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« on: April 08, 2006, 01:29:47 AM »

Lesbian Sues Pro-Family Activists for Exposing Truth About Pro-Homosexual Event

by Jim Brown and Jenni Parker
April 7, 2006

(ChristiansUnite.com) - - A lesbian who was fired for her role in the notorious "Fistgate" conference at Tufts University has brought a civil suit against two Massachusetts pro-family activists who attended the 2000 conference and then proceeded to expose what went on at the pro-homosexual event.

The statewide conference that took place March 25 of that year was actually called "Teach-Out," and was sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Education, the Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. The event's scandalous nickname comes from one of the many sexually explicit topics discussed at the conference before audiences that included children and teens.

Several presenters tried to foster "open discussion" by familiarizing their listeners with graphic details about homosexual sex and sexuality. At one point in the conference, "fisting" was discussed by one Teach-Out presenter, who described the practice as "an experience of letting somebody into your body that you want to be that close and intimate with ... [and] to put you into an exploratory mode."

Many concerned parents learned about "Fistgate" and its sexually graphic content through the efforts of Massachusetts pro-family activists Brian Camenker and Scott Whiteman, who attended the "Teach-Out" specifically to bear witness to and gather evidence of what went on there. That is why the two men are now facing legal action, along with the Parents Rights Coalition, which is also named in the civil suit.

Former state employee Margot Abels alleges Camenker and Whiteman violated her free-speech rights by tape-recording two workshops in which she instructed children as young as 12 years of age in how to engage in homosexual sex acts.

Abels claims the men broke an obscure Massachusetts wiretapping law that was designed to fight organized crime. In her lawsuit, she argues that the audiotape and her subsequent firing have both caused her emotional distress. But Camenker, who heads the pro-family group Article 8 Alliance, believes she is just resurrecting a dormant lawsuit in an effort to punish him and Whiteman for blowing the lid off "Fistgate."

"The statute says that you can be charged with a crime and punished and sent to jail and fined," the pro-family activist points out. However, he notes, "Nobody ever charged us with a crime; nobody every fined us. None of this every happened. I think they knew they couldn't pull this off as a real crime, so they're trying to use the civil suit approach."

And Camenker believes the plaintiff's attorneys are eager to attack. "They are really out to go after us," he contends. "The lawyer has already said to me, point blank, 'What are your assets; do you own a house?' She said that they're going to do their best to get as much money out of us as they can."

But beyond that, the Article 8 spokesman asserts, "The homosexual movement wants to punish anyone who exposes their activities with kids."

Nevertheless, the pro-family advocate says he means to put up a fight and even intends to play the tape recording of the Teach-Out presentation at trial. "And we're certainly going to let the court know," he adds, "that if we committed a crime, [we weren't informed of it.] How come we weren't charged with anything?"

Attorney Steve Crampton, chief counsel of the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy is representing Camenker in the case. A judge has set a July 10 trial date for the lesbian activist's lawsuit against Camenker, Whiteman, and the Parents Rights Coalition.

http://news.christiansunite.com/Religion_News/religion04281.shtml

Additional information on ChristiansUnite.com is available on the Internet at http://www.christiansunite.com/
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« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2006, 01:30:42 AM »

Priest Gives Music of Bono's Band His Blessing for Communion Services

by Jim Brown
April 7, 2006

(ChristiansUnite.com) - - At some Episcopal Church services, hymns are out and U2 is in. The popular Irish rock band's songs blared from speakers at a recent "U2 Eucharist Service" in Providence, Rhode Island, where 130 worshippers were offered fluorescent glow sticks and earplugs.

Priest Robert Brooks said the service was meant to attract young people and those interested in social activism. The strategy appears to be working well, as Episcopal parishes from California to Maine are weaving U2's music into the denomination's traditional liturgy.

But Whis Hays, also an Episcopal priest and head of the Pennsylvania-based "Rock the World" Youth Mission Alliance, says such services have taken place in the Episcopal denomination for a long time. "Going back to the 80s, I was actually using U2's rendition of the 40th Psalm, which is their song 'Forty,' in services that I was in charge of," he notes.

"So, from the perspective of whether the music could be used in a liturgy that the Episcopal Church has," he continues, "been there done that."

In February, U2's colorful and often controversial lead singer Bono spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC. President George W. Bush and several members of Congress were in attendance, and Bush praised the singer as "a great guy" who used his talents to effect positive change.

Hays believes the social activism of the internationally renowned recording artist arises out of his personal faith in God. "To be sure," the priest notes, "his social activism has a broader appeal, but I think he's somebody -- as I understand what he's said -- who has a vital faith in Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior."

Bono's social activism "comes out of that," the minister contends. Nevertheless, he acknowledges, "I'm not sure whether that's really being reflected in these services or not."

In any event, although Bono and his band members occasionally use profanities and some of the songs they sing are about sex, Hayes says he sees nothing wrong with incorporating many of U2's more meaningful music into Episcopal Church communion services.

http://news.christiansunite.com/Religion_News/religion04282.shtml

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« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2006, 01:31:38 AM »

Yale, DePaul Top 'Campus Outrage Awards' for 2006

by Jim Brown
April 7, 2006

(ChristiansUnite.com) - - One Ivy League university's recruitment of a former Taliban official has landed the school a dubious "Campus Outrage Award."

The Collegiate Network has unveiled its ninth annual list of the most outrageous abuses of power and students' rights by college and university administrators. Topping this year's "Polly" awards list is prestigious Yale University, which enrolled as a student a former Taliban official who has a fourth-grade education. Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, the former deputy foreign secretary of the Taliban, is quoted as saying he is "the luckiest person in the world" because "I could have ended up in Guantanamo Bay. Instead I ended up at Yale."

