By Christy Barritt
Indiana City Sued for Approving Cross Display
The city of Evansville, Indiana is being sued over its decision to approve a request to display crosses on public property.
Ten churches in Evansville, Indiana were granted permission by the city to display 30 crosses at a public riverfront area. West Side Christian Church submitted the request, asking that the six-foot tall crosses be displayed as a part of a fund-raising event called “Cross the River.”
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit saying, “The First Amendment prohibits the government from endorsing a particular religious faith or religion at all.” They went on to say that churches could display crosses on their own property, but not on public property.
Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian nonprofit organization, intervened on the churches’ behalf. They said in a statement, “Christians have the same First Amendment rights as anyone else in America and the government cannot treat people with nonreligious viewpoints more favorably than people with religious viewpoints.”
Voodoo Dolls to Benefit Abortion Provider
A seamstress in Houston, Texas has created voodoo dolls that look like Texas Governor Rick Perry. She’s selling them and donating all her profits to Planned Parenthood, where she was once a client.
Michelle Sinched designed two dolls for her campaign. One has a white T-shirt with the words “I (coat hanger) Texas Women,” the mention of the coat hanger is in reference to back-alley abortions that happened in past eras. The second doll is of Perry wearing a suit and a tie.
Perry has been a strong supporter of the legislation in Texas that banned abortions after a fetus is 20 weeks old.
The seamstress told a Texas newspaper that she came up with the idea for dolls because she wanted to “send a message” and to “raise money for Planned Parenthood.”
Churches Aim to Protect Marriage
After part of the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down earlier this year, churches nationwide began taking steps to protect ministers and churches from potential lawsuits.
Many churches are changing their bylaws in an effort to fend off any attempts to use church facilities for same-sex marriage. Many are also trying to protect ministers from being forced to perform gay marriage ceremonies.
Some faith-based leaders fear that activist groups will begin to file lawsuits against churches.
Erik Stanley, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, thinks that churches should consider revising their bylaws.
“I think we’re in a day where every church needs to have a statement in its bylaws of its doctrinal beliefs on marriage and sexuality,” he told the Baptist Press. “This is a proactive approach that churches can take to head off any claims of discrimination in the future, should they occur.”
ADF offers samples and suggested guidelines for church bylaws at its website, www.alliancedefendingfreedom.org.
Americans Use Smartphones Constantly
An online study by Harris Interactive, a market research firm, showed that consumers are using their smartphone devices everywhere, without regard to what’s going on around them.
The 2013 Mobile Consumer Habits study surveyed more than 1,100 adults. One in 10 of those who participated admitted to checking their phones in the shower. One in five admitting to using their phones in church, and 72 percent said they stay within five feet of their smartphones most of the time.
The survey also showed that more than half of adults admitted they can’t put their phones down even while driving. One-third said they used their phones while at their child’s school functions.
Many also said that panic sets in when they are separated from their devices, mostly because of privacy concerns.
Christy Barritt is an award-winning author, freelance writer, and speaker living in Chesapeake, Virginia. She and her husband Scott have two sons.