Saturday, March 28, 2009

Tiller Found Not Guilty: Pro-Life Forces Vow To Continue Fight

A Kansas jury has found notorious abortionist, George Tiller, not guilty on all counts.

Tiller faced 19 misdemeanor charges that accused him of violating state laws involving late-term abortions. Cheryl Sullinger of Operation Rescue tells OneNewsNow they were disappointed with the verdict.

"We have to remember that these were the weakest of the charges that could have been brought by the state," she notes. "There were 30 charges that had been brought by former Attorney General Phil Kline in 2006 that were dismissed on jurisdictional reasons without having ever been considered on their merit."

Had Tiller faced those charges, Sullinger is confident he would have been convicted. Operation Rescue was at the forefront of the investigation, so Sullinger was asked if they are finished with Tiller.

"We have a number of other projects, and we believe that there's [sic] plenty of things that Tiller has done that violated the law that eventually, we're just going to keep pressing on until we finally get justice and we finally get a conviction," she concludes.

Kansas law allows abortions after a baby can survive outside the womb only if two independent doctors agree that it is necessary to save a women's life or prevent "substantial and irreversible" harm to "a major bodily function," a phrase that has been interpreted to include mental health.

Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus provided second opinions on late-term abortions before Tiller performed them.

According to trial testimony, Tiller's patients paid Neuhaus $250 to $300 in cash for providing the consultation and the only way patients could see her was to make an appointment with Tiller's office.

Tiller testified that he used Neuhaus based on advice from his lawyers and from Larry Buening, who was then executive director of the Board of Healing Arts.

Prosecutors tried to show that Tiller ultimately relied on his lawyers' advice - an important distinction because the judge told attorneys before their opening statements that relying on the advice of an attorney cannot be used as a legal defense to criminal charges. They also questioned Tiller about the conversation with Buening, noting that Tiller had testified that Buening said he couldn't quote him.

Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life, said abortion opponents were never confident that Tiller would be prosecuted aggressively enough by Attorney General Steve Six.

"Even if Tiller had been found guilty, he would have appealed to the Supreme Court," Culp said, noting that four of the Kansas high court's seven justices were appointed by Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who supports abortion rights.

Phill Kline, the former attorney general who started the investigation, expressed frustration at the prosecutors who tried the case, noting that their only witness was Neuhaus.

"You do not win cases nor achieve justice by calling one witness and ordering your staff not to initiate any additional effort to gather evidence," Kline said in a written statement.

Disney said his office had thoroughly investigated the case and "presented all the evidence that there was."

Tiller said he is one of three doctors in the U.S. who currently perform late-term abortions. The others are in Boulder, Colo., and Los Angeles, he said.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Elevating Homosexuality To New Heights

The Obama administration and other proponents of a United Nations statement that calls for the decriminalization of homosexuality claim it merely targets the seven countries that put homosexuals to death. But one pro-family activist warns the document elevates homosexual behavior to skin color and religious belief.Justify FullThe Obama State Department has endorsed the U.N. statement out of concern over what one official describes as "violence and human rights abuses against gay, lesbian, transsexual and bisexual individuals" as well as "the criminalization of sexual orientation in many countries." In addition, according to U.S. officials, signing of the nonbinding declaration demonstrates that the U.S. supports human rights for all. (See related article)

Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, says the Obama administration has essentially signed its name to a "press release" initiated by the French government in the U.N. General Assembly last fall. Ruse says he fully expected the Obama administration to sign on to the document immediately because it supports the homosexual agenda.

"What the press release really does is encourage the acceptance of gender identity and sexual orientation as a category of non-discrimination in human rights treaties," explains Ruse, "so that these categories would stand alongside race, religion, and other widely accepted categories of non-discrimination."

Ruse says the Bush administration almost signed on to the U.N. homosexual rights document last fall. He notes there is a "very healthy homosexual lobby" in the State Department and in various parts of the U.S. government. In fact, he reports that for a brief moment last week at the United Nations, the Obama administration endorsed a document titled "The International Guidelines on HIV/AIDS," which calls for criminal penalties for those who criticize homosexuality.

Blueprint for Global Enslavement?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Valedictorian's Free-Speech Case Goes To Court

A student's free-speech rights are being defended in federal court.

Liberty Counsel is pursuing the case at the Tenth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. General counsel Steve Crampton is defending Colorado high school valedictorian Erica Corder. Along with 14 others, Corder was permitted to make a 30-second statement at the graduation ceremony.

"And because she mentioned Jesus Christ, she was told immediately after the service that she would not be receiving her diploma along with the other students, but had to meet the principal who then required that she sign an apology, with which she did not agree, as a condition for receiving her diploma," Crampton explains.

Corder wrote the apology under compulsion, and Liberty Counsel then sued the school on her behalf. Crampton says it is unconstitutional to restrict public speech, especially since it was student-initiated.

Evidently, says the attorney, "there's basically no such thing as private speech at a graduation ceremony -- even for a valedictorian who earned the right to address her classmates."

Crampton calls it a clear case of viewpoint discrimination.

Watch the following video for another similar case...

Baptist Leader Speaks Out Against Obama's Pro-Death Moves

A Southern Baptist leader who serves on President Barack Obama's Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships opposes Obama's move to fund embryonic stem-cell research.

Rev. Frank Page, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, says he told the White House that he is alarmed at Obama's "consistent pattern of removing any pro-life protections." Page says he wonders sometimes if the president is really listening to his advice and says he is conscious of being a Baptist and evangelical voice on the president's advisory council.

"I know that I am representing a huge number of people who are deeply concerned, and as long as I am at the table I have a voice at the table, and I am trying to maintain that and be true to what I feel is a biblically consistent voice," he notes.

But after Page objected last week to the removal of conscience protections for medical providers, he says he got a letter from the White House. "Promising me in writing that President Obama would never be a part of forcing anyone to perform an abortion against his or her conscience," he points out.

