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REQUIEM

Below are the two final essays to be posted on Allegiance and Duty Betrayed. The first one is written by a friend -- screen name 'Euro-American Scum' -- who, over the past four years, has been the most faithful essayist here. He has written about everything from his pilgrimage to Normandy in 2004 to take part in the 60th–year commemoration of the invasion, to his memories of his tour in Vietnam. His dedication to America’s founding principles ... and those who have sacrificed to preserve them over the past 200+ years ... is unequaled. Thank you, E-A-S. It has been a privilege to include your writing here, and it is a privilege to call you my friend.

The second essay is my own farewell. And with it I thank all of the many regular visitors, and those who may have only dropped in occasionally, for coming here. I hope you learned something. I hope a seed or two was planted. But, even if not, I thank you for stopping by ... 25 March, 2010

10/29/2006

Addenda to Two Previous Entries:


The Nickel Mines Tragedy:

Through the e-mail address I have provided on this blog, I have received many messages from people around the country, and some from ‘across the pond,’ expressing continued concern, and asking for any new updates on the five young girls who survived the October 2nd shootings at the schoolhouse in Nickel Mines.

Below is one representative example (sender’s name omitted) of compassionate caring that I received just this week from a young woman in California:

~ ~ ~

Since we are all still earnestly praying for the families of the victims and the survivors of the tragedy, I was wondering if there is any additional news on how these precious survivors are doing?

No doubt, the families are keeping their condition and their recovery quite private. I would not wish to do anything that would infringe upon their privacy. However, I hope that the Amish community will not retreat into silence. Their life story is a powerful one. I hope the deep respect for their influence and life-philosophy will be a catalyst for spiritual revival in our communities. Is there any word?

Although I may not know exactly how to pray for these dear families and the children who are recovering, from what I can only imagine to be horrific injuries, God knows. He knows each and every one, intimately.

As the Psalmist said.

O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I'm far away.
You see me when I travel and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord …

… You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand.


So I will continue to pray for them, confident that God, who knows the individuals and their needs intimately, will supply what is needed out of the abundance of His mercy and grace.

Our culture, thirsty for spiritual renewal, has had a brief glimpse into the Amish way of life. Their commitment to "not being conformed to the behavior and customs of the world" will, I'm sure, continue to proclaim the good news of God's love, forgiveness, and redemption. After all, The heavens proclaim the glory of God and the skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.

The Amish, have powerfully "spoken" as a people of integrity who follow the instructions of the Lord. They are among those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. They have demonstrated a deep understanding of God's charge to keep his commandments carefully so that actions would consistently reflect God's decrees. Even if they do not intermingle with the outside world...the world has seen what it is like to not be ashamed when one's life is compared with God's commands. The world has had a brief witness into a lifestyle that understands ... "as I learn your righteous regulations, I will thank you by living as I should."

~ ~ ~

I welled up with tears upon reading this young woman’s thoughts and concerns for the families of Nickel Mines.

The families of the five remaining victims have requested that the doctors at Children’s Hospital and Hershey Medical Center not release any more information about their daughters. They would like to retreat once again into privacy, now that the media glare has been lifted from the scene of the tragedy.

Four of the five surviving victims of the shootings have returned home from Children’s Hospital and Hershey Medical Center. Only one still remains hospitalized. Their conditions, or reasons for returning home, have not been made public. I hope that their leaving the hospital indicates that they have improved enough to hope for a complete recovery, and not that they were brought home to die in familiar surroundings with their families, but I do not know the significance of their release.

I wish the families would be somewhat more open, since so many around the world have been praying for the victims and their families, but so far they have chosen to keep the girls' conditions private.

I agree with the young woman above that the Amish culture has the potential to become an extraordinarily powerful witness and example in a world that is thirsting for spiritual revival. At the same time, they so value their privacy and their desire not to 'intermingle' with the outside world more than is necessary. And, despite the fact that we would like them to take more of a public stand, that kind of activism is not in their nature.

On a more upbeat note: Lydia Mae Zook, one of the pregnant women who was allowed to leave the schoolroom with the young boys on the day of the shootings, gave birth to a daughter on October 10th, just eight days after the tragedy. She named the baby after Naomi Rose Ebersol, one of the seven-year-old victims of the shootings.

On a semi-related note …

Facing the Giants:

Even though this movie has only been released in 440 theaters, it has grossed $5.5 million, on a production budget of $100,000 (obtained through private donations from the Albany, Georgia church members who created it, and who served, voluntarily, as the actors and behind-the-scenes force).

Keith Brown, a Lancaster resident who wanted to see the movie, was forced to drive to Harrisburg last month in order to do so. After seeing it, he called Nancy Lovell, a representative of the church who was listed on the movie’s website, to ask her a few questions.

When Nancy heard that Keith is from Lancaster, she connected the location to the scene of the recent Nickel Mines tragedy, and she became interested in getting the film into a Lancaster area theater, in the hopes that it could help the community in the healing process.

Normally Sony Pictures, which has bought the film from the independent creators, requires ‘boosters’ to purchase blocks of at least 750 tickets in order to move the film into a theater in their area. Nancy was able to convince Sony to forego that requirement and the movie was allowed to run in the Manor Theater in Millersville (which is where I saw it just last week, and where it played to close to a full house at that showing).

Keith Brown, who attends a Lancaster church, wants to make sure attendance at the Manor is high, so a website (lancastergiants.com) has been set up, delineating movie details and show times.

Last weekend, he and his family needed to sit in the first row because the Saturday 7:15 show was slowly becoming standing room only. He later commented that, ‘It was so meaningful for me to hear 175 other people respond to the film as I did when I first saw it – with cheers and applause and uplifted hearts.’

God can do more with one man who is 100% committed to Him than He can with 100 men who are 90% committed to Him.

The Lord is at work in so many ways here in Lancaster County, and for that and so much more we praise Him.

~ joanie

10/28/2006

Californians!


I have been, and continue to be, working locally to re-elect Rick Santorum to his seat as the third most powerful republican in the senate. In the process, I have been reaching out to patriots from outside of Pennsylvania, asking them to volunteer their time, and to donate financially, to Santorum’s campaign, because this election will have powerful repercussions for all of us, far into the precarious future of our republic.

There is also a crucial proposition on the ballot on November 7th in the state of California that needs to be addressed by us all. We need to take some time to call or write to anyone we know who is a resident of that state, and, if they are not well informed about the issue, educate them about the contents of Proposition 85, and the malevolent, socialist motives of its vocal opponents.

Proposition 85 will simply require that doctors notify a parent or guardian at least forty-eight hours before performing an abortion on their daughter, if she is under the age of eighteen. It contains codicils that take into account rare and unusual family situations …

… in which cases, the child may petition juvenile court to permit an abortion without notifying a parent. She can request a lawyer at taxpayer expense. If the evidence shows she is mature enough to decide for herself or that notifying a parent is not in her best interests, a judge may grant her petition. The proceedings must be confidential, prompt, and free. She may also seek help from juvenile court if she is being coerced by anyone to consent to an abortion.

In other words, this law seeks simply to respect God-given, Constitutionally-insured parental rights, while also allowing for the occasional circumstance in which a young girl cannot turn to her parents for help, support or advice.

Parents and daughters in thirty other states have benefited for years from laws like Proposition 85. After such laws are passed, the state generally experiences substantial reductions in pregnancies and abortions among minors. When parents are involved and minors cannot rely on secret access to free abortions they naturally tend to avoid the reckless behavior which leads to pregnancies.

Polls show that most people support parental notification laws. They reveal that most Americans believe that a minor girl — pregnant, scared, and possibly abandoned or pressured by the baby's biological father -- needs the advice and support of a parent. And that parents are still ultimately responsible for, and care deeply about, the major decisions their minor daughter may face.

Most parents, as a result of the God-instilled nature of the parent-child relationship, have invested more attention and love in raising their daughter than has the state or the courts. They know her personal and medical history better, and care more about her future than business people employed by abortion clinics who make significant profits by performing abortions on children.

Under Prop 85, a minor still has a legal right to obtain or refuse an abortion, but a parent can help her understand all options, obtain competent care, and provide medical records and history.

An informed parent can also obtain prompt care should hemorrhaging, infection, and other possibly fatal complications occur post-surgery.

I can think of no negative repercussion to this legislation, other than that it would represent a major roadblock in the road toward the leftists’ socialist utopia.

As would be expected, the opponents of this proposition are arguing that voting against it would be a vote for the children.

Their arguments consist of two main points:

(1) that some teenagers live in dangerous homes in which parents are violent or sexually abuse their daughters ... and

(2) that forcing a teenager who can’t turn to her parents to seek help from California’s overcrowded court system would be a nightmare for the child, because courts are already backlogged, red tape is rampant, and California courts are hard to navigate, even for adults

Notice that both arguments presume that the parents of this child are either uncommunicative or sexually predatory.

I would ask these ‘child-advocates’ exactly who is responsible for the fact that our courts are backlogged, hard-to-navigate, and rife with red tape. Could it be those same left-leaning ideologues who have succeeded in tying the hands of law-enforcement, manning the courts with activist judges, allowing tort lawyers to tie up the system with frivolous, profit-motivated lawsuits, and writing laws that bend over backwards to protect the ‘rights’ of the criminal while forcing the victim to jump through all manner of legalistic hoops?

The teen pregnancy rate in the U.S. is the highest among the most developed countries in the world, including Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Sweden (AGI, 2002 – ‘Birth, Abortion, Pregnancy Rates for Developed Countries’, 2006) and teen pregnancies account for a full 25% of all unintended pregnancies in the U.S. each year (Advocates for Youth, 2004; AGI, 1999).

The socialists/elitists among us would have us believe that the dramatic increase in teenage pregnancies over the past four decades is not largely a result of their own pernicious agenda to infiltrate itself into every thread of the fabric of American society. A large part of that agenda has been focused on crafting the demise of the nuclear family and the concurrent loosening of moral constraints among our youth … with the inevitable increase in power of the leftist elite, and the coincidental erosion of individual liberty, being the final outcome.

