Among the many scenes from Moore, Oklahoma there were two statements that provided learning moments for me. One of the teachers who risked her life to save young students seemed apologetic that she had prayed during the most intense moments of the tornado. She followed by saying, "I did something teachers are not supposed to do. I prayed. I prayed out loud."
Just before this television footage, I had watched an excerpt from CNN in which Wolf Blitzer had interviewed a parent and asked if she had thanked God for the seemingly miraculous survival of her child and herself. When he was insistent and asked a second time she answered, "Actually, I am an atheist." She followed this awkward moment for Wolf by saying she did not question those who prayed.
If there is a lesson to be learned it is that no person-teacher, parent, child, news anchor, meteorologist, storm chaser, first responder, or awe-struck bystander should ever feel compelled to apologize for their faith in God or their disbelief. more >>
The New York City Council passed a resolution Wednesday in support of Christians and other faith groups being granted "equal access" to gather for worship on public school property after hours. The 38-11 vote is seen as another sign of progress in a years-long battle that threatens the right of Christians and other faith groups to use such spaces to gather for worship.
"We had a huge, huge victory today, "Pastor Bill Devlin said of the "Right to Worship" resolution, according to World Magazine.
Devlin and City Councilman Fernando Cabrera, a Democratic representative of the Bronx borough, have been at the forefront of a grassroots push to grant churches equal access to public school space. more >>
Texas' "Merry Christmas Bill," which is intended to defend free speech on the issue of "traditional holidays," reached Governor Rick Perry's desk on Wednesday, and he is expected to sign it despite critics saying that the bill violates the separation between church and state.
Russell Glasser, co-host of the Austin public-access TV show "The Atheist Experience," in an interview with www.rawstory.com, contends the bill is an offensive tactic by Christians. "They use this as an excuse all the time to pass laws that basically codify Christianity and make sure that everybody hears about it as often as possible," he said.
"It's not about freedom of expression," he argued, "because kids can go around and wish each other 'Merry Christmas' all they want." Instead, this issue centers on "the separation of church and state," he asserts. more >>
The head of the Episcopal Church has garnered outrage from some in the Anglican Communion over her claim that St. Paul of Tarsus' curing of a demon-possessed slave girl as described in the Bible was wrong.
In a sermon delivered before the Diocese of Venezuela on the island nation of Curaçao, Presiding Bishop The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori said that by driving the demon out of her Paul was "depriving her of her gift of spiritual awareness."
"Paul is annoyed, perhaps for being put in his place, and he responds by depriving her of her gift of spiritual awareness," said Jefferts Schori. more >>
Jack McMahon, defense attorney for abortionist and convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell, shocked America Wednesday during his first live cable news interview since the jury's verdict in his client's case. McMahon twice spoke the words, "thank God," and revealed to Fox News host Megyn Kelly that he believes banning abortion after 17 weeks should become law, and all abortion clinics must be inspected annually.
"I've come out of this case realizing that 24 weeks is a bad determiner," McMahon told Kelly. "It should be like 16, 17 weeks. That would be a far better thing, and I think the law should be changed to that. I think there will still be the right to choose, but they've got to choose quicker. I think that's something that should come out of this. I think more regulations should come out of these locations."
McMahon isn't the only person whose opinions about abortion have been altered after hearing the graphic details of the procedures. JD Mullane, a columnist for The Intelligencer, who was lauded by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee for his coverage of the Gosnell trial, told CP that a fellow journalist is rethinking his stance on abortion. He might remain pro-choice, but "he's soul-searching, and is more pro-life than he was at the beginning of the trial." The anonymous reporter is expected to break his silence and share his journey about the abortion issue in an upcoming column. more >>
GRAPEVINE, Texas – The Boy Scouts of America will announce Thursday the outcome of the 1,400-member national council's vote after they cast their ballots on a new resolution allowing for openly-gay membership into the scouts, which many fear will lead to the dissolution of the faith-based organization, and the promotion of LGBT activism.
In April, the BSA released a proposal that states: "No youth may be denied membership in the BSA on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone." While allowing homosexual members, the scouts would maintain its gay ban when it comes to leadership.
John Stemberger, an Eagle Scout and founder of OnMyHonor.Net, a coalition of BSA parents and scouting leaders who are asking members of the national council to vote "No" on the BSA's resolution, announced at a Wednesday press conference that the BSA's own estimates reveal "200,000 to 400,000 youth will leave the program if this change is made. That doesn't include scout masters and parents associated with those boys." more >>