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June 20, 2011

Michele Bachmann Bashes Romney for Not Signing Pro-Life Pledge

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann today bashed Mitt Romney in what could be the first of many Republican presidential clashes over the issue of abortion. Bachmann cicatrized the former Massachusetts governor for not signing a pro-life presidential pledge. As LifeNews.com reported, the Susan B. Anthony List unveiled the pledge on Friday and indicated Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul signed it. The pledge has the candidates promising to support only judicial nominees who won’t interpret the Constitution in a way that supports Roe v. Wade, select pro-life Cabinet members on positions affecting abortion policy, supporting legislation to stop taxpayer funding of abortions and Planned Parenthood, and to support a fetal pain bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

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June 20, 2011

‘Komen Sends Women to Planned Parenthood for Nonexistent Mammograms’

"In March, officials with Live Action conducted an undercover investigation by calling Planned Parenthood centers nationwide. They learned that Planned Parenthood doesn’t have machines to perform mammograms and, despite advertising to women that they can contact the abortion business for them, it refers all women seeking mammograms to other health care providers."

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June 17, 2011

Changing Tides: Research Center Under Fire for ‘Adjusted’ Sea-Level Data

Is climate change raising sea levels, as Al Gore has argued -- or are climate scientists doctoring the data? The University of Colorado’s Sea Level Research Group decided in May to add 0.3 millimeters -- or about the thickness of a fingernail -- every year to its actual measurements of sea levels, sparking criticism from experts who called it an attempt to exaggerate the effects of global warming. "Gatekeepers of our sea level data are manufacturing a fictitious sea level rise that is not occurring," said James M. Taylor, a lawyer who focuses on environmental issues for the Heartland Institute.

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June 17, 2011

New York Assembly passes gay marriage bill

(AP) ALBANY, N.Y. — New York's Democrat-led Assembly has passed a bill to legalize gay marriage and a critical vote by the state Senate could take place this week if that chamber's Republican majority brings the measure to the floor. Assemblyman Charles Lavine of Long Island said Wednesday he believes his chamber's approval of gay marriage means that somewhere America's founding fathers "have smiles on their faces." But Assemblyman Dov Hikind of Brooklyn said gay marriage is wrong in the eyes of God.

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June 17, 2011

What Have I Done?

On Father’s Day, many young dads spend a happy day with their children -- kids who give them garish ties or cook them a breakfast of rubbery eggs and burned toast. But to some fathers, the day is spent in anguish. It’s a day spent, not with their children, but with their memories of the children they helped abort. Among these men are former Aerosmith rock star Steven Tyler, now a judge on “American Idol.? When Tyler was in his twenties, he and his 16-year-old girlfriend, Julia Holcomb, learned they were having a baby.

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June 17, 2011

Matthews:Weiner in Trouble Because His Behavior Offends ‘Culturally Backward’ Christian Conservative

On Thursday's Hardball, Chris Matthews determined that Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner could be in danger of being forced out of Congress by Blue Dog Dems who face uphill battles in red states because, as he put it, "people in the rural areas of this country who are Christian conservative culturally - you can say backward if you want...don't like this kind of stuff." During a discussion about Weiner's chances of survival, after being caught sending lewd pictures to women via Twitter, the MSNBCer claimed the liberal congressman didn't have to worry about his, according to Matthews, culturally superior constituents in New York - the "56 percent in Brooklyn and Queens" who "can live with this guy." Instead he had to be concerned with his Democratic colleagues fearful about re-election in the "conservative culturally part of the country."

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June 17, 2011

Catholics Rally Against Same-Sex Marriage Vote

Catholic Church officials are mounting a full-court press to convince lawmakers in Albany to vote against same-sex marriage legislation, which stands a vote or two from becoming law in New York State. Dennis Poust, communications director for the New York State Catholic Conference, says it has a network of more than 60,000 people across the state emailing and making thousands of phone calls to senators' offices.

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June 17, 2011

Survey: 62 Percent of Americans Support Marriage

While the New York Senate continues to debate same-sex marriage — and could vote Friday to make the state the sixth to redefine marriage — the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) has released a survey that shows nearly two-thirds of Americans (62 percent) support marriage solely as the union of one man and one woman. The scientific survey, sponsored by ADF and completed by Public Opinion Strategies last month, was part of a comprehensive examination of American attitudes toward marriage. In addition to the national survey, the research included 14 focus groups across the country.

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June 16, 2011

Is the Green Movement Problematic for Christians?

The green movement has had a dramatic, long lasting impact on public policy, individuals, and even religion. But many people of faith have criticized supporters of the green movement, equating its strong followers with those who practice a pagan religion in support of Mother Nature. As Christians we are called to be environmental stewards and to care for God’s creation. However, putting aside the perceptual paganism of a too dedicated support of the green movement, one must ask, is the green movement really accomplishing its mission and gaining support or is it actually turning people away from protecting the environment? Reflecting upon my time spent at college I remember many of my Christian and conservative friends would throw a plastic water bottle in the trash when a recycling bin was right next to it, smirking and saying that’ll show all the environmental hippies. They admitted they were turned off by the aggressiveness and rhetoric of the green movement while also saying it fails to take into account that human beings also reside on the planet. Instead, they felt the green movement communicated that plants and animals were more important than people. Many green movement policies seem counterintuitive to protecting the environment. From wind mills killing birds, which according to the Wall Street Journal, it is estimated 75,000 to 275,000 birds are killed by wind mills in the U.S. per year including the golden eagle in California which taxpayers spent a large sum of money on to protect. Now there are plans in the works for killing feral camels in Australia. Why? They damage vegetation and produce a methane equivalent to one ton of carbon dioxide a year. Green movement policies have many unintended consequences. However we must decide whether the consequences are worth enacting the policy. Are killing feral camels going to save the planet, and is that even responsible? Are we to decide what part of God’s creation is a “productive? contributor to the earth, and if it isn’t do we really have the right to decide what part of God’s creation is to live and die? Many Christians are now seeking a more positive expression of being an environmental steward and also a follower of the green movement. Marvin Olasky states in an article published by World Magazine that in the call to environmental stewardship, “The Bible teaches that human beings have an obligation to be stewards and gardeners in a way that benefits other men and women and also other creatures.? While they are full of good intentions, green policies may alienate the centerpiece of God’s creation: the human person. Failing to take into account the person, green policies put a burden on people in order to protect the environment and the creatures of this planet; the green movement needs to recognize that people are just as much a part of this planet as the trees, flowers, bugs, polar beers, and every other creature and planet we are blessed with. Environmentalist Peter Harris explains in Christianity Today that the green movement often fails to take into account the human relationship with creation: There is a radical environmentalism that wishes people were not on the planet. That’s not the biblical view at all. A Rocha in the United Kingdom actually works in the most polluted, urban borough of the country, because creation isn’t absent just because people are there. The Challenge is how to restore a right way of life, rather than escaping to some wilderness paradise. Fifty percent of the planet now lives in cities. That is where we live out our relationship with creation. Yes we need to care for creation. The environment is a gift and we are responsible to care for and preserve God’s creation. However, we must not lose sight of the fact that we ourselves are a part of God’s creation and we are called to more than just environmental stewardship. We are called to be financial stewards and many forms of alternative energy are not cost efficient or financially responsible. We are also called to care of the poor, understanding that stringent environmental standards may make it harder for the poor to rise out of poverty. And finally, we are called to live as images in the likeness of God. Marvin Olasky states that, “The Bible teaches that human beings have an obligation to be stewards and gardeners in a way that benefits other men and women and also other creatures.? Such an obligation to environmental stewardship can be as simple as being responsible, from not littering to recycling old cell phone batteries. We know the negative consequences that littering and cell phone batteries have on the environment, even though they may strike some as small things. When we are knowledgeable of such negative consequences we are responsible to act in the correct manner to preserve the environment. Not only are we taking care of God’s creation, but we are also showing our love for our neighbors by taking care of the same planet that they too call home.

