Tag Archives: Texas

Peter J. Williams lectures on the historical reliability of the gospel narratives

Investigation in progress
Investigation in progress

Here’s the main lecture: (54 minutes)

And here’s the Q&A: (9 minutes)

About Peter Williams:

Peter J. Williams is the Warden (CEO) of Tyndale House and a member of the Faculty of Divinity in the University of Cambridge. He received his MA, MPhil and PhD, in the study of ancient languages related to the Bible from Cambridge University.

Summary of the lecture:

  • What if the stories about Jesus are legendary?
  • were the gospels transmitted accurately?
  • were the gospels written in the same place as where the events happened?
  • do the gospel authors know the customs and locations where the events happened?
  • do the gospels use the right names for the time and place where the events took place?
  • do the gospels disambiguate people’s names depending on how common those names were?
  • how do the New Testament gospels compare to the later gnostic gospels?
  • how do the gospels refer to the main character? How non-Biblical sources refer to Jesus?
  • how does Jesus refer to himself in the gospels? do the later Christians refer to him that way?
  • how does Jesus teach? do later Christians teach the same way?
  • why didn’t Jesus say anything about early conflicts in the church (the Gentiles, church services)?
  • did the writers of the gospels know the places where the events took place?
  • how many places are named in the gospels? how about in the later gnostic gospels?
  • are the botanical details mentioned in the gospels accurate? how about the later gnostic gospels?

And here are the questions from the audience:

  • how what about the discrepancies in the resurrection narratives that Bart Ehrman is obsessed with?
  • what do you think of the new 2011 NIV translation (Peter is on the ESV translation committee)?
  • how did untrained, ordinary men produce complex, sophisticated documents like the gospels?
  • is oral tradition a strong enough bridge between the events and the writers who interviewed the eyewitnesses?
  • what does the name John mean?
  • why did the gospel writers wait so long before writing their gospels?
  • do you think that Matthew and Luke used a hypothetical source which historians call “Q”?
  • which gospel do critical historians trust the least and why?

I really enjoyed watching this lecture. He’s getting some of this material from Richard Bauckham’s awesome book “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses”, so if you aren’t familiar with it, you can get an idea of what’s in it. Peter Williams is a lot of fun to listen to – an excellent speaker.


Texas has sued the Obama administration 44 times for federal government overreach

Texas Governor Greg Abbott
Texas Governor Greg Abbott – “Broken But Unbowed”

Here is a left-leaning article from the Wall Street Journal about a Governor and an Attorney General who are not just marking time while in office.


When a deadlocked Supreme Court on Thursday blocked President Barack Obama’s plan to give millions of illegal immigrants a temporary reprieve from deportation, it marked a pivotal victory for the administration’s most relentless legal adversary: the state of Texas.

The president “is not a king who can unilaterally change and write immigration laws,” responded Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, whose myriad lawsuits against the Obama administration, including the state’s lead role in the immigration case, have been a trademark of his political career.

During Mr. Abbott’s first term as governor, and while he was state attorney general before that, Texas has challenged the president’s signature issues in court—tougher carbon-emission standards, health-care reform, transgender rights and others.

Texas has sued the Obama administration at least 44 times since the president took office—more than any other state over the same period.

The collective, long-term impact of all the lawsuits is uncertain. But legal scholars say the aggressiveness with which Texas under Mr. Abbott’s watch has fought White House policies and regulations points to a major shift in how political fights are waged.

Amid congressional gridlock, arguably the most consequential power struggles are no longer fights between executive and legislative branches—but legal battles between states and the federal government.

“The action is in the courts, and it’s cases brought by the states. And Texas is almost always at the table,” said Case Western Reserve University law professor Jonathan Adler.

Texas’ legal assault is part of a sweeping wave of state-level Republican activism that has marked the Obama years. Compared with the Clinton era, Republican attorneys general have been far more active in challenging federal polices, according to a recent Marquette University study on Supreme Court litigation.

