While police are still investigating the motive behind Friday’s shooting at a theater in Aurora, Colo., some Christians are convinced of the real source: evil, reports The Christian Post. “What happened up in Aurora . . . was the product of pure evil. It was the result of a depraved individual taking his free will to the extreme,” said Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, in a statement Friday. Dr. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, also pointed to the moral evil that humans are capable of. “The Fall released human moral evil into the cosmos, and every single human being is a sinner, tempted by a full range of sinfulness,” he wrote in a commentary. “We cannot afford to be shocked when humans commit grotesque moral evil. It tells us the truth about unbridled human sin.” Mike Huckabee, speaking on his Fox News show and reported on newsmax.com, said America doesn’t have a gun problem or crime problem but a “sin problem” and that while the Aurora movie massacre was a horrible incident that deserves the media coverage it’s getting, other daily American tragedies such as mass abortion, suicides, and other murders should receive more attention. James E. Holmes, 24, was taken into custody Friday after allegedly opening fire in a Century 16 movie theater during the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises, killing at least 12 people and injuring more than 50 others. Latimes.com reports that the suspect had been pursuing a doctorate in neuroscience at the University of Colorado-Denver Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora for a year, but had begun the process of withdrawing from the program last month. It took all of about 15 seconds for ABC to link the killer to a Jim Holmes who had a page on a Tea Party website, reports Tad Cronn in godfatherpolitics.com. The only information on the Tea Party Patriots page was that a Jim Holmes of Aurora had joined in January 2011. The man with the Tea Party page is actually James Michael Holmes, who is in his 50s. Tea Party Jim Holmes said he has now disconnected his phone because as soon as ABC identified him with the suspect, he began getting calls from liberals threatening him. ABC later apologized. “The mainstream media’s handling of this situation is reckless, bordering on journalistic malpractice,” Colorado Tea Party spokesman Jason Worley said Friday and reported by dailycaller.com. “I can’t help but wonder if the very common name had been listed somewhere on an Occupy [Wall Street] website if the media would have been as quick to beg the question.”
- The Enfield, Conn., school board has agreed to stop holding high school graduation ceremonies in a church, reports cnsnews.com and AP. The Enfield Board of Education voted Wednesday night to settle a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Connecticut, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State. The organizations sued the board in May 2010 for two students and three parents who objected to having graduations of Enfield and Fermi high schools at The First Cathedral in Bloomfield, about 15 miles southwest of Enfield. They argued graduations at the church, where banners read “Jesus Christ is Lord” and “I am GOD,” violated the First Amendment guarantees of religious freedom.
- Wheaton College filed a lawsuit last Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, alleging that the Department of Health and Human Services had violated its religious freedom and free speech, reports worldmag.com. “This insurance mandate is against our conscience and our Christian conviction,” said Philip Ryken, president of the school located in Wheaton, Ill. “We had no recourse but to file this suit.” The mandate “runs roughshod over Wheaton’s religious beliefs, and the beliefs of millions of other Americans, by forcing it to provide health insurance coverage for abortifacient drugs and related education and counseling,” the lawsuit reads. Wheaton, which was founded in 1860 and is one of the oldest evangelical schools in the country, is neither a church nor a seminary, so it would not qualify for the contraceptive mandate’s narrow religious exemption. The college would have to provide full insurance coverage for all Food and Drug Administration–approved contraceptives, which include Plan B (the “morning-after” pill) and Ella (the “week-after” pill). In September 2011 Ryken began writing letters to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius objecting to the mandate. He said the college’s board made the decision to file a lawsuit in May, but wanted to wait until after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its healthcare decision to see whether that would resolve the issue.
- On a recent morning at San Francisco’s main public library, dozens of people sat and stood at computers, searching job-hunting sites, playing games, and watching music videos. And some looked at pictures of naked men and women in full view of passersby. The library has been stung by complaints about the content, including explicit pornography, that some people watch in front of others, reports nytimes.com. To address the issue, the library over the last six weeks has installed 18 computer monitors with plastic hoods so that only the person using the computer can see what is on the screen. “It’s for their privacy, and for ours,” said Michelle Jeffers, the library spokeswoman. The library will also soon post warnings on the screens of all its 240 computers to remind people to be sensitive to other patrons—a solution it prefers to filtering or censoring images. It is an issue playing out not just at libraries, but in cafes and gyms, on airplanes, trains, and highways, and just about any other place where the explosion of computers, tablets, and smartphones has given rise to a growing source of dispute: public displays of “mature content.” This is an era, after all, that celebrates people’s ability to watch what they want, when they want, says nytimes.com, but it also forces bystanders to choose whether to shrug, object, or avert their eyes. A bill is pending in the New Jersey legislature to criminalize the playing of obscene material in cars that could viewed by, and distract or offend, others on the road. State Sen. Anthony Bucco, who sponsored the bill, said people who view such videos in public “don’t care what anybody around them thinks.” Similar laws have passed in the last decade in Tennessee, Louisiana, and Virginia, and one failed last year in Pennsylvania, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
- Gay military personnel may wear their uniforms in San Diego’s LGBT Pride Festival and parade, the Pentagon said Thursday, according to latimes.com. An announcement from the office of the deputy assistant secretary of Defense said that wearing their uniforms is permitted, “provided service members participate in their personal capacity and ensure the adherence to military service standards of appearance and wear of the military uniform.” The decision marks the first time that gay personnel will be allowed to wear their uniforms in a gay parade.
