In an expected 3-0 decision, the California Court of Appeals for the Second Appelate District reversed its earlier decision in a single case that any parent who home schooled their child(ren) must be a state certified teacher. The case arose out of an alleged child abuse charge made by a middle school age girl against her father. All the children in the family were home schooled.
"This is a great victory for homsechool freedom," declared Michael Farris, an attorney who helped argue the case. He is Chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). HSLDA joined with the California Governor & Attorney General & other first amendment defense organizations in fighting the anomalous earlier ruling.
The Texas Supreme Court on Friday rejected a lower court's jury award in a civil suit brought by a young woman who said she suffered physical & emotional harm from an exorcism she underwent at the church when she was 17. The court ruled that the exorcism was a matter of church doctrine & subject to certain First Amendment rights such that the court could not rule on the issue without "unconstitutionally entangling" the court in matter of church doctrine.
A lower court had ruled that Pleasant Glade Assembly of God church in Colleyville, TX could be held liable for mental distress brought on by its "hyper-spiritualistic environment." The initial jury award of $300,000 had been reduced to $188,000.
Justice David Medina wrote for the majority that holding the church liable "would have an unconstitutional 'chilling effect' by compelling the church to abandon core principles of its religious beliefs."
Former parishioner Laura Schubert sued the church, claiming she was cut & bruised & later experienced hallucinations because of the exorcism. The church has said her psychological problems stemmed from her experience with her parents when they were missionaries in Africa.
Outraged Sunni Muslim officials in Fallujah, Iraq, Friday complained to US officials that a US Marine posted at a check point in the city 40 miles west of Baghdad handed out approximately 10 coins that said in Arabic on one side, "Where will you spend eternity?" & on the other side quoted http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_3:16">John 3:16 from the Christian Bible, which says, "God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."
Sheikh Abdul-Rahman al-Zubaie, a Fallujah tribal leader, said, "This event did not happen by chance, but it was planned & done intentionally. The Sunni population cannot accept & endure such a thing. I might not be able to control people's reactions if such incidents keep happening."
Earlier, the US had apologized on behalf of a soldier who had used a Koran for target practice. That soldier has been removed from Iraq, while the soldier accused of handing out the coins has been removed from duty pending an investigation.
US Military personnel are not allowed to promote anything sectarian politically or religiously that could in any way appear to be supported by the US government or military.
Contrary to some rumor mills on the Internet & otherwise, some Christian sources, it is not true that the former Soviet chief Mikhail Gorbachev has become a Christian believer in God & Jesus. "I was & I remain an atheist," Gorbachev said in Russia's Interfax new agency last week. "I think religion is important for society, & I've willingly visited churches, synagogues, & mosques during my travels. But it can't be said I've done so as someone who believes."
A Lithuanian priest had earlier been quoted in an Italian publication that Gorbachev had visited the grave of St. Francis of Assisi with his daughter, & that he had prayed there. The priest said Gorbachev told him he was a Christian believer. In the Interfax interview, Gorbachev said the priest's story was a fantasy & said that "I visited this grave as a tourist, not as a pilgrim."
Thursday, March 06 2008 @ 06:35 PM EST Contributed by: AIA
An appeals court in California has ruled against a home schooling family, arguing that no parents in California have a state Constitutionally guaranteed right to control & govern their own children's schooling. The ruling, which applies only to one family, may be used by other courts as justification for outlawing homeschooling, affecting an estimated 166,000 students in California.
The court ruled last week that minor children must attend a public school unless the child attends a private school or is taught by a teacher with a valid state teaching license. The court also ruled that the religious convictions of families do not guarantee a right to homeschool their children.
The case arose when one of the eight home schooled children of Phillip & Mary Long reported "physical & emotional mistreatment by the children's father." Under the supervision of Children & Family Services, the children were appointed an attorney who argued that home schooling the children was not in their best interests, & asked that the judge force the parents to enroll their children in public school. The judge ruled against the children's attorney, who then appealed the case to the (3rd Division) 2nd District Court of Appeal.
Homeschooling, which has been gaining in popularity & success over the last 3 decades, includes children who are instructed entirely & independently by their parents; those who group together with other families, sharing the teaching duties among the parents; those associated with organizations that provide oversight, record keeping, testing, & curriculum; those associated with private schools that also offer campus instruction; & those associated with public schools. An estimated 1.9 to 2.4 million students are homeschooled in the United States, according to the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI).
Surveys, test scores, & analysis show consistently that home schooled children score higher, advance educationally more quickly, & display greater skills in many areas than do typical public or even private school children. Homeschooling appeals to families with a wide variety of religious commitments, including many families with no religious commitment at all. Although homeschooling is particularly popular among conservative Christians, & often contains a strong Christian foundation in theology & world view, many homeschooling programs are not explicitly religious. According to the NHERI, "Home Schooling Achievement, a study conducted by National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), supported the academic integrity of homeschooling. Among the homeschooled students who took the tests, the average homeschooled student outperformed his public school peers by 30 to 37 percentile points across all subjects. The study also indicates that public school performance gaps between minorities and genders were virtually non-existent among the homeschooled students who took the tests."