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June 16, 2011

Pennsylvania Senate OKs Abortion-Clinic Regulations

The Pennsylvania Senate has voted to regulate most abortion clinics as outpatient surgery centers. The House has already passed similar legislation. The bill comes in response to Philadelphia’s “House of Horrors,? an abortion clinic that was shut down last year when investigators discovered grotesque conditions and the remains of preborn babies. The clinic’s owner, abortionist Kermit Gosnell, remains jailed on eight murder charges. Prosecutors say he routinely killed babies who survived late-term abortions. “Gosnell was a criminal and a terrible, terrible one,? Republican Sen. Pat Vance, the bill’s original sponsor, told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “If the Department of State and Department of Health had done their jobs, there would be no need for this, and we wouldn’t be standing here talking about regulations.? Prior to the raid on Gosnell’s clinic, the state had failed to inspect abortion clinics for more than 15 years.

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June 16, 2011

Married Fathers: America’s Greatest Weapon Against Child Poverty

The mainstream media, liberal politicians, activists, and academia bewail child poverty in the U.S. But in these ritual lamentations, one key fact remains hidden: The principal cause of child poverty in the U.S. is the absence of married fathers in the home. According to the U.S Census, the poverty rate in 2008 for single parents with children was 35.6 percent. The rate for married couples with children was 6.4 percent. Being raised in a married family reduces a child’s probability of living in poverty by about 80 percent. True, some of this difference in poverty is due to the fact that single parents tend to have less education than married couples. But even when married couples are compared to single parents with the same education level, the married poverty rate will still be about 70 percent lower. Marriage is a powerful weapon in fighting poverty. In fact, being married has the same effect in reducing poverty as adding five to six years to a parent’s education level.[1] A Two-Caste Society Unfortunately, marriage is rapidly declining in American society. When President Lyndon Johnson launched the War on Poverty in 1963, 93 percent of American children were born to married parents. Today the number has dropped to 59 percent. In 2008, 1.7 million children were born outside marriage. As noted, most of these births occurred to women who will have the hardest time going it alone as parents: young adult women with a high school degree or less. College-educated women rarely have children outside marriage. The U.S. is steadily separating into a two-caste system, with marriage and education as the dividing line. In the high-income third of the population, children are raised by married parents with a college education; in the bottom-income third, children are raised by single parents with a high school degree or less. Single parents now comprise 70 percent of all poor families with children. Last year, government provided over $300 billion in means-tested welfare aid to single parents. (For more graphical representations of the connection between unwed childbearing and poverty, see “Marriage and Poverty in the U.S.: By the Numbers,? at http://thf_media.s3.amazonaws.com/2010/pdf/wm2934_bythenumbers.pdf.) The Lifelong Effects of Fathers The positive effects of married fathers are not limited to income alone. Children raised by married parents have substantially better life outcomes compared to similar children raised in single-parent homes. When compared to children in intact married homes, children raised by single parents are more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems; be physically abused; smoke, drink, and use drugs; be aggressive; engage in violent, delinquent, and criminal behavior; have poor school performance; be expelled from school; and drop out of high school.[2] Many of these negative outcomes are associated with the higher poverty rates of single mothers. But, in many cases, the improvements in child well-being associated with marriage persist even after adjusting for differences in family income. This indicates that the father brings more to his home than just a paycheck. The effect of married fathers on child outcomes can be quite pronounced. For example, examination of families with the same race and same parental education shows that, when compared to intact married families, children from single-parent homes are: * More than twice as likely to be arrested for a juvenile crime[3]; * Twice as likely to be treated for emotional and behavioral problems[4]; * Roughly twice as likely to be suspended or expelled from school[5]; and * A third more likely to drop out before completing high school.[6] The effects of being raised in a single-parent home continue into adulthood. Comparing families of the same race and similar incomes, children from broken and single-parent homes are three times more likely to end up in jail by the time they reach age 30 than are children raised in intact married families.[7] Compared to girls raised in similar married families, girls from single-parent homes are more than twice as likely to have a child without being married, thereby repeating the negative cycle for another generation.[8] Finally, the decline of marriage generates poverty in future generations. Children living in single parent homes are 50 percent more likely to experience poverty as adults when compared to children from intact married homes. This intergenerational poverty effect persists even after adjusting for the original differences in family income and poverty during childhood.[9] The Left’s Misdiagnosis Marriage matters. But mentioning the bond between marriage and lower poverty violates the protocols of political correctness. Thus, the main cause of child poverty remains hidden from public view. And even when the Left reluctantly mentions the decline of marriage in low-income communities, most of what they say about it is untrue. For example, * Liberals insist that poor women become pregnant outside marriage because they lack knowledge about, and access to, birth control. In fact, virtually no non-marital pregnancies in low-income communities occur for that reason.[10] * Liberals insist that the main problem in low-income communities is “teen pregnancy.? In fact, only 8 percent of all out-of-wedlock births occur to teens under 18; most occur to young adult women in their 20s. * Liberals insist that most out-of-wedlock pregnancies and births are accidental. In fact, most women who give birth out of wedlock strongly desire children. Their pregnancies are partially intended or at least not seriously avoided.[11] The Left also argues that poor single mothers do not marry because the fathers of their children lack jobs, income, and are largely “non-marriageable.? This also is untrue: Nearly all non-married fathers are employed at the time their children are born. Most have higher earnings than the mothers. In fact, if poor single mothers were married to the actual fathers of their children, two-thirds would immediately be lifted out of poverty.[12] Finally, the Left argues that poor mothers and fathers are uninterested in marriage. Research by Harvard sociologist Kathryn Edin shows the opposite.