All posts from “March 2010”

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March 31, 2010

Health Care Bill Restores Abstinence Ed. Funding

The health care bill signed into law restores $50 million in funding for five years for abstinence-only programs. As we wrote earlier, the federal budget signed by President Obama does not include funds directed towards them.

CNN reports today that Guttmacher Institute isn't happy about the newly directed funds. However, a federally funded study released in February suggested that programs that encourage teenagers to delay having sex have been effective. Rob Stein of the Washington Post offers some background:

A University of Pennsylvania researcher reported last month that a carefully designed, morally neutral abstinence-focused approach can work. But the program does not earmark funding for programs focused on maintaining virginity.

During the health legislation debate in the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) added $50 million in annual funding for five years to states for abstinence programs -- a provision that survived the tumultuous process that ensued.

March 29, 2010

CWA Criticizes RNC for Nightclub Expense

Concerned Women for America is asking the Republican National Committee to explain the party's expense for a $1,946.25 visit to a club with topless dancers and bondage outfits.

"As women we find the very idea of officials from either party conducting business inside an establishment that objectifies and demeans women outrageous," Penny Nance, the Chief Executive Officer of Concerned Women for America, said in a statement today.

Did they really agree to reimburse nearly $2,000 for a bondage-themed night club? We have several questions for the RNC: Why would a staffer believe that this is acceptable, and has this kind of thing been approved in the past?

Please explain to women if and why you think it is appropriate to attach your organizations to pornographic enterprises? Did you really swill drinks, ogle young girls and plan party business at this kind of establishment?

The RNC will be reimbursed by Erik Brown of Orange, Calif., the political consultant who expensed the committee for the February visit to the club, according to the Associated Press.

March 26, 2010

Dem. Pro-life Group is Dissenting Voice

When the House sent a sweeping health care bill to President Obama Sunday, most of the nation's leading pro-life groups slammed it as a proposal that would liberalize the nation's abortion laws and increase the abortion rate.

But Democrats for Life America and its executive director Kristen Day were casting a dramatically different message, arguing that the bill was not only pro-life but that the nation's abortion rate likely would decrease.

For months, Democrats for Life had been working on the same side of organizations such as National Right to Life, the Family Research Council and the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission in trying to ensure that the health care bill maintained the status quo on abortion law and did not federally fund the procedure. Yet when Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan announced a deal Sunday that lent his support if Obama pledged to sign an executive order, Democrats for Life was the only group not disappointed. It sent out a press release hours later saying it was "proud to support this historic health care legislation."

"The goal was always to pass a health care reform bill," Day told Baptist Press. "All these [pro-life] members and Democrats for Life supported health care reform, and the point of contention obviously was the abortion issue.... We're proud that this health care legislation passed and we're proud of the work that Bart did. We appreciate that the president signed this executive order that says the Hyde Amendment is the law of the land."

The Hyde Amendment -- which must be renewed annually -- prevents Medicaid from funding elective abortions. President Obama signed the bill, named the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, into law Tuesday.

Generally, groups that oppose abortion have divided into two camps in theorizing how the bill will impact the nation's abortion rates. National Right to Life and others argue that the nation likely will see an increase in abortions because lower-income women who currently are uninsured will be able to use tax subsidies to purchase insurance plans that cover elective abortion, making the procedure affordable and more accessible. (The new law's allowance of tax dollars to go toward insurance plans that cover elective abortions is a break from longstanding policy.) Democrats for Life, though, says the abortion rate likely will decrease because uninsured women who previously would have had an abortion for financial reasons will be less likely to do so because they and their baby now have insurance coverage.

Continue reading Dem. Pro-life Group is Dissenting Voice ...

March 24, 2010

Liberty University to File Suit to Halt Health Care Legislation

Liberty University has announced that it will file a lawsuit challenging the federal health care legislation.

"Congress does not have unlimited authority to regulate private actions,” Mathew Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel and dean of Liberty University School of Law, said in a statement. “If the Constitution does not give Congress the power to act, then Congress cannot act. Congress clearly lacks the constitutional authority to force individuals to have, or private businesses to provide, health insurance.”

Alex Isenstadt of Politico reports that thanks to the health care debates, abortion is poised to make a political comeback.

