Republicans emphatically approved a toughly worded party platform at their national convention Tuesday that would ban all abortions and gay marriages, strengthen Medicare, and cut taxes to energize the economy and create jobs, reports news.yahoo.com. The document opens by warning that while the American Dream has long been of equal opportunity for everyone, “Today that American Dream is at risk.” It pledges that the GOP will “begin anew, with profound changes in the way government operates; the way it budgets, taxes and regulates.” Both parties routinely approve platforms at their conventions every four years, meant to encapsulate their principles and goals. Much of their details are customarily ignored when it comes to actually governing. “This ambitious blueprint projects a sea change in the way that government works,” said Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who led the party’s platform committee. “It offers a solution for workers without jobs, families without savings and neighborhoods without hope.” Democrats lambasted the platform. In other news, the host committee for the Democratic National Convention is raising a number of eyebrows after choosing to proceed with featuring Islamic “Jumah” prayers for two hours on the Friday before its convention, though Democrats earlier denied a Catholic cardinal’s request to say a prayer at the same event, reports theblaze.com.
- The lower house of the California legislature has voted for a bill that would allow judges in the state to rule that children have more than two parents, reports The Christian Post. In a vote of 51 yeas to 26 nays, on Monday the California State Assembly passed Senate Bill 1476, which allows for children to have in legal terms more than two parents. SB 1476 was introduced by Democratic State Sen. Mark Leno of San Francisco in February. In May, it was passed in the State Senate with a vote of 24 to 13. “This bill would reaffirm a family court judge’s ability to recognize parent-child relationships based on the evidence and what is in the best interests of the child,” reads Leno’s Senate website. “The bill modernizes state law by giving courts the flexibility to protect children who have parent-child relationships with more than two people.” Ron Prentice, CEO for the California Family Council, told The Christian Post that SB 1476 was “part of the ongoing attempt by the homosexual caucus of California legislators to mandate the normalization of homosexual relationships, regardless of the effect on innocent children. If passed into law, this bill would force courts to include additional adults into ‘parentage’ decisions, permitting courts to consider any number of adults for primary care of a child,” said Prentice. “This bill threatens to displace biological parents at the discretion of a judge, and weakens the status of a biological parent in the life of a child.” Prentice told CP that he believed this was only another example of the California legislature passing bills against the traditional family unit. “The traditional structure of a family with a mom and a dad has been gravely harmed by years of pro-homosexual bills that have been signed into law,” said Prentice. “The common good for children and society—children raised by a mom and a dad—is being incrementally deconstructed in California law.” The legislation was supported by various gay rights groups including the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
- Out of England comes a miraculous story of a courageous mother, 41-year-old Jo Powell, who discovered a lump on her breast days after finding out she was pregnant with first child, reports lifenews.com. Powell refused to start treatment until later in her pregnancy so she would not harm or kill her unborn child. In similar cases, doctors suggest an abortion, but, as studies show, there is no need for women to destroy the life of their unborn child to save their own. The London Daily Mail reported that Powell defied doctors and refused to start the treatment until much later in her pregnancy in a gamble that could have cost her her life. Miraculously, she and her husband, Richard, are now celebrating with their young son, Jake, after being told that she has beaten the cancer. LifeNews notes that it had covered a collection of stories from The Lancet, a prominent British medical journal, showing pregnant women don’t need to have an abortion in order to get treatment for cancer. The information shows chemo treatment does not harm the unborn baby, and mothers can treat themselves for cancer without worrying about effects on the unborn child. Dr. Joel Brind, a Baruch College professor, says studies have shown that for decades. “Actually, this finding has been reported many times in the last 15 years,” Brind explained. “Unfortunately, many doctors still recommend abortion for women diagnosed with breast cancer while pregnant, so that they can treat the cancer more aggressively. This is despite worldwide research going back as far as the 1930s that shows that so-called ‘therapeutic abortion’ substantially shortens lifespan, whereas carrying the pregnancy to term makes long-term cure more likely,” he said. “Hopefully, the current report will be yet another nail in the coffin of ‘therapeutic abortion,’” he told lifenews.com.
