Friday, June 10, 2011

North Dakota To Try To Adopt A Constitutional Amendment That Defines Religious Freedom

Charlie Butts - OneNewsNow - 6/10/2011 3:40:00 AM

North Dakota residents will have the chance to decide whether the state will adopt a constitutional amendment that defines religious freedom, as enough petition signatures were gathered to place it on a future ballot.

Tom Freier of the North Dakota Family Alliance (NDFA) tells OneNewsNow the petition drive was launched largely due to cases of discrimination against people of faith throughout the country.

"To a great degree, that's really a measure of the people in government, whether it's in local government or state government, that they are discriminating against people of faith because of their religiously held beliefs," he explains. "And this is an opportunity for the people of North Dakota to vote on a measure to protect those rights given to us in the First Amendment."

He believes the proposal will be well received by the public in a June 2012 election.

Read More from One News Now

California HS Shuts Down Memorial Brick Fundraiser After 2 Christians Wanted Bible Verses On Their Bricks

Bob Kellogg - OneNewsNow - 6/10/2011 8:25:00 AM
brick pavers with scripture (photo compliments of ADF)
A California high school has shut down a memorial brick paver fundraiser just because two Christian women wanted Bible verses on the bricks they purchased.

Lou Ann Hart and Sheryl Caronna submitted requests and contributed several hundred dollars to purchase brick pavers with engraved scriptures. The pavers were to be placed along walkways at Palm Desert High School. Last August, after the bricks were made -- but before they were installed -- the women were informed that because of the religious messages on the pavers, they would not be included along the walkways at the school.

In January, the women filed a lawsuit in a U.S. district court to allow the Christian messages. Now, rather than accept the pavers with Bible verses, the Desert Sands Unified School District has shut down the entire program and refunded all the money.

David Cortman, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), says Christians are not to be treated differently from anyone else.

"Christians should be allowed to express themselves on public school campuses, just like everyone else," says the attorney. "It is cowardly to shut down everyone's participation in this program simply to keep out Christian speech."

He says the fundraiser was approved by the school district with no limitations, except for the length of the inscription. Even a Hindu quote from Mahatma Gandhi had been accepted -- as well as a Bible quotation in Spanish.

"There is absolutely nothing unconstitutional about a Bible verse on a brick when a school opens up a program for anyone to express a personal message," says Cortman. "The school simply could have allowed the Bible verses, but instead they chose to punish everyone."

MTV Cancels Controversial TV Show "Skins"

By Eryn Sun | Christian Post Correspondent

After enduring months of criticism, MTV has finally decided to pull the plug on their controversial British adapted series “Skins.”

Ever since its premiere in January, the show has come under harsh attack by media watchdogs that have accused the network of violating child pornography laws – with the youngest actor on set being just 15 years old.

The Parents Television Council called “Skins” “the most dangerous show for children ever seen,” and pointed out accounts of illegal drug use, illegal activity, pervasive sexual content, and foul language in just the first episode alone.

Not only did the PTC call on lawmakers to thoroughly investigate the production of the material, they also targeted major corporations, urging them to pull their ads from a show that supported “underage teen sex, underage teen drug use, and underage teen alcohol use.”

As a result, companies like Taco Bell, General Motors, Wrigley, Subway and H&R Block stopped running their ads in the time slots, causing Viacom executives to take a closer inspection as well.

Though the show continued to run through the first season, no promise for a second was in store. “Skins” ended with a final rating of 1.2 million viewers, only half of its premiere rating of 3.3 million.

MTV said in a statement released, “‘Skins’ is a global television phenomenon that, unfortunately, didn’t connect with a U.S. audience as much as we had hoped. We admire the work that the series’ creator Bryan Elsley did in adapting the shows for MTV, and appreciate the core audience that embraced it.”

Whether it was the low viewer ratings or the loss of advertising that contributed to the cancellation of the show, no one really knows. But because MTV’s “Hard Times of RJ Berger” with reportedly lower ratings, was renewed, it seems as though the advertising was ultimately what did it in.

Read More from Christian Post

The Power Of The Forgiveness And Love Of Christ:Woman Lives Next Door To Her Sons Murderer

CBS News)

MINNEAPOLIS - In Minnesota, a young man was murdered and his killer was sent to prison. Then, as CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman reports, the story took a surprising turn.

In a small apartment building in North Minneapolis - a 59-year-old teacher's aid sings praise to God for no seemingly apparent reason. Indeed, if anyone was to have issues with the Lord, it would be Mary Johnson.

In February 1993, Mary's son, Laramiun Byrd, was shot to death during an argument at a party. He was 20, and Mary's only child.

"My son was gone," she says.

