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News

Saturday Selections – April 13, 2024

Click on the titles below to go to the linked articles...

If people did everything as a trick shot

Evolutionists have no explanation for the origin of life

Christian chemist James Tours has been challenging "origin of life" researchers to put up or shut up. He has offered to take down all his published videos and never speak on the topic again, if only someone will show how they are making any real progress in explaining how life could come from non-life (as evolution would require). Tours did get a chance to debate, but under hilarious conditions. He agreed that after his 20-minute talk, that in the dinner discussions that followed, he would not talk at all unless asked a question, and if interrupted, he would stop talking.

The linked article and video are not an easy read or watch, but even the gist of it underscores how the opposition isn't guided by the science, but by their ideology. Though the science shows that life can't come from non-life (scientists can't even create life on purpose, let alone explain how it could happen by chance), the scientific establishment still clings to the notion that it must have, because they need it to have done so to justify their rebellion against God.

Euthanasia as a cost-saver for public healthcare

Luc Van Gorp, head of Belgian's biggest health care fund, Christian (?!?) Mutualities is saying the quiet part out loud – they could save a lot of money if they murdered their old people. Once murder is medicine, it becomes quite the attractive treatment: cheaper and quicker than anything else.

In related news, Belgium has lightened the penalties for "illegal euthanasia." It will no longer be treated as murder. They did it because if doctors had to fear getting charged with murder every time they murdered someone without following the approved procedures, then there might be less doctors willing to murder people.

So one way to save lives here in Canada might be to ensure that "illegal euthanasia" is treated as murder. Maybe we can scare bloodthirsty, but self-preservation-seeking "doctors" from this line of business.

How is our economy really doing? 

The Fraser Institute argues that while Canada had one of the better expansions of its economy compared to other G7 countries, the real picture is horrible when you consider just how much the population increased. So they are pitching a better measure than just GDP – GDP adjusted for population.

Big surprise for me here is that two Liberal PMs – Chretien and Martin – did better by this measure than the last two Conservatives.

Atheist Richard Dawkins likes Christian culture

Dawkins might be the world's most famous atheist, and he made news last week for praising Christian culture: "If I had to choose between Christianity and Islam, I’d choose Christianity every single time. It seems to me to be a fundamentally decent religion in a way that I think Islam is not." But as John Stonestreet notes, you can't have Christian fruit without the Root.

The strange truth about the pill

The birth control pill was embraced because it enabled sex outside of marriage by separating sex from conception. But as this BBC article highlights, the pill's nine different hormones come with side effects, some of which "have subtle 'masculinizing' effects."

Identifying misinformation (5 min)

In an online world awash with misinformation, here are three simple ways to identify what's not true.

