To the voluminous body of evidence that the television and film industries are comprised of doctrinaire leftists determined to promote their political program via these media, we can now add Ben Shapiro’s recently released Prime Time Propaganda. This work is at once too long and too predictable, it is true. But in spite of its vices, it would be unfair to begrudge Shapiro the commendation for the service that he supplies — namely, a much needed reminder of the variety of typically subtle (and not-so-subtle) ways in which Hollywood routinely attempts to invite sympathy from consumers for causes that they would otherwise reject.
My intention here, however, is not to review Shapiro’s book. Rather, I wish to say a couple of things about the relationship between art and politics that he, among legions of others, addresses.
Liberal do-gooders don’t like it when their self-promoting benevolence gets mixed up with conservative Christian values. So when homosexual and abortion activists found out that Blake Mycoskie of TOMS Shoes, one of their favorite charities, had appeared at an event sponsored by Focus on the Family (FOTF) to discuss “faith in action,” they were furious. The TOMS charity, called One for One, is simple and effective. For every pair of TOMS shoes a customer purchases, the company gives a pair to a child in need. Since its founding TOMS has given over 1,000,000 pairs of shoes to needy children all over the world.
Such an impacting and compassionate effort sounds like a great fit for anyone wanting to make a difference in the world, including conservative Christians who embrace traditional family values, right? Wrong, according to those whose values tend more toward normalizing homosexual behavior and pushing abortion on demand.
Claiming allegiance to a "higher law than the law of the land," a town clerk in western New York has submitted her resignation rather than issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, as required by the Marriage Equality Act the New York Senate narrowly passed on June 24 at the urging of Governor Andrew Cuomo. The bill had previously won approval in the state Assembly and Cuomo immediately signed the bill into law, effective July 24. Laura Fotusky, the town clerk in Barker, notified town officials that she was resigning effective Friday, July 21, three days before the new law takes effect.
"I believe that there is a higher law than the law of the land. It is the law of God in the Bible. In Acts 5:29, it states, 'We ought to obey God rather than men,' " Fotusky said in a letter presented to Barker Town board on July 11. "The Bible clearly teaches that God created marriage between male and female as a divine gift that preserves families and cultures. Since I love and follow Him, I cannot put my signature on something that is against God." Fotusky wrote that she would be "compromising my moral conscience if I participated in the licensing procedure."
As the state of New York prepares to officially legalize homosexual marriage on July 24, at least one local government official has made the decision to put moral principle above political expediency. On July 11, Laura Fotusky, clerk in the Town of Barker in central New York, submitted her resignation to the town board, explaining that her Christian beliefs would not allow her to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, as her position would require. Municipal clerks in New York issue and sign marriage license, and under the state’s new same-sex marriage law, Fotusky would eventually have found herself faced with the dilemma of following the new mandate or obeying a higher authority.
In her letter of resignation Fotusky, who has served as the Town of Barker’s clerk since 2007, explained that she would be compromising her “moral conscience” if she were to administer marriage licenses to homosexual couples. “Therefore, I will be resigning as of July 21,” she wrote. “I wanted you to know my position as I understand the marriage law goes into effect on July 24. It has been a pleasure and privilege to serve as Barker Town Clerk.”
A conservative legal advocacy group has come to the rescue of a New Jersey man who was told by authorities in his community that he could not display a cross in his yard. In early July the Alliance Defense Fund sent a letter to officials in the township of Livingston asking them to cease from employing an ordinance prohibiting homeowner Patrick Racaniello from displaying crosses in various areas of his front yard. Local police had used the ordinance as justification for ordering Racaniello to remove a cross he was displaying on a tree in his front yard in celebration of Lent, after one of his neighbors had complained.
“It’s ridiculous to stop citizens from displaying a cross on their own property,” said ADF attorney Jonathan Scruggs, who is representing Racaniello. “The Constitution guarantees the right of Americans to express their religious beliefs in this fashion, and no local ordinance can trump that.” Scruggs noted that in the present case, “the ordinance itself doesn’t actually even prohibit these crosses. The law is being used in a vague fashion to stop him from doing what he wishes on his own private property.”