- Democrats in Michigan are facing criticism from pro-life advocates for silencing a pro-life candidate wanting to participate in a candidate event, reports lifenews.com. On July 16, Right to Life of Michigan PAC-endorsed candidate Bob Costello was prevented from speaking at a forum for congressional candidates in the 14th Congressional District and was forced to leave the forum after attempting to speak. The forum was supposed to be an open forum for the Democratic congressional candidates of the 14th District, but Costello (who is one of the five Democratic candidates on the ballot) wasn’t invited. As RLM indicates, “Costello, a prolife Democrat, was one of four congressional candidates who attended the event even though he was threatened with arrest if he attempted to speak at this event by the president of the Grosse Pointe Democratic Club. Costello believes his pro-life beliefs were the reason he wasn’t invited to the event and was prevented from speaking. The main focus of Costello’s campaign is the protection of religious freedom which Obamacare’s HHS mandate violates by forcing religious institutions which operate schools and hospitals to violate their beliefs by providing coverage for services they object to. The other candidates who attended the forum (Gary Peters, Mary Waters and Brenda Lawrence) remained shamelessly silent as their co-candidate was prevented from speaking.” Costello has been very public with his opposition to the Obama HHS mandate.
- A large-city mayor is attacking a private business because it advocates morality. The mayor of Boston is vowing to block Chick-fil-A from opening a restaurant in the city after the company’s president spoke out publicly against gay marriage, reports Fox News. Mayor Thomas Menino told the Boston Herald on Thursday that he doesn’t want a business in the city “that discriminates against a population.” Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy had told Baptist Press that his privately owned company is “guilty as charged” in support of what he called the Biblical definition of the family. The fast-food chicken sandwich chain also said that it strives to “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect—regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.” Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A has more than 1,600 stores nationwide but just two in Massachusetts, both located in suburban malls.
- Grain prices are soaring as the Midwest corn belt suffers its worst drought since 1956, but that doesn’t mean grocery bills are about to jump, reports cattlenetwork.com. Easing costs of other commodities, hedging strategies aimed at keeping corn costs in line, and fears of turning off consumers in a weak economy should all keep packaged food companies from hiking prices, at least in the short term. “The spike is isolated, and thank goodness it is, because these companies have no room for pricing,” said Edward Jones analyst Jack Russo. Corn is a main ingredient for everything from livestock feed and sweetener to tortilla chips and bourbon. Corn futures have soared some 46 percent since early June as oppressive heat and the worsening drought stoke concern about food and fuel price inflation. Soybeans and wheat are also up dramatically. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said this week that rising prices would mean higher meat prices, though the inflation might be delayed as farmers cull their herds due to high feed costs.
- Giacomo, a commentator writing in godfatherpolitics.com, is decrying increasing vandalism in church buildings. Says Giacomo, “Since the first of the year, it seems that every week or so, I hear another report of a church building being vandalized, often stealing the copper coils from air condition units. One church had their air conditioning unit stripped of copper twice, they placed a security fence around the unit and installed a security camera. A couple weeks later, the camera recorded several young men using their truck and chains to yank the fence away, allowing the thieves access to once again destroy the air conditioning units. After the third time, the church said they could not afford another $30,000 repair bill so the unit was not repaired or replaced. It’s been in the 90s most of this summer with high humidity and high dew points, which is making services quite uncomfortable. All of this is a troubling sign of the moral decay of our nation. A very vocal minority has been allowed to force its anti-God agenda on the nation as a whole. God, Jesus, and the Bible have been removed from public schools and government buildings. High school students are not allowed to pray at football games; yet some of these same schools allow Muslim students to meet their mandatory prayer requirements during school hours. The result is a generation that not only doesn’t know God, but have no respect for person, property or anything once considered sacred, like church buildings. And why should they? They’ve been indoctrinated with the godless religion of evolution and taught that they are just another animal. Survival of the fittest is the rule of nature. The strong will survive while the weak will perish.”
- Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton is urging Israel to attack Iran in retaliation for the killing of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, saying the time has come for the Jewish state to quit threatening and take action. “This is obviously a very dangerous period for Israel with the civil war in Syria, refugees reported going across the border into Lebanon, and Hezbollah well armed with rockets on Israel’s northern border,” Bolton told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren Thursday night. “So I think if there were ever a time to retaliate, and directly against Iran this time, this is it.” American and Israeli officials on Thursday linked the suicide bomber who killed the Israeli tourists to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which is clearly backed by Iran, reports newsmax.com.
- Mitt Romney’s campaign kept up the drumbeat of criticism over President Obama’s “you didn’t build that” gaffe, releasing a scathing web ad in which a New Hampshire business owner says, “President Obama, you’re killing us out here.” The ad, released Thursday morning, sustains what has been a weeklong theme for the Romney campaign. Echoing the Republican candidate’s recent criticism on the stump, the video hammers Obama for suggesting that business owners owe their success to government, reports patriotupdate.com.