CBS Considering Gay Dating Ad for Super Bowl

CHRISTIAN POST

Gay is wrong

By Jennifer Riley

CBS reportedly told a gay dating site that its proposed Super Bowl ad would be reviewed for possible airing and would be considered if a spot becomes available.

ManCrunch.com submitted a 30-second commercial to CBS on Jan. 18 and, as of Jan. 22, CBS reportedly said “the spot hadn’t been officially approved yet” by the network standards and that all spots for the big game on Feb. 7 had been sold out, according to Fox News. But CBS agreed to consider running the ad if an advertiser dropped out.

The ad involves two men watching the Super Bowl when their hands touch as they reach into a chip bowl. The two men then begin to kiss each other as another man sitting nearby watches in shock.

In response to the purported ad, a spokesperson for the conservative pro-family group American Family Association said it would be “totally irresponsible” of the network to air the ad during the most watched TV program of the year.

“CBS should not put parents in the position of answering embarrassing and awkward questions from their children while they’re just trying to enjoy a football game,” said Tim Wildmon, president of AFA, in a statement Thursday. “CBS should quit dithering around and reject this ad out of hand.”

In addition to pressure from pro-family groups, CBS is also coming under fire from pro-choice groups for approving an ad featuring college football star Tim Tebow and his mom, Pam.

Though the exact content of the ad has not been revealed, many are speculating that it will recount Pam Tebow’s refusal to have an abortion while she was pregnant with Tim despite having suffered from a life-threatening infection at the time.

Focus on the Family, which produced the ad, said earlier this month that Pam Tebow would share a personal story centered on the theme of “Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life.”

“The Tebows said they agreed to appear in the commercial because the issue of life is one they feel very strongly about,” Focus on the Family reported.

“Tim and Pam share our respect for life and our passion for helping families thrive,” added Focus on the Family president and CEO Jim Daly.

Focus on the Family’s Super Bowl ad, which still needs to receive final confirmation, will be Christian group’s first Super Bowl commercial.

Super Bowl broadcasts are typically viewed by over 90 million people each year.

This year’s Super Bowl, which pits the Indianapolis Colts against the New Orleans Saints, will kick off at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 7.

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Tim Tebow Super Bowl ad: an astonishingly bold stand

CSM

The Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback says he stands up for what he believes. Even so, the Tim Tebow Super Bowl ad against abortion threatens to politicize ‘Super Sunday’ and turn some fans and NFL coaches against him.

In this Jan. 1 photo, Florida quarterback Tim Tebow stands on the sidelines during the Sugar Bowl football game at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans.

By Patrik Jonsson

Atlanta

In a historic career at the University of Florida, Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow has kept his faith and his convictions confined mostly to a few square inches beneath his eyes: Every Saturday, he would write a Biblical citation on his eye black.

Now, at the very moment when his hope of becoming a pro football quarterback hangs in the balance, Tim Tebow is taking on perhaps the single most divisive topic in America – abortion – in an advertisement set to air during the single most-watched television program of the year: the Super Bowl.

For a handsome and humble young man, who has become revered throughout much of the South for his devoutness as well as his on-field skill, it is an astonishingly bold decision. In the 30-second ad against abortion, he will speak from his own experience of how his mother did not abort him despite medical advice to do so.

Abortion-rights groups are already calling for the ad’s removal, saying that the group behind the ad is “anti-woman” and “anti-equality.” Online chatter is expressing an unease about Tebow’s willingness to infuse Super Bowl Sunday – an apolitical American rite – with politics. And, perhaps most concerning for Tebow himself, pro football teams already skeptical of his ability to transition to the National Football League might see this as further reason to avoid him on draft day.

“I do stand up for what I believe,” Tebow told Sports Illustrated last summer. “And at least you can respect that.”

Tebow’s story

Raised on a farm outside Jacksonville, Fla., by the son of an evangelist preacher and a mom who home-schooled him, Tebow is an amalgam of charismatic leader, world-class athlete, and devout Christian Southern boy. His faith resonates among fans in the Deep South.

But by targeting the Super Bowl, his “Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life” ad ranges far beyond the familiar confines of the conservative South. Fans and coaches in the NFL might resent him for pushing a cultural message on a day usually reserved for quarterback matchups and halftime extravaganzas.

