector, while Clinton's plan would lead to the continued decline of Michigan's manufacturing sector.

But U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Southfield, said in a statement that Clinton would be better for Michiganders.

"Only one candidate has fought for children and families throughout her entire career: Hillary Clinton," Lawrence said. "...Hillary has always stood up for those who need a champion, and I know that she has the experience necessary to lead our nation and bring us together."

As Michigan and Michigan State fans trailed into the game, they were surprised to see Carson among the tailgaters.

"I'm here for a great football game but to see him just joining in with an everyday crowd, that's amazing," said David Skjaerlund of Owosso.

He's supporting Trump in the presidential election. So is Duke Kelly, of Howell, but Carson was his first choice.

"I wish I could vote for him in two weeks," said Kelly.

Carson toured several tailgates, getting a warm reception from those in attendance.

A graduate of the University of Michigan's medical school, Carson was diplomatic about the state's biggest rivalry.

"I grew up in Michigan so have known about this rivalry for a really long time and have lots of friends who went to both places. And relatives, so I can't be too partisan," Carson said.

Smokescreens, Rome the Whore of Babylon - Dave Cleveland

Friday, October 28, 2016

RICK BROWN: Churches must adapt to changing times

By Rick Brown, |October 26, 2016

If we only listen to statistics, there is great cause for concern for the future of the church in America. The current reality is this: no major Christian tradition is growing in the U.S. today.

The Christian faith is not growing as fast as the population growth. That means that any growth is still keeping us very far behind the same rate our population is growing. There are great challenges ahead.

Think about it: how exactly would any church connect with its community in a way to bring them together into something called a church? Every city has a story. And every person in the city has a story. Each person represents a vision for their own life. Different philosophies of life. Different politics. 

Different personalities.

It's a big challenge. But it is not a challenge unique to us. Just a few weeks after Jesus ascended into heaven a ragtag group of his followers met in an upper room. There were 120 of them. That's it. Tasked with the job of being witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth.

And yet they did it. They were not even large enough to make a blip on the screen of the population of the day. And within 300 years when Constantine needed something to pull a fractured Roman Empire together, he would make Christianity the official religion because it had grown so large - even with its opposition and persecution - that it was the one thing most of his people had in common.

If that could happen then, could we dream that it will happen now?

Not if we look at our current reality. 18 to 29 year-olds make up 22 percent of the U.S. population but only 10 percent of the church population. 40-50 percent of youth group seniors drift from God and the faith community after they graduate high school. 78 percent of those who check the box labeled "none" on religious affiliation surveys were raised in a particular religious group but now claim no connection with them.

These are sobering statistics. It's a big challenge. But it is not a new challenge. In fact, it's an exciting challenge! It is not a time to despair and long for the good old days. It is a time to jettison the canoes and climb the mountains. Let me explain.

Lewis and Clark set out to find a waterway passage to the Pacific. They believed what everyone before them believed: that the unexplored west was the same geography as the familiar east. When they instead found the Rockies they had a decision to make. Abort the mission or adapt and adventure. They had to get out of their canoes and learn how to instead navigate the Rockies. (See "Canoeing the Mountains" by Tod Bolsinger for more.)

That's what we have to do in the church today. We've come this far in canoes. We've done what we've known to do. But from this point on what is behind us will not necessarily help. We have to learn new/old ways of being a church if we want to see health and we want to see our kids carry the faith. The pre-Christian world of the New Testament can inform and guide the post-Christian world we find ourselves in today.

The church needs to not focus so much on developing programs as it needs to focus on developing people. That was Paul's vision. In Galatians 4:19 he writes: "I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you." Spiritual formation of followers of Jesus was his goal.

The "you" he speaks of is plural. The church did this together. When they were faced with challenges larger than ours in the Upper Room we are told they were "of one mind." It's a unique Greek word: homothymadon. 10 of the 12 times it is used in the New Testament it is used in Acts. It tells us how unique the Christian community was. It is a compound word made up of two words that mean "to rush along" and "in unison."

And that's what they did. The Spirit blew them along together. And in doing so they formed people spiritually. They reproduced faith communities where "Christ was formed."

We've got to change the statistics. We have to adapt. And as the church today "rushes along in unison" it will have the adventure of a lifetime.

Happy Sabbath

New Economic Order and Image of the Beast - Part 2 / Revelation 17

SDA Leaders Forsake Eric Walsh? He’s Left To Stand Alone; He Turns To Ba...

GA Governor Demands Pastor Hand Over His Sermons—and His Bible

11:48AM EDT 10/26/2016 

Pastor Eric Walsh (YouTube)

Join us on our podcast each weekday for an interesting story, well told, from Charisma News. Listen at

Family Research Council (FRC) today expressed outrage after the State of Georgia issued a legal demand that Dr. Eric Walsh, a lay pastor, hand over his sermons, sermon notes and all pastoral documentation, including his Bible. FRC launched a petition today at that calls on Governor Deal to "correct this egregious over-reach of the state into church affairs."

