Starbucks’ national conversation on race has frothed the nation’s lattes.
The coffee chain has ordered its Baristas to wade into discussions about racism while customers wait for their Caramel Macchiatos.
Here’s how it’s supposed works – the barista hand you a cup. if that cup has the words “Race Together” on it – then brace yourself for a “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” commentary on the state of racial affairs in America. As if I need to explain to a sixteen year old why I take my coffee black.
Starbucks say they just want to bring us all together. And based on the reaction from Twitter- mission accomplished. Check out some of these tweets:
@Cameron_gray: “Mmm, this Starbucks mug of hot steaming guilt is delicious.”
@MichelleMalkin: “Adding white sugar to my non-Starbucks coffee with my brown hand. Diversity! #racetogether @shutupandsellcoffee.
Starbucks is standing firm. They say they could not be silent bystanders. But silence is golden — especially BEFORE we’ve had our first cup of coffee of the day.
It’s bad enough they charge me four bucks for a cuppa joe. It’s bad enough they can’t even spell my correctly. It’s two d’s.
But now I’m going get a lecture on white privilege because I ordered the blonde roast instead of the dark.
The folks in Beantown have national bragging rights. The National Weather Service confirming Boston has had it’s snowiest Winter since 1872.
The official total stands at one hundred eight point six inches. That’s a whole lot of global warming to shovel, folks.
The Associated Press
The Bible tells us to fly on the wings of eagles.But Pastor Creflo Dollar prefers a more exotic form of transportation. Reverend dollar runs a megachurch in Atlanta, e’s asking people to fork over money so he can buy a 65 million dollar luxury jet.
The reverend’s ministry says their current plane is no longer safe and apparently this man of the cloth doesn’t fly coach. It reminds me of the age old question — What Would Jesus Do? I suspect He would fly Southwest.
Say what you will but Reverend Dollar seems to be living up to his name.
By Todd Starnes
A Florida high school student was disciplined after a national atheist organization took offense when he concluded the morning announcements by saying “God Bless America.”
A spokesperson for the Nassau County School District told me the student at Yulee High School deviated from the approved script on the morning of Feb. 9th and uttered the words “God Bless America” — apparently causing angst among two atheist students.
“It wasn’t part of the scripted morning announcements,” district spokesperson Sharyl Wood said. “The principal took the appropriate steps in speaking with the student and disciplining the student.”
Disciplining the student? What’s the penalty these days for asking God to bless America – 30 lashes?
Instead of reporting their angst to the principal, the atheist students reached out to the American Humanist Association. The AHA’s legal arm – the Appignani Humanist Legal Center — fired off a testy letter to the principal and school districton the students’ behalf.
“It is inappropriate and unlawful for a public school to start the school day with an official statement over the intercom stating, ‘God Bless America,’ for such a statement affirms God-belief, validates a theistic worldview and is invidious toward atheists and other nonbelievers,” the American Humanist Association wrote in a letter to the principal of Yulee High School.
The AHA said the student violated the Constitution and broke the law by invoking God’s name over the public address system. They demanded the school immediately cease and desist under the threat of a lawsuit.
“The daily validation of the religious views of God-believers resigns atheists to second-class citizens,” the AHA wrote in their letter. “Because attendance is mandatory, the students have no way of avoiding this daily message either.”
Here’s the letter Principal Natasha Drake wrote to the AHA:
“Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention. I want to point out that the statement “God Bless America, keep us safe” that was made last week on the morning announcements was not approved by school Administration nor was it in the scripted announcements. The student on his own accord made the statement. I have called the student in this morning and directed him that at no time is he to add or take away from announcements that have been pre-approved and that if he did it again, he would no longer have the privilege of making the morning announcements. I am disappointed that the students who filed the complaint did not do so with me first, as I would have addressed it immediately. Once again, thank you for bringing this concern to my attention. It is our desire and intention to respect the beliefs and constitutional freedoms of all our students at Yulee High School.”
So why in the world does the school district have a problem with God blessing America?
