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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

NJ rules against church group in gay rights case

Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association Boardwalk Pavilion

The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association was one of the cases used by the Prop 8 Coalition to show that religious freedoms are threatened by state recognition of same-gender “marriages.”

The New Jersey case involves the performance of a civil union. The case isn’t over, and it continues to illustrate how religious freedoms will be limited.

NJ rules against church group in gay rights case

By GEOFF MULVIHILL, Associated Press Writer

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. —  A church group that owns beachfront property discriminated against a lesbian couple by not allowing them to rent the locale for their civil union ceremony, a New Jersey department ruled Monday in a case that has become a flash point in the nation's gay rights battle.

The New Jersey Division on Civil Rights said its investigation found that the refusal of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association to rent the oceanfront spot to the couple for their same-sex union in March 2007 violated the public accommodation provisions of the state's Law Against Discrimination.

While the ruling is decisively in favor of the couple, Harriet Bernstein and Luisa Paster, it does not end the case. An administrative law judge still must decide on a remedy for the parties.

"What this case has always been about from my clients' perspective has been equality," said Larry Lustberg, the lawyer for the couple. He said they will seek an order that requires the pavilion to be "open to all on an equal basis."

Brian Raum, a lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based group that represents the Methodist organization, Camp Meeting Association, said his clients would keep pushing back against being forced to allow civil unions on the property.

"Our position is the same," he said. "A Christian organization has a constitutional right to use their facilities in a way that is consistent with their beliefs."

Meanwhile, the parties in the dispute are awaiting a ruling from the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on whether the issue should be decided in the division on civil rights or in federal courts. A lower federal court has ruled that the state could consider the case.

The dispute has become a rallying point for both sides in the political battle over gay unions.

Supporters of gay rights say the discrimination shows that New Jersey's two-year-old civil unions law falls short of its intent to give gay couples the same legal rights as heterosexual married couples.

Earlier this month, a state commission headed by J. Frank Vespa-Papaleo, the director of the Division on Civil Rights and the author of Monday's ruling, recommended that the state allow gay couples full marriage rights.

Opponents of gay marriage cite the case as a prime example of their contention that by recognizing same-sex couples, states are interfering with religious freedoms.

"It's something we have to be careful about," said the Alliance Defense Fund's Raum. "As the rights of same-sex couples increase, the tendency is to have it conflict with the First Amendment rights of religious organizations."

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Single men turning to surrogates

dad

Fitz at Opine Editorials wrote an interesting commentary on this article from CNN. An excerpt:

It’s the inexorable pull of logical that is both cause & effect of neutering marriage. Gay or straight, inside a same sex “marriage” or without. Its danger is one that is perhaps the greatest danger represented by same-sexes “marriage” and “trends” like these. That is treating the natural gifts of marriage (children) as a consumer good. To treat people as objects that are a function of adult desire rather than the fruits of male female marriage. In this way children become consumer disposables, the property of individuals and not distinct persons with inherent dignity of their own. Party of that dignity is known & to be known by ones own Mother & Father. To be born into a marriage within the natural cocoon that is the incubator of childbearing and rearing and contains the proper connections to ones lineage & heredity.

Single men turning to surrogates

By Ronni Berke, CNN Senior Producer

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Jeff Walker says from as far back as he can remember, he always wanted to be a father.

Jeff Walker, with his two daughters, tried to adopt, but ultimately turned to surogacy to build a family.

"It was always something I knew, from the time I was a child." Just like his 3-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, who says she wants to be a mommy someday, Jeff says, "I knew I wanted to be a daddy."

Walker, a Manhattan music executive, says he and his partner had talked about adopting a baby years ago. But after three emotionally draining, failed attempts at adoption, they decided to turn to surrogacy. They contacted Circle Surrogacy, a Boston agency that specializes in gay clients. Their child was conceived with a donor egg, and then the embryo implanted in the surrogate, or carrier.

After Elizabeth was born, Walker and his partner separated. He then made a critical decision -- to become a dad again, single, and by choice.

"I realized my family, my two-dad family was going to look different than I thought it was going to look," he said. Without a partner, he would face even steeper challenges raising Elizabeth and a sibling alone. Walker says he gave the decision a lot of thought.

"That was the only part that was really controversial, because I do think there are a lot of challenges that single parents face, but at the same time I felt I was capable of handling those challenges," he said.

His second daughter, Alexandra, was born two years ago to the same surrogate, implanted with an egg from a different donor.

Walker, 45, is one of a growing number of single men -- both gay and straight -- who are opting to become fathers alone, with the help of gestational surrogacy.

Surrogacy experts say because the practice is not regulated, many surrogacy arrangements are handled privately by individuals. Precise figures are hard to come by, but experts say there's no doubt the United States is experiencing a surrogacy baby boom.

Celebrities like Ricky Martin and Clay Aiken announced this year they had had babies with the help of surrogates and the the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, representing scores of reproductive clinics, reports that the number of gestational surrogate births in the country quadrupled between 1996 and 2006.  Watch more on the surrogacy boom »

Surrogacy experts say gestational surrogacy has increased steadily since the advent of in vitro fertilization in the early 1980s, because it provides an extra layer of emotional and legal protection for the client. The egg donor usually does not even know the client, and unlike the legally contentious "Baby M" case from the 1980s, the surrogate is not giving birth to her genetic child.

"It rises as an issue far less frequently with gestational surrogacy, because women never see it as their child to begin with," said John Weltman, president of Circle Surrogacy.

His agency, which expects more than 70 babies to be born in 2009, has seen a 50 percent growth in the number of single male clients over the past year.

Walker and other men are willing to pay well over $100,000 to have a baby through surrogacy -- the final cost depending on the number of IVF treatments necessary and how much is paid by insurance.

Circle is not the only major surrogacy provider experiencing a single-dad surge. At Growing Generations, a Los Angeles, California, agency that facilitates about 100 births a year, the number of single men seeking surrogates has doubled in the past three years, spokeswoman Erica Bowers said.

