With pro-life Gov. Scott Walker signing the state budget into law in Wisconsin, reports LifeNews.com, the Badger State becomes the fourth to cut funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business, following decisions by Indiana, North Carolina, and Kansas to revoke funding entirely. The legislation redirects $1 million in state and federal family planning funds away from Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. In 2010 Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin received more than $18 million in federal and state family planning funds that it claims has reduced abortions. However, the abortion business did 5,439 abortions in 2009, a 56 percent increase from 2008. Wisconsin Right to Life praised Walker, with legislative director Susan Armacost saying, “Governor Walker and the state legislature acted courageously to protect Wisconsin taxpayers from having their tax dollars used to destroy human life. While there is more work to be done to protect taxpayers from paying for abortions, this state budget has greatly improved the situation. On behalf of Wisconsin Right to Life members and supporters throughout the state, we extend our heartfelt thanks to Governor Walker and the legislature.” Sen. Glenn Grothman (R) said he is glad Planned Parenthood is losing some of its taxpayer funding in Wisconsin, but he wants to see the de-funding effort move forward with eliminating all or most of the remaining $18 million Planned Parenthood receives annually. “There’s a very ugly side to this organization, and I regret that they’re going to take such a tiny cut in this budget,” Grothman said. Meanwhile, LifeNews.com notes that a Wisconsin pro-life group is urging pro-life voters in the state to pay attention to the recall elections and to support pro-life lawmakers because the results of the elections could affect abortion legislation. Wisconsin Right to Life informed its members that it is looking for volunteers to help the candidates subjected to recall elections by liberal activists and it says the recall elections “are really about the rights of the unborn.” The organization is concerned that the elections could result in handing pro-abortion Democrats control of the state Senate.
- With the recent airing of an al-Qaeda video that encourages Muslims to attack religious institutions, Christian churches are being warned, reports onenewsnow.com. In a video released by al-Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn, the American-born Muslim asks jihadists to quickly obtain guns and carry out terrorist attacks against the West. He states that Muslims are placed in the region to “do major damage to the enemies of Islam, waging war on their religion, sacred places, and things and brethren.” “That’s very troubling,” said Steve Amundson of the Florida Security Council. “Adam Gadhan lived here in Southern California for a number of years. He studied under Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi at the Islamic Center of Orange County, which is in Garden Grove.” Gadahn’s statements to U.S. Muslims follow the death of Osama bin Laden. In response, the Christian Emergency Network has issued a warning for churches in the United States, and Amundson advises Christians to stay alert. “Churches, just like everybody, I tell them to be vigilant; be aware of your surroundings,” he urges. “Don’t walk around like everything’s okay, because we’re in different times now, and it’s time for Americans to be vigilant, be aware, [and] be alert because something could happen.” Churches are also advised to have an emergency team ready and to regularly conduct emergency drills.
- The city of Chicago has dropped its case against a man who was charged with disorderly conduct for praying outside an abortion clinic. A clerk at the Cook County Court confirmed Wednesday that the case against Joe Holland, a 25-year-old graduate student had been dropped, FoxNews.com reported on Monday. “We are pleased that the City of Chicago has dismissed these false and baseless charges against Joe Holland,” his attorney, Thomas More Society Executive Director Peter Breen, told FoxNews.com. “The First Amendment protects prayer on a public sidewalk in Chicago the same as in any other city in the country.”
- Increased public statements against Christianity in Iran have intensified pressures on Christians, reports compassdirect.org, but at their core they reflect Islamic leaders’ dismay with the growth of house churches and may signal dissension within Iran’s leadership. “The reality is most of the house churches are so hidden that the government can’t do anything, and they know it,” said a regional expert who requested anonymity. “They just see how the house churches are still growing.” The source said that since mass arrests at the beginning of this year, Christians have been more cautious. Another Iranian Christian, a pastor, said the comments likely foretell more arrests. “I believe that a new wave of persecution is underway,” he said. “The authorities are in the process of evaluating the situation.”
- Days after New York legalized gay marriage, homosexual advocates are seeking to legalize same-sex marriage in New Jersey through the courts after it failed in the Legislature last year, reports The Christian Post. A New Jersey gay rights legal organization, representing seven same-sex couples, filed a lawsuit in state Superior Court Wednesday that would force the state to recognize gay marriage. The suit demands that same-sex partnerships be recognized as marriages, not civil unions. The filing comes on the heels of a gay marriage bill that was passed by the New York State Senate 33–29 and signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
- The number of same-sex couples living in Colorado has increased 60 percent over the past decade, about triple the growth rate of all households in the state, according to new census data released Wednesday and reported by The Denver Post. The census identifies couples as same-sex when a person describes her or his relationship with someone of the same gender, living in the same household, as either “husband/wife” or “unmarried partner.” Advocates attribute the increased count to growing social acceptance of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community.
- “Imagine how you would feel if you lost a loved one serving in the military. Your family has paid the ultimate price, protecting the freedoms that all Americans enjoy. And now friends and relatives have gathered at the ‘National Cemetery’ for a funeral service and to pay respects to the departed. However, nothing can proceed until the words of the memorial service have been screened and approved,” writes Mke Opelka of blaze.com. Earlier this year, the Veterans Affairs asked that all specific references to God be removed from the Memorial Day ceremonies slated to be held at the Houston cemetery. A judge granted a stay against the VA and the prayers were allowed to go on without government oversight or editing. But the battle continued, despite a clear warning from the bench: the judge warned the agency it had stepped too far, saying officials were essentially “decreeing how citizens honor their veterans.” Attorney Jeff Mateer represents the Liberty Institute; he says the cemetery director won’t allow the use of “God” or “Jesus” unless the family submits the prayer in writing for her approval. “In addition, director Arlene Ocasio has stated the National Memorial Ladies cannot tell families ‘God Bless,’ they cannot communicate in writing or orally,” says Mateer. “And that violates the U.S. Constitution.” The Liberty Institute has filed a formal complaint alleging “a widespread and consistent practice of discriminating against private religious speech” at the cemetery.
- When unveiling a proposal to reform Medicare alongside Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) warned that the entitlement program will eventually “go broke” and lead to a “fiscal disaster” for the United States, reports Vision to America. “Each Medicare enrollee will on the average take almost three times more out in Medicare benefits than they contribute in payroll taxes and premiums,” Lieberman said during a press conference at the Capitol on Tuesday. “That’s why we say that the status quo of Medicare is unsustainable. And what we mean is that if we do nothing, Medicare will go broke and take our government down with it.” Senators Coburn and Lieberman claim their proposal would save more than $600 billion over 10 years and reduce Medicare’s 75-year unfunded liabilities by about $10 trillion.