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AP: The rules would allow the House to continue to intervene on behalf of the Defense of Marriage Act, which forbids same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court has agreed to take a potentially historic look at the law, planning to hear two cases that challenge the government’s different treatment of gay Americans.
Rory Gray at Alliance Defending Freedom Blog: Last year, memorial crosses along Interstate 15 dedicated to fallen Utah Highway Patrol troopers were taken down after the Supreme Court denied review in the Utah Highway Patrol Association v. American Atheists case. The crosses were privately designed, financed, erected, and maintained by the Utah Highway Patrol to honor troopers who gave their lives in the line of duty, remind the public of troopers’ sacrifice, and prompt motorists to drive more safely.
Boston Globe: Thousands of protesters in Honduras’ capital of Tegucigalpa are blocking Supreme Court judges from entering the court’s building, saying they want to ‘‘clean up Honduras’ justice system.’’
LifeSiteNews: A Catholic archbishop in Cameroon preached, “Marriage of persons of the same sex is a serious crime against humanity” in his homily at Christmas Day Mass.
LifeSiteNews: Israel’s two chief rabbis have again issued a letter to all synagogue and community rabbis urging them to condemn abortion and to support the work of Efrat, the country’s pro-life organization.
CNSNews: President Barack Obama re-nominated former New York State Solicitor General Caitlin Halligan to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia after her nomination had been blocked for more than a year . . .
Scientific American: The link between a mother and child is profound, and new research suggests a physical connection even deeper than anyone thought. The profound psychological and physical bonds shared by the mother and her child begin during gestation when the mother is everything for the developing fetus, supplying warmth and sustenance, while her heartbeat provides a soothing constant rhythm.
Washington Post: There is a time to every purpose under Heaven. For the 113th Congress, it is a time to rise. When the day is over, and the verdict is read, may it be said that we well and faithfully did our duty to ensure freedom will endure and prevail. So help us God.
AZ Republic: But a growing atheist lobbying group is taking on the Christian-based center and its well-connected president, Cathi Herrod, and aims to create a higher profile at the Legislature next session. Serah Blain, executive director of the Secular Coalition of Arizona, said the state is the first in the nation to have a full-time legislative lobbyist representing a “non-theistic” organization.
The Topeka Capitol Journal: The state agency seeking child support payments from a Topeka man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple says one of the women “clearly deceived” the department.
Washington Times: The GOP-led states conditionally approved are Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. Idaho and Utah have Republican governors and legislatures. Nevada and New Mexico have GOP governors, but Democrats control their legislatures.
Christian Institute: A majority of both Conservative and Liberal Democrats – 79 per cent and 70 per cent respectively – back the change, according to a survey by leading opinion pollster ComRes.
AP: Kansas law governing artificial insemination is outdated and fails to recognize modern concepts of family, according to the attorney for a Topeka man being pursued to pay child support for a girl born to a lesbian couple as the result of his sperm donation.
AP: A look at the routes states are taking to implement President Barack Obama’s health care law, including health insurance exchanges and expansion of Medicaid coverage, along with the number of people in each state who don’t have health insurance:
C-FAM: Advocates for legal abortion in all circumstances continue to make their case in terms of reducing maternal mortality, despite a growing body of evidence showing that dramatic improvements in maternal health worldwide have been achieved without the liberalization of laws restricting abortion.
LifeSiteNews: Oklahoma had the right to deny Planned Parenthood nearly half-a-million dollars in state contracts because of the abortion provider’s “persistent unresponsiveness” to state queries for routine information, a federal judge has ruled.
LifeSiteNews: A Montreal prosecutor told a Quebec court recently that holding a religious ceremony in a building not zoned as a place of worship, even if it is a private home, is illegal.
Author of Britain’s Abortion Act: ‘I never envisaged there would be so many abortions’ – 20% of pregnancies
LifeSiteNews: This is an astonishing comment given that Lord Steele remains supportive of abortion, but it reflects concerns regarding the staggering number of abortions carried out in Britain – up to 200,000 every single year, with some 20 percent of all pregnancies ended by abortion.
LifeNews: Since August 1991 more than 3.5 million human embryos have been created, producing only 235,480 “gestational sacs” or evidence of successful implantation.
WDTN.com: Humanist and secular groups have joined the side of an Ohio school board in a court battle over the firing of a public school science teacher who kept a Bible on his desk and was accused of preaching religious beliefs in class.
ABC: Despite poll numbers showing the majority of Americans now support gay marriage, House Speaker John Boehner sent a strong message today authorizing the continued use of taxpayer funds to defend a federal law that defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
Chicago Tribune: If anyone thought gay marriage legislation would pass easily in Illinois, the initial hiccup Wednesday in the state Senate illustrated how hard-fought the issue is likely to be every step of the way. A bill to allow same-sex marriage did not attract enough support to get a first hearing as Senate Republicans blocked an effort to allow the measure to be considered by a committee.
