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The Broken Chains of Iraq

By | Beverly LaHaye Institute, FemFacts, Religious Issues | No Comments

The last time Iraqi pastors met collectively in their own country for a Christian meeting was in 325 A.D., when they selected a group of delegates to send to the first Nicaean Council the same council which produced the Nicene Creed.

Now, nearly 1,700 years later, after Saddam’s fall, another meeting has finally taken place. In September 2003, only four months after coalition forces ceased the major ground combat phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom, 350 Iraqi pastors and church leaders assembled in Kirkuk for a church conference.

They came from as far away as Basra and Baghdad, traveling to the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, home to four million Kurdish Muslims. They came from Catholic churches, evangelical churches and orthodox churches in a country boasting 24 million Muslims and fewer than 500,000 Christians.

And they came to talk about Jesus.

It was a meeting that Yousif Matti, founding pastor of the Evangelical Church of Kurdistan, joyfully welcomed. He prayed it would provide encouragement to oppressed Iraqi Christians too scared to evangelize. For years most Iraqi pastors have avoided proselytizing Muslims for fear their churches would be shut down. But Matti, considered the primary evangelical leader in northern Iraq, makes no apologies for his faith.

Death threats are constant for Matti, who has survived two kidnapping and two assassination attempts. He’s also endured the murders of two members of his congregation, Mansour Hussein and Zewar Mohammed; both were gunned down by Muslim extremists for their faith.

But how did Matti become such a threat, that the lives of his own congregation would be targeted?

Feeling the call of God to minister to the Kurdish people, Matti moved his wife and children to the no-fly zone of Kurdistan in 1992, where he began printing Christian Bibles and literature on a small printing press. Eventually he procured the funds to open bookstores in three cities.

“Of course, everywhere we started a bookshop, it was bombed by extremists,” he told Charisma magazine.

In 1994, Matti launched a Christian radio station in the mountainous city of Dohuk. The station offers its listeners praise and worship music, Christian preaching and teaching. Another radio station was launched in 1998 in Sulaymaniyah, followed by two international Christian schools that provide biblically based training for 250 students.

“He was so bold as to have a sign outside the building, (where) they were meeting for regular worship,” said Michael Antanaitis of Matti’s church.

Antanaitis, Missions Pastor at Belmont Church in Nashville, Tenn., met Matti on a mission trip after the Gulf War and was so struck with his ministry that he gave him a “battlefield commission.”

“Yousif chose to operate above ground,” said Antanaitis. “He chose to have a visible church. He chose to minister to the widows, orphans and the poor. Yousif and his people have always pushed the envelope when it was dangerous.”

Aside from death threats, Matti has faced unrelenting opposition from government officials who have tried to shut down his schools and radio stations. But Matti has persevered and watched the love of Christ work miracles.

Kurdish leaders became so impressed with the teaching at the international Christian schools, that they began enrolling their children for classes, which consequently provided a level of security for the schools.

“Government officials are clamoring to get their children in,” said Jack Minton, CEO of Hope Force International, an upstart ministry based in Franklin, Tenn. that is currently working alongside Matti.

The fruit is evident. Matti watched his church grow from 25 members in 1992 to more than 1,000 believers today, most of whom converted from Islam.

At the 3-day pastor’s conference in September, leaders gathered to fellowship, worship, hear testimonies of converts and encourage one another in their work.

Minton told of a young woman at the conference who nearly paid the ultimate for her faith.

“Her brother came to know of her conversion and (their) relationship degenerated to the point he confronted her with a gun to her head to force her to convert back to Islam,” Minton recalled. “She said, ‘If you’re going to do it, then put the gun here’ and moved it to her mouth.”

Struck by her willingness to die for Christ, the woman’s brother could not pull the trigger.

“It inspired a level of confidence,” said Minton. “Islam is alive and well, but there has been a breakthrough. I sensed (them) being able to come out of oppression.”

There has been a belief in American church circles that Saddam left Christians alone and did not torture them. But according to northern Iraqi Christians, such a belief is totally unsubstantiated. They contend that Saddam never felt threatened by evangelical churches because of their weak and broken state. Many Christians may have escaped Saddam’s wrath, but they were also advised never to baptize Muslims, lest they be shut down and persecuted.

And so the Iraqi church suffered, becoming defensive and inward-focused. But the hope for the conference was that it would breathe new life into the pastors and their churches.

And some believe it did just that.

After a drought of nearly 1,700 years, Minton said this conference was “cutting a huge spiritual stake in the ground” for Iraq.

“They have a real hunger to connect with the international Christian community because they’ve been isolated for so long,” he said.

Carlos Calderon agreed.

“There’s a renewed sense of freedom and a desire to work together,” said Calderon of Partners International, a ministry that identifies and trains indigenous Christian leaders and has worked with Matti for years. “There’s also thankfulness on the part of Christians for the US and the coalition.”

Antanaitis added that there was a sense of more freedom.

“They have been operating in the freedom of the Lord before there was political freedom,” he said. “The fundamentalists are still there. Saddam’s supporters are still there. It’s not as if (they) can feel as safe as you and I do on the streets sharing the Gospel.”

Yet progress is still being made.

Partners International has already built a medical clinic in Iraq that they hope to staff with local and international doctors to demonstrate the love of God. They report that smaller conferences are being planned in Iraq and conversations about opening a seminary in Baghdad have already taken place.

Perhaps the most amazing moment of the conference took place at the end when Iraqi pastors and church leaders gathered to send off their American Christian brothers. Matti wanted to give them something as a present but thought, “What can we give Americans? They already have everything.”

“From the back of the church,” recalls Calderon, “all these pastors were coming and they were waving pieces of broken chain. They said, ‘We want to give you these chains as a symbol of freedom God has brought us and that you have made possible’.”

Tear flowed as Americans and Iraqis broke out in spontaneous praise and worship.

“That was really powerful,” said Calderon.

Iraqi pastors hope that now, their churches will be also.

Is Planned Parenthood Liable for Client’s Death?

By | Beverly LaHaye Institute, FemFacts, Feminist / Women's Issues | No Comments

“We believe in passion for change, for justice, for easing the plight of others, for caring, for living our convictions, and for confronting inhumane acts.”

