A group of nearly 2,000 conservative members of the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) met in Minneapolis August 24-25 to discuss how to move ahead in light of the denomination’s policy, begun in July, that allows open homosexuals to serve as clergy. The conference, organized under the umbrella of Presbyterians for Renewal, was called for those members “who are deeply troubled and whose integrity is deeply threatened by the move the denomination has made,” said the Rev. Paul Detterman, the group’s executive director. As reported by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the meeting was convened by the “newly formed Fellowship of Presbyterians … to help churches opposed to the move find ways to work within or leave the Presbyterian Church USA.” The Rev. Jim Singleton, pastor of the nearly 4,000-member First Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, said of the conference: “With so many critical theological differences and a denomination that continues to decline, we have to ask ourselves, is there something else that God has for us?”
First there were efforts to compel Catholic hospitals to perform abortions. Now statists in some nations want to force priests to violate the confidentiality of confession for, ostensibly, the purpose of uncovering sexual abuse. Adam Shaw at American Thinker provides some background and then explains the recent proposals, writing: [O]ne of the most important aspects of confession is what is known as the seal of confession. The seal means that the priest who hears confessions is bound by church law on pain of both mortal sin and latae sententiae excommunication (a type of excommunication that can be removed only by the Holy See) not to reveal by word or action any of your confession. This basically means that any priest revealing any part of any confession is essentially committing spiritual hara-kari [sic].
At approximately 8:45 a.m. on August 24, federal agents raided Gibson Guitar Corporation facilities in Nashville and Memphis, making off with an estimated $1 million worth of Gibson property. Gibson’s alleged crime? Using imported wood from endangered trees. At least that’s what the company assumes the feds have in mind. Gibson hasn’t actually been notified of any charges against the company. In fact, according to a Gibson press release, they still haven’t been told on what charges “more than a dozen agents with automatic weapons” raided their factory and stole their property in November 2009. They’re being forced to sue in federal court to get their property back, and even there the government is stalling, having requested an indefinite stay of the case. Both raids appear to stem from allegations that Gibson imported wood from foreign countries in violation of the Lacey Act. Originally enacted to prevent trafficking in endangered species, the act was amended in 2008 to include plants. According to the Rainforest Alliance:
An Illinois judge has ruled that the state can end its relationship with Catholic adoption groups because of their refusal to place children with homosexual couples. Reuters News reported that charities connected with the Catholic dioceses of Springfield, Peoria, and Joliet had filed a lawsuit in June 2011 “to prevent Illinois from canceling their contracts to provide child services shortly after a state law took effect legalizing same-sex civil unions and after the Attorney General opened a probe into the groups’ policies.” Reuters reported that over the past several decades, the Catholic adoption and foster care groups “have been part of a network of private child welfare agencies paid by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services [DCFS] to help find foster and adoptive homes for children in the state in need of temporary or permanent care.”
An open letter: Dear Michael Medved: On August 25, you had Jeffrey Lord on your nationally syndicated talk show. Lord had written an essay for The American Spectator in which he articulated several criticisms of Texas Congressman and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. Anyone who has ever listened to your show for any given length of time knows full well that you had no intention of taking Lord to task for his comments. Quite the contrary, as expected, your interview with this former Reagan staffer proved to be but one more opportunity to feed your apparent obsession with ruining Paul’s reputation among the ever growing number of voters who are gravitating toward him. It is interesting, though, that for however misinformed and, thus, uncharitable, Lord’s criticisms of Paul were, they weren’t unqualified. In addition to conceding Ron Paul’s soundness of character, he acknowledged as well the single-handedness with which he has altered the national dialogue by reshaping the dialogue within the GOP: in 2008, Paul was well ahead of the curve when it came to the Federal Reserve and spending generally. For Paul’s contributions to altering the character of the GOP, Lord confesses to being grateful.
A teacher in Paterson, New Jersey, is in boiling water because she told her Facebook friends that some of her students were “future criminals.”  The pedagogue of Paterson has been suspended with pay, and might well be fired. The students were disrupting her class, but her critics claim her remarks were “racist.”  Paterson’s population is largely black and Hispanic. What She Said: Veteran teacher Jennifer O’Brien said she posted the comments to Facebook because of her frustration that the students in her first-grade class are out of control, and she can do little about it. O’Brien came home from work, North Jersey.com reported, and expressed her genuine feelings after what must have been another tough day in the "blackboard jungle." Wrote O’Brien, “i’m not a teacher — i’m a warden for future criminals.”
There are an estimated 500,000 public school buses in America, which will carry America's school children back and forth about 4.2 billion miles this school year. The Center for Auto Safety and the National Coalition for School Bus Safety had requested that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) mandate that all these buses install seatbelts; however, the federal agency has rejected that petition. The Coalition's Arthur Yeager decried the decision: It just confirms the long history of NHTSA in opposition to child restraints in school buses. There is a certain hypocrisy in their supporting seat belts in virtually every other type of vehicle under their control except for school buses… There are accident after accident [sic] where we can document that the cause has been [school bus] driver distraction. More kids are killed when their own school bus drives over them than by other drivers. Some of those kids are killed because the driver is distracted by kids jumping up and down on the bus.
The owners of a bed and breakfast in Vermont are being sued by a lesbian couple and the ACLU for refusing to host the couple’s “wedding” reception at their facility. As reported by CNSNews.com, the lesbian couple, Kate Baker and Ming Linsley, plan to “marry” this autumn in Vermont, one of the handful of states that have legalized same-sex marriage. Nearly a year ago Ming’s mother, Channie Peters, contacted the Wildflower Inn about scheduling the couple’s reception there. But according to the ACLU, when she explained that the couple would consist of “two brides,” she received a subsequent e-mail from a planner at the inn, explaining: “After our conversation, I checked in with my innkeepers and unfortunately due to their personal feelings, they do not host gay receptions at our facility.” In July the ACLU took the case to the Vermont Superior Court, arguing that the inn’s policy excluding homosexuals violates the state’s human rights law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Declared the ACLU: “This case is about discrimination, pure and simple. When a business that is open to the public refuses to serve two people and their guests solely because the two people are a same sex couple, it is no different than restaurants not serving individuals because they were black, or other businesses keeping out women or Jews. It is discrimination and it is illegal.”
Speaking to reporters at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka made it clear that his union is backing off from supporting President Obama and the Democrats in the 2012 elections and is instead going to funnel union funds into attempts to influence state outcomes. He said, We’re going to use a lot of our money to build structures that work for working people. You’re going to see us give less money to build structures for others, and more of our money will be used to build our own structure…. Let’s assume we spent $100 in the last election. The day after Election Day, we were no stronger than we were the day before. If we had spent that [$100] on creating a structure for working people that would be there year round, then we would be stronger.
Since there has been so much talk among Tea Partiers of returning to the good old, pre-trillion-dollar days of Ronald Reagan’s administration, I thought it would be a good idea to go back to that inspiring time to see what has been happening to the growth of the federal government and how the Great Communicator sought to deal with that problem. In 1960, Uncle Sam, (better known these days as Uncle Sap), spent $76.5 billion to run the federal government. In 1970, a mere ten years later, that figure almost tripled to $194.9 billion. And ten years later, in 1980, federal spending tripled again to $579 billion. By then Congress had lost complete control over federal spending. It had enacted so many entitlement programs that the budget had become a locomotive going full-speed down-hill with no brakes. By the time Ronald Reagan became President, the spending momentum was so great that the most a fiscally conservative president could do immediately was to slow down the rate of growth just a little. Momentum is a powerful force, and even a fiscal conservative cannot stop a locomotive on a dime. And that is why Reagan’s 1983 budget reached a new high of $757 billion, with a projected deficit of $98.6 billion.
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