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Erica Simons

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APA task force shuts door to conservatives

WASHINGTON (BP)--A task force of the American Psychological Association set to revise policies on the interplay of homosexuality and psychology has refused to meet with a number of counselors and religious leaders who believe same-sex attraction can be altered.

Pro-lifers split on ’08 endorsements

WASHINGTON (BP)--The National Right to Life Committee's Nov. 13 endorsement of Fred Thompson for president came just days after other pro-life advocates scattered their support among Republican candidates.

Military allows porn, despite ban

WASHINGTON (BP)--Pentagon officials continue to allow the sale of adult magazines on military property despite a ban on sexually explicit material, and the decision has caused alarm among pro-family organizations.

Senator investigating Hinn, other television ministries

WASHINGTON (BP)--The leading Republican on the Senate Finance Committee is investigating prominent televangelists and their financial conduct, pursuing reports of elaborate private jets, Rolls Royces and indulgent salaries.       "It is important that the Congress and the public have confidence that public charities, which benefit from very significant tax breaks, are operated in a manner that promotes continued trust," Sen. Grassley, R.-Iowa, said in a Nov. 5 letter to the TV preachers.       Joyce Meyer and Benny Hinn are among representatives of six ministries asked to hand over their records of expenses and compensations to Grassley. Because of their non-profit "church status," all of the ministries are tax-exempt and not required to submit their financial information to the Internal Revenue Service.       "I don't want to conclude that there's a problem, but I have an obligation to donors and the taxpayers to find out more," Grassley said. "I'm following up on complaints from the public and news coverage regarding certain practices at six ministries."       Other ministries that Grassley has identified for investigation are Paula and Randy White; Gloria and Kenneth Copeland of Kenneth Copeland Ministries in Newark, Texas; Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga., and Creflo and Taffi Dollar of World Changers International in College Park, Ga.

Panel: ‘Islamophobia’ charges are hijacking human rights

WASHINGTON (BP)--The United Nations' second World Conference on Racism will be focused on the fear of Islam, or "Islamophobia," and religious freedom experts are concerned it is simply an effort to sidetrack interest in the lack of tolerance and freedom inside Islamic and Arab countries.       "The world of human rights has developed a weapon. It's one that inverts victim and perpetrator. It's one that is designed to deflect attention from human rights abuses by those who violate human rights," said Ann Bayefsky, a panelist at a Hudson Institute conference Oct. 30.       The panel convened in Washington to discuss "Islamophobia," a term which is actively opposed by members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), a group inside the U.N.       "There's nothing wrong with condemning 'Islamophobia,'" Bayefsky said. "The problem is that it has been manipulated as a term to mean something quite different ..."

FDA control of tobacco debated

WASHINGTON (BP)–Arguments over the Food and Drug Administration’s ability to regulate tobacco products were aired during an Oct. 3 congressional hearing on the proposed Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. “It is remarkable that a cigarette is subject to less regulation than a lollipop,” said Rep. Henry Waxman., D.-Calif., who is sponsoring H.R. 1108 […]

Transgender language pulled from ENDA

WASHINGTON (BP)--Language to protect transgendered individuals has been removed from the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in an attempt to increase its chance of passage in the House of Representatives.

Supreme Court to examine lethal injection constitutionality

WASHINGTON (BP)--The Supreme Court announced Sept. 25 it will hear an appeal concerning the constitutionality of lethal injections, specifically the three-drug concoction used in 36 states to put inmates to death.       A Kentucky case will be used to issue a ruling by next summer on whether the current protocol can be deemed "cruel and unusual punishment," violating the Eighth Amendment. Ralph Baze and Thomas Bowling, two death row inmates, have filed the appeal, claiming the concoction could cause "unnecessary pain."       Both men were convicted of double homicides and given the death penalty in Kentucky. Baze killed a Powell County deputy and sheriff, while Bowling murdered a couple with a young son.       According to Baze and Bowling's attorneys, at least half of those sentenced to lethal injection and facing imminent execution in the last two years have challenged the use of the tri-chemical cocktail. Sodium thiopental, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride are used together to render the inmate unconscious, interrupt the breathing process and, finally, stop the heart.

‘Sex tourism’ targeting U.S. minors

WASHINGTON (BP)--Demands for commercial sex have created a growing market of sex tourism and human trafficking in the United States, with an estimated 100,000 to 300,000 American children at risk of becoming victims of sexual exploitation, according to a new report.

Iraqi refugees in crisis, panel told

WASHINGTON (BP)--Millions of Iraqis have fled their homes in order to seek asylum in neighboring countries, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom was told at a Sept. 19 hearing. Religious minorities, specifically the Chaldo-Assyrian Christians, Sabean Mandaeans and Yazidis, have almost completely evacuated the country, witnesses said.