|December 31, 2010
|Why the Ring Matters
(New York Times) Cohabitation is now an increasingly attractive option to many Americans — including middle-aged and older adults who have recently lost a spouse to divorce or death. We can debate about whether cohabitation is good for the adults involved, especially given the financial penalties often associated with marriage for low-income and older couples.
But a growing body of social scientific evidence strongly suggests that cohabitation and children don’t mix, even though more than 40 percent of American children will spend some time in a cohabiting household.
Compared with children in married step-families, children in cohabiting homes are more likely to fail in school, run afoul of the law, do drugs and be abused.
Compared with children in married step families, children in cohabiting homes are more likely to fail in school, run afoul of the law, suffer from depression, do drugs, and — most disturbingly — be abused. (Note that children in in-tact, married homes do best on all these outcomes.) In the words of a recent Urban Institute study, “cohabiting families are not simply an extension of traditional married biological or blended families.”
Indeed, a recent federal report on child abuse found that children in cohabiting stepfamilies were 98 percent more likely to be physically abused, 130 percent more likely to be sexually abused, and 64 percent more likely to be emotionally abused, compared with children in married step-families
Click here to read three reasons why cohabitation is so risky for children.
|December 31, 2010
|Belief That Religion Is Losing Its Influence on American Life Hit 50-Year Peak After Inauguration of Obama, Says Gallup Data
(CNSNews.com) Since 1957—more than half a century ago--Gallup has been asking Americans whether they think religion is increasing or losing its influence on American life.
In all that time, the largest percentage of Americans who said they thought religion was increasing its influence on American life came in the first polling Gallup conducted on the question following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and the largest percentage who said they thought religion was losing its influence came--less than eight years later--in the first polling Gallup conducted on the question after the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama.
|December 31, 2010
|Planned Parenthood Launches `Social Change Initiative` to Teach Parents How to Educate Children About Sex
(CNSNews.com) – The Planned Parenthood Federation of America is signaling its intention to dominate the national sex education agenda.
Specifically, Planned Parenthood`s Web site announced the group is preparing to launch a nationwide “social change initiative” to end the “stigma and shame about sex” in American culture.
The project aims to teach parents and caregivers how to educate children about sex -- from birth. And it recommends telling teenagers about masturbation, oral sex and “where to go for help to prepare to be sexually active.”
|December 31, 2010
|Pro-Life Leaders Want Congress to Overturn Death Panel Regs
(LifeSiteNews) Leaders in the pro-life community are angrily responding to the news that the Obama administration added “death panels” to the ObamaCare implementation.
They are calling on Congress to take steps to repeal the new regulations Obama officials put in place that they worry will give financial incentives to doctors to hold end-of-life discussions with patients that will lead to the rationing of their medical care. Doctors will instruct patients in the annual “voluntary” exams to write “advance directives listing the kind of treatment they wish to receive or not receive if they are unable to make their own medical decisions.
Although the advanced directives apparently can’t be used to facilitate an assisted suicide, there is concern physicians will pressure or persuade patients to make decisions that would ration care or withdraw lifesaving medical treatment.
|December 31, 2010
|Poll: Most Americans Ring in New Year`s with Prayer
(Christian Post) Before the clock strikes midnight on Friday, Americans will look to the heavens before they look forward to a brand new year.
A new Rasmussen Reports found that a majority of Americans don’t plan on skipping prayer even though they won’t attend parties this New Year`s Eve.
An estimated 66 percent say they will say a prayer before the start of 2011, with men more likely than women to do so. Black Americans are also more likely than whites to pray in the last hours of 2010.
|December 31, 2010
|Individual Mandate Least Popular Part of Obamacare
|December 31, 2010
|Just 21% Want FCC to Regulate Internet, Most Fear Regulation Would Promote Political Agenda
(Rasmussen) American voters believe free market competition will protect Internet users more than government regulation and fear that regulation will be used to push a political agenda.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 21% of Likely U.S. Voters want the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to regulate the Internet as it does radio and television. Fifty-four percent (54%) are opposed to such regulation, and 25% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
|December 31, 2010
|Top 10 D.C. Buzzwords of 2010
(CNSNews.com) The year`s top buzzword, as determined by the editors of CNSNews.com, is a phrase: "Repeal Obamacare."
(The term “buzzword” is not necessarily pejorative. Applied to Washington and Congress, it simply means the terms of discussion, words that may arise in a particular context -- most frequently in the halls of Congress, or emanating from network TV studios -- but which gain popular currency as the terms of the day.)
Click here for the entire list of Top 10 buzzwords from Washington, D.C., for 2010.
|December 29, 2010
|Colleges warned of liability for free-speech violations
|December 29, 2010
|How about family movies for New Year`s Eve?
(WorldNetDaily) Forget the party hats. Forget the bars. Forget the ball dropping in Times Square. Forget driving. Forget New Year`s Rockin` Eve.
How about some nice pleasant, relaxed family time with some good movies?
That`s what the WND Superstore video department has to offer you – with just a few days planning to make it happen. You just supply the popcorn.
Be sure to browse through the entire department – it`s not just documentaries anymore. There`s plenty of pure, uplifting entertainment, too.
- There`s "Bella," one of the great "little" movies of all time. It`s not high-budget – just great storytelling, great performances and a great message.
- Here`s one you won`t find in Blockbuster: "Unidentified." It`s not your run-of-the-mill sci-fi movie. It will have you on the edge of your seat, but with a message about eternity and the things that really count.
- In "The Perfect Stranger," an attorney gets a dinner invitation that reads, "You are invited to dinner with Jesus of Nazareth." She thinks it`s a practical joke. Based on the novel, "Dinner With a Perfect Stranger."
- Here`s a great title for New Year`s Eve: "Time Changer." The year is 1890 and Bible Professor Russell Carlisle has written a new manuscript. His book is about to receive an unanimous endorsement from the board members at Grace Bible Seminary until his colleague, Dr. Norris Anderson, has a "difficulty with something." Dr. Anderson believes what Carlisle has written could greatly affect future generations. Using a secret time machine, Anderson sends Carlisle over 100 years into the future, offering him a glimpse of where his beliefs will lead.
- "Fireproof" – You`ve heard about this one – ranked the most inspirational movie of 2008.
- How about a version of "Pilgrim`s Progress" set in today`s world? You`ll be surprised at the quality of this production.
- Then there`s "Amazing Grace": This is the epic story of William Wilberforce and his successful battle to end slavery in the United Kingdom."
- Sports fans, here`s one for you: "The Express" is the true story of football hero Ernie Davis and his battles against racial discrimination and prejudice.
- You`ll also love "The Miracle of the Widow," an inspiring spiritual story.
Be sure to check out "The End of the Spear," "Broken Trail," and all the other good, old-fashioned entertainment here. You can make a film festival out of New Year`s Eve or any other night, for that matter.
|December 29, 2010
|America`s global leadership imperiled by weak families
(WorldNetDaily) Family breakdown is threatening America`s ability to lead the world, according to a new study released by the Family Research Council.
"A great nation depends on great families, but weak families will build a weak nation," writes FRC scholar Dr. Patrick Fagan in "The US Index of Belonging and Rejection."
"Bluntly put, the United States will not be able to maintain its leadership role in the community of nations unless its parents take a leadership role in the communities they have built: their families, which are the fundamental units of our society. If the United States desires to be a leader in the world, pursuing what is good for itself and other nations, its parents must first be leaders of their own homes and children," warns Fagan, director of FRC`s Marriage and Religion Research Institute.
" … [W]hat proportion of our children grow up in an intact home" is the best measure of the health of the American family, contends Fagan. He notes that only 45 percent of U.S. teenagers aged 15-17 in 2008 were living in homes with both biological parents present. The majority, 55 percent, were living in homes where the biological parents have "rejected" each other. Fagan`s study is based on data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau`s 2008 American Community Survey.
|December 29, 2010
|111th Congress Added More Debt Than First 100 Congresses Combined: $10,429 Per Person in U.S.
(CNSNews) The federal government has accumulated more new debt--$3.22 trillion ($3,220,103,625,307.29)—during the tenure of the 111th Congress than it did during the first 100 Congresses combined, according to official debt figures published by the U.S. Treasury.
That equals $10,429.64 in new debt for each and every one of the 308,745,538 people counted in the United States by the 2010 Census.
The total national debt of $13,858,529,371,601.09 (or $13.859 trillion), as recorded by the U.S. Treasury at the close of business on Dec. 22, now equals $44,886.57 for every man, woman and child in the United States.
|December 23, 2010
|Resolution to be introduced demanding all legislation cite Constitutional authorization
|December 23, 2010
|Christian Broadcasters Cite Problems in Net Neutrality
(Christian Post) The nation`s largest group of Christian broadcasters anticipate that FCC`s passage of "net neutrality" rules will pose problems for communicating the Gospel on the internet and new media technologies.
In a 3-2 vote, the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday passed rules that would allow the agency to regulate how internet service providers manage their networks.
Under net neutrality, internet service providers must provide equal access to all legal Web content on their networks.
|December 23, 2010
|Census: Fast Growth in States with No Income Tax
(National Review Online) For those of us who are demographic buffs, Christmas came four days early this year when Census Bureau director Robert Groves announced yesterday the first results of the 2010 Census and the reapportionment of House seats (and thus, electoral votes) among the states.
The resident population of the United States, he said in a webcast, was 308,745,538. That’s an increase of 9.7 percent from the 281,421,906 in the 2000 Census — the smallest proportional increase than in any decade other than the Depression-era 1930s, but a pretty robust increase for an advanced nation.
It’s hard to get a grasp on such large numbers. So let me share a few observations on what they mean.
|December 23, 2010
|Chief rabbis: Fight `abortion epidemic`
(YNetNews.com) Israel`s Chief Rabbis Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar on Monday called on all Israeli rabbis to fight the "abortion epidemic in our country."
Just as in previous years, the chief rabbis sent a letter to rabbis all across Israel instructing them to "bring up the Exodus Torah reading during their sermon on Saturday regarding the "biblical prohibition to kill fetuses in their mothers` intestines."
The timing is not coincidental: This week`s Parasha talks about Hebrew midwives in Egypt who did not listen to Pharaoh`s ruling and refused to cast away the male babies to the Nile.
|December 23, 2010
|Victory: Senate strips provision allowing abortion on military bases from defense bill
(LifeSiteNews.com) - The U.S. Senate has passed the defense authorization bill for FY2011, but only after controversial provisions, including the Burris Amendment, were stripped from the measure.
The amendment would have struck out a section of the U.S. Code that has prohibited Department of Defense facilities from being used to perform abortions except in cases of rape, incest, and risk to the life of the mother. The measure was introduced by into the defense authorization bill by then-Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) during an Armed Services Committee markup in May.
Pro-life groups reacted with outrage at the time, saying that the measure would “turn every U.S. military hospital in the world into an abortion clinic.”
|December 23, 2010
|China converts entire village into prison to contain pro-life activist
(LifeSiteNews.com) - Chinese authorities have converted an entire village into a prison in order to prevent Chen Guangcheng, a blind, pro-life dissident, from moving freely about the country, according to a recent report by the French magazine Liberation.
“The picturesque hamlet, situated close to a national highway, might resemble thousands of others in that part of the northeast of China. No one, however, is authorized to enter Dongshigu, nor to communicate with its inhabitants,” writes Liberation’s China correspondent, Phillipe Grangerou. “All of the telephone lines were cut months ago. The antenna of the local mobile telephone service has been disconnected, and six surveillance cameras have been placed around the perimeter.”
In addition to the communications blackout and electronic surveillance, the town is guarded by about forty armed men dressed in military garb, who maintain a checkpoint for the few people permitted to come and go. “This group of men terrorizes all of us. But they have been sent by the [Communist] Party committee of the province, so there’s nothing that can be done about it,” one resident reportedly said.
|December 21, 2010
|VFW Issues Warning to DoD that Reversing Homosexual Ban Could End All-Volunteer Military
(CNSNews) While President Barack Obama prepares to sign legislation into law on Wednesday that would repeal the prohibition (10, USC 654) against homosexuals serving in the military, the Veterans of Foreign Wars issued a statement warning that implementation of the new law should proceed with caution and take into consideration the opposition of nearly 60 percent of combat troops who say the repeal will have “a negative or very negative impact on unit cohesion and performance.”
The VFW also warned that allowing open homosexuals in the armed forces – a new “social experiment” – could bring an end to America’s all-volunteer army.
|December 21, 2010
|Christians bringing values into voting booth
(OneNewsNow) "We had a very high Christian voter turnout two years ago, but they did not bring their values with them," explains David Barton, founder and president of WallBuilders, which is an organization that supports the moral, religious and constitutional foundation on which America was built.
He says only one percent of voters considered marriage to be an issue in 2008, but that statistic reached 53 percent this year. Moreover, only six percent of voters thought abortion was an issue in 2009, but that margin jumped to 30 percent by last month`s elections.
|December 21, 2010
|Smartphone apps sending out personal information
|December 21, 2010
|Jimmy Carter: we`ve had a black president, now it`s time for a gay one
(LifeSiteNews) A homosexual president is the next step in America’s march towards civil rights in the same vein as “when we dealt with the race issue,” former US president Jimmy Carter has speculated.
The former Democrat president shared his thoughts on the direction of his old office in an interview with the website Big Think.
“I don’t know about the next election, but I think in the near future,” said Carter, referring to the possibility of a homosexual president.
|December 21, 2010
|Austerity Named 2010 Word of the Year
(CNSNews) As Greece faced a debt crisis, the government passed a series of strict austerity measures, including taxes hikes and cutting public sector pay.
The move sparked angry protests, strikes and riots across the country as unemployment skyrocketed and the crisis spread to other European nations. The move also incited a rush to online dictionaries from those searching for a definition.
Austerity, the 14th century noun defined as "the quality or state of being austere" and "enforced or extreme economy," set off enough searches that Merriam-Webster named it as its Word of the Year for 2010, the dictionary`s editors announced Monday.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE.
|December 21, 2010
|Alliance Defense Fund sends letters to fend off attacks on Christmas expression
(ADF) The Alliance Defense Fund and its allied attorneys sent letters Friday to local governments in Nevada and Indiana encouraging them not to give in to baseless threats that Christmas expression is somehow a violation of the First Amendment. The letters instead explain that stifling Christmas expression is what truly violates First Amendment protected rights.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFOMATION.
|December 21, 2010
|Christian broadcaster censored for `violating ethics`
(OneNewsNow) A Canadian television show has been reinstated after being taken off the air in response to the host`s comments about homosexuality.
Although Word TV is back on Crossroads Television System, the Canadian Broadcasting Standards Council (CBSC) is prescreening and censoring its content.
"We spoke against a new proposed sex education curriculum that would teach gender identity, six genders, and sexual orientation to our children," explains Dr. Charles McVety, president of Canada Christian College and host of the show. "And I believe that this curriculum was for the purpose of teaching our children to be homosexuals."
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE.
|December 21, 2010
|Report Reveals Increasing Marginalization of Christians in Europe
(Christian Post) A Vienna-based watchdog released a new report where it voiced concern over the ability of Christians in Europe to publicly express their faith.
The report is released every five years by the Observatory of Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe.
It warned that discriminatory laws were preventing the equal exercise of freedom in the areas of speech, conscience and religion, while the introduction of equality legislation was leading to “side-effect discrimination” against Christians.
“Hate speech legislation has a tendency to indirectly discriminate against Christians, criminalizing core elements of Christian teaching,” the report reads. “We recommend that legislators carefully consider legislation with a view to freedom of religion, speech and conscience especially with regard to its effect on Christians.”
CLICK HERE TO READ ENTIRE ARTICLE.
|December 21, 2010
|Poll: 4 in 10 Americans Believe in Creationism
(Christian Post) A new Gallup poll reveals that 40 percent of Americans believe in creationism – that is, that God created humans in their present form about 10,000 years ago.
The statistic marks a slight decrease compared to years past such as in 2008 when 44 percent reported believing in strict creationism. But Gallup notes that it is the lowest statistic it has ever recorded in the history of asking the question since 1982.
Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans who believe humans evolved over millions of years, without God`s involvement, has crept up from 14 percent in 2008 to 16 percent in 2010. Nearly 30 years ago, only 9 percent believed in "secular evolution."
CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE.
|December 15, 2010
|San Bernardino County: `In God We Trust` motto to be displayed
Thank your San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors!
Chairman Gary Ovitt
Fourth District Supervisor: Chino, Chino Hills, Montclair, Ontario
Click here to send an email.
First District Supervisor: Adelanto, Apple Valley
Click here to send an email.
Second District Supervisor: Upland, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana
Click here to send an email.
Third District Supervisor: Loma Linda, Redlands, Portion of San Bernardino, Yucaipa
Click here to send an email.
Fifth District Supervisor: Bloomington, Colton, North Rialto, Fontana, North Norton, Muscoy, Rialto, Portions of San Bernardino
Click here to send an email.
