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LifeSiteNews: Even “some of our clergy” have lost confidence in the truth about marriage, life and religious liberty, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix warned at a major meeting of Catholic leaders held in Mexico City November 16-19. This loss of confidence comes as a result of the relentless attack from secular culture, he said, adding that if Christians don’t maintain their confidence in these “tough truths” it will hurt the spread of the Gospel.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan at NY Daily News: What a shame that a speaker representing Courage wasn’t allowed to speak at Cardinal Spellman Catholic High School
Washington Times: A push by activists to ease the 30-year-old blanket ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men faces a key test this week as a federal panel hears results of the latest research.
Rasmussen Reports: A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 43% of Likely U.S. Voters hold an unfavorable impression of Sebelius, showing little change from late October. But 30% now view Sebelius favorably, up from 25% last month.
Natalie Angier at NY Times: An increasing number of same-sex couples are pursuing parenthood any way they can, and in the process disproving some stereotypes about American domesticity.
Natalie Angier at NY Times: The clues to an American paradox, and the changing definition of what it means to be a family, can be found in the nation’s history.
Natalie Angier at NY Times: American households have never been more diverse, more surprising, more baffling. In this special issue of Science Times, NATALIE ANGIER takes stock of our changing definition of family.
Michael Barone at Human Events: As Utah Senator Mike Lee noted in speeches at the Heritage Foundation, “the problem of poverty is linked to family breakdown and the erosion of marriage among low-income families and communities.” Lee is careful not to cast opprobrium on single or divorced parents. But he insists on pointing to the uncomfortable but undeniable fact that economic outcomes for their children have been far worse than those for children raised in two-parent families. That produces many personal tragedies. And in cold economic terms, it means that society is losing gross domestic product because of less than optimal development of human capital.
Walter Olson at Cato Institute: The ACLU of all groups should have no reason to see this as a “difficult choice” or as a conflict of constitutional values. Free speech and expression rights, which extend to the right not to engage in expression on behalf of a cause one deplores, are central constitutional values and the ACLU is the very first organization people turn to to defend them. Equal treatment of gay couples by private actors, on the other hand (as distinct from by the government itself) has no clear status as a constitutional value at all.
Examiner.com: “The whole notion of family is so undercut by the cohabitation mentality,” the Cardinal said, “these social trends are having a tremendous impact on the working-class communities who were once the backbone of the Church.”
JFK Wouldn’t Even Be Allowed To Speak At Today’s Democratic National Convention | Casey Mattox at Bell Towers
Casey Mattox at Bell Towers: Even ignoring JFK’s views on taxes, communism, the military, and a host of other issues, it is unlikely that JFK would have gotten past the litmus test for today’s Democratic Party—abortion.
Female photographer sued for refusing to take pictures at lesbian couple’s commitment ceremony takes her battle for religious freedom to the Supreme Court | Daily Mail
Daily Mail: Ms Huguenine told alliancedefendingfreedom.org: ‘If it becomes something where Christians are made to do these things by law in one state, or two, it’s going to sweep across the whole United States…and religious freedom could become extinct.’
Fight for Faith: Christian Photographers Appeal to SCOTUS | Jordan Lorence on Fox News, The Kelly File (video)
Aired November 12, 2013.
Erik Erickson at Red State: Media Matters and the Southern Poverty Law Center are in a full on attack against the Alliance Defending Freedom. It may be only a matter of time before some nut with a gun shows up to kill the Christians there, just like that guy tried to do at the Family Research Council. That guy was inspired by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Alliance Defending Freedom needs your help. They are on the front lines fighting back against leftwing groups trying to force the religious into submitting to secular hedonism. [more - focus on Elane photography]
Christian businesses must acquiesce to same sex “weddings” or be punished? | Jim Campbell on AFR Radio
Northern Colorado Gazette: Jordan Lorence, Senior Counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is working on the case said the judge’s ruling is a “chilling” attack on the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion. “The idea that free people can be ‘compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives’ as the ‘price of citizenship’ is a chilling and unprecedented attack on freedom,” Lorence said. ““We are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to make it clear that no American has to abandon their constitutionally protected freedoms just to make a living. No American should be punished or put out of business simply for disagreeing with the government’s opinion on a moral issue,” The ADF explained to the Supreme Court that the Huguenins’ “will serve anyone; they do not turn away any customers because of their protected class status.” [more]
Robert George at First Things: The omission of the words “under God” in a document characterized as a founding text by a liberal legal advocacy organization in the context of our contemporary debates over the role of religion in American public life and the meaning of the Constitution’s provisions pertaining to religion is just too convenient. We now have positive evidence that they know exactly what they are doing, and, to achieve the result they want, they are willing to violate scholarly consensus, common sense, and the memorization of generations
Blog of the Legal Times: Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said Tuesday night that the lack of diversity in race, gender and background poses a “huge danger” to the judiciary, both federal and state. She also slammed the legal profession for perpetuating the glass ceiling, asserting that the number of minority partners in law firms is “dismally small.”