- The Planned Parenthood abortion business is facing a civil lawsuit from the mother of the 24-year-old woman who died after a botched legal abortion at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Chicago in July. Tonya Reaves died at Northwestern Memorial Hospital on July 20 after emergency medical personnel took her there from Planned Parenthood following a failed abortion. Dorsey Johns, Reaves’ mother, told a local CBS television station that planned Parenthood staff “carelessly performed” the elective abortion and “failed to properly monitor and assess her daughter’s condition after the procedure, according to the suit filed in Cook County Circuit Court.” The family is seeking at least $120,000 in the suit, including money to compensate Reaves’ 1-year old son, Alvin. Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation, responded to the lawsuit in comments to lifenews.com: “Lack of proper monitoring is a chronic problem in the abortion industry as a whole. Once abortion businesses get the money and kill the baby, they are essentially done with the woman. If she happens to have complications, they blame her,” he said. “Planned Parenthood and its abortionist need to be held fully accountable for the death of Reaves, because if they hadn’t botched the abortion in the first place or if they had properly monitored her and immediately called 911, Reaves’ little boy would still have a mommy today.”
- A federal judge has dismissed Wheaton College’s lawsuit against the Obama administration’s health care mandate, reports cbn.com. The mandate requires religious groups to provide contraception coverage in their health insurance plans, even if it violates their beliefs. The judge threw out Wheaton’s suit after the government altered an exemption to include the college. That exemption gives religious institutions one year to comply. The government said it will re-do the mandate to protect religious freedom before the exemption expires. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty represented Wheaton in the case. “The government has now re-written the ‘safe harbor’ guidelines three times in seven months, and is evidently in no hurry to defend the HHS (Health and Human Services) mandate in open court,” The Washington Examiner quoted Becket Fund General Counsel Kyle Duncan. “By moving the goalposts yet again, the government managed to get Wheaton’s lawsuit dismissed on purely technical grounds,” he said. “This leaves unresolved the question of religious liberty at the heart of the lawsuit.” Currently there are 24 lawsuits challenging the law’s constitutionality.
- Religious freedom will be a key issue in the election, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins has told csnsnews.com. “I see religious freedom as really a swirling storm, not unlike Isaac that’s been out here in the gulf,” Perkins said. “People are feeling the effects of it. They’re seeing it. The Republican Party platform addresses it. Of course, the president can’t address it, because he is the one who’s facilitating it with his mandate through his health care.” The Obama administration mandates that all employee-based insurance plans provide free abortifacients, sterilization, and contraception as part of the broader health care law. The rule, administered by the Department of Health and Human Services, violates of the conscience of many employers. There is an exemption for churches, but Christian-based hospitals, schools, and charities would still be required to provide the mandate. Opponents of the rule say this violates the First Amendment guarantee of religious freedom. Further, individual employers are suing on the basis that it violates their freedom of conscience. “We’ve got more companies filing suit against the administration over the health care mandate,” Perkins continued. “So it is a fundamental issue. People understand while they may not be solely focused on religious freedom, Americans understand the first freedom is a fundamental freedom upon which our other freedoms rest.” Perkins said that the election is remarkable based on its stark contrast. For example, the Democratic Party platform, for the first time, supported same-sex marriage in the platform to be adopted next week. Also, one of the convention speakers is Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the nation’s leading abortion provider. The organization has been under investigation by Congress and in several states. “The Republican Party has very strong language as it pertains to natural traditional marriage,” Perkins said. “The Democratic Party [is] going the way of a very small minority in this country in embracing same-sex marriage, which undermines the 32 states that have voted on this—the 30 states that have constitutional amendments. I think that’s in your face to those states that have constitutional amendments. You see on the life issue you have strong language in the Republican platform, probably, some of the strongest language we’ve seen from a conservative perspective and then the Democratic Party going the opposite direction, showcasing Planned Parenthood, an organization that’s been under a cloud of controversy,” he said.
