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 >>
Emerging trends for the multisite church movement, which now includes at least 8,000 sites throughout the U.S., include the findings that churches with multiple locations grow faster, have more lay-person participation, and reach more new believers than single-site churches, according to a study by the Leadership Network.
"More churches will continue to explore multisites, not as a tool for growth but as a means of taking the church to more people and taking a healthy church and reproducing it in other places," said Warren Bird, Director of Research and Intellectual Capital Development for Leadership Network, during a web seminar Wednesday.
By definition, a multisite congregation is one church meeting in two or more locations under one overall leadership and budget. more >>
A bill introduced to the Georgia legislature regarding religious freedom has apparently been derailed due to a controversy over a similar bill in Arizona.
House Bill 1023, also called the "Preservation of Religious Freedom Act," would essentially provide citizens of Georgia with the same religious freedom protections provided by the federal Religious Freedom Protection Act. RFRA was passed in 1993 with a unanimous vote in the House and a 97-3 vote in the Senate and was signed by President Bill Clinton.
RFRA says that for the government to deny religious freedom, the government must show that it has a good reason for doing so and there is no way to avoid doing so. Plus, laws that are generally applicable (apply to all faiths) must provide religious exemptions when that can be done without placing too great a burden on the state. The Supreme Court ruled, however, that RFRA does not apply to state law, so many states have passed their own RFRA laws. H.B. 1023 would do that for Georgia. more >>
Oral arguments in a lawsuit by an atheist organization against the placement of the "World Trade Center cross" at a museum on government property will take place later this week.
American Atheists will present their case before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, arguing that the WTC cross does not belong in a museum on government leased property.
Two days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, construction workers found a cross beam among the wreckage of the Twin Towers. more >>
An atheist group has filed a lawsuit against a Maryland government agency over the placement of a 40-foot cross on government property.
The American Humanist Association filed suit Tuesday in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland against the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, which oversees the property in Bladensburg, where the cross is located.
In addition to the AHA, named plaintiffs include two AHA members who live in the area and a third resident from nearby Beltsville. more >>