Thanks to an unnoticed provision legislators slipped into state law 20 years ago, almost two dozen union leaders in Chicago stand to walk off with a cool $56 million in pension money, the Chicago Tribune reported last week. But only if the Illinois legislature does not repeal the provision, detailed in a lengthy report the Tribune conducted with WGN-TV. Three of the union leaders may earn as much as $5 million.
No one seems to know, the Tribune reported, who tweaked state pension law to permit the looting. Or at least no one will accept responsibility.
An honors student at a Fort Worth, Texas, high school was sent to the principal’s office after he told a fellow student that he thought homosexuality is wrong. Fourteen-year-old Dakota Ary was in his German class “when the conversation shifted to religion and homosexuality in Germany,” reported Fox News. “At some point during the conversation, he turned to a friend and said that he was a Christian and ‘being a homosexual is wrong.’”
A short time later Dakota’s mother, Holly Pope, received a call from an assistant principal at Fort Worth’s Western Hills High School informing her that her son would be serving an “in-school suspension,” along with a two-day full suspension, for his offense. “Dakota is a very well-grounded 14-year-old,” Pope told Fox News, adding that her son is not only an honors student, but plays on the school’s football team and is involved in his church’s youth group. “He’s been in church his whole life and he’s been taught to stand up for what he believes,” she added.
Despite all the controversy surrounding what is usually referred to as the Ground Zero mosque, and the efforts put in place to halt the project in its tracks, the Islamic Cultural Center being constructed near the site of 9/11 attacks hosted a photograph exhibit on Wednesday.
While the entire Islamic Center is not complete yet, the Cultural Center opened its doors for its first exhibit, which featured pictures of New York children from a variety of backgrounds lining the walls of the building. The photographer for the exhibit is Danny Goldfield, a Jewish man who said he was inspired to create the exhibit by the story of Rana Sodhi, a Sikh from India whose brother was killed in a retaliatory hate crime just four days after 9/11.
The exhibit depicts children from 169 countries, and Goldfield said he hopes to find subjects representing 24 other countries to complete the project. Some of the photographs he has taken are currently being exhibited elsewhere.
Since France passed legislation earlier this year banning the Islamic burqas, or face-veils, from its streets, the law has engendered a wave of protest. Now, in a show of opposition against the ban, an Islamic Frenchwoman, Kenza Drider, has decided to launch a bid for the French presidency. “When a woman wants to maintain her freedom, she must be bold,” she asserted.
Drider declared her candidacy on Thursday in Meaux, a city outside of Paris which is run by conservative lawmaker Jean-Francois Cope, a leading advocate of the veil ban. Her announcement is not entirely surprising, as she has been an outspoken critic of the ban virtually since its inception. In May, she declared on a local media outlet, “I would rather go to prison than take off the face veil.”
Once again California has demonstrated why it is called the “Land Where Nothing Is Permitted.” A couple in San Juan Capistrano, a community in southern Orange County celebrated in song as the place to which the swallows return each March, has been fined $300 by the city for holding Bible studies and Christian get-togethers in their home. Ironically, the community was founded as a Christian mission in the 1700s, and is home to the oldest building still in use in California — a Catholic chapel where the mission’s founder, Father Junipero Serra, celebrated Mass.
According to the conservative news site The Blaze, city officials determined that Chuck and Stephanie Fromm were “in violation of municipal code 9-3.301, which prohibits ‘religious, fraternal or non-profit’ organizations in residential neighborhoods without a permit. Stephanie hosts a Wednesday Bible study that draws about 20 attendees, and Chuck holds a Sunday service that gets about 50.”
Although Mitt Romney has defended RomneyCare as a fitting solution to the medical insurance problem in Massachusetts, he has yet to face another issue which may very well be his Achilles' heel and make his nomination impossible. That is his support of gay marriage and the gay agenda in the schools of Massachusetts.
Amy Contrada, a conservative activist in Massachusetts, has written a 600-page book, Mitt Romney’s Deception, documenting the former Governor’s stealth support of gay rights and gay marriage. She shows how he has worked closely with gay activists and pro-gay rights advisors in his administration. She excoriates him for implementing the controversial gay marriage decision handed down by the Massachusetts Supreme Court, ignoring the call to remove the judges who voted for it.
Contrada carefully documents the pro-homosexual and pro-transgender actions of Romney’s Department of Social Services (DSS). But apparently this trend started before Romney became Governor, which will no doubt be his defense. Contrada writes:
The centuries-old ban on homosexuals in the U.S. military officially ended at 12:01 a.m., September 20, with celebration and jubilation in the “gay” community, and sadness among the millions of Americans who opposed the repeal as destructive to their nation’s defense and security.
“At a San Diego bar, current and former troops danced and counted down to midnight,” reported the Associated Press. “‘You are all heroes,’ Sean Sala, a former Navy operations specialist, said. ‘The days of your faces being blacked out on the news — no more.’”
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, when the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) became official, Air Force Staff Sergeant Jonathan Mills logged in to his Facebook page and posted this message for all to read: “I. Am. Gay. That is all…. as you were.” Mills later told the Times: “When I woke up this morning I felt extremely relieved and very free. Free to be able to live openly without worrying what I say or do will affect my career.”
A study at Baylor University shows that a large majority of Americans believe that “God has a plan,” and that idea influences their level of support for government programs. According to the researchers, the study should not come as a complete surprise, as the vast majority of Americans believe in the existence of a higher power.
The study includes a random sample of 1,714 adults, conducted for Baylor by the Gallup Organization during fall 2010. The authors write, “There are several core themes for this wave of the survey. These include health and religiosity, the relationship between entrepreneurship/work and religion, religion and the American ethos (individualism), as well as recurring themes such as religion and cultural issues (e.g. politics, same sex marriage).
When a woman in a Los Angeles, California neighborhood placed a two-story cross in her front yard, neighbors grew frustrated and called in city officials. Homeowner Laly Dobener said she put the religious symbol in her yard to express devotion to her Catholic faith. But according to neighbors’ complaints, the cross is an eyesore which attracts unwanted attention to their cul-de-sac and hurts their property values.
Laurie Beiner, a resident in the West Hills neighborhood, complained, “When you turn down our cul-de-sac, it looks like there is a church on our street.”
Others bemoan what they have called the “graphic nature” of the cross, as it is adorned with a crown of thorns and features drops of blood on each of its ends, where the hands and feet of Jesus would have been nailed. Atop the cross is a sign reading, “Jesus, I trust in you.”
Atheist Richard Dawkins has written a children's book, entitled The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True, which encourages the notions of atheism and evolution and describes Judeo-Christian beliefs as a myth. According to Dawkins, the work is intended for families to read together and “enjoy [his] take on the universe’s truths.”
Dawkins explains something of what motivated him to write the book:
I’ve had perfectly wonderful conversations with Anglican bishops, and I rather suspect if you asked in a candid moment, they’d say they don’t believe in the virgin birth. But for every one of them, four others would tell a child she’ll rot in hell for doubting.
NewScientist’s Andy Coghlan has this to say about the new book:
Dawkins has repackaged his passion for atheism — and for the capacity of science to deliver demonstrable truths about nature — in a book designed to appeal to teenagers. [...]