Tom Strode & Michael Foust

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Land urges Scouts to protect values, boys

WASHINGTON (BP) -- Southern Baptist ethics leader Richard Land has urged Boy Scout officials to uphold their long-standing moral values and protect young males by abandoning their proposed policy change on homosexuality.

‘Manhattan Declaration’ commits to engage culture

WASHINGTON (BP)--A diverse group of Christian leaders joined together Nov. 20 to declare a commitment to defend the sanctity of human life, biblical marriage and religious liberty without compromise.       In a 4,700-word statement named the Manhattan Declaration, about 150 evangelical, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox signers said they were coming together to "embrace our obligation" to speak and act in support of the dignity of all human beings, marriage as the union of a man and a woman, and the freedom to express religious convictions.       "[W]e will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act," the statement says, "nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family. We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar's. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God's."       The drafters and other signers of the Manhattan Declaration unveiled the statement at a Washington news conference. The document gets its name from the location of the first drafting committee meeting.       The timing of the document's release -- 10 months into the Obama administration -- was affected by the policy proposals of the new president and a Democrat-controlled Congress, but the principles in the statement are timeless, they said.       "If you look at the Manhattan Declaration, we are clear that we see a genuine increase in the threat, especially on the sanctity of life front," said Robert George, a Roman Catholic and a professor at Princeton University. "That's the result of the federal government having an administration that is deeply committed to legal abortion and [government funding] and a majority in both houses of Congress that share that commitment.... We could have said many of the things that we are saying today a year ago, but some of the things we are saying today have an urgency to them as a result of the [Obama administration]."       Timothy George, a Southern Baptist and dean of the Beeson Divinity School at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., agreed and added, "[T]his is not a politically motivated agenda.... [W]hile the urgency of the moment is impacted by what's going on around us, and we need to be discerning of that, the principles that undergird the Manhattan Declaration ...

Senate defeats filibuster attempt, 72-25, setting up Tuesday confirmation vote

WASHINGTON (BP)--U.S. Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito cleared his final hurdle Monday before confirmation by the Senate. With 19 Democrats joining 53 Republicans, the Senate voted 72-25 to end debate on President Bush’s nominee to the high court and move to a confirmation vote, which is scheduled for Tuesday at 11 a.m. (EST). The successful vote, known as invoking cloture, ended the possibility of a filibuster and virtually assured Alito would be confirmed to succeed retiring Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Alito refuses to call legalized abortion ‘settled law’

WASHINGTON (BP)--Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito on Wednesday refused to affirm unequivocally Roe v. Wade as the “settled law of the land,” despite efforts to pin him down on the 1973 opinion legalizing abortion on the second day of questioning by the Senate Judiciary Committee.