An Indian court has said that controversial evangelist Benny Hinn will be allowed to visit the state of Karnataka despite protests and petitions from fundamentalist Hindi groups against him.
"India is a secular country. It has so many sects, languages, beliefs and religions as well as social and cultural groups. Tolerance is the need of the hour. We are shocked that the courts are used for these kinds of issues," said Karnataka's High Court, according to Asia News.
Hinn, who is scheduled to speak at a Christian Prayer Conference in Bangalore later this month, attracted protests from close to 2,000 Hindus who on Jan. 3 gathered in the city and called for officials to ban him from visiting. more >>
The United States Supreme Court has officially scheduled oral arguments for what many believe will be a landmark case regarding religious liberty.
Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., a Midwest crafts retail chain, will get to present oral arguments against the Department of Health and Human Services' "preventive services" mandate on Tuesday, March 25.
Owned and operated by a Christian family who hold religious objections to providing abortion-inducing drugs to its employees, Hobby Lobby is represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. more >>
State attorneys general in the 33 states with laws supporting natural marriage are heaving big sighs of relief. With the U.S. Supreme Court order issuing a stay in the ruling striking down Utah's marriage amendment, states have a bit more breathing room in their effort to maintain democratically-enacted provisions that define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. That effort has continued in the months since last summer's Supreme Court ruling in the United States v. Windsor.
Windsor struck down the federal definition of marriage in the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) because it denied recognition to a same-sex marriage that was viewed as legal by the plaintiff's state of residence. In doing so, the Court directly affirmed the states' "historic and essential authority to define the marital relation." In fact, the Windsor ruling went to great lengths to chastise the federal government for wandering into policymaking territory the Court said was up to the states. In strong terms, the Court condemned federal efforts "to put a thumb on the scales and influence a state's decision as to how to shape its own marriage laws." That clear language initially gave confidence to states and citizens that their particular interests in marriage as a public institution would be respected by the federal government. The departure from that posture in certain federal regulatory actions which have undermined state laws on marriage has thus been profoundly troubling.
Fortunately, to accompany this week's stay from the Supreme Court in the Utah case, additional good news for states came out of the House of Representatives with the introduction of a common-sense bill by Congressman Randy Weber of Texas. His legislation – the State Marriage Defense Act – affirms state authority on marriage and directs the federal government to look to the laws of a person's state of residence to determine the person's marital status for federal purposes. This simple choice-of-law provision is necessary because, without Section 3 of DOMA, the federal government now has no federal law to guide its determination of marital status. more >>
A Hawaii court has dismissed two churches from a lawsuit that atheists brought against five congregations in the Aloha State accusing them of defrauding the government. The atheists failed to produce evidence.
The court found that atheists Mitchell Kahle and Holly Huber failed to sufficiently allege that One Love Ministries and Calvary Chapel Central Oahu committed fraud by paying substandard rent to the public schools in which they meet, Alliance Defending Freedom, whose attorneys represented the two congregations, said in a statement Friday.
Kahle, the founder of Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of Church and State, and public advocate Huber made the accusation despite the school districts agreeing that the churches have consistently paid all agreed-upon rents, said ADF, which has nearly 2,300 allied attorneys. more >>
The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two pro-life groups' challenge to an Ohio law that prohibits candidates and issue groups from making false campaign statements and deters the groups from erecting billboards on taxpayer funding of abortion through "Obamacare."
The groups, Susan B. Anthony List and Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes, say former Democrat Rep. Steve Driehaus from Ohio sought to use the law to prevent them from erecting billboards in his district during the 2010 election cycle to educate constituents about his vote in support of taxpayer funding abortion by voting for the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
The SBA List was threatened with prosecution if it engaged in similar speech about Driehaus or other candidates, the group said in a statement Friday. more >>
The Department of Justice announced Friday that it will recognize the same-sex marriages that were legalized in Utah since the Dec. 20 ruling that overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage. The National Organization for Marriage has called the federal government's decision "outrageous," saying it signals the Obama administration has no regard "for the Constitution and the rule of law."
"It is outrageous that the Justice Department would move so brazenly and publicly to undermine Utah's standing constitutional provision regulating marriage as the union of one man and one woman," said Brian Brown, NOM's president.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a videotaped message released Friday that the same-sex marriages will be recognized for federal purposes. "These families should not be asked to endure uncertainty regarding their status as the litigation unfolds," Holder said. more >>