Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said over the weekend that conservatives have won the "culture war" controversy over comments made by Phil Robertson, star of the hit A&E reality series "Duck Dynasty."
While speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in the Washington, D.C., area on Saturday, Palin riffed on the December 2013 incident involving Robertson, who at the time told GQ Magazine that as an evangelical Christian, he believes homosexuality is a sin. Robertson was suspended by the A&E network from appearing on his reality show, only to be reinstated nine days later following massive public backlash from those who argued the Christian businessman was well within his First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
Palin told the CPAC crowd that conservatives should feel good about their future because they are "pushing back" against the "perpetual panties-in-a-wad people" whose job is to be "professionals about taking offense" regarding political incorrectness. more >>
A former vice principal who says he was fired from his job for being gay is suing the Catholic high school that fired him and the local archdiocese in Seattle, Wash.
In the lawsuit, Mark Zmuda alleges that he was fired from Eastside Catholic High School in Sammamish, Wash. in December 2013 after the school's administration learned he had recently married his same-sex partner. Zmuda is arguing for wrongful termination, violation of public policy, and violation of Washington's anti-discrimination laws. Both Eastside Catholic and the Archdiocese of Seattle are named as defendants in the lawsuit.
According to The Seattle Times, Zmuda's lawyers argue their client, as the vice principal at the school, served an administrative role that was not affiliated with the school's Catholic doctrine. This argument, as the local newspaper notes, works with a recent state Supreme Court ruling that says religious nonprofits cannot fire an employee based on religious beliefs if the employee's job was unrelated to religion. more >>
John Short, the 75-year-old Christian missionary who was recently freed from imprisonment in North Korea, said remembering Bible scriptures helped him through his "grueling" 13-day investigation by government authorities.
"There were two-hour sessions each morning, which were repeated again in the afternoons," Short, originally from South Australia, told the Australian Associated Press, adding that he was also kept under 24-hour guard watch for the duration of his imprisonment.
The 75-year-old Christian missionary, who has resided in Hong Kong since 1964, told the news agency that the interrogations were especially difficult because he is an avid walker, and being forced to sit in an enclosed room all day really took a toll on his physical health. "This I found to be most painful physically as an active senior person," he said. "I missed my freedom to walk very much." more >>
Brunei's teachers and principals are reportedly threatened with prison time and punishment if they teach or speak to Muslim children about religions others than Islam, due to the country's upcoming implementation of Sharia law, which will also apply to Muslim children who attend Christian schools.
Fides News Agency noted on Thursday that starting April, it will be a crime to "persuade, influence, incite, encourage a child with non-Islamic teaching," as well as to "expose the child to any ceremony or act of worship which is not Islamic or allow the child to participate in activities for the benefit of other religions," with offending teachers facing five years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines.
The local Catholic Church said the restrictions will also be applied to Christians schools attended by Muslim students. more >>
A former Tenn. judge who previously ordered a mother to change her son's name from Messiah to Martin has been found guilty of five counts of bias.
On Monday, the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct Disciplinary Counsel censured former judge Lu Anne Ballew, saying she disobeyed her obligations of impartiality when she ordered a mother to change her son's name from Messiah to Martin in 2013. The state's board of judicial conduct said censuring Ballew was the harshest form of punishment they could administer, as the judge already lost her job over the incident that took place in May last year.
According to WBIR-TV, a "public censure" means that Balew's violation of conduct will be put on record, and she may be required to "follow a specified course of corrective action." The news outlet adds that a censure is considered to be a stronger punishment than a public reprimand. more >>
Between 250,000 to 400,000 Orthodox Jews held a mass protest in Jerusalem on Sunday against a controversial bill aiming to end the community's military exemptions, meaning Jewish men and women would be called up for military service when they turn 18.
Reuters reported on Sunday that that "ultra-Orthodox" Jewish leaders called on men, women and children to attend the mass protests against the bill, which is expected to pass in the coming weeks and end the exemptions which have traditionally been held since the country's foundation.
Many of those attending the protest apparently issued a plea to God to stop the bill from becoming law, reports said, with Haredim arguing that the study of Jewish holy scriptures is essential to their way of life, and military service would get in the way of that tradition. more >>