A federal judge struck down Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional Friday, the latest in a string of such decisions. The U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb neither stayed the ruling nor clarified if it takes effect immediately, causing confusion over whether gay licenses could now be issued.
"Increasingly, Americans are being forced to celebrate unions that not only step on free speech and religious liberty but also deny children a mom and a dad," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, in a statement in response to Crabb's ruling. "Those pushing for the redefinition of marriage have long since moved from a 'live-and-let-live' mentality. Their efforts are creating serious inequality as people are forced to suppress or violate the basic teachings of their faith, or face legal repercussions and harassment."
FRC noted that Crabb has a history of rulings that are hostle toward religious expression, including a 2010 ruling that the National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional and a 2013 ruling that tax-exempt housing allowanaces are unconstitutional. more >>
A Christian student has won a free speech lawsuit against his community college in Virginia after campus police forced him to stop open-air preaching in the school's courtyard last fall.
This week, a federal judge sided with Christian Parks, a student at the Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton who sued the Virginia Community College System earlier this year after he was twice silenced by campus police for open-air preaching in the campus's courtyard area last fall.
In the lawsuit filed in March, Parks argued that the campus police required him to stop his speech because it "might offend someone." The student alleged that his constitutional rights to religious freedom and free speech were violated when campus police suppressed his open-air preaching on two occasions. more >>
Trinity Broadcasting Network suffered a severe decline in total revenue for the year 2012, according to the Form 990 it filed with the Internal Revenue Service.
According to the form for the 2012 calendar year TBN – legally registered as the Trinity Christian Center of Santa Ana, Inc. – had a total revenue of approximately $144 million. This contrasts with calendar year 2011, when they had a total revenue of about $176 million.
Meant as a form for nonprofits, Form 990 breaks down revenue into four categories: "Contributions and grants," "Program service revenue," "Investment income," and "Other revenue." more >>
Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese mother sentenced to death for apostasy, is challenging the court's ruling by claiming that there have been procedural errors in her case. She has also explained that she was raised as a Christian, and so did not convert from Islam.
Ibrahim's lawyer, Eman Abdul-Rahim, indicated that the imprisoned mother will be challenging the court, according to The Associated Press.
Ibrahim was sentenced to 100 lashes and death for converting from Islam and marrying a Christian man, which goes against the country's strict Islamic laws that dictate children must follow their father's religion. The mother explained, however, that her Muslim father left when she was young, and so she was raised as an Orthodox Christian by her Ethiopian mother. more >>
This morning Chuck Todd and Joe Scarborough got into an on-air scrap over Robert Bergdahl, Bowe Bergdahl's father. Scarborough criticized the elder Bergdahl's dialogue with jihadists and his failure to admonish his son to stay on the line of battle rather than desert. Todd rather indignantly replied with the standard defense that one can't judge a parent under extreme duress. The entire exchange can be seen here.
Todd's view is a popular one - and oft-repeated. We frequently give people who are under ultimate stress a pass for their outbursts and bad judgment. But should we?
Our moral obligations do not cease when we are under the most extreme forms of pressure. In fact, that is arguably when our moral commitments matter most. C. S. Lewis described courage as "not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at its testing point." In other words, we don't even know if we possess a virtue unless that virtue is tested. more >>
In the media's portrayal, people defending marriage as the union of a man and woman have been getting routed ever since the Supreme Court decision last June - if not before. They point to a string of lower-court rulings striking down state marriage amendments and to public opinion polling, especially of my peers in the Millennial generation. Many also point to the forced resignation of Brendan Eich and the defeat of Arizona's religious-liberty bill.
Some people would like me and the millions of Americans who continue to believe that marriage is what societies have believed it to be throughout human history - a male-female union - to get with the program and accept the inevitable. We're clearly, they tell us, on the Wrong Side of History.
But we should avoid the temptation to prognosticate about the future in lieu of working to shape that future. We are citizens in a self-governing society, not pundits watching a spectator sport, not subjects of rulers. We are participants in one of the most significant debates our society - any society - has ever faced. more >>