"This demand for Dr. Eric Walsh's sermons, sermons notes and ministerial documentation is an alarming display of government intrusion into the sanctity of the church, pastor's study and pulpit," said Tony Perkins, Family Research Council president and himself an ordained pastor. "This is something that I would have expected to see in a communist country, not America. The pulpit is to be governed only by the Word of God. Government scrutiny of speech in the pulpit is unconstitutional and unconscionable. Family Research Council stands with Dr. Walsh, and any other pastor who is targeted by the government because of what is said in the pulpit. We call on Gov. Deal to correct this egregious over-reach of the state into church affairs."

Travis Weber, director of FRC's Center for Religious Liberty, joins Dr. Eric Walsh at a press conference later today at the Georgia State Capitol, along with Walsh's attorneys at First Liberty Institute and an array of pastors and ministry leaders calling for the State of Georgia to cease its hostility toward people of faith.

"We've recently seen the former mayor of Houston issue subpoenas against pastors in Houston, Texas, seeking their sermons," said Weber. "This action against Dr. Walsh is another unjust assault on people of faith, including the pulpit itself. This cannot go unchallenged. We support Dr. Walsh in his resistance, and call upon the Georgia government to act according to the law and traditions of our country, which respect people of faith and the autonomy of the church. What they are doing is the opposite of religious freedom and everything that it means to be an American," concluded Weber.

Dr. Eric Walsh was one of the nation's leading health administrators until being fired in 2014 by the Georgia Department of Public Health. A lay minister in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Walsh was fired after Georgia officials learned of his faith. Documents released by First Liberty include emails showing that Georgia officials assigned employees to examine his sermons on YouTube—sermons dealing with common Christian themes including creation, compassion, spiritual growth, the family and Christian living. He was fired after this examination.

Walsh has filed a federal lawsuit against Georgia, alleging unlawful religious discrimination. Now, as part of that lawsuit, the state of Georgia—which ironically claims it did not fire Walsh for religious reasons—is demanding he hand over religious documents: his most intimate, private sermon notes, along with sermons themselves.


Pope Francis Reaches Out To Honor The Man Who Splintered Christianity

Audio will be available later today.

October 28, 20164:29 AM ET

Heard on Morning Edition


Pope Francis speaks to Lutheran pilgrims at the Vatican on Oct. 13. The pope is traveling to Lund, Sweden — where the Lutheran World Federation was founded 70 years ago — on Monday to take part in the year-long commemoration of the Protestant Reformation, launched by Martin Luther in 1517.AP

One of the greatest rifts in Christianity — between Catholics and Lutherans — isn't what it used to be. As a sign of those much improved relations, Pope Francis is traveling Monday to Sweden, an overwhelmingly Lutheran country, to kick off a year-long commemoration of the Protestant Reformation that split the churches 500 years ago.

It was the year 1517 when the German monk Martin Luther pinned his 95 Theses to the door of his Catholic church, denouncing the Catholic sale of indulgences — pardons for sins — and questioning papal authority. That led to his excommunication and the start of the Protestant Reformation.

The Catholic Church reacted with the Counter Reformation, and mutual enmity led to decades of religious wars that devastated central Europe.

Gerard O'Connell, Vatican correspondent for the Jesuit magazine America, says the pope's participation in commemorating the Reformation is proof of the extraordinary change in Catholic-Lutheran relations.

"A recognition, perhaps, that both sides missed something at the time of the Protestant Reformation," says O'Connell. "The Catholic Church missed ways of reforming itself. Luther and those around him pressed in a way that just couldn't be taken on board, so, in a way, both sides misspoke."

The pope's trip is in keeping with his efforts to reach out to other branches of Christianity — like the Russian Orthodox Church — and other faiths, including Islam and Judaism.

A reconciliation

The animosity and resentments left by the Reformation only began to heal after the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, with the start of an ecumenical dialogue aimed at promoting Christian unity.

There are still some doctrinal disputes. But Pope Francis says that while theologians iron out their differences, the two churches can work together on social issues like caring for the poor, migrants and refugees, and combating persecution of Christians.

Jens-Martin Kruse, pastor of the Lutheran Church in Rome, says Francis' approach has been dubbed "walking ecumenism."

"We are moving together, this is a new experience that we are together on this walk," Kruse adds. "Walking together, we find that we have lots of things more in [common than] we thought before."

That raises the question of whether the Reformation might have been a complete misunderstanding.

"Maybe not a misunderstanding," says Kruse, "but today, we are at the point where a lot of these topics from Luther are common for Catholics and Lutherans."

Praising Martin Luther

Last June, Pope Francis went so far as to praise Luther — once deemed a heretic by the Catholic Church — as a great reformer.

On his flight back to Rome from Armenia, the pope told reporters, "The church was not a role model, there was corruption, there was worldliness, there was greed, and lust for power. He protested against this. And he was an intelligent man."

There are three remaining areas of division: the question of the Universal Church and papal primacy; the priesthood, which includes women in the Lutheran church; and the nature of the Eucharist or Holy Communion.

This last item is of great concern to both churches, as they try to deal with Catholics and Lutherans who are married and who want to receive communion together.

A year ago, visiting the Lutheran church in Rome, Pope Francis opened the door slightly. He suggested to a Lutheran woman married to a Catholic man that perhaps, if her conscience permitted, she could receive communion in her husband's church.

