A judge ruled Thursday that a group of cheerleaders fighting for the right to display Biblical-themed banners during high school football games in their small Texas community may continue to do so, at least until the battle goes to court next June, reports nbcnews.com. The cheerleaders in Kountze prompted a complaint to the school district in September when they rolled out banners with Scriptural references, such as “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me,” and “But thanks be to God which gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” A letter of complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation prompted Kountze Independent School District Superintendent Keven Weldon to bar the religious banners.
- In a case that demonstrates the gay agenda’s threat to small-business owners, a judge ruled the Christian owner of a bed and breakfast broke equality laws when she didn’t allow a gay couple to share a double bed, reports charismanews.com. Susanne Wilkinson, owner of the Swiss Bed and Breakfast, has been ordered to pay £3,600 (nearly $6,000) in damages for hurting the feelings of a homosexual couple, Michael Black and John Morgan. Wilkinson says she was trying to uphold her sincere beliefs about marriage at the bed and breakfast in Cookham, Berkshire. Although the judge believed she was genuine about her Christian beliefs—beliefs that had also caused her to stop unmarried heterosexual couples from sharing a double bed—he nevertheless ruled that the policy broke equality laws by discriminating directly against gays. The judge did, however, grant Wilkinson permission to appeal against the ruling. “Naturally, my husband and I are disappointed to have lost the case and to have been ordered to pay £3,600 in damages for injury to feelings. We have the option to appeal, and we will give that serious consideration,” she says. “We believe a person should be free to act upon their sincere beliefs about marriage under their own roof without living in fear of the law. Equality laws have gone too far when they start to intrude into a family home.” As she sees it, people’s beliefs about marriage are coming under increasing attack. She is concerned about people’s freedom to speak and act upon these beliefs. “I am a Christian, not just on a Sunday in church, but in every area of my life—as Jesus expects from his followers,” Wilkinson says. “That’s all I was trying to do and I think it’s quite wrong to punish me for that, especially after enduring over two years of vile abuse and threats. We find this a strange justice in a society that aspires to be increasingly tolerant.”
- A new exhibit is under construction in the Palm Plaza area of the Creation Museum, reports Answers in Genesis. The collection, which is sponsored by the Hobby Lobby chain of arts and crafts stores, features some of the manuscripts from the entire Green Collection, made up of more than 30,000 artifacts, including cuneiform tablets, Dead Sea Scrolls, unpublished papyri, and rare illuminated manuscripts. Additionally, the collection contains parts of the Gutenberg Bible, the Wycliffe Bible, and even tracts and Bibles of Martin Luther. A Bible museum will be opening in Washington, D.C., as a permanent home for the Green Collection.
- Planned Parenthood marks its 96th birthday this week, and one leading pro-life activist who has been a watchdog of the abortion business for decades estimates Planned Parenthood has denied 6 million unborn children birthdays of their own, reports lifenews.com. “In 2010, Planned Parenthood did 27 percent of all the abortions in the United States. It has ended the lives of over 6,000,000 human beings in its own facilities since 1970. And, during that same time, it collected over $6 billion in taxpayer money,” according to Jim Sedlak of American Life League. Sedlak says Planned Parenthood has a history of preying on Black Americans. “Planned Parenthood Federation of America dates its beginning to Oct. 16, 1916, when Margaret Sanger opened the nation’s first birth control clinic in Brooklyn, New York,” he explained.
- A federal appeals court ruled in favor of a Missouri town’s ordinance that restricts funeral picketing such as the controversial practice by Westboro Baptist Church, reports The Christian Post. For several years prior to Tuesday’s ruling, Westboro has been primarily protected in courts that cite the First Amendment. Eleven members of 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the city of Manchester’s law that basically bars protests at funerals was constitutional because it was narrowly written and offered picketers the opportunity to demonstrate in other ways, according to The Kansas City Star.
- A Montana school district has been ordered to pay $70,000 in attorneys fees for banning a valedictorian from speaking at her graduation, reports cbn.com. Former Butte High student Renee Griffith was told by the Butte School District in 2008 that she could not speak at her graduation because her speech contained religious references. The speech included the sentence, “I don’t let fear keep me from sharing Christ and his joy with those around me.” Griffith was told she had to remove the references to God and Christ because religious references were not allowed in graduation speeches. A lower court had ruled in favor of the school district. But the Montana Supreme Court overturned that ruling 6-1, saying the student’s free speech rights were violated.
- A new Gallup survey shows the LGBT community is only about 3.4 percent of the U.S. population—a much smaller percentage than that community typically claims. Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council, told OneNewsNow that Gallup touts the study as the largest ever on the topic. Sprigg says the findings reflect negatively on the homosexual activist propaganda machine. “It yet again debunks the myth of ten percent of the population being gay, which is the figure that’s traditionally been thrown around by people within the homosexual movement,” Sprigg noted. “Again, only about a third of that many actually identify that way.” A Gallup poll a year ago asked the general public to estimate the size of the LGBT community in the U.S., and they put it at 24.6 percent—about seven times more than the number reflected in the latest survey. The FRC senior fellow concludes that homosexual activists have done a good job at public relations. “They’ve done a spectacular PR job and propaganda job in terms of making it look as though homosexuality is pervasive when actually it’s quite a small population,” he stated.
