Judge Rules Nativity Scenes No Longer Allowed in LA Beach City Park

The nearly 60-year tradition of a Nativity scene displayed at a park and hosted by a coalition of churches in Santa Monica, Calif., has ended after a federal judge ruled on Monday that the city can ban such displays. A controversy over the display about the birth of Jesus at Palisades Park erupted last Christmas season when an atheist group “manipulated” the city’s lottery system for spaces, according to a nonprofit, resulting in only two booths for the Christian group that normally uses 14 booths for the various Nativity-related scenes.

“It’s a very sad day when a small number of people with an axe to grind, people who do not like Christianity, and who do not like God, are able to prevail by manipulating rules to censor our message from the public place where it has been displayed for the enjoyment of millions of people for nearly 60 years,” Hunter Jameson, head of the nonprofit Santa Monica Nativity Scene Committee, told The Christian Post Monday.

“It’s even sadder that a city government would allow itself to go along with this effort to try to snuff out a message that a small group of people did not agree with,” Jameson added.

Judge Audrey B. Collins denied a request from the committee to erect the large displays primarily on the grounds that the city’s administration was overburdened with the permit process for the displays, according to William Becker, the group’s lawyer. A temporary injunction to allow the displays to go up this Christmas season was not allowed.

“She claimed that they had proved that the primary reason for banning the displays on a permanent basis was due to the heavy administrative task work that city staff would have to do in accepting applications for permits,” Becker told CP. “There is no evidence on the record. The system was being gamed by the atheists. The only reason it was burdensome last year was because the atheists and their allies flooded city hall with permits (requests) in order to get the very result they got today.”

Behind the trouble in Santa Monica is a member of the American Atheists, Damon Vix, who applied for and was granted a booth in Palisades Park alongside the Nativity display three years ago. He erected a sign quoting Thomas Jefferson: “Religions are all alike – founded on fables and mythologies.” Another sign read, “Happy Solstice.”

Last Christmas season, there were 13 individuals who entered the race for the 21 spaces available at the park, that has an ocean view, rather than the usual three. The sudden high demand for spots, especially by atheists recruited by Vix, prompted Santa Monica’s City Hall to implement a random lottery system to determine who would have access to the spots. This left the Nativity Committee with only two spaces on which they were able to put up only three of the usual 14 scenes.

The atheists used half their spaces, displaying anti-God signs, most of which were vandalized. This led the city to effectively end the tradition that began in 1953.

“The city decided that it didn’t want the controversy that happened last year and so they decided they wouldn’t have any scenes up at all,” Jameson told CP after talking to his lawyer about the hearing Monday morning. “They just gave in to these people who didn’t want the Nativity scene.”

Apparently, Santa Monica officials are “very pleased” with the ruling, according the city’s attorney, Barry A. Rosenbaum, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. Rosenbaum said the judge “understood the government interests and that [groups wanting to put up displays] have a number of alternatives to erect displays.”

Another hearing is scheduled for Dec. 3, but Becker said it is only a formality and he expects the judge to drop the case entirely.

Jameson said that his group will be looking for other locations to display the large and intricate Nativity scenes. However, geographically, finding space in the densely populated area of Santa Monica may be difficult, he noted.

“We encourage others to pray and visit our website, www.santamonicanativityscenes.org,” he said.

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America Must Repent Of Her Sins Or Suffer The Consequences

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people,  if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

2 Chronicles 7 : 13-14

 

How can the United States turn itself around from the curses that it has brought upon itself with it’s terrible treatment of Israel?

  • Acknowledge the One True God of the Bible who has a Name, YAHWEH /JEHOVAH, who sen His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross and bear all of mankind’s sins to redeem, cleanse and save us from our iniquities which separate us from God and leads to death.
  • Starting from our government leaders down to the common man, we must identify, confess and ask God for the forgiveness of all our sins we’ve committed against Him.  If we ever expect this country to receive the blessings of God, we need to do this immediately in order to be right with Him.
  • We must stop promoting and doing what is wrong, according to the Word of God;  it is rebellion and sin against Him.  These are the sins that we,  in this country, are promoting:  Worshiping other gods, lying, stealing, murder of all lives including infantcide (abortion), same sex marriage, homosexuality and promoting hatred against Israel and the Jewish people.
  • Concerning Israel and the Jewish people, we must defend them because God is not done with saving His chosen people.  All Israel will be saved, as His Word declares (see below).

