The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent an official letter to its followers on Sunday announcing that it will continue supporting marriage as a union between one man and one woman, despite the Supreme Court's decision to legalize gay marriage in June. The church also noted that it will not be performing gay marriage ceremonies, and argued that homosexual behavior "violates the commandments of God."
"Changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established. God expects us to uphold and keep His commandments regardless of divergent opinions or trends in society. His law of chastity is clear: sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife," the church declares.
The letter from the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was written a few days after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down four state constitutional amendments defining marriage as between one man and one woman on June 26, which effectively legalized gay marriage across all 50 states. The message was sent out to Mormon churches across the country and read aloud during Sunday services. more >>
The six men arrested on Sunday for heckling pastor Joel Osteen at his Lakewood Church in Houston appeared in court on Friday and now face trespassing charges. The defendants, who are members of a controversial East Texas church, said they heckled the pastor during the Sunday service because they don't believe Lakewood Church is practicing "true religion."
"We went there to disrupt the peace of that religious service because we don't believe that it is true religion," said one of the arrested, Jake Gardener, according to KTRK. "We don't believe that it is pure religion."
The six hecklers, who are from The Church of Wells, have been ordered to stay 200 feet away from Lakewood Church, and are not permitted to have any contact with Joel Osteen or his wife, Victoria. more >>
Tim Mahoney's ground-breaking documentary "Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus," which examines evidence of the biblical Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, is being released on DVD and Blu-Ray on Aug. 4 through Capitol Christian Distribution.
Twelve years in the making, "Patterns of Evidence" explores the question: Is there any evidence that the Exodus story actually happened? Mahoney strives to answer the question by chronicling an in-depth archaeological investigation in Egypt while corroborating the biblical text.
Consequently, the filmmaker and his team uncover evidence that call decades of archeological studies into question regarding the Israelites' descent into slavery, their Exodus out of Egypt, and the conquest of the Promised Land. more >>
Ken Ham's Answers in Genesis group is continuing its lawsuit against the state of Kentucky, accusing it of violating First Amendment religious freedom rights by denying its Ark Encounter project participation in the state tax incentive program because of its insistence on religious preference in hiring workers. The state is arguing, however, that the Noah's ark theme park would be an evangelism tool.
The Associated Press reported that the AiG's lawsuit is hoping to force Kentucky to allow it back in the tourism incentive program, which could be worth close to $18 million.
Lawyers for the Creationist ministry argued on Wednesday that the group should not be denied participation just because it wants to hire Christian workers for the project, which is set to be completed in 2016. more >>
Controversial Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth author, Reza Aslan, has hit back against atheists like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Bill Maher, who've blamed Islam and religion as a whole for violence and terrorism around the world, arguing that conflicts are much more complex than a single cause.
"New Atheists like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins are not atheists, they are anti-theists. They don't just not believe in God, they believe that religion is an insidious evil that has to be forcibly removed from society. And their views about religious people and religion in general are extreme and in no way representative of the majority or the mainstream view of atheists," Aslan said in an interview with the Vancouver Observer published on Tuesday.
He added that such anti-theists get their ideas "from the most simplistic, the most unsophisticated and the most knee-jerk reaction to the very real problem of religious violence around the world," and argued that it is "nothing less than idiotic to blame religion for religious violence without recognizing the multiple factors that are involved in violence of any sort." more >>