Page says he disagrees with President Obama's move to federally fund embryonic stem-cell research. "I'm just seeing this consistent pattern of removing any pro-life protection, so I am deeply concerned," he admits. "And I have stated that concern and will continue to state it."

Saturday, March 14, 2009

4D Proof Abortion is Murder / Pro-Life Anti-Abortion Video

Come See Who Pro-Choicers Want to Be Allowed To Be Murdered. The video, "Anna's Baby February 2006". The first pictures in 3D of Anna's Son. 4D Ultrasound (also known as 3D/4D Ultrasound) is the most advanced technology used by sonographers during pregnancy to evaluate the unborn baby. The film proves that the unborn child is a human being and that abortion is nothing more than the murder of an innocent human being. This item is part of the collection: Open Source Movies. Creative Commons license: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Orwellian Presidential Bully Pulpit

by David Limbaugh

Does the following statement from Melody C. Barnes, director of President Barack Obama's Domestic Policy Council, strike you as a) patronizing or b) Orwellian? "The president believes that it's particularly important to sign this (presidential memorandum authorizing federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research) so that we can put science and technology back at the heart of pursuing a broad range of national goals."

Your answer should be both a and b, especially when considered in conjunction with another presidential memorandum "aimed at insulating scientific decisions across the federal government from political influence."

The president brazenly sermonizes against scientifically challenged conservatives while triggering federal funding of research that is scientifically controversial and preparing to impose cap and trade penalties on corporate America in deference to global warming junk science.

While you won't hear much about this in the mainstream media, there is a meeting currently taking place in New York City that serves as an ironic backdrop for Obama's embryonic stem cell order. reports that more than 70 scientists -- representing the views of tens of thousands more scientists -- are meeting at The Heartland Institute's second annual International Conference on Climate Change to make the case that politically motivated alarmism, not science, is driving climate change activism, which potentially threatens the sovereignty of the United States.

At the conference, European Union and Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus likened those pushing global warming hysteria to the communists of Old Europe, who refused to listen to opposing views. Their goal, Klaus warned, is to control the public.

Sounds familiar. The Obama administration repeatedly implements policies that are in direct contradiction to its benign rhetoric, which is what I mean by "Orwellian." Consider its fiscal recklessness accompanied by promises of fiscal responsibility, including its staggering denial that it is promoting earmarks. Or its boasts of bipartisanship while shutting Republicans out of the legislative process. Or calling its plan to chill an employee's choice to opt out of union membership the "Employee Free Choice Act."

But Obama's statements while introducing his embryonic stem cell executive order truly take the cake. He said: "But after much discussion, debate and reflection, the proper course has become clear. The majority of Americans, from across the political spectrum and from all backgrounds and beliefs, have come to a consensus that we should pursue this research -- that the potential it offers is great, and with proper guidelines and strict oversight, the perils can be avoided."

It would take several columns to parse that statement alone, but just look at the misleading phraseology: "The majority of Americans … have come to a consensus." Assuming a majority favors embryonic stem cell research -- and even federal taxpayer funding for it -- is it not deceptive to imply that a majority constitutes a consensus?

Of course, those who agree on a proposition always share a consensus among themselves, but doesn't "consensus" suggest that there is almost unanimity on the issue?

The answer is yes. The Obama left repeatedly uses this type of language to manufacture the impression that only a fringe minority disagrees with the overwhelmingly accepted majority view. They declare a consensus when there isn't one and bully the true opposition from voicing their concerns. They do it with global warming, embryonic stem cell research, "intelligent design" theory and now Keynesian economics.

They have plenty of help from the liberal lapdog media. They dutifully report that Obama is lifting a ban on embryonic stem cell research when there has been no ban on such research, only a restriction on federal funding for it. Nowhere do they acknowledge the genuine ethical objections to or the scientific problems that have been encountered in such research. Instead, they just portray opponents of federal subsidies for the practice as Luddites.

While the left ridicules those who don't buy into their decreed "consensuses," they are the ones who suppress scientific inquiry and debate on various issues. They are the ones who suppress publication of facts that contradict their agenda.

You'll rarely hear from them about the failures and hazards of embryonic stem cell research, such as a report that embryonic cells injected into a boy caused multiple brain tumors. You'll never hear them speak about the increasing successes of adult stem cell research, even though adult stem cell science is less expensive, more accessible, probably involves less cancer-causing risk, and is not ethically controversial.

Beware; when the Obama left mounts its rhetorical high horse and tells us it is advancing science in furtherance of a consensus, it is most likely signaling that it is implementing a highly controversial, scientifically dubious policy whose opposition it intends to intimidate and silence with the formidable force of the presidential bully pulpit.

Carville Wanted Bush to Fail

The news that Democratic strategist James Carville wanted President Bush to fail has been circulating for a couple of days now. According to FOX News, on the morning of September 11, 2001, just minutes before the terrorist attacks, Carville told a group of Washington reporters: "I certainly hope he doesn't succeed."

Carville was joined by Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg, who seemed encouraged by a survey he had just completed that revealed public misgivings about the newly minted president.

"We rush into these focus groups with these doubts that people have about him, and I'm wanting them to turn against him," Greenberg admitted.

Of course, as soon as Carville heard of the terrorist attacks, he announced to all the reporters he was having breakfast with for them to "Disregard everything we just said! This changes everything!" And the press did just that, never reporting anything that Carville had said, for months and years afterward.

Why is this bit of news important? Because the press went crazy when Rush Limbaugh recently said that he wanted President Obama to fail, talking endlessly about it and suggesting that Limbaugh and Republicans were unpatriotic.

Mr. Carville himself said on CNN: "The most influential Republican in the United States today, Mr. Rush Limbaugh, said he did not want President Obama to succeed." "He is the daddy of this Republican Congress."