Collegiate Network executive director Steve Klugewicz says Yale has taken the idea of "diversity" to the extreme.

"Now diversity applies just not to people of various sexes, creeds, races, ethnicities, sexual preferences and practices, but also now to enemy combatants of the United States," says Klugewicz. He notes that Yale has barred ROTC from its main campus. "So if you're in the armed forces of the United States, you're really not welcome on Yale's campus," he points out. "But if you're an enemy combatant, someone who basically had a role in what happened on 9/11 [and in] killing Americans -- well, you're welcome at Yale."

Yale is a repeat winner, having taken the top award in 2004 for its role in supporting "Sex Week at Yale." Several of the events during that week were sponsored by an adult film company that also provided a female porn star as a keynote speaker.

Second on the "Campus Outrage" list for 2006 is Chicago-based DePaul University, which the Collegiate Network says has all but declared war on free speech with which it disagrees. First, the group cites the school for suspending -- without a hearing -- a professor who engaged in a heated on-campus debate with students who were distributing pro-Palestinian literature. DePaul's award was based on other criteria as well.

"DePaul also branded as propaganda a College Republican protest of a Ward Churchill speech on campus," says Klugewicz . Churchill is a University of Colorado professor who has referred to American victims of the 9/11 attacks "little Eichmans." Klugewicz says "just for protesting Ward Churchill's visit, the [DePaul] administration said this is wrong, this is propaganda -- and they really harassed these College Republicans."

Klugewicz notes DePaul also shut down a satirical affirmative action bake sale sponsored by the College Republicans, and charged the event's organizer with "harassment."

"Apparently," says the Collegiate Network, "free speech is allowed at DePaul only as long as it accords with the political views of the university administration."

Rounding out the "Polly" awards for 2006 are Stanford University, College of the Holy Cross (in Worcester, Massachusutts), the University of California System, the University of Iowa, and Buffalo, New York's Canisius College.

http://news.christiansunite.com/Religion_News/religion04284.shtml

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« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2006, 12:10:40 AM »

Gospel for Asia Plans 2006 'Renewing Your Passion' Conference

by Allie Martin
April 10, 2006

(AgapePress) - - The head of a ministry that trains and equips Christians in India to spread the gospel throughout their native country is bringing a bit of the mission field to believers in the United States this summer.

For the second year in a row, Texas-based Gospel for Asia (GFA) is holding a conference on bringing the gospel to people as yet unreached for Christ around the globe. The event, called "Renewing Your Passion," will be held in Dallas from June 30 through July 2 and will feature missionaries from the ministry sharing about the struggles and triumphs of working in some of the most unreached areas of the world.

Dr. K.P. Yohannan, president and founder of GFA, says if he could, he would take believers from America to the mission field to witness "the amazing miracles and wonders the Lord is doing" there. But barring that, he says the 2006 Renewing Your Passion conference will give participants a sampling of what life is like for the ministry's native mission field leaders as they share their hearts about the realities of bringing the love of God and the good news of Jesus Christ to the lost in unreached regions.

Participants will also hear a message from GFA's founder and have opportunities to meet and talk with members of the ministry's home staff and leadership. A Saturday evening prayer meeting and corporate worship on Sunday are also planned, and throughout the event, those gathered will hear encouraging stories bearing witness to the power of intercession and the Lord's faithfulness in answering prayer on the mission fields of Asia.

This year's Renewing Your Passion conference will be a dramatic time of sharing that will have a lasting impact on the lives of American Christians, Yohannan promises. "The three days people are here," he says, "we'll have a dozen of our significant leaders from all these nations like Bangladesh, India, Bhutan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka."

These servants from the mission fields "will be speaking, and there'll be stories and testimonies of people who have been to jail, [telling of their] imprisonment and the scars they have on their bodies," the ministry leader continues. He says the 2006 gathering in Dallas "is an opportunity to really encounter some authentic, radical followers of Christ and be impacted by their presence and their stories."

Yohannan feels members of the church in the U.S. can learn a lot about authentic Christianity from native missionaries who have had to endure many hardships for the sake of the Gospel, even as he himself has learned -- and continues to learn -- a great deal from them.

"What I'm learning, once again," the GFA president observes, "is there's no authentic Christianity one can experience without our willingness to suffer. I don't mean just physical suffering, but accepting the inconveniences that our flesh literally hates."

After the first "Renew Your Passion" conference last year, Yohannan adds, several participants told GFA the experience had changed their lives and revitalized their churches. The ministry's founder feels certain the same will be true for this year's participants as well.

http://news.christiansunite.com/Religion_News/religion04289.shtml

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« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2006, 12:11:30 AM »

Researcher: Abortion Advocates Manipulate Data To Make RU-486 Look Safe

by Bill Fancher and Jenni Parker
April 10, 2006

(AgapePress) - - A pro-life activist says while the abortion lobby "plays with numbers," women are dying from the use of the abortion drug RU-486.

According to Randall O'Bannon, a researcher with the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the pro-abortion lobby claims more than half a million women have taken RU-486 -- also known as mifepristone -- with only a handful of problems occurring. However, he contends, this claim about the broad-scale use and low incidence of complications "doesn't seem to be true on either side."

Since RU-486 was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2000, six women in the U.S. and one in Canada have died after taking the abortifacient, causing some abortion providers to suspend use of this chemical method of causing an abortion. However, many "abortion rights" proponents continue to tout the drug as a relatively safe medication, estimating the number of patient fatalities in mifepristone abortions at about one in 200,000.

But O'Bannon believes pro-abortion advocates are playing with the numbers, first of all in order to exaggerate the number of women actually taking the dangerous drug, and secondly to downplay its harmful effects. "They count these by the doses that are sold to clinics or doctors, not actually the number of women who have taken the pill," he says, "and then they multiply those sales figures by a factor of three because a lot of these people are changing the dose."

