The American Bible Society “State of the Bible 2014” is a study of U.S. adults. This annual report was commissioned by the American Bible Society with research conducted by the Barna Group. The objectives of the study was a focus on Perceptions of the Bible, Bible ownership, Bible engagement, Bible literacy, moral decline and social impact, and giving to non-profit organizations.
The annual survey gives the American Bible Society information on what is happening in the culture, why there is less connecting of moral and political issues, and areas where it can work to strengthen biblical literacy.
Perceptions of the Bible
Americans were more than seven times likely to name the Bible (79%) when asked to name books they consider sacred literature or holy books. The second named book as sacred literature was the Koran at 12%.
“The Closing of the Collegiate Mind“ is a feisty opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal by Harvard professor Ruth Wisse that should be read.
There was a time when people looking for intellectual debate turned away from politics to the university. Political backrooms bred slogans and bagmen; universities fostered educated discussion. But when students in the 1960s began occupying university property like the thugs of regimes America was fighting abroad, the venues gradually reversed. Open debate is now protected only in the polity: In universities, muggers prevail.
Today across the United States and across much of the world university and college campuses are “closing the mind”, closing intellectual discussion. The discussion is being closed basically to Christians, those on the right, to conservatives. To those who might “offend” anyone in a group that must not be offended. Conformity and repression of ideas is valued and promoted over the democratic ideas of America.
Inappropriate criteria were used by the Internal Revenue Service to identify tax-exempt applications for reviews concluded the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration audit that was released May 14th. The audit was initiated based on concerns by Congress.
The Inspector General’s review, ‘was performed at the EO (Exempt Organizations) function Headquarters office in Washington, D.C., and the Determinations Unit in Cincinnati, Ohio.’ The IRS has acknowledged only the involvement of its Exempt Organizations office in Cincinnati, Ohio.
One-third of the applications processed by the IRS team of specialists included Tea Party, Patriots or 9/12 , ALL cases with Tea Party, Patriots, or 9/12 were sent to the team of specialist for review.
36,007 criminal illegal immigrants were released from ICE custody in 2013, an average of nearly 100 per day.
Immigration officials knowingly released hundreds of murderers and other dangerous criminals back into the U.S. in 2013 according to ICE statistics. The data raises questions about which immigrants to detain and which to release as they await court hearings and action on deportation.
2013 ICE document reveals that the 36,007 convicted criminal aliens freed from ICE custody in many instances had multiple convictions. Among them, the 36,007 had nearly 88,000 convictions, including:
193 homicide convictions (including one willful killing of a public official with gun)
Russia will deny NASA access to the International Space Station (ISS) after 2020. Since the end of the Space Shuttle project, the Russian Soyuz spacecraft has been the only way U.S. astronauts can get to the space station. The Russians can use the Space Station without the U.S. but we cannot.
The ISS crews include Americans and Russians, with visitors from other countries. India has been a partner the last three years in the ISS and sent an astronaut to the ISS in 2012. Perhaps India’s role in the ISS will increase.
Harvard University students blockaded its administration offices to persuade Harvard to divest endowment investments in oil, gas, and coal companies. This is only the latest campaign to persuade U.S. universities and colleges to divest from fossil fuels investments over concerns about climate change and pollution.
The campaign has persuaded 11 colleges to divest wholly or partially from fossil fuels. Harvard’s $33 billion endowment is the largest targeted of any educational institution. Demands for divestment of investments by colleges in fossil fuel companies have been backed by many students and more than 100 faculty members.
Have these students and faculty members given up fossil fuels? Are they living a fossil fuel free existence? Do they jump on their motorcycles or in their cars to drive to the coffeehouse, to work, to school? Are they heating their living spaces with fossil fuels? Are the student and faculty members benefiting from fossil fuels? The students blockaded the administration offices of Harvard University to make a point they are not living. Hypocrisy!
A second case of MERS, a deadly virus discovered in the Middle East in 2012, has been found in the state of Florida.
The patient is a healthcare provider who resides and works in Saudi Arabia. He is visiting Florida and traveled on May 1st from Saudi Arabia to Florida. On May 8th, the patient went to the emergency department of a Florida hospital and was admitted on the same day.
Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State of the United States received assessments and urging from the CIA, FBI, the Justice Department, U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, General Ham, and some members of Congress … to designate Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).
Opponents to designating Boko Haram were concerned that adding the group to the FTO list would make the United States and Western interest more of a target and would enhance Boko Haram’s status among extremist groups. The opponents were 21 U.S. based African studies academics, former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria John Campbell, some members of the State Department, the Nigerian government, and Scholars on Twitter.
As Secretary of State of the United States Hillary Clinton’s leadership is open to question. Secretary Hillary Clinton seems to have disregarded the assessments and urging from the CIA, FBI, the Justice Department, U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, General Ham, and some members of Congress.
A contempt charge is usually to compel either testimony or the production of documents.
The House of Representatives voted Wednesday to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify about the agency’s targeting of conservative groups.
The House voted 231-187 for a resolution holding Lerner in contempt. All the Republicans voted yes, along with six Democrats.
Lerner’s case will now be sent to the Justice Department, which then must decide whether to essentially prosecute Lerner in the case.
Minutes after the Lerner vote, the House passed a resolution asking the Department of Justice to appoint a special counsel to probe the IRS by a vote of 250-168.
House Speaker John Boehner issued a statement following the vote saying, “It’s time for Lois Lerner to account for her actions, and if she won’t then the full force of the law should be brought to bear.”
What happens next? Will the Justice Department decide to prosecute? Congress in 2012 voted to hold Eric Holder, the Attorney General of the United States, in contempt of Congress for withholding documents related to the gun-running operation “Fast and Furious.” Holder saw his contempt of Congress vote as ‘partisan sport’. Will Holder view the House vote holding Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress as partisan politics and do nothing?
Expect the issue to linger through the election season.
Less than a day after former IRS official Lois Lerner was found in criminal contempt of Congress, her old agency has agreed to turn over copies of all her emails and other correspondence to one of the Republican-led House committees investigating the scandal that led to her retirement.
Yuck! Wash Your Hands. New York University’s Dirty Money Project found 3,000 types of bacteria on a $1 bill.
In the first comprehensive study of the DNA on dollar bills, researchers at New York University’s Dirty Money Project found that currency is a medium of exchange for hundreds of different kinds of bacteria as bank notes pass from hand to hand.
By analyzing genetic material on $1 bills, the NYU researchers identified 3,000 types of bacteria in all—many times more than in previous studies that examined samples under a microscope. Even so, they could identify only about 20% of the non-human DNA they found because so many microorganisms haven’t yet been cataloged in genetic data banks.
Easily the most abundant species they found is one that causes acne. Others were linked to gastric ulcers, pneumonia, food poisoning and staph infections, the scientists said. Some carried genes responsible for antibiotic resistance.
“It was quite amazing to us,” said Jane Carlton, director of genome sequencing at NYU’s Center for Genomics and Systems Biology where the university-funded work was performed. “We actually found that microbes grow on money.”
Today’s Supreme Court ruling in the case of Town of Greece v. Galloway, upheld that the American tradition of public prayer before a legislative session does not violate the Constitution. It protects the freedom of community volunteers to pray according to their faith in a public setting, without censorship and it defends the prayer giver’s freedom of speech over an “offended” person’s demands for censorship. Common sense won!
The Supreme Court Monday ruled 5-4 that prayers given before meetings of an upstate New York town council did not violate the First Amendment even if they stressed Christianity. The decision in Town of Greece v. Galloway, wrote by Justice Anthony Kennedy, is likely to have wide-reaching implications. It upholds the centuries-old tradition of offering prayers at open government meetings, even if the prayers are overwhelmingly Christian. For years activists have sought to require prayers that have no faith specific content, for example excluding and forbidding the mention of Jesus Christ.
Amer Ahmad, former Mayor Rahm Emanuel aid, was arrested at an airport in Lahore, Pakistan, when he was on the run to avoid a prison sentence. Authorities confiscated $176,000, 17,000 in Euros and a fake passport. While working for Democratic Treasurer Kevin Boyce (Ohio House of Representatives), Ahmad steered state business to his financial adviser in exchange for more than $500,000 in kickbacks. Amer Ahmad plead guilty in December to bribery, conspiracy to commit bribery, money laundering, and wire fraud.