By Christy Barritt
Florida City Bans Free Speech
The City of Winter Park, Florida recently voted to ban protests in residential areas following a picketing incident at the home of a Planned Parenthood CEO.
In August, a 60-day emergency ordinance was passed to bar the protests from being held within 50 feet of a residence. In September, the Winter Park City Council made the ban permanent after the Planned Parenthood CEO testified before them, saying that she felt threatened and ambushed by protesters being outside of her home.
Reports showed that 28 pro-life supporters gathered outside of the CEO’s residence holding signs. Several people testified that the group was peaceful, respectful, and quiet.
Many worry that this ban undermines the right to free speech.
Prison Seminary Program Changing Lives
A college-level seminary course is now being offered in 18 California prisons.
The Urban Ministry Institute trains inmates to plant churches and evangelize among the poor upon their release. It began four years ago. World Impact, Inc. developed the curriculum to target poor communities and partnered with the nonprofit group Prison Fellowship in 2008 to teach the three-and-a-half year course behind prison walls.
Last year, 10 men graduated from the program. Fourteen are expected to graduate next year. Graduates participate in a cap and gown ceremony and receive a certificate in Christian Leadership Studies.
Prisons in Michigan, Florida, and Colorado have started similar programs.
Police Give Prostitutes a Choice
Police in Dallas, Texas are tackling the problem of prostitution by giving those in the business an ultimatum. They can either go to jail or change their lives with the help of local officials.
The program is called the Prostitution Diversion Initiative, and it’s a combined effort of police, social services, and other local groups.
According to the news website The Blaze, police decided to treat the women involved in prostitution like victims instead of criminals.
Only those charged with a misdemeanor can participate in the program. If they accept the offer, they receive job counseling and access to mental health services and drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
Since the program began, authorities have detained more than 700 prostitutes. Nearly half have opted to join the program, though not all have completed it.
Father-Daughter Dance Canceled over Gender Discrimination
A Rhode Island school system has banned father-daughter and mother-son activities. Cranston Public Schools said that those traditions violated state gender discrimination laws.
A letter from the American Civil Liberties Union prompted the action. The letter was written on behalf of a mother who complained that her daughter was unable to go to the father-daughter dance.
The school system said the decision to cancel these activities was an effort to comply with state law. According to the state law, discrimination on the basis of sex is prohibited in admissions, the classroom, curriculum, athletics, counseling, and “any other school function and activities.”
Christy Barritt is an award-winning author, freelance writer, and speaker living in Chesapeake, Virginia. She and her husband Scott have two sons.