The joint study from two conservative groups, Liberty Institute and the Family Research Council, reveals proven hostility toward Christianity in the U.S., reports onenewsnow.com. Hundreds of incidents of hostility toward religion, most of which have occurred within the last 10 years, are being cited. As examples, a Christian couple was fired as apartment complex managers and forced to move because a painting with a Christian reference was displayed in their office, and a student was told he could not wear a T-shirt to school because of its Christian message. Liberty Institute attorney Justin Butterfield told OneNewsNow what his group hopes to accomplish with the study’s findings. “We want to raise awareness of the issue. A lot of people think that hostility because of people’s religious beliefs and attacks on religious liberty are things that happen elsewhere in the world, not in the United States,” he notes. “We just want to show that it actually happens with increasing and alarming regularity here in the United States.” Liberty Institute President Kelly Shackelford and FRC President Tony Perkins are presenting the study before the Republican Party Convention platform committee to raise that awareness. “It’s something that has gone under the radar, and we want to bring it up and point out that this is an issue and a concern that’s affecting more and more Americans each year,” Butterfield adds. The Liberty Institute further points out that religious liberty is “facing a relentless onslaught from well-funded and aggressive groups” who are using whatever means available to suppress or attack religious freedom.
- The head of a second Christian conservative organization said Friday she was told by authorities that a note containing her group’s contact information was found in the pocket of a man charged with opening fire at the Washington offices of another such group, wounding a security guard, reports The Washington Post and AP. Traditional Values Coalition President Andrea Lafferty said FBI agents visited her group’s Capitol Hill offices hours after the Wednesday morning shooting as part of their investigation. The next day, she said, members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force came by and confirmed that “our information was in his pocket,” including the location of the group’s offices. “I was stunned,” Lafferty told The Associated Press, adding that she believes her group may have been targeted. It wasn’t immediately clear if that was the case. An FBI representative could not be immediately reached for comment late Friday. The accused shooter, Floyd Lee Corkins II, of Herndon, Va., was ordered held without bond Thursday on accusations he opened fire in the lobby of the Family Research Council in downtown Washington. Corkins, whose parents said he strongly supported gay rights, had a backpack full of Chick-fil-A sandwiches and a box of ammunition when he said words to the effect of “I don’t like your politics” and shot a security guard, authorities said. The guard was shot in the left arm but nonetheless managed to help take down the gunman, preventing what the police said could have been a deadly attack. It wasn’t immediately clear why Corkins, 28, had the chicken sandwiches. Like the FRC, the Traditional Values Coalition has supported the president of Chick-Fil-A and his staunch opposition to same-sex marriage. FRC President Tony Perkins says the shooter was “given a license” to do so because of left-wing groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center that have labeled the FRC a “hate group,” according to CNS News.com. The SPLC has posted what it calls a “hate map” on its website that points to the FRC as a “hate” group located in Washington, D.C. The map and SPLC listing of “hate organizations” equate groups such as the Family Research Council, which promotes the traditional Christian view of marriage and sexuality, with racist groups that violate Christian teaching on human dignity.
- An abortion business in Knoxville, Tenn., is closing because it can’t comply with a law to ensure women receive emergency medical care in case an abortion goes wrong and their life and health are at risk, reports lifenews.com. Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life, said the closing is good news and it means the new law is working as intended—by ensuring that abortion practitioners who can’t admit patients victimized by botched abortions to a local hospital don’t do abortions in Tennessee. He said the law was approved by the state legislature based on concerns for the health and safety of the women considering or undergoing abortions. “Pro-life Tennesseans are extraordinarily grateful to our legislators for insuring that the most basic, common sense policies and protections are in place to safeguard the health and wellbeing of abortion-vulnerable women in our state,” added Karen Brukardt, longtime Legislative Liaison for Tennessee Right to Life. “It is common sense that abortion providers ought to have hospital admitting privileges so that when life-threatening complications arise, women have continuity of care from the physician most aware of her treatment, health and circumstances.” Meanwhile, a federal appeals court has upheld a Louisiana law that has been used to close abortion centers in the state that fail to comply with modest health and safety standards for women, reports lifenews.com. The Louisiana health department had been acting under a new law that gives it more authority to close abortion centers that violate state health and safety standards until a handful of abortion facilities filed a lawsuit against it.
- Homosexuals and transgendered people won’t get any special treatment in Jacksonville, Fla., reports charismanews.com. The Jacksonville City Council overwhelmingly rejected the controversial proposed -296 “non-discrimination” ordinance. Ordinance 296 created a new protected class and special rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered people and those of any “gender identity or expression.” “This is an extraordinary victory for the people of Jacksonville who rose up and made it clear they were not going to allow some secret council of elite powerbrokers or activists from outside Jacksonville to force extreme policies upon them,” said John Stemberger, president and general counsel of the Florida Family Policy Council. “I could not be more proud of the local residents who worked so hard to create a citywide movement to defeat this disaster of an ordinance.”
