Baptist Press Archived in Library of Congress

The Library of Congress has informed Baptist Press that the Southern Baptist Convention news service has been selected for an Internet archive about Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The official notification forwarded to Baptist Press from the Library of Congress stated in part:

"The United States Library of Congress preserves the Nation's cultural artifacts and provides enduring access to them. The Library's traditional functions, acquiring, cataloging, preserving, and serving collection materials of historical importance to the Congress and to the American people to foster education and scholarship, extend to digital materials, including websites. The Library has selected your site for inclusion in the historic collection of the 2003 War on Iraq Internet materials. On behalf of the Library of Congress, the Internet Archive will be collecting content from your website at regular intervals during the War. The Library will make this collection available to researchers onsite at Library facilities. The Library also wishes to make the collection available to offsite researchers by hosting the collection on the Library's public access website."

Baptist Press posted numerous stories and photos about Operation Iraqi Freedom since the campaign began on March 20. The centerpiece of the coverage is a series of reports, "A Patriot's Faith," by a BP reporting team that was embarked on the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) in the eastern Mediterranean. The reports by writer Sara Horn, of the corporate communications department of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, and the images by photographer Jim Veneman, director of visual communications at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., focused on the integration of faith and patriotism by Christians serving in the Navy and Marine Corps units assigned to this ship. Horn and Veneman were aboard the aircraft carrier from March 21-30.

Baptist Press also has reported about the wartime leadership by President Bush and military decision-makers, heroic conduct, those killed in combat or taken prisoner, the work of chaplains in Kuwait and Iraq, church ministries to families of soldiers who have been deployed to the Middle East, and plans for relief ministries once the military campaign is completed.

You can read Baptist Press articles daily at www.bpnews.net.



No Crosses Allowed

Associated Press reports that a teacher's aide in Glen Campell, Pa. was suspended for one year without pay for wearing a cross necklace, which officials say violate the Pennsylvania public school code. The code prohibits workers from wearing religious clothing and accessories.

According to the April 23, 2003 report Brenda Nichol, 43, was suspended in early April for wearing a cross to work and not being willing to either remove it or tuck it in. Nichol acknowledges she was told of the prohibition as far back as 1997, and was warned twice since March that wearing the necklace was cause for suspension. Under the school code, she could be fired for a second offense.

"I think the public needs to know that there is a code out there that is against our freedom," Nichol said in the AP article. She has reportedly enlisted the help of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a Virginia-based public-interest law firm. At the time of the report, the group was planning to file a federal court lawsuit.

Associated Press, April 23, 2003



Pro-Life Shirt Day Public Schools

The message that abortion is wrong flowed through school hallways across the country on April 28, 2003. Tens of thousands of students went to school proclaiming the message that abortion is wrong. The event was part of the first-ever National Pro-Life T-Shirt Day, sponsored by Rock For Life.

In the public schools, there is no shortage of shirts paying tribute to heavy metal bands and rock stars. But when kids wear a T-shirt that promotes the pro-life agenda, the situation changes quickly, according to Sara McKalips, organizer of the event, who spoke to Focus on the Family.

"We've been hearing reports that students have been unfairly discriminated against for wearing pro-life T-shirts into their schools, so we just wanted to create a day where a lot of pro-lifers could stand together in unity and strength and go out into their schools wearing these pro-life T-shirts," McKalips said.

She said the stories of how pro-life kids are treated by school administrators are of great concern.

"Students are getting detention, they're getting suspended, they're even being threatened by some people for wearing these T-shirts," McKalips said.

Ed White, with the Thomas More Law Center, said his organization sees many cases of discrimination and added they'll take any cases — for free — that come out of Pro-Life T-Shirt Day.

"We've been getting calls on a regular basis from kids around the country," White said. "It seems like the culture looks at them as oddballs so they do need support, especially when they are advancing a well-founded and proper belief that abortion is murder and there's no other way to look at it."

Focus on the Family, April 29, 2003



Speech Codes Targeted

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) hopes to end what the group's president calls "the scandal of unconstitutional speech codes" at America's university campuses. Such institutions, President Alan Charles Kors says, claim to promote academic freedom — and then deny that routinely.

FIRE has filed a federal lawsuit against Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania over the school's speech code. The controversial code requires students to display "a commitment to racial tolerance, cultural diversity, and social justice … in their attitudes and behaviors" — and bans remarks that are "inflammatory, demeaning, or harmful to others."

"Such a code would not last a second without a double standard," Kors told AgapePress. "For example, if a Christian student bears witness to certain beliefs about sexuality, that student indeed could be charged with 'annoying' or 'alarming' or 'demeaning' this or that group."

However, Kors says he guarantees that if a radical feminist or homosexual student were to insult or demean a Christian student and showed no toleration for the Christian's views, the speech code would not apply to that student.

Kors says FIRE has one immediate objective: to put an end to what he calls the "nightmare of abusive authority and restrictions of speech" at public colleges and universities — restrictions he says are always imposed with a double standard that protects some groups and not others.

FIRE's action at Shippensburg, he says, is the first part of a campaign to "end the nightmare of campus censorship."

AgapePress, April 29, 2003



Three in Four Parents Disapprove of Current Sex-Ed Guidelines

AgapePress reports that a recent Zogby International poll on parents' attitudes regarding sex-education programs found results that nearly three-fourths of parents favor abstinence-based sex education. Groups that harbor the "safe-sex" mentality have controlled the sex-education programs in most schools for three or more decades.

Florida Republican Representative Dave Weldon, who is also a physician, says those groups have used misinformation to make it appear parents overwhelmingly support them. "What you haven't heard is the dubious methods they have used to get their data," Weldon says. "They misuse polling numbers, then call for the elimination of different approaches, claiming that abstinence education is medically inaccurate." Weldon says the "safe-sex" attitude by the groups to more than thirty sexually transmitted diseases and 20 million infected teenagers.

The Zogby poll found that more than 75 percent disapprove of the current guidelines and nearly that same number prefer an abstinence, character-based curriculum. Genevieve Wood, of the Family Research Council, says the results of the poll are important because of the influence that parents have in their children's lives.

"Parents play a major role in whether their child will decide to have sex," Wood told AgapePress. "Study after study [shows] that if a teenager perceives that their parents do not want them to engage in sexual behavior, they delay getting involved in sexual activity."

Wood says young people want their parents' guidance as they grow older, especially with the health dangers associated with sexual experiences.

"The majority of American teenagers say [they] want a strong message from American society telling [them] to abstain from sex until at least after high school," she says. "That same survey said 70 percent of the teens 'very much' need to hear that particular message."

AgapePress, February 21, 2003

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