FRC Blog

July 14, 1789: The Storming of the Bastille

by Robert Morrison

July 14, 2009

Today is Bastille Day, Frances national holiday. Too bad. The French celebrate an incredibly grisly event. This huge prison in the heart of Paris was a symbol of royal despotism. English-speakers can read about such prisons in works like Dickens Tale of Two Cities. There, the fictional Monsieur Manet, a frail and innocent shoemaker, was swallowed up for yearsimprisoned without a charge, without a day in court. In fact, many an innocent man wasted away in the Bastille. If some personal enemy purchased a lettre de cacheta document that allowed the named person to be packed away, the gates of the Bastille could close forever. But some, like the Marquis de Sade, lived in relative comfort within those massive stone walls.

Only a handful of prisoners were housed in the Bastille when a Paris mobbed stormed its gates. The new governor of the prison, DeLaunay, trying to appease the mob, let the ragged ranks stream into his courtyard. It was his last mistake. Soon, the severed heads of DeLaunay and his guardsmen were being paraded through the streets in what Dickens memorably called the carmagnolea snaking dance of merry-makers on their way to deal in death.

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Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

July 14, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

  • Go! New York: Adult Stem Cells Help Ease Arthritis,” Dr. Max Gomez, WCBS (July 14, 2009)
  • As the arthritis epidemic grips hold onto the baby boomer generation, new stem cell research is becoming the cutting edge way to treat osteo-arthritis of the knee, hip, ankle, and even back pain.

    But this research doesn’t include the same embryonic stem cells that couldn’t be used for research during the Bush administration. Instead, the developments use adult stem cells to help treat baby boomers like Robert Wilson.”

  • WVa lawmakers to get both sides on gay marriage,” Associated Press (July 14, 2009)
  • Evangelical Christian groups hope to convince West Virginia lawmakers to put a constitutional ban of same-sex marriage on the state ballot.

    The state Family Policy Council and the national Alliance Defense Fund both plan to weigh in Tuesday at a meeting of a joint legislative committee studying the issue.”

  • Will Episcopal Church move draw in — or drive out— believers?,” Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA Today (July 14, 2009)
  • The Episcopal Church is opening the role of bishops to gays and lesbians — and maybe widening the gap between the U.S. church and the worldwide Anglican Communion.”

  • FEATURE-Generational shift for U.S. Hispanics on abortion,” Reuters (July 13, 2009)
  • A 2007 joint survey by the respected Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and the Pew Hispanic Center shows that 65 percent of first-generation U.S. Hispanics believe abortion should be illegal. But among second-generation U.S. Hispanics like Ana, that percentage drops to 43 percent.”

  • Arizona governor approves abortion constraints,” Paul Davenport, Associated Press (July 13, 2009)
  • Republican Gov. Jan Brewer on Monday set a new course from her Democratic predecessor on the issue of abortion, signing a measure imposing new mandates and restrictions.

    One of the bill’s provisions is a requirement that those who visit an abortion provider wait 24 hours before getting an abortion. The visit would have to include disclosures by doctors in person about the procedure, risks and alternatives, and the fetus’ probable characteristics.”

  • Christians Remain Tense Amid Honduras Coup Crisis,” Michelle A. Vu, The Christian Post (July 13, 2009)
  • Pushing for ‘personhood’ in the South,” Charlie Butts, OneNewsNow (July 14, 2009)

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On Marriage: Lets NOT call the whole thing off

by James Sunday

July 13, 2009

Is marriage doomed? If youre a faithful viewer of the show Jon & Kate Plus 8, youve learned that Jon and Kate Gosselin are getting a divorce. Not only are Jon and Kate calling it quits on marriage, but Billy Joel and Madonna are ending their marriages (again). Its a sad day in Hollywood when Billy Joel cant find love with any of his uptown girls and the material girls material world hasnt bought her lifelong marriage material. Now author and performer Sandra Tsing Loh has issued a doomsday proclamation against marriage in her article, On marriage: Lets call the whole thing off. Loh not only publicly announces her own divorce, but she also calls for other married couples to divorce and questions the relevance of marriage in our modern society.

