National Shorts

Christian College to Review Policy on “Homosexual Conduct” Amid Accreditation Flap

(WNS)–Gordon College, a small Christian university in Wenham, Mass., has agreed to review its conduct policy after the state’s accreditation body said the prohibition of “homosexual practice” might violate its diversity standards.   The college announced a yearlong policy review process in a joint statement issued with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). According to the statement, the agency requested the review “to ensure that the college’s policies and processes are non-discriminatory and that it ensures its ability to foster an atmosphere that respects and supports people of diverse characteristics and backgrounds, consistent with the commission’s standards for accreditation.”   The review will include a working group of 20 trustees, faculty, administrators, staff, and students, according to the statement. Gordon must submit a report of the group’s conclusions at the NEASC meeting in September 2015.
Mark Driscoll Resigns as Pastor of Mars Hill Church

(WNS)–After years of controversy and months of intense scrutiny and accusations of wrongdoing, Mark Driscoll, the co-founder of Seattle’s Mars Hill Church, has submitted his resignation. Earlier this year, Driscoll admitted to using church funds to promote his books. Late last year credible accusations of plagiarism forced his publisher to make alterations to his books and issue a statement admitting that “mistakes were made.”  Nonetheless, the Mars Hill Board of Overseers, a group formed to examine the charges against Driscoll, concluded, “Pastor Mark has never been charged with any immorality, illegality or heresy. Most of the charges involved attitudes and behaviors reflected by a domineering style of leadership.”
Texas AG: Sermon Subpoena is Unconstitutional

(WNS)–Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on Oct. 15 called on Houston Mayor Annise Parker and City Attorney David Feldman to relent on subpoenas demanding pastors’ sermons and private communications. “Whether you intend it to be so or not, your action is a direct assault on the religious liberty guaranteed by the First Amendment,” Abbott wrote in a letter to the city leader. He called on the mayor to avoid even the appearance of intimidation.  The five subpoenaed pastors are part of a group opposing the city in a lawsuit over a petition drive to get an LGBT rights ordinance on the ballot. The detailed subpoena ordered the pastors to hand over all sermons and electronic communications with congregants containing opinions on homosexuality and gender identity.
Churches Sue California Over Abortion Coverage Mandate
(WNS)–The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF) have filed a complaint with the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on behalf of seven churches compelled to provide insurance coverage for elective abortions.  In August, Michelle Rouillard, director of California’s Department of Managed Health Care, said in a letter to seven insurance companies that California’s Constitution and a 1975 state law require them to cover elective abortions in group plans.  Forcing churches to cover elective abortions assaults a fundamental American freedom, said ADF senior counsel Casey Mattox. “California is flagrantly violating the federal law that protects employers from being forced into having abortion in their health insurance plans,” Mattox said.
Patrick Henry College President Steps Down

(WNS)–President Graham Walker announced his resignation from Patrick Henry College to the college’s approximately 325 students at a campus-wide meeting on Oct. 15, citing disagreements with the school’s board of trustees. He had served as president for eight years. “The board and I have simply decided that sometimes it is best to agree to disagree, in a healthy and amicable way as fellow servants of Christ,” Walker told the students, according to a college press release. “It is a fully mutual agreement.”  The resignation comes less than two months into the academic year. According to the press release, Walker will “pursue new opportunities” but will continue in a board-approved sabbatical until the end of the fall semester.  The release also quoted board chair Jack Haye noting that “his departure does not result in any way from any moral or financial misconduct on his part. … His ethical and moral character are above reproach.” The school’s provost, Gene Edward Veith, will step into the role of interim president while the college looks for another leader.

Apple Pulls App That Encouraged Casual Sex on Campus

(WNS)–A new mobile app designed to reduce nonconsensual sex among college students lasted nine days on iTunes before Apple removed it last week for “objectionable content.”  The app, called Good2Go, was created to provide a mobile platform for students to initiate and gain consent before casual sex. Its developers claimed it would reduce sexual abuse and assault on campus.  But some critics argue that sex with someone you barely know, the kind of sex this app encourages, is a root cause of sexual assault on today’s college campuses.


University of California Offers Online Abortion Class


(WNS)–The University of California, San Francisco, is offering an online class to teach future doctors how to do abortions.  The free, six week class, titled “Abortion: Quality Care and Public Health Implications,” addresses abortion-related topics ranging from first trimester abortion care to “obstacles” to abortion access. Nearly 3,000 people have signed up, according to The Daily Beast. Through the class, Jody Steinauer, assistant professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, aims to reduce what she calls a gap between abortion education and its practice. The class begins Oct. 13.



LGBT Report or Pro-Family “Hit” List?


(WNS)–A global network of extremists is working to undercut the rights of LGBT people around the world, according to a Sept. 15 report published by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). The culprits? Twelve leaders of pro-family organizations, including legal group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and Americans for Truth about Homosexuality (AFTAH).  Complete with pencil-sketched portraits, the report lists leaders who are the “most vitriolic American activists promoting anti-LGBT bigotry abroad,” HRC said in a press release. Conservatives liken the report to a hit list. “It’s like the only things missing are the words ‘wanted dead or alive,’” said Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council (FRC).  HRC did not respond to requests for comment for this story.


EEOC Sues Companies for Firing Transgendered Employees


WNS)–The Obama administration is suing two businesses for firing employees who were “transitioning” from male to female.  The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed lawsuits against the companies on the same day last month, alleging they are guilty of violating the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s prohibition against discrimination on the basis of a person’s sex.  No federal statutes prohibit employment discrimination based on gender identity or expression. But in recent years, the EEOC has pursued protections for transgendered workers under the Civil Rights Act’s Title VII prohibition against sex discrimination and harassment. In 2012, the agency issued its first ruling on the issue when a transgendered woman claimed she was denied federal employment because she informed the employer she was transitioning from male to female. The landmark ruling stated intentional discrimination based on gender identity or a change of sex is a form of sexual discrimination, and thus prohibited under Title VII.

Colorado Students Skip School to Support Revisionist History Course

(WNS)–In an act of protest, students and teachers in Jefferson County, Colo., are skipping school. Students claim they are walking out due to their school board’s planned review of the proposed new AP History curriculum. For the past week, large groups of students at a majority of the district’s 17 high schools have left school, waving flags, banners, and protest signs. “My mom is very proud of me, that I’m standing up for what I believe,” 16-year-old Vanessa Ridge said.   The new version of AP History deviates radically from its predecessor, omitting key historical figures and events such as Benjamin Franklin, Martin Luther King and D-Day. Instead, it emphasizes oppression, conflict, and America’s more divisive events, effectively sanitizing the record of many of America’s most foundational moments, trends, and notable citizens.
Sandy Hook Commission Calls for Homeschool Oversight

(WNS)–A Connecticut government task force wants to give special educators with public schools the power to veto homeschooling parents’ education plans.   The Connecticut Post reports the state has placed increased scrutiny on its roughly 5,000 homeschoolers since the December 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 students and six educators died.   The shooter, Adam Lanza, 20, was diagnosed in 2005 with Asperger’s syndrome. High school exacerbated his struggles, which included “extreme anxiety and discomfort with changes, noise, and physical contact with others,” a state attorney’s report said. Lanza’s mother, whom he also killed, began homeschooling him in about 10th grade with the aid of Newtown High School so he could graduate in 2009 with a public school diploma.




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