News

Saturday Selections – Mar. 30, 2024

Rich Mullins: Creed (4 min) Rich Mullins riffing off of the Apostles' Creed. How C.S. Lewis predicted the pronoun push... ...and in a passage in The Horse and His Boy, he taught us how to respond. Bug zappers might do more harm than good Sick of mosquitos? Your bug zapper might be the problem. A couple decades back two universities tested how many mosquitos actually get zapped and found that of the approximately 24,000 bugs their zappers killed, just 39 were mosquitos. Less than o.2 percent! The rest included bugs that actually eat mosquitoes, which means the bug zappers might actually be making your mosquito problems worse. The Road to Socialism and Back Again – a free e-book This free e-book charts the fall and rise of Poland's economy, stagnating for decades under centralized communist management, then quadrupling once some freedoms were returned. It's history we need to share. However, while this notes that socialism doesn't work, it doesn't dig into what God says about the why: that a centralized economy doesn't work because it lacks humility (a distant leader knows how to run all our lives better than us?), it fosters envy over what the rich have (breaking the 10th Commandment), it requires men to be angels (working hard with no thought of gain for themselves), and in eliminating private property, it violates the 8th Commandment. No wonder then that it doesn't work. Christians aren't ready to argue against AI-generated porn When it comes to pornography, Christians will point out the harm it does to "performers," highlighting the dark, dark side of porn production. It is dark, so that argument is certainly valid. But that the performers are harmed isn't the foundational reason pornography is wicked – the underlying problem is that porn conflicts with God's plan for sexuality. And now, with the advent of AI-generated, actorless films, talking about the harm done to the actors, rather than mentioning anything about God, won't work as an objection anymore. The conclusion to the linked article is both spot on, and really, really sad, because it makes it seem as if talking about God is the very last thing any Christian would want to do in the culture wars. But is that true? "This will be uncomfortable, because it will force Christians to make moral arguments that appear irredeemably at odds with the secular society. The benefits of emphasizing things like exploitation is that such concepts resonate with non-Christian audiences. There’s nothing wrong with seeking this common ground, but the reality is that we’re not going to have that ground at all very soon. The arguments against consuming or licensing pornography that will matter in the age of AI will be moralistic arguments: arguments rooted in the goodness of embodied sexuality in the context of marriage, and the destruction that occurs to hearts and emotions by feasting on a fake version of sex that collapses us inward. 'This is somebody’s child' will have to become, 'You are somebody’s child.' "Here will be a good stress test for Christian moral theology. Western Christians can articulate a vision of life that makes sense in a radically fractured, technologically isolated context. But that vision requires helping people get beyond the 'Does it harm anyone' framework, not simply appropriating the question. So it seems very likely that Christians will have to bring God into the discussion. When there’s no one to exploit, there is still God to offend. When there is no one to be trafficked, there is still God who sees. And when there is no one to stand over your shoulder to intervene or care, there is still God who saves." Pre-natal screening: should we do it? Some prenatal testing – specifically the sort that is called "invasive" – comes with a risk for the unborn, and so Christians should question why we'd want to get such a test at such a cost. As the article above and video below explain, "non-invasive" tests come with a different sort of "risk" for the unborn... though not when conducted by pro-life Christians. ...

News

Health minister will protect kids from nicotine, but not castration?

Last week, the federal government announced that it will “explore legislation and regulatory options” to address the growing popularity of youth using certain “stop smoking” aids.  Specifically, the government is focusing on restricting access to nicotine pouches, which are tobacco pouches placed between the gum and cheek, with the intent being to counteract nicotine cravings. Zonnic is one of the popular brands approved in Canada, with Health Canada stating that the 4 mg per dose “is usually recommended for adults who smoke 25 or more cigarettes a day and want to quit smoking.” These pouches release the same addictive chemicals found in cigarettes, vape products, and chewing tobacco. In July 2023, Canada approved Zonnic as a natural health product, allowing it to be sold at any store with no restrictions.  But these products have been marketed to teens with different candy-like flavors and colorful packaging. Federal Health Minister Mark Holland was having none of that: “To the tobacco companies that continue to look for ways to use loopholes to addict people to their products: Get away. Stay the hell away from our kids.” The BC government already took action last month, ensuring this product can only be sold over the counter in pharmacies.  Yet, this same “keep away from our kids” minister, just last month, criticized the Alberta government for new policies that focused on protecting minors from gender transition hormones and procedures, banning males from female sports, and giving more parental control over sexual education curricula. Holland stated that the policies are “deeply disturbing.”  Holland listens to the science regarding addictive drugs harming minors. Yet, when it comes to so-called “gender-affirming care” that does irreversible harm to children including sterilization, castration, and other genital mutilations (more harm than nicotine products could do), he would rather align with an ideological stance that fails to affirm a child's God-given sex. ...