“We’re going down a road here that is filled with potholes, moral and otherwise,” writes Orlando Sentinel sports columnist George Diaz, suggesting that the ad could lead to more advocacy ads, which Super Bowl broadcaster CBS has said it will consider.

The ad, funded by the Focus on the Family organization, is expected to tell the story of Tebow and his mother, Pam. Ill while pregnant with Tim, Pam refused suggestions to abort her son. Those who have seen the ad describe it as “uplifting.”

“I asked God for a preacher, and he gave me a quarterback,” Tebow’s dad, Bob, has famously said about the trying pregnancy.

The appropriate venue?

But various groups, including the National Organization for Women, have called for CBS to withdraw the ad. They say that both the ad’s advocacy content, as well as the group behind it are unacceptable. So far, CBS has said it intends to run the ad.

“This un-American hate doesn’t have a place in this all-American pastime,” Kierra Johnson, executive director of Choice USA, told Fox News.

Tebow has for years had to walk the line between the conviction of his faith and open proselytizing. But the ad comes at a crossroads for Tebow. Professional scouts have said Tebow’s throwing motion and skill-set are poorly suited for the NFL, and his preparations for the upcoming Senior Bowl, which offers coaches a first up-close look at college prospects, haven’t gone well so far this week.

“The anti-abortion ad that he’s in that will possibly run during the Super Bowl will likely create an uproar for him as well that some teams might not want to get involved in,” writes Mark Miller on Yahoo! Sports.

Yet it is the timing of his ad – and not necessarily the content – that could knock Tebow down a few notches among NFL fans. Indeed, a May 2009 Gallup poll found that, for the first time since the poll began in 1995, more Americans are anti-abortion than pro-abortion rights. But timing is everything.

“There are going to be about 100 million of us who won’t be happy for 30 seconds of the Super Bowl,” writes CBS Sports’ Gregg Doyel. “I’m not complaining about the ad because it’s anti-abortion and I’m not. I’m complaining about the ad because it’s pro-politics. And I’m not. Not on Super Sunday.”

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Joel Osteen Prays for Houston’s First Openly Gay Mayor

CHRISTIAN POST

Joel osteen

By Lillian Kwon

Globally recognized pastor Joel Osteen has been drawing some flak from the press and the public in the past few months over his comments on homosexuality.

His remarks last year on “The View” and “Larry King Live” that “homosexuality is not God’s best” drew fire from the gay rights community and from Christians for avoiding to identify the behavior as a sin.

More recently, his participation in the inauguration of Houston’s first openly gay mayor has also drawn some – but less fiery – attention.

Pastor of America’s largest church, Osteen was invited to offer the opening prayer at the inauguration of Houston’s elected city officials on Monday. While praying for the 14-member City Council, he also specifically thanked God for the new mayor, Annise Parker, a partnered lesbian.

“She’s our mayor. Joel doesn’t view Annise through a gay lens,” Don Iloff, Jr., spokesman for Lakewood Church in Houston, told The Christian Post. “He sees her as a person.”

Annise Parker, the newly-elected happens-to-be-lesbian mayor of Houston was sworn in Monday and the opening prayer was given by Rev. Joel Osteen.

And the Bible instructs believers to pray for and respect those who govern us, he added.

“If you ask Joel he’ll tell you ‘when I can pray at an event over government leaders and in Jesus’ name it’s hard to resist,'” Iloff said. Osteen prayed for the previous mayor, Bill White, at his inauguration.

The spokesman also pointed out that Parker has never pushed or highlighted any kind of gay agenda during her time in government and during her campaign.

“She’s an all business kind of gal,” he said.

During the swearing-in ceremony Monday, the former city controller addressed the economy, public safety and education. She also briefly addressed the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community saying, “I feel your excitement and your joy, your apprehension and your longing for acceptance. I will gladly carry you forward. But today is simply one step toward a tomorrow of greater justice,” according to the Houston Chronicle.

If Parker begins pushing a homosexual agenda, Iloff said Lakewood Church and Pastor Osteen are likely to distance themselves from her.

“Annise says she’s a believer. Let her stand before God; that’s kind of where Joel is,” Iloff noted. “He’s not going to tell homosexuals they can’t come to our church. If the Holy Spirit convicts them, then they’ll change.”

