Methodist Bishops Table Policy Change on Homosexuality United Methodist bishops have tabled a proposal that would have loosened restrictions in the church's mostly conservative policies on homosexuality. --by Kevin Eckstrom of Religion News Service at the PBS Religion and Ethics Newsweekly website 5.10.07
Illinois Gears Up For Marriage Signature Drive
More than 7,000 people in Illinois have volunteered to gather signatures in order to ensure a constitutional amendment protecting marriage makes it onto the November ballot. Protect Marriage Illinois needs to gather the signatures of 283,111 registered voters by May 8 to qualify for the November election.
The amendment states: “To secure and preserve the benefits of marriage for our society and for future generations of children, a marriage between a man and a woman is the only legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.”
Peter LaBarbera, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute, said the momentum of the signature drive is beyond expectations. “From African-American evangelicals in Chicago to Muslims in Villa Park to Catholics in Carbondale,” he said, “this is truly a diverse movement of people who are uniting to defend marriage in Illinois.” The people of Illinois, he said, believe activist judges do not have the right to redefine marriage. “Marriage and family are the bedrock institutions of society for the raising of children,” he said. “Illinois is not the Massachusetts of the Midwest.” –from Focus on the Family, www.citizenlink.com 02.20.06
South Dakota OKs a broad ban on abortions
PIERRE, S.D. — South Dakota lawmakers approved a ban on nearly all abortions yesterday , setting up a deliberate frontal assault on Roe v. Wade at a time when some activists see the U.S. Supreme Court as more willing than ever to overturn the 33-year-old decision.
Gov. Michael Rounds, a Republican, said he was inclined to sign the bill, which would make it a crime for doctors to perform an abortion unless it was necessary to save the woman’s life. The measure would make no exception in cases of rape or incest.
Many opponents and supporters of abortion rights think the U.S. Supreme Court is more likely to overturn its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion now that Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. are on the bench. Lawmakers said growing support among South Dakotans for abortion restrictions added momentum to the bill. –excerpted from an AP article by Chet Brokaw that appeared in The Washington Times 02.25.06
While tuning in to Fox and Friends Weekend recently, hosts Julian Phillips, Alisyn Camerota and Page Hopkins discussed a billboard that promoted a website from the Granger Community Church. It was clear from the heated discussion that followed that we are as uncomfortable talking about sex in 2006 as we were in 1956. Clearly, what isnt being talked about at all is the biblical perspective of sex.
The Bible teaches us that sex between a man and a woman within the confines of marriage is the only way to have a fulfilling sex life. The gift that God gives men and women who follow this path is a fantastic sex life. Since the sexual revolution or the “if it feels good, do it age,” we have been led to believe that its okay to have sex before marriage. In fact many thinking people think you have to have sex before you get married or else how will you know if it is good.” Believe me, youll know it. Its one of those things that you know without comparison.
This is what I was taught when I was a child. And like most people, I didnt follow what God teaches us or what my parents told me. When I was about 30 years old, I finally got it. Someone took the time to explain to me that when you have sex with someone, that person is always a part of you and a part of your memory and that you will bring that with you into your marriage relationship. They described it in a way that the light went on and I said, “Now I understand.”
To those walking wounded of the sexual revolution, there is hope for all of us. Ask yourself a few questions, are families stronger since the free love era, are children doing better? And have we evolved to a better place for families and children? Finally, are we satisfied with our sex lives? –from an article by Martha Zoller, at Townhall.com, find the full story here 02.21.06
Iran clerics back nuclear weapons
Iran’s hard-line Islamic spiritual leaders have issued an unprecedented fatwa, or holy order, approving the use of atomic weapons against the country’s enemies. Muslim clerics for the first time have questioned the theocracy’s traditional viewpoint that Shariah law forbids the use of nuclear weapons One senior mullah has now said it is “only natural” to have nuclear bombs as a “countermeasure” against other nuclear powers, a reference considered to be the United States and Europe.
The pronouncement was issued by Mohsen Gharavian, a disciple of the extremely hard-line Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah-Yazdi, widely regarded as the cleric closest to Iran’s new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. –excerpted from an article by Colin Freeman in the London Sunday Telegraph 02.19.06
Welfare, marriage and the Bible
Academics often say biblical belief has no place in the social sciences because it keeps people from open-minded analysis of data. Actually, the opposite is true: A biblical worldview often reveals the limitations of conventional approaches and pushes us to ask the right questions, so that the data we obtain will not leave us still ignorant.
