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Religion Clause Blog: In Turkey, the Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTUK), the national broadcasting regulator, has fined Turkish broadcaster CNBC-E the equivalent of $30,000 (US) for broadcasting an episode of The Simpsons found to be insulting to religious beliefs.
Charlie Brown Christmas: The Message of Jesus’ Birth Still Offends | Matt Sharp on the Bob Dutko Show
SCOTUS Blog: SCOTUSblog publisher Tom Goldstein previously told Poynter’s Mallary Tenore “his understanding from staff conversations with the Senate Press Gallery was that SCOTUSblog wouldn’t qualify because it doesn’t have broad-based advertising.”
Kathleen Hunker at the Bell Towers: The Republican Party will not solve its election woes by retreating from the defense of the unborn. The American public has grown increasingly pro-life, and Republicans are unified in their objection to abortion on demand . . . The pro-life position is more marketable to American voters today than it has been in decades. Republicans just need to learn how to stand up and follow through on the sale.
Lee Habeeb & Mike Leven at National Review: Conservatives need to support their arguments with creative storytelling.”>National Review: But if there is one thing conservatives can agree on post-election, it’s this: The dominance of the Left in the storytelling arena is making a difference at the polls. It’s impossible to measure, but anyone who doesn’t think it skews outcomes is living in an alternative universe.
Jill Stanke at LifeSiteNews: Twelve mothers that we know of died from “safe and legal” abortions in the U.S. in 2008. And as Americans United for Life’s Charmaine Yoest noted to LifeNews.com, “That number is double the deaths reported the previous year and it’s the highest since 1994.”
Christian Post: Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren has said that being tolerant of homosexuals does not mean one approves of their choices, while appearing on “CBS This Morning” Tuesday to promote the re-release of his book, The Purpose Driven Life, on the 10th anniversary of its publication.
Wall Street Journal: One of the more amazing post-election spectacles is the media celebration of Republicans who say they’re willing to repudiate their pledge against raising taxes. So the same folks who like to denounce politicians because they can’t be trusted are now praising politicians who openly admit they can’t be trusted.
Atheists threaten school over Charlie Brown Christmas despite parental opt-out option | Matt Sharp on the Vicki McKenna Show
LifeNews: She became the face for the pro-abortion movement during the 2012 elections and the laughingstock of pro-lifers for her relentless push to force Americans to pay for her birth control. College student Sandra Fluke has been nominated as a potential Person of the Year by Time Magazine.
Todd Starnes at Fox News: But attorneys with the Alliance Defending Freedom said the secular group is way off base. “An overwhelming majority of Americans agree that it’s okay to celebrate Christmas in schools and in the public square,” attorney Matt Sharp said. The ADF sent a letter to the Little Rock School District offering their legal services should anyone sue over the performance. “Schools should not have to think twice about whether they can allow students to watch a classic Christmas production simply because a Bible verse is mentioned in it,” Sharp wrote in his letter. “Are atheist groups going to start demanding that students be blocked from attending other classic productions just because they contain religious references?”
Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter Monday to Little Rock School District and one of its schools to encourage them to ignore an atheist group’s complaints about allowing students to view a play based on the classic Charles Schulz television special “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
Round Up the Usual Social Conservative Suspects: A majority of Americans call themselves pro-life. So now is a good time to dump them? | Ralph Reed at WSJ
Ralph Reed at Wall Street Journal (access via Google): Republicans have now lost four of the six presidential elections since the Berlin Wall came down in 1989. A season of soul-searching will be healthy, and it is needed to retool and rebrand the party.Yet despite the stinging defeat and a post-electoral narrative that suggests otherwise, Republicans need not abandon their principles. They must resist the temptation to form a circular firing squad, especially one with evangelicals and their social-conservative allies in the middle. The media trope that the Grand Old Party resembles a Star Wars bar scene of theocrats and religious zealots has by now become a cliché . . .
