UN BIRTHS NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN STATE OF PALESTINE
Friends of Israel, 11/30/12, “UN births never-before-seen state of Palestine” [Excerpts]: The United Nations General Assembly on (November 29, 2012) voted overwhelmingly in favor of recognizing a new sovereign nation that has never before existed in the annals of history: Palestine.
The motion is largely symbolic, as General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding. However, that symbolism is enough to change the face of the Middle East conflict, and those involved knew full well what they were doing – trying to make the event resemble as closely as possible a similar vote 65 years ago that brought about the establishment of the State of Israel.
Most importantly in the short term is the fact that “Palestine” can now obtain membership in the International Criminal Court where it is certain to file regular lawsuits against Israel. The new status will also complicate Israel’s ability to act against terrorism emanating from Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip.
Many in Palestinian areas said that political activists were the only ones who joined in celebrating after the UN vote last week, because the bulk of the public will not be happy until “Palestine” replaces Israel on the map.
“We don’t want the ’67 borders,” a Palestinian university student told the Times of Israel. “We want all of Palestine.”
Others said that as long as last week’s UN move “annoyed the Jews, it was a positive step toward one day taking all of the land.”
Despite all of this, Ron Prosor declared at the UN last week that “nothing can negate the Jewish people’s 4,000-year-old bond with its ancestral and biblical homeland” (israeltoday.co.il; timesofisrael.com).
[TBC: The Arabs have never abandoned their goal of exterminating Israel, as the university student’s remarks simply continue to illustrate. This UN move will never bring peace but only indicates the need for the return of the Prince of Peace.]
KATHIE LEE GIFFORD/AIMEE SEMPLE MCPHERSON
Huffington Post, 10/19/12, “Kathie Lee Gifford Preaches about Evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson in Broadway Musical” [Excerpts]: [Kathie Lee Gifford is] putting the finishing touches on the lyrics and book of a new Broadway musical [called Scandalous]. It’s about the controversial 1920s-era Pentecostal evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson—a woman near and dear to Gifford’s heart, even if most people haven’t heard of her.
McPherson was a pioneer in radio evangelism who incorporated vaudeville elements in her sermons, once taking the stage dressed as a motorcycle officer. “Stop! You are breaking God’s law!” she said.
Though considered the P.T. Barnum of the pulpit, she also fed millions during the Great Depression. Her followers remained loyal even after a mysterious five-week disappearance in 1926 and three failed marriages. She died of a drug overdose in 1944, with Time magazine naming her one of the most influential people of the 20th century.
When Gifford first heard stories about McPherson, her reaction was: No way. “I just remember thinking, 'Oh, please. Nobody lived a life like that,'” she says. “She broke every rule.” Gifford ticks off a list of wild McPherson moments. She baptized a baby Marilyn Monroe. She gave John Wayne his first acting job. Anthony Quinn played sax in her orchestra. Charlie Chaplin helped design her sets.
Enter Carolee Carmello, a Tony Award-nominated actress who asked Gifford if she’d consider rewriting the part for only one actress. Gifford thought about it and agreed. The musical now takes place over a span of 20 years.
“Ever since I rewrote the show for one actress, in my mind there was only one actress who could do it and that was Carolee,” says Gifford. Adds Carmello, who has stuck with the project for seven years: “It’s our baby. We’ve been pregnant a long time with this child.”
Carmello, who recently played Mother Superior in Sister Act, finds herself playing another person of faith, an odd twist for an actress who is an atheist. But McPherson intrigues Carmello.
“I admire people who feel passionately about anything—someone who devotes their life to painting or devotes their life to bowling, whatever it is,” she says. “If you feel that strongly about something and you follow it to the “n”th degree, that’s brilliant because so many people in this world kind of wander around.”
Though one of the lead producers of Scandalous is the Foursquare Foundation, which is affiliated with McPherson’s church, Gifford insists the church has had no input in the story or music.
Indeed, the musical opens with McPherson on trial for perjury and doesn’t flinch at exposing her messier moments. Gifford says it’s a musical about someone who was able to heal others while spiraling out of control.
[TBC: When Hollywood or Broadway goes “spiritual,” biblical truth gets bad reviews.]
ATHIESTS: DITCH "SO HELP ME GOD" IN OATH
Christian Post, 11/14/12, “Atheists Ask Obama to Ditch ‘So Help Me God’ in Presidential Oath” [Excerpts]: President Barack Obama will be taking the oath of office for the second time on Jan. 21, 2013. And atheists want him to do so without mentioning “God” and without a Bible.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent Obama a letter following his re-election, asking him to reject the way “this country politicizes religion.”
“When you stand to reaffirm your oath, do so using the language of the Founders. Eliminate the religious verbiage. While you’re at it, why not place your hand on the Constitution instead of a bible?” FFRF attorney Andrew L. Seidel wrote in the letter.
The words “so help me God” are not included in the oath as prescribed by the Constitution, the organization argues. The Constitution also does not require the president to place his hand on a Bible when taking oath, FFRF adds.
FFRF argues that “so help me God” violates the Constitution as it alienates the nonreligious, which the organization believes is the future of America.
Since this is Obama’s second term, FFRF says he is not “beholden to any future constituency.”
“This term is a chance to do something that no president in recent memory has done: reach out to secular Americans. In the past, that might have been politically costly. But this recent election shows that it will be politically costly not to reach out to secular America,” FFRF wrote. “We are the future. Use this second term to build a legacy by rejecting the way this country politicizes religion.”
Atheist Michael Newdow tried to take the issue (“so help me God”) to court but was refused a hearing by the U.S. Supreme Court last year.