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Stories tagged with: religious freedom

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  • Int'l Religious Freedom Act marks 20 years of impact

    by Tom Strode, posted Tuesday, November 06, 2018 (one month ago)

    WASHINGTON (BP) -- The International Religious Freedom Act addressed a serious shortcoming in American foreign policy, the law's advocates said at the 20-year mark of its stand against religious persecution.

    The legislation, promoted by many evangelical Christian and other religious leaders, became law with President Clinton's signature on Oct. 27, 1998, and its effect has been widespread. The International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) established mechanisms within the State Department and an independent commission that have raised the visibility of freedom of belief and conscience in U.S. relationships with other countries. Read More

  • Bibles, joy visible in schools across U.S. Oct. 4

    by Diana Chandler, posted Friday, October 05, 2018 (2 months ago)

    COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (BP) -- Students rallied behind the Bible and the joy of Scripture in social media posts Oct. 4, as a projected half-million or more students participated in Bring Your Bible to School Day.

    Focus on the Family's (FOTF) fifth annual event drew smiles and encouragement from students and parents in a diversity of grade levels, schools and Christian communities on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, including public, private, parochial and trade schools as well as homeschool communities.

    -- "We shared goody bags with the class filled with bookmarks, Scripture and candy. So thankful for the freedom we have to share our faith! This was our 4th year participating in this ministry by sharing the love of Jesus," a member of First Baptist Church of Somerville, Tenn., said on Facebook of a local school. Read More

  • U.S. students urged to take Bibles to school Oct. 4

    by Diana Chandler, posted Tuesday, October 02, 2018 (2 months ago)

    COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (BP) -- The freedom to distribute Bibles in schools and discuss Scripture openly with fellow students is being celebrated nationwide Oct. 4 at the fifth annual Bring Your Bible to School Day.

    The Focus on the Family (FOTF) event founded in 2014 is on track for its largest participation to date, founder Candi Cushman told Baptist Press today (Oct. 2).

    "We'll definitely exceed half a million participants, but it's hard to measure and predict exact numbers because lots of kids wait until the last moment to sign up and join the movement," said Cushman, FOTF director of education issues. "In addition to public school students in every state in the nation, we also have involvement from many kids in private schools and homeschooling communities who choose to do special events or distribute Bibles in their communities as a way of showing support. We welcome all of them." Read More

  • UN accuses Myanmar military of Rohingya genocide

    by Diana Chandler, posted Tuesday, August 28, 2018 (3 months ago)

    Photo by Roger Arnold/UNHCR
    GENEVA (BP) -- Murder, rape, enslavement and other crimes against Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims necessitate the country's military leaders be charged with genocide, the United Nations said Aug. 27.

    "Criminal investigation and prosecution is warranted, focusing on the top Tatmadaw generals, in relation to the three categories of crimes under international law," the U.N. said in a special report, accusing the generals of "genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes." Read More

  • Army chaplain Squires cleared of all charges

    by Brandon Elrod, posted Friday, August 24, 2018 (3 months ago)

    NAMB Photo
    FORT BRAGG, N.C. (BP) -- The U.S. Army has dropped its investigation against Southern Baptist chaplain Jerry Scott Squires, fully exonerating the major of all charges today (Aug. 24).

    Squires, who had been charged with discrimination against a lesbian soldier who wanted to attend a marriage retreat, handled the situation in accordance with military policy and followed the guidelines of his denominational authority, the Army said.

    "This is great news for both Chaplain Squires and all of the military chaplains who are serving our men and women the U.S. Armed Services," said Gen. Douglas Carver, executive director of chaplaincy at the North American Mission Board (NAMB). "It is a significant victory for all who support and defend the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, especially regarding the freedom of religion." Read More

  • Case against Army chaplain called 'anti-religious'

    by Diana Chandler, posted Monday, August 13, 2018 (4 months ago)

    BP file photo.
    FORT BRAGG, N.C. (BP) -- A U.S. Army investigator ignored key evidence in saying a Southern Baptist chaplain was derelict in his duties for rescheduling a marriage retreat to accommodate a lesbian couple, the chaplain's attorney said.

    Army Chaplain Jerry Scott Squires refused to conduct a Strong Bonds marriage retreat because a lesbian officer planned to attend, the investigating officer identified as Major Ford said at the close of an extended investigation.

    Squires is endorsed by the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board ... Read More

  • Religious liberty: Int'l conf. seen as key advance

    by Tom Strode, posted Monday, July 30, 2018 (4 months ago)

    State Department photo/Public Domain
    WASHINGTON (BP) -- Religious liberty advocates drew hope from a first-ever international gathering of government officials, civil society representatives and faith leaders to promote the freedom of all people to practice their beliefs.

    The U.S. State Department convened the inaugural Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom July 24-26 in Washington, hosting delegations from more than 80 governments in an effort to combat persecution of and discrimination against people of all faiths. On the meeting's final day, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the event would be held again next year. Read More

  • 3 evangelicals among latest USCIRF appointees

    by Diana Chandler, posted Friday, May 18, 2018 (7 months ago)

    WASHINGTON (BP) -- Three evangelicals are among the latest appointees to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

    Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins, FRC founder and American Values President Gary Bauer, and best-selling author and Kairos Company President Johnnie Moore were named to the commission charged with protecting religious freedoms globally.

    Richard Land, who advocated for passage for the International Religious Freedom Act that established USCIRF in 1998, applauded the additions. Read More

  • Army chaplain fights charge of unlawful discrimination

    by Diana Chandler, posted Wednesday, April 18, 2018 (8 months ago)

    WASHINGTON (BP) -- Southern Baptist chaplain Jerry Scott Squires is fighting a U.S. Army investigator's charge of unlawful discrimination for refusing to preside over a marriage retreat including same-sex couples.

    But Squires followed federal law and Army and Southern Baptist Convention chaplaincy protocol when he rescheduled a Feb. 9 Strong Bonds marriage retreat in order to involve a non-SBC chaplain, thereby accommodating the attendance of a lesbian couple, First Liberty Institute said in an April 17 letter to the Army in Squires' defense. Read More

  • Religious liberty ruled no basis for transgender policy

    by Diana Chandler, posted Monday, March 12, 2018 (9 months ago)

    Google Maps photo
    CINCINNATI (BP) -- Religious freedom provides no legal basis to discipline transgender workers who violate workplace gender policies, a U.S. appeals court has ruled in a groundbreaking decision.

    The March 7 decision is the first to extend Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 to transgender individuals charging discrimination based on sexual identity, and reverses a lower court ruling that had protected the workplace under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Read More