- In a case spotlighted as an example of “creeping Shariah” in the United States, attorneys for a Tulsa, Okla., police officer have asked for a summary judgment because a police official inside the department testified the officer was punished for exercising his rights, reports WorldNetDaily. The statement was included in a motion for summary judgment in the case brought by Capt. Paul Campbell Fields against the city of Tulsa, Chief Charles Jordan, and Deputy Chief Alvin Webster. Fields sued when he was punished with a two-week unpaid suspension and a demotion for refusing department orders to attend an event at an Islamic mosque in which officers observed Islamic worship services, heard an explanation of Islamic beliefs, and were proselytized. As a Christian, Fields believed the order violated his rights to freely exercise his own faith, but the department determined he was refusing a lawful order and punished him.
- A conservative pro-family group has begun a campaign to remove an Iowa Supreme Court activist justice from the bench, reports onenewsnow.com. Bob Vander Plaats heads The Family Leader, the group that announced the campaign. “His name is Justice David Wiggins, and he was part of the seven who went outside of his constitutional perimeters to enforce same-sex marriage on the state of Iowa, usurping the will of the people,” Vander Plaats told OneNewsNow. “And in 2010, as your [readers] will remember, we ousted three of those judges. He’s the fourth one that is up, and so we’re going to launch an effort to remove him as well.” The campaign is based on the removal process for Supreme Court justices. “Every eight years a Supreme Court justice comes up for retention, and the retention mechanism is the voice of the people determining if this particular judge should be retained or not,” The Family Leader president explains. After voters removed the first three judges two years ago, Vander Plaats called for the remaining four to resign, a request that was denied. He refers to that as “judicial arrogance,” suggesting “they are above and beyond the power of the people.” So the public will be given the opportunity to make the decision again in November.
- Four years ago things were much different. Rep. Arthur Davis represented an Alabama Congressional district and was a rising star in national Democratic politics. His abilities earned him the job of introducing then Sen. Barack Obama when he gave his acceptance at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. This year he is speaking at the Republican National Convention, reports The Christian Post. “How many of you believed, four years ago, that Barack Obama was not just a politician?” Davis asked a crowd in Arlington, Va., last Wednesday. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Davis was first elected to Congress in 2002. Soon after, he found himself a whip within the Democratic Caucus and had the responsibility of finding and grooming candidates in the Southern region. In 2010 he decided to seek the Democratic nomination for governor of Alabama but lost in the primary by over 20 points. One reason may have been that he voted against the president’s Affordable Healthcare Act because of the plan’s massive expense and intrusive nature. Fast forward to May 30 of this year when Davis announced he was leaving the Democratic Party and announced that he was now a Republican. As he wrote on his own blog, he never left the Democratic Party; they left him. And to bring Davis full-circle, on Thursday the Republican National Committee announced that he would be a “headliner” speaker at the party’s convention later this month in Tampa, Fla.
- A California-based attorney says a federal judge ruled according to the law in tossing out a case involving the FBI spying on Muslims, reports onenewsnow.com. Last year, Attorney General Eric Holder attempted to throw out the lawsuit, while the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and attorneys for Muslims hoped it would go forward. But U.S. District Court Judge Cormac Carney has thrown out the case. According to Carney, allowing the lawsuit to move forward would mean privileged secrets that compromise national security would be revealed. The federal judge says he reluctantly made his decision after reviewing declarations by the FBI. Karen Lugo, a constitutional law attorney in southern California, supports his ruling. “To rule out being able, when there is the decision to surveil [sic] within legal boundaries, but to surveil various activities relative to a mosque—he ruled according to what the law is,” she commented. “This was a matter of understanding that the FBI has to have some surveillance tools. And . . . the judge did not say this, but an empirical study that has been peer-reviewed has demonstrated that 70–80 percent of the mosques in the U.S. are radicalized.” A group of Orange County Muslims filed the class action lawsuit and said the FBI violated their constitutional rights by sending an undercover agent to spy on them. The FBI informant posed as a Muslim to gather information at mosques in the area.
- Newsweek magazine is targeting its latest controversial cover at the Obama administration, part of a devastating story written by esteemed British historian Niall Ferguson telling President Obama that it’s time to go and that the only team that can possibly turn the country around is the Romney-Ryan ticket, reports newsmax.com. “In his inaugural address, Obama promised ‘not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth.’” Ferguson writes in the cover story, “Hit the Road, Barack: Why We Need a New President.” “He promised to ‘build the roads and bridges, the electric grids, and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.’ He promised to ‘restore science to its rightful place and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost.’” wrote Ferguson. “And he promised to ‘transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age.’ Unfortunately the president’s scorecard on every single one of those bold pledges is pitiful.” “Welcome to Obama’s America: nearly half the population is not represented on a taxable return—almost exactly the same proportion that lives in a household where at least one member receives some type of government benefit,” Ferguson wrote. “We are becoming the 50–50 nation—half of us paying the taxes, the other half receiving the benefits.” In all, it’s an uncharacteristically conservative piece for the magazine, observes newsmax.com, which previously has had cover stories celebrating Obama as “the first gay president” for his stand on gay marriage, and has offered lengthy defenses for another four years. Since Tina Brown’s Daily Beast took over Newsweek, which recently said it will soon cease print publication, the magazine has been one of the most left-leaning publications in the country. In other news, politics and government professor at The Citadel Mallory Factor, author of Shadowbosses: Government Unions Control America and Rob Taxpayers Blind, a book set for publication this week, claims President Obama’s 2009 health care reform law was, in part, a union-driven effort to organize 21 million health care workers, reports dailycaller.com.
