Idaho education blocks Bible as literature, historic influence class

Charter school planned “not to teach religion” but state’s education panel rules against using Bible

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A state education panel has blocked a school’s plan to teach about the Bible.

The Idaho Public Charter School Commission said in a statement last week that the state Constitution “expressly” limits use of religious texts.

The Nampa Classical Academy, in southwestern Idaho, had said it planned to teach about the literary and historic influence of the Bible — not to teach religion.

The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Alliance Defense Fund, a religious liberty group, represented the academy and had argued that the writers of Idaho’s Constitution “sought assurances that the right of public schools to use the Bible as a teaching tool would be protected.” Nampa Classical Academy has a statutory right to choose its own curriculum, the defense fund argued.

Kyle Borger, chairman of the academy’s board, said the school will follow the commission’s directive. The school serves more than 550 students and is scheduled to open Sept. 8.

Florida H.S. principal, A.D. face contempt charge for praying before lunch

From Lodi, Calif. to Pace, Fla., the right to pray in public settings remains on center stage this week as a legal issue.

While the Lodi City Council puts using “Jesus” name on hold in its invocations, many in the community of Pace struggle to understand why prayer is being outlawed.

Fox 10 News in Florida reports that it’s all because of a blessing before a school luncheon. Now, a high school principal and athletic director have criminal contempt charges to answer to. FULL STORY AT LA CHURCH & STATE EXAMINER

 

Lawsuit: H.S. coach fired by Muslim principal for student conversion

A former high school wrestling coach filed a federal lawsuit Monday against a Dearborn, Mich., high school and its Muslim principal a year after being fired.

Gerald Marszalek, who coached wrestling for 35 years, claims his contract with Fordson High School was terminated because of his association with a Christian volunteer coach, who the principal accused of converting a Muslim student to Christianity.

“We are getting a glimpse of what happens when Muslims who refuse to accept American values and principles gain political power in an American community,” said Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of Thomas More Law Center, which filed the lawsuit on the former coach’s behalf.

The law firm is suing for violation of constitutional rights to free speech and exercise of religion, and Michigan laws against discrimination. Marszalek is seeking his back pay, injunctive and declaratory relief, damages, and to be reinstated as coach of the wrestling team.

Conflict arose more than three years ago when Marszalek’s volunteer assistant, Trey Hancock, held a summer wrestling camp where a Muslim camper converted.

According to Thomas More Law Center, Fordson High School principal Imad Fadlallah punched the student who converted and told him he had disgraced his family.

Fadlallah ordered Marszalek to ban his assistant from the school and all wrestling events.

Hancock, a pastor of the Dearborn Assembly of God, said last year that he never mixed religion with sports.

But complying with the school, he stopped his work as an assistant.

Hancock, however, had a son on the wrestling team and attended the wrestling meets to support his son. A Muslim parent complained to the principal that the coach didn’t do enough to keep Hancock away from the students, Marszalek explained to FoxNews.com last year.

After the wrestling season ended, the school did not allow Marszalek, also a Christian, to reapply to his coaching position.

“Failure to renew coach Marszalek’s contract had nothing to do with wrestling and everything to do with religion,” Thompson said.

The city of Dearborn has a large Muslim population. An estimated 30,000 of its 98,000 residents are Muslims, according to Thomas More Law Center.

By Nathan Black, Christian Post

‘California, Stand Up for Jesus’ rally set for Lodi

The Lodi City Council in Northern California is considering a vote to ban use of the name ‘Jesus’ from public prayers offered before city council meetings as the result of an atheist group’s lawsuit threat.

PRESS RELEASE

Lodi Mayor Larry D. Hansen fears a lawsuit by atheist groups if he doesn’t silence Christian prayers, and has requested to hear your public opinion. The clerk and city council members have scheduled a public debate (and possibly a vote) on Aug. 5.

Navy Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt of The Pray in Jesus Name Project is the organizer of a prayer event/rally on the day of the public hearing.
Pray in Jesus Name Chaplain leader
The prayer rally is scheduled for outside on the Carnegie Forum steps at 6pm, Wednesday, 5 August 2009, before debate at 7 pm. Klingenschmitt will lead the rally with many California pastors. (Pastors please call “Chaps” right now at 719-360-5132.)

Pastor Everett Robinson of The Will Of God Christian Center will lead coordination efforts on the ground. (Bus coordinators and volunteers please call Pastor Robinson at 707-333-1282.)