The Family Research Council, which has already spent nearly $2 million this cycle backing anti-abortion candidates across the country, is now considering wading into battles against anti-abortion Democrats like Pennsylvania Rep. Kathleen Dahlkemper, Virginia Rep. Thomas Perriello, Indiana Rep. Brad Ellsworth and West Virginia Reps. Alan Mollohan and Nick Rahall — all of whom voted for the health care bill Sunday.

... NARAL Pro-Choice America President Nancy Keenan told POLITICO that the lesson learned from the health care battle was that the abortion-rights movement, which has lacked the votes needed to shut down abortion funding language from anti-abortion Democrats throughout the health care reform push, needs more allies in Congress.

William McGurn writes about the death of the pro-life Democrats for the Wall Street Journal as Kathleen Parker looks at Stupak's fall from pro-life grace for the Washington Post.

President Obama will sign an executive order today that says that existing limits on the federal funding of abortion will remain under the new legislation. The event will be closed to the news media. The New York Times reports that Representative Bart Stupak (D-Michigan and Senator Robert Casey (D-Pennsylvania) will attend.

March 22, 2010

Rallying for Immigration Reform

Health care stole the spotlight yesterday, but just blocks away from the Capitol, tens of thousands of people marched in support of immigration reform. Here's a story that includes several evangelicals who attended the march yesterday.

Today, several religious leaders met with senior White House officials to discuss immigration reform, including Sojourners head Jim Wallis and Sam Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. Here are statements from others:

Galen Carey, Director of Government Affairs, National Association of Evangelicals :

“We are pleased that President Obama and Members of Congress are finally giving long overdue attention to resolving the immigration crisis this year. Fixing our broken immigration system is important to the security and prosperity of all Americans, and particularly to the hardworking immigrant families who contribute so much to our churches and communities. Immigration reform can’t wait. We want action now.”

Rev. Rich Nathan, Pastor of Vineyard Church of Columbus, the second largest church in Ohio:
“As a pastor I have witnessed the brokenness of our immigration system firsthand. We have individuals from 75 different nations attending our weekend services. Some are here illegally to escape poverty and to make a better life, but now face only two options: to stay in the shadows or to be deported. In the Hebrew Bible, special provision is made for immigrants, along with orphans and widows, to safeguard the most vulnerable people in Israelite society. God’s call to people who value the authority of the Bible is clear: remember where you came from and act with justice and love towards the immigrant in your midst.”

Here are a few photos from the rally:

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March 21, 2010

House Passes Health Care Bill

Congress just passed the Senate's health care bill 219 to 212.

The bill will require most Americans to have health insurance, it would subsidize private coverage for low- and middle-income people, and add 16 million people to Medicaid, according to The New York Times. It will cost the government $938 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Earlier today, Rep. Bart Stupak announced his support for the bill, and President Obama will sign an executive order on abortion language.

March 21, 2010

Stupak's Group to Vote for Health Care Bill

Rep. Bart Stupak just announced that President Obama will sign an executive order on abortion language after the bill is voted on today in the House.

"I've always supported health-care reform," Stupak said at a press conference. "There was a principal that meant more to us than anything, and that was the sanctity of life."

He said he believes the Democrats had enough votes to pass the bill before he agreed to vote for it. Stupak led a House effort to bar funding for abortion in health care legislation, but the House is considering the Senate's version of the bill.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had been in negotiations with Stupak to discuss specific restrictions on abortion funding in the bill, but she said no amendments would be considered.

Here's a statement from Family Research Council President Tony Perkins:

"Pro-life lawmakers would be making a serious mistake to trust those who have repeatedly attempted to mislead the American people into believing that abortion is not in the bill," Perkins said. "The President could also lift such an executive order at any time with a stroke of a pen."

Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser also issued a statement:

The very idea is a slap in the face to the pro-life movement and should be offensive to all pro-life Members of Congress," she said. "The courts could and have a history of trumping executive orders."

SBA launched a $250,000 television ad campaign in the districts of six pro-life Democrats.

Update: Dannenfelser told Politico that the group was set to give Stupak the group's "Defender of Life" award, but "we’re going to be working hard to see who we can find to run against him.”

“In a completely cynical move, they have made this bill passable and each of them are going to pay individually," she said. "And that’s what we do. That’s what we love to do is unelect people who say they're for life and then completely betray the movement.”

