After decades of helping to place children in foster homes, Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, announced on November 14 that it would be transferring all of its current cases to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Across the state, Catholic Charities and the Evangelical Child and Family Agency in Wheaton found that they would no longer be able to continue playing a role in placing children in foster care because the state government was going to require them to place children in the homes of same-sex couples — a practice that both Roman Catholics and Evangelicals believe to be contrary to their faith.
Bil Keane, whose wholesome cartoon “Family Circus“ entertained and inspired generations of Americans looking for something positive, safe, and familiar in their daily newspaper, died November 8 at his home near Phoenix. He was 89.
Beginning in 1960, Keane drew the one-panel cartoon, carried today in nearly 1,500 newspapers, that featured cherubic siblings Billy, Jeffy, Dolly, and P.J., along with their patient and loving parents. The cartoon, which focused on mundane and familiar family settings and situations, was by far the tamest piece in the daily comics, entertaining readers “with a simple but sublime mix of humor and traditional family values,” reported the Associated Press. Keane told the AP in a 1995 interview that the cartoon’s popularity was tied to its consistency and simplicity. “It’s reassuring, I think, to the American public to see the same family,” he said.
Even though he kept up with the times, adding relevant pop culture references to keep the cartoon timely, “the context of his comic was timeless,” noted AP. “The ghost-like ‘Ida Know’ and ‘Not Me’ who deferred blame for household accidents were staples of the strip.” Other supporting cartoon cast members included the family’s pets, Barfy and Sam the dogs, along with Kittycat.
“Anytime a parent has to bury a child is, in my opinion, the most stressful and excruciating experience a family can go through,” Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) told the Arizona Republic. Few would disagree. Many, however, would take issue with Tester’s proposed solution to the problem of giving parents “time to grieve and sort out what has happened without having to worry about losing their jobs.”
Tester’s motto apparently being “There oughta be a law against that,” his solution is to force employers to give parents time off after the death of a child. Thus, he has introduced the Parental Bereavement Act of 2011, which would amend the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 to mandate up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave — or, as Tester put it in a press release, “job-protected time-off” — for an employee who has just suffered the death of his child.
In 21st-century America, when one wants something, one does not try to persuade others to adopt his position. Instead, he turns to the government to impose his will on others. Therefore, when some of Tester’s constituents experienced the deaths of their children and thought they deserved more time off, they wrote to their Senator, prompting Tester to introduce his legislation. Similarly, thousands of people have signed an online petition urging Congress to pass Tester’s bill.
The debate over sex education in public schools has always been contentious, but the often-graphic new sex-ed curriculum being taught in New York City public schools — declared by even the New York Times to be in violation of parental rights — is raising the bar on some of that controversy.
The curriculum, designed by NYC school chancellor Dennis Walcott, was recommended for the school system’s new sex-education classes, which were mandated for the first time in nearly two decades.
Walcott said of the curriculum, “We have a responsibility to provide a variety of options to support our students, and sex education is one of them.”
The New York Times reports that the new mandate “is part of a broader strategy the Bloomberg administration announced last week to improve the lives of black and Latino teenagers. ... According to city statistics, those teenagers are far more likely than their white counterparts to have unplanned pregnancies and contract sexually transmitted diseases.”
Students from a public high school in Hartford, Connecticut, walked out on a school assembly after realizing that the play they were seeing had a homosexual theme and included a kiss between two boys. The play, entitled Zanna, Don’t, is a musical set in a universe where homosexuality is normal behavior, while heterosexuals must remain “in the closet” with their relationships. According to Baptist Press News, the play, which was produced by a local community theater and included high school and college actors, was performed for the student body at Hartford Public High School, “and kids weren’t given the option ahead of time not to watch it.”
Hartford Public High School is divided into four different academies based on student interests and aptitudes, and the play was performed for students in the “Nursing” and “Law and Government” academies. Adam Johnson, principal of the Law and Government school, told the Hartford Courant that he had no second thoughts about compelling the kids to see the salacious play. “This is as important of a topic to discuss as anything in math, anything in social studies,” he said. “I’m completely glad that we did it.” Similarly, while Nursing Academy principal David Chambers said he had considered sending a letter home allowing students to opt out of the objectionable play, he decided to forgo the courtesy to students and their parents because, he reasoned, as health care workers his students would be exposed to a wide variety of people.