Osteen does not affirm homosexual behavior. Though the pastor himself has never specifically called it a “sin,” his spokesman Iloff says they believe homosexuality is a sin. But sin is sin and homosexuality is no worse a sin than others, such as adultery, Iloff pointed out.

Lakewood Church maintains good relations with city officials, some of whom attend the megachurch. Two of the City Council members are regular Lakewood attendees. Politicians, however, are not allowed to speak from the pulpit.

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Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill Draws Evangelical Opposition

CHRISTIANPOST

A Ugandan legislator who proposed the highly contested Anti-Homosexuality Bill insists the measure is being misconstrued.

“There has been a distortion in the media that we are providing death for gays. That is not true,” ruling party MP David Bahati said on BBC. “When a homosexual defiles a kid of less than 18 years old, we are providing a penalty for this.”

The bill, which is currently being debated by a parliamentary committee, has drawn global attention from gay rights advocates and religious leaders alike, many of whom are condemning the legislation for promoting hatred and handing down severe penalties against homosexuals and their family, friends, and even pastors. Punishments range from a fine and a three-year imprisonment to life imprisonment and the death penalty.

Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda and can be punished with life imprisonment. But the anti-homosexuality legislation was designed to “fill the gaps” in the provisions of existing laws and “strengthen the nation’s capacity to deal with emerging internal and external threats to the traditional heterosexual family.”

Bahati told BBC that homosexuality is neither a human right nor is it in-born.

“It is a behavior learned and it can be unlearned,” he said on BBC.

Some religious leaders in Uganda are backing the legislation, but many more within and outside the country are gravely concerned.

“Regardless of the diverse theological views of our religious traditions regarding the morality of homosexuality, in our churches, communities and families, we seek to embrace our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters as God’s children worthy of respect and love,” said a group of U.S. Catholic, evangelical and mainline Protestant leaders, in a statement Monday.

Most recently, on Thursday, evangelical Pastor Rick Warren released a video to Ugandan pastors detailing his opposition to the bill and correcting media reports that state otherwise.

As a pastor, he said it is not his role to interfere with the politics of other nations, he said it is his role to speak out on moral issues.

Warren called the Anti-Homosexuality bill “unjust, extreme and un-Christian” toward homosexuals.

“ALL life, no matter how humble or broken, whether unborn or dying, is precious to God,” said Warren, who works with pastors in Uganda on the “Purpose Driven” campaign and P.E.A.C.E. Plan.

Passing the bill would have “a chilling effect” on the HIV/AIDS ministry of churches in Uganda, the southern California pastor added. With the proposed legislation threatening to penalize those who provide counseling to someone struggling with their sexuality and work with people infected with HIV/AIDS and who do not report the homosexual within 24 hours of knowledge, fewer people who are HIV positive will seek care from the churches out of fear of being reported.

“You and I know that the churches of Uganda are the truly caring communities where people receive hope and help, not condemnation,” the megachurch pastor said in his video message.

While affirming that marriage is intended to be between one man and one woman and that all sex outside of marriage is not what God intends, Warren also stressed, “Jesus also taught us that the greatest commandment is to love our neighbors as ourselves. Since God created all, and Jesus suffered and died for all, then we are to treat all with respect.

“The Great Commandment has been the centerpiece of my life and ministry for over 35 years.”

According to Bloomberg, a refined version of the bill is expected to be presented to Parliament in two weeks. Dr. James Nsaba Buturo, minister of Uganda for Ethics and Integrity, told Bloomberg that the draft bill will drop the death penalty and life imprisonment for gays.

Before the changes, which have not yet been made, the measure stated that persons who commit the offense of “aggravated homosexuality” – where the offense is committed against those below the age of 18 and where the offender is living with HIV – shall be liable on conviction to suffer death and to imprisonment for life. Another provision nullifies international treaties, protocols, and declarations that are “contradictory to the spirit and provisions enshrined in this act.”

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Iran Frees Two Women Converts

By Michelle A. Vu

Maryam Rostampour and Marzieh Amirizadeh

After nine months in prison, the two young female converts who have gained international attention were freed Wednesday afternoon in Iran, sources inside the country reported.