Meanwhile, the researcher points out, women who experience complications after taking RU-486 are usually treated in hospital emergency rooms, not by the doctor or clinic that originally gave them the drug. "They may or may not even be able to tell the doctor that they've taken this pill," he says. And generally, when one of these "chemical abortion" patients dies as a result of the complications, he adds, "it never gets reported as being a death due to this whole sort of process here."

In such cases, O'Bannon asserts, deaths that occur as a result of RU-486 may actually get recorded as being due to complications from serious infections or natural miscarriages. In any event, he insists that RU-486 is far more dangerous than the abortion lobby suggests.

"We think that they're overestimating how many women have used it," the NRLC spokesman says, "and they may be grossly underestimating the number of women who have been injured or have died because of this."

O'Bannon is convinced the abortion lobby is being untruthful when it says half a million women have taken RU-486 with only a minimal number of problems reported. The pro-life researcher believes that assertion is a disingenuous claim based on manipulated numbers and that RU-486 is in fact responsible for many more than the seven deaths currently attributed to the drug.

http://news.christiansunite.com/Religion_News/religion04288.shtml

Additional information on ChristiansUnite.com is available on the Internet at http://www.christiansunite.com/
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« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2006, 12:12:16 AM »

Christian Plaintiffs in Upstate NY Censorship Case Win Free-Speech Victory

by Jim Brown and Jenni Parker
April 10, 2006

(AgapePress) - - A federal judge has ordered an upstate New York school district to return bricks inscribed with Christian messages to a high school walkway, and a pro-family civil liberties attorney is praising the outcome as a victory against viewpoint discrimination.

The dispute arose after the Mexico Academy High School class of 1999 in Mexico, New York (Oswego County), sold bricks that could be inscribed with personal messages and included in a walkway as a fundraiser. However, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) complained that certain bricks, particularly those inscribed with the messages "Jesus Saves/John 3:16" and "Jesus Christ, the only way," constituted public school endorsement of Christianity.

The ACLU maintained that the bricks violated the so-called "separation of church and state," and the group's complaints prompted school officials to remove the contested bricks in 2000. Other bricks purchased by private individuals bore messages that referred to God or to local churches but were allowed to remain in place; only the bricks mentioning Jesus were taken out of the walkway.

Two community residents who had purchased the extracted bricks filed a lawsuit challenging the school district's censorship of their messages. In that case, Judge Norman Mordue of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York has now ruled that removal of the bricks bearing the Christian messages was a violation of the free-speech rights of those individuals who paid for them.

Although the District Court initially refused to grant a preliminary injunction to have the bricks reinstalled, it was forced to reconsider the issue when the Second Circuit Court of Appeals remanded the case for reconsideration. The court's ultimate ruling orders school officials to restore the bricks inscribed with religious messages to the school walkway.

Pro-family attorney John Whitehead is president of The Rutherford Institute, the civil liberties and human rights defense organization that represented the Christian plaintiffs in the lawsuit, arguing that the school's censorship violated rights guaranteed to citizens by the First and Fourteenth Amendments as well as by the New York Constitution. He is pleased with the court's ruling and says it is consistent with the outcomes of many similar suits in which his legal group has been involved.

"We've won several of these cases in this area," Whitehead notes. " It's called viewpoint discrimination. You can't discriminate against the religious viewpoint, and the judge said that's what happened here. It violates the First Amendment."

The attorney asserts that officials with the high school, in initiating the walkway fundraiser, created a public forum that allowed for private speech, and apparently the bricks with the Christian messages were initially welcomed. "But when the ACLU threatened a lawsuit," he says, "they actually removed the bricks, and the judge said that's viewpoint discrimination. That violates the First Amendment when you have different messages on a sidewalk or in [another public] forum."

One More Victory in the Ongoing Battle for Faith in the Public Square
Although the court ruled in accordance with the Constitution this time, Whitehead believes such cases will not simply go away. He predicts that people's right to free religious expression will continue to face challenges and says this is because public schools are becoming increasingly secular -- and are by far "more secular than they were 25 years ago when I started The Rutherford Institute, even though we've won cases."

That is why Christians need to "get in there and really fight" for their viewpoint, the civil liberties defender contends. Believers need to wake up and join the battle for the right to express their faith in the public square, he says, including "the right just to say Jesus' name along with other gods or other viewpoints, in the public schools."

If Christians lose the right to express their viewpoint in the public schools, Whitehead warns, "all those 50-some million children there are probably going to think Christians are kooks because we're going to get so marginalized."

But for residents of Oswego County, New York, at least, Christians' equal right to express their religious viewpoint along with others' private expressions has been upheld in what the Rutherford Institute president is calling "a great victory for free speech." In concluding that the removal of the Christian-themed bricks from the Mexico Academy High School walkway constituted viewpoint discrimination, Judge Mordue rejected the school's arguments and cited the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Good News Club v. Milford Central School -- an earlier Rutherford Institute victory -- that "speech discussing otherwise permissible subjects cannot be excluded ... on the ground that the subject is discussed from a religious viewpoint."

Whitehead says The Rutherford Institute is pleased with the outcome of this case and appreciates the district court's thoughtful consideration of the constitutional issues. Still, he urges Christians to remain vigilant and aware of their rights, and to stand up against attempts to censor their expressions of faith.

http://news.christiansunite.com/Religion_News/religion04286.shtml

Additional information on ChristiansUnite.com is available on the Internet at http://www.christiansunite.com/
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« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2006, 12:13:16 AM »

Coming Up Snake Eyes

by Ed Vitagliano
April 10, 2006

(AgapePress) - - Apparently Americans have more money than they know what to do with.

