As many as 100 high school students walked out of a national journalism conference after Dan Savage, an anti-bullying speaker, began cursing, attacked the Bible, and reportedly called those who refused to listen to his rant a filthy name, reports Fox News. Savage’s campaign has reached more than 40 million viewers, with contributors including President Obama and Hollywood stars. Savage was supposed to be delivering a speech about anti-bullying at the National High School Journalism Conference sponsored by the Journalism Education Association and the National Scholastic Press Association. But it turned into an episode of Christian-bashing. Rick Tuttle, the journalism advisor for Sutter Union High School in California, was among several thousand people in the audience. He said they thought the speech was one thing, but it turned into something else. “I thought this would be about anti-bullying,” Tuttle told Fox news. “It turned into a pointed attack on Christian beliefs.” Tuttle said a number of his students were offended by Savage’s remarks, and some decided to leave the auditorium. “It felt hostile as we were sitting in the audience—especially towards Christians who espouse beliefs that he was literally taking on.” Tuttle said the speech was laced with vulgarities and “sexual innuendo not appropriate for this age group.” At one point, he said Savage told the teenagers about how good his partner looked in a Speedo. The conservative website CitizenLink was the first to report about the controversy. They interviewed a 17-year-old girl student who walked out of the auditorium. “The first thing he told the audience was, ‘I hope you’re all using birth control,’” she told CitizenLink. “He said there are people using the Bible as an excuse for gay bullying, because it says in Leviticus and Romans that being gay is wrong. Right after that, he said we can ignore all the [expletive deleted] in the Bible.” As the teenagers were walking out, Tuttle said that Savage heckled them and called them a dirty name. “You can tell the Bible guys in the hall they can come back now because I’m done beating up the Bible,” Savage said as other students hollered and cheered.
- Attackers armed with bombs and guns opened fire at church services at a Nigerian university on Sunday, killing around 20 people as worshipers tried to flee, reports the AFP. Witnesses said the attackers arrived in a car and on two motorcycles, opening fire and throwing homemade bombs, causing a stampede. They said worshipers were gunned down as they sought to flee. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, although the attack was similar to others carried out by the Islamist group Boko Haram. In January, Boko Haram were responsible for attacks in Kano, the largest city in Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north, when coordinated bombings and shootings left at least 185 dead in the extremists’ deadliest attack yet. Boko Haram’s increasingly bloody insurgency has claimed more than 1,000 lives since mid-2009. Police and soldiers have often been the victims of such attacks, although Christians have been targeted as well. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and largest oil producer, is roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and a predominantly Christian south.
- While a group that opposes expressions of Christianity in public forums wants the IRS to use its formidable power to crack down on what pastors say, one legal foundation says, “Bring it on,” promising a “legal war” if churches are attacked on such issues, reports WorldNetDaily. The left-wing Americans United for the Separation of Church and State Executive Director Barry Lynn recently wrote a letter to the IRS demanding help in quashing the speech of a leader in the Roman Catholic Diocese in Peoria, Ill. The April 19 letter calls a recent homily given by Bishop Daniel Jenky a violation of IRS regulations relating to the tax-exempt status of the church, because Jenky cited atrocities of past governments, specifically naming Hitler and Stalin, and then cited the failings of the Obama administration. The homily was reprinted in the Catholic Post, and urged Catholics to stand by their religious convictions, even outside the walls of the church. “Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services, and health care,” he said. “In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama—with his radical, pro-abortion and extreme secularist agenda, now seems intent on following a similar path,” the homily says. Jenky included a dire prediction for the nation if Catholics don’t stand by their convictions. “This fall, every practicing Catholic must vote, and must vote their Catholic consciences, or by the following fall our Catholic schools, our Catholic hospitals, our Catholic Newman centers, all of our public ministries—only excepting our church buildings—could easily be shut down. Because no Catholic institution, under any circumstance, can ever cooperate with the intrinsic evil of killing innocent human life in the womb,” he said. He was opposing the Obamacare mandate that employers, including schools, hospitals and others, pay for abortions for employees. American’s United tells the IRS that this homily puts the Catholic bishop afoul of the law, and demands that an investigation of the priest be undertaken. But the Thomas More Society says that the law and the Bill of Rights is on the bishop’s side, and promises a “free and aggressive legal defense to any religious leaders targeted or victimized for the robust exercise of their free speech rights.”