The words sound inspiring and comforting, like mission statements of many nonprofit groups trying to provide a beacon of light in uncertain times. But this motto isn’t from just any nonprofit; it’s from Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). And if Holly Patterson were alive today, she’d most definitely have something to say to them about their passion to care and confront inhumane acts.

She thought she could trust them. She thought they could help her. So when she learned she was pregnant, the 18-year-old went to a Hayward, California Planned Parenthood clinic where she was prescribed RU-486, a pill that was supposed to terminate her pregnancy and make everything better only now the Almeda County coroner is determining the cause of Holly’s death.

On September 14, only four days after taking the pill, Holly was bleeding severely, doubled over in pain and unable to walk. Her boyfriend drove her to the Valley Care Medical Center (VCMC) in Pleasanton, where she was sent home with painkillers. She returned to the hospital three days later and died of septic shock. An attending physician told her father that Holly had developed a massive bacterial infection because she hadn’t aborted all of the fetus and there were fragments still in her.

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) shouldn’t be surprised at Holly Patterson’s death. When trials were being conducted on RU-486 for the FDA, a woman in Canada died from bacterial infection, prompting the trials to be suspended. Since the drug was approved in 2000, one woman died from a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, a 21-year-old woman had a heart attack and two 15-year-olds developed life-threatening infections. All of these women were healthy before taking RU-486.

The trials showed that incomplete abortions are the expected outcome in 5 to 8 percent of mifepristone (RU-486) abortions, a condition that is potentially lethal, as in Holly’s case. The FDA limits the prescription of mifepristone to the first 49 days of pregnancy. However, Planned Parenthood Golden Gate advertises on its website that it will give this drug to its patients up to the first 63 days of pregnancy a gross violation of the FDA’s already lenient restrictions. When mifepristone is administered at 63 days, the expected rate of incomplete abortions jumps to 15 percent. While Holly’s pregnancy had not yet reached 63 days, it is unclear if it fell below or just above the 7-week FDA limit.

The second drug prescribed in a medical abortion is misoprostol, which expels the fetus and also causes the greatest likelihood for suffering complications. Apparently, clinic personnel told Holly to administer the drug to herself at home, rather than under a doctor’s supervision. If so, Planned Parenthood could again be guilty of violating FDA restrictions.

Aside from Planned Parenthood’s questionable practices, another issue must be raised. A mifepristone medical abortion requires three clinical visits and access to emergency medical facilities in the event of complications. Holly visited the clinic what seems to be only once and a local hospital twice. Upon her first visit, VCMC emergency personnel did know that Holly had undergone a chemically induced abortion, but in giving her painkillers, they may not have known the severity of her complications. How many other hospital emergency personnel nationwide are unaware that their patients are suffering from severe complications from mifepristone? Such complications could be enormously underreported.

One thing is obvious. When Holly Patterson sought help from Planned Parenthood for an unplanned pregnancy, she left with a burden far greater than any woman could be asked to endure. In handing her a prescription and sending her out the door, Planned Parenthood asked Holly to become her own doctor and diagnose whether her pain and suffering were normal side-effects of RU-486, or whether she needed medical attention.

Planned Parenthood Golden Gate president and CEO Dian Harrison said in a statement, “We extend our deepest sympathies to the family.” But make no mistake. Planned Parenthood is backing away from Holly Patterson even more so after her death than when she was alive.

Paramount in their words to reporters is a denial that RU-486 is somehow unsafe and should be taken off the market for further testing. Planned Parenthood is concerned that the FDA will finally be forced to act upon a citizen petition filed in August 2002 by the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Christian Medical Association and Concerned Women for America, documenting numerous violations the FDA committed in its approval of RU-486. They also fear that publicity over Holly’s death will circumvent their on-going plans to move abortion from the clinic to the bedroom.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Dr. Vanessa Cullins, vice president for medical affairs at the PPFA national headquarters in New York said that RU-486 is “really safer than carrying a pregnancy to term.”

After that unsubstantiated claim, Cullins reiterated what seemed to be her greatest concern how Holly’s story would be told rather than quell fears about women’s safety.

“I hope that the media attention around this tragic situation does not scare other women from opting to have a termination procedure through mifepristone medical abortion if that’s something the woman wants to do,” she said.

So much for caring and confronting inhumane acts.

Damage Control

By | Beverly LaHaye Institute, FemFacts, Feminist / Women's Issues | No Comments

Planned Parenthood has a problem on their hands. It isn’t their first, nor will it be their last.

One of their clients, Holly Patterson, died on Sept. 17 after she followed their instructions for a medical abortion in Hayward, California. Apparently, clinic personnel gave Holly, who was 7-weeks pregnant, her first prescription of mifepristone on Sept. 10 and told her to administer the second prescription of misoprostol to herself at home without a doctor’s supervision, a violation of FDA regulations. Holly experienced severe bleeding and pain on Sept. 14, so her boyfriend took her to the Valley Care Medical Center in Pleasanton, where the 18-year-old was sent home with painkillers. She returned early Sept. 17 and died hours later from septic shock caused by a massive systemic infection. The assisting physician told Holly’s father that fragments of the fetus were still in her.

Immediately, the Planned Parenthood PR campaign moved into place, as if they were familiar with tragedy and were on a routine mission. Their speeches were polished, their words refined. They had to be. Their bread and butter was being threatened. They sought to give assurance to the public but deep down inside, they had to know that this could be bad for business.

“Until we’re able to examine the medical records, and piece together from the medical records exactly what the sequence of events was, we will not be able to know why this woman died,” said Dr. Vanessa Cullins, vice president for medical affairs at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) New York headquarters. “It may be totally unrelated to the medical abortion.”

She’s playing politics, trying to calm the storm of protest that may ensue if Americans learn the truth about the danger and risks of RU-486 through this story. And technically, Cullins is right; we don’t know anything yet. The Almeda County coroner was still examining Holly’s body when Cullins made those statements. But deep down inside, Cullins has to know that a vivacious 18-year-old who her father said “seemed happy and healthy” doesn’t just walk into a clinic for an abortion and die seven days later from septic shock. So Cullins reached for the spin.

