Friday, August 20, 2010

The People Have Spoken: Gay Marriage at the Polls

After reading the article below and reflecting upon the way Judges are allowed to completely overturn the decision of the people, one cannot help but to think that we may be headed toward a monarchy.

August 18, 2010

As the ruling in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, which overturned California's Proposition 8, makes its way through the appeals process, one of the big questions concerns the impact of another case: Lawrence v. Texas. That 2003 Supreme Court decision overturned the Texas law making sodomy a criminal offense.

Judge Vaughn Walker clearly thinks that the line between Lawrence and his ruling is clear. His opinion not only cited Lawrence - it was, as many commentators have noted, practically written for an audience of one: Justice Anthony Kennedy, the author of the Lawrence decision, and the likely swing-vote on the Supreme Court.

But is the link as clear as Walker and his supporters say it is? No. Especially when you take public attitudes into account.

At the time Lawrence was decided, Texas was one of only thirteen states that made sodomy a crime. In the rest of the country, consensual same-sex acts had been made legal by legislation.

In other words, the public had adopted what could rightly be called a tolerant view of these acts: whatever people thought of homosexuality, they didn't think it was a matter for the criminal law, and the political process reflected this cultural and political consensus.

Thus, the ruling in Lawrence, whatever its constitutional merits, ratified an already-existing consensus - it didn't set out to impose one. Even justice Thomas, who dissented from the majority opinion, called the Texas law "uncommonly silly."

The same cannot be said of the ruling overturning Proposition 8. Only five states and the District of Columbia permit same-sex marriage and half of those are the result of court rulings. What's more, the trajectory of public, as distinct from elite, opinion has been clearly to ratify the traditional understanding of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Since 1993, when the Hawaiian Supreme Court upheld same-sex marriage, the American people have consistently made their opposition clear at the polls. Every time the issue has been on the ballot (31 states in all), voters have rejected same sex marriage.

This despite being outspent by same-sex marriage proponents and always being vilified in the media and elite opinion.

All of this exposes the claim that we're trying to "impose" our view on others. We aren't doing that. That's ludicrous! We're simply defending the democratic consensus.

The only way to counter this distortion is if we do it ourselves: present our case winsomely and persistently.

And, given what's at stake in this battle, we don't have any choice. The battle over this California case involves more than same-sex marriage or even the institution of marriage. As the Manhattan Declaration points out, the biggest threat to religious freedom comes from those who want to redefine marriage and impose a particular view of sexual morality on all of us.

How could pastors denounce sinful behavior held by a court to be a constitutional right? The only way to keep that from happening is to make clear—to make known—the great consensus in America in support of traditional marriage. Because courts rarely go against that.


Chuck Colson's daily BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

President's sentiments on mosque made clear

A Messianic Jewish leader and supporter of Israel thinks President Obama's recent comments made to a Muslim group clearly illustrate his sentiments are with Islam -- just as he promised in his book The Audacity of Hope.

On Friday, President Barack Obama created a firestorm when at a White House Ramadan observance he told the Muslim audience he supported the right of the developers to build a mega-mosque near the site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. But over the weekend he added that he would not comment on the wisdom of building a mosque close to "Ground Zero."

Opponents of the mosque have deemed his comment insensitive because the terrorists who struck the buildings in 2001 were Islamic extremists.

Jan Markell, founder and director of Olive Tree Ministries, remembers what Obama wrote in one of his books.

"This is a bit of a paraphrase: 'When ill winds blow,' he said, 'I will always stand with the Muslims,'" she cites. [Editor's note - Actual quote: "I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction."]

"I am not one who is saying that Barack Obama is a Muslim; we don't know that," the ministry leader continues. "But the fact is his sentiment is with the Muslims of the world, and his sentiment is with the Muslims of Manhattan. I'm quite sure that he would be very okay with a mosque just a stone's-throw away from 9/11."

But Markell believes once Obama expressed his support for the project, he publicly backtracked because he realized that he could not be disrespectful of the families of the 9/11 victims, even though his sentiments might be with the Muslims.

What next? Court says crosses along Utah highways must go.