The killer was a 16-year-old kid named Oshea Israel.

Mary wanted justice. "He was an animal. He deserved to be caged."

And he was. Tried as an adult and sentenced to 25 and a half years -- Oshea served 17 before being recently released. He now lives back in the old neighborhood - next door to Mary.

How a convicted murder ended-up living a door jamb away from his victim's mother is a story, not of horrible misfortune, as you might expect - but of remarkable mercy.

A few years ago Mary asked if she could meet Oshea at Minnesota's Stillwater state prison. As a devout Christian, she felt compelled to see if there was some way, if somehow, she could forgive her son's killer.

"I believe the first thing she said to me was, 'Look, you don't know me. I don't know you. Let's just start with right now,'" Oshea says. "And I was befuddled myself."

Oshea says they met regularly after that. When he got out, she introduced him to her landlord - who with Mary's blessing, invited Oshea to move into the building. Today they don't just live close - they are close.

Mary was able to forgive. She credits God, of course - but also concedes a more selfish motive.

"Unforgiveness is like cancer," Mary says. "It will eat you from the inside out. It's not about that other person, me forgiving him does not diminish what he's done. Yes, he murdered my son - but the forgiveness is for me. It's for me."

For Oshea, it hasn't been that easy. "I haven't totally forgiven myself yet, I'm learning to forgive myself. And I'm still growing toward trying to forgive myself."


New Law If Passed Would Jail Those Who Lip Sink To Songs On Youtube

Record labels are clamoring for a chance to have their artist lip-synch alongside 16-year-old YouTube sensation Keenan Cahill in, of all places, his bedroom.

But a proposed amendment to the federal copyright infringement law will put the brakes those who are thinking about launching their YouTube careers, and hedging that they won’t have to first license songs and other material.

Senate Bill 978, a bipartisan measure introduced last month by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Sen. Christopher Coons (D-Del.), is backed by supporters who say it closes glaring loopholes in current copyright infringement law created by the realities of the digital age.

The bill would criminalize individuals -- slapping them with up to five years in prison -- for “publicly performing” copyrighted material without the permission of its owners.

“As technology rapidly evolves, our laws must be updated to protect creativity and innovation,” said a statement by Cornyn

Cahill’s manager, David Graham, said record labels have contacted the teen in an effort to use the copyrighted material in his YouTube videos for promotional purposes.

But what about the average person who lip-syncs and plays a copyrighted song in the background of their YouTube video without the permission of a record label?

Mary LaFrance, a copyright law professor at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said the person would be exempt from any consequences because the bill primarily focuses on those who intend to make money from streaming copyrighted material on the Internet.

Websites like JustinTV and Ustream have come under fire because of site members who often illegally stream copyrighted material, such as pay-per-view events, televisions programs, sporting events, and music.

“You have to have the purpose of commercial advantage or financial gain,” LaFrance said.

But critics say the bill’s steep penalties, which include jailing those who upload “public performances” viewed online 10 or more times, are excessive.

“It seems like (the bill) is attacking the core of the Internet itself, which is to promote communication amongst people all over the world,” said Hemanshu “Hemu” Nigam, former White House counsel for online protection and founder of online safety advisory firm SSP Blue.

If the bill is passed, Nigam said, something as simple as a YouTube video of a school recital with copyrighted music in the background could potentially expose students and anyone else who participated in the video to prosecution.

But the bill’s supporters say that’s not going to happen -- unless those individuals wind up turning a profit off their videos of $2,500 or more.

“The new law will not target individuals or families streaming movies at home,” said Klobuchar in a statement. She said the bill would instead target “criminals that are intentionally streaming thousands of dollars in stolen digital content and profiting from it.”

This may be good news for Cahill’s fan base, but Nigam believes lawmakers will have a nightmare executing a measure with such steep consequences.

Read more:

Union Protesters Crash Special Olympics Events

Here’s a somewhat shocking video (via the MacIver Institute) of members of the Wisconsin government union picketing an address by Governor Scott Walker to Special Olympians. Yes, Special Olympians.

Walker was addressing a group of Special Olympians, congratulating and commending them for their recent participation in the games. And then the union members arrived, dressed as zombies, and proceeded to stand in front Special Olympians, blocking their view of the governor as he delivered his remarks.

The protestors, some of whom carried signs with rather questionable language considering the gathering, were unapologetic.

People certainly have the right to protest, but one would hope that union protestors would exhibit some commonsense and dignity.

It’s probably not helping your cause—which cause, by the way, is receiving lots of free stuff and entitlements at the taxpayers’ expense—when you ruin the day of a bunch of Special Olympics participants.

Read more at the Washington Examiner: