On the Front Lines of the Culture Wars

President Barack Obama passed a key test Monday night in case anybody is worried that he is the Antichrist.

Speaking at a campaign fundraiser at the House of Blues in Los Angeles, Obama was interrupted by a man identified as David Serrano who repeatedly yelled that “Jesus is God.” As Serrano was being physically removed by Secret Service agents, he accused Obama of being the Antichrist.

That figure in Christian “last days” theology is believed to be a leader who, toward the end of time, will be an adversary of good while resembling Christ. The Antichrist will provide for the needs of the people but deny them eternal salvation. He is named in the New Testament books 1 John and 2 John and described by the Apostle Paul in 2 Thessalonians.

John’s account advises that the Antichrist will deny that Jesus is the Christ and will “not confess Jesus.” In I Corinthians 12:3, Paul writes: “Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.”

As Serrano was being dragged away, President Obama gave the man his full attention, nodding as he watched the scene. Obama then attempted to pick up where he had left off.

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Asked by Joy Behar onHeadline News whether America would vote for a “fat” candidate for President, controversial film-maker Michael Moore, who has never been accused of being too skinny, responded that most of America is fat and would probably identify with an overweight Commander-in-Chief.

Historical note: There have been a number of chunky Presidents. William Howard Taft had a 54-inch waistline and weighed more than 300 pounds. Legend has it that he got stuck at least once in the White House bathtub installed during the administration of the much thinner Franklin Pierce.


Incidentally, some claim President Millard Fillmore installed the first White House bathtub. You can blame journalist and satirist H.L Mencken, who wrote a fictional history of the bathtub a 1917 article in the daily New York Evening Mail. Mencken recanted his account of the Fillmore tub tale later, saying “My motive was simply to have some harmless fun in war days. It never occurred to me that it would be taken seriously.”

Did Taft really get stuck in the White House tub? There are no official accounts of such an incident. However, courtesy of the website HerodotusWept, here is an account from Ira Smith, correspondence secretary for a number of U.S. Presidents — on the topic of Taft’s weight-loss diet:

One of Mr. Taft’s troubles was food. He loved it, and the more food he could get, the more he loved it. The rub was that after he moved into the White House, his doctor and Mrs. Taft were constantly on the alert to enforce a diet that would get rid of some of his surplus poundage. Mrs. Taft might be reasonably described as a strong-minded woman. She took dieting seriously — for the President — and this led to a lot of talk that in a less famous household might have been called nagging.

The President dieted, all right, but not when he could escape supervision. I remember once when I accompanied him on a journey to Ohio. When we got on the train, leaving the doctor and Mrs. Taft behind, the President began to perk up. He also apparently began to think about food, although it was ten o’clock in the evening. “Anybody seen the conductor?” he asked.

The conductor came a-running.

“The dining car…” Mr. Taft began shyly. “Could we get a snack?”

The conductor looked surprised. “Why, Mr. President, there isn’t any dining car on this train.”

“Where’s the next stop, dammit?” he asked. “The next stop where there’s a diner?”

The conductor believed it would be Harrisburg.

“I am President of the United States, and I want a diner attached to this train at Harrisburg. I want it well stocked with food, including filet mignon. You will see that we get a diner

“What’s the use of being President,” he demanded, “if you can’t have a train with a diner on it?”

Another Taft anecdote:

He once found himself stranded at a country railroad station and was told that the express train would not stop for a lone passenger.He wired the conductor: STOP AT HICKSVILLE. LARGE PARTY WAITING TO CATCH TRAIN.When the train stopped, Taft got aboard and told the conductor, “You can go ahead. I am the large party.”

Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union have joined forces to create the pro-abortion “Mississippians for Healthy Families” with a goal of defeating a constitutional amendment limiting abortion in the Magnolia State.

Christine Dhanagom of LifeSiteNews writes that “Yes on 26,” a coalition of anti-abortion groups, obtained a copy of the Mississippians for Healthy Families’ Statement of Organization for a Political Committee from the Secretary of State’s office.”

The official filing lists Nsombi Lambright, Kay Scott and Barry Chase as the organization’s officers.

