Officials in North Carolina have until Monday to tell the federal government that they will “not comply with or implement” the state’s controversial “HB2” law, which, among other things, says that anyone using restrooms in public buildings, must only use the ones associated with the gender on their birth certificate.
According to the Justice Department’s ruling, HB2 violates both the U.S. Civil Rights Act and Title IX, both on the grounds of anti-discrimination protection. If North Carolina refuses to adhere to the DOJ’s letter, there could be huge implications for the state. According toThe Charlotte Observer, North Carolina could lose more than $2 billion in federal education funding. Discuss
In a set of strange circumstances, four Christian Orthodox churches were burned this past Sunday—the day Orthodox churches celebrate Easter. Authorities in Australia are investigating the causes of two church fires in the country. Both of the church buildings (one in Melbourne and the other in Sydney) served congregations for more than century. Manhattan’s Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, which was built in 1850, was also destroyed by a fire on Sunday.
Though the FDNY told The New York Post that the circumstances of the fire don’t immediately appear suspicious, church members are reportedly concerned the fires are part of coordinated arson attacks on Orthodox congregations. As The Post notes, tensions have arisen after some Orthodox leaders recently moved to block the canonization of a Croatian cardinal, who was also reportedly a Nazi supporter.
Dušan T. Bataković, the director of the Institute for Balkan Studies in Belgrade, told the paper,
Too many churches have burned to call it an accident. It is very strange that it happened, that the fires all took place on Easter, the greatest Christian Orthodox holiday. Some kind of terrorist action cannot be excluded.
In addition to the fires in Australia and New York, another historic Orthodox church was burned in Russia on the same day. Discuss
For the first time ever, a woman has become a U.S. Army Infantry Officer. Over the summer, Captain Kristen Griest became the first woman to graduate from the military’s grueling Ranger School, putting her in an extremely elite class of soldiers. The Army expects her to take over command of her infantry unit sometime by the summer of 2017. Back in December, the military removed limitations based on gender, which made women ineligible to serve as infantry soldiers. At the time, Acting Army Secretary Patrick Murphy, told The Army Times, “We’re not going to turn our back on 50 percent of the population. We are opening up every occupation to women. I think that’s pretty historic.” Discuss
Last night, Donald Trump won primaries in five states, sweeping the latest Super Tuesday. This means, as Buzzfeed points out, it is now mathematically impossible for fellow GOP hopeful Ted Cruz to win the amount of delegates needed to secure the nomination. Addressing reporters and supporters last night, Trump said, “I consider myself the presumptive nominee.”
Though it’s not possible for Cruz to win the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the nomination—and avoid a contested convention—it’s still technically possible that he could prevent Trump from doing so. Though, looking at the numbers, that seems increasingly unlikely. Trump currently has secured 1,049 delegates (Cruz has just 560), and 502 are still in play.
The Democratic race remains closer, but Hillary Clinton still maintains a commanding lead over Bernie Sanders. In a statement last night, Sanders told supporters that he was staying int the race:
The people in every state in this country should have the right to determine who they want as president and what the agenda of the Democratic Party should be. That’s why we are in this race until the last vote is cast. That is why this campaign is going to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia with as many delegates as possible to fight for a progressive party platform …
Officials in Utah are taking a public stand against pornography. Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert said he will sign two new pieces of legislation aimed at the porn industry. The first labels porn "a public health hazard leading to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms,” adding that it "equates violence toward women and children with sex and pain with pleasure, which increases the demand for sex trafficking, prostitution, child sexual abuse images, and child pornography.” However, despite the strong language, the new resolution doesn’t have any enforcement or banning mechanisms, and is meant as a public awareness message.
The second piece of legislation is specifically aimed at people who view and own child pornography. It says that technicians must report to law enforcement any time they find child porn on the job, and that Internet service providers will not be criminally liable if proper reports are made to police. Discuss
Here’s one of the most powerful real-life stories you’ll see this week. CBS Evening Newsrecently did a profile on Jameel McGee, a man who spent four years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. In 2005, he was approached by a police officer named Andrew Collins and was arrested for dealing drugs—a charge that was completely fabricated. As Collins explained to CBS, “I falsified the report. Basically, at the start of that day, I was going to make sure I had another drug arrest."
Years later, Collins was caught falsifying reports and went to prison himself, and the innocent man he’d put away was exonerated. That’s when an unlikely friendship blossomed. Both of the men ended up working at a Christian-based store and cafe called Mosaic, where Collins asked for forgiveness. McGee accepted the apology, and today, they’re actually close friends. McGee said that the act of forgiveness is an example of Christ’s love which he hopes will inspire others.
Now, both men give speeches about the power of forgiveness and the Gospel’s message of redemption. Discuss