The Michigan Lightning semi-pro football team on Monday publicly grieved for one of their founding fathers and team captain Deante Smith, 25, who was shot dead inside a Detroit church after a confrontation with his estranged pastor who is alleged to have gotten his wife pregnant.
In a statement posted to the team's Facebook page Monday, Michigan Lightning officials remember Smith as an optimistic spirit and a "champion."
"It is with an extremely heavy heart that we, as The Michigan Lightning family, announce the passing of one of our own, Deante Smith. A brother and teammate to so many of us, he left us way too soon. His infectious smile and the courage in which he approached life, on and off the field, are attributes that will stick with all of us," began the statement. more >>
Texas announced it will remove government funding for Planned Parenthood affiliates via the state's Medicaid program.
Governor Greg Abbott's office announced late Monday that Texas Health and Human Services Commission sent a letter to the abortion provider notifying them of the defunding.
In a statement, Gov. Abbott explained that the move to end Planned Parenthood's Medicaid participation came because of the series of undercover videos released by a California-based pro-life group. more >>
Three days before Christmas in 2014, Deante Smith, 25, a player with the semi-pro football team Michigan Lightning, openly praised God in a Facebook video because he felt the "fire" of God's Spirit and called the church a place where men "don't cheat on our women."
"I'm just trying to get higher so I'm steady climbing up on God because the more I get of him the harder it is for you to pull me down. That's the true wisdom behind it," said Smith in the video.
"That's why you got a majority of the people say if you scared, go to church. But no, the truth is if you ain't scared come to the church because that's where the real men at. That's why we don't cheat on our women. That's why we raise our kids. That's why we correct our sons. We ain't teaching them to shoot, gangbang and do stuff that had us crying," he said. more >>
NEW YORK — He was selling dope by age 11, eventually got hooked on crack cocaine, and wound up in prison twice. He could have been killed countless times and once, as he tells it, was even attacked by a witch. But the man who yearned as a youth to become a god of the streets by building a drug empire, is now a man on mission for God.
Dimas Salaberrios, in his 40s, pastors a flock that meets in a community center at the Bronx River Housing Projects, known historically as ground zero for hip-hop and for being infested with crime. He is also president of Concerts of Prayer Greater NYC, a multiracial and cross-cultural organization of pastors and churches believed to be the largest of its kind in New York City. Salaberrios was also among those who successfully fought against officials' attempts to bar churches from renting city-owned community centers and public school spaces for worship services. His family's supporting presence in Charleston, South Carolina, at Emanuel A.M.E. Church earlier this year also gained notable attention.
That is what the married father of three has been up to in recent times. Thirty years ago, it was an entirely different story, one in which, for all intents and purposes, he was an enemy of God. more >>
Today the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear testimony regarding a historic reform legislation that provides a restorative approach to criminal justice.
Earlier this month, Sens. Chuck Grassley and Dick Durbin, along with seven of their colleagues, introduced the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015. This Act, with bipartisan sponsorship and support, moves toward a more proportionate system of criminal punishment.
There has been growing momentum for criminal justice reform at the state and federal level, but now is the time to seize the moment in Congress. Despite some reductions in the prison population, the Bureau of Prisons reports an approximately 30 percent overcrowding rate overall, with highest-security facilities housing more than 50 percent more prisoners than they were built for. The Department of Justice spends more than a quarter of its budget on corrections — currently more than $8 billion — and this number continues to increase. more >>
Police in Sweden are said to be investigating possible Islamic State threats made against Assyrian Christians after IS-inspired symbols and disturbing graffiti messages were found painted on at least two businesses in southwest Gothenburg.
Vandals reportedly targeted Assyrian Christian-owned businesses, including a local bakery and a pizzeria, which had their walls covered in "Convert or Die" and "The Caliphate is Here" on Tuesday. The IS logo was also spray-painted as well as the Arabic letter 'N' for "Nazarene," which IS fighters used to identify Christian families in northern Iraq last year before the Mosul takeover.
Le Pain Francois bakery owner Markus Samuelsson was in shock early Tuesday upon finding his business completely vandalized. He called the attacks "terribly painful" and said they point to signs of modern day persecution. more >>