News

Election day delay could cost taxpayers millions

On March 20 the Liberal/NDP government proposed bumping the 2025 election date back a week because the election would otherwise be at the same time as Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. Critics have noted that moving election day back a week would also guarantee that any MPs first elected in 2019 would now be eligible for pensions that they wouldn’t have gotten if they’d lost. An MP needs to serve 6 years to be eligible for a pension, and for those elected on Oct 21, 2019, the 2025 election date of Oct 20 would have left them a day short. If current polling numbers persist, the government could expect a lot of their MPs to lose, but this election-day delay would give them a going-away pension bonus. Among the other electoral changes being proposed are an expansion of 2 more days of advance polls, giving voters seven days in total – six advance days and election day – to be able to vote in person. The government also wants to make it easier to vote by mail, and allow electors to vote anywhere in their electoral district. These changes are being done in the name of “encouraging participation in the electoral process.” However, that doesn’t seem a pressing issue – over the last 30 years, electoral turnout has stayed consistently within 60%-70% of eligible voters. Looking south of the border, we can see that what’s more important is the perceived trustworthiness of the election. Canada has not had allegations of stolen elections, as is almost commonplace in the US. That’s because Canada’s federal elections, as they have been run over the last many decades are the most verifiable in the world, with each voter checked off a list at their poll, and every ballot evaluated by two Elections Canada agents as well as representatives from each major party. These competing interests provided the ultimate verification for each election. Mail-in balloting and vote-anywhere initiatives might make it marginally easier to vote, but cause complications – last election 90,000 mail-in ballots arrived too late to be counted – and muddle the transparency. The more heated our politics become, the more important it is that our elections are not only trustworthy, but are obviously so....

News

Saturday Selections – Mar. 23, 2024

How to undermine election trust The title of this video – "how to steal an election" – isn't as much the issue here as the fact that results become more disputable, and more controversial, when in-person voting is replaced with mail-in balloting. This is an American case, but applicable to Canada and elsewhere. Why chromosomal differences do not create additional sexes The Christian apologetic group Stand to Reason has made this short and to the point, but with plenty of links to go explore deeper. Sadly, Jordan Peterson still isn't Christian Aaron Renn argues that Peterson is basically New Age. Only God as Trinity can offer Atonement Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and other prominent atheists have equated Good Friday as nothing more than a case of "cosmic child abuse" – a vengeful Father venting His wrath on His innocent Child. That's a charge shared by Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons (so lock this in for the next time you hear a knock at your door) and others who deny that God is indeed Three in One, because then the Cross is indeed a god punishing some "entirely other" being. But, as we know, at the Cross it is a just God also showing mercy by voluntarily taking on our punishment. In the linked article, Jeremy Treat explores this truth from two other analogous angles. Yes, teens, virginity is good for you Virginity doesn't just provide freedom from sexually transmitted diseases, but it also lowers incidences of all sorts of other risky behaviors, such as smoking and drug use. Are biblical counselors unbiblical? (20 minute read) Secular psychologists who ignore the spiritual world can, at best, treat only half the person: their material body. Biblical counselors can turn to the wisdom God has written in His Word to treat the soul too. But how much should biblical counselors rely on, and turn to, what God has also revealed in His Second Book, the "book" of Creation? That's where an important debate is being had. Astonishing fly can breathe underwater even after losing its underwater lungs (6 min) This fly as a larvae has organs that allow it to breathe underwater, but it loses those in its adult stage. But it still lives underwater using a completely different system to get its needed oxygen. That all happened by chance? You have to be willfully blind to miss God's creative genius here. ...

News

Saturday Selections – Mar. 9, 2024

Click on the titles below to go to the linked articles... College isn't for everyone (3 min) Christians listening to this Mike Rowe clip might hear echoes of Paul's message in 1 Cor. 12:12-31, about how the Body has many members. We're not all the same, so we shouldn't presume that university is for everyone. This is a clip from Rowe's free 20-minute mini-documentary called The Case for Trade School. Good news: the Earth is getting greener Even NASA is sharing this, though with a negative spin (they can't get away from their cataclysmic take). Millions of Americans are banned from pumping their own gas Under the pretense of "safety" millions of Americans are prohibited from pumping their own gas. But is it really so unsafe? No, as all of us who manage to pump our own gas without blowing ourselves up can attest. So then what's the real reason for the ban? It's a case of private interests using the levers of state power to fight off their competition. And that's far from unusual. When is a question better than an answer? John Stonestreet – riffing off of Christian apologist Greg Koukl – offers 6 simple, great questions that'll help you stand up for the truth. "Time to admit genes aren't the blueprints for life" Have you heard that your cellular DNA is the instruction sheet or blueprint for your cell and body? Well, now it seems that was a gross oversimplification. This article is complex too, but here's the key: scientists keep discovering the life is more and more complex than they'd previously thought. And evolution only makes sense if we are simple enough to have come about without design or direction. Equal pay for equal work laws hurt (4 min) Milton Friedman offers up a practical objection to "equal pay for equal work" laws, no matter how well-intentioned they might be. ...

