This month marks my 5th anniversary as president of Intercessors for America, and while I have never ventured into prophetic waters, followers of our ministry know IFA’s history of reliability and accuracy. With that in mind, I offer a prophetic word for our day, believing we are about to see a great move of God. How do I know? Let us read God’s Word.
“I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth…The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.” (Joel 2:30-31)
This prophecy, spoken by Joel centuries ago, had the same authority then as it did when Peter quoted it on the Day of Pentecost, and as it does today. Very rarely are there such obvious signs—or signals, as the Hebrew is often translated—pointing to a move of God. But Scripture is clear; at times the “heavens” tell us something is about to occur.
When Joel spoke of the sun turning dark, he no doubt referred to a solar eclipse. And if you have witnessed a lunar eclipse, you will remember that the moon turns red. So, the question is this: can we see, throughout history, certain times—remarkable historic sequences that only God could orchestrate—where this pattern of solar/lunar eclipses has occurred?
There have been many solar and lunar eclipses over the past 2,000 years, but there are only eight instances when lunar eclipses occurred exactly on Jewish holy days. All eight coincided with significant events for God’s people. The dates are noteworthy, as they occurred exactly on Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles. Passover recalls God’s mercy of “passing over” homes with lamb’s blood applied to doorposts for protection of the firstborn on the night before the Israelites left Egypt. The Feast of Tabernacles celebrates God’s provision for His people in the wilderness as they stayed in temporary tabernacles (or tents).
Let us trace what has happened in the past. When lunar eclipses occurred on Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles, significant events coincided with those eclipses each time. Four lunar eclipses in two years is referred to as a “tetrad.”
1. Tetrad of 1967-1968. In 1967, tensions built between Israel and its neighbors with threats to drive the Jews “into the sea.” Israel was surrounded by almost 500,000 troops, including heavy artillery. Yet in six days, Israel claimed the victory, with only 779 casualties compared to 21,000 enemy casualties. Miraculous circumstances included bringing the Old City under Israeli control.
2. Tetrad of 1949-1950. With the conclusion of WW II, Israel was reborn in 1948. It was well into 1949 that the Israeli government moved into its offices and signed peace agreements with Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria, establishing Israel’s borders. After centuries, the Jews existed again as a restored nation!
3. Tetrad of 1493-1494. During the reign of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain, concerns arose over the rising influence of the Jews in that country. Consequently, an inquisition process examined the scope of the issue. In 1492, Jews were ordered to leave Spain through the Edict of Expulsion. Given an August 1 deadline, they were not permitted to take their wealth with them. Accounts record that over 200,000 Jews were expelled. Many suffered duress and abuse. As we recall the passage, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you” (Genesis 12:3), it is interesting to note that the prosperity Spain enjoyed before this time has not been seen since, even to the point where they have recently struggled with national bankruptcy.
The year 1492 is a very important year in Jewish history, just as it is in American history. In the first few days of August 1492, Spanish harbors were filled with Jews being evacuated. As Christopher Columbus left port on August 3, his ships passed the Jews’ boats as he set sail and would soon “discover” a land destined to become a safe haven for Jews for centuries to follow. As if marking the pain of Jewish rejection with the later birth of a nation that would be used of God like none other (for many Gospel purposes in addition to being a great ally of Israel), a series of the lunar tetrads began on Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles in the following two years.
4. Tetrad of 860-861. This tetrad marked the halting of millions of Christians’ deaths at the hands of Arabs in Northern Africa and Spain with the Battle of Lalakaon.
5. Tetrad of 842-843. The Vatican’s treasuries were looted in an Islamic jihad attack just three years after this tetrad.
6. Tetrad of 795-796. This tetrad marked a significant shift in power as Charlemagne was able to create a buffer zone in modern day Spain and France that resulted in the halting of the Islamic invasion of the Moors.
7. Tetrad of 163-165. In 162 AD, before the first lunar eclipse, the Tiber River flooded its banks in the spring, wreaking havoc to the city of Rome and killing most animals resulting in severe famine. Two years later a plague broke out killing one-third of the Roman Empire. This was also a time of great persecution in the Roman Empire under the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
8. Tetrad of 32-33. Historical records are not totally conclusive, but it is very possible that Jesus was crucified between a series of two lunar eclipses occurring on Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles with a solar eclipse (“… there was darkness …” see Matt 27:45) on Passover in 33 AD.
These are the only instances when lunar eclipses occurred in the last 2,000 years, with significant happenings each time: the restoration of Israel as a
nation, the birth of the most Christian nation the world has ever known, devastation, destruction of the second (Herod’s) Temple, and possibly the crucifixion of our Savior.
