US Soldier tormented for “Muslim” name: News Roundup

In the news this week: a US Soldier is tormented for "Muslim sounding name," Haredi-secular relations in Israel are tense, and other news stories.

Hosan is not a Muslim – she's a Catholic. But her name sounded Islamic to fellow U.S. soldiers in Iraq, and they would taunt her, calling her "Sgt. Hussein" and asking what God she prayed to.

So before deploying to Afghanistan last year for her second war tour, she legally changed her name – to Naida Christian Nova.

This did not solve her problems. Instead, matters escalated.  Huffington Post

Israel’s Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein dropped a bomb in the realm of Haredi-secular relations on Wednesday, when he instructed government ministers in a sharply-worded statement to immediately stop the exclusion of women in the areas under their authority.

At the end of several meetings in his office, Weinstein adopted the recommendations of a report by the team led by Sarit Dana, outgoing deputy attorney general in charge of civil affairs, that boldly calls for an end to discrimination in every area of public policy.

Weinstein explicitly ordered Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat, Communications Minister Gilad Erdan, Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar, Religious Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett, Health Minister Yael German and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz to eliminate the exclusion of women from the public sphere.  Jewish Daily Forward

When Peter Sprigg speaks publicly about his opposition to homosexuality, something odd often happens.

During his speeches, people raise their hands to challenge his assertions that the Bible condemns homosexuality, but no Christians speak out to defend him.

“But after it is over, they will come over to talk to me and whisper in my ear, ‘I agree with everything you said,’" says Sprigg, a spokesman for The Family Research Council, a powerful, conservative Christian lobbying group.  CNN

Controversy over whether or not prayer would be a part of an Arkansas elementary school's graduation may have led school officials to simply cancel the district's sixth-grade ceremonies altogether.

The Riverside School District in Lake City has canceled this year's sixth-grade graduation ceremonies at East and West Elementary schools after an anonymous complaint was made, according to local ABC affiliate KAIT.

However, no one seems happy with the decision.  Huffington Post

And updating a story from the fall of 2012, a Texas court judge ruled today that the signs displayed by high school cheerleaders quoting biblical verses were "constitutionally permissible," and that the Kountze High School cheerleaders could continue to display them at the school's football games.

In his ruling, State District Judge Steve Thomas said that no law "prohibits cheerleaders from using religious-themed banners at school sporting events.

"The evidence in this case confirms that religion messages expressed on run-through banners have not created, and will not create, an establishment of religion in the Kountze community."  ABC News