Washington D.C., Jul 26, 2012 (CNA) - A group of concerned mothers across the country is protesting an upcoming television show that depicts homosexuality and surrogate childbearing as “the new normal family.”
“NBC's ‘The New Normal’ is attempting to desensitize America and our children,” said the pro-family organization, One Million Moms. “It is the opposite of how families are designed and created. You cannot recreate the biological wheel.”
The group, which is a ministry of the American Family Association, is protesting the upcoming show, “The New Normal,” which is set to air in September on the Comcast-owned network, NBC.
The show chronicles the story of a gay couple that hires a surrogate to have their baby.
The NBC website describes it as “a fresh new comedy about the new normal family.”
“These days, families come in all forms - single dads, double moms, sperm donors, egg donors, one-night-stand donors,” proclaims the description. “It's 2012 and anything goes.”
The show has attracted the attention of the One Million Moms campaign, which works to defend children and family values from negative cultural influences, including vulgarity, violence and sexual immortality in entertainment media.
The organization is now encouraging its members to e-mail Comcast and NBC to voice their concerns about the show.
It also said that it plans to contact “any and all sponsors of this program if it is aired.”
“Let NBC know you and your family will not be watching the series premiere of ‘The New Normal,’” the group urged on its Facebook page.
“Let them also know you are prepared to join thousands of other voices in urging advertisers to place it on their ‘do not advertise’ list,” it added.
One Million Moms has previously worked to contact the advertisers of other shows that it deemed offensive, leading several of them to remove their ads.
The group said that a lack of advertisers due to efforts such as theirs contributed to the cancellation of shows including “Skins,” “The Playboy Club” and “Good Christians B-tches.”
Now, it hopes that thousands of concerned parents will speak out against a show that threatens to undermine family and desensitize the American public to sexual immorality.
“NBC is using public airwaves to continue to subject families to the decay of morals and values, and the sanctity of marriage in attempting to redefine marriage,” the group said.
“These things are harmful to our society, and this program is damaging to our culture,” it argued, adding that “[m]illions of Americans strongly believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman.”
London, England, Jul 26, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) -
Catholics in England have created an Olympic Cross to help reach out to Olympians and attendees of the 2012 Olympic Games.
“We wanted to create a keepsake that symbolizes everything the games truly represent, something we could then pass on to future Olympic host nations,” explained James Parker, Catholic Executive Coordinator for the 2012 Games.
“As Christians our lives mean nothing without the Cross and so this seemed to be the most suitable object to commission for ourselves and as a future gift to others.”
The cross will stand at the Joshua Camp, an international Catholic Olympic gathering to be held in East London from Aug. 1-13, the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales reported. The camp will provide hospitality, organize service projects and create a Catholic presence to foster spiritual growth and evangelization.
Organizers have described the camp as “Olympic World Youth Day.”
Fr. Simon Penhalagan, President of the Sion Community, blessed the cross in the presence of young Joshua Camp volunteers from around the world.
The Olympic cross was specially commissioned for the 2012 London Games. Artist Jon Cornwall, from the Walsingham House retreat center in Essex, designed and created the work.
Cornwall said he used 12 different types of wood from around the world to represent the 12 disciples. The wood making up the three-tiered base of the Cross includes three types chosen to symbolize the virtues of faith, hope and love.
Fr. Penhalagan said there is a “growing affection” for the Olympic Cross among those preparing for the Joshua Camp.
“I am confident that those who will travel across the globe to be with us in London next week will also come to honor this Cross and in so doing will fall more in love with Christ,” he said.
Parker said the Joshua Camp could become a model for how to combine sports and spirituality at future global sporting events.
“This initiative is a powerful response to Pope Benedict’s call to find ways to draw modern hearts and minds to Christ,” he said.
The Olympic Cross will remain at the Joshua Camp throughout the Olympic Games.
After the games, the cross could head to Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games or it could head to Brazil for the 2013 World Youth Day, the 2014 Football World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Sioux Falls, S.D., Jul 26, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - A federal appeals court has upheld a South Dakota informed consent rule requiring that abortion doctors warn women seeking abortions about the increased risks of suicide.
