Called to suffer. Calling himself a “Prisoner in the Darkness in Iran, but free for the Kingdom and Light,” jailed pastor Saeed Abedini issued an Easter message from his hospital room in Iran. Authorities there arrested the Iranian-American pastor in 2012 and sentenced him to eight years in prison when he refused to renounce his Christian faith. He is in the hospital now, being treated for injuries he received in prison. According to the American Center for Law and Justice, Abedini wrote:
“Sometimes we want to experience the glory and resurrection with Jesus without experiencing death with Him. We do not realize that, unless we pass through the path of death with Christ, we are not able to experience resurrection with Christ. We want to have a good and successful marriage, career, education, and family life (which is also God’s desire and plan for our life). But we forget that in order to experience the Resurrection and Glory of Christ we first have to experience death with Christ and to die to ourselves and selfish desires.”
Healthy doubts. A national poll has found Americans are skeptical about global warming, the age of the Earth, and the Big Bang Theory. The Associated Press-GfK survey asked people to rate their confidence in several statements about science and medicine. Some received broad acceptance, such as the fact that smoking causes cancer or mental illness is a medical condition that affects the brain. But about 4 in 10 said they are not too confident or outright disbelieve that the earth is warming from man-made, heat-trapping gases. The same number doubted that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old or that life on Earth evolved through a process of natural selection. A narrow majority of 51 percent questions the Big Bang theory.
Iffy numbers. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is disputing some of the numbers in President Barack Obama’s proposed 2015 budget. Obama said the plan would increase the national deficit by $4.9 trillion over 10 years. But the non-partisan CBO puts the deficit at $6.6 trillion over 10 years. Romina Boccia of the Heritage Foundation said the president’s Office of Management and Budget used overly optimistic economic assumptions that the president’s policies would lead to much greater economic growth. The president’s budget would raise taxes by about $1.2 trillion while also increasing spending, Boccia said.
Backing down. The United Auto Workers announced Monday it is abandoning its bid to organize Volkswagen’s assembly plant in Tennessee. In a statement released one hour before the scheduled start of a National Labor Relations Board hearing in Chattanooga, Tenn., UAW President Bob King said the union decided to scrap its appeal of a February vote because it could have taken months or even years to come to a conclusion. The UAW filed the appeal after Volkswagen workers rejected the union in a 712-626 vote in February. Public statements from U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, and other GOP officials raised fears about the plant’s future if workers there organized, the UAW argued. Volkswagen wants to introduce a German-style works council at the plant to represent both salaried and blue-collar workers.
Wild ride. A 16-year-old boy survived a five-hour ride from California to Hawaii inside an airplane’s wheel well. The stowaway had run away from his family after an argument, scaled the fence of Mineta San Jose International Airport under the cover of darkness, and remained undetected as he crossed the airport ramp. He was unconscious for most of the flight, enduring below-freezing temperatures and a lack of oxygen. His antics raised obvious security concerns. “I have long been concerned about security at our airport perimeters. #Stowaway teen demonstrates vulnerabilities that need to be addressed,” tweeted Rep. Eric Swalwell, a Democrat who represents the San Francisco Bay Area’s eastern cities and suburbs.