As you can see, God “shows us wonders in heaven,” and we know that God “does nothing without first telling His servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7) There are many modern prophets worldwide that are recognizing the significance of these events.
The next occurrence is this month! Passover 2014, April 14, will mark the first in a series of four lunar eclipses over the next two years occurring on Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles. The last eight times, something of major significance occurred. This phenomenon will not occur again for nearly 500 years.
To add even more interest (or warning), lunar eclipses on April 14, 2014 (Passover) and October 9 (Feast of Tabernacles) will take place on the EXACT DATES as did the 70 AD lunar eclipses on Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles, when the Roman Army destroyed the second temple, ending more than 1,000 years of Jewish rule of Israel. (These occurrences were not tetrads—a series of four—but instead a series of two lunar eclipses with remarkable timing, almost acting as exclamation points to this prophetic message for today.)
What will the message be, and how should we prepare?
First, we should have hope. After Joel pronounced his prophetic word, he concluded the section by saying, “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved…there will be deliverance….” (Joel 2:32) We need not fear the future, but let us trust in the Lord.
Second, if there were ever a time to pray, it is now! Those not aligned with the Word of God are especially vulnerable during the days ahead. Disobedient nations will expose themselves to times of great pain and anguish. We must pray 2 Chr 7:14 like never before. The Church must realize its own tenuous state and humbly seek the Lord with repentance.
What can we expect? As most of you know, God has been doing an amazing work around the globe in the form of transforming revivals. In these mighty moves of God, His divine presence comes into a community or region and changes everything. The Church sees exponential rates of salvation, righteousness is brought back to government, godly cultural norms are established or renewed, and in many cases even the land is rejuvenated.
As the pace of these transformations seems to be accelerating around the globe (800+ to date), it is my prayer that we would see more revivals. We have only seen a handful in the U.S. We must pray that God would find the condition of the Church in the U.S. worthy to host His transforming presence. If you are interested in learning more about the transformation movement or want to know how to involve your community, please give us a call at 800-USA-PRAY.
Intercessors, now is the time to pray and watch for the heavens are speaking! (Contributor: By David Kubal —Resources for this article includes Four Blood Moons by the Rev. John Hagee and http://redmoonrapture.com/.
“And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Joel 2:30-32)
“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’” (Romans 10:12-13)
Lacking congressional support to raise wages or end gender pay disparities, President Barack Obama is again imposing his policies on federal contractors, in keeping with presidents’ tradition of exerting their powers on a fraction of the economy they directly control.
Obama will sign an executive order Tuesday barring federal contractors from retaliating against employees who discuss their pay with each other. The order is similar to language in a Senate bill aimed at closing a pay gap between men and women. That measure is scheduled for a vote this week, but is unlikely to pass.
The president also will direct the Labor Department to adopt rules requiring federal contractors to provide compensation data based on sex and race.
He plans to sign the two executive orders during an event at the White House where he will be joined by Lilly Ledbetter, whose name appears on a pay discrimination law Obama signed in 2009.
The moves showcase Obama’s efforts to seek action without congressional approval and demonstrate that even without legislation, the president can drive economic policy. At the same time, they show the limits of his ambition when he doesn’t have the support of Congress for his initiatives.
Republicans say Obama is pushing his executive powers too far and should do more to work with Congress. His new executive orders are sure to lead to criticism that he is placing an undue burden on companies and increasing their costs.
Federal contracting covers about one-quarter of the U.S. workforce and includes companies ranging from Boeing to small parts suppliers and service providers. As a result, presidential directives can have a wide and direct impact. Such actions also can be largely symbolic, designed to spur action in the broader economy.
“This really is about giving people access to more information both to help them make decisions at the policy level but also for individuals,” said Heather Boushey, executive director and chief economist at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. She has been working with the administration to get compensation information about the nation’s workforce.
“This is definitely an encouraging first step,” she said.
Federal contractors, however, worry that additional compensation data could be used to fuel wage related lawsuits, said James Plunkett, director of labor policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
What’s more, he said, such orders create a two-tiered system where rules apply to federal contractors but not to other employers. Those contractors, knowing that their business relies on the government, are less likely to put up a fight, he said.
“Federal contractors ultimately know that they have to play nicely to a certain extent with the federal government,” he said.
In a separate action Monday, Obama intends to announce 24 schools that will share more than $100 million in grants to redesign themselves to better prepare high school students for college or for careers. The awards are part of an order Obama signed last year. Money for the program comes from fees that companies pay for visas to hire foreign workers for specialized jobs.
The moves represent a return to economic issues for the president after two weeks devoted almost exclusively to diplomacy and the final deadline for health insurance coverage. A trip to Asia in two weeks is sure to change the focus once again.
