NewsWatch |


Waking Olive at Bethel Church,..12/10/19, “What’s being missed with the ‘waking’ of Olive at Bethel Church, Redding” [Excerpts]: The story out of Bethel Church in Redding, California, following the sudden death of two-year-old Olive Heiligenthal [in December] is tragic. The hearts of people across the nation have gone out to her parents in compassion—not just because they lost a child but also because of the false hope they’ve clung to that their little girl would come back to life. 

Many news sources have already reported on this story, but I want to point out what has been missed. Reporters have noted that the parents’ church, Bethel Church, has rallied around the parents’ prayers for a resurrection—calling for people across the globe to join them in those prayers. But what Bethel Church has been engaged in, since Olive Heiligenthal died on Saturday, is not prayer. They’ve actually been making “declarations.” Declarations are seen to be more effective than traditional prayer because they don’t ask God to do something He has already authorized believers to do themselves. Yet they’re not supported by Scripture.

The failure of the church’s declarations suggests something bigger than failure to raise one little girl. It suggests that Bethel Church’s entire paradigm—of bringing heaven (or God’s physical Kingdom) to earth through spoken declarations—is also based on false hope. 


Iran - Now What?, 1/7/20, “Iran - Now What?” [Excerpts]: What will the Iranians do now? There are cries for revenge following the killing of General Qasem Soleimani, accompanied by red lights around the holy city of Qom. We are taking the threats seriously, as is proper, and we are pressing ahead with arrests of Iranian agents in Iraq, and air strikes against still other agents on the ground in Iraq.

One of the keenest observers of the situation, [Singapore Entrepreneur] Omar Taheri, recently tweeted that all the Iranian bluster about the Soleimani killing should not distract us from reality: “Soleimani was a cog, OK a big cog, in an infernal machine that remains operational & must be broken. We must remain focused on our real goal: the dissolution of the Islamic Republic.”

[Ayatollah] Ali Khamenei knows these things, and the mass repression of recent times shows he fears his own people more than any other thing. He has long feared that the United States would galvanize a monster uprising against him and his failed state, and the killing of Soleimani must have been a real shock. He was counting on time, and a defeat of Trump in November, to change his destiny.


Weaponizing Child Protective Services,..1/14/20 (orig. published 12/13/2018), “How School Districts Weaponize Child Protection Services against Uncooperative Parents” [Excerpts]: An investigative report by The Hechinger Report and HuffPost released last month revealed that schools are increasingly using child protective services as a “weapon” against parents. It said:

“Fed up with what they see as obstinate parents who don’t agree to special education services for their child, or disruptive kids who make learning difficult, schools sometimes use the threat of a child-protection investigation to strong-arm parents into complying with the school’s wishes or transferring their children to a new school. That approach is not only improper, but it can be devastating for families, even if the allegations are ultimately determined to be unfounded.”

More troubling, these threats disproportionately target low-income and minority parents. According to the report: “Such families also have fewer resources to fight back. Parents from lower-income, majority-black and Latino neighborhoods, few of whom can afford that option....”

Parents who push back against a district’s recommendations or withdraw their child from school for homeschooling are often trying to ensure their child’s well-being. Questioning various educational interventions and examining alternatives is part of a parent’s job. They should be praised for looking out for their child’s best interest, while schools should be sure that they use social services agencies to investigate serious claims of abuse and neglect—not just district snubs or paperwork quarrels.