Bob Fu Determined to Keep Himself The Focus of Drama and Controversy at the International Religious Freedom Summit
Separation of Church and State is becoming a very endangered ideal in America and many other parts of the world. There are many reasons why, one of the main instigators is that there are obtuse, well-funded groups, looking to use these freedoms to perpetuate their own, often contradictory opinions.
From right-wing nationalist groups to extreme evangelical organizations, to the Falun Gong and its myriad media outlets, American politics system is being bought, lied about, and manipulated in order to confuse and influence public opinion. We live in a world of purposeful misinformation which presents a real threat to our way of life. Add widening this platform to include religion in politics opens the door to religions ably spreading their own misinformation, and disciples going along with misinformation as a badge of honor in maintaining their religious identity. This has been used time and time again in recent political battles.
“In America, we don’t turn to government to restore our souls. We put our faith in the almighty God,”- President Donald Trump on the closing night of a Republican National Convention steeped in religious rhetoric. (1)
“Not only is American Christianity increasingly intertwined with Republican partisanship, but religion itself provides tools for resisting information from secular sources of information. Evangelical Christians are taught to resist “worldly” influences in favor of trustworthy, Godly resources.”(2)
Those who get their news from a variety of sources are aware of acts by controversial religious groups or individuals and their seeding of misinformation through the purchase of online media such as Facebook Ads, other news coverage and even paying for these opinions to advance their own agendas (usually hidden), under the guise of honest reporting or fact. Unfortunately, this practice stealthily hijacked parts of the recent International Religious Freedom summit in Washington.
A good example is an attendee at this rally was Bob Fu, a minister who seems determined to keep himself the focus of drama and controversy, while he continues to tell governments and countries what they have to do. His evangelical Christian Aid association has been accused of forceful religious tactics that are the same or similar to many other high pressure American Evangelical missionaries abroad over the years; Evangelical missionaries who have been accused of blackmailing the weak and starving into “finding God”.
A conference about religious freedom should take a more inclusive view on the wide array of global religious beliefs, or even non-belief. Bob Fu’s Christian Aid appears to have a very narrow view of what an appropriate religion is supposed to be and a very specific sense of acceptable beliefs and practices. In a free and tolerant society, dictating that one’s belief system is superior to another is not conducive to preserving religious freedoms.
The U.S. exists on the world stage as a place where Church and State are separated, where there is an understanding in the value of a free and honest press, and where religions are generally respected for the work they do through their religious doctrine and charity, not for grand standing, or paying for false “news”.
Michael W. McConnell, Professor and Director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School and a former circuit judge succinctly stated in a recent interview, he mentioned the separation of church and state is a slogan, it’s a shorthand or colloquial way of expressing a legal idea. The actual legal ideas is expressed in the First Amendment of our Bill of Rights, and it provides that Congress, which now means any level of government, that Congress shall make no law restricting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, it’s a restraint on government. Actually, there are many examples of religious organizations and influencers pushing a political agenda with money and misinformation in order to sway popular opinion and political parties. In the United States most organizations are free to voice their opinions, but when an organization purposely hides their origin, ownership and agenda, media consumers are left vulnerable to fake news and savvy propaganda campaigns with hidden agendas. It was unfortunate to see the latest International Religious Freedom summit in Washington, DC get caught up in this weaponized form of lobbying, as it does a disservice to the safeguards and values for which it stands.
All of which makes sense, as it is an American tenet to protect the rights of the individual. But, what about when the individual is in a position of highly influential religious power, with a mission to take their version of religious doctrine into the political arena? What if they are willing to do anything to get there? Shouldn’t the first amendment also protect American citizens from this threat?
A religious leader, such as Bob Fu, might argue that it is a first amendment right to spread false information, if the propagator believes it to be true, and many, including judge Michael W. McConnell would deftly defend this right, yet even he believes on a personal level that this is not right, stating in the same recent interview that: “I personally believe, I mean I personally adhere to a religion that does keep politics and religion separate, and the reason for that is because I believe that it’s important for the gospel to be accessible to people you know different orientations about other things. And I’m really opposed to the politicisation of so many things in America.”
In 2023 however, Americans have become suspicious of these bedrock tenets of society, and rightly so.
The truth today is often contrary to the American ideals of the past. America is now in a time where savvy religious and media organizations can use their vast resources to gain more influence than they ever have. Facebook appears happy to take their significant media buys. “Far-right sources of news and information that spread misinformation have even higher engagement than far-right sources overall, generating on average 65% more engagement per follower, according to [a recent] study. (3)
Sadly, wealthy organizations with undeclared agendas, and which purposely stay in the shadows to blur the lines between religion, media and for-profit businesses, have gained an outsized influence. This model purposely mocks the idea of separation of Church and State as it walks a fine line and seeks to turn religion into a powerful financial and influence peddling tool. It doesn’t seek independence from government, but involvement in which to aggressively shape it.This is evidenced in ongoing headlines and articles, such as this one by Jason Wilson for the Guardian: Falun Gong-aligned media push fake news about Democrats and Chinese communists, The Epoch Times, believed to be linked to the Chinese religious movement, is part of an anti-CCP influence operation tapping into the US right, according to a media watchdog (4)
It’s important to understand that using vast resources (obtained through religious tithing) to promote false media affects not only the opinion of American citizens, but American ideology, and ultimately the vote. People are swayed by lies.
