The Rabun County School District in Tiger, Georgia has agreed to discontinue Christian prayers at graduation ceremonies and remove a sign containing the name Jesus from public school property.
The district agreed in writing earlier this week to stop having Rabun County Elementary School Principal Lisa Patterson give Christian prayers at public school graduation ceremonies and to remove the sign.
These actions came at the demand of the American Humanist Association's Appignani Humanist Legal Center, who sent a letter of complaint to the school district in early September. more >>
British Comedian John Oliver has said he's been forced to shut down his satirical prosperity gospel church, Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption, after viewers mailed sperm as their "seed" donations.
The former "Daily Show" regular posted a message on the website of his now defunct church explaining the reasoning behind its closure.
"We have still, miraculously, not broken any laws by promising you untold riches in return for sending us money. We're also not closing down because you all kept sending us actual seeds, even though we explicitly told you not to," wrote Oliver. more >>
One of the reasons I say that it is good for American Christianity to no longer think of itself as a "moral majority" is that such a mentality obscures the strangeness of the gospel. When a vision of Christian political engagement hinges on building a politically viable network of ideologically united voters, Christ and him crucified will tend to be a stumbling block, not a rallying point.
I'm sure that if a journalist had been present when Jesus said, "Man shall not live by bread alone," the headline the next day probably would have been, "Religious Leader Calls for Pullback from Agriculture Policy."
The call to a gospel-focused engagement is not a call to a retreat. On the contrary, it's a call to a more vigorous presence in public life, because it seeks to ground such witness where it ought to be, in the larger mission of the church. Even some sectors of religious activism chafe at the honest accounting of apostolic Christianity as a minority viewpoint in Western culture. Minorities do not exert influence, they will contend, on the culture or the systems around it. The temptation is to pretend to be a majority, even if one is not. more >>
Recent events have called into question the issue of obeying the government in all ways — even in all circumstances.
In the 13th chapter of Romans, Paul says that God has given us the government as a minister of righteousness. It is our duty to obey it. But we also see in Scripture that on occasion, when the government calls for one to disobey God, then civil disobedience is in order.
There's a great lesson to learn from one aspect of World War II related to distortions of Romans 13. I'm not calling anybody a Nazi, but consider this lengthy lesson, wherein the Nazis quoted Scripture in order to demand unquestioning obedience. more >>
A diverse group of clergy and legal experts sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to keep a rule allowing religious organizations with government grants to maintain hiring practices consistent with their religious beliefs.
Sent to the White House on Thursday, the letter pleads that President Obama reject calls by many progressive organizations to bar federal grants to religious organizations that use religious affiliation as a parameter for employment.
The letter was organized by the Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance and signed by liberals and conservatives, religious leaders and religious freedom experts. For instance, Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association; Ron Sider, president emeritus of Evangelicals for Social Action; and Douglas Laycock, Robert E. Scott Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Virginia Law School, were among the 69 signers. more >>
The American Center for Law and Justice has sent out a legal letter supported by 81,500 Americans defending football team chaplains from the Freedom From Religion Foundation's claims that they're imposing their Christian beliefs on players. The ACLJ argued that if atheist professors are not considered to be posing an issue to students' rights, neither should sports chaplains.
"University students understand that they will be exposed to a variety of religious and nonreligious views on campus. Sports team chaplaincies pose no threat to the rights of university students to hold their own religious views, any more than does graduation prayer, or for that matter, a professor's avowed atheism," the conservative law group wrote in its letter.
"The Establishment Clause does not compel the expulsion of sports team chaplains who serve voluntarily to meet the spiritual needs of student athletes, any more than the Establishment Clause requires the razing of university chapels that exist to meet similar needs." more >>