In an effort to prevent what happened last Christmas season to a first grader at a California school who was stopped by his teacher from passing out candy canes with a Christian message to his classmates, religious freedom lawyers have filed a request for a preliminary injunction in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
Last year, when Isaiah Martinez brought his Christmas gifts to Merced Elementary in the West Covina Unified School District, his teacher took possession of the candy canes. At the direction of the school principal, the teacher instructed Isaiah that "Jesus is not allowed in school" and she removed the candy cane messages from each candy cane, threw the messages in the trash, and handed the candy canes back to Isaiah for delivery to his classmates, according to Advocates for Faith & Freedom.
Isaiah then "nervously handed the candy canes to his classmates in fear that he was in trouble for trying to bring a little Christmas cheer and 'good tidings' to class," AFF stated. The canes no longer had a message attached that recited the legend of a candy maker who created the candy cane to symbolize the life of Jesus Christ. more >>
A group of students at the University of California Santa Barbara have filed a complaint seeking damages against the academic institute and a professor who destroyed a pro-life display.
Represented by the Napa-based Life Legal Defense Foundation, the students' complaint was filed Thursday at the Santa Barbara County Superior Court. Those named in the complaint include Mireille Miller-Young, the professor who defaced the pro-life display, and the regents of UCSB.
In March, a group of prolife students had a display on the UCSB campus' free speech zone that included a sign and pamphlets they were passing out. Miller-Young stole and destroyed the sign; then she physically attacked one of the activist's, a teenage girl named Catherine Short. more >>
For some people, finding any kind of money with no one staking a claim on it would be a personal gain. One veteran California Highway Patrol sergeant, however, found $120,000 in cash lying in a roadway in Concord last month and turned over every dollar to local law enforcement who returned the money to a man who said it was his life savings.
"It was the right thing to do. I'm paid to uphold the law, and it's my job to set the example whether I'm working or not. I'm happy to hear the rightful owner was identified and that the money has been returned," said the female officer, a 20-year veteran law enforcement official, according to a statement highlighted by the San Francisco Chronicle.
That report said the sergeant discovered the cash during a trip in her personal vehicle along Concord Boulevard. She was forced to swerve around two bags which on investigation she realized were two bank deposit bags. more >>
A student petition to stop atheist HBO talk show host Bill Maher from speaking at the University of California at Berkeley's fall commencement ceremony has reached over 3,000 signatures. The petition has called Maher a "blatant bigot" and "racist" over his strong opinions about Islam.
"Bill Maher is a blatant bigot and racist who has no respect for the values UC Berkeley students and administration stand for. In a time where climate is a priority for all on campus, we cannot invite an individual who himself perpetuates a dangerous learning environment. Bill Maher's public statements on various religions and cultures are offensive and his dangerous rhetoric has found its way into our campus communities," reads the Change.org petition, started by Khwaja Ahmed, a member of the Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian Coalition.
"Too many students are marginalized by his remarks and if the university were to bring this individual as a commencement speaker they would not be supporting these historically marginalized communities. It is the responsibility of the University of California to protect all students and uphold a standard of civility." more >>
LOS ANGELES – Having personally attended more than 200 concerts and seen about 150 performers and performing groups, the Hillsong United event was the best I've ever witnessed. From the spectacular sound, lighting and staging, to the crowd participation – the experience was powerfully moving, and a time of corporate worship beyond words. Let's just say it was the largest and loudest "choir" I've ever heard.
More than 17,000 Hillsong fans sang, danced, and worshiped as one during a dynamic concert Thursday in which they were not only treated to one of the best Christian music-producing groups on the planet, but had the opportunity to be a part of a potentially historic film planned for release early next year.
As 12 cameras captured the worship concert, Pastor Brian Houston of the Sydney-based Hillsong Church, stood for much of the time with arms in the air, smiling ear-to-ear just above the floor-level seating from his front row seat. more >>
Scott Carter, a writer for HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher," said he hopes his play, "The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens and Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord," will lead people to seek out God and the spiritual side of life, now, rather than later.
"There were a lot of issues I put to the side … I thought, 'oh well, I'll deal with that when I'm older.' Or a lot of people find themselves asking questions when someone around them dies or has a terminal illness, or when they themselves are diagnosed with a terminal illness, or there's some extreme disappointment in life. And that's when they go to think about spiritual philosophy or religion, and I would like people to be compelled coming out of this play to think, 'Maybe I better be thinking about this now,'" Carter told The Christian Post.
In "Discord," the third president of the United States of America, the English author of "A Christmas Carol," and the Russian writer behind the novel Anna Karenina, are trapped together in a sterile interrogation room as ghosts on a layover from their ultimate destinations. The uniting force between them is that they all rewrote the Bible. Together Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens and Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy – played by Larry Cedar, David Melville, and Armin Shimerman, respectively – agonize over their beliefs about God, the teachings of Jesus and the details of His life, death and resurrection. more >>