Did Carville forget what he said about Bush in 2001? Of course not, he was just hoping everybody else wouldn't find out about it - pot, meet kettle. Carville says that focusing on Limbaugh is a deliberate strategy and that Democrats hope it undermines Republicans. This piece of information was confirmed by the New York Times in a profile of David Axelrod, Obama's closest political advisor:

He [Axelrod] also helps decide which fights to pick and which ones to avoid, making him a leading voice in setting the political tone in Washington. The recent back-and-forth with Rush Limbaugh, for example, was explicitly authorized by Axelrod, who told aides that it was not a moment to sit quietly after Limbaugh said he hoped that Obama would “fail.”

Limbaugh, for his part, said that he is rooting for the failure of Obama's liberal policies. "The difference between Carville and his ilk and me is that I care about what happens to my country," said Limbaugh on Wednesday. "I am not saying what I say for political advantage. I oppose actions, such as Obama's socialist agenda, that hurt my country."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Teen Commits Suicide -- Is Sexting to Blame?

We're saddened by a story about a teen who hanged herself in her bedroom after an ex-boyfriend disseminated a nude cell-phone photo of her around their Ohio community. Jessica Logan, 18, was harassed daily by other girls calling her "slut" and "whore" and throwing objects at her.

Making It Through
She finished high school last year and went on national television with her face and voice distorted to warn other girls about the potential consequences of taking naked photos of themselves, a mistake Vanessa Hudgens later made.

But two months later, after attending a funeral for another teen who had committed suicide, Jessica went home and took her own life.

A Common Mistake
An oft-cited survey says that 39 percent of teens have sent similar photos of themselves ... and 15 percent of high-school boys say they disseminate the pics after a breakup.

The "Today" show had an "Internet security expert" on hand to warn of the dangers of "sexting" and urge parents to check their kids' cell phones. But isn't the real problem old-fashioned high-school cruelty?

"Sexting" and online bullying may be relatively new, but girls tormenting other girls over their alleged promiscuity has been around forever.

We're glad to hear from the security expert that schools are finally being held liable for bullying (including some cyber-bullying), but we're not sure if that will be enough to keep kids from tormenting each other.

"Mean Girls" has a touching ending, but what can school officials and parents do to help real-life teens make peace? Should we blame technology ... or ourselves?

Tell us! What should parents or administrators do to teach kids about the dangers of sexting? Is it just another rite of passage?

Stem-Cell Decision Exposes Religious Divides

The embryonic stem-cell research debate is steeped with religious arguments, with some faith traditions convinced the research amounts to killing innocent life, others citing the moral imperative to alleviate suffering, and plenty of religious believers caught somewhere in between.

President Barack Obama's order Monday opening the door for federal taxpayer dollars to fund expanded embryonic stem cell research again brings those often colliding interests to the fore. Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, called Obama's move "a sad victory of politics over science and ethics."

"This action is morally wrong because it encourages the destruction of innocent human life, treating vulnerable human beings as mere products to be harvested," Rigali, the archbishop of Philadelphia, said in a statement.

On the other side is the Rev. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, a United Church of Christ minister and a professor at Chicago Theological Seminary. "There is an ethical imperative to relieve suffering and promote healing," she said. "This is good policy for a religiously pluralistic society that cares about human suffering and the relief of human suffering."

Obama alluded to religion in announcing the changes, saying, "As a person of faith, I believe we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering. I believe we have been given the capacity and will to pursue this research and the humanity and conscience to do so responsibly."

Some religious traditions teach that because life begins at conception, any research that destroys a human embryo, as this research does, is tantamount to murder and is never justified. The Roman Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention are among those that oppose the research.

Other more liberal traditions, including mainline Protestant and Jewish institutions, believe the promise to relieve suffering is paramount. In 2004, the governing body of the Episcopal Church said it would favor the research as long as it used embryos that otherwise would have been destroyed, that embryos were not created for research purposes, or were not bought and sold.

Under Jewish law, an embryo is genetic material that does not have the status of a person. According to the Talmud, the embryo is "simply water" in the first 40 days of gestation. Healing and preserving human life takes precedence over all the other commandments in Judaism.

Some groups and faiths are divided on the issue. Muslims disagree over -- among other things -- whether an embryo in the early stage of development has a soul. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the Mormon church, has not taken a position.

The Rev. Joel Hunter, an evangelical pastor from Orlando, Fla., who serves on an Obama White House advisory panel, said he was encouraged by Monday's developments.

"The principle is still that it's not only understandable but in some ways moral to use embryonic stem cells that are destined for destruction for research for helping people," he said. "I think we have to tread very lightly and very carefully, and I think we have to be vigilant for years to come."

But most evangelicals criticized Obama's move. Gilbert Meilaender, a Christian ethicist at Valparaiso University and a member of the President's Council on Bioethics, created by President George W. Bush, said Obama's decision was especially disappointing because scientists are advancing toward being able to produce cells that act like embryonic stem cells without destroying any human embryos.

Meilaender said that while there is no good solution for frozen embryos left in storage at fertility clinics, destroying them for stem cell research is not the answer.

"My own position is that having, as it were, produced and used them once in the use of someone else's project, for a reproductive purpose, that using it once for someone else's purpose is enough," said Meilaender, a member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

Catholic bishops have been outspoken in opposing embryonic stem cell research. Other Catholics, though, are more open to lifting the Bush-era restrictions, with caveats. The Rev. Tom Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University, said restrictions should be put on embryonic stem cell research -- including prohibition on their buying and selling, and using only embryos that otherwise would be destroyed.

"I'm trying to make an argument for some middle ground here," Reese said. "Hopefully down the line we can reach a point where we don't have to use embryonic stem cell research."