 “For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.  And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:

The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
 For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.”

 Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.  For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.  For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience,  even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy.  For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.

 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!”

Romans 11:25-33

The decision is now left for us.  Do we want to continue in our sinful ways and continue in the curses or do we want to be right with God and receive the blessings while still supporting Israel?

And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?”

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well,  let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.  This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.  Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Acts 4: 7-12

Has California Finally Hit Bottom?


The Golden State has been forced into a sort of economic rehab after years of runaway spending.

Now, California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office says the state may be bottoming, and there is reason to hope.

Californians just passed Prop 30, raising taxes, but the LAO says the state will still have to close a $1.9 billion budget gap over the next two years. However, there could be a budget surplus beginning in 2014.

“We’re not out of the woods,” said Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat. “There’s a lot of desire, pent-up desire, to invest more in research and development and issues of education and the like, and so we’re going to have to hold the line.”

Newsom was speaking at the Milken California Summit in Beverly Hills, where the issue of the state’s economy and notoriously poor business climate were front and center. (Read MoreJob Opening in California—Chief Economist.)

Proposition 30 will raise the top state income tax rate to 13.3 percent for millionaires. “That’s not a great way to encourage folks to come here and stay here,” he said.

Add that to the potential repeal of the Bush tax cuts. “We’re talking about a tax rate of over 50 percent,” for top earners, said Scott Minerd, Guggenheim Partner’s Chief Investment Officer.

Democrats now have a supermajority in Sacramento, meaning they could raise taxes without a single Republican vote. Newsom said that would be a mistake.

“Democrats now own this. We’ve got to lean back in,” he said. “We’ve got to make a case to CEOs across the country that this is not the worst place to do business. It’s not. But we have to demonstrate that.”

Phoenix is the latest city making a play to lure California business to move out, promising 100 CEOs free flights to Arizona to tour the town. While it sounds like a gimmick, most at the Milken summit say the threat is real. (Read MoreTop Destination States for Jobs.)

“You can’t just take business and jobs for granted, you’ve got to have policies that foster economic growth,” said Russ Goldsmith, CEO of Los Angeles-based City National [CYN  48.48    1.18  (+2.49%)   ]. “When you’re 49th in the country in terms of business climate, you’ve got to do something to make it better. Unfortunately the Governor doesn’t seem to understand that.”

Goldsmith believes, though, that the California economy is turning around. Income taxes jumped last month, a sign of improving employment. But he said his business clients are taking out lines of credit … and then just sitting on them, waiting to see what happens in Washington. (Read MoreStates’ Jobs Picture Improves: Behind the Numbers.)

“I don’t know what my tax rate is going to be,” he said they’re telling themselves. “I don’t know what my depreciation schedule is going to be. I don’t know if the government is going to drive us into recession. … I’m just going to wait.”

Scott Minerd of Guggenhiem isn’t pulling money out of California, despite its high cost structure. “It is still a leader in tech, it is still a leader in innovation.”

But does he think the state will return to surpluses in two years as the LAO suggests? “No, and I don’t think anybody who knows anything takes it very seriously,”

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Atheist Displays Prompt End to Santa Monica’s 60-Year Christmas Tradition

Santa Monica, California has decided to end its 60-year Christmas tradition of setting up Nativity scenes along Ocean Avenue because last year atheists took over a majority of the booths. The city didn’t want to be in the position of refereeing religious fights.

Today, a group of churches plans to challenge that decision in court.

According to Peter Johnson, Jr., the “war on Christmas has begun.”

He said, “Santa Monica appears to have succumbed to what’s called the heckler’s veto, meaning that if you heckle something long enough, you can remove from the public square other people who do in fact have a right to have this kind of scene.”

