A reality TV show preacher known for his snake-handling during worship services has been exonerated by a grand jury in Tennessee.
Andrew Hamblin, pastor at Tabernacle Church of God in LaFollette was exonerated by a grand jury in Campbell County on Wednesday, reported local media.
"Prosecutor Lori Phillips Jones said officials didn't see the matter as a religious freedom case but public safety. She said she respects the grand jury's decision," said Nashville's News Channel 5. more >>
As provisions of Texas' restrictive abortion law were reviewed by a federal appeals court this week, one judge has questioned if the new law really does pose an undue burden to women seeking the life-ending procedure in the state.
This week, three judges of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans reviewed a 2013 anti-abortion law passed in Texas that, among other provisions, requires abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their practice and also restricts the administering of abortion-inducing drugs.
Those in support of the new restrictions argue it protects the health of the mother and reflects the pro-life culture of Texas, while those who oppose the new law argue it has led to the closing of dozens of abortion clinics in the state that do not meet the new stricter regulations and forces women to take desperate measures to end their pregnancy. In October, a district judge ruled the new law unconstitutionally burdens a woman's access to abortion, but the state was allowed to continue enforcing the law while it appeals the ruling to the 5th Circuit Court. more >>
Four couples in Arizona filed a class action lawsuit against the state this week, challenging its constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. The arguments employed in the lawsuit reportedly reflect the lawsuit that ultimately overturned Utah's ban on same-sex marriage.
"We are asking for relief on behalf of all married and unmarried same-sex couples in Arizona," attorney Shawn Aiken, who is representing the four same-sex couples in the lawsuit, said in a statement. "Now is the time to take up this issue."
The lawsuit reportedly argues that the Supreme Court's June ruling, which struck down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act and thus awarded some federal benefits to same-sex couples, should be reason for Arizona to legalize same-sex marriage. The rationale behind this argument is that same-sex couples receiving federal benefits should also have their union recognized by individual states. more >>
A Roman Catholic congregation in a small Oregon town has erected a pro-life display featuring over 500 white crosses. Parishioners from St. Francis Catholic Church of Sherwood and a local chapter of the Knights of Columbus built the display last weekend.
Fr. Ysrael C. Bien, parish priest for St. Francis Catholic, told The Christian Post that the display was meant "to promote life issues outside the confines of our parish community." Bien presided over "a simple blessing" Sunday in honor of the display, which was meant to be in remembrance of the "millions of babies" aborted since 1973.
"When a knight saw similar memorial white crosses erected in California, he got the idea and brought it to the council and myself for approval," said Bien. "The parish Respect Life committee also got involved and before you know it, parishioners, including our youth ministry members, began painting the crosses." more >>
A Utah man lost 25 pounds while on a hunger strike since late December in protest of the state's recent legalization of same-sex marriage.
Trestin Meacham, a 35-year-old Mormon living in Utah, embarked on a hunger fast beginning Dec. 21, one day after U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby ruled the state's 2004 ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, thus making Utah the 18th state, along with the District of Columbia, to recognize same-sex marriage.
"I'm very disappointed," Meacham, who has been surviving only on water and the occasional vitamin since Dec. 21, told ABC 4 News. "You can start a blog and you can complain on social networks until you're blue in the face and nothing will happen but actions speak louder than words and I'm taking action." more >>
Social conservative groups expressed approval at the United States Supreme Court's decision to halt gay marriage ceremonies in Utah after a judge declared the state's ban unconstitutional.
The highest court in the U.S. put a halt to the marriages on Monday as the decision that removed the ban is being appealed.