Although most of their single male clients are gay, surrogacy providers say a smaller but growing number are straight. Steven Harris, a New York malpractice and personal-injury attorney, says he gave up trying to get married when he realized his primary motive was to start a family.

Harris, 54, says he knew he made the right decision after 21-month old Ben was born.

"I thought getting married was the only way to go, because I did want a family. But having Ben, I feel complete now," Harris says.

Original Article

Monday, December 29, 2008

AZ Bar Association| 'Licensing' morality out of the law

gavel

'Licensing' morality out of the law

by Charlie Butts - One News Now

Could lawyers be thrown out of the profession based on their religious conviction against homosexuality?

The State Bar of Arizona is considering whether to require new attorneys to swear they will not let their views on sexual orientation get in the way of providing legal services. Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel and dean of Liberty University's Law School, is concerned.

"I believe that this is a major threat to the practice of law," he contends. "This is an attempt to literally license those out of business and to revoke the license of those who, in fact, have traditional moral values."

Staver believes the campaign is going nationwide and will be a tool used by homosexuals to hold back Christian lawyers. "If they then can hold over your head the license and the ability to practice law, that will be a devastating blow to those of us who believe in traditional family values," he points out.

According to Staver, this is an issue that lawyers and law school students cannot ignore. "It's a ticking time bomb," he concludes. "It is a land mine just waiting for someone to step on them."

The Arizona Bar plans to make a decision in January.

Original Article OneNewsNow

Beetle Blogger has a good article here

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Pope's Christmas Message| Protect the Human Being against Self-Destruction

pope christmas

Secular Heretic put together a good article-summary of the Pope's message and the backlash:
Pope's Christmas Greeting Says We Must "Protect the Human Being against Self-Destruction" of Sexual Aberration
     During his exchange of Christmas greetings with the Roman Curia on the 22nd of December Pope Benedict XVI suggested that the gender ideology which seeks to redefine the sexes to allow for homosexuality, transgenderism and such things are examples of mankind separating himself "from creation and the Creator."

     The pope noted that the Church "cannot and should not limit herself to transmitting just the message of salvation to her faithful." It must also he said "protect the human being against self-destruction" - a destruction which comes from a warped understanding of marriage and human sexuality. "It is necessary to have something like an ecology of the human being, understood in the proper manner," said the Pope. "It is not a surpassed metaphysics when Church speaks of the nature of the human being as man and woman, and demands that this order of creation be respected."

     Quoting great theologians of the past, the Pope called marriage "between one man and one woman for life" the "sacrament of creation" and urged his listeners to reread the Encyclical Humanae Vitae. It was the intention of its author Pope Paul VI, he said, to defend against treating sexual love as a commodity.
(Original article Lifesitenews)

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The Pope Had the Guts to Say We Need to Save Ourselves from Self-Destructive Sexual Lifestyles

     Pope Benedict XVI is being ridiculed for daring to say that the harm caused by going against the Creator's plan for human sexuality is destructive and hurtful. In truth, he is being pilloried for having enough love to tell his brothers and sisters struggling with same-sex attraction, promiscuity, pornography, adultery and more, that their behavior is hurting them and society at large. It is hurting them physically, psychologically, but most importantly - hurting them spiritually.

     A San Fransisco Chronicle headline reads, "Pope Benedict at Christmas: Preaching bigotry disguised as compassion", and the Times of London opines: "Christmas was never meant to be about this". There are also examples of explicit hate mongering by gay activists against the Pope on YouTube.

     Interesting to note is the fact that nowhere in the Pope's remark did he even use the word 'homosexual' or 'homosexuality', rather he referred to 'gender' and to the Creator's plan for human sexuality as being in life-long marriage between one man and one woman. (Original article lifesitenews)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Are Families Measured in Family Units?

Beaker

Are Families Measured in Family Units?    

By Euripedes at Self Evident Truths

     The institutions of marriage and families are under attack. This has been going on in front of our backs for some time now. The recent votes and protests over the definition of marriage exemplify the continued debasement of these institutions. The idea of gay marriage is merely another step in the attack on marriage and families. The idea of gay marriage may, however, portend the end of the institution of marriage and the death of the family. It certainly didn't start their destruction.

     I've been looking at and thinking about the arguments surrounding marriage amendments for many months now. One of the arguments I frequently encountered by those in favor of gay marriage was: "How does what two individuals do in he privacy of their own home affect you?" While it may not effect me personally, and most probably wouldn't, it does effect the institution of marriage, which in turn effects the institution of the family.

     The idea of gay marriage doesn't seem to damage traditional marriage if marriage were a private matter instead of a public institution. But long before the discussion of gay marriage, much of the damage to the institution has already been done. Consider the myriad other attacks on the institutions of marriage and of the family: rampant divorce (including "no fault" divorce where couples can stop being married just because they don't want to be); the de facto acceptance of abortion as a legitimate means of birth control; the woman's right to choose (to kill an unwanted child); the decriminalization and acceptance of gay sex; rampant pornography; increased child neglect and abuse; increased spouse abuse; the increase and general acceptance of single parent families; the increased welfare state "helping" single mothers stay single and living in poverty; the lack of responsibility of fathers to financially support the family; unfair divorce settlement practices; child custody battles where parents use their children as weapons against each other; the rise in teen pregnancies; a general rise and acceptance of sexual promiscuity outside of marriage; the acceptance of living together as an alternative to marriage; the general disdain of marriage as expressed in popular culture; and the list goes on.

     Which brings us to the term "family unit" instead of family. The term was coined not too long ago to express the myriad ways families are now defined, including every combination of people, but rarely meaning a family with a mother, father and children. We've come to accept the term "family unit" because we as a nation have so successfully fractured the core family that we no longer see any other form of the family as unusual. I even hear the term over the pulpit in church.

     A case in point is the fairly innocuous Disney movie Lilo and Stitch. Lilo is an orphan girl, raised by her sister. Along comes Stitch, a cute space alien designed as a weapon to wreck havoc on civilization. The two get together, both learn to "behave" so to speak, but the gist of the movie is that, by the mere fact that Lilo and Stitch care for each other and accept each other they become family. Well, a family unit at least. (Now I am not knocking the movie, it is one of my favorites and is quite funny. I use it here to show how generally accepted the idea of the family unit is in our society.)

