Ralph Peters writes that the world has only one towering figure in the halls of power, one ruler of genius:  Vladimir Putin. There is one incontestably great actor on the world stage today, and he has no interest in following our script. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin — soon to be Russia’s president again — has proven remarkably effective at playing the weak strategic hand he inherited, chalking up triumph after triumph while confirming himself as the strong leader Russians… Read more

The Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from former employees of the Christian relief organization World Vision who lost their jobs because they no longer believed in the organization’s statement of faith.  This means that Christian organizations are not violating discrimination laws when they hire only Christians. The U.S. Supreme Court let a lower court decision stand Monday that Federal Way-based nonprofit World Vision can hire only Christians to work in its U.S. operations. The largest nonprofit in the… Read more

Since the middle of September, some 1000 protesters have been demonstrating on Wall Street, denouncing big business and high finance, calling for more regulations on banks and corporations, an end to housing foreclosures, and more taxes on the rich. The protest movement is called Occupy Wall Street. The protests have been growing.  This weekend 700 demonstrators were arrested on Brooklyn Bridge.  The movement has spread to Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, and other cities.  Celebrities from Roseanne Barr to Michael Moore… Read more

A predator drone killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an al-Qaida leader, propagandist, and recruiter.  Complicating the matter is that he and one of his minions also killed in the Yemen attack were  American citizens.   Some are concerned that executing an American like this is a violation of our constitutional rights for due process and a fair trial.  Others say that al-Awlaki is a textbook example of a traitor who is fighting on the side of his country’s enemies and that being killed… Read more

This was being called the biggest sports weekend in the history of Wisconsin, my former state.  And in each contest, Wisconsin was victorious.  The Milwaukee Brewers won two playoff games over the Arizona Diamondbacks.  The Wisconsin Badgers welcomed Nebraska to the Big Ten by demolishing the nationally-ranked Cornhuskers.   The Packers pounded the Denver Broncos.  And the Milwaukee Marathon was won by a guy from Marquette. For a brief, shining moment, Wisconsin teachers and Congressmen, tea partiers and Occupy Wall Streeters… Read more

Earlier I predicted that no matter how bad the economy is that President Obama will win a second term.  I’ve been thinking about this some more and I’m even more convinced that I’m right (though, again, I wish I were wrong). The reason “It’s the economy, stupid” won’t carry the day this time is that all of the Republican candidates, following correct free market principles, believe the main thing the government should do in the face of a terrible economy… Read more

Youcef Nadarkhani, sentenced to death for converting from Islam to Christianity in Iran, has once again refused to deny Christ, and so he may be hanged as early as today. Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who is facing the death penalty, again refused to convert to Islam to save his life. Nadarkhani was arrested in 2009 for the crime of apostasy because he allegedly abandoned Islam for Christianity. As a pastor, Iranian clerics believe that Nadarkhani was preaching in order to… Read more

Longtime commenter on this blog Dan Kempin has posted on his church’s website these reflections on  Proverbs 23:4:  “Do not wear yourself out to get rich;  Have the wisdom to show some restraint.” (NIV)  Ask the young what they want their life to be in ten or twenty years and you will hear a great variety of hopes and dreams and aspirations with one thing in common: “Oh, and I want to be rich.” (I know, because I ask the young… Read more

One of my former students, Bart Gingerich, who sometimes comments on this blog, has gotten a job writing for the Institute for Religion and Democracy.   He covered a recent meeting by the Prayer Book Society, a group of Anglicans who have been calling for the restoration of the 1926 edition of the Book of Common Prayer, the last modernization faithful to Cranmer’s Reformation-era version of the English liturgy (which has also shaped the language and the collects used in Lutheran worship). Bart comments… Read more

Now Republicans who realize that they still don’t have a candidate who can beat President Obama are fantasizing about New Jersey governor Chris Christie entering the race.  What would you think of him as a presidential candidate? After Speech, Chris Christie Revels in Pleas to Run – NYTimes.com. Read more

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