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 >>
Persecution watchdog group International Christian Concern asked why U.S. President Barack Obama failed to talk religious freedom with Saudi Arabia King Abdullah during his visit last week, after identifying the issue as a key component of U.S. foreign policy at the National Prayer Breakfast in February.
"This visit was an excellent opportunity for the president to speak up on an issue that affects millions of Saudi citizens and millions more foreign workers living in Saudi Arabia," said ICC Middle East Regional Manager Todd Daniels in a statement Saturday.
"Only last month the president clearly stated that promoting religious freedom is a key objective of American foreign policy, and then reaffirmed that opinion in remarks following his meeting with Pope Francis on Thursday, according to the White House. On top of this, 70 members of Congress specifically asked him to publicly address the issue, as well as other human rights concerns, with King Abdullah today. How, despite all of this, the president could stay completely silent about religious freedom during his meeting is remarkable." more >>
The Bible Society has been banned from placing a 50-foot, inflatable whale in a park near England's Tower Bridge to represent the biblical story of Jonah and the whale.
The Potters Fields Park Management Trust recently denied the U.K.-based Bible Society's request to erect the inflatable whale at London's Potters Fields Park. The whale was going to serve as a place where children could see actors re-enact the Old Testament story of a whale swallowing the prophet Jonah, and the attraction was to stay in the park during the summer months while children were out of school.
As the Bible Society states on its website, the giant inflatable whale was used at Potters Fields Park before as part of an unrelated pirate exhibit. The Christian group, which seeks to spread Bible education in schools, media, and politics, was hoping to erect the giant whale exhibit as part of its Pass It On campaign that encourages parents to teach their children stories from the Bible. 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 >>
Alabama's Governor Robert Bentley has designated Friday a "Day of Prayer" for students in the state at the request of a statewide youth organization that supports student-led Christian clubs on school campuses.
First Priority of Alabama, which encourages Christian clubs to meet weekly before school, announced that Gov. Bentley, a Republican, had proclaimed the last Friday in March as the 9th annual "Day of Prayer Over Students Across Alabama." The Christian organization is encouraging Alabama residents to pray for students on Friday.
First Priority of Alabama is part of a larger national effort known as First Priority of America. The group organized this year's statewide prayer event in conjunction with Moms in Prayer, an international Christian organization that encourages mothers to pray for the world's youth. First Priority of America also organizes the national "See You at the Pole" events that encourage students to gather at their school's flag pole before school to pray. more >>
The Twittersphere erupted Tuesday as the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding two private businesses and their challenge of the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate, with politicians and several activist groups using the social media platform to show their support during the case.
The two businesses involved in Tuesday's court hearing included the well-known Hobby Lobby craft store chain and the Pennsylvania-based owners of Conestoga Woods Specialties. Both businesses are challenging a directive of the Affordable Care Act that requires employers to provide workers with health insurance for some contraceptives. The evangelical owners of Hobby Lobby and the Mennonite Christian owners of Conestoga Woods Specialties argue that forcing their businesses to supply insurance coverage for contraceptives, including some that can lead to the early termination of pregnancy, is a violation of religious freedom.
Those supporting Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods Specialties in Tuesday's oral arguments began a Twitter hastag that read: "#religiousfreedomforall." Several well-known groups used the Twitter hashtag on Tuesday and Wednesday, including The Becket Fund, which is representing the Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby, in the case, as well as Alliance Defending Freedom and the Pro-Life Action League. more >>