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Forth District: The culture of marriage is worth celebrating: Forth District is celebrating it through a series written by fathers and husbands who have stayed with their families.
The News Virginian: A review of God’s Not Dead, which encourages students who have similar issues with their schools to contact ADF.
The two film projects, “The Newest Hottest Spike Lee Joint” and “Gosnell,” have their record-breaking crowdfunded success in common. However, where that money came from and the subsequent media attention are vastly different.
Via The Christian Post: How should society treat those who only support traditional marriage? Same-sex marriage supporters are debating this question. Some want to punish those who disagree with them while others say traditonal marriage supporters should have the freedom …
Alliance Defending Freedom had a role in inspiring “God’s Not Dead”, and an epilogue lists the many instances where Christian students and their supporters have engaged in legal battles against campus discrimination.
Whither evangelicalism? These days, the cleverest answer on the inside comes from Russell Moore, the theologian who’s approaching his first anniversary as president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
M.G. Oprea at The Federalist: “Unfortunately, this is already a reality in most universities across America, where academics and university administrators alike are trying, often successfully, to discredit and prohibit certain ideas and ways of thinking. Particularly in the humanities, many ideas are no longer considered legitimate, and debate over them is de facto non-existent. In order to delegitimize researchers who are out of line, academics brand them with one of several terms that have emerged from social science theory.”
Ed West at The Spectator: “Morality in my lifetime has changed a great deal. In The Blank Slate Steven Pinker points to a large list of issues where public opinion has altered; some we’ve become more tolerant of, some more censorious. Consider things like drink driving or smoking around children, and how our perception has changed. Religion puts a break on such change, perhaps in the same way that printing and literacy does – by allowing a code by which everyone can communicate rather than developing their own subcultures. But with European Christianity in steady decline these past few decades, a common moral language has gone too.”
Nieman Journalism Lab: “Fifty-six percent of Americans are ‘Like-Minded Believers, who value faith, family, caring for others, and share a concern for the decline in moral values,’ according to an internal Deseret Media Companies study. That’s the audience Deseret News is aiming to capitalize on with its expansion of coverage. Gilbert said Deseret’s coverage, both local and national, is built on six tenets that it says matter to that readership — family, faith, education, care for the poor, values in media, and financial responsibility.”
Ross Douthat at the New York Times: “[W]e have the pretense of universality — the insistence that the post-Eich Mozilla is open to all ideas, the invocations of the ‘spirit of free expression’ from a school that’s kicking a controversial speaker off the stage. . . . It would be a far, far better thing if Harvard and Brandeis and Mozilla would simply say, explicitly, that they are as ideologically progressive as Notre Dame is Catholic or B. Y.U. is Mormon or Chick-fil-A is evangelical, and that they intend to run their institution according to those lights.”
The Oregonian: “Recently, neighbors found Facebook postings by owner Chauncy Childs that brought them up short. She wrote a long post about her opposition to same-sex marriage, complaining that ‘a tiny minority is dictating a change of our social structure.’ She also posted an article, written by someone else, supporting the right of businesses to refuse to serve gay people.”
Andrew Sullivan at The Dish [subscription required]: “Brendan Eich was regarded as someone whose political beliefs and activities rendered him unsuitable for his job. In California, if an employer had fired an employee for these reasons, he would be breaking the law.”
Associated Press: “Malaysia and Indonesia have banned the biblical epic ‘Noah,’ joining other Muslim nations that forbid the Hollywood movie for its visual depiction of the prophet.”
Heritage: “Former House speaker Newt Gingrich blasted the pressure that forced Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich to resign last week as an example of the ‘new facism.’ Eich had donated $1,000 in support of California’s Proposition 8, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman, in 2008.”
Robert George at Mirror of Justice: “Mozilla has now made its employment policy clear. No Catholics need apply. Or Evangelical Christians. Or Eastern Orthodox. Or Orthodox Jews. Or Mormons. Or Muslims.”
