A federal judge this week threw out a lawsuit by a local atheist group against the Orange County school district in Florida. The atheist group had sued the district for censoring some of its reading materials meant to be distributed to students.
Senior Judge Kendall Sharpe wrote in his opinion that he decided to throw out the lawsuit due to a change in school policy. The local atheist group Central Florida Freethought Community (CFFC) had previously sued the Orange County school district, accusing it of discrimination and violation of free speech after it had refused to allow the atheist group to distribute certain books on school campuses.
The atheist group argued that because the World Changers of Florida evangelical group was able to distribute Bibles without censorship, it too should be allowed to distribute the books it chooses. The school had deemed one of the atheist group's books, entitled An X-Rated Book: Sex & Obscenity In The Bible, as inappropriate. more >>
WASHINGTON – The idea that businesses cannot have religious liberty protections because they are not individuals or nonprofits is "total bunk," Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said.
In an interview with The Christian Post, Hatch explained that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was sponsored by him back in 1993, was meant for everyone, including business owners.
"[RFRA was] meant to protect everybody and businesses are important as well. If we can impose corrupt or wrong rules on businesses, that would spread corrupt or wrong rules throughout the country," said Hatch. more >>
Brooks Hamby, the student who gave thanks to Jesus and asked for the blessing of "the God of the Bible" for his peers during his high school salutatorian speech last month, said he's surprised the school district believes their attempts to stifle his freedom of speech is constitutional.
The Brawley Union High School District in California read over Hamby's salutatorian speech for approval and rejected it three times because Hamby mentioned his religion, Jesus and God.
"I was really surprised the school would deny my speech not once, twice, but three times," said Hamby in an interview with Todd Starnes of Fox News last week. "I just wanted to say a few nice words and allow people to see the good news, which is the Gospel." more >>
A federal appeals court in Indiana has ruled to allow humanists in the state to have their weddings officiated by a secular celebrant.
A three judge panel with the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that humanists should be allowed to have their weddings officiated by secularist celebrants, arguing that preventing them from doing so violated the First Amendment rights to freedom of religion. Previously, Indiana's law stated that marriages could only be performed by religious clergy or government officials, such as mayors and city clerks.
"This is a big step forward in recognizing the rights of nonreligious persons," Reba Boyd Wooden, executive director for the Center for Inquiry, a humanist group, said in a press release. "Now couples may have a Secular Celebrant who shares their world view solemnize their marriage." more >>
A California trial court has backed a private Southern Baptist school over its right to expel a transgender student, who is accused of committing fraud by applying for admission as a female. The court has also, however, awarded $4,000 in damages to the plaintiff for being excluded from the school's ancillary programs that are open to the public, such as the library and restaurants.
MSNBC reported on Monday that the student in question is 27-year-old Domaine Javier, who was born as a biological male but has identified as female since childhood. California Baptist University expelled Javier for fraud violations in 2011, after Javier appeared in an episode of MTV's "A True Life" and admitted to being born a male.
Javier's attorneys argued that CBU had violated California's Unruh Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on various categories, including sex and sexual orientation. more >>
Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius has ended his Twitter hiatus by posting multiple religious-themed messages on the social media platform this week, shortly before his highly-publicized murder trial reaches its conclusion in August.
Pistorius, who is being charged with the 2013 murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, returned to Twitter Sunday after taking a five month hiatus from the social media platform. One of the tweets uploaded on Sunday was a reference to Psalm 34:18 that reads: "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted."
The South African sprinter then posted a collage of photographs that showed the Olympic athlete posing with young amputees, accompanied by the message: "You have the ability to make a difference in someones (sic) life." more >>