With only five days remaining on the congressional schedule before legislators depart Capitol Hill for their home states, two competing Senate bills aiming to transform how the United States Armed Forces handle sexual assault cases might get lost in the shuffle.
Advocates for victims of sexual assault in the military are lobbying for the Senate to take action after the Pentagon revealed that 26,000 service members reported being victims of sexual assault in 2012.
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released its Statutory Enforcement Report, Sexual Assault in the Military, in July and found that "… 23 percent of women and 4 percent of men reported experiencing unwanted sexual contact since enlistment. more >>
A Texas diocese that opted to break away from The Episcopal Church over theological differences has filed a legal response before the state supreme court.
The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth filed Friday in response to TEC's motion for a rehearing regarding the legal dispute over the name and property of the diocese. In the 17-page document, the breakaway diocesan leadership argued that TEC's lawsuit over the property should be dismissed.
"TEC has no more control over Appellants' property or affairs than Royal Dutch Shell has over the property or affairs of ExxonMobil," reads the response in part. "The Court noted probable jurisdiction of this direct appeal two years ago. By May 2014, it will have been on this Court's docket for three years. It is time to dispose of it." more >>
Ohio lawmakers are proposing a new bill that if passed would further protect religious freedoms, including prayer and references to Jesus, in the state's public schools. The bill comes after multiple cases in which public schools were forced to remove Jesus portraits from their campuses or face legal action from atheist groups.
The bill, the Ohio Religious Freedom Restoration Act, was introduced to the state legislature earlier this week by Rep. Bill Patmon (D-Cleveland) and Rep. Tim Derickson (R-Oxford), who argued that the legislation would block further encroachment on religious expression in the state. The bill has over three dozen additional co-sponsors.
"God gave us our rights, not the government, not the neighbor, but God. Government is here to protect those rights," Rep. Patmon said of the bill, according to NBC 4 News. "How many of our students, how many of our schools need prayer? It's a disservice that we do when we don't allow it, when we don't encourage it." more >>
The babysitter for three-year-old Autumn Elgersma has been charged with murder after admittedly throwing the toddler to the ground in a fit of rage. Rochelle Sapp, 33, has been charged with first-degree murder and child endangerment after the toddler died from head injuries.
On October 29, Sapp reportedly called Autumn's mother, Jennifer Elgersma, and told her that the child had fallen down the stairs. Jennifer took her to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with a head injury; later, she was airlifted to another hospital after being diagnosed with a fractured skull and brain trauma. The toddler died two days later.
Sapp confessed to authorities and told them that she had thrown Autumn to the ground when she refused to take off her coat. The in-home caregiver was initially charged with Willful Injury and Child Endangerment, but after Autumn died, her charges were amended. more >>
Domonique Scott, one of five Atlanta preachers' wives featured in the TLC reality show "The Sisterhood" and a self-described entrepreneur and evangelist, has been charged with fraud and making false statements in a case involving her supposed tutoring of low-income students.
"The Real Queen Maker" or Pastor D, as she also dubs herself, appeared earlier this year in "The Sisterhood" with husband-pastor Brian Scott, and was indicted Nov. 26 by a Fulton County grand jury for allegedly submitting false information for a tutoring company with the goal of getting federal funds for the program.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that prosecutors claim Scott "sent to the state Department of Education a false balance sheet, a false statement of net income, a program summary showing a false start date for her company and a forged letter from a fictitious bank representing a non-existent cash line of credit." more >>
NOTE: This article was co-authored by Ken Klukowski.
"The power to tax involves the power to destroy," the Supreme Court wrote in 1819, shortly after America began. Now in 2013, President Barack Obama is launching a frightening attack on free speech, using one of the most feared agencies in all the federal government: the Internal Revenue Service.
One of the most roundly condemned aspects of Richard Nixon's malfeasance in office was his use of the IRS to target his political enemies with audits. If people shudder at Nixon's abuses with the IRS, what Obama is doing should drive them to convulsions. more >>