[13] Low-income men and women greatly value marriage and aspire to be married. However, they no longer believe it is important to be married before having children. They idealize marriage, viewing it the same way the upper middle class might view a trip to Paris: an event that would be wonderful in the future but is not necessary or important at the present time. While the upper middle class get married first and then have children, the poor follow the opposite path; they have children first and then look for suitable partner to help raise them. Edin’s research shows that most poor single mothers have traditional life goals.[14] They want a house in the suburbs, two kids, a husband, a minivan, and a dog. But they fail to understand the importance of marriage to achieving these goals. They see marriage as a symbolic ceremony that should occur in middle age, a celebration of one’s successful entry into the middle class. They do not appreciate that for most families in the middle class, marriage is a necessary pathway to financial stability and prosperity, rather than a symbolic event that comes after prosperity is achieved. What Government Should—and Should Not—Do To reinvigorate marriage in lower-income communities, government could provide factual information on the role of healthy marriages in reducing poverty and improving child well-being. It could explain why it is important to develop a stable marital relationship before bringing children into the world. It could teach skills for selecting potential life partners and building stable relationships. But nothing could be farther from actual government practice. In social service agencies, welfare offices, schools, and popular culture in low-income communities across America, one finds deafening silence on the topic of marriage. The welfare system actively penalizes low-income couples who do marry. The gag rule about marriage is nothing new. At the beginning of the War on Poverty, a young Daniel Patrick Moynihan (later Ambassador to the United Nations and Senator from New York), serving in the Administration of President Lyndon Johnson, wrote a seminal report on the negative effects of declining marriage among blacks. The Left exploded, excoriating Moynihan and insisting that the erosion of marriage was either unimportant or benign. Four decades later, Moynihan’s predictions have been vindicated. The erosion of marriage has spread to whites and Hispanics with devastating results. But the taboo on discussing the link between poverty and the disappearance of husbands remains as firm as it was four decades ago. Historically, the Left has been indifferent or hostile to marriage. For decades, feminists actually taught that marriage harmed women psychologically and economically. While few would accept those ideas literally anymore, an instinctive hostility to marriage remains imprinted on the synapses of most liberal academics. In most faculty lounges, enthusiasm for marriage would be quite gauche. For most on the Left, marriage is, at best, an antiquated institution, a red-state superstition. From this viewpoint, the real task is to expand government subsidies as a post-marriage society is built. Given this backdrop, it is not surprising that the Obama Administration seeks to abolish the one existing government program aimed at strengthening marriage in low-income communities: the miniscule Healthy Marriage Initiative operated through the Department of Health and Human Services. Marriage: The Antidote to Poverty Despite the politically correct gag rule, marriage remains America’s strongest anti-poverty weapon. Unfortunately, marriage continues to decline. As husbands disappear from the home, poverty and welfare dependence will increase. Children and parents will suffer as a result. Since the decline of marriage is the principal cause of child poverty and welfare dependence in the U.S., and since the poor aspire to healthy marriage but lack the norms, understanding, and skills to achieve it, it would seem reasonable for government to take steps to strengthen marriage. In particular, clarifying the severe shortcomings of the “child first, marriage later? philosophy to potential parents in lower-income communities would seem to be a priority. To reduce poverty in America, policymakers should enact policies that encourage people to form and maintain healthy marriage and delay childbearing until they are married and economically stable. Marriage is highly beneficial to children, adults, and society. It needs to be encouraged and strengthened, not ignored and undermined.

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June 16, 2011

Seminary president: Baptists have been ‘homophobic’

PHOENIX - The president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary says his denomination needs to repent for a "form of homophobia" that has condemned homosexuals instead of embracing them as fellow sinners. Rev. Albert Mohler told his fellow Southern Baptists at their annual meeting that they've only been half right about homosexuality. "We have said to people that homosexuality is just a choice. Well, it's clear that it's more than a choice," he stated. "That doesn't mean it's any less sinful, but it does mean it's not something that people can just turn on and turn off." He continued, saying: "We have also exhibited a certain form of homophobia of which we must, absolutely must in gospel terms, repent precisely because we believe in all the scripture teaches about homosexuality, and all that the scripture teaches about sin." He said the hard truth is, "Only the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ gives a homosexual person any hope of release from homosexuality. The gospel is what we stand for -- and the gospel is the only remedy for sin." Some other denominations now teach there's no need for release and that God can bless same-sex relationships.

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June 15, 2011

New York is One Vote Away from Redefining Marriage

Two years ago, the Democrat-controlled New York Senate overwhelmingly defeated legislation that would have legalized same-sex marriage. But by the end of this week, the Senate — now controlled by Republicans — may pass similar legislation. The Assembly was expected to pass the bill today. It appears Gov. Andrew Cuomo and like-minded activists have convinced at least two Republican senators and three Democrats to switch their vote to “Yes.? That means 31 senators support the redefinition of marriage; 32 votes would be needed to pass the legislation. The Rev. Jason McGuire, president of the New Yorker’s Family Research Foundation, said there are intense talks going on among Republicans. “This should be a very good sign for those of us who support the traditional definition of marriage and the family,? he said. “But it’s not a done deal, by any means. Keep the calls coming. Keep the emails coming.? If the legislation passes, New York would become the sixth state — and the largest, by far — to legalize same-sex marriage. McGuire invited marriage advocates across the country to stand with him and his team. “We are calling for God’s people to pray,? he said. “That’s the bottom line. We recognize the battle is won or lost on our knees.? New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan said the issue is not equality, as activists claim. “It is about upholding a truth about the human condition,? he wrote on his blog. “Marriage is not simply a mechanism for delivering benefits: It is the union of a man and a woman in a loving, permanent, life-giving union to procreate children. “God, not Albany, has settled the definition of marriage a long time ago.?