    What's happened here is that the institution of marriage and the institution of the family has been redefined from a public to a private concern. As a private concern, it no longer holds the importance or the "sanctity" of public value. As a private concern, anyone can claim anything they want to as a marriage or family because that is a "private" matter, not subject to government or societal interference.

The Problems
     The problem arises because marriage and family as private concerns could eventually have no public relationship. (Well, except for being reduced to an economic value in tax breaks and access to health care.) Without public constraints, the institutions become meaningless. Children, who used to enjoy the protection of the institution of a family, more and more are raised by a family unit and more often by a single parent.

      The other problem is the propagation of a culture with no regard for the institutions of marriage and family. Children raised with divorced parents come to view divorce as a normal and regular part of marriage. Children whose mother is single and working to eke out a living grow up at the edge of poverty, often raised by surrogate parents in day care centers. Children are exposed to pornography or sexual relationships far too early in their developmental period. Children of gay couples grow up with the understanding that "anything goes" in a relationship, even if the actions were once deemed illegal. Many grow up without the basic moral backgrounds of religion, since, for example, Christianity is antithetical to the degradation of marriage and families.

      If this is the current state of the family and marriage, then what possible further harm can come to it by legalizing gay marriage? Frankly, I don't know what else could come along that already hasn't destroyed the institution.

The Solution?
     So what's the solution? Holding ground on an ever increasing slippery slope in favor of the institutions of marriage and family. Passing constitutional amendments defining marriage in every state or on the federal level. Getting rid of no fault divorces. Realizing that pornography is not a free speech issue and making it illegal. And on and on and on.

     We've already lost a lot of ground on the institutions of marriage and family. Does gay marriage signal the death knell?

Original post here

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas


nativity2


Angels rejoiced in his birth. Shepherds came. Wise men followed a new star.


For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. --Isaiah 9:6


holy family


The baby Jesus was raised on earth by married parents--Mary his mother and Joseph his adopted father.


All children born on Earth deserve this same blessed situation.


A married mom and dad who love them.


Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Abortion| Fight the FOCA


statue family


As Christians around the world begin celebrations for the birth of Christ, please remember that all unborn children deserve the gift of life.

Whatever your religion or your opinion on women's rights, educate yourself about the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) and its affects on abortion in the U.S.

The Fight FOCA Petition

by United Families International

FOCA would eradicate state and federal laws that the majority of Americans support, such as:

  • Bans on Partial Birth Abortion

  • Requirements that women be given information about the risks of getting an abortion

  • Only licensed physicians can perform abortions

  • Parents must be informed and give consent to their minor daughter’s abortion

FOCA would erase these laws and prevent states from enacting similar protective measures in the future.

California Senator Barbara Boxer introduced The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) in 2004. To date, the Bill has not been signed in to law but if passed, it would override every piece of Pro-Life legislation that has been made on a local, state, or national level. Sen. Boxer herself said that this radical Pro-Abortion legislation would ”supercede any law, regulation or local ordinance that impinges on a woman’s right to choose.”

Last year Barack Obama told the now famously corrupt Pro-Abortion organization, Planned Parenthood, that the first thing he would do as president of the United States is sign FOCA into law. As the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. government are controlled by the party that traditionally supports abortion, FOCA may be close to becoming law.

As defenders of the unborn, we must do all we can to ensure that their rights are protected. The Pro-Life group, Americans United for Life has taken part in a project called FightFOCA.com. FightFOCA.com is a great resource for all Americans to educate themselves on FOCA and sign the Fight FOCA Petition. For 30 years, United Families International has been devoted to maintaining and strengthening the family as the fundamental unit of society. We have fought on all levels of government to support the sanctity of human life, including unborn children. We are happy to join with Americans United for Life and voice our opposition to abortion.

The Fight FOCA Petition:

I oppose the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), because:

  • FOCA is a radical attempt to enshrine abortion-on-demand into American law;

  • FOCA seeks to sweep aside existing, protective laws that I and the majority of Americans support;

  • FOCA will prevent states from enacting protective measures in the future.

The FightFOCA petition will be sent to key Members of Congress upon the re-introduction of the Freedom of Choice Act in the 111th Congress, and to President-Elect Obama.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION

Send emails to your state congressmen.

Email this post to any family or friends who might be interested in the information.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Why Christmas Matters

atheist signNativity

The sign above taken by Ann Althouse--see her post here (It's the same sign O'Reilly refers to in his commentary).

Kingfisher is not a regular viewer of Bill O'Reilly, but his recent essay on Christmas addresses some current issues with good insight. While some people during this season of light celebrate the birth of a God, and some celebrate a miracle of light and protection from a God, everyone--no matter their religion or non-religion--can celebrate peace and goodwill towards men. This shouldn't be a time for fighting.

Why Christmas Matters

by Bill O'Reilly

In 1870, President Grant signed a law making Christmas Day a federal holiday, a national day of celebration. Congress overwhelmingly voted to make that happen and Grant understood that this was not a trivial gesture. The nation remained deeply divided in the aftermath of the Civil War and the federal government was looking for ways to reunite the people. Since Christmas was loved by almost everyone, the national holiday became a symbol of healing and unity.

Now, America is divided again, this time over social behavior. Traditional Americans want to hold on to the beliefs and institutions that, they believe, have made the country great, while secular-progressives lobby for aggressive change—things like redefining marriage to include homosexuals and other redefinitions of tradition.

Thus, deep divisions are growing in America and, somewhat shockingly, Christmas is right in the middle of it.

A few years ago some retail companies ordered their employees not to say the words "Merry Christmas" because they might offend people who do not celebrate the national holiday. Of course, that was insane. These companies were marketing the gift-giving season that accompanies Christmas but were refusing to utter the word? Please.

After an exposition of this by me and some other media people, millions of Americans decided not to spend money in the offending quarters, and the banishment of Christmas quickly ceased. I guess money trumps offending people all day long.

