Haggard Scandal Rekindles Debate Over Therapy To Change Gay OrientationNovember 30, 2006 21:48 Evangelical leader Ted Haggard, in apologizing for contacts with a gay prostitute, said he had sought help to combat a "repulsive and dark" side of his life - but no approach had proven effective.

Even as he pledges to undergo further counseling, Haggard's comments have rekindled debate over the controversial premise people can overcome same-sex attractions through "reparative therapy." It's a concept espoused by many religious conservatives, and disputed by many mental health experts.

"Haggard is Exhibit A of how people can't change their sexual orientation," said Wayne Besen, a gay-rights activist and author. "With all that he had to lose - a wife, children, a huge church - he had to be who he was in the end. He couldn't pray away the gay."
  America, Not Keith Ellison, Decides What Book A Congressman Takes His Oath OnNovember 28, 2006 23:59 An insane editorial by an idiot who knows what it is to be a Nazi, but not an American...

Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to the United States Congress, has announced that he will not take his oath of office on the Bible, but on the bible of Islam, the Koran.

He should not be allowed to do so -- not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization.

First, it is an act of hubris that perfectly exemplifies multiculturalist activism -- my culture trumps America's culture. What Ellison and his Muslim and leftist supporters are saying is that it is of no consequence what America holds as its holiest book; all that matters is what any individual holds to be his holiest book.

Forgive me, but America should not give a hoot what Keith Ellison's favorite book is. Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible. If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress. In your personal life, we will fight for your right to prefer any other book. We will even fight for your right to publish cartoons mocking our Bible. But, Mr. Ellison, America, not you, decides on what book its public servants take their oath.

Devotees of multiculturalism and political correctness who do not see how damaging to the fabric of American civilization it is to allow Ellison to choose his own book need only imagine a racist elected to Congress. Would they allow him to choose Hitler's "Mein Kampf," the Nazis' bible, for his oath? And if not, why not? On what grounds will those defending Ellison's right to choose his favorite book deny that same right to a racist who is elected to public office?

  Ohio Republican Fundraiser Gets 18 YearsNovember 20, 2006 16:51 The rare coin dealer and Republican fundraiser at the center of a political scandal in Ohio was sentenced Monday to 18 years in prison.

Thomas Noe's state sentence is to run consecutively with a federal sentence of 27 months for violating campaign finance laws with contributions to President Bush, The New York Times reported.

Noe, a manager for the Ohio worker's compensation fund, was convicted of using money from the fund to pay off business debts and for personal expenses instead of investing it in rare coins.

The scandal also led to charges against Gov. Robert Taft, a Republican and member of one of the country's oldest political dynasties. Taft pleaded no contest to charges of failing to report gifts.
  California Supreme Court Asked To Overturn Ban On Gay ‘Marriage’November 15, 2006 09:26 The Supreme Court of California has been asked to overturn that state’s ban on homosexual ‘marriage.’

The suit, brought by a group of homosexual activists after the state passed a ban on the practice, will go forward without its original principal litigants. Lancy Woo and Cristy Chung, described in the gay media as the “poster children” of the cause, after “marrying” illegally in San Francisco, have broken up and dropped out of the case.

The suit is being brought by the three main groups, The National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, and the ACLU, under a new title.

The couple, along with about 8000 other sets of homosexual partners, received their marriage license from San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2004 when he began allowing them to be issued to same-sex couples.

After Newsome attempted to force the issue in 2004, in March 2005, a Superior Court judge in San Francisco ruled that the California law defining marriage as being between one man and one woman was unconstitutional. The state of California appealed and last month the California Court of Appeal overturned that ruling.
  Missouri Committee Blames Abortion For Need For Illegal ImmigrationNovember 15, 2006 09:24 Using this logic, you could as easily 'blame' the availability of abortion for the decrease in welfare rolls and the shift to the religious Right in the US. Argh.

A Missouri state panel is under fire for issuing a report that blames 33 years of legalized abortion for the United States’ increasing dependence on illegal immigration. Missouri’s House Special Committee on Immigration Reform also credited "liberal social welfare policies" for discouraging Americans from working jobs taken by illegal immigrants.

