Tennessee lawmakers are drafting a new bill expected to protect pastors who refuse to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies for religious reasons.
The bill, named the "Tennessee Pastor Protection Act" by its creators Republican Reps. Bryan Terry of Murfreesboro and Andy Holt of Dresden, say their goal is to provide legal protection for clergy who might be forced to perform same-sex marriages on church property after Friday's Supreme Court ruling that made same-sex marriage legal across the U.S.
"It comes as no surprise that the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. I have had multiple constituents concerned with how the ruling may impact their church and their religious beliefs. If the issue is truly about equality of civil liberties and benefits, then this ruling should have minimal legal impact on churches," said Terry in a press release. "However, if the issue and the cause is about redefining marriage to require others to change their deeply held religious beliefs, then the concerns of many will be valid." Holt fiercely rejected Friday's Supreme Court ruling as valid and has vowed to "never give up." more >>
DeVon Franklin, the Seventh-day Adventist preacher and Hollywood executive, is defending his wife, actress Meagan Good, against critics who've disapproved of her clothing choices throughout the years.
The couple appeared as speakers at the ESSENCE Festival empowerment panel on July 3 where they spoke about overcoming harsh criticism from the church. Good, 33, has not shied away from choosing clothing options with a plunging neckline or exposed skin and admitted to being upset with her critics from the church after receiving their negative feedback.
Sarah Jakes Roberts, daughter of popular megachurch pastor Bishop T.D. Jakes, who wed Touré Roberts, senior pastor of One Church International in Hollywood, California, last fall, recently revealed that she was "nearly arrested" after showing her "tail" during her previous marriage to former Redskins linebacker Robert Henson.
"In my previous marriage I was nearly arrested," Jakes Roberts explained in a discussion with ESSENCE about identifying your soul mate, along with her husband. "I mean, I showed my tail, okay? So being vulnerable and being treated like a lady wasn't something that I had really become accustomed to because I was so used to being tough and taking care of myself."
Jakes revealed in 2012 that she chose to end her marriage to Henson after four years because of "multiple infractions" and "safety" concerns. more >>
A Sudanese court has ruled that there is enough evidence to move forward with the trial of two imprisoned South Sudanese Presbyterian pastors facing "trumped-up" espionage charges, which are punishable by death. The pastors' attorney will have only two weeks to prove their innocence without access to his clients.
In the sixth hearing in the case against pastors Yat Michael and Peter Reith in Khartoum, a judge ruled Thursday that there is sufficient evidence to "charge" the pastors with seven different crimes including criminal conspiracy, espionage, promoting hatred amongst the sects, blasphemy, undermining the constitutional system, obtaining official documents and disturbing the peace — two of which could be punishable by death.
According to the American Center for Law and Justice, the judge's Thursday ruling now means that the pressure is on the pastors' attorney, Mohaned Mustafa, to now prove the innocence of his two clients rather than their guilt having to be proven. 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 >>
City Harvest Church pastor Kong Hee has put up for sale a co-owned $10 million luxury penthouse in Sentosa Cove, Singapore, amid an ongoing trial concerning the possible misuse of over $19 million in church funds to finance his wife's music career. Kong has hit back against a report describing the penthouse, calling it "misleading and exaggerated."
Kong explained that his family has sold other properties as well to help pay their attorneys' fees.
"The property that my family and I have been living in is co-owned with another family. We have been living at this property with the co-owner's kind permission after we had to sell our properties in order to pay the legal expenses for the ongoing trial," the pastor said in a Facebook post, responding to a Straits Times article from earlier this week. more >>