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March 30, 2012

British Conservatives lead charge for gay marriage

LONDON — Americans watching the latest push for social change in Britain might feel as if they had stepped into an alternate political universe: Here, the Conservatives are leading the charge for same-sex marriage. Gay couples in Britain won the right to civil partnerships in 2004, which granted them nearly the same legal status as married heterosexual couples while avoiding the controversial use of the word “marriage.? But Prime Minister David Cameron and his Conservative-led coalition have launched a historic drive to grant gay men and lesbians the option of also entering into civil marriages, touching off a surprisingly fierce uproar in largely progressive Britain and fueling a rebellion on the right as the party comes under heavy fire from traditional allies in the British clergy.

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March 30, 2012

Tenn. Legislators Push Bill to Protect Faith-Based Groups on College Campuses

State lawmakers in Tennessee are considering legislation that would protect faith-based organizations on state college campuses from non-discrimination policies that many say actually discriminate against the groups themselves. On Wednesday, a state Senate committee unanimously approved SB 3597, which if passed into law would prevent state colleges from denying religious groups official recognition on the basis of their religious speech and worship. It also states that religious organizations should be able to operate within their particular religious mission, and "only persons committed to that mission should conduct such activities."

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March 30, 2012

Kentucky T-Shirt Company Under Fire

What happens in Kentucky when a Christian company turns down business from gay activists? The same thing that happens just about everywhere else: The activists file a complaint with the local human rights commission, charging discrimination.

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March 30, 2012

Oklahoma Judge Blocks Ultrasound Law

An Oklahoma district judge on Wednesday struck down a two-year-old state law requiring abortionists to show ultrasound images and describe fetal development to women. Judge Bryan Dixon said the law is unconstitutional because it is aimed at abortion-minded women — having nothing to do with any other aspects of medical care. However, several states have similar informed-consent laws — most notably Texas, whose law was upheld by a federal appellate court earlier this year.

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March 30, 2012

Arizona Employer Protections Bill to Get Second Vote

The Arizona Senate on Wednesday shot down a bill seeking to protect employers from being forced to pay for workers’ contraceptive drugs and devices. But the bill will get a second vote before the legislative session ends in mid-April. Though HB 2625 passed the state House of Representatives with a two-thirds majority recently, the Senate rejected it on a narrow 17-13 vote when seven Republicans joined the chamber’s nine Democrats.

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March 29, 2012

Texas Atheists’ ‘Great Without God’ Ads to Run During Easter Rejected

An atheist organization seeking to show families that they can be "great without God" or religion during Easter weekend received some setback after organizers were told the ads were inappropriate for the Texas theater targeted in the campaign. The original version of the ads feature a number of families from different racial and ethnic backgrounds declaring in unison: "We are great without God." The Dallas-Fort Worth Coalition of Reason, the organization behind the campaign, was under the impression that a deal had been reached with the Movie Tavern in Arlington, Texas, to run the ads from April 7-8, which overlaps with several Jewish and Christian holy days.

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March 29, 2012

Battle Over Alaska City Ordinance Heats Up

As a vote on a controversial proposition banning “gender-identity discrimination? nears, gay activists are asking Anchorage television stations not to run ads from the Protect Your Rights – No on Prop. 5. Prop. 5, the effort to amend Anchorage’s existing public accommodations ordinance to include “sexual orientation or gender identity,? will be the subject of a popular vote on April 3. Groups on both sides of the issue have been airing radio and television ads since March 22. The proposition does not define the term “gender identity,? leaving it open to individual interpretation.

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March 29, 2012

Obama Administration Directs Insurance Company on Partner Benefits

The Obama administration recently took the unprecedented step of telling an insurance company to extend health coverage to the same-sex partner of a federal employee. At issue is Karen Golinski, who works for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in California. Golinski — whose union came during the brief window in 2008 after the state Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal but before the voters passed an amendment to the constitution defining it as the union of one man and one woman — has been waging an ongoing lawsuit against the federal government, seeking coverage for her partner.

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March 28, 2012

Sudden impact

Anyone paying attention to media coverage of Kirk Cameron's new documentary, Monumental: In Search of America's National Treasure, could easily conclude the film deals with the most explosive social issues of our time. After all, when Cameron appeared on the CNN news program, Piers Morgan Tonight, the only subjects the host wanted to discuss were those that most often find American Christians at odds with their culture. "He [Morgan] wouldn't speak about the movie," Cameron tells me, to be released in theaters on March 27 (and reviewed here). "Instead he backed me into a corner and started asking me about homosexuality, gay marriage, abortion, and the federal forcing of the Catholic Church to cover contraception."

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March 28, 2012

Tennessee Legislators Pass Academic Freedom Bill

In an effort to improve education and promote critical thinking, the Tennessee House of Representatives on Monday passed a bill allowing science teachers the academic freedom to discuss all scientific views on controversial issues on 72-23 vote. “It seems like a lot of discussion and critical thinking is shut down in our schools because there are people who feel you can’t question anything that’s politically correct,? such as global warming or the theory of evolution, said Rep. Bill Dunn, who sponsored SB 0893 in the House. “If you only discuss one side, then you don’t get a very good product.?