Leslee J. Unruh, President of the pro-life counseling group Alpha Center in Sioux Falls, S.D., backed the law and praised the July 24 ruling.
She said the decision is a victory for “all women who have ever been deceived into thinking that aborting their unborn children was the ‘only easy way out.’”
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the disputed portion of the 2005 informed consent law by a vote of 7-4. The court said the law is not an “undue burden on abortion rights” or a violation of doctors’ free speech rights.
In September, a three-judge panel had upheld a lower court’s decision that overturned the suicide risk notification requirement. Abortion provider Planned Parenthood had filed suit challenging the rule.
Women who have undergone abortions have higher rates of suicide than women who give birth. A possible abortion-suicide connection was one focus of the legal arguments.
Opponents of the rule contended that the studies failed to account for factors like mental health issues, domestic violence, and young age at the time of pregnancy, the Associated Press reports.
Attorneys for South Dakota, who defended the requirement, said that peer-reviewed studies show a “statistically significant correlation between abortion and suicide.”
The law requires any doctor who performs an abortion to obtain informed consent from a woman seeking an abortion, except in cases of medical emergency. It also requires the woman to be informed that the abortion will end the life of “a whole, separate, unique, living human being.”
Unruh explained her support for the informed consent requirements.
She said a pregnant woman who is considering an abortion that will “deprive her of the joy and fulfillment of a lifelong relationship with her child” must make her decision in a way that is “totally voluntary and well-informed.”
“The victory today is a step towards achieving that goal for the women of South Dakota,” Unruh said.
Legal challenges still remain for a 2011 South Dakota law that requires a 72-hour waiting period for an abortion and requires women seeking an abortion to undergo counseling at a pregnancy center that discourages abortion.
Denver, Colo., Jul 26, 2012 (CNA) -
A new, Denver-based candle business seeks to share the richness of the Bible while helping support the local pro-life community.
“As women who enjoy giving of our time, talents and treasures, we felt a calling to inspire others, as we have been inspired, to continue the journey with the written Word,” co-owners Jewels Nutter and Shelly Saeman told CNA in a July 22 interview.
Nutter and Saeman head a unique business called Joshua Tree Candle & Soap Co., which endeavors to recapture an interest in the scriptures – among everyone from long-time Catholics to those who are new to the faith.
Saeman explained that each homemade candle depicts a Bible verse reference, with the goal of encouraging customers to look up the verses in the Bible themselves and engage in the narrative.
“Our hope is to spark in those who believe or those who want to believe a desire to learn more. A simple conversation that is sparked from what one reads because of one of our candles really can grow into a deeper relationship with Christ,” Nutter added.
“That relationship for each and every one of us is the ultimate goal.”
Both said that the inspiration for each candle arises from a variety of factors.
“Sometimes we start with a verse we really love, sometimes we start with the scent or sometimes we start with the color,” Saeman said.
“Ultimately we are looking for a candle that in color and scent embodies the verse of the Bible.”
The candle “Promised Land” from Deuteronomy 11:8-17, for example, smells of sandalwood and flowers and is color of soil which “represents the Israelites receiving the land after it was promised to them.”
The idea for the company came about with Nutter and her son last fall, when she decided she wanted to do something that would inspire others to deepen their faith. Saeman said that when she first heard of the initiative, she felt it was a beautiful idea and later asked to take part in it. In April of 2012 the Joshua Tree Candle & Soap Co. was established.
Aside from evangelization, another primary mission of the Joshua Tree business is to give back to the local community and support the pro-life cause.
As women and mothers, the two are dedicated to assisting the Lighthouse Women's Center which is located in Aurora, Colorado across the street from the second largest Planned Parenthood in the nation.
Saeman said that she was shocked to learn that there are twenty-eight babies aborted a day at that one facility.
“These babies are aborted by mother's that are terribly confused and afraid,” she said.
“Lighthouse will be there to offer these young women options and hope,” and “will be able to provide immediate life-giving choices to women in crisis – especially those who think abortion is their only option.”