SALT LAKE CITY (BP)--Crosses alongside Utah highways and roads that memorialize fallen state troopers are unconstitutional and must be removed, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday in a case that could end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that the crosses, which are 12 feet tall, six feet wide and have state approval, amount to an unconstitutional government establishment of religion. Each cross has the trooper's name, rank and badge number, along with the year he or she died, biographical information and a picture. It also has the Utah Highway Patrol official symbol. The program, started in 1998, places the cross as near as possible to the death site.

The organization American Atheists filed the suit, with one of the plaintiffs even saying he occasionally altered his travel route to avoid seeing a cross. Supporters of the crosses say they will appeal the decision, either to the full Tenth Circuit or to the Supreme Court.

The crosses themselves are privately funded, although most of them are on public land. There are more than a dozen of them statewide.

"[W]e conclude that the cross memorials would convey to a reasonable observer that the state of Utah is endorsing Christianity," the court ruled in a 35-page decision that reversed a lower court. "The memorials use the preeminent symbol of Christianity, and they do so standing alone (as opposed to it being part of some sort of display involving other symbols). That cross conspicuously bears the imprimatur of a state entity, the [Utah Highway Patrol], and is found primarily on public land."

Although the Tenth Circuit cited Supreme Court precedent, supporters of the crosses say the high court already addressed the issue in a recent opinion. In an April decision in which the Supreme Court allowed a cross to remain in the Mojave Desert, Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for a 5-4 majority, asserted that the "goal of avoiding governmental endorsement does not require eradication of all religious symbols in the public realm.

"A cross by the side of a public highway marking, for instance, the place where a state trooper perished need not be taken as a statement of governmental support for sectarian beliefs," Kennedy wrote in the case, Salazar v. Buono. "The Constitution does not oblige government to avoid any public acknowledgment of religion's role in society."

Read the entire article here: 

Monday, August 16, 2010

FDA-approved 'ella' is really an abortion pill

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Aug. 13 the approval of "ella," which it says prevents pregnancy when it is taken within five days after sexual intercourse. Ella, which requires a prescription, functions primarily to restrict or postpone ovulation in a woman, according to the FDA.

Pro-life organizations, however, charge ella can act to eliminate an embryo already implanted in the mother's womb. The newly approved drug is more closely related to RU 486, the abortion drug already sold in the United States, than to currently marketed emergency contraceptives Plan B and Next Choice, pro-lifers say.

Ella is like RU 486, also known as mifepristone, in that it prevents production of the hormone progesterone, destroying the placenta that provides nutrition to the embryo and causing the tiny child's death, according to the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG). Like the "morning-after" pills Plan B and Next Choice, ella also can block implantation of an embryo in the uterine wall, causing an abortion.

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

How Obama is locking up our land

Have you heard of the "Great Outdoors Initiative"? Chances are, you haven't. But across the country, White House officials have been meeting quietly with environmental groups to map out government plans for acquiring untold millions of acres of both public and private land. It's another stealthy power grab through executive order that promises to radically transform the American way of life.

In April, President Obama issued a memorandum outlining his "21st century strategy for America's great outdoors." It was addressed to the Interior Secretary, the Agriculture Secretary, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the chair of the Council on Environmental Quality. The memo calls on the officials to conduct "listening and learning sessions" with the public to "identify the places that mean the most to Americans, and leverage the support of the Federal Government" to "protect" outdoor spaces. Eighteen of 25 planned sessions have already been held. But there's much more to the agenda than simply "reconnecting Americans to nature."

The federal government, as the memo boasted, is the nation's "largest land manager." It already owns roughly one of every three acres in the United States. This is apparently not enough. At a "listening session" in New Hampshire last week, government bureaucrats trained their sights on millions of private forest land throughout the New England region. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack crusaded for "the need for additional attention to the Land and Water Conservation Fund -- and the need to promptly support full funding of that fund."