“Lambright is the Executive Director of the ACLU of Mississippi,” notes Dhangagom, “Scott is the CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast, which covers Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi; and Chase is the President of Memphis Regional Planned Parenthood in Tennessee.”

Chase’s clinic made headlines in 2009 when one of his employees was caught in a videotaped sting coaching an actress posing as a 14-year-old girlm explaining to her how to lie about the age of her boyfriend — who the girl had said was 31.

A space on the official filing which requests a description of the purpose of the committee and the identification of “affiliated or connected organizations” is left blank, reports Dhangagom. Lambright is listed as the director and Scott as the treasurer.

Yes on 26 notes on its website the financial investment that Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, has made in the Mississippi campaign:

“Abortion, to put it plainly, is a very lucrative business, and this has been true from the beginning. By last count, Planned Parenthood (a tax-exempt organization!) has $951 million in total assets Kay Scott and her partners in the abortion industry have a very good reason to make sure Amendment 26 doesn’t bring an end to their payday in Mississippi.”

“The organization “Mississippians for Healthy Families” is simply a front organization for Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, who are attempting to prevent a pro-life amendment from being added to the state constitution, according to a state pro-life organization,” concludes Dhangagom.

The Yes on 26 website also notes:

“John Powell, the ACLU’s national legal director, says he considers abortion to be the ACLU’s number one priority; the defense of the First Amendment, (the alleged heart and soul of the ACLU’s mission), was listed third, after civil rights. Why? Simply follow the money. Defending abortion ‘rights’ is a much more lucrative venture than defending free-speech.”

“Mississipians for Healthy Families” meanwhile accused Yes on 26 of setting up a “fake website.” Indeed, “Yes on 26” uses the Internet address as well as

If passed, the Mississippi amendment will define a person as “every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof.”

Are there irreconcilable differences between faith and science? Not in the opinion of prominent scientists who participated in a five-year study by Rice University.

Researchers there found that only a minority of scientists questioned at major research universities say that religion and science required distinct boundaries.

“When it comes to questions about the meaning of life, ways of understanding reality, origins of Earth and how life developed on it, many have seen religion and science as being at odds and even in irreconcilable conflict,” says Rice sociologist Elaine Howard Ecklund.

On the contrary, a majority of the scientists interviewed said they view both religion and science as “valid avenues of knowledge” that can bring broader understanding to important questions, says Ecklund.

She summarizes her findings in “Scientists Negotiate Boundaries Between Religion and Science,” in the September issue of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. Her co-authors are sociologists Jerry Park of Baylor University and Katherine Sorrell, a former postbaccalaureate fellow at Rice and current Ph.D. student at the University of Notre Dame.

They interviewed a scientifically selected sample of 275 participants, pulled from a survey of 2,198 tenured and tenure-track faculty in the natural and social sciences at 21 elite U.S. research universities. Only 15 percent of those surveyed said they view religion and science as always in conflict. Another 15 percent said the two are never in conflict, while 70 percent said they believe religion and science are only sometimes in conflict.

Approximately half of the original survey population expressed some form of religious identity, whereas the other half did not, according to Ecklund, who is the author of Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think,published by Oxford University Press last year.

The study was supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation with additional funding from Rice University.

“Much of the public believes that as science becomes more prominent, secularization increases and religion decreases,” she says. “Findings like these among elite scientists, who many individuals believe are most likely to be secular in their beliefs, definitely call into question ideas about the relationship between secularization and science.”

Many of those surveyed cited issues in the public realm (teaching of creationism versus evolution, stem cell research) as reasons for believing there is conflict between the two. The study showed that these individuals generally have a particular kind of religion in mind (and religious people and institutions) when they say that religion and science are in conflict.

Other findings in the study: 

Scientists as a whole are substantially different from the American public in how they view teaching “intelligent design” in public schools. Nearly all of the scientists – religious and nonreligious alike – have a negative impression of the theory of intelligent design.

Sixty-eight percent of scientists surveyed consider themselves spiritual to some degree.

Scientists who view themselves as spiritual/religious are less likely to see religion and science in conflict.

Overall, under some circumstances even the most religious of scientists were described in very positive terms by their nonreligious peers; this suggests that the integration of religion and science is not so distasteful to all scientists.