Maryam Rostampour, 27, and Marzieh Amirizadeh, 30, were released at 3:30 p.m. local time without bail, according to Elam Ministries. They are currently at home with their family, but could face more court hearings in the future.

“Words are not enough to express our gratitude to the Lord and to His people who have prayed and worked for our release,” they said, according to Elam.

Open Doors USA President/CEO Dr. Carl Moeller, whose group works with persecuted Christians, responded to news of their release:

“Praise the Lord for the great news out of Iran today of the release of Maryam and Marzieh. Literally millions of Christians around the world have been praying for their release.”

But Moeller warned that the two converts’ future remains “uncertain” so Christians must continue to pray for them and other persecuted believers in Iran.

The two young females were arrested March 5 on charges of anti-state activity and “taking part in illegal gatherings” due to their involvement in house church activities. They were detained in Evin prison, the notorious facility known for its human rights violation and capital punishment, while their trial took place in Tehran.

Reports indicate that they were pressured by the judge to denounce their Christian faith and return toIslam. However, the women refused to deny Jesus Christ as their savior and as a result were sent back to prison for several more months.

At the Aug. 9 court hearing, they had told the judge, “We love Jesus,” “Yes, we are Christians,” and “We will not deny our faith.” At an Oct. 7 hearing, they then learned about the addition of a third charge against them – apostasy. However, the new judge was sympathetic to their case and acquitted them of anti-state activities, which rarely happens.

Their case was then transferred from the revolutionary court to the civil court.

During their detainment, the women suffered psychological abuse, including sleep deprivation and intense interrogation for hours at a time. They also had health problems but were denied medical attention. Amirizadeh suffered from a previous spinal condition, but received no medical attention. She also had an infected tooth but was only given painkillers.

“Maryam and Marzieh have greatly inspired us all,” said Sam Yeghnazar, director of Elam Ministries. “Their love for the Lord Jesus and their faithfulness to God has been an amazing testimony.”

Open Doors noted that Iranian authorities are prone to release detained Christians and then summon them to court hearings or force them to sign restricting documents. The ministry cautioned that though the women were freed from jail it does not mean they are “living in complete freedom.”

Christians are asked to pray for the women’s health to be fully restored and for their continual freedom.

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Prayer to Satan during MTV telecast

ONENEWSNOW

 

2009_mtv_music_video_awards

By James L. Lambert

During last month’s MTV music video awards ceremony, actor Jack Black urged the audience join hands and pray to “dear dark lord Satan.” In his prayer, the actor prayed that the musicians and nominees would have “continued success in the music industry.” The awards program was broadcasted on the MTV network (a subsidiary of the Viacom Corporation) throughout the country through cable and satellite television.

The Radio City Hall audience readily acquiesced to Black’s invitation to pray to the devil. In a video posted on YouTube, Black encouraged the large audience to join in by saying, “let me see those horns.” Black, dressed in a “muscle suit” continued by asking the awards ceremony audience to join hands during “the prayer.” He then held hands with actress Leighton Meester while he prayed aloud.

Black’s prayer went basically unnoticed among most conservative and Christian media circles — perhaps because they feel the comedian was simply joking as he displayed his contempt for Christianity with the prayer invocation. In fact, this would be in keeping with Black’s previous behavior.

In 2008 he participated in a video that mocked supporters of California’s marriage initiative, Proposition 8. In commenting on that video, the Culture and Media Institute (CMI) said Black “appears as Jesus rebuking the Proposition 8 supporters while munching on a shrimp cocktail and saying that the Bible condemns eating shellfish too. Then he [Black] reels off some scripture references without context to suggest that the Bible is self-contradictory and unreliable.” In their press release (December 4, 2008), CMI described Black as “an anti-Christian bigot.”

Others claim last month’s public “prayer” to Satan was just a publicity stunt to promote the new heavy metal video game, “Brutal Legend.”

But regardless how one looks at Black’s actions, it sets a dangerous precedent. Author and King’s College professor Paul McGuire labels Black’s prayer to Satan as “just the tip of the iceberg of what is happening in our nation and in the entertainment industry.” The conservative commentator contends that “although it is hidden, Satanism is one of the fastest growing religions in America.” He adds: “We can expect to see Satanists demanding and getting the same rights as any other religion.”

