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LifeSite News: The mediation hearing of former TV sports anchor Damian Goddard, who was fired by Rogers Sportsnet last May after tweeting his support for true marriage, and who subsequently launched a human rights complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, is taking place today at the CHRC office in Toronto.
LifeSiteNews: After Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal government moved to fast track its controversial homosexual “rights” bill this week, it easily passed a vote at second reading Thursday. It now heads to committee.
AP: A Republican who previously voted against the bill said she switched her vote. The measure faces two more committee votes, but sponsors are optimistic they have enough support to get the legislation within a week to Gov. John Hickenlooper, who is firmly behind the plan. The measure has already passed the Senate.
Denver Post: Colorado House panel approves civil unions bill
NewsOK.com: The House of Representatives unanimously approved a measure Wednesday that would allow a woman to bring a lawsuit against abortion providers and prescribers of abortion-inducing drugs or chemicals for not following voluntary and informed consent provisions of state law related to abortions. House Bill 2561 . . .
Christian Science Monitor: Freshman Sen. Rand Paul, backed by GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul, aims to abolish the TSA – and its intrusive searches of air travelers – and to establish a passenger bill of rights.
Republic: Free-speech groups and a southwest Virginia school division are squaring off over a lawsuit challenging the display of the Ten Commandments in a public high school.
Nate Silver at the NY Times: The most recent poll was conducted by Civitas Institute, a conservative think tank whose poll results have generally shown little partisan bias in the past. That survey polled Democratic and Republican primary voters separately, but projected that the measure would win by 16 percentage points when it combined the results.
Human Events: In the era of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, a number of support groups advocated for gay service members who feared backlash for speaking freely. But the repeal of the ban in late 2011 has not ushered in a new era of free speech; rather, now it is chaplains who say they are being muzzled by the military and a group has formed to pass legislation seeking relief on their behalf.
Newsmax: Republican Ohio Senate President Tom Niehaus says he will not work to pass legislation that could outlaw abortions in Ohio, saying the bill is flawed.
Seattle Post Intelligencer: Same-sex marriage should be part of the Democratic Party’s 2012 national platform, according to a statement issued Thursday by 11 state chairs, including Dwight Pelz of Washington.
Irish Central: Prior to his death, al-Qaeda ring-leader Osama bin Laden was urged by Adam Gadahn, the American al-Qaeda spokesman, to consider reaching out to the Irish population in hopes of getting them to convert to Islam.
Fox News: A yearbook profile about a homosexual student’s experiences at Lenoir City High School, in east Tennessee, has ignited protests among students and parents as well as calls for an investigation from some school officials.
Catholic Statesman: In one town in northern Mali a man has been whipped for drinking alcohol. In another, pictures of unveiled women have been torn down. In a third, traditional music is no longer heard in the streets.
Citizen Link: The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) announced today the launch of a new project aiming to make sure Christians have the right to speak and behave according to the dictates of their faith on college campuses nationwide.
Christian Concern: The High Court has passed a ruling this week permitting doctors to withdraw life-sustaining treatment from a paralysed man who communicated a wish to die by blinking.
Christian Institute: A Conservative government minister has said that his party’s poor performance at the local elections is partly down to its bid to redefine marriage.
The Alliance Defense Fund has offered to defend a World War I and II memorial cross in Woonsocket, R.I., free of charge if an atheist group makes good on its threats to sue over it. ADF has also advised local veterans’ groups of its offer to defend the constitutionality of the 91-year-old memorial, which stands in the parking lot of the town’s fire station.
Jonathan Adler at the Volokh Conspiracy: In an effort to educate potential law students about the real costs of attending law school, Law School Transparency has launched a “Data Clearinghouse”, a database of “consumer information” on law schools, including much information law schools have been reluctant to disclose.
Religion Clause Blog: he Guardian reported yesterday that in Indonesia, for the first time an atheist is being prosecuted for blasphemy, which includes a violation of the first pillar of Indonesia’s state philosophy – pancasila, which requires belief in one god.
Metro Weekly: The House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group today sought to intervene, as expected, in the challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act and related laws brought by Servicemembers Legal Defense Network on behalf of LGB servicemembers and veterans and their spouses. The intervention in McLaughlin v. United States . . .
Erik Stanley at the
MySanAntonio.com (AP): The Alliance Defense Fund issued a statement Thursday saying Idaho’s oldest public university is among more than 160 schools nationwide with policies that violate students’ religious freedoms.
One News Now: In a letter [PDF] to university officials, Travis Barham of Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) complains that officials and the teacher of Elaina Smith, the art student who vandalized the crosses, were aware that this was going to occur, yet they did nothing to stop it. He points out that it is the duty of university officials to protect students’ First Amendment rights, not “passively allow them to be violated.” [more]
KGWN.tv: Byron Babione, with the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative group that stands for religious freedom, echoed the concerns of some of the opponents when he said civil unions are “marriage without the name.”
