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AFP: The sperm count of French men plunged by a third between 1989 and 2005, a finding which fuels concern that environmental pollutants or lifestyle are crimping fertility, scientists said on Wednesday.
“Yes Virginia, Er, North Carolina, There Is Christmas Censorship” (Even At Universities) | Jordan Lorence at Speak Up Movement
Jordan Lorence at the Speak Up Movement University Blog: Each year, many liberals and secularists deny that there is any effort by anyone to censor Christmas. They claim that “Religious Right” leaders diabolically promote a phoney “War on Christmas” in order to bamboozle ignorant and gullible Christians into donating money for their efforts to thwart this allegedly nonexistent threat.
Florida Ends Discriminatory Exclusion of Christian College from Tuition Assistance Program | Greg Baylor at Speak Up Movement
Greg Baylor at Speak Up Movement University Blog: The Florida Department of Education recently ended its discriminatory exclusion of a Christian college from one of its tuition assistance programs.
Alliance Defending Freedom Blog: These election results are being touted as a dramatic turning point in American history. Our opponents claim that full-fledged acceptance of same-sex “marriage” by all of America is inevitable. Additionally, the U.S. Supreme Court will soon announce whether it will hear cases involving both the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Prop 8. These are two of the most significant legal battles in our fight to protect marriage in America. In light of these developments, many Christians are wondering if the struggle to preserve marriage is worth it. “What’s the use?” they ask. If you’re wondering why this battle is still important, here are 5 reasons why marriage still matters – and why it matters to you . . .
Christian Concern: A complaint against a High Court judge who spoke out in favour of marriage has been dismissed by the Office for Judicial Complaints (OJC). Sir Paul Coleridge has served in the Family Division for over 50 years. He set up the Marriage Foundation to promote marriage as the “gold standard for relationships” and to lobby for marriage-friendly policies.
Chicago Sun Times: The poll, run by Public Policy Polling, showed that there was narrow support for a move toward same-sex marriage with 47 percent for and 42 percent against. But when it isolated the data to look at voters younger than 45, the approval jumped way up to 58 percent for and 37 percent against.
Annapolis.Patch.com: An Annapolis wedding vendor plans to ask Maryland’s General Assembly to give his company and others like him the right to refuse services to gay couples on religious grounds.
Midtown Patch: During the same Monday meeting in which it controversially voted to give itself a more than 50 percent pay raise, the Atlanta City Council tackled another hot topic by approving a resolution to support marriage equality.
The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Jim Campbell regarding a federal court’s decision in Sevcik v. Sandoval to uphold the state of Nevada’s ability to maintain laws and institute constitutional amendments that protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman . . .
Sohrab Ahmari at Wall Street Journal: So is it still possible to pull back from the brink of America’s Europeanization? Mr. Mansfield is optimistic. “The material for recovery is there,” he says. “Ambition, for one thing. I teach at a university where all the students are ambitious. They all want to do something with their lives.” That is in contrast to students he has met in Europe, where “it was depressing to see young people with small ambitions, very cultivated and intelligent people so stunted.” He adds with a smile: “Our other main resource is the Constitution.”
Kevin Staley Joyce at First Things: One might add the observation that the more we broaden marriage’s public meaning, the thinner it becomes for individuals, signifying less and less of distinctive value. An article in The Atlantic last week lends one such vision of marriage, with its public meaning lost in a cloud of private objectives. Millie Kerr coyly wonders why we don’t extend marital recognition to single persons . . .
An Alliance Defending Freedom attorney will be available for media interviews following oral arguments by co-counsel Thursday at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in a lawsuit involving a Montgomery County, Md. law that forces pro-life pregnancy counselors to advise women against using their services.
Amanda Marcotte at Slate: Given the choice between two stereotypes—the passive princess whose charm and beauty brings a man to one knee or an insecure needball who nagged a reluctant man into marriage—women will pick the former every time. In order to change that, we’d have to dramatically restructure our cultural understanding of gender and romance, away from stereotypes of promiscuous men who love only reluctantly and overeager women who just want to put a ring on it.
McPhersonSentinel.com: The city of McPherson is consulting with its legal counsel after it received a letter Monday from the Freedom From Religion Foundation requesting it cease its police chaplaincy program.
SooToday.com: Mark Warawa’s private member’s motion would ask the House of Commons to condemn the practice of sex selection before birth.
USA Today: “In the wake of historic victories for gay-rights supporters in last month’s elections, a pair of USA TODAY/Gallup Polls find growing acceptance among Americans toward gay men and lesbians — and soaring optimism among gay Americans that issues involving homosexuality will one day no longer divide the nation.”
Marine denies mocking Manning’s homosexuality, another says “gender-identification” issues “not normal”
AP: Asked by Coombs why Manning’s gender-identification issues increased his risk of self-injury, Blenis replied, “That’s not normal, sir.” “When you add that on top of a few other things we’ve talked about, it just shows he’s not stable,” Blenis said. “It’s a cause for concern.”
Boston Globe (AP): The Senate passed its version of the defense bill on Tuesday and now must reconcile it with the House measure, which does not include the abortion provision. Three of the four top negotiators – Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash. – favor lifting the ban.
Washington Times: A federal appeals court on Wednesday questioned not only President Obama’s controversial January recess appointments but the entire system of such appointments, using oral arguments in a case to cast doubt on whether presidential powers can ever be exercised unless Congress has adjourned for good.
Pittsburgh Tribune: A lawsuit seeking to force a Fayette County school district to remove a Ten Commandments monument from school grounds should be dismissed because the monument is more secular than religious, and its outdoor location means students aren’t forced to read it, according to school district attorneys.
