A new congressional hearing has been set next week for American pastor Saeed Abedini's case, with his wife, Naghmeh, and the American Center for Law and Justice hoping that President Barack Obama and Congress will make saving his life a top priority.
"The life of a U.S. citizen – whose only 'crime' is his Christian faith – is at stake," said ACLJ Executive Director Jordan Sekulow.
The law group, which represents Naghmeh and the couple's two children in the U.S., has been pushing hard for the pastor's release, calling on the Obama administration to do everything possible to get him back home to his family. Abedini, who is currently serving eight years in prison, was transferred last month from the political prisoner ward of Evin prison to the violent criminal ward of Rajai Shahr prison, which the ACLJ described as "the deadliest prison in Iran." more >>
A Colorado judge says a Christian baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony must serve gay couples despite his religious beliefs, a ruling that a civil rights group hailed as a victory for gay rights.
Administrative Law Judge Robert N. Spencer ruled Friday that Jack Phillips, the owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop in suburban Denver, will face fines if he continues to turn away gay couples who want to buy wedding cakes.
"The undisputed facts show that Respondents (Phillips) discriminated against Complainants because of their sexual orientation by refusing to sell them a wedding cake for their same-sex marriage," Spencer wrote. more >>
I was astonished recently when one of my stepdaughters arrived home from public high school in Washington State with a red ribbon painted on her cheek. Sex education in the schools – which conservatives have tried to limit to abstinence-only – has now gone well beyond simple education. Today's students are being coerced into promoting and acting out the politically correct views taught them. It is being done so sneakily, using the authoritative stamp of approval by the public schools, that even my conservatively raised children were cajoled into participating.
There was no way to pull your child out of the daylong event. The entire school "celebrated" HIV/AIDs Awareness." A student group formed to educate other students about AIDs was responsible for putting on the event, and took over the front part of the school with tables and displays. On the tables were baskets of mint-flavored condoms, and students working the tables encouraged others passing by to take them.
Every few seconds, a loud gong would sound and someone would announce, "Every 12 seconds, someone is infected with AIDs, and every 16 seconds, someone dies from AIDs." The windows throughout the school were covered with HIV/AIDs awareness messages and posters were plastered on the walls. Almost every light throughout the hallways was turned off for further dramatic effect. The main staircase inside the school was covered with red ribbons. There was a giant wheel that students were encouraged to spin in order to see what disease they would contract. Students were lured into spinning it with the promise of a prize. more >>
A group of 13 Greek Orthodox nuns who were abducted by a jihadist militia that raided their town in Syria on December 1 were seen attesting to their well being in a video aired on Al Jazeera Friday afternoon. It is a great relief to see that they were still alive. Other jihadist videos have been surfacing on social media, including a spate in recent days, graphically documenting their bloodletting, according to links in the Catholic service Asia News.
"The brothers are treating us well and have brought us from the convent here and we are very happy," one of the sisters is heard saying. Each of the sisters reportedly took turns speaking to the camera.
On Wednesday, the Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch told the international press that the nuns were in Yabrud, some 80 kilometers north of Damascus. However, their exact whereabouts have not been confirmed and church sources say they are being held captive by extremist rebels. more >>
A state worker in Colorado has filed an official complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division claiming she was forced to attend a lunch-hour Bible study while working at the Department of Education.
Theresa Chavez claimed in the recent complaint that during her time working at the Colorado Department of Education's Office of Professional Services and Educator Licensure, she was required to attend the bi-weekly Bible study sessions held by her supervisor, Norma Lawanson. The meetings reportedly took place every Wednesday and Thursday and Chavez claims that when she told Lawanson she wanted to stop attending the studies, she was punished.
"She told her supervisor that she no longer wanted to attend the studies, and things just went downhill from there," Chavez's attorney, Jennifer Robinson, told the local Denver 9WTK News for their investigative report on the alleged incident. "The Bible studies were on state property, at work, during work hours [and] using state resources." more >>
Ohio lawmakers are proposing a new bill that if passed would further protect religious freedoms, including prayer and references to Jesus, in the state's public schools. The bill comes after multiple cases in which public schools were forced to remove Jesus portraits from their campuses or face legal action from atheist groups.
The bill, the Ohio Religious Freedom Restoration Act, was introduced to the state legislature earlier this week by Rep. Bill Patmon (D-Cleveland) and Rep. Tim Derickson (R-Oxford), who argued that the legislation would block further encroachment on religious expression in the state. The bill has over three dozen additional co-sponsors.
"God gave us our rights, not the government, not the neighbor, but God. Government is here to protect those rights," Rep. Patmon said of the bill, according to NBC 4 News. "How many of our students, how many of our schools need prayer? It's a disservice that we do when we don't allow it, when we don't encourage it." more >>