(Press-Enterprise) San Bernardino County will add the motto "In God We Trust" to the Board of Supervisors chambers.
The board unanimously agreed Tuesday to add the display at the request of board Chairman Gary Ovitt. It will be displayed on the wall behind the dais where supervisors sit.
Ovitt said the motto has historic relevance to the nation, having been used on U.S. currency since 1864 and engraved in both houses of Congress. He also pointed out that the Pledge of Allegiance includes the term "under God."
He said he will pay for all costs associated with adding the display as a memorial to Joyce Butler, a Chino Hills community activist who passed away recently and sought the display.
No one spoke against the proposal at the meeting although such displays have been challenged in other areas by those who say it violates the separation of church and state. The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation has opposed similar proposals, saying they are only about promoting religion.
Those who spoke at the meeting all favored adding the motto.
"This is what our nation was formed on," said Cheryl Anaya, of Lytle Creek.
Jacquie Sullivan, founder and president of the Bakersfield-based In God We Trust-America, also was pleased with the board vote. She said her group`s mission is to have the motto added to every city, county and state chamber in the nation.
According to the group, seven cities in San Bernardino County post the motto: Adelanto, Barstow, Chino, Chino Hills, Highland, Ontario and Victorville. Norco will consider a proposal to add the motto to its chambers tonight, making it the first in Riverside County do so, if approved.
|December 17, 2010
|Don`t` Ask, Don`t Tell Vote Saturday
(Family Research Council) Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D- Nev.) has scheduled a vote on the new, stand-alone bill to overturn Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell, and to open the U.S. Armed Services to openly practicing homosexuals, tomorrow, Saturday, December 18, 2010. It could come in the morning - no hearings, no meaningful debate.
Everything depends upon God and His people during the next few hours. Now is not the time to sit back or give up. God rules in the affairs of men.
While it would be good to urge folks in your networks to make calls to the senators we mentioned in Wednesday`s Prayer Targets, some of them have already indicated their intention to vote to overturn. More than enough senators have announced their support to overturn for the measure to pass, including some Republicans who have shocked their constituents.
Stopping this measure will require the changing of minds, or some supernatural event that prevents individuals from voting, or that postpones the vote until after the lame duck session has ended - at noon on Monday, January 3rd.
Our God is a supernatural God, who has intervened to turn the tide many times in our nation`s history. Let us pray that he will do it again!
- Father, Jesus said that if we could agree together in His name, You would do it for us! He promised that if we prayed anything according to Your will, You would hear us and act on our behalf. David cried, "It is time for you to act, for your Law is being broken." You told Isaiah, "Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees." We pray now, God, INTERVENE! Stop these who blindly seek to bring a curse upon our nation; to undermine the morals, the morale and the effectiveness of our armies. Have mercy upon our nation, Lord, and ACT to save us. In Jesus` Name we pray, Amen! (Dt 28: all; Ps 89:13-14; 119:126; Is 10:1; Mt 18:19; Jn 14:14; Heb 13:4, Jude 7)
Rev. Pierre Bynum
National Prayer Director
Family Research Council
801 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
|December 17, 2010
|Ask Apple to restore Christian app to its store
(CitizenLink) Manhattan Declaration was pulled over `offensive` content. Despite having approved and posted a Manhattan Declaration app on its online store in October — and giving the app a 4+ rating for “no objectionable content” — Apple quietly pulled the app from its site over the Thanksgiving weekend. A public relations representative from Apple told media that the app violated Apple’s developer guidelines by being “offensive to large groups of people.”
More than 478,000 Christian clergy, ministry leaders, scholars and laypeople representing dozens of Christian denominations have signed the statement since it was made public on Nov. 20, 2009. The 4,732-word statement affirms the sanctity of human life, marriage as defined by the union of one man and one woman, and religious liberty and freedom of conscience. The Apple app offered users the ability to read the Manhattan Declaration and sign it online.
Please ask Steve Jobs at Apple to restore the app to his store. You can e-mail him (see below) or call him at (408) 996-1010. If you call him, let us know how it goes. email@example.com
|December 17, 2010
|Gay-history lessons in California schools debated
|December 17, 2010
|PTC movie review: TRON Legacy
(Parents Television) A sequel to the 1989 Disney movie Tron, this virtual reality-themed picture features mind-boggling special effects and an eerie musical score. The PTC does not recommend this movie for viewers under age 10.
Click here for details.
|December 17, 2010
|ACLU targets Christmas in TN schools
(OneNewsNow) The Alliance Defense Fund is contacting school districts in Tennessee to correct some fallacies from the ACLU about celebrating Christmas.
"I think it`s another story of the Grinch who stole Christmas," says David Cortman, senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF). According to the attorney, the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee sent a letter to every school district in The Volunteer State.
"...Basically saying," explains Cortman, "that if you`re going to celebrate any aspect of Christmas at all, then you`re constitutionally required to celebrate every holiday -- which of course is not true."
The attorney says he finds it "interesting" that the ACLU letter used words such as "divisive," "indoctrinating," "coercive," and "censorship."
"...It`s ironic that they use such heavy-handed words when people are merely trying to celebrate the Christmas holiday," he comments.
ADF has responded with a letter of its own to the school districts, informing them they do not have to deny students and teachers their constitutionally protected right to recognize Christmas just because of the threats issued by the ACLU. "It`s just the ACLU using their bully pulpit to try to whitewash anything religious from society, even if that includes Christmas," states Cortman.
The ADF attorney explains that the ACLU`s letter to the Tennessee school districts "smacks of political correctness" and has little or no legal basis.
|December 16, 2010
|Marines: A Vote for Repeal Is a Vote to Sacrifice Soldiers
(Family Research Council) Anyone who`s trying to pick a fight with the Marines over "Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell" should have to answer this question, which Gen. James Amos turned on a hostile reporter yesterday: "Have you been out with the Marines in an intense firefight, you personally?" The President certainly hasn`t. Nor has his Secretary of Defense. "I don`t want to lose any Marines to the distraction," the Commandant warned yesterday. "I don`t want to have any Marines that I`m visiting at Bethesda [ Naval Medical Center ] with no legs be the result of any type of distraction... Right now is a very intense period of time for a pretty healthy slice of the United States Marine Corps. This is not training. This is what I call the real deal. And the forces that wear this uniform... came back and told their commandant of the Marine Corps that they have concerns. That`s all I need. I don`t need a staff study. I don`t need to hire three PhDs to tell me [how] to interpret it... [I]f they have concerns, I do too. It`s as simple as that." In the end, Gen. Amos is going do what`s in the best interest of his Marines and the security of America . If Congress wasn`t going to take his concerns seriously, why put him in the position in the first place? "When your life hangs on the line," he told the press, "Mistakes... or distractions cost Marines` lives."
This isn`t just hyperbole. In his Senate testimony last March, Gen. John Sheehan (USMC-Ret.), Supreme Allied Commander for NATO, told a shocking story of how one gay soldier almost took out an entire combat patrol (page 16 of the congressional record). "Homosexual marines create problems on the battlefield... [In the] early years of Vietnam, 9th Marines, West of Da Nang, rifle company on a ridgeline combat outpost, the intelligence was that the North Vietnamese were going to attack, that night. The unit was put on 50-percent alert, which meant one slept, one stood on watch. About 1 o`clock in the morning, a fight broke out in a foxhole because the young marine was being molested by his squad leader. To the right of that foxhole, there was a machinegun section that opened [fire] and almost killed a combat patrol that was out in the front [because they thought the unit was under attack]."
That happened under a strict military ban. How many brave men and women are liberals willing to sacrifice so that homosexuals can flaunt their lifestyle? The only reason for changing the present policy is if it would help the military accomplish its mission. So far, no one has produced a single reason how it would. Until then, the Senate has to ask itself: Do they want the blood of innocent soldiers on their hands just to appease the political base of Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)? If they can live with that, then they`re unlike any human beings I`ve ever met.
|December 16, 2010
|Fewer Than Half of American Children Growing Up In Intact Families, Survey Finds
(CNSNews) Only 45 percent of American children have spent their childhood in an intact family, according to a survey produced by a conservative advocacy group.
The "Index of Belonging and Rejection," produced by Dr. Pat Fagan of the Family Research Council`s Marriage and Religion Research Institute, defines an intact family as a biological mother and father who remain legally married to one another from the time of their child`s birth.
"American society is dysfunctional, characterized by a faulty understanding of the male-female relationship," Fagan said in a news release. "Our culture needs a compass correction, learning again how to belong to each other when we have begotten children together."
Fagan said providing children with intact families holds "immeasurable benefits" for children, adults and society in general. The benefits include financial, educational, legislative, legal and judicial gains, Fagan added.
The survey`s findings:
-- 62 percent of Asian-American teenagers live with both married parents.
-- 54 percent of white youth live with both parents.
-- 41 percent of teenagers from multiracial family backgrounds live in intact families.
-- 40 percent of Hispanic teenagers nationwide live with both parents.
-- 24 percent of American Indian and Alaskan Native adolescents -- fewer than one in four -- have lived with both married parents throughout childhood.
-- 17 percent of African-American youth -- fewer than one in five -- live with both married parents.
The Index also varies across regional and socioeconomic lines:
-- 41 percent of adolescents living in the South grow up belonging to an intact family.
-- Large urban counties whose populations are less educated, less affluent, and contain high concentrations of minority groups tend to have lower proportions of two-parent families.
Fagan says the “culture of rejection” in American homes affects individuals and the nation as a whole.
"Children in broken homes are more likely to be poor or welfare-dependent. They enjoy less academic achievement and less social development, have more accidents and injuries, and have worse mental health and more behavioral problems. These children also have worse relationships with their parents and are more likely to reject their own spouses later.
"The culture of rejection burdens communities with higher levels of poverty, unemployment, welfare dependency, domestic abuse, child neglect, delinquency, crime and crime victimization, drug abuse, academic failure and school dropout, and unmarried teen pregnancy and childbearing. The United States experiences increased costs in education, healthcare, mental health and the administration of justice.”
Fagan said the nation’s future depends on the strength of its families. “Such strength is waning, which should give every American pause for concern and motivation for action," Fagan concluded.
The first annual `Index of Family Belonging and Rejection` is based on analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2008 American Community Survey.
|December 16, 2010
|Peeping in the Pew
(Family Research Council) In Luke 21, Jesus warns his followers that the day would come when family and friends will betray His true followers. The betrayal would occur because these followers would continue to speak the truth even when it wasn`t popular--and despite the unpopularity of the message, it could not successfully be opposed or resisted. As a result, they would be "hated" by even those closest to them because of Christ. I would not necessarily put the George Soros-funded group "Catholics for Equality" in a category of "family" or "friends," but one of their latest efforts, as pointed out by Thomas Peters of CatholicVote.org, is further evidence of how the Left is losing the public debate over the policy objectives of the homosexual agenda. Catholics for Equality has launched a campaign (soon to be equipped with smart phone apps) that would allow people attending Catholic mass to report--directly from the pews--a priest or bishop who speaks about marriage or family in a way they deem "hateful." There will also be a way, according to Aniello Alioto, the political director for liberal Progress Now, to contribute to the campaign "as the Holy Spirit moves them." For those who`ve bought into the well-crafted media spin from homosexuals that all that they want is tolerance, this should be a revelation. In truth, nothing--not even the Church--will be tolerated if it doesn`t affirm their behavior.
|December 14, 2010
|Grinch List Highlights Businesses That Won`t Recognize Christmas
(CNSNews) A Dallas Church has launched a Web site that alerts holiday shoppers to area stores and businesses that refuse to use the phrase “Merry Christmas” this holiday season.
The First Baptist Church of Dallas launched GrinchAlert.com as a protest against retailers using what it views as politically correct, generic holiday language and displays during the Christmas season.
A “Naughty List” identifies stores in the area that refuse to specifically refer to Christmas in their greetings, decorations and advertisements while a “Nice List” highlights stores that do.
The lists are compiled from reports from shoppers who visit stores, banks, other businesses – even local government offices. Visitors to the site may update the list if they witness behavior or see material that impresses or disappoints them.
The list will be read on the church’s radio station every morning until Christmas Day.
So far big national chains such as Best Buy, T.J. Maxx and Hallmark have made the “Nice List” while Nordstrom’s, Macy’s and Barnes and Noble feature on the “Naughty List.”
There are currently about five times more businesses listed as “Nice” than those deemed “Naughty.”
Dr. Robert Jeffress, the pastor of First Baptist Church launched the site after a controversy erupted over a Christmas display at an area business.
“There was a local bank that had taken down a Christmas tree that was in the lobby because they were fearful of offending people,” he told CNSNews in a phone interview.
“It caused a media uproar and the usual ‘war on Christmas’ talk and I thought, why not try and make something positive out of this?”
Jeffress says that since the site launched, thousands of tips have come in from around the country but the church is sure to verify the accuracy of each before they put a business into the “Naughty” or “Nice” category.
“We have had about 2,000 posting so far and we’re trying to be selective about the ones we put on there to try and make sure that there’s at least some semblance of accuracy and no fraudulent posts being made,” Jeffress said. “We can’t of course always guarantee that, but I think you’re going to see more and more national posts going up there.”
Through his site Jeffress hopes to encourage businesses to adopt Christmas-specific themes and messages and to be less fearful of a negative reaction from people who insist that nothing at a business should risk offending those who may not celebrate Christ’s birth.
“I hope what will happen is that fewer business will have bowed to the political correctness police and will instead observe historically what our culture has observed which is the entry of Christ into the world – whether it’s through a spiritual scene like a nativity scene or even a secular recognition of Christmas,” Jeffress said
The First Baptist Church of Dallas is inviting people to identify businesses that embrace Christmas terminology and displays, and those that don’t. (Image: GrinchAlert.com)
David Silverman, president of American Atheists, views the action as offensive to those who do not celebrate Christmas and says the Christian view about the season being specifically about the birth of Christ is moreover factually inaccurate.
“I think this is horribly bigoted,” Silverman told CNSNews.
“I think it’s the epitome of what is going wrong with Christianity. What this church has to understand is that Christmas is not a Christian holiday,” he said.
“It is a stolen holiday and it is one of many holidays where a god was said to be born in the winter solstice. Christianity is not the first or the fifth or even the tenth religion to name their god’s birthday as the winter solstice.”
“ For them to say that this is a Christian-only holiday – which is essentially what they’re saying ‘if you don’t say this you’re naughty’ – for them to say that is not only incredibly bigoted but it’s also factually, provably incorrect,” Silverman continued.
“This is not a Christian-only season, it is a holiday season based on the winter solstice which affects every living thing on the planet. It’s not about Jesus only.”
While Jeffress plans on continuing the list throughout the holiday season he said he is not calling for people to avoid the establishments listed as “Naughty.”
“There is in no way any implication of a boycott here,” he said.
“One of the restaurants that’s on the ‘Naughty List’ for saying ‘Happy Holidays’ instead of ‘Merry Christmas’ is a restaurant that my family goes to every week and I plan to continue to go to it every week – although I might check my enchiladas a little more carefully now that they’re on the naughty list,” he said. “But we’re not going to boycott them because of that.”
|December 14, 2010
|Muslim Brotherhood Front Group Trains Airport Screeners
(Human Events) The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) has completed training for 2,200 Transportation Safety Officers (TSOs) at the Los Angeles International Airport according to a press release found on the MPAC website.
The MPAC release notes that the two-month training course informed officers of "the diversity of Muslims around the world from cultural dress to language to tenets. The four trainers taught the TSOs how to properly handle a Quran and discussed the different ways Muslim women and men choose to cover or dress. For example, the TSOs learned if a woman wears hijab and needs a secondary screening she should be screened in a private area by a female TSO officer."
In 1986, MPAC was formed as a political action arm of one of the largest Wahhabi mosques in America, the Islamic Center for Southern California.
As the Center for Security Policy`s Team B II report entitled "Sharia: The Threat to America" notes, "The founders of the Islamic Center for Southern California are Hassan Hathout and his brother Maher Hathout. The late Hassan Hathout was a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement. The two brothers Maher spent time in an Egyptian prison during the early days of the Muslim Brotherhood’s activities there, led by the Brotherhood’s founder Hassan Al Banna. MPAC’s own publication, The Minaret, has proudly called Hassan a `companion of` and Maher `a close disciple of` Brotherhood founder Hassan al Banna."
Maher Hathout also founded and is currently a senior advisor for MPAC. He and others at MPAC also currently work for and maintain a close relationship with the Islamic Center of Southern California.
Hathout was also on the board of directors and a member of the American Muslim Council (AMC) from 1993 to 1997. AMC was founded by the al Qaeda financier and Hamas operative Abdurahman Alamoudi who is currently serving 23 years in prison for funding terrorist groups including al Qaeda.
Maher Hathout served on the AMC Board of Directors at the same time Alamoudi was serving as its Executive Director.
