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Rev. Franklin Graham Praises Putin for Stance Against Homosexuality.


Image: Rev. Franklin Graham Praises Putin for Stance Against Homosexuality(AP)

By Todd Beamon

The Rev. Franklin Graham has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin for his stance against homosexuality and slammed President Barack Obama’s “shameful” embrace of gay rights.

“To be clear, I am not endorsing President Putin,” Graham, the son of renowned evangelist Billy Graham, said in the March issue of Decision magazine.

The magazine in published by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, based in Charlotte, N.C. Franklin Graham is the association’s president and CEO.

“To survive in the KGB and rise to power in Russia, you have to be tough,” Graham said of Putin. “His enemies say he is ruthless. To some, he is a modern version of a czar. His personal life has its own controversies.

“Isn’t it sad, though, that America’s own morality has fallen so far that on this issue — protecting children from any homosexual agenda or propaganda — Russia’s standard is higher than our own?

“Putin is right on these issues,” Graham continued. “Obviously, he may be wrong about many things, but he has taken a stand to protect his nation’s children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda.”

Last year, Putin banned the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors,” Graham said. The restriction was highlighted by the Russian president’s critics leading up to the Winter Games in Sochi last month.

“American media and liberal activists were outraged that the Olympics would be allowed in such an ‘intolerant’ culture,” Graham said. “Even though Putin said that gays and lesbians would be allowed at the Olympics, the fact that he took a stand — simply to protect children — ignited a worldwide cultural firestorm.

“He further explained the law by saying, ‘We have a ban on the propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia,’ ” Graham said.

The evangelist called the American response to Putin’s crackdown “sadly predictable,” noting that President Obama sent gay and lesbian athletes to Sochi. He also mentioned Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement last month that his office would push forrecognition of same-sex marriage in all 50 states — “even in the 33 states that outlaw those marriages.”

Graham then charged Obama and Holder with having “turned their backs on God and his standards, and many in the Congress are following the administration’s lead. This is shameful.

“The world used to look to America for moral leadership,” Graham said. “But those days are long gone.”

He said that the United States has “abdicated our moral leadership” — at home and abroad.

“We defeated Communism, only to relax and see secularism and progressives take over our country,” Graham said. “Secularism is as godless as communism. Secularists and progressives have taken over our schools, media, and local and federal government. And it has all happened in the twinkling of an eye.”

He ended by quoting portions of Matthew 25:34 from the New Testament.

“But the Bible makes it clear that one day, ‘all nations will be gathered before [God]’ for judgment, and that ‘at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,'” Graham wrote.
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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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Dick Morris: NFL, Flake Forced Brewer’s Hand.


Image: Dick Morris: NFL, Flake Forced Brewer's HandArizona Gov. Jan Brewer and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during a Super Bowl host committee handover ceremony in New York.

By Todd Beamon

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a religious protection bill concerning gay rights because she was pressured by the state’s business community and the National Football League, which is scheduled to hold the Super Bowl in the state next year, political analyst Dick Morris told Newsmax late Wednesday.

“I think she vetoed the bill because of pressure from the Arizona business community,” Morris, who served as an aide to President Bill Clinton, told Newsmax in an email. “When Sen. Jeff Flake, a tea party conservative from Arizona, joined his colleague John McCain in urging a veto, it gave her political cover on the right to veto the bill,” Morris said.

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“I think the [National Football League] had a lot to do with it also,” he said. “By threatening to move the Super Bowl, they epitomized the harm that would flow to Arizona had she signed the bill.

“I don’t think she realistically had any choice. It became a jobs issue — and she had to veto the bill.”

In vetoing the legislation, Brewer said the controversial measure could “create more problems than it purports to solve.”

State Senate Bill 1062 would have allowed business owners to cite their religious beliefs as legal grounds for refusing to serve same-sex couples or any other prospective customer. It was passed by the Republican-controlled Arizona Legislature last week.

“Senate Bill 1062 does not address a specific or present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona,” Brewer said in a brief statement from her office as she announced her decision. “I have not heard one example in Arizona where a business owner’s religious liberty has been violated.”

She then attacked the bill as a broadly worded proposal that “could result in unintended and negative consequences.”

Brewer had come under mounting pressure to veto the measure after both McCain and Flake, both Republicans, opposed it. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential candidate, also spoke against the bill.

