In a deep bow to the homosexual lobby, a small army of Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives has introduced legislation that would extend employee benefits to the same-sex partners of federal workers. Under H.R. 3485, homosexual partners of federal employees would be eligible for such benefits as retirement, life insurance, health insurance, workers compensation, and death benefits.
“The federal government must set an example as an equal opportunity employer,” the bill’s sponsor, lesbian Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) was quoted by The Hill as saying. “If we are to treat all federal employees fairly and recruit the best and the brightest to serve in government, we need this legislation.”
Predictably, among the bill’s co-sponsors were three other homosexual Democrats: David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Barney Frank (D-Mass.), and Jared Polis (D-Colo.). Also not surprisingly, Florida Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, added her signature to the bill’s sponsorship. The Hill reported that Ros-Lehtinen, “who has a transgendered daughter, has said recently that her views have evolved on gay and lesbian rights over the last several years. Earlier this year, Ros-Lehtinen supported a bill that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a law she voted for in 1996 under which the federal government defines marriage as between a man and a woman.”
Raise the issue of religious lobbying and the average American will immediately think of groups like the Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition, which enjoyed their heyday back in the 1980s and ’90s. But a new study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reveals that the number of religious — and anti-religious — groups pushing a plethora of values-based agendas has exploded over the past 40 years.
Those groups include such broadly focused entities as Focus on the Family (FOTF), the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, People for the American Way, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and the Family Research Council, as well as such special interest organizations as the American Life League, the National Right to Life Committee, Bread for the World, the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), and the National Organization for Marriage.
According to the Pew study, the number of groups “engaged in religious lobbying or religion-related advocacy in Washington, D.C., has increased roughly fivefold in the past four decades, from fewer than 40 in 1970 to more than 200 today.” The total of 212 organizations analyzed by Pew collectively employ at least 1,000 staff members and spend more than $390 million annually to influence Congress and other Beltway movers and shakers on some 300 policy issues. “Religious advocacy is now a permanent and sizable feature of the Washington scene,” said Allen Hertzke, a political scientist at the University of Oklahoma and lead author of the report.
Four months after several reports showed that Asian Muslim gangs in Britain had turned thousands of British girls into sex slaves and prostitutes, the government finally appears ready to act. London’s Daily Mail reported early this week that the country’s minister for children and families wants to crack down and put the sex slavers out of business.
Judge Roy Moore, the former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who was unseated eight years ago for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments display from the state’s Judicial Building, has launched a campaign to regain his position.
During a press conference November 22 on the steps of the Alabama Judicial Building, Moore said the time is right for a solidly conservative justice to lead the state’s judicial arm. “There is no question that I know this job,” he said, “and I believe the people of Alabama know exactly what I stand for.”
In announcing his candidacy, the 64-year-old Moore “pointed to his previous experience as chief justice, including keeping the courts open despite what he said were significant budget cuts,” reported the Associated Press. “He also said the court under his leadership effectively outlawed gambling machines in Alabama, ended an occupational tax in Montgomery County, and stopped a long-running school equity funding lawsuit.”
On Monday, November 21, I was chatting with a longtime acquaintance about the anniversary that would fall the next day, on November 22. On that date 48 years ago, John F. Kennedy was assassinated by ... well, there's the rub. For skeptics, the official version of Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone assassin still rings hollow.
But for some reason, my friend asked if I remembered Thanksgiving Day that year, 1963. I said the one thing I remembered on that Thanksgiving, the Thursday after the Friday assassination, was my aunt saying she had heard someone at work say we had nothing to be thankful for that Thanksgiving. I recall my aunt saying, rightly, that we still had much to be thankful for, the death of the President notwithstanding. For one thing, one President was dead and another had taken his place with no further bloodshed. No coup, no putsch, no riots, no soldiers in the street. Just President Johnson casting a pall of moral grayness over the landscape: "Let us continue."
But continue toward what? Within hours of Kennedy's assassination we had become a nation transformed, having been a people rather evenly divided about our President a mere thousand days after he had won — with the help of the posthumous vote in Illinois and elsewhere — one of the closest elections in history, to a nation united in the belief that the slain hero was well worthy of canonization and a place of honor on the church as well as the state calendar.
