Many United Methodist Church clergy are revealing an increasing willingness to disobey church doctrine that prohibits them from officiating at same-sex marriages, regardless of the potential consequences of such disobedience. Trials of Methodist pastors who conduct same-sex marriages have occurred rarely — only once every few years. However, Methodist Rev. Amy DeLong (left) of Osceola, Wisconsin, is currently facing a three-day trial, beginning on Tuesday, on two charges: violating the church prohibition of “self-avowed practicing homosexuals,” and officiating at the marriage of a lesbian couple.
This graduation season has revealed a heavy bias against spiritual Americans, as a number of school officials and judges have passed heavy-handed rulings indicating that anything remotely related to Christianity be barred from commencement ceremonies. The latest example of such violations of First Amendment rights can be found in Vermont, where a high school valedictorian's commencement address was redacted by the school principal to omit any reference to God's influence upon him.
Following an intense campaign by the pro-family Parents Television Council (PTC) to derail it, the controversial teen drama Skins has been canceled by the MTV network after only one season on the air. The program, based on a popular British TV show by the same name, never gained the ongoing popularity enjoyed by its counterpart in the UK, averaging only around one million viewers per week— down from the 3.26 Americans who had watched its premier episode. While MTV said in a statement that Skins “is a global television phenomenon that, unfortunately, didn’t connect with a U.S. audience as much as we had hoped,” other MTV shows with worse ratings continue to air, making it likely that Skins succumbed in large part because of PTC’s campaign aimed at parents, program sponsors, and even the U.S. Congress and Justice Department.
Texas Governor Rick Perry, who is currently testing the waters for a potential presidential run, has called on fellow Governors, as well as the American people, to join him on August 6 for a time of prayer and fasting for the nation. Among the Governors who have said they will attend the bipartisan event at Reliant Stadium in Houston, called The Response: A Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis, are Sam Brownback of Kansas and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. Additionally, Rick Scott of Florida, Nikki Haley of South Carolina, and Christine Gregoire of Washington are expected to declare August 6 a day of prayer in their own states.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) has shot back a pointed response to an article by an evangelical Christian columnist who declared that evangelicals should not vote for Mitt Romney because he is a Mormon. In an open letter to Warren Cole Smith, associate publisher for WORLD magazine, the LDS church’s public affairs head Michael Otterson told Smith that he was “struggling just a tad with your logic that the very fact of being a Mormon disqualifies a person from high public office.” Such a revelation, Otterson said, “would be news to Senator Orrin Hatch, who has served his country and constituents for 34 years,” as well as to Senator Harry Reid, “the Senate Majority Leader — one of the most powerful positions in government.”
Ninety-two percent of Americans would answer “yes” to the question, “Do you believe in God?” according to a recent Gallup poll. That number is down just four points from the 96 percent of Americans who answered in the affirmative back in 1944, when Gallup first queried the nation on the issue.
High school students who self-identify as homosexual are more likely than non-homosexual students to smoke, drink alcohol, and participate in other “risky” behavior, according to a recent study from the federal Centers for Disease Control. As reported by the Associated Press, the CDC’s anonymous survey of some 156,000 U.S. teens found that youth who identified themselves as “gay” or “bisexual” were more prone to dozens of behaviors the CDC labeled risky, such as smoking, drinking and driving, attempting suicide, carrying guns, and using laxatives or throwing up to control their weight.
By a 98-0 vote the Tennessee House of Representatives has passed a resolution urging “all Tennessee counties to allow the Ten Commandments to be posted in their respective courthouses.” Sponsored by State Representative Todd Watson, H.R. 107 “marks a defiant stand against attempts in recent years to exclude references to Christianity from courthouses across the U.S.,” reported the Christian Post.
When several California cities considered a ban on circumcision, Matthew Hess hoped to promote the idea by creating a comic called Foreskin Man. Allegedly intended to be a “joke” and “publicity stunt,” Foreskin Man is now being called into question as anti-Semitic propaganda.
In response to a question from a Marine frustrated over the Congress’ decision to drop the 17-year “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told Marines in Afghanistan on June 5 that they won’t be able to opt out of their enlistment to avoid serving with homosexuals military personnel.
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.