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June 15, 2011

School Surveys 7th-Graders on Oral Sex

A middle school in Massachusetts is under fire for requiring children to complete a graphic sex survey -- without parental knowledge or consent -- that included questions about sexual partners and oral sex. The Rutherford Institute, a civil liberties organization, filed a complaint with the U.S. Dept. of Education against the Fitchburg School Committee. They are representing the two middle school-aged daughters of Arlene Tessitore. Tessitore said her daughters, both students at Memorial Middle School, were told they had to complete a Youth Risk Behavior Study. “Kids were actually told to sit down and take them,? said John Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. “The parents here are very upset.? Whitehead said the girls were deeply disturbed by the subject matter of the study – including questions about suicide, drug use and sexual behavior. “One of the questions is, ‘have you ever had oral sex,’? Whitehead said. “You’re talking about kids who probably don’t even know what oral sex is.? He said the survey also delved into even more graphic language. “It’s adult material,? he told Fox News Radio, noting that one question asked students what method they used to prevent pregnancy during their last sexual encounter. “It goes down a whole list, including birth control pills, condoms and one of the answers is ‘withdraw,’? Whitehead said. “Adults know what this is, but kids have to imagine or go online to find out what it means.? Principal Fran Thomas told Fox News Radio that students were indeed given the survey – and admits it was graphic. But Thomas said the school has nothing to do with the content and they were required to administer the survey to fulfill a grant requirement. “I can take no responsibility for what’s on that survey,? Thomas said. “It’s not generated by the school system.? Thomas said the survey was funded by a federal grant and administered by LUK Inc., a local social services agency -- in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control. The organization’s leader did not return numerous calls for comment. But according to its website, LUK, Inc.’s mission is to “challenge and support youth & families to recognize and fulfill their unique and productive potential through community-based prevention, intervention and education services.? A spokesperson for the CDC denied any involvement in the Fitchburg sex survey. The CDC said only seven states and six urban districts include sexual identity questions on their YRBS surveys – and the questions are optional. But Principal Thomas disputed that notion. “It was not optional,? he said. “It’s part of a grant that they applied for and the district said you have to administer this survey.? According to Whitehead, parents were sent a “passive consent? opt-out form. However, Tessitore said she never received the form and never gave permission for her daughters to take part in the survey. “It was a case of the school telling parents what they were going to do,? he said. “If parents want their kids to answer these kinds of questions as federal law requires, they should give written consent. But if they don’t give consent, I don’t think public officials should be asking children such questions.? Thomas said he understands the concerns expressed by the parents. But should the middle school be asking children questions about oral sex? “That’s not a question I’d be asking,? Thomas said. “That’s not information that needs to be gathered in an indiscriminate manner – asking every single student these sorts of questions.? Thomas said it wasn’t appropriate. “I think there are many things that schools are called upon to do because they think they’ve got a captive audience,? he noted. Whitehead wants the Department of Education to step in and demand that the Fitchburg school follow the law when it comes to parental consent. “Parents send their children to public schools to receive an education; not to become subjects of government."

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June 15, 2011

A Circle of Exchange is Better than a Circle of Protection

Strife over the budget in Washington continues, with religious leaders and organizations weighing in on both sides. The positions of Christian participants in this battle are as intractable as the secular combatants and for the same reason: A fundamental difference of outlook concerning the role of government and the effect of government programs. This clash has been reflected in recent debates among Christian leaders and organizations. A group of Catholic professors charged that John Boehner (and by implication every Catholic who agrees with his budgetary priorities) dissents from Church doctrine by favoring cuts to welfare programs. Fr. Robert Sirico, George Weigel, and others responded by challenging the view that Democratic domestic policy aligns neatly with the Catholic social teaching. Boehner’s Catholic critics were among those who issued an ecumenical statement calling for a “Circle of Protection? around “programs that meet the essential needs of hungry and poor people at home and abroad.? Advocates of sustained or increased government poverty programs insist that such programs genuinely do help the poor. The Circle of Protection signatories insist, “Funding focused on reducing poverty should not be cut. It should be made as effective as possible, but not cut.? To its credit, this statement implicitly recognizes that there may be inefficiencies and abuses in such programs. Yet, the idea that decreased spending could actually be a path to making poverty programs more effective does not, apparently, enter the realm of possibility. In the midst of the Boehner controversy, a writer at the Catholic blog Vox Nova asked, “Can anybody possibly argue that the Boehner budget protects the poor?? The writer avows that the pairing of tax cuts for higher income earners with spending cuts to “programs that help the poor and people of limited means? is incontrovertibly inimical to Catholic social teaching. Therein lies the crux of the matter. Defenders of government welfare programs not only cannot conceive of the possibility that government programs actually harm rather than help the people they target; they cannot conceive of the possibility that anyone else could conceive of the possibility. Those of us who sincerely believe that such programs are harmful are baffled at what we perceive to be stubborn resistance to the facts of the matter: Spending for programs related to the War on Poverty has increased 13-fold since Lyndon Johnson inaugurated them, without appreciable positive effect. Pope Benedict wrote in Deus Caritas Est (2005) that we need “a State which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need.? It is hard to see how Medicaid and the food stamp program fit this model. Opponents of Republican budget proposals fail to recognize the tension within their own view. The Vox Nova blogger recognizes that the deficit crisis was caused in part by a “collapse in revenue.? The Circle of Protection statement deserves praise, too, for its insistence that “A fundamental task is to create jobs and spur economic growth. Decent jobs at decent wages are the best path out of poverty, and restoring growth is a powerful way to reduce deficits.? Unfortunately, the statement signers do not see that the vibrant economy they rightly desire as an antidote to poverty might be stifled by other pieces of the program they advocate. What unemployed and impoverished people really need is not government handouts, but access to, and the capacity and inducement to engage, the market economy—as Pope John Paul II put it, to “enter the circle of exchange.? Government policy should be encouraging companies to hire and potential employees to be hired. Yet, to take but one example of recent counter productivity, economists have shown that extending unemployment benefits beyond a certain length of time correlates with higher unemployment rates. If a safety net becomes too comfortable, people are inclined to remain in it. Welfare program advocates deny this vehemently—everyone wants to work, they say; they just need the chance—but statistical evidence and a realistic understanding of human nature contradict them. It could be that the perfect job is not available; maybe finding work means picking up and moving, or taking a cut in pay, or training to acquire a new skill. People faced with these situations deserve our compassion and assistance. But if we minimize the incentive to do what is necessary to find employment, we do neither the out-of-work individual nor the overall economy any favors. On point number seven of the Circle of Protection statement, we can all agree: “As believers, we turn to God with prayer and fasting, to ask for guidance as our nation makes decisions about our priorities as a people.? Budget decisions are indeed moral acts. Whether morality points us toward expansion of poverty reduction programs or toward thorough revision—even reduction—of them, is another question. It is a good thing that Christians are engaged in this debate, for its outcome will have far-reaching repercussions for the poor, and for all of us.

