Falwell Wins, So Do Pornographers: Courts top the news

Falwell Wins, So Do Pornographers: Courts top the news

In Today's Edition:
  • Court Rules In Favor of Rev. Jerry Falwell
  • Supreme Court Gives Green Light to Pornographers
  • Chinese Pastor Arrested Again
  • Counter-Protesters Say 'Zionism' to Blame for Mid-East Violence
  • Other Headlines at a Glance

Court Rules In Favor of Rev. Jerry Falwell ... The Rev. Jerry Falwell has won half his battle to build a new 12,000-seat sanctuary for Thomas Road Baptist Church, which is located in Lynchburg, Va. A federal court has ruled that Virginia's 200 year-old Constitution, which barred churches from incorporating, violates the United States Constitution. Attorneys Mathew D. Staver and Jerry Falwell, Jr. of Liberty Counsel, a civil liberties public interest law firm, represented Falwell in the case.

The pastor filed suit in federal court in November challenging the ban on church incorporation, and a second state law, limiting the amount of land and personal property a church can own. That law limits to 15 acres the amount of land a church can own in a city or town. Churches are permitted to own up to 250 acres of land in a county. Falwell is seeking to overturn the limits so he can construct a new facility across from Liberty University, which he also owns.

Attorney Staver noted, "The decision by a federal court to strike down Virginia's constitution, which barred churches from incorporating, is historic. For over 200 years, churches in Virginia have faced unabashed discrimination by the Commonwealth. Virginia's constitution targeted churches, and placed a disability on churches not placed on any other person or group.

Supreme Court Decision On "Virtual" Porn Gives Pornographers Green Light ... The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday struck down as "unconstitutional" provisions of the Child Pornography Prevention Act (CPPA) - a law that bans "virtual" child porn. According to the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), the ruling gives pornographers the green light to engage in Internet porn and fails to close a legal loophole at the expense of children. The ACLJ represented 18 members of Congress in a friend-of-the-court brief urging the Supreme Court to uphold the constitutionality of the law.

According to ACLJ, when Congress passed the CPPA, the law expanded a long-standing ban on child porn to prohibit any image that "appears to be" or "conveys the impression" of someone under the age of 18 engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The law targeted computer technologies that can be used to alter an innocent picture of a child into a depiction of a child engaged in sex.

The ACLJ also has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in Ashcroft v. ACLU, a case involving a 1998 law - the Child Online Protection Act - a law that makes it a crime to knowingly place objectionable material where a child could find it on the Internet. A decision by the Supreme Court could come at any time in that case.

Chinese Pastor Arrested Again ... The Voice of the Martyrs has learned that Pastor Li Dexian, a well-known house church leader in China's Guangdong Province, has once again been arrested for preaching the gospel. The arrest came April 11 in Hua Du.

Witnesses said representatives of the Public Security Bureau (PSB) descended on an evangelistic meeting and began shouting that the service was an illegal gathering. The Christians had not petitioned the government for permission to gather for the house church meeting. Pastor Li, his wife, Zhao Xia, and four other church members were apprehended and taken to the local police station for questioning.

Police questioned Li and the five others for several hours and then released all of the Christians except Li. Pastor Li is expected to be held at least until April 25th - the mandatory period that he can be detained without charge. Li has been arrested at least 20 times during the past three years, according to Voice of the Martyrs.

Protesters Say 'Zionism' to Blame for Middle East Violence ...A group of Orthodox Jews joined with several Palestinian Muslim women in the nation's capital Monday to protest Israel's behavior in the Middle-East crisis, reports CNS News. Rabbi Yisrael Dovid Weiss, an Orthodox rabbi, said the group wanted to "proclaim to the world that this tremendous rally that is supposedly representing Judaism is false."

According to CNS, Weiss argued, "God forbade the Jewish people from establishing their own state, and that the creation of a Jewish state is reserved for the Messiah." Weiss also said it was possible for the Jews to live peacefully with the Arabs if "Zionists" would quit causing trouble. "It is false to say that we cannot live peacefully," he told CNS.

"All the anti-Semitism, all the bombers and everything, is a direct cause of Zionism. Every drop of bloodshed, whether it be Palestinians, whether it be Jewish, is totally a direct cause of Zionism," Weiss said.

Other Headlines at a Glance: