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August 14, 2013

The Quiet Gay-Rights Revolution in America’s Churches

For most gay Americans in the 20th century, the church was a place of pain. It cast them out and called them evil. It cleaved them from their families. It condemned their love and denied their souls. In 2004, a president was elected when religious voters surged from their pews to vote against the legal recognition of gay relationships. When it came to gay rights, religion was the enemy. A decade later, the story is very different. Congregations across the country increasingly accept, nurture, and even marry their gay brethren. Polls show majorities of major Christian denominations -- including American Catholics, despite their church's staunch opposition -- support legal gay marriage. Leaders of some of the most conservative sects, like the Southern Baptists, have moved away from the vitriolic rhetoric of yesteryear and toward a more compassionate tone. Mormons march in gay-pride parades. A sitting Republican senator, a Methodist from the heartland state of Ohio, says the question was settled for him by "the Bible's overarching themes of love and compassion and my belief that we are all children of God." A new pope says, "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?"

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August 14, 2013

Jerry Brown signs bill empowering transgender students Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/0

California students will soon be able to use the bathrooms and join the teams that best match their gender identity, as Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed a bill enshrining rights for transgender youth. The legislation, authored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, advanced from both houses of the Legislature on largely party-line votes. Supporters said the bill protects young people who often endure intolerance and bullying as they travel a twisting road toward self-awareness. Although California law already shields transgender students from discrimination, Ammiano argued his bill would guarantee uniform treatment across the state's hundreds of school districts. It clarifies that individual districts cannot bar students from a single-sex setting like a men's basketball team or a women's locker room.

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August 14, 2013

Ex-Gay Community, Baptist Leadership Say DC Officials Are Infringing on Pastor’s Civil Rights Read m

Supporters of the ex-gay community are speaking out against Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray and the Arts and Humanities Commission after Pastor Donnie McClurkin announced he was uninvited from performing at the "Reflections on Peace: from Gandhi to King" MLK Memorial concert on Saturday, Aug. 10, following complaints by pro-gay activists. The Rev. Patrick J. Walker, president of Baptist Convention of the District of Columbia and Vicinity, and Christopher Doyle, the president and co-founder of Voice of the Voiceless (VoV), the only anti-defamation league for former homosexuals and people who have unwanted same-sex attraction, see the city's actions as a violation of McClurkin's civil rights.

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August 13, 2013

Swiss asked to ditch God from national anthem

Switzerland is holding a competition to rewrite its national anthem because it currently focuses on God. Over £7,000 is being offered as a prize for rewriting the song, which is called the Swiss Psalm. The man in charge of the competition claims Swiss society is “religiously neutral?, but in a 2010 census two thirds identified themselves as belonging to a church.

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August 09, 2013

Oregon Health Care Board Denies Chemotherapy, Will Push Rationing Under Obamacare

Oregon rations healthcare to Medicaid recipients. Terminal cancer patients are denied chemotherapy to extend life–and now the Oregon rationing board wants to go deeper into the weeds. From Hope Landsem’s Wall Street Journal blog:

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July 23, 2013

UK leader moves to shield kids from porn

The same day Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, became first-time parents of a baby boy, the United Kingdom took a step to protect children from pornography. Prime Minister David Cameron announced new policies on Monday for filtering explicit web content and preventing the distribution of violent pornographic imagery. “I want to talk about the internet, the impact it is having on the innocence of our children, how online pornography is corroding childhood and how, in the darkest corners of the internet, there are things going on that are a direct danger to our children, and that must be stamped out,? Cameron said, according to the prepared text of his speech. He said the internet is providing kids access to extreme pornography that is “distorting their view of sex and relationships.?

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July 22, 2013

The Texas Abortion Experiment

WHAT happens to a modern society when abortion is restricted? This question is at the heart of the debate over Texas’s new abortion law, which bans abortions after 20 weeks and issues health regulations that could thin the ranks of state abortion clinics, making even first-trimester abortions harder to obtain. The law’s actual impact may be less sweeping than critics argue. But suppose for the sake of argument that they’re right and that the legislation will dramatically curtail legal abortion. Then further suppose that it somehow survives the inevitable court challenge. What consequences are likely to ensue?

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July 19, 2013

Hobby Lobby Solidifies ‘Major Victory’ against HHS Contraceptive Mandate

Hobby Lobby has solidified its victory against the HHS contraceptive mandate, as a lower court agreed with the Tenth Circuit today and temporarily banned the enforcement of the mandate on the evangelical-owned craft chain. "There is a substantial public interest in ensuring that no individual or corporation has their legs cut out from under them while these difficult issues are resolved," ruled the court, according to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents Hobby Lobby as well as Wheaton College and other high-profile challengers.

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July 09, 2013

The New State-by-State Fight for Gay Marriage

For advocates of gay marriage, the Supreme Court's two recent decisions on the subject were a watershed moment. Now the question is: What next? With jurisprudence, public opinion, and state laws all seeming to be moving in their direction, the future looks bright for their cause. But the campaigners at Freedom to Marry, the only national group solely devoted to gay-marriage advocacy, believe it is time not to rest on laurels but to fight harder than ever. And they have a plan to do just that.

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June 28, 2013

Obama Administration Announces Final Rule On Contraception Coverage

The Obama administration announced the final rules under the Affordable Care Act on Friday requiring most employer health insurance plans to cover employees' contraception without a copay. “The health care law guarantees millions of women access to recommended preventive services at no cost,? said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a statement. “Today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to respect the concerns of houses of worship and other non-profit religious organizations that object to contraceptive coverage, while helping to ensure that women get the care they need, regardless of where they work.?

