Groups Voice Displeasure With DeWine

        (AgapePress) - Several pro-family groups are criticizing Ohio Senator Mike DeWine for his support of pro-homosexual hate crimes legislation.

       The groups include the Ohio Christian Coalition, AFA of Ohio, the Traditional Values Coalition, and Mission America. They are not happy that the Ohio Republican voted with Democrats in the Senate Judiciary Committee to support a bill giving special protection to homosexuals.

       Linda Harvey is president of Mission America. She says DeWine has had a long history of being pro-homosexual.

        "Mike DeWine has a long history of voting in favor of hate crimes legislation and has a very pro-homosexual voting record," she says. "He has been talked with about this issue by many pro-family groups and leaders of groups and citizens, and he's not changing his mind. His record continues to be radically left-wing on the issue of homosexuality."

       Harvey also disputes DeWine's claim that he is pro-life. "We have always heard from him and he positions himself as a pro-life senator; but you cannot be pro-life and pro homosexual at the same time."

       A response from Senator DeWine's office has been requested, but none has been received yet.

Girl Scout Warning

       ...An ex-Scout claims the Girl Scouts have been pervaded by female liberalism. Carolyn Kunkle participated in the Girl Scouts in the early 1960s, and attended Camp Sacajawea in New Jersey. Kunkle says, "Back then, Girl Scouting was all about being a good little girl, being honest, being truthful." But Kunkle tells CNS News that she was disturbed when she learned that the very same camp is now rented out for two weeks every summer to a feminist homosexual organization. Wendy Wright, spokesperson for Concerned Women for America, says the Girl Scouts' silence on such issues reflects a breakdown in the "traditional values" the organization was founded upon. Wright warns parents to be wary of a subtle agenda to promote the homosexual lifestyle to young girls involved in Girl Scouts.

Only Ohio's Motto Is Scripture

       COLUMBUS, Ohio (EP) - The U.S. Supreme Court won't be asked to decide the constitutionality of Ohio's official motto, "With God, all things are possible." The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has decided not to appeal a March ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit which upheld the motto.

        "We decided that the potential risk was not worth the gain," said Raymond Vasvari, a spokesman for the ACLU's Ohio branch, who explained that by appealing the decision the ACLU would be risking a national precedent-setting case. "It's no secret that there's a conservative block on the Supreme Court that takes a skeptical view of church and state separation."

       The ACLU had argued that the motto was an unconstitutional endorsement of Christianity, since it is taken from a statement by Jesus recorded in the Bible's Book of Matthew. Attorneys for the state argued that their motto was similar to the nation's motto "In God we trust," and would not be perceived as state endorsement of Christianity.

       Ohio is the only state whose motto is taken directly from Scripture, but other states have mottos that include religious references. Arizona's motto is "God enriches." South Dakota's says, "Under God the people will rule." Florida's motto is the same as the national motto, "In God we trust."

       Ohio adopted its motto in 1959, and uses it on official stationery, reports and tax forms. The ACLU challenged the motto in court in 1997 when then-Gov. George Voinovich decided to display it on a bronze plaque near the statehouse. In its suit, the ACLU represented the Rev. Matthew Peterson, a Presbyterian minister from suburban Cleveland who objected to the motto.

Christian Product Sales Exceed $4 Billion

       COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (EP) - Christian product sales exceeded $4 billion in 2000, according to a recent survey. The study of 539 member suppliers of CBA (Christian Booksellers Association) found the following sales breakdown: books and Bibles, $1.77 billion; gifts, $822 million; music, $747 million; other products (stationery, church supplies, software, curriculum, apparel), $661 million.

Devil Worship 101

       LAWRENCE, Kan. (EP) - A Kansas woman says her school district showed her second-grade son a video documentary and book that portrayed the devil and witches. Cheryl Swanson told The Lawrence Journal-World that she was shocked that the award-winning video "Nature Jungle" was shown to such young children. "We can't talk about God at school," explained Swanson. "I didn't figure we had to worry about devil or demon imagery. We can't talk about the good side, but we can talk about the evil side?...I think parents need to be smarter about all this. It's ugly imagery. I shouldn't have to worry about my child being frightened at school." The school principal reviewed the video after Swanson's complaint, and determined it was more appropriate for children in grade four and up.

American Indentity

       NEW YORK, N.Y. (EP) - Most Americans identify themselves as Christians, according to a new ABC News/Beliefnet poll. The survey found that 83 percent of Americans call themselves Christians. Another 13 percent of Americans say they have no religion, leaving just four percent adhering to all non-Christian religions combined - Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and others. The survey found that 53 percent of Americans are Protestants, 22 percent Catholic, and 8 percent members of other Christian groups. More than one-third (37 percent) of Christians described themselves as born-again or evangelical.

Astronauts See And Hear of God's Wonders

       NASHVILLE, Tenn. (EP) - The praise and worship song "God of Wonders" awakened Space shuttle Atlantis astronauts recently. The song, from the multi-artist collaborative album City on a Hill, features Third Day, Caedmon's Call, and Leigh Nash of Sixpence None the Richer. According to a recent mission status report issued from the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, the five astronauts aboard the shuttle heard "God of Wonders" at 3:04 p.m. Central Daylight Time on Friday, July 13. The song began the crew's third day in space, which focused on rendezvousing and docking with the International Space Station around 9:53 p.m.

"Ye' Local Pub"

       Members of one English church have an unusual outreach program. Recently the congregation at Trent Vineyard Church in Nottingham were trying to think of ways to break down people's traditional view of the church. So some of the church's members began visiting local pubs and offering regulars a free drink. Church members sit down with pub customers and ask them if they would like a free drink, no strings attached. Pastor John Wright says the free-drink outreach often gives church members a chance to talk about God's grace.