A new proposed amendment for the Virginia state Bill of Rights that would call on all public places and schools to allow prayer and religious activity passed a Senate Committee last week.
A Senate Committee in the Virginia General Assembly endorsed Senate Joint Resolution 287 on Jan. 29. Republican Sens. William M. Stanley, Jr., and Charles W. "Bill" Carrico sponsored the bill that would allow public officials, students, and others the right to participate in religious activity as long as they were not disruptive. The new bill will also allow for students to be dismissed from school assignments and presentations that conflict with their religious beliefs.
Stanley informed the panel that this amendment was crafted to ensure that people of all religions would not be penalized for expressing their right to religious beliefs. "All religions are under attack," Stanley said. "People of faith are under attack." more >>
Pro-life and religious liberty groups harshly criticized the Obama administration's announcement on Friday about proposed accommodations concerning the controversial contraceptive mandate, saying the proposal does not meaningfully expand the "church-only" exemption and amounts to little more than a gesture.
"All Americans, not just those in church organizations, are guaranteed freedom of conscience in their daily lives and work," said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. "The administration's narrow gesture does nothing to protect many faith-based employers or religious families from the unconstitutional abortion pill mandate. The government has no business putting religious freedom on the negotiating table, or picking and choosing who is allowed to exercise faith."
Lawyers for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty also had a problem with the constitutionality of the mandate rule, saying "it does nothing to protect the rights of family businesses like Hobby Lobby." more >>
Participants in this year's March for Life, marking the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, seemed less bothered by the mainstream media's lack of coverage of the estimated half-million people descending on Washington, D.C. to demonstrate against abortion on Friday. That's because they relied heavily on social media to help shine the spotlight on the movement.
Outside the march, supporters of the pro-life movement were not deterred either. Pope Benedict XVI gave a shout-out on Twitter in nine languages. "I join all those marching for life from afar, and pray that political leaders will protect the unborn and promote a culture of life," Benedict tweeted. The Pope has 2.5 million followers on Twitter in just six-week time since he began using the social media heavyweight.
"We have the biggest social media movement online for the pro-life movement educating almost a million people a week with the truth about human life and abortion," Lila Rose of Action Network, a pro-life investigative journalism group, told Fox News. "Our Facebook at over 430,000 is bigger than Planned Parenthood's Facebook and they're a billion dollar abortion chain." more >>
A Missouri-based plumbing products company has joined dozens of other groups filing suit against the federal government over the controversial birth control mandate of the Affordable Care Act.
Sioux Chief Manufacturing Company of Peculiar filed suit last week against the Department of Health and Human Services in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri. Sioux Chief was founded and is presently owned by the Ismert family, devout Roman Catholics who are morally opposed to the drugs covered by the "Preventive Services Mandate" from HHS, which include coverage of abortifacients.
"The Mandate illegally and unconstitutionally coerces Plaintiffs to violate their sincerely held Catholic beliefs under threat of heavy fines and penalties," reads the suit in part. "The Mandate also forces Plaintiffs to fund government-dictated speech that is directly at odds with the religious ethics derived from their deeply held religious beliefs and the moral teachings of the Catholic Church that they strive to embody in their business." more >>
WASHINGTON – The nation celebrated the start of President Barack Obama's second term this week with a mix of fun and religious reverence.
Obama began Monday, Inauguration Day, at a worship service at St. John's Episcopal Church with his wife, Michelle, and two daughters, Malia and Sasha. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, were also there.
Several pastors and one Rabbi participated in the event. more >>
A substitute teacher in New Jersey was suspended for the school year in response to giving a student a copy of the Bible and talking about a Scripture verse with the student while on duty.
The Phillipsburg School District Board decided Monday that Walter Tutka, a substitute teacher and member of Gideons International, was guilty of violating two policies during an incident in October.
According to local media, Tutka quoted Matthew 20:16 ("So the last will be first, and the first will be last") to a student who was last in line. The student asked where the phrase came from, to which Tutka took out his copy of the New Testament and showed him. He then loaned his New Testament to the student, who returned it later. more >>