West firefighter given memorial
Apr27

West firefighter given memorial

A sea of blue flooded St. Mary’s Catholic Church of Assumption in West, Texas, April 24 for the funeral of Dallas fireman, Captain Kenneth “Luckey” Harris. Harris, 52, of West, died during the fertilizer plant explosion, April 17. Over 1000 people attended the funeral with more than half of the attendees Dallas firefighters, wearing their dress uniforms, to pay their respect to the fallen captain. Harris is survived by his wife of 28 years, Holly and three sons, Jud, Jarrod, and Heath. Harris loved offshore fishing with his sons and spending time on his boat, “Boots Up.” He also enjoyed hunting, traveling and spending time with friends. Harris graduated from the Dallas Fire Academy in 1982 and served as a firefighter with the Dallas Fire Department for more than 31 years, attaining the rank of captain. As well as working for the fire department, he owned Harris Home Inspections and Construction with his family. Harris also served as a volunteer firefighter for the West Volunteer Fire Department. Several Dallas firefighters participated in the honor guard, which is when the firefighters stand guard over the body till the funeral, alternating every 15 minutes. Captain Bruce Thompson served in the honor guard the morning of the funeral beginning at 6 a.m. He had served on the honor guard before, but not in this kind of setting. “I took it seriously. I made sure I was always there and volunteered anytime I could,” Thompson said. The service was a solemn one, as friends, family and co-workers all remembered the life of Harris and the sacrifice he gave for his town. After the service, the firefighters lined up outside as the casket was brought out and placed on the back of the fire truck from Harris’ station. Dallas Firefighters Pipe and Drums were playing as the large crowd looked on. “I expected the large crowd. I would’ve been highly disappointed if there hadn’t been that many there,” Thompson said. A long line of vehicles, which included motorcyclists from the Wind and Fire Dallas Motorcycle Club, followed the fire truck out to Bold Springs Cemetery in West to lay Harris to rest. A memorial service was held at Baylor University in Waco for the other victims, Thursday, April...

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End It Week shows support

Students from the Freedom Movement on campus organized End It Week to help raise awareness about human trafficking in the United States. The organization hosted several events throughout the week, including a screening of Nefarious: Merchant of Souls, a powerful documentary that exposes the alarming trends in modern sex slavery. From the very first scene, Nefarious draw viewers into the nightmare of sex slavery that hundreds of thousands experience daily. Junior elementary education major Ellen Logan is a member of the Freedom Movement on campus, and the viewing was her first time to see the documentary. “My heart was broken even more than before for these people. Even though I’ve heard so much of it, hearing it from people who experienced it, made it that much more real. I want to do more,”  she said. Seeing the film encouraged Logan to find new ways to become involved in the fight against slavery. “I have to do more. I can’t sit still any longer. I love bringing awareness, but that’s not enough for me anymore. You need to do more,” Logan said. Sophomore business management major Nathan Gilmore is the president of the Cru Freedom Movement on campus. The organization plans to help bring an end to trafficking in the coming year. “We will be teaming up with Unbound and Restore a Voice ministries this next fall to provide on-the-ground mission opportunities for college students to serve. We are excited about transitioning from a year of learning about this injustice to a year of getting our hands dirty and serving our local community,” Gilmore said. Other events that occurred during the week included a worship night, a panel of speakers and taking over Focus on Wednesday. “I think one of the biggest responses was everyone just wanting to do more than just raise awareness. Lots of students felt very much more informed. God definitely wrecked a lot of hearts Thursday night. Definitely a lot of bleeding hearts out there now to give these people the hope of Christ and help bring them out of this evil,” Logan said. Students are encouraged to go to enditmovement.com to sign the pledge to help end human trafficking. Gilmore said, “This campus absolutely embraced The Freedom Movement and showed us that they have a heart and conviction to help stop human...