News

Lawyer learns she should double-check ChatGPT’s work

Last month, a BC lawyer was caught submitting an AI-generated legal application to a family court. Chong Ke was representing a father asking that his children travel to China so he could have parenting time with them there. Ke used ChatGPT, a text-based generative Artificial Intelligence (AI), to write the application, which cited two fake cases. ChatGPT does not provide links to its sources which makes its fabricated content hard to spot. To the AI’s “success,” the case was won, finding it was in the best interest of the client's children to visit their father. Although the fake cases were put into the application, they were never presented in the hearing, so the courts kept the initial ruling. Shortly after the ruling, the lawyers for the mother tried to track down the cases referenced, even asking for copies from the opposition. After not receiving any copies the team hired a researcher to find the cases. This matter was then taken to court where Ke apologized for her actions. "I acknowledge that I should have been aware of the dangers of relying on Al-generated resources, and been more diligent and careful in preparing the materials for this application. I wish to apologize again to the court and to opposing counsel for my error.” The process of preparing legal documents can be arduous, and although AI technology might be a tool to help with this, we should not be naive about its capabilities. Ke was ordered to pay the costs associated with the time and resources the other counsel used to discover the fake cases. In attempts to make court applications easier, the lawyer ended up doing the opposite, deceiving others in a scramble to seek truth in the application. In the court case against Ke, the judge reminds us that AI is not a replacement for humankind. “As this case has unfortunately made clear, generative AI is still no substitute for the professional expertise that the justice system requires of lawyers."...

News

Saturday Selections – Mar. 2, 2024

Click on the titles below for the linked articles... How did we get the Bible? (12 min) Was the Bible authorized, or simply recognized, by the Church? 10 astonishing alien underwater photos Here's a Top 10 of an award-winning National Geographic photographer's underwater shots showing some of the amazing diversity of life God has crafted under the water's surface. For more, check out his website - it's in French, but you don't need to know that to appreciate his pictures. 10 diagnostic questions for your marriage Do you and your spouse laugh together? Kevin DeYoung's friend suggested that "the couple that laughs together lasts together." That got DeYoung thinking: "What are some other questions that can help diagnose the health of our marital life? Here are ten that may prove useful." 10 best evidences confirming a young earth The folks at Answers in Genesis have a lot here for us to chew on! Why the world is running out of babies "Only 3% of the world’s population currently lives in a country whose birth rate isn’t declining. ...Italy, Spain, Portugal, Thailand, and South Korea will lose half their populations by the end of this century." Why? Even protesters are blessed by oil Everyone instinctively understands that hypocrisy is bad – that's one of those truths God has written on our hearts (Romans 2:15) – but like many truths, it can be deliberately obscured. So showing that someone is a hypocritic isn't enough anymore. We need to spell out in detail the implications of their double standard. The spoof below highlights even oil protesters' dependency on all sorts of oil products in their daily lives. Until someone somewhere starts living without oil themselves, what we are all demonstrating (anti-oil protesters too) is the blessing of oil for meeting so many of our daily needs. The video is PG-rated for one mention, and one inference, of the word "ass" so don't watch it with the kiddos. ...