"Maher Hathout has publicly voiced his approval of Designated Terrorist Organizations such as Hezbollah; decried many U.S. counterterrorism efforts; called for the destruction of Israel; and, openly supported known terrorists such as Hasan al Turabi, the leader of the National Islamic Front of Sudan. Yet, the organization he founded, MPAC, enjoys a reputation in official U.S. circles as a `moderate` Muslim organization," the Team B II report states.
"Salam al-Marayati is the current president of MPAC. Al-Marayati was denied a leadership position on the National Commission on Terrorism by then-House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt when it came to light that Al-Marayati claimed that the terrorist group, Hezbollah, was a legitimate organization and has the right to attack the Israeli Army.
"Edina Lekovic is MPAC’s Communications Director. Previously, Lekovic was editor of the magazine Al-Talib when it editorialized that Osama bin Laden was a freedom fighter and warrior for Allah, who should be defended by Muslims. Al-Talib is the magazine published by the UCLA chapter of the Muslim Student’s Association. ... The MSA was the first Muslim Brotherhood organization established in the United States."
MPAC works as a propaganda and misinformation ministry for the Muslim Brotherhood. One example offered in the Team B II Report is its aggressive and successful pursuit of total control of the language used by the United States government in regard to Muslim terrorists.
"MPAC attacked the language used to describe the events of September 11, 2001 detailed in the 9/11 Commission Report. MPAC demanded an end to the use of words such as jihad, ummah, caliphate, shariah and others in relation to terrorist doctrine," the report states.
"In subsequent years, the National Counterterrorism Center, the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have all issued strategic counterterrorism documents devoid of these terms. Such conformity to shariah by U.S. government entities such as the FBI and DHS is an extraordinary strategic victory for the enemy in the information battlespace."
The Investigative Project offers another extensive background study of MPAC`s links to jihadi terrorist groups.
You can obtain a copy of the Team B II report on the Center for Security Policy website here.
|December 14, 2010
|Dress rules established for transsexuals in Canadian military
|December 14, 2010
|Lewis` stepson on new Narnia film: it`s about evangelization
(LifeSiteNews.com) - As the third installment of the Narnia Chronicles, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, hits theaters in North America today, C.S. Lewis’ stepson says his fundamental goal for the film series is the same as Lewis’ was for the books: evangelization.
Douglas Gresham, the film’s executive producer and Lewis’ adoptive son, who describes himself as a “card-carrying Narnian Christian,” told Relevant Magazine that the purpose is for readers and viewers to come to know Christ through the character of Aslan.
“When you read the Narnia Chronicles, you should be able to get to know Aslan very well throughout the seven books,” he said. “If that happens, as it should happen and does happen, you’ll then know his new name, his different name here in this world as a result of having known him as Aslan in Narnia.”
“That’s also what I want to accomplish with the movies: to know Aslan there, so you can know him better here,” he added.
The influence of Lewis’ faith on his writings is “quite discernible to those of us who have committed our lives to Christ,” Gresham told the magazine. “The Holy Spirit of God really was the author of the works; Jack was the co-author through which they came, particularly the Narnia Chronicles.”
Gresham told Family Life that a key part of his work on the films was to ensure that they are faithful to the books, in particular their core Christian message. “I try to make sure that everything that appears on the screen in Narnia is Narnian and it fits in that environment,” he said. “Also I try to make sure that the messages that Jack wrote into the book get onto the screen.”
Though there have been some compromises in details due to the challenge of adapting the books for the silver screen, he told Relevant Magazine that “it’s always, for me, the deep theological meanings Jack wrote that I think are essential.”
“I think the world probably needs these movies now more than ever before,” he told Family Life, explaining that he hopes the movies will inspire people to read the books.
“I think we need to get back into our lives, into our classrooms, into our families the great concepts that the 19th century lived by and we’ve forgotten or put aside on the grounds that they’re out-moded or old-fashioned,” he continued. “Things like courtesy, ... personal commitment, personal responsibility, chivalry, courage, duty.”
Because we have rejected these ideals, he added, “our civilization is falling down around our ears. ... We need to get them back, and of course they’re epitomized in Narnia.”
Michael O’Brien, a highly-respected Christian commentator on children’s literature and fantasy, agreed that Lewis had a “fundamental evangelical purpose,” saying he aimed “to show through a fictional form, a fantasy form, that life itself, the whole journey of salvation history, is the greatest adventure of all.”
O’Brien, who is the author of Landscape with Dragons: The Battle for Your Child’s Mind, praised the Narnia series because it “retains the sense of the hierarchical cosmos, the sense of authority in creation.” The books are clear, he said, about “the moral principles in creation” and “the spiritual warfare in creation.”
While he told LifeSiteNews he has not seen the latest film, O’Brien expressed a hope that the movie will be “faithful to the spiritual meaning of the work, and above all the moral foundation behind it.”
He said the movie series is “a very worthy enterprise in that it may point a whole new generation to the books themselves.”
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader as Lewis wrote it, he said, is “in a sense, a kind of Homeric Odyssey for young readers, but with the light of revelation. Basically, Lewis is showing us in this story that the voyage, to be successful, must combat many, many kinds of deceptions, illusions, visible and invisible enemies, and also the interior temptations of the central characters who take the voyage.”
“All the human qualities must come to the fore,” he said. “In the Voyage of the Dawn Treader you see courage, you see heroism. You see our weakness, our vulnerability to deception. You see that the world is vast, rich, complex, fascinating, and that the voyage is never a simple track from point A to point B.”
“It is fraught with moral difficulties. It is fraught with the challenge to sort out illusion from reality, from lies, from falsehood,” he continued. “And as is the case in The Odyssey, this is the way that man comes home in the end.”
O’Brien did admit that given our culture’s consumeristic approach to entertainment, there is a possibility that film versions of great Christian works like the Narnia Chronicles could make them merely one more “item on a banqueting table.”
“However, I think the power of the story itself, the power of the characters and the symbolism, has an inherent power that can’t fail to do some kind of work in the hearts of those viewing the film,” he explained.
|December 14, 2010
|Appeal filed in challenge to hate crimes act
|(LifeSiteNews.com) An appeal was filed earlier this week with the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals over a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit challenging the Federal Hate Crimes Act passed in 2009.
The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, filed the suit, the first in the nation to challenge the federal law, on behalf of Pastors Rene Ouellette, James Combs, Levon Yuille and the president of the American Family Association of Michigan, Gary Glenn, against U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
Earlier this year, a U.S. district court judge dismissed the case on the grounds that the plaintiffs lacked “standing” to bring the lawsuit, and that the case was not “ripe” for adjudication.
The plaintiffs allege that the 2009 Hate Crimes Act was clearly intended to intimidate Christians and their religious leaders into remaining silent concerning their religious belief that homosexual conduct is sinful.
“This statute is all about elevating certain persons (homosexuals) to a protected class under federal law based on nothing more than their choice to have sex with persons of the same gender, while marginalizing strong religious opposition to this immoral choice,” states the opening brief, filed by the Thomas More Center with the Sixth Circuit.
“Under the guise of enforcing ‘niceness’ and promoting ‘tolerance,’ homosexual advocacy groups have mobilized their financial power to purchase political clout which they now use to shut down any criticism of their deviant lifestyle,” said Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of TMLC. “The truth is they are one of the most intolerant groups in our society and viciously attack anyone who opposes their point of view.”
The Thomas More Center says that even statistics compiled by their own “gay rights” advocacy groups show that the greatest threat of violence to homosexuals comes not from Christians, but from other homosexuals. They also show that during the period from 1999 to 2003, a homosexual was 244 percent more likely to commit an act of violence against another homosexual than was a heterosexual.
In contrast, the legal group points out that Christians are taught to love the sinner, but to hate the sin.
The group says that evidence shows the Act will be used by federal prosecutors to intimidate Christians and shut down any speech critical of the homosexual lifestyle.
They also question the need for federal action when all 50 states already have criminal laws punishing violence against all persons.
In 2008, the FBI reported approximately 1.38 million violent crimes in the United States, out of which 243 crimes were considered “bias” motivated because of the victim’s sexual orientation. This amounts to a fraction of one percent of violent crimes committed.
“This new federal law promotes two Orwellian concepts,” said Robert Muise, the senior trial counsel for TMLC who is handling the case. “First, it creates a special class of persons who are ‘more equal than others’ based on nothing more than deviant, sexual behavior. And secondly, it creates ‘thought crimes’ by criminalizing certain ideas, beliefs, and opinions, and the involvement of such ideas, beliefs, and opinions in a crime will make it deserving of federal prosecution.”
“Consequently, government officials are claiming the power to decide which thoughts are criminal under federal law and which are not.”
The appeal’s opening brief can be read here.
|December 14, 2010
|Iowa lawmakers move to shut out Carhart with fetal pain bill
|(LifeSiteNews) Iowa lawmakers are gearing up to follow Nebraska’s lead and pass a bill that would ban abortion on the basis of fetal pain. The move comes as a response to late-term abortionist Leroy Carhart’s plans to relocate some of his late-term abortion business from Nebraska just across the state border to Council Bluffs, Iowa.
The Nebraska law, which went into effect on October 15, bans abortions after 20 weeks of post-fertilization age on the basis that the unborn child feels pain definitely by that stage, if not earlier. Some research has even suggested that fetal pain may be more acute than it would be for older human beings, as the immature nervous system of the unborn child have not developed coping mechanisms.
Abortion advocates have not yet filed a legal challenge to the Nebraska law, likely in part due to uncertainty about how the U.S. Supreme Court would rule on the issue. Were the Court to rule in favor of the law, it could spell the end of the viability standard and replace it with a fetal pain standard, which would restrict abortion to about 20 weeks.
With Republicans having taken control of the Iowa House and narrowed the gap in the Senate, pro-life legislators are seeking to take advantage of the opportunity to pass pro-life legislation, with the immediate concern being Carhart.
“I’m taking on the fight of Dr. LeRoy Carhart to keep him out of my state,” Rep. Matt Windschitl, (R-Missouri Valley), who is helping to craft the proposed law, told the Associated Press.
Windschitl stressed that he wanted abortion abolished completely, but he thinks the fetal pain abortion ban is a good way to keep moving that agenda forward.
“At the end of the day, my personal agenda, and if I had a magic wand, one of the things I would do is to stop abortion in the state of Iowa,” continued Windschitl, “but it is a step-by-step process.”
Council Bluffs, where Carhart plans to relocate to escape the Nebraska law, is only about five miles from the abortionist’s former Nebraskan clinic. Recently the Council Bluffs city council voted that they would deny Carhart the opportunity to purchase a city-owned plot for his new clinic, but that does not stop him from purchasing private buildings to set up shop.
In the meantime the abortionist has already begun performing late-term abortions in Germantown, Maryland, a site he chose because of the state’s permissive abortion laws and its proximity to Washington, D.C.
On opening day at the Germantown facility, hundreds of pro-life advocates and Christian pastors gathered, pledging to pray for Carhart’s conversion, and to employ peaceful and legal means to oppose his deadly late-term abortion business.
|December 14, 2010
|The dark side of biotech: expert details grisly fate of fetal body parts
|(LifeSiteNews) Every day in America, countless packages are carefully transferred for use by government, university, pharmaceutical and other biotechnology laboratories. Some of these end up advancing development of products such as cosmetics and food additives; others are used directly as a form of therapy.
The material in those packages are human body parts - eyes, ears, limbs, brain, skin - now an indispensable commodity for many U.S. researchers and scientists, and a lucrative export of America’s abortion clinics.
To see an example of an order form for fetal body parts, click here.
Dr. Theresa Deisher, a molecular and cellular physiologist and an internationally-recognized expert in regenerative medicine, explored the routine “commoditizing” of unborn human beings in modern biotechnology in a speech in Washington, DC on Friday. Deisher is Managing Member and Research and Development Director at AVM Biotechnology, and has several years’ experience as a commercial scientist at top pharmaceutical companies. Her work has led to dozens of patented medical breakthroughs.
Historically, when man wants to exploit other men, “what we first have to do is alter our way of thinking about them, and then of course we actually have to dehumanize them, and we usually do that by denying them a soul: so therefore they’re not actually human like the rest of us,” Deisher told an audience at the “50 Years of the Pill” conference hosted by Human Life International of America.
This, she explained, is precisely the scenario with the smallest human lives in medical research today - and not just embryos, but unborn children of all trimesters - whose body parts grow more valuable as they mature.
She noted that an article in the Puget Sound Business Journal discovered that the University of Washington filled out more than 4,400 requests for fresh fetal body parts from fetal tissue for the purpose of biomedical research in 2009, the first time hard numbers of such transactions were uncovered.
“It has to be approved by an institutional review board, so they think they’re applying ethics to this because they reviewed the use of this,” said Deisher. “What do you think that relationship might have to do with doctors encouraging abortions?” She estimates that as many as 1.87 million such transactions - requesting individual body parts such as eyes and liver - could happen each year in America.
The scientist also noted that plenty of scientific literature, available on the Internet, discusses the optimal age for a child’s death in order to obtain useful body parts: one such professional noted that the best heart tissue is obtained from a child of 22 weeks’ gestation.
In addition to research, Deisher said the bodies of unborn children are being used “as not only biomedical research tools, but as actual medical therapies.” “Fetuses 12, 14, 16, 18 weeks gestation are ground up and their cells are implanted in people who have had strokes or Parkinson’s disease,” she said.
Another ethical battlefield involves the use of cell lines derived from aborted children. Contrary to popular belief, today’s fetal stem cell lines derive from not one, but several abortions - many of them in the second trimester - and will have to be replaced with fresh victims as they are only useful for about 30 to 35 years, said the scientist.
Fetal cell line vaccines such as measles-mumps-rubella, chicken pox, and hepatitis A are not only morally problematic, said Deisher, but their use has a dramatic correlation with an epidemic on the rise: autism.
When examining the points at which autism diagnosis mysteriously spiked in the U.S., said Deisher, “the only thing that is associated with these change points is the introduction of a fetal cell vaccine.” She said the correlation even holds true for the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Wales, Denmark, Japan, and southeastern Asian countries: “in every country we have looked at, they have different change points, every one is associated with an aborted fetal event.” No other variable, she said, has correlated so closely to the pattern of autism diagnosis.
Deisher blamed such commercialization, in part, on the growing tendency to see children as “a choice rather than a blessing,” due to technology controlling fertility such as the hormonal birth control pill.
“From that point, it was pretty easy for us to begin looking at children as a material thing, a new car or a mansion, a commodity,” she said.
|December 14, 2010
|New Belgian archbishop faces legal threats over AIDS remarks
|(LifeSiteNews.com) – The new archbishop of Brussels, Andre-Joseph Leonard, is being targeted by homosexualist groups, and has been condemned by the country’s prime minister, after he said that AIDS is a consequence of risky sexual behavior, including homosexual sexual activity.
Homosexualist groups have accused Archbishop Leonard of “homophobia,” after he pointed out in a book released in October that “AIDS at the beginning multiplied through sexual behaviour with all sorts of partners or else through anal rather than vaginal sexual rapports.”
“When you mistreat the environment it ends up mistreating us in turn,” he continued. “And when you mistreat human love, perhaps it winds up taking vengeance.”
“All I’m saying is that sometimes there are consequences linked to our actions. I believe this is a totally decent, honourable and respectable stance.”
A lawyer acting on behalf of a homosexualist lobby group has filed a formal complaint against Leonard for “homophobic statements” and “violating an anti-discrimination law.”
Yves Leterme, Belgium’s nominally Catholic prime minister, is among those who have condemned Leonard in the ensuing furor. Recently a man ran up to the archbishop during a service at the Brussels cathedral and shoved a cherry pie in his face, apparently in connection with the controversy.
Following the massive media uproar over the bishop’s comments, the archdiocese published a letter on November 5, in which Leonard clarified that he had never intended to say that homosexuals themselves were “abnormal” and denied that he had implied that AIDS was a divine or human punishment. He compared active homosexuals with people who continue to smoke despite seeing clear health warnings on cigarette packages
He reiterated his belief that AIDS “could possibly be considered … a sort of intrinsic justice,” but he stressed that he meant that the emergence of AIDS was a natural consequence of “risky sexual behavior.”
On homosexuality, Archbishop Leonard said, “There is in the homosexual tendency and practice an orientation that is not coherent with the objective logic of sexuality.”
The fallout from the archbishop’s comments has included the abrupt resignation of his media spokesman, Juergen Mettepenningen, who described the bishop as a “loose cannon” in a press statement. He told an interviewer that Belgian Catholics need to be “encouraged,” right now: “If they see that their leader is only busy trying to convince people about topics like AIDS and homosexuality, then people aren’t receiving the respect they want from the archbishop.”
Leonard’s fellow bishops are also distancing themselves from him, with some actively searching for their own spokesman to represent their views separately, a practice that had been discontinued under Cardinal Danneels, the New York Times reports.
A group of academics at the notoriously liberal Catholic University of Louvain are circulating a petition calling for Leonard’s resignation from his post as the university’s chancellor, saying his remarks had brought “shame on the university.”
In addition to his orthodox Catholic views on sexual morality, Archbishop Leonard is well known for his defense of human life before birth. He was a speaker at the first ever March for Life in Brussels http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archive/ldn/2010/mar/10032404 this year.
It is widely recognized that Leonard was chosen by Pope Benedict XVI as the new head of the Belgian Catholic Church, during a period of crisis, because of his forthright adherence to Catholic orthodoxy. He has been charged by the pope with the task of cleaning up the ultra-liberal Belgian Church, which http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/belgian-bishops-ignored-parents-on-grossly-sexually-explicit-catholic-catec has been hit hard by homosexual abuse scandals.
Leonard is well known to be the most “traditional” Catholic bishop in Belgium, with 35 of Belgium’s 71 current seminarians coming from his former diocese of Namur.
Leonard took office amid a scandal that broke out on the retirement of his predecessor Cardinal Godfried Danneels who is still being investigated http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/cardinal-danneels-questioned-today-in-connection-with-abuse-cover-ups by civil authorities for his involvement in the cover-up of decades of homosexual abuse by a colleague, the former bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe. Danneel’s was considered one of Europe’s leading “liberals” in the episcopate, and he had openly supported the goals of the homosexualist movement.
|December 10, 2010
|Christian Leaders Respond to Environmental Extremism
(CitizenLink) Many of America’s top Christian leaders have joined with the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation to produce a 12-part DVD series, “Resisting the Green Dragon.” The series sounds the alarm about dangerous environmental extremism and offers a biblical viewpoint on environmental issues and creation stewardship.
The video series — which features an introduction by Tom Minnery, senior vice president of CitizenLink — comes at a time when environmental advocacy groups are attributing their trouble to politics and public relations campaigns rather than mounting scientific discoveries that undermine their theory.
“One of the greatest threats to society and the church today is the multifaceted environmentalist movement,” said Dr. E. Calvin Beisner, founder of the Cornwall Alliance founder. “There isn’t an aspect of life that it doesn’t seek to force into its own mold.”
The series also includes, among others:
David Barton, WallBuilders
Dr. Michael Farris , Home School Legal Defense Assn.
Bryan Fischer , American Family Association
Pastor Jack Hibbs , Calvary Chapel Chino Hills
Bishop Harry Jackson , Hope Christian Church
Dr. Richard Land , Southern Baptist ERLC
Tom Minnery , Focus on the Family
Dr. David Noebel , Summit Ministries
Janet Parshall , National Radio Host
Tony Perkins , Family Research Council
Dr. Frank Wright , National Religious Broadcasters
Wendy Wright , Concerned Women for America
CLICK HERE TO BUY THE DVD.
|December 10, 2010
|Recap on Ninth Circuit Proposition 8 Oral Arguments
(Advocates for Faith and Freedom) On Monday, a panel of three Ninth Circuit judges heard oral arguments regarding Proposition 8. Advocates’ General Counsel, Robert Tyler, stood before them and argued on behalf of the County of Imperial. The County represents the only governmental entity or official who is willing to defend the law. The County’s involvement is aimed at one crucial goal – the ability of the Ninth Circuit and the United States Supreme Court to review the constitutionality of Proposition 8, which was overturned by a federal district court judge in August, 2010.
Having been in that courtroom yesterday, listening to the arguments, one axiom rang true. Standing up for what is right, is not always easy. As Bob argued whether the County had a sufficient interest in the litigation to be permitted to intervene, it appeared that the combative panel was attempting to undermine Bob’s arguments through the assertion of both incorrect and irrelevant legal theories. Nevertheless, very much to his credit, Bob’s arguments on behalf of the County were clear and persuasively stated. As he articulately set forth the legal arguments we most needed to communicate to the Court, he held his composure despite some aggressive questioning from the judges.
While judges often express doubt and provide probing questions as each party is giving their arguments, we are grateful that the judges made clear they understood Bob’s arguments when our opponent began to argue. The judges clearly stated the very words that Bob had communicated to them minutes earlier, and asked our opponent whether the law truly permitted a situation where no governmental entity or official was willing to defend a constitutional amendment validly passed by California voters.
As the judges consider the constitutionality of Proposition 8 and the continued involvement of the County of Imperial, we are asking you to continue praying for this case and for wisdom for all the attorneys involved in defending Proposition 8. The magnitude and significance of this case demands that the appellate courts determine whether Proposition 8 is constitutional, and after yesterday’s oral arguments we remain hopeful and prayerful that the judges fully understood this principle.
|December 10, 2010
|UK: Teenagers want family values
(Christian Concern) A university survey has found that teenagers want to be taught about family values and parental responsibilities rather than the mechanics of sexual intercourse and contraception.
The survey, conducted by Hull University experts on health and social care, investigated the sexual health knowledge, behaviour and attitudes of young people aged from 13 to 16. The survey found that teenagers see the responsibilities of being a parent as the number one “fact of life”. They take it as a priority ahead of sexual intercourse, contraception and sexually-transmitted infections.
“These findings are reflected further in the topics students want to know more about. Irrespective of gender or school year the consistent and primary topic young people want to know more about is ‘being a parent’,” the survey says.
“It is important to note that uniform by both gender and school year was the desire for more information about becoming a parent. An increased focus on the role of being a parent might impact on safe sexual practices.”
The findings suggest the current emphasis in schools on the mechanics of sexual intercourse including how to use a condom does not match the priorities of youngsters.
Half of girls say they want sex education to focus on the consequences of pregnancy, not the mechanics and biology of sex. The survey also found that majority of 13 to 16-year-old boys want to know what “being a parent” is all about and that this is the most important issue for them.
Three quarters of boys and girls agreed “you don’t have to have sex to keep a partner” and a relationship doesn’t have to include sex. More than two-thirds of boys and girls said “first sex should be both special and planned”. Three out of five girls and almost half of boys said they would only have sex in a long term serious relationship.
Norman Wells, director of the Family Education Trust, said: “Young people are clearly tiring of the negative messages they are receiving about pregnancy and parenthood from sex educators obsessed with contraception.”
“For too long, government policy has all too often been encouraging and facilitating casual sex.”
The survey was commissioned by East Riding of Yorkshire Council and NHS East Riding of Yorkshire, and carried out by Dr Julie Jomeen and Dr Clare Whitfield. Dr Jomeen said the findings were important because a national strategy to cut teenage pregnancy had failed, while sexually-transmitted infections among young people are rising.
In March 2009, a £280 million Labour Government plan to slash the number of teenage pregnancies was heavily criticised by politicians, academics and family groups who called the plan “absolutely disastrous”. The plan, called Teenage Pregnancy Strategy, came under harsh criticism when official figures revealed that 41.9 girls per 1,000 aged 15 to 17 became pregnant in 2007, compared with 40.9 in 2006.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, said: “The former government’s sex education program, which targeted children and young people, has failed drastically. Sex education that seems to expect young people to have sex has made the situation worse rather than better, and led to an increase in teenage pregnancies and STD’s. We need sex education based on the Christian faith, emphasising marriage and the family and empowering young people to say no to sex outside of marriage.”
|December 10, 2010
|Campaign to Decriminalize Willful HIV Infection
(C-FAM) A new campaign seeks to eliminate disclosure laws which require HIV positive individuals to inform their sex partners of their potentially deadly infection.
The campaign is led by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and UNAIDS, an umbrella group of UN agencies. Notably absent from this campaign is any recognition of the danger posed for the possible victims of a willful refusal to disclose HIV status.
As part of the campaign, IPPF released a collection of interviews entitled “Behind Bars”, which implies that such criminal laws fuel stigma against HIV persons. Proponents of criminal laws assert they are designed to help protect and prevent sexual partners from contracting a potentially deadly virus.
Some of the testimony of the interviewees in “Behind Bars” directly contradicts the assertions made by IPPF. An Egyptian doctor states that irresponsible behavior which results in a car accident deserves punishment just like the failure to disclose one’s HIV status before engaging in sexual activity deserves punishment: “In the same way, if someone who knows that he is HIV positive is careless and just allows my son or my daughter to become HIV infected I would feel the same.”
|December 10, 2010
|`Ground Zero` mosque out of unions` hands
(OneNewsNow) A New York City construction worker who witnessed the 9/11 terrorist attacks is not confident that a boycott from New York City-based union workers will prevent the construction of an Islamic "victory mosque."
As previously reported on OneNewsNow, the developers of what is now being called the Park51 project sparked outrage when they applied for $5 million to be taken from a fund set aside to rebuild the area surrounding the 9/11 attacks to go toward their controversial mosque project.
Andy Sullivan is a lifelong New York City construction worker and founder of the 911 Hard Hat Pledge, which is one of several groups opposed to the proposed Islamic "victory mosque" developers plan to erect on the site where debris from the 9/11 terrorist attacks has been found. He has been part of a petition drive aimed at heading off the project.
"It`s not a law-binding petition; it`s more of a symbolic outcry from the people saying, `This is something we absolutely, definitely do not want. If anything, you`re building on top of the ashes of our dead loved ones.`"
But unfortunately, he is not confident union workers in New York City will ultimately be able to prevent the mosque from being built.
"They could bring in an outside force to do the actual construction. And believe me -- I could not imagine the toxic environment that would ensue after such a thing," the construction worker notes. "But New York is a right-to-work state, and even though they`re located right in the middle of union town, they could actually do it legally."
But the 911 Hard Had Pledge founder believes God -- not the unions -- will stop the mosque`s construction.
|December 10, 2010
|House Roll Call: How they voted on Dream Act
(AP) The 216-198 roll call Wednesday by which the House passed the so-called Dream Act to give hundreds of thousands of foreign-born youngsters brought to the U.S. illegally a shot at legal status.
- A "yes" vote is a vote to pass the bill.
- Voting yes were 208 Democrats and 8 Republicans.
- Voting no were 38 Democrats and 160 Republicans.
- X denotes those not voting.
- There is 1 vacancy in the 435-member House.
Democrats _ Baca, Y; Becerra, Y; Berman, Y; Capps, Y; Cardoza, Y; Chu, Y; Costa, Y; Davis, Y; Eshoo, Y; Farr, Y; Filner, Y; Garamendi, Y; Harman, Y; Honda, Y; Lee, Y; Lofgren, Zoe, Y; Matsui, Y; McNerney, Y; Miller, George, Y; Napolitano, Y; Pelosi, Y; Richardson, Y; Roybal-Allard, Y; Sanchez, Linda T., Y; Sanchez, Loretta, Y; Schiff, X; Sherman, Y; Speier, Y; Stark, Y; Thompson, Y; Waters, Y; Watson, Y; Waxman, Y; Woolsey, Y.
Republicans _ Bilbray, X; Bono Mack, N; Calvert, N; Campbell, N; Dreier, N; Gallegly, N; Herger, N; Hunter, N; Issa, N; Lewis, N; Lungren, Daniel E., N; McCarthy, N; McClintock, N; McKeon, N; Miller, Gary, N; Nunes, N; Radanovich, X; Rohrabacher, N; Royce, N.
All 50 states:
Democrats _ Bright, N; Davis, Y.
Republicans _ Aderholt, N; Bachus, N; Bonner, N; Griffith, X; Rogers, N.
Republicans _ Young, N.
Democrats _ Giffords, Y; Grijalva, Y; Kirkpatrick, X; Mitchell, Y; Pastor, Y.
Republicans _ Flake, N; Franks, N; Shadegg, N.
Democrats _ Berry, X; Ross, N; Snyder, Y.
Republicans _ Boozman, N.
Democrats _ DeGette, Y; Markey, Y; Perlmutter, Y; Polis, Y; Salazar, Y.
Republicans _ Coffman, N; Lamborn, N.
Democrats _ Courtney, Y; DeLauro, Y; Himes, Y; Larson, Y; Murphy, Y.
Republicans _ Castle, Y.
Democrats _ Boyd, Y; Brown, Corrine, Y; Castor, Y; Deutch, Y; Grayson, Y; Hastings, Y; Klein, Y; Kosmas, Y; Meek, Y; Wasserman Schultz, Y.
Republicans _ Bilirakis, N; Brown-Waite, Ginny, N; Buchanan, N; Crenshaw, N; Diaz-Balart, L., Y; Diaz-Balart, M., Y; Mack, N; Mica, N; Miller, N; Posey, N; Putnam, N; Rooney, N; Ros-Lehtinen, Y; Stearns, N; Young, N.
Democrats _ Barrow, N; Bishop, Y; Johnson, Y; Lewis, Y; Marshall, X; Scott, Y.
Republicans _ Broun, N; Gingrey, X; Graves, N; Kingston, N; Linder, N; Price, N; Westmoreland, N.
Democrats _ Hirono, Y.
Republicans _ Djou, Y.
Democrats _ Minnick, Y.
Republicans _ Simpson, N.
Click here to read the entire list.
|December 10, 2010
|Reality Show on Sex Industry and Jesus Christ to Premiere
(Christian Post) A former sex trafficked teen, prostitute, call girl and stripper is starring in a new reality show about helping prostitutes on the street and bringing them to Jesus Christ.
The show, "Hookers: Saved on the Strip,” follows Hookers for Jesus founder Annie Lobert on her quest to rescue women willing to escape the "game." She takes them to Destiny House, a safe haven where she tries to help them spiritually and prepare them for the real world.
The three-part series, which premieres Wednesday night, contains some graphic scenes and mentions God very few times. But Lobert insists that the show is about living out the Gospel.
”The parts that you will see is what [Investigation Discovery] chose to portray. There are a lot of things that you will not see that you`re just going to have to trust, if you are a Christian watching, that we are doing this for God,” Lobert told The Christian Post. “It is a show about redemption and restoration in Jesus Christ."
Through the show, Lobert is hoping to help correct people`s misunderstandings of prostitution and destroy the stereotype associated with the practice.
"I think that the word ‘prostitute’ has been thrown under the rug and thought of as a dirty-trashy-you-deserve-it-you-wanted-it type of word,” she said. “But in all reality it is the same thing as sex trafficking because 90 percent of the women that sell themselves are being pimped. And guess what? Prostitution equals sex trafficking."
The 43-year-old who worked 16 years as a prostitute and high-class call girl said it is important to remember that prostitution and sex trafficking go hand in hand because when women sell their bodies they are being sex trafficked by their pimps and equally by their customers.
Lobert noted that such women create an unhealthy emotional, spiritual and mental bond with their pimps thinking that amid all the pain and all the fear of being killed, things can get better even while being in the industry.
She not only knows this by fact but by experience. When she decided to leave the sex industry she went back to it many times. After all, it was a world she was an expert in.
"Hookers: Saved on the Strip" portrays the struggles women face while trying to live a healthy life. For many, minimum wage is a tough reality. One of the women, Regina, who tried to work earning minimum wage, recalls, "The last paycheck I got, I could`ve made that in an hour." After being in the industry for 14 years, Regina is left in a social void, where she can’t get a real job because she doesn’t have the skills, and where she can’t truly socialize because she is used to getting things her way.
Ultimately, through the TV show, Lobert wants to let the church and the world know “that it`s not fair to judge these women.”
“They are children of God that we need to love,” she said.
"Hookers: Saved on the Strip” premieres Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET on the Investigation Discovery channel.
|December 10, 2010
|FCC`s pay-as-you-go Internet plan raises video, access questions
(CNSNews) As details emerge about the Federal Communications Commission`s controversial proposal for regulating Internet providers, a provision that would allow companies to bill customers for how much they surf the Web is drawing special scrutiny.
Analysts say pay-as-you-go Internet access could put the brakes on the burgeoning online video industry, handing a victory to cable and satellite TV providers.
The practice is legal, but had been discouraged by the FCC and by protests from consumers and public interest groups. But wireless companies are moving rapidly in that direction - all major cellphone providers offer subscribers tiered data plans for Internet service. AT&T doesn`t offer flat-rate wireless plans for new customers.
And although FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said last week that his so-called net-neutrality proposal would generally prohibit broadband service providers from tampering with Internet traffic, he added that he is open to new billing models that charge by how much data a user consumes.
Public interest groups say that trend will lead to a widening gap in Internet use in which the wealthiest would have the greatest access. And it could place limits on how much consumers use Web video, which eats up an enormous amount of bandwidth and could carry higher costs under a tiered pricing plan.
"The question is how this will be enforced because it has the potential to do a lot of harm," said Art Brodsky, communications director for Public Knowledge.
By blessing tiered pricing practices, Genachowski said he wanted to strike a balance between consumer protection and promoting "network investment and efficient use of networks, including measures to match price to cost such as usage-based pricing."
An FCC official said in a statement that it would be a "cop on the beat" for "arbitrary, anti-consumer, or anti-competitive tiered pricing plans."
Click here to read the entire article.
|December 10, 2010
|More Big Companies, Unions Win Health Care Waivers
|December 10, 2010
|Obama Administration Gives Up on Israeli Settlement Freeze
(CNSNews) From the start of his term, President Barack Obama was determined to defy the cynics and doubters and push for peace in the Middle East.
