- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 9, 2014

An Indiana woman is suing a state trooper who gave her one warning for speeding and another for her soul.

Court papers filed on behalf of Huntington County, Indiana, resident Ellen Bogan claims her First and Fourth Amendment rights were violated when Indiana State Police Trooper Brian Hamilton asked “among other things, if she had accepted Jesus Christ as her savior and presented her with a pamphlet that informed the reader that he or she is a sinner.”

Court documents state that Ms. Bogan was pulled over in August by Trooper Hamilton, in uniform, who gave her a warning for speeding and then requested her permission to ask a personal question.

Trooper Hamilton then asked Ms. Bogan whether she had accepted Jesus as her savior and whether she belonged to a home church, and presented her with a brochure from the First Baptist Church in Cambridge City, Indiana, which included a notice about a radio broadcast titled “Policing for Jesus Ministries.”

A spokesman with the State Police told The Indianapolis Star that the agency had received notice of the lawsuit but did not comment on pending litigation.

Divine dining

Dana Parris had given just about everything in her life to God — all except the cash register at her diner, Just Cookin.

That changed this month when Ms. Parris decided to scrap her price list and let customers pay what they wanted, an exercise in her faith and human decency.

“My husband and I have strong faith and I thought that I had just turned over everything to [God],” Ms. Parris said in a phone call during the lunch rush Thursday. “He kept saying, ‘Give me control.’ I’d never given him control of the cash register. I finally said, ‘OK, you got it.’”

On Sept. 29, Ms. Parris put up signs announcing a “What Are We Worth” week, allowing customers to pay what they thought their meal was worth.

“We came back in on Tuesday morning and we had triple the people,” Ms. Parris said. “We were just going to do it until last Saturday, but we kept it going. I [feel] like God wants us to keep it going. The Bible calls us to be disciples. If this is a way to be a disciple, help get his message out there. It’s good to do it.”

Vegan Eden

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has asked the designers of the Museum of the Bible to keep things godly, even in the cafeteria.

Sarah Withrow King, PETA’s director of Christian outreach and engagement, requests in a letter that the museum serve exclusively vegan food as “an important example of true compassion for all of God’s creatures.”

“Vegan meals are a sustainable, easy way to foster a world ‘on earth as it is in heaven,’” Ms. King wrote. “The Bible is clear: A vegan diet is a Kingdom diet.”

The museum is the creation of Hobby Lobby President Steve Green, and will house thousands of biblical artifacts that are part of the vast Green Collection. It is taking over the former Washington Design Center and is set to open in fall 2017.

Pass fail

A high school world history project ruffled feathers because the directions led a parent to assume the school was pushing an Islamic agenda.

Officials with Jenison High School in Jenison, Michigan, said the project “was to cover the five major world religions Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam.”

But Jennette Hall, a student’s mother, took to Facebook to complain about the assignment when she thought her daughter was instructed to make a pamphlet for third-grade students, The Huffington Post reported.

“This assignment upset me because they are presenting Allah as the same God of the Christians and Jews,” Ms. Hall wrote. “This paper, in my opinion, is promoting Islam by describing Allah’s names as ‘beautiful.’ To me this is not simply factual like it should be.”

Speaking to Fox 17 in Western Michigan, school Principal Brandon Graham said the directions were to ensure students created work that was easy to understand and would not be used for proselytizing grade-school students.

Meredith Somers covers religion and faith issues for The Washington Times.

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