The New American has been reporting on the controversy surrounding the Christmas season, particularly when Christians attempt to display the Nativity scene or assert the holiness behind the Christmas holiday in any way. These reports would seem to indicate that Christmas brings out the worst in people; however, it's salutary to note that it also brings out the best. A prime example of the latter can be found in reports from Kmarts across the nation that anonymous donors are paying off strangers’ layaway accounts in the spirit of the holiday.
Christopher Hitchens, the outspoken atheist columnist and author who took delight in ridiculing the Christian faith and its adherents, but who also shared a handful of the convictions many of them embraced, died December 15 of cancer at the age of 62. His death was announced by Vanity Fair, the magazine for which he had written since 1992.
Nearly half of America’s public schools failed to meet federal standards under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law in school year 2010-2011. The Center on Education Policy (CEP) issued a report showing that more than 43,000 schools, or 48 percent, did not make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) this year, tallying an 11-percent increase over the 39 percent of schools that did not make AYP in 2010 and the sharpest drop in educational achievement since the law took effect a decade ago.
Despite the excitement and anticipation for the Christmas season that pervades the nation every year, the religious element of the holiday continues to be a point of contention for some and a source of great controversy. In Paragould, Arkansas, for example, the Greene County School Board forced the removal of a Nativity scene that was displayed at one of its elementary schools, adhering to local atheists who articulated the tired maxim of “separation of church and state.” After some persistent protest and displays of heroism by the elementary counselor, Kay Williams, however, the school board gave in and permitted the Nativity scene to be put up once again.
A new study by the Pew Research Center has found that only 51 percent of adults in the U.S. are married, an all-time low for matrimony in America. The recent numbers pale in comparison to a high in 1960, when 72 percent of adults 18 and older were married, and represent a trend that is similar to that witnessed in other “advanced post-industrial societies,” says Pew.
The town of Athens, Texas, is modest. The Henderson County courthouse (left), as in many small towns in the South, is the center of the community. Normally, during this time of the year, Christmas decorations are on each corner of the square. But this year, that simple display of the holiday season has run into an unexpected bump.
A group of Girl Scout leaders in Louisiana has decided to dismantle its troops because of a recent decision by the national organization to allow boys who are confused about their gender to join the ranks of the female scouting program. The leaders, who oversee three Girl Scout troops at Northlake Christian School in Lacombe, Louisiana, explained that the move by the group’s national leadership conflicted with their host organization’s Christian beliefs. “This goes against what we [Northlake Christian School] believe,” Susan Bryant-Snure, one of the leaders, told Baptist Press News. Snure has three daughters of her own among the 25 girls participating in the Girl Scout program through the school.
The Cato Institute’s newspaper ad reminding citizens that December 15th was Bill of Rights Day summarized the desperate shape those first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States is in, thanks to an overweening government and an uninformed citizenry. Reviewing each of the amendments, Cato pointed to specific infringements of each of them, concluding that “It’s a disturbing picture, to be sure, but not one the Framers of the Constitution would have found altogether surprising. They would sometimes refer to written constitutions as mere “parchment barriers” [to totalitarian government].
In a December 14 article, LifeNews.com noted, "In a victory for pro-life advocates, LifeWay Christian Bookstores has taken a Bible sold to fund the Komen breast cancer foundation (which funds [abortion provider] Planned Parenthood) off of its bookshelves."
Abortion advocates are getting bolder in their outlandish opinions on what constitutes a personal right of “choice.” Writing recently on the popular pro-abortion website RH Reality Check, bloggers Susan Yanow and Steph Herold went to bat for a 20-year-old New York City woman who was arrested and charged with inducing her own abortion — then disposing of the baby’s body in the trash.
A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) challenging Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s proclamation of a Day of Prayer in her state. The Wisconsin-based atheist group had argued that the Governor’s proclamation violated the First Amendment’s supposed separation of church and state mandate. But Judge Roslyn Silver determined that there was no evidence that Brewer’s proclamations over the past two years were meant as anything other than an invitation for residents to voluntarily join her in prayer for the state and nation.