But by Tuesday, the White House`s efforts to broker a deal in the decades-old dispute between Israelis and Palestinians had faltered -- demonstrating once again why it is one of the world`s most intractable conflicts.
After months of grueling diplomacy, using a mixture of pressure and promises, the White House abandoned attempts to persuade Israel to slow West Bank settlement activity.
The Palestinians had demanded the freeze in exchange for engaging in direct talks that were supposed to lead to a Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace with Israel. That deal, it was hoped, would lead to a broader Middle East peace accord.
Two American officials said the administration has concluded that the strategy of seeking a freeze wasn`t working, while insisting the administration was not back at square one.
But the talks stalled in September, barely a month after they started. The Palestinians refused to return to direct negotiations until a new freeze was in place following the expiration of an earlier, 10-month Israeli slowdown in settlement expansion.
Now, said the U.S. officials, American pressure for a three-month moratorium and the U.S. incentives package, which included political, diplomatic and security assurances for Israel, are off the table. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
Obama`s ambitious bid to succeed in the Middle East where other presidents had failed was always a gamble.
But the effort`s apparent breakdown comes at a time when the administration is struggling on a number of other fronts abroad. There is slow progress in the Afghanistan war, increasing friction with China and the embarrassing deluge of confidential diplomatic cables released by the website WikiLeaks.
The U.S. officials said the administration was not giving up efforts to broker a peace deal and noted that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will visit Washington next week for consultations.
The U.S. will be talking with both sides in the coming days, one of the officials said, while Arab states and other interested countries also will be consulted.
However, the administration`s decision to drop support for the Palestinians` key demand could mean the end of the moribund peace process.
Obama had made Israeli-Palestinian peace a major goal of his administration, appointing seasoned peace negotiator George Mitchell as his special Mideast envoy on his second day in office.
Mitchell made dozens of trips to the region to get the parties to agree to direct talks. In early September, with the expiration of the initial slowdown looming, Obama brought Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas along with the leaders of Jordan and Egypt to launch the face-to-face discussions, which failed.
Neither Israeli nor Palestinian officials would comment on the developments in Washington before their official announcement.
Earlier Tuesday, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the U.S. had halted talks with Israel on settlement activity because Washington was distracted by the WikiLeaks release of secret documents.
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley responded that Israel may have been preoccupied with putting out a huge forest fire that burned until Sunday.
The U.S. had been pressing Israel to renew a moratorium on new settlement construction in exchange for security guarantees and diplomatic assurances of support. Israel wanted those in writing, as well as a pledge that east Jerusalem would be exempt from the moratorium.
The Palestinians refused to return to the peace talks unless Israel halted all building in the West Bank and east Jerusalem -- lands they want for part of their future state.
Peace talks began in September but ground to a halt three weeks later after Israel`s original moratorium on new West Bank construction expired.
Netanyahu returned from a November trip to the U.S. with a list of guarantees, including 20 next-generation stealth fighter planes and U.S. pledges to veto anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations, according to Israeli officials.
In exchange, Israel was asked to renew the expired limits on settlement construction.
Days later, the deal snagged after members of Netanyahu`s Cabinet demanded a written pledge from the U.S. that the moratorium would exclude east Jerusalem. Such a pledge never materialized.
The U.S. had wanted a moratorium in the hopes that it would allow Israel and the Palestinians to make enough progress in drawing their future borders to make the settlement question irrelevant.
With borders determined, Israel could resume building on any territories it would expect to keep under a final peace deal.
But Israeli officials said Tuesday that short of an understanding on borders, a crisis could erupt if Israel agreed to the freeze sought by the U.S.
Now, said Israeli officials, insisting on anonymity because of the sensitivity of the contacts, the U.S. and Israel have agreed on a statement that "in the coming days and weeks, efforts will continue toward finding ways to renew the direct negotiations in order to reach a framework that would lead in the end to an agreement between the two sides."
Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary general of the PLO, blamed Israel for the impasse.
"It is clear that the failure of the American efforts is entirely a result of the obstacles and conditions placed by Mr. Netanyahu," Rabbo said. He said the Palestinians would have to consult with their Arab allies on their next move.
Associated Press writers Tia Goldenberg in Jerusalem and Karin Laub in Ramallah, West Bank, contributed to this report.
|December 10, 2010
|China Declares Christian House Churches a Cult, Advocacy Group Reports
(CNSNews) China reportedly has launched a new crackdown on “house churches,” Protestant congregations that do not belong to the country’s state-sanctioned, “patriotic” church organization.
In an ominous development reported by the China Aid Association (CAA), a U.S.-based group that advocates for Chinese Christians, authorities allegedly have labeled the house church movement a “cult.”
Beijing used the same term when it outlawed the Falun Gong meditation movement in 1999, a move that ushered in a major, ongoing crackdown against the Falun Gong that has brought China worldwide censure.
Citing secret information “from more than one reliable source” inside China, CAA said Tuesday the campaign against house churches ordered by the Communist Party Politburo was launched on December 1.
Chinese security officials “have been notified to collect information about house churches throughout the country and turn these reports in to their superiors,” it said. “A long ‘blacklist’ of church leaders and influential believers reportedly has been drawn up.”
The Pew Research Center estimated in 2007 that up to 70 million Chinese believers worship in unregistered house churches. By comparison, China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) last June put at 16 million the “official” Protestant population – members of the state-approved Three Self-Patriotic Movement (TSPM).
(China similarly tries to channel Catholic observances through a state-controlled Catholic “patriotic” organization, which reports some five million members. An estimated 12 million more Roman Catholics loyal to the Pope – rather than a Beijing-appointed leadership – meet in unapproved congregations.)
The TSPM’s name derives from the doctrine that the church should resist outside influences through promotion the three “selfs” of self-governance, self-support and self-propagation.
Christian groups working among Chinese Christians attribute reluctance to register with the state-sanctioned body, which celebrated its 60th anniversary last September, largely to theological concerns. While many TSPM members are sincere believers, they say, leaders like the TSPM’s leading theologian, Bishop Ting Kuang-hsun, have promoted the notion that loyalty to the state should take precedence over belief in Christ.
The U.S. State Department and some religious freedom monitoring groups in recent years reported an apparent softening in Beijing’s approach towards the house church movement.
In its most recent report on international religious freedom, for instance, the State Department cited some cases of serious harassment and prosecutions of house church believers in some parts of China but also noted an increase in “public discussion of house churches in official media and at academic conferences.”
The report pointed out that since 2005 SARA has publicly acknowledged that groups of relatives or friends have the right to meet at home for worship, prayer and Bible study without registering with the government, although it added that respect for that policy was uneven across local, county and provincial levels.
CAA on Tuesday also alluded to the apparently improving trend, saying the government in recent years “stepped back from its previous hostility toward and adamant opposition to the house church movement, leading many Christians in China and overseas to believe that these unregistered congregations could win official sanction without having to join [the TSPM].”
It said the new anti-house church drive “harks back to the previous era of hostilities and often brutal government persecution” which drove millions of believers underground.
The founder and president of the Midland, Texas-based CAA, Bob Fu, was himself a house-church pastor who faced harassment and detention before he and his wife moved as refugees to the U.S. in 1996.
CAA said that the new Politburo directive gave “specious” reasons why the house church movement should be regarded as a cult, including advocacy and promotion of “the Christianization of China,” of unity among all churches in China and unity between the church in China and churches worldwide.
“The labeling of Chinese house churches as a cult could have serious implications and represents a major step backwards in the thawing of relations in recent years between the Beijing regime and the vast house church network,” CAA said.
It recalled how the government had turned public opinion in China against the Falun Gong by portraying a non-violent, apolitical movement as a dangerous “cult.”
Falun Gong sources cited by the State Department estimate that at least 6,000 practitioners have been sentenced to prison terms since the 1999 cult ruling while more than 100,000 practitioners had been sentenced to terms in “reform through labor” camps.
The reported move against house church Christians comes at a time China’s human rights record is back in the international spotlight, given the decision to award this year’s Nobel peace prize to an imprisoned Chinese dissident, Liu Xiaobo.
Beijing reacted angrily to the decision and human rights monitors have reported that a number of people associated with Liu have been prevented from traveling to attend the event in Oslo on Friday. His wife has been under house arrest since the award decision was announced in October.
China has also urged other governments not to attend the ceremony, and the Nobel prize committee reported Tuesday that China and 18 other countries have declined invitations while 44 countries said they would be represented at the ceremony.
Those listed as staying away are Russia, Iran, Cuba, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Tunisia, Serbia, Iraq, Vietnam, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Egypt, Ukraine and Morocco.
|December 09, 2010
|Hundreds pray for conversion as Carhart begins Maryland late-term abortions
(LifeSiteNews.com) Hundreds of Maryland pro-life protesters gathered at the Germantown Reproductive Health Services abortion clinic on Monday morning, where they vowed to do all in their power to peacefully oppose Leroy Carhart’s deadly late-term abortion business.
Carhart recently abandoned his Nebraska late-term abortion business to escape a new law prohibiting abortions past 20 weeks based upon fetal pain, and has taken up shop at the Germantown, Md. Abortion clinic. Monday was his first day at the new facility.
In response, a crowd of pro-lifers gathered at a press conference to protest and join in “spiritual warfare” against the abortion industry. The event was hosted by Rev. Pat Mahoney from Christian Defense Coalition and Michael Martelli from Living Hope for Life.
“We will work to ensure that Maryland will not become the late-term abortion capital of America,” Mahoney vowed.
Pro-life leaders, including HLI interim president Msgr. Ignacio Barreiro, Concerned Women for America president Wendy Wright, Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America, and Peter Sprigg, Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council and a Germantown resident, also took to the podium to deliver strong words against Carhart’s deadly trade.
“This generation refuses to accept LeRoy Carhart’s vision of the world,” said Hawkins. “We refuse to buy into the lie that in order to achieve equality or in order to complete our education or to be successful in our careers that we must kill our own children and allow men like him to violate our bodies.”
Msgr. Barreiro emphasized that, “Our Lord wants us together to pray, to pray strongly that his will be done, and that not a single child in America and in the whole world will be killed by abortion. ... We are committed that the abortionists will be converted. May the Lord hear our prayer.”
Another speaker prayed that God would “touch the heart of Leroy Carhart” to “change him and make him stand for you and your gift of life,” and to “give him a Damascus experience” like the apostle Paul, who “persecuted the most weak among us” before his conversion. Others prayed that the hearts of women contemplating abortion might soften towards life, and for post-abortive women to experience healing through faith in Jesus Christ.
At one point a pro-abortion “minister” with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice attempted to take the podium, before Rev. Mahoney emphasized that only pro-life clergy were to speak.
Pro-abortion protesters surrounded the podium with signs reading “pro-faith, pro-family, pro-choice” and “this clinic stays open.” Pro-lifers knelt quietly or stood with tape across their mouths bearing the word “life” to symbolize the silencing of unborn children. The event ended with a slow prayer procession around the abortion mill.
|December 09, 2010
|Ireland reports 64 cases of “adverse reactions” to HPV vaccine
(LifeSiteNews.com) A report by the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) has shown that a vaccination program using Gardasil, the drug created to combat Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease, has resulted in 64 cases of “adverse reactions,” including cardiac and allergic reactions and seizures.
The figures are leading some in Ireland to accuse the IMB is not showing due consideration for the health of young people vaccinated with the drug.
According to the IMB report, starting in May this year approximately 45,000 doses of Gardasil have been administered to Irish teens through their schools. As of the end of October, the IMB says that 55 reports of these adverse medical reactions have been received since the beginning of the Schools Immunisation Programme. The remaining complaints were received prior to the start of that program.
The cases included incidents of “malaise, headache, dizziness, fainting, fatigue and gastrointestinal symptoms.” Two cases of seizures were reported, one occurring in a patient with a history of epilepsy. Gastrointestinal symptoms included nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort and cardiac symptoms were cyanosis, tachycardia and “chest discomfort.”
Most commonly reported were cases of faints, “sometimes in conjunction with seizure-like movements, along with reports of dizziness and hyperventilation,” the report says. In addition, allergic reactions were also reported in two patients who experienced anaphylactic-type reactions. These symptoms included rash, urticaria and flushing.
“The majority of reports have been consistent with the expected pattern of adverse effects for the vaccine, as outlined in the product information,” the report said.
The Mothers’ Alliance of Ireland (MAI) has written to the IMB asking for a more full accounting of the reactions. Nora Bennis, MAI spokesman described the group’s “dismay” and anger that the IMB has not alerted schools or the general public of possible “implications of these adverse reactions.”
The MAI decried the “flippant manner” in which IMB spokesman Dr. Joan Gilvarry “dismissed the suffering of the young vaccinees who experienced these reactions.”
Dr. Gilvarry told the Irish Times on November 15, “We are not at all concerned at what we have seen.”
Bennis said, “The IMB is not at all concerned about anaphylactic shock and all the other adverse reactions reported? The IMB has no sympathy at all for the young people and their families who have suffered and who are still suffering? This public display of lack of concern just beggars belief.”
MAI has repeatedly contacted the IMB with information on possible dangers of Gardasil, Bennis said. “Young people are being put at risk of permanent damage to their health and welfare by the failure of the IMB and others in positions of authority to provide the full facts about this unsafe, unnecessary, ineffective and costly vaccine.”
While these national vaccination programs, which are being carried out in the UK as well as Ireland, will make the drug’s manufacturer, Merck, billions in profit, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned that Gardasil may be responsible for an unknown number of deaths.
In 2008, Judicial Watch, a public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, reported on records from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) documenting 28 deaths in 2008 that may be associated with Gardasil, up from the 19 deaths in 2007.
The total number of Gardasil-related deaths is 47 since the vaccine was approved in 2006. Overall, the FDA documented 6,723 “adverse events” related to Gardasil in 2008, of which 1,061 were considered “serious,” and 142 considered “life threatening.”
Of the 47 reported deaths, 41 occurred within a month of receiving the vaccine and of those deaths, 17 were within two weeks of receiving the vaccine. In most of the deaths the cause is still unknown.
Dr. Diane Harper, director of the Gynecologic Cancer Prevention Research Group at the University of Missouri, and a lead researcher in the development of Gardasil, told the 4th International Public Conference on Vaccination in Reston, Virginia in 2009 that the drug is being “over-marketed” and the research on its potential side effects not properly carried out.
Dr. Harper told CBS news last year, “Young girls and their parents should receive more complete warnings before receiving the vaccine.” She said that a girl is more likely to die from an adverse reaction to Gardasil than from cervical cancer.
The National Vaccine Information Center has indicated that “although nearly 70 per cent of all Gardasil reaction reports were filed by Merck, a whopping 89 per cent of the reports Merck did file were so incomplete there was not enough information for health officials to do a proper follow-up and review.”
According to the American Journal of Public Health, on average, less than 10 percent of serious vaccine adverse events are ever reported.
|December 09, 2010
|FBI warns Barbie doll could be used for child porn
(Reuters) - The FBI has issued a "cyber crime alert" for a new Barbie doll that comes equipped with a tiny hidden video camera in her chest, saying the toy could be misused to make child porn.
The report, issued by the FBI`s Sacramento field office November 30 and titled "Barbie `Video Girl` a Possible Child Pornography Production Method," warns that the doll`s camera captures up to 30 minutes of footage that can be downloaded to a computer.
But an FBI spokeswoman downplayed the document, saying it was intended for internal use by law enforcement, not the media, and such warnings are not unusual. It was apparently sent to some news organizations by mistake.
"There have been no reported incidents of this doll being used as anything other than as intended," Washington-based FBI spokeswoman Jenny Shearer said, reading from a prepared statement.
"For clarification purposes, the alert`s intent was to insure that law enforcement agencies were aware that the doll, like any other video-capable equipment, could contain evidence and to not disregard such an item during a search," she said.
Shearer added that the Situational Information Report had been "taken out of context" in the media and "our intent was to aid law enforcement in evidence gathering."
The Barbie Video Girl Doll, which is manufactured by Mattel and first went on sale in July, contains a small video camera in its chest, concealed inside a locket.
Footage from the camera can be viewed on an LCD screen in the doll`s back or downloaded to a computer. The FBI alert said there was no indication it could be streamed directly to the Internet.
"The FBI is not reporting that anything has happened. Steve Dupre from the FBI Sacramento field office has confirmed there have been no incidents of this doll being used as anything other than its intent," Mattel said in a written statement provided to Reuters.
"Mattel products are designed with children and their best interests in mind. Many of Mattel`s employees are parents themselves and we understand the importance of child safety -- it is our number one priority," Mattel said.
According to the Mattel website, the doll, which sells for $49.99, has been nominated for 2011 Toy of the Year.
"Girls can record and play back clips with this multi-tasking doll, which has a video camera built right in," the website says in part.
"Capture everything from a dolls-eye view and then watch it instantly or upload to your computer. There`s an LCD screen on Barbie doll`s back, and a camera lens hidden discreetly in her necklace. Talk about making movies in style!"
|December 08, 2010
|Lawmakers slam Obama for editing God out of national motto & Declaration
|(LifeSiteNews.com) A group of Congressional lawmakers is calling out President Barack Obama for repeatedly editing out references to God contained in the United States’ founding documents and official declarations in his speeches, both at home and abroad.
