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July 29, 2011

America’s Marriage Debate Depends on Civil Society

As recent events in New York show, the marriage debate in America takes place amid serious political and legal fault lines. But efforts to defend and strengthen this bedrock institution ultimately depend on how marriage is understood, articulated, and practiced in civil society. As an undergraduate at Duke University, I spent the better part of senior year preparing for two related challenges: my senior thesis and marriage. My thesis, written for the public policy department, focused on the effects of marriage and divorce law.

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July 29, 2011

Can Marriage Be Saved?

Same-sex marriage comes to New York on Sunday. Whom will it impact other than the couples involved? The answer is: almost everyone. The New York legislature did not create a category of marriage called “gay marriage,? but instead redefined marriage for everyone. That means that anyone who doesn’t go along with this new politically inspired understanding of the historic institution of marriage will be treated under the law as the equivalent of a racist. Already, town clerks with deeply held religious beliefs about marriage have been told they will be fired if they refuse to sanction gay marriages. Some have already been forced to quit. We know from the experience in other states that professionals with strongly held moral beliefs about marriage will be threatened with loss of their...

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July 29, 2011

Lesbians Sue Vermont Inn for $1

On July 19, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the Wildflower Inn, a 24-room facility in Vermont, for refusing to host a wedding reception for a lesbian couple from Brooklyn, N.Y. The couple is asking for $1, as an injunction against the inn’s “discriminatory practices.? Vermont, which legalized same-sex marriage in 2009, also has a Fair Housing and Public Accommodations Act, which keeps inns, motels and hotels with five or more rooms from turning patrons away based on their sexual orientation.

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July 21, 2011

Air Conditioning, Cable TV, and an Xbox: What is Poverty in the United States Today?

For decades, the U.S. Census Bureau has reported that over 30 million Americans were living in “poverty,? but the bureau’s definition of poverty differs widely from that held by most Americans. In fact, other government surveys show that most of the persons whom the government defines as “in poverty? are not poor in any ordinary sense of the term. The overwhelming majority of the poor have air conditioning, cable TV, and a host of other modern amenities. They are well housed, have an adequate and reasonably steady supply of food, and have met their other basic needs, including medical care. Some poor Americans do...

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July 21, 2011

The financial benefits of supporting ‘gay marriage’

Money has been flowing into the coffers of some New York politicians who voted last month to legalize homosexual "marriage" in their state. Much of the controversy surrounds contributions made by Democratic New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg who is a supporter of homosexual marriage and was allowed to attend a backroom, members-only Senate Republican conference dealing with the subject. Ultimately four GOP members of the Senate voted in favor of same-gender marriage, giving the bill the number of votes it needed to pass.

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July 20, 2011

The Church and Disaster Relief: Shelter from the Stormy Blast

Christianity proclaims the future regeneration of a disordered world. The Church is an earthly reminder of that day of restoration. The Body of Christ, gathered together on Sunday but committed to the work of regeneration at all times, offers a refuge and comforting place for questions of "Why?" especially during disasters and trial. Through the ages, it has held to the hope of a brighter day. After springtime tornadoes tore through Alabama, the Rev. Kelvin Croom at College Hill Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa put it this way as he...

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July 15, 2011

The DOJ’s Unprofessionalism in Its Attack on Traditional Marriage

First the Obama Justice Department defended the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA,? which defines marriage as between a man and a woman for the purposes of federal law, and clarifies that no state has to recognize a homosexual marriage from another state) in federal lawsuits. Well actually, it did such a bad job of defending the lawsuits that even supporters of gay marriage acknowledged that the Justice Department’s non-defense of DOMA bordered on collusive litigation, concluding that the “DOJ’s faint-hearted advocacy is no way to run a legal system.? It could constitute unprofessional behavior by the Justice lawyers and on the edge of ethically improper since lawyers are charged with robustly representing their clients. They are not supposed to try to throw a case to the other side like the Chicago Black Sox did in the 1919 World Series.

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July 15, 2011

Understanding freedom for religion

Firefighters from Brooklyn's Red Hook station arrived at the Twin Towers before the second plane hit on 9/11. All seven men of Ladder 101 lost their lives that day. This summer, the city renamed part of a neighborhood street in their honor. But the new name, Seven in Heaven Way, isn't to everyone's liking.

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July 15, 2011

Crushing Venerable Adoption Agencies—and Religious Liberty

Illinois’s and New York’s recent recognition of same-sex couples has raised religious liberty concerns for Catholic and other agencies providing adoption and foster care services. Now, more than 50 Members of the U.S. Congress have signed onto a bill that would go much further, posing a challenge to religious liberty, civil society, federalism, and the best interests of children.

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July 13, 2011

Judge Halts Illinois’ Attempt to End Catholic Charities Contract

An Illinois judge granted a request of three Illinois Catholic Charities agencies, which asked for an injunction — or a temporary halt — to the state’s decision not to renew its longstanding adoption and foster care contracts.

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July 09, 2011

New Exposé: Planned Parenthood’s Alleged Misdeeds

Americans United for Life (AUL) released on Thursday what is being heralded as a ground-breaking report, “The Case for Investigating Planned Parenthood,? which asserts “systemic, organization-wide fraud and abuse.?

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July 08, 2011

A Tale of Five Cities: Humane Flourishing & The American Order

Some argue that the American order established in the eighteenth century was a “revolution,? a new, liberal, and perhaps even a radical political undertaking – a major departure from the received political tradition of European and Western Civilization. Others maintain that the American founding was more historically informed than might otherwise be assumed for a modern liberal democracy. Were the aspirations of the founders and framers of the American order informed by the heritage and origins of their own civilization? If so, how so and to what extent?

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July 06, 2011

Christian Hipsters and Economics

Anarchist punks are out and the socially-aware hipsters are in (even though they don’t want to say they’re “in?). A little over a decade ago, the hipster scene made its biggest comeback since the 1940s. Though they come in all shapes and sizes, many contemporary hipsters can be found riding their fixed-gear bikes to the farmers’ market or at a bar in skinny jeans drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon.

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July 06, 2011

Government and God’s People

Wayne Grudem is the research professor of theology and biblical studies at Phoenix Seminary in Arizona. He previously taught at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School for 20 years. He has served as the President of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, as President of the Evangelical Theological Society (1999), and as a member of the translation oversight committee for the English Standard Version of the Bible. He also served as the general editor for the ESV Study Bible (Crossway Bibles, 2008). Grudem's latest book is Politics According to the Bible (Zondervan, 2010). He recently spoke with Religion & Liberty's managing editor Ray Nothstine.

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July 06, 2011

Justice Department Argues for DOMA’s Demise (Again)

Days after angering gay activists with its appeal on behalf of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in a bankruptcy case, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) reversed course — again — and filed a 31-page brief calling for DOMA’s demise.

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July 05, 2011

China is reversing the decline and fall of Christianity

Towards the end of his recent book, Civilization, the historian Niall Ferguson drops into his analysis an explosive depth-charge. He quotes a member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, part of a team tasked with the challenge of discovering why it was that Europe, having lagged behind China until the 17th century, overtook it, rising to prominence and dominance.

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