President Obama has nominated Rabbi David Saperstein to be the next ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom at the State Department, a position that has been vacant since late last year. The announcement on Monday also marks the first time that a non-Christian will hold the job, which was created in 1998.
"I am grateful that Rabbi Saperstein has chosen to dedicate his talent to serving the American people at this important time for our country. I look forward to working with him in the months and years ahead," Obama said. Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, now awaits Senate confirmation.
The nomination came with some controversy, namely the fact the post sat vacant for nine months. Intended for the purpose of promoting and defending religious freedom around the world, the position was not filled for two years until Suzan Johnson Cook took the post in 2011. However, Cook left in October during a time of intensified religious persecution globally, especially in the Middle East. more >>
Virginia's amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman was struck down Monday after a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond ruled 2-1 that gay couples have a constitutional right to marry that trumps state marriage laws.
A USA Today report said Monday that this is the second state ban on gay marriage to be struck down this summer. The ruling supports a district judge's decision handed down on the matter in February.
"We recognize that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable," noted the majority. "However, inertia and apprehension are not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws." more >>
This is the first in a five-part debate series on same-sex marriage between James W. Doig and Robert P. George. It originally appeared on The Witherspoon Institute's Public Discourse.
In thinking about the issue, "How should marriage be defined?" I want to begin with two Vermonters, Ann and Ellen, who have been together as a couple for more than thirty years. They have three children-Bert, who has graduated from college and is now married (to Maria) and working in a small business in Vermont, and Alison and Beth, who are in high school, both doing well in their academic work and excelling in soccer. One of the three is adopted, and Ann is the birth mother of the other two. more >>
Apartheid in South Africa - the systematic, institutionalized racism that berated, belittled and exploited the black population - was horrific. It told black people that they are less than human. It insulted their very existence. It is an evil concept that has no place in any society. So why are so many progressives willing to dismiss the hate perpetrated on blacks, and use the term improperly to gain themselves a cheap political advantage?
Progressives use the term "apartheid state" to make themselves look good when castigating others; they willfully and gleefully misrepresent history, and mock those who suffered through a lifetime of being placed as second-class citizens. "No worries," says the Progressive. "As long as I attacked some Republicans. Besides, my friends think I'm super cool and super caring."
As Israel continues to defend itself against thousands of missle strikes thus far (if it weren't for the Iron Dome, there would be many more dead Israelis. And, it has been pointed out, one day the Iron Dome will run out of missiles itself,) protests are taking place around the world to call out the treatment of those in Gaza. more >>
Demi Lovato is the latest professing Christian (and celebrity) to declare that, "The LOVING God that I believe in, would never condemn anyone for loving another human of the same sex."
What's the next step on this slippery theological slope?
I predict it will be: "The LOVING God that I believe in would never condemn anyone." Just watch and see. more >>
What's happening in Arizona right now is sufficient to make every conservative shudder. And I'm not talking about the border crisis. I am talking about the state's largest regulated utility, Arizona Public Service. APS is literally attempting to purchase its regulators in the state's August 26th Republican primary (early ballots go out this week). If successful, the implications are national, especially for fledgling solar power, and crony capitalism will have a new model that will boomerang on the Republican Party.
First, a little background. APS has concluded that too much energy choice via rooftop solar is bad for it. The more people turn their lights off, making an energy choice of rooftop solar, the less money the publicly traded electric monopoly makes. In sunny Arizona, people are understandably going solar as costs have come down – even though subsidies have gone away – by the tens of thousands. As their energy costs have skyrocketed in some areas, churches, schools, seniors, rich, poor, you name them - everyone is considering a switch to the less costly solar.
Last year, APS attempted to get the all-Republican Arizona Corporation Commission, its regulators, to pass a massive new tax that would make going with rooftop solar too expensive. By a 3-to-2 vote, the commissioners rejected the APS plan to "tax the sun," but still passed a much smaller tax. more >>