A Texas teen pleaded guilty to the murder of a 5-year-old with a bowling ball Wednesday morning and was sentenced to 23 years behind bars. The 14-year-old from East Forth Worth was upset because the young child had "pestered" him to go to the store, so he brutally struck him with the heavy object "like a football player spiking a football" in June, he said.
The Texas teen's atrocious crime was against young Sida Osman, a refugee of Somalia who had moved along with his mother to escape the violence. At the time of the attack, the unnamed boy was 13, and claimed Sida kept asking him to accompany him to the store. The teen became frustrated and threw the 14-pound ball at the child, striking him; he then straddled the injured 5-year-old and smashed the ball into his head repeatedly, fatally crushing his skull.
Worse, when the teenager showed his three friends the body and they pleaded with him to call an ambulance, he refused. 18 hours after the child was reported missing, the boy lied to Sida's mother, who asked him if he had seen her child. more >>
A pro-choice Texas politician who made national headlines for her hours-long filibuster against a bill that would limit abortion access has recently dubbed herself "pro-life" over her views on child care.
Wendy Davis, who is presently running in the Texas gubernatorial race, said in a campaign speech in Brownsville that she viewed herself as "pro-life."
"I am pro-life…I care about the life of every child: every child that goes to bed hungry, every child that goes to bed without a proper education, every child that goes to bed without being able to be a part of the Texas dream," said Davis. more >>
The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday for Town of Greece vs. Galloway, a case addressing the constitutionality of sectarian prayers at a town board meeting. Experts agree that the Court will likely rule in favor of the public prayers, but how it decides the case could be more significant.
The town of Greece, N.Y., was sued by two plaintiffs, Susan Galloway and Linda Stephens, for its custom of inviting religious leaders to begin the town's board meetings with prayer. Most, but not all, of the religious leaders have been Christian. Galloway, a Jew, and Stephens, an atheist, said the sectarian prayers, which sometimes mentioned Jesus, made them uncomfortable.
The Court must decide whether the prayers at the Greece board meeting violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion ... ." more >>
On November 1, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decided Gilardi v. HHS ruling against the controversial "birth control mandate" instituted under Obamacare. People of faith from around the nation have waited for an answer on this question, with nearly 75 similar cases pending in federal courts. While this decision is a major victory for religious liberty, the issue will likely face another round at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Under the Affordable Care Act, employer-paid health insurance plans (for companies with over 50 workers) must offer free "preventive care" which subsequent guidelines define as "all FDA-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity, as prescribed by a health care provider."
The plaintiffs in the case were brothers Francis and Philip Gilardi, owners of Freshway Foods and Freshway Logistics, who have nearly 400 employees. The brothers filed suit on the basis that Obamacare's contraceptive mandate obstructs their right of free exercise as protected by the Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in that the mandate conflicts with their Catholic faith. more >>
As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to take up the issue of prayer before government meetings this week, a major atheist group has filed a lawsuit against a California city, arguing the city allowed a chaplain to deliver sectarian prayers at city council meetings for the past several years.
The church-state separatist group Freedom From Religion Foundation [FFRF] has filed a lawsuit in the San Luis Obispo Superior Court against the city of Pismo Beach, Calif., located on the state's central coast. The lawsuit claims that the city's chaplain Rev. Paul E. Jones, a volunteer, has provided predominately Christian-themed invocations prior to city council meetings for the past five years. The lawsuit seeks to have the city's chaplain position discontinued and to stop the practice of prayer before city council meetings.
"With 20% of the adult population today identifying as nonreligious, at least a fifth of the population is routinely excluded and offended by official prayer conducted by the city," Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president, said in a press release regarding the lawsuit. "Non-Christian believers are also excluded when the government prayer is Christian, as it routinely is. It's time public officials catch up with the changing demographics. Elected officials should get off their knees and get to work," she added. more >>
A couple has filed a lawsuit against New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for enacting a ban on gay conversion therapy earlier this year, arguing the ban violates their rights to free speech, religious freedom, and equal protection under the constitution.
The unidentified couple filed the lawsuit against Christie in federal court in Camden last Friday, arguing that the ban prevents them from seeking gay conversion therapy for their 15-year-old son by "denying minors the opportunity to pursue a particular course of action that can help them address the conflicts between their religious and moral values and same-sex attractions, behaviors or identity."
The lawsuit goes on to argue that the 15-year-old teen of the parents began "experiencing gender identity disorder when he was around nine years old," and has struggled with thoughts of suicide and depression because he has been unable to identify with the male sex throughout his teen years. The boy's disposition improved when he began seeing a social worker in 2011 to discuss his homosexual urges, and the social worker later recommended he begin seeing a licensed psychotherapist to delve deeper into his issues, but he was unable to do so due to the new ban on gay conversion therapy signed by Christie in August. more >>