“As an official representative of a governmental agency, schools aren’t allowed to promote or inhibit religion,” Wood told me. “Individual students are certainly permitted to express their religious beliefs but not on behalf of the governmental body.”
She explained that once the student delivered the morning announcements, the student became a representative of the government and therefore invoking God to bless our fruited plain became a no-no.
Sweet Lord almighty, good readers.
“We can’t say God bless America or hail to Muslims – nobody can get up there and say there is no God,” Wood explained. “We have respect for all people’s faiths and religions.”
The school district is also a frustrated that the atheist students declined to speak directly to school leadership. However, the kids apparently feared repercussions.
“We have an anonymous tip line the students could have used to make a report,” Wood said.
Of course they do – because you never know when you might need to report a student for suddenly shouting “bless you” after a teacher sneezes.
I asked Jeremy Dys, an attorney with Liberty Institute to weigh in on this nonsense and he said the atheists don’t have a prayer.
“Whether a student is being patriotic or engaging in religious speech, there is no law in this country forbidding a student from telling his or her classmates, ‘God bless America’ and it is illegal for a school to censor a student for doing so,” he said.
Dys also wonders why atheists are so hell-bent on trying to censor the patriotic speech of a red-blooded American high school student.
“Regardless of this attempt by secularists to white wash over this demonstration of patriotism by a teenager, America’s students do not give up their right to free speech and the expression of their religious beliefs when they go to school,” he said.
I’d still like to know how they disciplined the morning announcement reader for such an egregious act – but the district spokesperson refused to tell me.
Lord love ‘em but I’m not sure what’s worse – perpetually offended atheists or constitutionally ignorant educators.
President Obama called on people of faith to reject those who use religion to justify evil – and in doing so – reminded people about the terrible things done in the name of Jesus Christ.
Obama told a gathering Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast that we have seen “professions of faith used both as an instrument of great good but twisted in the name of evil.”
“From a school in Pakistan to the streets of Paris we have seen violence and terror perpetrated by those who profess to stand up for faith – their faith – profess to stand up for Islam but in fact are betraying it,” he said.
He did not mention radical Islam or jihadists or Islamic extremists. He did, however, call ISIS a “brutal, vicious death cult that in the name of religion carries out unspeakable acts of barbarism.”
The president also issued a word of warning to Christians.
“And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place – remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” the president said.
“When Christians act violently they are acting in opposition to the teachings of their founder, Jesus Christ,” Jeffress told me. “They cannot cite a single verse in the New Testament that calls for violence against unbelievers. On the other hand, radical Islamists can point to a number of verses in the Koran calling for Muslims to ‘crucify the infidels.’”
On Wednesday a United Nations watchdog group reported that Islamic militants were crucifying Iraqi children and burying them alive. Others had been sold as sex slaves and boys as young as 18 had been used as suicide bombers, Reuters reported.
“They are following the example of their founder Muhammad who slaughtered and beheaded those who opposed him,” Jeffress said.
While the Crusades were terrible, Jeffress pointed out they were a response to hundreds of years of Muslim aggression – an issue he writes about in his book.
As you might imagine – the president’s remarks did not go over well among conservatives. My friend Michelle Malkin put it nicely:
“ISIS chops off heads, incinerates hostages, kills gays, enslaves girls. Obama: Blame the Crusades,” she tweeted.
I was puzzled by something else President Obama said: “We are summoned to push back against those who would distort our religion for their nihilistic ends.”
What did he mean by “our religion”? Whose religion? And why did he compare the Crusades to ISIS?
The Crusades ended some 700 years ago. Perhaps the president should be a bit more concerned with the Islamic jihad being waged in this century.
Cub Scout Troop 766 got quite an eyeful last month at a California state park when the boys stumbled upon a nude beach during a nature hike.
“I was nauseated because I’ve never seen just a bunch of nude people walking around holding hands, strange people that I don’t know,” chaperone Diane Lekven told CBS 8 in San Diego.