Former Hollywood actor Bob Turnbull says Black’s prayer to the “dark side” was “pathetic and sick,” which shows a “heartbreakingly sad” side of Hollywood’s culture. Turnbull, also known as the “Chaplain of Waikiki,” knows a little something about Hollywood. In the ’60s and ’70s, he appeared in a number of well-known movies (The Little People, Camelot, Tora Tora Tora) and television shows (Hawaii Five-0, Petticoat Junction, My Three Sons, Bob Hope Chrysler Theater, Another Life).

Phil Magnan, director of BFamilyAdvocates.com, chimes in, wondering if Black “really knows what he is invoking or has any idea how destructive Satanism really is.”

Radio talk-show host Jesse Lee Peterson has a different take on Black’s prayer. Peterson is instead at odds with MTV, the network that hosts the awards. He says it is “disturbing that MTV continues to promote the most degenerate and base programs on its network….[They] intentionally air programming designed to seduce and corrupt the minds and hearts of America’s youth” (like Sex…with Mom and Dad, among others).

Ultimately, McGuire believes there could be some encouraging signs to come. While he affirms his belief that the level of darkness will continue, the Christian author strongly believes that simultaneously Americans will “see a revival among the youth similar to the Jesus Movement in the ’70s.”

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How to get paid $1,000 per second!

WND

Entrepreneur offering $20 grand to recite 10 Commandments

By Bob Unruh

$1 million Gospel Tracts

The time is getting close for your opportunity to get paid $1,000 per second for reciting God’s laws to mankind.

It will be on Oct. 26 that self-made millionaire Darrel Rundus, a successful business operator in the marketing field, will start dialing telephone numbers of people who have signed up online on his Ten And Win website, giving each person, in the order they are randomly selected, an opportunity to recite the Ten Commandments in 20 seconds or less.

The first successful contestant gets the $20,000 prize.

“I will begin randomly calling those who entered and the first one I get on the phone who can list the law, in order and do it in 20 seconds or less, will win $20,000.00,” he told WND.

(The rules say the actual wording can be abbreviated, so “Do not lie” will qualify as a citation for the longer “Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”)

Rundus told WND he was distressed that Americans readily can tick off a list of 10 stores, 10 sports teams – even 10 beers, but there’s a collective “Uhmmm” when those same people are asked to cite the Ten Commandments.

He explains:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HzILRG41B4&feature=related

The project has drawn the support of Ray Comfort of Living Waters ministry and a partner with actor Kirk Cameron in The Way of the Master projects.

“Can you name the Ten Commandments?” Comfort’s newsletter asks. “If you can, you could win $20,000.00!!! On October 26th, 2009, our friend Darrel Rundus will randomly start drawing names and calling people who have registered to ‘Name Ten and win $20,000.00. The first qualifying person he gets on the phone who can list The Law, in order and do it in twenty seconds or less, will win $20,000.00”

The campaign has been launched on the Web at the Ten And Win site, and he’s even posted a video showing not only that it’s possible, but providing tips and hints on how to memorize the law:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aOxm1RCCNA&feature=related

Rundus said he and his wife are taking $20,000 of their own money and posting it as a prize that either will be dispatched via casher’s check or wire transfer to the first person who, on Monday, Oct. 26, answers his random telephone calls and can recite the Ten Commandments in order in 20 seconds or less.

“As a Christian I’m honestly and genuinely intrigued that by the approximate 85 percent of the people around the world today who say they believe in God, but when I asked hundreds of them to name the Ten Commandments, they couldn’t do it,” he said.

“You’re putting me on the spot,” was one of the responses he got.

From a child, it was, “We go to church every Sunday and I don’t know these.”

There’s a signup procedure on the Ten And Win website. Rundus said it will be from those who enter the competition via the website that names and telephone numbers will be selected randomly.

The calls will continue until there’s one winner, he said.

Rundus is founder and owner of the world’s largest circulation marketing firm and previously has worked with evangelist Ray Comfort and actor Kirk Cameron, who run The Way of the Master ministries.

Rundus said while the door remains open to running a future competition, for now there will be one challenge, one prize and one winner.