Gerald Russello at The Catholic Thing: “Does it matter how we define ‘religion’? Mark Movsesian, a law professor at St. John’s University, recently gave a paper on the rise of the so-called ‘nones,’ those Americans who claim no explicit religious affiliation. By some measures, nones account for 20 percent of the adult population, and among millenials maybe as high as 30 per cent.”
Anonymous, writing at First Things: “Why, then, the ruckus? Amazingly enough, it is entirely due to the fact that Eich made a $1,000 donation to the campaign urging a ‘yes’ vote on California’s Proposition 8. . . . The remedies demanded (public recantation, propitiatory sacrifice) are of the sort necessitated by ritual defilement, rather than the giving of offense. . . . Whether or not Eich keeps his position, this episode is instructive for those who hold out hope for a détente in the culture wars.”
Ross Douthat in the New York Times: “The social goods associated with faith flow almost exclusively from religious participation, not from affiliation or nominal belief. And where practice ceases or diminishes, in what you might call America’s ‘Christian penumbra,’ the remaining residue of religion can be socially damaging instead.”
Michael Brendan Dougherty at The Week: “This ‘class’ that has outsized influence on America’s moral and spiritual life is roughly the same class that has always had it: Mainline Protestants, only now without the doctrinal Protestantism or the churchgoing. . . . The post-Protestants Bottum identifies have just that, ‘a social gospel, without the gospel. For all of them, the sole proof of redemption is the holding of a proper sense of social ills. The only available confidence about their salvation, as something superadded to experience, is the self-esteem that comes with feeling they oppose the social evils of bigotry and power and the groupthink of the mob.’”
Kevin D. Williamson at National Review: “The Hobby Lobby case is in part about private property and whether we are to have it. If we hold capital only at the sufferance of the politico-sexual whims of those who hold power, then we do not really hold capital at all — we only rent property from our rulers, serfs in the world’s most sophisticated fiefdom. The property right is the fundamental right upon which all other political rights have their foundation. But there is a separate question — the right of conscience, which is, at minimum, the right not to be implicated, to at least stand apart from that which is no longer forbidden but is not yet, as of Tuesday morning, compulsory.”
Bob Unruh at WND: “The court likely will consider the case again Friday, said Jordan Lorence, an ADF senior counsel. ‘We hope that the justices will take the case and rule that the government cannot force people to express ideas they do not support,’ he said.”
Russell Shaw at Catholic World Report: “That many Catholics, especially in Europe and North America, disagree with the Church on issues like birth control and remarriage after divorce is hardly news. What needs to be recognized, and usually isn’t, is that this disagreement has a context: the ongoing breakdown of marriage in Western society that affects Catholics along with everyone else.”
John Hayward at The Federalist: “If there’s a call to disarm in the culture wars, it’s entirely one-sided. Newt Gingrich ran into trouble, early in his 2012 presidential run, by remarking that he wanted to avoid ‘right-wing social engineering.’ The left wing loudly and proudly engages in social engineering every single day. . . . There’s a much deeper understanding on the Left about the way government power changes society. . . . When the government grows to its current size, everything is a social issue.”
David P. Goldman reviews Joseph Bottum’s An Anxious Age at The American Interest: “Joseph Bottum . . . examines post-Protestant secular religion with empathy, and contends that it gained force and staying power by recasting the old Mainline Protestantism in the form of catechistic worldly categories: anti-racism, anti-gender discrimination, anti-inequality, and so forth. What sustains the heirs of the now-defunct Protestant consensus, he concludes, is a sense of the sacred, but one that seeks the security of personal salvation through assuming the right stance on social and political issues. Precisely because the new secular religion permeates into the pores of everyday life, it sustains the certitude of salvation and a self-perpetuating spiritual aura. Secularism has succeeded on religious terms. That is an uncommon way of understanding the issue, and a powerful one.”
Rachel Lu at The Federalist: “We are reaching the point in the liberal narrative when dissipating bigotry is supposed to usher naturally in a gloriously transformed social order. Instead we’re bickering over whether Christian bakers should have to cater same-sex weddings, with a large number of Americans expressing sympathy to their cause. Progressives are beginning to sense that their narrative is based on a heavily strained analogy between racism (which really does attach exaggerated importance to minor and morally insignificant differences) and heteronormativity (which recognizes truly that men and women are not the same, and that their differences are very much consequential to romance).”