Should business owners be forced to promote messages they oppose? | Jim Campbell on the Zeb Bell Show
BND.com: “A lot of business owners are asserting their constitutional rights,” said James Campbell, with the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian law group. Currently in Illinois, a complaint over civil unions — which Illinois allowed in 2011 — is pending before the Illinois Human Rights Coalition. The owners of a central Illinois bed and breakfast refused to perform a civil union for a same-sex couple that same year. “This isn’t about hate. I don’t know any Christian who does,” said attorney Jason Craddock who represents the owners of Timber Creek Bed and Breakfast in Paxton. “We don’t want to cause anyone pain. It’s about our faith and it’s out of love too, but we don’t believe that giving into something that our faith tells us is wrong.” Craddock has argued that the owners don’t have the ability to perform civil unions for any couple and that such events aren’t a public accommodation and would violate the owners’ religious rights under the First Amendment and a state religious freedom act.
Christian Post: As proof of the epidemic nature of the problem, Father-Shift leaders point to data that includes the fact that, in America, 24.7 million children (33 percent) lived in a biological-father-absent home in 2010. More than 20 million lived with no father (biological, adoptive, or step) in the home. “This means that one out of every three children is growing up without a father present in the home,” Father-Shift states.
Jeremy W. Peters at NY Times: When the District of Columbia is compared with the 50 states, it has the highest percentage of adults who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, according to Gallup. At 10 percent, that is double the percentage in the state that ranks No. 2, Hawaii, and nearly triple the overall national average of 3.5 percent.
Passport Magazine: Hey, brands! Listen up. LGBT Americans had $830 billion to spend in 2013 according to an analysis by Witeck Communications, a public relations firm based in Washington D.C. That’s up from last year’s estimate by the same firm, at $790 billion.
Washington Post: The jury will reconvene Tuesday morning for the penalty phase, where Schaefer faces punishment ranging from a reprimand to losing his ministerial credentials.
Telegraph: Christianity is just a “generation away from extinction” in Britain unless churches make a dramatic breakthrough in attracting young people back to the faith, the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey has warned.
LifeSiteNews: “It is scandalous that so many Catholic politicians are responsible for enabling the passage of this legislation and even twisting the words of the pope to rationalize their actions despite the clear teaching of the church,” he said. “All politicians now have the moral obligation to work for the repeal of this sinful and objectionable legislation. We must pray for deliverance from this evil which has penetrated our state and our church.”
Bangor Daily News: At least four American Indian tribes have legalized same-sex marriage this year — in some cases creating islands of marriage equality in states that otherwise ban the unions.
Craig Parshall at Christian Post: When Justices Breyer and Kagan (and I would surmise a few others on the Court as well) indicate that “peace and harmony” is the goal, then we can predict, ironically, that a very un-peaceful assault on faith will result.
Volokh Conspiracy: By comparison, only 11% of Jews ages 18-29 are Orthodox. Two caveats. First, only 80% of those 18-29 who were raised Orthodox call themselves Orthodox, so if trends hold the 27% will be more like 21.5%.
