Three high school choirs in the Whitefish School District, located in Montana's Flathead Valley, have decided to go through with their holiday concert at a local church despite complaints from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
Dozens of student members of the Flathead, Glacier and Whitefish high school choirs performed their annual "Peace on Earth Community Christmas Celebration" at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Kalispell Thursday. They will be performing a second time Friday evening. School officials decided to go through with the performance despite recent complaints from the ACLU and FFRF which argued the concert was an unconstitutional violation of the separation of church and state due to public school involvement with church activity.
"We are concerned that public school students will be performing at a place of worship as part of an event that is expressly religious in nature," ACLU Public Policy Director Niki Zupanic wrote in a letter addressed to the principals of the three public schools on Tuesday, as reported by the Missoulian. "This situation poses serious constitutional concerns and demonstrates a lack of respect for the individual religious beliefs of the students involved." Both the ACLU and the FFRF requested that the schools end their participation in the concert. more >>
More than 40 groups have signed on to sponsor an event geared toward combating pornography in the United States.
The National Day of Prayer Against Pornography will take place next Tuesday. The anti-pornography observance is chiefly sponsored by the group Morality in Media (MIM), which is dedicated to combating pornography usage via education and the law.
Patrick Trueman, president and CEO of MIM, told The Christian Post that his group intends to make this an annual event. more >>
An elementary school in Texas has banned Christmas trees and the colors red and green at its upcoming "winter" party though a recently passed state law protects traditional holiday greetings and displays at public schools. The school's principal said in an email that she and the PTA chose to ban Christmas at the party to avoid "offending anyone."
The PTA group at Nichols Elementary School in Frisco, Texas, recently sent an email to parents regarding an upcoming "winter" party for students. The email listed three rules that each student had to abide by while attending the party: no references to Christmas or other religious holidays, no Christmas trees, no colors red or green, and no items that will stain the classroom carpet.
The rules listed in the email go against the "Merry Christmas Law" passed in the state in June. The law, co-authored by Republican Rep. Pat Fallon, who oversees the district where Nichols Elementary School is located, protects schools from having to censor religious references during the holiday season. more >>
Tourism officials in Northern Ireland announced HBO's hit show "Game of Thrones" may do more than mesmerize viewers with adult themes and political intrigue – they're planning on using it to draw visitors.
"Northern Ireland's Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster announced the tourism strategy Wednesday but gave no details," The Associated Press reported. Much of the HBO TV series is filmed in Northern Ireland, since the fictional Westeros fits with its historic landscape of castles and rugged coastlines.
"Game of Thrones" follows the book series, "A Song of Ice and Fire," by American author George R.R. Martin. Set in a fictional medieval fantasy land, it centers around the themes of adventure and political intrigue, dragons and zombies, sex and violence. more >>
YouVersion's newest creation, The Bible App for Kids, has already been downloaded more than a million times since it was made available less than a week after its release on Thanksgiving Day. The app was developed in collaboration with the international ministry OneHope.
"Just like we've seen the Bible App transform how our generation is engaging with Scripture, we believe the Bible App for Kids will change how the next generation discovers the grand narrative of the Bible," said Bobby Gruenewald, innovation pastor of LifeChurch.tv in Oklahoma, which created YouVersion.
The primary catalyst for the project was the YouVersion community itself, "the world's largest digital Bible-sharing community," the Bible App creators say. Though some kids are already using the original Bible App, it wasn't really made with them in mind. YouVersion moved forward with the project when its survey indicated that more than 95 percent of its community of parents surveyed would be interested in the Bible App for Kids and that it would help their children engage with the Bible more in their everyday lives. more >>
The babysitter for three-year-old Autumn Elgersma has been charged with murder after admittedly throwing the toddler to the ground in a fit of rage. Rochelle Sapp, 33, has been charged with first-degree murder and child endangerment after the toddler died from head injuries.
On October 29, Sapp reportedly called Autumn's mother, Jennifer Elgersma, and told her that the child had fallen down the stairs. Jennifer took her to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with a head injury; later, she was airlifted to another hospital after being diagnosed with a fractured skull and brain trauma. The toddler died two days later.
Sapp confessed to authorities and told them that she had thrown Autumn to the ground when she refused to take off her coat. The in-home caregiver was initially charged with Willful Injury and Child Endangerment, but after Autumn died, her charges were amended. more >>