New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has decided there will be no clergy presence at the upcoming ceremony observing the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center. “City Hall officials, who are coordinating the ceremony, confirmed that spiritual leaders will not participate this year — just as has been the case during past events marking the anniversary,” reported the Wall Street Journal. “The mayor has said he wants the upcoming event to strike a similar tone as previous ceremonies.”

Evelyn Erskine, a spokeswoman for the Mayor, told CNN that the ceremony “was designed in coordination with 9-11 families with a mixture of readings that are spiritual, historical, and personal in nature.” She added that “rather than have disagreements over which religious leaders participate, we would like to keep the focus of our commemoration ceremony on the family members of those who died.”
 

The persecution of Christians is the biggest untold story in the establishment media. Consider Iran, a nation that we fear because it may soon acquire nuclear weapons.   This fear is so strong in the school of popular punditry that strategic military strikes, embargoes and a host of other fairly dramatic remedies are seriously discussed.  But is not our true fear of Iran that it is a nation which is intolerant, warlike and barbaric?

We have lived for more than fifty years with Britain and France, which each has the power to destroy most major American cities on any given day. The Soviet Union and its offspring, the thuggish Russian nation, each have a vast nuclear arsenal, as does China, which bears us no goodwill. Israel, India, Pakistan, South Africa and probably a few other nations have nuclear capacity or could acquire it quickly. Our former Axis enemies — Germany, Japan and Italy — could all go nuclear fairly quickly, if they wished.  What is it about Iran that makes us sweat?

A group of nearly 2,000 conservative members of the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) met in Minneapolis August 24-25 to discuss how to move ahead in light of the denomination’s policy, begun in July, that allows open homosexuals to serve as clergy. The conference, organized under the umbrella of Presbyterians for Renewal, was called for those members “who are deeply troubled and whose integrity is deeply threatened by the move the denomination has made,” said the Rev. Paul Detterman, the group’s executive director.

As reported by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the meeting was convened by the “newly formed Fellowship of Presbyterians … to help churches opposed to the move find ways to work within or leave the Presbyterian Church USA.” The Rev. Jim Singleton, pastor of the nearly 4,000-member First Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, said of the conference: “With so many critical theological differences and a denomination that continues to decline, we have to ask ourselves, is there something else that God has for us?”

First there were efforts to compel Catholic hospitals to perform abortions. Now statists in some nations want to force priests to violate the confidentiality of confession for, ostensibly, the purpose of uncovering sexual abuse. Adam Shaw at American Thinker provides some background and then explains the recent proposals, writing:

[O]ne of the most important aspects of confession is what is known as the seal of confession. The seal means that the priest who hears confessions is bound by church law on pain of both mortal sin and latae sententiae excommunication (a type of excommunication that can be removed only by the Holy See) not to reveal by word or action any of your confession. This basically means that any priest revealing any part of any confession is essentially committing spiritual hara-kari [sic].

An Illinois judge has ruled that the state can end its relationship with Catholic adoption groups because of their refusal to place children with homosexual couples. Reuters News reported that charities connected with the Catholic dioceses of Springfield, Peoria, and Joliet had filed a lawsuit in June 2011 “to prevent Illinois from canceling their contracts to provide child services shortly after a state law took effect legalizing same-sex civil unions and after the Attorney General opened a probe into the groups’ policies.”

Reuters reported that over the past several decades, the Catholic adoption and foster care groups “have been part of a network of private child welfare agencies paid by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services [DCFS] to help find foster and adoptive homes for children in the state in need of temporary or permanent care.”

The owners of a bed and breakfast in Vermont are being sued by a lesbian couple and the ACLU for refusing to host the couple’s “wedding” reception at their facility. As reported by CNSNews.com, the lesbian couple, Kate Baker and Ming Linsley, plan to “marry” this autumn in Vermont, one of the handful of states that have legalized same-sex marriage. Nearly a year ago Ming’s mother, Channie Peters, contacted the Wildflower Inn about scheduling the couple’s reception there. But according to the ACLU, when she explained that the couple would consist of “two brides,” she received a subsequent e-mail from a planner at the inn, explaining: “After our conversation, I checked in with my innkeepers and unfortunately due to their personal feelings, they do not host gay receptions at our facility.” In July the ACLU took the case to the Vermont Superior Court, arguing that the inn’s policy excluding homosexuals violates the state’s human rights law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Declared the ACLU: “This case is about discrimination, pure and simple. When a business that is open to the public refuses to serve two people and their guests solely because the two people are a same sex couple, it is no different than restaurants not serving individuals because they were black, or other businesses keeping out women or Jews. It is discrimination and it is illegal.”

Only about one in seven obstetricians and gynecologists in the United States is willing to perform abortions, a new survey has found, down from the numbers claimed by a similar 2008 poll. LifeNews.com reported that the latest research, published in the September issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology medical journal, “finds 97 percent of physicians surveyed say they have encountered patients wanting an abortion while only 14 percent of doctors are willing to do an abortion. That’s lower than the 22 percent of doctors who said they would do an abortion in the last poll, from 2008.”

The nationwide survey of 1,144 ob-gyn physicians, conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago, found female doctors more inclined to perform abortions than their male colleagues (18.6 percent versus 10.6 percent). Regarding age demographics, physicians 35 and under were the age group most likely to perform abortions (22 percent), with those 56 to 65 right behind them, and doctors between the ages of 35 and 45 the least likely to offer the procedure.

Despite widespread media assertions that the Egyptian revolution was intended to bring about a democratic rule, there is increasing evidence to the contrary. The Muslim Brotherhood is urging officials to consider a ban — which would particularly target tourists — on skimpy bikinis and alcohol in the streets, regulations which closely resemble Sharia law.

Muhammad Saad Al-Katatny, secretary-general of Freedom and Justice, explains, "Beach tourism must take the values and norms of our society into account. We must place regulations on tourists wishing to visit Egypt, which we will announce in advance.”

The Media Line reports:

Egypt’s tourism industry has suffered a severe blow since the outburst of anti-regime demonstrations in January. But that did not stop the Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, from demanding stricter regulations over what tourists can do and wear while visiting the country. The party is urging officials to ban skimpy swimwear and the consumption of alcohol on Egyptian streets.

School reading lists have radically transformed in the last few decades. While students from a generation ago may have spent their summer vacations dipping into such classics as A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, the present crop of students is being assigned dark, graphic, and edgy reading such as Norwegian Wood and Tweak: Growing up on Methamphetamine — novels which feature homosexual orgies and lesbian sex.

Written by Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood is described by one reviewer as “a poignant story of one college student’s romantic coming of age.” A synopsis of the book explains:

 

The United States Department of Human Health Services seems to be pushing for the sexualization of young children. According to the HHS website, children are in fact “sexual beings.” This revelation comes around the same time as a group of psychologists are pushing to decriminalize pedophilia. The combination could prove to be a recipe for trouble and for the loss of childhood innocence.

In the “Questions and Answers About Sex” section of the HHS website’s “Quick Guide to Healthy Living,” children and infants are described as “sexual beings.” The site indicates:

Children are human beings and therefore sexual beings. It's hard for parents to acknowledge this, just as it's hard for kids to think of their parents as sexually active. But even infants have curiosity about their own bodies, which is healthy and normal.

According to the site, children engage in a variety of sexual behaviors:

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