Carnegie Forum is located at 305 W. Pine Street. Zip code: 95240

Take action nation-wide! Sign the online petition, receive email updates and alerts (optional): http://tinyurl.com/JesusPetitionLodi

“California, it’s time to take a stand for Jesus.” — Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt (“Chaps”)

Contact: Chaplain Klingenschmitt, 719-360-5132, chaplaingate@yahoo.com; Pastor Everett Robinson, 707-333-1282, ambassadorev@yahoo.com

Photo: Navy Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt at White House.

Press release available on ChristianNewsWire.

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Cuba: Pastor receives 6-year prison sentence; home confiscated

Rights group says Cuban prosecutors tried to charge leader with ‘human trafficking’

CUBA (ANS) — A Cuban evangelical pastor has been sentenced to six years in prison despite reports that he was falsely charged due to his leadership role in the ‘Apostolic Reformation.’

Pastor Omar Gude Perez

Pastor Omar Gude Pérez’ home will also be confiscated as part of the sentence, according to a news release from the UK-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).

Pastor Gude Pérez was initially detained on May 2, 2008 and was in prison awaiting a trial date for over a year, CSW reported. State prosecutors initially attempted to charge Pastor Gude Pérez with ‘Human Trafficking.’

The CSW report continues: “Although these charges were dropped in March 2009 after a court in Camaguey ruled there was no evidence, Pastor Gude Pérez was still not released from prison.”

In mid-April new charges of “Falsification of Documents” and “IIlicit Economic Activities” were filed. The prosecution’s petition also accused the pastor of ‘counter-revolutionary conduct and attitudes.’

Pastor Omar Gude Pérez’s wife, Kenia, has informed CSW that false documents and testimonies were presented in court.

“CSW has also received reliable information indicating that more than 20 other church leaders were temporarily arrested and threatened in the last two months. Some were detained just before Pastor Gude Perez’s court hearing in May, indicating an attempt by the authorities to prevent a show of support for the pastor at his hearing,” reported the human rights organization.

“There has been an increase in reported violations of religious liberty since Raul Castro took power in early 2008, and the heavy sentence handed to Pastor Gude Pérez follows a pattern of mounting state hostility towards religious groups. For example, for the past nine months Reverend Roberto Rodriguez, a denominational leader, based in Placetas, has also been subjected to ongoing legal proceedings on trumped up charges. Last week he received a fourth citation commanding him to present himself to the local courts.”

CSW states the legal harassment of Reverend Rodriguez and his family began after the Interdenominational Fellowship of Evangelical Pastors and Ministers in Cuba (Spanish acronym; CIMPEC) withdrew from the Cuban Council of Churches (CCC) in October while under Reverend Rodriguez’s leadership.

CSW further went on to explain that the ‘Apostolic Reformation’ group is comprised of independent self-governing non-denominational churches, and as it is outside of traditionally and officially recognized denominations, the fast-growing group is viewed with suspicion by the government.

Alexa Papadouris, CSW’s Advocacy Director said: “In light of the evidence given by CSW’s partners, we strongly condemn Pastor Omar Gude Pérez’s prison sentence and call on the Cuban Government to immediately investigate and review his case. We urge the Cuban authorities to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and remind them of the protections, in particular religious freedom, laid out in the that document.”

CSW specializes in promoting religious liberty and works on behalf of those persecuted for their Christian beliefs.

For further information or to arrange interviews please contact Theresa Malinowska, Press Officer at Christian Solidarity Worldwide on +44 (0)20 8329 0045 / +44 (0)78 2332 9663, email theresamalinowska(@)csw.org.uk or visit www.csw.org.uk.

Photo: Pastor Omar Gude Pérez. (CSW)

Article originally published by ASSIST News Service. Reported by Michael Ireland.

PBS ban on new religious programs sparks debate

Censorship or just a matter of “brand removal?”
pbs
LA Church & State Examiner: PBS decides now is the time to ban new religious programming

After reviewing a “never enforced” policy, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) has banned member stations from carrying new religious TV programs; the few existing ones can continue, it was announced this week…

FULL STORY

Pentagon Bible Verses: Words of Mass Distribution?

Pentagon briefings during the U.S.-Iraq war during the time of Donald Rumsfeld included cover sheets that “juxtaposed war images with inspirational Bible quotes,” according to a GQ magazine online report.

The GQ story includes a slide show with a series of photos and Bible verses. One “top secret” cover shows photos of soldiers praying and in action on the sands of Iraq and overlaid with the Isaiah 5:28 verse: “Their arrows are sharp, all their bows are strung; their horses’ hoofs seem like flint, their chariot wheels are like a whirlwind.”

READ MORE: LA CHURCH & STATE EXAMINER EXCLUSIVE