Faith and Morals

A university study shows that girls as young as six are being conditioned by the media to think of themselves as sex objects. While past studies have found that teens and young women increasingly see themselves in such terms, the study, published last month in the journal Sex Roles, is the first to identify self-sexualization in early elementary-school-aged girls.

Two of the nation's predominant conservative Christian advocacy groups have released a report documenting the growing hostility toward religious liberty in the United States. In The Survey of Religious Hostility in America, the Family Research Council and the Liberty Institute have compiled more than 600 documented incidents of hostility to religious faith that have occurred in the U.S. over the past ten years.

Prominent so-called “ethicist” and Oxford University Professor Julian Savulescu claimed that humanity has a “moral obligation” to genetically engineer children — essentially creating “designer babies” — to make them into better people, sparking an outcry among critics who claim such morally repugnant practices would be akin to playing God. Embryos that do not qualify for life in his view, such as those whose genetic make-up is perceived to indicate potential future “personality flaws,” would presumably be destroyed.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy on August 20 issued the findings of a new study of Americans and their patterns of giving, based on the itemized deductions for 2008 tax returns, the most recent year available, with the data broken down by zip code. Among the findings was that the most religious Americans — not the richest — were the most likely to give to charities.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), which has gained its reputation (and a tidy living for its employees) by suing school districts and municipalities over public prayer, has chosen schools in Mississippi and Tennessee as its latest targets. According to the Mississippi Press website, the Wisconsin-based atheist group has threatened all 151 Mississippi school superintendents with lawsuits if they allow prayer over public address systems during school football games. Last September the FFRF targeted Mississippi's Jackson County school district over its inclusion of prayer at athletic and other school events, prompting the district to redouble its efforts to protect the free-speech guarantees of its students.

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