By World News Magazine
(WNS) – Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary “2016: Obama’s America,” in which the president of The Kings College – located in New York City – shares his perspective on President Obama, appears to have peaked at the box office, but not before it hit $32 million in ticket sales.
The film is now one of the top-grossing documentary films of all time, recently passing Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth at the box office.
World Magazine spoke with D’Souza in Washington recently.
He said at that time, “We’re happy with the movie, and we’ve got a good plan for marketing it. Kind of a steady build-up until election day.”
Viva la Sameness?
(WNS) – A Rhode Island school district has banned father-daughter dances and mother-son baseball games because they may violate the state’s gender discrimination laws. The ban came after a single mom complained that her daughter wasn’t able to attend a dance.
The American Civil Liberties Union represented the mother in filing her complaint, which said her child felt left out because she did not have a father to take her to the dance.
ACLU lawyer Steven Brown also said the events highlight differences between boys and girls. “I think when schools tell girls ‘You love dances’ and boys ‘You love baseball games,’ I think that is going too far,” he told a local radio station. “Public schools should not be the business of really encouraging such blatant stereotypes about what girls like and what boys like.”
Another School Files Suit
(WNS) – A small Christian college in Missouri filed suit against the federal government in September over the mandate requiring employers to provide health insurance coverage for contraceptive drugs.
The College of the Ozarks, in Point Lookout, Mo., is the fourteenth Christian school to challenge the mandate in court. The school timed its suit to coincide with the 225th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, school President Jerry C. Davis said in a prepared statement.
“The so-called Affordable Care Act is government at its worst,” he said. “This is not a partisan issue. It is a constitutional issue, and the College wants its rights respected and enforced, instead of being trampled upon. The Constitution still matters.”
The College of the Ozarks, founded in 1905 by a Presbyterian missionary, objects to a provision in the 2010 healthcare reform legislation that requires health insurance plans offered by employers to cover elective abortion and abortifacient drugs.
Although the College of the Ozarks qualifies for a one-year exemption to the mandate, which went into effect Aug. 1, the delay only postpones the inevitable, Davis said. The government’s “safe harbor” is more like Pearl Harbor, he said. “Do you want to be shot today or do you want to be shot tomorrow?”
New Marriage Challenge
Appealed to Supreme Court
(WNS) – A Boston group supporting special rights for homosexuals appealed another case to the U.S. Supreme Court on Aug. 22 – the sixth so far to challenge the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
In this most recent case, Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management, Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) are representing 13 people in (or widowed from) same-sex marriages in Connecticut, Vermont or New Hampshire who are seeking federal benefits related to marital status.
Under DOMA, such benefits are allowed only to opposite-sex married couples.
A seventh case asks the court to decide the constitutionality of Prop. 8, the constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman in California, passed by voters there in 2008.
Bill Duncan, director of the Marriage Law Foundation, told CitizenLink pressure is intensifying for the high court justices.
“The DOMA cases are the kinds that the Supreme Court would take,” Bill Duncan, director of the Marriage Law Foundation, told CitizenLink, “If the Supreme Court does not hear these DOMA cases, it means DOMA might not be enforced in states like California, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York. And that creates a weird situation.”
Vermont Innkeepers Settle
(WNS) – The Roman Catholic owners of a Vermont bed-and-breakfast inn agreed in August to pay a total of $30,000 to a lesbian couple who wanted to hold a same-sex wedding reception on their property.
In exchange for the payment, the Vermont Human Rights Commission agreed that the O’Reilly family, who own the Wildflower Inn, acted in good faith.
In 2005, the commission approved their business practice – which is to disclose to all potential customers their religious convictions while serving everyone. The O’Reillys will pay $20,000 to a trust fund the women set up, and $10,000 to the Human Rights Commission.
The lawsuit was filed by the ACLU of Vermont in 2011, after Katherine Baker and Ming-Lien Linsley contacted the inn about their reception. A former employee falsely told them the O’Reillys wouldn’t allow it to be held on their property, then tried to steer the women toward her personal business.
Jim O’Reilly said his family was settling the case to end the ordeal and preserve their business.
“The Wildflower Inn has always served – and will continue to serve – everyone in our community,” he said. “But no one can force us to abandon our deeply-held beliefs about marriage.”
O’ Reilly continued, “Small businesses like ours cannot match the limitless resources of the government and the ACLU. Ongoing litigation like this can cripple any small business and the livelihood of its owners, so we’re relieved to put this ordeal behind us.”
Black Church Split?
(WNS) – Religion News Service (RNS) is reporting that some – though not many – black churches are splitting with Barack Obama on same-sex marriage.
“President Obama’s support for gay marriage, followed quickly by the NAACP’s, has put some black clergy in a bind,” according to RNS. The clergy are “torn between their political loyalties and their religious beliefs.”
In one of the most telling – and perhaps the saddest – statements seen in awhile, Andra Gillespie of Emory University said, “You’ve got to balance religious convictions with all of your other interests, your racial interests, your economic interests.”
Gillespie continued, “Most blacks still prioritize their rights as African-Americans and economic issues over social issues.”
But not all black clergy are going along. “I would hope that the president would become wise, come to his senses and know that he has made a mistake,” said the Rev. William Owens, president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors, at a National Press Club news conference. He is leading an effort of African-American pastors to ask Obama to “repudiate his assertion that gay marriage is a civil right.”
German Officials Prosecute Rabbi Over Circumcision
(WNS) – In Germany, officials have pressed charges against a Jewish rabbi for performing circumcisions. The action comes in the wake of a court ruling in Cologne that banned all circumcisions but those done for “medical” reasons.
After the ruling, a physician filed a complaint against Rabbi David Goldberg, who serves as a mohel (a ritual circumciser) for the Jewish community of Hof, in northern Bavaria.
The 64-year-old Goldberg says he has performed more than 3,000 circumcisions on infant boys, procedures which are required under Jewish ceremonial law. The German court ruled that when medically unnecessary, circumcision represents a “severe and irreversible interference into physical integrity.”
Many Jewish, Muslim, and Christian leaders have argued that prosecuting Goldberg represents a major violation of religious liberty.
Activists in San Francisco also attempted to ban religious circumcisions in a citywide vote in 2011, but a judge forbade the initiative, noting that state law prevented localities from regulating healthcare providers.
Princeton University professor Robert George, a member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, has called on Americans to defend Jews’ right to maintain the practice, saying that banning religious circumcision is, “in effect, to forbid Jews from being Jews.”
A Year of Consequences
(WNS) – One year after the military began allowing gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members to openly proclaim their sexual orientation, some conservative groups continue to call for an end to the change in policy.
But their pleas are falling largely on deaf ears on Capitol Hill, where most lawmakers seem content to focus on other issues.
The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty (CARL), which represents more than 2,000 chaplains serving the armed forces, said it is cataloging examples of negative consequences that have resulted from the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
“The American armed forces exist to defend our nation, not as social experiment lab in which our troops serve as human subjects,” said Ron Crews, a retired chaplain and colonel who is now with CARL. “While many will ignore the negative impacts, or pretend that they don’t exist, threats to our troops’ freedom are mounting.”
While many media accounts focus on incidents against gay service members, CARL points out the following incidents since the policy change:
• A chaplain was encouraged by military officials to resign his commission unless he could “get in line with the new policy.”
• A chaplain was threatened with early retirement, and then reassigned to be more “closely supervised,” because he had expressed concerns about the policy change.
• Service members engaged in homosexual behavior protested a service school’s open doors policy for all students that prohibited the closing of room doors for sexual purposes.
• A senior chaplain was stripped of his authority over the chapel under his charge because, in accordance with federal law, he proclaimed the chapel as a “sacred space” where marriage or marriage-like ceremonies would only be between one man and one woman.
• Same-sex ceremonies have been performed at military chapels, including one at Fort Polk, La., a state that constitutionally defines marriage as being between one man and one woman.
“This list of problems and incidents that have arisen mere months after this administration imposed its will on the armed forces is disturbing to say the least, and we know it is only the beginning,” Crews said. “Compounding the outrage, service members are not free to speak out about these matters. This ensures that distrust in the ranks will increase and morale will decrease as the number of silenced victims grows.”
Republicans in the Senate recently introduced a bill protecting military chaplains from being forced to perform same-sex “marriage” ceremonies.
The measure, introduced by Sens. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss., also forbids the performance of “marriage” services for gay and lesbian couples on military bases.
Some soldiers are fearful that the changing military culture could force conservative Christian denominations to withdraw their support for the chaplain program.
“This bill protects military chaplains from being forced to go against their conscience and religious beliefs in regard to this issue,” Sen. Inhofe said. “This is something the chaplains that serve this country need and deserve.”