A small, coastal town in central California has settled a lawsuit regarding prayer at City Council meetings, ultimately agreeing to no longer hold any form of prayer, whether sectarian or non-sectarian, ahead of the local government meetings. City officials say they decided to settle the lawsuit to avoid further legal costs paid by taxpayer money.
Pismo Beach city officials announced their settlement earlier this week, nearly six months after the Freedom From Religion Foundation [FFRF] and the local chapter of Atheists United San Luis Obispo filed a lawsuit against the city, arguing that it had violated the U.S. Constitution's separation of church and state and the state Constitution's "No Preference" Clause by allowing predominately Christian-themed prayers before city council meetings.
The groups argued that the city had allowed its volunteer chaplain, the Rev. Paul E. Jones, to lead predominately Christian prayers ahead of city council meetings from 2008 to 2013. The lawsuit alleged that Jones often called on Pismo Beach citizens to live a "Christian lifestyle in accordance with the bible," among other sectarian statements. more >>
Saddleback Church lead pastor Rick Warren shot down rumors that he had any eschatological intentions when he posted a picture of Monday's lunar eclipse to his Facebook earlier this week.
"Friends, when I recently posted a Bible verse with a picture of Monday night's blood I was NOT making a prediction about the timing of Jesus' return. It would be foolish to do that," wrote Warren. "The color of the moon just reminded me of Acts 2:20, (The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.)"
Without referring to John Hagee by name, a Texas megachurch pastor who recently authored Four Blood Moons: Something Is About to Change, which implies that the lunar eclipse correlates with End Times related activities, specifically tied to Israel, Warren spoke out against those trying to read into the natural phenomena. more >>
Lawyers for the Department of Justice recently announced that they are willing to legally defend the long-debated, giant cross atop a war memorial in Southern California, saying they find the cross to be an "appropriate" structure and not a violation of the separation of church and state.
A brief filed in the Supreme Court earlier this month by Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. said the "United States remains fully committed to preserving the Mount Soledad cross as an appropriate memorial to our nation's veterans." The 43-foot war memorial cross was erected on Mount Soledad in San Diego, Calif. in 1954 as a memorial to all war veterans, although it was later converted to distinctly memorialize veterans from the Korean War.
Along with stating that the Mount Soledad Cross does not violate the Constitution's requirement for a separation of church and state, Verrilli also wrote in his brief that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals should be given time to reverse its previous ruling on the cross, instead of the cross case immediately being considered by the Supreme Court. The Mt. Soledad Memorial Association recently requested to leap-frog the appeals process and have their case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. more >>
Pastor Shane Idleman of Westside Christian Fellowship Church, advises Christians to celebrate the power of the cross this Easter instead of focusing on the pagan aspects of the holiday.
Idleman says just like Christmas, Easter can be redeemed to be celebrated for its true meaning. In his recent blog post, he states that redemption is a familiar concept among Christians that can be applied to celebrations since "it's about why, who, and how we celebrate."
"Like Christmas, the historical roots and the secularization do not undermine the message in a sincere heart. Easter celebrates the reality of an empty tomb and the power of the cross to cleanse and redeem…to release us from sin and death. It offers hope and peace to a dying world...Holidays, in many cases, are redeemed when the focus is on Christ," writes Idleman. more >>
Janet Boynes, a former lesbian turned Christian author and public speaker is set to address a crowd of Hispanic evangelical pastors at the Una Voz (One Voice) convention in San Diego later this month where she will discuss the church's response to LGBT issues.
After living as a lesbian for 14 years, Boynes knows how potentially encouraging the process of leaving the homosexual lifestyle can be with the help of a supportive church. It has been over a decade since Boynes began to walk in faith, leaving behind her former habits and sexual preference. Now, she leads Called Out Ministries where she helps minister to LGBT individuals seeking to leave homosexuality.
Below is an edited transcript of Janet Boynes' interview with The Christian Post: more >>
A group of renowned Christian leaders led by National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference President Rev. Samuel Rodriguez plan to meet at the first Una Voz (One Voice) convention in San Diego later this month to address issues most important to the Latino evangelical community.
"There is no better time to lay the groundwork and work toward reconciling the vertical and horizontal planes of the Christian message," Rodriguez said in a statement about the two-day conference on April 29-30. "We want to blend sanctification with service, conviction with compassion, the image of God with the habits of Christ, holiness and humility, John 3:16 and Matthew 25, and the prophetic with the practical."
The Una Voz conference will be NHCLC's will be the first major gathering where Rodriguez will also seek to reconcile evangelist Billy Graham's message of salvation with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s, march of prophetic activism, as he is known to do with his advocacy efforts. more >>