Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan continues to draw criticism from Christians and the conservative community in general. Drew Zahn in WorldNetDaily said that digging into her past as dean of Harvard Law School reveals a pattern of promoting and praising radical proponents of the homosexual agenda. Kagan had already been widely criticized for barring military recruiters from Harvard’s Office of Career Services in protest over the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which prohibits open homosexuality in the armed forces. Now Kagan is given a dim view over faculty she hired and promoted at Harvard, who were seen as a cast of radicals so controversial, even Kagan joked in introducing one that that they are “the kind of professor[s] for whom tenure was created.” Among those welcomed to teach at Harvard were openly gay Professor William B. Rubenstein, a former litigator for the ACLU; radical feminist Catherine MacKinnon, who declared that all sex is an act of violence perpetrated against a woman; and Janet Halley, who referred to herself as a “gay man.” Meanwhile, Rep. Ted Poe (R.-Tex.) noted in Human Events that Kagan “has never been a judge. She’s never seen a courtroom from the bench. She’s never had a judge’s responsibilities. Elena Kagan has never instructed a jury or ruled on a point of law—any point of law. She’s never tried a criminal case, a civil case, or even a traffic case. She has not decided even one constitutional issue. We don’t know whether or not she believes the Constitution is the foundation of American law or whether she thinks, like many, the Constitution constantly changes based upon the personal opinions of Supreme Court justices.”
- A North Carolina pastor was relieved of his duties as honorary chaplain of the state’s House of Representatives after he closed a prayer by invoking the name of Jesus, reports FoxNews.com. ”I got fired,” said Ron Baity, pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. He had been invited to lead prayer for the entire week. Since then, a Pray in Jesus’ Name Project is gathering petitions demanding that legislators reverse the ban on Jesus’ name, reports ChristianNewsWire.com. Some 140,000 signatures have already been received. “Our petition campaigns have helped reverse Jesus-bans in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Oklahoma, Oregon, California and Virginia,” noted former Navy Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt. Klingenschmitt himself was punished for praying in Jesus’ name in uniform in 2006 but was later vindicated by the U.S. Congress. “Pastor Baity is a hero for refusing to water-down his prayers,” he remarked.
- Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel, an expert on legal issues concerning marriage and family, is accusing the Obama administration of knowingly sabotaging marriage in America by ignoring the foundation for the nation’s laws and instead citing “politically motivated” claims from special interests, reports WorldNetDaily. The accusation has come in response to this past week’s ruling from District Judge Joseph Tauro in Massachusetts that the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. Gay right groups cheered the ruling. The ruling now holds in Massachusetts only, but it could be expanded if the decision is upheld on appeal. Liberty Counsel said Tauro’s characterization of Congress’s decision to define marriage for federal purposes between one man and one woman as an “irrational” desire to “punish” homosexual duos because of “animus” was “unfounded, far-reaching, and should be reversed on appeal.” As both sides await news of a likely appeal that could eventually lead to the Supreme Court, they are keeping an eye on California. A federal judge is expected to rule soon on whether voters in that state were within their rights when they supported the 2008 ballot initiative that banned same-sex marriage. That decision could have major reverberations around the nation. The worst part of recent developments, however, according to LC, is the “fact that the Obama administration is intentionally sabotaging the [Defense of Marriage] act.” Obama several years ago complained about how hurtful the DOMA law was to his friends. Five states—Iowa, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts—now authorize same-sex marriage, but in almost three dozen other states voters have approved state constitutional provisions against it. In one recent development, attorneys argued that voters who sign petitions in support of traditional marriage have a right not to be harassed. Therefore, their names should not be released.
- Rep. Pete Olson (R.-Tex.) has discovered in a new report from the General Accountability Office that groups advocating abortion received more than $1 billion in tax funding over the past eight years, reports Human Events. These range from $93.8 million for Planned Parenthood to $284.3 million for the Population Council of the U.S. Olson told reporters that “with the national debt over $13 trillion—costing every American $118,000 . . . that this money is spent by organizations that offend the majority of Americans only further justifies the need for this alarming report.”
- Conflicting stories in several news sources, including the Los Angeles Times and the Orange County Register, have been circulating about Robert Schuller, pastor of the famed Crystal Cathedral in California, points out GetReligion.org. One story says that Schuller is leaving and retiring, but another involved Schuller’s senior pastor, Sheila Coleman, who is Schuller’s daughter. Coleman said that “Dad is not retiring.” Coleman has been essentially heading up the all-glass house of worship since June 2009. Schuller’s son was pastor for a time, but a rift between him and his dad led to the younger’s departure two years ago. The Cathedral faces about $55 million in debt due to the economy and dwindling donations. The church laid off dozens of employees and took other austere measures in an attempt to stay afloat.
- Al-Qaida has been warning of new attacks toward Americans that will be deadlier than ever, according to Newsmax.com. The group’s U.S. spokesperson warned President Obama Sunday that they” haven’t even begun to even the score.”
- Barna has come out with new research concerning teenagers and religion. In several ways, according to Barna, teenagers are much less inclined toward spirituality than were teens a dozen years ago. Several religious activities were said to be at their lowest levels since Barna began tracking such behaviors: small group attendance, prayer, Sunday School participation, donations to churches, reading sacred texts other than the Bible, and evangelism by Christian teens. The proportion of teens who said they had explained their beliefs to someone else with different faith views in the last year declined from 63 percent in 1997 to 45 percent. David Kinnaman, Barna Group president, said, “Christian teenagers are taking cues from a culture that has made it unpopular to make bold assertions about faith or be too aggressively evangelistic.” Sunday School participation decreased from 35 percent in 1997 to 30 percent currently. As was evident in 1997, teenagers from non-mainline Protestant churches generally displayed higher involvement than those in mainline or Catholic groups.