[…]Most of the cases filed by Mr. Abbott and his Republican successor as attorney general,Ken Paxton, have turned on a broad theme of federalism: that the Obama administration has encroached on Texas’ right to manage its own affairs.

[…]In February, Texas scored another major victory when the Supreme Court blocked the administration’s marquee climate policy, halting enforcement of rules limiting carbon emissions from existing power plants.

[…]The most recent legal action came last month after the Obama administration directed public schools to let transgender students use the bathroom of their choice. Texas accused the administration of unlawfully rewriting federal discrimination law.

[…]“I like playing offense more than defense,” said Mr. Abbott in a recent interview while crisscrossing Texas aboard a private jet for various political events.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is also a hero. Here he is explaining to the Daily Signal his latest broadside against overreach by the liberal federal government;

Abbott is a former Texas Supreme Court Justice, and served 3 terms as Texas attorney general, so he is no stranger to the law. Although sometimes people get the perception that the Obama administration is not being challenged, that’s not true. You just have to know where to look for the people challenging him.

Texas clinic injures woman in botched abortion

Hillary Clinton and Planned Parenthood
Hillary Clinton and Planned Parenthood

So, there’s very important case before the Supreme Court to decide whether Texas is allowed to regulate abortion clinics to make sure that they are safe for women. The Texas Republicans want abortion clinics to be inspected and regulated. But this reduces the profit margiun of the abortion clinic, because they cannot operate willy nilly.

Life News reports on what’s at stake.


Less than 48 hours before the U. S. Supreme Court will hear a pivotal Texas abortion case focused on women’s safety, an ambulance transported a woman from Southwestern Women’s Surgery Center, an abortion clinic in Dallas, Texas.

The ambulance was photographed by a pro-life activist at Southwestern Surgery Center on Monday, February 29, 2016, at about 1:06 p.m.

“This latest medical emergency at a Texas abortion facility only emphasizes abortion risks and how important it is for abortionists to maintain minimum safety standards and hospital privileges within 30 miles of their abortion facilities,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.

Southwestern Women’s Surgery Center is one of a handful of Texas abortion facilities that have been able to comply with ambulatory surgical center licensing requirements, which include the hospital privilege requirement that is being challenged by another Texas abortion business, Whole Women’s Health.

But even licensing as an ambulatory surgical center has not diminished the risk of complications to abortion that frequently send women to hospital emergency room for treatment that abortion facilities are not equipped to provide.

Life News reports on another case of this from Cleveland, OH:

When he saw the ambulance pull up to the Pre-term abortion facility in Cleveland, Ohio, Frank Kosmerl pulled off his gloves despite the sub-freezing temperatures and hit the record button on his camcorder.

It was the frigid morning of February 13, 2016, when Kosmerl, a long-time pro-life activist, captured alarming images showing EMS responders slowly wheeling out a patient covered tightly over the head with a doubled-over pink blanket.

[…]A new 911 audio recording just obtained by Operation Rescue has revealed that the woman on the gurney was a 22-year old patient who suffered a life-threatening medical emergency during late-term abortion Preterm, the same abortion center that inflicted a fatal abortion on another 22-year old woman, Lakisha Wilson, nearly two years ago.

This young woman was 21.3 weeks pregnant, according to the Preterm worker that dialed 911. Such late-term abortions are inherently risky, yet Preterm is inadequately equipped to handle complications that seem to arise there on a regular basis.

Curiously, while the Preterm employee who called 911 knew details of the patient’s care, she did not know — or would not say — exactly what “went wrong” during the late-term abortion.

Dispatcher: Tell me exactly what happened.

Preterm: We’re an abortion facility. She was in the middle of an abortion. She’s 21.3 weeks. And something went wrong during the procedure.

Moments later the dispatcher again asked what happened.

Dispatcher: What went wrong? Does she like have — Is she awake still?

Preterm: I don’t know, ma’am. I’m not in the room. So I’m assuming bleeding. Maybe a perforation? I don’t know.

