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January 25, 2012

Vanderbilt Univ. Christian Group Says It’s Being Forced Off Campus

The adviser for Vanderbilt University's Christian Legal Society (CLS) said it is being forced off campus after the university instituted a nondiscrimination policy and placed various religious campus groups on probation. Law Professor Carol Swain told The Christian Post Tuesday that CLS has amended its constitution to comply with college policies prohibiting clubs from precluding someone from a leadership positions based on his or her beliefs.

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January 25, 2012

NJ Gay Marriage Bill Passes Initial Vote; Gov. Seeks Referendum to Decide

As the New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favor of a bill allowing same-sex marriage on Tuesday, Gov. Chris Christie reiterated that he would veto the bill if it reached his desk, but also said he would welcome a referendum on the November ballot asking voters to decide on the issue. The Democrat-led committee voted by a margin of 8-4 to pass the bill along; members voted along party lines.

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January 24, 2012

Embryonic stem cells appear to restore some vision to legally blind patient

For the first time, an experimental treatment made from human embryonic stem cells has shown evidence of helping someone, partially restoring sight to two people suffering from slowly progressing forms of blindness. Although the purpose of the experiment was to test the safety of stem cells injected into the eye, both patients “had measurable improvement in their vision that persisted through the duration of the study,� said Robert Lanza, chief scientific officer at Advanced Cell Technology, the Massachusetts biotech company that sponsored the closely watched experiment.

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January 24, 2012

Fate of Christians Arrested During Christmas in Iran Still Unknown

One month after security forces raided their Assemblies of God Church (AOG) in Ahwaz in western Iran two days before Christmas – which resulted in the arrest of the entire congregation, including children – there is still no word regarding the whereabouts of the church's pastor and three of its congregants. Everyone, but these four, were released from jail not long after the raid. The church was raided on Dec. 23, in a "pre-organized manner," according to Mohabat News – a Christian news agency in Iran and one of the very few sources reporting on the persecution that the state exercises on its Christian minority.

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January 24, 2012

Obama Gives Faith Groups One Year to Comply With Contraceptive Mandate

Despite a months-long lobbying effort waged by faith-based organizations — and close scrutiny from the media — the Obama administration announced Friday it will not allow religious groups an exemption from a federal health care law mandating that all employers provide insurance that covers contraceptive devices and drugs. Instead, the White House gave faith-based groups an extra year to comply with the mandate, instead of the Aug. 1, 2012 deadline all secular employers are facing.

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January 23, 2012

No change

WASHINGTON—Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ comment in August that not covering contraceptives “would be like not covering flu shots� should have been a clue to what was coming. On Friday the Obama administration announced it would not change the new healthcare law’s requirement that most religious groups provide their employees with coverage for contraceptives, including abortifacients like Plan B and Ella. The only exemption from the requirement is for groups that have the “inculcation of religious values� as their primary mission and who serve and employ people of that faith—which essentially only covers churches.

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January 23, 2012

Clamping down on chimp research

Scientists in the United States have used chimpanzees in research for nearly a century. Chimps have helped man to conquer spaceflight, study disease immunity, and treat hepatitis B. In December, though, National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins announced the U.S. government wouldn't fund any new studies requiring research on chimps that involves such things as injections, biopsies, or infection with viruses, unless experiments conform to new guidelines. The guidelines allow federal scientists to use chimpanzees for human health research only when it would be unethical to use human subjects, and when no alternatives are available, such as mice or lab-grown cell cultures.

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January 23, 2012

Gender Neutral No More: Parents Reveal Child’s Gender After 5 Years

The secret is finally out after five years that the child Sasha from the United Kingdom is in fact a boy. His parents, Beck Laxton and Kieran Cooper, have kept the gender of their son a secret all these years to the public, refusing to reveal their child's gender to make a statement against gender stereotypes. Sasha's gender was revealed after he entered school.

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January 20, 2012

The ramifications of criticizing homosexuality

A New Jersey school board has taken a first step toward firing a Christian teacher who came under attack last fall for posting comments on her private Facebook page that were critical of the homosexual lifestyle. Last October, when Union Township school teacher Viki Knox posted her objections to homosexuality on her Facebook page, a firestorm erupted and she was put on administrative leave (see earlier story). Now the school has filed tenure charges against her, which could lead to her permanent dismissal. Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) warns that this situation could pave the way for the left to silence Christians.

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January 20, 2012

New Hampshire House Defunds Planned Parenthood

The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted 207-147 on Wednesday to pass a bill stripping state funding of Planned Parenthood and any other group performing elective abortions. The 60-vote majority was plenty to pass HB 228 on to the state Senate, but not enough to override a potential veto from Gov. John Lynch.

