Last Thursday, the seven-member jury in the trial pitting the $280 million Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) against the small Jewish non-profit, Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH), found JONAH guilty of 17 out of 20 counts of consumer fraud.
According to deliberation instructions from Judge Peter Bariso, the jury was instructed to consider: 1) Did JONAH make "misrepresentations in connection with the sale, advertisement, or the subsequent performance" of its counseling program; and 2) Did they engage in "unconscionable commercial practices in connection with the sale, advertisement, or the subsequent performance of the JONAH Program"?
SPLC claimed that JONAH misrepresented homosexuality as a mental disorder and committed consumer fraud by claiming its program was capable of providing effective scientific (not just religious or spiritual) treatment to overcome unwanted same-sex attractions (SSA). SPLC also argued that JONAH misrepresented the program by using "success" statistics in advertising when there was no factual basis for calculating such figures, and that JONAH misrepresented its program as being capable of helping clients go from "gay" to "straight" in two to five years. more >>
The Rev. Franklin Graham has spoken out against what he calls an "outright attack" on freedom of speech after Oregon's Bureau of Labor & Industries Commissioner Brad Avakin upheld an earlier ruling that forces Christian bakery owners Aaron and Melissa Klein to pay $135,000 for refusing to participate in a lesbian wedding.
"Give me a break. In my opinion, this couple should pay the Kleins $135,000 for all they've been through," Graham wrote on Facebook on Sunday.
"Even more outrageous is that Avakian has also now ordered the Kleins to 'cease and desist' from speaking publicly about not wanting to bake cakes for same-sex weddings based on their Christian beliefs. This is an outright attack on their #freedomofspeech," he added. more >>
A Georgia-based radio program centered on promoting the perspectives of mainline Protestant denominations has turned 70 this year.
"Day1," a program headquartered in Atlanta originally named "The Protestant Hour," has been on the air for seven decades and since 2004 has been overseen by the Alliance for Christian Media.
The Rev. Peter M. Wallace, president and executive producer of "Day1" and the Alliance, told The Christian Post that he was "very thankful for the opportunity to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ over the radio for so many years." more >>
The Episcopal Church, a theologically liberal denomination that has strong historic ties to the former Confederacy, voted at their General Convention in favor of a resolution calling for the removal of Confederate battle flags from public display.
"[The] 78th General Convention recognize that icons and symbols are and have always been important to the liturgical life and practice of The Episcopal Church in leading us to Jesus Christ and in inspiring us to share the Good News that is at the heart of our ministry," read Resolution D044 that was introduced by the Rev. Betsy Baumgarten.
"That as our Baptismal Covenant calls Episcopalians to 'respect the dignity of every human being' and as the fourth Mark of Mission calls Episcopalians to 'transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation,' we consider the continued display of the Confederate Battle Flag to be at odds with a faithful witness to the reconciling love of Jesus Christ …" more >>
The Oregon Christian bakery owners who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding on the grounds that it would violate their religious convictions have been ordered to pay $135,000 in emotional damages, and have also been prohibited from speaking about standing up for their Christian beliefs.
On Thursday, Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian issued his final order in the case against Aaron and Melissa Klein, the owners of the Sweet Cakes by Melissa bakery in Gresham, who were found guilty of discrimination in January for declining to bake a cake for a lesbian couple's wedding in 2013. Avakian ordered the Kleins to pay complainant Rachel Bowman-Cryer $75,000 for damages and $60,000 to her partner Laurel Bowman-Cryer.
"Respondents' claim they are not denying service because of complainants' sexual orientation but rather because they do not wish to participate in their same-sex wedding ceremony. The forum has already found there to be no distinction between the two," Avakian wrote in his order. "Further, to allow respondents, a for-profit business, to deny any services to people because of their protected class, would be tantamount to allowing legal separation of people based on their sexual orientation from at least some portion of the public marketplace." more >>
UFC President Dana White has told Cuban middleweight fighter Yoel Romero to keep religion and politics at home, after Romero thanked Jesus Christ following his win over Lyoto Machida in Saturday's UFC Fight Night 70 event in Hollywood, Florida.
"You just won the biggest fight of your career, America doesn't want to hear your thoughts on Jesus. Keep that stuff at home; religion, politics, all that stuff. When you're out there fighting and you're being interviewed, they want to hear about the fight," White said in an interview with MMA Fighting.
"It's awesome you love Jesus; love Jesus all you want. You just don't have to do it publicly." more >>