Rundus told WND his goal is very simple, to encourage people to learn the laws on which the United States was founded, and therefore be able knowledgeably to hold policymakers to those higher standards.

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Oprah Winfrey or Jesus: Who’s right?

WND

Evangelical author Josh McDowell takes on theology of media icon

"O God: A Dialogue on Truth and Oprah's Spirituality"

DALLAS, Texas – “One of the mistakes that human beings make is believing that there is only one way to live, and we don’t accept that there are diverse ways to being in the world. There are many paths to what you call God.”

Oprah Winfrey said it. And when she did, many Americans who love Oprah believed it.

But one of the best-selling living evangelical authors, Josh McDowell, is not about to sit back and let that statement go unchallenged.

The result is a very unusual book – both in Christian publishing and in the world of secular literature.

Get your autographed copy of “O God” exclusively from the team that published it – WND Books and the WND Superstore.

It’s called “O God: A Dialogue on Truth and Oprah’s Spirituality” – and its official debut in bookstores nationwide comes tomorrow.

“As Christian apologists who believe that salvation is by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, and in Christ alone, we wanted to create a fictional, almost Socratic dialogue that would cover many of the themes of Oprah Winfrey’s spiritual teaching in recent years,” explain McDowell and co-author Dave Sterrett in their preface.

Rather than pile on Oprah with Bible verses to contradict her casual New Age proclamations, McDowell and Sterrett use a fictional conversation – or series of conversations – between two female graduate students, both seeking spiritual truth.

The book comes out as Oprah is very much center stage in the news world.

Even in her bid with first lady Michelle Obama to land the Olympics in Chicago, her rhetoric took a markedly spiritual tone.

“I love this city, because this city has been so great to me and I know what this city has to offer,” Winfrey said. “My message is really about my love for Chicago and … the spirit that we know the games will bring and the spirit that the people of Chicago will bring to the Games.”

Oprah is also lending her name to a new movie about abusive relationships called “Push,” for which she serves as executive producer.

“Push” is about an abused, obese teenager in Harlem who is pregnant with her second child and how a teacher at an alternative school tries to pull her out of her situation. Winfrey was inspired by the message of hope that the book and film present.

“What struck me is that you can live in those circumstances and still find hope,” she said. “You can’t do that on your own. Somebody has to show it to you. For me it was teachers.”

It is Oprah’s compassion that lures millions to her TV show and her magazine and the persona that has become an industry. Yet, McDowell and Sterrett explore the possibility that misguided compassion, based on human emotions rather than divine revelation and God’s law, can lead people in dangerous directions.

“If you are a Christ follower who believes, as we do, that God’s salvation is only through Jesus Christ alone, perhaps this book, ‘O God,’ will inspire a conversation with friends who are asking you questions,” they write. “How do you respond when a friend at your work, school, book club, gym or family reunion brings up Oprah Winfrey’s teaching or a form of new spirituality? Do you know how to speak and live the truth in love? This book probably won’t provide every single answer to all your questions about God and spirituality, but we hope it will provide some. Our desire is that ‘O God’ will create friendly and perhaps robust spiritual conversation about the most important things in your life.”

McDowell has authored or co-authored more than 110 books with more than 35 million in print worldwide. His classic “More Than a Carpenter” alone sold more than 15 million copies.

Get your autographed copy of “O God: A Dialogue on Truth and Oprah’s Spirituality” by No. 1 bestselling author Josh McDowell and Dave Sterrett exclusively at the WND Superstore.

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Obama pushes gay rights, but not without criticism from activists

CSM

Many gay rights activists think Obama isn’t doing enough. But he’s in no rush on same-sex marriage or the military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy.

Ed Grandis, left, and Juan D. Rondon, hug after a bill allowing same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia was introduced at a city council meeting in Washington, on Tuesday, Oct. 6.

In last year’s presidential election, Barack Obama won 70 percent of the gay vote, John McCain just 27 percent.

Does that kind of clearly dominant constituency — one that’s more politically-attuned than the rest of the electorate — come with any political obligation regarding gay rights? You bet it does, and this weekend Obama is acknowledging the debt.

On the eve of Sunday’s National Equality March, expected to draw thousands to Washington, he’s addressing the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights group.

So far, his is a mixed record.