Polls show some believers are willing to buck their leaders on the issue. Fifty-nine percent of white, non-Hispanic Catholics and 58 percent of white mainline Protestants favor embryonic stem cell research, according to a poll released in July 2008 by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Only 31 percent of white evangelical Protestants, however, favored the research.

Princeton University politics professor Robert George, a Catholic and another member of the Bush-era Council on Bioethics, said the moral argument over embryonic stem cell research is not rooted in religion but in ethics and equality. He said research shows that an embryo is a human being in its earliest form of development, so we have to ask ourselves whether all human life should be treated equally, with dignity and respect.

"I don't think the question has anything to do with religion or pulling out our microscope and trying to find souls," George said. "We live in a pluralistic society where some people believe there are no such things as souls. Does that mean we should not have moral objections to killing 17-year-old adolescents?"

Monday, March 9, 2009

Prosecutor: Man Who Gunned Down Pastor Planned Attack

TROY, Ill. -- An Illinois prosecutor charged a Troy man for murder after he walked into a church on Sunday morning and gunned down a pastor as he gave a sermon.

Terry Joe Sedlacek of Troy has been charged with murder and aggravated battery involving the slaying of Rev. Fred Winters, according to Madison County court documents. He is being held without bond, even though he is in a St. Louis hospital for self-inflicted knife wounds.

Madison County State's Attorney William Mudge said after charging Sedlacek that investigators discovered a day planner where Sedlacek listed Sunday as a "death day." Mudge said that indicates that the attack was planned, but he and the police are still struggling to determine a motive.

Illinois State Police Capt. Mark Bramlett said detectives haven't found a connection yet between Sedlacek and the pastor, except that Sedlacek had friends among the church's large congregation.

Sedlacek is accused of killing Winters at the First Baptist Church at 7110 State Route 162 in Maryville.

About 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Winters was giving a sermon when a gunman walked up to the pastor in the church. Sedlacek pulled a .45-caliber firearm and shot at Winters. The bullet hit Winters' Bible, which burst into confetti. About 150 parishioners were watching when the gunman began shooting.

Then, Sedlacek shot the pastor the chest. Winters died a short time later. Sedlacek then pulled out a knife and cut himself, and two parishioners tackled him to the ground. The two parishioners were injured, one seriously. One of the parishioners is still hospitalized this morning, along with Sedlacek.

Sedlacek had three magazines of ammunition with him at the church. Mudge said that, if a perfect shot, it was enough to kill about 30 people.

Sedlacek and the seriously injured parishioner --Terry Bullard, 39, of Troy -- were treated at nearby Anderson hospital and then airlifted to a St. Louis hospital for surgery. Keith Melton, 51, of Troy -- the second parishioner who tackled Sedlacek -- was treated and released.

bullet EARLIER STORY: Terry Joe Sedlacek's Lyme disease.
bullet Sign the guest book for Pastor Fred Winters
bullet SLIDESHOW: View pictures of the scene.
bullet First Baptist Church's website

Madison County Coroner Steve Nonn said this morning that an autopsy showed that Winters was shot through the heart and died just seconds later.

Why exactly Sedlacek gunned down Winters is still a mystery to police, Bramlett said this morning. Detectives are out talking to neighbors and those who know Sedlacek to look for a connection. Sedlacek knew at least a few of the parishioners at the First Baptist Church, Bramlett said.

"We're still talking to friends and family members and trying to figure that out," Bramlett said. "Some people he knew went to that church, but we're not real sure why he chose that church, that pastor.

"Hopefully, after we get out and talk to people, it will be come clearer as to what motivated him to do that," Bramlett said.

Winters became senior pastor of the church 22 years ago, when the church had just 32 parishioners. At last count, the massive church near Anderson Hospital had about 1,200 members.

State police investigators and forensic teams are sifting through evidence found at the church, Sedlacek's Jeep Wrangler and at his home in Troy. Anyone with information about the attack or Sedlacek is asked to call Illinois State Police Special Agent James Walker at 618-346-3765.

A disaster cleaning company is at the church this morning And, visitors are stopping by to leave memorials to the slain pastor.

Pro-Family Leader Denounces Stem Cell Policy Change

WASHINGTON - Sources say President Barack Obama will announce on Monday that he's reversing limits imposed by President George W. Bush on using federal money for research with embryonic stem cells.

Proponents of the move say destroying the human embryos opens the door for research aimed at one day better treating, if not curing, ailments from diabetes to paralysis - research that has drawn broad support, including from notables like Nancy Reagan, widow of the late Republican President Ronald Reagan, and the late Christopher Reeve.

But it stirs intense controversy over whether government crosses a moral line with such research.

Obama will hold an event at the White House to announce the change, a senior administration official said Friday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the policy had not yet been publicly announced.

Embryonic stem cells are master cells that can morph into any cell of the body. Scientists hope to harness them so they can create replacement tissues to treat a variety of diseases - such as new insulin-producing cells for diabetics, cells that could help those with Parkinson's disease or maybe even Alzheimer's, or new nerve connections to restore movement after spinal injury.

The aim of the policy is to restore "scientific integrity" to the process, the administration official said.

Critics immediately denounced the move.

"Taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for experiments that require the destruction of human life," said Tony Perkins of the conservative Family Research Council. "President Obama's policy change is especially troubling given the significant adult stem cell advances that are being used to treat patients now without harming or destroying human embryos."

Indeed, there are different types of stem cells: So-called adult stem cells that produce a specific type of tissue; younger stem cells found floating in amniotic fluid or the placenta. Scientists even have learned to reprogram certain cells to behave like stem cells.

But Obama made it clear during the campaign he would overturn Bush's directive.

During the campaign, Obama said, "I strongly support expanding research on stem cells. I believe that the restrictions that President Bush has placed on funding of human embryonic stem cell research have handcuffed our scientists and hindered our ability to compete with other nations."

Once the change is in place, scientists will be able to start applying for taxpayer-funded grants through the National Institutes of Health.

