A group of nearly 2,000 conservative members of the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) met in Minneapolis August 24-25 to discuss how to move ahead in light of the denomination’s policy, begun in July, that allows open homosexuals to serve as clergy. The conference, organized under the umbrella of Presbyterians for Renewal, was called for those members “who are deeply troubled and whose integrity is deeply threatened by the move the denomination has made,” said the Rev. Paul Detterman, the group’s executive director.

Rarely does a government official call for himself — and his entire department — to be canned. But that is, in effect, what Secretary of Education Arne Duncan did in a recent webcast, according to a video and partial transcript posted at CNSNews.com.

pregnantOnly about one in seven obstetricians and gynecologists in the United States is willing to perform abortions, a new survey has found, down from the numbers claimed by a similar 2008 poll. LifeNews.com reported that the latest research, published in the September issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology medical journal, “finds 97 percent of physicians surveyed say they have encountered patients wanting an abortion while only 14 percent of doctors are willing to do an abortion. That’s lower than the 22 percent of doctors who said they would do an abortion in the last poll, from 2008.”

Sometime in the early summer of 1497, a small caravel, the Matthew, with a crew of 18 men, spied land after weeks of perilous sailing across the dangerous, then-unknown waters of the northwest Atlantic Ocean. Captained by an Italian seaman, John Cabot, whose original name was Giovanni Caboto, the ship had departed Bristol in late May with King Henry VII’s blessing to look for new lands across the ocean. What Cabot and his men saw was a rugged coastline of deep, narrow bays, towering cliffs, and soaring headlands teeming with nesting seabirds — a landscape not unlike many portions of the coastline of Britain and Ireland. Cabot was undoubtedly inspired by the success, only a few years earlier, of fellow Genoese mariner Christopher Columbus, in discovering the islands of the Caribbean. But this was no subtropical paradise peopled with friendly natives; the seas here were rough, cold, and full of icebergs carried south from Greenland. Instead of waving palm trees, the land was forested with fir and spruce, with the more exposed headlands as barren as the Arctic tundra. John Cabot had discovered the eastermost portion of North America, the huge island that soon came to be known as Newfoundland.

School reading lists have radically transformed in the last few decades. While students from a generation ago may have spent their summer vacations dipping into such classics as A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, the present crop of students is being assigned dark, graphic, and edgy reading such as Norwegian Wood and Tweak: Growing up on Methamphetamine — novels which feature homosexual orgies and lesbian sex.