The Guardian: “Negotiations to allow long-excluded LGBT participants to march openly in the South Boston St Patrick’s Day parade have collapsed, and chances of a compromise before Sunday’s event appeared slim on Thursday.”
Damon Linker at The Week: “Unless millennials reverse course as they age (possible but improbable), America’s overall disapproval of porn is likely to decline dramatically over the coming decades. As that happens, the country’s conflicted feelings about it will likely get resolved, too, replaced by an easygoing, non-judgmental acceptance of any and all consensual sexual behavior, very much including the conspicuous consumption of porn.”
Pew Research Center: “Today, 61% of Republicans and Republican leaners under 30 favor same-sex marriage while just 35% oppose it. By contrast, just 27% of Republicans ages 50 and older favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry.”
Michael Hanby at The Federalist: “There is a pious myth . . . that the free press . . . is a bulwark against absolutism and thus the indispensable guardian of a free society. . . . And yet the global media echo chamber routinely exhibits just the sort of systematic thoughtlessness that Arendt thought characteristic of absolutism. The examples are legion, from the routine exaltation of the trivial, to the hysterical and lopsided coverage of the Komen/Planned Parenthood fiasco, to the lionization of Sandra Fluke and Wendy Davis, to the ceaseless celebration of all things gay, to the dismissive treatment of the threat to religious freedom, to the media blackout of the Gosnell trial.”
LifeSiteNews: “The organizers of Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade have rescinded their controversial invitation to a homosexual advocacy group, saying they believe the group’s application was a ‘ploy’ made under ‘false pretenses.’”
Anna Franzonello at National Review: “Rolling Stone recently published a piece by Lauren Rankin supposedly ‘debunking’ the ‘seven most common lies about abortion.’”
Patrick Deneen at The American Conservative: “‘Academic freedom’ was the means by which the substantial commitments once held mainly by religious institutions were initially destabilized and eventually rejected, and provided the cover for their replacement with a new set of commitments. . . . Absent a connection with the truth about the human person as disclosed by the incarnation of Christ, a contentless ‘freedom’ tended inevitably toward false understandings of the human person and the loss of the basis of true freedom.”
George Neumayr at The American Spectator: “The Left’s effortless smearing of Arizona’s religious freedom law indicates the speed with which the country is changing. Liberals are in the cultural catbird seat and they know it, resorting to simple name-calling to shut down any real debate.”
Associated Press: “The Walt Disney Company will cut funding to the Boy Scouts of America beginning in 2015 because of a policy that bans gay adult leaders in the organization.”
Washington Post: “In their petition, the Huguenins and lawyer Jordan W. Lorence of the Alliance Defending Freedom mention religion frequently. But their plea does not cite constitutional protection of their right to freely exercise their religion. Instead, they rely on another part of the First Amendment: their right to free speech.”
R. R. Reno, editor of First Things, at America: “We need to recognize, however, that our approach to religious freedom has in fact changed a great deal in the more than 200 years of national history. These changes reflect shifts in the overarching religious consensus in the United States. By my reading of the signs of the times, this consensus is changing yet again. The shift foretells a renegotiation and redefinition of the nature and scope of religious liberty—one that I fear will not favor religious believers.”
Peggy Noonan at The Wall Street Journal: “The constant mischief of the progressive left is hurting the nation’s morale. There are few areas of national life left in which they are not busy, and few in which they’re not making it worse. There are always more regulations, fees and fiats, always more cultural pressure and insistence.”
Associated Press: “President Barack Obama is praising University of Missouri football player Michael Sam for announcing he is gay before the NFL draft.”
Heritage: “The Index of Belonging and Rejection released this week from the Family Research Council (FRC) reveals a dismaying statistic about the state of American families: 55 percent of 15-to-17-year-olds in America do not live in intact families. Further, more than 40 percent of all children are born out of wedlock, and one in three children live in single-parent homes. If Americans are concerned about the next generation, it’s time to strengthen marriage.”
