Orthorexia and Christmas Liberty

As Christians,” says Clint Archer, “what we do this month and on December 25th should not look and feel identical to what unbelievers do.”  Archer, who blogs for The Cripplegate, brings up some excellent points.  He writes:

christmas-2’Tis the season to be controversial. Regrettably, Christians can be vulnerable to a form of orthorexia when it comes to celebrating or conscientiously objecting to the celebration of Christmastime.

Let’s first take a step back.

Orthorexia is when people try to eat so perfectly that they end up obsessing about their health to the detriment of their health.

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Tullian Tchividjian: A Call to Repentance

From Pirate Christian:

Photo credit: Twitter

Photo credit: Twitter

Dear Friends:

We join with others in expressing our shared grief regarding these latest allegations, as well as our thankfulness for the courageous women who came forward to tell their stories. We join our prayers together that they will receive the care and support that they need to heal and move forward in their lives.

In the wake of the initial revelation in June of 2015 that Tullian Tchividjian had engaged in an inappropriate sexual relationship, a group of pastors and friends reached out to him in accordance with scripture’s clear admonition in Galatians 6:1–2:

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

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The Golden Age of Mass Delusion

Kevin D. Williamson of National Review reports that there is anger over Texas requiring fetal remains be treated as human remains.  He writes:

baby-in-the-womb-1Texas has passed a regulation requiring that human corpses be disposed of in accordance with the state’s regulation for the disposal of human corpses. That this exercise in tautology was necessary — and that it is controversial — is a reminder that we live in the golden age of mass delusion.

The underlying question here, which properly understood isn’t a question at all, has to do with abortion, and what it is that an abortion does. The biological answer to that question is straightforward: An abortion is a procedure in which a physician or another party kills a living human organism, either prior to birth or in the course of inducing a birth. About the three relevant criteria — 1) living, 2) human, 3) organism — there is no serious question: The tissue is living tissue, not dead tissue; it is human tissue, not rutabaga or koala bear tissue; it is arranged into an individual organism rather than an organ or a tumor or an extension of the maternal body.

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The Pope May Not Be Infallible After All

Proclaiming the Gospel has the story:

Pope FrancisFour cardinals have made a request to Pope Francis to clarify grave errors in his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. Some of the errors they cited Pope Francis as making include the following: • No one is condemned to hell • The divorced and civilly remarried are not in a state of serious sin, and they can receive sanctifying grace and grow in charity. • A Catholic can have full knowledge of the law and voluntarily choose to break it in a serious matter, but not be in a state of mortal sin. • A person with full knowledge of a divine law can sin by choosing to obey that law. • One’s conscience can judge that sexual sins can sometimes be morally right or requested or commanded by God. • Jesus wills that the Church abandon her discipline of refusing the Eucharist to the divorced and remarried and of refusing absolution to the divorced and remarried who do not express contrition.

Cardinal Burke says if Pope Francis won’t clarify these “serious errors,” the Cardinals must make a “formal act of correction.” It appears there is a plan for a formal statement against Francis for heresy or at least deviation from the Faith. The Cardinals are following the proper canonical process. As one writer noted, “The step of making a ‘formal act of correction’ would be the preliminary step, according to classical theology and Church discipline, of declaring someone – anyone – a formal heretic.” According to the  Code of Canon Law, “the Catholic faithful have the right and at times the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence, and position, to make known their views on matters which concern the good of the Church.”

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See our Research paper on Roman Catholicism

Chapel speaker terms Calvinism ‘Trojan Horse’

According to Bob Allen of Baptist News Global:

southern-baptist-logo-2Southern Baptist seminary president said Nov. 29 that Baptists who adopt Calvinistic theology and practice ought to consider joining another denomination.

“I know there are a fair number of you who think you are a Calvinist, but understand there is a denomination which represents that view,” Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, said at the close of Tuesday’s chapel service. “It’s called Presbyterian.”

