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.
A Ten Commandments monument on display at the courthouse in Dixie County, Florida, may stay in place for now, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled August 15 as it sent an ACLU lawsuit against the display back to a lower court for reconsideration.
Pro-life leaders are paying tribute to Nellie Gray, the federal government attorney turned pro-life activist who founded and led the annual “March for Life,” which has grown over the past nearly 40 years into the nation's largest one-day pro-life event.
With homosexuals now free to serve openly in the U.S. military it didn't take long for a gay officer to climb to the top of the commissioned ranks. Star and Stripes, the Defense Department's semi-official newspaper, proudly reported that the Army has promoted its first homosexual officer to general status. “Army reserve officer Tammy Smith calls her recent promotion to brigadier general exciting and humbling, saying it gives her a chance to be a leader in advancing Army values and excellence,” reported the military newspaper.
A campaign assistant for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney confirmed that the former Massachusetts governor's opposition to the Boy Scouts' ban on homosexual leaders, which he publicly expressed in 1994, still stands. According to the Deseret News, Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul told the Associated Press that Romney is still holding to the political stand he adopted nearly 20 years ago when he said during an unsuccessful run for Ted Kennedy's U.S. Senate that while he supported “the right of the Boy Scouts of America to decide what it wants to do on that issue,” he also felt that “all people should be able to participate in the Boy Scouts regardless of their sexual orientation.”
In the latest demonstration of its disregard for religious freedom, Saudi Arabia has deported 35 Ethiopian Christians it had been holding for several months for the "crime" of praying together in a private home.
Missouri voters Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a "Right to Pray" amendment to the state's Constitution, which will almost surely be challenged in federal court. Amendment 2, approved by a vote of roughly 5 to 1, includes a provision that guarantees students the right to take part in prayer in public schools on a voluntary basis.
Oxford University, which for centuries has set one of the strictest trends for academic propriety, announced that it is doing away with its staid formal academic dress code in favor of one that is more sensitive to transvestites and other “transgender” individuals.