Like many Southern boys, I grew up with two flags hanging in my room — an American flag and a Confederate battle flag. The American flag was enormous, taking up much of one wall. It was the "1776" flag, with 13 stars in a circle in the field of blue. My grandmother bought it for me on the bicentennial, and for years it was a treasured possession. The flag took on a special meaning later in life, when I learned more of a family history that included service with General Washington, suffering at Valley Forge.
The Confederate battle flag was much smaller, and it hung over my bookshelf. We bought it at the Shiloh battlefield in Tennessee, where one of my Confederate ancestors fought and where Albert Sidney Johnston died — the general that many considered the great hope of the Confederate Army in the West. My Confederate forefathers went on to fight at Vicksburg, at the battles of Franklin and Nashville, and in countless skirmishes across Tennessee and Mississippi. I grew up looking at old family pictures, including men who still wore their Confederate uniform for formal portraits — long after the war had ended.
Like many Southern families', my family's military story didn't end with the Civil War — it continued on to World War I, the European theater in World War II, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and then to my own recent deployment during the Surge in Iraq. The martial history of our family is inseparable from the family story, and it includes men in gray. more >>
WASHINGTON — After 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush said earlier this week that "religion ought to be about making us better as people, less about things [that] end up getting into the political realm," the former Florida governor asserted Friday that faith absolutely needs to have an influence on policy decisions.
Speaking at the Faith & Freedom Coalition's Road to Majority Conference at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, Bush backtracked on comments he made during an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity on Tuesday, where the Catholic discussed Pope Francis' recent comments on climate change and said "I don't get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals or my pope."
Bush assured Friday's social conservative gathering that during his time as governor, he often lets his Catholic convictions influence the policies he put into action and will continue to do so if he is elected as president. more >>
A British pastor from Belfast, Northern Ireland, is set to be prosecuted at court for saying in 2014 that Islam is "satanic" and a religion that is "the spawn of the devil."
The preacher, James McConnell, apologized after he was accused of Islamophobia, but is still facing prosecution, Northern Ireland's Public Prosecution Service said.
"I can confirm that following consideration of a complaint in relation to an Internet broadcast of a sermon in May 2014, a decision was taken to offer an individual an informed warning for an offense contrary to the Communications Act 2003," a PPS spokesman said, according to The Guardian. more >>
The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of a church's right to post roadside signs where other signs are allowed.
The town of Gilbert, Arizona's restrictions on Good News Community Church's signs advertising church events violated freedom of speech because they were "content-based regulations of speech," Justice Clarence Thomas wrote on behalf of all nine justices.
There were two concurring opinions for the case, Reed v. Town of Gilbert. One by Justice Samuel Alito was joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy and Sonia Sotomayor. The other by Justice Elana Kagan was joined by Justice's Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. more >>
As Pakistani lawmakers consider legislation to reform the nation's corrupt blasphemy laws, Islamic clerics are bashing the government for even considering such an option, and are calling for the release of the murderer of the Punjab governor who advocated for blasphemy reform in 2011.
Asia News reports that 10 Muslim scholars and a former Pakistani judge gathered recently at a "seminar for protection of the prophet's dignity" and expressed their concern over the proposed legislation that is attempting to add the word "intention" to the nation's blasphemy law.
Speaking at the seminar was former Pakistani justice Mian Nazir Akhtar, who represents Mumtaz Qadri, the bodyguard who killed Punjab Governor Salman Taseer for referring to Pakistan's blasphemy law as a "black law." Akhtar bashed the proposed legislation and asserted that those who insult the Muslim prophet Muhammad deserve to be killed and "sent to hell." more >>
A top Anglican theologian has warned that traditional Christian teaching, such as believing that Jesus is the son of God, could become "criminalized" in the U.K. in light of the government's new anti-extremism orders.
The Telegraph reported on Monday that the Rev. Mike Ovey, a former lawyer and now principal of Oak Hill Theological College in London, was referring to British PM David Cameron's new "Extremism Disruption Orders" proposal. Ovey warned that the measures would be a "disaster area' for mainstream religious teaching.
"As a lawyer I think it is a disaster area and as a Christian believer and teacher I think it is a disaster area," said Ovey, who also worked as a parliamentary draftsman in the 1980s. "There has got be a better way to do it." more >>