Lawmakers in South Dakota have voted down a bill meant to exempt clergy from being forced to perform same-sex marriages if the state ever legalizes gay marriage.
The South Dakota Senate Judiciary Committee voted down Senate Bill 66 in a vote of four to three on Friday, killing one of two similar bills introduced by State Senator Ernie Otten.
A majority of the Committee concluded that S.B. 66 was unnecessary given preexisting law regarding marriage definition and religious liberty in the state, reported the Associated Press. more >>
Legislators in Idaho are looking into the merits of a bill that if enacted would protect licensed professionals from being legally harassed for acting upon their religious beliefs.
House Bill 426 was introduced last week by Idaho Representative Lynn Luker of Boise and was referred to the House State Affairs Committee where a hearing is still pending.
"No occupational licensing board or governmental subdivision or entity shall deny, revoke or suspend a person's professional or occupational license, certificate or registration for… Declining to provide or participate in providing any service that violates the person's sincerely held religious beliefs or exercise of religion except where performing emergency response duties for public safety," reads HB 426 in part. more >>
The Southern Baptist Convention plans to host a summit about human sexuality and its relation to the Gospel in order to equip pastors and church leaders to speak about related issues within their own congregations.
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) Leadership Summit, led by President Russell D. Moore, will address topics ranging from pornography and teen sex to homosexuality.
"As technology advances and the culture changes, the questions that we have to grapple with are often increasingly complex," said Moore, in a statement. "We'll talk about these questions, and how we can be faithful in ministry, gospel-focused in engagement and Christ-shaped spiritual warriors in the ways we seek to wrestle with the principalities and powers of this age." more >>
A state representative has proposed a bill to liberalize the liquor laws in Utah, despite the position of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or "Mormon Church," that current policies should remain in place.
"The additional costs to businesses" caused by the liquor restrictions "put a damper on Utah's economic development and tourism, which is very large industry in Utah," Representative Greg Powell (R – Herber City) told The Christian Post in an interview on Wednesday. Powell's bill would remove two restrictions – the requirement that servers ask if a patron ordering alcohol "intends to dine," and the "Zion Curtain," a 7-foot-2-inch barrier required by law between the areas where alcohol is poured and where it is served.
"A good Mormon doesn't see freedom as a good thing — they consider grace a license to sin," explained Lynn K. Wilder, associate professor of special education at Florida Gulf Coast University, former tenured professor at Brigham Young University, and author of Unveiling Grace: The Story of How We Found Our Way Out of The Mormon Church. Wilder argued that Utah's liquor laws are restrictive because most representatives are Mormon (some lawmakers estimate 90 percent, The Salt Lake Tribune reported) and because Latter-day Saints believe in works-based salvation. more >>
South Dakota's legislative body is mulling over two bills that seek to protect clergy and business owners from being forced to perform or host gay marriages.
Known as Senate Bill 66 and Senate Bill 67, the two bills were introduced last week and have been referred to the South Dakota Senate Judiciary Committee.
Republican South Dakota State Senator Ernie Otten introduced both bills, with SB 66 focusing on exemptions for clergy and SB 67 focusing on exemptions for businesses. more >>
Supporters of school choice are organizing events across the United States in honor of an annual week to raise awareness of their cause.
National School Choice Week 2014, which kicked off Sunday, "allows participants to advance their own messages of educational opportunity, while uniting with like-minded groups and individuals across the country," reads the About section for the site.
"Participants in National School Choice believe that parents should be empowered to choose the best educational environments for their children. Supporters plan events that highlight a variety of school choice options – from traditional public schools to public charter schools, magnet schools, private schools, online learning and homeschooling." more >>