The NIH already has begun writing guidelines that, among other things, are expected to demand that the cells being used were derived with proper informed consent from the woman or couple who donated the original embryo.

Suspect In Pastor Murder Could Be Charged Today

MARYVILLE, Ill. - A man suspected of killing a pastor with a barrage of shots that ripped through the church leader's Bible was in serious condition Monday from wounds he sustained in the confrontation, and authorities expect to charge him soon.

The gunman, identified by authorities as a 27-year-old from Troy, strode toward the Rev. Fred Winters shortly after 8 a.m. Sunday, exchanged words with him, then fired a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol until it jammed.

Churchgoers then wrestled him to the ground as he brandished a knife, said Illinois State Police Director Larry Trent. Winters later died of his injuries.

The gunman underwent surgery at St. Louis University Hospital and remained in serious condition Monday morning, according to hospital spokeswoman Laura Keller.

State Police Lt. Scott Compton told The Associated Press early Monday that authorities plan to charge the suspect sometime Monday or possibly Tuesday.

A 39-year-old parishioner, Terry Bullard, also remained in serious condition Monday morning. The third victim, Keith Melton, was treated and released.

None of the about 150 worshippers attending the early morning service seemed to recognize the gunman, and investigators did not know details of Winters' conversation with him, Trent said, but they planned to review an audio recording of the service.

Authorities didn't know whether Winters, a married father of two, knew the gunman. Police would not release the gunman's name pending possible charges.

Winters deflected the first of the gunman's four rounds with a Bible, sending a confetti-like spray of paper into the air in a horrifying scene worshippers initially thought was a skit, police said.

"We just sat there waiting for what comes next not realizing that he had wounded the pastor," said Linda Cunningham, whose husband is a minister of adult education at the 1,200-member church.

Winters had stood on an elevated platform to deliver his sermon about finding happiness in the workplace - titled "Come On, Get Happy" - and managed to run halfway down the sanctuary's side aisle before collapsing after the attack, Cunningham said.

Two worshippers tackled the gunman as he pulled the knife, and all three were stabbed - the gunman suffered "a pretty serious wound to the neck" while one worshipper had lower back wounds, Trent said.

Churchgoers knocked the gunman between sets of pews, then held him down until police arrived, said member Don Bohley, who was just outside the sanctuary when the shooting began.

Trent said investigators found no immediate evidence of a criminal background for the suspect. He said police were investigating whether a red Jeep parked outside the church belonged to the man.

The Jeep, which remained at the church Sunday night under State Police watch, was registered to the address of a 27-year-old man in an upscale neighborhood in Troy. No one answered the door at the residence Sunday.

A man of the same age whose mother's name also is registered at the Troy address was featured in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article detailing his battle with Lyme disease. In the article, the man's mother said the disease left lesions on his brain and that doctors had diagnosed him as mentally ill before discovering the disease.

In the August 2008 article, the mother said her son was taking several medications and had difficulty speaking after contracting the tick-borne illness.

Police would not confirm that the man in the article was the church shooting suspect. The Associated Press is not naming the man because no one has been charged in the shooting.

The Rev. Mark Jones, another First Baptist pastor, later urged a Sunday evening prayer service attended by hundreds at nearby Metro Community Church in Edwardsville to be resilient after "this attack from the forces of hell."

The standing-room-only crowd cried, cradled Bibles and stretched their hands skyward as they packed into the church, many watching the service on large television monitors in overflow areas.

"We need to reassure our hearts and reinforce our minds that Pastor Fred is in that place that we call heaven," Jones said. "Church, evil does exist. Today, we saw the visible results of evil and its influence."

First Baptist had an average attendance of 32 people when Winters became senior pastor in 1987; it now has about 1,200 members and three Sunday services, according to the church's Web site.

Winters was former president of the Illinois Baptist State Association and an adjunct professor for Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, according to the site.

He hosted Pizza with the Pastor dinners in his home, and the church organized bowling parties for fathers and daughters, karate classes and a golf league.

The church sits along a busy two-lane highway on the east side of Maryville, a fast-growing village of more than 7,000 about 20 miles northeast of St. Louis.

A farm sits directly across from the church, but subdivisions of newer homes can been easily seen from every side.

"Things like this just don't happen in Maryville," Mayor Larry Gulledge said. "We've lost one the pillars of our community, one of our leaders."

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Baptist Pastor Murdered During Sunday Morning Service

MARYVILLE, Ill. - A gunman walked down the aisle of an Illinois church during a Sunday service and killed the pastor, then stabbed himself and slashed two other people as congregants wrestled him to the ground, authorities said.

The man walked into the sprawling red brick First Baptist Church shortly after 8 a.m. and briefly spoke with The Rev. Fred Winters before pulling out a .45-caliber handgun and shooting Winters once in the chest, said Illinois State Police Master Trooper Ralph Timmins.

The gun jammed before the man could fire again, Timmins said. The attacker then pulled out a knife and injured himself before churchgoers subdued him. Two parishioners involved in the struggle also suffered knife wounds, Timmins said.

Timmins said officials don't know whether Winters, a married father of two who had led the church for nearly 22 years, and the gunman knew each other.

Officials did not know the suspect's name.

"We don't know the relationship (between the gunman and pastor), why he's here or what the circumstances came about that caused him in the first place to be here," Timmins said.

The Rev. Mark Jones, another pastor at First Baptist, said he did not recognize the gunman, who he saw briefly before the man pulled out his weapon. Jones went into an adjacent room and did not see the shooting, though he heard a sound like miniature fire crackers.

"We have no idea what this guy's motives were," Jones said outside the church. "We don't know if we'll ever know that."

Winters was pronounced dead at Anderson Hospital, spokeswoman Natalie Head said. Two people who were injured at the church were flown to another hospital, Head said.

