A street preacher in the U.K. has been awarded £13,000 ($21,664) by the local police after he was arrested for preaching against homosexuality in September 2011.
The Greater Manchester Police Department recently reached a settlement out of court with John Craven, a 57-year-old street preacher who frequented Market Street in Manchester, U.K., twice a week in 2011, where he would preach the Bible to passersby.
In one incident on September 17, 2011, Craven was reportedly preaching on Market Street when two young gay men asked what his thoughts on same-sex marriage were. The preacher reportedly responded, "Whilst God hates sin He loves the sinner." According to Craven's report of the incident, then two young men the reportedly began to taunt him by kissing in front of him and mimicking suggestive acts. They then reported Craven to a local police constable and the preacher was arrested for "public order offenses." more >>
Sir Elton John has said that he will marry his partner, filmmaker David Furnish, following the recent legalization of same-sex marriage in the U.K.
"We'll do it very quietly," John told TODAY's Matt Lauer. "But we will do it and it will be a joyous occasion and we will have our children," he added, referring to their young children, Zachary and Elijah.
Same-sex marriage became legal in the U.K. on Saturday. The musician said he is "very proud" of the laws he and Furnish have seen come to pass. The two have been together for over two decades, and entered into a civil partnership in 2005. more >>
Russian President Vladimir Putin phoned President Barack Obama Friday to discuss a U.S. proposal for a diplomatic resolution to the Ukraine crisis, which U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry presented to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier this week, the White House said.
A White House release said Obama asked Moscow to pull back its troops and not move deeper into Ukraine, in what could be the first direct conversation between the two presidents since the U.S. and European sanctions on Putin's inner circle following the Russian annexation of Crimea.
"President Obama suggested that Russia put a concrete response in writing and the presidents agreed that Kerry and Lavrov would meet to discuss next steps," the White House said. more >>
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 >>