“It’s really safer than carrying a pregnancy to term,” she said of RU-486, the drug the FDA hurriedly approved in 2000 under intense political pressure.

And as other officials made statements and the press conference wound to a close, the lawyers were getting ready. They’ve already been called up, like relief pitchers down by double digits in a pennant race. They know the drill. Save Planned Parenthood. Save the business, cut a deal if necessary, with undisclosed terms and under the radar screen of hungry reporters, but do something and take care of the mess.

Planned Parenthood knows how bad this can be, especially Planned Parenthood Golden Gate, who offered their services to Holly. And if they ever do forget, the only reminder needed is a handful of names names of women who have sued for botched abortions, negligence, malpractice and won, either in the courtroom or at the table.

Luisa Rakadroka. “J.B.” Esther Velgado-Chan. Julie Blattman. Linda Michaelis. Jennifer Metzger. Kimberlie Coleman. And the list goes on.

Julie Blattman went to an Oakland, California clinic for an abortion. But she got a lot more than she paid for a blocked fallopian tube, acute peritonitis and fragments of the fetus left inside her womb from a septic abortion. She sued and Planned Parenthood settled out of court in October 1983.

Linda Michaelis went to the Planned Parenthood of Contra Costa where Drs. Prentus Willson and Jack Kennedy performed an abortion on her in 1982. Linda sued a year later for medical malpractice after suffering bodily damage and undergoing corrective laparoscopic surgery. She would also need further hospital and medical treatment long after the trial. Planned Parenthood settled out of court in July 1984.

Esther Velgado-Chan never wanted an abortion. All she wanted was to take the four months of maternity leave her contract with Planned Parenthood promised her. Esther was a medical assistant and reproductive health specialist at the clinic in San Francisco and they granted her request for leave, which she took beginning October 31, 1994. She delivered her baby on November 11 and wasn’t scheduled to come back to work until March 1, 1995.

But on January 19, a clinic supervisor called her into the office and fired her, claiming her position had been eliminated. The position had not been eliminated. In fact, Planned Parenthood began advertising immediately to replace Esther. She sued for breach of contract, sexual discrimination, breaking the federal Family and Medical Leave Act and violating the California Fair Employment Practices Act. Planned Parenthood settled out of court with Esther in 1996.

A 28-year-old Yugoslav immigrant, simply called J.B. in court documents, sought an abortion in October 1997. Sadly and tragically, neither J.B. nor the clinic personnel knew that J.B. was pregnant with twins and that only one of the fetuses was aborted. J.B. returned to the clinic two weeks later and made subsequent calls complaining of pregnancy-like symptoms. Told her symptoms were normal, J.B. finally demanded a urine sample in February 1998. The very same nurse who told J.B. her condition was normal came back horrified with the news that she was still pregnant. By that point, the fetus was nearly six months old so Planned Parenthood apologized and rushed her out the door to a provider who was licensed to do second trimester abortions. An ultrasound revealed that the remaining fetus had only one arm and one leg; the second abortion took three days.

“She is like a shattered human being,” J.B.’s attorney told the San Francisco Examiner, adding that his client had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

When the case went to trial, attorneys for Planned Parenthood refused to turn over documents containing communication between Planned Parenthood Golden Gate and PPFA headquarters regarding J.B.’s case, or documents relating to other lawsuits against it for botched abortions. They also refused to answer interrogatories.

A judge ordered Planned Parenthood to provide the requested documents and sanctioned them to pay $10,000 for the extra costs J.B. incurred to obtain the information. Planned Parenthood appealed the sanctions, asking for a new trial but their request was denied. J.B. was awarded $672,610 in 2001for damages, but a California law capping non-economic damages reduced the amount to $250,000.

In a multi-million dollar business, the settlements are pocket change to Planned Parenthood or they could be smaller pieces of an imminent avalanche about to fall on an unregulated industry. Some day the mess may be too great to clean up.

Accused of perforating uteruses, slashing bowels, misdiagnosing clients, failing to explain risks, causing permanent sterility and pelvic inflammatory disease, Planned Parenthood has seen it all and just about paid for it all. But no amount of money they could offer her family would ever bring Holly Patterson back.

When Planned Parenthood’s attorneys are able to compare clinic notes with a copy of the Almeda County Coroner’s report, they will scour them with eager eyes and a couple of game plans already in mind. And if it looks as bad as they think it will, and if Planned Parenthood is as negligent as they fear they are, Holly Patterson’s father will probably get a phone call with dollar signs on the other end of the line before the grass has even grown back on his daughter’s grave.

Did Senator Boxer Contribute to Constituent’s Death?

By | Beverly LaHaye Institute, FemFacts, Feminist / Women's Issues | No Comments

A Republican governor-elect is really the least of Senator Barbara Boxer’s worries.

Granted, California’s political landscape is changing. But the Senator is now in damage control and may be forced to walk a razor thin line between her passionate pro-choice views and women’s safety in the wake of a constituent’s death.

Senator Boxer’s troubles began on Sept. 17 when Holly Patterson died after a chemical abortion she sought from a Planned Parenthood clinic. The 18-year-old was 7-weeks pregnant when she entered the Hayward, Calif. clinic for mifepristone, or RU-486. Four days later, she was taken to the Valley Care Medical Center with severe cramping and bleeding and sent home with painkillers. Holly’s condition only worsened, so she returned early on September 17 and subsequently died of septic shock caused by a massive systemic infection. An attending physician told Holly’s father that parts of the fetus were still in her uterus.

Everyone is conducting an investigation Planned Parenthood, the FDA and the Valley Care Medical Center. But VCMC is taking things a step further and asking Senator Diane Feinstein and Senator Boxer for an investigation on the national level.

Why?

Three groups representing more than a half-million members filed a citizen petition over a year ago claiming the FDA loosened its own guidelines and relaxed distribution requirements to approve RU-486. Filed by the Christian Medical Association, the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Concerned Women for America in August 2002, the petition has yet to be answered.

