The Bible Society has been banned from placing a 50-foot, inflatable whale in a park near England's Tower Bridge to represent the biblical story of Jonah and the whale.
The Potters Fields Park Management Trust recently denied the U.K.-based Bible Society's request to erect the inflatable whale at London's Potters Fields Park. The whale was going to serve as a place where children could see actors re-enact the Old Testament story of a whale swallowing the prophet Jonah, and the attraction was to stay in the park during the summer months while children were out of school.
As the Bible Society states on its website, the giant inflatable whale was used at Potters Fields Park before as part of an unrelated pirate exhibit. The Christian group, which seeks to spread Bible education in schools, media, and politics, was hoping to erect the giant whale exhibit as part of its Pass It On campaign that encourages parents to teach their children stories from the Bible. more >>
Same-sex marriage becomes legal in England and Wales on Saturday and while the Church of England has accepted that new reality, it still maintains guidelines for its clergy against marrying gay and lesbian couples.
"I think the church has reacted by fully accepting that it's the law, and should react on Saturday by continuing to demonstrate in word and action, the love of Christ for every human being," Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby told The Guardian on Thursday.
Queen Elizabeth II officially approved the gay marriage law in July 2013, after the bill passed the parliament. The Anglican Communion had spoken out against the bill, arguing that changing the definition of marriage will not be good for society. more >>
Ukraine officials have said that close to 100,000 Russian troops have been stationed around its borders, sparking new tensions as U.S. President Barack Obama urged Russia to move its soldiers away.
"Almost 100,000 soldiers are stationed on the borders of Ukraine and in the direction ... of Kharkiv, Donetsk," said Andriy Parubiy, chairman of Ukraine's national security council, according to AFP.
"Russian troops are not in Crimea only, they are along all Ukrainian borders. They're in the south, they're in the east and in the north." more >>
After 40 years of being deaf and hearing nothing but white noise, Joanne Milne, 40, of Gateshead, England heard music and the sound of her own voice for the first time after an operation last month and she trembled and cried because it was all so amazing.
Milne, who was born with a rare genetic disorder called the Usher Syndrome, also began losing her sight to the disease during her 20s, according to The Journal and is also legally blind.
"Being deaf was just who I was. Unfortunately, when I became registered blind things changed dramatically and for the first time being deaf became increasingly difficult," said Milne. more >>
U.S. President Barack Obama met Pope Francis on Thursday at the Vatican, with reports stating that the world leaders held a 50-minute private talk.
"It is a great honor. I'm a great admirer," Obama told the Roman Catholic leader upon meeting him. "Thank you so much for receiving me." It was the first such meeting between the two leaders and their 50-minute conversation was considered an "extraordinarily long time," Catholic News Service reported.
Obama said that while the two had a "wide-ranging discussion," they focused on two concerns that the pope had: the poor and growing inequality, and conflict around the world. more >>
Atheist author and biologist Richard Dawkins, who was Prospect magazine's "world's top thinker" last year, has not been nominated for the title this year. Pope Francis, meanwhile, was nominated.
The magazine compiles a list of individuals they identify as "engaging most originally and profoundly with the central questions of the world today" and asks people from around the world to vote on the nominees.