According to an article in Statista dated June, 2022, 38.3% of Americans shared fake news, 67% believe it causes a great deal of confusion while only 26% had confidence in their ability to identify misinformation. “In the meantime, fake news will continue to be a problem, and reporting, avoiding, or identifying it will fall mostly to the consumer.”(5)
- Amen Gashaw, In God We Trust: How American Christianity Became Republicanism, Harvard Political Review, January 9, 2021, https://harvardpolitics.com/in-god-we-trust-how-american-christianity-became-republicanism/
- Ben Gaskins, Faith and Fake News: How Religion Influences Political Trust, The LSE Religion and Global Society interdisciplinary blog, October 21, 2021, https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/religionglobalsociety/2021/10/faith-and-fake-news-how-religion-influences-political-trust/
- Jessica Guynn, What’s popular on Facebook? Extreme far right political views and lies, study says, USA Today, March 3, 2021, https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2021/03/03/facebook-extreme-far-right-politics-lies-popular/6895670002/
- Jason Wilson, Falun Gong-aligned media push fake news about Democrats and Chinese communists, The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/apr/30/falun-gong-media-epoch-times-democrats-chinese-communists
- Amy Watson, Fake News in the US – Statistics & Facts, June 21, 2022, https://www.statista.com/topics/3251/fake-news/#topicOverview
Disclaimer: Contents and opinions in this article are not Founder Courier’s. We only provide a voice to sources in our community.
Exclusive Interview with The NET ZERO ENERGY Buildings Expert Anastasia Makarska: Shaping a Greener Future
Welcome to an exclusive interview with Anastasia Makarska, a renowned figure in the world of commercial real estate development. Anastasia’s resolute commitment to sustainability and her unique background in physics and engineering have revolutionized the real estate landscape, transforming spaces into sustainable and coveted marvels.
In this interview, we delve into the concept of Net Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) and the challenges associated with building codes for NZEB. Join us as we explore the visionary force behind Anastasia’s remarkable projects and her dedication to shaping a greener future.
Anastasia, thank you for joining us today. Let’s start by discussing the concept of Net Zero Energy Buildings. Could you explain to our audience what exactly is meant by a Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB)?
Anastasia: Certainly. A Net Zero Energy Building, or NZEB, is an approach to construction that focuses on creating energy-efficient buildings that are connected to the power grid while also generating renewable energy to offset their energy consumption. The aim is to achieve a balance where the amount of renewable energy produced either on-site or nearby matches or exceeds the building’s annual energy needs, resulting in virtually no net energy consumption.
That’s fascinating. It’s clear that NZEBs hold tremendous potential in terms of sustainability. How are developers and building owners embracing this concept, and what are some innovative features we can find in NZEBs?
Anastasia: Developers and building owners are increasingly interested in constructing zero energy buildings, driven by corporate objectives and regulatory requirements. The building and design community is actively embracing this challenge and leading the way with innovative and forward-thinking projects.
NZEBs incorporate a wide range of energy-efficient strategies, from simple to highly intricate. These include maximizing the utilization of passive solar heat gain and shading, integrating high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, appliances, windows, and doors, enhancing insulation, natural ventilation, air sealing, and incorporating advanced renewable energy solutions like solar photovoltaics and geothermal energy systems.
The goal is to create buildings that regulate temperature fluctuations, minimize energy consumption, and reduce environmental impact.
It’s impressive how NZEBs combine various technologies and strategies to achieve sustainability. Now, let’s delve into building codes. What role do building codes play in the construction of NZEBs, and what codes and standards exist for this purpose?
Anastasia: Building codes play a crucial role in guiding the construction of net zero energy buildings. Currently, there are codes and standards in place to assist designers, architects, builders, and contractors in creating more energy-efficient and sustainable structures compared to previous years.
In the United States, professionals in the building industry can refer to the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), which has been adopted in approximately 44 states and territories. Across North America, ASHRAE 90.1 provides significant guidance, and the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) serves as another valuable resource. In Canada, there are the National Energy Code of Canada (NECC) and the National Energy Code for Buildings (NECB).
That’s helpful to know. Given the increasing need for more rigorous energy and building codes, what are some of the challenges faced in developing codes specifically tailored for NZEBs?
