The high-profile trial of Singapore megachurch pastor Kong Hee and five other City Harvest Church officials for misusing millions of church funds to pay for his wife's popstar career, resumed on Monday. Kong's wife, singer Sun Ho, is expected to take the witness stand this week.
Channel NewsAsia pointed out that the trial, which began in May 2012, is turning out to be one of the longest-running criminal trials in the country. Kong and the five other officials are accused of musing 24 million SGD ($19.2 million) in donated money. The defense has argued that City Harvest's church board never passed a resolution that indicated who exactly has the power to make decisions regarding the funds.
Sun Ho has not been charged herself in the case, though was temporarily removed from her position as executive director of the 30,000 member City Harvest, which was founded by Kong in 1989. The singer is expected to be one of the witnesses called to the stand this week, along with the first of the six church officials on trial. more >>
Cooper Harris, the 22-month old who died of hyperthermia after being left inside a hot vehicle for seven hours, tested negative for any drugs or poisons, the official toxicology report stated. The boy's father has been charged with murder and child cruelty but pleaded not guilty; his mother has obtained her own attorney pending possible charges.
Cooper's death was "consistent with hyperthermia" and the investigation "suggests the manner of death is homicide," officials stated. The boy was found inside the vehicle still inside his too-small car seat and with scratch marks on his face, suggesting that he struggled to get out of the seat.
Officials tried to recreate the scene of Cooper's death earlier this week in order to gain more insight into what happened that fateful day. They measured the temperature at key times in the day, such as when Harris pulled into the parking lot at Home Depot, where he worked, and left Cooper. They also checked the temperature three hours later, when Cooper's father Justin put light bulbs inside the vehicle and left; and again, four hours later, when Harris drove off with Cooper dead in the back seat. more >>
A Colorado district court judge has declared a state voter-approved amendment defining marriage as being between only one man and one woman.
District Court Judge C. Scott Crabtree of Adams County made his ruling on Wednesday, but immediately stayed his decision pending appeal. more >>
A war memorial in a North Carolina city that includes a Christian flag and the image of a soldier kneeling before a cross has been brought to court.
U.S. District Judge James A. Beaty ruled Tuesday that there is sufficient evidence for a lawsuit against the city of King's war memorial to go to trial.
"As the court has determined that there are genuine disputes of material fact relating to what the cross statue purports to depict, and as a result, a dispute remains regarding the history of the Latin cross that is part of the cross statue, the court finds that those issues should proceed to trial," wrote Beaty. more >>
The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, a group of "continuing Episcopalians" within the Diocese of South Carolina, has embraced a rite that would bless same-sex relationships. Its leaders are involved in a legal battle over property against a diocese that broke away from the denomination.
"Our covenantal life with God is expressed in relationships of commitment and faithfulness, including those of same-sex couples," a document from the group about the rrelatively new rite states. "It is the Church's joy to celebrate these relationships as signs of God's love, to pray for God's grace to support couples in their life together, and to join with these couples in our shared witness to the gospel in the world."
The Rt. Rev. Charles G. vonRosenberg, bishop of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, sent out a letter Tuesday allowing for priests to perform the rite known as "The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant." more >>
It's been almost a week since the Supreme Court issued their ruling on the Hobby Lobby case, and there appears to be no end in sight to the Left's outrage over the outcome. As expected, given the controversial nature of the issue at hand, most of the ire is reflexive and purely visceral. It's unlikely that many are taking the time to actually educate themselves on the Court's reasoning behind the decision. In their eyes, misogyny and religious fanaticism won out over women's rights, period. On the Right, there is a temptation to fall into essentially the same error: ascribing moral significance to what is in reality a legal decision. While its understandable that conscientious Christians are heartened by the outcome of this case, we must understand that the Court's ruling in the Hobby Lobby case had virtually nothing to do with the Justices' personal beliefs about the morality of abortifacient drugs, and everything to do – as should be the case – with the law.
In the face of the hysterical fallout over this decision, legal scholar Eugene Volokh penned a piece for The Washington Post aiming to explain the reasoning behind the Court's ruling in layman's terms. He distilled the decision into five simple points, which I've paraphrased here:
1. Congress has decided that religious objectors may go to court to demand religious exemptions from federal laws, when the law makes them do things that they view as religiously forbidden. more >>