February 20, 2012- February 26, 2012 
 News In Review
 Vol 7, Issue 8
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The News In Review newsletter is a service provided by Understand The Times that is a compilation of the news articles previously posted on our site . Understand The Times does not endorse these events but rather is showing the church the current events.  The purpose of posting these articles is to warn the church of deception from a Biblical perspective.

 February 8 - Darwin's Birthday to be Celebrated in Church this Sunday: Liberal Christianity Supports Darwinism
 Artical: Unbiblical Christianity

What will be the focus of attention in your church this Sunday? For many liberal churches and synagogues, Charles Darwin will have his day of glory in services this weekend. Sunday February 12, Darwin's birthday, is the centerpiece of the 2012 "Evolution Weekend" event invented by The Clergy Letter Project.

Here is how the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), the leading Darwin-only educational advocacy organization, advertises the annual "Evolution Weekend" and it host organization, The Clergy Letter Project: The brainchild of Michael Zimmerman, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Butler University, the Clergy Letter Project was founded in 2004; its activities include a similar letter for Christian clergy, currently endorsed by over 11,000 members [now 13,000] of the clergy across the country and around the world; a pool of scientists willing to work with clergy on promoting scientific literacy; a collection of sermons, articles, readings, and websites relevant to the Clergy Letter Project's goals; and Evolution Weekend (formerly Evolution Sunday), in which religious leaders are encouraged to discuss the compatibility of faith and science in their sermons, Sabbath or Sunday schools, and discussion groups, on or about Darwin's birthday....

The Darwinists at the NCSE are delighted to have 13,000 clergy preaching a Darwin-friendly faith. Although Eugenie Scott, NCSE's Executive Director was awarded the American Humanist Association's 1998 Isaac Asimov Science Award, she has done her best to appear religiously neutral.

To help break down resistance to accepting Darwinism in public schools, Dr. Scott advocates sending students out to "interview their pastors and priests about evolution" (provided that "conservative Christian" viewpoints don't dominate that particular community, in which case she does not recommend this approach).

The NCSE hopes to increase the number of Darwin-friendly places of weekend worship
, and thus promotes The Clergy Letter Project and its "Evolution Weekend."

Read Full Article.... 

 February 9 - Group Forces Congressional Hearing On Big Sis' Twitter, Drudge Spying
 Artical: One World Government

A privacy advocacy group has swayed Congress to hold a hearing next week into the Department of Homeland Security's practice of monitoring social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as media reports and organizations, including The Drudge Report.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) recently obtained close to 300 pages of documents, as a result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, detailing the federal agency's "intelligence gathering" practices on the web.

Among the documents were guidelines from DHS instructing outside contractors to monitor the web for media reports and comments that "reflect adversely" on the agency or the federal government.

As Reuters reported last month, in early 2010 contractors were asked to spend 24 hours monitoring news media coverage on popular websites, including Facebook, Twitter, Hulu, WikiLeaks, as well as news sites including the Huffington Post and The Drudge Report. The contractors were required to provide the DHS with feedback on any potential "threats and hazards", as well as "any media reports that reflect adversely on the U.S. Government and the Department of Homeland Security (D.H.S.) ability to prevent, protect and respond, to recovery efforts or activities related to any crisis or events which impact National Planning Scenarios."

The documents obtained by EPIC indicate that following the exercise, a procurement official awarded an $11.3 million contract to General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems in order to carry out the monitoring on a "24/7/365 basis".

"The language in the documents makes it quite clear that they are looking for media reports that are critical of the agency and the U.S. government more broadly,"
said McCall. "This is entirely outside of the bounds of the agency's statutory duties."

As we have also previously reported, The DHS has openly announced that it is actively monitoring social media for signs of "social unrest", in a bid to pre-empt any sign of social dislocation within the United States.

Read Full Article.... 

 February 19 - Why we are all Catholics now - BY GLENN BECK
 Article: Bridges To Rome

Comment from Understand the Times:
Glen Beck, a Mormon, who has spoken in churches that consider themselves to be Protestant and evangelical, is now promoting joining forces with Roman Catholics.

I am a proud member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but today, I call myself a Catholic. Why? Because the state is telling the Catholic Church to violate its principles and teachings. So if you are a person of faith, you must call yourself a Catholic.

Today, the Catholic Church is defending a historic American freedom. We tend to forget that many of America's earliest European settlers were religious refugees. Europe was not a kind place to the faithful if the state didn't approve: Jews in Spain, Puritans in England, Protestants in France and so on. You were cast out, or worse. Our Founding Fathers remembered this. They knew if you can't serve God as you choose, you are not free. And so they enshrined that right in the First Amendment of the Constitution: The state "shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

This is why Americans are offended by the ruling from the White House that would force church-run institutions to pay for birth control and morning-after pills, which are tantamount to abortion. The so-called compromise is no compromise - under government-approved health insurance plans that the church pays for, abortifacients would be covered. Sin by proxy - that's the compromise.