[…]In the video, emergency workers are seen struggling to push the gurney from the rear of the icy, snow-packed parking lot.

This young woman was 21.3 weeks pregnant, according to the Preterm worker that dialed 911. Such late-term abortions are inherently risky, yet Preterm is inadequately equipped to handle complications that seem to arise there on a regular basis.

Now, if women’s health were so important to the pro-abortion crowd, then they would have no problems with inspections and regulations, right? After all, we don’t want a repeat of what happened to women at the Kermit Gosnell clinic, right? But no, the left is taking the law designed to protect women to the Supreme Court to have it overturned.

Democrats and abortion

Although Republicans have been busy passing pro-life laws, Democrats want to get rid of them all.

National Review explains.


Readers will recall, though they will not enjoy it, the details of Dr. Gosnell’s case, the transcript of which reads like the screenplay for a Rob Zombie horror flick: the illegal abortions; the newborns who survived botched abortion attempts only to have their spinal cords severed with scissors; the obscenely unhygienic conditions, with free-ranging cats using the clinic as an open-air litter box; the dead patient and subsequent manslaughter conviction; and, finally, the murder convictions. The Gosnell gore-fest was a direct consequence of the elevation of abortion to divine office: Neither the local authorities in Democrat-dominated Philadelphia nor the Democrat-dominated statewide bureaucracies in Pennsylvania were much inclined to exercise basic oversight of abortion clinics. Even after a woman died under Dr. Gosnell’s knife, there was little interest in investigating his practice: It took allegations of illegal prescription-drug use and the piqued interest of the DEA to put Gosnell on the radar.

Senator Blumenthal proposes to apply the Philadelphia model to the nation at large. Under his bill, states would have effectively no power even to ensure that abortions are performed by licensed physicians — surely the most minimal standard of medical responsibility that there is. Laws covering grisly late-term abortions would be forcibly overturned and fetal viability would be redefined according to the subjective whim of the abortionist. While the Democrats are bemoaning a fictitious war on women, their bill would provide federal protection to sex-selective abortions — the barbaric practice under which generations of girls have been decimated in such backward jurisdictions as China and Azerbaijan, a practice The Economist describes as “gendercide.” Laws restricting taxpayer funding of abortion would be overturned. Laws protecting the consciences of physicians who choose not to perform abortions would be overturned.

That’s one of the reasons that it’s important for us to elect a pro-lifer as President. Because the ability to pass common sense restrictions and regulations on abortion is threatened by the judicial activism of liberal judges.

Texas prosecutor with link to Planned Parenthood charges pro-life whistleblowers

Planned Parenthood senior executive: organ harvesting so she can get a Lamborghini
Planned Parenthood senior executive: organ harvesting so she can get a Lamborghini

The Federalist has the story:

Months after the release of undercover videos detailing Planned Parenthood’s scheme to traffic aborted baby body parts, a grand jury has finally brought brought criminal charges. Not against Planned Parenthood, but against David Daleiden, the pro-life activist behind the undercover sting videos.

A grand jury in Harris County, Texas, returned two charges on Monday afternoon against Daleiden, the activist who planned and organized the undercover sting videos. Although the grand jury allegedly investigated Planned Parenthood, no charges were brought against the nation’s largest abortion provider, whose executives were shown in multiple videos attempting to sell trafficked organs and other body parts harvested from aborted babies. One Planned Parenthood executive, while haggling over the prices of aborted baby organs, noted that she needed to get the right price because, “I want to buy a Lamborghini.”

According to a press release from the office of Harris County district attorney’s office which was provided to The Federalist, Daleiden was charged with the purchase and sale of human organs, a misdemeanor, and with tampering with a governmental record, a felony. Sandra Merritt, one of Daleiden’s associates, was also charged with tampering with a governmental record.