“There were a lot of things in there that raised our eyebrows,” said Kathy Campbell, a spokesperson for VCMC. “I can’t tell you that we absolutely agree with the petition (but) this is a legal document. It has a case number and it’s been sitting there for over a year and we’re supporting that there should be a response.”

Among the groups’ complaints is that the FDA approved RU-486 under its Subpart H, which is designed only for drugs that are meant to treat life-threatening illnesses, like cancer not abortions. Neither the French nor the U.S. clinical trials to test the drug’s safety and efficacy met the FDA’s standards. Furthermore, the FDA never tested the drug on minors, a violation of its own “pediatric rule,” giving no explanation.

“This was not tested on adolescents,” said Campbell. “That’s who’s taking the pill. That’s of concern to us.”

What should be of concern to Senator Boxer is a letter she sent the FDA commissioner in June 2000 after the agency wrote its own guidelines for RU-486. At that time the FDA wanted only licensed physicians who were familiar with the drug regimen to prescribe mifepristone to patients. The physician had to be certified to perform an ultrasound on the woman first, which would allow detection of an ectopic pregnancy, be able to perform a surgical abortion in case of complications, and have access to a hospital equipped to give blood transfusions and terminate pregnancies.

But Senator Boxer wrote that such life-saving safety measures were “draconian restrictions.”

“Barriers to RU-486 could discourage women from receiving a safe and effective alternative to surgical abortion, prevent effective treatment of other diseases, compromise the physical safety of women and physicians at reproductive health facilities, and threaten privacy,” she wrote.

The letter worked. The FDA caved under political pressure, choosing to relax the guidelines and thus, compromise the safety of women seeking chemical abortions women like Holly Patterson.

It is unclear whether Holly would have died if the FDA had withstood Senator Boxer’s pressure to relax regulations and stuck with their original guidelines for RU-486. But if such “draconian regulations” and “barriers” were in place, as the FDA initially mandated, Holly may have survived.

But now Senator Boxer has been asked to initiate a “complete investigation” on the national level.

“She should help get the FDA to respond to it,” Campbell said of the citizen petition. “I think with our calling on her, they need to respond.”

Planned Parenthood could also be liable for Holly’s death since it advertises chemical abortions up to the first 63 days of pregnancy on its website a violation of the FDA’s 49-day limit. Holly was 7-weeks pregnant when she sought Planned Parenthood’s services, but it is unclear whether she fell above or below the 49-day threshold.

The FDA also requires a physician not a clinic to administer misopristol, the second prescription in a chemical abortion. It appears that Planned Parenthood violated that regulation as well, and gave Holly the drug to administer to herself.

Holly “was a very strong, courageous and a very healthy girl,” her father told CBS’s The Early Show, “and I had actually no idea that she would succumb to dying from an abortion.”

But the petitioners did know something like this could happen, as did members of Congress who lobbied against the FDA’s approval.

“RU-486 is not just poison for babies, it is potential poison for the mothers who take it,” said Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) at a press conference after RU-486 was approved.

Rep. Dave Weldon (R-FL), a licensed physician, said, “American women need to knowthat their health can be in grave danger with these drugs. It’s not the panacea the abortion industry had hoped for. Approval of this drug is a grave mistake by the FDA because RU-486 will kill unborn children and harm the health and well-being of women who take it.”

More than likely, Senator Boxer will wheel her PR team into place while the FDA, Planned Parenthood and the hospital search for answers into Holly’s death.

“We want the FDA to come out and say the pill is safe and here are the protocols or we want them to pull it off the market,” said Campbell.

Maybe now the FDA will comply.

Note: Senator Boxer’s office was contacted for this article but did not provide requested information.

One Hollywood Step At a Time

By | Beverly LaHaye Institute, FemFacts, Social / Cultural Issues | No Comments
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David Anderson

Requests trickle in for bit parts, but nothing yet is big enough to launch his career. The odds are stacked against him more so than for other young actors trying to make it in Hollywood. He’s got the blonde hair, the great smile and the talent. But what he doesn’t have is a willingness to audition for every role that comes along.

“I won’t play gay roles unless there’s some kind of redemption (theme) in them,” he said. No Queer Eye for the Straight Guy for this fellow. And he also draws the line at nudity. Why?

“I wouldn’t feel comfortable sitting in a room watching people have sex, so why would I feel comfortable sitting in front of TV watching it?” he queries.

David Anderson is not your typical Hollywood actor.

His great grandfather was George Irving, who starred in films alongside Norma Shearer, Clark Gable, Shirley Temple, the Marx Brothers and Gary Cooper. Perhaps Irving’s most notable performance was his role as Alexander Peabody in the 1938 Cary Grant/Katherine Hepburn hit “Bringing Up Baby.”

Irving’s family was full of Broadway actors, actresses and producers. So it didn’t come as a surprise when his great grandson, David Anderson, loaded up his truck, left his Champlin, Minnesota home and headed to L.A. to pursue a career in acting. It was in his blood.

David had wanted to act ever since he was a kid, but thought it was too impractical so he settled on business in college as a major. But all that changed in 1998. As a self-professed “adrenaline junkie,” David and a friend swam 9 1/2 miles out to an oil rig in Santa Barbara. His friend was suffering from hypothermia so David swam 2 1/2 miles out to a ship to get help. He led them to his friend who, miraculously, was still alive and saved his life.

“The story blew up in the media,” recalled David, and “Warren Miller wanted to film it.” David acted out his own part and before he realized it, the acting bug had bit.

With a little money in his pocket, he moved to California in 2001, living at first with two random guys he met at Long Beach and finding a job waiting tables at the Olive Garden.

“I had no idea what to do,” he recalled. “There’s no one way to make it in Hollywood. I bought a lot of books on Hollywood and started reading whatever I could.”

He had a picture made and got a manager, hoping to pick up an agent along the way. And then the auditions came, which is when he had a talk with his manager about the roles he would and wouldn’t do.

“I’ve been called in for so many sexual gay roles that I do not want to play,” he admits. “I’m so tired of feeling I have to do a sexual favor to get a role in a piece.”

David has turned down 20 auditions for roles he was highly favored to win in just the two years he’s lived in L.A.