Luis Tellez at Public Discourse: Many friends have said that same-sex marriage is inevitable. It is not. I have confidence that fence-sitters will enter the fray in support of traditional marriage. As we continue to debate this issue, three important forces can shift the outcome in favor of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Consider first, public opinion; second, the methods and the message of LGBT activists; and third, reality.
Wesley J. Smith at National Review: Har de har: The BBC is creating a comedy series called Way to Go about friends who establish an assisted suicide business. “Way to go:” Get it?
Glenn Stanton at National Review Online: And only a few decades ago in certain developed Western nations did it become an identity — something someone was. And this was only after the American Psychiatric Association stopped classifying same-sex attraction as a mental disorder in 1973. Don’t think for a moment that this was done as a result of the careful scientific deliberation of the association. It is commonly known they acquiesced to the rambunctious and constant protest of gay activists. And this brings us to where we are today with the issue: People are just born that way, so accept it. Mark Steyn explains the implications of this social evolution: One can object to and even criminalize an act; one is obligated to be sympathetic toward a condition; but once it’s a fully fledged 24/7 identity, like being Hispanic or Inuit, anything less than wholehearted acceptance gets you marked down as a bigot.
Ruth Institute: Within the GOP there is a concerted frontal attack against those who oppose genderless marriage. The aim is to stifle real debate before it can take place. The strategy: marginalize opponents by finding high profile “conservatives” who can help fund and manufacture an illusory cascade of public opinion away from the definition of marriage as one man and one woman.
Washington Post: I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States,” Rubio told GQ. “I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that.”
John B. Londegran at Public Discourse: A common trope in social policy debates is to claim that the public’s changing opinion on the policy at stake, rather than the policy’s moral or substantive justifications, merits changing the platform of one’s preferred political party. This notion seems recently to have taken root on the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal, and several commentators have reacted.
NY Times: The Federal Communications Commission appears to be close to adopting rules that would relax a longstanding ban on ownership of both a newspaper and a television or radio station in large metropolitan media markets.
Jill Stanek at LifeSiteNews: The GOP is creating a self-fulfilling prophecy on the life issue, squandering an American pro-life majority as if it didn’t/doesn’t exist.
Catholic Culture: Australian editorial writers have stepped up the pressure on Church leaders to discard the confessional seal in cases of sexual abuse.
NY Times: Mr. Obama’s more than three-to-one edge in exit polls among the 5 percent of voters who identified themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual was more than enough to give him the ultimate advantage, according to the study, by Gary J. Gates of the Williams Institute at the U.C.L.A. School of Law, in conjunction with Gallup
AP: From the South to the heartland, the once-solid wall of Republican resistance to President Barack Obama’s health care law is cracking.
Baltimore Sun: Lori said he hopes the bishops can take better advantage of “the most persuasive argument of all” — the living example of “strong families with loving fathers, mothers and children” — and some of his colleagues suggested finding more positive terminology for their position, as they had in debates over abortion.
Washington Post (AP): The debate over legalizing abortion in Ireland flared Wednesday after the government confirmed that a miscarrying woman suffering from blood poisoning was refused a quick termination of her pregnancy and died in an Irish hospital.
The Hill: On Friday morning, Louisiana Rep. John Fleming (R) issued a statement urging Boehner to “talk with House Republicans before making pledges on the national news.”
The Hill: Limbaugh played “Feliz Navidad” on his show Friday and argued Hispanics are moving to Democrats not because of immigration but because of the party’s positions on taxes and welfare. Allowing those in the United States illegally to stay wouldn’t help the party, he argued.
Some thoughts on the five stages of religious persecution | Charles Pope at the Archdiocese of Washington
Charles Pope at the Archdiocese of Washington: It is rare that a respected segment of American life would become vilified and hated overnight. The usual transformation from respect to vilification goes in stages which grow in intensity. And hereby the Church, once a respected aspect of American life, along with the Protestant denominations has become increasingly marginalized and hated by many. It may help us to review these stages of persecution since it would seem that things are going to get more difficult for the Church in the years ahead. Generally there are distinguished five basic stages of persecution.