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June 15, 2011

Pakistan’s Bible Ban

Pakistan’s Islamist party, Jamiat-Ulema-e-Islami (JUI), has petitioned to have the Bible banned from Pakistan because it violates the nation’s notorious blasphemy laws. The move by the JUI is just the latest episode in the ongoing and increasingly deadly persecution of Christians in that Islamic nation. According to JUI leader Maulana Abdul Rauf Farooqi, the Bible contains passages that show biblical figures whom Muslims regard as prophets (such as Abraham and Solomon) to be engaging in “a variety of moral crimes.? As such, the JUI has called on Pakistan’s supreme court to have the entire Book banned from the country if the offending passages are not removed. While the JUI acknowledged its petition was partially in response to the Koran burning organized by Florida pastor Terry Jones in March 2011, it also dismissed the notion that banning the Christian Bible would cause additional trouble between Muslims and Christians. Unfortunately, that is not what Pakistan’s tiny Christian community believes. Pakistani Christians have found themselves under continuous assault from both government authorities and Islamist mobs. That may explain why Pakistan’s Christian leaders urged restraint in wake of the Bible suit, fearful of further antagonizing Pakistan’s more fervent Muslims. For his part, Farooqi was confident that Pakistan’s highest court would side with the JUI petition. However, his certainty may have less to do with the merits of his case than with the fact that Pakistan’s blasphemy laws have proven to be a reliable legal cudgel with which to bankrupt, beat, jail and kill Christians. As a spokesman for a Catholic advocacy group says the pervasive use of the blasphemy laws have ratcheted up Christian fears to unprecedented levels, leading them to “have no faith in the police or justice system.? Evidence for their fears was on full display recently when a Pakistani anti-terrorism court acquitted 70 Muslims accused of attacking and setting fire to over 50 houses and two churches in a Christian colony in July 2009. In that assault, eight people — including a seven-year old child — were burned alive and 20 others wounded. * Home * About * Contact Us * Bookstore * Donate * Columnists * Subscribe * Downloads * Horowitz Archives * FPM Archives Pakistan’s Bible Ban Posted by Frank Crimi on Jun 14th, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post # A A A Pakistan’s Islamist party, Jamiat-Ulema-e-Islami (JUI), has petitioned to have the Bible banned from Pakistan because it violates the nation’s notorious blasphemy laws. The move by the JUI is just the latest episode in the ongoing and increasingly deadly persecution of Christians in that Islamic nation. According to JUI leader Maulana Abdul Rauf Farooqi, the Bible contains passages that show biblical figures whom Muslims regard as prophets (such as Abraham and Solomon) to be engaging in “a variety of moral crimes.? As such, the JUI has called on Pakistan’s supreme court to have the entire Book banned from the country if the offending passages are not removed. While the JUI acknowledged its petition was partially in response to the Koran burning organized by Florida pastor Terry Jones in March 2011, it also dismissed the notion that banning the Christian Bible would cause additional trouble between Muslims and Christians. Unfortunately, that is not what Pakistan’s tiny Christian community believes. Pakistani Christians have found themselves under continuous assault from both government authorities and Islamist mobs. That may explain why Pakistan’s Christian leaders urged restraint in wake of the Bible suit, fearful of further antagonizing Pakistan’s more fervent Muslims. For his part, Farooqi was confident that Pakistan’s highest court would side with the JUI petition. However, his certainty may have less to do with the merits of his case than with the fact that Pakistan’s blasphemy laws have proven to be a reliable legal cudgel with which to bankrupt, beat, jail and kill Christians. As a spokesman for a Catholic advocacy group says the pervasive use of the blasphemy laws have ratcheted up Christian fears to unprecedented levels, leading them to “have no faith in the police or justice system.? Evidence for their fears was on full display recently when a Pakistani anti-terrorism court acquitted 70 Muslims accused of attacking and setting fire to over 50 houses and two churches in a Christian colony in July 2009. In that assault, eight people — including a seven-year old child — were burned alive and 20 others wounded. Perhaps more disturbingly, many Pakistani Islamists believe killing a blasphemous person earns a heavenly reward. As a result, extra-judicial killings are common. Since 2009, at least 30 Christians accused under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws have been killed by mobs of Islamist vigilantes. According to a spokesman for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan, “The problem is that all these extrajudicial killings remain unpunished. For religious minorities it is a crucial issue, since it affects the fundamental rights of every person.? Unfortunately for Pakistani Christians, Pakistan’s blasphemy laws contain no provisions to punish a false accuser or false witness. Consequently, the laws have often been used to settle personal scores rather than to defend against perceived sleights to Islamic piety. For instance, a Christian mother of five children has been in prison in solitary confinement since June 2009, after a verbal disagreement with some women in her village led to her being accused of having blasphemed against Mohammad. In November 2010, a Christian farm worker was accused of uttering blasphemous words against Mohammad during an argument with fellow workers and sentenced to death. In May 2011, a group of Muslims — at the behest of a former member of parliament — attacked the houses of two Christians in order to force the owners to transfer the land ownership over to the politician. Sadly, Christian children have not been spared the effects of this relentless persecution. For example, a young Pakistani woman claimed Christian children required to take Islamic studies in school are in danger simply “if they write anything or misspell anything to do with the prophet Mohammad.? Some parents take the added precaution of not telling their children about Jesus because they are terrified they will fall prey to accusations under the blasphemy statutes. As such, an entire Christian generation of young children is growing up not knowing their faith for fear that it will lead to potentially disastrous consequences. Some Christians find the easiest route out of this sewer of oppression is to simply convert to Islam. According to some estimates, from between 2005 and 2010 an average of 400 Christians took this course. Yet, conversion isn’t always a voluntarily affair. Many Christians have been killed — some even burned alive — for failing to convert. Only last month, two Christian girls from Punjab were forced to marry and convert to Islam after they were kidnapped by a wealthy businessman. As a spokesman for a Pakistani Christian legal aid organization says, “Kidnapping Christian girls, conversion and forced marriages have become common practice.? Ironically, the increased rise in Islamic harassment comes at the same time that Pakistan’s Jinnah Institute issued a report documenting and denouncing the persecution of Christians and other non-Muslim religious minorities in Pakistan. Yet, that news also led one priest to note that the Institute’s Muslim chair had now risked her life because she “exposed herself on such delicate issues.? In fact, most political attempts to lessen Christian torment — be it by Christians or Muslims — have proven quite fatal. Since January 2011, both the governor of Punjab province and Pakistan’s Minister for Minorities were assassinated after each had campaigned against blasphemy legislation. The political climate for Christians has become so toxic that Punjab’s Minorities Affairs Minister was prevented from presenting this year’s provincial budget because Muslim representatives chafed at a Christian being given such a prominent responsibility. This action brought a sharp response from the leader of the Pakistan People’s Party Minorities Wing, which said, “Every citizen of this country, regardless of any religious belief, has an equal claim to it…Condoning such bigotry and intolerance will only confirm the worst impressions about Pakistanis.? Some Pakistani Muslims are working overtime to lower Pakistan’s already dim national image. Some parents take the added precaution of not telling their children about Jesus because they are terrified they will fall prey to accusations under the blasphemy statutes. As such, an entire Christian generation of young children is growing up not knowing their faith for fear that it will lead to potentially disastrous consequences. Some Christians find the easiest route out of this sewer of oppression is to simply convert to Islam. According to some estimates, from between 2005 and 2010 an average of 400 Christians took this course. Yet, conversion isn’t always a voluntarily affair. Many Christians have been killed — some even burned alive — for failing to convert. Only last month, two Christian girls from Punjab were forced to marry and convert to Islam after they were kidnapped by a wealthy businessman. As a spokesman for a Pakistani Christian legal aid organization says, “Kidnapping Christian girls, conversion and forced marriages have become common practice.? Ironically, the increased rise in Islamic harassment comes at the same time that Pakistan’s Jinnah Institute issued a report documenting and denouncing the persecution of Christians and other non-Muslim religious minorities in Pakistan. Yet, that news also led one priest to note that the Institute’s Muslim chair had now risked her life because she “exposed herself on such delicate issues.? In fact, most political attempts to lessen Christian torment — be it by Christians or Muslims — have proven quite fatal. Since January 2011, both the governor of Punjab province and Pakistan’s Minister for Minorities were assassinated after each had campaigned against blasphemy legislation. The political climate for Christians has become so toxic that Punjab’s Minorities Affairs Minister was prevented from presenting this year’s provincial budget because Muslim representatives chafed at a Christian being given such a prominent responsibility. This action brought a sharp response from the leader of the Pakistan People’s Party Minorities Wing, which said, “Every citizen of this country, regardless of any religious belief, has an equal claim to it…Condoning such bigotry and intolerance will only confirm the worst impressions about Pakistanis.? Some Pakistani Muslims are working overtime to lower Pakistan’s already dim national image. In May 2011 alone, Christians have witnessed: a hospital ER chief refuse to treat a wounded Christian policeman; a 29-year-old Christian mother of three abducted by a Muslim co-worker drugged and gang-raped; and Muslim landowners destroying and desecrating a Christian graveyard. In all three instances, police refused to open an inquiry. Yet, despite all the suffering, the experience has served in many instances to resolve and deepen Christian faith. According to one Catholic priest, while fear and panic may create a sense of unease and fear in their minds, “The faithful participate in large numbers at mass because they find comfort in the word of God.? That truth was perhaps best displayed when armed Muslims recently broke up a Presbyterian Church service in Punjab by desecrating the Cross, destroying copies of the Bible and beating several elderly Christians with bamboo sticks. The Church, however, refused to pursue criminal charges. A statement released by its leaders read in part, “Forgiveness is more powerful than revenge.? If only the sentiment were mutual.