According to U.S. News & World Report's Kim Clark, each year Americans lose $80 billion to gambling in its various forms -- from casinos to bingo to online gambling to horse racing.

Gamblers get plenty of opportunities to play. Forty-eight states have some form of legalized gambling, says Jeffrey Kluger of Time -- and that does not include the Internet, which is quickly becoming a wide-open portal for those with an itch to bet.

Even by 1996, says Kluger, the annual take for the U.S. gambling industry was "more than that from movies, music, cruise ships, spectator sports and live entertainment combined."

Empty Promises
When most people think of legalized gambling, places like casinos are probably the first image to pop into their minds. Small wonder, since there are more than 1,200 casinos, card rooms and bingo parlors in the U.S. And casino gambling is extremely popular.

Clark says that about 73 million Americans visited a casino in 2005 -- up from the more than 53 million that did so in 2000. The rate at which patrons visit casinos is growing, too. The average gambler visits a casino six times a year, which is almost double the number of trips 10 years ago.

But state lotteries are also extremely popular -- 42 states run them, according to the Education Commission of the States (ECS). Total lottery profits in the U.S. in 2004 amounted to almost $14 billion.

How did these lotteries spread so far and so wide in the U.S.? Marjorie Coeyman says in The Christian Science Monitor, "Many states sell the lottery concept to the public with the promise that a large portion of the proceeds will benefit public schools."

In fact, as of February 2006, of the 42 state lotteries, 24 earmark some proceeds for education funding. Politicians promising that lottery profits will be sunk into better schools and more teachers is, after all, an easier sell than raising taxes.

But like many things in politics, empty promises are easy to make. ECS researcher Molly Burke says, "The proceeds from state lotteries are less than you might think. Even if they're all earmarked toward education, it isn't a huge amount. It's never quite as much as states would like the schools and the taxpayers to think."

For example, the organization says that what New York funnels to schools from its state lottery amounts to only 5 percent of all public school revenue. Only 2 percent of public school funds comes from the lottery in California.

Moreover, say critics, state legislatures that receive lottery proceeds for education often simply lower their education expenditures coming out of the general fund. In the end, the schools see very little net gain.

"It's not a bonus for the schools but a substitution," argues Rev. Richard McGowan, professor at Boston College's Carroll School of Management.

In fact, Coeyman says that one study that examined Ohio's lottery (which directs 100 percent of lottery winnings into education) found that spending on education actually shrunk as a result.

"The study demonstrated that, after Ohio's 1974 promise to devote all lottery winnings to public schools, state spending on education dropped from 42 percent of its total budget in 1973 to 29 percent in 1994," she says.

Poker-Faced Kids
With lotteries often being sold to voters as a way to help school kids, it is ironic that the gambling craze sweeping the adult world is sucking many kids in as well.

Poker is especially hot right now among the nation's youth. According to the 2005 National Annenberg Risk Survey of Youth (NARSY), conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, the rate of young people age 14 to 22 who play for money each month increased 20 percent in just one year.

"Based on our latest estimates, there are approximately 2.9 million young people between the ages of 14 and 22 who are gambling on cards on a weekly basis," the Center said. "Over 80 percent of these youth are male."

The Annenberg survey found that 37 percent of males in high school and 50 percent of those in college reported gambling on cards at least once a month.

"The word, conservatively, is 'epidemic,'" Edward Looney, executive director of the New Jersey-based Council on Compulsive Gambling, told USA Today.

The increased interest of young people in gambling has, not surprisingly, spilled over to Internet gambling. Between 2004 and 2005, the percentage of young men who reported weekly gambling online more than doubled, with nearly 20 percent of males saying they engage in Internet gambling at least once a month.

Annenberg estimates that more than half a million young people gamble online every week -- most being under age 21.

Unfortunately, online gambling may be even more problematic than other forms. A Brown University study found that Internet gamblers who get addicted usually do so within a single year -- a much faster rate than gambling addicts who play more traditional forms, whose addiction takes an average of three-and-a-half years.

Why have poker and other forms of gambling become so popular among youth? For one thing, experts cite the popularity of poker shows on television networks, such as ESPN and Bravo. But others point to the fact that gambling, in general, is losing its negative image.

"Gambling has become a more mainstream activity," says Romer, although he says its impact on youth, especially, is worrisome.

Paying the Price
That danger is what motivates Jeffrey Derevensky, who helps head up the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviours at McGill University in Montreal. He believes adolescents should be warned about the dangers of gambling.

"We go into schools and try to teach students that gambling is dangerous and potentially addictive, just like drugs or alcohol," Derevensky told the McGill Reporter. "We also try to teach them that it depends on luck and not on skill, so they won't equate it with video games .... The students are very receptive to our message because they all seem to know someone who is in trouble because of gambling. The resistance we get is mostly from educators and parents. Some schools don't want us to come to class to talk about gambling because they don't see the point."

But there is a point. Derevensky estimates that 4-8 percent of youth in North America have a serious gambling problem, with another 10-15 percent being at risk.

NARSY Director Dan Romer is also concerned. "The rising rate of card playing and overall gambling is worrisome," he said. "Young people are more prone to addiction, and increased exposure to gambling during the adolescent years increases the chances of developing gambling-related problems."

But gambling addiction is not simply a danger for the young. Adults, too, are finding that gambling problems are ruining their lives, families, finances and careers. One study estimated that 2.7 percent of adults are either pathological or problem gamblers. (See "Do You Have a Gambling Problem?" at conclusion of this article.)

