Olympian athlete Oscar Pistorius has been cleared of all murder charges after South Africa judge Thokozile Masipa said on Thursday that prosecutors had failed to prove that he intended to kill his girlfriend, model and law graduate Reeva Steenkamp, in an incident in February 2013.
"The state has not proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of premeditated murder," Masipa told the Pretoria High Court, according to Reuters. "There are just not enough facts to support such a finding."
Pistorius broke out in tears as the judge read the sentence. more >>
The Satanist group that will stage a controversial "black mass" at an Oklahoma City civic center has said that all 88 tickets for its Sept. 21 event are sold out. The co-founder of the group revealed that the ritual will go ahead despite strong Christian protests and will feature a satanic exorcism, but will be "toned down" to comply with state health laws.
"One of the dictates of the church is not only to educate the members but to educate the public, and to debunk the Hollywood-projected image of our beliefs," Dakhma of Angra Mainyu's Adam Daniels told ABC News.
He added that the group will comply with state health laws and substitute vinegar for actions involving urine as part of the satanic ceremony. more >>
A man has posted a video to YouTube calling for people to set fire to pictures of Jesus Christ that depict him as a white man.
The video was posted on YouTube last month by a man calling himself "Mr. Savannah Black" announcing the creation of the "White Jesus Picture Challenge."
Tom Mannin, the pastor of Oklahoma City Community Church which uses the Oklahoma City Civic Center Music Hall for its worship services, is breaking his silence on the city's decision to allow a satanic "black mass" and the Christian service to be held inside the same building later this month.
In a blog entry posted Tuesday on the church's website, Mannin said his congregation, as well as Christians in general, have to respond with "love and hope" toward the Dakhma of Angra Mainyu who will hold a black mass in a theatre space at the civic center.
Author's note: I wrote the following article on the fifth anniversary of September 11, 2001, as a remembrance of what I experienced. Mine was nothing compared to those who died on that day, to their loved ones, or to those who survived. But what happened on that day was not merely personal, it was national. It was also theological. What happened on that day raised profound questions about God, suffering, and the purpose of evil in the world—issues I explore in my eBook: A 911 for 9/11: Finding Answers to the Evil of September 11, 2001.
On a beautiful New England morning I was driving from Boston to Rhode Island to visit a client. The morning air was crisp and fresh. The sun had just enough warmth to keep the chill at bay. The sky was a stunning hue of blue. It was one of those days that made you wish you worked outside.
That is how the morning of September 11, 2001, began. It ended in ugliness and rubble - and 3,000 of our fellow citizens dead. more >>
My question may sound socialistic to some of my fellow conservatives; nonetheless it is a question that must be addressed. American high school graduation rates are at an all-time high, but the education gap between rich and poor continues to grow. Noble and expensive attempts to close this gap—including subsidized preschool and the controversial implementation of the Common Core State Standards—have largely failed. In the case of Common Core, where wealthy and middle class parents are hiring tutors to compensate for its weaknesses, the "reform" aimed at equalizing the playing field may actually be making the problem worse.
Why is it so difficult to elevate the academic performance of low-income children? A growing body of research indicates that part of the answer may lie in the tremendous amount of brain development that takes place during the first three years of life. Babies are born to learn, and we now know many neural networks in the brain are significantly strengthened or weakened long before a child has entered formal schooling.
According to a 1995 University of Kansas study (Hart and Risley), children of educated parents hear 2,100 words an hour. In contrast, those with working class parents hear 1,200 words, and children whose parents are on public assistance hear only 600. The vocabulary and attentiveness of the primary caregiver—whether it is a parent, a nanny or a daycare worker—plays a central role in the cognitive skills children will demonstrate later in life. more >>