States Pass Abortion Restrictions, Crystal Cathedral in the Red, and Other News
Damages reinstated in faith-healing case
In a reversal of an appeals court ruling, the Michigan Supreme Court has awarded more than $200,000 to a woman who was injured during a faith healing rally at a church. Judith Dadd filed the suit after she was injured in a 2002 meeting. Her pastor at Mount Hope Church in Delta Township said Dadd was faking the injuries, but the original jury awarded her more than $300,000, including damages for libel, slander, and false light in 2007. The Michigan Court of Appeals overturned most of the damages, but the state's supreme court reinstated the original jury decision.
Florida mulls lowering church-state wall
Two amendments that would lift Florida's ban on state funding of religious organizations passed the state's House and Senate in April. The amendments allow public agencies to contract for services with religiously affiliated organizations such as soup kitchens and schools; most controversial is a proposal to allow state vouchers for parochial schools. Another bill, which passed a vote in the state's education committee, would allow greater religious expression in schools, including prayer between teachers and students. If approved, the amendments will go on the state's November ballot.
Dissident sentenced, fined for illegal entry
North Korea One month after missionary Robert Park entered North Korea on Christmas Day, Aijalon Mahli Gomes followed his friend's footsteps and entered the country illegally. In April the 30-year-old was sentenced to eight years of hard labor and the equivalent of a $700,000 fine. Gomes, described by friends as a strong Christian, had attended rallies in Seoul in support of Park. Scholars expect the North Korean government to enforce Gomes's punishment in an attempt to crack down on illegal entry.
Court: Blasphemy law will remain
Indonesia Religious freedom observers held their collective breath when Indonesian activists in February got the world's largest Muslim-majority nation to reconsider its blasphemy law. But in April the Constitutional Court voted 81 to uphold the 1965 law, which prohibits deviations from orthodox interpretations of the country's six officially recognized religions: Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Catholicism, Protestantism, and Confucianism. Human rights groups say the law is often used to restrict religious freedom.
ncaa bans messages in eye black
College football players can no longer write messages under their eyes with eye black due to a National Collegiate Athletic Association policy passed in April. University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow has regularly made headlines for sporting Bible references in his eye black, though players have used the space to communicate other messages as well.
Violence in Karnataka 'outdoes Orissa'
India Christians in the southern Indian state of Karnataka have been attacked more than 1,000 times in 500 days, a former judge said after an investigation. Justice Michael Saldanha said the attacks were worse than in Orissa, a state known for anti-Christian pogroms over the past decade. Saldanha said the state government is responsible; Karnataka's home minister said claims of persecution are hyped and "politically motivated." Christians compose 1 million of Karnataka's 52 million residents.
CCM reacts to Knapp coming out
Many Christian retailers and radio stations faced an easy decision when musician Jennifer Knapp announced she is in a committed homosexual relationship; most had not played her music since she stopped recording in 2003. Houston's ksbj radio station dropped Knapp's music some time ago, but its president said he would pull the music if it were on the current playlist. Christian Book Distributors, LifeWay Christian Stores, and other retailers removed her music from their websites.