An appeals court has ruled against an atheist organization that was suing to have a cross removed from the National September 11 Museum.
A three-judge panel from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that "the cross at Ground Zero" at the museum does not violate the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
"American Atheists contend that the Port Authority and the foundation impermissibly promote Christianity in violation of the Establishment Clause and deny atheists equal protection of the laws by displaying the cross at Ground Zero in the museum unaccompanied by some item acknowledging that atheists were among the victims and rescuers on September 11," read the opinion. more >>
The Internal Revenue Service has reached a lawsuit settlement agreement with the Freedom From Religion Foundation, agreeing to investigate churches that violate a federal law that activist groups often cite in an attempt to silence them by threatening their tax-exempt status.
"This is a victory, and we're pleased with this development in which the IRS has proved to our satisfaction that it now has in place a protocol to enforce its own anti-electioneering provisions," FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor said in a statement last week, following which the Alliance Defending Freedom asked the IRS to release all documents related to it.
The lawsuit, Freedom From Religion Foundation v. Koskinen, accused the IRS of failing to investigate churches the way the atheist group would like. Despite the agreement, only a court has the jurisdiction to close down the case. more >>
A 57-year-old Texas man cleared this week of raping a teen girl in 1990 told reporters that he was only able to cope with being branded a guilty man because of his "father God," and expressed the conviction that God had been working behind the scenes all along to bring him justice.
After prosecutors found evidence showing that Michael Phillips, currently wheelchair-bound, was not the one who raped a 16-year-old girl more than two decades ago, a judge ruled on Friday that the Dallas man should be exonerated. The new evidence was based on DNA testing, which Phillips did not request, but which Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins pursued through his Conviction Integrity Unit.
"My father God that got me through this. That's all I got to say," Phillips told reporters during the court appearance. "That speaks for itself. Pick up His book, it's truthful … see you through anything." more >>
A Miami-Dade County judge Friday overturned Florida's ban on same-sex marriage in a decision that applies only to that county. While this is the second county that struck down the state's ban this month, marriage licenses will not be issued so that the rulings can be appealed.
Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel agreed with last week's ruling by Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia, saying the 2008 constitutional amendment approved by the state's voters violates the right to equal protection under the law guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment, according to The Associated Press.
"Preventing couples from marrying solely on the basis of their sexual orientation serves no governmental interest," Zabel wrote in her 36-page ruling. "It serves only to hurt, to discriminate, to deprive same-sex couples and their families of equal dignity, to label and treat them as second-class citizens, and to deem them unworthy of participation in one of the fundamental institutions of our society." more >>
One of the Al Jazeera journalists detained in Egypt on alleged terrorism charges will reportedly appeal his sentence, his younger brother told reporters this week.
Peter Greste, an Australian reporter working for the Al Jazeera network, will be appealing his seven-year prison sentence that he received in June, based on charges that he had reported in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood political party during the toppling of former leader Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
Greste and two other reporters, Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohammed, were accused of attempting to undermine Egypt's national security by "broadcasting false information" through Al Jazeera. more >>
An associate professor of feminist studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara has pleaded no contest to criminal charges related to her assault on a group of pro-life students in March, which was partially captured on video.
The Santa Barbara Independent reported on Thursday that Dr. Mireille Miller-Young, who had been accused of stealing and destroying an anti-abortion posted during an event, as well as pushing and scratching the activist, is pleading no contest to the charges of grand theft, vandalism, and battery.
"Today's plea brings us one step closer to seeing justice done in this case," said Katie Short, mother of the 16-year-old activist that Miller-Young is accused of assaulting. "Pro-life advocates should not be subjected to intimidation and violence for lawfully exercising their right to free speech, and we are happy to see that Ms. Miller-Young is being held accountable for her actions." more >>