- The University of Michigan is battling state lawmakers over the school’s controversial embryonic stem-cell research, reports onenewsnow.com. Lawmakers are demanding more accountability. Last month the state House’s subcommittee on higher education threatened to withhold $7 million in performance funds if the school refuses to be more forthcoming about its research involving embryonic stem cells. The higher education bills were passed by the House and Senate appropriations committees earlier this month. Dr. David Prentice of the Family Research Council says the school is more interested in federal funding. “They have done this to follow the recipe on how to get federal taxpayer funds,” he explains. “That was the whole point of going through this exercise.” But aside from upsetting conservative lawmakers, the FRC spokesman suggests the school may also be forcing some of its students to make uncomfortable ethical and moral choices. “To be able to get a grade, to be able to even graduate or continue any sort of degree program, some of these students may feel coerced to go along with this kind of research,” Prentice poses. A federal lawsuit has been filed to stop the Obama administration’s guidelines that allow taxpayer funds to be used for embryonic stem-cell research, a practice Congress has opposed for years. But as for the debate between the GOP and the University of Michigan, The Huffington Post that Gov. Rick Snyder (R) does not believe tying funding to disclosure of stem-cell research specifics is enforceable.
- One of the themes of Obama’s reelection strategy is to take credit for the death of Osama bin Laden, according to conservativebyte.com, even though the operations were conducted by the U.S. Navy Seal team, and the intelligence that lead to the successful operation was obtained while President Bush was still in office: “In fact, Obama was objecting to the very methods that produced the opportunity to get bin Laden. But now in a cynical campaign ploy Obama is having his Hollywood cohorts produce a major motion picture that . . . makes Obama look like a hero. . . . The film is set to be released this October, right before the election. This will allow all of the media to talk about this film while simultaneously promoting Obama’s reelection.” In other news, cowboybyte.com reports that Barack Obama has already held more re-election fund-raising events than every elected president since Richard Nixon combined, according to figures to be published in a new book. Obama is also the only president in the past 35 years to visit every electoral battleground state in his first year of office. The figures, contained a in a new book called The Rise of the President’s Permanent Campaign by Brendan J. Doherty, due to be published by University Press of Kansas in July, give statistical backing to the notion that Obama is more preoccupied with being re-elected than any other commander-in-chief of modern times.
- A four-decade tidal wave of Mexican immigration to the United States has receded, causing a historic shift in migration patterns as more Mexicans appear to be leaving the United States for Mexico than the other way around, according to a report from the Pew Hispanic Center and The Washington Post. It looks to be the first reversal in the trend since the Depression, and experts say that a declining Mexican birthrate and other factors may make it permanent. “I think the massive boom in Mexican immigration is over and I don’t think it will ever return to the numbers we saw in the 1990s and 2000s,” said Douglas Massey, a professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University and co-director of the Mexican Migration Project, which has been gathering data on the subject for 30 years. Nearly 1.4 million Mexicans moved from the United States to Mexico between 2005 and 2010, double the number who did so a decade earlier. The number of Mexicans who moved to the United States during that period fell to less than half of the 3 million who came between 1995 and 2000. According to the report, the Mexican-born population, which had been increasing since 1970, peaked at 12.6 million in 2007 and has dropped to 12 million since then. The reversal appears to be a result of tightened border controls, a weak U.S. job and housing construction market, a rise in deportations, and a decline in Mexican birthrates, said the study, which used U.S. and Mexican census figures and Mexican government surveys. Arrests of illegal immigrants trying to enter the United States have also dropped precipitously in recent years. Gustavo Velasquez, 38, who came from Oaxaca, Mexico, 12 years ago and serves as the director of the D.C. Office on Human Rights, said that the scarcity of U.S. jobs is causing more Mexicans to think twice about moving. It is better to be unemployed in Mexico than to be unemployed in the United States, he said, because most migrant workers leave their families in Mexico. “They miss the warmth of being in a welcoming community,” he said, adding that with tougher border control and more deportations, Mexicans would rather be in a “precarious situation than in a situation of fear.”
- A sign of crumbling social conditions in the U.S. is evidenced by the many examples of young children handcuffed and arrested by the police, reports endoftheamericandream.com, which specifically cited 10 recent examples. Included were three 9-year-olds recently arrested and handcuffed in a Baltimore elementary school for fighting, a 5-year-old boy at a public school in Stockton, California arrested by police and handcuffed with zip ties because he was committing battery on a police officer, and a 6-year-old girl in Florida who was handcuffed and sent to a mental institution for “throwing objects, hitting administration personnel and screaming uncontrollably.”
- President Barack Obama has lifted a ban on financial aid to the Palestinian Authority, reports Worthy News. An official with the U.S. Agency for International Development said Saturday that the money had been restored. Obama stated that the aid was “important to the security interests of the United States.” The U.S. Congress froze a $192 million aid package to the Palestinian Authority after its president, Mahmoud Abbas, defied U.S. pressure and sought to attain UN endorsement of Palestinian statehood last September. The presidential waiver means that aid can now be delivered. The unilateral statehood gambit was strongly opposed by Israel, which said Abbas was seeking to avoid negotiating the necessary compromises and modalities of statehood with Israel. The U.S. indicated it would veto a resolution in the Security Council seeking unilateral recognition of “Palestine,” but the issue has not come to a vote, because the Palestinians were unable to obtain sufficient support in the Security Council. They may yet seek a non-binding endorsement of statehood in the UN General Assembly.