Wednesday, April 20, 2011

University Of South Carolina Students Condemn Selection Of Head Of Southern Baptist Convention To Receive Honorary Degree, Fred Karger Conditional Invitation To GOP Presidential Debate, Absolutely Fabulous Returning, Robert Pattinson Underwear Issues

Some students at the University of South Carolina have criticized the school’s decision to bestow the Reverend. G. Bryant Wright, a 1974 alumnus and current president of the Southern Baptist Convention, with an honorary degree at this year's commencement exercises, The Daily Gamecock reporting that the students say Wright's leadership of the convention, which opposes homosexuality and same sex marriage, makes him an unfit recipient for the degree. "He's head of the Southern Baptist Convention that is hostile to the LGBT community [and] that has kind of been an advocate for hate," said Zac Baker, a second-year visual communications student and public relations coordinator for USC's Bisexual Gay Lesbian Student Association. "Basically the Southern Baptist's platform is 'it's either this way or you're going to hell.'" According to university policy, "an honorary degree is the highest honour the University of South Carolina can bestow" and therefore, "only those individuals of genuine distinction who have a sustained record of excellence of accomplishment or exemplary service of lasting significance" receive these degrees. The policy adds that recipients of the degrees should enhance the University of South Carolina's reputation. Tim Stewart, the director of USC's Baptist Collegiate Ministry, is supported by South Carolina Southern Baptist Convention in his role as a college pastor at the university, and said that he is very excited that the university is bestowing the honour upon Wright. "Dr. Wright has been a strong leader in the Southern Baptist Convention. He's been a long-term pastor in his church and has led that with integrity [and] character ... I think it's a really neat opportunity to distinguish one of our USC alumni," Stewart said. Stewart added that in over 20 years of being a college pastor, he hasn't met a Southern Baptist Convention leader or pastor that expressed the views that opposing groups said they did. SBC has passed resolutions against homosexuals in the military, same sex marriage and The Walt Disney Company for "promoting immoral ideologies such as homosexuality, infidelity, and adultery." "We've made some resolutions backing it up with what God's Word says," Stewart said. "We're not going to back off what God's Word has said. We do not intend any kind of harm on anyone. We want to lovingly produce and share the truth of God's Word."

Fred Karger, the openly gay Republican presidential hopeful, is one step closer to getting into an upcoming debate, reporting that the South Carolina GOP invited Karger to take part in its May 5th debate, co-sponsored by Fox News, as long as he can meet the requirements. Karger, who has said he would consider his long-shot campaign a success if he participates in a single debate, received the invitation Wednesday outlining the requirements Karger must meet, including delivering a $35,000 filing fee to the state party. He said he plans to pay the fee. But Karger also has to average at least 1-percentage point in five national polls leading up to the debate, and the little-known candidate is not even getting his name surveyed by national polling firms, let alone registering any support. Still, Karger was encouraged by the news on Wednesday and said he intends to pay the hefty filing fee to the South Carolina Republican Party even with the uncertain prospects of his qualifying. If he doesn’t get into the South Carolina debate, Karger said he has his eye on the June debate in New Hampshire.

Absolutely Fabulous is set to return to BBC1 after an absence of six years, The Guardian reporting that Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley will reprise their roles as Patsy and Edina in three new episodes of the sitcom expected to begin filming later this year. The BBC said it was "putting the finishing touches to the deal" and is expected to confirm it imminently. Lumley is reported to have told Hello! magazine that shooting will begin in the summer, but she said Saunders had not yet started on the script. "In late August I start filming on three episodes of Absolutely Fabulous, which we are all ecstatic about," added Lumley. "Miss Saunders has been so busy writing Uptown Downstairs Abbey for Comic Relief and also Spice Girls: The Musical, I don't think she's started [the script]." Lumley sparked speculation about a possible return for the show last November when she said Saunders had written to her about bringing the sitcom back. "Jen wrote to me and said, 'Let's talk through it. What do you think?’ And I said, 'Bring it on'. Because we're all still here. Mother's still alive, the wonderful June Whitfield. Julia Sawalha [and] Jane Horrocks [are] all still alive and available ... and I think we just have to do it," she said at the time. "The great thing is that because ... we fast-forwarded to where they're very old and nearly dead and practically plugged into vodka machines, it doesn't matter how beyond [the original series] we do it," she added. A BBC spokeswoman said: "We're putting the finishing touches to the deal to bring it back and as soon as we're in a position to confirm it we will."

Robert Pattison has an oddly erotic talk with Ellen DeGeneres about his underwear.

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