AFA ACTIVISM
AFA Action co-sponsors ‘values voter’ conference
This fall American Family Association Action, AFA’s political action committee, will be co-sponsoring a critical conference designed to help Christians become more effectively involved on the cultural battlefields.

The Washington Briefing: Values Voter Summit 2006 will be held September 22-24, 2006, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.

"I am pleased to announce an event of national significance that American Family Association Action is co-sponsoring this fall," said AFA Chairman Don Wildmon. "As Christians we know how important it is that we effectively communicate our issues and widen the influence of pro-family values voters in the 2006 and 2008 elections."

AFA Action will be joined in this new event by three key co-sponsors: Family Research Council Action, Focus on the Family Action and Americans United to Preserve Marriage.

The briefing will be aimed at the grassroots values voter, Wildmon said. The goal is to bring together as many values voters as possible to inform and organize for maximum impact.

"As we face increasing, well-funded assaults on the family, the need to inform, educate and motivate the values voter has never been greater," he said. "The values voter was the determining factor in the 2004 presidential election and, as we move toward 2008, this voter is likely to be that determining factor again."

National pro-family leaders, policy makers and well-known conservative political figures will be addressing attendees.

Topics to be addressed will include marriage, cloning and other life issues, the entertainment industry, activist judges, grass-roots political involvement and much more.

The briefing begins Friday morning and ends Sunday morning. Affordable room and registration fees will be offered. Registration will open March 15 at www.afaaction.net.

UPDATE: Allstate settles case with Barber
The Allstate Insurance Company has agreed to a publicly unspecified settlement with a Christian who contends he was fired from the company for expressing his opposition to the homosexual agenda on his own time.

The employee, Matt Barber, sued Allstate. (See AFA Journal, 9/05.)

In February the company settled with Barber. He told AFA Journal that although he couldn’t specifically address the settlement, "I can say that my family is very pleased that we are now in a position where we are equipped to move forward with our lives."

AFA supporters sent Allstate well over 250,000 e-mails complaining of the firing and asked the company to reconsider the decision to terminate Barber.

Focus on the Family dumps Wells Fargo
Focus on the Family announced that it is ending its banking relationship with Wells Fargo due to that company’s aggressive efforts to promote the gay rights movement.

Over the years, the pro-family organization had become aware of other pro-gay efforts by the company. But what finally tipped the scales was the decision by Wells Fargo to support the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) with company money.

"Earlier this year we learned that Wells Fargo gave a matching gift to a pro-homosexual group to enable it to raise more money to fight organizations like our own," Focus said in a December press release. "As one of Wells Fargo’s customers, we objected, and we received no satisfactory resolution from the bank’s corporate office."

In fact, Focus noted that a statement on GLAAD’s Web site was filled with praise for the company’s support: "Incredible news: Wells Fargo has offered to help support GLAAD’s fight for equality against the Anti-Gay industry by matching your tax-deductible contribution dollar for dollar."

Focus said it realized that it could not limit its business relationships only to companies that were explicitly Christian. "That said, when our bank allows proceeds from our business to be used to impede our work, we must object, even if it inconveniences us in our professional relationships."

www.family.org, 12/1/05

Same-sex marriage vote expected soon
The date for a vote on the Marriage Protection Amendment (MPA) by the U.S. Senate has been scheduled for the week of June 5, and AFA is asking supporters to let their senators know where they stand.

The MPA would amend the U.S. Constitution to ensure that marriage remains only between one man and one woman.

"It is time for Christians to get involved in this fight, or sometime soon, somewhere in our nation, some activist federal judge will make same-sex marriage legal," said AFA Chairman Don Wildmon. "You can bet that those pushing for homosexual marriage are taking a few moments to contact their senators."

Wildmon said supporters who want to get involved can go to www.afa.net and access an Internet petition. At press time some 300,000 people had already sent an e-mail to the Senate in support of the MPA.

"Ask your friends and family to also get involved. Ask members of your Sunday School class and church to send an e-mail," he said. "The time for silence and apathy on yet another critical cultural issue is over."

