News about court cases that involve same-sex marriages usually travels fast. But when a judge in Tennessee recently upheld that state's constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman, it went almost unnoticed.
The case involved a same-sex couple married in Iowa that sought a divorce in Tennessee. Because Tennessee does not recognize same-sex relationships as marriages, it was unable to divorce the couple.
Judge Russell E. Simmons, Jr., cited the Supreme Court's decision in the federal Defense of Marriage Act case, U.S. v. Windsor as support that Tennessee has the right to define marriage for itself. "The Windsor case is concerned with the definition of marriage, only as it applies to federal laws, and does not give an opinion concerning whether one State must accept as valid a same-sex marriage allowed in another State," he wrote. more >>
Wilfredo De Jesus, pastor of a Chicago megachurch that oversees more than 130 ministries to the poor and disenfranchised, believes Christians in the U.S. have been playing it safe for far too long. He says many are unwilling to stick their necks out for the marginalized who are suffering in the cracks created by society's broken systems and abusive structures.
De Jesus, pastor New Live Covenant Church, the largest Assemblies of God congregation in the U.S., says it is fear of being ridiculed or ostracized that has paralyzed some leaders and kept them confined to their churches, limiting their engagement with a world in desperate need for people willing to help bridge those gaps.
"A gap is a place of weakness, vulnerability, and danger — a place of real threats," explains De Jesus in his new book, In the Gap. He explains in the book that while gaps can be as broad as illiteracy and human trafficking, they can be as personal as an unfaithful spouse or an abusive family member. more >>
Like many Americans, I have carefully followed the news from Ferguson, MO involving the tragic shooting of an 18-year-old African American, with the notable exception that he carries my name. And so, every day, I'm reading about the shooting of Michael Brown and the death of Michael Brown and the autopsy of Michael Brown, all of which reminds me of the very real loss of life involved.
As I reflect on what is happening in Ferguson and interact with callers to my radio show, there are five obvious lessons to be learned.
1) The racial divide in America remains wide and deep. more >>
Giving further ammunition to those who say that atheists cannot fully value all human life, Richard Dawkins has now stated that it would be "immoral" not to abort a baby with Down syndrome. Are you surprised?
It was just last week that Dawkins exposed the irrationality of his atheism when he claimed that nice, nonviolent practitioners of religion served as enablers for religious terrorism.
He first noted that, "It's very important that we should not demonize ordinary, law-abiding, very decent Muslims, which of course is the vast majority in this country" (speaking of the UK). more >>
When will the rioting in Ferguson, MO stop? There has been much mayhem---including the police using tear gas---and much looting in the St. Louis suburb. The media covers this story heavily. Some estimate there may be as many media members as there are protesters.
All of this follows the shooting death of a black teenager, Michael Brown, allegedly by a white police officer the previous Saturday. Though the facts are sketchy, many are convinced that an injustice has been done.
The reaction has created an additional crisis. Reports indicate that thugs from all over have descended on Ferguson to take advantage of the chaos, to get "justice" "by any means necessary." How? By putting small shop owners out of business by looting? By changing Ferguson into a war zone? Said C. S. Lewis: "The devil is always trying to trick us to extremes." more >>