God the FatherDelegates 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 year-long investigation by former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) produced a startling 800-page report just released by Gov. Nathan Deal (R, pictured left) that reveals rampant teacher cheating and unethical practices in the 55,000-student Atlanta public school system. Investigators conducted over 2,000 interviews and canvassed 800,000 documents in what is likely the most comprehensive and meticulous investigation of public-school cheating in U.S. history.

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 The three-judge panel from San Francisco’s 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that since Congress has already repealed the policy, a move that came last December, and the Pentagon is actively preparing for an influx of homosexual personnel into the nation’s armed forces, there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.

With a falling birth rate in a country having one of the world’s highest abortion rates, concerned Russian lawmakers passed a bill on July 1 requiring that all abortion advertisements carry health warnings. “Under the new law approved by the lower house of parliament [Duma, pictured left], 10 percent of the space used in abortion ads must carry a list of possible negative consequences for women, including infertility,” reported Reuters News. Russia’s upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, is expected to follow the Duma in approving the measure, and President Dmitry Medvedev will likely sign the legislation into law.

A coalition of pro-family, anti-porn, and decency organizations have banded together in an effort to convince NBC that it should scrap one of its new fall programs, The Playboy Club. NBC is touting the show as a “provocative new series [that] captures a time and place that challenged the social mores, where a visionary created an empire, and an icon changed American culture.”