The home for a 6-foot-statue known as Big Mountain Jesus rests with a three-judge appeals panel after a lawyer representing a group of atheists asked for it to be removed from U.S. Forest Service property in Montana.

A federal district judge in 2013 said the Flathead National Forest could reissue a 10-year permit for the statue that has stood along a ski run at the Whitefish Mountain Resort since 1954. The judge, Obama appointee Dana Christensen, said no reasonable observer would conclude the Forest Service was endorsing Christianity by permitting a private party to place it on land it leases from the government.

Protesters clash over Confederate flag issue at Phoenix Walmart

Written by The AP Tuesday, 07 July 2015 10:27

Things got noisy outside a west Phoenix Walmart after the company's decision to remove Confederate flag merchandise attracted scores of protesters and counter-protesters.

The Arizona Republic reports that Jon Ritzheimer organized a July 5 protest of Walmart's decision. Ritzheimer is a former Marine who staged a contentious rally outside a Phoenix mosque in May.

Bill Levin

More than 100 people packed a pot-smoking Indianapolis church for a music-filled service without their illegal sacrament yesterday, days after authorities threatened arrests if the congregation lit up during the rites.

UPDATED: Walker weakens gun laws in Wisconsin;
Congress still unlikely to act on gun control

Written by The AP
and WiG reports
Wednesday, 01 July 2015 20:28

The slaughter of nine people in a South Carolina church left prospects that Congress will curb guns right where they’ve been for years — remote.

And, as if to illustrate that, Gov. Scott Walker signed GOP legislation weakening the state’s gun laws on June 24.

Kansas governor issues anti-gay executive order

Written by WiG Wednesday, 08 July 2015 06:28

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has issued an executive order that would allow discrimination against LGBT people, especially those seeking adoptions or other family services from state contractors, based on religion.

The Preservation and Protection of Religious Freedom order prohibits state government from taking action against any "individual clergy or religious leader” or any “religious organization” that chooses not to participate in a marriage that is inconsistent with its sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman.

Minnesota firefighter suspended for flying Confederate flag in parade

Written by The AP Tuesday, 07 July 2015 04:49

A Minnesota volunteer firefighter was suspended on July 5 for flying a Confederate flag from an engine that he drove in a holiday parade, and he said he expects to be asked to resign.

Brian Nielsen, 43, drove a Hartland Fire Department truck in the Third of July Parade in the southern Minnesota city of Albert Lea, the Albert Lea Tribune first reported. Nielsen, who’s been with the department for about 10 years, flew both the Confederate and American flags from the back of the truck. He said neither his town nor his department had anything to do with it.

Not your mascot
Student-led push leads Madison to ban Native American sports team imagery

Written by Lisa Neff,
Staff writer
Thursday, 02 July 2015 10:25

Students returning to class for the 2015-16 term in Madison K-12 schools won’t be sporting Chicago Blackhawks jerseys or Atlanta Braves T-shirts. And not because they lack interest in the fastest game on Earth or they rally behind the Brewers, though that’s likely.

UPDATED: Court upholds tax credits in Obamacare

Written by Lisa Neff,
Staff writer
Wednesday, 01 July 2015 18:33

The Supreme Court on June 25 rejected a conservative effort to sever a major lifeline in the Affordable Care Act — the tax subsidies that help millions of Americans buy health care insurance on the federal exchange.

“The Affordable Care Act is here to stay,” President Barack Obama said in a White House news conference after learning of the court’s 6-3 decision.

Women's World Cup final draws record U.S. TV audience

Written by Reuters Tuesday, 07 July 2015 12:09

The Women's World Cup final between the United States and Japan attracted a record U.S. television soccer audience, while Japanese viewing figures were higher than when they won the tournament in 2011.

The July 5 game, which capped a month-long tournament played in six Canadian cities, was the most watched soccer match of all time in the United States as 25.4 million Americans tuned in to watch their team's 5-2 triumph, FIFA said in a statement.


The sister of alleged Charleston shooter Dylann Roof turned to the Internet for donations after her brother ruined her “dream” wedding.

ONE UNION: Marriage for all in 50 states

Written by Lisa Neff,
Staff writer
Thursday, 02 July 2015 08:04

People celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court ruling during the 46th Annual Chicago Pride Parade on June 28.
— PHOTO: AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

“No union is more profound than marriage,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy in the Supreme Court ruling that cleared the way for same-sex couples to marry in all 50 states.

Dump Trump: Macy's flushes partnership with Donald Trump

Written by From Reuters Wednesday, 01 July 2015 09:40

Department store Macy's Inc.  said on July 1 that it would end its business relationship with Donald Trump, becoming the latest company to sever ties with the real estate developer and TV personality after his comments insulting Latinos.

Macy's said it would phase-out Trump's menswear collection, which includes shirts, ties, cufflinks and suits and have been sold by the department store since 2004.