NBC was forced to issue an apology during its coverage of the U.S. Open golf tournament on June 19th after the phrase “under God” was conspicuously omitted from the Pledge of Allegiance during an opening patriotic video segment.
The one-minute segment showed school children reciting the pledge interspersed with video of soldiers in a flag-raising ceremony. While the children could be heard repeating the words “one nation” in the pledge, before they continued the scene cut to soldiers saluting the flag. But when the children continued, the words “under God” and “indivisible” were omitted, with the kids going straight to “with liberty and justice for all.”
Seventy clergy with the United Methodist Church (UMC) in Minnesota have signed a statement saying that they would “offer the grace of the Church’s blessing” to same-sex couples, reported the United Methodist News Service.
Speaking during the UMC’s annual state denominational conference, the Rev. Bruce Robbins (left), pastor of the Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church in Minneapolis, said that clergy groups had been meeting “who want to challenge parts of the United Methodist polity with which we disagree — that which relates to the lesbian, gay, transgender, and bisexual community and Christian marriage.” Robbins said the issue had gained importance with the “possibility of a constitutional amendment in the state of Minnesota” that would define marriage as only between a man and a woman.
Research from Australia has found that use of the abortion drug RU-486 by women is far riskier than surgical abortion. According to the online Australian, a study of nearly 7,000 abortions performed in South Australia between 2009 and 2010 “found that 3.3 per cent of women who used mifepristone [RU-486] in the first trimester of pregnancy — when most elective terminations occur — later turned up at hospital emergency departments, against 2.2 per cent who had undergone surgery.”
As the Illinois Civil Unions Act takes effect on June 1, one the state’s Catholic dioceses has decided to close down its adoption agency rather than be forced to grant adoption and foster-care privileges to same-sex couples. As reported by the Associated Press:
Officials from the Rockford Diocese said they were forced to terminate state contracts worth $7.5 million after lawmakers failed to pass an amendment exempting religious groups from provisions of the state’s new civil unions law, which will let gay and lesbian couples form civil unions, a rough equivalent to marriage.
A federal judge has ruled for a Texas pastor after the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs tried to prevent him from praying in Jesus' name during an annual Memorial Day service at the Houston National Cemetery. The Houston Chronicle reported that the Rev. Scott Rainey, pastor of the Living Word Church of the Nazarene in Houston, has delivered the Memorial Day invocation at Houston National Cemetery for the past two years. But when he was ordered to remove a reference to Jesus Christ in this year’s prayer, he took his case to federal court, where U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes ruled May 26 that Rainey’s prayer qualifies as private speech that is protected by the First Amendment, even though he is delivering the prayer at a cemetery run by the U.S. government.
The battle for marriage is heating up once more in New York, and with Governor Andrew Cuomo leading the drive to legalize same-sex marriage the issue has taken center stage in the state legislature. With the likely approval of a homosexual marriage bill by the state assembly, Cuomo has focused his attention on turning some key votes in the state Senate, which the Republican Party controls by a razor-thin 32-30 margin. He is getting some help in his campaign from former Republican and now liberal Independent New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has been pressuring some vulnerable GOP state Senators to support the measure.
MTV has pulled a life-affirming advertisement run on its network by the pro-life group Heroic Media, suggesting that the group’s pro-life motives were a strong factor in the decision to ban the commercial. The ad, which has aired on MTV over the past year, was scheduled to be run during the month of May. It features a young woman struggling with an unexpected pregnancy and directs viewers to a toll-free crisis pregnancy line.
Sears Holdings Corp., parent company for national retailers Sears and Kmart, has apologized to customers after the conservative American Family Association revealed that pornographic videos were being sold through the Sears.com website. Following a nine-month campaign during which AFA officials tried to persuade Sears to pull scores of a “X-rated products” from its website, Sears executives finally relented and removed the videos, but only after thousands of individuals had e-mailed to express their anger and dismay that the retailer, which has long cultivated a family-oriented reputation, would carry such merchandise.
A recent poll commissioned by World Net Daily (WND) reveals that a majority of Americans think it is inappropriate to include curriculum in elementary grades that affirms and promotes homosexuality. The survey, conducted by Wenzel Strategies, a media consulting company, found that 65 percent of those surveyed answered “no” to the query, “Do you believe elementary school children should be taught that homosexuality is a normal alternative lifestyle?”
Chaplains in the U.S. Navy will be able to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies under the new military policy permitting openly homosexual individuals to serve in the armed forces. According to the Associated Press, Navy officials explained that they had updated chaplain training “after questions came up about civil ceremonies for gay couples.” The move comes as the Department of Defense prepares to complete the dismantling of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” prohibition against homosexuals serving in the U.S. military.