September 2, 2014
WASHINGTON (BP) -- A diverse coalition of church and synagogue leaders has penned a letter to congressional leaders asking them to renew support for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

"Congress has never passed legislation with the specific purpose of reducing Americans' religious freedom."--Christian, Jewish leaders tell congressional leaders
Citing the Supreme Court's ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, Russell D. Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and other leaders from around the country expressed concern that the 1993 law guaranteeing religious rights from overt government intrusion may soon come under attack because of its role in the June 30 landmark case.

In the letter addressed to Speaker of the House John Boehner, R.-Ohio, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D.-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D.-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R.-Ky., the signatories asked congressional leaders to stand firm against efforts to "amend or repeal RFRA, one of our nation's most vital legal protections for the religious freedom and rights of conscience of every person of every faith."

"Changing RFRA because some disagree with one particular application of the law would set a dark precedent by undermining the fundamental principle of religious freedom for all, even for those whose religious beliefs may be unpopular at the moment. Congress has never passed legislation with the specific purpose of reducing Americans' religious freedom. It should not consider doing so now," the letter reads.

The Supreme Court, in its ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby, Mardel and Conestoga Wood Specialties, held that RFRA allows "closely-held" or family owned companies to establish administrative policies and business practices in line with their religious convictions.

In this case, those beliefs caused the Green and Hahn families, owners of the three businesses, to resist federal mandates in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to provide abortion-inducing contraceptives in their health insurance plans. Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the opinion for the majority, noted this is precisely the scenario for which RFRA was designed. Read More
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (BP) -- Two New Mexico scientists have alleged that a government-owned museum used tax money to denigrate religion and promote atheism at its annual Darwin Day celebration without giving believers in God an opportunity to present their case. Read More
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NASHVILLE (BP) -- Four young Southern Baptists are among Christianity Today's "33 Under 33," a list of 33 millennial Christians featured in the magazine's most recent cover story who are shaping the church and culture. Read More
Pro-gay pastor attends White House event
WASHINGTON (BP) -- The Los Angeles-area Baptist pastor whose church split after he announced he no longer believes all homosexual acts are sinful was President Obama's guest at the White House LGBT Pride Month reception Monday (June 30). Read More
Iorg to seminary grads:'Stay humble'
MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP) -- Ministers must work hard but realize that God alone opens and closes doors for serving Christ, Jeff Iorg, president of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, said in spring commencement. Read More
2nd VIEW: Supreme Court finds in favor of Hobby Lobby; Baptists rejoice
WASHINGTON (BP) -- The Supreme Court on Monday (June 30) struck down a key mandate of the Affordable Care Act, ruling for the first time "closely held" companies may exercise their religious opinions and conscientiously object to providing abortion-inducing contraceptives to employees through their health insurance plans. Read More
First Person
Ed Stetzer
FIRST-PERSON: Hobby Lobby, going forward
LifeWay Research Executive Director Ed Stetzer suggests Christians should move forward from the Supreme Courtís Hobby Lobby decision in prayer and on mission, making full use of the freedoms that Americans still possess.

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