A significant change to the constitution of the liberal Presbyterian Church (USA) — (PCUSA) — took effect July 10 that allows practicing homosexuals to serve as clergy in the storied mainline denomination. Last year delegates to the PCUSA endorsed the change to drop the requirement, written in the church’s constitution, that church ministers live “in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness.” The change required approval by a majority of the church’s 173 regional presbyteries, which occurred in May of this year, with Minnesota’s Twin Cities district casting the deciding vote.

Thirty percent of Americans believe that the Bible is the actual word of God, according to a recent Gallup survey. While nearly 50 percent agree that Scripture is “inspired” by God, only three in ten say that it should be interpreted literally. Another 17 percent say the Bible is merely an ancient book of stories recorded by man.

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.

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.

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