Richard Doerflinger of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released the following statement:

"The statutory mandate construed by the courts would override any executive order or regulation," Doerflinger said. "This is the unanimous view of our legal advisors and of the experts we have consulted on abortion jurisprudence. Only a change in the law enacted by Congress, not an executive order, can begin to address this very serious problem in the legislation.”

The text of the executive order on abortion language from the White House is below.

Continue reading Stupak's Group to Vote for Health Care Bill...

March 19, 2010

Bush Most `Surprised' by Prayers of Americans

The thing that most surprised former President George W. Bush was not international crises like the 9/11 terrorist attacks, nor the resilience of the Iraqi insurgency, but rather the impact of prayers from the American people, he said.

"The biggest surprise of the presidency was the calming effect of prayer by total strangers," Bush told about 700 college students and business leaders during a private appearance last Friday (March 12) at Southeastern University, an Assemblies of God-affiliated school in
central Florida.

Bush said he was shocked and humbled by how many people prayed for him. "Imagine being a president of the United States and innumerable people would come up to you on a rope line and they're not going to say `I want a bridge' or `I want something special.' They come up to you and say, `I'm here to tell you, Mr. President, that I pray for you.' You gain strength as a leader by recognizing you need help."

Continue reading Bush Most `Surprised' by Prayers of Americans...

March 18, 2010

Democrats Battle for Health Care Votes

Democrats secured more votes yesterday and could vote on health care reform as early as Sunday, The New York Times reports.

Rep. James E. Clyburn said the legislation would reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion in the next decade from reductions in the growth of Medicare spending, new fees and tax increases.

Three self-described pro-life Congressmen who voted for the Stupak amendment, Tom Perriello (D-Virginia), Dale Kildee (D-Michigan) and Jim Oberstar (D-Michigan), have declared their support for the Senate's health care legislation.

In the Washington Post, Ruth Marcus argues that the fight over abortion is minor.

If anything, both versions would end up restricting abortion coverage more than under current law. Some women whose insurance covers abortion would lose that benefit as their policies move to the new insurance exchanges.

If anything, health-care reform would reduce the number of abortions. More women would have coverage that includes contraception. Pregnant women would know that their medical care, and that of their child, would be covered.

Michael Gerson argues that proponents of health care have muddled important moral debates to get the legislation passed.

The Senate bill would allow federal subsidies to go to health plans that cover elective abortions -- under two conditions. First, the coverage would be paid for by a separate premium check required of all enrollees. Second, there would have to be at least one alternative in any regional health exchange that doesn’t offer abortion coverage.

...If the health-care reform abortion debate is really a trivial mix-up, then what are the motivations of, say, the Catholic bishops? They have been one of the most consistent supporters of universal health care in America. They view it as a matter of social justice. It is difficult to accuse them of wanting to show their political “muscle” by defeating health care or Obama. Actually, it would be libelous.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich also announced yesterday he would change his no vote on the House measure to yes on the Senate bill.

March 15, 2010

Do You Party With Tea?

Media outlets appear confused over whether evangelicals are taking interest in Tea Party activities.

Politico says the movement is stirring fears among evangelicals.

A reeling economy and the massive bank bailout and stimulus plan were the triggers for a resurgence in support for the Republican Party and the rise of the tea party movement. But they’ve also banished the social issues that are the focus of many evangelical Christians to the background.

And while health care legislation has brought social and economic conservatives together to fight government funding of abortion, some social conservative leaders have begun to express concern that tea party leaders don’t care about their issues, while others object to the personal vitriol against President Barack Obama, whose personal conduct many conservative Christians applaud.

The Los Angeles Times sees social conservatives are putting a religious twist on tea party messages.


In news releases, mission statements and interviews, prominent social conservatives increasingly are using the small-government rhetoric popular with the tea party activists and long used by economic conservatives -- but with a religious bent.

Their websites explore the morality of debt and the risks to religious freedom posed by growing government. Like the tea party activists, they reverently invoke the Founding Fathers, but emphasize the role the founders' faith played in their writings.

Finally, The New York Times ran a piece on Friday on how Tea Party leaders don't spend time on social issues.

For decades, faith and family have been at the center of the conservative movement. But as the Tea Party infuses conservatism with new energy, its leaders deliberately avoid discussion of issues like gay marriage or abortion.

