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Stories tagged with: religious liberty

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  • Settlement curbs religious expression in La. schools

    by Steve West/WORLD , posted Wednesday, February 06, 2019 (16 days ago)

    BOSSIER CITY, La. (BP) -- In Bossier City, La., school board meetings regularly begin with prayer, yet school employees reportedly can't quietly pray or read a Bible within sight of students.

    That's because a settlement agreed to last week restricts religious expression in public schools in the Bossier Parish area outside Shreveport. In the agreement, filed Jan. 23, the parties agreed some of the school district's policies or practices violated the U.S. Constitution's ban on the establishment of religion by endorsing or promoting Christianity. A federal court is expected to approve the settlement. Read More

  • Moore decries Islamic court's ruling in UAE

    by Tom Strode, posted Wednesday, January 23, 2019 (one month ago)

    WASHINGTON (BP) -- Southern Baptist religious freedom leader Russell Moore has denounced a ruling in a Middle Eastern Islamic court against a Christian family in the United States and urged Pope Francis to intervene in an upcoming visit to the United Arab Emirates.

    In a Jan. 22 opinion column for National Review, Moore -- president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission -- opposed the latest ruling in a sharia court in the UAE that has left an American widow and her daughters without an inheritance. Instead, an appeals court gave the inheritance to a Muslim woman who has been charged with crimes in Saudi Arabia.

    The case is now before the Court of Cassation, a local version of the Supreme Court. Read More

  • Supreme Court declines football coach's appeal

    by Lynde Langdon/WORLD, posted Wednesday, January 23, 2019 (one month ago)

    WASHINGTON(BP) -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday (Jan. 22) declined the appeal of a former high school football coach who was fired for praying on the field after games. But the justices appeared to leave open several possible avenues for Coach Joe Kennedy to keep fighting for his First Amendment rights.

    Kennedy lost his coaching job at Bremerton High School in Washington state in 2015 after he disobeyed school officials who ordered him to end his longtime ritual of kneeling at the 50-yard line to pray at the end of games. Kennedy sued, saying the school had violated his right to free speech, but lower courts -- including the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals -- ruled against him. See related story. Read More

  • Baptist dishwasher's $21.5M victory honors Sabbath

    by Diana Chandler, posted Friday, January 18, 2019 (one month ago)

    Screen capture from NBC
    MIAMI (BP) -- A hotel dishwasher awarded $21.5 million in her court battle to honor the Sabbath is a faithful member of Bethel Evangelical Baptist Church in Miami, pastor Keny Felix told Baptist Press today (Jan. 18).

    Marie Jean-Pierre, fired from the Conrad Hotel in 2016 after she refused to work on Sundays, has attended the Haitian church nearly 20 years, Felix said. Various news reports have erroneously identified Jean-Pierre, 60, as Catholic.

    The Southern Baptist pastor describes Jean-Pierre as a "devout believer" who "embraces her faith in all aspects of her daily life." Read More

  • Dutch backlash to Nashville Statement 'ominous'

    by David Roach, posted Friday, January 11, 2019 (one month ago)

    AMSTERDAM (BP) -- In the Netherlands, signatories of The Nashville Statement on biblical sexuality have been threatened with criminal prosecution, admonished by employers and derided by protests.

    The episode has been cited by Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. as "an ominous warning" of religious liberty restrictions to come in the U.S.

    "There are many in the United States who would say, 'Well, that's the Netherlands. It can't have anything to do with Christians in the United States,'" Mohler said Jan. 9 in his podcast The Briefing. "But of course it can. Read More

  • FIRST-PERSON: A visit to Plymouth, Mass.

    by Paul Kim, posted Wednesday, January 09, 2019 (one month ago)

    A visit to Plymouth, Mass., stirs Paul Kim to reflect on the Pilgrims' resolve to seek freedom, peace and the right to a pursuit of happiness. Read More

  • Court limits Jack Phillips' religious bias lawsuit

    by Diana Chandler, posted Tuesday, January 08, 2019 (one month ago)

    Alliance Defending Freedom photo
    DENVER (BP) -- Christian cake artist Jack Phillips can proceed with his latest lawsuit alleging Colorado harassed him based on his religious beliefs, but he may no longer seek damages from nine of the 10 defendants targeted.

    Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, has legal standing to challenge Colorado's discrimination law, the U.S. District Court for Colorado ruled Jan. 4 regarding a motion to dismiss the 2018 case. But most defendants successfully blocked Phillips' pursuit of compensatory, punitive and nominal damages against them as government officials and individual citizens.

    Only Colorado Atty. Gen. Cynthia H. Coffman remains an individual defendant in the case, having lost her appeal to block Phillips from pursuing equitable relief against her in her official governmental capacity. Read More

  • Freedom of Christian artists defended in ERLC filing

    by Tom Strode, posted Friday, January 04, 2019 (one month ago)

    WASHINGTON (BP) -- The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission has urged the Arizona Supreme Court to protect the freedom of two artists to operate their business in keeping with their Christian beliefs.

    The ERLC, joined by eight other parties, filed a friend-of-the-court brief Dec. 20 requesting the state's justices reverse a lower court's support for a Phoenix ordinance requiring Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski to use their painting and calligraphy business for same-sex weddings. The owners of Brush & Nib Studio in Phoenix contend the law forces them to communicate a message in violation of their faith.

    Oral arguments before the Arizona high court are scheduled for Jan. 22. The case is one of several in the courts that involve the clash between the legal status of same-sex marriage and the rights of business owners who have declined to offer their services for gay weddings. Read More

  • Repeal of tax on churches appears to fail in Congress

    by Tom Strode, posted Friday, December 21, 2018 (2 months ago)

    BP file photo by Art Toalston
    WASHINGTON (BP) -- The U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation Thursday (Dec. 20) to reverse a year-old law that calls for churches to file tax returns for the first time in American history, but it appears unlikely the effort will go any further in this Congress.

    The House voted 220-183 in a nearly party-line vote for a bill that included repeal of a 2017 tax cut's provision -– Section 512(a)(7) -- that required houses of worship and nonprofit organizations to pay a 21 percent tax on such employee benefits as parking and transportation. Only Republicans voted in favor of the proposal, and all but three of those opposing the legislation were Democrats. Read More

  • TX So. Baptists, ERLC call for repeal of parking tax

    by ERLC staff, posted Wednesday, December 19, 2018 (2 months ago)

    WASHINGTON (BP) -- Southern Baptist leaders in Texas have joined the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission in calling for a repeal of the parking and transportation tax on non-profit organizations, including houses of worship found in the Tax Cuts and Job Act of 2017.

    Nathan Lino, pastor of Northeast Houston Baptist Church in Houston, Texas and Robert B. Sloan, president of Houston Baptist University, published an op-ed in today's (Dec. 19) Houston Chronicle calling the provision fundamentally troubling for the future of religious freedom.

    "There are important reasons why non-profits and houses of worship are not taxed in the United States" write Lino and Sloan. "The bright line that separates the domain of church from the domain of state must be guarded. One of the most fundamental powers the state has is the authority to tax. Houses of worship ought not be taxed because houses of worship ought not be regulated by the government." Read More