Adam Liptak at NY Times: Jordan W. Lorence, a lawyer at the Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents Elane Photography, said Ms. Huguenin should be able to decline assignments at odds with her beliefs in a way that, say, motels and hardware stores may not. “There are some professions that are inherently expressive — an ad agency, website designer or even a tattoo artist,” he said. “A tattoo artist should not be forced to put a swastika on an Aryan Nation guy,” Mr. Lorence said. “The government could not force someone to put a bumper sticker on their car that says ‘I support same-sex marriage’ or ‘I support interracial marriage.’ ”
Jacob Gershman at the Wall Street Journal: “Such disregard for the constitutional rights of these professionals threatens to drive them from the marketplace. Not only would that limit the expressive options available to the public, it would cost these individuals their livelihoods,” wrote the Alliance Defending Freedom, a religious legal-rights group representing the photographers, in the petition filed Friday. “Whether the First Amendment permits this result is a question that warrants this Court’s review.”
Christopher Kaczor at Public Discourse: One Body, by Alexander Pruss, melds rigorous philosophical analysis and insightful moral theology to advance a clearly-articulated system of sexual ethics based on the call to love.
English Lessons: A defence of personal liberty and coming assault on the First Amendment | Paul Diamond at Christian Concern
Paul Diamond at Christian Concern: Over the past 20 years I have witnessed a steady assault on the rights of Christians in Britain to speak and act according to their conscience. During that time, different parts of the state—our parliament, publicly funded organizations and the judiciary—have opposed and punished the expression of Christian belief and conscience. My experiences compel me to voice a warning to Christians and others in the United States who may soon see some fundamental rights taken from them.
The Legal Project: A Danish appeals court recently upheld the conviction under a Danish hate speech law of an Iranian-Danish woman for her remarks condemnatory of Islam. Coming amidst the controversial statements by another Dane of Muslim background, this conviction raises troubling questions about who may say what about Islam.
Christianity Spreading at Remarkable Rate Among Middle, Upper Castes and Youth in Emerging ‘New India’
Christian Newswire: Christianity in India is growing at a rapid rate among middle and high caste Indians and young people, according to the latest issue of “Unfinished” magazine, which examines social, economic and cultural trends in the “new India.”
John Jonestreet at LifeSiteNews: Gay activists make much of allegedly “cured” individuals who relapse into homosexual lifestyles, and use these stories to strengthen their narrative: “We didn’t choose to be gay,” so many insist. “We’re born this way, and no amount of ‘reparative therapy’ can change that.” But it’s the argument within that argument that’s the most problematic: that unchanged dispositions automatically justify acting on those dispositions.
LifeSiteNews: The mayor of Florence has roused the fury of feminists and the far left after he announced that city hall would recognize an established section of the municipal cemetery of Trespiano dedicated to babies who have died “before birth,” including by abortion.
LifeSiteNews: The bishops of the United States have overwhelmingly agreed to draft a new pastoral letter addressing the growing “epidemic” of pornography.
The Hill: President Obama on Wednesday rallied faith leaders to pressure Republicans to pursue comprehensive immigration reform during a morning meeting at the White House.
Bishop Harry Jackson Jr. at Christian Post: Abortion has been a shadowy and divisive topic for decades, but that is changing. Americans are becoming increasingly pro-life, and this shift in sentiment has led to the closure of a record number of abortion clinics this year.
Christian Post: The Sunday Assembly, the atheist “megachurch” started in the U.K., sold out its inaugural event in Los Angeles with more than 400 attendees, and launched a “40 Dates, 40 Nights” tour around the U.S. and Australia seeking to raise donations for its cause.
News.com.au: IT looks like a typical Sunday morning at any megachurch, except there’s one thing missing – God. Sunday Assembly, Britain’s atheist church, is a gathering for the non-believers and it’s making its way to Australia.
US: Legal group defends photographers who refused same-sex wedding on basis of ‘artistic freedom’ | Pink News
Pink News: Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence said: “We are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to make it clear that no American has to abandon their constitutionally protected freedoms just to make a living. “No American should be punished or put out of business for disagreeing with the government’s opinion on a moral issue.” ADF legal counsel Jim Campbell added: “Every artist must be free to create work that expresses what he or she believes and not be forced by the government to express opposing views. “A government that can force anyone to promote messages against his or her will is a government out of control.”