God, life and family get little if any mention in statements or manifestos. The motto of the Tea Party Patriots, a large coalition of groups, is “fiscal responsibility, limited government, and free markets.”

What say you? Are you involved in a Tea Party activities? Perhaps you prefer coffee?

March 12, 2010

Joel Hunter Leaves the Republican Party

Florida megachurch pastor Joel Hunter told CT today in an e-mail that he has left the Republican Party.

For 40 years I was a registered Republican like Paul was a registered Pharisee after he became a follower of Christ - when it furthered the agenda of the Gospel (as I understood it) then I was active as a Rep. When it didn't, I wasn't.

I was never comfortable being identified with a political Party but the hyper-partisanship and the outside voices hijacking legitimate political debate is not something of which I will be a part.

Christian philanthropist Howard Ahmanson left the GOP to become a Democrat in May 2009.

CT has profiled Hunter and interviewed him several times in the past about his relationship with President Obama.

(h/t Ben Smith)

March 12, 2010

Democrats Plan to Push Health Care Despite Some Opposition on Abortion

Democratic leaders plan to push through the Senate's version of the health care bill with or without the support of pro-life Democrats, the Associated Press reports.

That strategy would leave in place the Senate language on abortion. It would allow health plans receiving federal subsidies in a new insurance marketplace to cover abortion, provided they pay for it only with money collected from policyholders. The House bill would have prohibited health plans receiving subsidies from covering abortions.

Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., has been pushing for the stricter House provisions, saying that he and a dozen or so abortion opponents would vote against the health care bill if the Senate language is retained. But the leadership appears to be moving to call his bluff.

However, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) said he doesn't believe they have enough votes to pass the legislation by President Obama's March 18 deadline.

"I don't see how they're going to get the votes to pass healthcare, no matter what procedure they use, if they want to do it by March 18th," Stupak said last night on Fox News. "I don't see it."

Yesterday, a group of progressive evangelicals sent a letter to the House in support of the Senate's version of the bill, saying that the "longstanding restrictions on federal funding of abortion have been maintained." The group included President of Evangelicals for Social Action Ron Sider, President of Sojourners Jim Wallis, pastor of Northland Church Joel Hunter, and David Gushee, chair of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good. Tobin Grant writes more at CT about how other advocacy groups are addressing health care.

March 9, 2010

Faith-based Panel Submits Recommendations

A White House advisory council on today submitted 164 pages of recommendations on ways the federal government can better partner with faith-based groups in tackling a host of social problems, from poverty to improving interfaith relations.

Still, some of the thorniest issues surrounding public-private partnerships -- especially legal questions of discrimination in hiring -- remain unsolved after White House officials decided early on they would not be included in the panel's portfolio.

Administration officials, however, promised that the 25-member panel's suggestions will not suffer the fate of countless blue-ribbon commissions.

"It won't just be a document on a shelf," said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "I promise you this document will become an active action plan in the Department of Health and Human Services."

Sebelius, one of several officials who met with the President's Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, said she hopes to work with churches and other community organizations on a range of issues, including how to continue free-lunch programs for needy students during school vacations.

The 25 members of the council, which included representatives of national faith-based and secular charities, finished their one-year term with a 164-page report that included more than 60 specific recommendations.

Melissa Rogers, chair of the council, said the diverse panelists were able to reach common ground beyond the "lowest common denominator," and will remain available as the administration considers how, or if, to implement the recommendations.

"Whether it's been through press statements, books or sermons, all of us have been trying to tell the government what to do for years," she said, "but we've rarely received a White House invitation to make a list of recommendations."

President Obama met with council-members in the White House after they concluded their final meeting. New members of the council, who also will have a one-year term, are expected to be named soon.

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson told the council that she is open to their recommendations to create faith-based and community-based liaisons in regional EPA offices and to sponsor a public education campaign on the environment.

"We're taking for granted the fact that people know in this day and age how important it is," Jackson said. "We probably need to remind them that the abundance we're fighting to save is their heritage. It is a heritage they got from God."

The council was formed after President Obama announced in February 2009 that he would revamp, but keep open, the former White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Initiatives that he inherited from President George W. Bush.