Three state Republicans who voted for the bill last week also reversed course and urged Brewer to veto it.

“I appreciate the decision made by Gov. Brewer to veto this legislation,” McCain said in a statement posted on his website. “I hope that we can now move on from this controversy and assure the American people that everyone is welcome to live, work and enjoy our beautiful State of Arizona.”

Flake said on Twitter:

He added in a later post:

The legislation was backed by the Center for Arizona Policy, a socially conservative group that opposes abortion and gay marriage.

Cathi Herrod, the group’s president, said Brewer’s veto marked “a sad day for Arizonans who cherish and understand religious liberty.”

The bill, she said, “passed the legislature for one reason only: to guarantee that all Arizonans would be free to live and work according to their faith.”

“Opponents were desperate to distort this bill rather than debate the merits,” Herrod said. “Essentially, they succeeded in getting a veto of a bill that does not even exist.”

Perhaps the strongest opposition to the legislation came from business leaders. Some who had opposed it threatened to boycott Arizona if Brewer approved it, similar to what many groups did after the state passed a tough anti-illegal immigration law in 2010.

That possibility worried some companies and business organizations, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Among the companies opposing the bill were Apple, American Airlines, Marriott International, and Delta Air Lines.

The Arizona Super Bowl Committee also voiced its opposition to the bill, contending that it would “deal a significant blow” to the state’s economy, the Times reports.

The 2015 Super Bowl is scheduled to be played at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, just outside Phoenix.

In addition, the Hispanic National Bar Association said on Wednesday that it would move its 40th annual convention, scheduled for September 2015 in Phoenix, to another city because of the legislation, the Times reported.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

Church of England Rules Out Blessings for Gay Marriages.


Church of England priests will not be allowed to bless gay and lesbian weddings, or marry someone of the same sex themselves, according to new guidelines issued by the church, which is struggling to heal divides over homosexuality.

Same-sex marriage becomes legal in England next month, posing a dilemma for the Church of England, which is the mother church of the world’s 80 million Anglicans and maintains that marriage is between a man and a woman.

England and Wales legalized secular same-sex civil partnerships in 2005. A church working group suggested last year that clergy allow gay and lesbian couples to mark and celebrate marriages held under the new legislation, as well as civil partnerships, in a religious service.

But after meetings last week, the church’s bishops released guidelines that ruled out any kind of blessing for gay marriages. Instead, they said, clergy could offer an informal prayer at their discretion and at the request of the couple.

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“Services of blessing should not be provided. Clergy should respond pastorally and sensitively in other ways,” said the guidance from the House of Bishops.

The Anglican Communion, which links Anglicans across and beyond the English-speaking world, has been split for years over gay rights and Biblical authority, especially since its U.S. branch,  the Episcopal Church,  ordained a gay bishop in 2003.

African traditionalists are strongly opposed to growing acceptance of homosexuality in the Anglican Communion and to a Church of England proposal for “facilitated conversations” on homosexuality.

The House of Bishops — one of three parts of the church’s General Synod — also said people in a same-sex marriage should not be ordained as bishops, priests, and deacons, nor should those in the ministry enter gay marriage.

“The House is not willing for those who are in a same-sex marriage to be ordained to any of the three orders of ministry,” the bishops said. “In addition, it considers that it would not be appropriate conduct for someone in holy orders to enter into a same-sex marriage.”

The legislation already forbids the Church of England and its sister Church in Wales from conducting same-sex marriages, although other religious groups can opt in if they want.

The Church of England had announced that it would address the issue of sexuality, saying it was aware it needed to reflect rapid changes in society and to address falling attendance rates and especially a failure to attract young people to the church.

The British parliament passed laws last year to allow gay marriages from 2014 in England and Wales. Scotland followed suit this month, becoming the 17th country to allow same-sex marriages.

Copies of the guidelines were sent to bishops and archbishops in other Anglican churches around the world, accompanied by a letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Archbishop of York John Sentamu.

They acknowledged the divisions in the church on homosexuality but said same-sex marriage was a “new reality” with implications for the Church of England that had to be discussed and addressed.

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© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Albert Hunt: Obama, Christie Need to Reset Their Narratives.


