JesusA federal appeals court has ruled against a county board in North Carolina over its tradition of opening meetings with mostly Christian prayers. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, ruled in favor of two residents of Forsyth County after the county’s Board of Commissioners allowed an invocation at a December 17, 2007 meeting in which a local pastor “thanked God for allowing the birth of his son to forgive us for our sins and closed by making the prayer in the name of Jesus,” reported the Associated Press.

On July 27, Education Secretary Arne Duncan reiterated an earlier request for a 13.3-percent budget increase over 2011, which would bring Education Department spending to one-fifth higher than 2010 levels. Amid congressional arguments over reducing the nation’s debt and raising the debt ceiling, Duncan justified his stance by explaining: “You can’t sacrifice the future to pay for the present.”

homosexual weddingA conservative religious group has filed suit against the state of New York for its new legislation legalizing homosexual “marriage,” which Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law on June 24.

A recent Gallup poll on abortion laws passed in state legislatures across the nation found that, for the most part, Americans favor measures that make various restrictions on the procedure. But the survey also found that a majority of Americans do not necessarily favor laws that allow healthcare providers to opt out of providing abortion medication or procedures or laws that bar government funding for abortion providers.

World renowned evangelical Christian leader John R.W. Stott died July 27 at his home in London. He was 90 years old. “Stott, considered one of the greatest evangelical thinkers of the 20th century, led an evangelical resurgence in England in the 1960s and 1970s,” reported CBN News. “He influenced Christians worldwide through his preaching and writings,” including authoring 50 books on a variety of topics of interest to evangelicals and the church at large.