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January 19, 2012

Arizona School Charges Faith-Sharing Fee

Want to share your faith on one of Maricopa Community College’s campuses in Arizona? Better plan ahead, and save a little cash to pay for that privilege. That’s because the school requires individuals and groups who want to pass out Christian literature and talk with willing passers-by about their faith to file a request for permission two weeks in advance, pay for insurance and fork over a minimum $50 fee.

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January 19, 2012

Four Ultrasound Bills Introduced in Virginia

The Virginia Legislature currently has four bills requiring women to undergo ultrasounds before having abortions, reflecting different waiting periods. “They’re all variations on a theme. They all have little differences, but will eventually be rolled into one bill,� explained Chris Freund, vice president of policy and communications at The Family Foundation. “Our goal is to get to the 24-hour frame, and we’re working with the senators on that now.�

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January 19, 2012

NYC Councilmen, Pastors Protest Policy Again

Approximately 300 people, including 32 members of the New York City Council and pastors from churches citywide, met in front of the New York Department of Education building to hear the latest updates on a policy evicting houses of worship from public school buildings, scheduled to take effect on Feb. 12. Afterward, the group marched downtown to present themselves at the City Council’s bi-weekly Wednesday meeting.

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January 18, 2012

Begin Sex Ed in Kindergarten, Says New ‘National Standards’ Report

CNSNews.com) – By the time they leave elementary school, children should be able to “define sexual orientation,� and by the eighth grade be able to “define emergency contraception and its use,� according to a report containing controversial new recommendations for sex education in U.S. public schools. “Ideally, comprehensive sexuality education should start in kindergarten and continue through 12th grade,� says the “National Sexuality Education Standards� report, drawn up by a range of advocates, academics and public education officials. The Future of Sex Education (FoSE), an initiative started by sex education advocates, developed the standards “to create a strategic plan for sexuality education policy and implementation.�

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January 18, 2012

Church Billboard Ruled ‘Anti-Atheist,’ but Even Skeptics Disagree

Skeptics and atheists in South Africa remain divided over the Advertising Standards Authority’s ruling to remove a church billboard that was deemed “anti-atheist.� Earlier this month, the ASA ruled that Rivers Church of Johannesburg could not display a billboard at their Sandton campus over what a complainant claimed was content offensive to atheists. The church had erected a billboard of a man holding his fingers against the temples of his face. Above the image is the quote, “An atheist is a man who believes himself to be an accident – Francis Thompson.�

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January 18, 2012

Maryland County Proposes Bathroom Bill

On Tuesday, a Baltimore County, Md., commissioner introduced a bill to give anyone the opportunity to use any public restroom or dressing room, regardless of whether they are male or female. The Act Concerning Human Relations is an attempt to force employers to make all accommodations for transgender employees, said its sponsor, Tom Quirk. But if it’s passed, it will actually go far beyond the walls of the workplace, said Derek McCoy of the Association of Maryland Families.

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January 18, 2012

Supreme Court Turns Away Prayer Case

Pray before public meetings if you like — just don’t dare mention the name “Jesus.� For the time being, that’s the law for states falling under the jurisdiction of the 4th U.S.Circuit Court of Appeals, as the U.S. Supreme Court declined Tuesday to hear a case arising from North Carolina.

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January 17, 2012

Does life need meaning? CSU tackles ultimate query

Got meaning? Michael Steger wants to know. Steger, a Colorado State University psychology professor, studies meaning, how people find it in their lives and whether it matters. In his "Laboratory for the Study of Meaning and Quality of Life" in a contemporary, hyper-green building on CSU's Fort Collins campus, people come to talk about their lives and undergo tests that Steger and his team of students use to explore and measure meaning.

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January 17, 2012

Judge: Christian Group Can’t Bar Same-Sex Ceremony on NJ Property

A New Jersey judge has recently ruled that a Christian organization must perform same-sex ceremonies on its property despite its views regarding the practice. Judge Solomon A. Metzger of the Office of Administrative Law ruled last Thursday that Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association violated state anti-discrimination laws when it did not allow a lesbian couple to use its boardwalk pavilion in 2007.

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January 17, 2012

International Planned Parenthood’s Goal: Increase Abortion Services by 82 Percent—in Africa

(CNSNews.com) – In its strategic plan for Africa for the years 2010-215, the International Planned Parenthood Federation has set an organizational goal of increasing its "abortion services" in that part of the world by 82 percent. The number is in Figure 2, the “performance framework� of the plan (page 7), under “performance milestones/benchmarks� and notes its expectation of an “82 percent increase in abortion services: 212,021 services by 2013, and 273,656 by 2015.�

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