While at first glance that may seem like a small percentage, it should be viewed in the wider context of other addiction phenomena. For example, 3.6 percent of Americans have a drug abuse or drug dependency problem, and yet that problem gets plenty of publicity.

For critics, it only makes sense that in states where there is more exposure to legalized gambling, more people will become enticed -- and overcome -- by its power to addict.

Statistics bear this out. According to The Christian Science Monitor, a study of Nevada's gambling industry in 2002 found that 6.4 percent of the population in that state were either pathological or problem gamblers -- more than double the nationwide figure of 2.7 percent.

"One not unexpected result was that the prevalence rate in Nevada was higher than in virtually every other state that we looked at," Rachel Volberg, a gambling-impact researcher who helped lead the Nevada study, told the newspaper. "That obviously speaks to the impact of exposure."

Kluger agrees. "What makes people start gambling may also be a function of availability. A 1999 study ordered by the U.S. Congress found that people who live within 50 miles of a casino have two times as much risk of developing a gambling problem as those living farther away."

Nevertheless, the gambling industry -- with support from many state legislators -- continues to push the expansion of casinos, lotteries and the like.

But before voters roll the dice when asked to legalize gambling, they may want to remember that at least some of their neighbors will come up snake eyes.

http://news.christiansunite.com/Religion_News/religion04285.shtml

Additional information on ChristiansUnite.com is available on the Internet at http://www.christiansunite.com/
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« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2006, 12:14:03 AM »

Open Doors Hails Persistence of China's Persecuted House Churches

by Allie Martin
April 10, 2006

(AgapePress) - - President George W. Bush has promised to talk about the need for greater religious freedom in China when that country's president visits the White House later this month. But despite the restrictions imposed by the Communist regime, government authorities have not been able to stop a revival that is taking place in China's house churches.

For more than half a century, Communists have ruled China, outlawing Christian churches that refuse to register with the government. Nevertheless, millions of Chinese Christians have formed "house churches" where believers meet and pastors preach without government restrictions.

Dr. Carl Moeller of Open Doors USA, a ministry to the persecuted Church, says although house church members risk arrest and imprisonment, a revival continues to spread among unregistered congregations. "It's been called the greatest revival in the history of Christianity," he notes, "and we're not talking about the Welsh Revival or the Chicago Revival, or even the Great Awakening in the United States."

This phenomenal Christian revival about which so many believers are talking "is the Church in China from 1948 to 2006," Moeller says. "The tens of millions of individuals who've come to personal faith in Jesus Christ despite 50-plus years of Communist oppression is remarkable."

As president of Open Doors USA, Moeller works to spotlight the plight of persecuted Christians worldwide and to encourage prayer and advocacy on their behalf. He points out that a massive crackdown on house churches throughout China has resulted in the arrests of thousands of believers lately, yet the underground church persists and continues to show an exciting rate of growth.

"We're excited because God is building His church," the ministry spokesman explains. "He's building His church in a paradoxical way, using persecution to spread the faith in prisons, in places where people's lifestyle can be witnessed by those who oppress them. And we're seeing a revolution happen."

Still, Moeller points out that China ranks in the top ten among the world's worst religious persecutors, according to Open Doors 2006 "World Watch List." He says recent remarks by President Bush regarding his commitment to raising the issue of religious freedom in China are encouraging. China's president is scheduled to visit the White House on April 20.

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« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2006, 12:16:28 AM »

Educator Defends Guidelines for Dealing with Homosexuality in Schools

by Jim Brown
April 10, 2006

(AgapePress) - - A psychology professor and anti-bullying expert is rejecting claims that the Christian Educators Association International (CEAI) caved in to pressure from homosexual activists by reaching an agreement with the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) on how to deal with the issue of sexual orientation in public schools.

Division remains among conservative Christians over the First Amendment guidelines endorsed by GLSEN and CEAI. Pro-family activist Linda Harvey of Mission America has condemned the "Common Ground Guidelines," saying homosexuality is not a viewpoint, but rather "an array of high-risk abnormal behaviors" -- and Christians have no business dialoguing with GLSEN, she adds.

But noted mental health counselor and sexual orientation researcher Dr. Warren Throckmorton contends there are a variety of viewpoints Christians disagree with that are constitutionally protected.

"There are people who are attracted to the same sex, but don't act on it," the Grove City College educator offers. "There are young men and women who are gender non-conforming in their preferences, and they're teased and harassed at school because they look gay. That's not a behavior. They're not doing anything."

In a recent column for Townhall.com, Throckmorton and author Chad Thompson argued Harvey and other critics are missing the central aim of the guidelines. "All kids deserve respect," he says. "Likewise, all viewpoints on matters of education deserve a hearing -- and that's all that the guidelines really express."

Throckmorton believes conservative Christians often downplay the harassment and discrimination of homosexual students. "Our principal concern is that the real problem of harassment in schools not be overlooked," he explains. "We believe that there is a problem. It may be overstated by those in the gay activist community, but we [also] believe it may be understated by those on the conservative side of this issue."

Throckmorton says one of the risks of understating the problem is that there is very little done from a conservative perspective to address the real needs of children who are "gay"-identified and treated poorly in school.

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    Part 2 (to be posted on Tuesday, April 11) addresses why some Christians are denouncing the guidelines endorsed by GLSEN and the Christian Educators Association International. It features comments by Linda Harvey of Mission America.

My note; Which will be my first post in this topic tommorrow.
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« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2006, 12:40:49 AM »

Family Advocate Denounces Pact Between Christians, Homosexual Activists

by Jim Brown
April 11, 2006

(AgapePress) - - A pro-family activist says the Christian Educators Association International (CEAI) kowtowed to homosexuals by reaching an agreement with the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) on how to deal with the issue of sexual orientation in public schools.

