This week, a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) official disarmed a potentially dangerous sock monkey at the St. Louis, Mo., airport.
"You're kidding me, right?" Phyllis May, a woman who makes sock dolls in Redmond, Wash., asked the TSA agent who wanted to take the gun, the Huffington Post reported. May made the mistake of leaving her hand-made dolls and sewing supplies in her carry-on bag.
When the bag went through the screening process and was not given back quickly, May worried. When a TSA agent held up the bag, asking whose it was, May was thunderstruck. "I realized oh, my God, this is my bag," she told Idaho news station KTVB. more >>
This term, the U.S. Supreme Court will be considering a religious liberty case so historic that the central issue winds like a distant road all the way back to a question raised 369 years ago: is government above God?
NRB has begun preparations to file an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in an appeal that pits the U.S. Government against Hobby Lobby, owned by the Green family, as well as Conestoga Wood Specialties, another family-owned, faith-based company that has religious objections against being forced to provide abortion-inducing drug coverage in their health insurance plans. The insurance issue has arisen because, in implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Obama Administration has expressly refused to afford for-profit companies, even religiously founded ones, an exemption from the abortion mandate provisions of the Act.
The tension between government and religious liberty was addressed by 17th Century Scottish pastor and divinity professor Samuel Rutherford in his treatise Lex Rex, published in 1644. Rutherford wrote that law should be above government, not the other way around, and that God, who is the only rightful force that "can lay a band of subjection on the conscience," resides squarely above law. But the lawyers for the Obama Administration have it backwards. In court filings, they have argued that family-owned businesses, founded on spiritual principles, have no right to place God above government regulations, and cannot complain that their religious consciences have been coerced by ACA regulations - coerced, in fact, to the tune of millions of dollars in penalties if the government's view prevails (in the case of Hobby Lobby, a minimum of at least $26 million per year). more >>
In the United States of America, whenever a cause wants to garner national awareness, it often attempts to do so by staging an event in Washington, DC.
Indeed, one of the many hazards of driving in the District of Columbia is simply never knowing when a road will be blocked off so that a large group of people with signs, flags, and chants can cross.
Although plenty of protests, rallies, and demonstrations have seen immense success, getting a certain number of people at a given place for a given event is never guaranteed. more >>
During his eulogy for South African anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, President Obama may have promoted his own political positions by connecting them to Mandela's achievements. Christian leaders denounced him for possibly turning the solemn remembrance of a great man into a political plug.
"Again, the president seeks to divide rather than unite — even a eulogy of a foreign leader is used to promote his agenda; it's all about him and he turns everything into a campaign speech," Janice Crouse, senior fellow at Concerned Women for America's Beverly LaHaye Institute, told The Christian Post in an interview on Wednesday. "No wonder Americans are weary of everything and everybody in Washington — with this president, it's all politics, all the time," Crouse quipped.
Obama's speech began focused on Mandela, discussing his achievements and how the great South African leader wanted to be remembered. But toward the end, he strayed from historical remembrance to hot-button political issues. "There are too many people who happily embrace Madiba's legacy of racial reconciliation, but passionately resist even modest reforms that would challenge chronic poverty and growing inequality," Obama declared. more >>
Dr. William Lane Craig, philosophy professor and a leading Christian apologist, believes there is an urgent need for the church to equip its members to give good responses to tough questions about their faith, especially in light of a cultural climate that has made it easier for atheists to be more outspoken, sometimes aggressively so, in their attacks on religious beliefs.
Expressing skepticism over the accuracy of a 2012 Pew Research Center survey that found an increase in the number of religiously unaffiliated Americans, Craig suggested that the New Atheism movement inspired by the works of Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, and others has removed "the stigma of being an atheist or self-identifying as an atheist."
The Pew survey, whose response rate is less than 10 percent, reported that nearly 20 percent of Americans are religiously unaffiliated, but many of them remain "religious" or "spiritual" in some sense. The survey also found that among that number were 6 percent who described themselves as atheists and agnostics more >>
The White House has announced that they will give $100 million to help fund improvements in mental health facilities and access in the United States.
Vice President Joe Biden explained the situation prompting the funding as the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre draws near.
"The fact that less than half of children and adults with diagnosable mental health problems receive the treatment they need is unacceptable," stated Biden. "The president and I have made it a priority to do everything we can to make it easier to access mental health services, and today's announcements by the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture build on that commitment." more >>