Isaac King, suspect in fatal DPS shooting, charged with first-degree murder
July 30, 2018
Isaac Damon King is still hospitalized following the fatal shooting that killed DPS trooper Tyler Edenhofer on Wednesday evening.
Scottsdale woman opens a business that teaches etiquette, manners
July 29, 2018
SueAnn Brown’s It’s All About Etiquette teaches children and adults good manners. The classes include a training manual and other instructional tools.
Monsoon storms, blowing dust may hit Phoenix area this weekend
July 29, 2018
The National Weather Service said the Phoenix area has a 20 to 30 percent chance of rain this weekend.
Heard the One About the Jewish Man, the Roman Demon, and the Gentile Pigs?
July 28, 2018
Exploring the multiple meanings behind a New Testament “political cartoon.”
In one of the strangest stories in the Gospels, Jesus delivers a demon-oppressed man, only to send the demon(s) into a herd of pigs, which promptly charges down a cliff and drowns in the sea. You can read it in Mark 5:1–20, and it’s just as bizarre as it sounds.
I remember an older pastor telling me the three questions he’d been asked most often during his 40 years of ministry: What happens when you die? Can I lose my salvation? And what’s the deal with the pigs?
Faced with strange passages like this, it is easy to reach for tenuous points of application. Jesus wanted to show people that one man is worth much more than 2,000 pigs. Mark wanted to remind us how unclean pigs are to Jewish people. Before casting out a demon, you should always ask it for its name. And so on. Even if these things are true (and some of them aren’t), they don’t really get to the heart of the story.
Instead—and this is the case for many passages in Scripture—it is helpful to read the story at three levels. There is always an individual level to biblical texts: What is happening to the particular people in this story? Why? What was it like for them? How does God reveal himself to them? What do we learn from it all? Read like that, Mark 5 is a lovely story of freedom for a damaged man, but the bit about the pigs is still pretty baffling.
Then again, scriptural passages can also be read at the national level. Where are we in Israel’s history? In which phase of the biblical narrative—Eden, Election, Exodus, Empire, Exile, Easter, End—does this story appear? Which covenant is in view? How does the passage shed light on what is happening to Israel (or any other nations represented) through this …
Intelligent Designer Babies? Christians Tell Pew Their Views on Gene Editing
July 28, 2018
Most believers favor CRISPR medical technology for fixing health conditions before birth, but not after it.
Scientists are finding it easier and easier to alter a baby’s genes, thanks to the groundbreaking CRISPR method. But Americans are divided on which uses of the new technology are appropriate or not.
And for the religious, the ethical lines are even more stringent, according to the Pew Research Center.
In a new report released this week, Pew found 72 percent of Americans support the use of gene editing to help cure a serious congenital disease (one present at birth), while only 57 percent of the highly religious agree. (Pew identifies highly religious Americans as those who attend services at least weekly, pray daily, and say that religion is very important in their lives.)
In the future, medical professionals may also be able to use gene editing to reduce the risk of a health condition that would crop up later in life. Only 60 percent of Americans felt that would be appropriate, while support among the highly religious dropped below 50 percent.
Among the three choices Pew listed in its survey, respondents felt the most inappropriate use of gene editing would be enhancing a baby’s intelligence: 80 percent of Americans believe that would be taking medical technology too far, as do 94 percent of the highly religious.
Overall, white evangelicals and black Protestants (two-thirds of whom identify as evangelicals according to Pew) feel the same about the applications of gene editing, though they invert on using it reduce disease later in life. [The breakdown for all religious groups is in the charts at bottom.]
Pew’s analysis of all the demographic variables found that self-identifying as evangelical on its own did not have any statistically significant impact on whether a person was more or less likely to approve …
Arizona doctor on state Medicaid panel took $700K from drug makers, the most in the U.S.
July 28, 2018
Dr. Mohamed Ramadan, who votes on drugs used by Medicaid, received more than $700,000 from drug makers, including trips to Las Vegas and Hawaii.
16 dogs perish in Scottsdale house fire; homeowners ran 'unofficial' dog rescue
July 28, 2018
Eight dogs were saved from a fire July 27, 2018, at a home near Indian Bend and Thomas roads.
The World’s Next Religious Freedom Success Story: Uzbekistan?
July 27, 2018
Officials make their case in DC during the State Department’s religious freedom ministerial.
Uzbekistan is an unlikely poster child for religious freedom.
Open Doors currently ranks the Central Asian nation as No. 16 on its 2018 list of the 50 countries where it’s hardest to be a Christian. The US State Department named Uzbekistan again this year as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC)—a notorious list of religious freedom violators that the former Soviet republic has been included on since 2006.
And yet, four key members of the Uzbekistani government were in Washington on Wednesday, on the sidelines of the State Department’s first-ever Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, in order to showcase the country’s newfound commitment to take religious freedom seriously.
“Uzbekistan has a centuries’ old history of respect and tolerance toward religious groups,” said foreign minister Abdulaziz Kamilov. “Our government treats religious values with profound respect. There are 140 nationalities and 16 religious faiths in our country, with operation of more than 2,000 religious organizations. All these stand as our greatest historical, cultural, and civilization heritage.”
Kamilov said the CPC designation marked a low point in Uzbekistani-American relations—the US had shortly beforehand shut down its military bases there—but he believed that the nation’s modernization could bring the two closer together.
“Our country stands ready for a broad international cooperation in this sphere of religious freedom,” he said.
Uzbekistani senator Sodiq Safoyev suggested that behind the government’s policy change was a belief that addressing the issues of the modern world required economic and political transformation, and that religious freedom would …
Pence and Pompeo Make Big Religious Freedom Pledges
July 27, 2018
Potomac Declaration and action plan hope to persuade more nations by the second US religious freedom ministerial next year.
America’s first ministerial for international religious freedom will not be its last.
The State Department and USAID will partner on a new program to ensure that public and private aid can rapidly get to persecuted religious minorities.
And Secretary of State Mike Pompeo revealed today the Potomac Declaration, which proclaims religious freedom to be “a far-reaching, universal, and profound human right that all peoples and nations of good will must defend around the globe” [full text below], as well as an accompanying plan of action.
“These documents reassert the United States’s unwavering commitment to promoting and defending religious freedom,” said Pompeo. “They recommend concrete ways the international community and governments can do more to protect religious freedom and vulnerable religious communities.”
Vice President Mike Pence also reiterated the US commitment to religious freedom on the final day of the unprecedented event in Washington DC.
“The United States is also committed to ensuring that religious freedom and religious pluralism prosper across the Middle East as well. To that end, America is launching a new initiative that will not only deliver additional support to the most vulnerable communities, but we trust that it will also embolden civil society to help stop violence in the future,” said Pence as he announced the establishment of the Genocide Recovery and Persecution Response Program.
The Vice President was quick to point out that the organization would partner with “local faith and community leaders,” and that “this support will flow directly to individuals and households most in need of help.”
Pence mentioned that the Trump …
Summer lovin’? Tell me more: Does his car have A/C?
July 27, 2018
Look, summer lovin’ sounds fun. Playing footsie on a picnic blanket, watching the sunset at Tempe Town Lake. Yeah, no. Not in this heat.