News

Saturday Selections – Feb. 24, 2024

Click on the titles below for the linked articles... Shane & Shane with "You've already won" (7 min) Love this one – this is why we can take on that scary world out there without fear. Repetitive near the end, but it's a point we'd benefit from hearing on repeat. Court recognizes frozen IVF embryos as children The IVF "industry" has frozen hundreds of thousands of embryonic children and killed hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions, more. So we can be thankful for a ruling this past week that had the University of Alabama hit the pause button on their IVF treatments. "Alabama’s IVF industry may be forced to make radical changes in its practices. The sole dissenting justice said as much in his opinion: 'the main opinion’s holding almost certainly ends the creation of frozen embryos through in vitro fertilization (‘IVF’) in Alabama.'" The case for phone-free schools (10-minute read) "...Students around the world became less likely to agree with items such as 'I feel like I belong at school,' and more likely to agree with items such as 'I feel lonely at school.' That's roughly when teens went from mostly using flip phones to mostly using smartphones. It's also when Instagram caught fire with girls and young women globally, following its acquisition by Facebook. If we must pick a date for the start of selfie culture and its poisonous levels of visual social comparison, I'd say it's 2012." Big Tech and the role of families and government When social media companies do damage to teens and won't self-police, is it time for even the strongest small-government proponents to look to the State to intervene? John Stonestreet makes the case. Farewell to a pro-life hero John Barros wore dents in the sidewalk of the abortion clinic he witnessed in front of. He saw horrors. But he also saved babies. As he told his fellow demonstrators "Isn’t it amazing what God will do if you just show up?” When tree rings go bad When you hold the marvel of a smartphone in your hand, or consider the complexities that were conquered to put a man on the moon, you might think much of Science and what scientists have been able to do. But there is a difference between that kind of repeatedly and immediately testable science and the very different and much more uncertain historical science that's being used to promote everything from the theory of evolution to the theory of cataclysmic global warming. There we are dealing with could-haves and maybes, but in adherents' arrogance these findings are too often delivered as discoveries and facts. And now it seems too-certain-by-half might be a thing with tree ring findings too, as John Robson details below. ...

News

All votes are not equal

Come the next election, the House of Commons is set to add five more seats and see the ridings redistributed. These changes flow from a requirement in our Constitution to do this after each census, to try ensure that each vote in Canada counts about the same when it comes to electing Members of Parliament. Populations change from movement within Canada and immigration, and a representative democracy is supposed to account for this. Yet Globe and Mail columnist Andrew Coyne has shown that the new boundaries don’t come close to representing where Canadians live, resulting in some votes being worth far more than others. Some of his findings included: Labrador, the smallest riding, has just 27,000 people. Contrast this with Edmonton-Wetaskiwin, which has more than 209,000. Both ridings send one MP to Parliament, so a vote in Labrador is worth eight times as much. The average Alberta riding has more than 125,000 people. Contrast this with PEI, where the average riding size is 39,000 people. The four Atlantic provinces and the three northern territories have a population below 2.8 million, yet they have more seats than Alberta, which had 4.8 million as of the 2021 census. The smaller ridings tend to vote Liberal. A total of 43,848 votes elected six Liberal MPs in Newfoundland, PEI, and the territories. This is less than the average number of votes to elect a single MP in the six largest Conservative ridings. Canada’s population has grown by 10 percent since the 2021 Census, with three-quarters of the growth in Alberta, BC, and Ontario, which are all already under-represented in Parliament. This means that the new distribution is already far out of date, even before it takes effect. These inequalities resulted from a series of decisions by our leaders. One of the most significant was the “grandfather clause” of 1985 which decided that a province cannot have fewer seats than it had that year. The most recent redistribution decided that Quebec can’t ever get fewer seats. This means that the only remaining option to restore proportionality is to add seats. But for this to be truly fair, based on Labrador’s population, our House of Commons would need to grow from 337 MPs to 925! That is clearly unrealistic. But adding a measly three to Alberta and one to Ontario and BC doesn’t even come close to being representative. If we were aiming for genuine proportionality, they should be getting 24 new seats. It would be difficult to change the representation in the Senate, as a change to the constitution requires approval from all provinces. But Coyne noted that it could be done in Parliament: “the ‘grandfather clause’ and the rest could all be amended or abolished by simple act of Parliament. Or are we incapable of living up to the same basic democratic principles that apply in other countries?” Of course, other countries aren’t our ultimate standard. A better standard is the basic biblical principles of fairness, justice, and impartiality. As Proverbs 16:11 instructs, “a just balance and scales are the LORD’s.”...