The company not only gives ten percent of its proceeds to the cause but also provides customers with the option to donate through the business' website. More information can be found at: http://www.joshuatreecandleandsoapco.com.
Steubenville, Ohio, Jul 26, 2012 (CNA) -
In response to a threatened lawsuit from an atheist group, the Steubenville, Ohio city council says it will remove from its new city logo an image of the Franciscan University of Steubenville’s chapel.
The action drew criticism from Franciscan University’s vice president of advancement Michael Hernon.
“We find it particularly troubling that an out of town and out of touch group targeted the University for removal from the logo solely because of our religious identity,” Hernon said July 25 on behalf of the university.
“For more than 65 years, Franciscan University of Steubenville has proudly served as an integral part of this community and we were honored to have our chapel included in the new city of Steubenville logo.”
The city’s present logo, unveiled in December 2011, displays in silhouette the downtown cityscape and various landmarks of the city including Historic Fort Steuben, the Veterans Memorial Bridge and Franciscan University’s Christ the King Chapel.
The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation had threatened legal action over the logo’s inclusion of the chapel and the cross.
Annie Laurie Gaylor told the Steubenville Herald-Star that the logo is a symbol “that Steubenville is a theocracy and is a Christian city where non-Christians or non-believers are not favored citizens.”
She said a Steubenville citizen had contacted her organization to complain about the logo, which Gaylor said violates the U.S. Constitution because it includes the chapel.
“While we understand that Franciscan University is a part of the city, the city may not depict the university chapel and cross because to do so places the city's imprimatur behind Christianity,” she said.
On July 24 city officials decided to change the logo, citing concerns that a legal fight would be very expensive for the city.
Henan said the city included chapel because it represents Franciscan University, the “world-renowned center of higher learning and one of the largest employers in the region.”
Steubenville businessman Mark Nelson, who helped designed the logo for the city, told the Herald-Star he found it “very frustrating that one person or a small group can complain and ultimately change the city’s logo.”
Henan said that the university declined the city’s offer to be represented on the logo by another chapel building because the chapel and its cross are the “centerpiece” of the university logo and are “at the heart of our Catholic educational mission.”
He said the chapel’s presence in the logo does not endorse any one religion but “merely signifies one of the many treasures of Steubenville.”
Deacon Greg Kandra of New York, writing at the Patheos.com blog “The Deacon’s Bench,” strongly criticized the opposition to the logo.
“This sort of foolishness only goes to show that politically correct yahoos on the left have at last become what they most despised among people on the right: intolerant, judgmental, petty and ... picayune.”
New Haven, Conn., Jul 26, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - With nearly 80 percent of U.S. residents expressing frustration over the tone of political discourse, the Knights of Columbus have launched an initiative to restore respectful and thoughtful discussion.
“The American people want and deserve civility and a conversation on the issues rather than personal attacks,” Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said in a July 26 statement about the new “Civility in America” campaign, which includes an online petition and a series of full-page national newspaper ads.
“In our own lives, all of us have friends with whom we disagree, and we long ago learned how to have civil relationships despite our differences,” observed Anderson, who heads the Catholic charitable and fraternal order.
“Since our elected officials work for and represent the American people, this petition is a step forward in making our voice heard and in making clear to our public servants how we would like them to conduct themselves,” Anderson said.
By putting their names to the petition, U.S. citizens can “request that candidates, the media and other advocates and commentators involved in the public policy arena employ a more civil tone in public discourse on political and social issues, focusing on policies rather than on individual personalities."
“For our part, we pledge to make these principles our own,” the declaration states.
A July 2012 Knights of Columbus-Marist poll found that 78 percent of people in the U.S. are frustrated with the tone of current politics. According to 74 percent of Americans, campaigns have become more negative over time.
Two-thirds of respondents said candidates spent more time attacking their opponent than addressing issues of concern. A majority of Americans, 56 percent, say campaigns are mostly uncivil and disrespectful.
Negative campaigning of this kind significantly harms the political process, 64 percent of respondents told the Knights of Columbus-Marist researchers.
To learn more about the campaign, please visit www.CivilityinAmerica.org.