Thursday, May 17, 2007

People who will be in Heaven (mostly):

The following is a (partial) list of people who will be in heaven:
  1. Ed Asner
  2. Thomas Magnum (not a real person)
  3. Minnie Driver
  4. Ed Begley, Jr.
  5. Tony Stewart

Also, a (nearly) complete list of people who will be in hell:
  1. Sorcerers (but not magicians)
  2. Hawk Handlers (those birds should be free)
  3. Hudson Hawk (not a real person)

Class is in session.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell Kicks The Bucket

Check it, guys:

Television evangelist Falwell dies at 73

By SUE LINDSEY, Associated Press Writer

LYNCHBURG, Va. - The Rev. Jerry Falwell, the television evangelist who founded the Moral Majority and used it to mold the religious right into a political force, died Tuesday shortly after being found unconscious in his office at Liberty University, a school executive said. He was 73.

Ron Godwin, the university's executive vice president, said Falwell, 73, was found unresponsive around 10:45 a.m. and taken to Lynchburg General Hospital. "CPR efforts were unsuccessful," he said.

Godwin said he was not sure what caused the collapse, but he said Falwell "has a history of heart challenges."

"I had breakfast with him, and he was fine at breakfast," Godwin said. "He went to his office, I went to mine, and they found him unresponsive."

Falwell had survived two serious health scares in early 2005. He was hospitalized for two weeks with what was described as a viral infection, then was hospitalized again a few weeks later after going into respiratory arrest. Later that year, doctors found a 70 percent blockage in an artery, which they opened with stents.

Falwell credited his Moral Majority with getting millions of conservative voters registered, electing Ronald Reagan and giving Republicans Senate control in 1980.

"I shudder to think where the country would be right now if the religious right had not evolved," Falwell said when he stepped down as Moral Majority president in 1987.

The fundamentalist church that Falwell started in an abandoned bottling plant in 1956 grew into a religious empire that includes the 22,000-member Thomas Road Baptist Church, the "Old Time Gospel Hour" carried on television stations around the country and 7,700-student Liberty University. He built Christian elementary schools, homes for unwed mothers and a home for alcoholics.

He also founded Liberty University in Lynchburg, which began as Lynchburg Baptist College in 1971.

Liberty University's commencement is scheduled for Saturday, with former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich as the featured speaker.

In 2006, Falwell marked the 50th anniversary of his church and spoke out on stem cell research, saying he sympathized with people with medical problems, but that any medical research must pass a three-part test: "Is it ethically correct? Is it biblically correct? Is it morally correct?"

Falwell had once opposed mixing preaching with politics, but he changed his view and in 1979, founded the Moral Majority. The political lobbying organization grew to 6.5 million members and raised $69 million as it supported conservative politicians and campaigned against abortion, homosexuality, pornography and bans on school prayer.

Falwell became the face of the religious right, appearing on national magazine covers and on television talk shows. In 1983, U.S. News & World Report named him one of 25 most influential people in America.

In 1984, he sued Hustler magazine for $45 million, charging that he was libeled by an ad parody depicting him as an incestuous drunkard. A federal jury found the fake ad did not libel him, but awarded him $200,000 for emotional distress. That verdict was overturned, however, in a landmark 1988 U.S. Supreme Court decision that held that even pornographic spoofs about a public figure enjoy First Amendment protection.

The case was depicted in the 1996 movie "The People v. Larry Flynt."

With Falwell's high profile came frequent criticism, even from fellow ministers. The Rev. Billy Graham once rebuked him for political sermonizing on "non-moral issues."

Falwell quit the Moral Majority in 1987, saying he was tired of being "a lightning rod" and wanted to devote his time to his ministry and Liberty University. But he remained outspoken and continued to draw criticism for his remarks.

Days after Sept. 11, 2001, Falwell essentially blamed feminists, gays, lesbians and liberal groups for bringing on the terrorist attacks. He later apologized.

In 1999, he told an evangelical conference that the Antichrist was a male Jew who was probably already alive. Falwell later apologized for the remark but not for holding the belief. A month later, his National Liberty Journal warned parents that Tinky Winky, a purple, purse-toting character on television's "Teletubbies" show, was a gay role model and morally damaging to children.

Falwell was re-energized after family values proved important in the 2004 presidential election. He formed the Faith and Values Coalition as the "21st Century resurrection of the Moral Majority," to seek anti-abortion judges, a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and more conservative elected officials.

The big, blue-eyed preacher with a booming voice started his independent Baptist church with 35 members. From his living room, he began broadcasting his message of salvation and raising the donations that helped his ministry grow.

