Niall Ferguson (left), professor at Harvard and the London School of Economics, summarized his latest book, Civilization: The West and the Rest for Newsweek magazine’s The Daily Beast by stating that he is not a “declinist” but is instead expecting an imminent collapse of the United States. He wrote: "I really don’t believe the United States ... is in some kind of gradual, inexorable decline.... in my view, civilizations don’t rise…and then gently decline, as inevitably and predictably as the four seasons.... History isn’t one smooth, parabolic curve after another. Its shape is more like an exponentially steepening slope that quite suddenly drops off like a cliff."
A lawsuit filed by the state of Massachusetts seeking to overturn the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage for federal purposes as only between a man and a woman, has received the support of a legal brief filed by scores of major corporations. According to LifeSite News, nearly 70 companies signed on to the friend-of-the-court brief filed in Commonwealth of Massachusetts vs. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The companies include Microsoft, Starbucks, Google, NIKE, Levi Strauss and Co., CBS, Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mass., Time Warner Cable, and Xerox. Also adding their influence to the brief, reported Keen News Service, a website focusing on homosexual issues, were nearly a dozen national law firms, seven trade and professional organizations, and the cities of New York and Boston.
New York Archbishop Timothy J. Dolan (left) has put an exclamation point on the Catholic Church’s opposition to the state’s legalization of homosexual “marriage,” issuing a decree that no same-sex wedding ceremonies will be permitted at facilities owned by the archdiocese, which comprises three of New York City's five counties/boroughs, as well as seven counties in New York state.
Mississippi voters have rejected a proposed amendment to their state constitution that would have defined life as beginning at conception. While one major survey of voters taken just days before the vote found Initiative Measure 26 leading by a razor-thin 45-44 percent, LifeNews.com, a pro-life news site, reported late on November 8th that with 1,559 of the state’s 1,876 precincts counted, the amendment had failed by a lopsided 58 to 42 percentage.
Pro-life counselors on location at a Milwaukee area abortion clinic said they witnessed as a young girl was forced by a guardian and a clinic employee into the facility after the girl asked the counselors for help. As reported by LifeSite News, sidewalk counselor Tobey Neuberger “said the incident occurred just before 10 a.m. outside Affiliated Medical Services [located at 1428 N. Farwell Avenue, Milwaukee], where she and two other female pro-life counselors gave a ‘very young’ African-American girl literature as she entered the clinic, and told her that she could get more information at a pro-life center across the street.”
In an apparent effort to raise ratings on his obscure nightly TBS talk show, displaced comedian Conan O’Brien officiated November 4 at a same-sex wedding ceremony between O’Brien’s costume designer, Scott Cronick, and Cronick’s homosexual partner David Gorshein. The “wedding,” which was televised live at the end of a week of shows taped in New York City, had family members of both men crowded onstage to witness the supposedly Jewish-style ceremony.
Another Baptist college has caught the attention of the media for enforcing its stated lifestyle policy. A man who insists he has lived as a female since he was a toddler was expelled from California Baptist University in Riverside after he checked “female” as his gender on the school’s online application form. The school, which is associated with the Southern Baptist Convention, took the action after 24-year-old Domaine Javier, who looks like a woman, appeared on an MTV reality show and confessed that he is biologically male. According to the Riverside Press-Enterprise newspaper, letters Javier received from the university explained that he was expelled for “committing or attempting to engage in fraud, or concealing identity,” and for giving false or misleading information during the university’s investigation into the matter.
A Baptist university in Georgia is receiving abundant media attention for a “Personal Lifestyle Statement“ it recently updated, that requires faculty and staff to adhere to a set of biblical standards that include shunning homosexual behavior. Employees have been told that they must either sign the statement as a pledge, or face termination.
The U.S. Department of Education’s statistical and testing arm, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), released its latest “progress” report November 1st: The survey measuring fourth- and eighth-grade scores on the controversial National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, was billed as having found “significant” improvement for both grades in math and a slight improvement in reading — until one examines the numbers. The Washington Times piece by Ben Wolfgang, reported that reading scores among fourth-graders “remained flat on the study’s 500-point scale,” results that overall fall far short of the proficiency standards set for 2014 in math, reading and science by the No Child Left Behind Act. This Act is currently being rewritten to provide waivers and other changes to accommodate its failure without admitting so outright.
The Supreme Court has declined to take up the appeal of a lower court ruling that bans crosses placed along Utah’s highways in honor of fallen state troopers. The justices ruled 8-1 on October 31 not to hear the appeal filed by Utah and a state troopers’ group that had wanted the court to overturn the decision and give more leeway on the display of religious symbols on public lands.