- The General Conference of the United Methodist Church has recently voted to stop guaranteeing continuous appointments to their ordained clergy, reports Christianity Today. Supporters say the move will allow churches to more easily remove ineffective clergy; opponents argue the practice protects clergy members.
- Canada’s largest Protestant church elected its first openly gay moderator at its 41st General Council on Thursday, notes Christianity Today. After nearly eight hours, the 350 voting members of the United Church of Canada selected Gary Paterson from a pool of 15 nominees, including three other openly gay candidates.When Paterson begins his three-year term as moderator on Aug. 18, he will become the first openly gay leader of a denomination.
- Mitt Romney attacked President Barack Obama Saturday over the future of Medicare in his first weekly podcast ahead of the November election, reports bighealthreport.com. In the address posted on his website, the GOP’s presidential candidate said Obama’s healthcare law had taken $716 billion from the fund to finance “his takeover of the healthcare system.” “Now if that wasn’t bad enough, his healthcare law also put in place a board of 15 unelected bureaucrats and gave them the power to make additional cuts to Medicare without even having to get approval from Congress,” he said.
- A first-of-its-kind state law that would restrict parents from trying to cure their minor children’s same-sex attractions seems headed to the governor’s desk, reports Fox News. If both state houses can agree on the final language, the legislation, which would ban all sexual orientation change effort treatment for minors, will be sent to Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature sometime in September. So far there has been no indication from his office on whether he will sign the bill into law. Whatever the governor does, he is said to be sure to face criticism. Backers see it as a civil rights issue, while critics say lawmakers are infringing on not only parents’ rights but also on the mission of mental health professionals. “[The law] unconstitutionally prohibits speech, . . . violates privacy and personal autonomy rights, intermeddles in theological disputes, clashes with other laws and creates significant unintended consequences,” Matt McReynolds, a staff attorney with Sacramento-based Pacific Justice Institute, said. “As long as this bill threatens to shame patients and silence counselors, therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists, we will vigorously oppose it,” McReynolds told Fox News. “We cannot afford to let the state invade the counseling room or doctor’s office to dictate what views on sexuality are acceptable and unacceptable.” Sponsored by a coalition of gay rights groups led by California Equality, the bill was introduced by State Sen. Ted W. Lieu (D-Redondo Beach).
- The Farmington, Mich., school district reportedly had a vacant school property that was valued at $2 million back in 2008. A Christian church and a Jewish learning center both inquired into the availability to purchase the property, and they were both told by the school district that it was not for sale. Then the school district turned right around and sold the vacant property to the Islamic Cultural Association for $1.1 million, according to the Thomas More Law Center. The school district not only were said to have lied to the Christian and Jewish parties interested in the property, they also did not open the sale to outside bids. Evidently the school district said it took this action in fear of the Islamic group as Erin Mersino, an attorney representing Thomas More, explained it, saying, “The superintendent from Farmington Public Schools issued a letter and sent it to the attorney general, claiming that they were in fear that the Islamic Cultural Association, the ICA, who purchased Eagle Elementary School, may take some action against the school district under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.” Head of the Thomas More Law Center, Richard Thompson, has requested that a grand jury investigation be launched into the matter. Additionally, Thomas More points out that the Islamic Cultural Association that pressured the Farmington school district into selling them the vacant property has ties to terrorist organizations.
- The worst U.S. drought in five decades has parched the land and decimated crops. It now threatens to deal a second blow to farmers, who may have to throw out metric tons of toxic feed, reports Worthy Christian News and Reuters. Growers are rushing to check the nitrate levels of that silage, the stalks and leaves that corn farmers often harvest to feed to locally raised cattle or hogs. Agriculture groups are warning farmers that drought-hit plants may have failed to process nitrogen fertilizer due to stunted growth, making them poisonous to livestock. Exceptionally early spring planting has caused a crush of early summer requests for the tests. Farmers are also expected to chop down a near-record swathe of their fields for silage to make up for this year’s poor yields.
- Arizona Pastor Michael Salman is looking at more than three years of probation along with monthly inspections because of the Bible study he led in his Phoenix home, reports Worthy Christian News. Salman is currently serving a 60-day jail sentence for violating city zoning code regulations formerly applied to only commercial properties. Salman, who is is due to be released in September, faces 10 days of house arrest and three-and-a-half years of probation; in addition, the city of Phoenix can carry out unannounced inspections of Salman’s property once a month in order to ensure he’s not holding Bible studies of more than 12 people. One of Salman’s attourneys, John Whitehead, noted that zoning officials in Phoenix had no issues with family reunions, football parties, or Boy Scout meetings. However, harassment of the Salmans soon began after Phoenix officials concluded that residential religious activities had to be governed by building codes meant for churches and commercial buildings.