The Hill: Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) warned his conference on Wednesday that leaders are “watching” how the rank-and-file vote to determine committee assignments, according to sources in the closed-door meeting.
Findlaw: The name of the game is reasonable compromise. United Parcel Services will learn this the expensive way, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The federal watchdog agency is suing UPS on behalf of a former employee who was denied time off to attend the Memorial of Christ’s Death, which is an annual religious service for Jehovah’s Witnesses.
LifeSiteNews: “International experience” has shown that attempts to legalize abortion in Ireland in “limited” cases, including where women threaten suicide, would quickly “open the floodgates” for abortion on demand, the Catholic bishops of Ireland have said in a new statement.
KATV.com (includes video): A church at the middle of a controversy regarding the play “Merry Christmas Charlie Brown” has decided to remove itself from the issue. Agape Church will not be offering the program for school matinees and will instead just have the public performances on the weekend. Here is a letter from the church that was sent to Channel 7.
LifeSiteNews: Over 10,000 gathered outside Ireland’s parliament this week to demand that Prime Minister Enda Kenny keep his campaign promise of 2011 not to bring legalized abortion into the Republic. The crowd included five Catholic bishops, and was organized by a united effort of all of Ireland’s pro-life organizations.
Huffington Post: In a historic bipartisan vote on Tuesday, the Senate passed Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s (D-N.H.) amendment to the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act that would extend abortion insurance coverage to victims of rape in the military.
AP: The interior ministers of Germany’s 16 states unanimously recommended Wednesday pursuing a new ban of the National Democratic Party on allegations it promotes a racist, xenophobic, and anti-Semitic agenda in violation of the country’s constitution.
Religion Clause Blog: In Florida yesterday, the Miami-Dade County Commission voted 8-3 to re-institute prayer before the opening of the Commission’s formal meetings.
Religion Clause Blog: In Indiana, state senator Dennis Kruse, chairman of the Senate Education and Career Development Committee, says he will try a new approach now that he failed last session to get legislation to allow the teaching of creationism along with evolution in the public schools.
Religion Clause Blog: In Torres v. Davis, (3d Cir., Dec. 4, 2012), the court rejected free speech, free exercise and equal protection challenges to the refusal by the Board of plaintiff’s requests made over a ten-year period to place items on the ballot.
Religion Clause Blog: he Colorado Springs Gazette reports that on Tuesday, an El Paso County, Colorado state court jury convicted Periz Jackson and Elijah Black on animal cruelty charges for the confined and unsanitary conditions under which they kept a lamb they had purchased to sacrifice on Passover. Prosecutors charged defendants . . .
‘God’ censored in 6 year old’s Veteran’s Day poem | Matt Sharp on Viewpoints Radio with Lockwood Phillips
One News Now: “The reporting statistics don’t lie. The state is indisputably funding medically unnecessary abortions in violation of state law,” Aden reports. “40 percent of these abortions are being executed on African-Americans, even though they make up only five percent of the state’s population. This lawsuit intends to stop this from continuing.”
AP: Maria Menendez, a 25-year-old caught in Spain’s job-destroying economic crisis, would love to work in Germany as a veterinarian. Germany, facing an acute shortage of skilled workers, would love to have her. A perfect match, it seems, but something’s holding her back: She doesn’t speak German.
Rasmussen: A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 46% of Likely U.S. Voters feel that if providing such coverage violates the deeply held beliefs of a church, religious organization or business owner, they should be allowed to opt out of providing coverage for contraceptives.
AP: Supporters and opponents of Egyptian leader Mohammed Morsi pelted each other with rocks and fought with sticks outside the presidential palace in Cairo on Wednesday, as a new round of protests deepened the country’s political crisis.
Peter Zeughauser at the Wall Street Journal (via Google): The Shanghai Bar’s invitation confronts Big Law with a dilemma. Joining a Chinese bar is viewed by some Americans as condoning and helping to perpetrate a judicial system that is corrupt and badly in need of reform. Others regard joining the bar as an opportunity to advocate for reform from within the Chinese judicial system.
The Hill: Groups that rely heavily on charitable giving will descend on Capitol Hill on Wednesday to defend the tax deduction for charities — a target in talks to reduce the deficit. Hundreds of representatives from churches, museums, arts and educational groups, and other nonprofits will argue any change to the tax deduction will curtail giving and harm those who receive services.
Sentinel Source: Care Net’s attorney Michael J. Tierney, of the Manchester, N.H., firm Wadleigh, Starr and Peters PLLC, said Monday the organization’s religious speech shouldn’t be a reason for it to be denied loan eligibility by a government agency. “Care …
NCPA Policy Digest: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) have started to plan their own development bank, as well as a bailout fund to help many countries around the world. This is done in response to the growing dissatisfaction of Western banking institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), says The Diplomat.
Tom Goldstein at SCOTUS Blog: The upshot is that the parties and lawyers driving the gay-marriage cases have cornered the Justices. They brought and won cases striking down a federal law, a California initiative, and an Arizona statute.
CBS: Verizon has filed a patent for targeting ads that collect information from infrared cameras and microphones that can detect the amount of people and types of conversations happening in customers’ living rooms.
Contraception and Women’s Wellbeing: NFP, Disillusionment, and the Poor | Helen Alvare at Public Discourse
Helen Alvare at Public Discourse: Contraception isn’t the only way to plan a family, and it certainly isn’t cost-free: contraception leads to sexual disillusionment and weakens the marriage culture at the expense of the least well-off women. The second in a three-part series.
Matt Sharp appeared on KMCO with Greg Knapp last week to discuss the Christmas Tree controversy at Western Piedmont College. | MP3 audio 7:16 mins