Thursday, February 16, 2012Download All Stories
NYC churches get court win, can meet at least 2 more weeks
NEW YORK (BP) -- A federal judge has intervened on behalf of New York churches, issuing a temporary restraining order that allows them to continue meeting for worship in public schools while the court deliberates over the constitutionality of the city's ban.The churches have 'demonstrated irreparable harm and a likelihood of success on the merits of their Free Exercise and Establishment Clause claims.'Judge Loretta Preska of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted the stay, which is in effect for 10 days, because the churches "demonstrated irreparable harm and a likelihood of success on the merits of their Free Exercise and Establishment Clause claims."
-- Federal judge Loretta Preska
Pastors in the city applauded the news, which apparently will give them at least two more Sundays in public schools.
"This is definitely an answer to prayer, and we look forward to future stories of victory with this situation," Ray Parascando, pastor of Crossroads Church in Staten Island, N.Y., told Baptist Press.
"What's going to happen now is that this stay gives churches the ability to be there on Sunday and the 10-day period will give the judge more time to render a more long-term decision that will help churches. It's extremely positive.
"It shows that there are lawmakers and judges that believe in the Constitution and the founders and framers of our country, and it's just exciting to see that there are people who still want to uphold these truths. So I'm really happy about it," Parascando said.'This is about the future of church planting in New York.'The ban on churches using public schools was issued by the New York City Department of Education, which cited a need to protect the minds of "impressionable youth." The Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ban last year, and the Supreme Court declined to act on the case.
--Ray Parascando, New York pastor
The latest legal round involves different First Amendment claims than were examined by the appeals court, says the Alliance Defense Fund, which is representing the churches. Specifically, ADF is arguing that the city's policy amounts to hostility toward churches, a violation of the Free Exercise Clause. The Second Circuit's ruling was based on an examination of the Free Speech and Establishment Clauses, not the Free Exercise Clause.
"(The NYC law) prohibits conduct undertaken for religious reasons," ADF argued in its motion before Preska. "... The effect of the Department's policy is to target religious practices."
Crossroads, a Southern Baptist congregation which met in Public School 52 for more than four years, held what it thought would be its last worship service in that location Feb. 12, joining about 60 churches -- mostly evangelical congregations -- in being evicted from meeting space they rented from the city's schools.
Q&A: A first-century fragment of Mark found?WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) -- Much of the biblical scholarly world has been buzzing since Feb. 1, when a New Testament professor made a claim during a debate that was news to most everyone who heard it -- a first-century fragment of Mark's Gospel may have been found. Read More
Central Asia water project is saving livesCENTRAL ASIA (BP) -- In remote areas of Central Asia, access to clean water is a matter of life and death, especially for children. One humanitarian project supported by Southern Baptists in that region is making steady progress against the deadly scourge of impure water. Read More
Land: Allegiance is owed to God, not gov'tFORT WORTH, Texas (BP) -- Southern Baptist Convention ethicist Richard Land denounced the national health care law for its infringement of religious liberty during a chapel sermon at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Feb. 14. Read More
Huber: Obama budget hostile to abstinence'This breathtaking overreach of executive authority is in clear conflict with legislative guidance.'WASHINGTON (BP) -- Not only does President Obama's proposed 2013 federal budget demonstrate hostility toward the sexual risk avoidance message, but the budget contains an "illegal use of funds" that were intended by Congress for abstinence education, an expert says. Read More
-- Valerie Huber
GuideStone releases 2012 Ministers Tax Guide
DALLAS (BP) -- The 2012 edition of GuideStone's annual Tax Return Preparation and Federal Reporting Guide is now available.
The guide provides active and retired ministers step-by-step help in understanding the latest tax laws, along with sample tax forms to assist them in preparing their 2011 federal tax returns.
The guide was written once again by Richard Hammar, a noted CPA, attorney and published author who specializes in legal and tax issues for ministers. Additionally, the mater... Read More
BIBLE STUDY: Sunday, Feb. 19, 2012
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- This Bible study appears in Baptist Press each week in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curriculum and additional resources for all age groups.
This week's Bible study is adapted from the YOU! curriculum.
Bible Passages: Psalm 19:14; Matthew 12:33-37; Ephesians 4:29
In what situations do you struggle... Read More
FIRST-PERSON: Linsanity, Tebow-mania & the evangelistic witness
Jeremy Lin and Tim Tebow represent an exciting new era of Christian athletes who are unashamed and grounded in the historic faith, says columnist and university professor Bryan Cribb. Read More