Town backs down in free speech case
Officials in one Pennsylvania town have backed down in a dispute with a Christian who wanted to address an open meeting before town council members.

In July of 2004, Michael Marcavage, head of the Philadelphia-based group Repent America, was prevented from reading from the Bible during a public comment segment of a Lansdowne Borough Council meeting.

Marcavage intended to reply to comments made by a council member to the Philadelphia Gay News. According to a press release on Repent America’s Web site, "Although he had not exceeded any set time limits, Norman Council, the then council president, told Mr. Marcavage that his time was up and that he would not be permitted to read from the Bible as it would be tantamount to engaging in hate speech."

When he refused to be silent, the council unanimously adjourned the meeting, and Marcavage was forcibly removed from the council gathering and charged with disrupting a meeting and disorderly conduct. The criminal charges against him were eventually dropped, however, and the Christian activist filed a federal lawsuit to challenge the council’s actions.

The town agreed to settle the lawsuit by affirming that it had acted in an unconstitutional manner by infringing on the First Amendment rights of Marcavage. Lansdowne Borough officials also agreed to pay his attorney fees.

AgapePress, 2/21/06

CULTURE
‘Evolution wars’ take bizarre turn
Within the space of one week’s time, thousands of church leaders revealed their positions on evolution, while more than 500 scientists did the same. Except it probably didn’t go the way most people would have expected.

In February thousands of mainline church leaders and pastors signed a letter rejecting a literal interpretation of the Creation story in the Bible’s Book of Genesis. The "Clergy Letter Project" signatories are urging local public school board members to "preserve the integrity of the science curriculum by affirming the teaching of the theory of evolution as a core component of human knowledge."

University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh administrator Michael Zimmerman, who founded the project, said the letter has been signed by more than 10,000 clergy members in every state and territory of the United States. The signatures from leaders of Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian and other mainline churches represent a "groundswell of support for the compatibility of science and religion," he insisted.

"These 10,000 members are saying that intelligent design, creation science, is not only bad science as defined by the world scientific community," Zimmerman said, "but that it is also bad religion. It is not consistent with their view of their faith."

Meanwhile more than 500 scientists signed "A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism," a statement expressing their doubts about the credibility of Darwinian evolution.

The Seattle-based Discovery Institute, which sponsors the online letter, started the effort five years ago, when Darwinists claimed there were virtually no reputable scientists who disagreed with the theory of evolution.

Originally published in 2001, the list carries the names of scientific scholars and researchers from prestigious universities and research centers throughout the U.S. and the world.

www.discovery.org, 2/20/06; AgapePress, 2/17/06, 2/24/06

EDUCATION
Preschooler can now share his faith
Zachariah, a four-year-old child in Baker City, Oregon, was ordered by a teacher to stop talking about God at the Head Start program he attends.

The teacher reportedly overheard the boy’s conversation with a friend during non-instructional time, but imposed the ban anyway.

The grandmother of Zachariah contacted the AFA Center for Law and Policy (CLP) and requested advice as she prepared for a conference with a teacher at the Head Start preschool program.

CLP Chief Counsel Stephen Crampton said, "The teacher was basically insinuating herself into a private conversation between Zachariah and one of his classmates … trying to protect the school. But, in fact, she was interfering with Zachariah’s own constitutional rights."

Crampton wrote to the grandmother and explained: "The school is wrong. As the U.S. Supreme Court has observed, ‘There is a crucial difference between government speech endorsing religion, which the Establishment Clause forbids, and private speech endorsing religion.’"

Once the facts were conveyed to the school, Crampton said the matter was quickly resolved. School officials apologized for the error and acknowledged students’ rights to talk about their faith.

AgapePress, 2/20/06

ENTERTAINMENT
Family films fare well
The public’s picks for favorite films of 2005 differ greatly from those selected by awards shows and critics’ associations, according to the findings of an authoritative study conducted by the Christian Film & Television Commission and presented as the Annual Report to the Entertainment Industry.

