As I read the story of Michael Brown who was shot and killed August 9th, 2014 by Darren Wilson, a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, my heart immediately went out to the family. The pain of losing a child, I'm told, is one of the most difficult to endure.
The St. Louis County grand jury decision will no doubt fuel the flames of racism and hatred, but what if we look through a different lens...
What if more people knew that many of America's founders did not support slavery? The truth is that many of the Founding Fathers were responsible for planting the first seeds of equality and for the eventual end of slavery. John Quincy Adams was often referred to as the "hell-hound of abolition movement" for his efforts against slavery. As historian David Barton rightly noted, "This was a fact made clear by Richard Allen. Allen had been a slave in Pennsylvania but was freed after he converted his master to Christianity. Allen, a close friend of Benjamin Rush and several other Founding Fathers, went on to become the founder of the A.M.E. Church in America. In an early address 'To the People of Color,' he explained: 'Many of the white people have been instruments in the hands of God for our good, even such as have held us in captivity, [and] are now pleading our cause with earnestness and zeal'." more >>
A court in New Jersey heard arguments Wednesday on a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by an atheist group that wants to remove the phrase "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance after parents complained that their child's public school was reciting the phrase.
Monmouth County Superior Court Judge David Bauman heard arguments on the motion to dismiss the atheist group's lawsuit, which was filed by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty on behalf of New Jersey high school student Samantha Jones.
In April, the legal arm of the American Humanist Association filed a lawsuit against the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District and its superintendent, David M. Healy, in the Superior Court of New Jersey on behalf of the family that took issue with the phrase. more >>
The sister of Scott Panetti, a paranoid schizophrenic set to be executed by the state of Texas on Dec. 3 for the murder of two people, has pleaded with Gov. Rick Perry to commute his sentence to life in prison. Victoria Panetti has said that her brother, who believes he's being executed for preaching the Gospel, does not understand fact from fiction, and started an online petition asking Perry to spare his life.
"Having a brother on death row is like having a terminally ill family member. But there's one big difference: we can't stop a terminal illness, but we can stop Texas from killing a mentally ill man," Victoria Panetti wrote in a letter alongside the Change.org petition.
"I know it's hard to see beyond the fact that Scott took two lives, but he suffers from a severe illness that changed the way his mind works. He doesn't understand fact from fiction. He's still my big brother, the strong and handsome sailor who served in the Navy." more >>
Ferguson officer Darren Wilson is reportedly negotiating his way to leave the force in order to protect his colleagues from further retribution, reports stated on Friday.
"It's fair to say that neither he nor his defense team expect an indictment," Jeff Roorda, business manager for the St. Louis Police Officers' Association, said after meeting with Wilson.
As the town of Ferguson waits for the grand jury's verdict, Michael Brown, the unarmed teen shot by Wilson in August, has been remembered in protests. His father recently released a video online, calling for calm no matter what the grand jury decides. more >>
A Virginia woman has been charged with lying to authorities about her involvement with ISIS and was arrested in an undercover sting operation on Monday.
Heather Elizabeth Coffman, 29, allegedly used social media to show her support for the Islamic State and even offered to help someone in the United States connect with the group in Syria.
According to the FBI, Coffman was in touch with a person interested in joining the group; unbeknownst to her, that someone was a federal official. She explained that she had helped her "husband" travel to Turkey to meet up with ISIS agents who could get him to the front lines in Syria and even outlined the specific details of her plan, but said that she and her husband separated, so he never made the trip. more >>
The attorneys for Scott Panetti, a severely mentally ill man who believes Texas is trying to execute him for preaching the Gospel, have asked the state to stay his execution. Panetti's death sentence, however, is not for preaching the Gospel, but for murdering his parents-in-law in 1992. His planned execution is being opposed by both mental health professionals and over 50 evangelical leaders.
"If his execution date is not withdrawn, he will go to the execution chamber convinced that he's being put to death for preaching the Gospels, not for the murder of his wife's parents, and the retributive goal of capital punishment will not be served," the Texas Defender Service group warned.