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Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

July 13, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

  • NIH received varied responses, some poignant, on stem-cell draft,” Nancy Frazier O’Brien, Catholic News Service (July 10, 2009)
  • Although many of the more than 49,000 comments received by the National Institutes of Health on their draft guidelines for embryonic stem-cell research are repetitive, some offer a poignant glimpse into the lives of Americans who don’t want to see embryos destroyed in an effort to cure diseases.

  • Clarence Thomas: The courage of his convictions,” Michael Barone, The Washington Examiner (July 12, 2009)
  • Spain liberalizing, but teen abortion hits a nerve,” Daniel Woolls, Associated Press (July 12, 2009)
  • Spain’s Socialist prime minister has irked his natural enemies on the right and in the Catholic church by legalizing gay marriage and instituting fast-track divorce. Now he has hit a raw nerve even among his supporters with a proposal to let 16-year-olds get abortions without parental consent.

    The debate is harsh and emotional, showing that for all the changes Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has introduced with his trailblazing social agenda since taking power in 2004, abortion remains sensitive in a country where most people call themselves Catholic, even if few churches are full on Sundays.

  • One child rule,” Alisa Harris, WORLD Magazine (July 13, 2009)
  • The Chinese government’s population policy requires delayed marriages and delayed births, meaning citizens have to wait for government permission to reproduce. It also advocates “fewer births”one child in most cases, but two if the first is a girl. The final plank”healthier” birthscovers a policy that Mosher said leads to sterilization and killing visibly disabled babies at birth.

  • House Strips Funding for Abstinence Education,” Christian News Wire (July 12, 2009)
  • Federal funding for abstinence until marriage education was stripped from the budget today in the House subcommittee, led by Rep. David Obey (D-WI). The budget now goes to the full committee and to the full House of Representatives.”

  • Korean bishops reject measure that would allow euthanasia,” Catholic News Agency (July 13, 2009)
  • The Bishops of South Korea have rejected a measure that would legalize euthanasia in the country. Supporters of the measure are euphemistically labeling the proposal death with dignity.”

  • Religion and spirituality: Can faith help you heal?,” Eve Glicksman, KTNV (July 13, 2009)
  • Research suggests there is a link between religion and better mental health and well-being. Some spiritual practices may reduce stress. This may also ease symptoms and help offset the harmful effects of stress on the immune, endocrine and cardiovascular systems. Some studies have shown that people of faith recover faster from depression, grief and anxiety disorders.”

  • Oak Park man has own stem cells implanted in heart,” Kim Lamb Gregory, Ventura County Star (July 13, 2009)

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Change Watch: Dr. Francis Collins, Director, National Institutes of Health

by David Prentice

July 11, 2009


NOMINEE: Francis S. Collins

BIRTHDATE: April 14, 1950 in Staunton, Virginia


B.S. in Chemistry, 1970, University of Virginia

Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry, 1974, Yale University

M.D. 1977, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

FAMILY: wife Diane L. Baker; two daughters from previous marriage


2009 Founded Biologos Foundation, to address the tension between religion and science

2007 Presidential Medal of Freedom for contributions to genetic research.

2006 Published book The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief

1993-2008 Director of National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)

1989 Identified gene for cystic fibrosis

1984-1993 Faculty position at University of Michigan

1981-1984 Fellow in Human Genetics at Yale Medical School

1978-1981 Residency and Chief Residency in Internal Medicine, North Carolina Memorial Hospital, Chapel Hill

Member of the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences

Physician volunteer in a rural missionary hospital in Nigeria

Member of the Obama transition team

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Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

July 10, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

  • Federal Law excluding Gay Marriage is under siege,” Michael B. Farrell, Christian Science Monitor (July 9, 2009)
  • Five years after it became the first state to marry same-sex couples, Massachusetts is taking on the federal governments definition of marriage.

    While other lawsuits have challenged the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which was passed in 1996 and defined marriage as between a man and woman, Massachusetts is the first to argue that Congress overstepped its bounds and violated a states right to determine what constitutes marriage.