The First Amendment guidelines on sexual orientation endorsed by the two groups propose that no viewpoints on the issue of sexual orientation should be marginalized or silenced in schools. (See earlier article) Noted mental health counselor Dr. Warren Throckmorton and author Chad Thompson, a former homosexual, have written a column for Townhall.com defending the "Common Ground" guidelines. They argue conservatives often wrongly suggest that bullying of homosexual students is isolated.

However, Linda Harvey of Ohio-based Mission America says more often than not, Christians are having a "civilizing and unifying" influence in schools -- not contributing to the bullying problem.

"I don't think Christians, per se, have a lot to apologize for on the whole -- here and there, possibly. And of course we know bullying occurs," Harvey says. "But you just can't lay this at the feet of Christian values. To do that, it's basically the same notion [in saying] that we in America, who are indeed imperfect, are responsible for the 9/11 terrorism."

Harvey -- who voiced her criticism of the agreement in a column for WorldNetDaily -- says she believes Throckmorton and Thompson are being too tolerant and nave regarding homosexual activism. "I don't see in Dr. Throckmorton and Chad Thompson's material any kind of perception that this is dangerous to kids," she notes. "They continue to talk about it as a viewpoint, and unless you are willing to look at this the way the Bible looks at it, and the way public health statistics [report it], and really just looking at some homosexual materials, I don't understand how people can purport to speak for a body of Christians."

Harvey says just as Christians "would not sit down at the table with those advocating the benefits of anorexia, child abuse, or binge drinking as alternative 'viewpoints,'" they should not be seeking common ground with advocates of child homosexuality. Likewise, she says, Christian educators should never seek to find common ground or negotiate with homosexual activists because homosexuality is an "abomination" that should not be tolerated.

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« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2006, 12:41:45 AM »

Ford Supports Same-Sex 'Marriage' Movement

by Ed Vitagliano
April 11, 2006

(AgapePress) - - If one looks for the company which has done the most to affirm and promote the homosexual lifestyle, he would be hard-pressed to find a company which has done more than Ford Motor Company.

That's the conclusion reached by the American Family Association (AFA), and it is the reason why the pro-family organization has called for a boycott of the automaker, which makes not only Ford products, but also Lincoln, Mercury, Mazda, Volvo, Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles.

Ford's support for the homosexual lifestyle is well known to homosexual organizations like the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). The group gave Ford a 100% corporate rating -- meaning its promotion of issues important to HRC and other homosexual lobby groups was perfect. Fox News reported that Ford was the only automaker to receive the top score.

AFA has created a website -- BoycottFord.com -- to inform consumers of the depth of commitment Ford has to the homosexual agenda. Among the controversial steps taken by the company:

    Donating to homosexual-rights groups -- Ford has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to homosexual groups which push the same-sex agenda, especially the drive to legalize same-sex marriage. For example, in 1999 Ford gave $200,000 to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and $100,000 to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Campaign.

    In 2005 the company donated $250,000 to help build Affirmations, a homosexual community center, in Ferndale, Michigan. The top gift in the campaign to build Affirmations -- $500,000 -- came from Allan Gilmour, a homosexual and former vice chairman of Ford Motor Company. Before he retired, Gilmour was chairman of the Ford Motor Company Fund through which gifts to homosexual organizations are made.

    Moreover, last year for every Jaguar or Land Rover purchased, Ford pledged to give up to $1,000 to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. In similar fashion in the past, Ford's Volvo division donated $500 to HRC for every vehicle purchased or leased.

    The company is also an "Emerald Sponsor" of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), a national organization promoting the acceptance of a kid's homosexual orientation, should they claim to be "gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered" (GLBT).

    Ford is an annual sponsor of the Reaching Out MBA Conference that promotes the education, visibility and networking capabilities of GLBT business leaders in the U.S. and around the globe.

    Sponsoring homosexual pride events -- In the 2005 Gay Pride Day in Ferndale, Michigan, Ford boasted that it had generously sponsored the "family area," which portrays same-sex couples as the heads of so-called families.

    Ford has consistently sponsored these types of events. It gave more than $5,000 to help sponsor the 2004 Motor City Pride Weekend, and again helped sponsor the event in 2005. Last year the event included a homosexual "commitment [marriage] ceremony."

    The company donated a red Mustang Cobra convertible to the Michigan Gay Pride March, becoming the first auto manufacturer to donate a vehicle. Ford also sponsored the "pride parade" in London in 2004 and 2005, and also was the main sponsor of the London Mardi Gras, a homosexual event.

    Ian McAllister, chairman and managing director of Ford Motor Company Limited, praised the company's support for the homosexual community. "Ford has been supporting gay, lesbian and transgender events and charities for many years, and this year, Ford will be a main sponsor of the London Mardi Gras," McAllister said. "We believe at Ford in helping a global society that is more open and tolerant, and one that values diversity. Our presence at the Mardi Gras underlines that philosophy."

    Advertising in homosexual media -- Ford supports homosexual publications with ads, including sexually-oriented ads. One such ad for Ford's Volvo division contained a photo that is obviously intended to represent male arousal.

    The company hired a Washington, DC, marketing firm to target the GLBT market, which developed a plan to involve Ford in the day-to-day business of selling vehicles worldwide to homosexual customers. Moreover, Ford actively recruits homosexuals for employment by advertising on homosexual job websites.

    Pushing employees to accept homosexuality -- Ford held the first automotive conference aimed at bringing diversity to the car industry.

    "Diversity" is a code word used by many companies to force employees to accept homosexuality. By defining themselves as a minority such as African-Americans, homosexual activists seek to bolster their claims of needing special treatment.

    Encouraged by Ford, more than 100 multinational companies attended the meeting which, according to 365Gay.com, included a goal of "broadening the number of LGBT workers in the field."