News

Saturday Selections – Feb 3, 2024

Click on the titles below for the linked articles... Make more babies! I don't share enough good news, so here's a fun one. This is a diaper company taking the sort of stand that any self-interested diaper company should logically take - give us more customers! But with all the doom and gloom about population these days, it's probably brave for even a diaper company to come out in favor of babies. While they hang their baby endorsement on a statement from agnostic Elon Musk, there's also an uncredited voice-over recognizable as American's favorite pastor, Billy Graham (or, possibly, his son Franklin). So while they could get bolder – let's explicitly proclaim God's truth as God's truth – these folk are certainly taking some baby steps in the right direction! The price of legalized pot Way more teens are smoking way more marijuana than 10 years ago. And what they're smoking is way more potent than what was around a generation ago. And it's costing many teens their mental stability... Euthanasia normalized by manipulation under the Trudeau government (10 min read) There's been some good news on the state-sanctioned suicide front this week. On March 17 the "eligibility" of death-as-medicine was going to be expanded to include the mentally ill too. Rising costs have made it impossible to find a home? If that left you depressed, the government might have helped, not with more affordable housing, but a prescription of lethal drugs. But on January 29, the federal health minister announced they would suspend, at least for now, this expansion. You can read more, and what to do about it at the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, and ARPA Canada. To find out how we ever got here, read the longer article, from REAL Women of Canada, linked above. Barbara Kay: on "Grave Error: How the media misled us (and the truth about residential schools)" "''Canadians deserve to know the truth,' Federal Opposition leader Pierre Poilievre told reporters earlier this week, regarding 2021 claims made — but never investigated — of unmarked graves at the Kamloops, British Columbia Indian residential school." And there's a new book out highlighting how the media, and some of our elected leaders, steered us wrong. A 21st-century Peasants’ Revolt World traveler and sometime RP contributor Jonathon Van Maren was in Europe this past week to report on the massive farmer protests going on. How we got here - a  transgender documentary (12 min) How did transgenderism shift so quickly from a fringe movement to something taught in our public schools and affirmed by almost all our political leaders? This documentary gets to some of it. While narrator Christopher Rufo doesn't frame it in specifically Christian terms, what he highlights is how transgenderism is seen by its proponents as more than simply surgery, more than a personal decision, more than a struggle some small minority have to deal with: leading proponents view it as an all-encompassing worldview from which we are to interpret all else. Susan Striker, one trans proponent, spoke of his transgender manifesto as a "secular sermon." That gives us all the clue we should need as to how best to counter this movement. Not with Rufo's equally secular response, in which he's left confused enough to refer to Striker with female pronouns. No, what's needed is our own sermon of sorts, but a spiritual one. We need to lead with the facts as God as defined them, that He defines our gender. ...