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March 28, 2012

In an effort to improve education and promote critical thinking, the Tennessee House of Representati

An atheist professor will soon be releasing the hardback version of a book chronicling his experiences attending creation science conferences and sites. Already available on Kindle and Nook, Jason Rosenhouse's book, titled Among the Creationists: Dispatches from the Anti-Evolution Frontline, includes details about his visits, including to the Creation Museum.

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March 27, 2012

Parker: Car Ins. Won’t Cover Your Tune Up, So Why Should ‘My Health Insurance Cover Your Sex Life?’

(CNSNews.com) – Speaking at one of the more than 130 “Stand Up for Religious Freedom? rallies around the country on Friday, activist and author Star Parker told the crowd gathered at the Health and Human Services building in Washington, D.C., that the government is trying to force its ideology on the people. “Mountains of data point to the connection between traditional marriage and religion to civil order and economic prosperity,? Parker said. “Yet, we are here today, because our times necessitate that we defend both sexual integrity and religion from the onslaught of the same big government and social engineers that gave us the sexual revolution and the war on poverty.

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March 27, 2012

Supreme Court Will Not Review Idaho Ban on Religious Books in Public Schools

The U.S. Supreme Court will not review Idaho's ban on books and documents in public schools deemed to be religious, it was announced Monday. The Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal group, asked the Supreme Court late last year to review a case in Idaho in which judges ruled that a publicly-funded charter school was violating the state constitution for using the Bible as a textbook in a secular history class.

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March 27, 2012

Atheist Activists Adopt Civil Rights Strategy of Current, Past Movements

An atheist activist leader says that atheists are discriminated against socially and politically in the U.S., and compares their struggles to that of African-Americans during the era of Martin Luther King Jr. and the homosexual rights movement of today. Al Stefanelli, author of A Voice Of Reason In An Unreasonable World: The Rise Of Atheism On Planet Earth and who says he is a former Southern Baptist pastor, told The Christian Post that atheists in this nation are not only discriminated against, but marginalized and stereotyped as well.

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March 27, 2012

Federal Court Hears About Pregnancy Center Signs

Lawyers from the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) were in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today, arguing for a pregnancy center in Maryland forced to place a sign on its property noting that local government thinks women need to seek help someplace else. Montgomery County doesn’t require abortion facilities to put any such signs on their buildings, noted ADF attorney Matt Bowman.

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March 26, 2012

BreakPoint This Week: Eric Metaxas

When Christians refuse to speak out or are intimidated into silence, society's last line of defense is neutralized. William Wilberforce and Diedrich Bonhoeffer were two men in church history who broke the "spiral of silence." During this inspiring interview, bestselling author Eric Metaxas joins Chuck Colson and John Stonestreet to reflect on how the 21st century church can learn from these historic men of God.

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March 26, 2012

Has the Sexual Revolution Been Good for Women? No

Spring came early to most of the 50 states this year—and with it, at least in the political fields, the usual crop of mixed truths, untruths, and wildly growing falsehoods. Let's yank up one of those weeds for a little inspection: the idea that a national "war on women" is afoot. It's an ideological whopper that demands more scrutiny than it has so far gotten, because underneath it are solid rocks of myth concerning what are called the "social issues." Let's turn over a few of these to see what facts they hide.

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March 26, 2012

Contract Concern: USAID Policy on Hiring Alarms Charities

Evangelical organizations that partner with Uncle Sam to deliver humanitarian aid overseas are voicing concern and outrage over a new federal policy that "strongly encourages" all contractors to develop anti-discrimination policies covering employees' sexual orientation. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) issued the policy statement—which has received little publicity—in October, a week after the Supreme Court let stand an appellate court ruling that favored World Vision's faith-based hiring policies.

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March 26, 2012

Timeline: Obama Administration Actions Affecting U.S. Religious Freedom

The past year has marked a shift in religious liberty debates, one that previously centered on hiring rights but became focused on health care requirements. When President Obama first took office, faith-based groups were especially concerned that organizations that discriminate in hiring based on religious beliefs would become ineligible for federal funding. In 2011, the President indicated that he would not rescind an executive order on hiring rights. Just a week later, though, Health and Human Services ruled that religious groups other than churches must provide their employees contraception, triggering lawsuits and petitions. But contraception is not the only religious freedom issue faith-based groups are eyeing. The following timeline shows a number of actions the government took in the past year, setting precedents and priorities on various issues, including sexual orientation, health care, and hiring decisions.

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March 26, 2012

Thousands Rally for Religious Freedom, Against Obama’s Birth Control Mandate

Protesters in more than 140 U.S. cities held rallies against President Obama's mandate on birth control at town squares Friday to defend their position that the HHS policy is an attack on religious freedom. The Rally for Religious Freedom was coordinated at the national level by the Pro-Life Action League and Citizens for a Pro-Life Society. Leaders of the individual rallies included a large contingent of Catholics, but protesters included believers from various faiths and denominations across a broad spectrum, said organizers.

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