Lawmakers belonging to the bipartisan Congressional Prayer Caucus sent a letter to the president chastising him for a speech he gave November 10 at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta, where he told his audience that the US national motto is “E Pluribus unum,” when the national motto is actually “In God We Trust.”
“In the United States, our motto is E pluribus unum - out of many one,” Obama said, later adding, “our nations show that hundreds of millions who hold different beliefs can be united in freedom under one flag.”
“For the President of the United States to incorrectly state something as foundational as our national motto in another country is unacceptable,” said Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04), founder and chairman of the Prayer Caucus.
“These omissions and inaccuracies are a part of a larger pattern we are seeing with the President where he is inaccurately reflecting America and undercutting important parts of our nation’s history,” said Forbes.
Forbes, along with 42 bipartisan Members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, demanded the president make a public correction, especially since this is not the first time it has happened.
The letter stated that three times in the fall, Obama quoted from the Declaration of Independence’s passage about inalienable rights, but “consistently failed” to quote the words in that passage that recognize these rights are endowed by the “Creator.”
They also pointed out that the United States is not a nation under one flag, citing the pledge of allegiance which says the Unites States is “one nation under God.”
“As President of the United States, you are our representative to the rest of the world. By misrepresenting things as foundational as the Declaration of Independence and our national motto, you are not only doing a disservice to the people you represent, you are casting aside an integral part of American society.”
“In God We Trust” has been the official national motto of the United States since 1956 by federal law. The motto has appeared on U.S. coins since the 1860s and is referenced in the fourth stanza of the Star Spangled Banner (1814), which has been the official national anthem since 1931.
Before then, the de facto US national anthem was “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” (1831), where the fourth stanza asks for God to bless and protect the United States.
The letter from the bipartisan caucus informed the president that without God the U.S. would become, in the words of President Ronald Reagan, “a nation gone under.” They added they would be willing to meet with Obama to discuss their concerns further.
“Trust in God is embedded into the fabric of society and history in the United States,” said Forbes. “If we allow these threads to be pulled, we will begin to unravel the very freedoms that birthed America.”
A copy of the letter is available here.
|December 08, 2010
|Time Capsule: Mike Wallace hammers Margaret Sanger in 1957 interview
|(LifeSiteNews) In 1957, an aging Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood and the international birth control movement, agreed to an interview with CBS News’ Mike Wallace. In stark contrast with the sympathetic reception Sanger could expect to receive today in a network television interview, Wallace hammered Sanger with difficult questions and caught her in contradictions, while Sanger squirmed, fidgeted, and denied statements she had made only a week earlier in pre-interview discussions with CBS staff.
This fascinating and sometimes chilling interview with Sanger can be found at the website of the Harry Ransom Center, which is located at the University of Texas, and which has published all of the installments of the Mike Wallace Interview from 1957 and 1958. In the interview, Sanger expounds upon her views on a variety of topics, including birth control, eugenics, population growth, homosexuality, marriage, and religion.
Among the more revealing moments is Sanger’s explanation of the “greatest sin” of having children who violate her eugenic standards, and “have no chance ... to be a human being practically.”
Asked if she believes in sin, Sanger tells Wallace: “I think the greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world, that have disease from their parents, that have no chance in the world to be a human being practically, delinquents, prisoners, all sorts of things, just marked when they’re born. That to me is the greatest sin that a people can commit.”
However, pressed by Wallace about her beliefs about “sin,” Sanger at first refuses to answer, and then balks at recognizing infidelity as such. “I don’t know about infidelity, it has so many personalities to it, and what a person’s own belief is, I couldn’t generalize,” she says, after Wallace insists that she respond to the question.
Sanger balks even more when Wallace begins to cite statements she has made publicly, even to his own staff, claiming that she has been misquoted. At first Sanger rejects the claim made in the woman’s magazine Redbook, in reference to contraception, that “immunity from parenthood encourages promiscuity particularly when unmarried persons can so easily avail themselves of the [birth control] devices.” But Wallace then reads Sanger’s own words from a Philadelphia Daily News article from 1942, encouraging the use of birth control to avoid “illegitimacy.”
“You were not advocating Christian morality but rather ways for single women to avoid bearing illegitimate children,” Wallace tells her. “I doubt it,” Sanger responds curtly. “I don’t believe I ever made such a remark.” Sanger also denies telling a CBS staff member that “it should be made illegal for any religious group to prohibit dissemination of birth control, even among its own members.” “I don’t think I said it quite that way,” she protests.
Given Margaret Sanger’s role in founding Planned Parenthood, one might expect the interview to mention abortion, but the topic is only addressed in passing. When the interview was conducted in 1957, abortion was illegal throughout the United States, and Sanger always claimed to oppose the practice, as did Planned Parenthood at that time. However Planned Parenthood would go on after Sanger’s death in 1966 to become the biggest abortion provider in the world, focusing mainly on the impoverished groups whom she had once referred to as “human waste.”
Asked about her belief in God, “in a sense of a divine being that rewards or punishes after death,” Sanger responds, “I have a different attitude about the divine. I feel that we have divinity within us. And the more we express the good part of our lives, the more the divine within us expresses itself.” She claimed to be Episcopalian.
See the whole interview here.
NOTE: to understand the real Margaret Sanger, as opposed to the sometimes dishonest and incomplete impression given in her interview responses to Wallace, see George Grant’s biography of Margaret Sanger “Killer Angel”
|December 08, 2010
|Abortion-causing `ella` drug goes on sale
(Baptist Press) A new federally approved emergency contraceptive described by pro-life advocates as an abortion drug is now for sale.
New Jersey-based Watson Pharmaceuticals announced Dec. 1 that "ella" is available by prescription at most pharmacies and clinics in the United States, as well as through an online pharmacy.
Ella, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in August, has been shown to prevent pregnancy when taken within five days after sexual intercourse, according to Watson and the government agency. The drug functions primarily to restrict or postpone ovulation in a woman, the FDA reported.
Pro-life organizations, however, charge ella can act to eliminate an embryo already implanted in the mother`s womb. The pill is more closely related to RU 486, the abortion drug already sold in the United States, than to the currently marketed emergency contraceptives Plan B and Next Choice, pro-lifers say.
Ella is like RU 486, also known as mifepristone, in that it prevents production of the hormone progesterone, destroying the placenta, which provides nutrition to the embryo, and causing the tiny child`s death, according to the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG). Like the "morning-after" pills Plan B and Next Choice, ella also can block implantation of an embryo in the uterine wall, causing an abortion.
After Watson`s announcement, Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, warned about the potential effects of ella on women and babies they may be carrying in the early stages of pregnancy. She also targeted its availability on the Internet.
"Providing the drug through a website means that anyone can buy it any number of times," Wright said. "Watson Pharmaceuticals has made it easy for girls of all ages, or a predatory man who is sexually abusing a girl or who wants to force an abortion on an unwilling woman, to obtain this drug."
AAPLOG and other pro-life organizations have expressed concern that women who already are pregnant could destroy early-stage babies in their wombs by taking ella. They also have said some women are likely to ignore the product label and take ella more than five days after intercourse, threatening newly implanted embryos.
When the FDA announced its approval of ella, Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, called the action "one more tragic step away from the culture of life on which our nation was founded."
The same drug has been on sale in Europe under the name "ellaOne" for the last 18 months.
RU 486, which was approved by the FDA in 2000, is used as the first part of a process normally occurring in the first seven weeks of pregnancy. After RU 486 causes the death of the tiny child, a second drug, misoprostol, is taken two days later, causing the uterus to contract and to expel the baby.
The "morning-after" pills Plan B and Next Choice are basically heavier doses of birth control pills. Under the regimen, a woman takes a pill within 72 hours of sexual intercourse and another dose 12 hours later. Another "morning-after" pill, Plan B One-step, can be taken in a single dose within 72 hours. The "morning-after" pill supposedly works to restrict ovulation in a woman or prevent fertilization, but it also can prevent implantation.
|December 08, 2010
|40 million to Congress: Leave `Don`t ask, don`t tell` alone
(WorldNetDaily) Organizations representing 40 million Americans have delivered a message to Congress that this is no time to make changes to the military`s practice known as "Don`t ask, don`t tell," which forbids open homosexuals in the ranks but allows them to stay if they keep their lifestyle choice to themselves.
"It is a serious risk to national security to repeal DADT without first investigating thoroughly – in public hearings – the effect of the proposed repeal," says a letter, dated today, that has been dispatched to members of the U.S. Senate. "We are engaged in a war on many fronts. Our troops are in harm`s way in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.
"This is no time to experiment with social engineering of the military," the letter said.
The letter, which has been posted at the Freedom Federation website, is signed by those whose groups represent some 40 million Americans.
Specifically, the request is that senators not repeal "Section 654, Title 10, U.S.C (1993), which is usually mislabeled by the subsequent executive policy known as `Don`t ask, don`t tell.`"
The signers "represent some of the largest multi-racial, multi-ethnic, and multi-generational faith-based and policy organizations in the country, with approximately 40 million constituents combined."
The letter, addressed to members of the Senate, says, "We urge you and other elected leaders to use your standing as members of the Senate to prevent the rush to repeal…"
Such a move "would change our military in ways we cannot yet measure or understand," the letter says.
"Our military leaders – with the exception of Adm. Mike Mullen – understand this and object to the repeal. In fact, Gen. James Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, said that he was concerned that the repeal of the law would have a negative effect on unit cohesion and combat readiness of the Marine Corps. Who among the members of the Senate is a better judge of that than is the commandant?"
Further, "We are also gravely concerned about the effect that repealing DADT will have on religious freedom. One senior army general, Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, said that those who oppose repeal are guilty of unacceptable attitudes that he reportedly described as `bigotry,`" the letter said.
"It is conceivable that chaplains will be forbidden to preach or speak about their denomination`s position on homosexuality."
Shoving the changes through at this point, during a lame-duck session of Cognress and without hearings, "is a slap in the face of the American peole who are tired of bully politics."
- Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel and Liberty University School of Law
- J. Kenneth Blackwell of the U.N. Human Rights Commission
- Anita Staver of Liberty Counsel
- Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council
- Rick Tyler of ReAL Action Network
- Penny Nancy of Concerned Women for America
- Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness
- Rev. Louis Sheldon of Traditional Values Coalition
- Andrea Lafferty of Traditional Values Coalition
- Rev. Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
- Mandi Campbell of Liberty Center for Law and Policy
- Tim Clinton of the American Association of Christian Counselors
- Bishop Harry Jackson of High Impact
- Janet Folger Porter of Faith2Action
- Tim Wildmon of American Family Association
- Shawn Akers of Helms School of Government
- Jim Garlow of Renewing American Leadership
- Deryl Edwards of Liberty Alliance Action
- Tom Minnery of CitizenLink
- Gary Bauer of American Values
- Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring
- Jim Martin of 60 Plus Association
- Robert Knight of Coral Ridge Ministries
- Rev. Benjamin Grace of Green Tree Ministries
- Rita Grace of Constitutional TEA Party
- Richard W.C. Falknor of Maryland Center-Right Coalition
- Cliff Kincaid of America`s Survival Inc.
- C. Preston Noell III of Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.
- Cris Kurtz of The USA Patriots
- Bill Johnson of American Decency Association
- Richard Viguerie of ConservativeHQ.com
- Steve Strang of Strang Communications
- Keith Wiebe of American Association of Christian Schools
- Linda Harvey of Mission America
- Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily
- Joe Ortwerth of Missouri Family Policy Council
- Rick Joyner of The Oak Initiative
- Richard Thompson of The Thomas More Law Center
- David Fowler of Family Action of Tennessee
- Joel Brind of the Baruch College Department of Natural Sciences
- Dr. Carl Herbster of AdvanceUSA
- Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt of The Pray in Jesus Name Project
- Penny Pullen of the Life Advocacy Resource Project
- Gary Kreep of the United States Justice Foundation
- Diane Gramley of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania
- Frank G. Simon of the American Family Association of Kentucky
- Gary L. Cass of DefendChristians.org
- Mike Coley of Saved by the Blood Ministries
- Paul Blair of Reclaiming America for Christ
- Don Feder of World Congress of Families
- C. Frederick Wehba of Bently Forbes
- Dr. Raymond Johnson of Biblical Concepts Ministries
- Kelly Shackelford of Liberty Institute
- Bishop E.W. Jackson of STAND AMERICA
- Phillip Jauregui of Judicial Action Group
- Bill Brooks of North Carolina Family Policy Council
- James Clymer of Constitution Party
- Larry Reagan of Adams Chapel Missionary Baptist Church
- Star Parker of The Center for Urban Renewal and Education
- J. Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel
- Allyson Smith of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality
- Floyd Brown of Western Center for Journalism
- Sandy Rios of Culture Campaign
- William J. Murray of Religious Freedom Coalition
- Dave Welch of U.S. Pastor Council
- John and Eleanor Warner of St. Louis MetroVoice
- John W. "Woody" Woodrum, California candidate for Congress
- William J. Federer of Amerisearch Inc.
- Michael Valerio of Valerio Foundation
- Linda Flower of Texas Physicians Resource Council
- Kelly Shackelford of Free Market
- Donna Hearne of Freedombasics
- Christopher Carmouche of GrassTopsUSA
- Rayphe of Living Water Homestead of Faith
- Bob Fischer of Fischer Furniture Inc.
- Rev. Rusty Lee Thomas of Elijah Ministries
- Deany Meinike of Deany Mortgages
- W.C. Jernigan, Lt. U.S. Naval Reserves
The military`s survey of the issue has been promoted by those supporting open homosexuality as approving of their plan.
But critics challenge whether the survey was a fair assessment of soldiers` attitudes, suggesting it was designed to arrive at the conclusion preferred by the Obama administration, which quashed opposing views.
"When this study was first announced, Lt. Gen. Mixon, the commander of our forces in the Pacific, publicly encouraged soldiers to speak out on the issue. He was told in no uncertain terms to shut up or get out of the service," reported a former Marine combat officer and Army lawyer.
|December 05, 2010
|Prop. 8 Hearing Live: Dec. 6
According Ron Prentice, Chairman of ProtectMarriage.com, the Prop. 8 hearing will be "a two-hour proceeding on Monday, December 6 beginning at 10:00 am. The proceeding will be broadcast live by C-SPAN.
The hearing will be divided into two one-hour segments with a brief recess in between. The first hour will be dedicated to procedural matters and the issue of whether or not the proponents of Proposition 8, or the County of Imperial, have the appropriate legal standing to appeal Judge Walker’s decision. Although ProtectMarriage.com and the Proposition 8 Legal Defense team has served as the sole defender in the Perry v Schwarzenegger case since its inception, “standing” is nonetheless an issue that Walker raised and the three-judge panel hearing this appeal wants addressed. Since Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his newly-elected replacement, Jerry Brown, abdicated their responsibility to defend the people, our intervention has been necessary. Both defendant-intervenors will have 15 minutes to make our independent arguments; the plaintiffs will have 30 minutes to respond.
The second hour of the hearing will focus on the constitutionality of Prop 8. The Proposition 8 Legal Defense team will argue the first 30 minutes, with the second half of the hour shared by the plaintiffs’ attorneys and the City and County of San Francisco (plaintiff-intervenors) for 15 minutes. We will use any time left over from our 30 minutes for rebuttal."
Click here to make a donation to the
Proposition 8 Legal Defense Fund.
|December 03, 2010
|Proposition 8 Update
Last Minute Legal Maneuvers
Last night (December 1), our legal team filed a motion requesting the senior judge hearing our appeals case, Stephen Reinhardt, recuse himself due to reasonable concern for his ability to rule impartially on this case.
The basis for our request (you can see our Motion for Disqualification here) is the professional position his wife, Ramona Ripston, held until very recently as the Executive Director of the ACLU of Southern California, and her involvement in the case through her professional affiliation.
In that role, Ms. Ripston and the organization she led have not only been active in seeking to redefine marriage in California, and active in opposition to Proposition 8, but they have been active participants in this very lawsuit: Plaintiffs’ attorneys consulted with Ms. Ripston before filing suit; ACLU/SC represented proposed intervenors in the US District Court trial urging the court to decide the case in favor of Plaintiffs; Ms. Ripston, as Executive Director of ACLU/SC, was responsible for all phases of the organization’s programs, including litigation, and in an August 4, 2010 press release Ms. Ripston publicly “rejoice[d]” over the district court decision that is before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for review, praise that was tempered only by the concern that “it’s a long road ahead until final victory.” That road obviously passes through the Ninth Circuit, and Ms. Ripston’s colleague emphasized the importance of working “to give this case the best possible chance of success as it moves through the appeals courts.”
The law clearly states that a judge is required to disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might be reasonably questioned and that the goal of the law governing recusal is to avoid even the appearance of impartiality. As we stated in our motion, “so long as a judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned, recusal is required ’even though no actual partiality exists … because the judge actually has no interest in the case or because the judge is pure in heart and incorruptible.’”
