Norwegian police raided the offices of Bishop Bernt Eidsvig, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Oslo, after a prosecutor accused the church of defrauding the state of $6.57 million by falsely registering people as Catholics. Eidsvig has formally denied the accusation and said he's "extremely unhappy" with the charges, though he admitted that mistakes were made.
"The fraud happened when they enrolled people in a register without the members actually knowing they were being enrolled in the church," Oslo's police prosecutor, Kristin Rusdal, told Reuters.
"Using this register they applied for funding from the state and municipalities, which is distributed on the basis of how many members the church have," Rusdal said. more >>
Patrick Sookhdeo, the founder and international director of Christian aid group Barnabas Aid International, has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a female staff member in an incident that occurred in February 2014.
BBC News reported that 67-year-old Sookhdeo was also found guilty by the Swindon Crown Court's jury in the U.K. of intimidating two employees that were expected to give evidence against him.
He has been ordered to serve a three-month community order for all three charges; has been placed on a three-month curfew, and ordered to pay close to $5,400 in prosecution costs. more >>
Last December, Washington, DC voters approved a measure legalizing marijuana for users over 21. In a legislative battle that highlighted how controversial and complex the issue is, Congress (which has legal jurisdiction over the city) immediately moved to ban the sale and purchase of the drug, creating a challenging situation for law enforcement. This was very concerning to me because I smoked marijuana as a part of the youth culture in the 70's and observed severe emotional and physiological side effects with my friends.
While it is unclear how the conflicting laws will be applied and enforced, marijuana enthusiasts are already making their plans.
As the Washington Post reported: Two ballrooms on Capitol Hill are already reserved for a pot expo on Feb. 28. A date for a massive marijuana seed giveaway is in the works for early March. Some are planning "cannabis clubs" with membership fees and access to the plant. Others hope to offer high-end catered dinners cooked in marijuana-infused oils; recently, an underground test dinner was served a mile-and-a-half north of the White House. Washington, DC is far from alone in its pot-friendly legislation. Oregon, Alaska, Colorado and the state of Washington have completely decriminalized marijuana, while various other states allow it for medical purposes. more >>
Defense attorney Kirk Nurmi pleaded for Jodi Arias' life last Tuesday, Feb. 24, as he told the jury deciding whether she'll be put to death that the ex-boyfriend she killed sexually used and humiliated her and wanted to keep their encounters a secret.
The attorney said that Travis Alexander used her to satisfy his sexual urges, called her demeaning names and told her that she was soulless.
"Those words have impact and they got to her," Nurmi said. more >>
If Wednesday's oral arguments are an indication, Abercrombie & Fitch will likely lose in a Supreme Court religious freedom case involving a Muslim job applicant wearing a head scarf.
The case, EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch, has united a wide range of groups concerned about the religious freedom implications in the case. Christian, gay rights, Jewish and Muslim groups have all filed "friend of the court" briefs on the side of the Muslim job applicant.
In a Wednesday interview with The Christian Post, Eric Baxter of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, who was at the oral arguments, said he was optimistic that the court would rule against Abercrombie & Fitch. more >>
A South Carolina judge has denied a motion to reconsider a ruling made in a $500 million property dispute case in favor of a diocese that voted to leave the Episcopal Church due to the national denomination's increasing acceptance of homosexuality.
Judge Diane Goodstein decided earlier this week to reject arguments made by The Episcopal Church requesting that she reconsider her order granting the Diocese of South Carolina ownership over the name and $500 million worth of diocesan church properties.