Briefing reporters at the Vatican, Rev. Martin Junge, general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation, said the question of sharing the Eucharistic table — or interfaith communion — is of prime importance.

"I really hope the joint commemoration gives us a strong encouragement to be faster, to be bolder and to be more creative," said Junge, "and with a very strong focus on where people feel lack of unity the heaviest, around the table."


The Mena Connection - Narrated by Jerry Hughes

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Rest – A Needed Luxury

Written by Cheryl & Dennis Gowin on October 27, 2016 at 9:55 am 

Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin. Call us at our counseling practice with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions at 434-808-2637.

Do you view rest as a luxury or a necessity? In your weekly schedule, what time have you allocated for rest? Can you remember the last time you rested? And when you were sick does not count as resting.

It has not been that long ago that the concept of Sunday as the day of rest was forced upon us.
Some of the people reading this article may be surprised that not so many years ago, stores and businesses were not open on Sunday. Yes, Chick-fil-A did not come up with the concept of closing on Sunday. You could not work; you had to rest.

What is the meaning of rest? As a verb, rest is defined as ceasing work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength. As a noun, rest is an instance or period of relaxing or ceasing to engage in strenuous or stressful activity. To put another way, rest means taking a break from your usual demands and stresses of life. Complete rest encompasses the mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical components of life.

So why rest?

First, God gave us the example of resting. The creation story in Genesis tells us that on the seventh day God rested. In the New Testament, several examples of Jesus resting show Jesus’ view of the importance of sleep. In one example, Jesus slept in the front of a boat while his disciples struggled in a storm. After waking, Jesus told his disciples they also should have rested.

Second, rest prevents burnout. Burnout is the feeling of being depleted in every area of our life and needing radical rest to recover. Isn’t it logical that we take rest breaks in order to prevent burnout and the need for extreme rest? Our current day culture may consider rest as optional but the fact is that rest actually empowers us to work.

It is a myth that sleep is non-productive time. We are discovering that important biological processes are only performed during sleep. In spite of the pressures to do more and more, wisdom calls us to be good stewards of our bodies and allow time for sleep.

Modern inventions are not helping our rest cycles. Before the invention of electricity and artificial lights, people averaged 10 hours of sleep per night. Now, the average number of hours of nightly sleep is 6 to 7 hours. Artificial light allows us to keep working after the sun goes down. However, this artificial light interferes with our natural circadian rhythm that tells us when to sleep. Also, studies show that artificial light breaks down melatonin. The brain’s pineal gland produces melatonin at night and it is vital in regulating our sleep cycle, blood pressure, and body temperature.

Third, restful activities can help us renew links in our important relationships. Lack of rest can cause us to feel disconnected. If you don’t find time to rest, are you finding time for your relationships? Are you getting overwhelmed in doing and forgetting to reach out and connect?

What are some practical ways you can rest? Learn how to say no. Sometimes, rest involves saying “no” to others’ requests. Learn to listen to your need for rest. Your body and mind are limited in what they can do without rest. If you are having trouble concentrating, feeling unproductive, or having gloomy thoughts, listen to yourself and take a mental rest. This can involve getting outdoors for a few minutes, deep breathing, prayer, focusing on the things for which you are grateful. Give yourself permission to rest. Rest gives us perspective and helps us prioritize, making us more productive. Develop the discipline of rest by knowing when you are tired, knowing what works for you, and doing it. This week, make it a priority to set a pattern of rest. Your rest plan should include all elements of rest, spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical. A way to help meet your plan is to be sure to include your spouse, family, and friends in your plan.

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” Isaiah 30:15

Call us with your feedback, our phone number is 434-808-2637

Panel Debates Religion in Election Season

The Fordham Ram

on October 27, 2016/

The Center on Religion and Culture held a panel called “Soul-Searching on the Eve of the Election: Religion and the Future of American Politics.” The panel included David Blankenhorn, president of the Institue for American Values, Eddi Glaude Jr., the author of “Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul,” Tom Reese, S.J., columnist for the National Catholic Reporter and Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute Center for Religious Freedom, among others. The panel by and large discussed white Evangelical support for Donald Trump, the republican nominee. They noted that Trump may lose Utah, which normally votes Republican. There, the Church of Latter Day Saints is growing. They also discussed Hillary Clinton’s Methodist background, which may inhibit her from emphasizing religion in her campaign.

Rigged Election: Hillary and Trump Caught Partying Like BFF’s With Kissinger at Jesuit Gala

ElectionOracle / US Presidential Election 2016

Oct 26, 2016 - 03:14 PM GMT

By: Jeff_Berwick

We have been very, very suspicious of Donald Trump since he began his political run.

Many believed he was an outsider who was our “only hope” to tame the US federal government beast. But it has become very clear he is not.

First, Wikileaks showed that Killary herself actually approved Trump to be her competitor. According to an email sent from an assistant at the Clinton campaign, Hillary was aware that Trump was going to run before the political process was fully underway.

Clinton advised the mainstream media to push his legitimacy as a “pied piper” candidate because she realized, after looking at the poll numbers, that she wouldn’t stand a chance at winning the presidency against any of the establishment republicans without making them “pied pipers” – it just so happened that Donald was the easiest to play the role considering his long history of friendship with the Clintons.

