A federal appeals court ruled in favor of a Missouri town's ordinance that restricts funeral picketing such as the controversial practice by Westboro Baptist Church. For several years prior to Tuesday's ruling, Westboro has been primarily protected in courts that cite the First Amendment.
Eleven members of 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the city of Manchester's law that basically bars protests at funerals was constitutional because it was narrowly written and offered picketers the opportunity to demonstrate in other ways, according to The Kansas City Star.
City attorney Patrick R. Gunn said lawyers were pleased "and maybe a bit surprised, given the history of this litigation," the Star reported. more >>
The Pacific Justice Institute filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the City of Santa Monica, Calif., which decided in June to put an end to a 60-year tradition of allowing Nativity displays to be set up in a public park.
Brad Dacus, president of PJI, told The Christian Post on Friday that it was "anti-religious intolerance" by some individuals that ultimately made the suit necessary. Individuals have a right to reject religious holidays, he says, but they should not be permitted to silence the religious expression of others.
"This park in question has functioned as a traditional public forum in the past, and no city can arbitrarily shut down a traditional public forum that has already been established ... The traditional public forum, based on established case law, recognizes the free speech rights of individuals to express themselves in such forums. This park is no exception, whether the city likes it or not," said Dacus. more >>
A Minneapolis school district will pay hefty settlement fees following the decision of a federal appeals court, which ruled that the district committed viewpoint discrimination by not allowing a Christian club to remain a part of an elementary school's after-school activities program.
The board for the Minneapolis Special School District No. 1 approved a settlement on Tuesday that will cost the district $100,000 in legal fees, the Star Tribune reports, and could open the door for similar clubs to gather in the district's schools as well. Although the fees are high, the district believes they could have been higher if it had waited for the court to decide how much it should pay.
"To avoid the time and expense of further litigation, and without admitting any liability, the District is recommending the Board approve a stipulation that would allow the Good News Club to participate in the after school program on an equal basis," Bernadeia H. Johnson, superintendent of schools, wrote in a recommendation to the school board. more >>
According to author Rachel Held Evans, LifeWay Christian Resources will not stock A Year of Biblical Womanhood at its bookstores when it is released later this month, possibly over the book's inclusion of the term "vagina".
Although Evans, an award-winning Christian author and blogger, affirms that she is not positive as to the exact reason for LifeWay's decision, she believes, presumably, that it may have something to do with the "vagina controversy," also known as "Vaginagate," which occurred in summer 2012.
Pastor Shane Idleman is all too aware of the moral decline he sees in the United States and he's speaking out about it. But what irritates him is the cowardice he finds in many churches when it comes to tackling "hot button" issues.
"I'm sick and tired of the passive, lukewarm, coward church doing nothing and saying nothing because it offends people. Yeah, it's a hot button, absolutely. But if the truth doesn't come from here (church), where does it come from?" he posed during his Sunday sermon at Westside Christian Fellowship in Lancaster, Calif.
Idleman wasn't afraid to be blunt as he joined hundreds of other pastors throughout the country in preaching on politics just ahead of the November presidential election as part of Pulpit Freedom Sunday. more >>
Phoenix city council members struck down an ordinance on Wednesday that prohibited people from handing out free drinking water in public. The issue arose in the wake of a religious freedom law group's defense of Dana Crow-Smith, a Phoenix resident who was told she could not hand out the bottles of cold water on a city sidewalk during a "First Friday" festival.
"Our whole idea is just to glorify God, and do it with an act of kindness because it's so hot," said Crow-Smith, according to The Arizona Republic. "I had no idea it would turn into such a big deal."
Lawyers for The Rutherford Institute, who represented Crow-Smith, said a Neighborhood Preservation Inspector with the City of Phoenix informed her that she was violating the Phoenix City Code by passing out free bottles of water without a vendor's permit during the event last July. more >>