"He was one of the first to come up with ways to use television to expand his ministry," said Robert Alley, a retired University of Richmond religion professor who studied and criticized Falwell's career.

In 1987, Falwell took over the PTL (Praise the Lord) ministry in South Carolina after Jim Bakker's troubles. Falwell slid fully clothed down a theme park water slide after donors met his fund-raising goal to help rescue the rival ministry. He gave it up seven months later after learning the depth of PTL's financial problems.

Largely because of the Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart scandals, donations to Falwell's ministry dropped from $135 million in 1986 to less than $100 million the following year. Hundreds of workers were laid off and viewers of his television show dwindled.

Liberty University was $73 million in debt and on the verge of bankruptcy, and his "Old Time Gospel Hour" was $16 million in debt.

By the mid-1990s, two local businessmen with long ties to Falwell began overseeing the finances and helped get companies to forgive debts or write them of as losses.

Falwell devoted much of his time keeping his university afloat. He dreamed that Liberty would grow to 50,000 students and be to fundamentalist Christians what Notre Dame is to Roman Catholics and Brigham Young University is to Mormons. He was an avid sports fan who arrived at Liberty basketball games to the cheers of students.

Falwell's father and his grandfather were militant atheists, he wrote in his autobiography. He said his father made a fortune off his businesses — including bootleging during Prohibition.

As a student, Falwell was a star athlete and a prankster who was barred from giving his high school valedictorian's speech after he was caught using counterfeit lunch tickets his senior year.

He ran with a gang of juvenile delinquents before becoming a born-again Christian at age 19. He turned down an offer to play professional baseball and transferred from Lynchburg College to Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Mo.

"My heart was burning to serve Christ," he once said in an interview. "I knew nothing would ever be the same again."

Falwell is survived by his wife, Macel, and three children, Jerry, Jonathan and Jeannie.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The ETS Strikes Back

Really the title of this post is not fitting, but I thought it sounded fun.

Recently the President of the ETS stepped down, because he returned to the Catholic Church this past Easter. He had planned on staying until the end of his term (later this year), but word leaked out about his readmittance via the web and began to stir up quite a controversy.

In the words of Francis Beckwith.

The respnse of the Evangelical Theological Society.

I don't know much about Beckwith or the ETS (other than their involvement with Sanders), but I'm interested to hear from those more edjucated on the topic. Also I wonder what people think about Beckwith's claim that, "Because I can in good conscience, as a Catholic, affirm the ETS doctrinal statement, I do not intend to resign as a member of ETS." Do you think Catholics can affirm the ETS statement?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Draft and more...

So the draft was this weekend, and...
  • the New England Patriots looked more desperate than ever to regain their Super Bowl stature (and they just might do it). Moss is a hack, but Tom Brady has done wonders with much less. Their first pick Merriweather will help solidify their aging defence. Is it just me or does it seem like the rest of the league will give NE anything they want; I think SanFrancisco sold their soul to get an additional first round pick, and even the selfish Moss readjusted his contract.
  • Phil Savage (the GM of the Browns) was brilliant. Picking an awesome OT first, and then getting him a QB to protect was great. Quinn's NFL career will be dependent upon how much work he puts into it. Right now he has the same knocks as Peyton did when he came into the league. Peyton didn't have nearly the arm, body, or big game winning ability as Ryan Leaf did, but pure effort has made him a superstar.
  • The Bears drafted their first tight end in the first round since Da Coach. I hope it works out as well.
  • No one seems to understand the Colts, and how they could pick a WR when their defense is horrible. I guess they are hoping for the playoff version of the D next year for the regular season.

Major League Soccer

  • If you have cable you can catch the game of the week every Thursday on ESPN2. It's well shot, and the play is getting to a higher and higher level. You won't see anything near what took place at the world cup, but there is some fine talent in the league. Two teams to watch for are the NY Redbulls and New England Revolution. NY has a lethal combo of Cladio Reyna in midfield and Joseph Altidore in the forward spot. Altidore is a budding star - the age of Adu, but with less hype and more skill. New England is the closest the MLS will come to English soccer, they have great ball movement and Taylor Twellman always seems to find the back of the net.
  • Beckham coming to the states is overrated. If you are going to watch the LA Galaxy watch them because of Landon Donovan. After a horrible World Cup (besides his effort against Italy) he has really learned a lesson. No one in the league has Donovan's attacking ablility when he is running at the goal with the ball in stride- it's truly a sight to see.