Bob Unruh – May 19, 2018
The American Humanist Association Wednesday asked the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to banish a Christian cross that has been standing in a park in Pensacola, Florida, for nearly 80 years, because it represents “a troubling elevation of the Christian faith above other beliefs and non-belief.”
The city, however, argues the Constitution permits government to recognize the significant role of religion in the nation’s history and culture.
In fact, according to Becket, a non-profit religious liberty law firm representing the city, of the four “Pensacola residents” on whose behalf the complaint was filed, two live in Canada and another lives outside the city.
The fourth, Becket said, has used the cross for his own “satanic purposes.”
“Religious symbols aren’t like graffiti that the government should erase as soon as someone complains,” said Luke Goodrich, senior counsel for Becket.
DW – May 13, 2018
At least 13 people were killed and around 40 were injured on Sunday, when explosions hit three churches during morning Mass in the Indonesia’s second-largest city, Surabaya.
Police said the three churches were hit by a family of suicide bombers with links to the local extremist network Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), which supports the “Islamic State” (IS) jihadist group. Authorities warned that the death toll is likely to rise.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo was quick to condemn the attacks and the use of children as suicide bombers. “These terrorist attacks are cruel and inhuman,” Widodo said after visiting victims at a hospital in Surabaya. “There are no words to describe our sorrow for the victims of this act of terrorism.”
One witness at the Diponegoro Christian Church told local media that the mother and her daughters were initially denied access to the church grounds by security guards, but they insisted and forced their way inside. “Suddenly she hugged a civilian then (the bomb) exploded,” the witness said.
Joshua Gill – May 9, 2018
The Anglican Church in New Zealand voted Wednesday to allow ministers to informally bless same-sex unions, to the chagrin of conservative ruling synod members.
The Anglican synod for Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia passed a motion allowing bishops to permit or forbid ministers in the churches they oversee to offer informal blessings to same-sex couples in civil unions or marriages, according to Christian Today.
The motion did not permit ministers to perform same-sex marriages and did not allow for the creation of an official liturgical blessing for homosexual unions. Some conservative members of the ruling synod resigned nonetheless after the motion passed.
Teri Webster – May 6, 2018
Two Democratic state senators from Minnesota – Scott Dibble and John Marty – are opposed to a bill asking schools to display a poster with the words “In God We Trust.”
Republican Sen. Dan Hall sponsored the bill in an attempt to help bring respect back to schools, he told “Fox & Friends” on Sunday.
“I only assume that if you take those things out of government, if you take the things that are respectful out, you’re going to put in something different,” Hall said. “We need to bring respect back to our country.”
Private funds would be used to pay for the posters. But Dibble and Marty argue that the posters could be viewed as “offensive.”
Brenton Driedger – May 1, 2018
CAMROSE, Alta. — An Alberta Christian school that clashed with its school division over teaching certain Bible verses may be forced to shut down.
The Battle River School Division voted last week to close Cornerstone Christian Academy in Kingman, Alta., southeast of Edmonton at the end of the school year.
The relationship started to fray about a year ago when the school division asked the school to stop teaching certain Bible verses that discussed sexuality.
School division trustees said that they believed the verses could contravene Alberta’s human rights code.
School board chairman Kendall Severson said that was eventually dealt with, but the bigger issue was a lack of co-operation.
Heather Clark – May 3, 2018
WASHINGTON — An annual government report outlining the state of affairs for religious freedom across the globe has found that “conditions continued to deteriorate” and remained on a “downward trend” in 2017.
“Religious freedom conditions continued to deteriorate in countries across the globe in 2017. This ongoing downward trend often intersected with authoritarian practices characterized by hostility toward dissent, pluralism, independent media, and active civil society, or took place under the guise of protecting national security or countering terrorism,” wrote the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in its 2018 report.
The document focused on 28 countries that have most egregiously persecuted residents for their faith.
“The most severe abuses included genocide and other mass atrocities, killings, enslavement, rape, imprisonment, forced displacement, forced conversions, intimidation, harassment, property destruction, the marginalization of women, and bans on children participating in religious activities or education,” it outlined.
Melanie Arter – May 3, 2018
(CNSNews.com) – President Donald Trump marked the National Day of Prayer by signing an executive order aimed at helping faith-based groups gain “equal access to government funding” and to ensure they have “equal right to exercise” their religious beliefs.
“I will soon be signing an executive order to create a faith initiative at the White House. The faith initiative will help design new policies that recognize the vital role of faith in our families, our communities, and our great country. This office will also help ensure that faith-based organizations have equal access to government funding and the equal right to exercise their deeply held beliefs,” Trump said in a Rose Garden ceremony.
“We take this step because we know that, in solving the many, many problems and our great challenges, faith is more powerful than government, and nothing is more powerful than God,” he said.
Lindsay Elizabeth – May 2, 2018
A new California bill is the reason Summit Ministries has decided to cancel their upcoming conference at Biola University outside of Los Angeles.
The Ministry is being forced to cancel due to the possibility that what they teach will go against the new California law.
AB 2943 an Assembly Bill that states that any book or conference that preaches against things like homosexuality or transgenderism cannot be allowed.
AB 2943 states that any biblical books (including the Bible) cannot be taught, and anyone who does will risk being penalized. Same goes for preaching at a conference, hence why Summit Ministries had to cancel their conference at Biola University.
Bob Unruh – April 30, 2018
Turkey, a member of NATO along with the United States, for years was regarded as a moderate Muslim nation with Western leanings.
But it recently has taken a sharp turn toward full-blown Islamic law and persecution of non-Muslims.
It just got worse, with a statement from a high government official that Turkey wants all governments across Europe to criminalize “Islamophobia,” which would include any negative comment about the religion.
The report comes from Uzay Bulut, a journalist from Turkey who has worked with the Haym Salomon Center. She’s currently based in Washington and writes at the Gatestone Institute.
Matthew Diebel – April 24, 2018
Well, it appears this group of scribes won’t be greeted very warmly at the Pearly Gates.
GQ magazine, a bible of “grooming” tips, gadget suggestions and style advice, has sparked a social media conflagration by calling the Christian Holy Bible “foolish, repetitive and contradictory” and placing it on a list of “21 Books You Don’t Have to Read.”
“The Holy Bible is rated very highly by all the people who supposedly live by it but who in actuality have not read it,” novelist Jesse Ball writes in the magazine. “Those who have read it know there are some good parts, but overall it is certainly not the finest thing that man has ever produced.”
Also on the GQ list are such classics as The Catcher in the Rye, Lonesome Dove, The Old Man and the Sea, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Lord of the Rings.