Dispatches > The Buzz

The Buzz

"The Buzz" Continued...

Issue: "Return of the Lion," May 17, 2008

Screen savers

Reports of movie theaters' demise may have been somewhat exaggerated. Three years ago, the theater industry was in a high-profile tailspin, suffering through its worst year of ticket sales since 1997. But as Hollywood gears up for the summer blockbuster season, things are looking a little better for the industry. U.S. and Canadian ticket sales are no longer in free fall as overall admissions inched higher in 2006 and again last year. Meanwhile, the average ticket price rose almost $1 over the past five years and stood at $6.88 last year.

No place like home

Just over a year ago, most Americans had not heard of Greensburg, Kan. Now, the small town is so well-known that President Bush gave the commencement address on May 4. Personally handing diplomas to all 18 graduating seniors, Bush hailed the resilience and determination of Greensburg's students and residents after their town was destroyed on May 4, 2007, by a one-and-a-half mile wide tornado that spun at 205 mph. "The lessons that you have learned in this town will give you the strength to rise above any obstacle in your path," Bush told the graduates. "You have seen life at its most difficult. You have emerged stronger from it."

Framed

The New Mexico Human Rights Commission ruled that an evangelical-owned wedding photography business violated state discrimination laws when its co-owner declined to shoot the commitment ceremony of a same-sex couple. The commission ordered Elane Photography to pay $6,600 to cover the legal fees the same-sex couple incurred in filing its complaint.

Though the sum may be small, the principle at stake is large enough to draw an appeal from the Alliance Defense Fund, which will challenge the ruling in state district court. ADF senior counsel Jordan Lorence told WORLD that the current ruling ignores First Amendment protections for religious practice and free speech: "This is compelled speech. You cannot use non-discrimination laws to force private groups or individuals to support a message they don't agree with."

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