A donor and his wife have won a First Amendment dispute against Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., and will be allowed to reference "God" in their donor plaque.
Purdue University received criticism from the local community after telling donors Dr. Michael McCracken and his wife that they could not mention "God" on a dedication plaque because the school, as a public institution receiving state and federal funds, would be violating the U.S. Constitution's Establishment clause. The plaque was dedicated to McCracken as a result of his generous donation in 2012 of $12,500, and the plaque was to grace a conference room at the newly-renovated Herrick Laboratories on campus.
When the university initially denied mentioning God on the plaque, it instead suggested the plaque only include the names of McCracken's parents. McCracken stuck to his values, and with the help of the Liberty Institute and a personal lawyer, the donor was able to successfully convince the university to install the plaque with the original wording. His legal representatives even mentioned last week that their client was prepared to go to court over the issue if it could not be resolved. more >>
A Southern California mother has agreed to remove the roadside cross memorializing her dead son after receiving pressure from an atheist organization.
Ann Marie Devaney placed a white Christian cross near an on-ramp to Highway 15 inLake Elsinore, Calif., after her 19-year-old son Anthony was struck and killed by a car while crossing the street there in May 2012. After two years, Devaney has agreed to remove the cross after the American Humanist Association pressured the city of Lake Elsinore, reportedly on behalf of an atheist resident who argues the cross' presence on government-owned highway is unconstitutional.
As NBC Los Angeles reports, Devaney showed up to the site of the cross Thursday to pay her last respects to her son before removing the small memorial. The mother of the teen who struck Devaney's son with his car also showed up to grieve and express that she too did not think the cross should be removed. more >>
The Vatican promised to make changes to the way it handles child abuse cases after a U.N. panel in Geneva on Thursday questioned why the Roman Catholic Church refuses to release more information about such incidents, and what it is doing to prevent future abuse.
"We will very gladly take this occasion as a constructive moment, an important occasion, to reaffirm the value and the procedures of the convention and to accept any good advice that is given for that can be helpful in the protection of children," said Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, permanent observer of the Holy See to the U.N. in Geneva.
The Roman Catholic Church was asked if it believes "that pedophilia is something that can be successfully overcome." The Convention on the Rights of the Child pointed to child sexual abuse cases concerning clergy who were moved instead of defrocked. more >>
Pastor Kevin Ramsby never expected to be the victim of a violent crime, but he has made peace with the situation and forgiven the man who accosted him and stabbed him 37 times.
Ramsby was at home in 2011 when 41-year-old Wesley McLemore broke into his home and stabbed him 37 times. He spent several months in therapy and worked hard to regain his life; Ramsby soon stood in the pulpit at the Revival Tabernacle in Michigan, much to the joy and relief of his parishioners.
"It's been a journey, and I've been more concentrated on kind of focusing on the good that's coming out of it all," Ramsby told WXYZ News. "They called my wife [that day], saying she needed to get here because they did not think I was going to be making it." more >>
Fox News host Gretchen Carlson recently expressed her outrage at the installation of a six-foot tall festivus pole at the Florida Capitol building in Tallahasee, arguing that the pole takes away from the true meaning of Christmas.
While speaking on the Dec. 10 broadcast of Fox News' "The Real Story," Carlson told her guests, including David Silverman of the American Atheists, Catholic League President Bill Donohue, and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach that she was "outraged" the festivus pole was recently approved as a holiday display at Florida's Capitol building.
"I am so outraged by this," Carlson said, adding, "Why do I have to drive around with my kids to look for a nativity scene and be, like, 'Oh, yeah, kids, look, there's baby Jesus behind the Festivus pole made out of beer cans!' It's nuts!" more >>
Pope Francis and eight hand-picked cardinals are set to rewrite the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus of the Roman Catholic Church in what some are calling an "unprecedented" move as they hold a three-day meeting this week.
The seven cardinals representing the Church on different continents, including Africa and Asia, Europe and Australia, North, Central and South America, will be joined by cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Governing body of Vatican City State. Together, along with the bishop of Albano, serving as secretary, and Pope Francis, they will stay at the Santa Marta guesthouse and meet behind closed doors of the library inside the Apostolic Palace.