Anti-Religion Group

Complains About Sheriff

An anti-religion nonprofit has requested Alabama sheriff Nick Smith to stop mentioning prayer on the Sheriff’s office’s Facebook page.

“The issue here is that the sheriff’s office has a pattern of using tragedy to promote the idea of prayer and our letter reminds the sheriff not everyone in Walker County prays or believes in the same religion,” said Sam Grover, the Associate Counsel for the Freedom from Religion Foundation.

Two local tragedies prompted the foundation to send a letter. When Lowndes County Sheriff Williams was shot and killed, Smith requested prayer from the community. He posted a similar message for another tragedy involving a young boy and a sheriff’s deputy.

“Yet another heartbreaking and senseless tragedy in our great state involving a law enforcement officer,” said one of the posts referencing Sheriff Williams’ death. “Let us pray for this fallen officer’s family and loved ones tonight as they endure such a devastating time.”

According to local news, Smith has no intention of changing the nature of his Facebook posts to accommodate the request.

 

School Gives 2nd-Graders Flyer Promoting Free Condoms

The father of a second-grader in Tennessee is demanding policy change within the school district after his child came home with a school-issued flyer promoting birth control, including free condoms.

Rich Penkoski’s son is a second-grader at Mary Hughes Elementary School, which sent students home with a two-sided flyer advertising a free health clinic in Gray, Tenn., offering medical, dental and vision exams. The backside of the flyer, though, was dedicated to “free birth control and pre-pregnancy services.” Among the services: “free birth control including implants, IUDs, pills, condoms and more.”

The school claims the flyer was a mistake, but Penkoski isn’t buying it. “This is a full page,” Penkoski said. “This was done purposely by putting this along with this together to print front and back. This was done purposely. Not inadvertently. It’s a full-page ad.”

Said Penkoski: “Every piece of paper that comes into that school should be looked at. Do you think if we walked in with a biblical tract for children to get saved they would let us get by with that?”

 

 

Mike Pompeo Attacked for

‘Endorsing Christianity’

A secular group is asking the U.S. Inspector General to investigate Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State is asking the inspector general to look into Pompeo’s speech he gave at a Christian conference. The group says the speech was an “unconstitutional endorsement of religion.”

Pompeo spoke earlier this month at an American Association of Christian Counselors’ World Conference in Tennessee. During his speech, called “Being a Christian Leader,” Pompeo told attendees that he uses the “wisdom of God” in his work to “be a force for good in the life of human beings.”

“Now, I know that even having just said that, I know some people in the media will break out the pitchforks when they hear that I ask God for direction in my work,” he said. “But you should know, as much as I’d like to claim originality, it is not a new idea. I love this quote from President Lincoln. He said, quote: ‘I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.’”

In a letter to the inspector general, Americans United said Pompeo’s speech was “proselytizing” that “endorsed Christianity in his official government capacity.”

“While Mr. Pompeo is entirely free to engage in religious activities in his personal capacity, he must not use his official role as Secretary of State to promote his religion,” the letter argues. “In his role as secretary, delivering a speech that enthusiastically endorses Christianity is a violation of the Establishment Clause.”

The American Humanist Association (AHA) also released statements criticizing Pompeo’s speech. “This religious favoritism is the kind of abuse of their duty to represent all Americans equally that demonstrates how fundamentalism is the driving force of this administration’s agenda,” said a AHA spokesman.

NEWS IN BRIEF

according to a new analysis.

The report by National Right to Life used yearly data from the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute, which contacts abortion clinics directly and is considered the gold standard for abortion clinic data.

The 61.6 million abortions represent the “consequences of Roe v. Wade,” said the report.

The total number of abortions in the U.S. in 1973 was 744,610. That number topped 1 million in 1975 (1,034,170) and 1.5 million in 1980 (1,553,890), according to Guttmacher. The number of abortions in the United States peaked at 1,608,600 in 1990.The total number was 1,312,990 in 2000 and 1,102,670 in 2010.

 

LEGAL TRENDS

Couple No Longer Threatened with Eviction for Hosting Study

A Virginia couple who say they were threatened with eviction for holding Bible studies in their apartment has settled their lawsuit with the apartment complex.

According to Faithwire, Kenneth and Liv Hauge can now host Bible studies in the community room or in their apartment in their Virginia senior living community.

As Christian Headlines previously reported, the couple said that management had threatened to evict them for hosting the Bible studies in 2018. First Liberty filed a lawsuit on behalf of the couple, saying such a ban violated their right to freedom of religion.

The couple signed a new lease as part of the settlement.

“The settlement provides that the policy that prohibited any religious activities from occurring in the community room is rescinded so that means anyone, not just the Bible study, that wants to have an event has equal access regardless of the religious content,” the couple’s lawyer, Lea Patterson, told reporters.

Kenneth said he was disappointed “that the complex would develop such a discriminatory policy against the community of especially Christian faith.”

But this week, Kenneth, who is a former minister, said he is pleased with the settlement.

“It’s just a great relief to have this behind us and be able to move forward,” he said.

SOCIAL TRENDS

Prayer Ban Overturned

An appeals court has overturned a legal ruling which banned a Christian school from hosting prayers before a football game.

Back in 2015, Cambridge Christian School in Tampa, Florida was ordered to cease praying over a loudspeaker at the start of its state championship game against University Christian School of Jacksonville. As a result of the order, Cambridge launched a lawsuit against the Florida High School Athletic Association.

In a unanimous decision issued Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals slapped down the previous ruling that banned the school from praying, noting that the lower court was “too quick to dismiss all of Cambridge Christian’s claims out of hand.”

“The schools’ claims for relief under the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses have been adequately and plausibly pled,” wrote Judge Stanley Marcus in his decision.

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