In addition, the mainstream media was more than complicit in creating a narrative that the 2016 presidential elections were about Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump from the get go.

But, barely reported in the media, was that after the 3rd presidential debate, Clinton and Trump went out for a night on the town together… and where they went is of great interest.

They went to an annual Jesuit function which is usually full of New World Order types.


One of the more interesting things that occurred right at the end of the Jubilee year in early October, was that the Jesuits installed a new Superior General, with the date to commence being actually at midnight on the end of Jubilee.

We found this interesting because there is plenty of evidence that the Jesuits are at least one major arm of what you can call the illuminati.

In fact, the Jesuits were founded in Spain by what various reports call “crypto Jews” – those who are Jewish but pretending to be Catholic. Certainly at that time in Spain it was safer not to be a Jew.

Even Wikipedia, which wouldn’t recognize a conspiracy if it were directly presented by its participants has this to say about the Jesuits:

… In the first 30 years of the existence of the Society of Jesus there were many Jesuit conversos (Catholic-convert Jews) including the second Father General Diego Lainez … The original founder Ignatius … said that he, “would take it as a special grace from our Lord to come from Jewish lineage.”

At the beginning of the Al Smith dinner party after Cardinal Dolan was introduced, a joke was even made by a speaker that “everyone in attendance is doing their part in supporting their charitable efforts and that it couldn’t be done without the support of many of the other devoted “Catholics” on stage like Henry Kissinger, Howard Rubenstein, and Mort Zuckerman” – all of whom are obviously Jewish so this remark was naturally met with a lot of laughter

In fact, an extraordinary amount of controversy swirls around Jesuits. They are said to constitute the “Black Church” and thus adhere to the same Satanic religion as the world’s elite bankers supposedly hold.

The leader of the Jesuit order is commonly recognized in conspiratorial circles as the “Black Pope” whose signature staff is a crooked cross. Historically, the Jesuit Order has been seen as one that shirks no crime in expanding the power of the Church.
Lest this sound entirely outrageous, one must note that the Jesuits are, for instance, the inventors of concentration camps, which they established in Paraguay in order to incarcerate and then torture the native indians of the area.

But the litany of attributed Jesuit evil is even darker than that according to those who believe in the order’s continued malicious pursuit. The supposed founder of the Bavarian-based Illuminati, Adam Weishaupt, was a Jesuit.

In fact, the order is reputed to have been deeply involved in the Illuminati’s initial expansion, and chances are it is still deeply involved.

One more thing that highlights the evil of the Jesuits is their extreme oath of induction which all superiors must take in order to be elevated to the higher rungs of the organization. This is taken from the book Subterranean Rome by Carlos Didier, translated from the French, and published in New York in 1843 and reads in part,

“…promise and declare that I will, when opportunity present, make and wage relentless war, secretly or openly, against all heretics, Protestants and Liberals, as I am directed to do, to extirpate and exterminate them from the face of the whole earth; and that I will spare neither age, sex or condition; and that I will hang, waste, boil, flay, strangle and bury alive these infamous heretics, rip up the stomachs and wombs of their women and crush their infants’ heads against the walls, in order to annihilate forever their execrable race. That when the same cannot be done openly, I will secretly use the poisoned cup, the strangulating cord, the steel of the poniard or the leaden bullet, regardless of the honor, rank, dignity, or authority of the person or persons, whatever may be their condition in life, either public or private, as I at any time may be directed so to do by any agent of the Pope or Superior of the Brotherhood of the Holy Faith, of the Society of Jesus…”

One of the most poignant quotes regarding the malevolence of the Jesuits comes from Marquis de LaFayette 1757-1834; who was a French statesman and general who served in the American Continental Army under the command of General George Washington during the American Revolutionary War.

His quote is as follows:

“It is my opinion that if the liberties of this country – the United States of America – are destroyed, it will be by the subtlety of the Roman Catholic Jesuit priests, for they are the most crafty, dangerous enemies to civil and religious liberty. They have instigated MOST of the wars of Europe.”


When evaluating Jesuit behavior and influence, please keep in mind that both Donald Trump and Hillary’s VP, Tim Kaine, are Jesuit educated
. And it should be of GREAT interest, therefore, that practically on the eve of the US election, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton partied the night away at a Jesuit function that included such prominent Jesuit-trained attendees as Henry Kissinger.

Not only did the two not look like sworn enemies… they looked like two star crossed lovers going to their first prom.

We have long held to our stance that Killary will be the next President of the US. The amount of vote rigging, murders and shenanigans to even get her to where she is so far has been tremendous… and it won’t stop.

That said, if by some fluke, and the Diebold machines malfunction or people in the US wake up slightly and Donald Trump gets elected… it is pretty clear they are on the same team and, as we’ve said previously, nothing major will change.

So, if you were hoping that this election could change things in the US… get over that hope right now. It might change things, but only for the much, much worse.

This charade is being played right in front of everyone’s eyes and most do not understand what is happening or why jokes like the “Catholic” joke is actually funny to these elite people.

They are laughing at the peasants stupidity and lack of understanding, not because the men mentioned are Jews… anyone with half a brain knows that.

