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CULTURE DIGEST: MTV show about losing virginity halted

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- In a display of just how far MTV will go to gain viewers, the cable network posted a casting notice for a reality television show aimed at getting young adults to lose their virginity.

"Young adulthood is a time for exploration. New relationships, fresh experiences and sexual firsts," the casting notice said.

MTV sought people age 18 and older who would allow themselves to be filmed for television in their quest to engage in sex before marriage -- until the network known for pushing the limits received enough pushback to halt plans for the show.

Fox News reported May 21 that comments on Twitter about the show included "just when I thought MTV couldn't stoop lower than 'Jersey Shore'" and "one more reason I am glad we canceled our cable a year ago."

Actress Patricia Heaton tweeted, "This is so incredibly depressing."

Though the casting call was scheduled to close May 28, the webpage already was disabled at least a week in advance.

"This was a preliminary casting notice, and we're not moving forward with a pilot," an MTV spokesperson told Fox News.

Dan Gainor, vice president of business and culture for the Media Research Center, told Fox that MTV was "pandering to the gutter."

"This is part of the media attempt to mock people who have morals and to treat virginity like a disease that must be cured," Gainor said.

Nicole Clark, director of the documentary "Cover Girl Culture," told Fox News, "Adults know how strongly girls/boys desire attention and recognition. Offering fame to girls willing to lose their virginity is only going to encourage girls to participate, without considering the repercussions to their future or mental health. It's irresponsible."

FEDEX MISTREATED CHRISTIAN, JUDGE RULES -- A Federal Express employee has prevailed in a lawsuit accusing the shipping giant of discrimination in failing to accommodate his religious beliefs.


FedEx discriminated against Eric Weathers by refusing to allow him to answer questions from co-workers about the Bible and his faith and ordering him not to disclose to others his bachelor's degree in Bible and youth ministry from The Master's College, U.S. District Judge Edmond E. Chang ruled in Weathers v. FedEx.

"Weathers' superiors told him that he could not discuss religion, even if asked, and he was told that he must affirmatively misrepresent his college degree," Chang wrote. "FedEx supervisors tied Weathers' hands … on a topic of great importance to him and did not bother to respond to his request for an accommodation."

Failure to accommodate a religious practice constitutes religious discrimination under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Weathers, who worked as a sales manager, filed the suit regarding FedEx's response when a co-worker complained that Weathers quoted Scripture at work and made her uncomfortable by discussing his religious beliefs.

In his response to FedEx, Weathers referenced 1 Peter 3:15, which teaches Christians to always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks regarding the basis of their faith. Weathers was eventually demoted. He resigned his job and sued the company.

Chicago Attorney Jason Craddock, affiliated with the Alliance Defense Fund, represented Weathers and was assisted by Christian Law Association attorneys.

"We hope this ruling will remind corporate America that it's simply bad business to force employees to check their faith at the door," Craddock said in a press release.


Weathers and FedEx have reached a confidential settlement in the case.

WASH. REPORTS AT LEAST 70 ASSISTED SUICIDES -- The state of Washington may already have surpassed Oregon as the leader in legal, physician-assisted suicides.

At least 70 Washington residents died in 2011 as a result of taking lethal drug doses prescribed by doctors, the state's Department of Health reported May 2. The total may have been higher, however. It was uncertain if five other people who died after receiving prescriptions of lethal medication did so after taking the drug. Another 19 people who received the prescriptions died without ingesting the medication.

Oregon set its record of 71 assisted suicides in 2011.

In 1997, Oregon became the first state to legalize assisted suicide. The practice became legal in Washington in 2009. Both states permit terminally ill citizens to take their own lives with prescription drugs.

Oregon has recorded 596 assisted suicide deaths since the practice became legal, while Washington has reported at least 157 such deaths.

As has been the case in Oregon, the three leading concerns expressed by Washington residents who received lethal prescriptions in 2011 were reduced ability "to engage in activities making life enjoyable" (89 percent), loss of autonomy (87 percent) and "loss of dignity" (79 percent).

OKLA. JUDGE INVALIDATES RESTRICTION ON RU 486 -- An Oklahoma judge struck down May 11 a state law that prohibited use of the abortion drug RU 486 except under the guidelines by which it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.


In his ruling, Donald Worthington of the Oklahoma County District Court said the law violated "the fundamental rights of women to privacy and bodily integrity," according to the Tulsa World. The measure "can serve no purpose other than to prevent women from obtaining abortions and to punish and discriminate against those women who do," he wrote.

The law's supporters took issue with Worthington's ruling. The law is intended to protect women who have been instructed by abortion providers to use the drug in an "off-label" manner. For instance, some providers have told women to use RU 486 vaginally, though the Food and Drug Administration approved the drug only for use orally. At least eight women have died in the United States after taking RU 486, and critics have blamed its "off-label" use in at least some of those cases.

"There are a lot of problems with the judge's ruling," including some erroneous findings of fact, said Rep. Randy Grau, a sponsor of the measure, the Tulsa newspaper reported.

Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life, said in a written statement, "It is astounding that the judge would find that allowing abortion facilities to hand out sometimes deadly drugs without regard to the safest protocols is somehow a state constitutional right. Ironically, this isn't a 'right' for women; it is a 'right' created for abortion providers, allowing them to perform abortions in any unsafe manner they desire."

The Center for Reproductive Rights, a leading advocate for abortion rights, challenged the law after it was signed by Gov. Mary Fallin in May 2011.


BRITISH PLAGUED BY REPEAT ABORTIONS -- British women are having repeat abortions, some as many as nine in their lifetimes, and costing the National Health Service the American equivalent of more than $1.5 million a week for the repetitious, lethal procedures.

About a third of all abortions in England and Wales are repeats, according to a May 13 report by the Daily Mail. The new government statistics also show:

-- About 189,000 abortions occurred in Great Britain in 2010, the latest year for which statistics are available, and more than 64,000 were for women who already had undergone at least one abortion.

-- Half of the abortions in the London borough of Croydon were repeats.

-- Unmarried women undergo five of every six repeat abortions.

-- 85 women had at least their eighth abortion.

In the United States, nearly half of all abortions are performed on women who have had at least one previously.

Critics charged the British law enables abortion to act as another method of contraception.

"Abortion is an unpleasant and harrowing experience for women and to hear it is happening repeatedly makes your hair stand on end," said the Pro-life Alliance's Josephine Quintavalle, according to the Daily Mail.

"But is this surprising when we live in a society which says it's all right to have an abortion once?" she said. "If it's fine once, why not two, three or four times?"

INDIAN MOTHER DIES DURING SEX-SELECTION ABORTION -- A 28-year-old Indian mother has died as a result of a sex-selection abortion of a baby who would have been her fifth daughter.


Vijaymala Patekar, who died during an abortion May 18, did not want another female child, the police reported, according to the Press Trust of India (PTI). The procedure was performed in the Beed district, which has become notorious for having the most lopsided male-to-female ratio in India's Maharashtra state, PTI reported.

Police charged the husband-wife physician team of Sudam and Sarswati Munde with negligence under Indian law, which includes a measure barring the use of ultrasounds for sex-selection purposes.

Compiled by Tom Strode, Erin Roach and Diana Chandler of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook ( and in your email (

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press


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