Friday, February 22 2008 @ 06:02 PM EST Contributed by: AIA
Well-known international Christian evangelist Luis Palau says his talks with Communist Chinese officials lead him to believe that foreign visitors to China next year for the 2008 International Summer Olympics will be allowed to bring Bibles with them that they can give away without interference from the government. "I have asked officially from people here & over there. Any person can go in there & take Bibles, as long as they're not selling them," Paulau told the Christian Post on Thursday.
Palau has preached many times in China, but only in venues approved by the government & for government sanctioned & controlled churches.
China persecution watchdogs like China Aid have repeatedly criticized the Chinese government for restricting religious freedom in China, including outlawing all churches that are not registered with the government, preventing any religious evangelism or proseletizing, & arresting & incarcerating many Chinese Christian leaders. Last winter several such organizations, such as the Catholic News Agency, reported that the Chinese government had prohibited Bibles at the Olympics. The assertion was based on a government document listing items banned for athletes in the Olympic village. The documents listed such items as cups, video cameras, & Bibles.
The London Times on-line edition published an article supporting Palau's position, noting in China Denies Bible Ban at Olympics that the government denied the ban & that the list of items prohibited in the athlete's village referred to multiple Bibles for the purpose of dissemination & evangelism, activities the government says do not fall into the responsibilities of competing athletes. Religious rights observers note that the limited legality of personal Bible possession without the freedom to evangelize or give away Bibles is hardly religious "freedom."
The US Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works on Thursday heard from a variety of Catholics, mainline, & evangelical Protestants on global warming & the Bible. While all who spoke agreed that Christians should care about the environment, that the Bible encourages human responsibility for the care of the earth, speakers & the literature they provided were strongly divided on how bad global warming was, what its chief causes were, & how various human responses to global warming would impact the world's poorest & neediest.
Evangelical ethicist & seminary professor Dr. E. Calvin Beisner,national spokesman for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation (CASC), formerly known as the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance (ISA), was quoted on behalf of Christians who dissent from the typical position espoused by EEN. According to Beisner, global warming is not as scientifically confirmed as the popular press reports, it is not due primarily to human action, & addressing it with draconian measures against human actions would produce grave harm to the world's most vulnerable needy people since it will slow economic development, reduce overall productivity, & increase cost of all goods for the poor.
A website campaign has generated nearly 1,000 complaints to the Hong Kong media decency watchdog group, the Television & Entertainment Licensing Authority (TELA) that the Bible should be labeled indecent. This would make it illegal for anyone under 18 to purchase a Bible, & would cause the Bible to be wrapped in a warning notice.
The campaign was promoted by the web site Truth Bible, which says the Bible "made one tremble" from its sexual & violent content. It urges visitors to the site to press TELA to classify the Bible as indecent.
Protestant pastor Rev. Wu Chi-wai was quoted by Reuters news service as downplaying the force of the campaign, noting, "If there is rape mentioned in the Bible, it doesn't mean it encourages those activities. It's just common sense . . . I don't think that criticism will have strong support from the public."
McGreevey (49) left his wife, Dina Matos McGreevey, who is negotiating through family law to keep their 5 year old daughter from receiving communion in the ECUSA because she is being raised Roman Catholic. In the Roman Catholic church, only Catholics are allowed to take communion in the Catholic Church, & Catholics are not allowed to take communion in other churches.
The ECUSA has been embroiled in international negotiations & divisions within worldwide Anglican Communion (AC), of which it is the American affiliate. The ECUSA has consecrated an active homosexual bishop, ordains lesbian & gays to the priesthood, & allows for church blessings of same sex unions. The AC is far more conservative than the ECUSA & has called for the affiliate to repent & rescind its liberal actions or withdraw from the association.
McGreevey presented himself as a happily married man as he served as governor of New Jersey until threats of exposure led him to admit his homosexuality. He said he had an on-going sexual relationship with a male aide, who denies the affair, but who has charged McGreevey with sexual harrassment. McGreevey's resignation became effective in November 2004.
The Texas House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation today that would allow public school students to meet during free time during school hours & otherwise express their religious beliefs in school, as long as they don't discriminate against the religious beliefs or sexual orientation of any other students. The bill, backed by Texas Governor Rick Perry, was passed 110 for & only 33 against. After affirmation expected on Tuesday, the bill will be sent to the Senate. It is unknown at this time whether or not the Senate will pass the bill.
The Lord's Servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will give them a change of heart leading to a knowledge of the truth
II Timothy 2:24-26