Who’s ‘godless’ now? Russia says it’s U.S.

Who’s ‘godless’ now? Russia says it’s U.S.

Putin seizes on issue of traditional values

who is godless now

By Marc Bennetts – Special to The Washington Times

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

MOSCOW — At the height of the Cold War, it was common for American conservatives to label the officially atheist Soviet Union a “godless nation.”

More than two decades on, history has come full circle, as the Kremlin and its allies in the Russian Orthodox Church hurl the same allegation at the West.


 


“Many Euro-Atlantic countries have moved away from their roots, including Christian values,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a recent keynote speech. “Policies are being pursued that place on the same level a multi-child family and a same-sex partnership, a faith in God and a belief in Satan. This is the path to degradation.”

In his state of the nation address in mid-December, Mr. Putin also portrayed Russia as a staunch defender of “traditional values” against what he depicted as the morally bankrupt West. Social and religious conservatism, the former KGB officer insisted, is the only way to prevent the world from slipping into “chaotic darkness.”

As part of this defense of “Christian values,” Russia has adopted a law banning “homosexual propaganda” and another that makes it a criminal offense to “insult” the religious sensibilities of believers.

The law on religious sensibilities was adopted in the wake of a protest in Moscow’s largest cathedral by a female punk rock group against the Orthodox Church’s support of Mr. Putin. Kremlin-run television said the group’s “demonic” protest was funded by “some Americans.”

Mr. Putin’s views of the West were echoed this month by Patriarch Kirill I of Moscow, the leader of the Orthodox Church, who accused Western countries of engaging in the “spiritual disarmament” of their people.

In particular, Patriarch Kirill criticized laws in several European countries that prevent believers from displaying religious symbols, including crosses on necklaces, at work.


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“The general political direction of the [Western political] elite bears, without doubt, an anti-Christian and anti-religious character,” the patriarch said in comments aired on state-controlled television.

“We have been through an epoch of atheism, and we know what it is to live without God,” Patriarch Kirill said. “We want to shout to the whole world, ‘Stop!’”

Other figures within the Orthodox Church have gone further in criticizing the West. Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, a church spokesman, suggested that the modern-day West is no better for a Christian believer than the Soviet Union.

Soviet authorities executed some 200,000 clergy and believers from 1917 to 1937, according to a 1995 presidential committee report. Thousands of churches were destroyed, and those that survived were turned into warehouses, garages or museums of atheism.

“The separation of the secular and the religious is a fatal mistake by the West,” the Rev. Chaplin said. “It is a monstrous phenomenon that has occurred only in Western civilization and will kill the West, both politically and morally.”

The Kremlin’s encouragement of traditional values has sparked a rise in Orthodox vigilantism. Fringe groups such as the Union of Orthodox Banner Bearers, an ultraconservative movement whose slogan is “Orthodoxy or Death,” are gaining prominence.

Patriarch Kirill has honored the group’s leader, openly anti-Semitic monarchist Leonid Simonovich, for his services to the Orthodox Church. The Banner Bearers, who dress in black paramilitary uniforms festooned with skulls, regularly confront gay and liberal activists on the streets of Moscow.

Although Mr. Putin has never made a secret of what he says is his deep Christian faith, his first decade in power was largely free of overtly religious rhetoric. Little or no attempt was made to impose a set of values on Russians or lecture to the West on morals.

However, since his inauguration for a third presidential term in May 2012, the increasingly authoritarian leader has sought to reach out to Russia’s conservative, xenophobic heartland for support.

It has proved a rich hunting ground.

“Western values, from liberalism to the recognition of the rights of sexual minorities, from Catholicism and Protestantism to comfortable jails for murderers, provoke in us suspicion, astonishment and alienation,” Yevgeny Bazhanov, rector of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s diplomatic academy, wrote in a recent essay.

