Habitat’s “Women” Initiative Kicks Off in Denver

by Allie Martin

(AgapePress) – Hundreds of women spent last week building five houses for needy families in Denver as part of a new initiative from Habitat for Humanity.

The program is known as “Women Building a Legacy,” and was kicked off May 5 as hundreds of women went to work at five home sites in the Denver area. All five homes were scheduled for completion on Saturday, May 12.

Fiona Eastwood is manager of the Women Build department for Habitat for Humanity. She says the program shows women that they can help solve the problem of substandard housing.

“It's putting our faith into action. It's not just saying, 'We think it would be a good idea if you had a new home and you had a decent place to live … and to raise your children,'” Eastwood says. “It's saying, 'I don't just think that, I believe it so strongly that I want to put my faith into action and get out there and help you build your home.'”

According to Eastwood, Women Building a Legacy is focusing strongly on the high number of children — almost one out of every five — who are living in poverty housing in the United States. She also says volunteers gain a lot from the program.

“What we're doing with Women Building a Legacy is opening up an opportunity for women to find that they can participate in the actual home-building … with these families [who] are in need of their own home,” she says. “Up until now, construction has been really considered … a man's world, and women are finding out that it's something that they do, and that they do very well.”

According to a statement released by Habitat for Humanity, those helping last week included Cathy Keating, First Lady of Oklahoma and a long-time supporter and builder for Habitat for Humanity. Volunteers are hoping to build at least 100 Habitat for Humanity homes around the nation by the end of the next year.

(This update courtesy of Agape Press.)

Student Can Sport 'Straight Pride' Sweatshirt at School

by Chad Groening and Jody Brown

(AgapePress) – A Minnesota high school student will be able to wear his “Straight Pride” sweatshirt to school again, thanks to a decision by a federal court.

Elliott Chambers is a student at Woodbury High School near St. Paul. One day in January, Elliott's wore his “Straight Pride” sweatshirt to school. The shirt carries the trademarked logo “Straight Pride” on the front, and the universal symbol of man and woman, holding hands, on the back. The next day, he was summoned to the principal's office and told he could no longer wear the sweatshirt to school because homosexual students had complained that it was offensive to them.

So Elliott and his parents contacted the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy, which filed a federal lawsuit on their behalf. The Law Center's chief counsel, Steve Crampton, says the ruling came down late last week.

“The court ruled in favor of Elliott by entering a preliminary injunction against the school and the school district that will allow Elliott to return to school wearing his 'Straight Pride' sweatshirt without fear of discipline being invoked by the school,” Crampton says.

Crampton believes this ruling could prove to be a trend-setter for similar cases around the country.

“These issues are not unique to Woodbury High and Minnesota,” he says. “That fact is that as the 'politically correct' continue to solidify their hold on the schools, I think they are actively trying to silence the message of 'Straight Pride' or [any] message in opposition to the pro-homosexual one that the schools have adopted. So I think this is an important and trend-setting case in that respect.”

The attorney says the school could not present factual evidence that Elliott's shirt caused any violence against homosexuals.

The lawsuit against the school and the principal was filed in early April. According to a statement from the Law Center at that time, the school openly promotes homosexuality by displaying inverted pink triangles — the universal symbol of the homosexual community — in certain “safe” rooms. Those rooms, the statement said, are set aside for student/teacher discussion and counseling regarding homosexuality and “other non-traditional relationships.”

Before contacting the Law Center, the Chamberses had attempted to resolve the matter by meeting with the school's principal, co-defendant Dr. Dana Babbitt. According to the Law Center, during that meeting the Chamberses expressed their concern about the school's overt support of homosexuality, but that Babbitt called them “homophobic.”

When the lawsuit was filed, Crampton expressed his concern about the school's reaction to what was a simple, positive statement about traditional relationships.

“Elliott's sweatshirt merely makes a positive statement about heterosexuality,” Crampton said in April. “It does not denigrate other forms of sexuality. This is a case of classic viewpoint discrimination. The school has chosen to openly embrace homosexuality, and it does not welcome dissenting points of view.”

Crampton said he was especially troubled by the school's “open hostility” toward student support of committed man-woman relationships.

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