A 43-foot war memorial cross sitting atop a mountain in La Jolla, Calif., is an unconstitutional violation of the separation of church and state, a federal judge in San Diego ruled late Thursday. The judge's recent ruling is expected to be appealed and may head to the U.S. Supreme Court for final review.
U.S. District Judge Larry Burns ruled Thursday that the Mount Soledad Cross in Southern California must be taken down from its post on government property within 90 days, although he added that the ruling would be put on hold if it is appealed as expected.
In 2006, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of several Southern California residents and the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America organization, arguing that the cross was a violation of the Establishment Clause because it only represented Christianity in memorializing U.S. war veterans. The cross was originally erected in 1954 to serve as a memorial to all war veterans, and later converted to serve as part of a newly erected Korean War memorial. more >>
Last Christmas season (2012) a fellowship of Christians from Orange County, Calif. partnered with believers in Santa Monica to deliver a Nativity flash mob gift to the popular Los Angeles County tourist destination. Watch soprano Lynette Tapia stun shoppers with her beautiful voice opening up the flash mob.
As a wonderful and heartfelt reminder of the purpose of Christmas, this was performed at the Santa Monica Place mall on December 16th, 2012.
The group decided it was time to encourage others, to let them know that celebrating Christmas with outward expressions of faith in the public square was OK. It did not matter that the city of Santa Monica decided that holding its 60-year tradition of Nativity scene displays at Palisades Park had become a hassle because of protesting atheists. It was not of major concern that the city cancelled the displays or that the Santa Monica Nativity Scenes Committee had to find private land to keep its tradition alive. more >>
Nick Vujicic, the "limbless" evangelist of Life Without Limbs ministry, plans to launch a new Web series documenting his travels this year to 24 countries where he preached the Gospel and shined a light into the lives of thousands and in some cases, tens of thousands who turned out at every event to hear him.
"This world really needs hope. This world really needs direction. This world really needs truth," says Vujicic in the four-minute promotional video for his "World Outreach" Web series.
The "World Outreach" series, which officially launches Dec. 16, is a first for Vujicic, whose story of finding strength and purpose for life in Christ has won him many admirers and supporters around the world. The 31-year-old married father has a rare disorder called tetra-amelia syndrome, resulting in his lack of limbs. Vujicic has often testified of attempting suicide as a child and growing depressed due to his disabilities, before realizing as a teen that his story could serve as encouragement to others. more >>
The Los Angeles City Council is considering a ban on the feeding of homeless people in public spaces even as the city's homeless population has dramatically defied a national decline.
The county's homeless population stands at 57,737, a 15 percent increase from 2011 to 2013, reports the Department of Housing and Urban Development. As the population moves into areas like West Hollywood, Venice and Brentwood, it has frustrated homeowners and led two city council members, Tom LaBonge and Mitch O'Farrell, to introduce a resolution that would ban outdoor feeding.
But even while the rest of the city grapples with the influx of homeless people, the majority of them are still concentrated in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Skid Row. Back in the 1970s, the city decided to intentionally concentrate homeless and drug addiction services like missions, shelters and recovery centers in the neighborhood in downtown Los Angeles. more >>
Victory Outreach International, a ministry organization with churches worldwide, is committed to community outreach programs throughout several cities including Oakland, Calif. where sex workers have made parts of the city a prostitution hub.
Each week, members of the ministry's church in Oakland take to the streets to talk women into leaving the sex industry as they pray for them and offer shelter. Their focus is International Boulevard, an area known as Oakland's sex strip where oftentimes outreach members are careful not to interfere with the prostitute's pimps.
"There are very few groups who are willing to do what Victory Outreach does, approach the young girls and the pimps and the johns without a badge," said Oakland council member Noel Gallo, according to the Santa Cruz Sentinel. more >>
Rob Bell, Christian author and former megachurch pastor, recently appeared on comedian Pete Holmes' late-night show and attempted to offer a theology lesson during an amusing surfing segment and nearly lost it during another bit dubbed "Profound/Profane" while trying to convince the show's studio audience that "everybody believes in something."
Bell, appearing on the Dec. 3 broadcast of Holmes' show, treated the comedian to a surfing (mostly falling) lesson, and shared the message he believes Jesus modeled.
"Jesus talked about how to live a particular kind of life now," said Bell. "Compassion, grace, generosity, standing up to injustice, being a person of integrity." more >>