The report stated: "Suggestions for how to stop illegal hiring varied without any simple solution. The lack of traditional work ethic, combined with the effects of 30 years of abortion and expanding liberal social welfare policies have produced a shortage of workers and a lack of incentive for those who can work." The report then added, “Today’s growing affinity for government dependency has created a class of potential employees who are not eager to work.”

Rep. Edgar G.H. Emery (R), the panel's chairman, inserted the statements into the report, which was signed by all 10 Republican committee members, except 6 Democrats, who objected to Emery’s assertions.

"There's a lot of editorial comment there that I couldn't really stomach," Rep. Trent Skaggs (D) said yesterday according to the Associated Press. "To be honest, I think it's a little delusional."

However, Emery contended common sense dictates that the permanent loss of 17-22 million potential American taxpayers of working age from 1973’s Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton has made a direct impact on American businesses turning to illegal aliens for workers.

  Government Study: Internet 1 Percent PornNovember 15, 2006 09:10 About 1 percent of Web sites indexed by Google and Microsoft are sexually explicit, according to a U.S. government-commissioned study.

Government lawyers introduced the study in court this month as the Justice Department seeks to revive the 1998 Child Online Protection Act, which required commercial Web sites to collect a credit card number or other proof of age before allowing Internet users to view material deemed "harmful to minors."

The U.S. Supreme Court blocked the law in 2004, ruling it also would cramp the free speech rights of adults to see and buy what they want on the Internet. The court said technology such as filtering software may work better than such laws.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which challenged the law on behalf of a broad range of Web publishers, said the study supports its argument that filters work well.

The study concludes that the strictest filter tested, AOL's Mature Teen, blocked 91 percent of the sexually explicit Web sites in indexes maintained by Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp.'s MSN.
  Disgraced Ex-Lobbyist Begins 6-Year Prison StintNovember 15, 2006 09:04 Disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, convicted of federal charges after using expensive gifts, campaign donations and exotic trips to win access to the powerful in Washington, went to prison Wednesday.

Abramoff arrived at about 6:30 a.m. EST at a relatively secluded prison facility in western Maryland and began to serve a nearly six-year prison sentence for a fraudulent deal to buy a fleet of casino ships in Florida.

Abramoff was delivered out of sight of waiting reporters and camera crews and his arrival was announced in a two-paragraph statement by a prison representative.

The part of the camp where Abramoff will be kept is a 334-bed minimum security facility located near an industrial park along the north branch of the Potomac River.

The camp is all male. It consists of a number of two-story dormitories that are light red cinderblock structures. Each dormitory contains a number of six-bed cubicles, and Abramoff was being assigned to one of those. The prison is nearly surrounded by Appalachian Mountain ridges rising along either bank of the Potomac on the Maryland and West Virginia sides of the river.

  Appeals Court Rules On Ohio Abortion LawNovember 14, 2006 12:22 A federal appeals court upheld one Ohio abortion regulation and struck down another Monday, agreeing that women must get a doctor's counseling before an abortion, but rejecting a regulation that gave minors only one chance to avoid a parental consent requirement.

The issues before the three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stem from a ruling last year by U.S. District Judge Sandra Beckwith. An appeal was filed on behalf of Cincinnati Women's Services Inc., a now-closed clinic that performed abortions.

The state regulations, passed in 1998, said minors could have only one chance per pregnancy to ask a judge to let them bypass a requirement that they receive parental consent before an abortion. The provisions also required women to get face-to-face counseling from a doctor at least 24 hours before an abortion.

Beckwith decided that neither rule caused an undue burden.
  Wiccan Widows Sue The US GovernmentNovember 14, 2006 12:21 Two women are suing the government after they were not allowed to have Wiccan symbols on their husband's tombstones in a military cemetery.

The families of deceased military members have one of 38 symbols to choose from for their loved one's headstone. Most of them are for religions such as Christianity, Buddhism, Islam and Judaism. The widows said this is unconstitutional.