They would instead have us believe that, independent of their ‘noble, for-the-children’ social agenda that has taken root since the sixties, parents have suddenly and inexplicably become uncommunicative, sexually predatory monsters from whom the state must protect their own children.

The megalomaniacal junior senator from New York has inserted her two cents into this California proposition, taping a message to the voters in which she urges them to ‘join her and ‘so many concerned parents’ in defeating proposition 85.

Who exactly are these ‘concerned parents’ to whom Ms. Clinton refers?

Parents concerned about what?

About a teenager’s ‘right’ to have unprotected sex without being hindered by her own parents’ personal, religious, and lifestyle guidelines?

About the fact that parents ought not to consider themselves worthy of knowing when and if their daughter has opted to have a physically and psychologically dangerous medical procedure?

About the fact that their daughter should be permitted to make a decision to kill her unborn child without first at least discussing that decision with them?

About the fact that the state believes that it knows better – both morally and legally – what is best for their child?

That’s the kind of mock ‘concern’ that leads to the destruction of entire civilizations.

I would like to ask (no, I would like to demand) that Ms. Clinton explain just who these ‘concerned parents’ are who are supporting her effort to deny other parents their natural, God-given rights as regards their minor child’s life-altering, and potentially deadly, behaviors and resulting decisions.

And I will want to ask those Americans who will vote for Hillary for president in 2008 just exactly what they believe her qualifications are.

(1) being married (in the loosest sense of the word) to an experienced traitor/felon?

(2) being a cattle futures and real estate investment wizard?

(3) throwing a mean ashtray?

(4) having sponsored no significant legislation during her freshman term?

(5) being an avowed socialist seeking the presidency of a representative republic?

(6) being the (media-declared) smartest woman in the world?

If you pick any fairly well educated woman off the street, I believe her qualifications (not to mention her character) would generally trump those of Ms. Clinton. But I digress …

How many of those potential Hillary supporters even know the definition of a socialist? Or the gruesome threat that the incremental imposition of socialism on a formerly free society poses to its citizens?

Ms. Clinton, and her fellow elitists, propose a world in which there would be no legal obstacles to unlimited personal pleasure. And the first such obstacles that must be eradicated are monogamy and the nuclear family.

Thus her (and all other socialists’) insistence on implementing laws (for the children) that will eventually declare the state the legal guardians of our children (for the children’s well being, of course). Parents will simply become baby factories, who, once the birthing process is complete, relinquish to the state all rights to their ‘product’.

Ludwig von Mises wrote, ‘It is no accident that the proposal to treat men and women as radically equal, to regulate sexual intercourse by the state, to put infants into public nursing homes at birth and to ensure that children and parents remain quite unknown to each other should have originated with Plato.’

And that is precisely what Hillary Clinton’s main political objective is – to ensure that children and parents remain quite unknown to each other -- so that the state becomes the primary sculptor of the minds and characters of the youth of America, and, in that way, increases and perpetuates the power of the elite (of which Ms. Clinton considers herself among the most brilliant, visionary and indispensable).

The people of California must understand what Proposition 85 represents, and they must defeat the elitists’ latest attempt to undermine the importance of the nuclear family to the moral fabric of civilized society, the sanctity of parental rights, and the limits of the government’s reach into the lives and individual liberties of its citizens.



~ joanie

10/27/2006

Rick Santorum's Wicked Backhand

If you can stomach wading through the (probably necessary, at this point) references to his occasionally (actually, rarely) rubbing elbows with the enemy, the finale of Rick Santorum’s newly-released thirty-second campaign ad is well worth the temporary nausea :)


Rick Santorum Joins the (*cough*) WWF :)
(You must double-click on the 'play' button at the link. For some reason, a single click doesn't work.)

Lancaster County campaign update:

I've been going door-to-door visiting many potential Republican voters in our township for the past week-plus (and intend to continue doing so until November 7th), and have been both disheartened and uplifted by what I've seen and heard.

I've probably visited close to a hundred homes so far, and am amazed (although I suppose I shouldn't be, since it was the same during the Toomey-Specter race back in 2004) at how uninformed these potential voters are about the major differences between the two candidates. One of countless examples: only two of the probably 150 people with whom I've spoken were aware that moveon.org has endorsed, and contributed to, the Casey campaign. Even worse: the huge majority of the people weren't even aware of what that subversive organization promotes, and a good many had never even heard of it.

Also, of all of the major accomplishments that Rick Santorum has achieved in his sixteen years in Washington, the ones that seem to impress most people are the handful of social-engineering, entitlement-related ones of which I disapprove (but if I need to disingenuously extol them for the next ten days in order to get these people to the polls, so be it. :)

I have been very uplifted, though, by the number of people who are now planning to vote (and vote right) who had been either on the fence or planning to stay home. I've probably spent at least half an hour sitting in dozens of livingrooms, answering intelligent questions from otherwise uninformed people. And, once they know the truth, they intend to take part in the election process.

I carry copies of 'The Greatest Test of This Generation', Santorum's speech at the National Press Club, with me and, when I reference that, a lot of people ask for a copy so that they can read it themselves (and hopefully distribute it to others). I believe that is our most powerful tool, with the war on Islamic fascism being so crucial, and Santorum’s description of what we must do to prevail being so brilliant and forthcoming (despite the fact that the mainstream media reacted to the speech with horror and disdain).

The RNC still appears to believe that this race is hopeless, but the latest polls show Santorum gaining slight ground on Casey (with a few showing him behind by single digits). My (and many others') efforts have been aimed at getting out the vote among registered republicans. So I know that the positive response I have been receiving here in rural Lancaster County may certainly not be indicative of what is going to occur elsewhere, primarily in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh (where dead people, people who reside in vacant lots, and pet canaries, are prone to voting … and they do so more than once). But I sincerely believe that encouraging apathetic voters who have supported Santorum in the past can prove to be the key to victory.

Sincere thanks for the continued support of many out-of-staters. I believe that contributions from out-of-state are proving to be a vital part of the campaign. Many out-of-staters recognize that, if the democrats can succeed in deposing the third most powerful republican in the senate, they will consider it a coup of major proportions, and a mandate to return our republic to the socialist, weak-on-defense quagmire represented by their previous infamous forty-year reign.

~ joanie

10/26/2006

Greater Love Has No Man Than This, That He Lay Down His Life For His Friends … John 15:13


Each day, as you read the headlines in your local newspaper, or listen to what passes for ‘news’ on your radio or television … and, during these perilous times when, more than ever before in human history, decent freedom-loving people are facing the most evil, ruthless, conscienceless enemy that has ever walked this planet … contemplate what the major news outlets deem ‘newsworthy’.

I was in Washington DC recently, for the first time in several years, and was stunned by the ‘new climate’ I sensed there. The people who are there every day seem to exhibit a kind of quiet resignation that affects their quality of life, but around which they work … oblivious … as if things had never been otherwise. Refusing to acknowledge that our nation's capital is just a hollow shell of its former self. Some conversations I had with locals affirmed that they are intent on going about their daily lives in the belief that it's just a matter of time before they are once again in the terrorists’ cross-hairs. A young fellow I ran into at the new World War II memorial expressed this philosophy best: ‘We need to get used to living as though we are in the jungles of Vietnam. To do otherwise would amount to painting a target on our chests and saying 'come and get me.' I don't know that I agree with him, but I understand his perspective.

I, too, have felt recently as if we are experiencing 'the calm before the storm,’ and have been trying, without much success, to ignore that feeling.

'Everyday normalcy' is a method for maintaining order -- for retaining a sense of emotional continuity. Simple 'normalcy' has a solidity and a security about it. It provides a practical, hopefully moral, foundation upon which people depend in order to live their lives with some semblance of peace of mind. 'Normalcy' is a kind of continuously flowing parchment on which both everyday events, and history, are inscribed. With the dramatic increase in terrorist activity – and the ever-present threat of more to come -- the depended-upon characteristics of everyday life have become windswept, undermining our ability to feel content and at ease. Non-stop violent images of brutality and destruction from around the world have undermined our ability to provide that sense of continuity. We don’t really comprehend who the social and political actors today really are, from day to day. We are getting a good idea about what values they represent, and what they are fighting for (or against), but somehow that doesn’t remove the sense that we always seem to be waiting for the other shoe to drop.

They have invaded our living rooms and our psyches. They have provoked deep moral questioning at every level of social life. They have affected the way we perceive time and space, how we walk down the street, who we trust, who we respect, how we look at other people in general, how we view and make sense of our own lives. And they make us think about pain … and death.

Yet contemplate, for a moment, what the major news outlets deem ‘newsworthy’, and worthy of constant, drumbeat repetition, day in and day out.

Sexually suggestive e-mails sent to congressional pages by a sitting congressman.

The fact that New Jersey will grant homosexual unions ‘rights’.

The latest antics of Anna Nicole Smith.

… and countless other ‘newsworthy’ stories that will be rendered eternally meaningless once our attention is forced, of necessity, to realistically (as opposed to embracing contorted media-fed propaganda) focus on those historically unprecedented forces that seek to destroy freedom throughout the world, and the lives of those who will fight to defend it.

I ask you: Which of the three ‘headline stories’ above, and the countless others that find their way into the mainstream media’s propaganda/bread-and-circuses agenda, deserves more attention than the one below?

And then I ask you: Why have the three ‘headline stories’ above, and countless others, been relegated infinitely more news-room than the one below (which has found itself virtually ignored)?

The answers to both questions are every bit as disturbing as any threat we will face from any enemy outside of our borders, because those whose charge it is to 'inform' us stopped doing so decades ago. Instead, their focus has shifted to implementing successful diversionary propaganda techniques.