Property owners have every reason to be worried. The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is a pet project of green radicals, who want the decades-old government slush fund for buying up private lands to be freed from congressional appropriations oversight. It's paid for primarily with receipts from the government's offshore oil and gas leases. Both Senate and House Democrats have included $900 million in full LWCF funding, not subject to congressional approval, in their energy/BP oil spill legislative packages. The Democrats have also included a provision in these packages that would require the federal government to take over energy permitting in state waters, which provoked an outcry from Texas state officials, who sent a letter of protest to Capitol Hill last month:

"In light of federal failures, it is incomprehensible that the United States Congress is entertaining proposals that expand federal authority over oil and gas drilling in state water and lands long regulated by states... Given the track record, putting the federal government in charge of energy production on state land and waters not only breaks years of successful precedent and threatens the 10th Amendment to the United Sates Constitution, but it also undermines common sense and threatens the environmental and economy security of our state's citizens."

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Obama Strongly Backs Islam Center Near 9/11 Site

WASHINGTON — President Obama delivered a strong defense on Friday night of a proposed Muslim community center and mosque near ground zero in Manhattan, using a White House dinner celebrating Ramadan to proclaim that “as a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country.”

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After weeks of avoiding the high-profile battle over the center — his press secretary, Robert Gibbs, said last week that the president did not want to “get involved in local decision-making” — Mr. Obama stepped squarely into the thorny debate.

“I understand the emotions that this issue engenders. Ground zero is, indeed, hallowed ground,” the president said in remarks prepared for the annual White House iftar, the sunset meal breaking the day’s fast.

But, he continued: “This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are.”

In hosting the iftar, Mr. Obama was following a White House tradition that, while sporadic, dates to Thomas Jefferson, who held a sunset dinner for the first Muslim ambassador to the United States. President George W. Bush hosted iftars annually.

Aides to Mr. Obama say privately that he has always felt strongly about the proposed community center and mosque, but the White House did not want to weigh in until local authorities made a decision on the proposal, planned for two blocks from the site of the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Obama endorses Muslim mosque near Ground Zero

President Obama tonight endorsed building an Islamic community center and mosque a few blocks from the site of the 9/11 attacks in New York City, saying that "Muslims have the right to practice their religion" just like anyone else.

"That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances," Obama said at an Iftar dinner at the White House honoring the Muslim holiday of Ramadan. "This is America."

Obama said he understands the emotions aroused by the issue, including the objections of 9/11 victims' families who want the Islamic center to be built elsewhere in the city. But he said that the terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center do not represent Islam, but are killers distorting a great religion.

"That's who we are fighting against," he said. "And the reason that we will win this fight is not simply the strength of our arms, it is the strength of our values."

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A Mosque Named “Cordoba House” at Ground Zero

A Mosque Named “Cordoba House” at Ground Zero

Charge: Taxpayer money promoting Islam worldwide

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--American taxpayer money is being used to build mosques and otherwise promote Islam, according to a conservative watchdog group, a Washington newspaper and a Middle East commentator.

The American Center for Law and Justice has called on the U.S. State Department to remove Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam behind the proposed mosque near Ground Zero in New York, from a taxpayer-funded trip to the Middle East to discuss Muslim life in America and religious tolerance.

"This shows a tremendous lack of judgment on behalf of the State Department and for the American taxpayers to be funding this global journey is not only wrong, but deeply offensive," Jay Sekulow, ACLJ's chief counsel, said Aug. 10. "We demand that the State Department put a halt to the imam's participation in this publicly-funded trip."

Rauf has refused to declare Hamas a terrorist organization, the ACLJ news release said, and in the days following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, he said U.S. foreign policy could be considered an "accessory" to the tragedy.

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Freedom? Yes! Mosque? No!

It's Not About Liberty

New York City officials approved the building of the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" last week, but some religious liberty advocates continue to decry the decision.

Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), said one could be against the center while still maintaining that the group should have the freedom to have a mosque in lower Manhattan.

Speaking on Public Radio International's To the Point, Land said, "We have consistently defended religious freedom, separation of church and state. And we believe that Muslims certainly have the right to build mosques, to have places of worship that are convenient to them in their communities … I certainly defend the right of Muslims to have mosques and places of worship in lower Manhattan but not, not at Ground Zero."

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Adam blamed Eve

One has to ask themsleves, "can you abuse your position and get by with it?"

Embattled Rep. Maxine Waters on Friday blamed the Bush administration for her ethics problems -- saying she had to intervene with the Treasury Department on behalf of minority-owned banks seeking federal bailout funds -- including one tied to her husband -- because the Treasury Department wouldn't schedule its own appointments.

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