The gunman and one victim, 39-year-old Terry Bullard, were being treated at St. Louis University Hospital, spokeswoman Laura Keller said. Bullard underwent surgery for stab wounds and was in serious condition, she said.

Keller said the gunman underwent surgery Sunday afternoon but could not provide his name, condition or type of injuries.

The other victim, Keith Melton, was treated and released from Gateway Regional Medical Center, spokeswoman Kate Allaria said. A man who answered the phone at a listing for Keith Melton in Troy identified himself as Melton's stepson and said Melton had been stabbed but was going to be fine.

First Baptist had an average attendance of 32 people when Winters became senior pastor in 1987; it now has about 1,200 members, according to the church's Web site. Winters also was former president of the Illinois Baptist State Association and an adjunct professor for Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, according to the site.

"Our great God is not surprised by this, or anything," Nate Adams, executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association, said in a statement. "That He allows evil and free will to have their way in tragedies like this is a mystery in many ways."

The church sits along a busy two-lane highway on the east side of Maryville, a fast-growing village of more than 7,000 people about 20 miles northeast of St. Louis. A farm sits directly across from church, but subdivisions of newer homes can been seen from every side.

"Things like this just don't happen in Maryville," Mayor Larry Gulledge said. "We've lost one of the pillars of our community, one of our leaders."

Congregant Sharla Dryden pulled into the church parking lot for a 9:30 a.m. service in time to see "just a lot of chaos, lot of police, fire, and people just devastated."

"They just said there had been a shooting," said Dryden, 62. "I would have been devastated if anyone had been shot, but to hear it was the pastor was terrible. You just never expect this to happen at a church."

But Jeffrey Hawkins, executive director of the Christian Security Network - a national organization that deals with security, safety and emergency planning for churches, schools and ministries - noted in a statement that while the shooting is a tragedy, it is "one that has been witnessed many times over the years."

Last month, a man shot and killed himself in front of a cross inside televangelist Robert H. Schuller's Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif. In November, a gunman killed his estranged wife in a New Jersey church vestibule as Sunday services let out.

Friday, March 6, 2009

NY Governor Forcing Recognition Of Same-Sex 'Marriages'

New York Governor David Paterson is commanding state agencies to recognize same-gender "marriages" and civil unions that are legal in other states and countries and to revise policies and regulations to accommodate it. reports Paterson sent state agencies a memo on Wednesday alleging that the failure to recognize homosexual marriages violates the state's human rights law. Frank Russo of the American Family Association of New York tells OneNewsNow the governor's decision is disappointing.

"Calling for recognition of civil unions and gay marriage performed in other states, at this time especially -- because the consequences are not only moral -- ...[is] not only bad for the homosexuals because it somewhat encourages their very risky behavior; but on top of that, it's bad for the whole state's economy," he contends. Russo says pensions and other benefits will be costly at a time when New York is in the red a billion dollars per month.

The governor's move comes in spite of a legal challenge against a New York appeals court ruling in February that stated same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions are entitled to recognition in the Empire State. There is no final decision yet in that matter -- and Russo does not anticipate a favorable court ruling.

"My expectation is not good," he admits. "These are basically liberals who don't realize the sanctity of marriage. They don't understand that marriage for thousands of years...was based on one concept – the concept of children. The procreation of children, and the education of children -- and of course, gay people cannot [procreate]."

Brownback 'Throwing The Unborn Under The Bus'

A pro-life activist says Senator Sam Brownback's decision to support pro-abortion Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius for Health and Human Services secretary shows that his commitment to the unborn is merely political rather than a core value.

Kansas Republican Senators Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts issued a joint statement congratulating Sebelius on her HHS nomination, saying they "look forward to working with her on issues important to the state." Sebelius is a Catholic who says she personally believes abortion is wrong, yet has opposed restrictions on late-term abortions and is a friend and defender of notorious Wichita abortionist George Tiller.

Mark Crutcher, president of Life Dynamics, Incorporated, says Brownback -- a self-professed pro-life Catholic -- "abandoned" the unborn by backing Sebelius.

"I think it's typical of what we've seen over the years when somebody's commitment to the unborn is political rather than a core value with them," says the pro-life leader. "It's like the difference between a politician and a statesman."

Crutcher says Brownback's desire to become the next governor of Kansas may be driving his support of Sebelius. "All of Brownback's flowery words in the past don't really mean much," he says. "When push comes to shove, he'll throw the unborn under the bus for some political advantage -- and that's what's happened here."

In addition, Crutcher says the pro-life movement has been "stabbed in the back by people like Sam Brownback so many times" that the movement should have learned the lesson that the measure of a pro-life lawmaker is not what he tells you he believes, but rather what he will do to protect the life of the unborn.

OneNewsNow has twice contacted Senator Brownback's office for comment on his support of Sebelius. Those emails have not been returned.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

School Shuts Out Entire Community To Avoid Church

New York's Broome Community College has answered a local church's freedom of religion lawsuit.

The college permitted a church to rent school property on weekends for its religious services, but stopped allowing it while still allowing other non-religious groups to use school facilities. The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) then filed a lawsuit against the school, citing religious discrimination.

ADF attorney Daniel Blomberg was in court when the judge ruled the school was violating the Constitution. He notes the school has retaliated in a strange way.

"However, unfortunately, the college's response to this finding was it's going to shut down the forum for the entire community," he explains. "It will no longer rent its facilities on the weekends to anyone in the community as a way of trying to uphold its hostility toward religion."

According to an ADF press release, Blomberg finds it hard to believe the school would punish the whole city by turning away all venues, especially when it was receiving rental income from the church during the economic downturn.

"That's going to be shutting down things like...a roller skating rink that's available to the community on Saturdays and Sundays," he adds. "They said that's one of the things they were willing to do to keep churches out."

A court hearing will be held later to decide whether the church will have permission to rent space at the college if it holds services during the week instead of on weekends.