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June 27, 2013

Hobby Lobby can fight without fines

Hobby Lobby stores will not have to pay out millions of dollars in fines next week, despite the company’s choice to stand up against the federal contraceptive health insurance mandate, a federal appeals court said Thursday. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided the Christian-owned arts and crafts chain based in Oklahoma City could proceed with its case against the government without being subjected to fines in the process.

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June 25, 2013

Why I Fight Against Gay Marriage

Rich Stearns is a servant, a Wharton grad who leapt from the top of corporate America and landed in a stream, knees bent bracing. Arms outstretched, he is a fisher of men, desperate to save the poor, sick and suffering. Stearns’ talent has transformed World Vision into the eighth largest charity in America, with annual revenues of more than $1 billion. Some 40,000 employees are active worldwide doing disaster relief, providing food, and assisting refugees. According to a 2009 interview, Stearns intends to reduce by half the number of children who die daily from poverty-related causes. If he succeeds (count me among those who believe he will) that number will still be 13,000 dead children daily.

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June 25, 2013

The False Narrative of Gay Marriage

You’ve heard it over and over: Gay “marriage? is inevitable. Well, at least that’s what its supporters want you to believe. In his book, “The Black Swan,? Nicholas Nassim Taleb discussed what he calls the “narrative fallacy.? This refers to our “limited ability? to look at a sequence of facts “without weaving an explanation into them.? While this tendency helps us make sense of the world around us, it can and often does mislead us. It creates a mistaken impression that we understand things better than we really do. And, it often causes us to view the facts in ways that are consistent with the narrative we ourselves have created.

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June 25, 2013

What Really Happened at the Komen Foundation

The clean sweep at the Komen Foundation is finally complete. A few days ago Komen founder Nancy Brinker finally lost her job as CEO. It took a while but they finally got rid of her, the woman who watched her sister suffer and die from breast cancer, who dedicated her life to eradicating the disease, who created one of the most successful global health charities in the world. They removed her for the crime of trying to defund Planned Parenthood. She’s being replaced by a woman some say had a hand in developing Obamacare and who has never run a non-profit. She was the last of the triumvirate who had the audacity to try and get Susan G. Komen for the Cure out of the culture wars around abortion.

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June 24, 2013

Face it: Monogamy is unnatural

(CNN) -- Kristen Stewart, Ryan Phillippe, LeAnn Rimes, Jude Law, Mark Sanford and Bill Clinton. What do they have in common? Many are quick to label a person who strays from his or her marriage or relationship as a "cheater," but it's really not that simple. It's time for our culture to wake up and smell the sex pheromones: monogamy is not natural for many, or probably even most, humans. With people living longer than ever before, a greater tolerance toward the human impulse to experience sexual variety is needed. Whether a person succeeds at being sexually monogamous depends as much on biology as environment.

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June 24, 2013

On Winning the Marriage Debate

In 1990, Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt challenged incumbent Senator Jesse Helms for the Senate in North Carolina. Gantt sought the endorsement of perhaps America’s most famous Tarheel, NBA superstar Michael Jordan. But Jordan, early in the stages of building what would become the first global sports-entertainment brand based on an individual, shrugged off the opportunity, noting glibly, “Republicans buy sneakers, too.? That would never happen today. Though most athletes still prefer a safe spot on the bench in policy bouts, very few challenge prevailing cultural or political ideologies. Some even see embracing those issues as a smart career choice. Consider NBA journeyman Jason Collins. At the end of a mediocre career and not affiliated with any team, the revelation of his homosexuality landed him the cover of Sports Illustrated and made him the topic of talk radio shows nationwide. Compare that success to the condemnation of NBA commentator Chris Broussard, who—when asked about Collins’s Christian faith—respectfully articulated the biblical position on human sexuality.

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June 12, 2013

Belgium Parliament Will Vote to Allow Doctors to Euthanize Children

Child euthanasia: It’s all over but the final voting in Belgium as the Parliament agrees across party lines that doctors should be able to euthanize children.

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June 12, 2013

What Happens to Women Who Are Denied Abortions?

S. arrived alone at a Planned Parenthood in Richmond, Calif., four days before Christmas. As she filled out her paperwork, she looked at the women around her. Nearly all had someone with them; S. wondered if they also felt terrible about themselves or if having someone along made things easier. She began to cry quietly. She kept reminding herself that she felt secure in her decision. “I knew that that was going to be the right-wrong thing to do,? she told me later. “I was ready for it.? After S. urinated in a cup, she was led into a small room. She texted one of her sisters, “Do you think God would forgive me if I were to murder my unborn child?? It was the first time anyone in her family knew she was pregnant.

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May 23, 2013

Boy Scouts vote to lift ban on gay youth

GRAPEVINE, Texas -- The Boy Scouts of America voted on Thursday to end its controversial policy banning gay kids and teens from joining one of the nation's most popular youth organizations, ditching membership guidelines that had roiled the group in recent years. Over 60 percent of the The National Council of 1,400 delegates from Scouting across the country voted to lift the ban, BSA officials said.

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May 17, 2013

Florist in gay wedding fight files religious discrimination suit

A Washington state florist sued by the state’s attorney general over her refusal to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding has filed a countersuit alleging religious discrimination. Barronelle Stutzman claims the state’s lawsuit violates its own constitution, which guarantees “freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment, belief, and worship? and guarantees that “no one shall be molested or disturbed in person or property on account of religion.? Local attorney J.D. Bristol and lawyers from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) are representing the 68-year-old owner of Arlene’s Flowers.

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