This season there is another Christmas controversy, this one engineered by some atheists who want to display signs on public property if Christmas or Hanukkah symbols are present. So far, only Illinois, Wisconsin and Washington state have caved in to the atheists, but it is just a matter of time before the non-believers come to a state house near you.

The problem with the atheist displays in Washington and Wisconsin is that the message is hateful, an attack on religion rather than a positive message. In Madison, then-Governor Tommy Thompson allowed the anti-religious sign, but posted it far away from the Nativity scene and the Menorah.

But in Olympia, Governor Christine Gregoire, a secular-progressive politician, has allowed a sign in the capitol rotunda that says religion enslaves people, among other not-nice things, to be placed within a few feet of Jesus in the manger. And peace on earth to you, too, Governor.

Of course, Gregoire did not have to do that. The legal settlement in Washington clearly states that any holiday display must be appropriate and reflect the decorum of the state capitol building.

So, the atheist anti-religion sign could have easily been rejected as being inappropriate. If the non-believers want a seasonal display, make it a positive thing. Put a picture of Charles Darwin and Bill Maher up there with the words "These are our guys... happy Winter Solstice!"

But, no, the atheists have to attack the baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the Wise Men and whoever else dropped by the Bethlehem birthplace.

Atheists well understand that Christmas is the most visible display of religion in the world, and any diminishment of it is a good thing to militant secularists. But it is inconceivable that Ulysses S. Grant, believing he finally had a slam-dunk issue in which to unite a fractured country, could have foreseen the social civil war we have today.

Sadly, we are no longer one nation under God. But those of us who truly understand the spirit of Christmas, the simple message of good will toward all men, understand that Ulysses S. Grant was on to something. Christmas should be a time of peace and understanding. It's sad that we now have to defend that.

Original article here

Beetle Blogger did a post worth reading here

Monday, December 22, 2008

Prop 8 Blacklist| Fred Karger's Legacy

fred karger

Fred Karger is the organizer of Californian's Against Hate. He organized the blacklisting of companies for private donations of its owners.

Thanks to Californians Against Hate, we already have a list with all the contact info of those businesses we need to support.

Please re-acquaint yourself with its heroes. The blacklist is still very much in force.

If you'd like to contact Fred Karger: Info@CaliforniansAgainstHate.com

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Prop 8 foes turn to 'blacklist' tactics

By William M Welch, USA TODAY

LOS ANGELES — After losing on Election Day, some supporters of gay marriage are using economic boycotts and Internet lists to focus ire on the financial backers of Proposition 8.

Some on the receiving end say the tactic amounts to a blacklist, a term that conjures memories of Hollywood's refusal to hire screenwriters and others identified as communists in the late 1940s and 1950s.

"I just hate being pigeonholed as a hate monger or bigot," says Robert Hoehn, who contributed $25,000 to the campaign for Prop 8, which amended California's Constitution to exclude same-sex marriage. "I have friends in the gay community, and I don't think any of them would say that."

Hoehn has seen protesters outside his Carlsbad, Calif., car dealerships, his name and business have appeared on websites publicizing donors, and he has received "the most vitriolic kinds of e-mails, letters and phone calls."

His discomfort is exactly what some have in mind.

"I want to make it a little hot for these people," says Fred Karger, a retired Los Angeles political consultant who started the group and website called Californians Against Hate.

Small as well as large donors have felt heat:

• El Coyote, a Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles since 1931, has seen fewer diners and been picketed over a $100 contribution by a manager and member of the owning family. Marjorie Christoffersen told The Los Angeles Times, "I've almost had a nervous breakdown."

• San Diego developer Doug Manchester, who donated $125,000 to put Prop 8 on the ballot, has seen a boycott against hotels he owns, including the Manchester Grand Hyatt on San Diego Bay. Manchester did not return calls seeking comment. Sonja Eddings Brown, spokeswoman for the Protect Marriage coalition, which supports Prop 8, said Manchester's hotel "has lost several national conventions and conferences."

• A-1 Self Storage, with 30 locations across California, has also been targeted by Karger's group. Owner Terry Caster and family members donated $693,000.

Caster did not return calls but has a recording on his phone defending the contribution and Prop 8. "The homosexual community is trying to change something that has been practiced since the start of our great country," he says, referring to marriage. "I simply exercise my right to support that which I believe in."

Brown says she has received calls from small business owners in Hollywood and West Hollywood who have lost customers because of their donations. She said she has seen printed lists that name Hollywood studio employees who gave to the cause, an action that "replicates that feel" of blacklists of movie-industry figures who many in Hollywood to this day believe were prevented from earning a living because of their politics.

Some say blacklist is the wrong analogy.

Larry Gross, professor and director of the school of communication at the University of Southern California, said publicizing donors is a legitimate tactic. He says it is similar to the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott of the 1960s in which blacks were protesting segregated seating.

"This is a matter of private citizens saying they don't want to patronize businesses that have worked against their interests," Gross said.

But Ron Prentice, executive director of the California Family Council, says it is wrong to compare supporters of traditional marriage to racists.

"I think the general public is recognizing intolerance" of the blacklist, he said.

Original article here

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christian U.K. Registrar Loses Right of Conscience on Same-Sex Civil Unions

------------------------------------------------------------ladele

Lilian Ladele is the U.K. registrar who refused to perform homosexual civil partnership ceremonies because of her Christian beliefs. To learn more about Lillian Ladele and her story go here

Christian U.K. Registrar Loses Right of Conscience on Same-Sex Civil Unions

by Kathleen Gilbert

LONDON, December 19, 2008 - London's Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) has overturned a ruling that granted compensation to a U.K. registrar subjected to harassment and the potential loss of her job after refusing to conduct civil unions between same-sex couples.

The court ruled that Islington Council of north London had not unjustly discriminated against 47-year-old Lillian Ladele, who objected to involvement in the unions because of her Christian beliefs.