Associated Press: “You don’t have to be just male or female on Facebook anymore. The social media giant has added a customizable option with about 50 different terms people can use to identify their gender as well as three preferred pronoun choices: him, her or them.”
Tim Stanley at The Telegraph: “Whatever you think of their message, the sentinelles prove that European orthodox (ie “not liberal”) Catholicism is far from dead. The anti-gay marriage protests came as a complete surprise because everyone assumed that secularism and liberalism had triumphed in the culture wars. In fact, there are a great many people out there for whom faith and tradition still matter. The silent vigil is, then, a profound statement. It’s a quiet reminder that not everyone got the memo about God being dead.”
Associated Press: “While several Olympic sponsors have spoken out against Russia’s restrictions on gay rights ahead of the Sochi Winter Games, Chevrolet is rolling out two ads during the U.S. broadcast of the opening ceremony on Friday that feature gay couples.”
NPR: “Until now, though, it hasn’t had its fingers in one of the biggest slices of the publishing pie: Christian books. That changed this past week, with the introduction of the Waterfall Press imprint.”
Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, at First Things: “In an era of tumult over sexual revolution and threats to religious liberty, will social conservatives turn around to find the empty clothes of the Evangelicals all around them and realize they’ve been left behind to face the spirit of the age?”
Andrew Johnson at NRO: “Days after a study tying one MTV show to a drop in teen birth rates was released, the network revealed that another one of its shows will prominently feature one of its stars undergoing an abortion.”
If You Really Care About Ending Poverty, Stop Talking About Inequality | W. Bradford Wilcox at the Atlantic
W. Bradford Wilcox at The Atlantic: Don’t mind the rich-poor gap. Statistical analysis shows three factors—overall income growth, marriages, and local government spending—matter most for poorer children chasing the American Dream.
WorldNetDaily: Constitutional law scholar Herbert W. Titus blasted Waddoups’ order, calling it a “91-page essay on theology, ethnology, sexology, sociology and psychology masquerading as a legal opinion.”
Yahoo News: Almost one in 10 babies and toddlers in England and Wales are Muslim, according to new analysis of census figures published Friday, illustrating the growth of the minority community.
Christian Institute: Street preacher Tony Miano, who was arrested yesterday (8th January), has been released on bail to appear before Dundee Sheriff Court on 7th April. Police in Scotland arrested the Christian street evangelist after a woman complained that he had spoken about sexual sin.
NY Sun: Our secular leaders, whatever their own religious views, should cease to appease these forces of the anti-Christ; should unsheathe the great moral sword in their scabbards, and have some thought for the more than 1.5 billion practicing Christians whose votes they seek, while pretending that any acknowledgment of Christianity is an affront to all other faiths and a forced march on seven-league boots back into the Dark Ages.
Haaretz: The adviser, attorney Rabbi Shimon Yaakobi, is asking the High Court of Justice to reject the petition of the mother – who petitioned the High Court after the rabbinical court ordered her to pay 500 shekels a day ($143) until she agrees to have her son circumcised - and to cancel the interim injunction postponing the implementation of the Supreme Rabbinical Court ruling.
Ben Shapiro at Townhall: Conservatives talk results when discussing the shortcomings of socialism. They’re right: Socialism is ineffective, destructive and stunting to the human spirit. But they’re wrong to abandon the field of morality when discussing the contrast between freedom and control. And it’s this abandonment — this perverse laziness — that has led to socialism’s comeback, even though within living memory, we have seen continental economies collapse and millions slaughtered in the name of this false god.
BBC: A Church of Scotland minister who said being gay was a disorder and perversion has been removed from a chaplaincy role at the Gaelic School in Glasgow.
Stephanie Gray at Bell Towers: In the first 2 minutes of TED Talk “The Antidote to Apathy,” Dave Meslin masterfully points out that we often mistakenly conclude that those who don’t respond to our messages are apathetic. In reality, what appears as a problem of indifference can actually be a problem of packaging. In other words, as Meslin says, “People do care, but… we live in a world that actively discourages engagement by constantly putting obstacles and barriers in our way.”