Live Action News: t seems that the presidential election this past Tuesday hung on one issue: abortion. One side invested heavily in the issue, and the other chose to ignore it or fumble. The heart-wrenching stories on both sides leave most Americans uncomfortable and conflicted. As a nation, we are split, with smaller groups at each extreme and a vast majority detached between them. The big question that needs answering is, “What is the unborn?”
“States’ Votes for Gay Marriage Are Timely, With Justices Ready to Weigh Cases” | Adam Liptak at NYT
Adam Liptak at NYT: The victories for same-sex marriage on Tuesday, the first ones achieved at the ballot box rather than through courts or legislatures, are evidence of a remarkable shift in public opinion. They are also exceptionally timely data points for the Supreme Court . . . The justices tend to say they are not influenced by public opinion. But they do sometimes take account of state-by-state trends, and the latest developments will not escape their notice . . . “It bolsters our case,” said Brian S. Brown, the president of the National Organization for Marriage. “It’s very difficult to say you need a federal resolution of this question if states are resolving it for themselves.”
Ted McAllister at Public Discourse: We are witnessing, I believe, the collapse of a great modern project. The goal of this project was to form a democratic public, led by the most talented leaders and administered by enlightened public servants, but constituted by a deeply informed, engaged, and public-spirited citizenry. To produce such citizens, journalists served an almost sacred role of supplying all the disparate members of the public with “disinterested” information. Without information and knowledge, democratic deliberations are impossible, and without such deliberations there is no substantive “public,” only congeries of individuals and groups.
Catholic Culture: “Other publicly funded Catholic school boards in Alberta, and across Ontario (with the exception of Halton region), support the vaccine, which is funded by the federal government,” The Globe and Mail stated in an editorial. Calgary Catholic school trustee “must show leadership and adaptability and choose to protect children – rather than risk being forced to.”
Politico: “I think this is premature,” he added. “We’ve got a quarter of the vote. Now remember, here is the thing about Ohio. A third of the vote or more is cast early and is won overwhelmingly by the Democrats. It’s counted first and then you count the election day and the question is, by the time you finish counting the election day does it overcome that early advantage that Democrats have built up in early voting, particularly in Cuyahoga County.”
Jon A. Shields at the First Things: Nearly twenty years ago, the judicious James Davison Hunter noted that journalistic reporting on abortion is “remarkable for its superficiality” since it rarely explores the “deeper issues and implications of the abortion controversy.” Maybe it is simply the partisan heat generated by a close presidential contest, but abortion coverage appears to be getting worse, not better. Just consider the mendacious, slash-and-burn New York Times Magazine story by Emily Bazelon on Charmaine Yoest, the director of Americans United for Life.
Laurie Shrage at NY Times: Marriage reform is typically part of a larger agenda for social change. In earlier eras, challenges to bans on interfaith and interracial marriage were tied to political movements promoting religious, ethnic and racial equality and social integration. In the Middle East, Africa and Asia today, marriage reformers often aim to expand the rights and liberty of girls and women, while in the Americas and Europe, their primary aim is to advance social equality and respect for lesbians and gay men.
The Hill: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has ordered a Washington, D.C., television station to air the ads of Randall Terry, an anti-abortion-rights activist running for president.
Akin surges in final days, ad buy raises questions about GOP involvement in the Missouri Senate race
The Hill: But Akin has shown surprising strength in recent days, as a poll released this past weekend put him just 2 points behind McCaskill. And, in late September, the NRSC cracked the door to giving Akin some aid. NRSC executive director Rob Jesmer said the committee would keep close tabs on the race, and hinted it might reverse its decision to abandon its nominee.
Detroit Free Press: Romney’s approach to abortion is more a matter of a change in tone, although one campaign surrogate, former Sen. Norm Coleman, recently assured an audience that the Supreme Court’s 1973 opinion legalizing abortion is unlikely to be overturned if the Republican challenger wins the election.
