Indiana's marijuana-smoking church has been incorporated as a tax-exempt religious organization by the Internal Revenue Service according to the church's founder.
Bill Levin, the founder of the First Church of Cannabis, a controversial group looking to test the limits of Indiana's new Religious Freedom Restoration Act by indulging in the smoking of marijuana during "church" services said the IRS notified him earlier this week about the group's tax will allow donors to deduct their contributions.
"It means people in higher tax brackets will be more generous with the church," said Levin to News and Tribune. "There have been people who want us to succeed but they've [been] waiting [on] our 501©3 exemption." more >>
An Indiana organization dedicated to marijuana that calls itself the First Church of Cannabis will host its first "worship service" on July 1, the same day that the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act goes into effect.
The organization will test the law's ban on government burdens on the exercise of religion as it will feature a pot-smoking session that is illegal in the state of Indiana.
The cannabis group's founder Bill Levin explained plans for the service to U.S. News and said it will open with "Amazing Grace" played on a harmonica by a popular young musician and move to a quick sermon followed by a "call to worship," which is actually just a time for smoking marijuana. more >>
Over the last few weeks, an Indiana county is making headlines as they report a number of confirmed HIV cases. In just a short span of two weeks, there are now 120 confirmed HIV cases according to the Indiana State Department of Health.
The epidemic that started last month is expected to rise even more as more people subject themselves for testing. The unprecedented rise in number forced Gov. Mike Pence to extend his previously approved 30-day needle exchange program. In a statement, the governor said, "While we've made progress in identifying and treating those affected by this heartbreaking epidemic, the public health emergency continues and so must our efforts to fight it."
The needle-exchange program is a short-term plan of addressing the outbreak by giving drug users sterile needles. Note: Indiana law does not permit needle exchanges but Gov. Pence is pushing the policy under a gubernatorial executive order. more >>
A North Carolina documentarian is in the process of creating a film about a controversial faith-healing church connected to 91 deaths.
Faith Assembly, a multi-church sect based in Indiana during the 1980s and founded by Hobart Freeman, was known for demanding that its members refuse all medical treatment.
Over the years at least 91 people, the vast majority of whom were children, died of various illnesses due to not receiving readily available medical treatment, according to J. C. Lee of the Elkhart Truth. more >>
The owners of Memories Pizza, the Indiana pizza shop that was forced to close down last week after its owners received death threats for stating that they were Christian and would not cater a gay wedding, announced their plans for the $840,000-plus they have received from the online crowdfunding page GoFundMe.
The O'Connor family told The Daily Mail that although they were only looking to raise a goal of $200,000 to help them get back on track after closing shop for about a week and becoming the center of a national media storm, they will be donating much of the extra money to a number of good causes, including giving some to Washington florist Barronelle Stutzman.
The 70-year-old Stutzman, who owns and operates Arlene's Flowers in Richland, Washington, is at risk of losing her life savings, home and flower shop because of a lawsuit filed by the state attorney general after a gay couple posted on social media about how they were referred to another florist when they asked Stutzman to make floral arrangements for their same-sex wedding. more >>
The Satanic Temple group and the Freedom From Religion Foundation have announced that they are launching a lawsuit against the Franklin County Courthouse in Indiana for rejecting the groups' respective December displays.
The lawsuit says that a new county ordinance, which restricts permits for displays and activities on the courthouse lawn to county residents, is a violation of the First Amendment. The lawsuit was filed late in March at the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Indiana, The Washington Post reported.
The Satanic Temple had sought to display "an artistic three-dimensional sculpture mounted on a wooden platform" on the lawn between November and January, but was denied the request. FFRF's plans to display cut-out figures "celebrating the December 15 nativity of the Bill of Rights" were also turned down. more >>