    The company was also an executive sponsor of the 2004 Out and Equal Workplace Summit Conference. The purpose of the event was to advance the homosexual agenda, including homosexual marriage, in major corporations.

All of this effort on behalf of the homosexual community has gotten Ford noticed by homosexual activists. The company has been on the DiversityInc.com Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in each of the four years the rankings have been published.

"Ford enthusiastically supports the homosexual lifestyle and homosexual organizations -- all of which are vigorously promoting same-sex marriage," said AFA president Tim Wildmon. "We just can't sit idly by while a once great car company chooses sides in the culture war."

AFA is asking those who oppose Ford's promotion of homosexuality to boycott the company and to sign a petition to that effect at the BoycottFord.com website.

"Call your local Ford dealer as well as dealers for the rest of Ford's automotive divisions, and let them know you will not buy products from a company which will use some of those profits to undermine marriage, the family and our culture," Wildmon said.

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« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2006, 12:42:42 AM »

Family Advocate Fears Pro-Homosexual Education Bill Will Pass California Senate

by Jim Brown
April 11, 2006

(AgapePress) - - A California pro-family activist says a bill in the state Senate requiring public schools to teach homosexual, bisexual, and transgender history is an assault on the minds and bodies of school children.

A bill sponsored by lesbian Senator Sheila Kuehl, SB 1437, places new mandates on California public schools to approve a curriculum that promotes and celebrates the lives of transsexual, bisexual, and homosexual "role models." The legislation has already passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, despite pro-family opposition.

Randy Thomasson with the Campaign for Children and Families (CCF) testified against SB 1437 at a recent hearing. He is calling on California citizens to ask Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to veto the controversial measure.

Thomasson believes the pro-homosexual bill is aimed at encouraging children not just to tolerate but to emulate homosexual behavior. "This is really teaching children this is how [they] can be, too," he says.

"Under the proposed curriculum changes homosexuals, transsexuals, and bisexuals will be depicted as 'heroic,'" the pro-family activist contends, "and this is all part of their agenda -- to be role models for children, so more children will enter these sexual lifestyles, perhaps even get a sex change."

According to Thomasson, the California Department of Education will undoubtedly use SB 1437 to erase all traditional distinctions or gender standards. He says the bill is designed to penetrate the academic purpose of schools with sexual, social engineering targeting children as young as kindergarten by requiring every aspect of the public education system in California to accept, embrace, teach, and promote homosexuality and other harmful sexual lifestyles.

The CCF spokesman fears the bill is likely to pass the Senate. For that reason, he is urging Californians to contact their governor and ask him to pledge to veto SB 1437, as his response to the measure is not something conservative and pro-family citizens dare take for granted.

"We need to understand that Democrat politicians all across California and more so across the country are in favor of all of the transsexual, bisexual, and homosexual agenda," Thomasson asserts. "We also need to understand that liberal Republicans like Arnold Schwarzenegger are going to go back and forth on whether to sign or veto."

SB 1437 is "frightening for parents who want trustworthy schools," the pro-family advocate adds. He hopes those parents and other Californians will join him in calling on Governor Schwarzenegger to veto a bill that requires schools to teach students favorably regarding deviant and unhealthy sexual lifestyles.

Thomasson believes Christians in particular should be speaking out against SB 1437. He says the church is a problem when it is uninvolved and a solution when it is involved in fighting such proposals.

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« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2006, 12:43:40 AM »

Internet Porn, Plus Child Predators, Make Web Doubly Dangerous for Children

by Mary Rettig and Jenni Parker
April 11, 2006

(AgapePress) - - Family Research Council (FRC) vice president Charmaine Yoest says although it may be difficult for many Americans to imagine that sex tourism could be such a big business in their country, the fact that it is can be attributed largely to the proliferation of pornography in the U.S.

A recent article by Reuters noted that the FBI has identified 14 U.S. cities as hubs for forced child prostitution, including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and New York. The report also said many times initial encounters between the child exploiters and their victims are set up through the Internet.

However, to the FRC's Yoest, these revelations come as no surprise. "You're tying some things together that may seem different," she says, "but, in actual fact, the message that people need to get is that pornography and child exploitation and online predators are all connected together."

While pornography may generally begin in a print form, the pro-family spokeswoman notes, cyberspace has created an opportunity for an evil industry to extend its reach. "Now that you have the Internet that's capable of spreading [pornographic material] further," she says, "it just is a real tool for child predators and for pedophiles."

Yoest points to two recent news stories she feels have added to the already ample evidence that steps must be taken to stop Internet pornography now. The first was the disturbing incident of an official in the Department of Homeland Security, Brian J. Doyle, who was arrested and charged after holding sexually explicit conversations online with someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl, but who turned out to be a detective.

According to a SecurityFocus website article, Doyle allegedly tried to talk the "girl" into buying a webcam after discussing sexual acts he wanted to perform with the supposed minor, and even sent "her" pictures of himself taken at the DHS headquarters wearing a Homeland Security pin.

The second story indicating the urgency of addressing the Internet porn problem, Yoest notes, involves the Senate testimony of Justin Berry -- a boy who, at the age of 13, bought a webcam in hopes of meeting other kids online. But instead of finding the friendship he craved on the Internet, this lonely boy was drawn in by voyeuristic child predators, who seduced him into secretly selling sexual images of himself on the web.

According to the New York Times' report, Berry's tragic exploitation is a "collateral effect of recent technological advances" which allow children, often under the online influence of adults, to use inexpensive webcams in setting up for-pay porn sites featuring their own images. And very often, the article points out, "these kids perform from the privacy of home, while parents are nearby, beyond their children's closed bedroom doors."