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June 15, 2011

Back in Court: Judge Should Have Stepped Down

The ongoing battle over marriage received another hearing today in a San Francisco federal court room. This time, the focus was on the propriety of now-retired District Judge Vaughn R. Walker’s decision to strike down Proposition 8, a 2008 voter-approved amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stopped Walker’s decision from going into effect while the case continues. Shortly after retiring in February, Walker admitted in an interview to being in a decade-long same-sex relationship — a rumor that had surfaced during the trial, and a fact that was not disclosed by Walker prior to accepting the case. Attorneys for ProtectMarriage.com immediately filed a motion to vacate Walker’s decision. Simply put, they argued that Walker not only violated a federal law regarding judicial ethics, but violated the public’s trust and called into question his impartiality: “Fundamental to the integrity of the judicial function and, therefore, to public confidence in the courts, is the judiciary’s strict fidelity to the ancient maxim that ‘no man can be a judge in his own case and no man is permitted to try cases where he has an interest in the outcome.’ ? U.S. District Chief Judge James Ware, who replaced Vaughn, said at today’s hearing that he will rule on the recusal issue within 25 hours. Ware did, however, did deny ProtectMarriage.com’s other outstanding request, which was to retrieve video copies of the trial still in marriage opponents’ possession. Concerns remain that witnesses for the Prop 8 side could be exposed to harassment by gay activists, if they were made public. After his retirement, Walker showed excerpts of the trial testimony at a legal conference which was televised by C-SPAN, prompting the motion by ProtectMarriage.com. Walker returned his copy prior to today’s hearing, leaving only the parties to the Prop 8 suit with copies in their possession. Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst for CitizenLink, says ProtectMarriage.com is strategically fashioning a legal record, should the case make it to the the U.S. Supreme Court. “The Supreme Court has already reversed Judge Walker’s flagrant attempt to televise the 2010 trial in violation of his own court rules,? he said. “Whether or not justice is done as a result of today’s hearing, this issue must be argued now, so that it can eventually be reviewed by a court that is outside the liberal taint of the 9th Circuit.? Media Matters and liberal and gay activists mistakenly claim that ProtectMarriage.com wants Walker’s ruling to be vacated merely because he identified himself as gay. Ed Whelan, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center — and perhaps the Prop 8 trial’s keenest outside observer — points out that their distractions and distortions cloud the acute nature of Walker’s lapse in ethics — that he chose to rule on his personal rights. “It’s bad enough that so many of Walker’s defenders don’t confront the actual argument made by Prop 8 proponents. It’s even worse that they resort to invective as a substitute for their lack of argument,? Whelan opined. “For example, Adam Serwer calls the motion to vacate ‘slimy’ and falsely claims that it rests ‘on the flimsy assumption that gays and lesbians are different from heterosexuals in a manner that justifies denying them their fundamental rights.’ (He also has no support for his claim that the motion is ‘built on an unstated. but core conservative view of the courts — that judicial ‘impartiality’ is best defined as viewing the law through the cultural prism of a heterosexual, conservative white Christian judge.’ But why bother to argue when simply alleging is so much easier?)? In short, had Walker recused himself — or ruled in favor of Prop 8 — he would have destroyed his prospect of being in a same-sex marriage, if he so desired. Even legal ethicist Jack Marshall, who supports same-sex marriage, reluctantly admitted: “A straightforward application of the judicial ethics rules compels the conclusion that Walker should have recused himself from taking part in the [Perry v. Schwarzenegger] case? (emphasis added). “Don’t forget that Olson and Boies chose the 9th Circuit for a reason,? Hausknecht said. “Defending marriage in San Francisco is a lot like defending the Christians in early Rome. However, the genius of our three-tier federal court system is that this case will ultimately get to the Supreme Court, which doesn’t take kindly to the adventures in judicial activism commonly practiced in the 9th Circuit.?

