Postal Hike for Nonprofits Eyed, Pro-Life Group Scrutinized, and More News
NYC, SF suspicious of pro-life advertising
San Francisco officials are proposing a bill to make it illegal for city crisis-pregnancy centers to advertise services falsely. And the city attorney asked local center First Resort to state clearly in its ads that the organization does not perform or refer abortion services. A federal judge recently barred a similar New York City ordinance, saying the ordinance was overly broad.
Court: City can't refuse church permit
City officials cannot impose zoning restrictions on religious organizations that do not apply to others, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled. Centro Familiar Cristiano Buenas Nuevas had requested a permit to open a church in an old department store in downtown Yuma, Arizona. The city denied the request, saying it needed to revitalize the historic district for restaurants and other entertainments that would require liquor licenses. But state law forbids selling liquor in a 300-foot radius around a house of worship. The court stipulated that in such an entertainment area, city officials could overrule the liquor restriction.
Debate over cash crops
ZIMBABWE Church leaders are debating the ethics of raising lucrative tobacco crops. One farmer tithed USD $600,000 from his $6 million crop, and national church leaders wondered aloud whether to accept the gift. Some denominations, such as the Seventh-day Adventists, do not allow members to raise tobacco; others are conflicted. The national director for evangelism of the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, Josias Mudenda, said he would not encourage tobacco growing because of the health risks associated with smoking.
Crosses annoy neighbors
SOUTH KOREA Some church neighbors complain that the light from tens of thousands of red neon crosses topping churches across the country is a nuisance, but the government's hands are tied. Church leaders say the crosses, which often stay lit until midnight, are a sign of Christian hope ("like a . . . lighthouse for passing ships in the dark," said one). Neighbors who live near such a cross say the glaring light makes it difficult to sleep. New legislation limits light pollution by mandating an 11 P.M. shutoff for outdoor lights, but the government excluded religious signs from regulation in 2008.
Ex-gang members seek permission to evangelize
Four alleged members of the Latin Kings in Elgin, Illinois, are asking to be removed from a lawsuit barring gang members from meeting in public. The four men say they are now Christians who have left the gang or were never members. They also want to talk with current Latin Kings about Christianity in order to lead them out of the gang. The Kane County state's attorney office filed suit against 81 alleged Latin Kings in September, attempting to weaken the group.
Chaplain suit gains numbers
A 12-year-old court case alleging discrimination against 65 U.S. Navy chaplains may finally move forward, thanks to new statistics. It alleges that evangelical Navy chaplains are denied promotions because of their denomination. The statistics indicate that under the eight chiefs of chaplains from 1981 to 2001, 83 percent of candidates who shared the chief's denomination were promoted to commander, compared with only 73 percent of those from other denominations.