Parents are threatening legal action against a Southern California school district after their six-year-old son was told he could not pass out candy canes with religious messages taped to them because "Jesus is not allowed in school."
Isaiah Martinez, a six-year-old student at Merced Elementary School in West Covina, Calif., arrived to school on Dec. 13, planning to pass out candy canes with religious messages to his fellow students in celebration of the upcoming Christmas season. After the boy's teacher consulted with the school principal, he reportedly told the student that he could not pass out the religious messages because "Jesus is not allowed in school." The boy was still allowed to pass out the candy canes, but the teacher reportedly threw the religious-themed messages in the trash.
The messages, which were written on tiny slips of paper and attached to each candy cane, told of the legend of the candy cane and how it was created. The messages said that each detail of the peppermint-flavored candy is meant to represent the birth, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ. Martinez had reportedly learned of the candy cane legend from his sister, who helped him create the messages and attach them to each holiday candy. more >>
A documentary film featuring actress Mira Sorvino's fight against sex slavery in Cambodia made its US debut at Bayside Church in the Sacramento, Calif. area recently, highlighting the work of several Christian organizations combating the issue.
The film, "Freedom Project: Every day in Cambodia," was produced in partnership with CNN International during a 2013 trip to expose child sex trafficking and virgin sales, the center of Sorvino's activism for years.
On the first Sunday of this year, Pastor Greg Laurie shared with his congregation at California's Harvest Church how belief in and perception of heaven affects Christians' lives on earth. He encouraged church members to be heavenly-minded throughout 2014 and beyond.
Heaven is not a place of boredom, stressed the pastor of the Riverside church as he began his message, "How Eternity Brings Focus to What Really Matters." It's a place of bliss, he said, adding, "Heaven is a real place for real people to do real things."
Laurie said the Bible compares heaven with a city, a country, a garden and a paradise. "Heaven is a place of activity, building, eating, worshipping and much more." It's a place where we will get united with our loved ones who preceded us, he said. more >>
Jahi McMath, a 13-year-old girl declared brain dead after sleep apnea surgery and whose mother believes God can make her better, was released from the Children's Hospital Oakland on Sunday, two days after an agreement was reached between the family and the California hospital.
"The body of Jahi McMath was released by Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland to the coroner," David Durand, the hospital's chief of pediatrics, told CNN. "The coroner has released her body to the custody of her mother, Latasha Winkfield, as per court order, for a destination unknown."
Family attorney Christopher Dolan tweeted about the 13-year-old's release. "She is safely out of Children's," he wrote. more >>
Benjamin Houston, pastor at Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia and son of its founders Brian and Bobbie Houston, has announced that the first gathering for the new church plant in Los Angeles he is leading with his wife will take place at the end of January.
"We are going to be having our first HILLSONG LA GATHERING in just a few weeks time on Monday January 27th," Houston announced in an email sent to followers on Friday. "We are just finalizing some of the details but will update you ASAP (through) email and social media. It would be a great opportunity to meet you and for you to meet others who could potentially make up our church."
Houston, in his early 30s, also shared that he, his wife, Lucille and their three children have "literally just moved out of our house," as shown in a photo the Hillsong LA pastor published on Instagram. The Houstons fly to Los Angeles on Jan. 6, but will have to return to Sydney in February for an extended time due to visa issues and scheduled events, he explained. more >>
A 20-year-old man who received a $55,000 bill from Sutter General Hospital in Sacramento, Calif., for an appendectomy sparked an online uproar over the high costs of healthcare when he shared the stunning bill on Reddit.
"I never truly understood how much healthcare in the United States costs until I got Appendicitis in October. I'm a 20 year old guy. Thought other people should see this to get a real idea of how much an unpreventable illness costs in the U.S.," the man wrote on Reddit, along with a copy of the three-page bill he received from the hospital. He highlighted that he only spent 24 hours in the hospital.
Criticizing the cost of services he received, he said: "I think you can see how outrageous some of these costs are. Such as the recovery room that I was in for maybe two hours. Or the room and board that I had for one night. Or maybe the $4,500 worth of anesthesia they supposedly used on me." more >>