A significant change to the constitution of the liberal Presbyterian Church (USA) — (PCUSA) — took effect July 10 that allows practicing homosexuals to serve as clergy in the storied mainline denomination. Last year delegates to the PCUSA endorsed the change to drop the requirement, written in the church’s constitution, that church ministers live “in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness.” The change required approval by a majority of the church’s 173 regional presbyteries, which occurred in May of this year, with Minnesota’s Twin Cities district casting the deciding vote.
The change will still require the approval of individual presbyteries, and some districts have indicated that they will continue to prohibit openly homosexual ministers. As they have in other mainline denominations, homosexual activists have aggressively pushed for the PCUSA to endorse their lifestyle for the past decade or more, and more than 100 churches have left the denomination as it has increasingly compromised its scriptural position on sexuality.
Thirty percent of Americans believe that the Bible is the actual word of God, according to a recent Gallup survey. While nearly 50 percent agree that Scripture is “inspired” by God, only three in ten say that it should be interpreted literally. Another 17 percent say the Bible is merely an ancient book of stories recorded by man. According to Gallup, the view that the Bible is divinely inspired, but should not be taken literally, has been the most common opinion over the 40 years that the pollster has been querying Americans on the issue. Gallup noted that the “high point” in the number of Americans believing in the literal interpretation of Scripture was 40 percent in 1980 and 1984, with the low coming in 2001, when only 27 percent said they thought the Bible was the actual, literal word of God.
With an increase in a respondent’s education, and with a decrease in one’s church attendance, a literal interpretation of the Bible goes down, found the Gallup pollsters. “A majority, 54%, of those who attend religious services on a weekly basis believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible,” noted Gallup, “more than twice the percentage of those who attend church less often.”
Planned Parenthood is under attack again, this time from one of the nation’s leading pro-life legal groups, Americans United for Life (AUL). Following a study of more than 20 years of Planned Parenthood records, law enforcement reports, and other evidence, the AUL has released an intensive, 181-page report detailing what it charges are large-scale financial irregularities and circumvention of state laws committed by the nation’s leading abortion provider. During 2008-09 Planned Parenthood received more than $363 million in government contracts and grants, while its affiliates were responsible for performing more than 332,000 abortions.
“Americans United for Life is calling for a congressional investigation and hearings into the nation’s largest abortion provider,” announced AUL president Charmaine Yoest with the release of the study. “This report provides the intellectual foundation for an investigation of Planned Parenthood, as well as revealing gaps in the information available to the American taxpayer, who is forced to subsidize the politically powerful abortion industry.”
Delegates at the most recent national meeting of the United Church of Christ (UCC) agreed overwhelmingly July 4 to strike the term “heavenly Father” from the denomination’s constitutional definition of the local church. By a vote of 613 to 161, the delegates voted to change language in Article V of the church’s bylaws from describing a local church as composed of persons who believe in “God as heavenly Father” to those who believe in “the triune God” — thereby relieving UCC members of the responsibility of acknowledging God as masculine.
Explaining the change, which reflects a trend toward gender-neutralizing (and in some cases feminizing) God that has been in vogue throughout the denomination for years, UCC spokesperson Barb Powell told World Net Daily: “In the UCC, our language for God, Christ and the Holy Spirit ... is preferred to be more open for different expressions of the Trinity. Heavenly Father is just one vision.”
The RawStory.com headline blurted out a clear constitutional problem with the Michele Bachmann candidacy: "Bachmann pledges to ban ‘all forms of pornography.’" But the headline was a patent falsehood; Bachmann had pledged to do nothing of the sort.
In fact, Michele Bachmann had signed a pledge by the Iowa-based "The Family Leader," a socially conservative organization pushing candidates and pastors to sign its pledge: "The Marriage Vow: A Declaration of Dependence upon Marriage and Family." The pledge obligates signers to commit to:
Humane protection of women and the innocent fruit of conjugal intimacy — our next generation of American children — from human trafficking, sexual slavery, seduction into promiscuity, and all forms of pornography and prostitution, infanticide, abortion and other types of coercion or stolen innocence.