WSET.com (ABC13): Opponents argue civil unions undermine traditional marriage and that voters expressed their position on the issue when they banned same-sex marriage in 2006. Byron Babione, with the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative group that stands for religious freedom, echoed the concerns of some of the opponents when he said civil unions are “marriage without the name.”
LifeSiteNews: The Christian Post reports that Bulgaria’s government is instituting new family law asserting that while parents have responsibilities towards their children, they have no rights to make educational decisions. Viktor Kostov, a Bulgarian lawyer and human rights activist, reports . . . He warns that should the bill pass, it could be used by state ideologues to quash the religious and political rights of citizens by threatening their custody over their children. Freedom for All Advocates, the Alliance Defense Fund, and the Home School Legal Defense Association have intervened in the debate over the bill, warning that similar measures in other EU countries have resulted in the state having near-total control over families and children.
John Yoo: Litigating for Terrorists: The Obama Admin refused to defend me, now reverse the political polarities
John Yoo at the Wall Street Journal (via Google): The Obama administration refused to defend me against the lawsuit filed for José Padilla. Now even the liberal Ninth Circuit agrees the suit was frivolous.
AP: A prominent Russian gay rights activist was convicted on Friday of spreading “gay propaganda” among minors in the first such ruling in Russia’s modern history . . . a city court in St. Petersburg fined him 5,000 rubles ($170) for breaching the law . . .
Education News: A conundrum: Polls show that teachers are some of the most admired people in America. Yet, nearly half of the respondents in a 2011 Gallup poll said teachers unions hurt the quality of education, while just 26 percent said they helped.
Mark Bauerlein at Public Discourse: But it worked only as long as a romance had lifelong consequences. One kiss had to mean a decisive pledge or a gross misjudgment. A marriage contract involved transfers of land and money. Marriage itself lasted forever, and escaping a bad one brought lasting ignominy. Once marriage lost its binding character, it no longer served the novel as a significant plot, and without the marriage plot, the novel lost its basis.
Albert Mohler at the Christian Civic League: One parent said this: “I teach my children to judge people on their actions . . . whether you agree with their lifestyle or not.” The only way to make sense of this is to see that this parent is trying to separate “actions” from “lifestyle” as if the lifestyle should be free from moral scrutiny. Lifestyles involve actions, but those are now to be considered beyond moral judgment.
The Hill: President Obama leads presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney in the critical battleground state of Virginia, according to a Washington Post poll released on Thursday. Obama leads Romney 51 percent to 44 percent, according to the poll.
LifeNews: Leading pro-life advocates rallied this morning at the White House for forced abortion opponent Chen Guangcheng, who may be close to heading to the United States if China approves an application for him to study here. At least one pro-life advocate was arrested.
The Hill: Observers said the U.S. and China will both be looking for a way out of the diplomatic fight that allows both sides to save face . . . Willson said he expected the situation to quickly be resolved given the two nations’ mutual dependence. The two countries are tied at the hip economically – China is America’s second-largest trading partner and is the largest single holder of U.S. government debt – and China’s support is needed to get anything done in the UN.
NY1.com (includes video): Would-be competitors in next year’s mayoral election joined forces at City Hall Wednesday to push for a state law that would expand abortion rights, to make late-term abortions legal not just when the mother’s life is threatened, but also when pregnancy prevents the mother from getting treating serious health problems.
Gallup: Catholic voters in the United States are evenly split in their support for Barack Obama and Mitt Romney for president, mirroring the national trend. However, Hispanic Catholics — about 18% of the total group of Catholic voters — are overwhelmingly likely to support Obama over Romney, while a majority of non-Hispanic white Catholics support Romney.
LifeNews: The saga surrounding Chen Guangcheng includes a wide variety of Chinese dissidents who provided active support to the leading opponent of forced abortions and the one-child policy in the nation — but none, perhaps, as daring as He Peirong.
LifeNews: Chinese officials have allowed forced abortion opponent Chen Guangcheng to apply to leave the country and study abroad at a university in the United States — in what is the first sign of good news that Chen may escape the persecution he is facing there.
Raymond Ibrahim at Middle East Watch: To appreciate this dichotomy—what Islamists are all about and why secularists want no part in Friday’s march—consider who is among the characters spearheading tomorrow’s mass protests: none other than Muhammad al-Zawahiri, the elder brother of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, and a seasoned terrorist in his own right. According to Youm 7, Zawahiri appeared yesterday “at the head of hundreds of protesters,” including “dozens of jihadis,” demonstrating in front of Egypt’s Military Council near Cairo.