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Stories tagged with: religious liberty

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  • S.C. church plant sues town for rental ban

    by Tom Strode, posted Wednesday, August 29, 2018 (3 months ago)

    Photo from Facebook
    CHARLESTON, S.C. (BP) -- A Southern Baptist church plant in South Carolina has sued the town of Edisto Beach for prohibiting it from use of its civic center.

    Redeemer Fellowship of Edisto Island filed suit Aug. 27 in federal court in Charleston, S.C., because of a policy it says violates its free speech and religion rights guaranteed in the First Amendment. Redeemer Fellowship had twice met for corporate worship in the Edisto Beach Civic Center when the town council changed its policy to prohibit rentals for "religious worship services."

    The church -- which began meeting in January -- outgrew the home in which it met for corporate worship and began seeking to rent space. The congregation met at the civic center for worship on Easter Sunday, April 1, and May 6, but the Edisto Beach Town Council voted unanimously at its May 10 meeting to amend its facility use policy to ban such rentals. At its June meeting, the town council approved unanimously the amended facility use guidelines. Read More

  • Univ. of Iowa reinstates religious groups for now

    by David Roach, posted Thursday, August 16, 2018 (4 months ago)

    IOWA CITY, Iowa (BP) -- The University of Iowa has reinstated multiple religious student groups as registered campus organizations after one group threatened to seek a temporary restraining order amid pending litigation.

    InterVarsity Graduate Christian Fellowship sued the university Aug. 6 because school officials revoked the fellowship's status as an official student organization over a requirement that InterVarsity Graduate leaders "share the group's faith and exemplify its Christian values," according to a complaint filed by the nonprofit Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. The temporary reinstatement, secured when Becket threatened to seek a temporary restraining order, will apply until the lawsuit is resolved. Read More

  • Administration gains high marks on religious liberty

    by Tom Strode, posted Wednesday, August 15, 2018 (4 months ago)

    iStock
    WASHINGTON (BP) -- The Trump administration is receiving high marks so far for its religious liberty record from many advocates for the First Amendment freedom.

    The July 30 announcement of a religious liberty task force in the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Aug. 10 release of a Department of Labor policy directive to protect religious free exercise are the latest in a series of administration actions applauded by defenders of freedom of belief and practice. Yet, some advocates also say more remains to be done by this White House to safeguard religious liberty. Read More

  • Again: Colo. says cake artist Jack Phillips broke law

    by Diana Chandler, posted Wednesday, August 15, 2018 (4 months ago)

    Alliance Defending Freedom photo
    DENVER (BP) -- Christian cake artist Jack Phillips is in court again, defending the same religious freedom right the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed on his behalf in a previous case in June.

    This time, transgender attorney Autumn Scardina filed a discrimination complaint against Phillips for refusing to bake a birthday cake celebrating Scardina's transition from a male to female identity. Pink cake on the inside and blue frosting on the outside describes the cake Scardina requested.

    The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has sued the Colorado Civil Rights Commission (CCRC) in this latest case against Phillips, ADF said in a press release today (Aug. 15). Read More

  • Univ. of Iowa sued again over religious liberty

    by David Roach, posted Wednesday, August 08, 2018 (4 months ago)

    University of Iowa photo
    IOWA CITY, Iowa (BP) -- For the second time in less than a year, a Christian student group has sued the University of Iowa to protect its right to select leaders who hold traditional Christian beliefs.

    The InterVarsity Graduate Christian Fellowship filed a lawsuit in federal court Aug. 6 after the university revoked the fellowship's status as an official student organization for requiring group leaders "to share the group's faith and exemplify its Christian values," according to the complaint filed by the nonprofit Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. The university told InterVarsity Graduate via email it would not even be permitted to state in its constitution that leaders were "strongly encouraged" to hold the Christian faith. Read More

  • Religious liberty threats addressed at ERLC event

    by Tom Strode, posted Tuesday, July 31, 2018 (4 months ago)

    Photo by Anne Kim
    WASHINGTON (BP) -- Religious freedom in Southeast Asia faces threats from required registration regimes and non-government forces, panelists said at a Capitol Hill discussion co-hosted by a Southern Baptist Convention entity.

    The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) joined with two other advocacy organizations to hold the July 26 event -- titled "Lessons from Southeast Asia: State and Non-State Threats to Religious Freedom" -- on the third and final day of the State Department's first-ever Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom in Washington, D.C. The Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) and Boat People SOS also co-hosted the discussion. 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

  • Uzbekistan's religious liberty violations mount

    by David Roach, posted Monday, July 23, 2018 (4 months ago)

    Image: iStock/license purchase required.
    TASHKENT, Uzbekistan (BP) -- Two new requirements for religious organizations seeking government recognition in Uzbekistan are said to evidence the Central Asian nation's continued restriction of religious liberty.

    Comprising five former Soviet republics, Central Asia includes Uzbekistan and two other countries on the U.S. State Department's list of countries of particular concern (CPCs) for religious liberty violations: Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. Another Central Asian nation, Kazakhstan, has been recommended for inclusion on the State Department's religious liberty watch list by the U.S. Commission on ... Read More

  • Still jailed in Turkey, Brunson gave 'bold' witness

    by David Roach, posted Thursday, July 19, 2018 (4 months ago)

    Submitted photo
    ALIAGA, Turkey (BP) -- American pastor Andrew Brunson's continued imprisonment in Turkey following a July 18 court hearing is probably an act of political maneuvering rather than Islamic persecution, two Islamic studies professors say.

    Resurgent conservative Islam in Turkey is, however, part of the background, the professors say, that led to Brunson's October 2016 arrest and subsequent imprisonment over what religious liberty watchdogs have called unfounded charges of terrorism and espionage.

    "I am not in a position to speculate on why Brunson (as opposed to other Americans, who are permitted to practice their Christianity freely in Turkey) was arrested," said Ant Greenham, associate professor of missions and Islamic studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. "False accusations seem to have played a role. However, [Turkish] President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan is now in a position of greater strength, following the lifting of [a] state of emergency" July 18. Read More