John Mark and Pamela Crawford are suing the state of South Carolina for performing sex assignment surgery on their adoptive infant three months prior to having legal custody of the child. This is the first lawsuit of its kind in the nation.
Their child, known as M.C., was born with both male and female reproductive organs, otherwise known as a special needs child that has an intersex condition. When M.C. was 16 months old and a ward of the state, under the care of the South Carolina Department of Social Services, doctors and department officials decided that M.C. should undergo sex assignment surgery to make M.C. a girl. The child's biological mother was deemed unfit and the biological father was considered to have abandoned the child. The decision about the child's sexuality was left to the state.
M.C. is now 8 years old, identifies as a boy, dresses as a boy, and refuses to be called a girl. M.C.'s surgery is irreversible. Left with female genitalia, his parents say that he feels like he has always been a boy and he has announced to his school and church community that he is a boy. more >>
National Religious Broadcasters President & CEO Dr. Frank Wright asked members of Congress investigating the IRS over its alleged inappropriate scrutiny of conservative and faith-based groups to focus on First Amendment protection for such organizations.
"As Congress investigates these incidents at the IRS, and others that may surface in the days ahead, I ask that you emphasize the First Amendment rights of non-profit religious organizations and churches, which gives them constitutional authority to operate free from government entanglement," wrote Wright in a letter sent to House Speaker John Boehner and other Congressional leaders, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.
"Pernicious targeting of faith-based organizations by any state actor must not be tolerated," Wright added. "These IRS cases before the nation today appear to be just such entangling, oppressive, and constitutionally unsound situations that must be protected against." more >>
The New York City Health Department is promoting a new smartphone app, "Teens in NYC – Protection," created to battle teen pregnancy. One video featured in the mobile app addresses bisexuality and birth control.
The department claims that it is responsible for declining teen pregnancy in recent years and hopes that the new app will help continue this trend. The New York City Health Department recently announced that its efforts over the last decade have led to a 5 percent decline in teen pregnancies in one year, hitting a new low by falling 30 percent over the last decade. The new app was created to provide teens with more accessible information to locate free, confidential reproductive health services.
Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said in a press statement that, "Not having sex is the surest way to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. But for teens who are having sex, it is important to use birth control and condoms to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. The Teens in NYC mobile app provides information in ways that are familiar to teens so they can [get] access to these services." more >>
Reaction to the guilty verdict of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, convicted of murdering three babies born alive in his clinic, was swift Monday from Christian and pro-life leaders, who while applauded justice being served in Gosnell's case, said there are many more abortions and "Gosnell-like" atrocities to stop across the nation.
"The guilty charge of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, dethroned ruler of 'Gosnell's House of Horrors' may spark justice for more women and babies across America," said Dr. Alveda King, director of African American Outreach for Gospel of Life Ministries. "Justice is served with this verdict, but injustice will continue unless we end abortion in this country. Gosnell was not the only abortionist who killed mothers and their born babies, he was just the one who got caught. Now we have to turn out attention to charging, trying and convicting others like him."
On Monday, Gosnell, 72, was acquitted in the fourth baby's death, but found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the overdose death of an adult patient. The jury, comprised of seven women and five men, reached a verdict on all 268 charges on the tenth day of deliberations. Gosnell now faces the death penalty or life in prison without parole. A separate set of jurors will reconvene on May 21 to consider whether he should be executed. more >>
The U.S. Department of Education recently announced that it will no longer use the terms "mother" and "father" when collecting information about a student's legal parents when those parents apply for federal student aid. Instead of using the words "mother" and "father," the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid form (FAFSA) will use "Parent 1" and "Parent 2."
The announcement states that the changes to the 2014-2015 federal student aid form "more accurately and fairly assess students' need for aid" and that "Gender-specific terms fail to capture income and other information from one parent when a student's parents are in a same-sex marriage under state law but not federally recognized under the Defense of Marriage Act."
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, "All students should be able to apply for federal student aid within a system that incorporates their unique family dynamics…. [that] provide[s] an inclusive form that reflects the diversity of American families." more >>
Debate over prayer in school made headlines again, this time in the Riverside School District in Lake City, Ark. Its school board voted on Monday to cancel its sixth grade ceremony rather than to allow prayer to be a part of the ceremony.
Controversy over whether or not prayer would be allowed resulted from an April 15 letter from the Madison, Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, on behalf of an anonymous "concerned parent." The Foundation's mission is to "promote the constitutional principle of separation of state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism."
The Foundation wrote, "As you may be aware, the Supreme Court has continually struck down prayers at school-sponsored events, including public school graduations. A prayer taking place at a 'regularly scheduled school-sponsored function conducted on school property' would lead an objective observer to perceive it as state endorsement of religion ... We request Written assurances that Riverside Public Schools is taking the appropriate steps to ensure that religious rituals are not part of graduation ceremonies or any other school-sponsored events." more >>