Based on data compiled by Nielsen EDI, the majority of last year’s box office hits proved to be family-friendly fare that contained traditional values and non-controversial themes.

Of the 10 most popular movies, 80% had "strong or very strong moral content and acceptability ratings." Of those top 10, only one was rated R, while only three of the top 25 had an R rating. In addition, 70% of these top 10 films contained either "no sexual content" or "only light or implied sexual references."

"The Report to the Entertainment Industry shows that movies with no or very few incidences of nudity, foul language and violence earned an average of $45,001,733 per movie, which was nearly $18 million more per movie, or 65% better than movies that contained those elements," according to a press release from MovieGuide, a publication of the Christian Film & Television Commission.

"Every year, our financial analysis proves that good guys always finish first," said Dr. Ted Baehr, president of the Commission. "Movies with traditional Judeo-Christian values and heroic virtues always do best at the box office."

MovieGuide, 2/6/06

FAMILY
Apparently true love doesn’t always wait
Although signing a formal purity pledge seems to prolong abstinence outside marriage, the findings of a new survey of Baptist newlyweds reveal that true love doesn’t always wait — even among Christians.

Byron Weathersbee, interim chaplain at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, conducted a study on the effects of sexual-purity pledges and sex education on abstinence before marriage in a Christian context. Baylor is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.

As part of his research, Weathersbee surveyed young married couples of less than five years in Texas Baptist churches to determine the impact churches made on their sexual behavior.

The majority of the couples surveyed admitted to having sexual intercourse prior to marriage. However, the study was consistent with previous findings in its suggestion that Baptist couples were more likely to save sex for their wedding night if they took a formal abstinence pledge.

Specifically, of the young Christians surveyed, 6 out of 10 who made purity commitments did not have sexual intercourse until marriage, while only 3 of 10 who did not pledge purity remained abstinent.

Additional findings:

100% professed faith in Christ
99% attended church
84% grew up in church
87% grew up in a two-parent home
62% of males had premarital sex
65% of females had premarital sex

"To a large degree, we’re missing it," Weathersbee said. "The young people are receiving the data, but they’re not translating it into values that result in a lifestyle of purity and holiness."

www.biblicalrecorder.org, 2/8/06

PRO-LIFE
Pro-lifers win big at Supreme Court
In February the U. S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of pro-lifers who had been charged under federal racketeering laws for protesting in front of an abortion clinic.

The protracted litigation began almost 20 years ago when Joseph Scheidler and other pro-life demonstrators were charged under federal RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) statutes. RICO was drafted by Congress in the 1970s as a weapon to be used against organized crime, especially as related to extortion and other forms of economic blackmail.

But pro-abortion activists wanted to use it against pro-lifers whose protests in front of abortion clinics sometimes resulted in women changing their minds about killing their unborn babies.

In the case of NOW v. Scheidler, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in an 8-0 high court decision that RICO and other related federal laws required a robbery or extortion component that was not present in the actions of the pro-life demonstrators.

"This case has dragged on for too long, and it is high time the Supreme Court put an end to this baseless harassment of pro-lifers seeking only to exercise their First Amendment rights," said Stephen Crampton, chief counsel for the AFA Center for Law and Policy (CLP), which represents pro-life demonstrators across the country. "Joe Scheidler is to be commended for never giving in to these persistent attempts to silence his message of life and hope to hurting women."

Brian Fahling, senior trial attorney for the CLP, said, "The cause of protecting the unborn has been rejuvenated since the new [Chief Justice John] Roberts Court convened. This is yet another nail in the coffin of the grisly business of abortion."

Having not been on the Court when the matter was argued in November, Justice Samuel Alito did not participate in the case.

 

 


 

 

UPDATE: Allstate settles case with Barber


Focus on the Family dumps Wells Fargo


Same-sex marriage vote expected soon


Town backs down in free speech case


‘Evolution wars’ take bizarre turn


Preschooler can now share his faith


Family films fare well


Apparently true love doesn’t always wait


Pro-lifers win big at Supreme Court