Analysts suggest that Mr. Putin’s shift to ultraconservatism and anti-West rhetoric was triggered by mass protests against his rule that rocked Russia in 2011 and 2012. The unprecedented show of dissent was led mainly by educated, urban Muscovites — many with undisguised pro-Western sympathies.

“This is the government’s response to modernized Russians becoming more defiant and independent,” said Maria Lipman, an analyst with the Moscow-based Carnegie Center. “The government is pitting the conservative majority against the liberal minority. As a result, raging anti-Western ideology has now turned into something that is almost a state ideology.”

Ms. Lipman, however, suggested that Mr. Putin may be wary of expressing too much support for the Orthodox Church — “a symbol of Russian statehood” — lest it someday challenge his authority.

Some 70 percent of Russians define themselves as Orthodox Christians in opinion polls, and opposition figures in the past have called on the church to play a mediating role between the Kremlin and protesters.

“Because of Putin’s shift to conservatism, the church may feel more emboldened,” Ms. Lipman said. “So Putin does not overemphasize the church in speeches, preferring to concentrate on talk of traditional values. He is wary of boosting its support even higher.”

Christian film stripped of ‘Best Song’ Oscar nomination

Christian film stripped of ‘Best Song’ Oscar nomination

Academy says that writer broke its rules against lobbying.

By Victor Morton

The Washington Times

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

This year’s most-obscure Oscar nominee is no more.

At a meeting this week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences board of governors decided to strip the surprise nomination for Best Song from “Alone Yet Not Alone,” which appears in the independent Christian-produced film of the same name.


 


Writer Bruce Broughton, a former member of the board of governors and currently on the music branch’s executive committee, violated the Academy’s rules against lobbying by personally e-mailing “members of the branch to make them aware of his submission during the nominations voting period,” according to a statement released by the governors Wednesday.

The nomination of “Alone Yet Not Alone” raised the eyebrows (and hackles) of many veteran Oscar-watchers when the nominations were announced Jan. 16. The film had a public profile more associated with obscure foreign films and nobody had tipped it as a possible nominee in any category.

“Alone Yet Not Alone” played on 11 screens nationwide for one week in October and grossed less than $135,000, BoxOfficeMojo.com said. As of Wednesday evening, fewer than 100 people had rated it on the Internet Movie Database. By comparison, the Sandra Bullock October release “Gravity,” which was nominated for 10 Oscars, has grossed more than $260 million and been rated by more than 250,000 IMDb users.

The producers of “Alone Yet Not Alone” plan a broader release in June.

Studios sometimes give films a short end-of-the-year “qualifying run” to make it eligible for the Oscars, with a broader release planned for the spring, cashing in on the publicity and cachet of the nomination.

The Japanese animated film “The Wind Rises” by Hayao Miyazaki was nominated for Best Animated Feature this year using the same strategy. But that strategy usually requires a much more-aggressive and high-profile publicity campaign than “Alone Yet Not Alone” could manage.


 


Ironically, the song had survived an earlier challenge to its eligibility based on the fact the film’s producers had not purchased any advertisements for its short and barely-noticed qualifying run in Los Angeles. The Academy ruled in that case that the theater listings for its showtimes qualified as the required advertisement.

According to the Academy governors, no other song will be nominated in place of “Alone Yet Not Alone” when the final ballots are sent out Feb. 14, and the Oscar will go to one of the four remaining nominees on March 2.

“Alone Yet Not Alone” is a religiously themed period piece about 18th-century settlers dealing with colonial wars and Indian kidnappers in the Ohio Valley. The song is presented in the movie as a traditional family hymn and sung on the film’s soundtrack by Joni Eareckson Tada, a well-known evangelical minister.

Mr. Broughton, who wrote the song with lyricist Dennis Spiegel, told the Hollywood Reporter that he was “devastated” by the stripping.

“I indulged in the simplest grassroots campaign, and it went against me when the song started getting attention. I got taken down by competition that had months of promotion and advertising behind them. I simply asked people to find the song and consider it,” he told the prominent trade publication.