"The council were not taking disciplinary action against Ms Ladele for holding her religious beliefs," stated the EAT ruling. "They did so because she was refusing to carry out civil partnership ceremonies and this involved discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation."
Ladele brought her employer to court after she claimed she was bullied and treated as a "pariah" by her fellow employees because of her adherence to Christian beliefs on homosexuality. Ladele would not perform such ceremonies and instead arranged for other colleagues to handle them. Nonetheless, the Council accused her of gross misconduct and refused to consider her for promotion, eventually threatening to fire her if she did not conduct a homosexual union herself.
The Central London Employment Tribunal had unanimously agreed that Ladele's treatment amounted to religious discrimination and unlawful harassment. The Islington Council then took the case to the EAT, where they argued that Ladele's beliefs ought not interfere with her directive to provide equal treatment regardless of sexual orientation.

The EAT tribunal ruled in favor of the Council's interpretation, stating that the earlier tribunal had "erred in law" and there was no basis for concluding any discrimination against Ladele based on her religious beliefs had taken place.

“Let’s say I am an anarchist and I feel strongly that I want to go around blowing things up, but my employers object," EAT president Judge Patrick Elias told a tribunal hearing last week. "It may well be that anarchy is my genuinely held belief. But it does not mean that my employer’s decision not to allow me to [do so] is discriminating against that belief.”

Ladele plans to take her case to the Court of Appeal.

"Religious freedoms must be respected but not at the expense of upholding civil liberties for all," commented Sarah Ludford MEP, Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman, as reported by the U.K.'s homosexual news service PinkNews.com.

"But while the Labour government’s apparent indulgence of religiously-based prejudice could make it very difficult for lesbian and gay teachers to find work in faith schools, at least the Ladele case is an encouraging sign that UK courts will uphold the principle that religion cannot trump the right to equal treatment."

Ladele's lawyer Mark Jones said in a statement outside of court that Ladele "wants to make it clear that, whatever other commentators may have said, this case has never been an attempt to undermine the rights of members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender communities.

"The evidence showed that Lillian performed all of her duties to the same high standard for the lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender communities, as she did for everyone. This case has been about the shortfall between the principle of equal dignity and respect for different lifestyles and world views, and Islington Council's treatment of Lillian Ladele - conduct which the tribunal felt moved to describe as extraordinary and unreasonable."

Colin Hart, director of The Christian Institute, expressed disappointment at the ruling. "Gay rights are not the only rights," he said. "If this decision is allowed to stand it will help squeeze out Christians from the public sphere because of their religious beliefs on ethical issues." The Christian Institute is a non-denominational Christian lobby group that supported Ladele's case.
In the words of registrar Elizabeth Thatcher, Civil marriage registrars who face losing their jobs for living their Christian beliefs are slowly entering a "climate of fear" created by the U.K.'s increasingly aggressive laws favoring universal acceptance for homosexual behavior.

Read article here

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Campbell Soup Company Promotes Gay Agenda

Campbell Soup Company promotes Gay Agenda
    
In the December 2008 and January 2009 issues of The Advocate, the Campbell Soup Company bought two 2-page ads in order to promote their Swanson line of cooking broth. The Advocate is one of the largest homosexual magazines in the country. One of the full-page ads features a lesbian couple and their son. Two other men are featured, but the lesbian couple has an entire story on one column of the page. Their story ends with these words:
This holiday season, serve a special meal no matter the size and structure of your family. The secret is Swanson. 
     While Campbell Soup Company is successfully advertising to their intended audience, as a consumer, I am concerned. The women featured in the ad are lovely women. They are doing good things. They are successful. However, the best place for children is in a family with a mom and a dad. Two moms do not equal a mom and a dad. Swenson broth does not equal a mom and a dad.

 from the The Campbell Soup Company 2008 Coorporate Social Responsibility Report:
Our mission:
Together we will build the world's most extraordinary food company by nourishing people's lives everywhere, every day.

Consumers around the world are recognizing the importance of sound nutrition to their health and well-being, and those of their families and communities. 
The best, most "nourishing" families across the board are the in-tact, traditional married unit. It seems to me that an "extraordinary" company would try to advertise the healthiest situation for the community it serves.

from Campbell's Global Guidelines for Responsible Advertising:
We use very special care and consideration when advertising to children.
Campbell Soup Advertising Messages:
Show children in safe physical and social environments
If Campbell Soup is concerned for the welfare of children, then they should not be contributing to the normalization of same-gender couples with kids. The company has a social responsbility that extends beyond pleasing one group of potential customers. The ad profits from (and blatantly promotes) the gay agenda at the cost of the social/emotional/psychological health of society and its children.

View ad here
Email the president of the Campbell Soup Company here
Call the company to express your concern: 1-800-257-8443 & 1-800-442-7684 (Swenson Division)

Jerry Brown, AKA Fish-Out-Of-Water

by Pearl Diver

"A flip-flop, flippty-flip-flip-flop you don’t stop…" says a community commenter at Michelle Malkin's blog. The little ditty accurately describes the shenanigans taking place at the Attorney General's office.


Jerry Brown, CA Attorney General, came gallantly to the defense of the people's Prop 8 vote immediately following the November 4th elections, vowing to uphold the constitutional amendment against his own personal beliefs. Now, however, in a perhaps-not-so-surprising turn of events, Brown has renounced his supportive position and fallen in with gay rights activists' "rainbow-love-change-civil rights-freedom" mantra, claiming that the amendment was "inconsistent with the guarantees of individual liberty." RIP, Jerry Brown, RIP.

Most outrageous is this quote from Brown himself that claims his change of heart was brought about by, "further reflection and a deeper probing into all the aspects of our Constitution." It is my humble opinion that the astute and capable Jerry Brown, would undoubtedly already be quite versed in Proposition 8 and every aspect of its Constitutional repercussions; he is the Attorney General, after all.

Pearl opines:

How to win a 2010 governor's chair? Jump ship on Proposition 8 in order to win popularity with the up-and-coming, "enlightened and progressive," young CA voter pool.

But really, can we really blame JB for being more afraid of the gay rights activists' reactions should Prop 8 be upheld than the traditional marriage supporters' reactions should Prop 8 be overturned? Hm? The answer is no, not if you've been following the blazing trail of GRA hate visible from outer space.

