The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit on Tuesday unanimously upheld a lower court ruling enjoining the enforcement of an amendment to the Oklahoma state constitution that barred state courts from taking Sharia law into consideration when deciding cases. Although the measure received overwhelming support from the citizens of the Sooner State, it was immediately challenged in court by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
As Minnesota voters gear up to vote on a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as only between a man and a woman, the Catholic Church’s archbishop for Minneapolis and St. Paul has ordered priests in his diocese to show their support for the amendment effort — and the church’s stand on the institution of marriage, which they promised to defend when they were ordained — or remain silent.
According to the Progressive Catholic Voice, a blog that supports same-sex marriage, the letter from Archbishop John Niensedt was addressed to the priests and deacons of the archdiocese and was originally published in the Archdiocesan Updates newsletter.
In the epistle to his fellow priests, Niensedt, who has been a vocal supporter of the marriage amendment, wrote, “I do not believe it is an exaggeration to say that in this movement to protect and defend the definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman we are faced with one of the greatest challenges of our times.” He warned that the goal of those who oppose passage of the marriage amendment “is not just to secure certain benefits for a particular minority, but, I believe, to eliminate the need for marriage altogether.”
In what some legal analysts consider the most significant decision covering religious freedom in the last 20 years, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled January 11 that a religious organization has the right to fire an employee under the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s “ministerial exception” clause.
The Obama administration’s Justice Department has announced that it is expanding what it said is an outdated definition of rape found in the Uniform Crime Report, adding men as victims and stipulating that victims need not have physically resisted their attackers.
A Department of Justice press release, too graphic to quote verbatim, noted that the “longstanding, narrow definition of forcible rape, first established in 1927, is ‘the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will.’” That definition, the DOJ pointed out, excludes a whole host of crimes, including sexual violence of a victim by someone of the same sex, as well as “non-forcible rape.” The new definition, specified in the press release, spells out all of the options.
“These long overdue updates to the definition of rape will help ensure justice for those whose lives have been devastated by sexual violence and reflect the Department of Justice’s commitment to standing with rape victims,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “This new, more inclusive definition will provide us with a more accurate understanding of the scope and volume of these crimes.”
The more than 400 contestants in the Miss California USA and Miss Teen California USA state pageant "will emphasize individuality and push the envelope even further," says Keith Lewis, co-executive of the annual flesh flash. "This year's event will be bigger and reflect the progressive attitudes of the contestants."
Last week's column started off asking: "What human motivation gets the most wonderful things done?" The answer is that human greed is what gets wonderful things done. I wasn't talking about fraud, theft, dishonesty, special privileges from government or other forms of despicable behavior. I was talking about people trying to get as much as they can for themselves.
Think about greed and racial discrimination. In 1947, when the Brooklyn Dodgers hired Jackie Robinson, why did racial discrimination by major league teams begin to drop like a hot potato? It wasn't feelings of guilt by white owners, affirmative action, or anti-discrimination laws. It turned out that there was a huge pool of black baseball talent in the Negro leagues. It became too costly for teams to allow the Dodgers to gain a monopoly on this talent. Black players won the National League's Most Valuable Player award for seven consecutive seasons. Had other teams not stepped in to hire black players, allowing the Dodgers to hire them, it might have given the Dodgers a virtual monopoly on world championships.
During South Africa's apartheid era, whites were in control, both economically and politically, and enacted some of the harshest racially discriminatory employment laws. There were job reservation laws that reserved certain jobs for whites only. Many white employers went to considerable lengths to contravene and violate those laws. White building trade unions complained to the South African government that laws reserving skilled jobs for whites had broken down.
The "top one percent" of American earners, who have become heated targets of Democrats, Occupy Wall Street protesters, and the Obama administration, is not limited to the isolated crowd of corporate executives who run America’s financial institutions; it also includes top executives in organizations such as Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), the "family planning" group responsible for the deaths of millions of unborn babies.
According to Planned Parenthood’s 2009-2010 annual report, the abortion business is booming, as the release shows the organization administering 329,455 abortions last year. These operations, along with other services the organization provides, have delivered PPFA more than a billion dollars in total net assets, a new record high.
However, spikes in business profits have not been the only contributors to the group’s 2010 financial boon, but also the millions of dollars in government funding it harvests every year. "Planned Parenthood received $487.4 million in government money in 2010, a huge jump from the $363.2 million reported last year," reported LifeSiteNews. "At the same time, contributions to the organization from private sources dropped from $308.2 million the year before to $223.8 million, a fact that pro-life groups have pointed to as apparent evidence of declining support for the abortion giant."
As she heads into the last year of her tenure in the state of Washington, Democratic Governor Christine Gregoire has a handful of policy initiatives she would like to push through to pad her political legacy: balance the state’s budget, raise state revenues, create some jobs to help the economy, improve education. And force through a bill legalizing homosexual marriage.
After seven years of waffling and “vague answers” on the issue, the Roman Catholic Governor, whose stand on homosexual marriage is at odds with her church's teaching, announced on January 4 that “she not only supports allowing gays and lesbians to marry, but will propose legislation to legalize it in Washington state,” reported the Seattle Times.
“Our gay and lesbian families face the same hurdles as heterosexual families — making ends meet, choosing what school to send their kids to, finding someone to grow old with, standing in front of friends and family and making a lifetime commitment,” Gregoire said in announcing her decision to support legalizing homosexual marriage. “For all couples, a state marriage license is very important. It gives them the right to enter into a marriage contract in which their legal interests, and those of their children if any, are protected by well-established civil law.”
In what pro-family groups are calling the most important broadcast indecency case in over three decades, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments January 10 on the extent to which the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has the authority to implement rules concerning what is permissible on television, and to fine networks which push the boundaries. If the High Court rules against the tighter controls, as networks hope, nudity, immoral sexual content, and profanity will overwhelm the airwaves, the conservative watchdog groups warn.
At issue in the case, reported CNN, is whether or not the FCC “may constitutionally enforce its policies on ‘fleeting expletives’ and scenes of nudity on television programs, both live and scripted.” In the past the FCC has handed out hefty penalties to broadcasters for decency infractions.
Among the more notorious examples of on-air indecency which the federal agency has targeted is the now-legendary incident during the 2004 Super Bowl half-time show in which Janet Jackson “accidentally” exposed herself. Also cited are a 2003 episode of the police drama NYPD blue which included a scene with a naked woman; a pair of Fox-network-sponsored Billboard Music Awards shows in 2002 and 2003 during which producers failed to censor profanity uttered by singers Cher and Nicole Richie; and the 2003 televised Golden Globes awards show during which singer Bono dropped the “F-bomb” while giving an acceptance speech.
About 40 percent of all pregnancies in New York City end in abortion, according to the most recent statistics from the city’s health department. That makes the abortion rate of America’s largest city more than double the national average. According to NYC health department numbers, the lives of more than 83,000 babies were ended via the murderous procedure in 2010, although, surprisingly, that number was down by one percent from the city’s 2009 abortion statistics. But even more horrific was the news that 63 percent of teen mothers terminated their pregnancies with the help of an abortionist.
The latest tragic numbers, compiled by the pro-life Chiaroscuro Foundation, found the Bronx particularly devastated, with an astounding 48 percent of babies aborted in that borough in 2010. More shocking still were the 38,574 African-American pre-born babies who were slaughtered in the city during that time — 60 percent of the pregnancies in New York City’s African-American population.
“In parts of the city more than half of all pregnancies end in abortion,” said Greg Pfundstein, executive director of the Chiaroscuro Foundation. “This is very, very disturbing.”