There were several reports this month about the Affordable Care Act, most of them positive: Participation is up; the so-called risk corridors, which critics call a giveaway to insurance companies, will make the government money; and the law will increase labor demand.

But more attention has been lavished on the negative: Over a decade, the equivalent of 2.5 million workers will drop out of the labor force because there are alternative health-insurance options, and the employment mandate was postponed again.

Separately, the drumbeat continued around Chris Christie. The Republican governor of New Jersey held a marathon news conference more than five weeks ago as he fired top aides whom he blamed for causing huge traffic disruptions on the George Washington Bridge last autumn. Christie insisted he knew nothing about the closures, which allegedly were political retaliation against Democrats.

Few new facts emerged about the initial controversy. But there has been a rash of other allegations, some stretching back to the 51-year-old governor’s high school days.

These two story lines — one involving Democrats, the other about Republicans — share common elements; they entail significant political fallout. Obamacare, even as the results get better, will hurt Democrats, perhaps seriously, in this year’s congressional elections. And a blow has been delivered to the presidential aspirations of Christie, who just three months ago was virtually coronated by Time magazine as the Republicans’ great hope for 2016.

Both demonstrate that once a narrative is established in U.S. politics, it’s very hard to shake.

The proliferation and growing influence of social media can accelerate a news narrative, like these two stories, says Teddy Goff, who directed President Barack Obama’s digital strategy in 2012. Over time, however, social media also may help a countertheme prevail, he says. This has little to do with overhyped chatter about media bias. There are effective offsets to media partisanship: the Internet versus talk radio; Fox News versus MSNBC. The mainstream media’s only discernibly consistent bias is on cultural issues — abortion, gay rights, guns, race – – while a smaller-movement conservative news media, oblivious to balanced or fair journalism, effectively pounds messages that often end up in the mainstream media.

That message pounding, coupled with the Obama administration’s miscues — the White House still resists tapping a chief executive officer to run the health-care initiative — has locked in, for now, a negative view of Obamacare. This despite some good news: More than 10 million Americans have new or better health-insurance coverage than before; health-care costs are moderating; and reforms such as prohibiting discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions are kicking in.

Optimists such as Tom Daschle, the former Senate Democratic leader, think that once the kinks are worked out, Obamacare will become popular, much as Medicare and the prescription drug plan for seniors did. Still, as he acknowledges, “It’s taking a long time for people to understand” that the benefits outweigh the problems. Democrats running in November don’t have a long time.

Neither does Christie. Even if no new evidence emerges to contradict his proclamations of innocence, the damage may be irreversible. The governor’s appeal as a front-runner was that he could beat Hillary Clinton; his base is big-money Wall Street guys. As he gets hammered daily and now trails Clinton in presidential trial heats, the rationale and the base are eroding. He can’t shake the narrative.

It’s so embedded now that the best scenario for Christie is that he convinces voters that he had a bunch of second-rate top aides who engaged in political thuggery and that he had no clue what was going on. That’s not a compelling narrative for a would-be president.

 

© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Eric Holder to Lecture Swedish Lawmakers on Gay Rights.


Attorney General Eric Holder is set to give a speech to the Swedish Parliament on Tuesday on gay rights.

According to a Department of Justice press release obtained by Newsmax, Holder will “discuss the global struggle for LGBT equality as well as other civil rights challenges shared by the United States and Sweden.”

The speech is titled, “A More Just and Inclusive World: Confronting the Civil Rights Challenges of Our Time,” according to the Swedish blog, Professorsblogg.

Holder is visiting Sweden as part of a European trip to attend a G6 ministerial conference in Poland. Professorsblogg claims the main reason for his visit to Stockholm is to discuss the case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, with his Swedish counterpart Beatrice Ask.

Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for the past 18 months, is wanted in Sweden on allegations of sexual assault. Assange has claimed that is a front to allow him to be extradited to the United States to face charges for releasing thousands of classified documents.

According to Professorsblogg, Holder may be hoping to receive assurances from Swedish authorities that they will follow any such U.S. extradition request, as the Scandinavian country has always done in the past.

Assange went on TV last month to attack President Barack Obama, after the president had announced plans to reform the U.S. government’s surveillance programs. “It is embarrassing for a head of state to go on like that for 45 minutes and say almost nothing,” he said during an interview with CNN.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Drew MacKenzie

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