A graduate student who was expelled from Eastern Michigan University's counseling program for trying to have a homosexual client reassigned to someone else because of her religious beliefs will receive a settlement from the college. The announcement came from her lawyers at Alliance Defending Freedom earlier this week.
Last January, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruled in Julea Ward's favor.
"Public universities shouldn't force students to violate their religious beliefs to get a degree. The 6th Circuit rightly understood this and ruled appropriately, so the university has done the right thing in settling this case," said Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco, who argued before the court in October of last year. "When Julea sought to refer a potential client to another qualified counselor – a common, professional practice that is endorsed by her profession's code of ethics – EMU denied the referral. Then it attacked and questioned her religious beliefs, ultimately expelling her from the program. We are pleased that Julea and her constitutionally protected rights have been vindicated." more >>
The founder of an international group of advocates for the equality and rights of Coptic Christians is appealing to the leaders of democratic nations to cut any ties with Egypt. The Voice of the Copts is attempting to thwart President Mohamed Morsi's regime from implementing a primarily Islamic-based constitution.
"We demand that world leaders withdraw their recognition of Egypt's phony 'pro-democracy' leader, Mr. Morsi, who is backed by the illegal Muslim Brotherhood party," states Dr. Ashraf Ramelah, president of Voice of the Copts, in an open letter sent Monday. "Freeze your political relationships with Egypt, halt all investments and aid to Egypt and force Mr. Morsi's regime to step down. This will facilitate legitimate democratic goals yet to be achieved by Egypt's freedom fighters."
Coptic organizations around the world, including the U.S.-based Egyptian Front for National Salvation and Coptic Solidarity have been issuing similar demands since Morsi issued a new constitutional declaration in which he arrogated to himself sweeping powers, and enabled himself to be shielded from legal challenge through the courts. more >>
Mark Driscoll, lead pastor of the Seattle-based Mars Hill Church, on Thursday marked the day marijuana possession became legal under Washington state law by publishing an e-book and blog post that asks, "Should Christians smoke pot or not?"
"Today, my home state of Washington legalizes the recreational use of marijuana. This decision, of course, leads to a host of pastoral questions and issues," Driscoll began in his blog that also includes, provocatively, in the headline, "Puff or Pass."
"I have been asked these questions for years, as Mars Hill Church has always reached out to a high (pun intended) percentage of single young guys living typical, irresponsible urban lives," he continued. "These guys are generally not very theological, but curiously they tend to know at least two Bible verses." more >>
A coalition of churches and individual Christians in Santa Monica, Calif., has decided to not let a city ban on Nativity scene displays at a public park deter them from showing their outward expressions of Christmas. Complete with an ensemble of people dressed as historical figures present at the time of Jesus' birth, groups began singing Christmas carols and telling the Nativity story at a park next to the city's pier Monday evening. They plan to continue each night until Dec. 23.
Some are calling the action a "creative loophole" in the recent ruling because it applies to unmanned nativity displays such as the ones at the park hosted by the Santa Monica Nativity Scenes Committee for 59 years. While some of the city's Christian leaders are saying that, in spite of the ban, the chance to be present and interact with those visiting the park is a blessing.
"What I'm realizing this year that's exciting for me is that we are continuing to say we don't think that we are the only ones who get to celebrate this time of year," said Pastor Steve Snook of Metro Calvary Chapel Church in Santa Monica. "The idea is that everybody can celebrate the materialism of Christmas. They can celebrate the lights and family and all these things, but we want to celebrate the real meaning of Christmas and we're going to do it." more >>
A national coalition of Christian groups has joined the fray over the ending of the nearly 60-year tradition of Nativity scenes at a park in Santa Monica, Calif., by announcing it will hold a "Live Nativity Display" on Saturday, Dec. 8. The announcement comes on the same day a U.S. District Judge officially dismissed a lawsuit filed by a local church coalition seeking to challenge the city's ban on Nativity and other seasonal displays in public areas.
The Live Nativity Display campaign is being led by the Christian Defense Coalition and Faith and Action, which are both based in Washington, D.C., along with local Southern California Christians and pastors.
"Sadly, we are seeing an erosion of expressions of faith in the public square," said the Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition. "This is especially true during the Christmas season. We must be constantly reminded that the Constitution promises freedom 'of' religion not freedom 'from' religion. more >>
The Salvation Army responded to the latest blogosphere attacks from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activists by stating that they believe that all people are equal and that it provides services and employment opportunities to everyone who is qualified. The Christian-based organization released the statement as the result of opposition from the gay community that appears to resurface every year during the Red Kettle fundraising campaign at holiday season.
"We believe that all people are equal, regardless of sexual orientation or any other factors including race, gender and ethnicity," stated Major George Hood, National Community Relations Secretary for The Salvation Army. "We firmly oppose the vilification and mistreatment of gays and lesbians. Any such incident is in clear opposition to all established Salvation Army policy."
In a recent post by the liberal political media site America Blog, a blogger asks shoppers and supporters to drop off downloadable "vouchers" instead of cash to Salvation Army bell ringers in an effort to let the organization know that "bigotry is not a Christmas value." The vouchers call the organization discriminatory and promises that the giver will donate to other groups. more >>