UPDATE 1:30p ET: Trace Gallagher reports that the judge in the case has just handed down a tentative ruling and the injunction application has been denied, meaning the city wins and there will be no nativity displays.

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Is The U.S. Being Cursed Because Of It’s Present Treatment Of Israel?

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

 “I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.

Genesis 12: 1-3

In Genesis 12: 1-3, we are given a glimpse of how the nations of the world should treat Abraham’s descendants, the Jewish people…Israel.  God tells Abraham to leave his family, who lived in the City of Haran.   In faith, God told him to move to a land which he had never been to…the land of Canaan – which is now present day Israel.  Abraham is told by God. that he and his descendants, will be blessed by the Most High  because of his obedience to God.  The promise is that those who blessed Abraham’s descendants would be blessed and those who cursed his descendants would be cursed.

We, at this present time in history, see the United States government doing all that it can to divide the land of Israel and the City of Jerusalem.  The US is doing this as well as supporting the Palestinians’ attempt to wipe Israel off the map, with a false peace.  Do you consider this a true support for the only true ally we have in the Middle East?  The US is still suffering economic hard times, joblessness, droughts, floods, hurricanes (Super Storm Sandy) in the Northeast, earthquakes, declining economic and military power and the horrific behavior of corrupt politicians bringing this country down.

What is there to say?  Are we blessed or cursed, according to God’s Word?  Wake up, America, we have taken our fingers and poked God in His Eye and cursed Israel – instead of blessing her.  God is cursing America for our treatment of the nation of Israel.

Please return tomorrow for Part II of my article.

GOD IS AT WORK ON YOUR BEHALF

GOD IS AT WORK ON YOUR BEHALF
by Gary Wilkerson

The city walls of Jerusalem were being rebuilt but Nehemiah saw sin, bondage
and discouragement beginning to captivate the hearts of the people.

“As soon as it began to grow dark . . . I commanded that the doors should be
shut and gave orders that they should not be opened until after the Sabbath”
(Nehemiah 13:19, ESV).

In this passage Nehemiah is a type of the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of God is
saying, “I know your propensity, I know the pulls. I know the temptation will
be to take the Sabbath and make it unholy . . . and you will forget Me.” So
even before it was dark, Nehemiah closed the gates.

Your heavenly Father is on the move in your life to solve your problem even
before you know you have a problem. God is on the move on your behalf even
before the sin sets in, even before it takes hold. God is working! The old
Puritans called this a prevenient grace—grace at work before the temptation
comes. Even before Adam and Eve got out of the Garden, even before sin began to
take hold in the fruit, God said to the serpent, “The Son (He was talking of
His Son, Christ Jesus) will crush your head” (Genesis 3:15, paraphrase mine).
After deceiving Adam and Eve, before Satan slithered out and began to move
throughout the whole world to deceive the sons of Adam and Eve, God said, “I
have a plan in action.”

This is not God standing on the sidelines saying, “If you fall into that sin,
come to Me and repent and I will forgive you again.” Yes, He does that, but it
is so much more than that. God is working on your behalf even before that
temptation ever comes to you, building up a wall in your life. He is building
up grace and maturity in you, leading you through the spiritual process of your
growing to where you are strengthened—line upon line, precept upon precept.

God is already planning for your victory!

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Israeli government websites under mass hacking attack

More than 44 million hacking attempts have been made on Israeli government web sites since Wednesday when Israel began its Gaza air strikes, the government said on Sunday.

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said just one hacking attempt was successful on a site he did not want to name, but it was up and running after 10 minutes of downtime.

Typically, there are a few hundred hacking attempts a day on Israeli sites, the ministry said.

Attempts on defence-related sites have been the highest, while 10 million attempts have been made on the site of Israel’s president, 7 million on the Foreign Ministry and 3 million on the site of the prime minister.

A ministry spokesman said while the attacks have come from around the world, most have been from Israel and the Palestinian territories.

“The ministry’s computer division will continue to block the millions of cyber attacks,” Steinitz said. “We are enjoying the fruits of our investment in recent years in developing computerized defence systems.”