Raised in a close family with parents that “are still married and still full of love,” David chose long ago to remain abstinent until he got married. But he learned to embrace people where they are and not judge them, a quality that has won him the most success among his peers.

“I don’t come blasting through the door yelling, ‘I’m abstinent. I’m against homosexuality.’ I think that’s why my friends hang out with me,” said the 24-year-old, noting that half of them are gay.

Currently, he’s working on a film with a friend who is a homosexual. “He’s fascinated by my abstinence and he said he’s tried so many things that he’s tired of sex,” said David. “He wants to make a movie about abstinence.”

The two often watch old black and white movies together where “they didn’t have to have sex to recapture what’s missing.”

To some, David stands out like a sore thumb like his speech coach that said, “Abstinence? What is that? Good luck with that! Why would you want to do that? Is that some kind of program or something?”

And then there are the actors and actresses, also trying to make their big break, who really don’t want to do nude scenes but aren’t willing to lose their paycheck over it. David just finished a TV pilot, but then realized the producer wanted to add some nude scenes. He protested, saying he wouldn’t be a part of the project if the scenes were put in. The producer finally agreed, prompting other cast members to let out a sigh of relief. They didn’t want the scenes included either but weren’t about to say anything.

In a group of actors, David often gets laughed at when the subject of abstinence comes up. But, one or two actors will seek David out afterward to find out more about the decision he’s made and tearfully tell him their experiences with much regret.

“You get desensitized,” he said. “I met people that can have sex (every) night of the week and I think they have nothing left to give. The most sexually bored people that I’ve met are the ones that are having sex the most. They sleep with 50 partners it becomes this normal thing.”

But David is convinced that Hollywood is ready for the message of abstinence.

“I know that for a fact,” he said. “Everyone I bring it up to, they want to hear this message.”

So he’s producing his own movies and starring in them. Right now he’s working on a movie about a guy who marries a prostitute. He has no idea if it will ever get made but is content to take it one step at a time. He doesn’t want to be pegged as the abstinence guy or the Christian guy.

“There’s more to me than abstinence,” he said matter-of-factly. “I want to make decent secular movies that teach the Christian message.”

Talk of films such as “Lord of the Rings” and “Braveheart” and David’s eyes light up.

“What better way to speak to people? Movies can speak to people’s hearts. I can speak to people’s minds but what better way to speak to people than in a dark movie theater where no one reads their thoughts?”

“I really care about Hollywood. I want it to change,” he said. “I don’t care about the fame (but) I realize that fame is an important tool to make a difference.”

Hell Hath No Fury

By | Beverly LaHaye Institute, FemFacts, Feminist / Women's Issues | No Comments

With winds once at 160 mph, she’s caused thousands to bolt to attention, wary of her enormous strength. Her name is Isabel and she’s a raging, screaming feminist to the core.

A storm with a terrible vengeance, she is a whirling mass of wind and water that will leave nothing but death and destruction in its path. She commands media attention and causes people to board up their homes and move inland until she’s gone, rather than face her head-on. She’s forced governors to declare states of emergency, Navy ships to head out to sea and military aircraft to move further inland.

She is a force to be reckoned with, cutting a swath that will cost thousands, if not millions of dollars in damages. Seething with resentment and anger, she will not be placated until the landscape is changed to her liking.

She dangles key Democrats as puppets, wielding their power to cut off the president’s judicial nominees, all because these judges do not bow to her whims. She howls her protests at the war in Iraq, even though the brave military campaign has liberated hundreds of women from brutal rape and death.

She calls the barbaric practice of partial birth abortion a “safe medical procedure” and she mocks abstinence, not because of its proven effectiveness in saving young people from STDs, abortion and teen pregnancies, but because it threatens her multi-million dollar, tax-payer funded family planning empire.

She pushes the Navy further out to sea and the military further inland, forcing them to dumb down their training standards for women, all because she wants to be in the trenches or on equal ground with men.

She shrieks at the idea of poor mothers marrying the fathers of their children, even though it could very well lift them out of poverty. Self-absorbed in her disastrous deadly spiral, she thinks only of her ties to their swollen tide of welfare dollars.

She is a tempest, angry and sullen, destroying lives, all in the name of “reproductive freedom.” She will be heard. She will be taken seriously, because like the gale-force winds of Isabel, she rages on, daring any man to tame her, believing none can. Her tongue is acrid and her fury lethal. Years after she is gone, she will be remembered for the damage she caused, the destruction she rained down, the peace she destroyed, and the price the public paid for her disastrous sweep across the landscape of our culture.

She speaks of “rights,” but she is rebellion, plain and simple.

Soldier Relies on God for Victory in Iraq

By | Beverly LaHaye Institute, FemFacts, Religious Issues | No Comments
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Capt. Carter (far right) poses beside
three of his men from Attack Company.

A stack of fan mail sits in his parents’ dining room largely untouched, not because he doesn’t appreciate it but because he hasn’t had time to go through it. Addressed simply to Captain Chris Carter in Watkinsville, Georgia, the letters give no more of an address than a child’s letter to Santa Claus at the North Pole. Yet the postman knows where to deliver them. The postman probably knows Chris, as does the whole town of Watkinsville, watching him grow up before their eyes. But then the war in Iraq began and Capt. Carter, an army Ranger, was thrust into the national spotlight after rescuing an injured Iraqi woman from a bridge under heavy gunfire while commanding Attack Company, or A Company of the 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment. All of a sudden, this 31-year-old University of Georgia fan with a Southern drawl who loves to hunt, fish and sing Hank Williams Jr. songs to keep his men alert became a hero.

It’s not a label he likes. In fact, he runs from it faster than he ran towards Baghdad with his 120-man company. Carter led his men on the front lines of what turned out to be the fastest, deepest attack by an invading army in military history.

But before the war began, before the first missile was dropped or the first shots were fired, Carter developed three PCP’s or “Pre-combat Prayers.” He prayed that his family would know where he was while in Iraq, that all of his men would make it home alive, and that he would have the opportunity to share his Christian faith with all of his men.

chriscarter2.jpg
Mike, Chris and Shirley Carter
shortly after Chris’s return from Iraq.