Case law supports our motion where United States v. Holland, 519 F.3d 912, 914 (9th Cir. 2008) states that the Court “must bear in mind that … outside observers are less inclined to credit judges’ impartiality and mental discipline than the judiciary itself will be,” and in “a close case, the balance tips in favor of recusal.”
The facts of this case would plainly lead a reasonable person to conclude that Judge Reinhardt’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned. The law governing recusal also contains several provisions mandating recusal on the basis of the connection of a judge’s spouse to a case, for instance when a spouse is a party to the proceeding, or an officer, director, or trustee of a party is acting as a lawyer in the proceeding; or is known by the judge to have an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding. These rules provide examples of situations in which a judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned, overruled on other grounds, and demonstrate that a spouse’s actual participation in a case amounts to such a situation.
Unfortunately, we learned this morning that Judge Reinhardt – the most overturned federal judge in the history of the United States – denied our motion, saying he is “certain that a reasonable person with knowledge of all the facts would [not] conclude that [my] impartiality might reasonably be questioned. I will be able to rule impartially on this appeal, and I will do so.”
As you can see, our legal defense team is constantly working to protect Proposition 8. We appreciate your financial support as we continue to pull out all the stops on your behalf and to safeguard the institution of traditional marriage.
Volunteer Chairman ProtectMarriage.com
|December 03, 2010
|Americans Prefer `Merry Christmas` to `Happy Holidays`
(Christian Post) A majority of Americans prefer stores using “Merry Christmas” as its holiday greeting, according to a Rasmussen Reports survey.
In a national survey of 1,000 respondents, 69 percent answered that they preferred to see holiday retail signs with the greeting “Merry Christmas” over “Happy Holidays.”
Liberty Counsel President Mathew Staver said the results to the November poll corresponds to what he has been saying all along. “People enjoy Christmas,” he stated.
Liberty Counsel has been publishing its Friend or Foe Christmas campaign, educating, informing and in some cases, litigating public and private entities over their stance on the holiday. Staver believes that some stories limit their use of Christmas because “they felt it would offend a minority of shoppers.”
But, Staver pointed out, even Jews and others who don’t celebrate enjoy Christmas.
Still, many retailers have cleared holiday displays of the word Christmas, replacing it with Happy Holidays. The change prompted the Liberty Counsel to form a Naughty and Nice list of offending retailers. Staver noted that the naughty list was a lot longer than the nice one when it began.
Wal-Mart was among its worse transgressors. According to Staver, the chain store would sell “holiday trees” instead of Christmas trees. “The only holiday that uses [trees] is Christmas. There are no Thanksgiving trees.”
He reported that Wal-mart also had anti-Christmas story policies. “They had even said that [store employees] could not return a greeting of ‘Merry Christmas’ even if it was said by a customer,” he recalled.
“The absurdity of this has [made] people become very vocal and I think retailers are now listening,” he said.
Notably, companies from all over the country are calling to ensure that their names are on the nice list, Staver reported.
The American Family Association also has a Naughty and Nice list. Their list takes a closer look at companies’ advertisements on television, in mailers and online. The AFA recently announced that Dick’s Sporting Goods made it onto the Nice list.
“It’s gratifying to see a retailer like Dick’s recognize that our nation has specifically set aside December 25 to honor the birthday of Jesus Christ … That’s what this season is ultimately about,” Buddy Smith AFA executive vice-president said in a statement.
The Liberty Counsel recently added Best Buy and Disney.com to the Nice list.
“We’re not asking retailers to eliminate ‘Happy Holidays’ or mention of other holidays,” explained Staver. He said they simply want stores to acknowledge the Christmas holiday
|December 03, 2010
|Prohibiting sex offenders from adoption ‘discriminatory’ says report
|(LifeSiteNews.com) A “blanket ban” on convicted sex-offenders adopting children is discriminatory, says a report from Helen Reece of the London School of Economics. Reece, a family law expert, has said that each case should be examined separately “on its merits.”
“Sex offenders shouldn’t all be tarred with the same brush,” Reece said. “People need to be carefully screened for adoption and fostering, but each case should be taken on its merits.
“There shouldn’t be blanket rules. What somebody has done before is not necessarily what he or she will do again. When someone has served a sentence, as far as you can, you should treat them the same as anyone else.”
The report was published in the latest edition of Child and Family Law Quarterly.
Reece bases her argument on court challenges that have overturned “blanket bans” on unmarried, cohabiting couples adopting. She pointed to the 2008 case, heard in the House of Lords, which decided that cohabiting couples were being discriminated against by adoption rules. Reece pointed out that cohabiting couples are allowed to adopt even though statistically they have a high rate of break-ups that tend to harm children emotionally and psychologically.
“If we believe that blanket bans are an effective and legitimate means to protect children then we should no more allow cohabiting couples to adopt or foster than convicted sex offenders,” she said.
Currently, there are very few remaining “blanket” restrictions on adoption and fostering in Britain. Single people, unmarried cohabiting couples and homosexual singles can all adopt.
Recently, however, some individuals have been refused because of their traditional religious beliefs, a category not officially banned. In 2008, a Christian couple in Somerset, Eunice and Owen Johns, were refused for fostering because they would not teach their foster children that homosexuality is acceptable. Their local adoption authority was also reportedly “upset” that the couple insisted that children in their care would be required to accompany the family to church on Sundays.
This year, a Christian pediatrician, Sheila Matthews, applied to have her case heard at the European Court of Justice after she had been removed from the adoption panel of the Northamptonshire County Council for expressing her view that homosexual adoption is not in the best interests of the child.
In the case of Ian Wathey and Craig Faunch, two homosexual men who were charged with sexually molesting the boys in their care, the council who gave them the children admitted that a “politically correct” prejudice in favor of homosexuals in adoption was in play.
In an inquiry, Wakefield Metropolitan District Council employees said that despite growing reservations by staff and complaints from the mother of two of the boys, the two men were treated by the authorities as “trophy carers” because of their status as homosexuals. The two men were regarded as beyond scrutiny and “the fear of being discriminatory” lead the council to “fail to discriminate between the appropriate and the abusive.”
The Daily Telegraph quoted one social worker who told the inquiry, “you didn’t want to be seen discriminating against a same-sex couple.”
|December 03, 2010
|Textbooks tainted with Islamic ideology
(OneNewsNow) A terrorism expert says textbook publishers are allowing pro-Islamic consultants to have influence over the content of what is taught in America`s schools.
Brigitte Gabriel, founder and president of ACT! for America, contends that publishers are teaming up with consultants who implement radical Islamic ideals into history and social studies textbooks. She explains that major publishers, such as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Random House, Inc., permit affiliates of Islamic groups to write and produce textbooks that promote radical ideologies.
"One, for example, is Susan Douglas, who taught at The [Islamic Saudi] Academy -- the notorious...academy in Virginia [that] wanted to commit Marxism and jihad and wanted to commit jihad against the United States," Gabriel notes. "She was a teacher at that school."
The terrorism expert tells OneNewsNow that a student at that academy was arrested for seeking to assassinate former President George W. Bush. Even so, a former teacher at that same school is counseling the publishers of Across the Centuries (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), a 558-page textbook used in middle schools that contains 55 pages on Islam, less than ten pages on Christianity, and several pages on the Byzantine Empire. (See editor`s note below)
"The chapter on Islam accounts for ten percent of the text, while Christianity and Judaism are almost entirely absent," Gabriel points out. "This book is taught in every single public school across the United States, in every state and city."
The ACT! for America president laments that sixth- and seventh-graders are being educated on extreme Islamic ideologies, while other curriculum is neglected.
Editor`s note: Daniel Pipes, founder and director of the conservative think tank Middle East Forum, has written that the second edition of "Across the Centuries," published in 1999, has a "really serious problem" in its "covert propagation of Islam."
"Everything Islamic is praised; every problem is swept under the rug," he wrote in 2002. "Homework assignments repeatedly involve mock-Muslim exercises [and the textbook] endorses key articles of Islamic faith." He argued public school students should approach Islam in a "critical fashion," learning both the good and the bad, both the archaic and the modern. "They should approach it from the outside, not as believers, precisely as they do with every other religion," he stated.
The publisher`s website indicates the latest version of "Across the Centuries" was revised in 2003.
|December 03, 2010
|Ant-covered Jesus video removed from Smithsonian after Catholic League complains
(Washington Post) Officials at the National Portrait Gallery on Tuesday removed a work of video art depicting Christ with ants crawling over him after complaints from a Catholic organization and members of Congress.
The four-minute video, created by the late artist David Wojnarowicz, had been on exhibit since Oct. 30 as part of a show on sexual difference in American portraiture.
The piece was called "hate speech" by Catholic League president William Donohue and a misuse of taxpayer money by a spokesman for Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), the presumptive incoming House speaker.
Officials at the museum and the Smithsonian Institution, which includes the Portrait Gallery, said they had not intended to be offensive by showing the work and removed it to better focus on the exhibit`s strengths.
"The decision wasn`t caving in," said Martin E. Sullivan, the museum`s director. "We don`t want to shy away from anything that is controversial, but we want to focus on the museum`s and this show`s strengths."
An 11-second portion of the video shows a small crucifix covered with ants. The video is included in the exhibit, "Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture."
Boehner`s spokesman, Kevin Smith, said in a statement that the congressman was monitoring the episode. "American families have a right to expect better from recipients of taxpayer funds in a tough economy," Smith said. "While the amount of money involved may be small, it`s symbolic of the arrogance Washington routinely applies to thousands of spending decisions involving Americans` hard-earned money."
Click here to read the entire article.
|December 03, 2010
|Pro-Family Group Fights Against `Hate Group` Label
(Christian Post) The Family Research Council denounced the Southern Poverty Law Center for resorting to what it calls “juvenile name calling” against its pro-traditional marriage stance.
FRC President Tony Perkins defended the policy organization’s stance against homosexual behavior on cable television network MSNBC Monday after the SPLC labeled it as a hate group.
“We think to be silent when it comes to homosexual behavior that`s both harmful to society and, more importantly, to the individuals who engage in it, to be silent, that is in fact hateful,” he said.
The SPLC recently announced that it will be adding FRC to its list of anti-gay, hate groups.
“Even as some well-known anti-gay groups like Focus on the Family moderate their views, a hard core of smaller groups, most of them religiously motivated, have continued to pump out demonizing propaganda aimed at homosexuals and other sexual minorities,” the nonprofit civil rights organization stated.
Mark Potok of SPLC clarified on MSNBC, “When we name groups hate groups that has nothing to do with any allegation of criminality ... It`s purely about ideology.”
Perkins, meanwhile, believes this is all simply “juvenile name calling,”
“The left is losing ground in this public policy debate and so they start this juvenile process of name calling and trying to shut down debate over public policy,” he contended.
The SPLC, based in Montgomery, Ala., has charged the FRC and 12 other groups of spreading 10 “falsehoods” in the debate over gay marriage and gay adoption. The falsehoods, the group claims, include: same-sex parenting is harmful to children; homosexuals molest children at far higher rates than heterosexuals; allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military would damage the armed forces; and hate crime laws will lead to the jailing of pastors who openly criticize homosexuality.
J. P. Duffy, FRC vice president of communications, says the group has simply been representing the view of the American public. Over 30 states voted for marriage referendums that define marriage as being between one man and one woman. Duffy noted, “Their [gay rights] agenda has been rejected at the ballot box.”
Penny Young Nance, CEO of Concerned Women for America, made the argument that in condemning family groups, the SPLC is misrepresenting the beliefs of the African-American community it was meant to serve.
In a Monday blog post refuting the list, Nance wrote, “By demonizing traditional family groups that support traditional marriage, they just put a huge portion of the African-American community in California in the same category with the rest us so-called bigots.”
According to an Associated Press exit poll, 70 percent of African-Americans in California voted for Proposition 8 in support of traditional marriage in 2008.
In an earlier statement, Perkins assured the public that the FRC discusses issues of faith and family with the utmost civility and compassion. Perkins also labeled the SPLC as a liberal organization that has lost sight of its public justice roots. He lampooned the list as the sour grapes actions of the “losing” left.
“This is a deliberately timed smear campaign by the SPLC. The Left is losing the debate over ideas and the direction of public policy so all that is left for them is character assassination. It`s a sad day in America when we cannot, with integrity, have a legitimate discussion over policy issues that are being considered by Congress, legislatures, and the courts without resorting to juvenile tactics of name calling,” he shared in last week’s statement.
The FRC has demanded a public apology.
Correction: Thursday, December 2, 2010:
An article on Tuesday, November 30, 2010, about the Southern Poverty Law Center`s upcoming list of anti-gay, hate groups incorrectly reported that Concerned Women for America was added to the list. The Christian Post confirmed with Mark Potok, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center`s Intelligence Project, that Concerned Women for America is not on the list.
|December 03, 2010
|Swedish Parents jailed for spanking; children seized
|(LifeSiteNews) A Swedish district court has sentenced a couple to nine months each in prison and fined them the equivalent of US $10,650 after they admitted to spanking three of their four children as a normal part of their parenting methods. Corporal punishment of children by parents was made illegal in Sweden in 1979, an early step in what a U.S. parental rights lawyer called the nearly total take-over of parenting by the state in Sweden.
Court documents, quoted by Sveriges Television, said that the parents, who have not been named in the press, “explained that they had used, what they themselves described as spanking, physical punishment as part of their methods for raising the children.”
There is no indication of abuse by the parents in the released documents, with the court noting that the parents “had a loving and caring relationship with their children.”
Nevertheless, the parents have been sent to prison and fined 25,000 kronor for each of the “affected children.” The children have been remanded to state-sponsored foster care since early this summer, and Mike Donnelly, Director of International Relations for the US-based Home School Legal Defence Association (HSLDA), told LifeSiteNews.com that it is “extremely unlikely” that the children will ever be returned to their family home.
Donnelly said that the case is typical of the stories of many families with traditional values in Sweden: “In the area of family rights in Sweden things really aren’t going well there.”
While the HSLDA does not hold an official position on the use of corporal punishment, Donnelly said it is clearly up to parents to determine whether corporal punishment is an appropriate form of discipline.
“Parenting has been outsourced, or simply directly taken over by the state in Sweden,” Donnelly said. “And these parents have been jailed for doing what in America would be perfectly normal.”
Ninety percent of Swedish children are in publicly funded day care from extremely early ages, as young as a year or 18 months, he said. It is the position of the state that parents are overruled by the state in areas of child rearing, he said.
Donnelly said, however, that the best interests of the child are not the state’s highest priority: “So lets take these kids who have had a loving and caring relationship with their parents and send them to foster care, and throw their parents into jail for nine months.”
Donnelly cited the now notorious case of Domenic Johansson, the boy who was snatched by state officials because his parents were homeschooling him, an act that is also illegal in Sweden.
“The bottom line is, don’t go to Sweden. Don’t move there, if you want to have a normal family.”
Swedish Embassy - U.S.
Embassy of Sweden
2900 K Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20007
Swedish Embassy - Canada
377 Dalhousie Street
Phone: (613) 244-8200
|December 03, 2010
|Elton John concert to benefit Prop. 8 foes
(Variety) Elton John will perform a concert at the Beverly Hills estate of Ron Burkle on Jan. 19 to raise money for the legal challenge to Proposition 8, California`s ban on same-sex marriage.
The proceeds from the event will support the American Foundation for Equal Rights, the org that is pursuing the challenge to the ban on gay nuptials, with Ted Olson and David Boies leading their legal team.
On Monday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in the latest phase of the case. Proponents of Prop. 8 are appealing U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker`s August ruling that the initiative was unconstitutional.
The foundation, a nonprofit formed by a group of entertainment industry activists, has held a series of events in recent months, including an art auction in New York that raised $600,000 and a fund-raiser featuring Wall Street and GOP leaders that raised $1.3 million.
|December 03, 2010
| Survey: 300 “Doctors” Do Late Abortions, 140 When Baby Feels Pain
(Christian Post) With controversial late-term abortion practitioner LeRoy Carhart getting national attention over plans to expand his abortion business, a little-known 2008 study is gaining new attention.
The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion research organization previously affiliated with Planned Parenthood, released a study in 2008 titled “Abortion in the United States: Incidence and Access to Services, 2005.”
The study found there were at least 1,787 abortion “doctors” in the United States but it revealed stark numbers when it comes to those who do abortions later in pregnancy.
Of the 1,787, the study found that “[t]wenty percent of providers offered abortions after 20 weeks [LMP], and only 8% at 24 weeks [LMP].”
Though the numbers seem small, that translates to at least 300 “doctors” who who will perform abortions after 20 weeks LMP like LeRoy Carhart and, of those, 140 willing to perform abortions at 24 weeks LMP.
Mary Balch, an attorney who handle state legislation for the National Right to Life Committee, says the numbers are important because mainstream media outlets have attempted to make it appear there are very few practitioners willing to do late or late-term abortions.
