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Stories tagged with: religious liberty

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  • Are conservative voices being silenced by Twitter?

    by Grace Thornton, posted Friday, January 12, 2018 (4 days ago)

    Screen capture from YouTube
    NASHVILLE (BP) -- Social media platform Twitter may be trying to reshape the online narrative by editing out conservative voices, a new undercover video released by Project Veritas alleges.

    The video, released Thursday (Jan. 11), appears to show current and former Twitter engineers explaining how they "downrank" some users and make others totally invisible if they don't like what they are saying. Baptist leaders shared different views on the significance of the undercover video -- with one saying the report shouldn’t prompt concern, while another called the video "deeply troubling." Read More

  • High court permits conscience law to stand in Miss.

    by Tom Strode, posted Wednesday, January 10, 2018 (6 days ago)

    WASHINGTON (BP) -- The U.S. Supreme Court has left in effect a Mississippi law that protects the religious freedom of those who object to participating in a gay marriage or sex-reassignment surgery.

    The justices announced Jan. 8 without comment they would not review a lower court decision that permitted the law to go into effect. In June, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled those who sued did not have a legal basis -- known as "standing" -- to challenge the law. As a result, the appeals court lifted a federal judge's injunction that had prevented the law from taking effect.

    Religious freedom advocates applauded the high court's action. Read More

  • World's worst religious freedom violators evaluated

    by Tom Strode, posted Friday, January 05, 2018 (11 days ago)

    WASHINGTON (BP) -- The Trump administration's first designation of the world's worst violators of religious freedom received the same evaluation as the last list under President Obama -- good but not good enough.

    The State Department announced Thursday (Jan. 4) the re-designation of the same "countries of particular concern" (CPCs) announced in April 2016 by the Obama administration. In a Dec. 22 action, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson kept Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan on the list, according to a department spokesperson. Read More

  • FEMA: Churches now eligible for recovery funds

    by David Roach, posted Wednesday, January 03, 2018 (13 days ago)

    BP file photo.
    WASHINGTON (BP) -- Churches whose facilities have been damaged by natural disasters now are eligible to receive relief funds from the federal government, according to a Jan. 2 announcement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

    "Private nonprofit houses of worship will not be singled out for disfavored treatment within the community centers subcategory of [public assistance] nonprofit applicants," FEMA Recovery Directorate Assistant Administrator Alex Amparo wrote in a guide outlining the change in policy. The guide defines, among other matters, ... Read More

  • Christian bakers lose in Oregon appeals court

    by Tom Strode, posted Tuesday, January 02, 2018 (14 days ago)

    BP file photo.
    WASHINGTON (BP) -- Christian wedding vendors who decline to provide services for same-sex ceremonies have suffered another legal setback.

    The Oregon Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 28 that the state did not violate the First Amendment rights of Aaron and Melissa Klein in a 2015 order that included a $135,000 fine. The three-judge panel upheld a decision by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) that found the Kleins' refusal to design and bake a cake for a lesbian couple's commitment ceremony was based on unlawful discrimination against homosexuals. Read More

  • Former Atl. chief gets partial federal court win

    by Tom Strode, posted Thursday, December 21, 2017 (26 days ago)

    Photo by Adam Covington
    ATLANTA (BP) -- Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran has gained a victory in federal court, where a judge ruled the city's policies under which he was fired are unconstitutional.

    Federal Judge Leigh Martin May granted summary judgment to Cochran Wednesday (Dec. 20), finding Atlanta's pre-clearance rules governing such activities as writing a non-work-related book violate the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment by restraining speech in advance and inviting "unbridled discretion" by the city to approve or deny outside work. Read More

  • Gospel parenting prime topic for ERLC in 2017

    by Tom Strode, posted Thursday, December 21, 2017 (26 days ago)

    Photo by Kelly Hunter
    NASHVILLE (BP) -- Applying the Gospel of Jesus to parenting received significant attention from the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission during 2017.

    The ERLC dedicated its annual national conference to Christ-centered parenting and developed curriculum on the same subject during the year. The other issues that marked the entity's work included religious liberty, racial reconciliation and the sanctity of human life. Read More

  • Racism addressed in 10 state convention resolutions

    by Tammi Reed Ledbetter/Southern Baptist TEXAN, posted Wednesday, December 20, 2017 (27 days ago)

    Baptist and Reflector photo
    NASHVILLE (BP) -- A desire for racial reconciliation is on the minds of Southern Baptists across the U.S. as 10 state convention adopted resolutions decrying racism of any form. Other states have addressed the concern in previous years, though tensions in recent years likely motivated a return to the subject this fall.

    With the exception of New England Baptists, state conventions where messengers passed resolutions on racism were in the South and Southwest, including Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Baptist General Convention of Texas and the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia. Read More

  • Wedding cake arguments build religious liberty case

    by Tom Strode, posted Wednesday, December 06, 2017 (one month ago)

    WASHINGTON (BP) -- Religious liberty advocates left the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday (Dec. 5) with some hope that the justices would rule in favor of a Colorado cake artist who refused to design a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding celebration.

    The high court heard oral arguments in a major free-speech and free-exercise-of-religion case at the center of the contentious debate between religious liberty and sexual liberty. Multiple cases involving wedding vendors who oppose using their talents in support of gay marriage are being contested in the courts, but it was an appeal by Jack Phillips and his Masterpiece Cakeshop that gained the justices' consideration first. Read More

  • High court weighs cake artist's liberty

    by Tom Strode, posted Tuesday, December 05, 2017 (one month ago)

    iStock image
    WASHINGTON (BP) -- The U.S. Supreme Court grilled four lawyers today (Dec. 5) in its effort to determine if a state can require a cake artist to design a cake for a same-sex wedding in spite of his free-speech and free-exercise-of-religion rights.

    The justices heard oral arguments in an appeal by Colorado cake artist Jack Phillips and his Masterpiece Cakeshop in a major case at the center of the growing legal and cultural skirmish between religious liberty and sexual liberty.

    The court is expected to issue an opinion next year before its term ends in late June or early July.

    Phillips, who is a Christian, declined to design and decorate a cake for the wedding of two men because of his belief marriage is between only a male and a female. But he told them he would make and sell them all other baked items. Read More