A street preacher in the U.K. has been awarded £13,000 ($21,664) by the local police after he was arrested for preaching against homosexuality in September 2011.
The Greater Manchester Police Department recently reached a settlement out of court with John Craven, a 57-year-old street preacher who frequented Market Street in Manchester, U.K., twice a week in 2011, where he would preach the Bible to passersby.
In one incident on September 17, 2011, Craven was reportedly preaching on Market Street when two young gay men asked what his thoughts on same-sex marriage were. The preacher reportedly responded, "Whilst God hates sin He loves the sinner." According to Craven's report of the incident, then two young men the reportedly began to taunt him by kissing in front of him and mimicking suggestive acts. They then reported Craven to a local police constable and the preacher was arrested for "public order offenses." more >>
Every time comedian and talk show host Bill Maher blasts Christianity, calls Christians idiots, or describes God as a "psychopathic mass murderer" the web lights up. Religious news sites, or the Christian section of secular media, carry the story with headlines expressing "shock," and their readers dutifully respond with hysterical blog posts by the thousands.
His abrasive comments become the big subject on Christian radio and TV programs, and callers express outrage. All of which is exactly what Maher wants.
In a media-driven culture, it doesn't take insightful questions, great talent, or intellectual depth to get on the radar. All it takes is shock. Shock built careers for people like Howard Stern, Russell Brand, and Madonna. It's surprising to me that it still works, but the shock train rolls on. Based on his media persona, Bill Maher appears to be an incompetent theologian, a fairly hateful person, and an average comedian. But he's a master communicator. He understands how to push buttons and get a response – and he does it with regularity. Ratings of his show low? Nail Christians. Viewers tired of watching him? Say something shocking about God. more >>
The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments last week in the Hobby Lobby case to decide whether a business that provides health-care insurance to its employees can be forced to include abortifacients in its coverage. Hobby Lobby filed a lawsuit against the federal government over the Obamacare mandate of providing abortifacients.
Hobby Lobby is a family-owned arts and crafts store, run by Christians based out of Oklahoma. The family has devoted itself to Christian mission work, and Christian music is played over the loudspeakers in its stores. The owners are not Catholic, and aren't even objecting to providing contraceptives, it is solely the abortifacients that they have a problem providing, believing that a fertilized embryo is a human life that must be protected. Conestoga Wood Specialties, also owned by Christians, is part of the lawsuit.
There is no legitimate concern, and it's frankly a waste of taxpayers' money that this has to go to court. In today's Internet society, any woman can purchase dirt-cheap abortifacients online without a prescription, or from Planned Parenthood and other women's clinics for free or low cost. They can also take an increased dosage of contraceptives to act as an abortifacient, since that is all abortifacients are. There is zero reason to force an employer to include abortifacients in coverage. Most health insurance through an employer includes co-pay, and since abortifacients have been made so commonplace, women are probably better off finding it discounted somewhere else. Employees of Hobby Lobby also have the option to choose Obamacare instead of their employer's health insurance. more >>
The vice mayor of Maricopa, Ariz., issued an apology after he praised recently-deceased Westboro Baptist founder Fred Phelps on Facebook, ultimately admitting that he had no idea who Fred Phelps was and had read an obituary from the satire publication The Onion, mistaking it for fact.
Vice Mayor Ed Farrell drew criticism on Facebook for a post he wrote on Monday, in which he praised Phelps. Phelps, a pastor, died at the age of 84 on March 19. He and his extremist Westboro Baptist group are known for their controversial and aggressive protesting style that often includes picketing the funerals of celebrities and U.S. soldiers and toting vulgar protest signs.
Farrell's Facebook post from Monday read: "We need more Fred Phelps in this world. May you rest in peace sir," and included a link to an obituary on Phelps from the satire publication, The Onion. The fake obituary was titled "Fred Phelps, Man Who Forever Stopped March Of Gay Rights, Dead At 84" and jokingly described Phelps as an activist who effectively ended LGBT advocacy altogether. more >>
A county commissioner in Carroll County, Md., disobeyed a judge's recent injunction on Thursday when she opened an official budget meeting with a sectarian prayer, saying she'd rather go to jail than give up her First Amendment rights to freedom of religion.
Carroll County Commissioner Robin Bartlett Frazier opened Thursday's budget meeting by referencing the recent injunction granted by U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles Jr., who earlier this week ruled that Carroll County commissioners are prohibited from using "the name of a specific deity associated with any specific faith or belief" during pre-meeting prayers. Quarles said in his ruling that the commission may now only say non-sectarian prayers.
The injunction was granted as several Carroll County residents, along with the American Humanist Association, proceed with a civil lawsuit against the county for its pre-meeting sectarian prayers, arguing that they are official "government speech" and therefore a violation of the Constitution's Establishment Clause. more >>
Days after the death of their excommunicated founder, the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church has announced plans to picket an Oklahoma liquor store over a sign they put up recently.
On Twitter, Westboro Baptist commented that they intended to picket the Moore Liquor Marquee on Saturday, April 5.
The sign, posted Tuesday, read "Fred Phelps 1929-2014" and added at the bottom "Champagne 10% off! Not a coincidence." more >>