“In an interview with Colorado abortionist Warren Hern published online November 5, 2010, Time Magazine perpetuated the prevalent myth that there are few, if any abortionists who perform abortions late in pregnancy,” she told LifeNews.com. “The Washington Post’s Rob Stein also furthered the myth in a November 10 piece saying that Carhart is ‘is one of the few in the country to perform abortions late in pregnancy.”
“The truth is, abortions in the fifth month of pregnancy and later are widely available,” she added.
But National Right to Life may have found a way to put these abortion practitioners out of business — by using a new type of state law that drove Carhart to seek opportunities to do late abortions elsewhere.
Carhart’s decision to move operations resulted from Nebraska’s enactment of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act earlier this year. The law took effect October 15 and it protects unborn children in the fifth and sixth month of pregnancy or later by prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks following conception.
“Nebraska’s groundbreaking law protecting pain-capable unborn children is an example for other states in the nation,” Balch says. “LeRoy Carhart’s hopscotching around the nation to find areas that allow abortion for any reason, at any time, underscores the need for other states to pass similar legislation to put Carhart and the hundreds of other abortionists who perform abortions late in pregnancy out of business.”
“That more than 140 abortion providers are willing to kill unborn children who are capable of feeling the excruciating pain of abortion is a tragedy – a tragedy that we can easily stop in the state legislatures,” Balch told LifeNews.com.
The legislation is sorely needed because there are more late abortions and late-term abortions taking place in the United States than most people probably realize.
A May 2010 briefing by the Guttmacher Institute reveals .5% of the estimated more than 1.2 million elective abortions performed annually in the United States are on unborn children at 21 weeks LMP (19 weeks postfertilization) or older.
This translates to roughly 18,000 abortions annually – a substantial number of which probably occur at 22 weeks LMP or later, which is past the point that the best evidence indicates that the unborn child is fully capable of feeling pain (a point that may well occur earlier).
Balch says those findings are generally corroborated by the Centers for Disease Control Abortion Surveillance Report for 2006, released in November 2009.
In the 43 reporting areas for 2006 which reported gestational age to the CDC for its report, at least 1.3% of abortions were performed at 21 weeks or later and several states either submitted no data or did not accurately report the age of the baby at the time of the abortion.
Not only does the legislation have the effect of prohibiting late abortions, Balch says it has a tremendous educational value by showing the public how abortions cause great pain for unborn children.
“Since 2007, medical research, triggered by the identification of consciousness in children lacking a cortex from birth, has indicated that nerve connection to the cortex is not essential to experience pain,” the NRLC attorney notes. “In fact, informed specialists have concluded that the subcortical plate, to which nerves from the pain receptors are linking at 20 weeks postfertilization, fulfills that function.”
Scientific studies dating back to 1987 confirm the existence of fetal pain at 20 weeks postfertilization (22 weeks LMP).
The ability to target late and late-term abortions via this state legislation is so important that NRLC is planning a state legislative forum for pro-life leaders and state legislators on December 7.
“With pro-life electoral gains on November 2, the spring legislative sessions gives us a tremendous opportunity to enact a variety of protective pro-life laws in many states and put an end to abortions after the unborn child is capable of feeling pain,” Balch concludes. “Our number one priority at the state level is protecting mothers and their unborn children from the abortion industry and we have pro-life legislative majorities across the country to help make that happen.”
|December 03, 2010
|1 in 5 Drivers Killed in 2009 Had Taken Drugs
(AP) About 1 in 5 drivers who were killed last year in car crashes tested positive for drugs, raising concerns about the impact of drugs on auto safety, the government reported Tuesday.
Researchers with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the new data underscored a growing problem of people driving with drugs in their systems. But they cautioned that it was not clear that drugs caused the crashes and more research was needed to determine how certain drugs can hinder a person`s ability to drive safely.
Drugs were reported in nearly 4,000 drivers who were killed in 2009, or 18 percent of the nearly 22,000 drivers killed last year. In 2005, drugs were found in the systems of 13 percent of the more than 27,000 drivers killed in car accidents.
Researchers said the numbers could be higher because only about 3 in 5 drivers who were killed in car crashes were tested for drugs after the crash and testing varied from state to state. Among all the drivers who were killed in 2009 and later tested by authorities for drugs, about one-third had drugs in their systems.
The tests took into account both legal and illegal drugs, including heroin, methadone, morphine, cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, LSD, prescription drugs and inhalants. The amount of time the drug could linger in the body varied by drug type, the researchers said, so it was unclear when the drivers had used the drugs prior to the fatal crashes.
Aspirin, nicotine, alcohol and drugs administered after the crash were excluded from the tests.
White House Drug Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske said the research was a "good first attempt" to understand the role that drug use plays in automobile fatalities.
Many drugs can affect a driver`s judgment and reaction time but researchers are still trying to determine the level of drug use that can impair a driver`s ability to drive safely. A blood alcohol level of 0.08 is the legal limit for all 50 states but a similar level of impairment is uncertain for many drugs.
"It`s very clear that we`ve got a significant problem," Kerlikowske said. "We`ve made great progress on alcohol-impaired driving through education and enforcement. There`s just no reason we won`t be able to make progress in this area once we start bringing it to people`s attention and we start doing the enforcement that`s needed."
Some recent high-profile crashes have involved drug use by drivers.
In July 2009, a New York mother sped the wrong way for more than a mile with a minivan full of children, leading to a crash that killed her and seven others. The woman had a blood-alcohol level 2 1/2 times the legal limit and had smoked marijuana within an hour of the crash.
In Phoenix, the driver of a dump truck struck a group of motorcycle riders in March, killing four people and injuring five others. Initial tests found the driver had methamphetamine in his system.
Kerlikowske said efforts against drugged driving could be helped by improved testing procedures and standards for detecting drug use by drivers, along with more police officers trained to detect drug use by motorists.
|December 03, 2010
|Don`t Do Christmas on Credit, Debt Charity Warns
(Christian Post) Christians Against Poverty is urging people not to give into the temptation of a loan to cover the cost of their Christmas celebrations.
The U.K.-based debt counseling charity says it is not out to kill the festive season but that it wants people to have a clear spending strategy to see them safely into the New Year.
CAP Chief Executive Matt Barlow believes such a strategy is wise as yet more economic uncertainty looms on the horizon.
“These are difficult times for a lot of us and the temptation is to say `at least we’ll have a great Christmas` and use that as an excuse to spend what we haven’t got,” he said.
“If you’ve already caught yourself saying this, we want your alarm bells to be ringing loud and clear."
“The New Year is full of uncertainty: job losses, VAT will be going up, benefits are changing, energy bills are rising and we don’t know what interest rates will do," he noted. “If we were ever going to get our spending under control at Christmas – it should be this year.”
The charity said that around half of its clients with “out-of-control” debt had taken out a loan at some time to help cover the cost of Christmas.
It warned that many of them went on to lose their homes, suffer mental health problems, contemplate suicide and find themselves unable to feed and clothe their children.
“We’re not party poopers," Barlow said. "We just want people to enjoy Christmas and not be anxious about whether they will be able to pay it all back.”
The charity has released its top ten tips for avoiding festive debt. In addition to never taking out a Christmas loan, they include being honest with family members if things are tight, not buying gifts for others out of obligation, and collaborate with relatives to buy the kids’ presents.
1. Decide what you have to spend. Make a list and be realistic. Paying in cash may help you keep control. Let your children see your careful planning – you’ll be teaching them a valuable life-long lesson.
2. Manage expectations early. If things are tight don’t be afraid to say so to family members. You’ll probably all be in the same boat and it may lead to a happier Christmas for them too!
3. See if relatives will club together with you to buy children what they would like, rather than individually over indulging them and all feeling out of pocket.
4. Buy fewer presents but more cheaper trimmings like paper chains and crackers. They all add to the fun without costing very much.
5. Never take out a Christmas loan! Remember the possible consequences could be disastrous for you and your family.
6. Give ironing or baby-sitting vouchers or make presents as opposed to buying them. For example, delicious homemade biscuits, chocolates and fudge make a lovely gift and show you`ve spent time and care.
7. Remember, you can`t buy love. Don`t feel guilty if you can`t afford the latest present for your children. Your love and affection will last longer in the memory than any toy can.
8. Don`t fall into the trap of reciprocal gift giving and don`t buy out of obligation.
9. Don`t overspend in the January sales, in spite of how good a bargain you might see. Make a budget and stick to it and if possible, leave those credit cards at home.
10. Enjoy all the low cost things on offer – the lights in town, get togethers, making mince pies, playing family board games, seeing your kids in the school nativity – and have a very Happy Christmas!
|December 03, 2010
|Survey: 1 in 20 Christians Cite Accountability in Church
(Christian Post) There is very little accountability among Christians in the United States, a new survey found.
Only 5 percent of Christian adults indicated that their church does anything to hold them accountable for integrating biblical beliefs and principles into their life, according to the Barna Group.
Evangelicals were most likely to have some form of church-centered accountability.
George Barna, director of the survey, stressed that mutual accountability is one of the cornerstones of the biblical concept of community.
"But Americans these days cherish privacy and freedom to the extent that the very idea of being held accountable by others – even those with their best interests in mind, or who have a legal or spiritual authority to do so – is considered inappropriate, antiquated and rigid," he lamented.
"With a large majority of Christian churches proclaiming that people should know, trust and obey all of the behavioral principles taught in the Bible, overlooking a principle as foundational as accountability breeds even more public confusion about scriptural authority and faith-based community, as well as personal behavioral responsibility."
The Barna Group, a research firm based in Ventura, Calif., surveyed 1,000 adults from across the country in August. The latest report is based on data from the 889 adults who identified as Christians and who reported attending a Christian church.
The most common form of accountability cited by the 5 percent who said their church holds them accountable was small groups. Around one-third said they are kept accountable through small groups.
Twenty-one percent said their churches limit or revoke membership for those who do not meet specific standards. Nineteen percent said they are being held accountable to individuals they`re acquainted with in their congregation, and 16 percent said leaders follow up with them on activities assigned to them.
Additionally, one in ten said they have personal accountability to the pastor or someone else on the pastoral staff; 8 percent said they answer directly to the congregation for questionable activities that are identified; and 6 percent said they have regularly scheduled reviews with church leaders.
|December 03, 2010
|Family Group Blasts Holiday Gift Certificates for Abortion
(Christian Post) Alaska’s largest provider of abortions will be selling holiday gift certificates good for services including abortion in a fundraising effort during a Jewish bazaar on Sunday.
The certificates are being sold in Anchorage as part of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest’s effort to raise funds for their organization.
Alaska Family Council President Jim Minnery said PPGNW’s efforts are meant to mock those whose faith dictates that abortion is morally wrong.
“They have a true disrespect and disdain for those who have a true faith,” he commented. Minnery believes their holiday efforts are a not-so subtle “poke in the eye” of pro-life advocates.
The Alaskan fundraiser is the latest effort in Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Christmas fundraising endeavors.
In the past, PPFA sold “Choice on Earth”-themed Christmas cards.
The cards featured a variety of designs, including two doves (one white, one gold) holding olive branches.
Other cards stated “Seasons Greetings” and “Happy Planning for the New Year” while featuring white silhouettes of a parent and child on a pink background.
"Planned Parenthood has enjoyed poking Christians with sticks at Christmas, mocking the birth of Jesus with their unique holiday greeting cards," Jill Sedlak, executive director of America’s Life League’s STOPP International, said, according to Lifenews.com.
Minnery, meanwhile, commented, “They’re riding on the coat tails of the sacred story.”
Planned Parenthood President Gloria Feldt had dismissed such criticisms in the past, saying their greeting cards were popular among America`s pro-choice majority for almost a decade and that they send “an inclusive seasonal message for people of all faiths.”
However, the controversy lies in the origin of the phrase “Choice on Earth.” It is a spinoff of the biblical proclamation of “Peace on Earth” when angels announced the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. Pro-life groups are outraged over the use of the word “choice” to link abortion to a day which celebrates the birth of Jesus.
In 2007, PPFA seemed to have dropped the promotion of its holiday cards.
PPFA President Cecile Richards sent a 2007 holiday e-mail stating, "As I reflect upon the past year and consider the next, I can’t help but feel a sense of good will. Good will towards the women, men and families that we serve. Good will toward you, my Planned Parenthood family."
There was no mention of the card.
However, the certificates have continued with other holiday gifts, including summer releases of “I Had an Abortion” t-shirts and holiday PPFA-themed gift certificates. An advertisement for a vasectomy certificate states, “Give the gift that stops giving … a gift certificate for a holiday vasectomy at Planned Parenthood.”
Minnery said it is offensive that Planned Parenthood would use the Christmas season to propagate the message of abortion and says it is misguided if it believes that the right to choose an abortion is as sacred to as the Christmas story.
PPGNW will be one of 35 non-organizations selling their wares with prices ranging from $5 to $30 during the Dec. 5 market, sponsored by the Congregation Beth Sholom Jewish Synagogue.
The synagogue is a recognized member of the Union for Reform Judaism. In a statement, URJ recognizes abortion as an acceptable choice in the event of rape, incest, or genetic testing that determines that a child will be born with a life-threatening disease or severe disability.
It also recognizes abortion to be a woman’s choice and states that an abortion can be performed “even as late as the moment before the head of a baby emerges from the birth canal.”
PPGNW operates five clinics in Alaska as well as clinics in Idaho and Washington. It is currently challenging an Alaskan state law set to take effect Dec. 14 mandating parent notification and approval of abortions for youths 17 and younger.
|December 03, 2010
|Survey: Evangelicals Go Against the Tide on Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell
(Christian Post) Protestants are more likely to support than oppose gays serving openly in the military, the latest survey on "don`t ask, don`t tell" reveals.
While 49 percent of Protestants favor permitting homosexuals to serve openly, only 34 percent are against it, the Pew Research Center found.
Worshippers from mainline churches along with black churches are the two groups driving up the percentage of Protestants favoring gays serving openly. White evangelicals, meanwhile, are keeping the percentage below 50 percent.
According to the Pew survey, white evangelicals are the only religious Americans that are more likely to oppose (48 percent) letting homosexuals serve openly in the armed forces than favor (34 percent) it.
Similar to white mainline Protestants, more Catholics support gays and lesbians serving openly than oppose it, 63 to 21 percent.
Interestingly, Americans who attend services weekly or more are evenly divided at 40 percent. The survey also indicated that the less frequently one attends services, the more likely he or she is to favor allowing gays to serve openly in the military.
Overall, most Americans (58 percent) say they favor permitting gays to serve openly, up from 52 percent in 1994.
The national survey was conducted Nov. 4-7 among 1,255 adults. The release of the report on Monday comes just a day ahead of an anticipated survey of military personnel about the "don`t ask, don`t tell" policy.
The Department of Defense is scheduled to release its research findings and report examining the effects of repealing the 1993 policy on Tuesday.
The contentious policy was enacted by President Clinton after Congress passed a law that same year banning homosexuals from serving in the military. Though it bars openly gay individuals from serving in the U.S. military, it also bars the military from asking service members of their sexual orientation.
|December 03, 2010
|Evangelist thanks atheists for anti-Christmas billboard
(WorldNetDaily) One of the nation`s most popular evangelists is "thanking" the American Atheists group for spending $20,000 on a prominent and highly controversial billboard near the entrance of the Lincoln Tunnel leading to Manhattan.
Ray Comfort says the atheists have caused people to reason, think and talk about Christmas.
The billboard depicts a silhouette of the Three Wise Men approaching a manger alongside the words: "You KNOW it`s a Myth. This Season, Celebrate REASON!" The atheists say the billboard is meant to encourage fellow disbelievers going through the motions of celebrating Christmas to stop. The billboard is also meant to "attack the myth that Christianity owns the solstice season" and to "raise the awareness of the organization and the movement," according to a statement on the group`s website.
"American Atheists, Inc., (God bless them) are very generous people," said Comfort in response. "In April of 2001, they flew me 3,000 miles from California to Florida, to speak at their annual convention. They kindly put me in a luxury hotel, gave me a large fruit basket, let me preach the entire gospel, and also allowed me to make my books available to their people. So let`s support their efforts, and pray that people who see their signs asking them to `reason` rather than just accept things in blind faith."
Comfort is the author of several books about atheism and evolution, including "You Can Lead An Atheist to Evidence, but You Can`t Make Him Think," "Nothing Created Everything," "God Doesn`t Believe in Atheists" and more.
"America needs to go further than just having a belief about God," he said. "It needs to repent and trust the Savior, then they will come to know God. That`s how to find everlasting life. `Reason` is a good thing. God Himself says that to this sinful world: `Come now, and let us reason together.`"
It is atheism that is based on fairy tales and myth, he says – notions like evolution.
"To believe that nothing created everything is to lack that necessary `reason` of which American Atheists speak," said Comfort, who suggests a new slogan for believers: "Atheistic evolution: You KNOW it`s a Myth. This Season, Celebrate REASON!"
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