Protect Christians in Iraq

Please take a moment to sign a petition to Secretary of State Clinton asking her to work with the Iraqi government to immediately form and implement a comprehensive plan of action to protect the dwindling community of Christians in Iraq.
The number of Christians in Iraq has decreased from an estimated 850,000 in 1991 to 330,000 today. Thousands have fled Iraq and now reside as impoverished refugees in Syria and Jordan. Of the Christians that remain in Iraq, more than half are internally displaced due to violence and constant threats against them by Islamic extremists. 

Violence against Christians in Iraq has rapidly escalated this past year including a bomb attack on three buses carrying Christian students in May 2010, the siege against Our Lady of Salvation Cathedral in Baghdad in which 58 were killed in October 2010, and also the murder of an elderly Christian couple on December 30th who were killed by a bomb left in front of their house. 

The Iraqi government clearly has not made protection of Christians in Iraq a priority. The U.S. government needs to strongly encourage and work with the Iraqi government to protect Christians and other religious minorities before they are all driven out of Iraq. History continues to demonstrate that where religious freedom flourishes, stable democracies, strong economies, and healthy societies develop. Considering the immense financial commitment the US has made in Iraq and the tragic loss of American and Iraqi lives, it is imperative that we hold both the US and Iraqi governments accountable to ensure religious freedom for all people in Iraq!

To accomplish this we are asking that you sign a petition to Secretary of State Clinton raising these concerns. Please share this petition with your friends and family. The more signatures we gather, the greater influence we will have on our current administration in prioritizing the protection of vulnerable Christians in Iraq.

Beware the Dentist

Yes, I realize that there is a stigma against dentists - usually stemming from a fear of needles going in one's mouth, one's teeth being pulled, etc. But with modern techniques (i.e. anesthetics), being afraid to go to the dentist is, for many, a thing of the past - unless you have a fear of lock jaw from keeping your mouth open too long. I'm sorry to reintroduce a concern involving dentists, but this story must be told so as to save you, my friends, from undue unrest.

About a year and a half ago, I came across an ad for $45 x-rays, exam and cleaning at a local Nashville dentists. With this incentive and since I had not been to the dentist in 5 years, I thought it was about time to go. I arrived for my appointment and everything seemed normal. The office was full of people and the hygienist was overly nice and complimentary about my set of teeth. I thought things were going splendidly and that I would soon be on my way with my pink toothbrush and mini dental floss tucked under my arm. Then the doctor came in to go over my x-rays and prick my gums. From the tone of his "hmmm" s and the fake smile on his face, I knew I was in for some bad news.

I was told that I had gums disease and that I had 4 cavities. I was truly surprised! Granted I had not been to the dentist in a while, but this was the last report that I expected. One cavity wouldn't have surprised me, but 4?! The dentist prepared a cost estimate for "deep cleaning" that they advised must be done as soon as possible for the sake of my bleeding gums and the 4 cavities. Something didn't sit well with me. Not only was it a very expensive estimate, but when I started asking questions, four people from the office (the hygienist, two doctors and the receptionist) all gathered around my chair to try to convince me that I needed to schedule this work as soon as possible or I was compromising my oral health. I was frankly so taken aback that I left the office and did not schedule another appointment with them.

Not only did I not schedule an appointment with them, I didn't do anything for a year and half....which takes us to the present. Last week I scheduled a dental appointment at a different dentist and as I had been told (a year and a half ago) that I had cavities, I expected the dentist to find cavities. Wouldn't one expect that? Well, It turns out that my gums are perfectly healthy and I have zero!!!

You can really imagine my surprise and my gladness with the present dentists and my disgust with the dentist that tried to scam me. Can you imagine all of the people that have been told that they have  multiple cavities by this dentist - and had their perfectly healthy teeth drilled and filled? It's disgusting. How do I get in touch with Channel 5 News? Maybe I will do an undercover story....

Anyway, all that to say that if you discern that a dentist may not be telling you the truth, get a second opinion. It could save you lots of money and your pearly whites. The hygienist at this new dentist told me to beware of group dental practices and opt for private practices instead. She said that there is actually quite a bit of dishonest activity taking place in those offices.