Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Meaning of Socialism: Q&A with National Review's Kevin Williamson

Girl Scouts, No Longer a Family Friendly Organization for 2 Sisters

Two sisters are fighting to stand up for what they believe in, even if it means leaving everything they’ve worked for during the past eight years.

After discovering disturbing connections and curricula of Girl Scouts of the USA, Sydney and Tess Volanski decided to leave their beloved Girl Scout Troop after eight years of involvement, compelled not only to quit, but also to spread the truth about the highly acclaimed organization.

The two Houston siblings share their reasons for leaving in their recently launched site called “SPEAK NOW: girl scouts” and reveal several ways in which Girl Scouts has been promoting Planned Parenthood, promiscuity and abortion to their members.

Trusting that Girl Scouts was a wholesome organization, both Sydney and Tess were extremely hurt when they realized beginning in March of 2010 that they had been unknowingly supporting and promoting a group whose views were in direct contrast with their pro-life, pro-family, Christian views.

The first “eye-opening and jaw-dropping” example of their difference in values occurred in March, when GSUSA allowed Planned Parenthood to distribute brochures containing sexually explicit material.

Entitled “Healthy, Happy, and Hot – A Young Person’s Guide to Their Rights, Sexuality and Living with HIV,” the pamphlet was given to young girls attending a Girls Only Workshop in New York – part of the annual United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

Read more at Christian Post

FREE Speech in School Attacked:Saying "Jesus" is wrong?

A hearing is scheduled Monday before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans that could determine if students in elementary schools have the protections of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The case arose in the Plano Independent School District in Texas where Thomas Elementary School Principal Lynn Swanson and Rasor Elementary School Principal Jackie Bomchill were sued for restricting student speech when it referenced "God" or "Jesus."

According to the Liberty Institute, in the first incident, officials banning 8-year-old Jonathan Morgan from handing out candy canes with Jesus' name on them to classmates at a school party.

"Back Fired," by William J. Federer, shows how the faith that gave birth to tolerance is no longer tolerated!

"Then they confiscated a little girl's pencils after school because they mentioned 'God,'" the Institute reported.

But that's not all, the group said.

"They even banned an entire classroom from writing 'Merry Christmas' on cards to our troops serving in Iraq."

The dispute went to district court then to a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit where school officials' efforts to have the complaint rejected because of their "immunity" failed.

Now the appeals court has agreed to an en banc hearing in which 17 judges will listen to arguments and decide the dispute.

The school officials are arguing "that the First Amendment does not apply to elementary school students," explains the appeal brief submitted by Liberty Institute.

They are claiming that the case is a dispute of "first impression," – that is, the first time the question has been raised. Swanson and Bomchill are urging "that the First Amendment does not apply to elementary school students."

"According to school officials, 'neither the Supreme Court nor this Court has ever extended First Amendment 'freedom of speech' protection to the distribution of non-curricular materials in public elementary schools,'" the brief explains.

Liberty Institute asserts that "the First Amendment is not implicated by restrictions on student-to-student distribution of non-curricular materials by elementary school students to their classmates."

But Kelly Shackelford, the president and CEO of Liberty Institute, told WND the fundamental question in the disagreement is whether the appeals court will "strip away the First Amendment rights of kids and their parents in the schools."

"This is really serious, very dangerous," he said, noting it would be the highest level for such a decision in the nation, short only a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court.

"This is chilling. What this means if they have no First Amendment rights is that they have no right to have a viewpoint different from the government," he said.

MULTIFAITH Initative-50 churches in 26 states-Christians, Jews, Muslims-Praying to whom?!

Religious and human rights activists are asking U.S. churches to invite Jewish and Muslim clergy to their sanctuaries to read from sacred texts next month in an initiative designed to counter anti-Muslim bigotry.

The June 26 initiative, called “Faith Shared: Uniting in Prayer and Understanding,” is co-sponsored by the Interfaith Alliance and Human Rights First. Leaders of the two Washington-based groups said the event hopes to demonstrate respect for Islam in the wake of Quran burnings in recent months.

“As a Christian minister who is a pastor in a local congregation, it is important to me for our nation and our world to know that not all Christians promote hate, attack religions different from their own and seek to desecrate the scripture of others,” the Rev. Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance, said Tuesday.

More than 50 churches in 26 states already have committed to the initiative, including the Washington National Cathedral.

Read more at Utah Tribune

Gallup POLL- 67% of US in "Hardship" over Gas Prices

Slight majority report making major lifestyle changes, 67% experiencing hardship

by Lydia Saad

PRINCETON, NJ -- The slight majority of Americans, 53%, say they have responded to today's steep gas prices by making major changes in their personal lives, while 46% say they have not. Sizable proportions of adults of all major income levels have made such changes, including 68% of low-income Americans, 54% of middle-income Americans, and 44% of upper-income Americans.

Lifestyle Impact of Higher Gas Prices on Americans, by Demographic Category, May 2011

Although employed Americans are more likely to report driving an above-average amount -- and are thus greater consumers of gasoline -- they are less likely than non-employed Americans to have made major lifestyle changes to deal with rising gas prices, 49% vs. 58%. This likely reflects the higher average income of employed Americans, but may also indicate they have less flexibility in their lives to cut back on driving.

These findings come from a USA Today/Gallup poll conducted May 12-15, in which 67% of Americans say the recent high gas prices have caused them financial hardship, including 21% who say they have caused them severe hardship. This is among the highest levels of reported hardship Gallup has seen on this measure since 2000, and is similar to the 71% found when average gas prices nationwide topped $4 per gallon in 2008 and the 72% when they first exceeded $3 per gallon in 2005.

2000-2011 Trend: Impact of Recent Gas Price Increases on Personal Finances