Roberta Stewart and Karen DePolito filed suit in Wisconsin on Monday. Stewart's husband was in the Nevada National Guard and died last year in Afghanistan. He earned the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. DePolito's husband was a Korean War veteran who also died last year.

The Wiccan religion is an environmentally based religion which encourages giving to the community. According to Attorneys for Americans United, the religion is not a stranger to the army. The nearly 2,000 Wiccan followers in the military last year where able to list their religion on their dog tags, hold Wiccan services, and the Army Chaplin's Handbook even mentions the religion.
  A 12-Step Apology Leads To A Guilty PleaNovember 14, 2006 11:44 A man who sexually assaulted a fellow University of Virginia student in 1984 and then apologized to her two decades later as part of the 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous program pleaded guilty to the crime Tuesday.

"This began as an effort to make amends," William Beebe said in a statement outside of court. "Twenty-two years ago I harmed another person and I have tried to set that right."

Beebe, 41, of Las Vegas, Nevada, entered his plea in Charlottesville Circuit Court to one count of aggravated sexual battery for assaulting Liz Seccuro during a party at a fraternity house.

Under AA's ninth step, alcoholics are advised to make amends to those they've harmed. Last year, Beebe -- a member of AA -- decided to write Seccuro a letter to make amends for assaulting her.

Seccuro, 39 and living in Greenwich, Connecticut, said Beebe's letter reopened old wounds when it arrived in September 2005. She eventually replied to his letter and the two entered into a two-month e-mail correspondence.

In their e-mails, which Seccuro provided to The Associated Press, Beebe told Seccuro he had long been haunted by what he had done, and wanted to atone for having harmed her.

But Seccuro became upset when his account did not match with her memory of the assault, which she describes as violent and savage. She was 17 years old and still a virgin when Beebe attacked her, she said.

  Local Car Salesman Is Upset After Focus On The Family CommentsNovember 10, 2006 13:11 With each passing day, the controversy surrounding Ted Haggard and his dismissal as senior pastor for New Life Church seems to get less attention. But a comment by a Focus on the Family official Thursday about Haggard's spiritual restoration treatment has angered at least one person.

The article was written Thursday by the Associated Press. In it, Focus on the Family relates those who fail the restoration process, like the one Haggard will be going through, with people who sell cars and shoes. A local car salesman who feels his profession has been insulted.

Norm Ferrell has been in the automotive business his entire life. He said, "I just feel like this is a slap in the face. There are many different people who sell cars here and go to many different churches and to segregate that is ignorant and ridiculous to me. It doesn't make me less of a godly person or less of a person. I am proud of what I do."

Ferrell became upset after reading an article written by the Associated Press. The story focuses on Haggard's quote spiritual restoration. The AP writer interviewed H.B. London, Vice President for Church and Clergy at Focus on the Family. The article went on to say that many people fail this process and only a few make it through. London then goes on to say those who fail "end up selling cars or shoes or something, and being miserable and angry the rest of their lives."
  South Dakota Rejects Abortion BanNovember 08, 2006 20:25

South Dakota voters on Tuesday rejected the toughest abortion law in the land - a measure that would have outlawed the procedure under almost any circumstances.

The Legislature passed the law last winter in an attempt to prompt a challenge aimed at getting the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

Instead of filing a lawsuit, opponents gathered petition signatures to put the measure on the general election ballot for a statewide vote.

The measure drew money, volunteers and attention from national groups; combined spending by the two campaigns exceeded $4 million in a state with only about 750,000 people. Finance reports filed in the campaign's final week revealed that an unidentified donor had given at least $750,000 to help the ban's supporters.

The campaign turned quickly from the overall issue of abortion rights when opponents attacked the law as extreme, arguing that it goes too far because it would not allow abortions in cases of rape, incest or a threat to the life of a pregnant woman.

  Evangelical Ousted Amid Gay Sex ScandalNovember 04, 2006 22:36 The Rev. Ted Haggard was dismissed Saturday as leader of the megachurch he founded after a board determined the influential evangelist had committed "sexually immoral conduct," the church said.

