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Updated: 8 hours 16 min ago

Catholic comedian’s big gay day out attracts criticism

17 hours 4 min ago

By Barry Duke

Yesterday, LifeSiteNews published a bunch of contact details for US comedian Jim Gaffigan, above.

To what end?

The right-wing site apparently wants its readers to let Gaffigan know – in a “respectful” manner, of course – that it’s not OK to attend a Gay Pride Parade with one’s family.

And Gaffigan, a popular Catholic entertainer, has a large family: five kids to be precise – and he and his wife Jeannie let it be known via social media that they all had a marvelous time attending New York’s Gay Pride Parade over the weekend.

He even tweeted on Sunday:

I’m so proud of my gay kids. Happy #pride2017 #pridenyc,

Writing for LifeSiteNews, Pete Baklinski, said that faithful Catholics who love laughing at Jim Gaffigan will be “disappointed” by the Gaffigans’ Pride attendance, and pointed out that:

Even Gaffigan’s wife Jeannie used social media to showcase her family watching the homosexual parade go by. ‘Mom? Is everyone in New York City gay?’ her kids asked her.

Baklinski added:

Gaffigan, a graduate of Jesuit-run Georgetown University, is often trotted out by the Catholic world as a comedian who ‘brings Catholicism to the masses’ through his gift of humor.

Best known for his family-friendly routines on bacon, McDonald’s fries, and …read more

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LGBT-inclusive relationships and sex education not yet the norm in schools, new report finds

18 hours 4 min ago

By Jay Harman

LGBT-related information about healthy relationships and safe sex is largely excluded from relationships and sex education (RSE) in Britain’s schools, a new report published by Stonewall has revealed. It is also worse in ‘faith’ schools than others.

Stonewall’s School Report, which is produces once every five years, details the findings of a survey of nearly 4,000 LGBT young people on their experiences in secondary schools and colleges across Britain. The report finds that nearly half of LGBT pupils (45%) are bullied for being LGBT at school, a figure that is significantly down on previous years. However, four in five trans young people and three in five lesbian, gay and bisexual young people are revealed to have self-harmed at some stage during their school life.

Giving particular attention to the provision of RSE in schools, the survey finds that LGBT-specific information is largely absent from teaching, and suggests that the situation is particularly concerning at ‘faith’ schools. While only one in five of all LGBT pupils have learnt about where to go for help and advice about same-sex relationships in school, the proportion drops to just one in ten for LGBT pupils who attend ‘faith’ schools. The report highlights the experience …read more

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Consumer Reports Misses the Boat on Back Pain

Mon, 2017-06-26 21:21

By Harriet Hall Consumer Reports’ recent articles on low back pain address anecdotal customer satisfaction rather than scientific evidence of effectiveness. …read more

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Supreme Court rules church school has a right to tax funds for its playground

Mon, 2017-06-26 17:21

By Cherilyn Crowe

The Los Angeles Times / By David G. Savage

Click here to read the entire article. Excerpts are below:

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a church-run preschool has a religious-freedom right to receive a tax-funded grant to improve its playground and may not be excluded from such aid on the grounds of church-state separation. …

Missouri had turned down the church’s application for the playground grant by citing its state constitution, which forbids sending tax money to churches and church-run institutions.

But Holly Hollman, [general] counsel for the Baptist Joint Committee, said the ruling “upends precedent and adds confusion to the law. The decision does not create a free exercise right to government funding of religion, but it unnecessarily blurs the line that ensures religion flourishes on its own.”

Click here to read the entire article online at the Los Angeles Times website.

…read more

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Why Total Solar Eclipses Are Total Coincidences

Mon, 2017-06-26 13:59

By Tom Metcalfe

Total solar eclipses, when the moon nearly perfectly covers the sun, have fascinated humans since at least the time of the earliest civilizations. Some of the very oldest historical records, written on clay tablets in Babylonia around 2,500 years ago, are devoted to observations of eclipses. Astronomers at the time interpreted the events as omens of disaster, while folktales around the world typically explained eclipses as a conflict between the sun and a devouring celestial dragon, wolf or rat.

A few solar eclipses have even changed human history — for instance, by affecting the outcome of a pivotal ancient battle, or by inspiring scientists as they unlocked the secrets of humanity’s place in the universe. That’s a lot of responsibility for a phenomenon that astronomers sometimes describe as “a celestial coincidence.” After all, that’s what a total solar eclipse really is: a total coincidence.

“The [diameter of the] moon is almost exactly 400 [times] smaller than the sun’s diameter, and the sun is almost exact 400 times further away than the moon,” said Mark Gallaway, an astronomer at the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom. “The consequence of this is that the angular diameter, or the size we see, of the sun and the moon in the sky are almost exactly the same.”

