British Pastor James McConnell will face a three-day trial in December for broadcasting a sermon over the Internet using a public electronics communications network where he called Islam "satanic" and "heathen."
The charges, which also include allegedly sending a grossly offensive message using a public electronics communications network, stem from a sermon he gave at a Belfast, Northern Ireland, church in May 2014.
McConnell's trial date was set Thursday for Dec. 14 at the Belfast Magistrates Court. At least 78 people showed up to support the pastor, who believes he's standing up for his freedom of speech. more >>
A defamation lawsuit filed by a former employee of a Presbyterian Church (USA) agency was dismissed by a Tennessee judge last week.
The Rev. Roger Dermody was hired in April 2010 to serve as an employee of PCUSA's Presbyterian Mission Agency, and with his peers was tasked with helping resolve the problem of declining membership in the Church, but was fired earlier this year.
The beginning of American law, the concepts of independence and freedom, is rooted in the belief that moral absolutes exist within a universal standard of justice independent from political rulers. The Judeo-Christian faith is not separate from but foundational to just and fair public policies that encourage human flourishing.
More than 2,000 Bible verses teach civics, providing examples of good and evil rulers, judges, and political authorities. These instructions on civics are informed by approximately 500 verses on salvation, 400 on hell, and 250 on Heaven — with the overall foundation that right living best leads to a peaceful, thriving society.
The Vatican has clarified that despite the much-publicized private meeting between Pope Francis and Kentucky clerk Kim Davis last week in Washington, D.C., the meeting should not be equated to the pontiff giving his support for Davis' position on refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
"The pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects," wrote Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, the head of the Holy See Press Office, in a statement released by the Vatican on Friday.
Lombardi added that Davis was only one of several dozen people the pope privately met during his week in the U.S., and it would be incorrect to read too much into the brief encounters. more >>
It is not uncommon for congregants to seek counseling from their ministers. Whether described as marriage counseling, family counseling, or spiritual counseling, many congregants seek advice and guidance from clergy members to deal with problems they and their loved ones are experiencing.
In providing these counseling services, clergy members enjoy certain legal protection, in part because of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but the protection in not absolute. In addition, potential liability varies from state to state. Consequently, there are some best practices in which clergy should engage.
States typically impose education prerequisites on professional counselors, require licensing, and set standards of care. more >>
The state of Georgia has executed a woman despite last-minute pleas for mercy, including one from Roman Catholic Church leader Pope Francis. The woman reportedly sang the Christian anthem "Amazing Grace" as she was put to death via lethal injection, witnesses said.
NBC News reported that Kelly Renee Gissendaner, 47, was executed shortly after midnight on Wednesday. Gissendaner had been put on death row for the 1997 stabbing murder of her husband, Douglas Gissendaner, at the hands of her lover. She became the first woman executed by the state in 70 years.
Gregory Owen, who carried out the killing, is serving a life prison sentence, and is not eligible for parole until 2022. more >>