Apollo 8 And Christmas Eve 45 Years Ago: Same Planet, Different World

Forty-five years ago this week an extraordinary event in history happened: Humans, for the first time, in the persons of Americans Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders, orbited and saw, within 60 miles, another heavenly body. Their Apollo 8 mission earned them Time's "Person of the Year" acclamation and historians have said their flight "Saved 1968," regarded as the most tumultuous and worst year — with its assassinations, riots, war, protests and crime — in American history. The flight was almost a shot in the dark. The U.S. and Soviet Union, in a titanic cold war, were engaged in an epic Space Race to prove superiority in an era when serious people were not sure which course human history would take — freedom and democracy or servitude and communism. The Space Race was the propaganda campaign of all propaganda campaigns. The winning side would show the world which system their countries' futures would best serve.

The crew of what would become Apollo 9 had the original Apollo 8 mission. It was to be a test flight of the Lunar Lander in Earth orbit. But two things happened: The contractor, Grumman, did not have the "LEM" ready and CIA photos revealed the Soviets gearing up with a massive moon ship capable of taking its cosmonauts to the Lunar surface. NASA could delay the LEM test flight and keep its flight schedule in order (and risk a Soviet leap frog and victory) or change the mission of Apollo 9 (another LEM test), put its crew aboard the previously unused-with-men mega Saturn 5 rocket, move it into the Apollo 8 launch slot and shoot it toward the moon. NASA rolled the dice and won. Among other things, the mission produced the iconic Earthrise photo, considered the most significant photo of all time, the first time the Earth's image was captured as an alien planet, beautifully blue, white and green against space's black curtain.

America beat the Soviet Union to the moon, followed six months later with an actual landing and That's one small step . . . . The rest is history. We conquered the moon and freedom loving people conquered communism 20 years later. The writing had been on the wall since December 1968.

Christmas Eve 1968: God's handiwork captured by His human creations.

But the flight wasn't the extraordinary aspect I meant. It was what was said on the mission as hundreds of millions of people on Earth watched the first ever live video transmission of the moon. On Christmas Eve, the celebration of the birth of the new Adam, of God made man, of the Word Incarnate — Borman, Lovell and Anders took turns reciting His word about His creation, as recorded in the Book of Genesis . . .

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth . . . 

Immortal words further heightened during a seminal event, as God's creation was brought to His children up close and personal. Borman concluded, poetically . . .

Good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God Bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.

Imagine that. U.S. Government employees on international television, in an age when getting along and peace went begging, used words you can't even hear in a department store today because they are "divisive." Yet, it was those words that helped bring peace to the world. Surprising, perhaps, only to non believers.

Almost immediately, the Left went nuts and the ACLU went into overdrive. We may be the same planet but it was a different world then. Their protests were ignored. That was only 45 years ago. Could American astronauts, or anyone on a high profile American project, utter anything like that today? Are you kidding? We are not better off for this change, either.

Perhaps coincidentally, or maybe by divine intervention, 45 years later, almost to the week, Time named someone else "Person of the Year" who also believes that we and all else are created by God — Pope Francis. Could this be the beginning of an echo of the revolution that freed hundreds of millions from communism, the beginning of a revolution that will free us from the binds of the Dictatorship of Relativism (as Pope Benedict the XVI coined the cultural rot wrought by secularism)? Could it be the renewal of a period, that ended only 45 years ago, that lives traditional values based on the dignity of respecting all of His creations?

 Re-live, or experience for the first time, the Apollo 8 telecast and reading from Genesis.

For the fun of it, here's a brief video released this week celebrating Apollo 8 and explaining how the historic Earthrise photo happened to be taken. It puts you pretty much in the spacecraft thanks to NASA technology. For still more, click here for an article from's The Two Way blog and a short interview with Space Race historian Andrew Chaiken.

American Voters On Same-Sex Marriage: Not So Fast!