But while they laugh, we’ll be laughing all the way to the bank ourselves. Just because these sick people are formulating diabolical plans to enslave humanity doesn’t mean we can’t profit from their planned chaos. It’s better than sitting back in ignorance and making nothing.

Our analysis of these elite’s occult timelines which began with the Shemitah and culminated with the Jubilee, have helped us to accumulate around a 200% collective return on our portfolio in the last year.

Subscribe to The Dollar Vigilante newsletter HERE to continue to receive the best insights into the inner workings of groups like the Jesuits and other arms and actions of the world’s financial elite and how to protect yourself and profit from it.

The groundwork for global governance has been laid, don’t let them blindside you as they attempt to carry out their nefarious plot. Donald Trump even stated at the dinner, “We’ve got to come together, not only as a nation, but as a world community.”

Promotion of the globalist new world order.

They want to keep you ignorant and powerless because after all, knowledge is power.

Educate yourself by joining the worldwide group of dollar vigilantes who can help you expatriate and offer advice on how to protect yourself by purchasing precious metals, bitcoin and other hard assets here.

Anarcho-Capitalist. Libertarian. Freedom fighter against mankind’s two biggest enemies, the State and the Central Banks. Jeff Berwick is the founder of  The Dollar Vigilante, CEO of TDV Media & Services and host of the popular video podcast, Anarchast. Jeff is a prominent speaker at many of the world’s freedom, investment and gold conferences as well as regularly in the media.

© 2016 Copyright Jeff Berwick - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

A leap across the great divide

by Mgr Mark Langham

posted Thursday, 27 Oct 2016

Pope Francis prays during a visit to the Lutheran church in Rome last November (AP)

Thanks to astonishing ecumenical advances, Catholics can recognise – and even give thanks for – the witness of Martin Luther

In October 2012, the Catholic bishops of Germany received an invitation that left them stumped. German Protestants had asked them to join in the jubilee celebrations of the Reformation in 2017, specifically in the events leading up to the 500th anniversary of Luther’s posting of 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenburg, the act considered to have launched the Reformation.

Not surprisingly, the bishops were cautious. “It depends on the character of the events planned,” said their spokesman, Bishop Gerhard Feige. “Catholic Christians consider the division of the Western Church as a tragedy – and do not think they can celebrate this merrily.”

Clearly, a great deal of discussion about the character of those events has taken place in the meantime. Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the president of the German bishops’ conference, and Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, chairman of the German Protestant churches, have marked the anniversary by leading an ecumenical pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and will hold a Lent service dedicated to healing memories. Moreover, Pope Francis is travelling to Sweden to take part in a service marking the beginning of preparations for the jubilee.

For many Catholics, the anniversary of the Reformation will be a matter of great sorrow. It is hard to see how any Catholic could celebrate an event which ruptured Western Christendom and rejected many teachings of the Church, and indeed this magazine has termed any prospect of a joint celebration a “naïve initiative”.

Yet this anniversary takes place in a new era in relations between Catholics and Lutherans, an ecumenical engagement inaugurated by the Second Vatican Council which allows each side to see the Reformation in a way that does not deny, but rather transcends, old polemics. This new encounter culminated in the 1999 “Common Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification”, officially received by both the Vatican and the Lutheran World Federation, which expressed a common understanding of one of the hotly contested causes of the Reformation.

Certainly, the involvement of Catholics in the anniversary presents a challenge for both sides, and calls for a fresh approach to our Reformation legacy. “From Conflict to Communion” is the aptly titled document issued in 2013 by the official Lutheran-Catholic dialogue, outlining a common approach to the forthcoming anniversary of Luther. There are, traditionally, strongly partisan interpretations of the movement Luther started. For Catholics, “Reformation” means “division”, whereas for Protestants it means “rediscovery of the Scriptures”. Both points of view need to be taken seriously by each side.

It was Pope St John Paul II who spoke of an “exchange of gifts” as the fruit of ecumenical dialogue, and Pope Francis has identified the rediscovery of Scripture in the life of the Church as one of the gifts received from our Protestant colleagues. In an atmosphere where caricatures have been demolished and neuralgic terms revisited, the Catholic bishops of Germany have felt able to acknowledge some element of celebration to these events: not in any sense of the division of Christendom and rejection of the Catholic Church, but recognising in Martin Luther a “Gospel witness and teacher of the faith”.

For their part, Lutherans, according to the official prayer for commemoration of the Reformation, have agreed that in recalling “the events that led to the foundation of their churches, [they] do not wish to do so without their Catholic fellow Christians”.

Yet we would be wrong to ignore the disunity of past centuries, and our relations can only be honest if we acknowledge the pain and hurt that we have caused each other. Rightly, Pope Francis and his Lutheran hosts in Sweden will express repentance for the divisions and hostilities caused by the Reformation and reaction to it.

But as Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, has pointed out, such collaboration can only be successful if it is grounded in a deeper relationship, one that places Christ firmly at the centre of our lives as Christians.

Modern ecumenism understands that it is when we are closest to Christ that we are closest to each other, so this anniversary is a call to Catholics and Lutherans alike to be more attentive to the Gospel. In this way the anniversary can be a stepping stone to future unity, rather than a rehearsing of past hurts. Another aspect of the service that Pope Francis will attend in Sweden will be thanksgiving for 50 years of ecumenical dialogue between Lutherans and Catholics.