Steinitz has instructed his ministry to operate in emergency mode to counter attempts to undermine government sites.

Both sides in the Gaza conflict, but particularly Israel, are embracing the social media as one of their tools of warfare. The Israeli Defense Force has established a presence on nearly every platform available while Palestinian militants are active on Twitter.

“The war is taking place on three fronts. The first is physical, the second is on the world of social networks and the third is cyber,” said Carmela Avner, Israel’s chief information officer.

Last month, U.S. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said cyberspace is the battlefield of the future, with attackers already going after banks and other financial systems. U.S. banks have been under sustained attack by suspected Iranian hackers thought to be responding to economic sanctions aimed at forcing Tehran to negotiate over its nuclear program.

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Study: U.S. power grid vulnerable to terrorist attack

As if Hurricane Sandy’s blackouts weren’t worrisome enough, a new federal study warns the U.S. power grid is also vulnerable to terrorist attack. Yet it says fixing the problem won’t be easy.

6:46PM EST November 14. 2012 – After Hurricane Sandy left millions in the dark, a long-delayed federal study Wednesday says the U.S. power grid is also vulnerable to terrorist attacks that could cause months of blackouts and billions in economic damages.

The nation’s grid is spread out across hundreds of miles, and many key pieces of equipment are either unguarded or so old they lack the sensors to limit outages from cascading, according to the study by the National Research Council (NRC), a private independent agency operating under a congressional charter.

“We could easily be without power across a multistate region for many weeks or months, because we don’t have many spare transformers,” says M. Granger Morgan, engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and chairman of the NRC committee that wrote the report. He says a terrorist attack could cause disruptions worse than Sandy and rack up “hundreds of billions of dollars” in damages.

“Most of the report is as relevant today as when we wrote it,” he says, adding the power industry changes slowly. The NRC completed the report in 2007, but the sponsoring agency, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), decided to classify it entirely. In August 2010, the NRC requested an updated classification, and in August 2012, all but a few pages of the report were cleared for publication.

“It was very frustrating,” Morgan says of the delay. He says the committee understood the need to protect national security and was careful not to provide a “cookbook” for terrorists, relying instead on widely available data. He says the authors are now “pleased” the report is public.

The report focuses partly on high-voltage transformers, saying they’re vulnerable both from within and from outside the substations where they’re located. It says they’re huge, difficult to move, often custom-built, and hard to replace, because most are no longer made in the United States. It recommends developing smaller portable ones for temporary use to reduce delays in restoring disabled power systems.

Morgan says DHS has “done a little” to develop and test spare low-voltage transformers but says “there’s a long way to go.”

DHS spokesman Peter Boogaard acknowledged threats to the grid, but added that the agency”continues to work every day with private sector and government counterparts to adapt and strengthen our security and resilience against an ever changing threat.”

The report says the federal government faces difficulty in addressing weaknesses in the nation’s power grid, because more than 90% of the grid is privately owned and regulated by the states. Still, it calls on DHS or the Department of Energy to study where the U.S. is most vulnerable to extended blackouts and to develop cost-effective strategies for reducing their length and their impact on critical services.

“The NRC is right to call for more investment in making our grid both more secure and more resilient in the face of attacks,” says Richard Caperton, an energy expert at the Center for American Progress, a liberal-leaning think tank. He says a terrorist attack is unlikely but, as Hurricane Sandy shows, “Anything that disrupts power supply can have catastrophic consequences.”

Morgan says many of the steps that could protect the grid from terrorism would also protect it from extreme weather. He points to smart meters, saying they disconnect damaged properties so power can be restored more quickly to the rest of a neighborhood without fear of explosions. He says much of Long Island and New Jersey lacks such technology.

DOE estimated Wednesday that 6,000 homes and businesses in the Mid-Atlantic region remained without power because of Hurricane Sandy or the Nor’easter storm. The number, which reached nearly 9 million, was down from 25,061 on Tuesday and 63,821 on Monday.

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Report: Majority Of Americans Still Not Prepared For A Major Disaster

According to a report by YouGov.com, a research and consulting organization, 64 percent of Americans are woefully unprepared for a major natural disaster, even after the events of Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Katrina, and a series of other major natural disasters smacking us around in recent years.