Cass R. Sunstein at Bloomberg: Recent research uncovers strong evidence of preference falsification in the U.S. When people are assured of anonymity, it turns out, a lot more of them will acknowledge that they have had same-sex experiences and that they don’t entirely identify as heterosexual. But it also turns out that when people are assured of anonymity, they will show significantly higher rates of anti-gay sentiment.
Daily Mail: A pair of Islamic converts joined a ‘Muslim Patrol’ in east London to impose Sharia Law, threatening to stab people they believed to be anti-islamic and confiscating their alcohol.
Washington Post: Red states and blue states? Flyover country and the coasts? How simplistic. Colin Woodard, a reporter at the Portland Press Herald and author of several books, says North America can be broken neatly into 11 separate nation-states, where dominant cultures explain our voting behaviors and attitudes toward everything from social issues to the role of government.
Charisma News: “The idea that free people can be ‘compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives’ as the ‘price of citizenship’ is a chilling and unprecedented attack on freedom,” says senior counsel Jordan Lorence. “We are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to make it clear that no American has to abandon their constitutionally protected freedoms just to make a living. No American should be punished or put out of business simply for disagreeing with the government’s opinion on a moral issue.” “Every artist must be free to create work that expresses what he or she believes and not be forced by the government to express opposing views,” adds legal counsel Jim Campbell. “Should the government force an African-American photographer to take pictures of a KKK rally? A government that can force anyone to promote messages against his or her will is a government out of control.”
Same-sex Marriage, Religious Liberty Collide In Case Presented To Supreme Court | Ken Klukowski at Breitbart
Ken Klukowski at Breitbart: On Friday, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), representing Elane Photography, filed a petition for certiorari at the Supreme Court of the United States, asking SCOTUS to reverse the New Mexico court. ADF specifically challenges the New Mexico ruling for violating the Huguenins’ First Amendment right of free speech, since it compels Elane and Jonathan to convey a message approving of gay marriage which is contrary to the Huguenins’ beliefs. The petition begins by quoting a recent U.S. Supreme Court case where the justices wrote, “At the heart of the First Amendment lies the principle that each person should decide for himself or herself the ideas and beliefs deserving of expression.” . . . Jordan Lorence is ADF’s lead counsel on this case. The New Mexico court found that Elane Photography is a “public accommodation,” like a restaurant or restroom that could not turn away a black or Hispanic person. Reacting to that declaration, Lorence told Breitbart News in an exclusive statement, “The First Amendment protects all Americans from government coercion forcing them to promote ideas they don’t support. Those in power should not misuse public-accommodation laws to punish those who decline to affirm the prevailing liberal orthodoxy on marriage.”
Christian Photographers Ordered to Shoot Homosexual ‘Weddings’ Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court | ChristianNews.net
ChristianNews.net: “The idea that free people can be ‘compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives’ as the ‘price of citizenship’ is a chilling and unprecedented attack on freedom,” said Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence. “We are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to make it clear that no American has to abandon their constitutionally protected freedoms just to make a living. No American should be punished or put out of business simply for disagreeing with the government’s opinion on a moral issue.” “Every artist must be free to create work that expresses what he or she believes and not be forced by the government to express opposing views,” added Legal Counsel Jim Campbell. “Should the government force an African-American photographer to take pictures of a KKK rally? A government that can force anyone to promote messages against his or her will is a government out of control.”
One News Now: Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Jordan Lorence is taking the case to the nation’s high court. “The idea that free people can be compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspired their lives as the price of citizenship is a chilling and unprecedented attack on freedom,” Lorence tells OneNewsNow. Lorence, Jordan (ADF)ADF will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to “make it clear that no American has to abandon their constitutionally protected freedoms just to make a living,” he adds.
ABQ Journal: Elane Photography’s attorneys at the Alliance Defending Freedom filed a formal request Friday, or petition for certiorari, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case based on free speech issues. ADF is a “legal ministry,” its website says, which litigates for “religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family.”
