A number of prominent pastors and lay leaders have signed a petition pledging civil disobedience if a U.S. Supreme Court decision redefining marriage to include same-sex couples infringes upon their religious freedom.
"Experience and history have shown us that if the government redefines marriage to grant a legal equivalency to same-sex couples, that same government will then enforce such an action with the police power of the State. This will bring about an inevitable collision with religious freedom and conscience rights. The precedent established will leave no room for any limitation on what can constitute such a redefined notion of marriage or human sexuality. We cannot and will not allow this to occur on our watch. Religious freedom is the first freedom in the American experiment for good reason," the pledge states, in part.
The health of Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian mother who was jailed and sentenced to the death penalty in 2010 after being accused of blasphemy, is dwindling, as she now has trouble walking and is also throwing up blood inside of her prison cell, her family has said.
According to a report by The Global Dispatch, the 50-year-old Bibi's family was allowed to visit with her in May, after not being allowed to see her for over a month and noticed that Bibi is "so weak that she can hardly walk."
For Bibi, who is suffering from intestinal bleeding, her health problems are only getting worse and she's in dire need of medical attention, a family source said. more >>
The Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia has upheld the cruel sentencing of liberal blogger Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes, a $266,060 fine and 10 years imprisonment after being charged in 2012 with "insulting Islam through electronic channels."
Badawi, a father of three, ran the Liberal Saudi Network, a blog that advocated for debate on religious and political issues. He was initially ordered to receive his 1,000 lashes by cane in increments of 50 per week over the course of 20 weeks.
As previously reported, Badawi received his first round of 50 lashes on Jan. 9 in the public square in the city of Jiddah by a member of Saudi security forces. The flogging was captured on a cell phone video and posted to the Internet, which sparked protests and drew outcry from the United Nations, European Union, United States and other countries calling for an end to his brutal punishment. more >>
A minister who works as an executive at Presbyterian Church (USA) has filed a defamation lawsuit against the denomination over recently publishing claims that he acted unethically.
The Reverend Roger Dermody, deputy executive director for Mission at the Presbyterian Mission Agency, filed the suit last week in Jefferson Circuit Court in Kentucky.
"Dermody alleges that PCUSA, by itself or through its directors, officers, and/or employees, acting within the scope of their employment, repeatedly and falsely published that Dermody had engaged in 'unethical' conduct as an employee of PCUSA," reads the suit. more >>
About 2,500 people will gather in Chicago's Auditorium Theater tonight and tomorrow for the Justice Conference and hear some top evangelical speakers champion the plight of the marginalized and poor. They also will hear some voices far outside evangelicalism do the same, including prominent socialist, activist and professor at Union Theological Seminary, Cornel West. Also, leading a panel discussion on racial justice will be Rev. Otis Moss III, the successor to President Obama's former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.
According to Stephan Bauman, president and CEO of World Relief, which is sponsoring the conference, this wide diversity is by design. "What we have done with the conference in the past, and are certainly doing this year," Bauman said, is "bring in a voice that might be more controversial or liberal, like Cornel West," but then "complement his voice with much more mainstream evangelical voices like Louie Giglio or Bob Goff or even Eugene Cho. . . . So, let's bring out the broader voice of justice and let people decide what's true, what's right."
Some evangelical leaders, though, are expressing concern that those attending the conference may not be prepared to critically analyze the ideas they will hear. Both West and Moss are proponents of black liberation theology – a theological perspective that views Christianity as a means of liberating black people from white oppression. more >>
A federal court has ruled that a Washington state public school district acted unconstitutionally when it suspended a student after he preached and handed out religious reading materials to classmates on school grounds during free time.
Michael Leal, a senior at Cascade High School in the Seattle suburb of Everett, was suspended three times last fall for continuing to provide students with pre-printed Christian pamphlets, which is a violation of the school's policy that does not allow students to distribute materials that they had not written themselves.
Leal, with the help of the Pacific Justice Institute, sued the school and stated that the school violated his free speech rights. more >>