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'The Case for Easter' Event Planned for April 6
((((((((He is a former Atheist))))))))
At an upcoming live simulcast event, three of the best teachers and speakers in apologetics and biblical hermeneutics, Lee Strobel, Mark Mittelberg, and Michael Licona, plan to give their answer to the question: Did Jesus of Nazareth really rise from the dead?
"The Case for Easter" event will be simulcast on the evening of Sunday, April 6, and hosted by churches all around North America, Strobel, who wrote the book by the same name, told The Christian Post via email recently.
"The resurrection, of course, is a linchpin of the Christian faith," Strobel writes. "As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:17: 'If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, you're still in your sins.'
"This event will present the latest historical evidence for this pivotal event that happened 2,000 years ago. It will be based on my book The Case for Easter, but it will go far beyond that by addressing today's most potent objections to the resurrection."
Strobel said he will be presenting a fresh talk that will set forth the affirmative evidence that Jesus rose from the dead. Then, he and Mittelberg will be interacting with Licona, a historian, on the current objections that are being offered by skeptics. "Dr. Licona is one of the leading resurrection scholars in the world and has debated atheist scholars on the topic," Strobel said. The three experts will also be taking questions from people watching at churches across the U.S.
Organizers point out that of the many world religions, only one claims that its founder returned from the grave. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the very cornerstone of Christianity.
"When you get down to the actual meaning of Easter," Mittelberg told CP, "you realize it comes with some big claims – ones that many people have never thought much about. Like: Did Jesus really die and come back from the dead three days later? How can we know? Is there really enough evidence for me to have a confident belief in this extraordinary claim? How can we be sure these weren't just fanciful stories from fanatical followers of Jesus?"
He adds, "What a lot of people don't realize is that this Easter claim is not just a story, it's an event of history that was seen and recorded by those who were there and who know what really happened – some of whom were skeptical themselves until confronted with the facts. And these eyewitnesses wrote down what they saw – as the apostle John puts it:
"'That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of life ... We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us.' - 1 John 1:1,3."
Strobel, who also wrote The Case for Christ and The Case for the Real Jesus, said that skeptics have heightened their objections to the resurrection in recent years, even making the claim that Christians stole the idea of the resurrection from earlier mythology.
"Muslims assert, based on the teachings of the Qur'an, that Jesus never died on the cross and therefore was never resurrected," Strobel noted. "Skeptics charge that miracles are impossible and therefore Jesus could not have risen from the dead. Some claim that the post-resurrection sightings of Jesus were hallucinations or a form of wish fulfillment by the disciples. The current movie 'Son of God' is prompting a lot of questions on why Christians are convinced Jesus really is divine."
When he was an atheist, Strobel said he began investigating Christianity, and recognized immediately that the key was whether Jesus really returned from the dead.
"Anyone can claim to be divine, as Jesus did in several direct and indirect ways, but Jesus has unique credibility if he backed that up by conquering the grave," he said. "In the end, the persuasive historical evidence for the resurrection was a major factor in me coming to faith in Christ. After all, the resurrection clearly can be investigated historically: was Jesus alive at Point A? Was he executed at Point B? And was he alive again at Point C?
"These are issues that can be checked out – and that's what we will be doing in this simulcast. This is essentially what I did when I was the legal editor of The Chicago Tribune. I checked out stories to see whether the evidence backed them up. The resurrection of Jesus, in a sense, was the biggest story I ever covered as a journalist!"
Strobel said that almost two million people have already read The Case for Easter. "This event offers a special opportunity for churches to present the historical evidence for the resurrection in a compelling and easy-to-understand format," he explained.
This simulcast gives churches a turn-key outreach event, say Strobel and Mittelberg. "They can promote it in their community by inviting Christians and spiritual seekers," Strobel said. "The question-and-answer feature will give the event an interactive feel."
The event will be live from Cherry Hills Community Church in Highlands Ranch, Colo. (www.chcc.org). Churches can sign up to participate at
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ALl Americans weep in distress today at the terrible news that President Obama has suffered another tragedy, possibly inspired by racism, in his troubled second term as our paternalistic government all-father.
ALl Americans weep in distress today at the terrible news that President Obama has suffered another tragedy, possibly inspired by racism, in his troubled second term as our paternalistic government all-father.
In what may take the title of “a day that will live in infamy” away from December 7th, 1941, President Obama learned today that his latest lavish vacation planned for this weekend may be cut short due to developments in Ukraine. The hard-working Vacationer-In-Chief was to make the great sacrifice of enjoying the warm beaches and extravagant golf courses of the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, a “private, five-star paradise on 2,500 lush, tropical acres.” All for your sake, you selfish taxpayer.
