Saturday, December 25, 2010

Have a holly, jolly Christmas

Isaiah 7:14: Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Matthew 1:23: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

Luke 2:9-12: And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. (10) And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. (11) For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (12) And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

Luke 2:13-14: And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, (14) “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Micah 5:2: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times. ”

Isaiah 9:6-7: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (7) Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

"Prayer within a Festive Christmas," click here/here.
"Secularization of Christmas" "The anti-American grinch is trying so hard to stamp out those Nativity scenes"

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Astronomer discriminated against because he is an evolution skeptic

C. Martin Gaskell, who currently teaches at the University of Texas, says he is not a creationist but he does see problems with the theory of evolution. His belief regarding evolution was enough to alarm professors three years ago at the University of Kentucky.

In 2007, Gaskell was an astronomer at the University of Nebraska and was also a leading candidate uniquely qualified for the position of director at the University of Kentucky's MacAdam Student Observatory. In fact, he was at the top of a list of applicants considered by the search committee, one member of the committee calling him "breathtakingly above the other applicants."

However, he was not selected. Gaskell believes it is because of his religious faith and because they found statements of his that were perceived to make him a non-believer in the theory of evolution. Therefore, Gaskell has sued the university, claiming lost income and emotional distress, and he feels "one should not allow universities to get away with religious discrimination."

The story behind the non-selection of Gaskell

It seems after being passed over for the position, Gaskell later learned that professors had discussed his purported religious views during the search process. Some expressed that his Christian faith could conflict with his duties as a scientist, calling him "something close to a creationist" and "potentially evangelical." According to court records, they wrote each other in internal e-mails about Gaskell's faith and that it might affect the job, part of which is lecturing publicly on science.

The e-mails indicated the professors were on edge about hiring a Christian, partly because around this time a Bible-based museum in Kentucky had just opened. The museum asserted the authenticity of the Bible's creation story and was getting national attention. Biology professor James Krupa wrote to a colleague in an October 2007 e-mail, "We might as well have the Creation Museum set up an outreach office in biology."

In 1997, Gaskell, by invitation from the UK, had given a lecture called "Modern Astronomy, the Bible and Creation," which he developed for "Christians and others interested in Bible and science questions..." It outlined men of historical scientific significance and their interpretations of the creation story in the Bible. In his notes, Gaskell mentions evolution, saying the theory has "significant scientific problems" and includes "unwarranted atheistic assumptions and extrapolations."

Gaskell was asked about the lecture during his job interview and felt that the questions related to religion were "inappropriate." "I think that if I had a document like this and I was advocating atheism ... I don't think it would be an issue."

Maintaining a certain scientific image was also important to the professors at UK, and they didn't want that image damaged by Gaskell. An astrophysics professor, Moshe Elitzur, told the chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Michael Cavagnero, in an e-mail that hiring Gaskell would be a "huge public relations mistake." He feared what the newspapers would print about hiring a creationist.

The case will go to trial

Once again, Gaskell said he is not a "creationist" and his views on evolution are in line with other biological scientists. In his lecture notes, Gaskell explains that Christians who believe the earth is a few thousand years old are basing their belief on "mostly very poor science."

Last month a judge rejected a motion from the university and allowed it to go to trial Feb. 8. U.S. District Judge Karl S. Forester wrote in the ruling, "There is no dispute that based on his application, Gaskell was a leading candidate for the position."

For original article with references, click here.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Penalty flag thrown at Ronnie Hastie because gesture of praise to God after touchdown was "unsportsmanlike conduct"

For original article, references, and video, click here.

The game was a state semifinal match between the Tumwater Thunderbirds and the East Valley Knights at the Tacoma Dome.

Tumwater High School running back Ronnie Hastie scored a touchdown on a gorgeous 23-yard run in the second quarter of the team's win (63-27) over East Valley in Washington.

After Hastie scored, he dropped to one knee and pointed to the heavens. Hastie later explained:

"It's my way of giving glory to God, not to myself. I want to give God the credit. He gives me the strength. He's the one who gives me these abilities in the first place....It's something I've done as a tradition."

The referee, whose purpose is to make sure the competitio­n is fair and safe, literally threw a penalty flag at him and said he was showing unsportsmanlike conduct. Unsportsmanlike conduct? Guilty of unsportsmanlike conduct because of a two-or-four-second celebration, which was deemed "excessive"?

It would appear, according to the official rules, that Hastie did not follow the "immediately must return the ball" rule, but he was not guilty of "unsportsmanlike conduct." NCAA Football Rule 9-2, Article 1(a)(1)(d) prohibits:

"Any delayed, excessive, prolonged or choreographed act by which a player (or players) attempts to focus attention upon himself (or themselves);" in addition, Rule 9-2, Article 1(a)(2) asserts that "After a score or any other play, the player in possession immediately must return the ball to an official or leave it near the dead-ball spot."

"Additionally, if a player's actions is considered 'unsportsmanlike conduct,' the result is dead-ball foul; a 'flagrant unsportsmanlike conduct' foul requires player ejection. If a player’s nonfootball-related act (e.g. taunting or cursing) causes an opponent to physically retaliate, it is considered fighting and both players are ejected."

Seeing as how the referee is given discretion to determine if a player's actions disrupt a game, this is one rule that is there to be intelligently enforced--best applied only if appropriately helpful to the circumstance. In this case, as there was no harm to the opponents or to the integrity of the game, enforcemen­t of the rule by the referee did nothing to aid the game. Penalty should not have been called.

Hastie was accused by the referee of drawing attention to himself, but actually that is an accusation more appropriately fitting to the referee. He is the one who interjected himself into a game where he was not needed.

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association will be taking another look to see if the referee's call made any sense. Since the rule is there, Hastie has already agreed that the next time he scores a touchdown this season, he will follow the rule (i.e., give the football immediately to the official) for the sake of the team in order to avoid the chance of penalty, "I'll just point to the sky once I'm off the field."

photo by Tony Overman

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