Baltimore Sun: Asked to support the ad’s claim, Frank Schubert, the consultant running the campaign against same-sex marriage in Maryland and other states, said “it necessarily follows” that schools would teach same-sex marriage if Question 6 is approved.
Bloomberg: Abortion has been a campaign issue for decades. Rape is a more recent, and more troubling, point of political discussion. But understanding the connection between the two is essential to evaluating the controversies percolating in Senate races in Missouri and Indiana and what they entail for national politics.
Mark Regnerus and the Storm over the New Family Structures Study | Matthew J. Franck at Public Discourse
Matthew J. Franck at Public Discourse: Attacks on sociologist Mark Regnerus after he challenged the “no differences” thesis haven’t obscured the high quality of the New Family Structures Study or its troubling findings. The first of a two-part series.
Sharon A. Knotts at Baltimore Sun: He was highly upset by remarks made by a local Baptist preacher regarding a New Testament Bible verse, Romans 1:32, that states that homosexuality, along with other sins, “is worthy of death.” The short answer is, according to both Old and New Testaments, in scores of verses too numerous to cite here, all sin is worthy of death . . . While the writer referred to the Golden Rule and the Sermon on the Mount and their unparalleled teachings of hope and love, neither of these speak directly to marriage. Why not cite the passages where Jesus did specifically address the subject of marriage?
Profit.NDTV.com: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s family members today rejected an American newspaper’s claim that they had amassed assets worth $2.7 billion and threatened to take legal action against the daily which, however, stood by its report.
The Blaze: TheBlaze has adapted the original list to share with readers, below. Note that some of the questions have, indeed, been asked, but that, in Wax’s view, these elements have not been explored among pro-choice candidates diligently enough.
Christian Post: Indiana Senatorial candidate Richard Mourdock is yet another prolife politician whose words have been distorted so that the pro-Obama, pro-abortion, pro-liberal feminism mainstream media can mercilessly attack him for somehow attacking women. Anyone with half a brain could understand his comments to mean God intended life to happen, not rape. But mainstream media doesn’t rely upon intellect, but raw, uninformed emotion. They keep the issue in the abstract, careful not to humanize it to show why a prolife conviction would embrace even a child conceived in such circumstances. Abortion advocates know revealing the whole truth would have a way of speaking to one’s heart.
R. Albert Mohler, Jr. at Baptist Press: The controversy over his statements reveals the irresponsibility of so many in the media and the political arena. The characterizations and willful distortions of Mourdock’s words amount to nothing less than lies. At the same time, Mr. Mourdock is responsible for giving the media and his political enemies the very ammunition for their distortions.
Maggie Gallagher at National Review: So far, $11 million has been spent on the campaign, with the “bulk of it spent by gay marriage supporters” according to the Associated Press. Supporters of Referendum 74 have raised nearly $11 million, more than five times as much as opponents of gay marriage. The pro-gay marriage advantages don’t stop there. Major corporations just pooled their resources to take out a full-page ad announcing support for gay marriage . . . Support for R-74 is now up only 49 to 45 percent among likely voters, a statistical dead heat and huge swing from the 14-point advantage gay marriage held in September, when 53 percent of Washington voters told the pollster they would support R-74.
Washington Post: President Obama is heard endorsing same-sex marriage in a new radio ad being aired by supporters of Question 6, the Maryland ballot measure that would legalize gay unions.
Red State: I’m sending Richard Mourdock some money and you should too. His position is one millions of Americans share, but you’d never know it from the media’s coverage.
The Hill (video embededded): Asked by host Jay Leno about Mourdock’s comments, in which the Indiana state treasurer said during a debate Tuesday evening that “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that it is something God intended to happen,” the president said “rape is rape.”