The local television station reported there were dozens and dozens of buck-naked beach-goers on the “clothing optional” stretch of sand.
Mrs. Lekven said the pack master knew exactly where he was taking the boys.
“When I got up there I said, ‘Hey what are you doing? We’re in the middle of a nudist beach,’ He said, ‘this is a naturalist beach, and my family and I go through here all the time. It’s not that big of a deal.’”
Mrs. Lekven told the television station she got “really angry.” Later, she and her husband filed a complaint with the Boy Scouts.
The Boy Scouts released a statement admitting the Cub Scout pack had “encountered some individuals who were inappropriately dressed.”
And by inappropriately, they mean they weren’t dressed in anything except their birthday suits.
The Boy Scouts said the hike was “quickly rerouted to protect the youth.”
The San Diego Imperial Council and pack leadership determined the pack master did nothing wrong.
“Together we concluded that proper protocol had been observed and appropriate steps were taken in this matter,” the statement read.
But some parents still took issue with the fact their boys were taken to a beach filled with bare bottomed bathers.
“I don’t think it’s OK for somebody to not disclose that they’re going to put other people’s children in an environment like this,” she told the television station. “I think it’s wrong.”
“Accidents” like that could be one of the reasons why parents are pulling their sons out of the Boy Scouts. Last year there was a 7.4 percent decline in membership. In 2013 there was a six percent drop.
Meanwhile, a faith-friendly alternative to the Boy Scouts has grown by leaps and bounds since its creation in 2013.
FILE - In this undated photograph Aaron Klein stands behind the counter of his Oregon bakery, Sweet Cakes by Melissa. Since this photo was taken the store has closed. The Kleins now operate their bakery business out of their home. (Sweet Cakes by Melissa)
Aaron and Melissa Klein refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, and now they must pay for their crime.
An Oregon administrative law judge ruled on Jan. 29 that the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa did, in fact, discriminate in 2013 when they declined to provide a wedding cake for a lesbian couple because it would have violated their Christian beliefs against same-sex marriage.
The judge’s ruling paves the way for a March 10 hearing at which the Christian business owners could be ordered to pay $200,000 in fines and damages.
“You cannot discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation,” Paul Thompson, the attorney representing the lesbian couple, told The Oregonian. “The entire time, I felt the law was very much on our side because the law is black and white.”
You can read the judge’s 52-page order here.
Last year, investigators concluded the bakers had violated the couple’s rights to equal treatment in places that serve the public. State law bans discrimination against LGBT people in places that serve the public — and that includes bakeries.
I spoke with Aaron Klein by telephone Monday night. He told me the judge’s ruling is a miscarriage of justice and an erosion of religious liberty.
“They’re trying to push us into the closet for being Christians,” he said.
Klein said it’s time for Americans to take a stand for religious liberty.
“The Founding Fathers said we have the inalienable rights given by God — not man,” he said. “Let’s exercise those rights.”
The Kleins’ troubles started in January 2013 when they turned away that lesbian couple. The bakers were relentlessly pummeled in the media. LGBT activists launched protests and boycotts. They tell me their small children even received death threats — simply because they chose to follow the teachings of their faith.
At some point the activists threatened to launch boycotts against any wedding vendor that did business with the Kleins. That turned out to be the death blow to their retail shop. Today, Melissa bakes cakes out of the family’s home.
The question now is how much — if anything — the Kleins will be forced to pay. Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian will decide, and history proves he’s no friend of the Christian bakers.
In 2013, Avakian told The Oregonian that it is the government’s desire was to rehabilitate businesses like the one owned by the Kleins.
“Everybody is entitled to their own beliefs, but that doesn’t mean that folks have the right to discriminate,” he told the newspaper. “The goal is never to shut down a business. The goal is to rehabilitate.”
Rehabilitate? He wants to ship the Christians off to a government-sanctioned re-education camp?
Aaron Klein told me there will be no reconciliation and there will be no rehabilitation. He and his wife will not back down from their Christian beliefs.