“I have great respect for them,” Patterson said. “Many of them, the vast majority of them, are brothers in Christ, and I honor their position, but if I held that position I would become a Presbyterian. I would not remain a Baptist, because the Baptist position from the time of the Anabaptists, really from the time of the New Testament, is very different.”

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Rick Warren: Forget Sola Scriptura, But There is ‘Plus Scriptura’

Bud Ahlheim of Pulpit & Pen examines the teaching of Rick Warren, senior pastor of Saddleback megachurch which is one of the largest churches in the U.S.  He quotes Tim Challies as saying the following about the man who has been dubbed the “Purpose Driven Pope”:

One need only read Warren’s books or listen to a few of his messages to realize how often he explains and applies passages incorrectly. I assume this is because he has not taken the time to first humble himself before the Scripture and determine what the passages really mean. So do not be confused and presume that Warren is an expository preacher.

Ahlheim also includes something highly influential pastor Charles Spurgeon once said:

Whatever is to be revealed by the Spirit to any of us is in the Word of God already. He adds nothing to the Bible and never will.

Now listen as Bud Ahlheim shreads Warren’s post “The Four Ways God Speaks To You.”  He writes:

Photo courtesy Apprising Ministries

When the apostle Paul was writing his final letter to Timothy, he failed to include a number of things that are so frequently hurled about the Christian church today as utterly important, especially when it comes to hearing from God.

For example, the apostle did not instruct his young protégé on the importance of listening for God’s “still small voice” for personal and ministerial guidance. He didn’t remind Timothy about the importance of astutely discerning between God-sent, spiritual “impressions” for direction as opposed to those which might be of a distinctly more carnal nature.  The apostle of our Lord also forgot to advise the young minister about the importance of circumstances God may orchestrate in order to provide spiritual guardrails to guide him down the correct, providential path.

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‘The Shack’ to be the next blasphemous blockbuster film

Amy Spreeman of Berean Research warns: “If you’re looking for the God of the Bible in this book, or thinking that this is a great film to give your kids a ‘whole new perspective on God’ (we hear that one a lot), then I’m going to speak up and say that there are some things you ought to know about how and where this story veers off track into dangerous waters.”  She writes:

The Shack, Wm Paul YoungLet’s cut right to the chase:  Are there heresies in The Shack?  Yes. Scroll down. There are more than a dozen of them. Movies about God always make big bucks at the box office, and the film adaptation of The Shack will more than likely be a top ticket seller when it hits the big screen. Now the official trailer is out, and the emotional impact in just this two minute clip already seals the deal that this film will be a blockbuster.

The film hits Theaters March 3, 2017.

I can already imagine The Shack Bible studies, sermon series and of course the social media hype, not to mention busloads of small groups fellowshipping and praising “Papa” for another opportunity to share Jesus. But which Jesus? We know that the Jesus of the Bible is very different than the one author William P. Young wrote about in his mega-bestseller.

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Hillsong & Worship: The Gospel According to Hillsong

Grace to You bloggers Cameron Buettel and Jeremiah Johnson tackle the music of Hillsong.  What they say is not a “fundamentalist rant.”  And it’s not “a screed against modern music infiltrating the church.”  They’re simply urging the brethren to be “wary when our ancient and exclusive faith is overrun with modern songs featuring a fluid and indistinct message.  In many instances, Hillsong lyrics are so vague they could be embraced by most religions.”

Buettel and Johnson begin with lyrics from “Only Wanna Sing”:

hillsong-churchThis is no performance Lord, I pray it’s worship Empty words I can’t afford I’m not chasing feelings That’s not why I’m singing You’re the reason for my song

And I only wanna sing If I sing with everything If I sing for you, my King

I can’t imagine why I would do this all for hype Cause it’s all to lift You high

At this point in the song—titled “Only Wanna Sing”—the music soars, the strobe lights fire up, and everyone on stage and in the crowd begins to dance with reckless abandon.

