Nearly 80 percent of likely American voters believe in the healing power of prayer, according to a recent poll conducted by Fox News. The findings could be significant as a stable of mostly Christian Republican presidential candidates compete for the right to challenge Barak Obama in the 2012 presidential election.
History is replete with the deeds of successful individuals. Some rose to prominence as the builders of businesses while others served as the leaders of some noteworthy organizations. Still more made their marks as philanthropists, or served their nations in patriotic or religious endeavors, or spent their time and energy to make their own communities better places to live. There are very few of course who, in a busy lifetime, do all of this. William J. Grede was one of those very few.
President Obama will be the featured speaker at an “interfaith faith prayer service” at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. (interior photo at left) on the evening of September 11th to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attack on the nation. Curiously, while the event will also include a “Roman Catholic bishop, a Jewish rabbi, Buddhist nun, a Hindu priest, the president of the Islamic Society of North America, and a Muslim musician,” reported Ron Kerby at Beliefnet.com, “…not a single protestant or evangelical has been invited to participate.”
A Christian a cappella singing group at the University of North Carolina (UNC) is under scrutiny after its members voted to expel another member who is openly homosexual. The Christian Post reported that the student group, called Psalm 100, “was founded on core biblical principles. When its members discovered that William Thomason, a UNC senior, disagreed with the biblical teaching on the sinfulness of homosexuality, a vote was held to have the student removed from the group.”
An appeals court has ruled in favor of a South Dakota pro-life statute requiring abortionists to inform a woman 24 hours before an abortion that she has “an existing relationship” with her unborn baby, and that the procedure will “terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.”
Access to Scripture has gotten easier for millions of people all over the world with the introduction of a “smart phone” application with Bible translations in more than 500 languages. An organization called Faith Comes by Hearing released the app for iPhones and other mobile devices a little over a year ago, and in late August announced that the number of languages available on the app as well as the group’s website increased from around 200 languages to over 550. The goal of the Christian ministry, part of the Digital Bible Project, is to extend the influence of the Christian Scriptures — in both text and audio format — to every corner of the earth.
Higher education is getting "Curioser and curioser!" as Alice said in Wonderland. Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Illinois, is now asking prospective students about their sexual orientations and "gender identities," the Chicago Sun-Times reported recently. "Would you consider yourself to be a member of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender) community?" is now among the questions asked students applying for admission to the college in the fall of 2012. No one is required to answer the question, the school says, though a "Yes" makes the applicant eligible for a scholarship worth a third of the cost of tuition. About 60 percent of the 3.300 students at the private liberal arts college are on scholarships of one sort or another, school officials said.
The Ohio School Athletic Association seems to be taking the non-constitutional maxim of “separation of Church and state” a bit too far. The Association, along with one of its referees decided to penalize the Louisville High School football team’s receiver for making a gesture to heaven, and is now facing harsh criticism as a result of that decision.
Wisconsin public employees unions were not able to stop Governor Walker’s plan to remove benefits from the items subject to collective bargaining. The unions first persuaded Wisconsin state senators to flee to Illinois, so that a quorum could not be formed to conduct business on that issue in the Wisconsin legislature. Then these unions thronged Madison, trying to intimidate Republican state legislators; these legislators, however, refused to be intimidated. State Supreme Court elections, which once were pro forma referenda on the ethics and competence of justices, was transformed into an ideological policy issue in which Judge Prosser was targeted for elimination because it was felt that he would uphold the constitutionality of Walker’s reforms; that failed too. Finally, public employees unions tried to recall enough Republican state senators to tip control of the state senate back to Democrats; that failed too.
In an effort to create an ultimate Nanny state, the California Assembly has recently passed legislation that legislates the proper treatment of babysitters, as per the Assembly’s standards. The new legislation requires that babysitters receive rest and meal breaks. Additionally, parents who hire babysitters would be required to provide workers’ compensation benefits.
Eid-ul-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan, is one of the most important Muslim religious holidays. As a celebration of that holiday, 3,000 Muslims went to Playland Amusement Park in Rye, New York. When staff at the park insisted that women who rode rides at the park could not wear the hijab — the traditional head covering that the majority of Muslim women are enjoined to use — the result was a brawl that required police from nine different agencies to converge on the park in order to restore peace. About 100 officers were required to handle the disturbance, which involved 30 to 40 people, 13 of whom were arrested by the police.