The film’s status as a small Christian film led Orthodox Christian film blogger Peter Chattaway to predict charges of religious persecution in the coming days, playing off the image of Hollywood as a liberal bastion hostile to Christianity.

“The Academy may or may not have ruled correctly when it comes to Broughton’s e-mails. But it probably, however unintentionally, just gave certain Christians a little more fodder for their persecution narrative, and thereby threw just a little more fuel on the culture-wars fire. Sigh,” Mr. Chattaway wrote on his Patheos site Wednesday night.

Haunting in Indiana leads to family’s exorcism, child’s levitation: Reports

ammons28n-2-web

Haunting in Indiana leads to family’s exorcism, child’s levitation: Reports

Chilling reports taken from the residents of a Gary, Ind., home recount a haunting that involved a 12-year-old girl levitating over her bed and a 9-year-old boy walking on a hospital ceiling. Astonishingly, the family’s recollections are backed by not only a local police official but also by medical personnel.

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BY / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

PUBLISHED: MONDAY, JANUARY 27, 2014, 6:29 PM
UPDATED: MONDAY, JANUARY 27, 2014, 10:53 PM
Demons at an Indiana home caused a 12-year-old girl to levitate and a nine-year-old boy to walk backwards up a wall as startled medical staff looked on, according to family members and officials. Pictured here is Latoya Ammons.

INDYSTAR.COM

Latoya Ammons, a mother of three, claims her family became possessed by demons after moving into a rental home in Gary, Ind.

A Gary, Ind., mother of three claims demons caused her 12-year-old daughter to levitate and her 9-year-old son to walk on a hospital ceiling — accounts supported by medical personnel and police officials, according to a shocking report.

For Latoya Ammons, the late night footsteps, the creaking of a door and wet footprints left by a shadowy male figure through her living room were merely child’s play when that was all her family had to endure.

But then things turned violent.

It was March 10, 2012 — four months after her family moved into a three-bedroom rental — that Ammons’ saw her daughter floating above her bed, the Indy Star reports.

It was first a scream that alerted her grandmother, Rosa Campbell, to the girl’s bedroom at about 2 a.m. that night.

“I thought, ‘What’s going on?'” Campbell recalled to the Star. “‘Why is this happening?'”

When the girl fell back onto the bed, she gained consciousness but said she had no memory of what had happened.

Two clairvoyants told them the house was filled with more than 200 demons. The family’s church recommended pouring olive oil on Ammons’ children’s hands and feet, with smeared crosses along their foreheads, as a form of protection.

At one clairvoyant’s recommendation, the frightened mother created an altar in her basement with a white candle and a statue of Mary, Joseph and Jesus. It was down there, beneath the staircase leading up to her kitchen, where the family believed the terrifying events began.

 

She and a friend prayed over the altar while filling the area with smoke in an attempt to spiritually purify the home, she told The Star.

For three days, nothing happened. And then Ammons and her children began acting out.

Rosa Campbell, Latoya Ammons' mother, claims to have seen her 12-year-old granddaughter levitate over her bed, a claim backed by other witnesses.

INDYSTAR.COM

Rosa Campbell, Latoya Ammons’ mother, claims to have seen her 12-year-old granddaughter levitate over her bed, a claim backed by other witnesses.

The mother found her youngest, a 7-year-old boy, inside a closet while allegedly talking to another boy only Ammons’ son could see.

When asked what they were talking about, her son allegedly told her that the other child was describing what it was like to be killed.

Not long after that, the woman claims her 7-year-old flew out of a bathroom and that her 12-year-old daughter required stitches after being hit in the head.

The girl told health care professionals that she sometimes felt like she was being choked. A voice would tell her that she’d never see her family again.

On April 19, 2012, the family went to see Dr. Geoffrey Onyeukwu, whose encounter with the children was one he said he’d never forget.

“Twenty years, and I’ve never heard anything like that in my life,” the physician told the Star about their first meeting since the frightening events began. “I was scared myself when I walked into the room.”

