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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Amanda Casanova

Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
Four megachurch pastors will host a new faith-based talk show on FOX this summer, called “The Preachers.”
The show will feature John Gray, an associate pastor at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas; E. Dewey Smith Jr., senior pastor at The House of Hope Atlanta and The House of Hope Macon; Orrick Quick, pastor and founder of God Seekers Church in High Point, North Carolina, and Jamal Bryant, pastor and founder of Empowerment Temple AME Church in Baltimore, Maryland.
"I think it's an idea whose time has come. In the television landscape, especially with Fox, they gave 'Lucifer' the nighttime show they gave 'Preachers' the daytime show … give us something," Gray told Fox 11.
According to The Christian Post, the show’s executive producer will be Bill Geddie, who was co-creater and executive producer of ABC’s “The View.”
"After 'The View,' I figured I'd never do another panel show, but these preachers knocked me off my feet," said Geddie. "They're not just another set of talking heads yakking about the events of the day; they bring real-world experience as pastors and counselors. They have a unique spiritual take on things, and they're funny as hell ... I mean, heck!"
Smith said the show would tackle topics that the church might not want to talk about.
“Sometimes churches shy away from things that are controversial and we want to play it safe. So on our show, we're gonna keep it real. We're gonna press those topics," he said.
Publication date: May 4, 2016
A member of the U.S. military who was court-martialed for refusing to take down a Bible verse from her desk has argued her case in a federal appeals court.
The Christian Post reports that U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Monifa Sterling had displayed a Bible verse on her desk which read: “No weapons formed against me shall prosper,” which is likely a paraphrase of Isaiah 54:17.
In May of 2013, while stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, Sterling was told to remove the three signs with the Bible verse on them that she had placed on her desk. She refused and was consequently court-martialed.
The Family Research Council’s Travis Weber told The Christian Post that Sterling should win the case because of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
“While the military has unique needs which sometimes require holding there is a compelling interest justifying a substantial burden on the religious exercise, this case is not one of them," said Weber.
"Religious exercise must be protected as a right, but we also must remember that this exercise itself aids the military in its larger needs, for the faith of individual service members which allows them to face danger and death only strengthens the military as a fighting force,” he continued.
A brief filed on behalf of Sterling by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty said that the U.S. military commanders had unlawfully singled out religious speech for censorship, violating freedom of religion.
"I hope the court rules in favor of the religious claim. Sometimes, religious exercise is pitted against the needs of the military. But I don't think this is one of those cases," said Weber.
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Publication date: May 4, 2016
Ohio governor and Republican presidential candidate John Kasich has officially dropped out of the race, leaving Donald Trump as the only Republican candidate in a once crowded field.
The New York Times reports that, though trailing throughout the race, Kasich finally decided to end his presidential bid after Trump won a landslide victory in Indiana on Tuesday (May 3).
In a last desperate effort to stop Trump from winning the nomination, Kasich and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz agreed to combine their efforts. Kasich agreed to not compete with Cruz in Indiana if Cruz would not compete with Kasich in Oregon and New Mexico.
The seemingly unstoppable Trump, however, won a decisive victory in Indiana, causing Kasich to drop out of the race, following Cruz’s decision to end his presidential bid Tuesday evening.
Kasich was running as the moderate Republican amidst the so-called anti-establishment candidates Trump and Cruz.
Although he portrayed himself as the adult among the originally crowded Republican field, often referred to his success in restoring Ohio’s economy, and rarely resorted to attacking his opponents or utilizing negative campaigning, Kasich was not able to gain the traction he needed.
Although behind on delegates, Kasich was hoping to hold on and wait for a contested convention in June, but Trump’s victory in Indiana was the deciding factor in his decision to end his campaign. 
Publication date: May 4, 2016