~ ~ ~

Excerpted from an article in the Orange County Register last week:


Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Monsoor

A Navy SEAL gave his life to save his comrades by throwing himself on top of a grenade that Iraqi insurgents had tossed into their sniper hideout, fellow members of the elite force said.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor of Garden Grove [CA] had been near the only door to the rooftop structure Sept. 29 when the grenade hit him in the chest and bounced to the floor, said four SEALs who spoke to The Associated Press this week on condition of anonymity because their work requires their identities to remain secret.

He never took his eye off the grenade. His only movement was down toward it,’ said a 28-year-old lieutenant who suffered shrapnel wounds to both legs that day. ‘He undoubtedly saved mine and the other SEALs' lives, and we owe him.

Monsoor, a 25-year-old gunner, was killed in the explosion in Ramadi, west of Baghdad. He was the second SEAL to die in Iraq since the war began.

Two SEALs next to Monsoor were injured, and one who was 10 to 15 feet from the blast was not hurt. The four had been working with Iraqi soldiers providing sniper security while U.S. and Iraqi forces conducted missions in the area.

Monsoor's heroism did not surprise those who knew him, said Patrick Barnes, one of his best friends in Orange County.

That's just the kind of guy he was,’ Barnes said. ‘That's how far he would go to protect the lives of his friends and teammates.

At one level, Barnes said, he wished Monsoor hadn't done it.

It's just a selfish thought. I want my friend back,’ he said. ‘But the thought that he did this to save the lives of others gives me comfort.

Barnes said the reaction of Monsoor's fellow SEALs at the funeral service Thursday in San Diego was touching.

The men Mike had saved were married and had families,’ Barnes said. ‘(Monsoor) had no doubts about what he had to do although it cost him his life.

In an interview at the SEALs' West Coast headquarters in Coronado, four members of the special force remembered ‘Mikey’ as a loyal friend and a quiet, dedicated professional.

Other SEALS described the Garden Grove native as a modest and humble man who drew strength from his family and his faith. His father and brother are former Marines, a 31-year-old petty officer second class said.

Monsoor had demonstrated courage under fire in another incident as well. He has been posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his actions May 9 in Ramadi, when he and another SEAL pulled a team member shot in the leg to safety while bullets pinged off the ground around them.

Monsoor's funeral Thursday was at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego. He has been submitted for an award for his actions the day he died.

Monsoor's fellow SEALs will remember his heroism as long as they live, said Cmdr. Greg Geisen, spokesman for the Naval Special Warfare Command.

His self-sacrifice goes to show the strength of his character and commitment to his mission and teammates,’ he said. ‘He will be missed.

Monsoor took great pride in being a SEAL – an honor he had to struggle to achieve, his friends said. He was crushed when he failed the training the first time, but he passed in his second attempt, they said.

~ ~ ~

Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends … John 15:13

The next time you hear the mention of Abu Ghraib, or Haditha, or the manufactured abuses at Guantanamo, ask yourself why the name of Michael Monsoor, and countless other duty-bound genuine American heros, are not afforded equal media time. And then don’t be afraid to allow your disdain for the leftist, anti-American mainstream media to compel you to speak out about the injustice of it all.

Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you: Jesus Christ and the American military. One died for your soul; the other for your freedom. Don’t allow the powerful forces that seek to divert our attention from either of those facts succeed in doing so.

~ joanie

10/24/2006

Hollywood, With All Its Self-Importance, Glitz and Pretension, Can't Come Close


I saw Facing the Giants on Sunday, October 22nd. I am not a movie-goer, and I detest lining the pockets of the Hollywood left, but I had read an intriguing review of this movie on Patriot Post and decided it was worth my time checking out. I had also read some negative reviews written by your typical Hollywood movie reviewers, but suspected that this movie might just be an example of the kind of spiritually meaningful movie whose value depends upon what the viewer brings to it, in terms of ability to actually comprehend the depth of the message. I suspect that most readers of this blog have the right stuff in that regard, whereas most professional movie critics may not. :)

I left the theater on Sunday evening knowing that I had seen one of the most powerful movies of my life. There was no phony ‘emoting’ of Hollywood actors – just average people playing average people. The story had the potential to become a formulaic, predictable, hokey attempt at a meaningful message, as have so many Hollywood ‘overcome-the-odds-success-stories’, but it side-stepped that trap and became, instead, a beautifully touching genuine artistic success.

The audience at the showing I attended (which was large, considering that the movie was released a month ago, and which represented virtually every segment of modern America) was, to a person, enrapt from beginning to end. There were an abundance of tears, laughter, compassion, profound sorrow, and unrestrained joy ... and perhaps a spiritual epiphany or two.

The humor is wonderful, and artfully inserted in just the right places. The acting is real. The passion is genuine. The faith is beautiful. And the viewer leaves the theater with a feeling of uplift, optimism and inspiration that is rare in these troubling times.

When fear and faith collide, only one will be left standing.

See it if you can. You will agree with me. Hollywood can’t come close.

Below is a fascinating story of the movie’s evolution excerpted from the trailer description. Is there any doubt that the Lord’s hand played an essential role in the making of this memorable movie?:

Facing the Giants’ is the new feature from Sherwood Pictures, a production company birthed out of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. Michael C. Catt, senior pastor at Sherwood, and Jim McBride, executive pastor, supported the vision for the movie believing that this ‘out of the box’ approach to ministry could produce positive results around the world. With no fund-raising, the huge undertaking was supported by private donations from Sherwood members. The church rallied together in prayer and volunteered their time and talents for the new venture. None of the actors were paid as the majority of the cast and crew were volunteers with no prior experience.

Because of their unique availability, retired senior adult men, stay-at-home moms, and home schooled teenagers primarily compiled the working crew to operate the set during the six weeks of shooting. Locations for the movie were donated by local residents, businesses, and schools. All ages were involved as Sunday school classes cooked meals and became the ‘caterers’ to the crew each day. Training the volunteers and facilitating the production was a hired team of only five professionals.

Facing the Giants’ was written and produced by Alex and Stephen Kendrick, brothers and associate pastors at Sherwood Baptist Church. Their goals were to produce a family friendly movie that could be affordably shot in Albany, would be fun to watch, impactful to viewers, and glorifying to God. ‘I believe there is a huge culture of people who love movies, but leave theaters disappointed by films with profanity, immorality, and messages that trample their family’s values and faith,’ said Kendrick.


~ joanie

10/23/2006

The Santorum-Casey Race in Pennsylvania is a Glimpse into the Future of America


I have spent some of the past three weeks, and plan to spend most of the next two weeks, talking about Rick Santorum’s qualifications to serve a third term in the senate. I know that other Pennsylvanians will be doing the same. And I hope that conservatives throughout the country will consider earmarking some of their campaign contributions to this immensely important and pivotal race. The election or defeat of this powerful senator from Pennsylvania will have repercussions throughout America … and far into the future.

Now that we are a mere two weeks away from a watershed election, I simply want to sum up what I have been, and intend to keep, voicing here in my own south-central Pennsylvania community over the next two weeks, in the hopes that others in Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, might see in my thoughts some common ground with their own. Apologies for any repetition of previous comments and opinions, amid the new ones here (I posted some of these views here three weeks ago).

I believe the Santorum-Casey race here in Pennsylvania represents a telling microcosm of what has evolved between the two political parties in American politics over the past four decades.

The democrat party has evolved into a party intent, more than all else, on the amassing and retaining of personal and political power. And the ‘all else’ over which that power takes precedence in the democrat agenda includes the lives and liberties of the American people, and the sovereignty of our republic.

Because the democrats’ real agenda would not sit well with the majority of the citizenry, they conveniently cloak it in altruistic, humanitarian terms (child-friendly, environmentalist, for the American way, anti-crime, pro-equality/justice, tolerance … ). Yet their vision bears no resemblance to the magnificent, unparalleled-in-the-history-of-mankind vision that our Founders laid out more than two centuries ago. In fact, it consistently seeks to denigrate that vision, render it outdated, and portray it as foolishly myopic.

Republicans’ real agenda (at least those republicans who remain true to the conservative foundation upon which the party was built) is based simply on a reverence for the original intent of the Constitution, and a belief that, as a result of, and reverence for, the vision and sacrifice of those who went before, our highest calling is to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, and, to that end, to zealously protect our national sovereignty.

There are few Americans who would dispute the paragraph above. The majority would abhor the previous one.

So how do democrats gain and retain power? The operative word is deception –- either deception via lies, or deception via politically opportune silence.

And how do republicans lose power? They allow themselves to bow to the pressures exerted by the (leftist media and academia-originated) concept of political correctness, and they agree to compromise of principle. They bargain away their base in order to get along with the enemy.

The Santorum-Casey race in Pennsylvania is a striking and vastly important example of this potentially deadly difference in political philosophy … which will have major implications for our republic far into the future.

Robert Casey, Jr. has remained virtually silent on all of the major issues during this campaign, while, behind the scenes, he has received the endorsement of many blatantly anti-liberty, anti-sovereignty organizations -- among them: George Soros’ MoveOn.org and Citizens for Global Solutions (formerly known as the World Federalist Association … a change of name does not denote a change in abominable motives and goals).

The mainstream media, and academia, have largely succeeded in keeping under wraps Casey’s ties with powerful organizations that seek the erasure of our borders and the replacement of our sovereign social, legal and judicial systems with those of global centricity. They want the America that has thrived, prospered, and served as a beacon of hope to free people since its founding, to cease to exist … and to replace her with iron-fisted rule by organizations as anti-liberty and anti-sovereignty as the United Nations.

Robert Casey represents the epitome of the modern democrat politician –- mouthing (on the rare occasions when he chooses to voice an opinion at all) glib platitudes about freedom and the American way, while, behind-the-scenes, rubbing elbows with those who abhor both. This modern democrat, like most others, if elected on November 7th, will have gained office through the power of deception.

Ralph Neas, president of People for the American Way (oxymoron alert!) recently stated that ‘No one is further to the right in the senate than Rick Santorum. If he had his way, the constitutional clock would be turned back about seven decades.’