According to a report by the Department of Children Services obtained by The Star, one of the boys began cursing at Onyeukwu in a demonic voice. He and his brother then abruptly passed out and wouldn’t come to.

 

The police were called. When both children woke up in a hospital, the youngest began screaming and violently thrashing about.

It took five men to hold the 7-year-old boy down, Campbell told The Star.

The children’s behavior was so unusual and unexplainable that doctors feared their mother was suffering a mental illness and possibly encouraging the kids to act that way.

Ammons was reported to DCS for possible child abuse, but when she was evaluated by a hospital psychiatrist she was found to be of “sound mind.”

Rev. Mike Maginot, who performed exorcisms on Latoya Ammons and her children, was contacted by a hospital's chaplain a day after Ammons' children were taken from Ammons' custody.

INDYSTAR.COM

Rev. Mike Maginot, who performed exorcisms on Latoya Ammons and her children, was contacted by a hospital’s chaplain a day after Ammons’ children were taken from Ammons’ custody.

DCS family case manager Valerie Washington was then called in to evaluate the children. When she met them, the youngest, she reported, started to growl and flash his teeth at her. His eyes then rolled back into his head.

Then the 7-year-old lunged for his older brother and put his hands around his throat while saying in a voice that wasn’t his own: “It’s time to die. I will kill you,” according to Washington’s report.

Once released from his brother’s grasp, the 9-year-old allegedly started head-butting his grandmother.

Campbell took his hand and started to pray when the boy walked backward up a wall and onto the ceiling. Once there he flipped and landed perfectly on his feet.

Washington’s DCS report is corroborated by Willie Lee Walker, a registered nurse, who was in the room with them.

 

“He walked up the wall, flipped over her [the grandmother] and stood there,” Walker told The Star. “There’s no way he could’ve done that.”

Washington, in her report to police, described the boy as “gliding.”

The 7-year-old boy stayed overnight in the hospital with Ammons while Campbell took the other two children to a relative’s for the night.

They returned the next day, which was the youngest boy’s 8th birthday, but were greeted by DCS workers, who took all three children into custody.

The following day, the hospital chaplain called Rev. Michael Maginot, asking him to perform an exorcism on the 9-year-old boy.

The reverend agreed to interview the mother and grandmother at the home. During their meeting, a bathroom light bulb flickered, blinds in the kitchen swung, and footprints appeared in the living room, he told the Star.

Charles Reed, the landlord of the allegedly haunted house in Gary, Ind., told the Indy Star that he never heard of demons in the home before Ammons moved in. Another resident has since moved in and hasn't complained, either.

INDYSTAR.COM

Charles Reed, the landlord of the allegedly haunted house in Gary, Ind., told the Indy Star that he never heard of demons in the home before Ammons moved in. Another resident has since moved in and hasn’t complained, either.

After that, Ammons and Campbell moved out to temporarily live with a relative, but less than a week later were called back for an afternoon inspection by the DCS.

Gary police Capt. Charles Austin accompanied the two women with Washington and another officer.

Austin tells the Star that after that visit, he believes in both ghosts and demons. He also vowed to never go inside the house again.

 

While at the home, the police audio recorder malfunctioned and brand-new batteries died. While listening to the recording later, an officer heard a voice whispering, “Hey,” according to the police reports obtained by the Star.

Photos taken in the home’s basement appeared to show a cloudy image near the stairs. When enlarged, the image reportedly resembled a human face.

A second, green image allegedly resembled a female figure.

Before the end of the month, a petition by the DCS for temporary wardship of the three children was granted by Lake Juvenile Court. The department argued that the children missed too much school for what the mother argued were illnesses because of their home’s demons.

During their wardship, the children were given evaluations by separate psychologists. Each evaluation’s report concluded that the children’s behavior was reinforced by their mother or relatives.

In the meantime, several exorcisms were performed on Ammons by Rev. Maginot.