Prop. 8 Hearings Kick Off Today

The California Supreme Court will hear arguments today in challenges to Proposition 8, the constitutional amendment approved by voters in November that declares marriage to be between one man and one woman.

Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), notes the Prop. 8 battle was the voters' response to the state Supreme Court's legalization of homosexual "marriage."

"This is a very important case in that it's not only involving whether or not homosexual marriage will be forced upon the people of California, but it's really a question of whether or not democracy itself will be preserved," he explains.

Californians, Dacus adds, have clearly declared their view of marriage -- more than once. "The people of California have twice gone to the polls, twice have defined marriage as between one man and one woman, and this last time they amended the state constitution," he points out. The other vote Dacus is referring to was in March 2000, when voters in the Golden State approved Prop. 22.

In a PJI press release, Dacus says the court will consider an argument from homosexuals that Prop. 8 was not a valid constitutional amendment but merely a revision. If the court rules against the people, he believes California voters will have one choice left: to recall justices that vote for homosexual marriage.

Pawlenty: 'Faith In God' The Cornerstone Of Conservatis.

The governor of Minnesota is expressing optimism about the future of the conservative political movement -- a movement that he believes should be centered around faith in God.

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty only received one percent of the vote last week in the Republican presidential straw poll conducted at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). However, balloting for the straw poll ended a day before his CPAC speech -- a message which undoubtedly resonated well with conservative Christians.

In an interview with OneNewsNow, Pawlenty reiterated that "faith in God" should be at the forefront of the conservative movement.

"If you go back and look at why and how this country was founded, people who envisioned America and the American dream first and foremost said we need to acknowledge and be grateful to God," the governor stated. "And it's reflected in our founding documents; it should be reflected in our daily lives, our political values, our political principles, and our own behavior.

"It all starts with that," he emphasized. "That is the foundation upon which we build our house -- literally and figuratively."

hand on BiblePawlenty urged fellow conservatives to strengthen their reliance on their Creator. "Remember this: God is the God of all," he shared. "And our job is to get up each day and try our best with hope and grace and love and kindness -- but in the end, the result is God's....I think he charges us with the effort, and we need to trust him with the result."

Governor Pawlenty, who John McCain seriously considered for his vice-presidential nominee last year, says he currently does not have presidential ambitions, but instead is strictly focused on his state and on restoring the conservative movement to prominence.

More government, less God: What the Obama revolution means for religion in America

In his successful drive for the presidency, Barack Obama went out of his way to cultivate churchgoing Americans. Obama spoke frankly and fluidly about his faith, he participated in Pastor Rick Warren's candidates' forum at the Saddleback mega-church, he reached out personally and persistently to evangelical and Catholic leaders, and his campaign targeted American religious groups like no other Democratic candidate for president has in recent times. Moreover, Obama and his campaign downplayed his socially liberal views, stressed his commitment to tolerance and civility toward those with whom he disagreed on social issues, and sought to underline the ways in which his progressive policy positions were consistent with biblical faith and Catholic Social Teaching.

Obama's efforts paid off. In 2008, according to CNN exit polls, Obama won 43 percent of the presidential vote among voters who attend religious services once a week or more, up from Senator John Kerry's 39 percent in 2004. Obama did especially well with Black and Latino believers. But he also made real inroads among traditional white Catholics, according to a recent article by John Green in First Things.

His cultivation of churchgoing Americans has not let up since winning the election. From his selection of Rick Warren to deliver his inaugural invocation to his public support for charitable choice to his recent remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama has sought to signal to the faithful in America that his administration is no enemy to religion.

I do not doubt the sincerity of Obama's religious intentions। But while many social conservatives have pointed a spotlight on Obama's socially liberal policies (repealing the Mexico City Policy, for example) few have paid attention to the likely impact his stimulus, bailout, and economic welfare programs will have. One unremarked and unintended consequence of Barack Obama's audacious plans for the expansion of government — especially in health care, education, and the environment — is that the nanny state he is seeking to build will likely crowd out religious institutions in America. In other words, if he succeeds in passing his ambitious agenda, the Obama revolution is likely to lead the United States down the secular path already trod by Europe.

To fund his bold efforts to revive the American economy and expand the welfare state, Obama is proposing to spend a staggering $3.6 trillion in the 2010 fiscal year. Obama's revolutionary agenda would push federal, state, and local spending to approximately 40 percent of Gross Domestic Product, up from about 33 percent in 2000. It would also put the size of government in the United States within reach of Europe, where government spending currently makes up 46 percent of GDP.

Why is this significant for the vitality of religion in America? A recent study of 33 countries around the world by Anthony Gill and Erik Lundsgaarde, political scientists at the University of Washington, indicates that there is an inverse relationship between state welfare spending and religiosity. Specifically, they found that countries with larger welfare states had markedly lower levels of religious attendance, had higher rates of citizens indicating no religious affiliation whatsoever, and their people took less comfort in religion in general. In their words, "Countries with higher levels of per capita welfare have a proclivity for less religious participation and tend to have higher percentages of non-religious individuals."

Gill and Lundsgaarde show, for instance, that Scandinavian societies such as Sweden and Denmark have some of the largest welfare states in the world as well as some of the lowest levels of religious attendance in the world. By contrast, countries with a history of limited government — from the United States to the Philippines — have markedly higher levels of religiosity. The link between religion and the welfare state remains robust even after Gill and Lundsgaarde control for socioeconomic factors such as urbanization, region, and literacy. The bottom line: as government grows, people's reliance on God seems to diminish.

How do we account for the inverse relationship between government size and religious vitality? As Gill and Lundsgaarde point out, some individuals have strong spiritual needs that can only be met by religion. This portion of the population remains faithful, come what may.