Haggard had resigned two days earlier as president of the National Association of Evangelicals, where he held sway in Washington and condemned homosexuality, after a Denver man named Mike Jones claimed to have had drug-fueled trysts with him. He also had placed himself on administrative leave from the New Life Church, but its Overseer Board took the stronger action Saturday.

"Our investigation and Pastor Haggard's public statements have proven without a doubt that he has committed sexually immoral conduct," the independent board said in a statement.

Haggard was "informed of this decision," the statement said, and he "agreed as well that he should be dismissed."

Haggard, 50, on Friday acknowledged paying Jones for a massage and for methamphetamine, but said he did not have sex with him and did not take the drug.
  Republican Ney Resigns After Pleading Guilty In Corruption ProbeNovember 03, 2006 21:08 A Republican lawmaker who pleaded guilty last month to be to being corrupted by a now-disgraced lobbyist resigned from the US Congress on Friday.

Bob Ney, who represented Ohio in House of Representatives submitted his resignation to Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert on Friday afternoon, Ney's chief of staff told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

The resignation was effective immediately, David Popp, Ney's chief of staff, confirmed in an e-mail message.

Ney, 52, was the first member of Congress to admit guilt in a long-running criminal probe centred on Jack Abramoff, who allegedly showered favours on lawmakers to influence legislation on behalf of his clients.

He faces up to 10 years in prison at his January 19 sentencing.

Republican leaders in the House of Representatives had threatened to expel Ney if he fails to resign his seat quickly.

He is the second powerful Republican lawmaker ensnared by the Abramoff scandal after former House majority leader Tom DeLay, who had close ties to the lobbyist, gave up his seat in June after being indicted in a campaign financing probe.

  Accused Pastor Admits To Buying MethNovember 03, 2006 21:04 After claiming that he never met the prostitute who outed him, Pastor Ted Haggard now claims that he did.

Haggard claims he bought the meth from a gay escort, 49-year-old Mike Jones, after contacting him for a massage.

Jones says he has had a three-year "sexual business" relationship with Haggard.

"I did call him," said Haggard. "I called him to buy some meth, but I threw it away."

However, Haggard could not remember where he threw the meth away.

Haggard said he threw it away "right after" he bought it.

"I never kept it very long 'cause it was wrong," Haggard said. "I was tempted, I bought it, but I never used it."
  Military Pressed Over Expressions Of FaithNovember 02, 2006 11:41 The U.S. military is being buffeted by dueling legal claims over religion, with one set of plaintiffs contending that the Pentagon is suppressing evangelical Christianity and another set arguing just the opposite -- that the brass gives the most aggressive evangelicals free rein to proselytize in uniform.

Although Congress intervened this fall, directing the Air Force and Navy to rescind controversial new policies on religion, chaplains on both sides of the issue said the congressional action only muddied the waters.

"Congress took action, but who won? I'm not sure. The only thing I can safely predict is, get ready for new controversies over the place of evangelism in the armed forces," said retired Navy Capt. Gary R. Pollitt, executive director of the Military Chaplains Association, a private, nonprofit group representing chaplains in all the services.

In the latest lawsuit, an evangelical Christian chaplain is charging the Navy with violating his First Amendment rights by forbidding him to pray "in the name of Jesus" at public ceremonies.

  Rebublican Florida Lawmaker Quits Over Racial SlurNovember 02, 2006 11:04 A lawmaker resigned from the Florida Legislature on Wednesday, bowing to pressure to quit because of messages filled with obscenities and a racial slur that were left on a colleague's voice mail.

State Rep. Ralph Arza had been urged to resign by fellow House Republicans and by Gov. Jeb Bush.

Arza has admitted leaving the messages on fellow Republican Rep. Gus Barreiro's voice mail earlier this month, but said he was drunk.

Arza had learned that Barreiro filed a complaint alleging he had earlier used a racial epithet when referring to Miami-Dade County school superintendent Rudy Crew, who is black.

He used the same epithet in his phone message to Barreiro, who is Hispanic, but it was unclear who it was directed at.