A man who can rightly be called an American hero was memorialized at the Coronado Naval Air Station Chapel in San Diego on Sept. 20, reports Baptist Press. Southern Baptist chaplains participated in the service for retired U.S. Navy SEAL Senior Chief Petty Officer Tyrone Woods, who died in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11. On a crystal-clear day, more than 600 people—family, friends and SEAL (Sea, Air and Land) shipmate—bid a final farewell to Woods, 41, a believer in Jesus Christ who was one of four Americans killed by terrorists suspected of coordinating the assault on the compound on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States. Woods, stationed at Benghazi with the State Department Diplomatic Security service, and fellow Navy SEAL Glen Doherty saved the lives of many U.S. personnel, according to the State Department. When the consulate came under attack, Woods and Doherty immediately took up defensive positions trying to protect U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the consulate compound. Woods was the father of three sons, Tyrone Jr., Hunter, and Kai, 3 months old. In addition to his wife and children of Henderson, Nev., Woods is survived by his mother, father, and one sister. Baptist chaplains Don Biadog Jr. and Scott Adams were among the officiates at Woods’ service. “We were privileged to participate in and witness a dignified celebration of the life of Tyrone Snowden Woods,” Biadog said. “He loved God and his country,” Biadog said of Woods, noting that Woods was raised by Bible-believing parents in Portland, Ore. “He served 20 years of honorable service in the U.S. Navy before joining State Department Diplomatic Security. As a Navy SEAL in 2005–06, Woods was awarded the Bronze Star with combat ‘V’ for valor in Iraq. He led 12 direct action raids and 10 reconnaissance missions leading to the capture of 34 enemy insurgents in the volatile Al Anbar province.” Woods also served with the U.S. State Department Diplomatic Security service in Latin America before his assignment in Libya. “Their heroism is extraordinary when you contemplate the odds they were facing,” Biadog said. “Woods and Doherty fought through the firefight, and yet they held their position providing time for the other consulate employees to be rescued. In about two to three hours, they held off the attackers under heavy and severe automatic weapons fire, including RPGs and mortar rounds hitting on their position around the consulate grounds. Eventually they were overwhelmed by a numerically superior force, certainly knowing they were going to lose their battle.”
- For more than a decade now—14 years to be exact—supporters of gay marriage have longed for that breakthrough win at the state level, where citizens go to the polls, and in the privacy of the voting booth actually endorse marriage for same-sex couples. But it has never happened—not in 1998 when nearly 70 percent of voters in Alaska and Hawaii affirmed traditional marriage, not in 2004 (Oregon) or 2006 (Wisconsin) when two left-leaning states did the same, and not since. Precisely 32 of 32 states that have put the issue on the ballot have voted to uphold marriage as between a man and a woman. That streak appears to be in serious jeopardy, reports Baptist Press. On Nov. 6, voters in three states—Maryland, Maine, and Washington—will decide whether to legalize gay marriage. A fourth state, Minnesota, will have a marriage amendment on the ballot to define marriage as between a man and a woman. All four states are “blue” states that tilt left politically. In three of the four states, opinion polls show supporters of gay marriage winning. That has energized gay marriage groups, although traditional groups quickly note that such surveys have a history of inaccuracy. In September 2008, a Field Poll showed California Proposition 8 losing 55-38; it passed two months later. Joseph Backholm, head of a Washington state group that is working to uphold traditional marriage there, says gay groups believe they are close to a historic win. “That’s the goal for them. They want to win Washington and then they want to win Oregon and then they want to win Idaho and Montana and California,” Backholm told Baptist Press. “This is not just about Washington. They are frustrated they have never won a ballot measure on this issue. They think if they can win one, then they will basically break people’s will and then they will win all of them.” The good news for traditionalists: after months of silence, their side now has TV ads explaining why marriage should remain between a man and a woman. Traditional groups in all four states say they will be greatly outspent, as they’ve been in nearly every similar vote to date. Even if they are outspent 4-to-1 or more, they can still win as long as their side gets out its message, said Derek McCoy, chairman of the Maryland Marriage Alliance. “We can take almost being outspent 5-to-1,” McCoy said, saying the crucial element is spreading the truth. “When people see our stuff, truth matters. When they start seeing truth, they get it.” Participation by churches, the groups say, is essential. “It is absolutely appropriate and legal for pastors to engage their congregations to make sure that they’re registered and to stand up for what is God’s model for marriage,” Protect Marriage Maine’s Carroll Conley told BP. “You can do this and do it lovingly. You are standing upon the very standard that Christ established.”
