November 5, 2013 |
In a move sure to please religious conservatives, President Obama's Justice Department filed a brief in the Supreme Court in favor of allowing overtly Christian prayers before city council meetings. It's an inexplicable move, and it's one more befitting a Republican administration than one headed by a Democrat and a constitutional scholar. The case is Town of Greece vs. Galloway, and it's set to be argued in the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Greece is a suburb of Rochester, N.Y. Until 1999, its Town Board opened meetings with a moment of silence - a practice that excludes no one. But then Town Supervisor John Auberger initiated a policy change, and the town began inviting clergy to open meetings with a prayer.
November 2, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - When Susan Galloway, who is Jewish, and Linda Stephens, an atheist, complained about the Christian prayers at town board meetings in Greece, N.Y., they were told they could "leave the room or just not listen," Galloway said. "We felt like outcasts," Galloway said. "We are not Christians, but we wanted to be at the meetings. When the minister was at the podium, it felt like a pulpit. " On Wednesday the U.S. Supreme Court will hear an appeal of a lower court decision in their favor in a case that could lead to a significant shift in law separating church and state and free city councils to open their meetings with explicitly Christian prayers.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 27, 2013 |
Whenever she has bad news for a family at the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center emergency room, Gabriela Perez says a little prayer to herself before stepping through the door. A devout Roman Catholic nicknamed "Mother Teresa" by her co-workers, Perez became a nurse practitioner 27 years ago to serve her community and those in need. It's more than a job, she said. Serving the needy is deeply intertwined with her faith. Perez attended the White Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on Sunday afternoon to pray for her patients and for others in the healthcare profession.
October 18, 2013 |
Singer Austin Mahone was hospitalized this week for what is being reported as a blood clot, extremely high fever and inflammation, according to several reports. The YouTube sensation, who spent his summer touring with pop crooners Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran, had a 104-degree fever when he was hospitalized Thursday morning and is being treated for a blood clot, "extreme inflammation" in his throat, and severe dehydration, his rep told E! News and TMZ. There is no word on what caused the emergency, TMZ said . PHOTOS: Musicians' onstage snafus The "What About Love" singer shared a photo of himself Thursday in a hospital gown and hooked up to a an IV. "I've never felt so bad," the 17-year-old wrote . The illness also caused the postponement of his MTV Artist to Watch Presents tour to 2014, following the postponement of his Miami and Orlando shows earlier this week.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 30, 2013 |
Activist attorney Leonard J. Kerpelman, best known for representing atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair in the landmark 1963 Supreme Court case that outlawed prayer in public schools, died Thursday at a Baltimore hospital of complications from a tumor. He was 88. He took on numerous often unpopular causes during his long career that ended in disbarment in 1989, in part for disrupting a judicial hearing. And he was known as a colorful figure in Baltimore, driving a 1948 Cadillac and at times jumping into public fountains.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 16, 2013 |
There is no mass shooting devastating enough, disgusting enough or shocking enough that the U.S. Congress would be moved to enact reasonable gun legislation like the measures proposed in April by President Obama after 20 first-graders were mowed down last year in Newtown, Conn. And there never will be. Monday, another mass shooting took place in America. It's still unclear how many in total have died, but according to officials, as least 12 people were shot to death at the Navy Yard, the oldest naval base in the country, in a gentrified part of Washington, D.C. Authorities identified the gunman as Aaron Alexis, a 34-year-old African American man who worked as a civilian contractor at the site and was wearing military-style clothing. The conservative columnist David Frumbrought down a Twitter load of outrage on his head when he tweeted to his 96,000 followers, shortly after after the Navy Yard shootings, five rules about mass shootings.
August 27, 2013 |
JERUSALEM -- The completion of a new prayer area at the Western Wall, where men and women of all denominations can worship together, is drawing criticism from female activists who describe the arrangement as anything but inclusive. The area consists of a raised platform located just south of the main plaza and the Orthodox Jewish prayer sections, which are segregated by gender. Minister Naftali Bennett, who is in charge of religious services, said Sunday that the prayer section will offer unity and peace at the wall, which he said "belongs to all Jews in the world, and not one stream or another.
August 19, 2013 |
In what could be its most significant church-state case in decades, the Supreme Court will decide whether official prayers at government meetings that overwhelmingly favor one religion violate the 1st Amendment. Although the case involves a town in New York, not the federal government, the Obama administration has filed a "friend of the court" brief that is distinctly unfriendly to the separation of church and state. According to Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr., the town council of Greece, N.Y., did not engage in an unconstitutional establishment of religion "merely because most prayer-givers are Christian and many or most of their prayers contain sectarian references.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 14, 2013 |
A long-running legal dispute over the use of a Hancock Park home as an Orthodox Jewish prayer house ended Wednesday with the city of Los Angeles agreeing to pay $950,000 in attorney fees and costs to settle the case. The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to pay lawyers representing Congregation Etz Chaim in the case involving a residential property at 3 rd Street and Highland Avenue. Synagogue leaders sued the city in 2010, challenging its denial of a conditional use permit to use the enlarged home as a religious sanctuary.
August 11, 2013
Re "White House takes GOP side on church-state cases," Aug. 9 Letting someone open a town council's meeting with a prayer doesn't amount to government endorsement of his religion? As an attorney, I feel that any court inclined to uphold such prayer should consider these questions: Will the council abide prayers reflecting the full variety of beliefs held by the town's residents? Are such prayers to be allotted pro-rata, per the adherents' respective populations? If the town's religious plurality shifts, say, from Christian to Islamic, will imams then supplant pastors?