While Obama remains opposed to marriage among same-sex couples, in June he extended some benefits to the same-sex partners of federal employees. And he has taken steps to include among his administration openly gay officials.

John Berry, the director of the Office of Personnel Management, is the government’s highest-ranking gay official. David Huebner, chief lawyer for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, has been nominated ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa. Mr. Huebner would be just the second openly gay US ambassador. (The first was appointed by Bill Clinton.)

Marriage and the US military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gay men and women in uniform remain the toughest issues for the nation — and especially for Obama.

The Pew Research Center reported Friday that while most Americans favor civil unions for same-sex couples, they remain opposed to gay marriage.

It’s an issue that transcends government policy to an unusual extent, carrying significant moral and religious overtones. Pew finds that “nearly half of the public (49 percent) says homosexual behavior is morally wrong, while 9 percent say it is morally acceptable and 35 percent say it is not a moral issue.”

Meanwhile, the armed services for years have wrestled with the Pentagon’s policy regarding gay service members — a policy which senior retired officers (and even some on active duty) increasingly have spoken out against at a time when the troops, like the relatively young cohort of Americans they’re part of, don’t see the point in discriminating against gay men and lesbians.

Many gay rights advocates are losing patience with Obama who (unlike Bill Clinton) has no inclination to jump right into the military issue.

“Eleven months after his election, he has failed to deliver on any of his commitments to gay Americans, but even worse has been his refusal to engage around these issues,” Richard Socarides, who advised President Bill Clinton’s administration on gay and lesbian policy, told the Associated Press.

“What he needs to do now is engage and deliver,” said Socarides. “Spend some of his political capital on ending the gay military ban, a hugely symbolic issue. And with no intellectually sound arguments left against it, come out squarely for gay marriage equality.”

Obama also is being nudged to retire today’s military policy by many members of Congress. Led by Rep. Patrick Murphy (D) of Pennsylvania (the first Iraq war veteran elected to Congress) 176 House members have signed on to a bill doing away with don’t ask, don’t tell.

Meanwhile, the US Senate — and just last week, the US House of Representatives — have passed versions of a bill broadening the federal hate-crime law to cover violence against gays.

Obama is eager to sign the new hate crimes law. And White House officials push back against the notion that the president is dragging his feet on gay rights.

“The president has been very clear. He’s not hiding, he’s not avoiding [the gay and lesbian] issue,” Melody Barnes, the president’s top domestic policy adviser, told the Washington Post. “He has walked into a range of different communities as well as looked into the eyes of those in the GLBT community and been very clear about what he supports and what he wants done and the way he thinks it’s practical to get it done.”

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Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize?

WND

America reacts to Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize

 

By Drew Zahn

 

2009 Nobel Peace Prize Winner

“It’s not April 1, is it?” a White House aide reportedly asked ABC’s Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos.

Apparently, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue awoke, as many American households did this morning, to some shocking news: President Barack Obama has been awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

In an official statement, the president says he was “most surprised and deeply humbled.”

Others have expressed similar shock that Obama, in office for less than 10 months, had been awarded the prize. Underlying the shock is the fact that the deadline for filing nominations for the award is Feb. 1 of any given year, meaning the president was nominated after being in office for just 11 days.

“The real question Americans are asking is, ‘What has President Obama actually accomplished?'” said Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele in a statement. “It is unfortunate that the president’s star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working towards peace and human rights.”

A shocked Michael Savage further blasted the Nobel Prize committee for its choice:

“What has [Obama] done? Has he discovered a cure for brain cancer I don’t know about?” the talk radio host asked in a Newsweek interview. “We all know what the Nobel Prize committee is ever since Yasir Arafat won. It’s a radical leftist front group that hijacked Alfred Nobel’s prize.”

Fellow radio talker Rush Limbaugh also heaped on criticism, stating that awarding the prize to such an unaccomplished president is a “greater embarrassment” than Obama’s recent failed bid to bring the Olympic Games to Chicago.

“This fully exposes the illusion that is Barack Obama,” Limbaugh told POLITICO in an e-mail. “And with this ‘award’ the elites of the world are urging Obama, THE MAN OF PEACE, to not do the surge in Afghanistan, not take action against Iran and its nuclear program and to basically continue his intentions to emasculate the United States.”

