Students and some parents at an all-girls Catholic high school in Southern California rallied Thursday morning in support of a gay teacher who was fired after photos of his same-sex wedding were published in a local newspaper.
Even though school officials at St. Lucy's Priory High School in Glendora knew that Ken Bencomo, 45, was homosexual, they fired him after his wedding became public, according to his attorney. He had worked for the school for 17 years, the Los Angeles Times reported.
"He never made it part of the discussion and he never pushed his personal life on us. But we knew, the school knew, teachers knew — it was never a problem," said Brittany Littleton, a 2008 graduate who created an online petition at Change.org that has garnered more than 50,000 signatures, the Times reported. more >>
Colorado Christian University became the first non-profit organization on Wednesday to renew its lawsuit challenging the HHS abortion-drug mandate's "accommodation," which still forces the institution to go against its religious beliefs or pay high cost fines.
"The bureaucrats' proposed solution does not solve anything," said Eric Baxter, Senior Counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents CCU in this matter. "CCU is still forced to participate in the government's scheme to provide free access to abortion-causing drugs and devices."
The new challenge comes just weeks after the final rule was announced in June. more >>
The U.S. State Department will be reaching out more to religious leaders and communities at home and abroad, Secretary of State John Kerry explained as he announced Wednesday a new Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives within the State Department.
"I want you to go out and engage religious leaders and faith-based communities in our day-to-day work," Kerry told State Department workers. "Build strong relationships with them and listen to their insights and understand the important contributions that they can make individually and that we can make together."
The new office will be headed by Dr. Shaun Casey, professor of Christian Ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary. An expert on religion and politics, Casey wrote a 2009 book on religion and the 1960 presidential election. During the 2008 presidential campaign, he worked on encouraging evangelicals to vote for then-candidate Barack Obama. more >>
The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty has filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the right of Americans to pray before public meetings. The leader of the nationwide military chaplains group says that federal courts should no longer have to assess when a religious activity might make someone feel uncomfortable.
"Our brief makes the point that a military chaplain, just like a chaplain in a town council meeting, cannot fulfill his or her duties with the federal courts looking over one shoulder and a hypothetical observer looking over the other to assess when a religious activity may make an observer feel like an outsider," said CH (COL) Ron Crews, executive director for CARL.
The religious liberties case, Town of Greece v. Galloway, provides the U.S. Supreme Court the opportunity to "affirm America's long-standing practice of opening public meetings with prayer," the alliance stated on Tuesday. more >>
The superintendent of an Alabama school district made it clear on Tuesday that he is not afraid to stand up against the demands of a Wisconsin-based atheists group wanting to stop a prayer caravan this Saturday before school starts next week.
"We live in a time when certain groups hide behind the human rights of some to destroy the human rights of others," said Cullman County Schools Superintendent Billy Coleman who helped organize the caravan. The third annual prayer caravan includes stopping at each of the district's 29 schools and praying for students, teachers, and staff.
"The government agencies of Cullman County and Alabama respect the rights of people to believe what they choose and to freely express those beliefs. However, I also believe that we who are Christians have the same rights as anyone else to publicly express our beliefs on our own time, and to be afforded the same access to announcement channels as anyone else," said Coleman at the press conference he organized. more >>
A Wisconsin-based atheist organization has sent a letter of complaint to a public academic institution in Alabama over its soon-to-be opened "faith-based" housing program.
Freedom From Religion Foundation of Madison sent the letter last Thursday to Troy University arguing that their housing program, scheduled to be open in the fall, was unconstitutional.
Andrew Seidel, FFRF staff attorney, wrote in the letter that the housing program gives preferential treatment to some students at the expense of others. more >>