- “Ask retired chaplains, and they’ll tell you that ending the military’s ban on open homosexuals would have a devastating effect not only on the military but on a vital ministry,” begins a report in the current issue of World. Author Edward Lee Pitts went on to explain the ramifications of such a change, including the observation that the change would invite charges of discrimination against the chaplains. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal cited a growing number of companies that are offering the services of chaplains in the workplace. Tyson Foods, Inc., one example cited, employs 120 chaplains. Several organizations have arisen to provide companies with chaplains, including Marketplace Chaplains USA and Corporate Chaplains of America. Four thousand workplace chaplains are estimated around the country.
- Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle has vetoed a bill that would have legalized same-sex civil unions in that state, believing that the voters should decide the outcome, reports Christian Post. “It would be a mistake to allow a decision of this magnitude to be made by one individual or a small group of elected officials.”
- Chosen as moderator in the 219th general assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA was Cynthia Bolbach, a strong supporter of same-sex marriage, according to the Washington Post. These issues will be dealt with in the days ahead in the generally liberal denomination.
- A California school district has decided 5–0 to adopt a social studies elective Bible course for students in the upcoming year, reports WorldNetDaily.
- A proposed religious liberty amendment to Missouri’s constitution failed for the third year in a row, due greatly to opposition by anti-religious-liberty groups, including the ACLU, the Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and liberal Baptist and Jewish groups, according to CitizenLink.com.
- Islamic militants chopped off and threw away the hand of a Catholic professor in India for allegedly insulting Islam in an exam question, reports cathnewsindia.com. Several others were also attacked.
- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R.) has approved the allowance of concealed handguns inside the state’s churches, reports Newsmax.com. Churches will have to inform their congregations of the decision, and anyone carrying such weapons will need an extra eight hours of tactical training each year. The new law does not apply to churches on school property. Supporters of the measure said it can deter crime in churches and help protect ministers. Louisiana has also taken further steps to become one of the most pro-life states in the U.S., reports OneNewsNow.com. Gov. Jindal signed three pro-life measures into law last week. One has to do with ultrasound, providing a window into the womb for a mother seeking abortion. Another bans doctors who perform elective abortions from being covered under medical malpractice laws. Still another deals with abortion in federal healthcare reform. Gene Mills, executive director for the Louisiana Family Forum, said, “Louisiana exercised its prerogative in saying, ‘Thank you, Mr. Obama, but no thanks. We are not interested in providing public monies, or pools of public monies, to offset or provide for insurance coverages that would extend to or include abortion.’”
- Small farms are being put out of business under the federal government’s guise of making food safer, inventing new restrictions that hurt the small farmer for the benefit of Monsanto, Archer Daniels Midland, and other large farm entities, reports Personal Liberty Digest. The government, according to the report, all but puts off-limits healthful foods like whole raw milk and truly organic meats and vegetables grown by local farmers. Local governments are also devising zoning and other restrictions that hinder small farms.
- Four Christians, three of them converts from Islam, were arrested and jailed in Dearborn, Mich., for witnessing during an Arab fest, reports Christian Post. “It’s evident that the Dearborn Police Department was more interested in placating Muslims than obeying our Constitution,” remarked Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, which is representing the four. “These Christians were exercising their Constitutional rights to free speech and the free exercise of religion, but apparently in a city where the Muslim population seems to dominate the political apparatus, sharia law trumps our Constitution.” Meanwhile, a Wall Street Journal article by Paul Berman notes, “In our present Age of the Zipped Lip, you are supposed to avoid making any of the following inconvenient observations about the history and doctrines of the Islamist movement: You are not supposed to observe that Islamism is a modern, instead of an ancient, political tendency, which arose in a spirit of fraternal harmony with the fascists of Europe in the 1930s and ’40s. You are not supposed to point out that Nazi inspirations have visibly taken root among present-day Islamists, notably in regard to the demonic nature of Jewish conspiracies and the virtues of genocide.”
- The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in England, a generally liberal, pacifist sect, as sanctioned the proposal of same-sex marriages after backing gay unions for two decades, according to express.co.uk. A group of Quakers also took part in the Gay Pride march through central London and held talks to discuss same-sex marriages and the inclusion of religious language and rituals in marriage ceremonies. A Quaker spokeswoman said that Quakers have always emphasized equality, along with liberal Judaism and Unitarianism.
- Seventy-five percent of those polled by Rasmussen Reports blame state budget problems on politicians’ unwillingness to cut spending. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R.), according to Fox News, has accused the Obama administration of a “massive waste of taxpayer funds” in the Justice Department’s suit against that state over the immigration law signed by Brewer. Brewer charged, “It is wrong that our own federal government is suing the people of Arizona for helping to enforce federal immigration law. As a direct result of failed and inconsistent federal enforcement, Arizona is under attack from violent Mexican drug and immigrant smuggling cartels. Now, Arizona is under attack in federal court from President Obama and his Department of Justice.” She went on to point out the irony of suing Arizona for its immigration enforcement law but ignoring cities and other local governments whose “patchwork local ’sanctuary’ policies instruct the police not to cooperate with federal immigration officials.” Meanwhile, reports Fox News, Rep. Trent Franks (R.-Ariz.) noted that a cancellation of a conference in Arizona of the U.S. Border Patrol shows the Obama administration is using “federal agencies as political tools” to “harm our state’s economy for having the audacity to protect our citizens. These boycotts completely disprove the Obama administration’s disingenuous claims that they are in any way interested in strengthening border security.”