Limbaugh continued, “They love a weakened, neutered U.S., and this is their way of promoting that concept.”

Other reactions, however, have been glowing:

“Obama got the prize not for doing, but for being. Not for making peace, but for exemplifying something new on the world stage – the politics of dignity,” wrote Robert Fuller, former president of Oberlin College, on the Huffington Post. “What is dignitarian politics? It is the recognition that people the world over actually want dignity more than they want either liberty or equality. In policy terms, it means ensuring dignity for all – within and among nations.”

Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said in a statement, “We are pleased that our president has been awarded one of the highest honors for any world leader. Under president Obama’s leadership, our nation is beginning to restore its international image as a beacon of peace and justice.”

He continued, “CAIR and the American Muslim community stand ready to partner with President Obama in promoting the ‘mutual interest and mutual respect’ he mentioned in his inaugural address.”

WND readers have sent in their share of comments, too.

“To the best of my knowledge, no American President in modern history with no significant foreign policy experience, no major world-shaking legislation to his credit as a junior senator with two years of experience and only a few weeks in office as president before the deadline for nominations ended has won a Nobel Peace Prize,” writes WND reader Geoffrey Cox. “Surely this could only be accomplished either by a figure of deity, or by the voting of some incredibly stupid or corrupt Norwegians – I’m going with the latter.”

Obama is the third sitting U.S. president to win the award, after Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, the former in the fifth year of his presidency for negotiating an end to the Russo-Japanese war and the latter in the sixth year of his administration, largely for his role in establishing the League of Nations.

Other WND readers have also taken exception to awarding the Nobel Prize to a president with few international accomplishments:

  • “The Nobel Peace Prize nine months into his term for … what?” asks WND reader Henry Frickel. “That’s like giving me, a guy who barely knows how to cut-and-paste and thinks Excel is something you do with that pedal on the right, the Computer World ‘Techie of the Year Award.'”
  • “Obama winning the Nobel, what a joke!” scoffed reader Sherry Perkins. “How do you win a Nobel Prize for peace when you have troops killing people in another country?”
  • “Has President Obama reduced standing armies? Did he speak out for the peace process when thousands of Iranians were slaughtered in the streets? No,” writes reader Louis Frederick. “He managed to convince most the world that America is arrogant, uncaring and not worthy of the superpower status we once held. He stood with hands on hips while Russia rolled over the democratic state of Georgia, and the reward was the removal of a missile shield from Czechoslovakia. He flaps lips while Iran is feverishly working on nuclear weapons to bring ‘peace’ to the Middle East by destroying the democratic state of Israel. Ludicrous.”
  • R.C. Rochte comments, “So, ‘The One’ has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (on credit for more surrenders of American sovereignty in the future, no doubt).”

Other reactions from around the country have challenged Obama’s merit for the award, not on his resume but on his politics. Judie Brown, president of American Life League, released the following statement:

“Bestowing the Nobel Prize on the most rabid pro-abortion president in history is a direct slap in the face to past recipient, Mother Teresa of Calcutta who said, upon receiving her Nobel Peace Prize: ‘the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a direct war, a direct killing – direct murder by the mother herself.'” Brown said. “In awarding the prize to Obama, the Nobel Committee is announcing that abortion is the cornerstone of a hellish ‘peace’ – the damning silence of 51 million aborted children in the United States alone.”

She concluded, “The Nobel Committee has bestowed the ‘Peace Prize’ on a man dedicated to war in the womb.”

Geir Lundestad, director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, however, defended the choice – even stating the vote was unanimous – on ABC’s “Good Morning America”:

“President Obama has changed very dramatically international politics,” Lundestad said. “We feel he has emphasized multilateral diplomacy, he has addressed international institutions, dialogue negotiations. He has inspired the world with his vision of a world without nuclear arms. He has changed the U.S. policy dramatically. There’s a whole list.”

As for the president himself, Obama said from the White House Rose Garden, “I do not feel I deserve to be in the company of so many transformative figures who have been honored by this prize.”

“I also know this prize reflects the kind of world that those men and women … want to build,” Obama said of the prize committee. “I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments but rather an affirmation of American leadership.”

He concluded, “I will accept this award as a call to action.”

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