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Fixer Upper Stars Under Fire for Attending Evangelical Church

 

From Berean Research:

Chip and Joanna GainesAccording to a report by Todd Starnes, host of Fox News and Commentary, the “LGBTQ mob” has their sites set on HGTV’s Chip and Joanna Gains.  If if turns out that they share their pastor’s beliefs on homosexuality, powerful LGBTQ activists will go to great lengths to destroy the couple.  Their pastor, Jimmy Seibert, holds to the biblical view of marriage — one man one woman for life.  He doesn’t happen to share the PC view that homosexuals are born that way; his opinion, which he’s entitled to, is that homosexuality is a “lifestyle.”  Moreover, he believes homosexuality is a sin against God.  Pastor Seibert’s beliefs come from the clear teaching of Scripture:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. — 1 Cor 6:9-11

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Perry Noble Says Churches are Businesses, Offers to Help Them Grow

Now that Perry Noble is fresh out of alcohol rehab, the Lord has something new and exciting in store for him.  It won’t be pastoring a church because, according to 1 Tim 3:1-7, he is no longer qualified.  So, what has God supposedly “shown him” regarding his future? Jeff Maples of Pulpit & Pen has the details:

perry-noble-2Disgraced former pastor of Newspring Church in Anderson, SC, says God is calling him back to the ministry–except this time, he’s in it for the business. After losing his job last year as senior pastor of the seeker-friendly megachurch for years of alcohol-related transgressions, he vowed to return to ministry after a 30-day rehab program and turning himself over to a therapist. He has kept his promise and is now offering what he calls a “consultation ministry,” dubbed The Growth Co., in which he will be offering to come alongside businesses and churches to help them grow.

“I am ready to take the next step in life and ministry…” the repeat alcoholic offender says,

After much thought, prayer and seeking godly and wise counsel I believe The Lord has clearly shown me I am supposed to step into church and business consulting.

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Former SBC leader says ERLC out of touch with mainstream

According to William “Bill” Harrell, “Every institution or group was founded to meet a certain need and, for the useful life of that institution or organization, it focused on its purpose.  If and when that purpose was no longer a valid reason for its existence, it would cease to exist.” Harrell believes that “We have just such a situation in the Southern Baptist Convention today.”  Baptist News Global has the story:

russell-moore-2A former Southern Baptist Convention leader who made the motion to sever ties with the Baptist Joint Committee on Religious Liberty at the SBC annual meeting in 1990 now says it might be time for Southern Baptists to “call it a day” for the convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

William “Bill” Harrell, chairman of the SBC Executive Committee subcommittee that recommended separating from the pan-Baptist religious liberty coalition and expanding work of the renamed Christian Life Commission by opening an office in Washington, said recent election results point to an ERLC out of touch with its constituency.

Harrell, retired pastor of Abilene Baptist Church in Martinez, Ga., said in a Nov. 17 blog linked by the Louisiana Baptist Message website that leaders of the agency entrusted with lobbying on behalf of issues important to Southern Baptists “must have egg all over their faces” after months of speaking out against President-elect Donald Trump.

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Progressive Christians to ‘Take Back Their Faith’ After Election

Derryck Green of Juicy Ecumenicism makes it clear that, when determining what is right and wrong, good and evil from a biblical perspective, those who call themselves “progressive Christians” (liberals) are in no position to take the moral high ground.  Green lays into those who pose as evangelicals but whose main goal is the redefinition of traditional Christianity, people such as popular author, blogger and speaker Rachel Held Evans and Jim Wallis of Sojourners, a far-left organization.   Green closes his piece with this challenge for wolves in sheep’s clothing: “If progressive Christians are really concerned about the future of their faith, they may want to consider what faith is really of concern – Leftism or Christianity.”

Now listen to what Derryck Green has to say about the snare of liberal “Christianity”:

Wolf - Little Red Riding HoodA week after the election, the Huffington Post published a blog entry in which Progressive Christians suggested what like-minded Christians should do in order to “take back their faith.”

Still reeling from the election in which Donald Trump was elected president, several progressive Christians pondered the necessary steps to draw a stronger contrast between their brand of kindhearted progressive Christianity, and the kind of conservative, evangelical Christianity that helped elect Donald Trump.