On a more positive note, joining the Yes on 8 legal defense team is the esteemed Kenneth Starr, Dean of Pepperdine University Law School, former US Court of Appeals Judge, DC Circuit, and former US Solicitor General who has argued 25 cases before the Supreme Court.

Hate for Hate's Sake

by Beetle Blogger

Marriot Hotel photo by José Carlos Cortizo Pérez
Marriot Hotel photo by José Carlos Cortizo Pérez

At Last—The Truth.

First they came after those who donated big to prop 8.  Then they came after the ones who donated a hundred dollars or less.  Now they’re coming after people who didn’t donate at all.

Is it principle or hate at the core of the boycotts?  Comments I’ve heard have couched all kinds of behavior in the comfy blanket of victimhood.  Everyone is excused from unconscionable behavior when they feel they’ve been wronged, right?
What if the target of the hate has done nothing?  Does it matter?  Or is the guise of victimhood just another excuse for the free exercise of blind fury?
Bill Marriott and his family own the Marriott Hotel chain.  They have come under fire from gay activists recently, not because of something they’ve done, but because of their religious affiliation.  What is their crime?  Bill Marriott and his family are Mormon, and they refuse to state their unequivocal support for the gay marriage movement.
See these quotes from the Huffington Post’s Marc Gunther on the boycott of Marriot Hotels:
“… why go after Marriott? According to my friend Bob Witeck, who runs a consulting firm called Witeck-Combs that specializes in gay issues and advises Marriott, neither Bill Marriott nor members of his immediate family donated to the campaign on behalf of Prop 8. What’s more (and this is undisputed), Marriott as an employer has an exemplary record around diversity in general and LGBT employees in particular. “
“… it would appear that the Marriott Corp. is under fire only because the family belongs to the Mormon church. Bob Witeck says this is unfair. “Their policies and practices have been good for a long time,” he told me. “This notion of targeting people because of their faith is deeply troubling.”
“… silence or neutrality is unacceptable… Either you’re for us or against us…”
Certainly anyone who has a wallet is free to use it however he chooses, but consider the motivation here.  Those proclaiming to be victims of hate are proving the case of the proponents of prop 8 who said that the gay marriage movement was about religious persecution as much as anything else.
I read a quote this morning from an LDS commenter at the Salt Lake Tribune that is particularly prescient:

“Just because a person is gay, I don’t assume they have AIDS,  just because I’m Mormon, don’t assume I hate gays.”  

Even reporters have been attacked.  Steve Lopez, who interviewed Marjorie Christoffersen (Mormon target of the El Coyote Restaurant boycott), had this to say today on the virulent reaction his readers gave him: 
…I’ve never been called a bigot so many times as I have since I wrote in my Sunday column about the boycott of El Coyote, the Los Angeles cantina whose Mormon manager donated $100 to Proposition 8, the successful November ballot initiative to ban gay marriage.
No doubt these hate-dripping commenters are among the same group who believe that prop 8 was all about hate.  All the rainbow wavers with signs proclaiming peace and love, was all that a sham?  a show?  What about respect and diversity?  What of tolerance and love? Who truly owns the hate?
Maggie Gallagher writes of her experience on the Dr. Phil Show:
“…I sat next to a powerful politician — Mayor Gavin Newsom — who ritually rejected violence but refused to decry these extraordinary threats to ordinary voters’ livelihoods. I also sat next to Joe Solmonese, head of the Human Rights Campaign, when a young Mormon in the audience asked him, “Why are you singling out my faith when so many other people supported Prop 8?” Did Joe, an amiable guy, take a moment to call his troops to back off from religious bigotry, to refocus on the larger problem — 7 million Californians disagree with his organization’s gay marriage civil rights dogma?
No. I sat silent, dumbfounded, next to Joe when he pointed at the young man and cried,

“We are going to go after your church every day for the next two years unless and until Prop 8 is overturned.”

My mouth dropped. This was Joe’s response just a few days after white powder was sent to LDS temples in Utah and California.”
Hate is hate, and it’s never justified.  It’s clear that advocates of same-sex “marriage” present the idea as a step forward for tolerance and respect—but their actions present a different case, especially if you happen to be Mormon.


Please Teach Me—This provocative video response to the anti-Mormon religious intolerance was created by a first-year LDS college student.
Just a reminder that the nation is watching.  —Beetle Blogger

Friday, December 19, 2008

No Case For Homosexuality in Bible

No Case For Homosexuality in Bible 

by Bottum, Reynolds, and Porter
washingtonpost.com

In the latest issue of Newsweek, editor Jon Meacham explains: "To argue that something is so because it is in the Bible is more than intellectually bankrupt--it is unserious, and unworthy of the great Judeo-Christian tradition." Indeed, he continues, "this conservative resort to biblical authority is the worst kind of fundamentalism." Curiously, he intends this as a defense of Lisa Miller's cover story, which announces that we should approve homosexual marriage because the Bible tells that Jesus would want us to.

On any plane of argument, the contradiction would appear stunning, but, then, neither Jon Meacham nor Lisa Miller are engaged in argument. They're speaking, instead, in familiar tropes and fused-phrases and easy clichés. They're trying to convey a feeling, really, rather than an argument: Jesus loves us, love is good, homosexuals love one another, marriage is love, love is loving--a sort of warm bath of words, their meanings dissolved into a gentle goo. In their eyes, all nice things must be nice together, and Jesus comes to seem (as J.D. Salinger once mocked) something like St. Francis of Assisi and "Heidi's grandfather" all in one.

In truth, of course, Meacham and Miller actually know what everyone else knows: The Bible offers no support for homosexual marriage. Christianity teaches love, mercy, and forgiveness for those who do bad things, true enough. Look, for example, at the story in the Gospel of John where Jesus offers his divine love, mercy, and forgiveness to a woman guilty of adultery. He shamed those who would stone her. He taught us all that we are sinners and often hypocrites. And then he told her, "Go and sin no more." He did not reinterpret the Old Testament to proclaim adultery another life-style choice.