- Media Research Center says its post-debate analysis confirms yet again that conservatives were denied an unbiased moderator in the latest head-to-head encounter between the two major-party presidential hopefuls. Analysis following the second presidential debate on Tuesday has some claiming Republican nominee Mitt Romney was not only up against President Barack Obama, but the moderator as well. Tim Graham with the Media Research Center accuses moderator Candy Crowley for siding with the president for much of the debate. Crowley, anchor of State of the Union with Candy Crowley and CNN’s chief political reporter, moderated Tuesday evening’s contentious presidential debate. For Graham, director of media analysis at MRC, the speculation Crowley would show favoritism toward President Obama was confirmed by the conclusion of the debate. “The low moment was her—quote, unquote—‘correcting’ Romney on the Libya matters,” he told One News Now. “And that’s exactly the kind of thing that make conservatives across America say, We’ve been denied a fair moderator yet again by the Commission on Presidential Debates.'” Graham explained that Crowley’s bias was further revealed in regard to the audience participants she selected and questions that were asked of the candidates. “We found the questions tilted two-to-one again—that there were six questions from the Obama agenda and three from Romney’s,” he explained. “This is the problem that we have: we get everyday Americans who stand up and ask for gun control, ask for amnesty in immigration, ask for feminist ideas about equal pay for women.” And it did not stop there, added Graham, who cited another question from the pro-Obama agenda. “The worst one of all of these questions was [asked by] the one who stood up and said [basically] ‘You’re too much like Bush, we don’t want more Bush.’ I don’t even understand how that’s an issue question.” The morning following the debate, Crowley defended her performance and spontaneous fact-checking on The View television program. The candidates also sparred over suggestions Romney made regarding a possible administration cover-up of events surrounding the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya. MRC believes Crowley took the president’s side in what it calls an example of “moderator malpractice.” MRC president Brent Bozell is demanding the national media investigate why Crowley was allowed to “validate [Obama’s lie] by certifying it as honest.” If such media follow-up does not happen, he says “they also will be guilty of enabling a massive cover-up.” Bozell added, “Crowley robbed tens of millions of Americans of the truth on national primetime television. Real journalists—who were fed the Obama administration’s Libya lies for two weeks—should be furious.”
- In contradiction to President Obama’s words of his “unwavering support” for religious liberty and the “right to worship,” his Department of Justice has decided not to support the right of religious groups to meet in empty public schools in New York City for their worship services, reports The Christian Post: “This decision is particularly surprising and disappointing because it reverses the support the DOJ has stated three times before in this case for the right of religious groups to meet in NYC public schools on the same terms and conditions that it allows other community groups to meet. This case has lasted 18 years. It centers on Bronx Household of Faith, a small evangelical Christian church meeting in a poor neighborhood, which has challenged a NYC public school rule that bans private worship services during nonschool hours. Right now, religious groups are meeting in the schools because of a lower court ruling striking down the policy. NYC appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which will hear the case Nov. 19. This will be the fifth time the appeals court has heard this case. In the past three appeals, the DOJ has filed friend of the court briefs strongly supporting the First Amendment rights of Bronx Household of Faith and other religious groups to meet in the schools. The DOJ has repeatedly agreed with Bronx Household of Faith that it is unconstitutional for NYC to single out religious worship services and exclude them from meeting in the 1,200 school buildings (which were used for 120,000 different meetings during the 2010–11 school year alone). However, with this appeal, President Obama’s leaders at the DOJ decided to break with the department’s repeated past support for equal access. And there is no explanation for this abrupt change of course.”
- A Venezuelan doctor says former Cuban leader Fidel Castro has suffered a stroke, leaving him in a “very close to a nuerovegetative state,” the Miami Herald reported Friday. “He suffered an embolic stroke and recognizes absolutely no one,” the physician, José Marquina, told the Herald, assuring that this was direct insider information. “The people with a condition of this nature have difficulty eating and, of course, they end up with total deficit in their neurologic capacities.” Castro has not been seen in public since March, during Pope Benedict XVI trip to Cuba. The doctor says due to Castro’s current state, it’s unlikely he’ll be seen again, though he could live for weeks, the Miami Herald reports. Castro, whose revolution seized power in Cuba in 1959, left office in 2006 due to a life-threatening intestinal condition. His younger brother, Raul, now serves as president.
- For the first time in 20 years, the number of violent crimes in the U.S. increased, up 18 percent from last year, a new report reveals, according to the Daily Mail. It was the first year-to-year increase for violent crime since 1993, marking the end of a long string of declines. Violent crime fell by 65 percent since 1993, from 16.8 million to 5.8 million last year. In addition, household burglaries rose 14 percent, from 3.2 million to 3.6 million. Similarly, the number of thefts jumped by 10 percent, from 11.6 million to 12.8 million. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics’ annual national crime victimization survey, the size of the percentage increases in both violent crime and property crime for last year was driven in large part by the historically low levels seen in 2010. The increase in violent crime was the result of an upward swing in assaults, which rose 22 percent, from 4 million in 2010 to 5 million last year.