Their recommendations came in six different areas, including reform of the renamed White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. They suggest increased guidance so religious organizations use federal funds while respecting the separation of church and state.

Continue reading Faith-based Panel Submits Recommendations ...

March 8, 2010

Supreme Court to Rule on Westboro Protests

The Supreme Court has decided to rule on a case deciding whether the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church is protected under the First Amendment when they protest at military funerals.

Westboro pastor Fred Phelps leads other members in funeral protests to suggest that military deaths are punishment for the country's tolerance of homosexuality.

The Associated Press reports that justices will hear an appeal from the father of a Marine killed in Iraq, after they picketed outside his son's funeral in Maryland. A signs at the funeral combined the U.S. Marine Corps motto with a slur against gay men, the AP reports. Lyle Denniston has more background on the SCOTUS blog.

In Albert Snyder’s appeal, his lawyers argued that the Supreme Court’s protection of speech about public issues, especially the Justices’ 1988 decision in Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, does not apply “to private individuals versus private individuals.” If it does apply, the petition said, “the victimized private individual is left without recourse.” The Circuit Court decision, it added, encourages private individuals to use hyperbolic language to gain constitutional protection “even if that language is targeted at another private individual at a private, religious funeral.”

Even if the Hustler decision does apply to the kind of remarks at issue, the petition asserted, the case also raises the issue of whether those who attend a funeral are like a “captive audience” and thus need protection against intruders who were not invited.

The case will be argued in the fall, according to the AP.

(h/t Debra Cassens Weiss)

March 5, 2010

Pro-Life Leaders Fight Health Care over Taxpayer-funded Abortion

Updated: Friday, March 5, 12:30 p.m.

President Obama, calling for a vote on health-care legislation by mid-March, has upped the stakes for his presidency over so-called Obamacare, which prolife leaders say will provide for the biggest expansion of abortion services in American history. (See analysis of the Senate and House bills below.)

Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life, put out an urgent video message early this morning and is featured in the Wall Street Journal's Friday edition.

Here are excerpts from Yoest's commentary:

It's now becoming clear that Barack Obama is willing to put everything on the table in order to be the president who passes health-care reform. Everything, that is, except a ban on federal funding for abortion.... The president's latest proposal mirrors legislation that has passed the Senate, which doesn't include a Hyde Amendment, and would inevitably establish abortion as a fundamental health-care service for the following reasons:

• It would change existing law by allowing federally subsidized health-care plans to pay for abortions and could require private health-insurance plans to cover abortion.
• It would impose a first-ever abortion tax—a separate premium payment that will be used to pay for elective abortions—on enrollees in insurance plans that covers abortions through newly created government health-care exchanges.
• And it would fail to protect the rights of health-care providers to refuse to participate in abortions.

Continue reading Pro-Life Leaders Fight Health Care over Taxpayer-funded Abortion...

March 3, 2010

Wildmon Resigns From American Family Association

Donald E. Wildmon, founder of American Family Association (AFA) for more than 30 years, has resigned from his position as chairman after several months of hospitalization, according to a press release.

Wildmon contracted encephalitis from a bite from a mosquito with the virus, and he also had surgery for cancer on his left eye.

Wildmon said in the release that he will continue to work at the ministry but will not have a leadership role. Wildmon said his son Tim, who has been with AFA for 24 years, is expected to lead the ministry, according to the release.

Wildmon began AFA in 1977, and the ministry now operates on a $20 million annual budget with 175 employees, owning 180 radio stations and publishing a monthly magazine.


March 2, 2010

Catholic Charities Halts Spousal Benefits as D.C. Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

Catholic Charities in Washington D.C., has stopped offering benefits to spouses of employees who are not already enrolled in the plan, William Wan and Michelle Boorstein report for the Washington Post. The law prohibits contractors of the city from discriminating against same-sex married couples, and the decision came just before the District made same-sex marriage legal.

The move is an effort to prevent offering benefits to same-sex partners. The Supreme Court declined to put on hold a new law that allows same-sex couples to marry in Washington, D.C., according to Reuters.

Other items from the news:

  • Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison Perry conceded to Texas governor Gov. Rick Perry on Tuesday night as Perry gained 51 percent of the votes to Hutchison's 30 percent.
  • Here's what Mike Huckabee had to say to the National Religious Broadcasters last weekend, according to Christian Heinze at GOP 12.

