Cairo officials ruled Wednesday that seven Egyptian Christians in the U.S. and Canada be sentenced, in absentia, to death for their participation in the controversial "Innocence of Muslims" film, which was published to YouTube in September and resulted in riots and protests among Muslims in the Middle East.
"The seven accused persons were convicted of insulting the Islamic religion through participating in producing and offering a movie that insults Islam and its prophet," Egyptian Judge Saif al-Nasr Soliman said Wednesday, according to Reuters.
The court charged the seven Coptic Christians, which include the film's director and producer Mark Basseley Youssef, with "intentionally committing acts to harm the unity of the country and peace of its land, calling to divide the country into small states on a sectarian basis and harming national unity, and using religion to promote extremist ideas resulting in religious division and disrespect [of] heavenly religion," according to NBC News. more >>
School officials at a community college in western North Carolina replaced the word "Christmas" with "holiday" in a student club's announcement of a Christmas tree sale aimed at raising funds for charity, says a religious freedom law group. "We cannot market your trees in association solely with a Christian event," a college official told the club, according to Alliance Defending Freedom.
Lawyers from ADF responded by sending a letter to Western Piedmont Community College pointing out that it had violated the constitutional rights of the club.
"It's ridiculous that anyone would have to think twice about using the word 'Christmas' as part of a Christmas tree sale," said Legal Counsel Matt Sharp. "Not only is it perfectly constitutional to use the word 'Christmas,' it is unconstitutional to prohibit use of it. This is another perfect example of the immense misunderstanding that far too many college officials have about what the First Amendment truly requires." more >>
A lawyer representing a group of churches that appears to have lost their bid to continue a nearly 60-year-old tradition of hosting a Nativity scene at a park in the beach city of Santa Monica, Calif., says the battle to preserve Christmas displays in the national public square has been lost.
"When [Monday] (11/19/2012), United States District Court Judge Audrey B Collins delivered a 28-page ruling denying my client the right to continue a 59-year-old tradition of exhibiting Nativity scenes along Ocean Boulevard in the City of Santa Monica this Christmas season, another dagger plunged into the heart of America's twilight customs and traditions. The sneered-at 'war on Christmas' was effectively lost for good," wrote William J. Becker, Jr., of The Becker Law Firm, in an article.
A controversy over the display about the birth of Jesus at Palisades Park erupted last Christmas season when an atheist group "manipulated" the city's lottery system for spaces, according to the Santa Monica Nativity Scene Committee, resulting in only two booths for the Christian group that normally uses 14 booths for the various Nativity-related scenes. more >>
A pro-atheist billboard in Portland, Oregon was recently defaced with spray-painted devil horns, an act of vandalism which atheists say literally "demonizes" them to the public.
"[The vandalism] reveals how non-believers are still stigmatized, even in a community like Portland, where statistics show that a quarter of the population identifies as non-religious," Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which sponsored the billboard, told Oregon Live on Wednesday, Nov. 21.
"Atheists don't have horns ... it is literally demonizing us," Gaylor added. more >>
The nearly 60-year tradition of a Nativity scene displayed at a park and hosted by a coalition of churches in Santa Monica, Calif., has ended after a federal judge ruled on Monday that the city can ban such displays. A controversy over the display about the birth of Jesus at Palisades Park erupted last Christmas season when an atheist group "manipulated" the city's lottery system for spaces, according to a nonprofit, resulting in only two booths for the Christian group that normally uses 14 booths for the various Nativity-related scenes.
"It's a very sad day when a small number of people with an axe to grind, people who do not like Christianity, and who do not like God, are able to prevail by manipulating rules to censor our message from the public place where it has been displayed for the enjoyment of millions of people for nearly 60 years," Hunter Jameson, head of the nonprofit Santa Monica Nativity Scene Committee, told The Christian Post Monday.
"It's even sadder that a city government would allow itself to go along with this effort to try to snuff out a message that a small group of people did not agree with," Jameson added. more >>
Churches are going to federal court to reclaim their freedom of speech after the city of Santa Monica, Calif., decided to end a nearly 60-year tradition of having Christian displays of the nativity in a public park due to an uproar caused by atheists' anti-God signs.
"It's a sad, sad commentary on the attitudes of the day that a nearly 60-year-old Christmas tradition is now having to hunt for a home, something like our savior had to hunt for a place to be born because the world was not interested," The Associated Press quoted Hunter Jameson, head of the nonprofit Santa Monica Nativity Scene Committee, as saying.
The committee, comprising churches that are behind the nativity display, is suing in federal court, claiming the city violated their freedom of speech by stopping the holiday tradition. A court hearing is scheduled for Monday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. more >>