A federal appeals court has determined a federal judge was right to throw out a lawsuit challenging President Barack Obama’s decision to force taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research, reports lifenews.com. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld a decision throwing out a lawsuit challenging the funding, which President George W. Bush stopped and which Obama allowed just months after entering office. The bringers of the lawsuit argued Obama’s executive order forcing taxpayer funding violated the 1996 Dickey-Wicker law that prohibits taxpayer of any scientific research that results in the destruction of human embryos, unborn children at their earliest days of life. A three-judge appeals court panel unanimously agreed with the lower court judge. According to an AP report, Chief Judge David B. Sentelle said “Dickey-Wicker permits federal funding of research projects that utilize already-derived” embryonic stem cells because no “human embryo or embryos are destroyed” in such projects. In August 2010, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth ruled that Obama executive order likely violates that law against federal funding of embryo destruction. But, in April 2011, a federal appeals court ruled Obama can force taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research that has never helped any patients. Responding to that decision, Judge Lamberth dismissed the lawsuit Boston adult stem cell researcher James Shirley filed saying the decision discriminates against researchers who don’t use embryonic stem cells. Lamberth said he is bound to follow the appeals court decision and had no choice but to dismiss the lawsuit. Dr. David Prentice, Family Research Council’s Senior Fellow for Life Sciences, made the following comments to LifeNews concerning today’s ruling: “We are disappointed that the Appeals Court panel did not agree that the Obama administration is violating the 1996 Dickey-Wicker amendment by providing taxpayer funding for human embryonic stem cell research. Embryonic stem cell research relies on the destruction of young human embryos, and that destruction is integral to the research.”
- In the ongoing backlash against Obamacare, two evangelical Christian colleges—Grace College and Seminary in Winona Lake, Ind., and Biola University in LaMirada, Calif.—have filed a federal lawsuit against the administration, reports charismanews.com. The lawsuit is the latest to challenge the Obama administration’s unconstitutional mandate that faith-based employers provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs at no cost to employees regardless of religious or moral objections. “Christian colleges should remain free to operate according to their deeply held beliefs. Punishing religious people and organizations for freely exercising their faith is an assault on our most fundamental American freedoms,” remarked Gregory S. Baylor, Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel. As Baylor sees it, the mandate leaves religious employers with no real choice: You must either comply and abandon your religious freedom and conscience, or resist and be taxed for your faith. He says every American should know that a government with the power to do this to anyone can do this—and worse—to everyone. “The Obama administration’s mandate forces us to act against our own doctrinal statement, which upholds the sanctity of human life,” said Biola University President Barry H. Corey. “It unjustly intrudes on our religious liberty as protected under the U.S. Constitution and makes a mockery of our attempts to live our lives according to our faith convictions, time-honored and long protected.”
- A small stone seal unearthed in Israel is likely the first archaeological evidence of the Old Testament judge Samson, say the codirectors of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Center for Archaeological Research. While not involved in the excavation that led to the discovery, center codirectors Daniel Warner and Dennis Cole said evidence characterizing the find makes it plausible that the seal supports a story of a young boy killing a lion with his bare hands, reports Baptist Press. About half an inch in diameter, the seal depicts a human figure—perhaps with long hair—fighting what appears to be a lion-like animal with a feline tail. The seal dates to the 12th century B.C. and was excavated at the Beth Shemesh site in the Judean Hills near Jerusalem. Archeologists found the seal with other items on the floor of an excavated house near the Sorek River, the ancient border between Israelite and Philistine territories. Seals were used in Biblical times by those of wealth and influence as proof of authenticity. “My initial assessment based upon what has been published to date would be that once again we have an artifact that does not contradict the Biblical text, but in fact affirms it,” said Warner, New Orleans Seminar associate professor of Old Testament and archaeology.
- A Vermont bed and breakfast has settled a lawsuit brought by the state’s Human Rights Commission and two women who wanted to have a same-sex wedding reception on the inn’s property, reports Baptist Press. The Wildflower Inn in Lyndonville agreed to pay $10,000 to the Vermont Human Rights Commission as a civil penalty for violating Vermont’s Fair Housing and Public Accommodations Act as well as $20,000 in a charitable trust to be controlled by the couple, the Burlington Free Press reported Aug. 23. “The Wildflower Inn has always served—and will continue to serve—everyone in our community. But no one can force us to abandon our deeply held beliefs about marriage,” owner Jim O’Reilly, a Catholic, said in a statement. “Our beliefs haven’t changed, but we do have lives to live, a family to love, a business to grow, and a community to serve. “Small businesses like ours cannot match the limitless resources of the government and the [American Civil Liberties Union],” O’Reilly said. “Ongoing litigation like this can cripple any small business and the livelihood of its owners, so we’re relieved to put this ordeal behind us.”