Still, Obama has declared this a year of action, whether Congress supports him or not.
In February, Obama signed an executive order increasing the hourly minimum wage for federal contractors from $7.25 per to $10.10. While White House officials estimated such an increase would affect only a small percentage of federal contract workers, they said the move could encourage states or individual businesses to act on their own to increase workers’ wages.
Obama has also pushed his workplace initiatives beyond just federal contractors where possible.
Last month he instructed the Labor Department to come up with new workplace overtime rules for all employers, a power the administration has under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
But presidents have most direct power over the workforce that is paid with taxpayers’ money.
Obama’s go-it-alone strategy is hardly new.
The most enduring workplace anti-discrimination laws began with an executive order signed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in June 25, 1941, outlawing discrimination based on race, color, creed and national origin in the federal government and defense industries.
President John F. Kennedy broadened that in 1961 with an order that required government contractors to take affirmative action to ensure hiring “without regard to their race, creed, color or national origin.”
President George W. Bush also acted on his own when he ordered federal contractors to ensure that their workers were in the country legally by requiring the use of an electronic employment-verification system.
Jeffrey Hirsch, a former lawyer with the National Labor Relations Board, said presidential executive orders that affect federal contracting workforces can over time demonstrate that those practices are less onerous than initially imagined.
“It’s an important step in implementing things in a broader scale,” said Hirsch, now a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law.
Through executive actions, Obama also has drawn attention to areas where he has chosen not to act on his own.
The White House has resisted pressure from gay rights advocates who want have Obama to sign an anti-discrimination executive order that would protect gays and lesbians working for federal contractors. The White House wants the House to approve a Senate-passed bill extending those protections to all Americans.
On Friday, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest homosexual rights group, criticized the White House for saying such an executive order would be redundant if Congress were to pass a White House-supported bill. It’s an argument the White House has not made when it comes to minimum wage or anti-”gag rule” orders imposed on federal contractors. (Contributor: Jim Kuhnhenn for Associated Press)
Modern Christians have sparse New Testament instruction to guide our intercession. What we do have, however, is clear and without equivocation. First, we must submit to human government, “for there is no authority except from God” (Romans 13:1). Disobedience is permissible only when one must choose between obeying God’s Word or man’s laws (Acts 4:18-20). Second, we are to intercede and give thanks for “all who are in authority” (1 Tim. 2:1-4). On the basis of God’s sovereignty then, we pray for President Obama and all who govern. They are accountable to Almighty God, as are we all.
“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim 2:1-4)
“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.” (Romans 13:1-2)
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel delivered a two-pronged warning to Asia Pacific nations Sunday, announcing that the U.S. will send two additional ballistic missile destroyers to Japan to counter the North Korean threat, and saying China must better respect its neighbors.
In unusually forceful remarks about China, Hagel drew a direct line between Russia’s takeover of Ukraine’s Crimea region and the ongoing territorial disputes between China, Japan and others over remote islands in the East China Sea.
“I think we’re seeing some clear evidence of a lack of respect and intimidation and coercion in Europe today with what the Russians have done with Ukraine,” Hagel told reporters after a meeting with Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera. “We must be very careful and we must be very clear, all nations of the world, that in the 21st century this will not stand, you cannot go around the world and redefine boundaries and violate territorial integrity and sovereignty of nations by force, coercion and intimidation whether it’s in small islands in the Pacific or large nations in Europe.”
Hagel, who will travel to China later this week, called the Asian nation a “great power,” and added, “with this power comes new and wider responsibilities as to how you use that power, how you employ that military power.”
He said he will talk to the Chinese about having respect for their neighbors, and said, “coercion, intimidation is a very deadly thing that leads only to conflict. All nations, all people deserve respect no matter how large or how small.”
Still, he said he looks forward to having an honest, straightforward dialogue with the Chinese to talk about ways the two nations and their militaries can work better together.
The announcement of the deployments of additional destroyers to Japan came as tensions with North Korea spiked again, with Pyongyang continuing to threaten additional missile and nuclear tests.
In recent weeks the North has conducted a series of rocket and ballistic missile launches that are considered acts of protest against annual ongoing springtime military exercises by Seoul and Washington. North Korea says the exercises are rehearsals for invasion.
North and South Korea also fired hundreds of artillery shells into each other’s waters in late March in the most recent flare-up.
Standing alongside Onodera at the defense ministry, Hagel said they discussed the threat posed by Pyongyang. He said the two ships are in response to North Korea’s “pattern of provocative and destabilizing actions” that violate U.N. resolutions and also will provide more protection to the U.S. from those threats.
