A judge will decide who has the right to the title of Bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, which broke away from The Episcopal Church over theological differences.
U.S. District Judge C. Weston Houck heard oral arguments Thursday over the Rev. Charles vonRosenberg's effort to halt the Rev. Mark Lawrence's usage of the title. The Rev. Lawrence presently heads the theologically conservative South Carolina Diocese, which broke away from The Episcopal Church over its support for homosexuality and treatment of Lawrence.
The Rev. vonRosenberg presently heads the Episcopal Church in South Carolina, the name given to those Episcopalians in the Diocese who want to remain with the national church. VonRosenberg has sued Lawrence over usage of the title of bishop, arguing that Lawrence renounced this title when he opted to leave The Episcopal Church in January. more >>
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley said that a Wisconsin-based atheists group opposed to a Cullman County school district-wide prayer caravan prior to the fall semester is misinterpreting the First Amendment. Plans for the caravan beginning Saturday morning and a rally later in the day at a county fairgrounds are still on track.
"I personally believe that one of the problems we have in this country is taking God out of, not only our lives, but out of government. But, we can't force that on someone. That's what the Constitution says. We cannot force that on people. But, people have the right to express their opinions on their beliefs. And I do it all the time. Nobody's put me in jail yet," Bentley told WAFF 48 News in Huntsville.
The controversy began when the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a group focused on wiping out expressions of religion from the public square in the U.S., attempted to stop Cullman County Schools from conducting the prayer caravan that includes school officials, teachers, and parents who volunteered to stop to pray at each school with a letter from its lawyer. more >>
Students and some parents at an all-girls Catholic high school in Southern California rallied Thursday morning in support of a gay teacher who was fired after photos of his same-sex wedding were published in a local newspaper.
Even though school officials at St. Lucy's Priory High School in Glendora knew that Ken Bencomo, 45, was homosexual, they fired him after his wedding became public, according to his attorney. He had worked for the school for 17 years, the Los Angeles Times reported.
"He never made it part of the discussion and he never pushed his personal life on us. But we knew, the school knew, teachers knew — it was never a problem," said Brittany Littleton, a 2008 graduate who created an online petition at Change.org that has garnered more than 50,000 signatures, the Times reported. more >>
Colorado Christian University became the first non-profit organization on Wednesday to renew its lawsuit challenging the HHS abortion-drug mandate's "accommodation," which still forces the institution to go against its religious beliefs or pay high cost fines.
"The bureaucrats' proposed solution does not solve anything," said Eric Baxter, Senior Counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents CCU in this matter. "CCU is still forced to participate in the government's scheme to provide free access to abortion-causing drugs and devices."
The new challenge comes just weeks after the final rule was announced in June. more >>
The U.S. State Department will be reaching out more to religious leaders and communities at home and abroad, Secretary of State John Kerry explained as he announced Wednesday a new Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives within the State Department.
"I want you to go out and engage religious leaders and faith-based communities in our day-to-day work," Kerry told State Department workers. "Build strong relationships with them and listen to their insights and understand the important contributions that they can make individually and that we can make together."
The new office will be headed by Dr. Shaun Casey, professor of Christian Ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary. An expert on religion and politics, Casey wrote a 2009 book on religion and the 1960 presidential election. During the 2008 presidential campaign, he worked on encouraging evangelicals to vote for then-candidate Barack Obama. more >>
The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty has filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the right of Americans to pray before public meetings. The leader of the nationwide military chaplains group says that federal courts should no longer have to assess when a religious activity might make someone feel uncomfortable.
"Our brief makes the point that a military chaplain, just like a chaplain in a town council meeting, cannot fulfill his or her duties with the federal courts looking over one shoulder and a hypothetical observer looking over the other to assess when a religious activity may make an observer feel like an outsider," said CH (COL) Ron Crews, executive director for CARL.
The religious liberties case, Town of Greece v. Galloway, provides the U.S. Supreme Court the opportunity to "affirm America's long-standing practice of opening public meetings with prayer," the alliance stated on Tuesday. more >>