Amen to that.

In stark contrast to the tactics of Robert Casey, Rick Santorum has consistently stuck his head above the crowd in order to voice what needs to be said and do what needs to be done.

I honestly believe that the huge majority of our ‘leadership’ in Washington is either indifferent to, or in favor of (for either financial or political/ideological power reasons), avoiding confronting the illegal alien crisis. As I also believe that an equal number are purposefully attempting to demoralize our military, and create a Vietnam-era-like malaise among the populace, so as to retreat from our assignment in Iraq, and pull back from a confrontational stance against Muslim fanaticism in general – and for the very same reasons that they refuse to acknowledge and resolve the illegal alien crisis.

For the sixteen years he has been in Washington, Rick Santorum has remained immovable on most issues that are indelibly close to his heart – and two of those issues must eclipse all others in these perilous times: namely, (1) the threat posed by Islamic terrorism and (2) the need to close our southern border. He has assumed a strong conservative stance from the get-go, and has been vocal and immovable in his call for immediate, and historically unprecedented ‘ruthless’ (by PC standards) action to deal with both. As a result he has taken vicious, unrelenting hits from the media/academia, especially here in Pennsylvania.

And it is basically for that reason that the democrat machine has designated him as their prime target in November. I have read several accounts that claim that the amount of DNC money pouring into Casey’s coffers is close to double that being focused on any other national candidate. Santorum is a tireless advocate of facing down the Muslim threat and closing the border, and the DNC would like nothing more than (1) to depose the senate’s third most powerful republican, and (2) to replace him with a soft-on-both leftist mouthpiece.

At the same time, much republican money has been withdrawn from being earmarked for the Santorum campaign ... with his re-election now being viewed as 'hopeless'.

As so often happens on a national scale, the voters in Pennsylvania appear not to have done their homework. They have been duped by the deceptions promulgated by the leftist media, and they are woefully ignorant of the behind-the-scene machinations being performed by groups that seek to destroy their freedoms and our republic’s position as leader of the free world. I have witnessed this voter ignorance in walking door-to-door and speaking with potential republican voters in my area. But I know that I have also succeeded in opening the eyes of many of those potential voters, who are now intending to cast an informed vote on November 7th. If those of us who are aware of the inherent, long-term dangers represented by the loss of Rick Santorum’s voice in Washington will continue our attempts to awaken those who are unaware of the truth, this election can be salvaged.

The one major area which represents Santorum’s Achilles heel occurred with his endorsement of Arlen Specter in his run for re-election against Pat Toomey in 2004, in which Santorum compromised with the enemy. He did not betray his conservative principles -- he allowed them to be temporarily, and unfortunately, eclipsed by political pressure from the left.

We are living in a time of unprecedented political turmoil, new age political agendas that seek to declare our Constitution irrelevant, and to dissolve the sanctity of our sovereignty in deference to the vision of a new world order, and weakness in the seat of our government in the face of brutal, relentless terrorism that is designed to take insidious and deadly advantage of each and every blink from the Western World.

Anyone who considers abandoning support for Santorum because of his movement to the center on a handful of domestic/spending policies, and his ill-conceived endorsement of Specter, needs to keep that in mind … and read in its entirety his July speech at the National Press Club.

This speech is a passionate, heartfelt call to arms, not unlike one that Thomas Paine might have delivered, were he still with us. I hope you've read the speech -- or will, if you haven't. You’ll come away with the understanding that Rick Santorum isn’t just a crusader for greatly increased border security, the right to life of the unborn, uncovering government corruption, welfare reform, privatizing Social Security, training and equipping first responders, simplification of the tax code, and tort reform. He is all that and much more. He is a rarity in Washington these days: He is a leader who recognizes the brutal and obsessive nature of Islamic fascism, and who isn’t overcome with politically correct reticence when the opportunity to awaken and educate his countrymen presents itself. And this battle cry is nothing new -- Santorum’s stance on terrorism has remained unchanged since before the ’93 World Trade Center bombing. His conservative, ‘hawkish’ views have become less popular among the political elite, but he is unyielding.

A local political pundit recently wrote of him, ‘In our poll-driven political climate, dominated by blow-dried politicians with their fingers to the wind, he stands for things. And even where he stands for things with which I disagree, I come away admiring his unwillingness to placate dissenters by telling us words that we want to hear. What you see with Santorum, is what you get. He speaks from the head and heart.'

Santorum debated his opponent, Robert Casey, Jr., on ‘Meet the Press’ in early September. Santorum’s best line in the debate was:

You [Casey] believe that we’re going to win or lose this war on the battlefield in Iraq and the battlefield in Afghanistan. I don’t. I think we’ll win or lose this war right here in America.

Robert Casey had no answer.

And perhaps he doesn’t need one. He has crony-related name recognition in his corner. The name Casey in Pennsylvania is akin to the name Daley in Chicago. And, when one adds the crony factor to the facts that (1) the DNC is pouring unprecedented money into the Casey campaign, (2) many Pennsylvania voters vote the way their union tells them to, (3) voting democrat has been nothing short of a sanctified family tradition for many Pennsylvanians ever since FDR ‘pulled their starving families out of the depression’, and (4) 120% of the registered democrats (including family dogs, parakeets and long dead ancestors) turn out to vote in the inner cities, Santorum has quite an uphill battle facing him over the next five weeks.

The danger in a Casey victory lies not in seating a left-or-moderate democrat in the seat that was formerly Santorum’s. The danger lies in losing a powerful, immovable voice in our war on Islamic fascism and our need to secure our borders. We cannot afford to lose such voices.

Current polls of most likely voters show Bob Casey ahead by double digits in just about every area of the state but central PA. Yet, in the 2004 election, Pennsylvania was reluctantly pulled into the blue column, and a look at the county-by-county results shows clearly that, had voters turned out in larger numbers in the counties that fell into the Republican column, the state would clearly have turned red.


Therein lies the only way Rick Santorum can win this election. The vote in the heart of Pennsylvania has to come out and counterbalance the three major urban areas where voter fraud is rampant and where votes are traditionally bought through intimidation and promises of more entitlement/socialist government perks.

I have said before that I will never again vote for the lesser of two evils. But there is a world of difference between that and voting for someone with whom you sometimes disagree. Especially at this pivotal time in our history, when we’re facing a more brutally deadly threat than ever before – and on two horrendous fronts – this is not the time to throw out the baby with the bath water.

Steve Leonard, a contributor to Allegiance and Duty Betrayed, recently wrote:

No more talk, no more lies, no more dissembling, no more diplomacy. They stop, and they stay stopped, or they die, and their countries die with them. In Iran, in Syria, in Somalia, in Waziristan, leaders and civilians who support terrorists have forfeited their right to breathe the air of this planet. We don't have to occupy them, we don't have to rebuild them, we don't have to ‘bring them to justice,’ or grant them habeas corpus or let them have lawyers. We just have to destroy them.

I believe that, on the national level, the above paragraph must be our litmus test. If a candidate does not openly and vocally embrace that philosophy, he does not get my vote.

Rick Santorum does … and will. And I will do all that I can between now and November 7th to see to it that as many of my family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers comprehend the difference between a leader who wants to confront and unambiguously defeat the unparalleled malevolent forces threatening to extinguish the Western world as we know it, and who will disperse even their shadow … and a pretender whose political ideology depends on which way the politically correct winds happen to be blowing.

This election, and the next, are not about ‘the economy, stupid’.
They are about nothing less than the survival of Western Civilization.

~ joanie

10/16/2006

Final Nickel Mines Update



Above are photos of the land on which the thirty-year-old West Nickel Mines School once stood in Nickel Mines, Bart Township, PA.

The Amish would have been entirely capable of demolishing the building themselves, but the elders made the decision to enlist the aid of demolition contractors so as to have the building razed and removed as quickly as possible. They chose the pre-dawn hours of Thursday morning in order to create as little inconvenience as possible for local neighbors.

At approximately 4:00 AM on Thursday, a demolition crew appeared on the site and about three dozen Amish men arrived in order to offer their assistance. Approximately fifty contractor/Amish workers assisted in the demolition. The site was transformed into a barren, but soon-to-be-grass-covered, field by 8 AM.

Saturday afternoon former co-workers of Christ Stoltzfus, father of two daughters who attended the school, one of whom, Anna Mae, was killed in the shootings, held a chicken barbecue and benefit auction for Stoltzfus’ family, raising more than $10,000.

On Sunday afternoon nearly three thousand Harley Davidson bikers, from all over the country, rode from Chester County to Lancaster County to present a check in the amount of $30,000 for the Nickel Mines Fund. Once they reached Route 30 in Lancaster, they were given a police escort.

As the bikers progressed down Route 30, in some areas Amish families could be seen standing alongside the road, the men with their hats over their hearts, indicating their thankfulness for what the bikers had done in their behalf.



In less symbolic, more meaningful, news, the conditions of the five remaining victims of the schoolhouse shootings are remaining more or less a private matter, with respect being shown to the wishes of the families.

Barbie Fisher, the eleven-year-old sister of Marian Fisher who was the little girl who asked the gunman to shoot her first, was reportedly released from Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia on Friday. I hope we can assume this means that she has improved significantly, but the family has requested privacy regarding her condition, and, fortunately, that request has been honored.

The four other surviving victims of the shootings remain in critical or satisfactory condition. Two of them are being cared for at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, and two remain at Hershey Medical Center. They are apparently strong and determined little girls who want very much to remain with us despite the life-threatening injuries they received two weeks ago.


Heavenly Father, we do not always know or understand your reasons for allowing tragedies to befall good people.

The families whose children were killed or injured in the shootings at the Nickel Mines schoolhouse are living through a trial the likes of which most of us can only reluctantly imagine. Yet their response to that tragedy has set a Christ-like example for us all.