One of our local radio stations is already playing Christmas music full-time. It’s amazing how many songs have been written about Christmas. Most of them are secular, but the most common message they convey is one of family joy, of children and Santa Claus, of remembrance of all the Christmases we enjoyed in the past with loved ones who are no longer with us.
So despite the attempts by atheists to ban Christianity from American public life, particularly in the public schools, they cannot eradicate Christmas from family life, let alone the shopping malls. As anyone can see, Christmas has acquired great economic power. And that is because Christianity is at the foundation of our spiritual life and political system.
Secular humanism tries to give the impression that Christianity was just a passing phase in American history, and that our culture is advancing into a new secular religion more in keeping with modern values. But the humanist movement cannot remove the need in people’s lives for attachment to their Creator. In recent years we’ve seen a revival of religious fervor in America, particularly in the South where mega-churches have been built to accommodate the large numbers of people who need all the spiritual nourishment they can get.
My father once told me a story about when he was a boy. He said there was a certain man who every now and again would visit his family and give him 10 cents for an ice cream soda each time. Well, one day this fellow came ‘a callin’, but for some reason, on this occasion the dime wasn’t offered. Being a little tyke who had become accustomed to the gift, my dad asked, “Where’s my 10 cents?” He never got that dime again.
The man taught my father a moral lesson: Don’t develop a spirit of entitlement. It’s one that, lamentably, we so often forget to teach today.
G.K. Chesterton once said, “Thanks are the highest form of thought.” I do believe he was correct, but why exactly is this so? Let’s explore the mindset of gratitude.
An ungrateful heart is an ugly thing. Just think about a spoiled brat who throws a tantrum when not given something he really wants. Or think about people who grow up — but don’t grow out of that state. It may be that person for whom you do a favor who then can’t even manage a “thank you”; or someone who, even though you’ve done him innumerable good turns, won’t lift a finger to reciprocate when you’re in need. We also see this attitude in political protests such as the Occupy Wall Street movement; its members operate under an unabashed assumption that they have a right to the fruits of others’ labors. This, mind you, makes a perversion of charity. For charitable practice is only truly beautiful when the largesse is freely given — and gratefully accepted.
Catholics who believe the federal government should not be able to compel healthcare providers to perform abortions “have this conscience thing” that they really need to overcome, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told the Washington Post recently. Otherwise, she said, women “could die” from a lack of access to abortion services.
Pelosi made those remarks in response to a question from the Post concerning her comments on the Protect Life Act (H.R. 358), a bill that passed the House of Representatives in October. That bill was itself a response to an ObamaCare mandate “that would require all private health plans to cover sterilizations and contraceptives, including those that cause abortion, under the broad definition of ‘preventive services,’ ” explains former Colorado Rep. Bob Beauprez in a Townhall.com column. Beauprez continues:
The teen birth rate reached a historic low in 2010, and while abstinence proponents say the drop is encouraging, they note another CDC report that shows climbing rates of sexually transmitted disease among young people.
According to the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 34.3 births per 1,000 teenagers aged 15-19 in 2010, a drop of nine percent from the previous year and the lowest rate in nearly 70 years of data collection. Reported Reuters News of the CDC statistics: “The birth rate for teens has gone down for the last three years and in 17 out of the last 19 years… In 2010, birth rates also dropped to historic lows for mothers aged 10-14.”
“It was really a dramatic one-year decrease,” Bill Albert, spokesman for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, told Reuters, adding that teen pregnancy rates have dropped 44 percent since a 1991 high. “That is extraordinary progress on an issue that many consider intractable and inevitable.”
A new study by the Family Research Council has found that only 46 percent of children in the United States will reach the age of 17 living in intact homes with married biological parents.
The second annual Index of Family Belonging and Rejection, conducted by the FRC’s Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI), also found that high intact family rates and child poverty are inversely related, with states having high “family-belonging” indices also recording low child poverty rates, and vice versa. Additionally, researchers found a significant inverse relationship between intact, traditional families and teen pregnancy.
Dr. Pat Fagan, director of MARRI and one f the study’s authors, said that the latest research found “the family is hugely important in determining a child’s future success or failure. The report shows that states with higher rates of strong families have higher rates of high school graduation as well as higher average scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Family structure is actually more closely linked to educational outcomes than government spending.”