But alas, the egotistical, self-serving citizens of the Ukraine just won’t let our benevolent big government overseer get the much-needed and well-earned rest he needs:
“It is possible the president may return to the White House on Friday as events unfold in Ukraine,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Thursday, according to the Mail.
The excuse for this urgently needed break from the hurly-burly of the White House is that both Obamas are scheduled to speak about the value of education at Coral Reef High School in Miami.
Oh the humanity! When will the world stop oppressing our loving president and give him a moment to rest his brow?
He bravely took to Las Vegas the day after the Benghazi attack, and gravely declared “Democrat Happy Hour” minutes after telling the world that Russia had invaded Ukraine – when can he rest? He obviously didn’t get enough rest during his golf trip to California last month, or when the whole First Family vacationed to Hawaii at a cost of $4 million.
Neither did Michelle Obama get enough beauty sleep when she spent an extra week in Hawaii before attending the national party for her 50th birthday. The First Family of frugality spent as little as possible tax-payer money on their $11 million attendance at Nelson Mandela’s funeral, and when Michelle went to Ireland at a $5 million cost, or during the Martha’s Vineyard trip, or the “Tonight Show” trip.
Why won’t the world please just let Obama rest for a second?!
Exclusive: Matt Barber says 'libertine libertarianism has infected' conservative movement
The question is not, “Is America falling?” but, rather, “Why is America falling?”
I’m currently writing from CPAC 2014, the nation’s largest gathering of conservative political junkies. The event is being held at the beautiful Gaylord National hotel, adjacent the scenic shoreline of the historic Potomac River. We’re just a few short miles from Washington, D.C., which, at least for now, remains the modern-day equivalent of the Roman Empire.
I say “at least for now” because America finds itself skipping along the primrose path to Rome’s ill-fated finale. I needn’t trouble you with evidence to that effect as this tragic reality is hopelessly inescapable. It’s a self-evident truth. Unless our next generation of leaders – Gen-Y Millennials – can successfully turn things around, we’re up the Potomac without a paddle.
The day’s speeches have ended and conference-going night revelers are about. The indoor balcony to my 12th-floor room faces, as the hotel website accurately boasts, a “spectacular 18-story glass atrium.” My balcony door is open wide, and the bustling din from several parties across the cavernous vestibule soaks the room.
A chorus has begun. What is this? Have party-goers launched an impromptu rendering of “America the Beautiful”?
No, this is a chant, joined by scores – a hundred or more perhaps – of young conservative bacchanalians on multiple suite balconies and from the open air bar below. What is that they’re chanting? Is that, “Amer-i-ca! Amer-i-ca!”?
At first, it’s hard to tell. It’s a booming echo that reverberates throughout the entire hotel.
And then it becomes clear.
Alas, our next generation of conservative leaders are not chanting, “Amer-i-ca! Amer-i-ca!” They are, instead, chanting, “F**k O-bama! F**k O-bama!”
And I hang my head.
So, now, children at the hotel, parents, staff, tourists – both foreign and domestic – and every other conceivable variety of guest who happens to be staying at the Gaylord National hotel during CPAC 2014 has a skewed, and likely irreversible, first impression of America’s conservative movement.
Or is it skewed?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m certain that the vast majority of CPAC attendees, both young and old, are as appalled and embarrassed by these drunken yuck monkeys as am I.
But I think the very fact that these blazer-clad, Cro-Magnon morons could even imagine, for a moment, that it’s somehow cool to publicly chant “F**k Obama!” – or “F**k” anything for that matter – speaks to a much larger problem, not just within the conservative movement, but, more importantly, within our entire culture.
I’m never going to win a popularity contest. It’s not my goal to be liked. I’ll probably never be a “Fox News contributor” or even broadly recognized as a dutifully compliant cog within the greater, GOP-heavy “conservative” political wheel.
That’s because I say things like this: There is no political fix to America’s death spiral.
We are drowning in a turgid river of postmodern relativism. This is a spiritual problem, not a political problem. This is a worldview matter, not a partisan matter.
Hitherto it has been “progressives” alone dumping buckets of moral relativist poison into the Potomac. But, in the last decade or so, self-styled “conservatives” have likewise begun drinking the subjectivist Kool-Aid.
Libertine libertarianism has infected the conservative movement like a cancer. Situational ethics, driven by emotional, anecdotal sob stories, are used to justify every moral wrong as an absolute right. “Get off the social issues!” they demand. “Gay marriage? No problem.”
These gun-toting, free-market “conservatives” (of which I’m both) grace us with beauties like this: “I’m a ‘pro-choice,’ ‘pro-gay’ conservative,” or, “Yeah, I’m shacking up with my girlfriend, big deal.”
