Nearly 50 percent of Americans believe discrimination against Christians in the U.S. has become as big of a problem as discrimination against other ethnic and religious groups, according to a new survey published by the Public Religion Research Institute.
Fourty-nine percent of the Americans surveyed believe that discrimination against Christians is becoming as big of a problem as discrimination against other groups, while 47 percent disagree.
Out of all the white evangelical Protestants surveyed, 70 percent said Christian discrimination has become a serious issue, while just 28 percent disagreed. People unaffiliated with Christianity leaned more toward discrimination not being as big of a problem as discrimination against other groups, as 59 percent disagreed with the statement with only 34 percent agreeing. more >>
In the aftermath of Obergefell v. Hodges, pastors and church members are experiencing a wave of anxiety over what many of them deem the "nightmare scenario": lawsuits or government action designed to force them to perform or recognize same-sex marriages. While there are — so far — no meaningful judicial precedents that would permit such dramatic interference with churches' core First Amendment rights, lawsuits challenging church liberties are inevitable.
Indeed, the Iowa Civil Rights Commission has declared that prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity "sometimes" apply to churches and has stated that a "church service open to the public" is not a "bona fide religious purpose" that would limit application of the law. In 2012 a New Jersey administrative-law judge ruled that a religious organization "closely associated with the United Methodist Church" wrongly denied access to its facilities for a same-sex wedding.
Churches, like virtually every functioning corporation, protect against liability risks and the potentially ruinous costs of litigation through liability insurance. With same-sex marriage now recognized as a constitutional right — and with news of Oregon's Bureau of Labor and Industries awarding a lesbian couple $135,000 in damages for "emotional, mental and physical suffering" after a Christian bakery refused to bake their wedding cake — pastors are reaching out insurance companies to make sure they're covered. And at least one insurer has responded with a preemptory denial: no coverage if a church is sued for refusing to perform a same-sex wedding. more >>
Close to 240 people, mostly Christians but also Yazidis, have been taken out of the war-torn Syrian city of Aleppo and transported to Belgium where they are expected to be granted asylum, a report has said.
BBC News reported on Wednesday that a Brussels government spokesman, who wasn't named, revealed that the operation took place over two months amid great secrecy.
The families were moved first moved by civil society groups from Aleppo to the Lebanese border, after which they met representatives from the Belgian embassy in Beirut. more >>
A Texas teen who allegedly threatened a "Columbine" style attack on a young adult ministry event at a Fort Worth church that he attended for over a year is now being charged with making terroristic threats.
Nicholas Amrine, 19, was apprehended in early June by Fort Worth police after an associate pastor at Convergence Church, where this young adult event was scheduled to take place, notified authorities about a string of troubling Facebook messages where the teen warned specific individuals not to attend, according to the arrest warrant.
Amrine was being held in a state hospital until last week, when he was formally arrested and charged. more >>
Ulf Ekman, the former leader of evangelical megachurch Word of Life in Sweden, reflected on his first year as a member of the Roman Catholic Church with his wife following his conversion, and said that things started to make sense for them after the reception. Ekman revealed that the Blessed Virgin Mary led him and his wife to the Catholic Church, and said that loving Jesus means to love the Church.
"It was a real experience for us. It was like several missing pieces fell into place, and so much started to make sense. There was a deep sense of 'arriving' that came to us," Ekman explained in an interview with The National Catholic Register, talking about the reception with his wife, Birgitta, into the Church on May 21, 2014.
"It has been a wonderful year that we will never forget as long as we live. We feel very much at home in the Church and are grateful to the Lord. It has also been an intense year, due to the ongoing media coverage in Scandinavia. We have gained some wonderful new friends, but, like Blessed John Henry Newman said, it has also been a time of 'parting of friends,'" he added. more >>
On June 30, 2015 the Washington National Cathedral's hosted a service entitled "Honoring the Road of Love and Justice," an act of thanksgiving for the Court's legalization of gay marriage.
Considering the theological setting, there was little new or unusual about the service. Rainbow flags were waved and the liturgy honored gay rights "heroes" such as Harvey Milk, Hillary and Julie Goodridge, Barbara Gittings, and James Obergefell.
The service featured two speakers. The first was Brandan J. Robertson, the twenty-two year old board member of Evangelicals For Marriage Equality, a group dedicated to convincing churches to sign on to gay marriage. The second was the Reverend Allyson Robinson, a Baptist transgender minister. more >>