“There’s nothing wrong with what we believe,” he said. “It’s a biblical point of view. It’s my faith. It’s my religion.”
Klein said the ruling, which he called “absolutely absurd,” does not surprise him.
“I’ve never seen a government entity use a law to come after somebody because they have a religious view,” he said. “I truly believe Brad Avakian is trying to send a message. I don’t think the constitution of the state of Oregon means anything to these people.”
And I’m afraid there are more narrow-minded government officials just like Avakian.
Kelvin Cochran was fired from his job as the fire chief of Atlanta after he wrote a book that affirmed biblical morality. The book included references to homosexuality that angered the city’s LGBT community. The city’s mayor denied Cochran was let go because of his religious beliefs, but I believe the evidence seems to prove otherwise.
A Colorado baker was ordered by a judge either to serve gay couples or face fines. Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, was told to “cease and desist from discriminating” against gay couples. Phillips is a Christian.
New Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled unanimously that two Christian photographers who declined to photograph a same-sex union violated the state’s Human Rights Act. One justice said photographers Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin were “compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives.”
And the Washington attorney general filed a lawsuit against a florist who refused to provide flowers for a same-sex couple’s wedding. She told the Christian Broadcasting Network she “had to take a stand” in defense of her faith in Christ.
The evidence seems to indicate that Christian business owners are being intentionally singled out for persecution. And it appears the courts are consistently ruling that gay rights trump everyone else’s rights.
The Constitution guarantees every American a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Melissa Klein makes wedding cakes. That’s her pursuit of happiness. Should she be denied that right simply because of her Christian faith?
Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. Sign up for his American Dispatch newsletter, be sure to join his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter. His latest book is “God Less America.”
Are you looking for a great recipe to serve at your Super Bowl party? Would you like a casserole you could assemble the day before that you could just pop in the oven when the game begins?
I’m sharing my signature dish—my most-requested recipe with you today. This one is an original and my family and friends love it so much that they ask for it whenever I throw a party or have a get-together at my house.
I’ll share it here with you in its original format and then I’ll give you some suggestions to reduce the fat and calories—without losing the flavor.
I hope you and your family will enjoy it!
2 cups penne pasta
2 cans cream of chicken soup (I use Campbell’s)
1 cup sour cream
2 cups cooked chicken breasts, diced
3 tablespoons margarine or butter
¼ cup hot water
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Cook the penne pasta according to the package directions; rinse and drain.
Mix the cream of chicken soup and the sour cream; divide it in half. Add the diced chicken and the penne pasta to one half of the soup/sour cream mixture. Stir and set aside.
In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the margarine over the heat until it’s lightly browned. (Watch this carefully. Once it gets to a certain point, it can burn quickly. Stir frequently and swirl the butter around in the pan to keep it moving so it won’t scorch.)
Heat the water and then add the bouillon cube, stirring until blended. Add the browned butter. Stir and then add it to the second half of the soup/sour cream mixture. Stir until blended.
Spray a 13x9x2 casserole with cooking spray and then add the chicken and pasta mixture; spread evenly. Pour the soup/margarine mixture over the top; spread evenly. Bake uncovered for about 20-30 minutes or until bubbly in the center.
Add the cheese to the top and then put it back in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. This will serve about 6-8 people, depending on the serving size.
*To cut down on the fat and calories, use the 98% fat free cream of chicken soup, fat free or light sour cream, reduce the margarine to two tablespoons, and use a combination of ¾ cup fat free cheddar cheese mixed with ¼ cup regular cheddar cheese.
Michelle Cox is an author and speaker and the creator of the Just 18 Summers® brand of parenting resources and products. The Just 18 Summers novel is available now! To visit her parenting blog or to learn more about Michelle and the book, go to www.just18summers.com, www.Facebook.com/just18summers and www.Facebook.com/MichelleCoxInspirations.
Bible unburned in spite of fire. The Word will never lose it's power. Eglise Vie Abondante, Harobanda. Niamey, Niger. (Danette Childs)
Neal and Danette Childs knew they were in danger.