“For more than two months, the 232nd Grand Jury extensively reviewed the joint investigation into allegations of misconduct by PPGC,” stated the press release. “This grand jury cleared PPGC of breaking the law. However, the grand jury did hand down indictments for two individuals who were involved in making the allegations against PPGC public via covert recordings made in April 2015.”

Lauren Reeder, one of the prosecutors in the Harris County district attorney’s office, revealed last August that she was a member of the board of directors for the Planned Parenthood affiliate that was targeted by Daleiden.

Reeder’s LinkedIn page indicates that she has been a Planned Parenthood board member since 2013 and a fundraiser for the abortion provider since 2009.

The maximum sentence for “tampering with a governmental record” (using a fake ID, which almost every teen does) is 20 years.

Well, what happens next? This Houston Chronicle says:

Days after Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson announced that she was launching a criminal investigation into the Houston-area branch of Planned Parenthood, Anderson said she had learned one of her subordinates was on the board of directors of the agency.

[…]”She will not be involved in any manner in this investigation,” Anderson said. “If at any time in the future, reliable and credible information is brought to my attention that would question our ability to continue to perform a fair, thorough and independent investigation of this matter due to her board membership, I will revisit the issue of seeking the appointment of an independent prosecutor and act accordingly.”

Seems to me that there should be a special prosecutor, because the district attorney’s office is obviously not going to be impartial. Even if the Planned Parenthood woman is not involved directly, she works with the people who are involved. The best thing to do is get a special prosecutor.

Meanwhile, the state of Texas is continuing to investigate Planned Parenthood as a result of the videos.

Texas raids Planned Parenthood offices in Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio

Texas Governor Greg Abbott
Texas Governor Greg Abbott

This is from Life News. (H/T ECM)


After a Houston-based Planned Parenthood abortion clinic was caught selling aborted baby body parts, state investigators conducted a raid today on multiple Planned Parenthood abortion clinics across the state.
Texas officials raided several Planned Parenthood facilities today in an unprecedented move that follows on the heels of pro-life Governor Greg Abbott announcing earlier in the week that the state would further de-fund the abortion business.  Abbott said this week “the gruesome harvesting of baby body parts by Planned Parenthood will not be allowed,” but so far the state has released no evidence of illegal activity by the group.

The raids were carried out at Planned Parenthood abortion centers in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio by representatives from the Texas Office of the Inspector General and the state served subpoenas on five total Planned Parenthood centers. The Houston Chronicle has more:

Officials with the inspector general’s office at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission went to two facilities in Houston as well as clinics in Dallas, San Antonio and Brownsville. The Brownsville center does not perform abortions.

Planned Parenthood was given 30 days to respond to the move; a legal challenge is likely.

On Thursday, Planned Parenthood officials decried the subpoenas as politically-motivated, saying officials were “looking for an excuse to take health care away from thousands of women and men who rely on Planned Parenthood for preventive care.”

“The investigators were seeking hundreds of pages of information, from patient records to employee home addresses, involving 10 Planned Parenthood facilities across the state” the Austin newspaper reported. “Officials would not confirm details of the investigation, but the sources said it’s related to suspicions of misspent Medicaid money.”

ECM was quite delighted with this story, and it does show why the United States of America is still a great country. My Canadian friends have been filling up my ears with laments. “Angry”, was how one Calgary man described his feelings to me. “I’m hiding under blankets” one Calgary woman told me. Well, yes. When the Liberal Party gets a majority in a country where federalism is severely crippled, then no matter where you live, you’re pretty much done for.

But that’s not the case in the USA, where a man can dream of living under Mary Fallin in Oklahoma, or Bobby Jindal in Louisiana, or under Sam Brownback in Kansas. Or even in Tennessee or Texas under other Republican governors. You have your pick. And when you open up the local newspaper, you are going to see things happening that don’t make you angry, or make you hide under blankets. What a country! We should be thankful for the boundary between federal and state governments, and seek to strengthen the jurisdiction of states.

By the way, Texas also defunded Planned Parenthood earlier this week.