Saturday, June 25, 2011

Is Support for Marriage Growing?

The results of a new poll released last week, that seem to contradict other recent research, shows that 62 percent of Americans either agree or strongly agree with the statement, “I believe that marriage should be defined only as a union between one man and one woman.” The survey was sponsored by the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) and was carried out by Public Opinion Strategies, May 16-19, 2011.

Those who conduct public opinion polls have often pointed out that the wording of a question can have a major impact on the response. For example, when a Pew survey asked, “Do you think it should be legal or illegal for gay and lesbian couples to get married?” a majority (53 percent) said it should be “legal.” A poll conducted by Gallup in May asked, “Do you think marriages between same-sex couples should or should not be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages?” A small majority (53 percent) said they should be recognized while 45 percent said they should not. And, a CNN/Opinion Research survey released in April of this year indicated that just over half (51 percent) of all Americans believe that same-sex marriages should be legally valid.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Billions Given to Charity in 2010

Americans gave nearly four percent more to charities in 2010 ($291 billion) compared to 2009 ($280.3 billion) reported the Giving USA Foundation and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. However, it was still more than six percent below a 2007 record. Patrick Rooney, executive director of the Center on Philanthropy said, “The sobering reality is that many nonprofits are still hurting.” The study estimates the giving by about 75 million households, up to 1.5 million corporations, an estimated 120,000 estates and about 77,000 foundations. The money goes to more than 1.2 million registered charities and some 350,000 American religious congregations. []

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sixth State to Ban Abortions After 20 Weeks

The Alabama Legislature voted to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, joining Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska in banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Gov. Robert Bently signed the bill into law. Oregon, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Minnesota are considering similar legislation. []

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Where Are the Children?

A recent USA TODAY analysis of 2010 Census Bureau data shows that the share of the population younger than 18 has dropped in 95 percent of U.S. counties since 2000 – despite a 9.7 percent growth in the U.S. population. Currently, children (under age 18) make up 24 percent of the nation’s population, compared to 25.7 percent in 2000.
Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, sees it as a sad trend. “There is tremendous value in children,” he wrote on his blog last week. “There is nothing sweeter than the sound of a little person playing and laughing. To see a child is to stand in awe of our Creator. We would be hard pressed to find a better way to invest our time than in the life of a little girl or boy.”
The census analysis also reveals that:
  • The number of households that have children under 18 has stayed at 38 million since 2000, but because of the 9.7 percent population growth, the share of households with children dropped from 36 percent in 2000 to 33.5 percent in 2010.
  • There are now more households with dogs (43 million) than children.
  • In rural counties, the child population dropped by more than 6 percent over the last 10 years.
  • Even in counties where the percentage of children grew, only 49 gained more than 1 percentage point.
Glenn Stanton, director of global family formation studies at Focus on the Family, said children also help to shape adults into better citizens. “Having children around requires that we are more mindful of others, that we act more responsibly, safer and considerate,” he said. “And we must realize that tomorrow’s educators, leaders, business owners, innovators and taxpayers always start out as children!”
For more information about the research go to USA TODAY.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lawmakers Vote for Ten Commandments

Last week, the Tennessee State House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution, 98-0, urging each county to permit the Ten Commandments to be posted in their respective courthouses. H.R. 107 was authored by Rep. Todd Watson and marks a defiant stand against attempts in recent years to exclude references to Christianity from courthouses across the U.S. Part of the resolution reads: “Throughout American’s rich history both the citizenry and their elected officials alike have deeply respected the Ten Commandments, its profound influence on the formation of American legal thought and its fundamental place in the history of law and government.” In Louisiana, the state House voted on Monday to approve placing a Ten Commandments monument on the state capitol grounds in Baton Rouge. [,]