There is no doubt that this anniversary presents a challenge to Catholics. Catholics cannot celebrate the Reformation, but our commemoration can be more than a bland acknowledgment of a historical anniversary. In the larger horizon of life in Christ and the unity for which he prayed, we may recognise – and even give thanks for – the contribution and witness of Martin Luther.

This article first appeared in the October 28 2016 issue of The Catholic Herald. To read the magazine in full, from anywhere in the world, go here

New UN secretary general nominee a committed Catholic

António Guterres, the designate United Nations Secretary General. Credit: OEA OAS via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

New York City, N.Y., Oct 7, 2016 / 04:29 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The United Nations Security Council has selected committed Catholic and human rights advocate as the nominee for Secretary General of the international organization.

“I have two words to describe what I'm feeling now – gratitude and humility,” António Guterres said.

“Humility about the huge challenges ahead of us, the terrible complexity of the modern world. But it is also humility that is required to serve the most vulnerable, victims of conflicts, of terrorism, rights violations, poverty and injustices of this world.”

Should Guterres' nomination be approved by the 193-member UN General Assembly, he will begin his tenure as UN Secretary General Jan. 1, 2017. Guterres will replace outgoing secretary general Ban Ki-moon, who has served two five-year terms.

From 2005 to the end of 2015, Guterres ran the UN refugee agency, where he has oversaw aid and assistance for more than 60 million refugees and displaced persons around the world. As high commissioner, Guterres reformed the internal administration of the UN Refugee Agency and coordinated and expanded the response to the Syrian refugee crisis and refugee crises in Iraq, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, among other locations.

While at the UN, Guterres also received a reputation for being a skilled diplomat, as well as for challenging wealthier and more powerful nations to do more to help the vulnerable and those facing human rights crises.

Previous to his work at the UN, Guterres also helped to found Portugal’s Socialist party and served as head of the party and then Prime Minister of the country from 1995-2002. While prime minister, he helped overturn attempts to legalize abortion in Portugal.

Guterres was also involved in combating Portugal’s heroin addiction problem through decriminalization accompanied by the promotion of therapy, family support, and social reintegration. In the 15 years since the implementation of the program, drug use and health problems related to addiction have dropped precipitously.

Guterres was selected as the nominee for UN Secretary General by representatives of the 15-member Security Council, which includes the United States, United Kingom, France, Russia and China, along with 10 temporary members from around the world. Also running for the position were 13 other candidates, including a record seven women. The United Nations has not been led by a woman in its 71-year history.

While Guterres has been the front runner due to his strong record with refugees and human rights, his selection did not come without conflict. His nomination has been criticized by those who hoped a woman would lead the international organization. Guterres has also been opposed by abortion-supporting organizations and advocates of same-sex marriage, who decry his for his defense of life as well as statements he has made in the past against same-sex marriage and concerns he has raised regarding the LGBT movement.

To address the issue of gender equality within the United Nations, Guterres has vowed gender parity in making appointments to high-level UN positions.

The Great Controversy: Chapter (1) The destruction of Jerusalem

Isaiah 53

Mormon church accepts homosexuality

 — some say it's not enough


Updated: Thursday, October 27, 2016, 1:09 AM

Mormons can be homosexual, acknowledge the existence of transsexuals and still stay true to their religion, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) announced Tuesday — but gay parishioners immediately pounced on the new stance, slamming the church for not doing enough.

In a video posted on a brand-new website called "Mormon and Gay," LDS leader L. Whitney Clayton says, "I now speak directly to church members who experience same-sex attraction or identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual. We want you to know we love you. You are welcome. We want you to be part of our congregation."

The website features testimonials from gay Mormons and church leaders who plead for acceptance and LGBTQ recognition. The effort appears a stark reversal from the church's passing of unambiguously anti-gay policies last year, which included not allowing children of gay parents to be baptized.

But despite apparent acceptance, the church has not amended its stance on marriage, which it maintains is a sacred bond between a male and a female.

Rally held to protest Mormon Church's new anti-gay rules

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Elder L. Whitney Clayton said people who identify as gay are now welcome. (MORMONANDGAY.LDS.ORG)

That is not sitting right with some LGBTQ Mormons, who are urging their elders to consider also changing the church's stance on marriage in order to completely complement its newfound message of acceptance.

Ann Pack, a transgender woman active in the church, called the new stance "a step forward, albeit a very small step forward" in an interview with The Guardian.

While it might superficially be preaching acceptance, Pack argued that the church still implies that homosexuals and transsexuals should remain in the shadows, or keep their sexualities to themselves.

Mormons can now identify as gay — but some parishioners claim that's not enough. (GEORGE FREY/GETTY IMAGES)

"They should be included and welcomed, not just the people who choose to be celibate," she said.

Pro-LGBT Mormons devasted by new church rules

Jena Peterson, 39, identifies as gay but has been married to a straight man for 12 years in what she defines as a "mixed orientation marriage."

Peterson was initially going to be featured in one of the videos on the "Mormon and Gay" website but backed out after it became clear to her that the church is still holding on to the same stance on marriage.

