Mosul Christian exodus, military religious freedom, and a fight to talk Jesus at a high school graduation…The Scrooge Report is following these stories:
Flight of Christians in north Iraq eases
MOSUL, Iraq (AFP) — The flight of Christians from their homes in Mosul has been stemmed after police reinforcements took up positions in the troubled northern Iraqi city, a local official said on Monday.
Jaweat Ismael, chief of the city’s bureau of displaced people, said there was “no new wave of displacements” on Monday.
Over the past few days, thousands of Christians fled their homes in a city considered by US and Iraqi commanders to be the nation’s most dangerous and a last stronghold of Al-Qaeda…(read more)
Atheist soldier to leave Army, drops religion suit
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An atheist soldier who accused U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the Defense Department of violating his religious freedom dropped the lawsuit Friday, citing his plans to leave the Army next spring.
But the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which filed the suit in 2007 with Pfc. Jeremy Hall, still plans to pursue allegations of widespread religious discrimination within the military in a separate lawsuit it filed with a second atheist soldier.
Attorneys for Hall filed papers Friday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., to dismiss the case, said Mikey Weinstein, head of the foundation.
Hall and the foundation sued over Hall’s claims that a major prevented him from holding an atheist meeting while deployed in Iraq. That officer denied the allegation.
Dropping the lawsuit avoids a fight over whether Hall has standing to sue if he is no longer in the Army, which he plans to leave in 2009, Weinstein said.
“He broke the barrier for us to have more people come forward,” Weinstein said of Hall. “He served as a shining light that attracted all the other potential witnesses.”...(read more)
High School grad appeals over Jesus graduation speech
DENVER, Colorado (The Denver Post) — A Lewis-Palmer High School student who was told she must apologize for mentioning Jesus in a valedictorian speech or not receive a diploma is appealing a federal court decision rejecting her request for an injunction against the school.
Erica Corder has filed an appeal with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals after a Denver district court judge dismissed her suit earlier this year.
Corder is seeking a declaration that the school violated her First Amendment rights and an injunction against the school preventing similar acts, said Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel, which filed a federal suit against the school district in 2007.
A judge summarily dismissed her suit, finding that the district can limit what students say in a school setting, said Robin Adair, spokeswoman for the Lewis-Palmer School District.
“School sponsored speech has restrictions,” Adair said. “That’s what the judge upheld when he dismissed the suit.”
At her 2006 graduation, Corder spoke about her Christian faith during a 30-second message at the Monument high school, Staver said.
Corder was one of 15 valedictorians.
“For more than two years, she has been the subject of criticism because the school continues to portray her as a student who engaged in improper conduct for mentioning Jesus Christ during a graduation speech,” said Staver, who is the dean of Liberty University School of Law in Lynchburg, Va….(read more)