A town in Kansas has installed "prayer phone booths" throughout its city to encourage residents to take time to kneel and pray throughout their day. The booths come equipped with a lowering kneel bar and instructions so passerby may use the device properly, and one local media outlet has noted that the booths' presence in inner city areas is proportional to the decrease in crime rate.
Citizens of Kansas City reportedly lobbied city council for the "prayer booths" to be placed around the city on public park space as "public service monuments of arts and counseling to the people of Kansas City." Since their installment a couple months ago, the prayer booths have reportedly been used 100,000 times per week. According to Topeka News, some of the booths were installed in inner city areas with high crime rates several years ago, and city data confirms that crime has reportedly reduced in those areas in a proportionate manner to the number of people using the prayer booths.
"It is therapeutic, that is how we lobbied them through city council," local pastor Reverend Miles Collier told Topeka News in a recent interview. "We said these prayer booths are not just for Christians, but for any person to take a break to close their eyes, ask out loud for what they need in life and just take a break from it all. It is like having a free counseling session." more >>
A Virginia-based businessman has withdrawn his sponsorship for a pro golfer due to the athlete's support for conservative television host Glenn Beck and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, as well as his Christian beliefs. The sponsor said in an email regarding the termination that he believes the golfer's political and religious views are "childish and uneducated."
Virginia-based businessman Brian McMahon, head of Nebraska Golf Card (NGC), a local promotional business, notified David Reynolds, agent to golfer Jeff Cochran a few weeks ago that his business would be dropping its sponsorship of Cochran. Cochran is currently an aspiring golfer who used the sponsorship of NGC as his primary income for he and his family.
McMahon told Reynolds, in emails obtained by The Blaze, that he was deciding to drop the athlete's sponsorship after Cochran told the two men at a previous dinner that he admired Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx), a self-proclaimed member of the Tea Party, and his father, Pastor Rafael Cruz, referencing the elder Cruz's recent appearance on conservative radio host Glenn Beck's show, "The Glenn Beck Program." more >>
TLC will venture into the world of the Fundamentalist sect of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on Sunday with the new series "Breaking the Faith." The series focuses on the stories of eight young men and women who have chosen to leave the FLDS either by choice or force.
As these eight people attempt to rebuild their lives after being in the FLDS, formerly run by Warren Jeffs, audiences will see them struggle to adjust to the real world and life outside the FLDS community. The young women and men escape their community and live at a safe house, or what is supposed to be a safe house for former FLDS members. However, they quickly learn that not all is as it seems.
The series is ground-breaking in that it manages to follow the lives of those outside the community. Most of those who flee from the FLDS do not want to have their identities known for fear of retaliation in some way, shape, or form. more >>
Actress Katie Holmes is creating headlines after posting a tweet that may or may not be a slam against ex-husband Tom Cruise. The Tweet comes during a significant time for Cruise, who was just deposed in a suit against the Church of Scientology, the organization he belongs to.
"The real struggle begins when you have to contend against a part of your own self," Holmes tweeted, citing a quote from French novelist Andrew Maraux. "Up to that point, it's all plain sailing. Yet it's only from such inner conflicts that a real man emerges."
Cruise and Holmes had a quick divorce after she left him and took daughter Suri with her. Rumors flew that Cruise's involvement with the Church of Scientology had something to do with the separation. Until recently, though, they were just rumors. Yet during Cruise's deposition, he admitted that his beliefs may have played a part in the divorce. more >>
As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to take up the issue of prayer before government meetings this week, a major atheist group has filed a lawsuit against a California city, arguing the city allowed a chaplain to deliver sectarian prayers at city council meetings for the past several years.
The church-state separatist group Freedom From Religion Foundation [FFRF] has filed a lawsuit in the San Luis Obispo Superior Court against the city of Pismo Beach, Calif., located on the state's central coast. The lawsuit claims that the city's chaplain Rev. Paul E. Jones, a volunteer, has provided predominately Christian-themed invocations prior to city council meetings for the past five years. The lawsuit seeks to have the city's chaplain position discontinued and to stop the practice of prayer before city council meetings.
"With 20% of the adult population today identifying as nonreligious, at least a fifth of the population is routinely excluded and offended by official prayer conducted by the city," Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president, said in a press release regarding the lawsuit. "Non-Christian believers are also excluded when the government prayer is Christian, as it routinely is. It's time public officials catch up with the changing demographics. Elected officials should get off their knees and get to work," she added. more >>
A major veterans' organization in Illinois has halted funding to a local park district after one of the park's atheist commissioners refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance during board meetings, because the pledge includes the verse "One Nation, Under God."
Members of the Morton Grove Post 134 chapter of the American Legion, a nationwide veterans' association, recently announced that it would halt funding to the Morton Grove Park District because one of the park district's commissioners, Dan Ashta, refused to stand and say the Pledge of Allegiance at meetings because he was an atheist. The Legion's chapter said that although it supports Ashta's right to not stand for the pledge, it ultimately does not accept it.
"On behalf of our post, it is with some regret that we fully respect the right of individuals to not stand during the pledge of allegiance," Joseph Lampert, Commander of Post 134, told Ashta at a board meeting two weeks ago. "All veterans have been willing to lose their lives for that right, and many have. With that being said, while we support that right, we do not accept it." more >>