President Obama has nominated Rabbi David Saperstein to be the next ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom at the State Department, a position that has been vacant since late last year. The announcement on Monday also marks the first time that a non-Christian will hold the job, which was created in 1998.
"I am grateful that Rabbi Saperstein has chosen to dedicate his talent to serving the American people at this important time for our country. I look forward to working with him in the months and years ahead," Obama said. Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, now awaits Senate confirmation.
The nomination came with some controversy, namely the fact the post sat vacant for nine months. Intended for the purpose of promoting and defending religious freedom around the world, the position was not filled for two years until Suzan Johnson Cook took the post in 2011. However, Cook left in October during a time of intensified religious persecution globally, especially in the Middle East. more >>
A 57-year-old Texas man cleared this week of raping a teen girl in 1990 told reporters that he was only able to cope with being branded a guilty man because of his "father God," and expressed the conviction that God had been working behind the scenes all along to bring him justice.
After prosecutors found evidence showing that Michael Phillips, currently wheelchair-bound, was not the one who raped a 16-year-old girl more than two decades ago, a judge ruled on Friday that the Dallas man should be exonerated. The new evidence was based on DNA testing, which Phillips did not request, but which Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins pursued through his Conviction Integrity Unit.
"My father God that got me through this. That's all I got to say," Phillips told reporters during the court appearance. "That speaks for itself. Pick up His book, it's truthful … see you through anything." more >>
LOS ANGELES — A majority of California Latinos do not see marijuana possession or non-violent drug possession of any kind as a legitimate cause for deportation, according to a poll released by Latino Decisions and Presente.org Friday.
"Latinos believe that the war on drugs is a failure and that our sentencing system is broken," said Arturo Carmona, executive director of Presente.org. "Families shouldn't be torn apart over marijuana possession."
Carmona adds, "It's time to enact common sense policies and stop wasting money over minor marijuana possession charges. It's time to stop allowing the justice system to prey on America's most vulnerable residents. We need reasonable and responsible drug sentencing reform that ends the war on communities of color." more >>
The Rev. Franklin Graham recently reiterated his remarks from earlier this year, calling on Christians in America to stand for biblical values despite social opposition.
In a column published in the July-August edition of Decision magazine, the head of Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, declared that "Heaven is not for cowards!"
"Christians cannot ignore parts of God's Word because they are unpopular or cause division. Our commission is to proclaim Christ and all He stands for," wrote Graham. more >>
Paradox can be hard to live with sometimes, much less understand. For example, Ken Wilber, an American writer and public speaker, is one of the most largely respected integral thinkers in our world today, encouraging much spiritual, psychological, and human development.
Editors' Note: Recently, Jeremiah Heaton, a man from Virginia, claimed an 800-square-mile area of unclaimed land between Sudan and Egypt as his own kingdom. He did so because his 7-year-old daughter wanted to be a princess. more >>
Texas has experienced a 13 percent decline in its abortion rate since lawmakers pased a bill that requires abortion providers to meet basic health and safety standards at their facilities. The new law has led some clinic owners to close instead of paying for the mandatory upgrades.
According to a recently published study by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project, which tracked the rate of abortions in the Lone Star State from November 2012 to April 2014, the drop in abortions might be linked to HB2, which increases regulations on abortionists and abortion clinics.
Dr. Daniel Grossman, an abortion advocate, is the lead author of the study and vice president for Research at Ibis Reproductive Health. more >>