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June 15, 2011

‘No adverse effects’ report challenged

A pro-family leader disagrees with a report that Pentagon officials have seen no adverse effects from the training of troops for the new law that will allow homosexuals to serve openly in the military. Recently the Pentagon announced that more than a million troops, roughly half the armed forces, have been trained on the new law that repeals the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Military officials say they see no adverse impact on the force so far; no widespread resistance, no mad rush to the door by those opposed -- and, importantly, no drop in recruiting. But Robert Knight, a senior fellow/executive director at the American Civil Rights Union, says they are mischaracterizing the process. "A lot of troops have been trained in this new sensitivity program -- and they're saying, 'Well, that's a success. It shows it works.' Well, no it doesn't," he argues. "It just shows people have had to undergo this training. "They can't say anything about it because you can't really have dissent in the military -- and nobody knows whether it's worked or not," Knight continues. "My guess would be it hasn't worked. During the hearings in Congress, none of the military officials could come up with any reasons why it would help the military. They just said they might be able to manage the problems it causes." Knight adds he would not be surprised if President Obama moves ahead with certification of the new law during "LGBT Pride Month" in order to pander to a tiny minority purely for political considerations -- effectively ignoring the welfare of the troops

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June 15, 2011

Gender Bender Androgyny Strikes Again

There is never a shortage of moonbattery, and when it comes in the form of sexual silliness, it tends to come in truckloads. The most recent example of this comes from a country which seems to specialise in moonbattery. I refer to Canada, and a Toronto couple who are raising their baby in a neutral, genderless fashion. Here is how the story goes: “It is nothing if not an unorthodox approach to child rearing: A Toronto couple says it is trying to raise a genderless child, refusing to reveal baby Storm’s sex to encourage a more neutral approach to the infant. “Hiding the four-month-old’s sex from the outside world is a ‘tribute to freedom and choice’ that they hope will let Storm grow up unfettered by the values of others, Kathy Witterick and David Stocker have been quoted as saying. Experts, however, question whether the odd experiment will work or be good for the baby, and note that gender identity is a complex, mysterious force that has at least as much to do with biological factors present at birth as the person’s social interactions.? Indeed, if this couple was really interested in freeing up this child, why not throw it out in the wild with the squirrels, grizzly bears and coyotes, and let the child be free to make up its mind if it will be man or beast? Why not go the whole hog with this “tribute to freedom and choice?? Indeed, why be so speciesist here? Why not growl or bark or meow at the child? Let the child have real freedom in its upbringing, and then it can decide whether it wants to be a dog, or chipmunk or maybe a human being. Indeed, throw the child in with some computers and IPods, and let it decide if it would rather be a high-tech electronic device. These parents are not only PC nutcases, but they are simply refusing to accept the mountains of scientific data we have on this issue. Gender differences are real, and they seem to be hardwired into us. They are not a social construct, and attempts at coerced androgyny are counterproductive, even harmful. Four years ago I took part in documenting these truths, along with a number of others. The result was 21 Reasons Why Gender Matters. With no less than 178 footnotes to document the findings, the booklet lays out the case for gender differentiation, and critiques the radical androgynists and gender benders. Here I will simply quote a few passages from this important document. The full text can be read via the link which appears below. Reason 14 is, “Gender differences are universally celebrated and acknowledged around the world in healthy societies. Conversely, societies and civilisations which reject gender uniqueness and complementarity often face harmful consequences.? It says, in part, “All cultures have been more or less based on gender distinction. Careful studies into human societies have found that gender distinctions are pretty much universal. The universality of gender differences has been backed up by a wealth of information from various fields: neurology, evolutionary biology, and social anthropology for example. All document the socially determinative innate sex differences. “Numerous studies on these innate sex differences could be cited here. The work of neuroscientists in brain research shows that the brain seems to be sexed in the womb from very early on. Gender differences, in other words, are not some social construct, but very much based on brain circuitry and function. “These differences do lead to different social roles, and become most important in parenting. As one expert puts it, “In the study of kinship, a central finding of anthropology is that in the crucial areas of filiation – defined as who the child affiliates with, emotionally, morally, practically, and legally – the overwhelming majority of human societies are bilateral. Almost all human societies strongly seek for the child to affiliate with both its mother and father.? “Attempts to bring about a gender neutral society are relatively recent innovations. Scandinavia in general and Sweden in particular come to mind here. But assessments of these grand social experiments have found many problems associated with these attempts at androgyny. In seeking to mitigate innate gender differences, there have been some very heavy costs to pay. “As but one example of the negative consequences of seeking to force gender neutrality onto the sexes, consider how boys have fared in such an environment. Christina Hoff Sommers’ important 2000 volume, The War Against Boys, documents how radical feminist-led attempts to enforce social androgyny has been especially destructive for boys and young men.? Consider just one area where these differences are so obvious and so important: education. In Reason 2 “Acknowledging gender differences helps children learn more effectively? we read this: “Increasingly, research suggests that boys and girls do learn differently. “In the USA, educators like Michael Gurian argue that biological gender differences influence the way boys and girls learn. One example relates to the observation, at a young age, that girls develop better language skills, especially oral, when compared to boys, and that boys prefer more structured, practical approaches to learning where they have a clear idea of what is required and how success is measured. “The 2002 Commonwealth House of Representatives Report, Boys Getting it Right, suggests that attempts to positively discriminate in favour of girls, in part, as a result of the feminist movement of the 60s and 70s, has unfairly discriminated against boys. Examples include the way literacy is taught (the whole language, ‘look and guess’ approach better suits girls as boys need the more structured, systematic approach represented by phonics and phonemic awareness) and the increasing emphasis in mathematics on reading and writing skills as opposed to traditional methods involving computation skills. In recent years, it is also the case that girls outperform boys in year 12 examinations and national literacy tests. The report calls for an emphasis on the qualitative needs of boys’ education and a more balanced approach in how gender issues are presented in schools.? Yet despite all this evidence, this couple would rather implement some idiotic trendy bit of social engineering, and use their own baby as a guinea pig in this bizarre PC experiment. They are obviously far more concerned about radical leftist agendas than they are about the wellbeing of their own child. I encourage everyone to examine the evidence presented in the 21 Reasons booklet. I suspect we will all need to master this information, given that such moonbat social experiments will not go away soon, but will likely get much worse.