US Finance Post: Jordan Lorence, Senior Counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is working on the case, said the judge’s ruling is a “chilling” attack on the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion. “The idea that free people can be ‘compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives’ as the ‘price of citizenship’ is a chilling and unprecedented attack on freedom,” Lorence said. ““We are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to make it clear that no American has to abandon their constitutionally protected freedoms just to make a living. No American should be punished or put out of business simply for disagreeing with the government’s opinion on a moral issue,”
Jim Wilson Blog at Redding.com: The October veteran’s march on Washington is an example: veterans peacefully dismantled and neatly stacked barriers; while others cleaned parks and memorials. There are the largely successful legal challenges to restrictions on faith mounted by outfits like Pacific Justice Institute, Pacific Legal Foundation, the Justice Foundation, and Alliance Defending Freedom.
On Aug. 22, the New Mexico high court upheld a decision against Elane Photography after its co-owner, Elaine Huguenin, declined to use her artistic expression to communicate the story of a same-sex ceremony.
SCOTUS Blog: On the premise that taking photos is a form of story-telling — recall the old idea about how many words a picture is worth — an Albuquerque studio on Friday asked the Supreme Court to protect its owners from having to send the message that the uniting of same-sex couples in marriage-like ceremonies is acceptable. The new case of Elane Photography v. Willock . . .
Irish Independent: The survey suggests 76% of the electorate would vote in favour of allowing gay couples to legally wed in Ireland. Less than a fifth (18%) of likely voters were opposed to its introduction with 6% saying they didn’t yet know whether to back it or not, according to the RedC poll for Paddy Power.
Anna Sutherland at Family-Studies.org: A new article on Today reiterates that marriage has seemingly become a luxury good that is available only to the (relatively) wealthy—and that further cements their high economic and social status . . .
The Atlantic: Marriage is for everyone; failed marriages are for the poor. Bleak stuff. But it’s getting bleaker . . . Here’s why this trend—not just the move towards divorce like Derek talked about, but the move from nuptials entirely—is so gloomy. Getting married, and staying married, is one of the surest ways of securing a middle class life. By choosing not to wed in the first place, the poor are abandoning that chance at stability.
Review Journal: Members of the Mormon Church are coming around in favor of gay rights, Sen. Harry Reid says as the Senate prepared Thursday to pass a bill expandng workplace civil rights to embrace gays, lesbians, bisexuals and persons who are transgendered.
Phyllis Schlafly at GOP USA: The major strike force working to accomplish this consists of the American Civil Liberties Union plus various atheist groups. They are always ready to file lawsuits to get some supremacist judge to restrict religious expression. This effort is magnified by two other organizations that have a major impact on our culture: the military, who feel the temptation to be politically correct, and the liberal bureaucrats in public schools, who now feel free to teach their left-wing views.
CNSNews: “One thing I would like to say to my fellow atheists is, we need to come out of the closet. Atheists are starting to come out of the closet now, after 9-11. There are many, many of us, and we have to follow the lead of the LGBT community, and we have to make our voices herad. We can’t be shy about this, because it’s important. We need to included in this town government and government at all levels, and unless we speak up, we’re not going to be.” –
Rasmussen Reports: A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 54% of Likely U.S. Voters favor a law that outlaws discrimination in the workplace against transgender, gay, lesbian and bisexual people.
Rasmussen Reports: A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 39% of Likely U.S. Voters think most judges in their rulings try to make new law they like better. Only 33% believe most judges in their rulings follow the letter of the law.
Vern L. Bengston at Salon: Millennials are much less attached to religion than their elders — the politicization of the church might be why
Business Insider Australia (includes Oprah video): Some adults who describe themselves as atheists also say they do believe in God or a universal spirit, according to Pew Research Center surveys. At the same time, some people who identify with a religion (e.g., say they are Protestant, Catholic or Jewish) say they do not believe in God.
RNS: Like lots of college students, Lauren has a smartphone loaded with some of the most popular apps around — Facebook, Twitter and eBay. And like a lot of unbelievers, she asked to not use her full name because her family doesn’t know about her closet atheism. One of the apps she uses most regularly is YouVersion, a free Bible app that puts a library’s worth of translations — more than 700 — in the palm of her hand. Close to 115 million people have downloaded YouVersion, making it among the most popular apps of all time.
Dennis Prager at Human Events: Parents, on the left or the right, religious or secular, want to pass on their core values to their children. As a father, my purpose is not to pass on my seed, but to pass on my values. Just about anyone can biologically produce a child. That ability we share with the animals. What renders us distinct from animals is that we can pass on values.