On Friday, North Korea accused the U.S. of being “hell-bent on regime change” and warned that any maneuvers with that intention will be viewed as a “red line” that will result in countermeasures. Pyongyang’s deputy U.N. ambassador, Ri Tong Il, also said his government “made it very clear we will carry out a new form of nuclear test” but refused to provide details.
The two additional ships would bring the total to seven U.S. ballistic missile defense warships in Japan, and it continues U.S. efforts to increase its focus on the Asia Pacific.
The ships serve as both defensive and offensive weapons. They carry sophisticated systems that can track missile launches, and their SM-3 missiles can zero in on and take out short- to medium-range missiles that might be fired at U.S. or allied nations. They can also carry Tomahawk cruise missiles, which can be launched from sea and hit high-value targets or enemy weapons systems from afar, without risking pilots or aircraft.
Hagel is on a 10-day trip across the Asia Pacific, and just spent three days in Hawaii meeting with Southeast Asian defense ministers, talking about efforts to improve defense and humanitarian assistance cooperation. Japan is his second stop, where he said he wants to assure Japanese leaders that the U.S. is strongly committed to protecting their country’s security.
Japan and China have been engaged in a long, bitter dispute over remote islands in the East China Sea. The U.S. has said it takes no side on the question of the disputed islands’ sovereignty, but it recognizes Japan’s administration of them and has responsibilities to protect Japanese territory under a mutual defense treaty.
Onodera said he and Hagel talked about the islands, known as Senkaku by Japan and Diayou by China, and the concerns about any changes to the status quo there.
Hagel said the U.S. wants the countries in the region to resolve the disputes peacefully. But he added that the United States would honor its treaty commitments.
The ships are just the latest move in America’s effort to beef up Japan’s defenses. Last October, the U.S. and Japan agreed to broad plans to expand their defense alliance, including the decision to position a second early warning radar there by the end of this year. There is one in northern Japan and the second one would be designed to provide better missile defense coverage in the event of a North Korean attack.
The U.S. will begin sending long-range Global Hawk surveillance drones to Japan this month for rotational deployments. They are intended to help step up surveillance around the Senkaku islands. (Contributor: By Lolita Baldor for Associated Press)
IFA will not dilute our encouragement of intercessors by adding “news analysis” to its prayer points. It seems obvious, however, that Secretary of Defense Hagel has been dispatched to Asia not only to show support for Japan in the face of Chinese aggression, but also, if only indirectly, to speak to Russian authorities. While every normal American longs for peace, we cannot ignore our Lord’s prophetic words of “wars and rumors of wars” before “the end.” Let us remember that intercession is not aimed at the manipulation of circumstances but at standing with God in His purposes for His own everlasting kingdom. Pray for revival that will bring forth humble, God-fearing leaders.
“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” (Matthew 24:6-8)
“And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” (Daniel 2:44)
As more details come to light surrounding Spc. Ivan Lopez’s state of mind before he fired on fellow service members at Fort Hood last week, the clearer it becomes, lawmakers and military leaders say, that the mental health of returning veterans no longer can be relegated to the back burner.
The shooting spree, in which the gunman killed three people and injured 16 others before taking his own life, once again has thrust the mental health issue into the spotlight and brought into focus the sheer inadequacy of both the overall understanding of troubled, disturbed individuals and the professional services to reach them before tragedy strikes.
Before he unleashed horror at Ford Hood, Lopez, a 34-year-old Iraq War veteran, took to Facebook to express frustrations, fears and other emotions on a variety of subjects. CNN and other media outlets reported over the weekend that the Army truck driver wrote cryptic, alarming messages under the screen name “Ivan Slipknot,” an apparent reference to the dark heavy metal band.
“My spiritual peace has just gone. Full of Hate. Now I think I’ll be d———,” he wrote.
Lopez also reportedly was being treated for depression and other issues.
Those clear warning signs and, more important, that no one intervened after seeing them, have left lawmakers and others once again grasping for answers.
“We have this crazy standard in the United States that says unless a person is on the verge of holding a knife to their own throat or someone else, we’re not going to step in. And that’s a real problematic standard,” Rep. Tim Murphy, Pennsylvania Republican and a clinical psychologist, said Sunday during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Although attention is turning to mental health, the families of the victims at Ford Hood continue to grieve. Lopez’s rampage was the second mass shooting in five years on the sprawling Texas military base.
In 2009, Maj. Nidal Hasan killed 13 and wounded 30 others at Ford Hood.
Just as in 2009, the White House announced Sunday that President Obama will travel to the base Wednesday and attend memorial services for the victims.