By June, Ammons and her mother had moved back to Indianapolis and by November, the children were returned to their mother.

The DCS met with the family and in their assessment found “no demonic presences or spirits in the home.”

Charles Reed, the owner of the Indiana home, told the Star that he had never heard of such problems before the family moved in.

Another renter has since moved in and purportedly hasn’t made any complaints, either.

ngolgowski@nydailynews.com

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/haunting-indiana-home-leads-exorcism-levitation-report-article-1.1593169#ixzz2rlGADR19

Joel Osteen Tells Larry King ‘Scripture Says Homosexuality Is A Sin.. But I Don’t Want To Preach About It’

Joel Osteen Tells Larry King ‘Scripture Says Homosexuality Is A Sin.. But I Don’t Want To Preach About It’

Posted: 01/13/2014 5:00 pm EST  |  Updated: 01/23/2014 6:56 pm EST

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Megachurch pastor of Lakewood Church and televangelist Joel Osteen was a guest onLarry King Now in Los Angeles to talk about everything from Duck Dynasty to Obamacare — and, of course, his views on the gays came up.

King asked Osteen, “What are your views on homosexuality?” to which Osteen replied “The same that they’ve been. I believe that scripture says that it’s a sin but I always follow that up by saying you know what, we’re not against anybody.”

King pressed him to explain, commenting, “How can it be if we don’t know what causes it? You don’t know why you’re a heterosexual.”

“There’s a lot of things Larry that I don’t understand- so I just don’t want to preach on it, preach about it,” Osteen said.

King enquired, “Does gay marriage annoy you?” Osteen said, “It doesn’t annoy me. From a scripture point of view, it’s not what my faith would teach, but it doesn’t annoy me.”

The interview with Larry King is another example of the somewhat mixed messages offered by Rev. Osteen on homosexuals.

On October 2, 2013 Pastor Osteen joined Josh Zepps on HuffPost Live for a more relaxed and intimate interview.

Zepps read a piece that he liked from Osteen’s new book: “It doesn’t matter who likes you or doesn’t like you, all that matters is that God likes you. He accepts you, he approves of you.” Zepps followed up by asking if that included homosexuals.

“Absolutely,” Osteen insisted, “I believe that God breathed life into every person and that every person is made in the image of God and you have accept them as they are, on their journey. I’m not here to preach hate or push people down.”

Pastor Osteen also shared his thoughts with Larry King on the new pope, whom he likes, and told King, “I believe Heaven is a physical place somewhere.

WHY THIS MIGHT BE ‘ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT HUMAN DOCUMENTS EVER DISCOVERED.

WHY THIS MIGHT BE ‘ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT HUMAN DOCUMENTS EVER DISCOVERED’

Jan. 25, 2014 10:42am

  • A recently deciphered 4,000-year-old tablet from ancient Mesopotamia purportedly contains the specifications for an ark to endure a great flood — and it predates the Biblical story of Noah.

It describes a huge vessel, two-thirds the size of a soccer field, with high walls and made with so much rope that “stretched out in a line would reach from London to Edinburgh.”

“…one of the most important human documents ever discovered.”

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The tablet — subject of a new book titled, “The Ark Before Noah” — was put on display Friday at the British Museum and is claimed by the museum’s assistant keeper of the Middle East, Irving Finkel, to be “one of the most important human documents ever discovered.”

A 4,000 Year Old Tablet Contains Specifications for a Giant Ark Pre Dating the Biblical Story of Noah

Finkel said he received the tablet several years ago from a man who said his father had acquired it in the Middle East.

“This tablet, however, turned out to be one in a million,” he said in a blog post.

“This tablet, however, turned out to be one in a million.”

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Other historians agree.

David Owen, professor of ancient Near Eastern studies at Cornell University, told Fox News it was an “extraordinary discovery.”