They have blessed you in their trial. They have extended the hand of forgiveness to the man who took their children from them in the blink of an eye, and they have offered constant kindness, support and consolation to his grieving family. They have continued to extol your goodness and grace even amid their own profound grief.

We pray that you would continue to strengthen, comfort and uphold them, for they have shown a steadfastness that those of us who have been watching them from afar can only hope to someday be capable of demonstrating.

We know that you hold five of their children in your loving arms as we speak. We thank you for the comfort provided by that blessed knowledge. And we pray that the little girls who are still fighting for their lives, no matter their current state of mind, would ever feel your nearness. Whisper to them with the divinely gentle and comforting words that only you can provide.

If it not be praying contrary to your will, we pray that you would spare them additional pain, and lay your healing hand upon their broken little bodies. But if your will is to end their earthly suffering by taking them home to glory, we thank you for the knowledge that they will rest in the shadow of your loving hand until they are once again united with their loving families.

All of this we bring to you in the name of Him who died that we too might know life eternal.

Amen.


10/15/2006

The Media Invade (Literally) Amish Country


The woman wore a brown dress and carried an apple crisp. The first day of the funerals, Oct. 5, she walked along Route 896 near Georgetown when she came to a roadblock manned by Witmer Fire Co. volunteers, running security for the event.

I’m Amish, she told them. Just dropping off apple crisp, on the way to the funerals of the girls killed by Charles Carl Roberts IV Oct. 2.

Firefighters smelled something fishy, and it wasn’t the dessert. They asked her for identification; she had none. They grilled her some more, and finally got it out of her: Media. Trying to sneak in.

It was, said one Witmer Fire Co. volunteer, par for the very strange course.

Roberts barricading himself inside the since-demolished West Nickel Mines schoolhouse and shooting 10 young Amish girls ignited a media frenzy. It wasn’t the first time; late last year, CNN, Fox News and other outlets descended on Lancaster County after David Ludwig killed the parents of his 14-year-old girlfriend; then, in April, the satellite trucks and roving reporters were back, after Jesse Dee Wise Jr. murdered six members of his family in Leola.

Both times, the storyline was Murder in Amish Country. This time, though, those murdered were Amish; and two cultures collided head-on.

On one hand were the Plain people, unassuming, grieving, wishing only to be left alone. On the other, cameramen, photographers, reporters, many of them from metropolitan areas, completely out of their element in the heart of rural Lancaster County, unsure about the Amish and their strange-seeming customs.

And so the same ploys that might be used to get the scoop on Lindsey Lohan or Brad Pitt were used, instead, in Nickel Mines.

In addition to the woman with the apple crisp, another woman, decked out in a flowered pink dress and driving a car with Idaho plates, tried to sneak by security, claiming to be Amish.

There were bicyclists in full regalia — Spandex shirts and shorts, helmeted, with backpacks full of camera equipment. Reporters leapt in front of buggies and “Amish taxis,’’ demanding that Plain folks assent to having their pictures taken. Traipsing through residents’ yards, some offered security personnel hundreds of dollars to be permitted to get through.

Said the Witmer Fire Co. member, who asked not to be identified because state police asked those doing security to keep quiet, “It gave a whole new meaning to ‘media frenzy.’ ’’

“Media?’ asked an Amishman in the parking lot of Nickel Mines Auction Thursday afternoon. “I’m going to have to ask you to get off the property.’’

Polite. Firm. But maybe a little fed-up, too.

In the wake of the shootings, the parking lot behind Nickel Mines Auction became one of the media capitals of the United States. Several network- and cable-news shows originated from the parking lot. Fox News’ Greta van Susteren was on hand, as was Charles Gibson of ABC News. NBC’s “Today Show” did a segment live from Nickel Mines, and the international media was on hand as well, including BBC News.

This past Thursday afternoon, the frenzy was at last petering out. The schoolhouse had been razed before the sun had risen, and by noon the last TV trucks in the rutted parking lot behind the auction, at White Oak and Mine roads, were getting ready to pull out.

Along White Oak Road, signs warning “No parking or standing’’ were still up. A stylishly dressed woman holding a WJZ (Baltimore) Channel 13 microphone shot a segment at the crossroads, her heels stumbling on the uneven pavement, her hair blown by the passing trucks. Tourists, too, trickled by; elderly couples with Virginia plates, Arizona plates, slowly drove the roads, necks craned, trying to see where it all happened.

“It’s a good thing they tore [the schoolhouse] down,’’ said Drema Zook, a volunteer with Christiana Fire Co. “Otherwise, this would have become a major tourist attraction.’’

Christiana Fire Co. helped out with security the day Naomi Rose Ebersole, 7, Marian Fisher, 13, Mary Liz Miller, 8, and her sister Lena Miller, 7, were buried. All roads leading into Nickel Mines were blocked, and the media was herded into the parking lot of Georgetown United Methodist Church, a few miles away. A five-mile no-fly zone was established in the sky above Nickel Mines to keep media helicopters at bay. State Police were in charge of the operation; by virtually all counts, they did an efficient, splendid job.

But, said Zook, it was tough keeping up with enterprising media types intent upon a scoop.

“One guy with Canadian [license] plates drove up, said he was Amish, and we waved him through,’’ she said. “Afterward, I thought, ‘That’s the strangest-looking Amish I ever saw.’ ’’

There were a lot of strange-looking “Amish’’ on hand.

Emergency responders throughout the county got a laugh about the “Amish’’ woman dressed all in pink, but there were other ruses as well. The Witmer volunteer told of one person driving up in a car with Delaware tags, claiming to have been summoned to work by a local bank. To verify the story, the bank was called, but no one answered. It was closed because of the shootings.

One actual Amish woman approached volunteers very upset about someone with a TV camera jumping out in front of the van in which she was riding; the cameraman was nearly run down.

And the firefighter told of one photographer, speaking English with a heavy German accent, who set up his camera on Route 896 near Georgetown United Methodist Church, the only spot where photos were permitted. Volunteers were setting out orange cones, and the firefighter happened to drop one near the photographer’s camera, which was perched low to the ground, at horse level.

The photographer kicked the cone out of the way, said the firefighter, so the firefighter returned to his truck, got out a 4-foot tall cone, and put it right in front of his camera lens.

The photographer fumed. State police looked on in amusement. Big bucks were offered for access. “I had reporters come up to me and say ‘I’ll give you $500; just get me across the line,’ ’’ said the firefighter. One local Amishman told of residents, whose homes afforded a clear view of the Georgetown cemetery where the girls were buried. being offered up to $5,000 if they would permit cameramen to set up in their yards.

“It was national news, of course,’’ the Amishman said. “But people really got into our souls these last few days.’’ And in part, said the firefighter, that might have been simply because, for the assembled media, the Amish might as well have been from Mars.

“We had news reporters tell us, ‘We’re out of our league; we don’t know anything about the Amish,’ ’’ he said. It showed when one photographer yelled at three Amishmen to turn around so he could take their picture. Not everyone took a dim view of the ink-stained or camera-toting wretches. The Bullfrog Inn in Georgetown is one of the few places in the area to get a bite to eat or a drink. Dave Lam, one of the owners, said it was jammed with media types, and he found most of them to be perfectly polite. “I think the people in the village felt very protective of the Amish, that [after the shootings] the Amish didn’t really know what was about to hit them,’’ he said. “It was a real clash of cultures.’’

Lam, who fielded calls from the Los Angeles Times and People Magazine wondering what the town was like and whether he knew any of the victims, said that the media was just doing its job, as distasteful as that might have seemed to those who would have rather been left alone. Even the Witmer firefighter agreed, to a point.

“A lot of these [media] people were just camping out,’’ he said. “It’s not as if there’s a Days Inn or a McDonald’s anywhere around.

“You’ve got to admire their tenacity.’’

[joanie's editorial comment: I could stomach all but the last sentence.]

By Gil Smart
Lancaster Sunday News, 14 October, 2006

Still Think Radical Islamists Are the Minority?
Think Again.


Please watch this interview of Walid Shoebat, Zak Anani, and Ibrahim Abdullah. Shoebat is a former Palestinian terrorist; all three of these men have stood back and taken an objective look at the religion and culture of Islam they were raised in and have seen its evil. Watch the entire video. You don't get the full message until the end.

Depending on the country, Arab media polls and these men say that 60% to 75% of the entire Muslim population agree with the concept of Jihad and the destruction of all Jews and Christians.

And it's not a secret. They tell us constantly, yet we in the West stand here like we didn't hear it. Is the idea just too absurd to believe? Do we think it can't happen? Granted, most Muslims are not running around with RPGs or bomb vests, but the majority support those who do and they pour money into organizations that fund and train the more energetic and aggressive ones.

We in the West hold the religious, social, and career parts of our lives separately. Muslims do not. Islam controls all aspects of their lives and it teaches hate above all else. Islam is their primary allegiance above nationality and all else.

Islam is in direct opposition and in conflict with the old and new testaments of the Bible. In the Muslim mind, if the Bible is true, then Islam is a false religion and that is the root of the hate and fear. For Islam to be the true religion it must prevail and destroy Judaism and Christianity. You don't have to be a practicing Jew or Christian to be a target of Islam.

Foreign policy and support of Israel having nothing to do with it. There is nothing you can do to appease them short of converting to Islam and even that may not save you if you choose the wrong sect and are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

THE JUSTIFICATION FOR COMPULSION

The Muslim theologians had to justify this compulsion. Here is the reason given by a famous scholar:

"No compulsion" is a condemnation of compelling people to do evil generally, but compelling people in the truth is a religious duty. Does the infidel get killed for any thing except on the basis of his religion? The Prophet said: I have been ordered to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah. This Hadith is taken from the words of Allah 'Fight them on until there is no more tumult and religion becomes that of Allah (Q. 2:193).