“The president and first lady send their thoughts and their prayers out to the victims and families and everyone on the base,” White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
In Killeen, Texas, home to Fort Hood, dozens of community members gathered Sunday to honor the victims. Pastor Robert Sperbeck tried to comfort the congregation at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Killeen and said most everyone is asking why a shooting like this would happen again.
According to The Associated Press, Mr. Sperbeck told mourners that “the devil is the author of what happened,” but “the way of God leads to the way of comfort.” He said God gives individuals choice and the gunman chose to follow darkness.
For officials, the search to understand Lopez’s motive only intensified.
Lopez reportedly got into a verbal altercation with fellow service members just before he began shooting, leading to speculation that he was harboring deep trauma that was ignited into violence by a specific event.
Military officials have said there is no evidence that Lopez was wounded in battle while in Iraq or suffered any other traumatic event, but specialists say it’s not uncommon for civilians or military personnel who didn’t see combat to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Known as non-deployment PTSD, the illness is becoming much more common, said Royce Lee, a psychiatrist and associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at the University of Chicago.
Mr. Lee said non-deployment PTSD is common in first responders who have been exposed to victims repeatedly, like those who responded to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
As a truck driver in Iraq, Lopez could have been exposed over and over again to traumatic events of victims, Mr. Lee said.
“It is plausible if that were the kind of duties he had,” he said.
Military leaders say there simply aren’t enough mental health professionals in either the military or the nation as a whole to deal with the scope of the problem. As more veterans return from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, mental illness may become more common and more serious.
“I think our force, because it has been away so much, has not had to deal with those [mental health and other issues] as directly as they may have in the past, and now that we’re going to be home more, I think we’re going to actually see an increased number of challenges associated with that,” Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during an interview Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “We all need to wrap our arms around the force to help us deal with those.”
Adm. Mullen said the availability and quality of services must be increased, along with the understanding of the human mind.
“This really is a national resources issue. … I think we need to do a lot more to understand the brain and how these [traumatic] injuries affect our young people who have done so much for our country,” he said. (Contributor: Ben Wolfgang and Meghan Drake for The Washington Times)
Here, intercession must of necessity be deep, wide, and broad. All suicides have spiritual implications and ramifications that are beyond human understanding, and a secularized culture cannot plumb the depths that go far beyond psychology and psychiatry. But we can be certain that when a suicidal person plans and carries out the killing of others along with himself, there are dark spiritual forces at work. Jesus Christ, our Lord, said, “The thief comes to kill, steal, and destroy, but I have come to bring abundant life.” Do we need better mental health care for our battle-scarred veterans? No doubt we do. But our nation needs much more through revival and the spread of the Gospel, so let us humbly intercede accordingly.
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” (John 10:10-11)
[Moses, speaking for God,] “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.” (Deut. 30:19)
The resignation of a Silicon Valley executive who opposed homosexual marriage and refused to recant has sparked an online fight among homosexuals about whether proponents of same-sex marriage are now going too far in trying to marginalize their opponents socially and economically.
The announcement by popular Web browser Mozilla Firefox that co-founder and CEO Brendan Eich was stepping down after two weeks on the job for a 2008 contribution has sparked furious debate over civil rights, privacy and corporate responsibility.
A leading homosexual blogger has accused the movement of displaying the same intolerance activists accuse their opponents of practicing, while the website Slate.com published a satirical list of other California companies that should be purged of homosexual-marriage skeptics, which presumably include the 52 percent of Californians who voted for Proposition 8 in 2008.
Mr. Eich’s semivoluntary resignation — “under the present circumstances, I cannot be an effective leader,” he wrote — resulted from a furor that began when online dating service OKCupid.com, urged its users not to use Mozilla Firefox as a browser.
“OKCupid is for creating love,” it said, but Mozilla Firefox is not because in 2008 Mr. Eich donated $1,000 to California’s Proposition 8, which defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
“Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure,” said a now-removed Web message that OKCupid automatically showed to everyone who tried to access the site using Firefox.
Mozilla employees also protested and three board members quit, prompting Mr. Eich’s resignation and an apology from Mitchell Baker, Mozilla executive chairwoman and co-founder. “We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry,” Ms. Baker said.
Homosexual writer Andrew Sullivan, who more or less began the public campaign for same-sex marriage in the 1990s, erupted with an article warning homosexuals and liberals about “becoming just as intolerant of others’ views as the Christianists.”
“The guy who had the gall to express his First Amendment rights and favor Prop 8 in California by donating $1,000 has just been scalped by some homosexual activists,” Mr. Sullivan wrote on The Dish, before invoking the imagery of Maoist and Puritan purges.