Relativism blurs the fixed lines of demarcation between right and wrong, which leads to the abolition of absolute truth, which leads to pockets of moral anarchy, which leads to Barack Obama and Eric Holder deciding which laws to ignore and which laws to enforce, which leads to lawlessness, which leads chaos.
Welcome to chaos.
Yes. The “social issues” matter.
The battle is not Republican vs. Democrat. Neither is it conservative vs. liberal. The battle precedes time itself. The battle is right vs. wrong. The battle is moral vs. immoral. The battle is truth vs. the lie.
The battle is between good and evil.
We’ve been playing political Ping-Pong for decades. We’ve been, as they say, rearranging the chairs on the Titanic while Democrats take the helm for a spell, and Republicans take the helm for a spell.
The reality is that both political parties have driven us into the iceberg, and then pranced off together, hand-in-hand, to play best-of-three racket ball at the congressional bathhouse.
While here at CPAC I met an interesting fellow by the name of Frank Mitchell. Frank founded the Memphis-based, classically conservative group: “A Shining City on a Hill.” During our discussion, Frank said this: “There is no liberty without justice. Liberty without justice is only license.”
America cannot survive under a worldview that embraces unrestricted moral license. Such license destroys the individual. And such license destroys the nation.
“Liberty without justice is only license.”
There is only one Arbiter of true justice. And justice is defined by Him, not by us. He sets the parameters. As both individuals, and as a nation, we are ill-advised to breach those parameters and well-served to maintain them.
America does not need a political fix. America needs a spiritual fix.
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/03/reflections-o...
How the NSA Made Your Legal Defense Illegal
Mises Daily: Friday, March 07, 2014 by Ben O'Neill
We have seen how the NSA’s phony court system has acted as a substitute for genuine judicial review, allowing the NSA to build up precedents purporting to assist its constitutional claims. We have also seen that the NSA is able to obtain surveillance authorization through misrepresentations to the court, without any genuine consequence to the agency, even when discovered. In this Part, we now examine how the NSA shields its activities from review by the public court system, through the control of secret information that could be used as evidence against them.
By virtue of having its system of secret courts, the NSA has been eager to prevent any of its activities coming under scrutiny in the wider public court system. It has accomplished this goal by appealing to the public courts to dismiss claims against them prior to any assessment of the merits of the claim. This has been done by claiming that litigants who seek to challenge its programs lack standing to sue, and that the matters involve “state secrets” which cannot be raised in public courts. The former technique has been particularly successful for the NSA — it has engaged in mass surveillance while simultaneously relying on the fact that no individual litigant can prove that they are affected by the surveillance!
Before turning to the exact details of this argumentative technique, we first consider the general rules of disclosure occurring in litigation. In most legal cases, there are general principles which require the parties to give full disclosure of relevant documentary evidence to the other parties and the courts, in order to make sure that the legal matters are able to be discussed adequately. Of course, one would expect that in matters of security and surveillance there would certainly be some expectation of secrecy, and these general rules would be subject to some competing considerations. However, even in cases where there are legitimate expectations of secrecy, such that parties are not required to give full disclosure of all this evidence, there is still a general principle of litigation that the party in control of a relevant piece of evidence is the one that is expected to put forward that evidence, or suffer an adverse inference from the court if they refrain from doing so. Courts have generally required that when a party refrains from putting forward relevant evidence under their own control, and without good reason, it is advisable for the court to draw an adverse inference from this — i.e., if they don’t want us to see it, it must not do them any good.
Legal scholar Stephen Odgers has noted that, “[u]nder the common law, adverse inferences may be drawn from the failure of a party to give or call particular evidence, where such evidence would reasonably have been expected.” This principle is manifested in several rules of evidence that have prevailed under common law. This includes the “Jones v. Dunkel rule” applicable in civil proceedings, saying that if one of the parties to a case is in control of some piece of evidence relevant to a disputed matter, then their failure to put forward that evidence may lead to an inference that this evidence would not have assisted their case.
While some expectation of secrecy is legitimate in surveillance matters, in cases involving the NSA this principle has generally not been applied at all, and the NSA have been free to use their own undisclosed knowledge of the operations of their surveillance programs as a means to lock out critics from proving, or even arguing against the constitutional legitimacy of their surveillance programs. This has been most apparent in the many successful attempts by the NSA to preclude plaintiffs from challenging the constitutionality of their surveillance programs, by arguing that the challengers lack “legal standing” to sue. Briefly, courts require that a person cannot bring a legal case against a party without showing that they are somehow affected by the actions of that party — even if they can prove that the actions are unlawful, they must first show that they have “standing” to sue, in the sense of having been affected by the wrongful actions.
