The City of New York Department of Education allows different sorts of groups to use school facilities for after-school activities. But is God allowed in any of those activities? Is God allowed at all on the campuses of New York City schools?
The Bronx Household of Faith outgrew its meeting places in private homes. It applied, in 1994, for the right to meet in Public School 15 in the Bronx for Sunday services. This started a long legal battle with the city, which just ended when the Supreme Court declined to review lower court decisions that had upheld the city of New York’s ban on the evangelical congregation using the school.
Ten years ago, it seemed the organization would win its fight. In a case in the Medford, New York School System, the Good News Club had won the right to use space in public school for after-hours activities even though prayer, Bible lessons, and scripture reading were included in those activities.
The Bronx Household of Faith could also take some heart from the fact that it was not the only religious organization that had been using school facilities. An estimated 60 churches in 2009 were using school facilities, and that number was growing. The city estimates that in the last school year 160 congregations used schools to meet. This is not free:
Is the political career of New York City Comptroller John Liu, until recently considered a rising superstar, headed for the dumpster? Knowledgeable political observers inside the city’s Chinatown say that Liu’s support from the Chinese-American and Asian-American communities has plummeted in the wake of his multiple recent scandals and that he is unlikely to recover. The New American reported in October (“Communist Ties and Donor Scandal Dog John Liu's NYC Mayoral Bid”) on Liu’s mounting troubles, which have since continued to multiply.
Liu’s latest blow came on December 5, when the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA), which carries considerable clout and prestige in Chinatown, cancelled Liu’s fundraising gala at the organization’s headquarters in Lower Manhattan, reportedly due to concerns that the event could jeopardize the organization’s tax-exempt status and embroil it in Liu’s burgeoning fundraising problems. Those problems include the indictment and arrest last month of a major Liu fundraiser, Xing Wu “Oliver” Pan, in an FBI sting, for allegedly soliciting illegal funds from a businessman to be funneled through several “straw donors,” in order to avoid individual legal limits on campaign donations. To make matters worse, it appears that the illegal donations were structured to maximize the amount that Liu would receive in public matching funds — courtesy of taxpayers.
As the battle over marriage heats up in the U.K., one national church has taken an official stand against equating homosexual partnerships with traditional marriage. In response to a government consultation with Scottish religious institutions as to whether homosexual marriage should be legalized, the Church of Scotland issued a statement declaring that it “cannot agree that the law in Scotland should be changed to allow same-sex marriage. The Government’s proposal fundamentally changes marriage as it is understood in our country and our culture — that it is a relationship between one man and one woman.”
In its statement the church pointed out that it “has always viewed marriage as being between one man and one woman. Scriptural references to marriage, whether literal or metaphorical, all operate under this understanding.” It warned that a redefinition of marriage to include same-sex partnerships “may have significant and, as yet, inadequately considered repercussions for our country, for the well-being of families, communities and individuals.”
In its 93-7 approval December 1 of the National Defense Authorization Act (S. 1867), the U.S. Senate took yet another step in the campaign to give practicing homosexuals full and open access to the U.S. military. The bill, which earlier received unanimous approval by the Democrat-led Senate Armed Services Committee, includes a provision that repeals Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) — a measure that bans soldiers from engaging in either sodomy or bestiality.
Specifically, Article 125 states: “(a) Any person subject to this chapter who engages in unnatural carnal copulation with another person of the same or opposite sex or with an animal is guilty of sodomy. Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the offense. (b) Any person found guilty of sodomy shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, told CNSNews.com that the vote to repeal this common sense law re-enforcing moral law in the military is a natural progression of the successful efforts by President Obama and congressional Democrats to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban of homosexuals in military service.
Confronting elements of President Obama’s healthcare legislation that are so fundamentally restrictive of religious freedom that Jesus “would not qualify as ‘religious,’” the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has been engaged in a protracted struggle to defend the integrity of Roman Catholic doctors in the face of a federal government seemingly bent on requiring them to act against their consciences. As a reward for their labors, House Minority Leader — and self-proclaimed “devout Catholic” — Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has belittled the bishops as nothing more than “lobbyists in Washington, D.C.”
As reported in late September for The New American, the USCCB objected to the law passed in March 2010 intended to socialize healthcare (legislation that is popularly known as “ObamaCare”) because it would require healthcare providers — including Roman Catholic hospitals and doctors — to provide birth control, abortifacient drugs, and abortions, even though providing birth control and performing abortions runs counter to Roman Catholic teaching. As noted in September, when the legislation was passed into law, it purportedly contained language specifically intended to serve as an exemption from requiring religious institutions to provide services that were fundamentally at odds with their principles.