“Will he now be forced to walk through the streets in shame? Why not the stocks?” Mr. Sullivan wrote. “The whole episode disgusts me — as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society.”
Justin Lee, founder of the Gay Christian Network, agreed that Mr. Eich should not have been pressured into resigning.
“As much as I disagree with the donation, this is America, and I believe he has a right to support the political causes he believes in,” Mr. Lee said.
An avalanche of comments in the blogosphere lashed back, particularly at Mr. Sullivan, who was described more than once as an “Uncle Tom queer.”
“You can’t say you’re pro-equality when you hire a CEO who is not,” “Drew2u” wrote on Joe.My.God, an award-winning homosexual blog. “I’m glad the ‘homosexualstopo’ got revenge” on Mr. Eich, said “John T.” The Eich resignation is a “big blinking warning sign to the next aspiring CEO who thinks he’ll fund bigotry,” said a writer called “uhhuhh.”
Homosexual journalist Michelangelo Signorile also chided Mr. Sullivan but also seemed to broaden the base for unacceptable conduct to include decades-ago support of candidates perceived as anti-homosexual.
Mr. Eich also was revealed to fund the 1992 campaign of “far-right extremist” Patrick J. Buchanan and a recent campaign of former Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Republican, Mr. Signorile noted in The Huffington Post.
“It all just became too much for Mozilla to bear, and who knows what else may have been dug up on Eich,” he wrote.
The nation’s biggest homosexual-rights groups also defended Mozilla. The Human Rights Campaign spokesman called the resignation “entirely a measure of our success as a movement.”
“I don’t believe this is a question of suppressing free speech,” said Fred Sainz, the Human Rights Campaign’s vice president for communications. “It’s a question of the market regulating itself.”
Leslie Gabel-Brett, director of education and public affairs at Lambda Legal, wrote in The New York Times on Friday that to call Mr. Eich a victim of discrimination “flips the idea of victimization on its head.”
“Eich is being held accountable for having freely donated his money to a campaign to strip lesbian and homosexual people of legal rights,” she wrote. “Eich expressed his views. Employees and others expressed their anger. And the board decided he was bad for business.”
“Mozilla’s strong statement in favor of equality today reflects where corporate America is: inclusive, safe, and welcoming to all,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, president and chief executive of GLAAD.
California-based Mozilla and Mr. Eich have declined to make any public comment since Thursday’s resignation.
Mr. Sullivan didn’t back down: “It’s staggering to me that a minority long persecuted for holding unpopular views can now turn around and persecute others for the exact same reason,” he wrote Friday.
“When people’s lives and careers are subject to litmus tests, and fired if they do not publicly renounce what may well be their sincere conviction, we have crossed a line. This is the definition of intolerance,” he added.
A minority of commenters at the more radical homosexual blogs defended Mr. Sullivan.
“Hounding a guy out of his job is a terrible thing. I have read all the arguments, but we could be setting a bad precedent here,” “daveinsf” wrote on Joe.My.God.
“Lefty Coaster” on DailyKos also came out in support of Mr. Sullivan, as did a few commenters such as “Jonathan B,” who worried about the media “painting us “as bullies, and “scaring people as to how we will treat them if we win in their state.”
Even OkCupid co-founder Sam Yagun expressed some trepidation by telling reporters Friday that “there was no interest in creating an Internet lynch mob” and saying his company never demanded that Mr. Eich resign.
“I am opposed to that with every bone in my body,” he said. (Contributor: By Cheryl Wetzstein for The Washington Times)
Homosexual groups have won victories at many levels in their quest for acceptance and equality. Many thought the apex of “success” for homosexual men and women was legal recognition of marriage between two men or two women. But that wasn’t enough. By forcing the resignation of Brendan Eich as CEO of Web browser Mozilla Firefox because he gave a donation in 2008 to Proposition 8 in California, those persecuting Mr. Eich are saying a traditional view will not be tolerated. Such intolerance has caused a huge split among homosexuals. Pray for God’s mercy to open eyes to this deception. Ask the Lord to open doors for renewed dialogue and debate about God-given gender identity. May Christians rise to the occasion, engaging in civil discourse that might open doors for personal evangelism. Pray for a united body of Christ, men and women prepared spiritually and intellectually to lovingly challenge homosexuals still searching for their true personhood. May many consider the claims of Jesus Christ as Lord.
[Jesus said,] “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-39)
“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27)
“In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created.” (Genesis 5:1-2)
Claire Handscombe has a commitment problem online. Like a lot of Web surfers, she clicks on links posted on social networks, reads a few sentences, looks for exciting words, and then grows restless, scampering off to the next page she probably won’t commit to.