Until the recent whistleblowing against the NSA by Edward Snowden, the agency had created a wonderful legal Catch-22 around this doctrine, aided and abetted by delinquent US courts. In order for a plaintiff to challenge the constitutionality of the NSA’s illegal surveillance programs, the person first had to prove having been subjected to surveillance, in order to show that they have “standing” to bring the case. But of course, the very nature of the program is that it is kept secret, and all evidence which would prove that the plaintiff lies within the scope of the program is “classified.” To obtain this evidence, a plaintiff would have to access classified information, which would then lead them to legal dangers of another kind. Hence, a wonderfully absurd situation has prevailed. Every citizen in the US (and many outside the US) are subjected to this unlawful mass surveillance, but none, until Klayman, have been considered by the courts to have any standing to sue. Moreover, the reason that Klayman was successful in obtaining standing was because he was able to rely on documents leaked by Edward Snowden — leaks which the US government still regards as criminal espionage, punishable by death.
What this has meant, is that the public courts in the US have effectively ruled that to prove that secret mass-surveillance is unconstitutional, it first has to not be secret. This Kafkaesque legal approach has sunk several legal challenges to the NSA surveillance programs, including the high profile case of Clapper v Amnesty International. In that case the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge the constitutionality of the NSA programs, based on the allegedly speculative nature of their claim to have been targets of the surveillance. (Of course, it has since become indisputable that all plaintiffs were indeed within the scope of the surveillance programs.) The attorney for the ACLU described the disturbing trend of judgments that had led to the ruling:
They are supposed to be ensuring that the government’s national security policies are consistent with the Constitution. Instead what’s happening is many of these challenges are being thrown out at the threshold. Different — there are different reasons. Sometimes it’s standing. Sometimes it’s state secrets. Sometimes it’s immunity. But the common thread is that all of these cases are being thrown out even before the courts reach the merits. And that is a disturbing thing that ought to be of concern to everybody.
In the Amnesty International case the majority of the Supreme Court relied on an assurance by the US government that NSA surveillance would be disclosed by prosecutors to criminal defendants, allowing them standing to challenge the program at a later time. Later prosecutions showed this to be false, and this effectively meant that the programs have been immune from judicial scrutiny.
In the many cases that have fallen before this doctrine, the NSA has claimed to the court that the claims by the opposing litigants to be within the scope of NSA surveillance are “speculative,” all the while perfectly aware that such claims are in fact true. It has not even been necessary for any NSA witnesses to deny that surveillance of the plaintiff has occurred, which would at least have meant that they would face a choice between disclosure and perjury. Instead, the NSA has simply argued that plaintiffs cannot prove that they are being subjected to surveillance, and therefore they cannot challenge the legality of the actions of the NSA in court. In light of the Snowden leaks this has been a particularly salutary lesson — a demonstration of how the government is able to shield its unlawful actions from judicial review simply by cloaking its operations in secrecy.
Of course, if one were to apply the general common law (and common sense) principles of evidence to this kind of situation, the solution to this impasse would have been quite simple. Since the NSA is the agency with full control of the programs and full knowledge of their scope and operations, they are the ones who should be expected to testify that a plaintiff does not, in fact, fall within the scope of any of its programs. If they fail to do this then the court should draw an appropriate inference. To assert that the plaintiff lacks standing, while hiding the evidence that would disprove this, and criminalizing its disclosure, flies in the face of this evidentiary rule.
In addition to this undermining of the normal rules for putting forward evidence, the NSA and its partners in the “Five Eyes” have further compounded the destruction of traditional legal principles by spying on privileged attorney-client communications. During trade talks involving the US government, Australian intelligence agencies (partnered with the NSA under the “Five Eyes” program) spied on confidential communications between the Indonesian government and its US attorneys, and communicated this information to the NSA. This led to protests from the US Bar Association, in view of the erosion of attorney-client confidentiality.
Now that the activities of the NSA have come to light, constitutional scrutiny of the NSA programs is at last winding its way through the public court system. By virtue of the accommodating rulings of the US Supreme Court, the mass surveillance programs have enjoyed a decade-long vacation from constitutional scrutiny, under the de facto immunity imposed by the court. The Klayman case, which is the first to break through this wall, differed from the Amnesty International case in one key respect — the former was decided early in 2012, prior to the Snowden leaks, while the latter had a recent preliminary judgment which came after the Snowden leaks, and was able to rely on that material. This material showed unequivocally that the NSA does indeed engage in mass-surveillance, and that two of the plaintiffs fell within the scope of one of the metadata collection programs. Contrary to the Supreme Court’s suggestions in Clapper v Amnesty International, it was not any government disclosure that allowed standing — it was a disclosure made against the wishes of the government, and treated by them as an act of criminal espionage.
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