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Fidel Castro May Be Dead, but Tyranny Remains in Cuba

Ana Quintana is a policy analyst for Latin America and the Western Hemisphere in The Heritage Foundation.  Ana is a first-generation Cuban American who knows this story “all too well.” Her piece is posted over at The Daily Signal.  She writes:

CommunismLate Friday evening, Cuban state media reported the death of their former leader, Fidel Castro, at age 90. Some will mourn his passing or even glorify his life. But for many others, not even his death will fill the void caused by his life.

For over five decades, Cubans suffered under the tyranny of Fidel and then his brother Raul, now 85. They watched the regime destroy a country and export the same perverted model of social justice throughout the developing world.

My grandfather would often tell us of how he would hide indoors while Fidel’s firing squads would slaughter innocent people nearby.

Religion was criminalized, dissent was violently punished, and Cuban citizens became property of their communist state. Fidel’s rule brought the world to its closest point of nuclear war during those fateful 13 days in 1962. He indoctrinated hate and pushed millions out of their country.

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Robot revolution: rise of ‘thinking’ machines could exacerbate inequality

The Guardian has the story:

robot-2A “robot revolution” will transform the global economy over the next 20 years, cutting the costs of doing business but exacerbating social inequality, as machines take over everything from caring for the elderly to flipping burgers, according to a new study.

As well as robots performing manual jobs, such as hoovering the living room or assembling machine parts, the development of artificial intelligence means computers are increasingly able to “think”, performing analytical tasks once seen as requiring human judgment.

In a 300-page report, revealed exclusively to the Guardian, analysts from investment bank Bank of America Merrill Lynch draw on the latest research to outline the impact of what they regard as a fourth industrial revolution, after steam, mass production and electronics.

“We are facing a paradigm shift which will change the way we live and work,” the authors say. “The pace of disruptive technological innovation has gone from linear to parabolic in recent years. Penetration of robots and artificial intelligence has hit every industry sector, and has become an integral part of our daily lives.”

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What is ‘Bridal Mysticism’? And why is it so prevalent?

In this piece, Elizabeth Prata of The End Time answers these questions. Romantic eroticism is the term she uses to describe the way in which some professing Christian women describe an encounter they supposedly had with God.  Beth Moore claims she had an experience with God where she felt as if He was enfolding her; likewise, Sarah Young had a feeling of being enveloped by a warm mist and becoming aware of a lovely Presence.  In her writing, Ann Voskamp promotes pagan nature religion or mysticism. So it should come as no surprise that she expresses romantic feelings about Jesus and is looking for satisfaction.

Now listen as Elizabeth Prata sheds light on romantic eroticism:

brideIn 2005, Beth Moore was interviewed by Today’s Christian Woman magazine. They asked Moore:

Q. What led you to Jesus?

A. Beth Moore’s [2005] answer:

My Sunday-school teacher would hold up pictures of Jesus, and he looked so nice. I needed a hero, and Jesus seemed like one. I’d lie on the grass, stare up at the sky, and wonder what Jesus was like. Even as a child, I fell in love with him. After my freshman year in college, I was a camp counselor for sixth-grade girls. Early one morning, as the girls were sleeping, I sensed God’s presence enfold me. There were no audible words, no bright lights. But suddenly I knew, without a doubt, my future was entirely his. You are now mine, he told me. (source)

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Christian leaders see influence growing under Trump

According to left-leaning Politico:

Donald Trump PrayerSocial conservatives got Donald Trump into the White House. Now, they expect him to deliver.

In conversations on Capitol Hill, donor meetings in Texas and behind closed doors at the Ritz-Carlton in McLean, Virginia, socially conservative leaders are cheering Trump’s election and already moving to hold him accountable to the myriad campaign promises he made to Christian voters.