Carissa Mulder at Public Discourse: Same-sex marriage may pose a grave threat to religious liberty, but the cultural conditions and assumptions that make that threat possible are rooted in heterosexual behavior and the idea that everyone has a right to consequence-free sexual intimacy.
Nathan Kellum at the Christian Post: These holdings didn’t help marriage but they didn’t destroy it either. Far more damaging than the rulings was the rhetoric (or put another way, the side commentary of the Court) implying that supporters of traditional marriage are driven by bigotry.
Fr. Dwight Longenecker at Patheos: Every society that has advanced and moved forward historically has moved beyond matriarchy and polygamy. This must be so because matriarchy demeans men and polygamy demeans women. Only in monogamy are man and woman ideally treated as equals.
Keith Ablow at Fox News: If two men can marry, and three men can marry, and five women and a man can marry, and three men and two women can marry, then marriage has no meaning. It’s over. Go get rings, go get lawyers, go rent a nice hall, but City Hall should bow out.
George F. Will at the Washington Post: In “Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government is Smarter” (Stanford University Press),Ilya Somin of George Mason University law school argues that an individual’s ignorance of public affairs is rational because the likelihood of his or her vote being decisive in an election is vanishingly small. The small incentives to become informed include reducing one’s susceptibility to deceptions, misinformation and propaganda. And if remaining ignorant is rational individual behavior, it has likely destructive collective outcomes.
David Bohon at the New American: hat was followed by the release in October 2012 of nearly 15,000 pages of files detailing decades of sexual abuse of young Scouts by male Scout leaders. The pages, dubbed the “perversion files” by the media, included letters, memos, news clippings, and other documents related to both alleged and confessed sexual abuse by trusted Scout leaders during a 20-year time period between 1965 and 1985. Nonetheless, following intense pressure by homosexual activist groups, as well as by leadership within the Scouting organization, Boy Scout officials reversed course . . .
National Review: Nonetheless, it is an uncomfortable truth that children of divorce and children with unmarried parents tend to do much worse in life than children of two-parent families.
CNSNews A recent Gallup poll refutes the claim made by Barack Obama on March 9, 2008 that “we are no longer a Christian nation.” Gallup found that three quarters of all Americans – a supermajority – identify themselves as Christians, with only five percent saying they are practicing members of a non-Christian faith.
LA Times: The Navajo banned such unions in 2005, but some hope to change that — especially since New Mexico began permitting gay marriage this month.
Irish Independent: ISLAM will become Ireland’s second religion within the next 30 years because of dramatic population growth and immigration.
Evangelical Fellowship of Canada: It causes me, an immigrant to this beautiful country, concern that Canada has become so politically correct that we are seemingly unwilling to acknowledge Christmas. I am not the only immigrant to feel this way. Others do too. “…This whole ‘let’s be politically correct’ [thing] – it’s getting out of hand,” says Shahed Khalili who immigrated to Canada from an Islamic Republic.
Redding.com: Lawlessness and bullying go hand in hand in our world . . . New Mexico ordered wedding photographers Elane and Jonathan Huguenin to make their services available to homosexual couples in response to a 2006 lawsuit after the Huguenins cited religious conviction mandating their refusal. Gay marriage was not legal in New Mexico at the time and the Alliance Defending Freedom is appealing the case to the US Supreme Court.
Fox News: The Boy Scouts of America will accept openly gay youths starting on New Year’s Day, a historic change that has prompted the BSA to ponder a host of potential complications — ranging from policies on tentmates and showers to whether Scouts can march in gay pride parades.
Chris Adamo at Renew America: Real America is understandably abuzz over the Phil Robertson Controversy. Robertson, the patriarch of the Arts and Entertainment Network series “Duck Dynasty,” has been accused of every possible crime against humanity ever since word of his interview with GQ magazine, containing his blunt assessment of homosexuality as sin, became known to the public.