This isn't a fight over abortion or birth control. This is about whether the state can force someone to pay to have their religious beliefs violated.

That is what a conscience is - a belief in a higher power, greater than the state, greater than any man. That makes religious people a danger to the state - and a powerful force for change. Religious people stood against slavery. They stood against injustice. And today, they stand against a culture of death and a culture of hatred. On July 28, in Dallas, I will convene a meeting on the faithful - all faithful - to celebrate life and restore love.

Because when the state comes against the Catholics, or the Jews, or the Muslims, or the Pentecostals, or the Mormons or those of any other faith - exotic or familiar - we must all stand up as one: We are all Catholics now.

This is a broad struggle. I have met many Catholic friends, including high-ranking church leaders last weekend at the Vatican. I told them this struggle is similar to the fight against anti-Semitism. They understand, and they agree. To them, this fight is everything. And there will be no compromise.

Read Full Article.... 

 February 19 - Catholic Church only exists to unite God and man, Pope teaches
 Article:Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

In the presence of 22 cardinals who were elevated yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI said that the Catholic Church only exists for the purpose of bringing people to Jesus and not for her own sake.

Dwelling upon the Gospel passage in which Peter proclaims Jesus to be "the Christ, the Son of the living God," the Pope explored the significance of Christ's response that Peter would be "the rock" upon which the Church was built. The Pope explained how the old covenant between God and the Jewish people was first made with Abraham, of whom the Prophet Isaiah writes, "look to the rock from which you were hewn ... look to Abraham your father."

Therefore, just as Abraham "the father of believers" is seen as "the rock that supports creation," so too is Peter the basis for a new covenant. He is "the rock that is to prevail against the destructive forces of evil."

The Pope then turned his gaze towards Bernini's 17th-century bronze sculpture, the Chair of Peter, which dominates the apse of St. Peter's Basilica. He described it as an "enormous bronze throne that seems to hover in mid air, but in reality is supported by the four statues of the great Fathers of the Church from East and West." Above it, he noted, are "triumphant angles suspended in the air" and the "glory of the Holy Spirit" depicted in the oval window above. Given today's feast, the sculpture was adorned with 144 burning candles.

To "preside in charity," the Pope taught, "is to draw men and women into a Eucharistic embrace - the embrace of Christ - which surpasses every barrier and every division, creating communion from all manner of differences."

"Whoever believes in Jesus Christ and enters into the dynamic of love that finds its source in the Eucharist," he stated, "discovers true joy and becomes capable in turn of living according to the logic of this gift."

"The Chair of St. Peter," he told them, "is a symbol of the special mission of Peter and his successors to shepherd the flock of Christ, holding it together in faith and charity."

Before praying the midday Marian prayer, he entrusted the new cardinals "to the maternal protection of Mary Most Holy, asking that she always assist them in their service to the Church and sustain them in any trials they may face."

Read Full Article.... 

 February 21 - Children Must Take Interfaith Religion Class, Canada's Supreme Court Rules

Comment from Understand the Times:
Canada is leading the way towards the establishment of a one world religion. When children at school are forced to become part of a pluralistic global religious agenda, Bible prophecy is being fulfilled.

Canada's Supreme Court has recently ruled that children in Quebec cannot opt out of a public school religion class, even if their parents take issue with the curriculum.

The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, a national organization of evangelical Christians founded in 1964, was one of many organizations that intervened in the case on behalf of the parents.

"Religious freedom and the right to parental authority are robustly regarded and guaranteed in Canada," said Faye Sonier, legal counsel for the Centre for Faith and Public Life, the legal wing of EFC, in an interview with The Christian Post. "If parents have sincerely held religious beliefs and do not wish to expose their children to certain programming . that may conflict with their beliefs, their wishes should be honored."

The parents, who are listed as "L" and "J" in court documents, believed the mandatory course interfered with their child's religious upbringing. According to court documents, the parents felt children "would be exposed to a form of relativism which would interfere with their ability to pass their faith on to their children. They also maintain that exposing children to various religious facts is confusing for them."

However, the Supreme Court refused to hear the argument, believing that the parents could not adequately prove that their child would be harmed by the curriculum.

".early exposure of children to realities that differ from those in their immediate family enivronment is a fact of life in society," reads the decision. "The suggestion that exposing children to a variety of religious facts in itself infringes their religious freedom or that of their parents amounts to a rejection of the multicultural reality of Canadian society and ignores the Quebec government's obligations with regard to public education."

Read Full Article.... 

