Cell phone recording of police is ok – says Washington D.C. police chief, Cathy Lanier

We’ve written a number of stories about police officers interfering with citizens who are trying to record the actions of police in public places. In some cases, cops have arrested citizens for making recordings in public. In others, they’ve seized cell phones and deleted the recordings.

The courts and the Obama administration have both said that these activities violate the Constitution. And at least one police department has gotten the message loud and clear.

In a new legal directive first noticed by DCist, Washington DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier explains the constitutional rights of DC citizens and gives her officers detailed instructions for respecting them. She addresses a number of scenarios that have led to controversy in recent years.

“A bystander has the same right to take photographs or make recordings as a member of the media,” Chief Lanier writes. The First Amendment protects the right to record the activities of police officers, not only in public places such as parks and sidewalks, but also in “an individual’s home or business, common areas of public and private facilities and buildings, and any other public or private facility at which the individual has a legal right to be present.”

 

Keep reading: ars technica – DC police chief announces shockingly reasonable cell camera policy

 

Continue reading Cell phone recording of police is ok – says Washington D.C. police chief, Cathy Lanier

The first big controversy in Christianity? Whether Jesus was God or not

I recently listened to a podcast that brought up several interesting ideas about Christianity. The most important of which was a huge debate between Arius and Athanasius in 325 A.D., concerning the “Divinity of Jesus.”

Arius was against saying Jesus was God, while Athanasius believed Jesus definitely was. This debate had been raging for hundreds of years before these men, indeed all the way back to when Jesus was alive.

The reason why these two men come up? Politics. The Emperor of Rome, Constantine, called together all the Christian leaders of the day and asked them to pick one or the other. He hoped to stem the flood of fights and deaths that were occurring over the topic.

They agreed to banish Arius, condemning him as a heretic for his thinking (Jesus was not a God).

Of course, it didn’t work. The next Emperor brought back his ideas, now called Arianism, and condemned and exiled Athanasius.

Which was then followed by several hundred years of constant civil war over the topic.

Eventually the Arians were all killed or exiled and the dominant position became anti-Arian. Fast forward 1,500 years and today we have largely forgotten this debate. We take it for granted that Jesus was God.

But, a few churches persevere, like the Unitarians who “maintain that Jesus was a great man and a prophet of God, perhaps even a supernatural being, but not God himself.”

And, the debate rages on…