News Briefs

       Dirkhising Murder Case - On Short End of Secular Media Double-Standard?
       by Fred Jackson

        (AgapePress) - Conservative groups are taking note of the lack of mainstream media coverage of the Jesse Dirkhising case in Arkansas.

       Last month, 23-year-old Joshua Brown, the first of two homosexuals charged with killing 13-year-old Jesse Dirkhising, was found guilty of first-degree murder and rape. But Americans who rely on the major TV news networks probably never heard that story.

       The Washington Times notes that when homosexual Matthew Shepard was murdered in Wyoming in 1998, there were no fewer than 3,000 media stories about that killing. But the Times says in the month following Dirkhising's murder, there were only 46 stories. According to the newspaper, a group of national media leaders - specifically, The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, CBS, ABC, NBC, and CNN - had produced a combined total of zero stories through early April. Conservatives say it has a lot to do with the people who work in the major newsrooms - most of them liberals who are sympathetic to the homosexual agenda.

       In addition, the nation's major homosexual groups have been strangely quiet about the killing of the Dirkhising boy. Baptist Press quotes freelance writer Dana Kelly, who noted in early April that the Human Rights Campaign, which calls itself the largest gay and lesbian political organization, made no mention of the Dirkhising case on its website news section. Also, Kelly says, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, better known as GLADD, has been equally silent.

       Hello, Dolly ... Goodbye, Cloning?
       by Fred Jackson and Jody Brown

        (AgapePress) - Scientists who are pushing the idea of cloning humans may have suffered a major setback.

       The story of the cloning of "Dolly the Sheep" took the world by storm back in 1997. Many predicted man's ability to successfully do the same thing with humans was just around the corner. At the time, many Christians warned that it is not wise to meddle with God's way of doing things. It now appears those warnings are becoming a reality.

       The New York Times quotes researchers who say the clones that have been produced - mice, cows, pigs, and goats, in addition to sheep - are starting to manifest some serious health problems, including developmental delays, heart defects, lung problems, and malfunctioning immune systems. They also say they cannot put their finger on what is causing the problems, other than to conclude that the cloning process seems to create "random errors" that can show up at any time.

       The newspaper report states that evidence is mounting that creation of healthy animals through cloning is more difficult than scientists had expected. According to the report, fewer than 3% of all cloning efforts are succeeding - and that has some scientists saying they "shudder to think what might happen" if human cloning is to proceed using current techniques.

       Six Sponsors Drop Advertising on Temptation Island
       by Allie Martin

        (AgapePress) - The American Family Association has delivered petitions representing more than 21,000 families to sponsors of the show Temptation Island, asking them to stop advertising on the show or face a possible boycott.

       Temptation Island has been criticized by the AFA since its debut earlier this year on the FOX Television Network. AFA Executive Assistant Buddy Smith says the overwhelming response to the petition drive, shows that families are tired of trashy television.

        "We believe it's certainly a representative number of many more thousands of families across the country who are very troubled about this, and I think it's not just some little click of the mouse that's represented on their part," Smith says. "I think that if these sponsors remain committed to this message, pumping this trash into our homes, I really believe that many families will be very serious about staying away from their products."

       Smith says a boycott may be the next step if the remaining 17 sponsors do not quit supporting the show.

       Six sponsors - Best Buy, Capital One, MCI WorldCom, Quaker Oats, Sears, and Nutri/System - have said they will no longer advertise on the show. FOX has announced that Temptation Island will return for the new television season.

       Keyes Critical of Bush's Stand on RU-486
       by Bill Fancher

       WASHINGTON, DC (AgapePress) - The Bush Administration's reluctance to take action on the abortion drug RU-486 has drawn criticism from pro-lifers.

       Former Presidential candidate Alan Keyes says RU-486 represents more than just a method of chemical abortion.

        "RU-486 is a drug that takes the child's life in the first weeks; that in principle destroys and vitiates our commitment to the idea that rights come from God; that substitutes for that principle the notion that our claim to rights is based on human choice; that destroys, therefore, the principled essence of American self government and American disciplined liberty," Keyes says.

       Keyes calls RU-486 the chemical equivalent of Roe v. Wade, and he says it is an evil that must be recognized and stopped.

        "[Our President] takes the bad stand, and because we fear the evil that stands behind him, we accept the quiet surrender to evil that he represents," he says. "Hard things to say. Having said them, don't expect to see me in a Bush Administration."

       Keyes says our rights are not derived from a mother's choice, despite what our culture says today. He feels the Bush Administration's lack of action reveals more about the President's beliefs than any amount of pro-life rhetoric.

       No Porn! Small Alabama Town Slays Big Video Retailer
       by Rusty Pugh and Jody Brown

        (AgapePress) - In an example of what can happen when determined citizens take a moral stand, concerned city officials and churches in one Alabama town have won a battle against pornography.

       Movie Gallery, the nation's third-largest video retailer, owns almost 1,000 stores in 31 states, and offers hard-core pornography from back rooms in 200 of those stores. The rental chain also rents "soft-core" porn from the main floor area. However, when Movie Gallery recently announced plans to open a new store in Fayette, Alabama, the mayor, city council, and churches took immediate action.

       Fayette Mayor Ray Nelson says city officials and church leaders had vowed to continuously picket the new store if it rented porn. Nelson contacted Movie Gallery and says the company, has decided they will not stock any pornography in the Fayette store.

        "It's just a matter of principle and convictions and [a willingness] to stand up," Nelson says, "and that's what our people have done here in our community. We said 'No,' and it was through the grass-roots efforts of our people ... and our pastors and churches that we've won this victory."

       Nelson believes the victory could inspire other towns to take a stand and fight pornography.

        "From Day 1, we've put forth an effort here to keep our city a morally decent city and not have any evil influence in our city with pornography," he says.

       Ohio State Motto Upheld By Court

       CINCINNATI, Ohio (EP) - Ohio's state motto - "With God all things are possible" - was ruled constitutional March 16 in a 9-4 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

       That decision by the full circuit court reverses a 2-1 ruling last year by a three-judge panel of the court. That panel ruled that the motto promoted Christianity, violating the constitutional principle of separation of church and state. However, the full court ruled that the motto is constitutionally permitted since it makes not specific reference to the biblical source of the phrase (it is a quote from Jesus, recorded in Matthew 19:26).

        "We...would add that, just as the motto does not have as its primary purpose the advancement of religion, it does not have the primary effect of advancing religion, either," appellate Judge David A. Nelson wrote for the majority.

       Lawyers for the state argued that the motto should be permitted since the words "In God We Trust" are allowed on U.S. currency.

       Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice, which represented the state in the case, said, "This is an important victory for freedom and a sound defeat for those who want to strip our nation of its religious heritage. The decision comes at a time when there is a national movement underway to remove any mention of 'God' from the public arena."

       Ohio Gov. Bob Taft called the ruling "a victory for the people of our state and the traditions that bind us together."

       Ohio adopted its motto in 1959. The motto is used on stationery, tax forms and reports, and appears on a bronze plate placed in the sidewalk near the Statehouse in Columbus.

       The decision came in a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of Matthew Peterson, a Presbyterian minister from Cleveland who objects to the motto. The ACLU may appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

       In a related story, a new law requiring Mississippi's public schools to display the motto "In God We Trust" was signed into law March 23. Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, who signed the bill despite the threat of a lawsuit by the ACLU, said, "Our nation was founded as a godly nation and we put it on our money, 'In God We Trust.'" Supporters of the proposal believe it will withstand a court challenge because the motto was officially adopted by Congress in 1956 and appears on U.S. currency.