The state of Georgia has executed a woman despite last-minute pleas for mercy, including one from Roman Catholic Church leader Pope Francis. The woman reportedly sang the Christian anthem "Amazing Grace" as she was put to death via lethal injection, witnesses said.
NBC News reported that Kelly Renee Gissendaner, 47, was executed shortly after midnight on Wednesday. Gissendaner had been put on death row for the 1997 stabbing murder of her husband, Douglas Gissendaner, at the hands of her lover. She became the first woman executed by the state in 70 years.
Gregory Owen, who carried out the killing, is serving a life prison sentence, and is not eligible for parole until 2022. more >>
Evangelical preacher the Rev. Franklin Graham has backed a "God bless the military" sign at a U.S. Marine Corps base in Hawaii, pointing out that it was erected after 9/11 and is a source of comfort for Marines. An atheist group has called for its removal, however, and argued that if it stays up, similar signs praising Satan or Allah should be erected too.
"The (atheist) group says it is 'divisive.' You've got to be kidding me! But Chaplain Justin 'Chappy' Roberts is defending the sign and says it has been a source of hope and comfort for over 10 years. Fox News says in this report that, tragically, 22 veterans a day commit suicide. Pray for our military — and share this with others who will pray," Graham wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday, linking to a Fox video on the issue.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which stands up against what it sees as a breech of the separation of church and state, has been campaigning against the sign, which reads in full: "God bless the military, their families and the civilians who work with them." more >>
Mat Staver, attorney and founder of the Liberty Counsel, has claimed in an interview that Pope Francis met with and prayed with Kentucky clerk Kim Davis during his visit to Washington, D.C. last week. The Vatican has refused to confirm or deny that the meeting between the pontiff and the clerk took place.
Staver told CBS News on Tuesday night that the two briefly met on Thursday, Sept. 24, at the Vatican Embassy in Washington.
"Staver said Pope Francis spoke to Davis in English and asked her to pray for him. He said Davis, in return, asked the pope to pray for her. The pope told her to stay strong, according to her lawyer," CBS reported. more >>
NEW YORK — A pastor chooses to declare to his congregation during a Sunday service, and just as the megachurch is finally debt-free, Earth-shattering news that threatens to level their decade-old ministry and rend their relationships — so goes the synopsis of Lucas Hnath's "The Christians," enjoying its debut in New York City.
Although Christian history is chock full of the kind of schisms depicted on stage at Playwright Horizons, and in many modern news reports, rarely do those far removed from the situation get such an insightful look at the personal potential losses faced by those who choose to take a stand on a particular side of the pew when wrestling with theological doctrines.
That is what makes Hnath's "The Christians" a play for the times. more >>
A group of Hindu extremists have reportedly warned all foreign Christian missionaries to leave Nepal, following a series of church attacks in recent weeks. Christians are being blamed for "corrupting the country," while a new Constitution bans people from converting others to their faith.
International Christian Concern reported on Tuesday that Morcha Nepal, a Hindu radical group, distributed leaflets in Nepal warning Christian missionaries to leave the country, despite the government declaring Nepal to be a secular state.
In a biting message aimed at Christian gossip lovers on Sunday, Robert Morris, founding senior pastor of the 36,000-member Gateway Church in Texas and chairman of the board of The King's University, cited gossip as a factor in how some Christians get lost, and chided those who won't listen to gossip but have no problem reading it on the Internet.
In the message pegged on the parable of the prodigal son, titled "The Believer's Battle," posted on his church's website, Morris said he was concerned about the amount of time people spend on the Internet — particularly on blogs that focus on Christian leaders.
"I have to say this, um, I'm really concerned about how much time people spend on the Internet. I'm extremely concerned about it. Extremely concerned about it." more >>