Recent news reports have celebrated Mainstream Media driven polling that suggests Americans are becoming more supportive of same-sex marriage. Proponents of redefining marriage have bludgeoned citizens through op-eds, letters to the editor and media appearances, making some who believe marriage is a sacred union between one man and one woman wonder if homosexual marriage is inevitable (as we noted about New York earlier this week, for example). But a new, comprehensive, scientific poll, coupled with analysis of marriage amendment voting patterns, shows that a vast majority of Americans still believe in the traditional definition of marriage — by a wide margin. It found that 62 percent of Americans believe marriage is only between one man and one woman, with 53 percent strongly agreeing with that statement. The survey was commissioned by the Alliance Defense Fund and conducted by the nationally known public opinion research firm Public Opinion Strategies between May 16 and May 19.

Public Opinion Strategies Partner Gene Ulm, who directed the survey, said:

These numbers are not surprising. More than 63 million Americans in 31 state elections have voted on constitutional marriage amendments. Forty million Americans in all — 63 percent of total voters — have voted to affirm marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Look at that last statement closely. Sixty-three percent of voters in the nation have already voted in favor of traditional marriage, which reflects the percentage in the poll (see state-by-state voting chart). Regardless of what left-leaning media driven polls say, those voters have made their decision — and they support God's design for marriage.

Public Opinion Strategies is a nationwide firm that has provided polling for Fortunate 100 companies, NBC, the Wall Street Journal and NPR. According to ADF:

The survey was part of a broad and comprehensive effort examining American attitudes toward marriage. In addition to the national survey, the effort included 14 focus groups completed across the country.

Needless to say, this report should serve as an encouragement to all of us, and also remind us that we cannot be deceived by media reports that led some to believe that the marriage issue is lost. Indeed, we are the majority on this important, society defining issue.

But same-sex marriage advocates and their allies in the national media and government are not going to give up their relentless assault on marriage. Here in Virginia, where we've settled the issue of marriage in our Constitution, homosexual advocates are pushing their agenda through non-discrimination policies in state government, policies that are unnecessary, illegal, and threaten our tradition of religious liberty. While we've won the marriage issue, we must continue to be vigilant in our defense of our freedoms.

Valley Family Forum "Salute To The Family" Is Tomorrow Night With Keynote Speaker Bishop E.W. Jackson

If you haven’t reserved your seat for this Friday's Valley Family Forum "Salute to the Family," with special guest Bishop E. W. Jackson, time is running out. If you live or work in the Shenandoah Valleyare within driving range, or just want to make a night of it, we hope you will join us at this wonderful event. The program begins at 6:30 Friday, May 13, at the James Madison University Festival Conference and Student Center in Harrisonburg. This year's theme is "A Celebration of God and Country."

Bishop Jackson is founder and Chairman of S.T.A.N.D., a national organization dedicated to restoring America's Judeo-Christian heritage and to preserving our Christian faith and values, and Exodus Faith Ministries, based in Chesapeake. He is a nationally acclaimed speaker, combining immense intellect and passion, whom no one forgets after hearing. He is an ex-Marine, Harvard Law School educated attorney, and frequent guest on the national media programs, including those on ABC, FOX News and NPR. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post have covered him and he's even braved the liberals on MSNBC. Bishop Jackson also is the former chaplain at Boston Red Sox Services and for The Family Foundation.

The evening will include special music by The Faithful Men, plus the annual Wilberforce Award presentation. Tickets are $25 per person or $200 for a table of eight. For reservations, e-mail or call 540-438-8966. The Valley Family Forum is a grassroots chapter of The Family Foundation.

* This event is to benefit The Valley Family Forum and The Family Foundation and is not a campaign fundraiser for Bishop Jackson. Titles, party affiliations and references to elected offices sought are listed for informational purposes only and do not imply endorsement by The Family Foundation.