But other individuals only turn to churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques when their needs for social or material security are not being met by the market or state. In an environment characterized by ordinary levels of social or economic insecurity, many of these individuals will turn to local congregations for social, economic, and emotional support. At times of high insecurity, such as the current recession, religious demand goes even higher. Witness, for instance, press accounts chronicling the recent boom in churchgoing among Americans hit hard by the recession. Of course, many of those who initially turn to the church around the corner for instrumental reasons often end up developing an intrinsic appreciation for the spiritual and moral goods found in their local congregation.

By contrast, the more the state steps in to reduce the economic and social insecurity of its citizens, the less likely fair-weather believers are to darken the door of a church on Sunday. Now, to paraphrase Charles Krauthammer, Obama hopes to expand the size of the welfare state by offering cradle-to-grave health care and cradle-to-cubicle education to Americans. If he gets his way, Americans will not have to trust in God, or their fellow congregants, to support an ailing parent, or to help them figure out how to pay for their daughter's college tuition. Instead, they can put their faith in Uncle Sam.

To secularists and religious skeptics, this may seem no great loss. Who cares if Americans substitute "In God We Trust" for "In Government We Trust"? But as political scientist Alan Wolfe observed in Whose Keeper?, one of the primary dangers associated with the rise of the nanny state is that "when government assumes moral responsibility for others, people are less likely to do so themselves." Wolfe noted that large increases in welfare spending in Sweden, Denmark and Norway over the last half century have ended up eroding the moral fabric of families and civic institutions in these societies. Scandinavians have come to depend not on family, civil society, or themselves, but on the government for their basic needs.

The problem with this Scandinavian-style welfare dependency is that many Scandinavians, especially young adults who have grown up taking the welfare state for granted, are markedly less likely to attend to the social, material, and emotional needs of family and friends than earlier generations. As a consequence, social solidarity is down and social pathology — from drinking to crime — is up. In Wolfe's words, "High tax rates in Scandinavia encourage governmental responsibility for others; they do not, however, necessarily inspire a personal sense of altruism and a feeling of moral unity toward others with whom one's fate is always linked." Not surprisingly, cheating on taxes is on the rise in Scandinavian countries, both because the social solidarity undergirding these societies is fraying and because men and women — especially high earners — are recoiling from paying the hefty taxes associated with keeping their nanny states afloat (sound familiar?).

The dangers that Wolfe identifies in societies like Sweden would likely be even more salient in America, which has a much lower level of cultural homogeneity and collectivism than the Scandinavian nations. In the United States, as Alexis de Tocqueville observed, religious institutions have long provided crucial social and moral ballast to the individualistic ethos of our nation. For instance, as political scientist Arthur Brooks pointed out in his recent book, Who Really Cares, religious Americans are significantly more likely to give to charity and to volunteer their time than are secularists. In 2000, he found, for instance, that 91 percent of regular churchgoers (those who attend religious services nearly every week or more frequently) gave money to charities, compared to 66 percent of secularists (those who attend religious services a couple times a year or not at all); moreover, 67 percent of churchgoers volunteered, compared to 44 percent of secularists.

This is why, even though Obama's audacious agenda might provide short-term relief to the economic and social challenges that now beset us, over the long term the Obama revolution is likely to erode first the religious and then the civic and moral fabric of the nation। Undoubtedly, this is not the change religious believers who put their faith in Obama last November are hoping for from this president. But if the European experiment with the welfare state tells us anything, it tells us that this is the change we can expect from a successful Obama revolution.

W. Bradford Wilcox, associate professor of sociology at the University of Virginia, is a fellow of the Witherspoon Institute and sits on the editorial board of Public Discourse. He is currently writing a book for Oxford University Press titled "Soul Mates: Religion, Sex, Childbearing, and Marriage among African Americans and Latinos." This column is printed with permission.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

U.S. Supreme Court rejects N.J. Football Coach's Appeal of Team Prayer Ruling.

by Sue Epstein

The U.S. Supreme Court has turned down an appeal from the East Brunswick High School football coach who was banned from bowing his head during student-led team prayers.

Without comment today, the nation's highest court ended Marcus Borden's efforts to overturn a township board of education decision that as a public employee, Borden cannot mix religion with his work as a coach.

The high court's decision leaves intact a federal appeals court's April decision that Borden's desire to bow his head and take a knee during team prayer is an endorsement of religious activity at a public school.

Neither Borden, who has been the East Brunswick football coach since 1983, nor his attorney, Ronald Riccio, could be reached for comment this afternoon.

Borden has been fighting for the right to bow and kneel in prayer with his team since November 2005, when he filed a federal lawsuit arguing the school district's regulations were overly broad. He won a district court ruling in July 2006 in which a judge decided those rules were unconstitutional, but that decision was reversed at the appellate level in April 2008.

Riccio asked the U.S. Supreme Court in October to review the appeals court decision, arguing then that Borden's case was of national importance because "it addresses what public school educators are permitted to say and do when public school students engage in religious activities in their presence."

Richard Katskee, an attorney with the Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which represented the board of education in court, said in a prepared statement today "children have a clear right to attend public schools without religious pressures being brought to bear by school personnel."

"Coach Borden was out of bounds, and the courts were right to blow the whistle," Katskee said. "I hope that other coaches and school personnel learn a lesson from this."

Todd Simmens, president of the East Brunswick Board of Education, in the same statement said "public school officials simply may not engage with students in religious activity."

"The board of education and district officials have, throughout this case, made certain no school employee supervises or otherwise participates in any type of prayer with our students," Simmens said. "Needless to say, the board is pleased that, in this case, the courts reaffirmed this long-standing constitutional principle."

The school district said Borden had a long history of leading prayers before he was ordered to stop after complaints from some parents. Borden resigned as coach in protest of the school board ruling in 2005, but rescinded the resignation within a week and hired Riccio to represent him in his quest to coach the team the way he had for the past 23 years.