A federal appeals court heard arguments Tuesday over an Indiana church's plan to display multiple, 6-foot tall crosses along their city's riverfront for a charity fundraiser.
West Side Christian Church in Evansville, Ind., appealed a lower court ban that ruled the crosses would convey an unconstitutional endorsement of religion by the city while arguing that the display is a freedom of speech issue.
"No one should single out a faith-based group for censorship. The Constitution protects and does not prohibit religious expression in the public square," said Bryan Beauman, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, in a statement. "A public display, approved in the same way as other types of displays, cannot be excluded simply because it is in the shape of a cross." more >>
Indiana's Senate unanimously passed a bill last week that would protect the celebration of Christmas in the state's public schools, allowing students to decorate Christmas trees and share traditional holiday greetings such as "Merry Christmas" with their pupils.
Senate Bill 326, if passed into law, would specifically allow teachers and students to say traditional seasonal greetings such as "Merry Christmas," "Happy Hanukkah," and "Happy Holidays" while at school. Additionally, it would allow classrooms to display "symbols associated with traditional winter celebrations, including a menorah, Christmas tree, Nativity scene or other religious symbols associated with traditional winter celebrations," as long as more than one religion is represented or a secular symbol accompanies a religious one.
The state senate passed the bill unanimously last week, with the legislation's co-author, Sen. Jim Smith, saying the purpose of the bill was to avoid the lawsuits that have taken place in other states regarding religious expression during the holiday season. "Christmas is under attack," Smith said in reference to the bill, according to The Associated Press. "That's just crazy that we even have to move a bill like that, but I think it's very well needed in the state and in every state." more >>
It's a real life story of demonic possession that captured America's attention like a Hollywood horror movie last week. Now, the Rev. Michael Maginot, the Catholic priest who performed the exorcism of Latoya Ammons has landed a deal to bring that story to the big screen.
According to The Indianapolis Star, Maginot of St. Stephen Martyr parish in Merrillville, Ind., confirmed that he had signed an agreement with Evergreen Media Holdings in what he called a "standard deal." Executive chairman of the company, Tony DeRosa-Grund, was responsible for the production of "The Conjuring," which earned $318 million globally.
The attorneys of Emily Herx, an Indiana woman who claims she was fired from her job at a Roman Catholic school after undergoing in vitro fertilization, say the church's doctrine against the procedure should be irrelevant in their client's sex discrimination court case, while church attorneys insist it is a key element in the lawsuit.
"Whether IVF violates the teachings of the Catholic Church is not a fact at issue in this case," Herx's attorneys wrote in court documents, reports The Kansas City Star. "Defendants have argued repeatedly that their religious teachings should not be hashed out before a secular court, and now they seek to bring religious teachings front and center."
Last week, church attorneys said they wanted officials of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend to explain the details of their doctrine before a jury when the trial begins, since they believe IVF is an immoral, dehumanizing procedure because human embryos are generally destroyed or frozen in the process. more >>
An Indiana pastor has made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for the second time in his life.
The current pastor at Zion Missionary Church in Fremont, Ind., Jon Bruney recently set a new world record by pulling a 31,000-pound-plus semi-truck for the distance of one mile in a time of one hour and 36 minutes.
Last week, he set a new one when he and his wife, Amy, broke the current world record for having a person skip rope on a bed of nails resting on top of another person. more >>
The Indiana legislature may be on its way to passing a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage after its House of Representatives approved such a proposal Tuesday. The proposal leaves the possibility of civil unions and benefits to same-sex employees open in the future.
The legislation, House Joint Resolution 3, passed the state's House of Representatives Tuesday with a slim 57 to 40 vote. All of those who approved the ban were Republican, while 11 Republicans and all Democratic House members voted in opposition to the ban. Same-sex marriage is already illegal in Indiana, but HJR-3 would define marriage as being between one man and one woman in the state's constitution.
In the past few weeks, Indiana's legislature has seen intense debate over HJR-3 due to the second sentence of the proposal, which bans the possibility of civil unions among gay couples by stating: "a legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized." Those opposed to the original text of the bill argued that this sentence could also possibly prevent employers from offering benefits, such as insurance, to their same-sex employees. more >>