Lawyers from Americans United for Separation of Church and State are warning public officials in New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. that extensive preparation at taxpayers' expense for Pope Francis' visit later this month is a violation of the U.S. Constitution. Quoting an appeals court ruling, such aid is the type of "specific evil" the First Amendment "was designed to prevent," the group said.
The organization, which advocates for a strict separation view of the religious freedom clauses of the First Amendment, sent a letter to the mayors of the respective cities and the heads of the Secret Service, National Park Service and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority on Monday "to provide guidance on the constitutional limitations on governmental support of and involvement with the papal visit."
"Specifically, government bodies must not provide any aid to a Pope's religious activities that goes beyond the provision of services — such as police, safety, and security — that are regularly given for comparable public events of a similar size," states the letter, which was signed by the group's legal director Alex Luchenitser and legal fellow John McGinnis. more >>
New York residents will get the chance to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis later this month during his U.S. tour which will include a procession through the city's iconic Central Park.
On Sept. 25, the pontiff will tour the city's famous landmark on his popemobile and tens of thousands are expected to turn out for what will be a historic event. The papal motorcade will be a part of his first-ever tour of the U.S. since becoming the first Latin American pope in 2013.
"The procession through Central Park will give thousands of New Yorkers an opportunity to come face-to-face with Pope Francis," Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement on Tuesday. "We're proud to welcome one of the world's most powerful voices to our great city ... and we are grateful to the archdiocese for their cooperation in giving even more New Yorkers a chance to join in this historic visit." more >>
The Deaf Bible Society has started a movement to bring the story of Jesus in sign language to the deaf community in the Middle East for the first time ever as a way to combat the Islamic State terrorist organization's efforts to recruit the overlooked deaf populations with promises of a "false hope."
As only 20 of the world's 400 sign languages have some form of Bible content available, there is not one sign language in the Middle East that has Bible content available to let those in the region who are deaf know that there is hope that can be found in the Savior Jesus Christ.
Deaf communities are often overlooked in the Middle East, they become susceptible to fall for the sense of empowerment promised to them by IS, a terrorist group that has become renowned for the lies it uses to recruit disenfranchised members of society. more >>
A Kentucky high school has defied an atheist group's demand that the school keep prayer out of its pre-football game festivities, as the school kicked off its 2015 football season with a student-led invocation last Friday.
Prior to August 2011, Bell County High School practiced a long-standing tradition of letting a Christian pastor lead in a pre-game prayer over the stadium's public-address system as a way of asking God to keep the student-athletes safe.
But after the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the nation's largest atheist organization, filed a complaint with the school district's then-Superintendent George Thompson, and threatened to file a lawsuit, school officials decided to end the prayer tradition to avoid costly litigation. more >>
A significant number of people are switching churches and/or discarding relationships.
I've found that judging instead of loving often plays a role as seen in a recent correspondence, "I continue to move from church to church. I can't seem to find a place where I fit. I'm beginning to wonder if I'm the problem!"
This is an honest question that deserves a closer look. more >>
A group of students in Duke University's freshman class are speaking out publicly about their refusal to read a novel that was selected as the freshman summer reading book because the book's pornographic content violates their Christian beliefs and moral principles.
In April, Duke University announced that the book, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, an autobiographical novel written by New York Times best-selling author Alison Bechdel about her relationship with her father, was the one book selected from a list of six titles to be the class of 2019's "Common Experience" summer reading book.
Although Duke's summer reading program is not required, the purpose behind the program is to give incoming students the opportunity to discuss the book in small groups during their orientation before school starts. A special printing of the book was mailed over the summer to all incoming freshman. more >>