“Donald Trump is not the candidate pro-lifers would have chosen, and he understood that, and he did outreach,” said Tom McClusky, vice president of government affairs at the anti-abortion rights group March for Life. McClusky, who has been critical of Trump in the past, continued, “If he fulfills the promises he’s made, he could be the most pro-life president since Reagan.”

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The Dr. Michael Brown Checklist of Manipulation

Steven Kozar of Messed Up Church has compiled a list of things that Dr. Michael Brown often says and does in order to elicit support from friends of his who are caught up in the New Apostolic Reformation cult:

Michael BrownDr. Michael Brown is an enigma.  Sometimes he says some really good things that all Bible-believing Christians can agree with (and we gladly recognize that), but other times he goes out on a limb in support of the most extreme New Apostolic Reformation teachers, pastors and leaders. For some reason, he has become a very convincing apologist and “front man” for obvious false teachers like Bill Johnson, Heidi Baker, Rick Joyner, Lance Wallnau and even Benny Hinn.

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Hillsong & Beth Moore Unite: Using Weak Women To Capture Weak Women (and others)

Bud Ahlheim of Pulpit & Pen informs us that popular author, speaker and Bible teacher Beth Moore is scheduled to appear as a “Special Guest” at the Hillsong Conference 2017.  Moore and Hillsong’s Brian and Bobbie Houston are movers and shakers in the ravenous wolf camp, so discerning Christians will not be surprised by this; still, we need to be aware of what’s happening in the “Christian” community.  According to Ahlheim:

beth-moore-2-2When the imprisoned, soon-to-be-martyred Paul wrote his final letter to Timothy, effectively passing the mantle of ministry to his young protégé, he warned the young disciple about the imminent persecution that would come “in the last days.” The impetus for the coming “times of difficulty” was the increasing depravity of the pagan world.

At the end of the list (2 Timothy 3:2-5) of evidenced evil that Timothy ought to watch for, Paul included the following group in conclusion.

… those … having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith.”   2 Timothy 3:5-8

Well, guess what?

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Thanksgiving Through the Years

thanksgiving-dinnerLee Edwards, distinguished fellow at The Heritage Foundation, reminds us that as the name implies, Thanksgiving Day is about giving thanks to Almighty God for all the blessings we enjoy. Edwards writes:

George Washington was first in war, first in peace, and in November 1789 the first president to proclaim a national day of Thanksgiving, openly acknowledging God as the source of all “the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.”

Among the “favors” were a Declaration of Independence that inspires us to the present day, a remarkable military victory over the most powerful nation in the world, and an ingenious Constitution of checks and balances that places “we the people” at the center of our government.

For the next fourscore and seven years, most states honored a November date as a day of prayer and fasting, but there was no national celebration. Of the early presidents, only James Madison, in 1814 and 1815, issued proclamations.

Then in November 1863, with the Civil War still raging, President Abraham Lincoln officially declared the last Thursday of November to be Thanksgiving. Echoing Washington, President Lincoln asked Americans to “implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purposes, to the full employment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and union.”

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Here Comes (U.S.) Thanksgiving: The Unbreakable Link Between Gratitude and Joy

Blogger, author and book reviewer Tim Challies shares some thoughts on one of the first three fruits of the spirit listed in Galatians 5: Joy.  He writes:

joyWhat are people willing to give for joy? What price are they willing to pay? Consider what people spend on vacations, luxury goods, entertainment, and stimulants and it’s clear the cost is sky-high. And yet all that time, money, and effort never seems to be enough. For so many people, joy remains elusive. And if they do find it, it is fleeting and unsatisfying.

It’s ironic that during the holiday season—when we talk about joy the most—it seems to be the hardest to find. The holidays are stressful. We have a lot to do. We are pressed for time and money. Family conflicts tend to rise to the surface. But even in the midst of these things we can remain genuinely joyful. This sounds paradoxical, but as Bill Farley discusses in his recent book, The Secret of Spiritual Joy (to which this article is indebted), it is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit.

