In today’s News:
Cash-strapped postal service cancels money-making program
The United States Postal Service (USPS) pulled the plug on a profitable custom stamp program rather than let Americans use religious imagery the cash-strapped agency generated millions of dollars by allowing customers to design their own stamps before eliminating the program in June. Jeremy Dys, special counsel at nonprofit religious freedom law firm First Liberty, said the decision came shortly after several people attempted to create stamps featuring religious backdrops and imagery. Dys criticized USPS —which requested $75 billion from taxpayers in April — for leaving money on the table. A USPS spokesman said that the decision to end the program resulted from the “insignificant” revenue, adding that the program had become an “unacceptable risk” to the service’s brand.
Supreme Court will hear free speech case
Last month, the Supreme Court agreed to take up a case in which a Georgia public college weaponized its speech zone policies to silence a black Christian student who preached the Gospel on campus. While the college has since dropped its speech zone restrictions, the student is seeking damages so the college cannot claim it was in the right to silence him. In the course of defending the college, Georgia Attorney General Christopher M. Carr Briefly argued that preaching of the Gospel constituted “fighting words” and therefore was not protected by the First Amendment. Carr later disavowed this argument.
Turkey converts another Christian landmark into a mosque
A month after the former cathedral Hagia Sophia was converted from a museum into a mosque, another Istanbul church-museum, renowned for its exquisite Byzantine mosaics, will undergo the same transformation. Turkey’s president ordered Friday that the 700-year-old Chora Church — currently the Kariye Museum — be turned into a fully functioning mosque. The building’s history mirrors that of the famous former Byzantine cathedral Hagia Sophia. Holy Savior in Chora is a 4th-century Greek Orthodox church whose structure was originally part of a monastery in Byzantine Constantinople.
Planned Parenthood drops suit
Indiana’s 18-hour ultrasound law will go back into effect on Jan. 1, 2021, as a result of Indiana’s largest abortion chain, Planned Parenthood, conceding it will not win its suit, which has blocked the law since 2017. The ultrasound law, part of the 2016 Dignity for the Unborn Act signed by then-Gov. Mike Pence, requires that women considering abortion be provided the opportunity to view a fetal ultrasound at least 18 hours prior to an abortion. A significant decline in abortions is expected in Indiana as a result of the ultrasound law going back into effect. From July through December 2016, while the ultrasound law was in effect, there were 496 fewer abortions in Indiana compared to the period of July through December 2017, when the ultrasound provision was blocked and abortions spiked to a 13 percent increase.