The ACLU’s Nebraska franchise is demanding that a school district in that state put a stop to prayer at its high school graduation, even though the ceremony is sponsored and run privately by parents. Ten years ago the ACLU targeted Lakeview High School in Columbus, Nebraska, for its graduation prayer, arguing that the practice violates the U.S. Constitution’s supposed separation of church and state. To appease the secular watchdog group, the school district spun off the graduation ceremony to parents, making the ceremony a private event at which they believed prayers would be beyond the ACLU’s self-commissioned purview.
But the ACLU called the move a sham, reported the Associated Press, and sent a letter of protest to the district charging that the private ceremony carries the implied endorsement of the district, and that the prayers are still illegal.
“The current ceremony coercively subjects students to religious messages as the price of attending high school commencement,” said ACLU spokesperson Amy Miller. “This leaves some students and their families feeling like second-class participants at their own graduation.”
An Iowa baker who declined to bake a wedding cake ordered by two women after she discovered it was meant for their lesbian “wedding” is being boycotted by homosexual activists, and may face legal action for discrimination. As reported by FOX News, “Victoria Childress, the owner of Victoria’s Cake Cottage in Des Moines, has been accused of being anti-gay, homophobic, and a bigot after she refused to make a cake for Trina Vodraska and Janelle Sievers.” Childress said that she baked five sample cakes for the couple to try before discovering that they were homosexual partners. “She introduced herself, and I said, ‘Is this your sister?’” Childress recalled of an encounter with one of the women. “She said, ‘No. This is my partner.’ ”
When Childress realized that the cake was meant for a same-sex “wedding” celebration, she graciously told the women she would not be able to serve them, citing her Christian faith. “I was straight-forward with them and explained that I’m a Christian and that I have very strong convictions,” she told FOX. “I chose to be honest about it. They said they appreciated it and left. That was all that was said.”
However, instead of dropping the matter, the two women apparently alerted their homosexual activist network, which quickly organized a boycott of Childress’ business. The conflict also attracted the attention of Des Moines television station KCCI, which gave Trina Vodraska a platform to voice her anger at being snubbed by Childress. “It was degrading,” she told the television station. “It was like she chastised us for wanting to do business with her. I know Jesus loves me. I didn’t need her to tell me that. I didn’t go there for that. I just wanted to go there for a cake.”
This weekend, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 1, will premiere at a theater near you. The quirky fictional romance about an ordinary teenager named Bella Swan, who moves to Forks, Washington and falls for a vampire named Edward Cullen (who looks seventeen but was born in 1901), also features Jacob Black, a shape-shifting teen who can transform himself into a wolf and who loves Bella.
The hits just keep on coming from Occupy Wall Street. Since The New American last reported on the 204 crimes the nationwide OWS movement has been charged with committing, the movement has added another 50 or so to the list, including a rape in the city of Brotherly Love. As well, the death toll in or near the squalid OWS camps is now seven. Late last week, a man was found dead in his tent at the Occupy Salt Lake City protest.
Though the radical left, led by President Obama, has repeatedly said the OWS movement is merely a manifestation of the same concerns as the Tea Party Movement, the level of criminality and danger associated with the protests suggests otherwise.
During the defense of Bataan in 1942, an American chaplain, Fr. William T. Cummings, is reported to have declared, “There are no atheists in the foxholes.” But if one Army intelligence officer has his way, there will soon be chaplains to serve those atheists when they are not in foxholes. Capt. Ryan Jean is seeking to become a military chaplain who will serve his fellow atheists in the Army — an ironic course of action which raises fundamental questions about the role and purpose of the military chaplaincy.
According to a study published in the Journal of Religion and Health recently, regular attendance at religious services produces a more optimistic outlook on life and a reduced inclination to depression. Those respondents to the survey who attended religious services more than once a week in the prior month were 56 percent more likely to be above the median score on a measurement for optimism than those who had not attended religious services at all. Respondents who attended weekly religious services were 22 percent less likely to be depressed than those who did not attend religious services.
Not everyone agrees, however, about what exactly these numbers mean. Eliezer Schnall, an associate professor of clinical psychology at Yeshiva University in New York notes that: "There is a correlation, but that does not mean there is causality. One could argue people who are more optimistic may be drawn to religious services. The person who says, 'I guess if I go to services, that will make me more optimistic' -— while a possibility, that may not be true."
A 2008 study conducted by Schnall found that those who sent to religious services regularly had a 20 percent reduced risk of death over the period of the study and its follow up. Schnall again cautioned against reading too much into the study: "We're trying to connect the dots here. We know they're less likely to die, and health outcomes can be related to psychological factors."
According to an October 26 article by Anjana Ahuja of New Science magazine, "Israeli children with birth defects are increasingly suing the medical authorities for ever allowing them to be born."
In a story last week, LifeSiteNews noted,
While similar lawsuits in the United States and Canada are often brought by the parents of disabled children, it is common in Israel for the children themselves to demand compensation for the fact that they were not killed in-utero.
JBS CEO Art Thompson's weekly video news update for November 14-21, 2011.
Tens of thousands of Christians descended upon Detroit’s Ford Field, home of the NFL’s Detroit Lions, on November 11 and 12 to pray for the restoration of a city that has been decimated by poverty, crime, corruption, and hopelessness. Sponsored by The Call, a group of pastors, church leaders, and young people committed to praying for a spiritual transformation in America, The Call Detroit 11.11.11 gathered individuals, churches, and organizations from nearly every corner of Detroit to seek God’s mercy and ask for His blessing over the area. Promoted as a solemn assembly rather than a traditional Christian crusade, the event included no well-known speakers or Christian rock bands to entertain and inspire the crown that poured into the sports stadium. Instead, both national and local religious leaders led the assembled, along with tens of thousands more watching via the Internet, in 24 hours of fasting, worship, and prayer, including repentance for social ills like abortion, racism, and anti-Semitism, along with intercession for God to bring spiritual renewal both to the city and the nation.
“We are not just seeking to have a good gathering,” explained Lou Engle, founder of The Call. “We are trying to move heaven on behalf of a desperate situation in Detroit.
On The Call’s website, organizers explained the purpose of the event: “We will gather to this city that has become a microcosm of our national crisis — economic collapse, racial tension, and the shedding of innocent blood of our children in the streets and of our unborn.” As Engle told the crowd: “We need Jesus’ face to appear all across America”
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee overwhelming approved a bill that would overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the federal law that defines marriage for federal purposes as only between a man and a woman. The 10-8 vote in favor of the Respect for Marriage Act, sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), marks the first time a committee in either the Senate or the House has voted to repeal the 17-year-old law, and represents a major step toward federal approval of homosexual marriage.
“Because of DOMA, thousands of American families are now being treated unfairly by the federal government,” declared Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). “This unfairness must end.” But Republicans on the committee, reported Politico.com, “noting that the bill faces bleak prospects for passing the full Congress, said the measure was a waste of time and the matter should be left up to the states.” Thus far, Iowa, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, along with the District of Columbia, have passed state laws recognizing homosexual “marriage.”
Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, pointed out that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) would never allow the controversial bill to come to the Senate floor for a vote, given that the Democrats’ control of the Senate will be on the line in the 2012 elections. “Were he to schedule a vote on this bill before the next election, he would face a revolution in his own caucus,” Cornyn said.