Continue reading by clicking the name of the source below.

The Supreme Court Took Three Important Actions Today. Here’s What They Mean For Church-State Separation.

Mon, 2017-06-26 13:58

Barry W. Lynn

Wall of Separation

The U.S. Supreme Court went out of session this morning and did so with a bang. The high court took three actions that affect church-state separation.

Here’s a rundown on what happened:

Trinity Lutheran v. Comer: Americans United has been warning for more than a year that it could erode the church-state wall. The ruling is harmful – but not as bad as it might have been.

Trinity Lutheran, Missouri, Supreme Court, John G. Roberts, Masterpiece Cakeshop, Colorado, Donald Trump, Muslim Ban, Kim Davis, kentucky

Supreme Court allows parts of travel ban to take effect

Mon, 2017-06-26 13:26

By Ariane de Vogue

The Supreme Court Monday allowed parts of President Donald Trump’s travel ban to go into effect and will hear oral arguments on the case this fall.

The court is allowing the ban to go into effect for foreign nationals who lack any “bona fide relationship with any person or entity in the United States.” The court, in an unsigned opinion, left the travel ban against citizens of six majority-Muslim on hold as applied to non-citizens with relationships with persons or entities in the United States, which includes most of the plaintiffs in both cases. Examples of formal relationships include students accepted to US universities and an employee who has accepted a job with a company in the US, the court said. This is the first time the high court has weighed in on the travel ban, and a partial victory for the Trump administration, which has been fighting lower court rulings blocking the ban from taking effect. Justices did not address Trump’s tweets which have caused legal problems for his administration previously.

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SpaceX has launched and landed two used rockets in one weekend

Mon, 2017-06-26 13:12

By Leah Crane

SpaceX just did a double-header. Two of the firm’s Falcon 9 rockets were launched within 49 hours of each other, one from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and one from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. That’s a first for SpaceX and provides a proof-of-concept for efficiently reusing rockets in the future.

The launches, on 23 and 25 June, marked the second and third time that Elon Musk’s spaceflight company reused rocket boosters that had already been to space, landed and been refurbished. After successfully releasing their payloads into orbit, each booster returned to Earth and safely landed on a drone ship. Now they will be examined for damage and possibly refurbished and launched a third time – a feat which SpaceX hasn’t yet attempted.

The 23 June launch, pictured, lifted Bulgaria’s first communications satellite – its second satellite ever – into orbit. The 25 June launch carried 10 communications satellites for the Iridium company, marking the second of seven planned batches that will make up a global satellite constellation called Iridium NEXT.

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Supreme Court sides with religious institutions in a major church-state decision

Mon, 2017-06-26 13:05

By Robert Barnes

The Supreme Court concluded its work for this session on Monday siding with religious institutions in a major church-state decision and with no indication that pivotal Justice Anthony M. Kennedy is retiring.

The speculation about Kennedy, who has served on the court for nearly three decades and is almost always the deciding vote in divisive cases on the nation’s biggest controversies, dominated the end of a relatively quiet Supreme Court term.

But the court’s announcement of final decisions came and went without any word from Kennedy, whose former clerks had speculated he was considering leaving. The rumors were closely watched at the White House, where a vacancy would give President Trump the chance to solidify a more conservative Supreme Court.

In the church-state case, the court ruled 7-2 that it violates the Constitution’s protection of the free exercise of religion to exclude churches from state programs with a secular intent — in this case, making playgrounds safer.

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Right Wing Bonus Tracks: A Three-Step Solution For Saving America

Mon, 2017-06-26 11:21

By Kyle Mantyla

  • David Lane declares that “secularism has imposed its godlessness on America’s youth for the last three-quarters century, devastating public education and higher learning. American education has collapsed under the weight of Secularism. Moral and academic anarchy now reign. Something curious has happened to those who define themselves as anti-fascist, who in reality are the fascists.”
  • “Democrats are losers,” says Jesse Lee Peterson, as he offers some suggestions for “5 things conservatives must do to crush the left.”
  • Don Boys says that “it’s time to surveil all mosques in America” because “Islam is determined to take over America and put us under sharia. They are working on that plan as I speak via sperm, speech, and sword. They are multiplying like rabbits while our growth rate is static. They are using free speech to deceive, defile, and destroy us.”
  • Peter LaBarbera laments that the Trump administration is “surrendering on the transgender issue – legally speaking – and that is also a tragedy.”
  • Finally, Rick Joyner has a three-step solution for saving America: “A. Back off and let those men who want to marry men, marry men. B. Allow those women who want to marry women, marry women. C. Allow those …read more

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Right Wing Round-Up: The Alt-Right Is Out In Force

Mon, 2017-06-26 11:21

By Kyle Mantyla

…read more

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BJC Responds to Supreme Court Decision to Review Travel Ban, Cakeshop Cases

Mon, 2017-06-26 10:21

By Don Byrd

Written by Don Byrd

In addition to ruling in Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer (see post here), the U.S. Supreme Court made two other important decisions today in closely watched cases that may have an impact on religious liberty law.

