A florist in Washington State who refused to provide floral arrangements to a gay couple for their same-sex wedding ceremony, due to her religious objection to such a union, can now legally be sued personally by the state's attorney general's office, a judge in the state has determined.
Benton County Superior Court Judge Alex Ekstrom ruled last week that the state may bring a consumer protection lawsuit against Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene's Flowers in Richland, as she is being accused of violating the Consumer Protection Act when she declined to provide floral arrangements to a regular customer's same-sex wedding because it went against her Christian beliefs.
The judge's decision means that Stutzman remains at risk of suffering a serious personal financial hit and potential loss of her business. Ekstrom has set the trial date for March 23. more >>
A judge in South Dakota ruled the state constitution's definition of marriage is unconstitutional because it does not allow same-sex couples to marry.
In a decision rendered Monday, district court judge Karen E. Schreier ruled the South Dakota's Amendment C unconstitutional, but put a stay on her decision pending appeal.
Schreier drew a parallel to the Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia, which declared interracial marriage bans unlawful. more >>
Theologian James Emery White questions whether many in America who so easily embraced the global outrage in the defense of freedom of expression as the result of the murderous attacks on the staff of Charlie Hebdo would be as quick to defend the rights of others to express moral standards different than their own.
In his blog post, "Are You Charlie?" White quotes Brian Pellot who reflected: "I do not consider myself racist, homophobic, Islamophobic or misogynistic. 'Being Charlie' doesn't mean being any of these things, despite what you think about the magazine's tact and tone. … As advocates for freedom of expression we must sometimes defend views we find repulsive. This doesn't require us to endorse them. In this case, we must protect what gunmen tried to kill, a satirical magazine some deem offensive. #JeSuisCharlie simply means, 'I defend freedom of expression.'"
White then responds: "Yes. But it's easy to side with such a sentiment when it comes to the exercise of free press in the face of senseless terrorism which seeks to silence it. It's not so easy when it comes to allowing people to live by convictional standards that seemingly draw into question your own." more >>
An enraged Muslim mob in the Punjab province of Pakistan has prevented a family from burying their loved one, who was previously imprisoned for blasphemy, in their village graveyard. Aabid Mehmood was kidnapped and murdered by masked gunmen after his release.
After 52-year-old Mehmood, who owned a hotel in the Kamra village, claimed in 2011 that he was a prophet of Allah, his own son-in-law filed a blasphemy case against him. After spending over two years in jail, Mehmood was released from prison because of his mentally and physically unstable condition.
As Dawn.com reports, just days after Mehmood's release from prison, he was kidnapped from his home in Ahatta by masked extremists. His body was found last Wednesday near a train station with numerous bullet wounds to the head and chest. more >>
UPDATE: 8 p.m. Jan. 13, 2015
As of 5 p.m. Tuesday the American Family Association's petition calling on Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to reinstate Kelvin Cochran as the city's fire chief has garnered over 42,000 signatures, while the Family Research Council's petition has garnered more than 32,000 signatures.
Various Christian and social conservative activist groups have launched petition campaigns requesting that the mayor of Atlanta reinstate the city's former fire chief, who was fired last week after the city investigated a book he wrote that included short passages affirming his Christian belief that homosexuality is wrong. more >>
Pope Francis has said that his continued criticism of the global financial system is not because he supports Communism, but because of Jesus' call for Christians to serve the poor. The Vatican meanwhile is set to publish a report titled "This Economy Kills," highlighting the damage that the world economy brings to impoverished populations.
"Jesus affirms that you cannot serve two masters, God and wealth," Francis said Sunday in an interview with Italian newspaper La Stampa. "Is it pauperism? No, it is the Gospel."
"Jesus tells us that it is the 'protocol' on the basis of which we will be judged, it is what we read in Chapter 25 of Matthew: I had hunger, I had thirst, I was in prison, I was sick, I was naked and you helped me: dressed me, visited me, you took care of me." more >>