- Apparently President Barack Obama and his campaign believe the best way to recover from a poor debate performance against Mitt Romney last week is to rally the entire campaign behind the issue of abortion, reports lifenews.com: “Not only did Obama tout abortion at a campaign event in Virginia, but virtually every speaker at the event made abortion promotion the centerpiece of their message as they talked to a less-sizable-than-desired crowd. Democrats had one overarching message at a rally Friday: Barack Obama is for free contraception and abortion rights, and Mitt Romney isn’t. ‘This law has secured new access to preventive care like mammograms and cancer screenings with no copay, no deductible, no out-of-pocket cost for more than 20 million women,’ Obama said. ‘And now most health plans are beginning to cover the cost of contraceptive care, which is vital for women’s health. Doctors prescribe contraception not only for family planning, but as a way to reduce the risk of ovarian and other cancers. And it’s good for our health care system in general, because we know the overall cost of care is lower when women have access to contraceptive services.'”
- An ex-Muslim has come out sharing her story. Nonie Darwish, founder of Arabs for Israel, has told WorldNetDaily‘s Greg Corombos, of being born into a Muslim family in Egypt and being raised to hate Israel. “It is the total annihilation of Israel and the Jews,” she said. “This is what the center of the educational system in the whole Arab world is. We were taught Jerusalem is a Muslim city; Jews had nothing to do with it, and we have to liberate it. . . . There’s no acknowledgement that Jerusalem has any roots in Judaism or Christianity. There’s total denial of history.” Darwish said she only learned the truth after she came to America, because the Muslim world often filters and censors information. “I actually worked in censorship when I was a journalist in the Middle East,” she explained. “Information is totally filtered, and the propaganda, at the same time, is daily, very intense. Islam lives on propaganda and denies the truth.” She said any person who challenges the Muslim version of the truth is “immediately regarded as a traitor, and riots happen and this person’s life is threatened.” Darwish warned, “This is now coming to the West, this fear that I used to live in in the Muslim world—which was fear of speaking my mind, fear of saying the truth—is now following me to America. . . . My culture of origin is now infecting America with fear of speaking the truth. She continued, “Unfortunately, we have an administration now that is allowing this to happen and finding excuses for it. And that scares the hell out of me.” Darwish said she wants to see Arabs and Israelis living side by side in peace, but that cannot happen as long as “the number one enemy of Islam is the truth.” She explained that Muslims have failed to deal with reality for the past 1,400 years and have irrationally loathed the Jewish people since they rejected Muhammad in the seventh century. Darwish said President Obama’s Middle East policy is a failure and it has been proven by the events of the past three weeks. She said it is unthinkable that America’s consulate in Benghazi did not have enough security and that the Obama administration took 10 days to admit Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others were killed in a terrorist attack. Obama called the murders a “bump in the road,” and Darwish wants to know, “A bump in the road to what? The road to what?” She added, “The road in the Middle East is turning into hell. What road is he talking about? The Muslim Brotherhood already took over. Radical Islam and Shariah are being entrenched in the whole Middle East. The radical Islamist groups are ruling countries there now. They’re now ganging up to destroy Israel. They’re about to have nuclear weapons. We are in grave danger, and President Obama is talking about what? He’s talking about a road to destruction. . . . He thinks there is a road that will bring peace? What is he talking about?” Darwish slammed what she considers Obama’s habit of apologizing to Muslims and said it’s unclear why America should be apologizing. “We are giving them the impression that we are very weak, and we want to appease them,” she said. “We’re acting out of guilt for what?! We lost 3,000 citizens on 9/11, and we’re apologizing for what?” She said Obama’s United Nations speech scared her—especially his statement that “the future does not belong to those who slander of the prophet of Islam.” Darwish said no religion should be above criticism, and Obama’s language reminds her of the repression inside her native Egypt. She also said the lack of media scrutiny for Obama policies reminds her of how the governments often control the media in the Middle East. Finally, Darwish said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a “brave man” in his defiance toward the Iranian nuclear program, but she questioned whether Israel can successfully stop the program without any help from the United States. She said it may already be too late to prevent a nuclear Iran.