- The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the original language of a ballot initiative that would amend the state’s constitution to define marriage as being between one man and one woman, reports The Christian Post. Hailed as a victory by the pro-amendment Minnesotans for Marriage, the court ruled in a four to two vote on Monday that Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie “erred and exceeded his authority” when retitling the ballot question. Ritchie had attempted to change the title of the ballot question from its original “Recognition of Marriage Solely Between One Man and One Woman” to “Limiting the Status of Marriage to Opposite Sex Couples.” “The Secretary of State exceeded his authority . . . when he provided titles different from those passed by the Legislature,” reads the court’s majority opinion. John Helmberger, chairman of Minnesota for Marriage, said in a statement that pro-amendment advocates were “thrilled” with the court’s decision. “Secretary’s actions were clearly politically motivated and designed to skew the outcome of the election against passage of the Marriage Amendment,” said Helmberger. “The issue before the people of Minnesota is whether we should preserve marriage as the union of one man and one woman, just as voters in 32 others states have done. The ballot title that the Legislature crafted, along with the wording of the question itself, make it clear to voters what the issue is all about.”
- The Minneapolis Special School District No. 1 must reinstate the Good News Club, sponsored by Child Evangelism Fellowship, in its after-school program, following a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit Thursday, reports ChristianNewsWire. The federal appeals court determined that the school district engaged in viewpoint discrimination when it ousted CEF for offering “enrichment programming from a religious perspective.” “We are extremely grateful for this decision and look forward to the opportunity of serving interested students at the Jenny Lind Elementary School,” said Tom Levanos, executive director of operations for CEF. This ruling overturned the decision by a lower court that misinterpreted the 2001 Supreme Court decision in Good News Club v. Milford Central School. The Supreme Court decision actually upheld the free speech rights of the Good News Club. According to the Court, “There is no logical difference in kind between the invocation of Christianity by the Club and the invocation of teamwork, loyalty, or patriotism by other associations to provide the foundations for their lessons.” Minneapolis Special School District No. 1 removed the GNC from its after-school program in 2009 based on the concerns of a newly hired site coordinator who overheard a prayer and reference to Jesus Christ during a GNC meeting. The GNC had been meeting at the school, after school hours, using the same activities of prayer, Bible lessons, and games, without objection since 2000. As a result of the school district’s decision, the attendance at the popular GNC plummeted from 47 students to five by 2010. Through the years, the number of court cases involving discrimination against GNCs has steadily decreased as the Supreme Court ruling has become more well-known, said Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, who represented CEF before the federal appeals court. Still, there are challenges each week that are resolved without litigation. Few of these challenges bear the marks of overt hostility towards religion. According to Staver, most cases are the result of misinformation about the First Amendment and are usually resolved without litigation. When litigation has been necessary, Liberty Counsel has won every case.
- Opponents of California’s Proposition 8 have filed a brief, urging the Supreme Court not to take the case, saying that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision should be allowed to stand, reports cnsnews.com. Proposition 8 was a 2008 ballot measure that banned gay marriage in California. The measure, which passed with majority support, was ruled unconstitutional by the 9th Circuit in February, ruling that a state could not deny gay couples the right to marry. If the Court does not take the case, the 9th Circuit’s ruling would stand and Proposition 8 would be struck down, making gay marriage legal in California again. It was originally made legal by the California State Supreme Court in May 2008.
- Missouri Baptist leaders and pastors have signed a document affirming their personal support for embattled Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin, saying they accept his apology and appreciate his “long-standing commitment” to social conservative causes, reports Baptist Press. The latest two polls show a deadlocked Senate race. One, conducted Aug. 27 and 28 of 829 likely voters by Wenzel Strategies for the Family Research Council, had Akin ahead, 45–42. Another poll, conducted Aug. 28 and 29 among 621 likely voters by Public Policy Polling, had McCaskill ahead, 45–44. Prior to Akin’s comments, the most recent poll had him up by 11. The document posted on Akin’s website said, “We the undersigned do hereby affirm/reaffirm our continued support of Congressman Todd Akin for the office of United States Senate.” “We know his character and his conservative convictions,” it said. “Furthermore, we accept fully his apology and his request for forgiveness. . . . We greatly appreciate his long-standing commitment to our God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and his proven record of defending life, traditional marriage, religious liberty, the Second Amendment, free enterprise, limited government, fiscal responsibility and a strong national defense.” Akin misspoke on the subject of abortion and rape. He subsequently apologized for the comment, saying, “It’s clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year.”