In an apparent effort to raise ratings on his obscure nightly TBS talk show, displaced comedian Conan O’Brien officiated November 4 at a same-sex wedding ceremony between O’Brien’s costume designer, Scott Cronick, and Cronick’s homosexual partner David Gorshein. The “wedding,” which was televised live at the end of a week of shows taped in New York City, had family members of both men crowded onstage to witness the supposedly Jewish-style ceremony.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, which covered the story as serious news, Gorshein waited underneath a traditional Jewish chuppah, while “Cronick walked down the aisle accompanied by his favorite celebrity, Andy Cohen of Bravo.”
After the pair exchanged vows of sorts, Conan declared officially (and to laughs from the studio audience), “By the power invested in me by the state of New York and the Universal Life Church, I now pronounce you husband and husband. You can kiss the groom.”
The quasi-comedy episode was topped of by the couple riding off-stage atop a buffalo, escorted by a Ted Turner look-alike — in a nod to the network creator’s current business enterprise.
Pro-life counselors on location at a Milwaukee area abortion clinic said they witnessed as a young girl was forced by a guardian and a clinic employee into the facility after the girl asked the counselors for help. As reported by LifeSite News, sidewalk counselor Tobey Neuberger “said the incident occurred just before 10 a.m. outside Affiliated Medical Services [located at 1428 N. Farwell Avenue, Milwaukee], where she and two other female pro-life counselors gave a ‘very young’ African-American girl literature as she entered the clinic, and told her that she could get more information at a pro-life center across the street.”
Days after news broke of Herman Cain’s alleged cases of sexual harassment, new updates continue to flood news outlets. The story began by revealing that during Cain’s tenure as president of the National Restaurant Association, he was accused of sexual harassment by two women. Following that story, however, other women came forward to make similar accusations against the GOP presidential contender. The latest woman to make such an accusation is Sharon Bialek, who is the first to voice her allegations publicly.
Communist China has long been seeking to increase its influence over the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa, whether through economic, industrial, diplomatic, or militaristic means, as part of its gambit for geopolitical dominance. Part of this overall mission has been the establishment of formal ties with various African nations, most of them impoverished and home to petty dictators, such as the beleaguered nation of Zambia, where concerns have been raised that China is engaged in widespread human rights abuses against Zambian copper mine workers, according to a report released last week from Human Rights Watch.
In a 122-page report, " 'You'll Be Fired If You Refuse': Labor Abuses in Zambia's Chinese State-owned Copper Mines," the international rights watchdog said that despite improvements in recent years, safety and labor conditions at Chinese-owned mines are worse than at other foreign-owned mines, and Chinese mine managers often violate government regulations in their treatment of Zambian workers. These violations include poor health and safety conditions, regular 12-hour and even 18-hour shifts involving arduous labor, and anti-union activities, all in violation of Zambia’s national laws or international labor standards. The four Chinese-run copper mining companies in Zambia are subsidiaries of China Non-Ferrous Metals Mining Corporation, a state-owned enterprise under the authority of China’s highest executive body. Copper mining is the lifeblood of the Zambian economy, contributing nearly 75 percent of the country’s exports and two-thirds of the central government revenue.
The House Ethics Committee announced Friday that it is launching a probe into whether Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.) required congressional aides to work on her 2010 reelection campaign on the government’s clock while using House resources. The ethics panel had voted unanimously Thursday to establish a special subcommittee to investigate the Congresswoman, who was already investigated last year by the panel for receiving preferential treatment from a bank on her foreclosed home in Sacramento.
A Baptist university in Georgia is receiving abundant media attention for a “Personal Lifestyle Statement“ it recently updated, that requires faculty and staff to adhere to a set of biblical standards that include shunning homosexual behavior. Employees have been told that they must either sign the statement as a pledge, or face termination. Shorter University, based in Rome, Georgia, and affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), “expects its staff to help it further its Christ-centered goals,” reported the Christian Post. “The school’s new motto, ‘Transforming Lives Through Christ,’ was also approved during the board of trustees meeting in addition to the lifestyle statement and a number of other related documents.”
The lifestyle statement emphasizes that the university is committed to hiring “committed Bible believing Christians, who are dedicated to integrating biblical faith in their classes and who are in agreement with the University Statement of Faith.” Within that context the statement requires staff to be “loyal to the mission of Shorter University as a Christ-centered institution affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention.”
It then specifies three behavior prohibitions, requiring staff to agree that they will not be involved in the use of illegal drugs; that they will abstain from the public use of alcohol; and, most significantly, that they will “reject as acceptable all sexual activity not in agreement with the Bible, including, but not limited to, premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality.”
