City commissioners in Carroll County, Md., voted this week to temporarily halt sectarian prayers at their meetings in compliance with a judge's previous ruling. One city commissioner who voted against the temporary ban said that such a move "binds me to an act of disobedience against my Christian faith."
The commission voted 3 to 2 on Tuesday to stop sectarian prayers at official city meetings. Although they cannot reference "Jesus Christ," board members may still use the terms '"God," "Lord God," "Creator," "the Almighty," "God of Abraham," "Heavenly Father," "Lord, our Governor," "Mighty God," "Lord of Lords," "Creator of the Earth" and "Our Creator." Additionally, only board president David Roush may lead the invocations.
The two county commissioners who voted against Tuesday's agreement were Richard Rothschild (R-District 4) and Robin Bartlett Frazier (R-District 1). Rothschild spoke briefly at the meeting as to why he couldn't support the commission's resolution, saying it was stifling his expression of faith. Rothschild added that although he was willing to follow a judge's ruling halting sectarian prayers, he would not sign a resolution forbidding him from doing so. more >>
A school district in California says it will allow students to distribute coins with imprinted Bible passages during non-instructional time on campus. The decision from the district came after Freedom X, a legal group, complained on behalf of a local family.
A spokesperson for the Apple Valley Unified School District near Hesperia, Calif., said Monday that teachers at Desert Knolls Elementary School violated the religious freedom rights of Steven and Patrick Peterson when they told the students that they could not pass out fake coins with the Bible verse John 3:16 written on one side and the question "Where will you spend eternity?" written on the other.
"We're going to make sure that students are protected," Thomas Hoegerman, superintendent of the Apple Valley Unified School District, told the San Bernardino Sun. "There was no malicious intent but we clearly had folks who didn't fully understand the implications." more >>
The parents of a first grader are suing a Pennsylvania school district, accusing it of violating their son's constitutional rights when a teacher forbade him from distributing Valentine's Day cards containing a religious message to his classmates.
Donald and Ellen Abramo filed a lawsuit in federal court Monday on behalf of their son, identified in legal documents as "J.A.," against the Nazareth Area School District in Northampton County, Pa. The lawsuit alleges that J.A.'s constitutional rights were violated by a first grade teacher at Shafer Elementary School in Nazareth during a class "Friendship Day" party on Feb. 19, when the young boy attempted to pass out Valentine's Day cards to his fellow classmates.
The school's policy banning candy in class caused J.A. and his siblings to create Valentine's Day cards with the message of St. Valentine written on the piece of paper. The message read: "Happy Valentine's Day! St. Valentine was imprisoned and martyred for presiding over marriages and for spreading the news of God's love. In honor of St. Valentine's Day, I want you to know that God loves you!!!" It also included a reference to John 3:16, according to the lawsuit. more >>
Faith Driven Consumer launched an #OpenZilla campaign in response to the recent resignation of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich whose support for California's Proposition 8 in 2008 caused uproar. The #OpenZilla campaign seeks to ensure the software company expresses inclusiveness and respect toward its religious employees who may oppose same-sex marriage.
Faith Driven Consumer, a group that seeks to connect Christian consumers with faith-compatible companies, has requested the Silicon Valley-based software company provide clarification on its diversity policy to ensure employees will not be discriminated against for their religious beliefs. Recently, Eich resigned from his newly-appointed post as CEO of Mozilla, known for its Firefox web browser, after it was revealed that he donated $1,000 to California's Proposition 8 in 2008.
The Christian-consumer group said the purpose of its #OpenZilla campaign is "to encourage a company famous for open source solutions and inclusiveness to extend openness, tolerance, and respect to those who hold a biblically-based view of marriage." more >>
A Christian couple was sentenced to death in Pakistan on Friday reportedly for committing "blasphemy" via text messages. Lawyers said they will appeal the ruling and fight for the man and woman who are said to be illiterate.
"We are seriously concerned. Cases like these are common and cause great suffering. We continue to pray, while the issue remains unresolved," Fr. Aloysius Roy, Superior of the Pakistani province of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, told Fides News Agency in a report on Monday.
"We express our solidarity, but Christians keep a low profile, because life is full of difficulties and dangers, and for us the first commandment is to survive. Christians are afraid and they move with extreme caution." more >>
Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of pastor Saeed Abedini who is serving eight years in prison in Iran for his Christian faith, has said that God has chosen her family and her husband for the ordeal they are going through in order to reach people in despair.
"The Lord has counted our family worthy enough to send Saeed to a dark place that he would be able to share with people who are in complete despair," Abedini said in a testimony to persecution watchdog group International Christian Concern in its April 2014 magazine.
She told the watchdog that while in prison, her husband has seen "so many give their hearts to Christ." more >>