WASHINGTON – The idea that businesses cannot have religious liberty protections because they are not individuals or nonprofits is "total bunk," Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said.
In an interview with The Christian Post, Hatch explained that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was sponsored by him back in 1993, was meant for everyone, including business owners.
"[RFRA was] meant to protect everybody and businesses are important as well. If we can impose corrupt or wrong rules on businesses, that would spread corrupt or wrong rules throughout the country," said Hatch. more >>
Brooks Hamby, the student who gave thanks to Jesus and asked for the blessing of "the God of the Bible" for his peers during his high school salutatorian speech last month, said he's surprised the school district believes their attempts to stifle his freedom of speech is constitutional.
The Brawley Union High School District in California read over Hamby's salutatorian speech for approval and rejected it three times because Hamby mentioned his religion, Jesus and God.
"I was really surprised the school would deny my speech not once, twice, but three times," said Hamby in an interview with Todd Starnes of Fox News last week. "I just wanted to say a few nice words and allow people to see the good news, which is the Gospel." more >>
A federal appeals court in Indiana has ruled to allow humanists in the state to have their weddings officiated by a secular celebrant.
A three judge panel with the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that humanists should be allowed to have their weddings officiated by secularist celebrants, arguing that preventing them from doing so violated the First Amendment rights to freedom of religion. Previously, Indiana's law stated that marriages could only be performed by religious clergy or government officials, such as mayors and city clerks.
"This is a big step forward in recognizing the rights of nonreligious persons," Reba Boyd Wooden, executive director for the Center for Inquiry, a humanist group, said in a press release. "Now couples may have a Secular Celebrant who shares their world view solemnize their marriage." more >>
A California trial court has backed a private Southern Baptist school over its right to expel a transgender student, who is accused of committing fraud by applying for admission as a female. The court has also, however, awarded $4,000 in damages to the plaintiff for being excluded from the school's ancillary programs that are open to the public, such as the library and restaurants.
MSNBC reported on Monday that the student in question is 27-year-old Domaine Javier, who was born as a biological male but has identified as female since childhood. California Baptist University expelled Javier for fraud violations in 2011, after Javier appeared in an episode of MTV's "A True Life" and admitted to being born a male.
Javier's attorneys argued that CBU had violated California's Unruh Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on various categories, including sex and sexual orientation. more >>
Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius has ended his Twitter hiatus by posting multiple religious-themed messages on the social media platform this week, shortly before his highly-publicized murder trial reaches its conclusion in August.
Pistorius, who is being charged with the 2013 murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, returned to Twitter Sunday after taking a five month hiatus from the social media platform. One of the tweets uploaded on Sunday was a reference to Psalm 34:18 that reads: "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted."
The South African sprinter then posted a collage of photographs that showed the Olympic athlete posing with young amputees, accompanied by the message: "You have the ability to make a difference in someones (sic) life." more >>
The high-profile trial of Singapore megachurch pastor Kong Hee and five other City Harvest Church officials for misusing millions of church funds to pay for his wife's popstar career, resumed on Monday. Kong's wife, singer Sun Ho, is expected to take the witness stand this week.
Channel NewsAsia pointed out that the trial, which began in May 2012, is turning out to be one of the longest-running criminal trials in the country. Kong and the five other officials are accused of musing 24 million SGD ($19.2 million) in donated money. The defense has argued that City Harvest's church board never passed a resolution that indicated who exactly has the power to make decisions regarding the funds.
Sun Ho has not been charged herself in the case, though was temporarily removed from her position as executive director of the 30,000 member City Harvest, which was founded by Kong in 1989. The singer is expected to be one of the witnesses called to the stand this week, along with the first of the six church officials on trial. more >>