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Deported for education

Home-schooling is a choice that parents make if they do not like the way the public school system works or if compelled by religious reasons, but the government is trying to deport one family who chose to home-school  their children. A German family fled their country in 2008 to seek political asylum in the U.S. in hopes of home-schooling their children. Now the Department of Homeland Security wants to send the evangelical Christian family back to Germany. Uwe and Hannelore Romeike, along with their six children, now reside in Tennessee which reminds them of their homeland. Their fate rests in the hands of the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In 2010, an immigration judge granted the family political refuge, but the Department of Homeland Security objected and argued that they didn’t deserve asylum. Michael Farris, founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association, is representing the Romeike family. “The Obama administration is basically saying there is no right to home-school anywhere. It’s an utter repudiation of parental liberty and religious liberty,” Farris said. It does seem ironic that our government is helping thousands of illegal immigrants, and yet they want to send a family seeking political asylum back to their homeland German leaders threatened the Romeike family and demanded that they stop home- schooling. In Germany, the state constitutions require children to attend public schools, and parents who do not comply with those rules face punishment ranging from fines to prison time. In some cases, children are taken away from their parents in a police van. It seems so strange that a country founded by people seeking freedom from religious persecution would try to deport a family with almost the same problem. Obama says he is all for human rights, vows to fight religious persecution, and is trying to make the immigration policy more fair, but he will not fight for a Christian family who just wants to home-school their children. Why does the government think it is acceptable to intervene in parents’ decision on how to educate their children? The right of parents in choosing education and upbringing should not be determined by the government or  anyone else. Attorney General Eric Holder has said that banning home schooling would not violate fundamental liberties. If the government is saying that home education is not a fundamental human right that parents should have, then this should be alarming, because that is what is happening in Germany. If the government decides what children have to learn, and a whole generation is formed by this point of view, then that means the next generation won’t have that freedom...

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I Still Believe: a singer’s written journey

Christian contemporary musician, Jeremy Camp, is famous for his songs “Beautiful One,” “Walk by Faith,” “Healing Hand of God,” and “Over come,” just to name a few. Many familiar with Camp’s music do not know that he wrote a book called, I Still Believe. The title comes from his popular song by the same name. This biography tells about Jeremy’s childhood, his college days, his love for his first wife, Melissa, and the tragedy that occurred after their marriage. Ultimately, though, the story is described in the foreword  by best-selling author Karen Kingsbury in the foreword, “We have choices when life hits us with a tsunami of tragedy or despair, crisis or loss. That’s the message of Camp’s book, and it’s the reason you will find hope and healing by journeying through the pages of his story, his personal      tsunami.” Camp grew up in Indiana and didn’t have an easy life as a boy and a teenager. He married his college sweetheart, Melissa, on Oct. 21, 2000.   She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and died Feb. 5, 2001. Some of Camp’s earlier songs reflect the pain and confusion he was going through after Melissa’s death. The first song he wrote after her death was, “I Still Believe.” Camp wrote “Walk by Faith” while he and Melissa were on their honeymoon. God has brought a sense of peace back into Camp’s life.     He is now married to Adrienne and has two daughters, Isabella and Arianne. Camp is open about what he went through. Readers are grateful his testimony is now available to be read in book form. If you or someone you know has ever been through a personal tragedy, this is definitely a good book choice. Camp experienced God’s grace in an amazing way. His personal story gives us a glimpse at what we desire in our lives — God’s surpassing comfort for...

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Successor to pope still under review

In the last 600 years of papal reign, this is the first resignation, which was made by the now pope emeritus, Benedict XVI. According to the guardian.co.uk, the pope stepped down due to “advanced age” and deteriorating strengths. Benedict has been pope since 2005. The sudden shift in leadership, almost entirely unexpected, paves the way for a successor to be chosen by Easter. Benedict set a tone for change with his dramatic personal example. Thoughts and opinions have been raised as to whether or not an American cardinal will be chosen. Many are saying that there is no chance for an American pope because of the current economic situation in the U.S. While this is not definite, it is unlikely that a citizen of the United States will be elected pope in the upcoming conclave or even in the distant future. Several issues arise when discussing electing an American cardinal to take the place of the pope. The superpower status of America is a major obstacle. It has more than enough worldly influence without an American as the next pope. If another nation was to ever dominate the world, the chances of an American pope would increase. The cardinals are struggling against the perception, held particularly by Europeans, that most Americans aren’t sophisticated or learned enough to handle the papacy. They could compensate for their outsider status by spending years in Rome and being multilingual or at least speaking Italian fluently. Other languages that would be beneficial for an American pope would be Spanish, French and Latin. New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan is under consideration for the papacy and is thought to have one of the highest profiles in the U.S. church, but he lacks the language skills needed in the position. The role of the U.S. in the world today is what weighs most heavily against an American pope. According to foxnews.com, the Vatican navigates complex diplomatic relations within the Muslim world, in China over the state-backed church, in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and                                beyond that. Some might think  that an American pope would place the interests of the United States over Catholics. There is still a chance for Dolan and other cardinals in the U.S., but persuading the Europeans that an American is best for the job may be...

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