- Christian Coalition has announced that its voter guide is now available. The guide shows results of surveying candidates on the issues. Resource links are included for spreading the word via Facebook, Twitter, and Christian radio, as well as links to mass copying solutions. CC says that copies of the guide may be made by citizens to distribute to friends and family members, in churches, Christian bookstores, businesses, and Christian schools throughout one’s community.
- Tucked into the U.S. Supreme Court’s agenda this fall is a little-known case that could upend your ability to resell everything from your grandmother’s antique furniture to your iPhone 4, reports marketwatch.com. At issue in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons is the first-sale doctrine in copyright law, which allows you to buy and then sell things like electronics, books, artwork and furniture, as well as CDs and DVDs, without getting permission from the copyright holder of those products. A Supreme Court case could limit the resale of goods made overseas but sold in America. Under the doctrine, which the Supreme Court has recognized since 1908, you can resell your stuff without worry because the copyright holder only had control over the first sale. That’s being challenged now for products that are made abroad, and if the Supreme Court upholds an appellate court ruling, it would mean that the copyright holders of anything you own that has been made in China, Japan, or Europe, for example, would have to give you permission to sell it. “It means that it’s harder for consumers to buy used products and harder for them to sell them,” said Jonathan Band, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center, who filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of the American Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries and the Association for Research Libraries. “This has huge consumer impact on all consumer groups.”
- The Israeli air force shot down a drone after it crossed into southern Israel on Saturday, the military said, but it remained unclear where the aircraft had come from, reports Reuters. The drone was first spotted above the Mediterranean in the area of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip to the west of Israel, said military spokeswoman Avital Leibovich. It was kept under surveillance and followed by Israeli air force jets before it was shot down above a forest in an unpopulated area near the border with the occupied West Bank. Leibovich said it was shot down about 10 a.m., after it traveled east some 35 miles across Israel’s southern Negev desert. Defense Minister Ehud Barak praised the interception as “sharp and effective.” “We view with great severity the attempt to compromise Israeli air space and will consider our response in due course,” Barak said in a statement. Soldiers, assisted by helicopters, were searching the area for the remains of the drone, which security sources said most likely did not originate from the Gaza Strip.
- The City of Venice, Fla., has dropped its case against a family that was accused of having an unauthorized “house of worship” in their home, which the family says is just a weekly prayer gathering and Bible study. After a legal scuffle that lasted several months, Shane and Marlene Roessiger will be able to continue hosting weekly prayer meetings in their home without facing any penalties, reports The Christian Post. On Thursday, the Code Enforcement Board of the City of Venice voted 6-0 in favor of dropping the case at the advice of City Attorney Robert Anderson. “We applaud officials from the City of Venice for changing course in this matter,” Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, said in a statement. “PJI commits to protecting people of faith before local boards and in court who do nothing more than have small religious gatherings in the privacy of their own homes.”
- A gay pride parade that was scheduled to take place Oct. 6 in Belgrade, Serbia, was canceled after ultra-nationalists threatened the march following condemnation by the country’s Orthodox Church, reports The Christian Post. “Based on all security estimates and recommendations, the interior ministry made the decision that it is necessary to ban all gatherings announced for October 6, including the pride march, for the sake of citizens’ safety,” Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said. “This does not mean any withdrawal or capitulation,” Dacic added, insisting that the administration is not giving ground to the ultra-nationalists who said the parade would have been attacked. “However, it is estimated that at this moment public order could be seriously jeopardized, which could endanger the interests of citizens and the state,” the prime minister admitted. Orthodox Church Patriarch Irinej had called upon Dacic to ban the march just hours before the official announcement, not because of safety reasons but because he branded the gay pride parade as a “parade of shame”—the Orthodox Church views homosexuality as a sin, and has previously spoken out against gay-themed events in Serbia. This is the second annual gay pride parade in a row that has been banned in Serbia, after violent protests threatened last year’s event as well. Threatening messages had made rounds on the Internet and had been spray-painted around the city. The first and only gay pride parade in Serbia was held in 2010, but it resulted in riots with over 150 people injured. Same-sex marriage is illegal in Serbia, and there is no recognition of gay relationships under the law. Conservatives in the country have often attacked attempts to organize gay-themed events in the country.