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June 14, 2011

What Teens Aspire to Do in Life, How Churches Can Help

During graduation season, conversations about college and career come to the forefront for many students and their families. A new Barna Group study explores the vocational aspirations of U.S. teenagers and examines the role of faith communities in influencing churchgoing teens’ college and career decisions. The Work Teens Aspire to Do The vast majority of young people have firm ideas about their professional futures. Of course, teenagers’ career goals often change as they mature, develop new interests, or discover other avenues to pursue. Still, the study shows that most young people rarely lack ideas of what they would like to do, even at a relatively early age. Today’s teens reflect a mixture of professional aspirations, but they are dominated by two broad interests: science and creativity. In terms of science-connected careers, the most common goal is to work in medicine or the health care field (mentioned by 23% of teenagers). Other occupations desired by teenagers include engineering (13%), science (8%), veterinary care (5%), and technology (5%). Overall, more than half of the students express interest in some type of scientific or applied science career. One-fifth of the students are attracted to creative vocations, including arts or music (10%), graphic arts (4%), culinary arts (3%), and fashion or interior design (3%). Other common categories mentioned by teens include law (8%), education (7%), law enforcement or firefighting (6%), government and political science (4%), journalism (4%), the military (4%), social services (4%), business (4%), construction or industrial manufacturing (3%), automotive services (2%), agriculture (2%), athletics (2%), ministry (1%), accounting (1%), and aviation (1%). The Role of Faith Churchgoing teenagers mirror the broad interests of their non-churched peers; half are interested in a science-related profession and roughly one-fifth want a career in a creative field. Still, there are some differences when it gets down to specific career objectives. Students with an active faith (defined as reading the Bible, attending church and praying in a typical week) are more likely than average to be interested in arts and music, ministry, journalism and law. Also, young Protestants are comparatively more interested in physically demanding careers such as construction, agriculture and the military, while young Catholics express above-average interest in journalism and education. One of the strongest faith-related patterns is that teenagers with a literalist view of Scripture are among the least likely to want to pursue careers in “science? or “technology.? This pattern does not extend to other careers that are science-oriented, such as medicine or engineering, where literalist-minded teens express average interest. Another interesting differentiation is between public-schooled and privately educated teens, many of whom attend Christian or Catholic schools. Private school students are more interested than average in arts and music, ministry, government and political science, and graphic arts. Public school teens are relatively more interested in accounting and financial careers, social work, law and business. The Blurring of the Gender Gap The research provides clear evidence that teen-aged girls feel fully empowered to pursue almost any career they like. As expected, young women exhibit traditional preferences for teaching, fashion, interior design, and nursing. But teen females are more likely than teen males to aspire to work in journalism (7% versus less than 1%), business (6% versus 1%), and law (11% versus 5%). And teen girls are equally likely to be interested in the military (3% among females versus 5% among males), arts and music (10% versus 10%), public safety including law enforcement and firefighting (6% versus 7%), and government (4% versus 5%). Another telling fact about the changing views of young women is that only 1% explicitly identify “domestic work? or “homemaking? as their future career choice. David Kinnaman, the Barna researcher who directed the study, commented on this finding. “Today’s teen girls—even if they aspire to be married and have children at some point—want or feel they ought to have some career plans in place. The vast majority of today’s young women are thinking education first, then career, then perhaps family someday.? The Role of Faith Leaders The Barna study also probed the views of Protestant clergy, including youth leaders and senior pastors. Only 38% of youth pastors and 36% of senior pastors say they frequently discuss college plans with their students. The research among youth workers showed that conversations with students about college occur most frequently in churches with an ample number of adult assistants in the youth ministry, where there is a clear strategy for student ministry in the church, and in those churches that work effectively with teen leaders. Still, there is a gap between church experiences and career aspirations. Only 1% of youth workers say they had addressed issues related to science in the last year and a similarly small percentage had taught about creativity or the arts. These facts illustrate the disconnect between where teens’ future professional interests lie, and the encouragement and instruction they receive in their church or faith community. With the vast majority of teenagers hoping to experience and graduate from college someday (see previous Barna study on this subject), Kinnaman suggested that college and career decisions represent an important opportunity for faith leaders to influence students. “Today’s teens have huge aspirations in life and a great deal of self-confidence that is sometimes out of proportion with their abilities. Taught to believe they can accomplish anything at anytime, many young people figure if they see a problem or a need, they can just start a new company or nonprofit to address it. And armed with technology, some of them are actually doing that. “Still, many young people do not seem to understand how a rich, historic understanding of the Christian faith and the gospel ought to inform their career aspirations,? Kinnaman continued. “And faith leaders are not as intentional as they could be with instruction and coaching on these types of decisions. Understanding how teenagers hope to spend their professional lives can help faith communities and institutions better support these students as they discern God’s calling in their lives.?

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