The key new component of the welfare reform bill signed into law earlier this month by President Bush — the move to fund marriage education — arose out of asking the right questions. Those questions were largely unasked in 1995, when Wisconsin’s reforms became the model for the nation.
Reforms such as work requirements and time limits on benefits were good, but when I visited that year the Kenosha County Job Center, Wisconsin’s show-off site, a big problem was obvious: Feminism dominated the center. On the walls of two large training rooms were signs proclaiming, “A family doesn’t need a man to be whole,” and, “Stop waiting for Prince Charming, his horse broke down.”
Well, yes and no. Kids without dads sometimes do fine, but when they’re adults and look back, they’ll usually tell you that they’re not whole. And sure, welfare moms should not passively wait for Prince Charming, but for decades marriage has been the most-used exit from welfare rolls. Despite the history, Kenosha’s director was emphatic: “We tell them straight-out that marriage is not the answerÃ¢â‚¬Â¦”
From 1996 through 2000, the Wisconsin welfare reform model was dominant, and an emphasis on marriage and family dormant. Wisconsin-style welfare reform moved hundreds of thousands of people toward economic independence, but others stayed stuck. In 2001, Wade Horn and other Bush appointees at the Department of Health and Human Services began, in their official capacity, asking why.
One reflection of the new thinking came in a conference report published late in 2003 by the Manhattan Institute, “Whither Welfare Reform? Lessons from the Wisconsin Experience.” In it, NYU professor Lawrence Mead argues that “we must find a way to get the fathers involved,” and New York Times welfare specialist Jason DeParle notes what his reporting showed him: “The biggest surprise to me was just how much yearning there was among the kids and their mothers for the fathers.”
None of this was a surprise to those with a biblical worldview. God says in chapter two of Genesis, “It is not good for man to be alone.” He tells Eve in Genesis 3, “Your desire will be for your husband.” The last verse of the Old Testament, Malachi 4:6, speaks of God “turning the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers…” –excerpted from an article by Marvin Olasky at Townhall.com, find the full story here 02.23.06
At Churches Nationwide, Good Words for Evolution
On the 197th birthday of Charles Darwin, ministers at several hundred churches around the country preached yesterday against recent efforts to undermine the theory of evolution, asserting that the opposition many Christians say exists between science and faith is false.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¦”There was a growing need to demonstrate that the loud, shrill voices of fundamentalists claiming that Christians had to choose between modern science and religion were presenting a false dichotomy,” said Michael Zimmerman, dean of the College of Letters and Sciences at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and the major organizer of the letter project. Mr. Zimmerman said more than 10,000 ministers had signed the letter, which states, in part, that the theory of evolution is “a foundational scientific truth.” To reject it, the letter continues, “is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children.” “We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator,” the letter says.
Most of the signatories to the project and those preaching on Sunday were from the mainline Protestant denominations. Their congregations have shrunk sharply over the last 30 years. At the same time, the number of evangelical and fundamentalist Christians has risen considerably, and many of them, because of their literalist view of the Bible, doubt evolutionary theory.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¦Jeanne Taylor, 65, a recently retired registered nurse attending services at St. Dunstan’s, said the Bible was based on oral tradition and today “science is a part of our lives.” At the Evanston Mennonite Church, Susan Fisher Miller, 48, an editor and English professor, said, “I completely accept and affirm the view of God as creator, but I accommodate evolution within that.” To Ms. Fisher Miller, alternatives to evolutionary theory proposed by its critics, such as intelligent design, seem an artificial way to use science to explain the holy. “It’s arrogant to say that either religion or science can answer all our questions,” she said. “I don’t see the need either to banish one or the other or to artificially unite them.” –from an article by Neela Banerjee and Anne Berryman in The New York Times, 02.17.06
New York Appellate Court Rejects Homosexual Marriage –
Unanimous ruling in three cases says only Legislature can define marriage.
New Yorks second highest court ruled on February 16 that same-sex couples have no right to a marriage license under existing state law. The decision in Samuels v. New York State Health Department will be appealed to New Yorks court of last resort, the Court of Appeals, according to attorneys for Lambda Legal Defense Fund, which represents the plaintiffs.
The court considered and rejected plaintiffs arguments that because the New York Domestic Relations Law limits marriage licenses to opposite-sex couples, it “violates their due process, equal protection and free speech provisions of the New York Constitution.” –from an article by Jan LaRue at the Concerned Women for America website find the article here 02.17.06
And last, but certainly not least: something from those mocked and repressed Ten CommandmentsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
“Thou shalt not commit murder.”
Article contributed by Richard Vandagriff and Mark Zaveson