Bishop E.W. Jackson To Headline Valley Family Forum’s 10th Annual “Salute To The Family”

Here's another reminder of the Valley Family Forum's 10th annual Shenandoah Valley "Salute to the Family," with special guest Bishop E. W. Jackson. If you live in the Valley, or even outside of it, this is a terrific event that has gained a prominent spot on the political calendar each year. So, we hope you can join us in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, on Friday, May 13, at 6:30 p.m. at the outstanding James Madison University Festival Conference and Student Center in Harrisonburg. This year's theme is "A Celebration of God and Country." Bishop Jackson is founder and Chairman of S.T.A.N.D., a national organization dedicated to restoring America's Judeo-Christian heritage and to preserving our Christian faith and values, and Exodus Faith Ministries, based in Chesapeake. He is an ex-Marine, Harvard Law School graduate, acclaimed speaker, and frequent guest on national television and radio, including ABC, MSNBC, FOX News and NPR. He has been written about in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Bishop Jackson also is the former chaplain of the Boston Red Sox and for The Family Foundation.

The evening will include special music is by The Faithful Men, plus the annual Wilberforce Award presentation. Tickets are $25 per person, or $200 for a table of eight. For reservations, write to or call (540) 438-8966. The Valley Family Forum is a grassroots chapter of The Family Foundation.

Note: This event is to benefit The Valley Family Forum and is not a campaign fundraiser for Bishop Jackson. Titles, party affiliations and references to elected offices sought are listed for informational purposes only and do not imply endorsement by The Valley Family Forum or The Family Foundation.

Eat, Pray, Love . . . But Especially Pray This Bill Doesn't Pass

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the best-selling book Eat, Pray, Love, now a major motion picture starring Julia Roberts, is doing a lot more than eating, praying and loving these days. She's lobbying on Capitol Hill . . . for something called the Uniting American Families Act (read the bill). Sounds All-American, right? But as one should expect from a bill sponsored by an ultra-liberal such as U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), it has nothing to do with American families. Typical Orwellian speak from the Far Left. This bill would allow homosexual Americans to sponsor their alien "permanent partners" into the U.S. as legal immigrants under the principle of "family unification" (see AOL News). Never mind that U.S. policy does not recognize domestic homosexual partners as families, but now the Far Left not only wants to redefine marriage in America, they want to redefine it internationally as well as redefine long-held and recognized principles of immigration law.

Of course, Ms. Gilbert will draw cameras and probably get booked on every msnbc and CNN show, as well as the brain food known as the "morning shows," perhaps even NPR. She'll add to her celebrity, sell more books and movie tickets, and the Far Left will have a new insta-expert (who knows nothing about the topic) to fawn over. Kind of like when Ted Danson testified before a Congressional committee in the 1990s that the oceans would disappear in 10 years — and was taken seriously — or when Jessica Lange testified about agriculture issues because of the expertise she gained from . . . her role in a film.

Meanwhile, the rest of us need to take the second word in Ms. Gilbert's title to heart to ensure this bill dies the legislative death it deserves. While it may show how far debased our culture has become that a bill like this could even be introduced (especially in this political atmosphere), much less be taken seriously, we still have prayer — and it typically trumps Congressional swoons over celebrity "testimony."

Virginia News Stand: March 26, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations Week's End

An eventful week winds down to a slumberish end. We all can use the respite. However, there is some news: Despite his "Executive Directive," Governor Bob McDonnell said on his monthly "Ask The Governor" show that there is no need for an anti-homosexual bias law. The Richmond Times-Dispatch has the details, but you can hear it for yourself on the link to WRVA's podcast (a first for the the News Stand). The Washington Post has mention of it as well, on it s Virginia Politics Blog. Have a listen and a read . . . and a good weekend.


McDonnell doubts need for bias law (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

No 'rampant discrimination' against gay employees to argue for law, McDonnell says (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog

Senate bill proposes no more bailouts (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Saying ‘I do’: Black marriage campaign is growing (Richmond Times-Dispatch)


Ask The Governor (60:00) (

National News

Democrats send Obama final health measure (AP/

Obama dares GOP to repeal health care bill (AP/

GOP warns Obama about labor board appointment (AP/

NPR, PBS stations get $10M infusion for local news (AP/

Would partners of gay troops get benefits, too? (AP/


How the Left Fakes the Hate: A Primer (Michele Malkin/

Game On! (Michael Reagan/

Kansas-Nebraska Act 1854, Redux (Tony Blankley/

That Makes Sense

Listening to the State of the Commonwealth speech last night driving home, I heard something that simply stunned me. Of course, it shouldn't have. Anything coming from NPR or one of its affiliates shouldn't surprise anyone. In this case, the gentleman anchoring the coverage on Richmond NPR station WCVE-FM, filling time between the end of Governor Tim Kaine's speech and the the Republican response (see Lynchburg News & Advance, here) by Delegate Dave Albo (R-42, Fairfax) and Senator Steve Newman (R-23, Forest), mentioned the governor's new position as chairman of the Democrat National Committee.  Then he said:

"It remains to be seen whether the Republicans take advantage of this for their partisan advantage."

