Delegates at the most recent national meeting of the United Church of Christ (UCC) agreed overwhelmingly July 4 to strike the term “heavenly Father” from the denomination’s constitutional definition of the local church. By a vote of 613 to 161, the delegates voted to change language in Article V of the church’s bylaws (see page 3) from describing a local church as composed of persons who believe in “God as heavenly Father” to those who believe in “the triune God” — thereby relieving UCC members of the responsibility of acknowledging God as masculine.
A federal appeals court has ordered the U.S. government to stop immediately stop enforcing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on homosexuals serving in the military. The three-judge panel from San Francisco’s 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that since Congress has already repealed the policy, a move that came last December, and the Pentagon is actively preparing for an influx of homosexual personnel into the nation’s armed forces, there is no longer a reason to continue with the stay the court had earlier placed on a lower court ruling overturning the ban.
Homosexual activists and sympathizers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) want their agency’s “gay” awareness training to be expanded government wide, according to a report in the Washington Times. Officials at the USDA have asked the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which supervises policies for federal employees, to mandate that all departments of the federal government implement its sensitivity training, according to a USDA internal newsletter.
A group of atheists in New York City are up in arms because a street in Brooklyn has been renamed using the word “heaven” in honor of seven firemen who were killed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center. FOX News reported that the street, renamed “Seven in Heaven Way,” was “officially dedicated … in Brooklyn outside the firehouse where the firefighters once served. The ceremony was attended by dozens of firefighters, city leaders, and widows of the fallen men.”
Following an intense campaign by the pro-family Parents Television Council (PTC) to derail it, the controversial teen drama Skins has been canceled by the MTV network after only one season on the air. The program, based on a popular British TV show by the same name, never gained the ongoing popularity enjoyed by its counterpart in the UK, averaging only around one million viewers per week— down from the 3.26 Americans who had watched its premier episode. While MTV said in a statement that Skins “is a global television phenomenon that, unfortunately, didn’t connect with a U.S. audience as much as we had hoped,” other MTV shows with worse ratings continue to air, making it likely that Skins succumbed in large part because of PTC’s campaign aimed at parents, program sponsors, and even the U.S. Congress and Justice Department.
Texas Governor Rick Perry, who is currently testing the waters for a potential presidential run, has called on fellow Governors, as well as the American people, to join him on August 6 for a time of prayer and fasting for the nation. Among the Governors who have said they will attend the bipartisan event at Reliant Stadium in Houston, called The Response: A Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis, are Sam Brownback of Kansas and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. Additionally, Rick Scott of Florida, Nikki Haley of South Carolina, and Christine Gregoire of Washington are expected to declare August 6 a day of prayer in their own states.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) has shot back a pointed response to an article by an evangelical Christian columnist who declared that evangelicals should not vote for Mitt Romney because he is a Mormon. In an open letter to Warren Cole Smith, associate publisher for WORLD magazine, the LDS church’s public affairs head Michael Otterson told Smith that he was “struggling just a tad with your logic that the very fact of being a Mormon disqualifies a person from high public office.” Such a revelation, Otterson said, “would be news to Senator Orrin Hatch, who has served his country and constituents for 34 years,” as well as to Senator Harry Reid, “the Senate Majority Leader — one of the most powerful positions in government.”
Ninety-two percent of Americans would answer “yes” to the question, “Do you believe in God?” according to a recent Gallup poll. That number is down just four points from the 96 percent of Americans who answered in the affirmative back in 1944, when Gallup first queried the nation on the issue.
High school students who self-identify as homosexual are more likely than non-homosexual students to smoke, drink alcohol, and participate in other “risky” behavior, according to a recent study from the federal Centers for Disease Control. As reported by the Associated Press, the CDC’s anonymous survey of some 156,000 U.S. teens found that youth who identified themselves as “gay” or “bisexual” were more prone to dozens of behaviors the CDC labeled risky, such as smoking, drinking and driving, attempting suicide, carrying guns, and using laxatives or throwing up to control their weight.
By a 98-0 vote the Tennessee House of Representatives has passed a resolution urging “all Tennessee counties to allow the Ten Commandments to be posted in their respective courthouses.” Sponsored by State Representative Todd Watson, H.R. 107 “marks a defiant stand against attempts in recent years to exclude references to Christianity from courthouses across the U.S.,” reported the Christian Post.