While two states have successfully banned conversion therapy for gay youth, a majority of state lagislatures have voted down bills that would implement such bans after hearing the testimonies of ex-gays who say they've benefitted from sexual orientation change therapy.
Proposed bans similar to California's and New Jersey's laws prohibiting sexual orientation change therapy, or SOCE, for minors have been voted down or withdrawn in Virginia, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Washington, Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, Hawaii and Rhode Island.
Persecution of Christians in Syria is part of the worst displacement of religious communities in recent history, according to a recently released report from the U.S. State Department.
Released Monday by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, the International Religious Freedom Report for 2013 stated that last year "the world witnessed the largest displacement of religious communities in recent memory."
"In almost every corner of the globe, millions of Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and others representing a range of faiths were forced from their homes on account of their religious beliefs," read the report. more >>
An appeals court has ruled in favor of a small diocese in Illinois that broke away from The Episcopal Church over theological differences, including the denomination's appointment of openly gay Gene Robinson as bishop.
In a ruling handed down Thursday, the Illinois Fourth District Appellate Court sided with the Anglican Diocese of Quincy over the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago.
The ruling upheld a lower court decision that ruled the Quincy Diocese's property and funds to be the possession of the Anglican Church North America, the more theologically conservative group that the diocese presently affiliates with. more >>
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 >>