The Court agreed to review the Trump administration’s revised “travel ban” executive order while partially lifting the injunction halting the order pending the appeal. They will also hear the appeal in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a controversial case involving a bakery owner’s refusal — citing his religious beliefs — to provide services for a same-sex wedding, despite state law prohibiting business from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.

In response to the Court’s decision to hear the “travel ban” case, BJC Executive Director Amanda Tyler said the following:

The Supreme Court now has the opportunity to make clear that the First Amendment prohibits relegating certain faiths to second-class status or using religious identity as an excuse for exclusion. The Baptist Joint Committee will be closely engaged in the days to come to be sure that our Baptist witness of religious freedom for all is represented in the arguments. Meanwhile, we can all redouble our efforts to condemn religious bigotry …read more

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Mark Taylor: God Made Megyn Kelly Ill As A ‘Warning Shot’ Not To Harm Donald Trump

Mon, 2017-06-26 10:21

By Kyle Mantyla

Mark Taylor, a former firefighter who now presents himself as a prophet based on his claim that God told him back in 2011 that Donald Trump would become president, appeared on a local Virginia radio program last week to promote his forthcoming book, “The Trump Prophecies: The Astonishing True Story of the Man Who Saw Tomorrow… and What He Says Is Coming Next.”

During the interview, Taylor told host Rob Schilling that former Fox News host Megyn Kelly fell ill before the first Republican primary debate in 2015 because God had sent her a “warning shot” to let her know that she should not to try to harm His anointed candidate, Donald Trump.

“God has anointed this man for such a time as this,” Taylor said of Trump. “God says, ‘Do not touch my anointed,’ and Donald Trump is anointed by God and that’s why you saw people literally getting kicked out of the race because they were going after Donald Trump. You’re seeing it in the news media right now. Megyn Kelly was a prime example. She went after Donald Trump in the first debate, she got violently ill that morning and she didn’t even know if …read more

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Supreme Court Erodes Wall of Separation With Trinity Lutheran Ruling

Mon, 2017-06-26 09:21

By Miranda Blue

This morning, the Supreme Court released its ruling in Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, an important church-state separation case involving a Missouri prohibition on direct payments by the government to a house of worship. Seven of the nine justices ruled in favor of the church, eroding church-state separation, but a majority of the Court made clear that its ruling was a very narrow one.

Missouri has a competitive grant program for organizations to improve their playgrounds, open to all to apply for. However, because the state constitution explicitly bans state funding of churches, Trinity Lutheran was ineligible to apply. Today, in an opinion authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, the Court ruled that this violates the federal Constitution’s Free Exercise Clause by denying Trinity Lutheran an otherwise available public benefit because of its religious status. Roberts’ opinion was joined by Justices Kennedy, Thomas, Alito, Kagan, and Gorsuch. Justice Breyer provided the seventh vote for the church in a separate concurrence with the judgment. Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor dissented.

If the First Amendment didn’t have a clear prohibition of church-state separation, the majority’s argument might have some merit. But we do have a constitutional requirement to maintain a wall of separation between …read more

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Can mind-body practices “reprogram” our DNA?

Sun, 2017-06-25 21:21

By David Gorski A recent systematic review has been touted as demonstrating that “mind-body” practices like yoga can reprogram our DNA. There are several reasons to doubt these claims, not the least of which is the history of bias in past studies on this topic. …read more

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5th Circuit Reinstates Controversial Mississippi HB 1523

Sun, 2017-06-25 16:21

By Don Byrd

Written by Don Byrd

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a district court’s ruling that halted as unconstitutional Mississippi’s controversial HB 1523. The court did not address the central question of the constitutionality of the measure, which prohibits the state from taking adverse action against a person or business acting in accordance with certain religious beliefs. Instead, the appeals court found that the plaintiffs lack the standing to bring the suit in the first place, and dismissed it, reinstating the law.

On the question of standing, District Judge Carlton Reeves had agreed with the plaintiffs that the text of the law appears to endorse specific religious beliefs. As a result, he found that they suffered sufficient injury to qualify for standing due to the “psychological consequences stemming from the plaintiffs’ ‘exclusion or denigration on a religious basis within the political community.’” But the 5th Circuit appeals panel disagreed.

