Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sanctity of Life - #3390 -Personhood Movement Aims for Landmark Win in Mississippi Election - Baptist Press (2) Prayer Session Outside Public Elementary School Causes Controversy in Florida - Hot Air

After suffering disappointing losses in Colorado in 2008 and 2010, the pro-life community's young personhood movement is on the verge of what would be a landmark victory in Mississippi to define all human life as beginning at conception. Even though voters there will go to the polls Tuesday to elect a new governor, political and cultural observers nationwide are watching to see if Mississippians pass Initiative Measure 26, a constitutional amendment that supporters say would end abortion in Mississippi -- and potentially do the same nationwide in a challenge to Roe v. Wade. The idea is simple enough: amend the Mississippi constitution to define all life as beginning at conception, which would, supporters say, protect the unborn. The proposed 21-word amendment states: "The term 'person' or 'persons' shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof." The "cloning" reference is aimed at prohibiting research cloning. Read more.........

Prayer Session Outside Public Elementary School Causes Controversy in Florida - Hot Air - According to the attorney of the school board of Clay County, Florida, “It is a violation of the United States Constitution for a teacher, school administrator or other school district employee to join in a prayer session during their work time.” That means, they say, that Baptist pastor Ron Baker can’t conduct voluntary prayer meetings at the flagpoles of four elementary schools at 8:15 in the morning any more.  The school board apparently issued its statement in response to complaints about Baker’s meetings from an atheist group, the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation. The Foundation’s co-president, Annie Laurie Gaylor, said she was “so pleased to see that someone else has some legal common sense.”  But does the school board’s statement makes sense? Where exactly does it say in the Constitution that government employees aren’t allowed to join a prayer session? If I remember rightly, it actually says, “Congress should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” In general, the courts have held that the free exercise clause covers religiously motivated actions and not just internal belief, so wouldn’t a prayer session count as “the free exercise” of religion? And how is “prayer session” even defined? Does it extend to personal prayers, prayed soundlessly in the stress of a school day? It’s unconstitutional for the government to force employees to pray — but the Constitution certainly doesn’t forbid them from doing so. Perhaps the school board simply means to imply the government isn’t paying employees to pray; it’s paying them to work — and a case could be made for that, I suppose.  Read more.......

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