If some one asks how can people be compelled in the truth when the mere fact of compelling indicates a the violation of the will of the one compelled? The first answer is that Allah sent Mohammad calling people to Him, showing the way to the truth, enduring much harm ... until the evidence of Allah's truth became manifest ... and His apostle became strong, He ordered him to call people by the sword ... hence there is no more an excuse after being warned. The second answer is that people first are taken and compelled, but when Islam becomes prevalent ... and they mix and make friends ... their faith strengthens and finally becomes sincere.”

According to the above :

1. Muslims believe that they have the right to compel people to accept Islam because it is the truth.

2. Muslims believe that Mohammad was given a divine command to fight against people, not in self defence or for economical or political reasons, but because people do not worship the one Mohammad worshipped.

3. The above scholar had no value for the human free will. To him, forcing Islam on people is justified if later on they will become Muslims. It is not an exaggeration then to say that the sword is Allah's final word.

by Seaspook
(contributing team member of Allegiance and Duty Betrayed)

10/12/2006

Commuting Chimpanzees


Last evening I watched an interesting "scientific" programme on BBC2. It was called "Chimps are People too". Its presenter, Danny Wallace, set out to show that, as humans and chimps share 99.4 % of their genetic make up, they are too close to treat differently -- hence Chimps are people too?!

For the record, I disagree. However it was amusing to see the reactions of some "eminent" scientists as he lobbied for this view at a scientific reception. Some entered into philosophical debate while a few fundamentalist type scientists reacted in horror to this attack on "classification" and scientific principles.

There were some more sympathetic scientists and the majority of the film was spent with them. He also visited some trained chimps near Hollywood where there were some dark allegations of cruelty in the training methods.

Most interesting was a near cousin of the chimps, the bonobos, which were looked after by a female scientist near Atlanta Georgia. The most able of these were able to cook themselves a pot noodle using a saucepan and gas burners. They had also been trained to use a special computer so they could actually have a short "conversation" with Danny Wallace using this.

These are clearly very intelligent animals, but not humans. Genetically they are only 0.6% different from us but that is an important 0.6%. One geneticist said the disappearance of a particular gene had allowed the human skull to expand until its brain was 3 times bigger than a chimp. Chimps have some form of language but it is not as rich as ours.

However the ultimate evidence against human status seemed to be their attitude toward each other. While they were able to cooperate for mutual benefit and in an experiment one chimp unlocked another chimp to help with a rope that pulled in bananas, the same chimp did not release the other chimp when he could get the bananas independently.

In short, Chimps are not human because they have no moral concern for the welfare of fellow chimps (apart from their own offspring). A chimp will quite happily eat 2 bananas in full view of another chimp that it could unlock and share with. Although appealing in many ways, Chimps are ultimately selfish and cooperate only when there is an obvious gain from doing so. Chimps are not kind and do not practise altruism.

I was happy with this conclusion until I got to the train this morning. Then I witnessed the usual free-for-all as the doors opened and people rushed for seats. Suddenly I realised the programme could have had the wrong approach. While it said "Chimps are People too", a short commute in London would raise the possibility "People are Chimps too"?!

These chimps read newspapers and listen to I-pods but they are grimly happy to sit while others stand. They push each other out of the way to get out of the train. Occasionally an alpha male cries out in anger when someone invades his space too much. These chimps, like all chimps, can cope with automatic ticket barriers, but as commuting chimps no one is bothered about the others and hardly anyone looks at or speaks to each other.

Railway worker chimps man (or "chimp"?) the barriers at the station and grunt as they let someone whose ticket doesn't work through the barrier. London can make us all chimps sometimes but then someone falls over and a few of us rediscover our humanity as we try and help. In a way our daily commutes are little more than learned exercises that could easily be done by Chimpanzees. Maybe some of our jobs could be performed by Chimps too? (I've certainly met a couple working as real estate agents before!)

London, like most big cities, can be hard and uncaring sometimes. We lose something of our humanity and forget about others. To the visitor it can be daunting. I remember how a New Zealand colleague in my previous job said how, on his first visit to London, it took him 15 minutes to get out of Oxford Circus underground station because he had never moved in such a crowded confined space before. The local chimps were obviously oblivious to the visitor's plight and kept on moving as a fast flowing torrent, with the newcomer sticking close to the walls of the station.

Now I certainly believe that none of us are really chimps even if sometimes we act like it. However, the next time you commute, try to remember that you are 0.6% different from a chimpanzee. And it's rude not to share your bananas with hungry neighbours!

by Luis Donatella

(contributing team member of Allegiance and Duty Betrayed)

(Mr. Donatella, weblog London Calling, lives in the suburbs of London)

10/08/2006

The Seven-Hundred-Mile-Fence Hoax

~ or ~

'How I Stopped Caring About Liberty and Sovereignty and Learned to Love Being Invaded by Arrogant Parasites and Maniacal Terrorists'
__________________

'Cómo Paré al Tener interés en la Libertad y la Soberanía y Aprendí a Adorar Siendo Invadido por Parásitos Arrogantes y Terroristas Maníacos'
__________________



__________________


This is what we have (wouldn't want to risk any Mexican illegals/Islamic terrorists suffering anything more painful than a paper cut as they saunter across our 'well-fortified' border, don'tcha know?)



This is what we want (considering our government's allegiance to the lure of cheap labor, special interest votes, and a 'North American Union,' label it a naïve pipe dream ... at best)

A few comments have been made here today, on older threads, regarding our government's (in)action to close our southern border.

John Cooper commented (See July Archives here for the July 8th column entitled Rhetoric and Misplaced Trust):

'As if conservatives aren't demoralized enough, now we discover that in a midnight deal before adjourning, they made a 'deal' regarding the security fence legislation that will probably insure it never gets built (even if Bush actually signs the bill).'

… and then he cited excerpts from a powerlineblog.com post as follows:

...shortly before recessing late Friday, the House and Senate gave the Bush administration leeway to distribute the money to a combination of projects -- not just the physical barrier along the southern border. The funds may also be spent on on roads, technology and ‘tactical infrastructure’ to support the Department of Homeland Security's preferred option of a ‘virtual fence.’

… What's more, in a late-night concession to win over wavering Republicans, GOP congressional leaders pledged in writing that Native American tribes, members of Congress, governors and local leaders would get a say in "the exact placement" of any structure, and that Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff would have the flexibility to use alternatives ‘when fencing is ineffective or impractical.


Poster ‘Sandra’ alerted us to a telling article by Stephen Dinan in Saturday’s Washington Times, excerpts from which read:

… President Bush yesterday said immigration reform requires granting citizenship to current illegal aliens …

… But in the meantime, Mr. Bush will soon sign a bill authorizing 700 miles of fence to be built along the U.S.-Mexico border …

… Mexican officials sent a diplomatic protest to the Bush administration this week and have said they doubt the fence will ever be built. A report in The Washington Post yesterday seemed to concur, stating that the wording of the fence and spending measures gives the Bush administration so much leeway that it is unlikely the 700 miles will be completed …

… He [Bush] … urged that the immigration debate not turn nasty.
’We are a land of immigrants, and as we debate immigration policy, we must always keep that important fact in mind,’ Mr. Bush said.


Below are excerpts from an essay (Rhetoric and Misplaced Trust) posted here back in July that I believe are pertinent to the current debate, followed by a few additional observations:
______________________________

The illegal immigration crisis represents what I see as what may be the most pivotal watershed event in the history of our republic (the Civil War included).

While we are fighting the ‘war on terror,’ presumably in order to preserve the lives and liberties of the American people and the sovereignty of our republic, we are simultaneously condoning the existence of twelve million parasitic lawbreakers within our borders, and encouraging the continued influx of more criminals who refuse to respect (what’s left of) our rule of law, who are feeding ever more voraciously at the entitlement-oriented trough (to the point that law abiding, taxpaying Americans are often suffering from severe, permanent and undeserved hardship), many of whom actively and openly intend to affect social, political and economic upheaval that will render our Founders’ vision virtually unrecognizable, and who represent a metastatic cancer that threatens to bring to its knees the most moral, prosperous, liberty-oriented civilization in the history of mankind.

And, lest anyone believe that there will be time and opportunity to ‘try again,’ just take a look at the state of the world, where the genuine power and money reside … and consider the momentum that has accrued to wickedness and evil as a result of the misuse of modern technology and the consistent enabling, by leaders who claim to revere and defend liberty, of madmen bent on subjugation and the violent imposition of their beliefs on the rest of humanity.

The majority of our ‘leaders’ in Washington, especially within the administration and in the senate, are either turning a blind eye to, or condoning – even encouraging – the invasion. Our president busies himself with a myriad of other issues and ‘dangers’, and, when it appears that the citizenry is becoming restless as a result of either odious personal contact with the invaders, or rumors of such occurring to their fellow countrymen, he issues calculated, half-hearted statements of concern, accompanied by promises to take action to halt the invasion. Two months ago he issued a water-pistol-to-fight-a-forest-fire assurance that he would take steps to call up six thousand National Guard troops to the border.

In two months time, just over four hundred troops are in place. Either the president’s promise was political window-dressing, or his power to convince governors of the essential lethality of an open border ranks close to impotent. Neither option portends well for our republic’s future.

Our president confers with, and exhibits unfaltering respect for, the political and military leaders of Mexico – the same leaders who continue to encourage the mass illegal northern exodus from their country to ours, and whose actions encourage rampant lawlessness within our borders, while putting in mortal danger those whose calling it is to secure them.

Those of us who see the above actions as a segment of a larger picture that represents betrayal of the most ugly sort do not intend to remain silent. Our lives, liberties, and the sovereignty of our republic are at stake. Those who refuse to look beyond rhetoric, and who have no knowledge of the consequences of misplaced trust, might do well to take a few steps back, silence the ‘party unity at all costs’ mantra, and consider how the survival of the American republic will be affected by incessant compromise – granting credence and privilege to those who have no respect for our Founders or the original blueprint of this republic, and to whom the phrase ‘shining city on a hill’ represents a place whose prosperity was forged through two-plus centuries of other men’s blood and sweat … the benefits of which the arrogant and lawless invaders intend (they demand) to enjoy without virtue, respect, responsibility, or sacrifice.

