Lawmakers in South Dakota have voted down a bill meant to exempt clergy from being forced to perform same-sex marriages if the state ever legalizes gay marriage.
The South Dakota Senate Judiciary Committee voted down Senate Bill 66 in a vote of four to three on Friday, killing one of two similar bills introduced by State Senator Ernie Otten.
A majority of the Committee concluded that S.B. 66 was unnecessary given preexisting law regarding marriage definition and religious liberty in the state, reported the Associated Press. more >>
One of the primary actors of "Alone Yet Not Alone" says she doesn't blame the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for taking back its nomination of the movie's title song for the Best Song award. Though it was a huge disappointment for her, the rescindment is now a source of encouragement as she believes that more people will hear the song and see the film than ever before.
"We are human and people face feeling isolated and alone – and that's the neatest thing that I think is happening as the result of the Oscar [nomination] being rescinded, is that if people can hear this song that never would have thought of it or heard of it and all of a sudden they are comforted in their own soul that they really aren't alone," Jenn Gotzon, who plays Lydia in the film, told The Christian Post on Monday.
The Academy first nominated "Alone Yet Not Alone" for best song then revoked its nomination two weeks later, saying that song creator Bruce Broughton improperly emailed "members of the branch to make them aware of his submission during the nominations voting period." Originally, the nomination had been controversial among Hollywood insiders because "Alone Yet Not Alone" earned just $134,000 in its 21-day run and Broughton is a former governor and current music branch executive committee member, according to The Hollywood Reporter. more >>
Legislators in Idaho are looking into the merits of a bill that if enacted would protect licensed professionals from being legally harassed for acting upon their religious beliefs.
House Bill 426 was introduced last week by Idaho Representative Lynn Luker of Boise and was referred to the House State Affairs Committee where a hearing is still pending.
"No occupational licensing board or governmental subdivision or entity shall deny, revoke or suspend a person's professional or occupational license, certificate or registration for… Declining to provide or participate in providing any service that violates the person's sincerely held religious beliefs or exercise of religion except where performing emergency response duties for public safety," reads HB 426 in part. more >>
WASHINGTON — Education experts argued that the Common Core educational standards prove the major obstacle to school choice, a program that could revolutionize K-12 education across the United States, giving parents the best options and giving a hand up to the poor and disabled.
"Now I am going to show you a mythical creature on par with the unicorn and the jackalope — a government program with 100 percent satisfaction," declared Jason Bedrick, a policy analyst for The Cato Institute's Center for Educational Freedom. Bedrick discussed Arizona's Education Savings Accounts (ESA) program, which gives a specific amount of state money to parents for them to use with a variety of educational options. He said such complete satisfaction for a government program is unheard of.
Tim Keller, executive director of the Institute for Justice Arizona Chapter, told the stories of four families whose children benefited from the program. Lexie Weck, for instance, has cerebral palsy, mild mental retardation, and Autism. After the public school refused to send her to a private program, her mother Andrea was able to afford it under the ESA program. "This year, Lexie went rock climbing, she is learning to ride a horse, and she danced with her mom at her mom's wedding," Keller explained. more >>
Japanese researchers have been able to create stem cells useful for regenerative medicine for research by exposing mature cells to an acidic bath. The discovery means stem cells can be produced not only easily but also without destroying embryos.
In research published by Nature on Thursday, researchers Haruko Obokata et al. found a way to create stem cells that are "pluripotent," which means they can be modified into other types of cells.
This is a trait commonly found in embryonic stem cells, which unlike adult stem cells have a strong ethics debate surrounding their usage. more >>
Erick Muñoz, husband of the pregnant Texas woman who was recently taken off life support, said in a recent interview that he wishes ultimately God had taken his life instead of his wife's.
Muñoz has been embroiled in a weeks-long legal battle over his wife after a Texas hospital refused to take her off life support due to her pregnancy, even though Muñoz argued his wife had verbally communicated that she would want to be taken off life support if ever such an event took place.
"Many a night, I asked God to take me instead," Muñoz told CNN's "AC360" on Wednesday in his first national television interview since winning a court ruling to have his wife, Marlise Muñoz, disconnected from life support. "But you can't turn off that knowledge, that you know how bad it was. … And I promised her, I told her I will honor her wishes." more >>