Lawsuit accusing Trump of raping girl, 13, gets December hearing

Police officer fired for writing racial slur in uniformed selfie

Ohio woman who assaulted McDonald’s employee back behind bars

Protests turn violent as students and police clash in South Africa

Married Trump proposed to 'Apprentice' contestant Brande Roderick

The effort appears a stark reversal from the church's passing of unambiguously anti-gay policies last year, which included not allowing children of gay parents to be baptized. (RICK BOWMER/AP)

"My concern is that the website gives off the perception that mixed-orientation marriages are doable for anybody when in reality they are not," Peterson said.

LDS officials did not immediately return a request for comment.

US-Russian war tensions mount over Eastern Europe and Syria - World Socialist Web Site

By Bill Van Auken 

27 October 2016

NATO defense ministers convened a two-day meeting in Brussels Wednesday to thrash out final plans for the deployment of some 4,000 combat troops organized in four battle groups within striking distance of Russia’s border.

These front-line forces are to be backed by a 40,000-strong rapid reaction force capable of going into battle within days.

The plan represents the largest military escalation in the region since the height of the Cold War between the US and the former Soviet Union and carries with it the heightened threat of an armed confrontation between Washington and Moscow, the world’s two largest nuclear powers.

At the end of Wednesday’s session, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed that the United States, Britain, Germany and Canada had agreed to provide the leading elements of the battle groups to be deployed respectively in Poland and the three former Soviet Baltic republics: Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.

Stoltenberg added that other NATO member states would contribute soldiers and armaments to the buildup. Describing the deployment as “multinational,” he stressed that it underscored that “[a]n attack on any ally will be considered an attack on us all.”

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said that Washington would send a “battle-ready battalion task force” of approximately 900 solders into eastern Poland. The troops are to be drawn from the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, named for the Stryker armored fighting vehicle. The unit was sent repeatedly into the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In addition, the Pentagon is sending the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division, replete with battle tanks and heavy artillery, which will be based in Poland, but operate in the general periphery of ex-Soviet republics and former Warsaw Pact nations on Russia’s western flank. Also being sent is the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, equipped with Black Hawk attack helicopters.

Washington has also announced it is dispatching 330 Marines to a base in Norway after the Norwegian government approved the deployment Monday. “We expect a sustained challenge from the East, from Russia, by way of its military activity,” Douglas Lute, the US ambassador to NATO, said in explaining the move.

Britain, meanwhile, spelled out its plans to deploy 800 troops to Estonia, equipped with battle tanks, armored infantry fighting vehicles and drones. It is to be joined by units from France and Denmark. British warplanes are also being sent to Romania.

Germany will deploy a battalion of between 400 and 600 troops to Lithuania, marking the first entry of the German military into the country since its occupation by the Nazis, who carried out the murder of close to a quarter of a million Jews there. The German deployment will be backed by units from Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, Croatia and Luxembourg.

Canada is reportedly sending 450 troops to Latvia, to be joined by 140 Italian military personnel.

Defending the deployments in an interview with the German broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, the outgoing American deputy secretary general of NATO, Alexander Vershbow, claimed the US-led alliance “had no choice.”

“Russia changed the whole paradigm in 2014 with its aggression against Ukraine, its illegal annexation of Crimea,” said Vershbow.

This is a barefaced lie. The crisis in Ukraine was triggered not by “aggression” on the part of the Kremlin oligarchy, but rather the conspiracy of Washington and Berlin to overthrow the elected government in Kiev through the mobilization of violent fascist and right-wing nationalist forces. The US openly associated itself with this coup, with Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland bragging that the US had spent $5 billion to further Ukrainian regime change.

The reintegration of Crimea into Russia--it was only placed under Ukrainian administration in 1956, when both Russia and Ukraine were part of the Soviet Union--was overwhelmingly supported by the territory’s population in a popular referendum. From Moscow’s standpoint, this was a defensive measure taken to safeguard the historic base of Russia’s Black Sea fleet.

The coup in Ukraine was the culmination of the relentless military encirclement of Russia, which has seen NATO shift its borders 800 miles eastward. Now, the deployments announced Wednesday have turned into a dead letter the agreement negotiated between NATO and Moscow not to send “substantial” numbers of Western troops into these areas.

In the wake of the Ukrainian coup, US President Barack Obama flew to Estonia to declare Washington’s “eternal” commitment to defend it and the other two Baltic states with “American boots on the ground,” thereby committing the US to war in defense of three tiny territories ruled by right-wing and fanatically anti-Russian governments eager for confrontation.

Further justifying the current NATO buildup, Stoltenberg declared Wednesday, “Close to our borders, Russia continues its assertive military posturing.” Given that NATO has expanded its reach to Russia’s own borders, this effectively means that Russia is a threat because it maintains armed forces on its own soil.

Tensions with Russia, as well as within the NATO alliance itself, have been further ratcheted up over Moscow’s dispatch of an eight-vessel flotilla led by the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov to the eastern Mediterranean to support Russian operations in support of the Syrian government.

After reports that this Russian flotilla would stop in Ceuta, the Spanish-ruled port city on the north coast of Africa, for refueling, the NATO powers exerted immense pressure on the Spanish government to refuse to allow the Russian warships to dock there.