    "I don’t consider myself a religious broadcaster in the sense that my programming is religious, but I consider myself unapologetically a Christian believer and I take my Christian faith to work with me everyday. I don’t leave it at the door.

    .... people ask me why I don’t do more Gospel orientated content on my show. Fox isn’t a Christian channel, it’s a news channel. They want me to be careful not to look sectarian but if anybody watches the show regularly they’re certainly going to see spiritual content whether it’s a Christian music artist or people giving very powerful testimonies of their own faith and walk with God. I’m careful to ensure we do that in the balance.”

  • Move over, evangelicals. Tea partiers are taking your slot as the group to woo. Gerald F. Seib writes in the Wall Street Journal that the time is similar to when Ronald Reagan told a convention of evangelicals in August 1980: "I want you to know I endorse you and what you are doing."

    Republicans today are trying something similar with the Tea Party movement. Yet even as Republicans relish this thought, it's worth remembering that, just as their embrace of the religious right created occasional heartburn alongside electoral success, so too does their slow embrace of the Tea Party movement carry downside risks as well as upside potential.

  • Elrena Evans writes about Michelle Obama's campaign against obesity for Her.meneutics.

March 2, 2010

White House Faith-Based Council Adopts Recommendations

After a year's work, a White House advisory council on faith-based programs adopted dozens of recommendations on February 26 on everything from church-state separation to fighting poverty and promoting fatherhood.

The 25-member advisory council also called for reforms to the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships to help protect "religious liberty rights."

"The recommendations call ... for greater clarity in the church-state guidance given to social service providers so that tax funds are used appropriately and providers are not confused or sued," the panel's report said.

"The recommendations also insist that beneficiaries must be notified of their religious liberty rights, including their rights to alternative providers."

The advisory panel, which will submit its final report on March 9, also urged the Obama administration to ensure that "decisions about government grants are made on the merits of proposals, not on political or religious considerations."

Among the panel's 64 recommendations, advisers voiced support for:

Continue reading White House Faith-Based Council Adopts Recommendations...

March 1, 2010

Utah's Abortion Bill

Lawmakers in Utah recently approved a bill that would criminalize pregnant women who arrange to have an illegal abortion, and the bill now awaits the governor's signature or veto. The bill was introduced after pregnant teenager allegedly paid a man to kick her stomach when she was seven months pregnant. Here's more from The New York Times.

But critics say legislation inspired by an unusual, perhaps even freakish criminal case, could open up a vast frontier around the question of intent and responsibility and give local prosecutors huge new powers to inquire about a woman’s intentions toward her unborn child.

For example, if a pregnant woman gets into a vehicle, goes on a wild ride way over the speed limit without wearing a seatbelt and crashes and the fetus is killed, is she a reckless driver? Or is she a reckless mother-to-be who criminally ignored the safety of her fetus?

Under the bill, a woman guilty of criminal homicide of her fetus could be punished by up to life in prison.

... At least 38 states have laws against fetal homicide, generally intended to create additional penalties when a pregnant woman is assaulted or killed. And two states, Delaware and New York, also have laws specifically making self-abortion a crime. Both laws were passed before the United States Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade.

Other items from the news:

-- The Supreme Court declined to hear a lower court decision that Ten Commandments display on public property in Oklahoma must go, according to the Associated Press.

-- Nicholas Kristof writes about World Vision's Richard Stearn's new book in his latest column for The New York Times. Here's his conclusion.

If secular liberals can give up some of their snootiness, and if evangelicals can retire some of their sanctimony, then we all might succeed together in making greater progress against common enemies of humanity, like illiteracy, human trafficking and maternal mortality.

Kristof also wrote about evangelicals in 2008, 2005, 2004, 2003, again in 2003, yet again in 2003, and in 2002.

-- The New York Times devotes an editorial to the house on C Street affiliated with the Fellowship, arguing that it should not receive tax exemptions as a religious organization.

-- Former President George W. Bush told a crowd at the Fort Worth Christian School that his faith sustained him during during his years as president.

"I don't see how I could be president without prayer," he said, according to the Associated Press. "The prayers of the people ... sustained me, comforted me and strengthened me in a way I could have never predicted before becoming president, and for that I am extremely grateful."