• Archaeologists working in Jordan have determined that Edom became a complex society as early as the 12th century B.C. This dating supports the biblical claim that King David fought a powerful group of Edomites, descendants of Esau. The excavation turned up arrowheads and hammers among the ruins in Edom's former lowlands. Many archaeologists previously believed that Edom did not become a complex society until the eighth century B.C.

• A federal district judge in Sacramento ruled that "In God We Trust" is a secular national slogan, dismissing a lawsuit by Michael Newdow. The atheist, who earlier gained fame for suing over the Pledge of Allegiance, said the motto violated his First Amendment rights. The judge cited a prior Ninth Circuit Court opinion to uphold the constitutionality of the motto, which has appeared on all U.S. currency since 1955.

InnerChange Freedom Initiative appealed a federal judge's June ruling that the Prison Fellowship program in Iowa is unconstitutional because it uses tax dollars to rehabilitate prisoners with evangelical Christianity. The appeals process suspended the order to disband the program and refund about $1.5 million that Iowa granted the program since 1999. Prisoners represented by Americans United for Separation of Church and State said inmates of other faiths feel uncomfortable participating in the voluntary Bible-based program. Proponents said InnerChange improves inmate behavior and reduces recidivism rates. The federal Bureau of Prisons has temporarily withdrawn a proposal to implement single-faith rehabilitation programs in six federal prisons, according to Prison Fellowship.



Related Elsewhere:

Weblog commented on the archeological discovery and Michael Newdow's suit.

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