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Stories tagged with: religious liberty

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  • Harvey-battered churches sue for FEMA funds

    by Diana Chandler, posted Wednesday, September 13, 2017 (8 days ago)

    WASHINGTON (BP) -- Three small churches damaged in Hurricane Harvey's unprecedented Texas deluge are jointly suing a U.S. government agency for access to public recovery funds.

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) religiously discriminates against churches by preventing them from seeking disaster recovery funding available to other nonprofits, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty alleges in the suit filed Sept. 5 in Houston federal court. Read More

  • Court urged to protect cake artist's religious freedom

    by Tom Strode, posted Monday, September 11, 2017 (10 days ago)

    Image: iStock/license purchase required.
    WASHINGTON (BP) -- Forcing an artist to create a cake for a same-sex wedding in contradiction to his beliefs is a "de facto religious test" that violates the First Amendment, the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission has told the U.S. Supreme Court.

    The ERLC -- joined by seven other organizations and an individual -- urged the high court to reverse a lower-court ruling against Colorado cake artist Jack Phillips and his Masterpiece Cakeshop in a friend-of-the-court brief filed Sept. 7. The justices agreed in June to accept the appeal and are expected to hear oral arguments ... Read More

  • Conflicting rulings on prayer may open door to SCOTUS

    by Diana Chandler, posted Thursday, September 07, 2017 (14 days ago)

    Screen capture from BoardDocs.com
    CINCINNATI, Ohio (BP) -- Two conflicting 2017 court rulings in cases challenging public prayer at government meetings increase the chance of a U.S. Supreme Court hearing on the issue, religious liberty advocate Ken Klukowski said today (Sept. 7).

    The Board of Commissioners in Jackson County, Mich., may legally open its meetings with sectarian prayers, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit said Sept. 6. The decision is contrary to a July 14 ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which said the Rowan County (North Carolina) Board of Commissioners' similar practice was "unconstitutionally coercive." Read More

  • Coach Kennedy loses appeal to pray in public

    by Leigh Jones/WORLD News Service, posted Thursday, August 24, 2017 (28 days ago)

    First Liberty Institute photo
    BREMERTON, Wash. (BP) -- Former high school football coach Joe Kennedy lost his appeal Wednesday (Aug. 23) at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled he did not have a right to pray at the 50-yard line after games.

    A three-judge panel of the court said Kennedy's prayers did not amount to constitutionally protected free speech because he was acting as a public employee when he offered them.

    "By kneeling and praying on the 50-yard line immediately after games while in ... Read More

  • Tillerson's religious liberty stand draws praise

    by Tom Strode, posted Wednesday, August 16, 2017 (one month ago)

    Screen capture from Twitter
    WASHINGTON (BP) -- Southern Baptist and other religious freedom advocates praised Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's defense of religious freedom -- especially his unequivocal labeling of the crimes of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria as genocide -- upon the release of an annual report Tuesday (Aug. 15).

    In introducing the International Religious Freedom Report for 2016, Tillerson said he was removing "any ambiguity from previous statements or reports by the State Department." Read More

  • Targeted for marriage beliefs, judge appeals to high court

    by Diana Chandler, posted Monday, August 07, 2017 (one month ago)

    WASHINGTON (BP) -- A longtime municipal judge and circuit court magistrate is seeking relief from the U.S. Supreme Court after the state of Wyoming fired her for telling a reporter she believes marriage is between a man and a woman.

    Pinedale, Wyo., Judge Ruth Neely petitioned the Supreme Court Aug. 4 to hear her case after the Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics forced her to stop solemnizing marriages, ending her career as a part-time magistrate. Read More

  • Court signals religious freedom victory for artist

    by Diana Chandler, posted Thursday, August 03, 2017 (one month ago)

    Alliance Defending Freedom photo
    MADISON, Wisc. (BP) -- A self-employed evangelical Christian photographer can reject job requests based on her religious beliefs against same-sex marriage, a Wisconsin county court and government officials have agreed.

    Judge Richard Niess of the Dane County Circuit Court agreed Monday (Aug. 1) to sign an order within coming weeks signifying that city and state public accommodation laws do not apply to photographer and blogger Amy Lynn Lawson, the sole owner of Amy Lynn Photography Studio in Madison, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. Lawson works on commission and does not have a physical storefront. Read More

  • Brownback lauded as int'l religious liberty nominee

    by Tom Strode, posted Friday, July 28, 2017 (one month ago)

    Screen capture from KWCH.com
    WASHINGTON (BP) -- President Trump's selection of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback for the U.S. State Department's top religious liberty post has drawn praise from advocates for the freedom that is under threat in much of the world.

    The White House announced Wednesday night (July 26) the president's intention to nominate Brownback as ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. Brownback welcomed the opportunity despite being in the midst of his second term as Kansas governor. Read More

  • Sudan called 'disaster for religious liberty'

    by Tom Strode, posted Wednesday, July 05, 2017 (2 months ago)

    Image: iStock/License purchase required
    WASHINGTON (BP) -- The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission has urged the U.S. State Department not to ignore religious freedom and persecution issues before possibly lifting sanctions on the government of Sudan.

    The ERLC joined six other organizations -- including Samaritan's Purse, the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) and the Enough Project -- in a June 29 letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson calling for his department's consideration of Sudan's treatment of religious minorities. The organizations sent the letter as the State Department nears a July 12 deadline for lifting sanctions on the East African country. Read More

  • Capitol Hill panel discusses religious liberty ruling

    by Tom Strode, posted Friday, June 30, 2017 (2 months ago)

    Photo by Brady Weller
    WASHINGTON (BP) -- The U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling in a religious freedom case is not about government funding of the church's mission, but it will have far-reaching results, a Capitol Hill audience was told Thursday night (June 29).

    Panelists in a conversation co-sponsored by the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) explained the impact of a June 26 opinion by the high court and how Christians should respond to the debate over church-state relations. Read More