 February 13 - "Why Does This Generation Seek a Sign?"
 Article: Bridges To Rome

Comment from Understand the Times:
The road to Rome is becoming more and more obvious every day. True Bible believing Christianity, once based on the Bible, is now being formulated around social issues. The New Evangelization program is doing exactly what it is supposed to do - bring the separated brethren back to the "mother of all churches."
"Why does this generation seek a sign?" - Jesus (Mark 8:11)

Reading today's Gospel is prophetic considering what's going on today. What will it take for us to stop and take a moment to wake up and realize that Catholics have to stand up for our church?

I read a recent quote from Mike Huckabee, "We are all Catholics now." And Rick Warren stating, "I'm not a Catholic but I stand in 100% solidarity with my brothers & sisters to practice their belief against government pressure." Other religious groups are realizing that in principle, this could easily happen to them.

Maybe this is the sign. Maybe this is what we need to shake us all up.

Lent is fast approaching. If you know a lot of C.I.N.O.'s (Catholics in name only) encourage them to return to church. Be an example. Your life reflects your faith and church. Pray and fast for them. Pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament that all who are lukewarm about their faith return. Pray for conversions.

One of my favorite quotes is from Mother Angelica:

"The world is never going to see the Good News by reading the Good Book. Because they won't read it. They are only going to see it when you live it." Let us all be the sign.

Read Full Article.... 

 February 21 - Israelis Flock to Sages' Tombs Seeking Miracles
 Article: Signs And Wonders

One man prays to heal the legs he broke in a car accident. An older woman pleads for grandchildren. Another visitor has come to see "God's secretary."

These believers are part of a growing phenomenon in Israel, where hundreds of thousands of people from starkly different backgrounds flock to the tombs of ancient Biblical figures or modern-day rabbis, seeking blessings and claiming they've witnessed miracles. At many of these sites there is scant proof that any sage is actually buried there. Some are even believed to be co-opted Ottoman or Muslim burial places. But to the faithful, the lack of hard evidence is irrelevant. It's the deep spiritual experience or, for some, the desperate desire to be blessed, that matters.

"Coming here is being able to speak to God's secretary. It's the closest you can get," said Suzy Shaked, a 55-year-old teacher from central Israel who visited the tomb of Rabbi Yisrael Abuhatzeira, one of the most popular pilgrimage sites. Shaked said she sees Abuhatzeira, better known as the Baba Sali, as God's envoy. A visit to his tomb puts her requests in God's earshot. She was praying at the Baba Sali's tomb for her son to marry.

"It's hard for (people) to be satisfied with prayer in a synagogue to a God who is very abstract, who is unclear, who is not accessible," said Doron Bar, a historical geographer who studies the sites. "I think visiting a grave like this gives believers a line through which demands can be made."

The phenomenon has spawned a tourist trade, where busloads of faithful are ferried from one burial site to another to make a variety of wishes. "People see results," said Benny Barzilai, who runs monthly trips to tombs. "That's why this tour succeeds."

At the Baba Sali compound, believers of all stripes could be seen during the recent anniversary commemorations- mildly religious young women in tight jeans and red nails, pious elderly women in long floral skirts and head coverings, silver-haired politicians in pinstriped suits. The tomb was packed with a mass of wailing worshippers, which swelled gradually into the evening. The day was joyful and festive, with barbecues, picnics and vendors selling candles and clocks bearing the Baba Sali's image. The faithful hurled candles into a large furnace, a ritual with pagan tinges meant to immortalize the sage's soul.

"I take advantage of any opportunity to go see a sage," said Shimon Kaslessi, a truck driver, who walks with crutches but was told he likely wouldn't walk at all after a car crash two years ago. "When you've seen miracles, when the sage makes a handicapped person walk, you believe," he added, a tear streaming down his face.

Read Full Article.... 

 Fearing West, Putin pledges biggest military buildup since cold war
 Article: Miscellaneous

Russia needs to launch a major military buildup to prepare for life in a dangerous world where international law is breaking down, the West feels free to intervene in sovereign countries, and rivals could invade Russia to seize its rich trove of natural resources, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has warned.

In his fifth programmatic article detailing what he will do if he wins a new six-year presidential term in elections that are now less than two weeks off, Mr. Putin pledged, among other things, the biggest rearmament program in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Over the next decade, Putin writes, $772 billion to be spent on 400 new intercontinental ballistic missiles, 2,300 late-generation tanks, 600 modern combat aircraft - including at least 100 military-purpose space planes - eight nuclear ballistic missile submarines, 50 surface warships as well as a whole new inventory of artillery, air defense systems, and about 17,000 new military vehicles.

"The processes of global transformation currently underway may carry all sorts of risks with them, many of them unpredictable," Putin wrote Monday in the government-owned Rossiskaya Gazeta. "In a situation of global economic and other kinds of hardships, it may be very tempting for some to resolve their problems at others' expense, through pressure and coercion. It is no wonder that we already hear some voices saying that it is 'only natural' that resources of global significance should soon be declared as being above national sovereignty." We must exclude any such possibility, even a hypothetical one, with respect to Russia. This means that we should not tempt anybody with our weakness."