Prayer runs deep in his family.

“Some nights I’d wake up seven, eight, nine times,” said Mike Carter of his son’s deployment. “Every time I woke up, I’d pray.”

His mother, Shirley, said that several days before her son rescued the elderly Iraqi woman, God was trying to tell her Chris would be involved in a rescue and to pray for protection.

“I prayed a lot,” she said, “but I never succumbed to fear because God said I could have either faith or fear.”

Carter had no inclination he would be involved in a rescue. His mission was to draw Iraqi forces south in Hindiyah, a town of 80,000 some 80 kilometers south of Baghdad, by taking a bridge and searching the police station. Once Attack Company rolled into town March 31, Iraqi fighters in civilian clothes opened fire while cars thought to be laden with explosives encircled the Bradley armoured vehicles.

Having been shot through the rear, the elderly Iraqi woman signaled Attack Company for help and then went limp. The woman later told an interpreter she was shot by an Iraqi.

“We thought she’d died,” recalls Carter. Then “she sat up and waved at uswe had to get her out of there.”

Half a world away, Shirley Carter was praying for her son.

Carter and a couple of soldiers moved onto the bridge, calling a medic for help. Iraqi gunfire intensified as medics came and placed the woman on a stretcher while Carter provided cover with his M16A4 rifle.

“I didn’t hear a single shot fired while I was on the bridge,” says Carter, believing his mother’s prayers were responsible. “God’s hand was protecting us.”

And an embedded Associated Press reporter and photographer were capturing the entire event. The next day, this young soldier made headlines the world over. From the Belfast Telegraph to the Manila Bulletin, Carter was a hero. The Army thought so too, awarding him the Silver Star. Yet Carter still shies away from the spotlight, calling the honor “a reflection of the job my soldiers did and not me personally.”

chriscarter3.jpg
Chris endears himself to thousands of UGA fans
by unfurling the school flag on Fox News.

As for his first PCP, U.S. newspaper articles quoted Carter almost daily, enabling his family to track his whereabouts perhaps more so than any other soldier’s family in the war. On Feb. 17, CNN anchor Bill Hemmer interviewed Carter in the Kuwaiti desert on military maneuvers. On March 31, pictures of the daring bridge rescue ran in newspapers across the world while U.S. news stations headlined their broadcasts with Carter’s bravery. On April 8, Attack Company rode into central Baghdad en route to the New Presidential Palace. On April 10, a Fox news crew captured Carter and another soldier unfurling a University of Georgia flag outside one of Saddam’s palaces while two days later, Carter and his men marveled at the collective editions of military weapons found in a Baghdad home. On April 16, Attack Company uncovered Saddam’s “love shack” with shag carpet and paintings of topless women and serpents.

His second PCP was answered in early August. Carter had been redeployed on June 20 to serve a 3-year assignment as a liaison officer with the Georgia Army National Guard. On August 11, his men returned home to Fort Stewart, Georgia, the only casualty being a finger lost by Staff Sgt. William Gilliam of Hamburg, Ala.

Before leaving his men in Iraq, Carter called a voluntary formation prior to his change of command ceremony. Those that had guard duty got someone to cover for them so that his entire company could hear what their commanding officer had to say. Carter stood before the men he fought beside and shared his testimony about how a relationship with God had made a difference in his life.

“Every prayer request was answered 100 percent,” said Carter. “We shouldn’t put limits on prayer.”

Combat had its own lessons for Carter. “When there are trials in your life, you tend to turn to God more. You realize ‘I can’t do that on my own.’ Back in America we think ‘I don’t need God’ but He is so important to our life.”

“Despite (our) training and despite the actions of the men, there’s no way we could do what we did without God and His protection.”

Margaret’s Legacy

By | Beverly LaHaye Institute, FemFacts, Social / Cultural Issues | No Comments

“What a queer thing is faith. To have faith in one what does it mean simply that that person shall remain stationary in a certain idea or thought or emotion that he shall not progress further but remain stagnant in that one particular thing in which we have our faith. How easily to upturn all these old words upon which so much false sentiment has been built.”1

Her name was Margaret and as a 35-year-old mother of three, she wrote these words in her journal after having returned from the Unitarian Church on Hope Street in Liverpool, England. There a young minister delivered a lecture on Nietzsche that “simply inspired and enthused” her. Margaret was raised Catholic and was even baptized at the age of 13, yet none of that seemed to matter to her now. She didn’t believe in God at least not a God she couldn’t control.

“Men and women must be Gods unto themselves and stop worshipping at the shrine of other egos,” she wrote.2

Indicted on an obscenity charge in America several weeks earlier but not caring much for prison, Margaret left her three young children with her husband and fled to Europe to escape punishment. There she took at least two lovers both of them married men.

One was Lorenzo, a Spaniard born near Barcelona who Margaret described as “a born teacher and natural protestor.” 3 The second lover was Henry, the 56-year-old author of a book on homosexuality that had been censored. According to biographer Ellen Chesler, Henry “associated his first consciousness of sexual excitement with memories of watching his mother stand and urinate in a park, claiming that this urolagnia ‘never developed into a real perversion’ but ‘became in some degree attached to [his] feelings of tenderness toward women’.” 4

Married to a lesbian, Henry lobbied for universal sex education for girls and boys in England and argued in favor of sadism and masochism.5

Sharing a bed with these lovers while the kids were at home, Margaret certainly was a god unto herself, worshipping at the shrine of her own ego. But this was no ordinary Margaret. This was Margaret Sanger the mother of the birth control movement and the founder of Planned Parenthood.

She carried on these torrid love affairs with Lorenzo Portet and Henry Havelock Ellis simultaneously, while her husband, Bill Sanger, continued to write her letters from home. Portet’s passion and his rebellion against family, church and the monarchy entranced Margaret. As for Ellis, she was enthralled by his commitment to normalize sexual perversion and his fascination with eugenics.