Anastasia: The development of codes specifically tailored for NZEBs faces several challenges. As industry professionals and officials work on designing new codes to facilitate the transition to net zero energy, there is still no consensus on the structure of the code, its comprehensive scope, and ensuring that buildings achieve net zero energy status throughout their lifecycle.
To ensure buildings perform as intended, it is essential to establish post-construction reporting, analysis, and a framework for oversight and enforcement.
Current codes and standards often rely on energy proxies without a requirement for actual quantification of energy usage. There are also gaps in the inclusion of certain types of energy usage in calculations.
To achieve the goal of net zero energy buildings, methodologies need to evolve, modeling capabilities should be enhanced, and real-world outcomes must be measured.
Overcoming those challenges will be crucial for the success of NZEBs. Could you tell us about the advantages that net zero energy buildings offer to building owners, occupants, and the environment?
Anastasia: Absolutely. Net zero energy buildings provide several advantages. Buildings account for a significant portion of fossil fuel energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. By increasing the number of net zero energy buildings, we can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and effectively lower carbon emissions.
Some key advantages of NZEBs include protection for building owners against future energy price hikes, enhanced occupant comfort, health, well-being, and productivity, reduction in energy consumption and associated costs, improved reliability of energy supply, increased resale value due to high demand for net zero buildings, contribution towards achieving zero energy targets, and minimized environmental impact. These advantages create value for building owners, occupants, and the planet.
Those advantages make a compelling case for embracing net zero energy buildings. As a visionary force in real estate development, how do you see the future of NZEBs and their potential impact on communities and the environment?
Anastasia: I believe the future of net zero energy buildings is incredibly promising. As awareness of the need for sustainability grows, NZEBs will become the norm rather than the exception. They have the potential to reshape communities and serve as catalysts for positive change.
Net zero energy buildings can create vibrant, sustainable communities that prioritize the well-being of both residents and businesses. By reducing energy consumption, minimizing environmental impact, and offering enhanced comfort and productivity, NZEBs have a transformative effect on the communities they serve. They not only contribute to the preservation of our planet but also provide value for investors, businesses, and communities alike.
Thank you for sharing your insights, Anastasia. Before we conclude, could you tell our audience about any upcoming projects or initiatives that you’re particularly excited about in the realm of net zero energy buildings?
Anastasia: Certainly. I’m thrilled to be working on a groundbreaking project that aims to create a net zero energy residential community. This community will embody the principles of sustainable living and showcase the potential of NZEBs on a larger scale. It will integrate cutting-edge technologies, energy-efficient systems, and sustainable materials to provide residents with an exceptional living experience while minimizing the community’s environmental footprint. I believe this project will serve as a blueprint for future developments and inspire others to embrace the vision of net zero energy living.
As we conclude this insightful interview with Anastasia Makarska, it is evident that she is a visionary force transforming the real estate industry through sustainable development. Anastasia’s dedication to creating sustainable and desirable spaces, her commitment to excellence, and her unwavering belief in the power of net zero energy buildings have positioned her as a leading authority in commercial real estate.
Through her innovative projects and expertise, Anastasia is shaping the world we live in, one groundbreaking project at a time. Her visionary approach, fueled by her unique background in physics and engineering, has redefined the boundaries of commercial real estate development and paved the way for a greener and more sustainable future.
Witness the remarkable journey of Anastasia Makarska as she continues to revolutionize the real estate landscape and leave an indelible mark on the communities she transforms into sustainable and coveted marvels.
If you would like to get in touch with Anastasia Makarska you can contact here
Devin Millar Promotes the Normalization of Cross-dressing Through his Music
An independent music producer, who’s name is Devin Millar, hailing from the Portland Oregon area is bringing a new approach to fashion, animation, and music.
Devin is on YouTube and creates animations to go with his music, which is modeled after 90s children’s animations with adult themes and references. He grew up his uncle Grayson, and with his parents, and Grayson showed him how to create Dance music which was how Devin got his music-making knowledge. Clothing-wise, he wears skirts and dresses similar to Melina Martinez, and is heavily inspired by her. He says he always felt like a kid even at the age of 22.
Devin claims that modern society should treat crossdressing the same as how women and girls are viewed when dressing the same way. Millar believes everyone should be understood and that skirts and dresses should become everyday clothing regardless of who is wearing it.
One view and song in particular, is “Doll Life”, a song Devin released which focuses on the main mascot of his music, Jack.
Jack is a teenage boy who dresses up like a girl as part of his feminine style and goes on an adventure with his friends to fight the underwater mafia in his Cadillac Escalade. Everyone becomes friends and all perform together. The song has been viewed many times on YouTube many times and has been a hit for the last couple of months. One may notice the boy characters also wear dresses with the girls and women, which are identical to the one Jack is wearing. For that reason, the song subliminally sends Devin’s message.