Since its launch on YouTube on September 26, the pro-life documentary 180, produced by Christian apologist Ray Comfort, has gone “viral,” receiving nearly 1.4 million views in just a little over one month. The 30-minute video features man-on-the-street interviews in which Comfort manages to change the minds of several “pro-choice” young people as he confronts them with undeniable parallels between Hitler’s Holocaust, which claimed the lives of over six million Jews, and America’s own abortion holocaust, which has killed more than 53 million babies in nearly 40 years.
But the video, which is garnering attention worldwide for how effectively it reveals the murderous truth about abortion, is not only a YouTube phenomenon. Comfort said that his ministry is using it on college campuses, and pro-life activists have been purchasing DVDs to distribute to others. “It’s not only being watched online, people are buying it to give away,” Comfort said in a recent press release. “We have sold more than 150,000 copies in a matter of weeks. One small church purchased 16,800.”
In late October Comfort’s Living Waters ministry organized a one-day campaign during which volunteers distributed 200,000 DVDs of the video on more than 100 college campuses across the U.S. Comfort said the university giveaway “was very special because it put the physical DVD into the hands of the youth of America, and engaged many in healthy dialogue.”
Another Baptist college has caught the attention of the media for enforcing its stated lifestyle policy. A man who insists he has lived as a female since he was a toddler was expelled from California Baptist University in Riverside after he checked “female” as his gender on the school’s online application form. The school, which is associated with the Southern Baptist Convention, took the action after 24-year-old Domaine Javier, who looks like a woman, appeared on an MTV reality show and confessed that he is biologically male. According to the Riverside Press-Enterprise newspaper, letters Javier received from the university explained that he was expelled for “committing or attempting to engage in fraud, or concealing identity,” and for giving false or misleading information during the university’s investigation into the matter.
Javier told the newspaper that he has considered himself female since he was a young child, and felt that he was accurate in identifying himself as a woman. “I didn’t do anything wrong,” he said. “They said, ‘On your application form you put ‘female.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s how I see myself.’”
Javier, who was born in the Philippines, said that at 13 he decided to begin dressing and acting like a girl. He was valedictorian of his high school class, was selected homecoming queen at Riverside City College, and said that he had hoped to transfer to California Baptist University to study nursing.
The Supreme Court has declined to take up the appeal of a lower court ruling that bans crosses placed along Utah’s highways in honor of fallen state troopers. The justices ruled 8-1 on October 31 not to hear the appeal filed by Utah and a state troopers’ group that had wanted the court to overturn the decision and give more leeway on the display of religious symbols on public lands.
Reported the Associated Press: “Since 1998, the private Utah Highway Patrol Association has paid for and erected more than a dozen memorial crosses, most of them on state land. Texas-based American Atheists Inc. and three of its Utah members sued the state in 2005.” Two years later a federal court upheld the constitutionality of the crosses, but that ruling was later overturned by the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Denver.
In April the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) took up the case on behalf of Utah and the Highway Patrol Association, asking the Supreme Court to review the case. ADF Senior Counsel Byron Babione expressed his disappointment in the High Court’s refusal. “One atheist group’s agenda shouldn’t diminish the sacrifice made by highway patrol officers and their families,” he said. “Thirteen heroic men fell, leaving their survivors to mourn and memorialize their loved ones, and now those widows, children, parents, colleagues, and many more must suffer through losing the very memorials that honored those heroes. Justice is not well served when unhappy atheists can use the law to mow down memorial crosses and renew the suffering for the survivors.”
When word surfaced from Politico last Sunday of sexual harassment allegations against presidential contender Herman Cain dating back to the late 1990s, questions naturally arose as to the source of the leak. The fingers have pointed in a number of directions, most notably to two of Cain’s Republican rivals, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry.
And in the midst of questions of who is responsible for the breaking story, another female National Restaurant Association (NRA) employee has levied allegations against Cain, as have others not employed by the association.
On Sunday, Politico broke the story that during Cain’s 1996-99 stint as president and CEO of the NRA, he had been accused of sexual harassment by two different women. According to Politico, the two women ultimately left the NRA with financial settlements and signed agreements not to disclose any details regarding their departure. Politico reported today that one of the women received $45,000 (Cain had said she received three to six months of pay), while the other woman received $35,000 — equivalent to a year's worth of pay — according to a New York Times story earlier this week.
Cain’s campaign chief of staff Mark Block flatly accused Perry’s campaign of being the source behind the leaked information. In a town-hall meeting Wednesday night, Cain stated, “We’ve been able to trace it back to the Perry campaign that stirred this up in order to discredit me, my campaign, and slow us down.”