An influential research organization that publishes reports showing the economic benefits of same-sex marriage legalization, which is frequently cited by the media and other entities, has ties to LGBT activist groups.
The Charles R. Williams Institute on sexual orientation and gender identity law and policy is based at the University of California, Los Angeles' School of Law. Established in 2001, the Williams Institute periodically publishes reports arguing for the economic benefits of states legalizing same-sex marriage.
Often using data like the 2010 U.S. census and providing guestimates on costs for weddings and travel, the institute has argued that states will benefit financially from gay marriage legalization. more >>
A local atheist group in Levy County, Fla. has again been denied its request to erect an atheist bench next to the local courthouse's Ten Commandments monument and veterans' memorial. The group vows to keep trying to have its bench recognized, even though this is the second time its request has been rejected.
Ray Sparrow, organizer of the local Williston Atheist group in Levy County, Fla., told a local media outlet that his group's application to erect a public monument next to the county's courthouse was denied because it did not meet certain requirements for having a public monument. The Williston Atheist group's monument was meant to reflect a similar atheist monument installed at the Bradford County Courthouse in Florida that consists of a 1,500-pound bench and quotations on the separation of church and state.
Sparrow told WCJB-TV that his group's application was denied for a second time for the same reasons, with the county commission saying parts of the application did not fall in line with county guidelines. One of the guidelines the monument fails to meet is the requirement that it contain complete text to accompanying references. more >>
My generation had its distinctive music just as every other. While my classmates may have listened to Marvin Gaye and the Aretha Franklin, my daughters selected music that spoke to their generation. Creative expression is great, but certain artists within each generation have stepped over the line of propriety. This is true for today's genre of music.
"Hip-hop reflects the truth, and the problem is that hip-hop exposes a lot of the negative truth that society tries to conceal. It's a platform where we could offer information, but it's also an escape." (Busta Rhymes)
I may not agree with Busta Rhymes on many things, but I agree that-at its best-music can be a powerful medium to speak and expose truth. Hip-hop and rap have an interesting history. Most agree that the genre emerged in the 1970s at various urban block parties, particularly in New York. Its artistic roots stretch all over the musical map, from blues and reggae to spoken word and funk. And of course much of it has been associated with cries for justice and relief from suffering, continuing a tradition that reaches at least as far back as the Negro Spirituals of the antebellum south. more >>
A display created by the pro-life student organization UM Respect Life at the University of Miami was vandalized last week by an unknown party.
University President Donna E. Shalala condemned the vandalism in an email, which was posted on the student group's Facebook page.
"I am sorry your display was vandalized. That behavior is unacceptable at the University of Miami," wrote Shalala. "I have asked our division of student affairs and campus police to investigate. You and your fellow students have every right to express your views …" more >>
The majority of Americans are not opposed to prayer at public meetings, as long as the prayer does not favor one religion over another, a recently released poll conducted by a New Jersey-based university found. Results of the poll come as several states are debating prayer at public meetings.
The poll, conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University in Hackensack, found that of the 883 voters questioned for the national poll, 73 percent said prayer at public meetings was fine "as long as the public officials are not favoring some beliefs over others." Another 23 percent opposed prayer at public meetings because such meetings "shouldn't have any prayers at all because prayers by definition suggest one belief or another."
Republicans were more likely to favor prayer at public meetings over Democrats, but 60 percent of Democrats still said prayer should be allowed. more >>
The wrestling team of a high school in West Virginia is fighting to keep a Bible verse on team t-shirts despite a complaint from local atheists and members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
A local atheist reportedly contacted FFRF regarding a Bible verse that adorned the walls in Parkersburg South High School's wrestling room, the wrestling team's website and t-shirts purchased by parents for team wrestlers. The verse is Philippians 4:13 and reads "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
The verse has reportedly served as the team's motto for the past 10 years. more >>