British Defense Secretary Michel Fallon declared that his government “would be extremely concerned if a NATO member should consider assisting a Russian carrier group that might end up bombing Syria.”

Spain has reportedly allowed nearly 60 Russian warships to take on fuel and supplies in Ceuta since 2011. The practice led to denunciations in the US Congress and an amendment being attached last May to the US military spending bill requiring the Pentagon to report to Congress on countries hosting Russian vessels.

The Russian media reported Wednesday that Moscow rescinded its request to refuel at the port, while Russian government sources said the ships had adequate fuel and supplies to reach their destination.

The controversy reflects the widening divisions that have opened up within the NATO alliance under the pressure of the escalating confrontation with Russia. The countries of southern Europe, particularly Spain, Italy and Greece, have grown increasingly hostile to the regime of sanctions against Russia that has only deepened their own economic crises. Meanwhile, Germany and France have floated plans for turning the European Union into an independent military alliance, reflecting the growing conflict between US and European interests.

NATO officials have couched the issue of the Russian flotilla in alleged “humanitarian” concerns over the situation in Syria, with warnings that the fighter jets onboard the Kuznetsov will join in air strikes against eastern Aleppo and other areas controlled by the Al Qaeda-linked Islamist militias supported by Washington and its allies.

Undoubtedly a more fundamental concern is that the Russian naval buildup in the eastern Mediterranean, coupled with Russia’s deployment of fighter jets and advanced mobile S-400 and S-300 missile defense systems in Syria itself, is challenging the control of the area historically exercised by the US Sixth Fleet, which has been sorely depleted by the US “pivot” to Asia.

The Russian firepower in and around Syria has also effectively precluded the imposition of a “no-fly zone,” a policy promoted by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and much of the US foreign policy establishment, outside of a direct military confrontation with Russia.

This was acknowledged Tuesday by US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in remarks to the Council on Foreign Relations. “I wouldn’t put it past them to shoot down an American aircraft if they felt that was threatening to their forces on the ground,” Clapper said of the Russian military during a talk at the Council of Foreign Relations. “The system they have there is very advanced, very capable, and I don’t think they’d do it--deploy it--if they didn’t have some intention to use it.”

Whether the flashpoint emerges in Eastern Europe or in Syria, the drive by US imperialism to achieve global hegemony is steadily escalating the threat of world war.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Earthquake Rattles Rome, Shaking Historic Palazzi


Pope Francis Makes Surprise Visit to Earthquake-Struck Italian Town

A powerful aftershock has shaken central Italy after a quake knocked out power and closed a major highway earlier in the evening.

The German Research Centre for Geosciences put the magnitude of the aftershock at 5.9.

The quake was felt as far south as Rome, with buildings swaying for even longer than the initial quake.


‘Conspiracy Theorist’ Max Spiers Found Dead Days After Texting His Mother to Investigate if Anything ‘Happened to Him’

October 20, 2016

British conspiracy theorist and UFO expert Max Spiers was found dead on a sofa after vomiting ‘black liquid’. This happened only days after texting his mother about investigating if something happened to him.

Max Spiers, a 39-year-old father of two was found dead on a sofa in Poland, where he was invited to speak on conspiracy theories and UFOs. This happened in July and, since then, no post-mortem examination were carried out on his body. The death was ruled to be from ‘natural causes’.

Days before his death, Spiers texted his mom:

“Your boy’s in trouble. If something happens to me, investigate”.

Spiers, who claimed to be a survivor of a secret government ‘super soldier’ program, died suddenly after vomiting ‘black liquid’. His mother Vanessa Bates, an English teacher, told journalists:

“He was making a name for himself in the world of conspiracy theorists and had been invited to speak at a conference in Poland in July. He was staying with a woman who he had not known for long and she told me how she found him dead on the sofa. But I think Max had been digging in some dark places and I fear that somebody wanted him dead.”
– The Telegraph, UFO expert Max Spiers’ death prompts conspiracy theories

Bates believes that Spiers might have been poisoned.

“Max was a very fit man who was in good health. All I have is a death certificate from the Polish authorities that it was from natural causes, but no post-mortem was done so how can they tell that?

They are also refusing to release any paperwork about it to me because, absurdly, I don’t have his written permission.

He has a brother, Josh, and sister, Becky, who are both devastated, as are his two boys. We all want answers to this and I will continue to fight to get to the truth.”
– Ibid.

Spiers’ financé Sarah Adams told Yahoo! News that he was about to expose ‘black magic’ and well known politicians and celebrities.

“We were used to getting death threats or stuff like that from people but I think this time it seemed rather real. He’d been sent threats saying that him and me were going to die.

He was going to expose black magic. He was going to expose some of the stuff that he was working on involving political leaders and celebrities.

He planned on coming back here seeing his family and I was going to have his child. He had messaged me hours before.

It definitely couldn’t have been anything like suicide or something like that.”
– Yahoo! News, Here’s what conspiracy theorist Max Spiers was about to reveal before his death

North East Kent coroner’s office said that an investigation into Mr Spiers’ death was in its “very early” stages.

Was Spiers’ poisoned because he knew too much? Was he about to say too much? One thing is for sure, this death cannot be more suspicious.