The report finds that people making disaster-readiness plans has slightly increased from 31 percent to 36 percent since 2011, showing that the majority of Americans have failed to adequately prepare themselves in the event of another major disaster. This is the breakdown of YouGov’s numbers,

Of the 36 percent who said they were equipped for natural disasters, their preparations included the following:

  • Emergency supplies (for example, flashlights or first-aid kits): 89 percent
  • Food stocks: 74 percent
  • Creating an evacuation or an emergency plan: 50 percent
  • Disaster insurance: 22 percent

Of the 89 percent who had emergency supplies, their supplies included the following:

  • Flashlights:  97 percent
  • Water:  92 percent
  • First-aid kits or medicine:  92 percent
  • Sleeping bags or blankets:  83 percent
  • Face masks: 18 percent
  • Iodine pills:  15 percent

While general preparedness is low, concern and fear over another natural disaster has increased, especially across the Northeast, where 31 percent report that they are “very concerned” following Hurricane Sand, doubled from the previous year’s report of 17 percent concern in polling done after Tropical Storm Irene, the highest percentage in the country.

A lot of people have prognosticated in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy that this was finally the storm that got everyone’s attention, and that in the future, people will be more prepared for the advent of another natural catastrophe. I’m not so sure. While Sandy’s devastation was massive and destabilizing, only time will tell how New Yorkers will prepare and respond, both personally, and politically, should another superstorm come to wreck our city.

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Thousands march against same-sex marriage bill

Thousands of people rallied in Paris and across France on Saturday to protest a government bill that would extend marriage and adoption rights to same-sex couples. March organisers said marriage required “one dad and one mom for every child.”

Opponents of a bill that would open up civil marriages and adoption to same-sex couples in France marched in the country’s main cities on Saturday to protest what they call a “major and dangerous upheaval”.

Protesters took to the streets of Rennes, Nantes, Dijon, Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille and Toulouse to participate in the so-called “Demonstration for All” rally organized by conservative Catholic groups and which counted on the support of right-wing parties.

Their stated goal was to persuade French lawmakers to abandonplans to pass the new law called “Marriage and Adoption for All”, which is being championed by France’s ruling Socialist Party.

In Paris thousands of people gathered in the Denfert-Rochereau square, many brandishing signs that read “one mom and one dad for one child”. The crowds largely respected requests by organisers to wear blue, white and pink clothes and abstain from brandishing the names or colours of their own organizations or political parties.

Organisers said there was between 15,000 and 20,000 people at the protest in the French capital.

Marc, a 60-year-old Parisian who said he was a fervent Catholic, called the government hypocritical. “They all have wives and children. So they understand perfectly well what kind of deviations would result from the approval of gay marriages.”

He was holding a sign that read “No to genitally modified marriage”.

Despite an overcast sky and heckles from pro-gay marriage activists, there was a lively atmosphere throughout the march, with many young people present.

Students Victoria, Dauphine, Eléonore, Flore and Marie were five friends volunteering at the event together. “We defend our vision of what society should be like. Our first concern is the child’s well being and balance,” said Flora. “If the law passes, it would be z deep injustice to the child, who is not given a choice.”

Gay rights activists and supporters of the government’s initiative also staged counter-rallies in the French capital. Around 100 people in favour of gay marriage met the rally at its starting point in southern Paris.

Mathias, a student from Paris in favour of gay marriage, debated the issue with anti-gay marriage participants on the sidelines of the march. Making little progress in convincing protesters, Mathias and a friend provocatively proceeded to lock lips.

Alice Coffin, a 34-year-old gay rights activist, greeted protesters with a sign that read “Homophobes, we are not interested in your opinion, only the same rights as you.” She and a group of around 50 people threw confetti and rice –used for its link to weddings– when the march passed near the Montparnasse train station.

“I think the government is firm on this law,” Coffin said, adding she did not think the anti-gay marriage march would change the government’s course. “But the fight is not over yet and it’s important to be out here today.”

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