As mentioned in the November 12, 2008 Daily Buzz, the Washington, DC Metro Transit system has been in some deep heat from riders and onlookers alike for their recent advertisements on the back of buses. The advertisements are a part of the American Humanist Association campaign that says: “Why believe in a God? Be good for goodness sake.”
According to a recent article from The Washington Examiner, the Metro Transit Agency has received such complaints like, “May all your atheist buses break down.” Metro spokeswoman Candace Smith responded to these complaints by saying,
“As a public agency, Metro must observe the First Amendment with respect to the acceptance of commercial advertising,” Smith said. “Although we understand that feelings and perceptions will vary among individuals within the community, we cannot reject advertising because an individual, or group, finds it inappropriate or offensive.
Metro spokeswoman Smith said the number of complaints represents a small fraction of its ridership, which averages more than a million trips on buses and trains daily.
“Do we think we’re losing customers over this?” Smith said. “I doubt it.”
She said Metro responds to each complaint, urging those who complain to contact the advertiser directly. Or, she said, “They can pony up money for counter advertising.”
It is an attitude like this that sends a clear sign that the Metro does not take note or consider how offensive an advertising campaign can be to their patrons.
Over the extended holiday weekend, the WashingtonTimes published an editorial and a commentary piece that are well worth reading:
The Timeseditorial appeared on Friday, November 28, and was entitled “Judicial Imperialism.” First, the paper discusses the worrying ramifications of the recent settlement by eHarmony, a California company, which was forced by the state of New Jersey to offer dating services to gay customers in New Jersey. Second, the editorial discusses the dangerous and illegitimate effort to have the California Supreme Court thwart the will of the Golden State’s voters and declare its recently-passed marriage amendment unconstitutional.
The commentary piece was authored by Jeffrey T. Kuhner. His first Sunday opinion column with the Times was published on September 28th. In Kuhner’s latest, entitled “Obama vs. Pope Benedict,” he recognizes the struggle that may erupt between Mr. Obama and the Pope should the new administration pass the Freedom of Choice Act. He sets the stage as follows:
Mr. Obama signing the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) “would be the equivalent of a war,” a senior Vatican official told Time magazine last week. “It would be like saying, ‘We’ve heard the Catholic Church and we have no interest in their concerns.’ ”
In the latest Mapping America, federal surveys show that adolescents who worship frequently and live with both biological parents are less likely to have behavior problems at home and school than those who do not.
Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media are releasing on DVD today their adaptation of the second installment in C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, Prince Caspian. A lesser-known story than that of its predecessor, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian brings the four Pevensie children back to a Narnia 1,300 years older, where the ruling humans have constructed a bellicose society that regards the Christ-like Aslan, if it regards him as all, as no more than a mere myth. In many respects a cautionary tale for our own society about the effects of Godlessness, Caspian also delivers an inspirational message about the effects of Godliness when our heroes and a significant portion of Narnians renew their faith in God (Aslan).
Another notable event in the film is the introduction of Reepicheep the mouse, a character whose name could be listed in any dictionary as a synonym for “valour” and “chivalry.”
Due to the book’s involved backstory, Caspian is the most difficult of the Chronicles to adapt to the screen. The need to rearrange and modify events in the book to accomplish that feat has arguably resulted in a film superior to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, for which the screenwriters adhered to the book’s structure perhaps a bit too religiously. This is forgivable, though, since Lion‘s narrative is more conducive to cinematic interpretation and less forgiving to structural alterations.
Today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) released a new study that found most Americans to be civically illiterate.
The study was conducted by giving a random sampling of more than 2500 people a 33 question test on civic literacy. Questions ranged from knowledge about the Declaration of Independence to the economy. The result of the test was that more than 1,700 people failed. The average score overall was 49 percent, which equals an “F” on the ISI scale.
Another disturbing finding of the study was that twice as many people know that Paula Abdul was a judge on American idol than they know that the phrase “government of the people, by the people, for the people” comes from the Gettysburg Address.
Many of the people polled by ISI believe that colleges should be in charge of teaching America’s heritage and history. This includes 73 percent of people in the West, 69 percent in the Midwest, 74 percent in the Northeast and 74 percent in the South. Yet even with this high expectation from the general public many of these institutions are failing to do so. The results show that the average score for college graduates who took this civic literacy exam was 57 percent. Once again, an F on the ISI scale.
Chairman of ISI’s National Civic Literacy Board, Josiah Bunting, III, said of these results; “There is an epidemic of economic, political, and historical ignorance in our country.”
So what do we do with these results? ISI is calling on elected officials, trustees, taxpayers, parents and college administrations to start reevaluating college curricula and looking at new standard of accountability. They are asking, “Do colleges require courses in American history, politics, economics and other core areas?”
David Brooks, columnist for The New York Times and a speaker for the event, said that a knowledge of American history is beginning to be left behind by liberals and conservatives alike. He went on the say that “human beings want stories and history provides that.”
Last week, FRC filed a friend of the court brief in a case before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The ECHR is considering a challenge to Ireland’s laws on abortion, which restrict access to abortion unless the woman’s life is in danger. FRC was one of 3 groups invited to file an unusual “joint” brief by the ECHR, and the only pro-life group in the USA invited to do so. (The others were SPUC of the United Kingdom and the European Center for Law & Justice from Brussels.)
The case is important because the European system of jurisprudence is quite limited when it comes to social issues. In other words, though there is a European Convention of Human Rights that binds all European nations that have ratified it (including Ireland), the resolution of “social issues” is left to the laws of the individual state to decide. Thus, it should not be possible for the ECHR to create a European-wide “right” to abortion.
Of course, the U.S. Supreme Court created a right to abortion where none existed under our Constitution. Thus, just as our Court ignored the wording of the Constitution and principles of federalism to overturn the laws of all 50 states on abortion, it is conceivable the ECHR could do the same thing. In fact, pro-abortion groups have filed briefs urging it to do so. Thus, it was important for FRC - in alliance with our good friends of the Alliance Defense Fund - to file a brief urging the ECHR to stay out of these matters and to leave the resolution of the issue to the member states. Click here for the brief itself.