Moscow has firmly opposed any kind of international action on the current crisis in Syria, and is actually preparing to stage war games in southern Russia this summer to prepare for possible fallout from a feared US military strike against Iran.

Read Full Article.... 

 February 23 - 'Buddhist' Catholic nun's interfaith leadership
 Article: One World Religion

Two weeks ago Eureka Street TV featured a conversation with American Episcopal bishop, William Swing, founder of one of the world's largest interfaith organisations. Continuing in the same vein, this week's interview is with a Catholic nun who is one of America's most prominent female interfaith activists. Joan Kirby, a sister of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, is a veteran of inter-religious dialogue. Since 2000 she has been the representative at the UN of one of the oldest interfaith organisations in the US, the Temple of Understanding. Prior to that, from 1993 till 2000, she was the Temple's director.

The Temple of Understanding was founded in 1960 by an American lay woman from Connecticut, Juliet Hollister. Appalled at inter-religious conflict around the globe, Hollister was inspired to start an organisation to promote understanding among the major world faiths.

Initially Hollister called the project 'A Centre for World Religions'. But when she reached India, she discussed it with Harriet Bunker, wife of the American Ambassador, who suggested the name the Temple of Understanding. Her logic was that while 'centre for ...' sounded particularly Western, the word 'temple' is a common denominator for all religions.

Hollister's original vision was to construct a physical temple, with wings for each major religion, a large library and a central pool and flame for meditation and prayer. An 18 acre site was purchased near Washington DC, an architect drew plans, and a model was made. But the building never went ahead.

In the beginning, the focus was on organising big international conferences for religious leaders from different faiths. The first meeting was held in India in 1968. Subsequently they took place in Switzerland and at several locations in the USA. The final one took place in Oxford, England in 1988.

After this the Temple changed direction. Its leadership decided the message needed to be taken to the grassroots. Now its focus is on providing educational opportunities for ordinary people to experience other cultures and faiths. Kirby's contribution to this is in organising and mentoring interns from the US and other countries who spend time at the UN in New York. The Temple of Understanding is now based in an office building just a few blocks from the UN headquarters, and much of Kirby's time is spent there. In 2010 she was honoured with the Temple's Interfaith Visionary Lifetime Achievement Award.

In his congratulatory message for the award, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon wrote that he was mindful of the special role she had played 'in interfaith and intercultural dialogue, as well as confronting climate change. I am also thankful that you have taken the time to nurture young global citizens from all parts of the world. Your leadership has been exemplary. Your influence profound.'

Read Full Article.... 

 February 21 - Labyrinths designed to encourage reflection
 Article: Emerging Church

When Carol Maurer has a lot on her plate, she finds it useful to visit the labyrinth made of river rocks at the Delaware Art Museum, in Wilmington. "It quiets my mind," said Maurer, who lives in Hockessin, Del. "It sets the path for me so I can spiral inward."

Labyrinths, which have been constructed for thousands of years, have become a popular addition to hospitals, gardens and public institutions. With a single path in and out, labyrinths are designed to encourage reflection. They differ from mazes, which are designed as puzzles. Labyrinths have been associated with religions and cultures throughout the world. The number of labyrinths in the United States has been steadily increasing for about 15 years, said Robert Ferre, a labyrinth builder who founded Labyrinth Enterprises.

"Nowadays they're so widespread, it's more about how to best utilize them than what they are," he said from San Antonio, Texas.

When he started the business in 1995, churches were his primary customers. Labyrinths were an important feature of European Roman Catholic churches in the Middle Ages; walking one was a devotional activity and represented a spiritual journey.

Today, labyrinths are widely used in secular spaces too, said Maurer, who serves on the board of The Labyrinth Society, an organization dedicated to using and promoting the paths. She helped get the labyrinth built near the sculpture garden at the Delaware Art Museum. "People are looking for ways to travel inward," she said. "They're trying to find a deeper connection with themselves that may be spiritual but not necessarily religious."

Patricia Cadle, the oncology chaplain at N.C. Cancer Hospital in Chapel Hill, N.C., encourages patients, family members and hospital employees to walk a labyrinth. "It's a great tool for meditation and relaxation," Cadle said. "Labyrinths can help connect the mind, the body and the spirit. I think we can use that when we're dealing with disease."

"A lot of times people think it's a religious cult," she said. But once area residents understood the labyrinth's history, they began to visit. Cancer support groups, church groups and organizations that serve the developmentally disabled have all used the labyrinth, Snyder said. "It's just been a wonderful tool to introduce people to walking meditation, walking prayer and communing with nature," she said.

Read Full Article.... 

We hope the Weekly News In Review has been a blessing to you.

Roger Oakland

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