- America’s parents likely don’t need any evidence that television content is getting worse, but a new study shows there was a 407 percent increase in pixilated-type full nudity on broadcast television in the 2011–12 TV year, most of it occurring before 9 p.m. and little of it containing the appropriate warning, reports Baptist Press. The study by the Parents Television Council is but the latest one showing that television is only getting coarser. A 2010 PTC study showed that profanity on broadcast TV had increased by 69 percent from five years earlier. In light of the newest study Tim Winter, president of the Parents Television Council, sent a letter to members of the House of Representatives Aug. 20 asking them to “give the FCC your full support for decency enforcement.” He also asked them to urge the FCC to “move forward with all due haste in clearing the backlog of 1.6 million unadjudicated indecency complaints.” “Contrary to what executives from NBC, ABC, and CBS told you in 2004 and 2005,” Winter wrote, “and contrary to what attorneys for the networks recently argued before the Supreme Court, they are not acting in the public interest; they are aggressively pursuing a dangerous agenda to completely obliterate any remaining television taboos.” The PTC study did not include animated programs, traditional news shows, or sports and included scenes only in which the individuals were “completely unclothed.”
- Judging by the reaction to Todd Akin’s recent political gaffe, it’s apparent Democrats are more loyal to their own than are the Republicans, according to Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association, reports onenewsnow.com. “Akin should have just said: ‘I’ve been consistently pro-life over my career, and my view is that we should not punish the unborn baby for the sins of the father. Next question.’ Akin has been selected by the Republicans of Missouri to be their candidate. He has invested a year or two of his life working for this opportunity. To crush the man over a slip-up while speaking, when everyone reading this knows he did not mean to suggest rape was in any case ‘legitimate,’ is just plain wrong. Now, I do believe it is important to the goals of the Republican Party nationally to win this Senate race in Missouri—and according to some polls this has hurt Akin’s chances, at least in the short term. I believe if it becomes apparent that he can’t recover from this gaffe in the next ten days and another candidate of similar views would have a better chance of beating Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill, then he should remove himself from the race. But let it be for practical reasons rather than giving in to this irrational, immediate, unjust, extreme pressure that he is being subjected to right now. It’s a shame—but I guess in politics you are just one word away from finding out the friends you thought you had were really no friends at all.”
- Peter LaBarbera, director of Republicans for Family Values and pro-family activist, says it’s absolutely imperative that Republicans win the open Senate seat in Wisconsin, as a victory for the Democratic contender would bring the first openly lesbian candidate to the Senate in the U.S. When four-term Sen. Herb Kohl (D) announced last year that he would not seek re-election in , Wisconsin Democrats nominated Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin to succeed him. Baldwin was the first openly homosexual non-incumbent elected to the House of Representatives and has been an unabashed supporter of the radical homosexual agenda in Congress. He says Baldwin is as liberal as they come. “She’s a hardcore lesbian activist,” he told onenewsnow.com. “Tammy Baldwin represents everything that conservatives—conservative Christians, especially—oppose. And yet, here she is as the nominee now for the Democratic Party. It sure is a far cry from Harry Truman.” But LaBarbera is confident that the Republican nominee, former Gov. Tommy Thompson, can prevent Baldwin from being the first openly lesbian member of the U.S. Senate. “I think Tommy Thompson has a great chance to beat her,” he said. “I really don’t want Tammy Baldwin ever rising to become the first open lesbian senator in the U.S. Senate. There may have been others who weren’t open about it, but it’s just shocking that this radical left-winger is the standard bearer for the Democratic Party in Wisconsin.”
- According to the Independence Institute, more than 3,000 teachers have left Colorado’s largest teachers union over the past two years, and members are still dropping out, reports onenewsnow.com. Union representatives blame the state’s reduced funding for education, but Ben DeGrow of the Independence Institute says that the argument does not add up. He compares the membership decline to the number of teachers who have left the profession. “The state Department of Education reports the state has only lost about 1,000 teachers,” he notes. “So, three times more losses in membership than in decline in teachers—something more than budget cuts is going on.” DeGrow suggests that teachers are also put off by high dues and the union’s increasing involvement in partisan politics. “At least a significant amount of these membership losses are reflected in either teachers who can’t afford the dues and are finally looking for options that are more affordable, or they’re just taking the opportunity to express their disagreement with the union’s political philosophy,” he believes. Colorado is one of just a handful of states where teachers do not have to join or pay fees to a union, so the Independence Institute spokesman says it is easier for them to get out, if they so choose.
- Thirty-six Obama aides owe $833,000 in back taxes, reports cowboybyte.com. Previous reports have shown “how well-paid Obama’s White House staff is,” with 457 aides pulling down more than $37 million last year. That’s up seven workers and nearly $4 million from the last year of the Bush administration. Nearly one-third of Obama’s aides make more than $100,000 with 21 being paid the top White House salary of $172,200, each.
- Lao authorities have released four Christians, including two Thai citizens, who were detained in June after being caught explaining the Bible to at least one Lao man, reports Worthy Christian News. Thai Christians Jonasa Wiwatdamrong, 54, and his brother Phanthakorn, 40, were among those detained June 16 in the village of Luang Namtha Phone Sampan in the Long District of northern Luang Namtha province, explained Sirikoon Prasertsee, director of Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom. Britain-based advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide said in a statement that it learned Friday that the police released the four men after forcing them to “pay a small fine.” While there were no official charges brought against them, their supporters linked the six-week detention to their involvement in Bible study. Christian Solidarity Worldwide’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said that while his group “welcomes the release of these four men,” it remained concerned “that their arrest is part of a pattern of religious repression that continues to occur in many parts of the country.” He said that in Luang Namtha province alone, Christians in at least 15 villages have reported similar cases of harassment by the Lao authorities.