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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
A United States district court judge has ruled against a group of churches that wanted to build a temporary cross display on some public waterfront property in Indiana.
Judge Sarah Evans Barker ruled Wednesday that the proposed display at Evansville would be a government endorsement of Christianity, thus violating the First Amendment.
"…based on the size and scope of the project, this planned display of crosses would convey a message of the City's endorsement of Christianity to the reasonable observer," wrote Barker. more >>
As gay couples made final preparations for marriages to be held on Thursday in Rhode Island and Minnesota when the states become the 12th and 13th in the U.S., along with the District of Columbia, to allow same-sex marriage, a religious liberty law group advised officials that they do not have to personally issue marriage licenses to same-sex applicants.
Alliance Defending Freedom issued two new legal memos on Wednesday in the states advising officials that they can delegate responsibility for issuing the licenses to deputies or assistants who don't have conscience-based objections to issuing the licenses to same-sex applicants.
"No American should have to choose between their conscience and their job in America," said ADF Litigation Counsel Kellie Fiedorek. "The First Amendment protects Americans from being coerced to give up their careers to maintain their religious freedom. Religious freedom is guaranteed to every American, including those issuing marriage licenses." more >>
A growing number of Christians, and especially religious liberty advocates, are voicing serious concern that publicly expressing the biblical belief that marriage is defined as being between one man and one woman will be classified as "hate speech."
Ryan T. Anderson, who is the William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and a Free Society at the Heritage Foundation, believes that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's comments in a recent TV interview about how the push to redefine marriage may threaten religious freedom is only the tip of the iceberg.
"Some on the left are criticizing Senator Ted Cruz's recent comments about how the drive to redefine marriage may threaten religious freedom - but a closer inspection of the issue reveals his worries were accurate, prescient, and maybe even too cautious," writes Anderson in his column published on Tuesday. more >>