A bill introduced to the Georgia legislature regarding religious freedom has apparently been derailed due to a controversy over a similar bill in Arizona.
House Bill 1023, also called the "Preservation of Religious Freedom Act," would essentially provide citizens of Georgia with the same religious freedom protections provided by the federal Religious Freedom Protection Act. RFRA was passed in 1993 with a unanimous vote in the House and a 97-3 vote in the Senate and was signed by President Bill Clinton.
RFRA says that for the government to deny religious freedom, the government must show that it has a good reason for doing so and there is no way to avoid doing so. Plus, laws that are generally applicable (apply to all faiths) must provide religious exemptions when that can be done without placing too great a burden on the state. The Supreme Court ruled, however, that RFRA does not apply to state law, so many states have passed their own RFRA laws. H.B. 1023 would do that for Georgia. more >>
Oral arguments in a lawsuit by an atheist organization against the placement of the "World Trade Center cross" at a museum on government property will take place later this week.
American Atheists will present their case before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, arguing that the WTC cross does not belong in a museum on government leased property.
Two days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, construction workers found a cross beam among the wreckage of the Twin Towers. more >>
An atheist group has filed a lawsuit against a Maryland government agency over the placement of a 40-foot cross on government property.
The American Humanist Association filed suit Tuesday in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland against the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, which oversees the property in Bladensburg, where the cross is located.
In addition to the AHA, named plaintiffs include two AHA members who live in the area and a third resident from nearby Beltsville. more >>
A Maryland-based order of nuns has sent a formal appeal before a federal court in order to be exempted from having to provide contraceptive services to its employees.
The Little Sisters of the Poor filed their appeal Monday before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, requesting an exemption from the Department of Health and Human Services' "preventive services mandate."
The Little Sisters are being represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is handling several legal challenges nationwide to the HHS mandate. more >>
An Illinois-based appeals court has ruled that a Catholic academic institute must provide healthcare insurance for both students and employees that cover contraceptives.
A panel of the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled Friday that the University of Notre Dame must provide contraceptives despite the Catholic school's objections to said products.
In a two-to-one decision, the judges upheld the ruling of a U.S. District Court judge against Notre Dame, arguing in the majority opinion that Notre Dame "has not yet shown that there is a substantial burden" in complying with the birth control mandate. more >>
The decline in church attendance among young adults and nonbelievers should motivate churches to care about their membership numbers. But oftentimes churches fail to realize that God wants quality and quantity, says a faith columnist.
Jaime H. Wilson of Faith Matters explains that now more than ever, church leaders and members alike need to focus on increasing their size.
"As a faith community, we need to be more concerned about the numbers, not as a means to pad our church rolls but as a way to reach people," wrote Wilson. more >>