______________________________

All of the major news outlets (‘fair and balanced’ FoxNews included) have been touting congress’ and the president's vision and bipartisan success in passing this fence bill ... but none of the major news outlets (‘fair and balanced’ FoxNews included) have been able to bring themselves to mention the you-could-drive-a-Mack-truck-through-‘em codicils that render the bill virtually toothless.

Think about the fact that our president made the following remarks in a campaign speech in Miami in August, 2000:

'We are now one of the largest Spanish-speaking nations in the world. We're a major source of Latin music, journalism and culture.

Just go to Miami, or San Antonio, Los Angeles, Chicago or West New York, New Jersey ... and close your eyes and listen. You could just as easily be in Santo Domingo or Santiago, or San Miguel de Allende.

For years our nation has debated this change -- some have praised it and others have resented it. By nominating me, my party has made a choice to welcome the new America.
'

Now reflect on the fact that the Department of Homeland Security (pardon my cough) is composed of bureaucrats all of whom were appointed by a president who believes that ‘the immigration debate must not turn nasty’ and that we must always ‘keep in mind that we are a land of immigrants.’

Now add to the mix the fact that Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security, is granted incredible flexibility in this new bill as regards how the appropriated funds may be spent on non-fence initiatives.

Add to that the fact that those in decision-making positions in Homeland Security are on record as strongly favoring a ‘virtual fence’ as opposed to a physical one.

Now connect the related dots and ask yourself how likely it is that there will be a seven-hundred mile fence in existence on our southern border in the foreseeable future.

Our leadership in Washington, almost to a man, has betrayed its avowed allegiance and duty to this republic, and to our Constitution, which was once considered the most perfect, divinely-inspired blueprint in the history of mankind for the governance of a free society.

If you still believe in the sincerity of the congress and the president to seal off the border with Mexico, I’ll lay you 20:1 odds against it and look forward to retiring a wealthy woman.

Again (see ‘See You in November’ post below), I will not be posting much over the next few weeks. I hope that you all will continue to offer your valuable insights here in the interim.

For now …

~ joanie

10/06/2006

The Simple Dignity and Humbling
Forgiveness of the Amish People


Bill Coleman Photography

Whoever hears of the story of the school room massacre of 5 Amish girls, is surely not only struck by the tragedy but also by the forgiveness of the Amish people which seems simply astounding.

I know little about the Amish and the bit I do mainly comes from the film "Witness" staring Harrison Ford. In that film a young Amish boy witnesses a brutal murder and is hunted by those behind the murder. Harrison Ford's character, a policeman, knows too much about the murky circumstances and after helping the boy to safety is forced to seek sanctuary with the Amish.

The Amish come across in the film as a strong and stoical people but also profoundly good. They reject the modern world and live without cars and electricity. There is nothing threatening about this rejection. It is a choice and their lives do not suffer as the result of such decisions. They simply want to live away from the modern influences of the world, in accordance to their beliefs.

Yet they accept the world around them and do not seek to spread their lifestyle. They are no Christian taleban seeking to impose on others. Above all they want nothing more than to be left alone to get on with their lives.

It is so sad, therefore, that a maniac sought to show them the very worst side of the modern world. Yet the compassion of the Amish to the wife and family of the killer shows the true nature of these people.

They believe that it is not their place to judge others- judgement can come only from God. "Judge not for ye shall be judged."

The Amish are an inspiration even if their morality and forgiveness sets a standard few of us in the wider world could meet. They live in a world without cars, electricity and few other modern conveniences. Yet their sense of community and strength of spirit shows a richness rarely found elsewhere.In a sense they are the ultimate environmentalists, leaving hardly any "carbon footprint" in their natural lives. However their education is strong- the class that were massacred were learning German, the language of their forefathers. Compare that to the rest of the US and the Anglo-Saxon world that is mainly linguistically illiterate.

The Amish have known persecution in their history. Now their separateness and distinctive dress make them an object of curiosity in the modern world.

Yes in this great metropolis of London amid the bustle and chaos of urban life, where only this week railway ticket collectors attempted to throttle a fare-evading passenger, I believe we could all benefit from being a little closer to the lifestyle, values and beliefs of those Amish people in rural Pennsylvania. Maybe their separateness and decision to stay off the roller-coaster of modern life gives them a sense of balance and perspective that we are missing. They are unaffected by the soap opera of politics and celebrity and adhere to timeless values. Above all they are true to their beliefs. I find them a humbling inspiration.

God bless the Amish people.

by Luis Donatella

(contributed to Allegiance and Duty Betrayed)

(Mr. Donatella, weblog London Calling, lives in the suburbs of London)

10/02/2006

Heartbreak in Lancaster County

No innocent person should die at the hands of another. But somehow the tragedy of innocent death is magnified when the victim is a child. And when that child is a small Amish girl who is murdered execution style in her little one-room schoolhouse, the mind somehow cannot wrap itself around the idea that such depravity exists.


Where in the ranks of humanity does one come across a man who could bind such a young child, force her to stand in front of a blackboard in her classroom, point the muzzle of a gun at hear head, and shoot her dead?

The Amish are not a caricature of a people. They are a people who, while the rest of us have grown soft and complacent, continue to embody all of those time-honored character traits that the American pioneers mustered from within in order to build the most decent, moral, prosperous civilization in the history of mankind.

The Amish are God-fearing, honest, simple, rugged, hard-working, courageous people who are unyielding in their religious and lifestyle beliefs, and who are not subject to the winds of fleeting trends or political correctness.

They have not fallen prey to the superficial, materialistic mindset that so often permeates so much of modern American thought. The love of God, devotion to family, and the belief that hard work is its own reward, are, and always will be, the cornerstone of Amish culture.

They are not a covetous people, nor are they a violent people. They believe that, within the will of God, one reaps what one sows. So today’s tragedy in southern Lancaster County will be interpreted as God’s will. And the Amish know that we humans do not always comprehend the reasons behind such seemingly senseless tragedies. But they will turn to the Lord for answers, and for the strength and comfort that only He can provide them now.

Those newscasters that I have heard today speaking about the need for more stringent school security measures, and the fact that counsellors and adivsors will be on hand for the victims and their families, are all speaking from their own vantage point … a shallow perspective that is entirely foreign to Amish culture.

As heartbreaking as today’s murders are, the Amish of Bart Township will not now begin planning how better to physically secure their little schoolhouses. Nor will they be seeking out ‘professional help’ in order to make their grief bearable. Instead, their needs for security, solace and a listening ear will be met within their own small community, and as they communally turn to the Lord as their infallible source of wisdom, comfort and strength.

We all need to remember in prayer the families of the victims and survivors of today’s tragedy, as well as the family of the man who caused this unspeakable heartbreak. All are innocents whose lives will never be the same, and all are in need of our prayers.

Addendum, 4 October, 2006:


Because the Amish consider the creation of personal images or photographs by themselves to be hochmut (proud), no photographs are in existence of the five little girls who have died. But these are their names and ages. I hope that many of us will offer up a special prayer for them, as well as the young girls who are still fighting for their lives in area hospitals, and their grieving families, over the next few days and weeks:
~ Lena Miller ~


~ Mary Liz Miller ~


Mary Liz Miller, 8, and Lena Z. Miller, 7, daughters
of Christ and Rachel Zook Miller, of 5070 White Oak
Road, Paradise, passed away on Tuesday morning from
injuries sustained from the incident in Nickel Mines Monday.

Mary passed away at Christiana Hospital, Delaware, and
Lena passed away at Hershey Medical Center. Both girls
were born in Paradise and attended the Old Order Amish Church.

Surviving besides their parents are one sister: Susan Miller
and two brothers: Lester and Abram Miller, all at home;
maternal grandparents: Elmer and Mary Petersheim Zook of
Drumore; and paternal grandparents: Enos and Rebecca Fisher
Miller of Paradise.

Funeral service will take place on Thursday, October 5th at
1 p.m. Standard Time from their late home, 5070 White Oak
Road, Paradise. Friends may call at the home from the time
of this notice until time of service. Interment will be in
the Bart Amish Cemetery.

~ Naomi Rose Ebersol ~


Naomi Rose Ebersol, 7 year old daughter of Amos and
Katie Ann Fisher Ebersol, of 1921 Mine Rd., Paradise,
died Monday, October 2, 2006.

Naomi was a 2nd grade student at West Nickel Mine
Parochial School, Paradise and attended the Old Order
Amish Church.

Surviving in addition to her parents are: five brothers,
Marcus, Ervin, James, Amos Jr., and Marvin Ebersol all
at home; paternal grandparents, Isaiah and Malinda King
Ebersol of Leola; and maternal grandparents, Levi and
Naomi Beiler Fisher of Bird-in-Hand.

Funeral services will be held at the late home on Thursday
at 8:00 a.m. (EST). Interment in Bart Cemetery, Georgetown.
Friends may call at the late home from the time of this
notice until the time of the service.

~ Anna Mae Stoltzfus ~


Anna Mae Stoltzfus, 12 year old daughter of Christ K.
and Lizzie L. Allgyer Stoltzfus, of 1931 Mine Rd., Paradise,
died Monday October 2, 2006.

Anna Mae was a 7th grader at West Nickel Mine Parochial
School, Paradise and attended the Old Order Amish Church.

Surviving in addition to her parents are: six brothers,
Christ Jr., Samuel, Paul, Leon, John, and Steven Stoltzfus
all at home; one sister, Sarah Ann Stoltzfus at home;
paternal grandparents, Samuel and Lydia Stoltzfus of
Quarryville; and maternal grandparents, John and Sarah
Allgyer of Coatesville.

Funeral services will be held at the Ivan Petersheim
residence, Mine Rd., Paradise, on Friday at 9:00 a.m.
(EST). Interment in Bart Cemetery, Georgetown. Friends
may call at the late home from the time of this notice
until the time of the service.