Standing is not available to just any resident of a jurisdiction to challenge a government message without a corresponding action about a particular belief…

You can read the opinion here.

The plaintiffs announced their intention to ask for a review of this decision. Here is …read more

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Turkish police break up gay pride event with rubber bullets

Sun, 2017-06-25 08:21

By Barry Duke

Under the guise of ‘protecting’ LGBT people, police in Istanbul today broke up a pride march by briefly firing rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

The BBC reports that organisers of the annual event had vowed to press ahead despite a ban by the authorities, who had cited threats from far-right groups.

This is the third year in a row that Turkey’s largest city has banned the Gay Pride rally. Turkey’s descent into Islamic fundamentalism is seen by many as the main reason for the banning of the event.

The BBC’s Mark Lowen said the heavy police presence stopped people from entering Istiklal Street, where the rally was scheduled to start.

He reported that anybody trying to unfurl a rainbow flag or pass police blockades was prevented from doing so.

Faced with armed police and water-cannon trucks, the marchers had no chance.

The Hurriyet newspaper said that at least ten people had been detained, and the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf tweeted that a Dutch cameraman, Bram Janssen, was among those arrested.

Earlier today, the Gay Pride organising committee issued a statement saying:

We are not scared, we are here, we will not change. You are scared, you will change and you will get used to it. We …read more

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Pastafarian gives Melbourne’s ‘hellfire’ bikes a make-over

Sun, 2017-06-25 01:21

By Barry Duke

Bicycles used by an evangelical group to put fear of eternal damnation into the good folk of Melbourne have attracted the attention of Pastarian I G McSporran, pictured above, who decided to wage war on the hellfire messages with posters of his own.

McSporran is quoted as saying in this report:

Someone is stealing a public resource to promote a religious ideology. It’s simply wrong. They’re a cancer on our city, just horrible things.

That “someone” is a religiot who asked to identified only as “Barry”. He says he belongs to what he claims is a small collective of unseen evangelists.

“Barry” disputes that the displays are a misuse of bike racks.

I spoke to one nice man at the council and he just said he’d like to see them moved [around the city] more often. They were rideable when I first took them to the city … We have as much right as anyone else to park at a public bike rack.

One of bikes fused to a hoop by evangelist “Barry”

McSporran began his anti-Barry crusade simply as a means of promoting a crowdfunding campaign for his custom-made wearable colanders, and almost immediately got labelled as a hero by online fans fed …read more

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Something for the collection plate? A card will do nicely.

Sat, 2017-06-24 06:21

By Barry Duke

Around 40 churches in the UK will soon be equipped with handheld terminals to process card payments – up to the value of £30.

The Financial Times reports that the Church of England scheme plans to extend the the “tap and go” contactless payment system to every diocese next year.

John Preston, national stewardship officer at the Church of England, told the FT:

We’re aware that younger generations – and there are many people now who don’t carry cash – want to give in different ways. Enabling them to give in a way that suits them is something we’d like to try.

Contactless use has rocketed in the past three years, as retailers, transport providers and consumers have embraced the payment system launched in 2007. Last year £25bn was spent using contactless, according to the UK Cards Association – more than twice the £11-bn spent in the previous eight years combined.

As a result, people are carrying less cash, according to research by the Charities Aid Foundation. It found that of the two-thirds of adults who have contactless cards, more than a third carry less cash.

The church trial will test the practicalities of various methods of use, from offering the card reader as an …read more

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Evolution is ‘too complicated’ for young minds in Turkey

Sat, 2017-06-24 01:22

By Barry Duke

The chair of Turkey’s Board of Education, Alpaslan Durmus, above, announced this week that evolution will no longer be taught in Turkish schools.

Durmuse said in a video published on the Education Ministry’s website that evolution was debatable, controversial and too complicated for students.

We believe that these subjects are beyond their [students] comprehension.

Durmus said a chapter on evolution was being removed from ninth grade biology course books, and the subject postponed to the undergraduate period.

Another change to the curriculum may reduce the amount of time that students spend studying the legacy of secularism.

Critics of the government believe public life is being increasingly stripped of the secular traditions instilled by the nation’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

The secular opposition has long argued that the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan is pursuing a covert Islamist agenda contrary to the republic’s founding values. Education is a particularly contentious avenue, because of its potential in shaping future generations. Small-scale protests by parents in local schools have opposed the way religion is taught.

There is little acceptance of evolution as a concept among mainstream Muslim clerics in the Middle East, who believe it contradicts the story of creation in scripture, in which God breathed life into the …read more

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