  • Survey: Science Just One Ingredient of Opinion Cocktail,” Emily Badger, Miller-McCune (July 9, 2009)
  • Although people like science, they are not bound by what science shows,” said Alan I. Leshner, the AAAS’s CEO and executive publisher of the journal Science. “Advances in science over the course of last decade are coming into conflict with some core human values issues, whether it’s when life begins or what you believe about evolution. Only scientists are stuck with what science is showing. The public at large and policy-makers are free to deny, disagree or just disregard what the science is showing. Scientists don’t have that luxury.”

  • Group asks Tracy to drop religion from invocations,” Mike Martinez, San Joaquin Herald (July 9, 2009)
  • In a six-page letter to the city, the attorney for the Madison, Wisc.-based Freedom From Religion Foundation wrote demanding an end to the practice.

    The City Council of Tracy cannot, under current federal and state law, permit any prayers that contain references to an explicit deity,” wrote attorney Rebecca Kratz. “The prayers currently given during council meetings impermissibly advance Christianity and lead a reasonable observer to believe that the council is endorsing not only religion over non religion, but also Christianity over other faiths.”

  • Marriage showdown imminent in Maine,” Charlie Butts, OneNewsNow (July 10, 2009)
  • Although the legislature passed it and Governor John Baldacci approved the same-sex marriage bill in May, the law is on hold. Maine considers the people to be a branch of the government, and they can exercise a People’s Veto. Mary Conroy of Stand for Marriage tells OneNewsNow that means gathering enough signatures to put the issue before voters.

  • White House Says Obama, Pope Benedict XVI Will Have “Frank” Talk on Abortion,” Steven Ertelt, (July 8, 2009)
  • The relationship between Obama and Catholics has been tenuous. The pro-life teachings of the Catholic Church and Obama’s pro-abortion views have been at odds since the beginning of his presidency.

    Before Obama took over the White House, the nation’s Catholic bishops warned him not to aggressively promote abortion and not to include abortion in his health care restructuring proposal.

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Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

July 8, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

  • Mass. challenges federal Defense of Marriage Act,” Martin Finucane, The Boston Globe (July 8, 2009)
  • Massachusetts, the first state in the nation to legalize gay marriage, has become the first to challenge the constitutionality of a federal law that defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman, saying Congress intruded into a matter that should be left to individual states.

  • Scientists claim sperm ‘first’,” Fergus Walsh, BBC News (July 7, 2009)
  • This research also raises ethical issues. Josephine Quintavalle from Comment on Reproductive Ethics (Corethics) said: “This is an example of immoral madness. Perfectly viable human embryos have been destroyed in order to create sperm over which there will be huge questions of their healthiness and viability.

    It’s taking one life in order to perhaps create another. I’m very much in favour of curing infertility but I don’t think you can do whatever you like.”

  • Could Abortion Coverage Sink Health-Care Reform?,” Karen Tumulty, Time (July 8, 2009)
  • Gay marriage foes reach signature goal in Maine,” Associated Press (July 8, 2009)
  • Mark Mutty from the Stand for Marriage Maine coalition says it took only four weeks to gather the more than 55,087 signatures necessary to put gay marriage to a vote. But he says signature gathering will continue to ensure theres more than enough petitions.”

  • School district shapes religious policy,” Associated Press (July 8, 2009)
  • Spencer public school officials are proposing a policy that will allow students to study the Bible and pray during graduation ceremonies.

    The proposal, if adopted, will have schools offer elective classes that permit arguments against evolution and discussions on the Bible in history and literature. School officials say they want to set clear rules for religious expression.”

  • Cerebral Palsy Improves After Bone Marrow Stem Cell Procedure,” PR Newswire (July 8, 2009)
  • Dr. David Steenblock of Mission Viejo, California, a pioneer in clinical applications of stem cells, is pleased to report the results of a 16 year old girl who suffered from cerebral palsy. The patient had right side paralysis and spasticity since birth. The procedure consisted of removing 300 milliliters of bone marrow from her hip and giving it back to her intravenously.”

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Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

July 7, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

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