From their compound in Niger’s capital city they could see three churches burning. The smoke was filling their home.
“We immediately started packing a trunk, putting in our valuables, our documents, and we loaded up the car,” Neal told me. “There were concerns our family would be targeted.”
The Childs family had every reason to be alarmed. A rampaging mob was attacking Christian houses of worship, and Neal was the prominent leader of a Christian ministry in the mostly Muslim country.
“Our immediate response — there is that little bit of panic,” he said during a telephone conversation from the West African nation of Niger. “We were ready. We were on guard.”
It was Jan. 16 and by the week’s end Muslims had set fire to at least 45 churches and looted the homes of a number of Christian ministers. Ten people were killed. Followers of Christ fled for the lives.
The protests were over the cartoons lampooning the Prophet Muhammad that were published by the French magazine Charlie Hebdo.
The horrors of that weekend did not generate all that much press coverage. There were no solidarity marches for Niger’s tiny Christian community. There was no wall-to-wall cable news coverage. Nor could I find any mention of the burnings on the White House website.
The Associated Press account was a mere four paragraphs.
The New York Times published a dispatch from Reuters that appeared sympathetic to the mob. The story included quotes from a Muslim explaining why they were angry — but there were no quotes from the Christian victims.
Likewise, USA Today’s coverage lacked any commentary from pastors or priests. But they did find an imam who reminded the newspaper’s readers that the Islamic faith is peaceful.
“Don’t forget that Islam is against violence,” he told USA Today as the ruins of 45 Christian churches smoldered across the nation.
But the story of what really happened during that terrifying weekend deserves to be told. And it needs to be heard.
Neal and Danette Childs have been Christian missionaries in Niger since 1998. Neal oversees Reaching Unreached Nations, a ministry of 36 churches across the country.
Two of those churches were destroyed. The mob also attacked the parsonages — leaving two ministers and their families homeless.
“Both of their houses were burned and completely looted,” Neal told me. “One of our pastors lost everything.”
That pastor has a pregnant wife and three children. They are now living with Neal and his family.
But something rather remarkable happened when the mob attacked the other pastor’s house.
“While the mob was burning the front of the house, his neighbors came in through the back and they hauled out clothes and everything they could get through the back window,” Neal said.
The Christian pastor’s neighbors are Muslim.
“They helped to save the pastor’s property while the crazy mob was burning everything,” Neal said.
The following day Neal and his wife ventured outside to survey the ruins of the church house.
“It was still smoking and warm with ashes,” he told me. “As we were looking through the rubble my wife came across the Bible.”
The Bible was charred but not destroyed, and it caused a stirring in the hearts of the Christian couple.
“It was an emotional moment as you see your church in ashes,” Neal said.
Danette took a photograph of that Bible, and it ended up in the hands of Franklin Graham, the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Graham posted the photograph of the Bible on his Facebook page, along with a sobering thought.
“Can you imagine the international outcry if this were the Koran?” he asked.
“I read that,” Neal told me. “That would be huge if it had been a Koran.”
Could you imagine the international outcry if Christians had burned 45 mosques?
But that’s not what happened in Niger. The Christian community did not retaliate. They did not respond with angry voices.
“That’s because we are people of mercy and grace and faith,” Neal told me. “We don’t react in the flesh and we don’t react out of anger.”
Indeed, Christian leaders in Niger held a press conference and announced they forgave those who burned down their churches.
“The church is recognizing this is something to be joyful over — the church and their faith have been proven,” Neal said. “Jesus said rejoice and be exceedingly glad when men persecute you, for great is your reward in heaven.”
The Muslim mobs may return, but that’s OK with Neal.
“We are preaching the Gospel and living as an example before the people,” he said. “It was demonstrated in our response. It is not our nature to be aggressive or violent. We forgive those that attack.”
Good words spoken by a man with a deep and abiding faith in our Lord.
And yet I still can’t seem to get over the image of that charred Bible found in the ashes of that church house. I’m reminded of a passage of Scripture from the Old Testament.
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”