By now, most school doors have closed and summer swings into full-tilt fun as teens excitedly romp into the time-honored tradition of summer break.
Yet, along with this free time, lack of homework, and perhaps more time away from the house and parents' watchful eyes come new freedoms that tantalize every teen's mind. . Unfortunately, as school-year stress melts away in the summer sun, also melting away are accountability, structure, supervision, stimulation, focus and even brain cells due to inactivity.
Add to these ingredients some new friends and some extra money from a summer job, and this dangerous summertime cocktail can be the cause of a higher number of young people experimenting with drugs, smoking their first cigarette and trying alcohol in June and July than at any other time of the year. more >>
The conservative Christian organization from which founder Bill Gothard resigned four months ago amid allegations of sexual harassment revealed in a contested statement that it has found no criminal activity but will maintain its ban against Gothard's participation in the nonprofit. Gothard, meanwhile, insists his "intent was never to harass" alleged victims.
A statement written by the board of the Institute in Basic Life Principles, an education-oriented nonprofit that promotes "God's principles found in Scripture," reveals:
"In response to allegations against Bill Gothard, the board sought the facts through a confidential and thorough review process conducted by outside legal counsel. Many people were interviewed, including former board members, current and past staff members, current and past administrators, parents, and family members. more >>
The vast majority of Protestant pastors and clergy drastically underestimate the prevalence of domestic violence and sexual abuse within their congregations, says a new report from Sojourners and IMA World Health.
Despite a 2013 World Health Organization study that showed that 35 percent of women globally have been victims of "physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence," and a 2011 U.S. Center for Disease Control survey with similar figures, nearly 40 percent of pastors believe that only five percent or fewer of their congregants have been victimized in the same way.
According to the study that was conducted by LifeWay Research, 17 percent of church leaders believed 11-20 percent of their congregation had suffered domestic violence or sexual abuse, while 21 percent estimated that the figure was between six and 10 percent. more >>
An attorney involved in a Supreme Court case that will determine to what extent privately owned businesses can opt-out of providing certain types of birth control for religious reasons believes there are "'high stakes" involved in the outcome.
Matt Bowman, senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom, has served as an attorney for Conestoga Woods Specialties, who alongside Hobby Lobby, have sued the federal government to be exempt from the Health and Human Services' "preventive services mandate" that requires businesses to cover birth control that can lead to the early termination of a pregnancy.
"The stakes are very high in the Conestoga and Hobby Lobby case," explained Bowman regarding the First Amendment implications in the lawsuit. "It involves fundamental issues of whether or not religious freedom belongs to every American, and whether the government can redefine freedom to force citizens to buy abortion pills for other people." more >>
While some might find the story laughable, I personally find it tragic: Don Ennis, an experienced TV news producer was fired from his job, allegedly for performance-related issues, after reappearing as Dawn Stacey Ennis, marking his third gender change since last year.
With little sympathy, one website reported, "A television producer who has changed his gender three times has now more time on his hands to know who she or he is."
Worse still, the New York Daily News, apparently forgetting that Ennis had lived almost all of his life as a male, announced, "Dawn Ennis was canned weeks after her latest transition from her male persona, Don Ennis." more >>
June, long the most popular month of weddings, is a good time to ask: How strong is marriage today? In the pop culture, marriage is weak. Songs often extol illicit sex or denigrate marriage.
There's a song today, "Marry You," popularized by singer Bruno Mars: "It's a beautiful night, / We're looking for something dumb to do / Hey baby / I think I want to marry you." I didn't realize marriage was dumb or to be taken so lightly, as if on a whim.
It's not new that marriage is often a joke. Comedienne Mae West famously remarked in the 1930s or 40s: "Marriage is a wonderful institution. But who wants to live in an institution?" Henny Youngman made popular the phrase, "Take my wife---please!" more >>