Margaret also became fascinated with eugenics a key plank in her birth control philosophy. As a former member of the Socialist Party in New York, she frequently aligned herself with radical thinkers, but eugenics seemed even too radical for some of her socialist friends, who refused to join her birth control brigade. They were interested in providing ample employment and food for all people but not in building the perfect human race.

“There were 1,600,000 illiterate foreigners in the United States when the 1910 census was taken,” wrote Margaret in her book, Woman and the New Race. ” Do these elements give promise of a better race?” 6

Pointing to poor immigrants and the disadvantaged, she did little to cloak her prejudice:

The feebleminded are notoriously prolific in reproductionan overwhelming proportion of the classified feebleminded children in New York schools came from large families living in overcrowded slum conditions, and that only a small percentage were born of native parents.7

Building a case to refine the melting pot, Margaret states:

If we are to develop in America a new race with a racial soul, we must keep the birth rate within the scope of our ability to understand as well as to educate. We must not encourage reproduction beyond our capacity to assimilate our numbers so as to make the coming generation into such physically fit, mentally capable, socially alert individuals as are the ideal of a democracy.8

Birth control would trim the burgeoning masses of physically unfit, mentally incapable and socially inept individuals that weighed down upon society. It would also conveniently allow Margaret to indulge her sexually promiscuous lifestyle and keep an unlimited number of lovers.

She portrayed incessantly women as victims of their own children forced to give birth to unwanted babies that would suck the life out of them. The October 1921 cover of Margaret’s Birth Control Review newsletter shows a picture of a mother breastfeeding her infant child while the mother’s hands are tied behind her back.

Yet there was at least one time when Margaret didn’t view children as a burden. On November 6, 1915, only days after Margaret returned from England, Peggy Sanger, her only daughter, died of pneumonia at the age of five. Her 7-year-old son, Grant, blamed his mother for Peggy’s death, believing if Margaret had only been there, his sister’s condition would not have worsened. Margaret also blamed herself and could not sit across from any mother and her daughter in any public place without feelings of guilt and remorse. Biographer Ellen Chesler wrote:

On a trip to Chicago in 1923, she dreamed that she was standing in the rear yard of a New York building when suddenly she heard roofs crashing down around her. In the commotion she began to worry about her little girl, but realized that she had been neglecting her for years and did not know where she was. She found herself running through the streets cradling a sweet-faced infant, thinking of her lost child, weeping, crying aloud, and pulling her hair, and only then did she wake up. For years thereafter dreams of babies remained as a persistent anxiety pattern.9

There is no record of Margaret’s journal in the winter of 1915. Either she was too grief-stricken to have written anything, (her doctor diagnosed her as having suffered a disabling emotional breakdown), or she did keep a record of her pain but chose not to release it to the public.

She was so committed to her birth control mantra, that she would not dare allow the public to see her as a mother, grieving the loss of her child. Margaret traveled the country demonizing children as burdens to their mothers. Yet personal tragedy showed Margaret that a neglectful mother could be a burden to her child a view of motherhood she kept private, knowing it would make birth control less marketable.

“What a queer thing is faith,” wrote Margaret. And yet she asked, even demanded, that Americans have faith in her religion of birth control, preaching that it would free motherhood and clear the way for a greater race in America and an ideal democracy.

Infused with Nietzsche’s teachings, Margaret was right about one thing. Having faith in one having faith in Margaret Sanger did cause thousands to remain stationary and stagnant and not progress further in their views of motherhood. Having faith in the “Woman Rebel” as Margaret aptly named herself and her first newsletter caused thousands to normalize a sexually promiscuous lifestyle and shifted a nation’s focus from creating life to being “protected” against having children.

Margaret was obviously wrong about where one should place their faith. Faith is not to be entrusted to a person or an idea, but only to a Deity. And Margaret Sanger was no deity. She is revered by some as having paved the way for legalized abortion. Yet 30 years after Roe v. Wade, her “better race” does not exist; America still has physically unfit, mentally incapable and socially inept individuals. Furthermore, America, and other nations following her lead, have a burgeoning number of sexually promiscuous women and men, who, like Margaret, have chosen to be “Gods unto themselves.”


End Notes

Margaret Sanger Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.Ibid.Ellen Chesler, Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America (New York, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992), 108.Ibid, 112.Ibid, 114.Margaret Sanger, Woman and the New Race (New York, New York: Brentano’s, 1920), 33.Ibid, 41.Ibid, 44.Ibid, 134.

Scripture Plaques Return to Grand Canyon

By | Beverly LaHaye Institute, FemFacts, Religious Issues | No Comments

First they were up. Then they came down. Then they went back up. But will they come down again?

For 33 years, three bronze Scripture plaques have hung at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, a gift from the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary in Phoenix. The plaques bore verses from the Psalms 66:4, 68:4 and 104:24 and elicited frequent positive responses from tourists all over the world.

“People are asking all the time about the plaques,” said Sister Pinea Zarkos, a member of the Sisterhood. “These plaques are meant to inspire people to acknowledge and give credit to the Creator who made this beautiful panorama. Any other artist receives acknowledgement for what he’s done.”

But on July 9, Grand Canyon Superintendent Joe Alston had the plaques removed from Hermits Rest, Lookout Studio and Desertview Tower after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Washington, D.C. wrote a simple letter of inquiry, containing no legal arguments and no research on the subject.

“The Department of Interior determined that the plaques were not appropriate for federal public facilities,” Maureen Oltrogge of the National Park Service (NPS) told the Arizona Daily Sun.

The plaques were removed, cleaned and returned to the Sisterhood, who were “very saddened because the plaques for over 30 years have been a part of the Grand Canyon experience for millions of people.”

NPS received 200 letters protesting the removal of the plaques, while only one letter applauded their removal.

Members of Congress also weighed in on the matter in a letter dated July 16 to Secretary Gale Norton of the Department of Interior. Congressman Todd Akin (R-MO) and 33 other Representatives wrote:

“We are disappointed that your department would jettison the foundation of our Republic due to an “inquiry” by an activist group whose agenda includes a campaign of censorship to remove any vestige of our Judeo-Christian heritage from American public life.”

Citing every citizen’s unalienable rights afforded by the Creator, the members suggested “that the Department of the Interior refrain from reacting with such aplomb to the tacit threats of liberal interest groups.”