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Satan’s Civil Rights

Dr. Peter Jones of truthXchange warns that, “Satanists claim their civil right to express demonic notions to children, and we cannot lawfully stop them.” Moreover, “having acquired social recognition, the forces of paganism are ever ready to silence ‘the good.’ Where evil is concerned, there is no fair play.” Because Satanism is on the rise in America, Dr. Jones reveals what will occur in our nation:

satanic-templeFor the first time, a Satanist group has official permission to meet in a public school at the end of the school day. An After School Satan Club (ASSC) meeting was held at Sacramento Elementary School in Portland, Oregon on November 16th, 2016. The previous day, at Parkrose Middle School (also in Portland), the Satanic Temple made a presentation that was supposed to be open to the community and press but was not. The second ASSC is set to meet at Point Defiance Elementary School in Tacoma on Wednesday, December 14th. Approved in September, the ASSC, seeks to provide an alternative to other after-school religious groups. ASSC chapters are meeting in Atlanta and Tucson, and the movement may gain momentum. At one level, this seems like cultural fair play, but at another level, it shows how dramatically Western culture has changed. After centuries of underground existence, Satanic teaching is now so self-confident of its acceptance that it openly demands —and gets—a public voice. The Pew Research Center showed that out of about 245 million US adults in 2014, 173 million were Christians. However, many of these now adopt a Hindu slant on life.

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Remembering the enticing appeal of Richard Foster and Beth Moore’s Be Still film

Lighthouse Trails does not want us to forget how certain esteemed Christian leaders introduced the evangelical community to contemplative prayer (CP), also referred to as centering prayer, breath prayer, meditation and listening prayer.  Why is this important to remember?  For the reason that CP is steeped in Roman Catholic mysticism and is highly unbiblical. Yet Christian celebs such as Richard Foster and Beth Moore urge their followers to adopt a dangerous practice that takes the practitioner into an altered state of consciousness. In this piece, Lighthouse Trails reveals the names of several other wolves in sheep’s clothing and provides reasons we must flee from these people:

be-still-dvdIn 2006, a DVD film was released by Fox Entertainment called Be Still. Lighthouse Trails wrote extensively about it at the time, warning our readers that the DVD was an infomercial for contemplative prayer. Recently, a caller who very much understood the deceptive dynamics of the contemplative prayer (i.e., Spiritual Formation) movement, reminded us about the film, and we e-mailed her a copy of all the transcripts (we had transcribed the entire film in 2006). The film includes Richard Foster, Buddhist-sympathizer Catholic convert Peter Kreeft, Dallas Willard, Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, Michelle McKinney Hammon, Max Lucado, and Calvin Miller. You can read some of our previous coverage here.

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Obama Admin Fines Police Department for Not Hiring Non-Citizens

According to The Daily Signal:

law-enforcement-3Denver County’s sheriff office has been slapped with a fine by the Department of Justice (DOJ) because it refused to hire non-citizens as deputies.

From the beginning of 2015 through last March, the Denver Sheriff Department went on a major hiring binge, adding more than 200 new deputies. But those jobs ended up only going to citizens, because the department made citizenship a stated requirement on the job application. The department admitted as much in a new settlement with the U.S. government, which requires it to pay a $10,000 fine.

The department will also have to comb through all of its job applications from the past two years, identifying immigrants who were excluded from the hiring process and giving them due consideration.

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Surge of Immigration from Nations with Anti-Western Values

According to PoliZette, an “escalating number of migrants come from countries with illiberal outlooks.” For example, “In India, 73 percent believes it is sometimes acceptable to beat one’s wife, an opinion they apparently share with 65 percent of Iraqis, 61 percent of Egyptians, and 53 percent of Nigerians, according to the survey.” Edmund Kozak warns that,

burkaImmigration to United States from countries with values antithetical to those of the West is surging at an alarming rate, new analysis from the Center for Immigration Studies shows.

A comparison of the immigrant population in the U.S. that exploded between 2010 and 2015, and the cultural values of their home countries as indicated by the World Values Survey, paints a worrying picture of the future of American cultural and social cohesion.

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