News

Understanding the war in Gaza

On October 7, 2023, the terrorist organization Hamas launched an attack on Israel from Gaza that killed about 1400 Israeli civilians. Hamas also took over 200 hostages. The brutality of the attack was staggering, and there are reports of Hamas terrorists recording videos of their own gleefulness as they committed atrocities against Jewish women and children. In Western countries, thousands of “progressives” began demonstrating in the streets and posting messages on social media in support of the Hamas attacks. Then, as Israel counterattacked into Gaza to prevent further Hamas aggression, progressives demanded that there be a ceasefire to halt Israel’s military advance. In the view of such progressives, the Palestinians of Gaza are an oppressed people under the colonial rule of Israel. But such a view doesn’t understand the history of the region and the current situation. Correcting misinformation To correct the misconceptions, Dr. Willem J. Ouweneel, a prominent evangelical theologian in the Netherlands, quickly put together a small book to help Christians understand the big picture. This book is called Israel and the Palestinians and it was published by Paideia Press within weeks of the terrorist attack. First of all, it’s important to understand that Palestinian Arabs are not the original occupants of the land who were subsequently dispossessed by Jews. Yes, there have been Arabs in Palestine for centuries, and there were Jews living there too for an even longer time. As Ouweneel explains, “There have been Jews living in the Holy Land virtually continuously since the arrival of Israel under the leadership of Moses (about 3,200 to 3,400 years ago).” Yes, many Jews were expelled by the Romans in the first and second centuries AD, but some Jews always remained. It was their original homeland, after all. Arab and Jewish Palestinians The Muslims conquered Jerusalem in 638 and much of the rest of the Middle East during the seventh century. For centuries thereafter the area, revered as the “Holy Land,” remained under Muslim rule – except for a brief interlude when the Crusaders held control. In 1917, during World War One, the British seized it from the Ottoman Empire. Between the two world wars, while the British administered this territory, large numbers of Jews came from other parts of the world to live there. Both the Arab and Jewish residents were known as “Palestinians.” The idea that only Arabs are Palestinians developed later, especially after Israel became a country in 1948. That is, the claim that there is a specifically Arab Palestinian national identity is very recent historically. Palestine partitioned As the number of Jewish people in Palestine surged, their potential military strength grew correspondingly. Tensions between Jews and Arabs increased. The British therefore tossed the “Palestinian issue” hot potato to the United Nations (UN) for a solution. A UN commission proposed partitioning Palestine into the modern country of Israel and an Arab Palestine territory, and this proposal was adopted by the UN. The Jews were jubilant that they would get their own country and they formed the State of Israel on May 14, 1948. The Palestinian Arabs refused to establish their own country, partly due to pressure from neighboring Arab countries. The Arab leadership wanted every inch of Palestine. Those neighboring Arab states immediately launched an all-out attack to wipe Israel off the map in 1948. However, the Arabs lost this conflict, known as Israel’s War of Independence (1948-1949), so Israel was successfully established. The Palestinian Arabs ended up with nothing, because the country of Jordan took control of the West Bank and Egypt took control of the Gaza Strip, both of which territories had been assigned by the UN to the Palestinian Arabs. Ethnic cleansing? At the formation of Israel, about 700,000 Arabs fled the new country and became refugees in surrounding Arab countries. This was encouraged by the Arab states, but Ouweneel notes that “the Jews themselves may have contributed to this Arab departure by intimidating them.” At the same time, though, “around 850,000 Jews were expelled from the surrounding Arab countries. These were Jews whose ancestors had often lived in those Arab countries for centuries.” They were welcomed in Israel. So, it seems that to some degree, there was a form of ethnic cleansing on both sides. Israel is an officially Jewish state, so Arabs who live there “are, in a sense, second-class citizens.” Nevertheless, they enjoy the same democratic rights as Jewish residents. Indeed, there “is no country in the Middle East where Arabic speakers have as many rights as in the land of Israel.” The main point, though, is that Israel is not some sort of Jewish colony in Palestine. Jews have lived there for millennia. Furthermore: “throughout history, there have always been more Jews than Muslims living in Jerusalem. In 1860, when Zionism did not yet exist, there were 11,000 Jews compared to 6,500 Muslims, and in 1906, there were 40,000 Jews compared to 7,000 Muslims. At all times, Jerusalem has been more of a Jewish city than an Arab one.” Muslims cannot accept Israel According to Ouweneel, the bottom line is that the root of the conflict is religious. Muslims believe that since they conquered Palestine in the seventh century, it is and must always belong to the “realm of Allah.” In other words, “it is inconceivable that Jews would ever have their own state in an area that has become part of Allah’s world. This is an abomination to many consistent Muslims, both within and outside the Middle East. For seventy-five years, these Muslims have fervently desired that the state of Israel come to an end as soon as possible.” It is with this in mind that the chant “From the River to the Sea, Palestine must be free” can be properly understood. It means that “all Jews must be expelled (or better yet, killed) from the land, only then will Palestine truly be ‘liberated.’” Due to the deep-seated religious basis of this conflict, then, Ouweneel believes there can be no lasting political solution. The Jews believe strongly in defending their country, and consistent Muslims believe strongly in wiping it out completely. There’s no middle ground. Peace only through Christ However, peace would be possible if both Jews and Muslims in the region turned to Christ. As Ouweneel writes, “The solution is for Jews and Arabs to be reconciled with God individually, in Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:18–20). Then reconciliation with each other will follow naturally.” So, while it’s easy to sympathize with the Israelis rather than their opponents, there is no room for hatred. “We must learn to see in the face of every Muslim a potential Jesus-believer." Indeed, some missionary organizations are reporting that thousands of Muslims are turning to Christ right now. Conclusion Israeli forces have continued to push into Gaza to root out Hamas terrorists. Unfortunately, many civilians are dying as result. Civilian casualties are much higher than they need to be because Hamas uses them as human shields by operating out of schools and hospitals. From the Israeli perspective, if Hamas is not destroyed, its terrorists will continue to commit atrocities against civilians in Israel. Thus, to protect their own people, the military operation in Gaza must continue, despite the unfortunate civilian casualties. Every country has a right to self-defense, and Israel is no different in this regard. Hamas launched its attack on October 7, and Israel is fighting back. Those who are outraged by Israel’s military operation should reflect on the fact that this entire episode is the result of a massacre of Israeli civilians by Hamas. Oct 9 march in New York two days after the attacks with a sign touting the slogan "From the River to the Sea." (Picture credit: Lev Radin / Shutterstock - Top picture credit: Below the Sky / Shutterstock)...