~ Marian Fisher ~


Marian S. Fisher, 13 year old daughter of John S.
and Linda Stoltzfus Fisher, of 1977 Mine Rd., Paradise,
died Monday, October 2, 2006.

Marian was an 8th grader at West Nickel Mine Parochial
School, Paradise and attended the Old Order Amish Church.

Surviving in addition to her parents are: four brothers,
Christ, Elmer, Reuben, and Daniel Fisher all at home; two
sisters, Barbara and Emma Fisher both at home; paternal
grandparents, Reuben B. and Emma Stoltzfus Fisher of
Paradise; maternal grandparents, Christ and Katie Stoltzfus
Stoltzfus of Leola; paternal great-grandmother, Lizzie S.
Fisher of Paradise; and maternal great-grandparents,
Jonas and Annie Stoltzfus of Honey Brook.

Funeral services will be held at the late home on
Thursday 12:00 p.m. (EST). Interment in Bart Cemetery,
Georgetown. Friends may call at the late home from the
time of this notice until the time of the service.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The families of all of the deceased have requested that flowers be omitted. Contributions for all victims may be sent to Nickel Mine School Victims Fund, c/o Hometown Heritage Bank, P.O. Box 337, Strasburg, PA 17579.



An Amish man drives a wagon as others walk along a road in Nickel Mines this morning.


Geese fly and a horse grazes outside yellow police tape behind the little one-room schoolhouse in Bart Township, Nickel Mines, PA this morning.


An Amish man drives a bench wagon, to be used in a funeral, along Mines Road in Nickel Mines.

Addendum, 5 October, 2006:



The faces of children on the way to the funerals of their friends.





Images of travel to the funerals.

Perhaps the moist vivid example of the goodness and grace of the Amish people is evidenced by the fact that the small handful of grieving parents who have issued a statement have requested prayers, not only for their families, but for the eternal soul of Charles Roberts. Their sense of love and forgiveness extends even to him. I can think of no more profound example of Christian love.


Addendum, 8 October, 2006:

Several of you have asked me to keep you updated on events in Lancaster County that might not be being made public in national news reports.

First of all, thank you so much for your interest in the aftermath of Monday’s tragedy. The outpouring of interest and concern that I (simply as a resident of Lancaster County, and not even directly involved in the tragedy) have received has been so uplifting.

So often, when a tragedy occurs within a community, the usual ‘I will be praying for the victims’ response is engendered. I have often wondered how many people who voice such general concern truly do set aside a few minutes of their day to acutally pray for the people who are personally involved in the tragedy. I suspect that the assurance ‘I will be praying’ is voiced more often than it is actually fulfilled.

But the tragedy at the Nickel Mines schoolhouse appears to have evoked an entirely different, much more deeply personal, response. As I said before, I have only been involved in this tragedy by the fact that I live within twenty-five miles of the little schoolhouse. I know many Amish families, but none of them are related to the victims of this week’s tragedy. Yet I have received countless inquiries from friends and acquaintances throughout the country, genuinely wanting to know how our area … and the Amish community in particular … is coping with the tragedy. And the concern is not a voyeuristic one. The concern is genuine and heartfelt, with many requests as to how to best send financial help to the victims and their families … and sincere assurances that heartfelt prayers are being offered in their behalf.

And I believe that the prayers of millions of believers around the world have represented the single most powerful reason that the uplift and affirmation that has occurred in the aftermath of the tragedy has somehow overshadowed the tragedy itself.

Islamic fascists would do well to take note of the fact that a humble, forgiving, Christ-centered response to tragedy has unspoken, yet powerful and lasting, spiritual repercussions on all who are affected by, and witness to, that response.

I have posted several times on the tragedy over the past six days. I want to post some final summarized thoughts here, so forgive any repetition:

In the six days that have elapsed since last Monday’s tragic shootings, Lancaster County has experienced an awakening of sorts. Lancaster Countians feel strangely somehow violated – as if the more often urban-centered crime and depravity has dared to make its way into our peaceful rural community. In this way, our neighborhoods have found themselves awakened to a dangerous pride-related fault. We have been unintentionally operating under the mistaken and prideful assumption that we are somehow immune to, and shielded from (sitting somehow above), the violence and dangers that have always been much more a part of urban, metropolitan life.

That prideful perception was shattered this week. Even if there were no other ‘silver lining’ in this week’s cloud, this awakening will, in hindsight, prove to be a hugely beneficial one. It has knocked us off of our self-created pedestal. That is not to say that our rural Pennsylvania neighborhoods should become paranoid or cynical … or that we should barricade ourselves from, or fortify ourselves against intrusion from, the 'outside world'. Not at all. It has simply taught us that we ought not consider ourselves somehow immune to the dangers that lurk (Pride brings destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall).

A few recent observations that I’m not sure may have been widely reported outside of our local area (again, apologies for any repetition):

Rosanna King, a six-year-old victim of Monday’s shootings, had been hospitalized at Hershey Medical Center since Monday morning. She had been non-responsive since being shot, and it was determined that her injuries were going to prove fatal, so her family chose to remove her from life support on Wednesday. They brought her home so that she might spend her final hours or days with her family, and amid familiar surroundings.

Shortly after being brought home, with family members always by her side, she showed some recognition of several of them, and began squeezing the hands of some of them, in response to their attempts at gentle conversation.

The family saw this response as a sign that she should continue to receive medical attention, unless and until it appears that man’s efforts to keep Rosanna alive are over-riding the Lord’s intentions to take her to her heavenly home, and she has been returned to Hershey Medical Center.

Fund-raising activities have abounded throughout Lancaster County this past week. Dozens, if not hundrends, of chicken barbecues, clambakes, auctions, car washes, etc. have been scheduled in order to raise money for the victims and their families. And virtually all of these events have been attended in overwhelming numbers, with strong support (in terms of donating supplies and manpower) from area businesses.

In one such event – a chicken barbecue to be held in Paradise – the event organizer had planned to barbecue 500 chickens. But the demand has been so large that he has had to increase that number to 3,000. Local businesses have contributed supplies (paper plates, plastic knives and spoons, charcoal, etc.), desserts, tables, chairs, etc. It is estimated that this single event could result in a $20,000 contribution to the Nickel Mines fund. The Amish community has requested that one-quarter of the proceeds be given to the wife and children of Charles Roberts.

On Monday morning, Little Marian Fisher asked her executioner to ‘Kill me first!’ because she believed that such a request might somehow allow her smaller classmates to escape. A thirteen-year-old Amish girl, knowing that she had only moments to live, exhibited as much genuine heroism and selflessness as any ‘hero’ we have come to adulate and admire. May we all learn, and seek inspiration, from the Christian example of this humble young girl who was willing to be martyred for her smaller classmates.

The West Nickel Mines School has been boarded up, is scheduled for eventual demolition, and a new school will be built elsewhere in the township.
The following is a letter to the editor that appeared in our local Sunday newspaper this morning:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

As a member of the Amish community, I wish to say thank you for the overwhelming support so many people have shown to us over this week.

While the events in Nickel Mines this past week have been tragic, the generous response of the larger community and the world has been overwhelming. Our perceptions of ‘worldly’ and ‘outsiders’ have been challenged and changed. It has been reaffirmed to us that there is much good in the rest of the world. It is reassuring that, in spite of our different identities, we can still reach out to each other as human brothers and sisters with the same hopes, fears, desires and feelings in difficult times.

I know I speak for the rest of the Amish community when I say that we wish to show our appreciation and express our gratitude for all of the bountiful support and prayers we have received. Thanks to all the police officials and emergency teams for their efforts and bravery. And thanks to everyone for their their acts of kindness, prayers and goodwill.

We also wish to extend our condolences and prayers to the Roberts and Welk families. I wish yet to say that with God all things are possible and that in heaven the lion and the lamb shall lie down together.

Benuel S. Riehl, Narvon


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

We all need to continue to pray that those five little girls who remain hospitalized will either recover and return to their families, or will be taken home to their Heavenly Father without experiencing additional pain and suffering.

Again, many thanks for your expressions of support and concern. The Amish community has been incredibly uplifted by such kindness.

Addendum, 11 October, 2006:

Tomorrow morning (10/12) the West Nickel Mines School is scheduled to be demolished. The demolition will be performed by private contractors, will begin before dawn, is expected to take about four hours, and the remnants of the building will be hauled to a nearby landfill. The students who survived or escaped the schoolhouse shootings will be homeschooled for the remainder of this school year, while a new school is constructed on another site.

Philadelphia’s Children’s Hospital, where three of the injured little girls are being treated, has announced that it will waive their families’ mounting medical costs. Lancaster General Hospital, Christiana Health Care Center, and the Reading Hospital, all of which at some point have played a role in the girls’ care, have also agreed to absorb the costs of their medical treatment.

According to family friends, three of the girls, ages eight, ten and twelve are being treated at Children’s Hospital -- with two in critical condition and one listed as serious. Two others, ages six and thirteen, are at Hershey Medical Center, listed in grave and serious condition. Rosanna King, the six-year-old at Hershey, returned there after having shown small signs of improvement upon being taken home to die in familiar surroundings.

The Amish do not believe in insurance and have not requested donations of any kind. Neither do they receive government funds such as Medicaid or Medicare. However, their elders have agreed to accept donations by forming a nine-member Nickel Mines Accountability Committee to distribute and manage any donations. The elders have insisted that a specified portion (I believe it is one-quarter) of any money collected be given to Roberts’ widow and three small children.

The Mennonite Central Committee, the Mennonite Disaster Service, the Anabaptist Foundation, and the Nickel Mines School Victims Fund have collected about $300,000 to date. Capital Blue Cross has also added a $500,000 donation. Numerous banks, stores and churches are also accepting donations which will be used for medical, rehabilitation, long-term care, and transportation costs.

Mail has been pouring in from every state in the country and internet donations have arrived from as far as Japan and Israel.

~ joanie