Mormons speak. The Mormons have given a lukewarm blessing to the latest proposal by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to lift its gay ban for youth members while continuing to exclude homosexual leaders. The Mormon Church posted a statement on its website Thursday saying the BSA has made a “thoughtful, good-faith effort to address issues that, as they have said, remain ‘among the most complex and challenging issues facing the BSA and society today.’” John Stemberger of the group OnMyHonor.Net called the Mormon statement “perplexing and noncommittal.” He said a survey done by the Salt Lake Council, one of the largest Scout councils in the nation, indicated that an overwhelming majority (82 percent) “opposed a policy change allowing open homosexuality in the BSA” and that 47 percent said they would leave Scouting if such a change was made.
MerleFest. After spending a week in Austin, Texas, covering the fascinating debauchery of the South by Southwest festival, I’ll spend this weekend at the much kinder-and-gentler MerleFest in North Carolina. Founded in 1988 by guitar legend Doc Watson to honor his son Merle, the event is a fundraiser for Wilkes Community College and last year attracted nearly 80,000 people. This year’s lineup includes The Avett Brothers, The Charlie Daniels Band, Michael Martin Murphey, and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. One difference between SXSW and MerleFest: MerleFest has Sunday morning devotions and a gospel sing-a-long led by Jim Avett of the Avett Brothers.
Sequestration shenanigans. Legislation to end furloughs of air traffic controllers is headed to a House vote after a late-night vote in the Senate that took place after most lawmakers had left the Capitol for a weeklong vacation. The bill passed late Thursday without a roll call vote, and House officials indicated it likely would be brought up for quick approval there. According to the Associated Press, “Under the legislation, the Federal Aviation Administration would gain authority to transfer up to $253 million from accounts that are flush into other programs, to prevent reduced operations and staffing through the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year.” The funds should also keep open small airports across the country. The FAA said it would shut the facilities to help make up its share of the $85 billion sequestration cuts. But lots of folk think the FAA has been manipulating the public by failing to make internal changes that could have eliminated the long lines. Also at risk in the cuts were tower personnel at 149 regional airports across the country.
Victoria’s real secret. Former Victoria’s Secret Model Search winner Kylie Bisutti is making news with an upcoming book titled I’m No Angel, and an interview with the New York Post in which she revealed Victoria’s real secret: that being a model made her feel like “a piece of meat” and that she had to “play down my marriage … because I was supposed to be flirting with everyone all the time.” It’s no surprise that Victoria’s Secret has struck back, saying Bisutti “has made numerous fabrications and misstatements of fact regarding her brief association with Victoria’s Secret.” Our companion website, WORLD on Campus, first covered Bisutti’s story last year, and WORLDmag.com has posted an updated version of that article this morning. In our story Bisutti said she left the modeling world because “she wanted to tell her story to young girls and show them that true beauty and self-worth comes from Christ.”