NY Times (includes video): The Obama campaign on Wednesday quickly seized on abortion and rape comments made by the Indiana Republican Senate candidate in an attempt to entangle the Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, in a politically charged issue threatening to brew into a firestorm like the one that followed comments by Representative Todd Akin.
LifeNews: The Planned Parenthood abortion business is attacking Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock today over his comments on rape and abortion in last night’s debate. But the abortion business has repeatedly covered up actual or alleged cases of child rape.
Republicans locked in close races – from Mitt Romney to Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown – on Wednesday disavowed Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock’s comment that when a woman becomes pregnant during a rape, “that’s something God intended.” . . . The Republican hopeful told reporters Wednesday that he meant only that God creates life, and that rape is evil.
Seattle Times: The Seattle Times Co. jumped into two of the state’s hottest political contests Wednesday, launching a $75,000 independent-expenditure campaign promoting Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna and announcing a similar effort in support of gay marriage.
NY Times: According to data from Kantar Media/CMAG, the Obama campaign and Democratic groups have run commercials relating to abortion about 30,000 times since July 2 — about 10 percent of their ads — including one that falsely claimed Mr. Romney’s opposition to abortion extended to cases of rape and incest.
WorldNetDaily: Two days after WND reported the ring Barack Obama has worn since his college years appears to feature the first part of the Shahada, the Islamic statement of faith, millions of Americans have read the story and thousands are joining the debate online. But the establishment media hasn’t touched the story.
Naomi Schafer Riley at the NY Post: ‘I’m spiritual but not religious”: Our secular elites love to utter the phrase. But don’t assume it means something harmless like “I don’t go to church, but I love hot Yoga.” Washington socialite par excellence Sally Quinn let the cat out of the bag on a New York visit last week.
Volokh Conspiracy: The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority said “no,” citing the violation of two policies — a requirement that “[a]ll advertising must be … considered in good taste and shall uphold the aesthetic standards as determined by AATA,” and a ban on ads that “hold up to scorn or ridicule a person or group of persons.” In Coleman v. Ann Arbor Transportation Authority (E.D. Mich. Sept. 28, 2012), the court held that the policies were unconstitutional
Edwin Meese and Jennifer Marshall at USA Today: Chick-fil-A controversy is only the most recent in a series of examples of intractable actions.
CNN: “I grew up in a socialist country and I have seen what that does to people. There is no hope, no freedom, no pride in achievement,” he says with a soft Hungarian accent in the ad. “The nation became poorer and poorer, and that’s what I see happening here.”
Reuters: When Islamic scholar Zaghloul el-Naggar recommended the consumption of camel urine, describing it as an Islamic remedy for incurable diseases on a television show last month, the channel’s switchboard was bombarded with angry phone calls within minutes.
Daily Caller: President Barack Obama was a guest at the 1991 wedding of ABC senior foreign correspondent and vice presidential debate moderator Martha Raddatz, The Daily Caller has learned. Obama and groom Julius Genachowski, whom Obama would later tap to head the Federal Communications Commission, were Harvard Law School classmates at the time and members of the Harvard Law Review.
Daily Caller: Unhappy with President Barack Obama‘s support of same-sex marriage, a group of African-American faith leaders have announced a campaign aimed at stripping 25 percent of the black vote that went to Obama in 2008 (95 percent).
Washington Post: The ad features Julian Bond, chairman emeritus of the national NAACP, who argues that voting for Question 6 is “the right thing to do.” “I know a little something about fighting for what’s right and just,” Bond says in the ad, which the NAACP said will air in both the Washington and Baltimore markets. “Maryland’s gay and lesbian families share the same values, and they should share in the right to marry.”
Reuters: In its 8th annual report tracking gender and ethnic diversity on television, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) said on Friday there will be 111 LGBT characters in regular or recurring roles on scripted shows across U.S. television.
Washington Post: Breaking from two decades of tradition, this year’s election exit poll is set to include surveys of voters in 31 states, not all 50 as it has for the past five presidential elections, according to multiple people involved in the planning.