This what the Mainstream Media does: It defines who's right and just, and who plays negative, regardless of the facts, then puts it all out there as if irrefutable and from on high. In short, it creates stereotypes.

So, in the view of Mr. NPR Local Anchor: He basically dares those mean General Assembly Republicans, who are laying in wait, to pounce on the poor, defenseless governor, who just happened to take one of the most partisan and powerful jobs in the world with access to the DNC's hundreds of millions of dollars and its D.C. command center — and pound away at him with its vast and endless arsenal from 9th and Broad in Richmond — for nothing but political gain.

Right. That makes sense.

We now return you to NPR's sleep inducing classical music.

Audio: From The NPR Archives

Just sitting here minding my own business yesterday, doing some research for yet another critically acclaimed post and blogging away when the phone rings. None other than a reporter or producer from National Public Radio. She is working on a story and wanted Family Foundation input. Very interesting, I thought, and then got her in touch with someone with some real authority around here. But it got me thinking. I know NPR has mentioned us before. Nice to know our federal tax dollars have contributed to such a nice, easy-to-navigate, and comprehensive Web site. A quick search and I uncovered two stories it did in 2006 during the Marriage Amendment campaign. They now are archived in the blog's Online Newsroom along with some television and radio interviews, as well as all the blog mentions about us as we can reasonably take time to search (we occupy a lot of people's minds). Check it out sometime.

Here are the two NPR stories we found. Take a trip down memory lane by clicking on each link below. It will take you to a synopsis or transcript of the story, but also an audio icon is at the top of the page. Click on it to listen to the story as it was reported. You decide: Fair and balanced?

From NPR Weekend Edition on June 10, 2006: "States Take Variety of Stances on Gay Marriage," reported by Kathy Schalch (3:39).

From NPR Morning Edition February 15, 2006: "Marriage Plays Starring Role in Politics . . . Again," reported by Barbara Bradley Hagerty (7:43)

Bye Bye Diamond Ring, Hello STDs

Not that long ago, a small town in Massachussets got a lot of attention because there appeared to be a "pregnancy pact" among teenage girls at the local high school. More than a dozen misguided young ladies, allegedly, intentionally got pregnant. That incident illustrated the extreme confusion in our society about the beauty of motherhood and its appropriate place in a lifelong marriage. Moreover, it showed no understanding of the crucial element of love and commitment for sexual relations. Now, it appears a new trend might have that story beat. National Public Radio recently aired a story highlighting what today's youth believe "real commitment" looks like (click here for story). The piece describes how one knows a relationship is serious and committed when "the condoms come off." 

Everyone knows that these days more and more young people are choosing to live together prior to walking down the aisle, despite the statistically proven increase in likelihood of divorce for cohabitators. But many people would be shocked to know that instead of a diamond ring to signify a future together, young people are simply acknowledging their vulnerability and trust through not protecting themselves during sex.    

Prior to this story, I believed cohabitation was the most self-deprecating thing young women do. While some women are earnestly tricked into believing that testing compatibility is valuable, cohabitation is a guy's win-win situation. Girls believe living together is a step closer to their end goal of matrimony, while guys view it as a great stalling mechanism that allows all the benefits of marriage with no commitment: sex, cooking, cleaning, half the rent and more. 

I know now that there are worse things than cohabitation. Women are trading in the beautiful tradition of a man saving his hard-earned money to demonstrate his commitment and love through a diamond ring for a glimmer of hope that he might be serious, demonstrated through the potential of sharing STDs. How romantic.

How sad.