“I give it a few seconds — not even minutes — and then I’m moving again,” says Handscombe, a 35-year-old graduate student in creative writing at American University.
But it’s not just online anymore. She finds herself behaving the same way with a novel.
“It’s like your eyes are passing over the words but you’re not taking in what they say,” she confessed. “When I realize what’s happening, I have to go back and read again and again.”
To cognitive neuroscientists, Handscombe’s experience is the subject of great fascination and growing alarm. Humans, they warn, seem to be developing digital brains with new circuits for skimming through the torrent of information online. This alternative way of reading is competing with traditional deep reading circuitry developed over several millennia.
“I worry that the superficial way we read during the day is affecting us when we have to read with more in-depth processing,” said Maryanne Wolf, a Tufts University cognitive neuroscientist and the author of “Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain.”
If the rise of nonstop cable TV news gave the world a culture of sound bites, the Internet, Wolf said, is bringing about an eye byte culture. Time spent online — on desktop and mobile devices — was expected to top five hours per day in 2013 for U.S. adults, according to eMarketer, which tracks digital behavior. That’s up from three hours in 2010.
Word lovers and scientists have called for a “slow reading” movement, taking a branding cue from the “slow food” movement. They are battling not just cursory sentence galloping but the constant social network and e-mail temptations that lurk on our gadgets — the bings and dings that interrupt “Call me Ishmael.”
Researchers are working to get a clearer sense of the differences between online and print reading — comprehension, for starters, seems better with paper — and are grappling with what these differences could mean not only for enjoying the latest Pat Conroy novel but for understanding difficult material at work and school. There is concern that young children’s affinity and often mastery of their parents’ devices could stunt the development of deep reading skills.
The brain is the innocent bystander in this new world. It just reflects how we live.
“The brain is plastic its whole life span,” Wolf said. “The brain is constantly adapting.”
Wolf, one of the world’s foremost experts on the study of reading, was startled last year to discover her brain was apparently adapting, too. After a day of scrolling through the Web and hundreds of e-mails, she sat down one evening to read Hermann Hesse’s “The Glass Bead Game.”
“I’m not kidding: I couldn’t do it,” she said. “It was torture getting through the first page. I couldn’t force myself to slow down so that I wasn’t skimming, picking out key words, organizing my eye movements to generate the most information at the highest speed. I was so disgusted with myself.”
Adapting to read
The brain was not designed for reading. There are no genes for reading like there are for language or vision. But spurred by the emergence of Egyptian hieroglyphics, the Phoenician alphabet, Chinese paper and, finally, the Gutenberg press, the brain has adapted to read.
Before the Internet, the brain read mostly in linear ways — one page led to the next page, and so on. Sure, there might be pictures mixed in with the text, but there didn’t tend to be many distractions. Reading in print even gave us a remarkable ability to remember where key information was in a book simply by the layout, researchers said. We’d know a protagonist died on the page with the two long paragraphs after the page with all that dialogue.
The Internet is different. With so much information, hyperlinked text, videos alongside words and interactivity everywhere, our brains form shortcuts to deal with it all — scanning, searching for key words, scrolling up and down quickly. This is nonlinear reading, and it has been documented in academic studies. Some researchers believe that for many people, this style of reading is beginning to invade when dealing with other mediums as well.
“We’re spending so much time touching, pushing, linking, scrolling and jumping through text that when we sit down with a novel, your daily habits of jumping, clicking, linking is just ingrained in you,” said Andrew Dillon, a University of Texas professor who studies reading. “We’re in this new era of information behavior, and we’re beginning to see the consequences of that.”
Brandon Ambrose, a 31-year-old Navy financial analyst who lives in Alexandria, knows of those consequences.
His book club recently read “The Interestings,” a best-seller by Meg Wolitzer. When the club met, he realized he had missed a number of the book’s key plot points. It hit him that he had been scanning for information about one particular aspect of the book, just as he might scan for one particular fact on his computer screen, where he spends much of his day.
“When you try to read a novel,” he said, “it’s almost like we’re not built to read them anymore, as bad as that sounds.”
Ramesh Kurup noticed something even more troubling. Working his way recently through a number of classic authors — George Eliot, Marcel Proust, that crowd — Kurup, 47, discovered that he was having trouble reading long sentences with multiple, winding clauses full of background information. Online sentences tend to be shorter, and the ones containing complicated information tend to link to helpful background material.
“In a book, there are no graphics or links to keep you on track,” Kurup said.
It’s easier to follow links, he thinks, than to keep track of so many clauses in page after page of long paragraphs.
