Several businesses in Evansville, Ind., have offered to display decorated crosses on their properties after the ACLU of Indiana filed a lawsuit against the city to keep the symbols from being displayed on public land.
Last month the Evansville Board of Public Works approved a request by West Side Christian Church (WSCC) to set up as many as 31 crosses in a downtown area called the Riverfront. The six-foot tall crosses, which are to be displayed for two weeks in August, will be sponsored and decorated by local churches and faith-based organizations of various denominations. The symbols will make up an artistic display called "Cross the River" and are part of an effort to raise funds for two local charities, according to the church's website.
After the city granted the church's request, the ACLU of Indiana filed a lawsuit on behalf of two Vanderburgh County residents that claims displaying the crosses on city property would be an unconstitutional government endorsement of Christianity. In response, several local business owners used their company signs to send a message: "Put the cross here." more >>
Local news outlets in Muncie, Ind., are reporting that Ball State University has hired an astronomy professor who has previously been linked to supporting the idea of intelligent design, or the theory that the universe and all life was designed by an intelligent entity.
This apparent hire proves controversial for the research university, as it is currently investigating Eric Hedin, an assistant physics professor from the same department at the school, who was accused in May by the Freedom From Religion Foundation of teaching intelligent design in his "Boundaries of Science" honors class.
The Star Press, a local newspaper in Indiana, reported recently that BSU hired former Iowa State University professor Guillermo Gonzalez to teach introductory astronomy classes at the school beginning in August. more >>
With the education bill signed Saturday by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, the federal government's Common Core State Standards Initiative will undergo further review before implementation in that state.
The bill calls for public hearings, a legislative review and a fiscal analysis of the costs before the Common Core, which is already in effect for Indiana kindergartners and first graders, can be fully implemented.
The new law "hits the pause button on Common Core so Hoosiers can thoroughly evaluate which standards will best serve the interests of our kids," Pence said in a statement at the Saturday signing ceremony, according to Associated Press. more >>
Jack Schaap, former pastor of First Baptist Church in Hammond, Ind., is facing at least 10 years in prison and an additional 10 years of supervision upon release for taking a teen girl across state lines for sex. Lurid details of the illicit relationship have been revealed as the minister awaits sentencing, which is expected next week.
Schaap's attorney and state prosecutors worked out a plea deal after the married father of two pleaded guilty last year to the federal offense, although he claimed he had no idea that it was illegal to transport the minor, an FBC member who was 16 at the time, out of state for sex.
As part of the sentencing process, a memorandum was presented to the court by prosecutors that revealed the content of some of the 637 text messages exchanged between Schaap, 55, and the unnamed 17-year-old parishioner who had initially turned to the minister for counseling. Among those messages, sent between June 21 and July 21, were texts from Schaap claiming that Jesus Christ had sanctioned their relationship, the Chicago Tribune reports. more >>
The First Baptist Church of Hammond in Indiana has chosen its new pastor to replace former leader Jack Schaap, who is facing sentencing for engaging in a sexual affair with a minor.
John Wilkerson was voted in by 94 percent of First Baptist Church members to lead the 15,000-strong congregation. He will officially begin serving on Feb. 17, and will seek to continue the healing and rebuilding process as the community seeks to distance itself from former pastor Schaap, according to FBC Hammond.
According to the church's website, Wilkerson graduated from Hyles-Anderson school in 1989 and taught at the church's City Baptist Schools before moving on to teach at a Baptist school in Long Beach, Calif. He then became a principal of Calvary Christian School in Baton Rouge, La., in 1993, before returning to California in 2000 to become the pastor of First Baptist Church of Long Beach. There he oversaw the church as its congregation almost double its size, from 849 to 1,700 people, and led services in English, Korean and Spanish, reaching out to the broader community. more >>
First Baptist Church in Hammond, Ind., has responded to former pastor Jack Schaap's claims that it was depression and church-related stress that led him to an affair with a 16-year-old girl. Church representatives say such conditions do not excuse "sinful actions."
"Yes he was under a tremendous amount of stress such as anyone who runs an international ministry, however this does not excuse his behavior," Eddie Wilson, spokesperson for FBC Hammond, shared with The Christian Post on Tuesday.
"He was a gifted leader who led the church to start many new ministries, and the church experienced growth under his leadership, but this does not give anyone the right to justify sinful actions," Wilson added. more >>