A liberal Saudi blogger who was sentenced to endure 1,000 lashes for "insulting Islam" has been temporarily reprieved from his 50 weekly lashings after a board of doctors ruled his body is incapable of taking any more lashings in the near future.
After sentencing 31-year-old Raif Badawi, who operated the a blog called "Free Saudi Liberals," to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashings and fining him about $266,060 for "insulting Islam" in his writings, the Saudi government has received international pressure for doling out such extreme punishments to someone who simply wrote on his own views and opinions.
The sentence of 1,000 lashes by a cane was arranged for Badawi, a father of three, so that he receives them in increments of 50 every Friday during the course of 20 weeks. But after receiving his first set of 50 lashes on Jan. 9 in the city of Jiddah, Badawi had not been subjected to the punishment in the two following weeks. more >>
Michigan county officials have voted to re-install a sign with a Bible verse on it at a public park after the display had been removed late last year.
In a 9 to 2 vote, the Board of Commissioners for Ottawa County decided Tuesday to put back the sign in Hager Park, which included the Bible verse Psalm 19:1.
After the North Miami Beach police department was discovered to have been using mug shots of African Americans for practice at a firing range, several members of clergy from around the world decided to take action and started a movement with their images and the phrase #UseMeInstead.
Rev. Joy M. Gonnerman and other pastors from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Facebook group discussed how to respond and what they could do to encourage change.
"Maybe we ought to make it harder to pull the trigger, and volunteer to put pictures of their family up," Gonnerman suggested. more >>
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has recently endorsed a plan to pass a federal amendment allowing states to ban gay marriage should the U.S. Supreme Court rule against such laws.
In a recent interview with ABC's "This Week' host George Stephanopoulos, the possible Republican presidential candidate explained his views on the marriage definition debate.
Oklahoma's Attorney General Scott Pruitt has asked the Supreme Court to stay several executions while it performs a full review of the procedure that has had disastrous results in the past.
"The families of the victims in these three cases have waited a combined 48 years for the sentences of these heinous crimes to be carried out," Pruitt told CNN, but he also noted that the state has an obligation to "ensure justice in each and every case."
Oklahoma has come under fire for its execution procedure, which involves the use of Midazolam. The drug has reportedly caused severe problems and, when used with a combination of two other drugs, does not immediately cause death but instead pain and suffering for inmates. The question is whether the drug should continue to be used and whether Oklahoma's procedure constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. more >>
New Jersey's Superior Court will soon hear arguments regarding two motions in a lawsuit leveled against a Jewish group that offers therapy to change a person's sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual.
Two motions were filed on behalf of JONAH International in its legal battle against the Montgomery, Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center, which is known for labeling faith-based organizatons as "hate groups" due to their opposition to homosexuality and pro-gay agendas.
The SPLC also filed parallel motions against JONAH on behalf of its clients, which Arthur Goldberg, co-director of JONAH, described as "misguided motions [that] are based on the false assumption that homosexuality is a 'normal variant of human sexuality' and that sexual orientation cannot 'change.'" more >>