Kurup’s observation might sound far-fetched, but told about it, Wolf did not scoff. She offered more evidence: Several English department chairs from around the country have e-mailed her to say their students are having trouble reading the classics.
“They cannot read ‘Middlemarch.’ They cannot read William James or Henry James,” Wolf said. “I can’t tell you how many people have written to me about this phenomenon. The students no longer will or are perhaps incapable of dealing with the convoluted syntax and construction of George Eliot and Henry James.”
Wolf points out that she’s no Luddite. She sends e-mails from her iPhone as often as one of her students. She’s involved with programs to send tablets to developing countries to help children learn to read. But just look, she said, at Twitter and its brisk 140-character declarative sentences.
“How much syntax is lost, and what is syntax but the reflection of our convoluted thoughts?” she said. “My worry is we will lose the ability to express or read this convoluted prose. Will we become Twitter brains?”
Wolf’s next book will look at what the digital world is doing to the brain, including looking at brain-scan data as people read both online and in print. She is particularly interested in comprehension results in screen vs. print reading.
Already, there is some intriguing research that looks at that question. A 2012 Israeli study of engineering students — who grew up in the world of screens — looked at their comprehension while reading the same text on screen and in print when under time pressure to complete the task.
The students believed they did better on screen. They were wrong. Their comprehension and learning was better on paper.
Researchers say that the differences between text and screen reading should be studied more thoroughly and that the differences should be dealt with in education, particularly with school-aged children. There are advantages to both ways of reading. There is potential for a bi-literate brain.
“We can’t turn back,” Wolf said. “We should be simultaneously reading to children from books, giving them print, helping them learn this slower mode, and at the same time steadily increasing their immersion into the technological, digital age. It’s both. We have to ask the question: What do we want to preserve?”
Wolf is training her own brain to be bi-literate. She went back to the Hesse novel the next night, giving herself distance, both in time and space, from her screens.
“I put everything aside. I said to myself, ‘I have to do this,’ ” she said. “It was really hard the second night. It was really hard the third night. It took me two weeks, but by the end of the second week I had pretty much recovered myself so I could enjoy and finish the book.”
Then she read it again.
“I wanted to enjoy this form of reading again,” Wolf said. “When I found myself, it was like I recovered. I found my ability again to slow down, savor and think.” (Contributor: By Michael Rosenwald for The Washington Post)
Today’s parents and grandparents are aware of the trend toward brevity in communication and the lack of sustained reading among our nation’s youth. So many live in a small-screen world of texting and “tweeting,” while modern education often accommodates itself to lower reading and writing standards rather than raising the bar. Christians understand that to educate the mind, without winning hearts for Christ, will not bring success. Only “in [Christ] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2). Give thanks for Christian homes and schools, including colleges, where prayer and instruction in reading and writing go hand-in-hand with the Gospel to bring forth truly educated men and women who know God and know history.
“For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:1-3)
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)
Democrats For Life of America (DFLA) is calling on West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin to call a special session to allow further action on HB 4588, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The legislation, which overwhelmingly passed both the House of Delegates and the Senate, was vetoed on the last day of the session.
“Although the Governor cited Constitutional concerns, there is room for disagreement on the 40-year old law,” said Kristen Day, Executive Director of Democrats For Life of America. “The issue of fetal viability has advanced tremendously since Roe v. Wade and, as a pro-life Democrat, Governor Tomblin should join us in pushing for greater protection for the unborn.”
Pro-life Democrats are also calling on more support for the women and families facing difficult decisions with their pregnancies including: ensuring that they are informed about and referred to perinatal-hospice, which provides a caring and supportive environment for both mother and child; providing accurate information regarding genetic testing; and providing adoption counseling and adoption referral information.
“Fetuses with abnormalities, which is sometimes the case with later term abortion, are still human persons and Democrats should value them fully,” said Day. “We should recognize how difficult these situations are for the family; that is where the social supports are crucial. There are two lives in these situations and we should never put one over the other.”
WV Gov. Earl RayTomblin is on record as having pro-life convictions, yet he vetoed a bill that would protect unborn babies from abortion after a date where they will experience pain. The circumstances suggest the governor came under pressure to act politically rather than by his convictions. However, intercessors are aware of the invisible and intense spiritual warfare going on around us by “spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenlies” (Eph. 6:12). Pray with sustained and focused intercession for the DFLA’s success. The issue is far beyond Gov. Tomblin as an individual; it represents a life-and-death struggle in principle for the lives of many not-yet-born babies. Ask for divine intervention to re-open the legislature, where votes will overturn the veto and save many lives. You may be assured that “Life” is the will of God.
“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes. Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the hearts. To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.” (Prov 21:1-3)
[Jesus said,] “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)