[Read more... ]

To read the original Newsweek article referenced, visit Beetle Blogger .

Joseph Bottum is editor of First Things: A Journal of Religion, Culture and Public Life. John Mark Reynolds, an evangelical, is associate professor of philosophy at Biola University. Bruce D. Porter is a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Obama & Warren Form an Alliance to Defend the DOMA

Really? No, of course not. But that's what you'd think has happened based on the blustering outcry of gay rights activists who are up-in-arms about the president-elect's inauguration invocation selection, Pastor Rick Warren. Have they conveniently ignored the fact that Obama also selected pro-SSM advocate, Joseph Lowery, to give the benediction? It would appear so. And it certainly lends further emotional appeal to their sad, minority "plight" when they fail to give proper recognition to that last fact.

[Read more...]

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Attack on Parental Rights

feet
Picture from SurlyGirl

Attack on Parental Rights
The right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children has been recognized and upheld for centuries. But there are dark clouds on the horizon.
Today parental rights are coming under assault from federal judges who deny or refuse to recognize these rights. Adding further danger to the child-parent relationship, international law seeking to undermine the parental role is advancing on the horizon. Together, these threats are converging to create a "perfect storm" that looms over the child-parent relationship.
In the early 1980s, a landmark parental rights case reached the Washington State Supreme Court. The case involved 13-year-old Sheila Marie Sumey, whose parents were alarmed when they found evidence of their daughter's participation in illegal drug activity and escalating sexual involvement. Their response was to act immediately to cut off the negative influences in their daughter's life by grounding her.
But when Sheila went to her school counselors complaining about her parent's actions, she was advised that she could be liberated from her parents because there was "conflict between parent and child." Listening to the advice she had received, Sheila notified Child Protective Services (CPS) about her situation. She was subsequently removed from her home and placed in foster care.
Her parents, desperate to get their daughter back, challenged the actions of the social workers in court. They lost. Even though the judge found that Sheila's parents had enforced reasonable rules in a proper manner, the state law nevertheless gave CPS the authority to split apart the Sumey family and take Sheila away.
DANGEROUS PRECEDENT
Parental rights are under attack in our nation, with the first threat originating from within the federal court system. As this story illustrates, a growing disregard for parental rights has been spreading within the courts of our nation.
Across the country, many judges are beginning to deny the vital role of parents in the lives of their children, instead inserting the government into a "parental" role in a child's life. This dangerous assertion is leading to the severance of the child-parent relationship in numerous instances across the nation—removals that cause unnecessary pain to both children and their parents.
A thirteen-year-old boy in Washington State was removed from his parents after he complained to school counselors that his parents took him to church too often. His school counselors had encouraged him to call Child Protective Services with his complaint, which led to his subsequent removal and placement in foster care. It was only after the parents agreed to a judge's requirement of less-frequent church attendance that they were able to recover their son.
HANGING BY A THREAD
Not all judges hold a low view of parental rights. Some, like Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, believe that parental rights are among the "inalienable rights" of Americans enumerated in the Declaration of Independence but they are finding it increasingly difficult to rule in favor of parental rights when it is not explicitly included in the language of the Constitution.

Read the entire article here

The website has a lot of good resources (articles, information, etc.).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Diversity: Where to Draw the Line.

We want to spotlight the Support Traditional Marriage Blog. They've only been online since December 1, but every post is a solid contribution to the marriage discussion.

street lines
Diversity: Where to Draw the Line

The Article

Isobel White wrote a very interesting article on Prop. 8 and schooling. It deals with the idea that for schools to "ensure a basic level of respect and safety" they should "acknowledg[e] that diverse families exist and that some schoolchildren will, in fact, grow up to fall in love with someone of the same sex."
So there are two parts of this diversity argument.

To be respectful and safe, schools should:

1. Acknowledge that diverse families exist
2. Acknowledge that some students will have homosexual tendencies as adults

But by lumping them together, she also infers that anyone who disagrees with either is promoting schools NOT to be respectful or safe. Only a bigot wouldn't accept the beauty of diversity, right?
While I agree with part of what she says, I don't believe that endorsement of the entire idea is necessary for children to respect diversity.

What I Agree With

We should accept each child, regardless of the family from which s/he comes. Children usually don't have a choice about their family make-up. Thus, it should not be held against them. John should not be belittled because his father is an alcoholic, Suzy should not be teased because her father deserted her when she was two, and Amy should not be shunned because she has two mothers and no father.

What I Disagree With

I do not believe that we should endorse all family lifestyles as equally beneficial for individuals or society. Because we acknowledge that children are raised by married parents, single parents, foster parents, grandparents, and same-sex parents, should we promote all of these as the same? No. In teaching children which family lifestyle they should aspire to, they are not all equal. The intact, heterosexual, married family should be held as the gold standard; in a "best-best" comparison, it is vastly superior to any other family style.
What Schools Should Teach
I believe that if the schools follow the teachings outlined above, they will adequately address family diversity.

To recap:

1. Children should be accepted regardless of their family background.
2. Heterosexual marriage is the gold standard for future behavior.
If, in a high school setting, some parents allow their children to be taught about specific homosexual behaviors, that is their choice. But with the background given above, at least they will know what is best for individuals and society.

So what? What can I do?

If you have children in the schools, I would talk with their teachers to clarify what they teach regarding diversity. Also, talk with your children periodically to determine what they are actually being taught, since "diversity training" doesn't require parental notification or allow an opt-out process (at least in California).
---------------------------
Other posts:
Re-Writing an Article to be Pro-Family
Co-Habitation: A Parable

Monday, December 15, 2008

Permissive Laws, Permissive Behaviour

Posted yesterday on Pearl Diver.

Dr. Trayce Hansen, licensed clinical and forensic psychologist, compiled an overview of various comprehensive research studies performed regarding the genetic v. environmental debate surrounding homosexuality.


Extensive research from Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and the United States reveals that homosexuality is primarily environmentally induced. Specifically, social and/or family factors, as well as permissive environments which affirm homosexuality, play major environmental roles in the development of homosexual behavior.