Monday, June 13, 2011

Graduation Prayer Reinstated

With graduation season upon us, the news begins again of school districts forbidding graduation prayer. But, one valedictorian, Angela Hildenbrand of Medina Valley High School near San Antonio, Texas, challenged U.S. District Judge Fred Biery’s ruling that prohibited Angela from praying or mentioning God at graduation.
Christa and Danny Schultz, parents of Corwyn Schultz who is a graduating senior at Medina and professes to be an agnostic, filed a lawsuit against the school district to prevent prayers at their son’s graduation because it would cause him “irreparable harm.” Corwyn threatened to not attend graduation if other students were allowed to pray. Judge Biery agreed with the Schultzes and said if the school held an official invocation and benediction it would be school sponsorship of religion. He ruled that no one could pray, or mention prayer, or say "amen."
The school district and Angela, as well as Attorney General Greg Abbott and the Liberty Institute, filed emergency appeals with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn publicly decried the ruling and, at the eleventh hour last Friday, the 5th Circuit intervened and granted an emergency appeal — Angela was allowed to pray. Corwyn did not attend the event.
News of the controversy even reached Texas Governor Rick Perry who criticized Judge Biery’s ruling as “reprehensible” and demonstrating “the increasing inappropriate federal encroachment into the lives of Americans …”
Angela said, “It has been interesting to learn about the law process and to experience the media relations, but most of all a great testament to the faithfulness of God.” To read, or see the video of Angela’s prayer, visit
Although Medina Valley Independent School District won the emergency appeal on graduation prayer, the lawsuit is not over yet and is pending in federal court. [,]

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Illinois Catholic Charities Ending Foster Care, Adoptions

Catholic Charities in Rockford, Illinois announced last Thursday that rather than violate its religious beliefs by allowing unmarried or same-sex couples to adopt or foster children, they would stop providing foster care and adoption services. Illinois’ civil union law, which takes effect this week, forces adoption agencies that receive state aid to place some children in homes with same-sex couples. The Legislature failed to pass an amendment to the law to protect faith-based groups from being forced to violate their beliefs about which homes are best for kids. Catholic Charities of Rockford handles about 350 foster family and adoption cases and works with 11 counties in northern Illinois. []

Friday, June 03, 2011

Changing Attitudes on Abortion

Two recent studies conducted by Gallup and the Guttmacher Institute show that both negative and positive trends can be found regarding life issues. For example, while the abortion rate dropped eight percent from 2000 to 2008 and seven in ten Americans believe that abortion should be illegal in at least some cases, for the first time since 2008 the “pro-choice” position has a numerical advantage over the “pro-life” position.
The results of Gallup’s 2011 Values and Beliefs survey which were released this week, reveal that 49 percent of the population describe themselves as “pro-choice” while 45 percent consider themselves “pro-life.” The survey also revealed that:
  • 53 percent of the 18 to 34-year-old age group believes that abortion is morally wrong.
  • Only 31 percent of the 18 to 34 age group believe that abortion should be legal under any circumstance.
  • Just over half of all age groups (51%), believe that abortion is morally wrong.
  • 39 percent say that abortion is “morally acceptable.”
  • The most popular view among Americans (50%), is that “abortion should be legal under certain circumstances.”
  • 27 percent of Americans want abortion legal in all cases and 22 percent want it illegal in all cases.
The report from Guttmacher, which was founded as the research arm of Planned Parenthood, also revealed that the abortion rate among poor women jumped 18 percent over the eight years of the study. For more information go to The Gallup Report.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

New Research Shows Changes in Moral Attitudes

The results of a new poll released by Gallup last month show that Americans are becoming less concerned about “poor” moral values and also less supportive of doctor-assisted suicide. Gallup’s 2011 Values and Beliefs Poll reveals that the number of Americans who believe the overall state of moral values in the U.S. is poor has dropped seven percentage points in the last year. Currently 38 percent of the population believes that moral values in the country are poor compared to 45 percent a year ago.
Another part of the study discovered that support of doctor-assisted suicide has dropped to the lowest level in eight years. Currently, 48 percent of Americans say that doctor-assisted suicide is morally wrong, while 45 percent say it’s morally acceptable.
The research also revealed that:
  • 42 percent of 18 to 34 year olds believe that the use of pornography is acceptable while only 19 percent of those 55 and older believe it’s acceptable.
  • 71 percent of younger adults (18-34) believe that premarital sex is acceptable compared to 53 percent of those 55 and older.
  • 69 percent of Americans believe that the overall state of moral values in the country is getting worse while 22 percent believe the state of moral values is getting better.
For more information about the Gallup studies go to Suicide Study or Moral Values Study.

(from FotF's Pastor's Weekly Briefing)