By Christy Barritt
Marriage Education Bill
Florida legislators are proposing a bill that would approve the creation of a marriage education handbook distributed through court clerks in the state to couples who apply for a marriage license.
The handbook would be designed to help strengthen relationships between couples and include information on communication skills, conflict resolution, parenting, and finance management.
“So many young couples getting married today come from broken homes and cannot draw upon a living example of how marriage works,” said state Senator Kelli Stargel, who filed one of the bills. “Marriage is one of the greatest safeguards against poverty in our society, and this handbook will be an invaluable resource to hundreds of thousands of newly married couples to help them develop healthy and strong marriages.”
Private foundations would cover the production and design costs.
Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah all provide similar marriage handbooks.
New York Churches Form “God Squad”
A group of ministers from Brooklyn, New York are now working with the New York Police Department to crack down on crime.
Gilford Monrose launched the program in early 2013. Fourteen churches currently have been assigned to different portions of the city’s 67th Precinct. The goal is to build relationships with gang members and criminals in an effort to encourage them to turn themselves in.
In 2012, the precinct ranked third in the city for highest number of shootings and murders. Religious leaders wanted to step forward to help with the problem.
Monrose calls the program a “clergy crisis response team.” Each of the ministers involved will meet with police and tell them what they’re seeing on the streets, on top of visiting crime victims in the hospital.
College Bible Study Shut Down in Florida
A Florida college recently shut down a Bible study that was being held by several students in a dorm common area.
Four students at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida were meeting to read and study the Bible. A hall assistant passed by and saw the students, immediately asking the person leading to step aside.
According to reports, the Bible study leader was told that he was no longer allowed inside the dorm, even if he had the consent of the students. The hall assistant said it was because the group wasn’t a registered student group on campus.
College officials said that there is a misunderstanding over the matter and that no organization—religious or not—is permitted to meet in the common space of residence halls.
Students involved in the incident said that an informal meeting of students should not be considered an official school event.
Science Teacher Fired Over Evolution
A science teacher from Ohio who was fired in 2011 for encouraging students to challenge the theory of evolution has now taken his case before the Ohio Supreme Court.
John Freshwater, who worked at Mount Vernon Middle School, had requested that he be allowed to talk to students about the various disagreements that exist regarding the theory of evolution. He was forbidden by the administration but proceeded to encourage students to think for themselves on the subject matter.
In 2008, school officials ordered him to remove all religious items from his classroom. Freshwater removed everything except the Bible on his desk. He kept the Bible because he was a sponsor for an after-school Christian club, he said.
Despite that, officials decided to suspend the teacher for advancing religion and creationism. In 2011, Freshwater was fired.
Freshwater is currently fighting before the court to regain his job.
Christy Barritt is an award-winning author, freelance writer, and speaker living in Chesapeake, Virginia. She and her husband Scott have two sons.