While tales like these have caught many in the U.S. by surprise, Yoest says they should prove to caring parents that watching children's Internet use is of the utmost importance. She urges parents to be aware of to whom their children are talking on the Internet, and to educate themselves as well as their kids about the dangers lurking there.

"We've been sounding the alarm for years that there really is a problem with sex trafficking and that people don't understand that it's not necessarily a problem that only happens in other countries," the FRC vice president notes.

"This question of child porn, child exploitation -- it's a good thing that it's in the news so heavily," Yoest adds. She says the fact that the Internet is so ubiquitous and so easily accessible to children should spur parents on to action in the fight against pornography.

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« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2006, 12:44:37 AM »

Conservative Lawmaker Hopes Hastert Will Act to Block Amnesty Legislation

by Chad Groening
April 11, 2006

(AgapePress) - - An Arizona Congressman has said he will call on Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert to use a procedural move to block any Senate bill that contains a guest worker provision.

Representative J.D. Hayworth, a member of the House Immigration Reform Caucus, is pleased that so far, at least, the Senate has failed to pass a bill that would offer amnesty to thousands of illegal aliens. If such a bill is passed, he says he intends to encourage Speaker Hastert to block it by simply not calling for conferees to iron out a final bill with the Senate in a conference committee.

"Quite frankly, I don't believe that Speaker Hastert is under any obligation to name conferees," Hayworth contends. "I would ask him not to because, that way, we don't have to entertain any of the guest worker amnesty talk, which I believe is just absolutely the wrong policy at the wrong time for the wrong reason."

It is entirely possible that one chamber or the other could refuse to name conferees, the congressman points out. "That has happened before," he notes. "That's a way that bills die, quite frankly." However, he says he is so alarmed about the implications of this legislation that he has determined, if the Senate in fact passes this bill, to advocate that Speaker Hastert "just refuse to name conferees so the House does not even have to entertain this notion of a guest worker amnesty."

But if Hastert chooses to appoint conferees anyway, Hayworth suspects there are enough "open borders" Republicans who would join the Democrats in approving a final guest worker amnesty bill. "The Left would vote for this bill in overwhelming numbers," he says, "so you would have the spectacle of a minority in the majority party voting for this type of guest worker legislation and the bulk of the Democrats voting for it."

Hayworth earnestly hopes that vote never happens. He says he believes Republicans will suffer at the ballot box in future elections if they ultimately approve an amnesty bill for so-called "guest workers."

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« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2006, 12:45:57 AM »

Judge's Transcendental Meditation Sentence Crossed the Line, Attorney Says

by Allie Martin and Jenni Parker
April 11, 2006

(AgapePress) - - An attorney with the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy (AFA Law Center) says a circuit judge in St. Louis, Missouri, may have overstepped his authority when he sentenced a woman who plead guilty to voter fraud and drug possession to take part in a transcendental meditation program.

When Michelle Robinson pleaded guilty to 13 violations of election law and possession of crack cocaine and a crack pipe, Judge David Mason sentenced her to four years of probation for all charges. He also ordered her to get training in the Hindu practice known as transcendental meditation.

AFA Law Center attorney Brian Fahling is troubled by the judge's sentence. "Even if you don't regard transcendental meditation as a religion within the constitutional sense," he explains, "what you have here is a judge ordering an individual to engage in a practice that does have a spiritual dimension to it, and it intrudes on the heart and the mind."

What that means, Fahling says, is "you've got a governmental actor who's ordering an individual to participate in something that perhaps may run contrary to their own particular beliefs and belief system." Still, the attorney says he is not really surprised by the judge's order because it is consistent with a larger trend toward secularization that is progressing in America.

Transcendental meditation, of which Judge Mason is an advocate, is traditionally associated with Hinduism; however, it is practiced by members of many world religions and has become popular with adherents of New Age spirituality as well. Those who engage in "TM" are encouraged to clear their minds and sit in silence, with eyes closed, mentally repeating a simple sound known as a mantra, their objective being what practitioners call "pure consciousness."

The question of whether or not transcendental meditation constitutes a religion is one that is still being debated, even though those who say it is a religion can point to a wealth of prima facie evidence. The abundant proofs include TM's references to and use of Hindu astrology, terms, scriptures, and even ceremonies, including one in which practitioners are asked to get on their knees and bow before a picture of Guru Dev, a revered Hindu "enlightened" master.

A federal court has even weighed in on this debate. In Malnak v. Yogi (1979), a U.S. District Court ruled that under the establishment clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, transcendental meditation is too religious to be taught in public schools. Nevertheless, the practice continues to be promoted by advocates under the rubric of health and wellness and stress-reduction programs, and other attempts have been made to incorporate TM techniques into public schools and other institutional settings.

Christian Lawyer Sees in TM a Poor Substitute for Spiritual Truth
Fahling believes the persistent popularity of such pseudo-spiritual techniques is a by-product of spreading secularism in America -- the effect of a society that has largely rejected biblical truth yet still hungers for something to believe in. "To coin an old phrase, nature abhors a vacuum," he notes. "The nature of man, as Luther said, [is that] there's a God-shaped void in his heart.

"To the degree you take out Christianity as the predominant 'hole filler,' if you will, then something is going to rush in to fill that void," the pro-family attorney continues. "And so, certainly, it's not unexpected [that] we do see this increasing cultural embracing of anything else -- other than Christianity -- that has a spiritual dimension to it."

Among the primary appeals of transcendental meditation, according to proponents, is that it offers a scientific means of overcoming stress while conferring many physiological benefits. Critics, however, contradict this claim and point to studies and anecdotal evidence suggesting that TM may actually be hazardous to participants' health and psychological well being.

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