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.
A new national survey has found that a majority of Americans think that abortion is wrong. While 48 percent of 1,000 likely U.S. voters queried in the late August Rasmussen Reports phone survey said they considered themselves pro-choice, with 43 percent identifying themselves as pro-life, 55 percent said they think abortion is morally wrong most of the time. Another 30 percent said they think abortion is morally acceptable in the majority of cases, with 15 remaining undecided on the issue.
Television watchdog groups are warning that the line up of prime-time shows the major networks are set to trot out this fall are trashier than ever, with over-sexualized content the increasing norm. Matt Philbin of the Culture and Media Institute (CMI) told CBN News: “It’s clear that Hollywood is out of ideas when it comes to sit-coms and prime-time dramas. Everything now has to focus on sex.” Philbin noted that there are several new shows “where entire plots depend on characters having had hook-ups, characters having bad relationships and going out to find rebound sex.”
A teacher in Paterson, New Jersey, is in boiling water because she told her Facebook friends that some of her students were “future criminals.”
An Illinois judge has ruled that the state can end its relationship with Catholic adoption groups because of their refusal to place children with homosexual couples. Reuters News reported that charities connected with the Catholic dioceses of Springfield, Peoria (left), and Joliet had filed a lawsuit in June 2011 “to prevent Illinois from canceling their contracts to provide child services shortly after a state law took effect legalizing same-sex civil unions and after the Attorney General opened a probe into the groups’ policies.”
The owners of a bed and breakfast in Vermont are being sued by a lesbian couple and the ACLU for refusing to host the couple’s “wedding” reception at their facility. As reported by CNSNews.com, the lesbian couple, Kate Baker and Ming Linsley, plan to “marry” this autumn in Vermont, one of the handful of states that have legalized same-sex marriage. Nearly a year ago Ming’s mother, Channie Peters, contacted the Wildflower Inn (picture at left) about scheduling the couple’s reception there. But according to the ACLU, when she explained that the couple would consist of “two brides,” she received a subsequent e-mail from a planner at the inn, explaining: “After our conversation, I checked in with my innkeepers and unfortunately due to their personal feelings, they do not host gay receptions at our facility.”
A group of nearly 2,000 conservative members of the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) met in Minneapolis August 24-25 to discuss how to move ahead in light of the denomination’s policy, begun in July, that allows open homosexuals to serve as clergy. The conference, organized under the umbrella of Presbyterians for Renewal, was called for those members “who are deeply troubled and whose integrity is deeply threatened by the move the denomination has made,” said the Rev. Paul Detterman, the group’s executive director.