Cincinnati.com: A combination of new Republicans in the Kentucky House of Representatives and conservative Democrats might get long-stalled anti-abortion legislation passed in 2013, Republican lawmakers said.
CNA: A Christian pastor who spent nearly three years in an Iranian prison for his religious conversion was reportedly arrested again on Christmas Day, contrary to a previous agreement.
National Review: About 60 percent of Americans have a high-school diploma but not a degree from a four-year college. Forty-four percent of their children are born outside of marriage. This finding is the focus of “The President’s Marriage Agenda for the Forgotten Sixty Percent,” the fruit of the annual “State of Our Unions” report compiled by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and the Institute for American Values.
JDNews.com: An area church rallied outside the Onslow County Courthouse and the Onslow County School Board building this week, on a mission to put prayer back in schools.
Gary Bauer at Human Events: For many Christians in America, 2012 will be remembered as a year of intensifying attacks on the right to practice their faith according to their consciences.
Religion Clause Blog: President Obama issued a statement Wednesday rejecting several provisions of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), including a conscience protection for military chaplains that he called “ill-advised”.
he Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, an organization of chaplain endorsers, is calling on President Obama and senior Department of Defense leaders to honor religious liberty protections for chaplains passed by Congress despite an Obama statement that calls the protections “ill-advised.”
Religion Clause Blog: YNet News and JTA have both reported recently on an unusual Dec. 21 ruling by a court in Antwerp, Belgium ordering an Orthodox Jewish school for girls affiliated with the Belz Hasidic movement to admit two boys to study there.
Religion Clause Blog: Under the new law, the total of itemized deductions that may be taken by individuals earning over $250,000 and married couples earning over $300,000 will be reduced by 3% of the amount their adjusted gross income exceeds the $250,000 or $300,000 threshold until 80% of the itemized deductions are lost.
LifeNews: The cover article makes the case that the pro-abortion side is losing the abortion debate, saying, “40 Years Ago, Abortion Rights Activists Won an Epic Victory With Roe v. Wade. They’re been losing ever since.”
Education News: …“socially conservative” independent faith schools – the vast majority of them Muslim – where pupils may be encouraged to cut themselves off from mainstream society.
American Thinker: Following November 2012′s citizen-initiated referendum to redefine marriage in Maine, marriage within that state will now include same-sex couples. In light of this, clerks with religious and/or conscience objections to issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples have found themselves in a quandary.
The New American: Among the pro-life groups applauding the ruling was Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing a former Texas Planned Parenthood clinic director, Abby Johnson, who has charged that the abortion giant is guilty of defrauding the Texas Women’s Health Program of more than $5.7 million. ADF said that the case against Planned Parenthood of Southeast Texas represents just a fraction of more than $100 million in waste, fraud, and abuse the conservative legal advocacy group exposed in a report it presented to the U.S. Congress last February. “Texans shouldn’t be forced to fund abortion industry giants like Planned Parenthood, so the court got this right,” said ADF Senior Counsel Mike Norton in response to the latest court ruling. “Texas law reserves taxpayer money for real healthcare for women and protects Texans from being financially coerced into abortion advocacy.” He added that women “deserve better than Big Abortion’s predatory business model and taxpayers deserve better than to be victims of Planned Parenthood’s waste and abuse of public dollars.”
LifeSiteNews: U.S. District Judge John Jarvey dismissed her case last Friday with prejudice, citing its lack of specificity. The Alliance Defending Freedom helped Thayer file suit in March 2011 . . . Planned Parenthood of the Heartland CEO Jill June calls such lawsuits a form of harassment.
Carl Tobias at The Hill: In August, Northern District of California Judge James Ware retired after two decades of service, leaving the court with four vacancies in 14 judgeships. The huge caseload prompted the U.S. Courts to declare all four “emergencies.”
AP: Sri Lanka’s highest court declared on Thursday that a parliament committee does not have the legal power to probe allegations of misuse of power and unexplained wealth against the country’s chief justice, escalating a showdown between the Indian ocean island nation’s legislature and the judiciary.
Melissa Moschella at Public Discourse: Are judges more competent to determine what a particular religion requires or forbids than that religion’s own leaders or adherents? Most would think not. Yet that’s what two of the recent rulings related to the Health and Human Services contraception, sterilization, and abortion-drug mandate seem to claim.
AP: Like a handful of other countries, including Germany and Denmark, Iceland has official rules about what a baby can be named.
Georgetown Times: On Sept. 18, the Georgetown County School Board — for the first time — began its meeting with a moment of silence rather than a prayer. The decision to make the change was made by chairman Jim Dumm who said he was following the advice of board attorney David Duff. Duff said because of an investigation into religious activities being conducted by the American Civil Liberties Union, the district needed to stop the practice of praying at board meetings and other district events. The interpretation of the law by the ACLU has been challenged by both the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Palmetto Family Council.
The Heritage Foundation: After nearly 25 years of leadership and service to The Heritage Foundation, former Attorney General Edwin Meese III today announced he is “semi-retiring.”