A local community in North Carolina is rallying behind its high school football coach, who was recently banned from praying at school football games after an atheist group complained.
Hal Capps, the head football coach for the Blue Devils at Mooresville High School, was banned from leading players in the Lord's Prayer prior to school football games after a parent complained to the Freedom From Religion Foundation that in turn issued a letter to the Mooresville Graded School District demanding they cease the practice.
"It is a violation of the Constitution for the Mooresville High School football coach to organize, lead, or participate in prayers or other religious proselytizing before, during, or after games and practices," Patrick Elliott, an attorney for the Madison-based FFRF nonprofit group, said in a letter to school district lawyer Kevin Donaldson last fall. "It is well settled that public schools, and by extension public school officials, may not advance or promote religion." more >>
A Christian college in Wisconsin has changed its "Crusaders" school mascot after nearly half-a-century in order to adapt to changing times.
Matt Davis, executive vice president of Maranatha Baptist University located in Watertown, says that the university chose to change its nickname because it has become a more "global society." The school also changed its name from Maranatha Baptist College in December, and Davis says the latest change is in compliance with the school's makeover process.
U.S. pastor Saeed Abedini, currently serving an eight-year prison sentence in Iran, has been given a "glimmer of hope" for clemency after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif mentioned a possible reduced jail sentence.
"Could Iran be willing to give Pastor Saeed clemency? Could it be willing to release him to return to his wife and two children here in the U.S.?" the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents Abedini's wife and two children in the U.S, wrote in a statement on Monday.
"One thing is for sure: Pastor Saeed's release would be a monumental humanitarian gesture for Iran. Clemency would give Iran the opportunity, within their own judicial system, to release Pastor Saeed and show the world that it is serious about changing its human rights' record." more >>
The Pentagon is expected to announce that it will be relaxing rules for religious wear in the military, allowing service members to wear some religious tattoos, turbans, beards, or yarmulkes, as long as the item does not interfere with carrying out a military mission.
The announcement states that the new policy adopted by the Department of Defense will require the military to accommodate the "individual expressions of sincerely held beliefs" of service members. The directive goes on to state that unless a religious item interferes with a service member's readiness, safety, or order, service members may be granted permission by their commanders to display their religious items while wearing their uniform.
"[…] the importance of uniformity and adhering to standards, of putting unit before self, is more significant and needs to be carefully evaluated when considering each request for accommodation," the Pentagon statement states. more >>
The mother of an 8-year-old autistic boy in Dearborn Heights, Mich., said her son has been told he is not allowed to bring his Bible to school and read it during free period. He has also been mistreated in a number of other ways by the school.
"Putting my son in time outs for 13 hours a week and refusing him lunch, and just absurd things and just, if I did something like that I'd lose my kids!" Jessica Cross said of her son, Jason, who attends Highview Elementary, according to MyFoxDetroit.com.
She added that Jason had been bringing a Bible with him to school and reading it during free period, but was told that the book is "only for church, not school." Cross revealed that despite attempts to speak with school officials, her son's treatment has not improved. more >>
The American Civil Liberties Union is suing a Louisiana school district, claiming the district participated in religious harassment and pushed Christian beliefs on students. It pointed specifically to a local science teacher who discussed her Christian faith freely in class and said those who don't believe in God are "stupid."
The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of plaintiffs Scott and Sharon Lane, as well as their three children, in the U.S. District Court in Shreveport on Wednesday. The lawsuit alleges that the Sabine Parish School District, which oversees 11 public schools including Negreet High School, practiced religious harassment against its students and blatantly imposed Christian beliefs in the public school system.
The lawsuit specifically mentions as defendants the Sabine Parish School Board, Superintendent Sara Ebarb, Negreet High Principal Gene Wright and science teacher Rita Roark. According to the Lane family, one of their children, a Buddhist of Thai descent, suffered harassment at Negreet High for his non-Christian beliefs, specifically from Roark. more >>