A closer look at the research

Twin study investigations of homosexuality were recently conducted in both Sweden and Finland. Such twin studies compare rates of homosexual behavior between different sibling groups who share varying degrees of genetic similarity (ie, identical twins versus non-identical twins). By comparing such rates, twin studies help sort out the extent to which homosexual behavior is genetic and/or environmental. For instance, if homosexuality is genetic, then in cases where one identical twin is homosexual the co-twin should be homosexual nearly 100 percent of the time because identical twins share 100 percent of their genes.

But that is not what these two large-scale Scandinavian studies found. Both studies revealed that when one identical twin was homosexual the other twin was homosexual only 10 percent or 11 percent of the time. Such findings indicate that homosexuality is not genetically determined.


A Danish research investigation studied two million adults living in Denmark, a country where same-sex marriage has been legal since 1989. This study uncovered a number of specific environmental factors that increase the probability an individual will seek a same-sex rather than an opposite-sex partner for marriage.

For Danish men, the environmental factors associated with higher rates of homosexual marriage include an urban birthplace and an absent or unknown father. Significantly, there was a linear relationship between degree of urbanization of birthplace and whether a man chose homosexual or heterosexual marriage as an adult. In other words, the more urban a man's birthplace, the more likely he was to marry a man, while the more rural a man's birthplace, the more likely he was to marry a woman.

For Danish women, the environmental factors related to increased likelihood of homosexual marriage include an urban birthplace, maternal death during adolescence, and mother-absence.

...

Finally, an American research study—the most comprehensive and representative survey of sexual behavior in America—reported its findings concerning homosexuality. The results of this study also support an environmental theory of homosexuality, not a genetic one. In particular, this survey identified specific types of environments that increase the likelihood of homosexual behavior. The authors describe these environments as "congenial" to the development of homosexuality.

For American men, the environmental factor most related to homosexual behavior was the degree of urbanization during the teenage years. Specifically, boys who lived in large urban centers between the ages of 14 and 16 were three to six times more likely to engage in homosexual behavior than were boys who lived in rural communities during those same ages. The authors offer the following possibility: "an environment that provides increased opportunities for and fewer negative sanctions against same-gender sexuality may both allow and even elicit expression of same-gender interest and sexual behavior." Note the word "elicit." These researchers believe that growing up in a more pro-homosexual region may evoke or draw out homosexual behavior in young men. The implication is that some homosexual men who were reared in urban centers would not have become homosexual if reared in non-urban centers. The authors explain, "the environment in which people grow up affects their sexuality in very basic ways."


This map of the CA Prop 8 results would seem to support the "urban influence" findings.

For American women, the environmental factor most associated with a homosexual or bisexual identity was a higher level of education. And though that was also true for men, the pattern for women was more dramatic. For instance, a woman with a college degree was nine times more likely to identify herself as non-heterosexual than a woman with only a high school diploma.


For more information about the college education influence on homosexual determination, click here.

To read the entire Trayce Hansen research compilation with reference and source citation, click here.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Officer Fired for Expressing Christian Views on Homosexuality

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman at LifeSiteNews.


NORFOLK, BRITAIN, December 11, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Norfolk County police officer who was fired for quoting the Bible regarding the immorality of homosexual sexual relations says that he is "totally devastated" by what has happened to him.

"It was a job I loved. This is destroying me and my family," Officer Graham Cogman told the Daily Mail last week.

Cogman was reportedly dismissed from his position in late November after he sent an email quoting Biblical passages denouncing homosexual behavior, and another e-mail linking to a ministry in the USA that seeks to cure homosexuals of their condition.

Cogman says he sent the emails after being "bombarded" with emails sent by police department employees promoting the "gay" agenda, including messages urging him to wear a pink ribbon in honor of "gay history month." He reportedly responded to one email from a homosexual liaison officer with the Christian saying, "Love the sinner, hate the deed."

There are no reports of firings or discipline against the employees of the police department who promote homosexual behavior.

[Read more...]

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sign the Petition: Oppose Senate Resolution 7 and HR 5 in the Assembly


From United Families International:

Since the passage of Prop 8 California's Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger has gone on record calling for the State Supreme Court to overturn that vote.

Our state senate and assembly have drafted resolutions blatantly fighting against Prop 8.
"On Tuesday, [...] Sen. Mark Leno and Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (both D-San Francisco) launched senate resolution 7 and HR 5 in the Assembly. If approved, the bills would place both houses of the California Legislature on record as opposing the controversial initiative and declaring it an illegal revision to the state constitution." Politicker CA, December 2, 2008
Remind California legislators of their responsibility to voters: sign this petition

Write to your State Senator and Assemblymen---Let them know they are accountable to the people who voted for them.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Digital Network Army (DNA) Announces New Website Today

DNA
Digital Network Army


So, the gay rights activists want to wage war on democracy? Well, it looks like they'll have to defeat a very dedicated defense. Check out our new teammates' website (www.digitalnetworkarmy.com) that debuted today, enlist to become a traditional marriage soldier, and pass along the good word of grassroots unity by grabbing a badge for your own site. As a member of this fantastic organization of ground troops, you will get regular emails from enthusiastic DNA Team Captains letting you know where your web time is needed most and will be most effective. Whether you like to blog, comment, write to political figures, sign petitions, submit essays, or just educate yourself on current marriage happenings, there is something for everyone.

Are you on Facebook? Join the DNA Facebook Group , too.

DNA Badge HTML Codes

To use, just copy and paste this code into a new html/javascript gadget found in your blog "page elements" under the layout tab. If you use Wordpress then just put the html code in a text widget. For other blog formats... well, just put the html wherever your blog lets you put html for your sidebar. Maybe someone with another type of blog platform will comment with some advice for you "other people."

Large:

<a href="http://www.digitalnetworkarmy.com/"><img src="http://i420.photobucket.com/albums/pp287/digitalnetworkarmy/DNA_logo21.jpg"></a>





Small:


<a href="http://www.digitalnetworkarmy.com/"><img src="http://i420.photobucket.com/albums/pp287/digitalnetworkarmy/DNA_logo21-1.jpg"></a>