The joys of Christmas do not include coping with crowds at shopping malls or wracking your brains trying to figure out what to get as a gift for someone who already seems to have everything.
Books are a way out of both situations. You don't even have to go to a bookstore, with books so readily available on-line. As for the person who seems to have everything, newly published books are among the things they probably don't always have.
One of the most enjoyable new books I read this year was a biography titled Stan Musial: An American Life by George Vecsey. Musial was one of the great hitters in the history of baseball, with a lifetime batting average of .331.
This biography, however, is more about Musial the man, and the era in American life in which he lived, which makes it more three-dimensional. It is a good read, and may be especially appreciated by people old enough to remember that era and the values that prevailed in that era, which Musial exemplified.
The House Ethics Committee announced December 2 that it will extend its investigation into allegations that Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Ill.) or a surrogate offered to raise campaign funds for then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for President Obama’s former Senate seat. In a news release, Committee Chairman Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) and ranking member Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) disclosed that the committee will need more time to "gather additional information necessary to complete its review."
A newly released report, originally compiled in August 2009 by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) claims there is "probable cause" to affirm that Jackson "directed a third party" to raise money for Blagojevich in exchange for a Senate appointment, or knew his surrogate "would likely make such an offer." At least $1.5 million in campaign funding was reportedly offered.
There is "substantial reason to believe" Jackson usurped federal law by ordering his congressional staff to launch a "public campaign" to secure the appointment, the report noted. Further, the OCE report named businessman Raghuveer Nayak as a likely third party.
Five years ago Cross City, Florida, resident Joe Anderson decided to pay for and donate to Dixie County a granite monument that would make clear to future generations that America was founded upon the Judeo-Christian principles found in the Bible. Since 2006, the monument, which bears the Ten Commandments — along with the simple exhortation, “Love God and keep his commandments" — has stood silent witness in front of the court house in this tiny county in north central Florida. “I just thought it was a good thing to do,” Anderson recalled. “A simple thing to do.”
Anderson, however, did not count on the ACLU, which has made it a nearly exclusive campaign to denude the American landscape of all vestiges of its Judeo-Christian foundation. His “simple thing” has become a high-profile court case as the ACLU has demanded that the federal judiciary force the county to remove the monument. The secular group is supposedly acting on behalf of a non-resident who claimed to be offended by the display. “I never in my wildest dreams thought it would come to something like this,” said Anderson of the conflict over his humble testament to America’s Christian heritage.
In July a U.S. district court in Gainesville ordered the county to remove the monument, parroting the secularist argument that it violates the U.S. Constitution’s ban on the establishment of a religion by government.
After several delays Saturday afternoon, one-time “man to beat,” Herman Cain, indefinitely suspended his campaign for President. Cain resolutely made the announcement at a rally in Atlanta. He promised that he “would not go away,” despite his decision to withdraw from the GOP race for the White House.
There is no secret as to what brought the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO to this point. For weeks, the outspoken businessman turned presidential hopeful has been dogged by accusations of sexual harassment and (more recently) a long-term extramarital affair.
Wearing sunglasses and with his wife in the background, Herman Cain stood at a podium in front of a crowd of chanting supporters. The site of the appearance was that of the building that was to be his national campaign headquarters. Quieting the crowd, Cain spoke words whose tone and topic is one familiar to followers of presidential politics.
“As of today, with a lot of prayer and soul-searching, I am suspending my presidential campaign. Because of the continued distractions, the continued hurt caused on me and my family, not because we are not fighters. Not because I’m not a fighter.”
Ignoring protests from residents and a resolution from state legislators calling for the state’s seasonal celebratory tree to be called by its Christmas designation, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee insisted that the blue spruce that graces the Statehouse this year be referred to officially as a “Holiday Tree.”
According to the Associated Press, Chafee, who changed his party designation from Republican to Independent in 2007, said that eschewing the term “Christmas” is in line with the principles laid down by Rhode Island founder Roger Williams that the state would supposedly be a place where religion and government are to be kept separate.
“I’m just continuing what other governors have done,” Chafee told the Boston Herald after a ceremony dedicating a separate “holiday tree” to soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I just want to make sure I’m doing everything possible in this building to honor Roger Williams.” To be sure, noted the AP, Chafee’s immediate predecessor, Republican Governor Donald Carcieri, “used both holiday tree and Christmas tree in his correspondence. Other governors have made no specific reference to Christmas at all with invitations to ‘holiday celebrations’ featuring a ‘tree lighting.’"