A 4,000 Year Old Tablet Contains Specifications for a Giant Ark Pre Dating the Biblical Story of Noah

But, while the tablet describes an ark strikingly similar to Noah’s and would be designed to save two of each animal, the tablet specifies a circular vessel, not a rectangular ark.

“It was really a heart-stopping moment — the discovery that the boat was to be a round boat,” said Finkel, according to Fox News. “That was a real surprise.”

Finkel added that a circular vessel would be a “perfect thing,” because it “never sinks, it’s light to carry.”

He also contends that his discovery does not provide evidence supporting the Biblical story of Noah’s ark, instead saying the tale was likely passed down from Babylon.

“I’m sure the story of the flood and a boat to rescue life is a Babylonian invention,” he reportedly said.

“I don’t think the ark existed — but a lot of people do,” Finkel added. “It doesn’t really matter. The Biblical version is a thing of itself and it has a vitality forever.”

Obama should apologize

With the bungled launch of HealthCare.gov and the Affordable Care Act causing millions losing their healthcare coverage, Ted Cruz urged the president to use Tuesday’s State of the Union address to apologize to the American people.

“For the State of the Union, one of the things President Obama really ought to do is look in the TV camera and say to the over five million Americans all across this country who’ve had their health insurance canceled because of Obamacare, to look in the camera and say, “I’m sorry — I told you if you like your health insurance plan, you can keep it,” the Texas senator said on Face the Nation on Sunday. “‘I told you if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, and that wasn’t true — I’m sorry.’”

But the president match his words with action, Cruz said. “The pattern we’ve seen over and over again with this president is he says he’s sorry and he expresses outrage but then he doesn’t fix the problem.”

First American Tyranny: We’re Cool With That.

dictatorship blog inert

First American Tyranny: We’re Cool With That

By Tadd Cronn

Why President Obama hasn’t been physically dragged out of office at this point is one of those questions that will likely remain a mystery.

In case you missed it, Obama this week declared to his Cabinet that if Congress doesn’t do what he wants it to do, he will simply use executive orders to create and enforce any law he chooses.  Based on the silence from my many liberal acquaintances, the response to Obama from the Left is “so what?”

Obama repeated his declaration to the Democratic members of Congress, who then walked out of the meeting without talking to reporters.  Again, silence. Did Obama talk too fast?  Was he not speaking clearly?

For my hard-headed friends on the Left, let’s review: The president of the United States just declared that Congress is null and void as far as he’s concerned.  Except for the fact that Congress will continue to burn through money like a hot knife through butter, and absent a formal declaration of dissolution, the Legislative Branch has effectively ceased to exist. It’s still there in the sense that it occupies space, but that’s it.

DIRTY DISHES

Obama is acting like Jack Nicholson in “Mars Attacks”: “I want the people to know that they still have two out of three branches of the government working for them, and that ain’t bad” Except the invader here isn’t from another planet… or even another country.  We’ve just witnessed a home-grown coup (And one that many of us saw coming even before Obama’s first presidential victory.)

We are now living — officially — in a dictatorship.  So where’s the outrage?  Is Twitter so fascinating that you just can’t be bothered?  Grumpy Cat got your tongue?  Bill Maher didn’t make fun of it, so it hasn’t happened?  Is it the fluoride in the water?  Is it the legalized pot?  Or is it that after years of dumbing down public education, we are simply too stupid to realize what just happened?

Another review for the Left: The government derives its authority from the people.  The Constitution is the contract that limits and defines what the government can do.  The president under the contract is supposed to work with Congress and enforce the laws that Congress passes. President Obama has just said he will not follow that contract he has with the people.  He has broken the contract.  No Constitution, no presidency.

Businessman with Tape over Mouth

So if Obama, despite breaking his contract, continues to accept and enjoy all the perks of the president’s office while failing to honor his obligations that makes him something else other than the president.  Now, what are you going to do about it?

I used to wonder how millions of Germans could allow a dictator to come to power.  We are now demonstrating exactly how it happens.