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Alberta government announces new transgender policies 

Yesterday, the Premier of Alberta, Danielle Smith, announced several transgender policies concerning surgeries, hormone treatment, parental rights, sexual education, and sports. Smith delivered the policies in a video posted on social media. Surgeries and hormone treatments  Smith declared a ban on transgender top and bottom “surgeries” for minors aged 17 and under. Previously, “bottom surgeries,” involving the mutilation of a child’s genitalia, were already prohibited for minors. Levi Minderhoud is the BC Manager at the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA), which has been advocating for these changes through the “Let Kids Be” campaign. He mentions that before this announcement, “top surgeries” – breast removals – were happening to minors: “The National Post reported last year that hundreds of girls in Canada have had mastectomies under the guise of ‘gender-affirming care.’ These are not only medically unnecessary but also cause permanent damage to young women's bodies. Alberta is right to prohibit them for minors.” Additionally, Smith announced the ban on hormone treatments for children aged 15 and under. She clarified that children currently receiving hormones would not be affected. Those aged 16 and 17 could start hormones with approval from parents, a physician, and a psychologist. Parental rights in the classroom Under the new policies, students aged 15 and under who wish to use another name and/or pronouns at school must get parental permission. Students aged 16 and 17 will not require permission, but parents will have to be informed by the school if their child is using a new name or pronouns. Regarding sexual education lessons in the classroom, parents will need to opt-in to every lesson covering sex education, sexual identity, or gender identity. Smith’s decision to implement an opt-in policy, rather than an opt-out policy, is significant, as it could remove contentious presentations from the classroom without facing a major political backlash. If most parents choose not to opt-in, it could lead to the shutdown of these classes if only a few students participate. Female sports   The new rules will also prohibit so-called “transgender female athletes” (aka, men) from participating in female sports. As Smith noted: “There are obvious biological realities that give transgender female athletes a massive competitive advantage over women and girls.” Although Smith failed to articulate that “transgender female” really means “male,” she did affirm the reality of biological differences between males and females (Gen 1:27). Two steps forward, one back It wasn’t all good though. Children 16 and up will still be able to get hormones that may leave them irreversibly sterile. Smith also announced efforts to advance “transgender care” for adults. Currently, Alberta residents seeking transgender surgeries have to travel to Quebec. Smith aims to change this by bringing specialists to Alberta to facilitate these genital mutilations within the province. It’s important to care for those around us struggling with gender dysphoria, but it’s not caring to harm a patient’s body in an attempt to remake them into a gender they can never become. These policies have faced significant backlash from transgender advocacy groups, some arguing that Alberta’s policies surpass the parental rights policies in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick.  John Sikkema, Director of Law and Policy for ARPA, expressed gratitude for the announcement, stating: “ARPA is very thankful for Premier Smith’s policy announcement this week. We urge her government to follow through with implementing these sound policy changes, despite the predictable backlash by progressive activist groups and media.” Smith took questions today, at a press conference on these new policies. You can view it below. ...

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