Not to confuse “freedom of religion with freedom from religion,” Congressman Akin was “very concerned about the faith-based nature of our government and preserving public expressions of faith,” said an aide in Akin’s office.

NPS Deputy Director Donald Murphy ordered the plaques put back up and wrote a letter dated July 18 to Sister Daniella of the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary.

“I regret that further legal analysis and policy review did not take place prior to the removal of these plaques and their return to you,” wrote Murphy.

“Mr. Murphy has done what should have been done in the first place,” said NPS spokesperson David Barna. “In the Department of Interior, we could claim a lot of expertise in land restoration, (but) when you’re talking about separation of church and state, that’s not something we do very well.”

The matter has been turned over to the solicitor’s office to determine if the plaques should legally be removed.

“Someone further up the food chain needs to give us more guidance,” said Barna, noting that the Justice Department may also become involved.

If the solicitor’s office determines that the plaques are in violation of the First Amendment, which reads in part, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” then all American monuments and memorials are at risk.

So the question must be asked will the replica of the Ten Commandments that hangs behind the bench of the Supreme Court be taken down? Will the frieze of Moses be removed from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives? And when Americans and foreign tourists climb the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to remember one of our country’s greatest presidents, when they gaze upon his second inaugural speech etched in marble, will they find certain portions missing?

What will become of the words, “Let us judge not that we be not judged. The Almighty has His own purposes” and “Woe unto the World because of offenses for it must needs be that offenses come but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh?” Will an inquiry letter from the ACLU scare park officials into removing the words, “As was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether?”

Barna said that in terms of religious facilities and artifacts within national parks, the courts have differentiated between temporary and permanent landmarks, allowing the latter. So it would appear that park officials won’t take a hammer to Scripture references in Lincoln’s speech.

But what if the court changes its mind? What if it has a change of heart on permanent religious landmarks like it had a change of heart on homosexual sodomy?

For now the bronze plaques have been reinstalled. As tourists make their way to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, they’ll once again be greeted with the words: “O Lord, how manifold are they works! In wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.”

Only time will tell how long they will remain.

Bridal Brouhaha

By | Beverly LaHaye Institute, Family Issues, FemFacts | No Comments

You’ve heard that divorce rates are high hovering at about 50 percent. You’ve heard that many couples are skipping a trip down the aisle, choosing instead to live together and keep their last names. But have you heard about the bridal brouhaha at Filene’s Basement?

As early as 4 a.m. on a Thursday in July, bleary-eyed brides many with a wedding party entourage began lining up outside Filene’s Basement in Washington, D.C. for the store’s annual bridal event. Hundreds of wedding gowns originally priced well over $1,000 were all going for $250 and these women wanted a bargain. By the time the doors opened at 8 a.m., 400 people rushed inside for a little prenuptial pandemonium.

“It was a madhouse,” said Danielle Maree, who came as early as 5:30 a.m. to help her friend find a dress. “People ran in. You had to have your track shoes on. All the dresses were off the racks in less than 5 seconds!”

Wasting no time, the quicker brides made their way to the curtained dressing areas with armloads of gowns in tow. Others grabbed a handful of satin and lace and stripped down to bras, shorts and even bathing suits to model the dresses right there on the sales floor.

But this was no solo event. Mothers, bridesmaids, sisters and friends ferried gowns back to the brides, adjusted straps, held up hair, gave opinions and raced off to scoop up other possibilities. When gowns didn’t fit, they were quickly hoisted up in the air and sizes were yelled out for anyone else to grab. Everyone wanted a dress, but everyone also wanted everyone else to find a dress.

“I’ve not heard a bad word in here,” said Frank Dorn, district manager for Filene’s Basement in Washington D.C., who arrived at 5:45 a.m. to find at least 75 people in line outside the store. “This is a real lesson in humanity,” he opined.

A handful of boyfriends and fiances stood by dazed and mystified. This was a sporting event they never knew existed. A couple of men found gowns in the right size for their women and helped with zippers or scads of buttons out of the bride’s reach.

Enthusiasm ran high at this matrimonial melee. By 8:45 a.m., the first bride carried her gown to the checkout counter, ready to make her big purchase. But each woman wasn’t just hoping to snag the perfect dress each bride was hoping this would be the last wedding gown she would ever wear.

“America doesn’t take marriage seriously,” said Victoria Stefan rather pensively for an 18-year-old, noting the high divorce rate.

The teenager from Fairfax, Virginia will walk down the aisle next June as a bridesmaid at her 23-year-old sister, Alexandria’s wedding. Victoria hesitated to say she was a fan of marriage. But was marriage in her future?

“Definitely,” she said with confidence. Couples should “deal with their problems, not giving up (with) the first problem that comes along,” the teen added for a little matrimonial advice. “It’s for better or for worse. A lot of it is for worse, so stick it out.”

Ivonne Fuller, 32, of Greenbelt, Maryland was equally cautious but also optimistic.

“Marriage is more popular than you hear in the press,” said Fuller, who plans to wed for a second time in September. “You hear about the high divorce rate but marriage is a wonderful institution. I think marriage is wildly popular.”

Leon Leftenant agreed. “It’s kind of exciting to see a lot of people thinking of getting married,” he said, looking around at women frantically trying on gowns.

The Long Island, New York native accompanied his fiancee, Kimberly Davila to help her pick out the right dress. Having met through mutual friends, this will be the first marriage for both Davila and Leftenant.

“I was just waiting for her to come along,” he said.

At the end of the day, several hundred gowns were sold and scores of women gleefully left Filene’s Basement with their prized purchases. They left with satin and lace, beaded bodices and long trains, veils, shoes and hopes for the future.

Some of them will not stay married. They’ll enjoy the “for better” part of their vows but fail to survive the “for worse” and they’ll end a union they were once overjoyed to start.

But some of these women will make it. They’ll say ‘I do’ and mean it, holding onto their vows to weather difficult times. Despite the matrimonial marathon to find the perfect gown, they understand a wedding dress is only for a day but a marriage is for a lifetime.