It’s 1943 and you find yourself in Germany. A Nazi officer is pointing a gun at you and demanding that you hop on a bulldozer and use it to bury hundreds of Jewish families who have been shot and are piled up in a huge pit. But among the dead are some individuals who are still living, crying out for mercy. What would you do, knowing that if you refuse to bury these people alive you will be gunned down yourself?
This is one of the thought-provoking questions that noted Christian apologist Ray Comfort asks a group of “pro-choice” individuals in the new online video 180, a movie that many in the pro-life movement argue is poised to radically change the debate about abortion.
In the movie, Comfort subtly juxtaposes the Hitler-led horror known as the Holocaust — which, by some accounts, stole the lives of more than six million Jews — with America’s own abortion holocaust, that, conservatively, has claimed the lives of over 53 million unborn babies over the past 38 years.
The responses of the “pro-choice” individuals to the bulldozer question are varied. “I don’t know,” responds one lady with emotion.
The recently released movie The Big Year — featuring a cast of well-known faces and a number of poignant and also comical scenes — focuses on a group of bird-watchers who allow their pride to interfere with everything that's important in life. With a positive pro-family message and loads of humor, it's a family friendly film for audiences of all ages.
Kenny Bostick (Owen Wilson) is very proud of his “Big Year,” wherein he spotted 732 different species of birds — a record in birding history.
Naturally, other bird-watchers are trying to break such a coveted record, and Brad Harris (Jack Black) and Stu Preissler (Steve Martin) turn it into a fierce (and humorous) competition — at times even a contact sport.
Harris — gifted with the ability to recognize the species of any bird simply by its call — nevertheless does not have the financial means to be chasing his feathered friends across the globe; therefore, he must figure out an economical way to top Bostick's record.
Facing criticism from a prominent leader of the Roman Catholic Church because of the President’s unwillingness to uphold federal laws defending traditional marriage, the Obama administration appears bent on supporting same-sex unions — while simply ignoring both law and public opinion.
As reported for The New American on September 30, New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan took issue with President Obama’s unwillingness to uphold the 1996 “Defense of Marriage Act,” which was signed into law by President Clinton. Dolan’s September 26 talk —“The Ring Makes a Difference”— denounced Obama’s effort to "redefine" marriage through his support of “same-sex” unions, declaring Obama’s policy to be an “ominous threat to religious liberty.” As the Poughkeepsie Journal noted after Dolan’s speech:
Dolan said the defense of marriage was not simply a religious issue, but an American issue. He defined marriage as a "natural law" created by God for the purpose of procreating children.
"Anything that tampers with this natural law places the human race in peril," he said, addressing a crowd of about 800 people. …
Courageous is one of the few films to hit the big screen this year that's worth writing home about. Exploring the lives of four men that are impacted by tragedy, the movie deals with spirituality and faith, and tells a story that will likely remain with its viewers long after the final credits.
Courageous explores the paternal relationships of four unique families.
Police officer Adam Mitchell (Alex Kendrick) believes himself to be a good father because he provides for the physical needs of his wife and children, but thinks nothing of skipping out on a 5K father-son race, or declining an offer from his 9-year old daughter to dance together in a deserted parking lot. He seems to believe that because he works hard at his career, which supports his family, he has earned the right to neglect the emotional needs of his family.
Meanwhile, police officer Shane Fuller (Kevin Downes) struggles with maintaining a relationship with his son after his divorce, and finds it difficult to maintain monthly alimony. Rookie David Thompson (Ben Davies) does his best to keep the fact that he has a child hidden from the world, choosing instead to play the role of a carefree bachelor. Nathan Hayes (Ken Bevel) is another police officer who has made the conscious decision to support his family in a way his father never did, and is willing to meet that challenge each and every day.
For the so-called “old media,” it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Last week the Pew Research Center for The People and The Press released a survey whose results indicate that 43 percent of Americans now claim to get most of their news from Internet sources. This figure represents a record number of respondents citing the web as their primary provider of information on issues of national and international importance.
Television news is declining as Internet news is rising. The number of Americans polled by the Pew group that identified television as their first choice for news is at a record low. Sixty-six percent still claimed to look to TV for their news.
For 20 years the Pew organization has been asking Americans: “How do you get most of your news about national and international issues?”
According to a synopsis of the survey: