Christian Student Fights Prof, Wins Big

A California court has ruled in favor of a student who was insulted for defending traditional marriage and has ordered the college to strike from its website a sexual harassment policy that censors speech deemed “offensive” to homosexual people. Jonathan Lopez, a student at Los Angeles City College, was delivering a speech on his Christian faith in speech class when professor John Matteson interrupted him, called him a “fascist b—-rd” for mentioning a moral conviction against homosexual marriage and later told him to “ask God what your grade is.” The professor also warned on his evaluation of Lopez’s speech, “Proselytizing is inappropriate in public school,” and later threatened to have Lopez expelled.

Represented by attorneys from the Alliance Defense Fund, Lopez sued the Los Angeles City College District, the largest community college system in the U.S., with over 135,000 students. The lawsuit not only targeted the school over the professor’s comments, however, but also sought removal of a campus sexual harassment and speech policy that court documents allege “systematically prohibits and punishes political and religious speech by students that is outside the campus political mainstream.” In a ruling handed down last week, U.S. District Judge George H. King apparently agreed, calling the campus policy “unconstitutionally overbroad” and ordering it to be stricken from the college’s website.

Orders Revoked for Soldier Challenging President’s Eligibility

A U.S. Army Reserve major from Florida scheduled to report for deployment to Afghanistan within days has had his military orders revoked after arguing he should not be required to serve under a president who has not proven his eligibility for office. His attorney, Orly Taitz, confirmed to WorldNetDaily the military has rescinded his impending deployment orders. “We won! We won before we even arrived,” she said with excitement. “It means that the military has nothing to show for Obama. It means that the military has directly responded by saying Obama is illegitimate – and they cannot fight it. Therefore, they are revoking the order!”

Episcopal Church to Affirm Gay Clergy

The Episcopal Church moved Monday toward affirming their acceptance of gays and lesbians for all roles in the ministry, despite pressure from fellow Anglicans worldwide for a decisive moratorium on consecrating another openly gay bishop. Bishops at the Episcopal General Convention in Anaheim, California, voted 99-45 with two abstentions for a statement declaring “God has called and may call” to ministry gays in committed lifelong relationships. Lay and priest delegates to the meeting had comfortably approved a nearly identical statement. Last month, breakaway Episcopal conservatives and other like-minded traditionalists formed a rival national province called the Anglican Church in North America.

Only One-Third of Scientists Believe in God

Religion News Service reports that only a third of scientists say they believe in God, according to a new survey. Eighteen percent believe in a high power and four in 10 scientists believe in neither. The report by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press in collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science show scientists vary sharply with findings for the general public. Scientists were evenly split — at 48 percent each — between those who claimed a religious affiliation and those who did not. Meanwhile, 83 percent of Americans say they believe in God and 82 percent said they are affiliated with a religious tradition.

NEA Backs Same-Sex Marriage

The National Education Association has thrown its full support behind homosexual “marriage.” The NEA recently held its annual convention in San Diego, California, where members voted on two issues of importance to those involved in the culture war. One of those issues was whether the union would support same-gender marriage. According to Jeralee Smith, co-founder of the Conservative Educators Caucus, the resolution passed by roughly a two-thirds majority. Smith told Baptist Press that when a representative of the Conservative Caucus spoke against the resolution and mentioned the words “marriage should be between a man and a woman,” the speaker was booed.

  • We have to get our children out of the public schools which have become seculari humanist indoctrination centers.

Dems Trying to Sneak Hate Crimes Through Congress

Senators on Capitol Hill may be forced Thursday to make a choice between approving an important defense spending bill and voting down “hate crimes” legislation. Senate Democrats are once again trying to pass a hate crimes bill by attaching it as an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill. The hate crimes legislation, known as the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act (S. 909), would add gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability to the list of protected categories under federal hate crimes law. A vote is expected Thursday on the Defense Authorization bill and its accompanying hate crimes amendment.

  • It should be illegal to tack on amendments to a bill that are outside the purview of that bill. You can sign a petition against such hate crime legislation at: www.prayinjesusname.org

Surgeon General Pick: Train New Doctors on Abortions

President Obama’s pick for surgeon general has urged that future doctors learn how to perform abortions. Regina Benjamin is the first black woman and the first doctor younger than 40 to be elected to the American Medical Association’s board of trustees, and in 2002 she became the first black woman to head a state medical society. On the issue of abortion, Benjamin has advocated more training for doctors on how to terminate pregnancy. In December 1996, Benjamin “spoke in favor of a vote by the AMA’s governing body to ‘urge medical schools to expand their curriculum’ to teach ‘more about abortion,'” LifeNews reported.

No Swine Flu Vaccine til End of Year

A fully licensed swine flu vaccine might not be available until the end of the year, a top official at the World Health Organization said Monday, in a report that could affect many countries’ vaccination plans. The swine flu viruses currently being used to develop a vaccine aren’t producing enough of the ingredient needed for the vaccine, and WHO has asked its laboratory network to produce a new set of viruses as soon as possible. So far, the swine flu viruses being used are only producing about half as much “yield” to make vaccines as regular flu viruses. Last week, WHO reported nearly 95,000 cases of swine flu worldwide including 429 deaths. Most people who get the virus only experience mild symptoms and don’t need treatment to get better.

The number of cadets with confirmed cases of the swine flu at the Air Force Academy has increased to 67. The Gazette newspaper in Colorado Springs reported Monday that 121 freshmen with flu-like symptoms have been separated from the rest of the cadets. A possible outbreak of swine flu ended a summer youth camp early at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, where 10 students and three staff members showed symptoms Sunday.

The three pandemic flu strains of the 20th century, which killed millions, may have circulated in a precursor form for years before cutting their deadly swath. The 1918 flu virus, which is estimated to have killed 50 million to 100 million people worldwide, most likely was circulating in humans and pigs at least two to 15 years before the pandemic began. The 1957 “Asian flu” killed an estimated 69,800 people in the USA. The researchers believe the variant was circulating in humans two to six years before that. The 1968 “Hong Kong flu,” which killed about 33,800 in the USA, was estimated to have begun circulating one to three years before.

Arizona to Permit Handguns in Bars

Arizonans with concealed weapons permits will be allowed to take a handgun into bars and restaurants that serve alcohol under a bill signed Monday by Gov. Jan Brewer. The measure, backed by the National Rifle Association, will require bar and restaurant owners who want to ban weapons on the premises to post a no-guns sign next to the business’ liquor license. Drinking while carrying a weapon would be illegal. Before a compromise reached late in the Legislature’s regular session, the measure pitted powerful groups representing gun and bar owners against each other. Opponents have said mixing guns and alcohol produces a dangerous combination that could cause violence. Supporters said people should be able to protect themselves at businesses that serve alcohol. Supporters also said it was risky to leave guns in parked vehicles. It’s already legal to carry a gun into a store that sells alcohol for consumption elsewhere.

A New Generation of Farmers Emerges

A recent movement is underway in which young people — most of whom come from cities and suburbs — are taking up what may be the world’s oldest profession: organic farming. The wave of young farmers on tiny farms is too new and too small to have turned up significantly in USDA statistics, but people in the farming world acknowledge there’s something afoot. Conferences for beginning farmers are experiencing 3-4 times the usual number of attendees. For these new farmers, going back to the land isn’t a rejection of conventional society, but an embrace of growing crops and raising animals for market as an honorable, important career choice — one that’s been waning since 1935, when the U.S. farms peaked at 6.8 million. Three factors have made these small, organic farms possible: a rising consumer demand for organic and local produce, a huge increase in farmers’ markets nationwide, and the growing popularity of community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs.

Options Dwindle for Cashing California IOUs

Thousands of California creditors were left Monday with fewer options for cashing promissory notes issued by the state, as several major banks said they no longer will honor them. U.S. Bancorp became the latest to reject the pay-you-later warrants, joining Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and other large institutions. The state began issuing the notes, known colloquially as IOUs — for “I owe you” — at the beginning of the month as a way to save cash amid a $26.3 billion deficit. The state controller’s office issued nearly 130,000 IOUs — formally called registered warrants — for $436 million between July 2 and Friday. The state expects to issue $2.9 billion worth of IOUs through the end of July.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has told state employee unions his administration is preparing to cut another 2,000 state jobs to deal with California’s $26.3 billion budget deficit. The administration has already sent layoff notices to 33,000 state employees. Schwarzenegger has also proposed a 5% pay cut for state workers.

Federal Deficit Tops Record $1 Trillion

Nine months into the fiscal year, the federal deficit has topped $1 trillion for the first time ever. The imbalance is intensifying fears about higher interest rates and inflation, and already pressuring the value of the dollar. The deficit has been propelled by the huge sum the government has spent to combat the recession and financial crisis, combined with a sharp decline in tax revenues. Paying for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is also a major factor. The country’s soaring deficits are making some foreign buyers of U.S. debt nervous, and this could make them reluctant lenders down the road.

Economic News

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke sees the possibility of continued high unemployment even after the recession eases, a key Republican lawmaker who met with the Fed chief told CNBC. Bernanke’s comment that unemployment could remain high for some time appeared to be more pessimistic than any of his recent public statements.

Gasoline prices fell for the fourth week in a row, dropping to the lowest level in six weeks, the U.S. Energy Department said Monday, as cheaper crude oil costs were passed onto consumers at the pump. The national price for regular unleaded gasoline declined 8.4 cents over the last week to $2.53 gallon, down $1.59 from a year ago when gasoline stood at a record $4.11 a gallon.

Chrysler Financial, the former financing arm of automaker Chrysler, said Tuesday that it has repaid in full its $1.5 billion in government loans. Chrysler Financial said its original TARP loan contained provisions that increased its costs over time, motivating the company to pay off the loan quickly. Chrysler Financial said it used the TARP money to finance more than 85,000 consumer loans for purchases of Chrysler vehicles.

A jump in auto and gasoline sales boosted U.S. retailers in June, while a measure of inflation soared twice as much as expected, bolstering hopes the economy was finally beginning a modest recovery. Commerce Department data Tuesday showed sales at U.S. retailers rose 0.6% from a month earlier. A separate report from the Labor Department showed producer prices jumped 1.8% last month, far outstripping forecasts for a 0.9% gain. The sharp rise in wholesale prices — as well as “core” prices that exclude food and energy — could fan investors’ fears about inflation. But economists believe the increases are temporary and don’t signal the beginning of a dangerous bout of spiraling prices this year.

  • More wishful thinking. The economists have been wrong every step of the way before and during this severe recession. They tell us what the government wants us to believe.

Israel

Two Israeli warships sailed through the Suez Canal on Tuesday, Israeli and Egyptian officials said, a move that appeared to be a new signal to Iran that Israel’s reach could quickly extend to its archenemy’s backyard. Use of the Egyptian-controlled canal means Israeli naval vessels could reach waters off Iran in a matter of days, instead of taking a much longer route around Africa. Israel considers Iran its most serious threat, citing Tehran’s nuclear program, its support for anti-Israel militant groups and bellicose statements by its hardline president.

Egypt Fails Once More to Mend Fatah-Hamas Rift

Egypt has temporarily suspended any further Palestinian reconciliation talks after rival factions Fatah and Hamas rejected the latest proposals by Cairo for ending their bitter internecine conflict. Despite the promise of generous aid offers from EU countries to “rebuild Gaza,” last ditch efforts to save the talks by high-ranking Egyptian officials have failed. Fatah and Hamas representatives took a short break from ridiculing each other to blame the Egyptians. Azzam al-Ahmed, a senior Fatah official, claimed that “at one point we were very close to reaching agreement with Hamas,” but that major differences erupted over the composition and status of Palestinian security forces, which are often more loyal to their clan than to the national authority, as well as parliamentary elections and the political agenda for any future unity government. Hamas also accused Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas of taking orders from US security coordinator Gen. Keith Dayton and the IDF to order the arrest of Hamas supporters in the West Bank. The IDF has recently assessed that Palestinian elections planned for 2010 will likely be postponed because of the internal turmoil.

Iran

Iran hanged 13 members of a Sunni Muslim rebel group Tuesday convicted of bombings and killings in the country’s restive southeast near the borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan The mass execution was the largest ever carried out against members of Jundallah and was likely meant as a warning to the group, which is composed of Sunnis from the Baluchi ethnic minority. They have waged a low-level insurgency in recent years, accusing the mostly Shiite and Persian Iranian government of persecution.

Pakistan

Pakistani troops killed 13 militants in the latest clashes in the Swat Valley, the army said Wednesday, underscoring the region’s fragile security even as refugees displaced by fighting return home. The Pakistani army says it has killed more than 1,700 militants since its latest offensive against the Taliban began in Swat more than two months ago. Despite ongoing reports of fighting, the army says that most of Swat is militant-free and that all the main urban centers are under army control.

Seven Christians Beheaded in Somalia

Christian News Wire reports that seven Somali Christians were beheaded by suspected hard-line insurgents from the Al-Shabaab group. Although al-Shabaab has carried out similar severe punishments in regions under its control, these executions allegedly are the largest number done at the same time. Somalia is believed to have a 99.95% Islamic following. There are only a handful Somali Christians inside the country and they have been forced underground. Some Christians have taken refuge in neighboring countries. Somalia is ranked No. 5 on the most recent Open Doors World Watch List which ranks the top persecutors of Christians. The previous year Somalia was ranked No. 12.

Earthquakes

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck off New Zealand‘s western coast Wednesday generating a small tsunami. No injuries or major damage were reported. The quake was felt widely across South Island. Police in the town of Tuatapere said they had reports of minor cracks in buildings and stock falling from supermarket shelves. Scientists in New Zealand reported aftershocks, the first of 6.1 magnitude.

Wildfires

A 41,497 acre wildfire has destroyed 27 structures in Oklahoma, A fast-moving wildfire has burned roughly 500 acres in southwest Colorado and led to the evacuation of about 20 homes. The area is about 330 miles southwest of Denver.

Weather

Thunderstorms have brought large hail and heavy rain to Iowa, breaking windows and knocking down large tree branches and power lines. The storms moved across the state late Tuesday and early Wednesday.

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