Promoting a sense of animated nostalgia and creating songs with happy tones mixed with Dance music through his YouTube channel, Devin has been creating melodic, inspiring Pop music since he was 14 and continues to inspire others. Devin is also on a mission to inspire the world to not label clothes and fashion based on gender.
The Three Most Crucial Supplements to Take During the First Trimester of Pregnancy
A healthy first trimester is critical to the normal growth of the fetus. You may not be exhibiting much on the exterior, but on the inside, all of the fetus’s vital organs and systems are developing.
Several changes occur as the embryo attaches itself to the uterine wall. During the first trimester, the fetus is most vulnerable to harm from substances such as alcohol, narcotics, and some medications, as well as infections such as rubella (German measles). Throughout the first trimester, both your body and your baby’s body are rapidly changing.
During the first trimester, the most dramatic changes and development occur. All nutrients are vital throughout pregnancy, but some are especially important for your baby’s growth and development.
Taking folic acid before and during early pregnancy can help avoid neural tube defects (NTDs), which are birth malformations of the brain and spine. According to some research, consuming folic acid may help prevent birth malformations in your baby’s mouth (called cleft lip and palate).
Spina bifida and anencephaly are the most common NTDs. In the United States, around 1,500 newborns are born with spina bifida each year. Spina bifida occurs when the small bones of the spine fail to close completely, and a portion of the spinal cord pokes through the spine. Children with spina bifida may have paralyzed legs and difficulty managing their bladder and intestines (going to the toilet).
One of the most severe NTDs is anencephaly. It affects approximately affecting about 1 in 1,000 pregnancies in the United States each year. However, because the majority of these pregnancies end in miscarriage, the prevalence of this disease in neonates is far lower. Anencephaly affects approximately one in every 10,000 infants in the United States. Anencephaly occurs when the upper portion of the neural tube that develops the brain does not completely seal. Major regions of the brain, skull, and scalp are missing in babies with this disease. They are usually only alive for a few hours after birth. Anencephaly affects girls three times more than boys.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid that promotes growth and development. DHA is required throughout pregnancy to aid in the development of your baby’s brain and eyes. DHA promotes the growth of the cerebrum, which is in charge of thinking, remembering, and feeling.
Autism and schizophrenia disproportionately afflict males and are closely linked to early life adversity caused by maternal stress and other variables, which may be influenced by nutrition. However, the fundamental causes of these male-specific effects are not fully understood. Researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine and the MU Thompson Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopment have discovered potential explanations for male vulnerability in the womb, and they’ve discovered that a specific maternal nutritional supplement called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) may protect unborn males during early development from the effects of maternal stress.
Iodine is a mineral that your body needs to produce thyroid hormones, which aid in the usage and storage of energy from food. Additionally, iodine is required throughout pregnancy to aid in the development of your baby’s nervous system. Your baby’s neurological system (brain, spinal cord, and nerves) allows him or her to move, think, and feel.
During pregnancy, iodine requirements rise by 50%. A lack of iodine during pregnancy can result in maternal and fetal hypothyroidism, as well as impaired fetal neurological development. The effects are determined by the severity and timing of the hypothyroidism; the most severe symptom is cretinism.
Controlled studies in iodine-deficient areas have shown that iodine supplementation before or during early pregnancy eliminates new cases of cretinism, increases birth weight, lowers rates of perinatal and infant mortality, and improves developmental assessments in young children by 10-20%.
You’re not alone if you’ve never heard of Choline. Although it is suggested that it be included in all prenatal vitamins, most do not contain a significant quantity of Choline, if any at all. While Choline occurs naturally in foods such as cow liver and whole eggs, up to 95% of pregnant women do not consume enough prenatal Choline to meet their nutritional needs.
Choline is a “vitamin-like” important ingredient, which means that while it is not a vitamin, it functions similarly to one. Choline is necessary for optimal bodily function and is especially vital during pregnancy to support the adequate intake of Omega-3 DHA, general baby growth, and the mother’s personal health and wellness.
Furthermore, Choline prevents birth abnormalities. According to research, the lowest incidence of neural tube abnormalities is directly tied to the mother’s choline status during pregnancy.
Choline acts against factors that cause pregnancy problems preventing a variety of pregnancy complications, including low birth weight, pre-eclampsia, placental abruption, and recurrent pregnancy loss.
Furthermore, choline decreases the baby’s stress response, helps increase childhood visual memory, and improves motor performance in tasks that require accuracy. Additionally, prenatal choline supplementation enhances a child’s attention span.
You’re effectively working overtime to build a human being, thus a good, balanced diet is vital to compensate for this extra energy expenditure. Appropriate supplementation is essential to guarantee you’re meeting your higher prenatal vitamin demands.
Supplementation varies based on the particular woman, and it is strongly advised that all supplements be pre-approved by your doctor or medical expert.
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