WASHINGTON — Americans United for Separation of Church and State announced Monday the launch of an "aggressive" initiative to combat any state or federal legislation, or court ruling seeking to protect religious objectors of same-sex marriage from government consequence for living according to their religious convictions.
The organization, which advocates a strict separation view of the religious freedom clauses of the First Amendment, has started the "Protect Thy Neighbor" project, which will monitor and battle all state and federal legislation and court challenges that pertain to giving individuals, business and religious institutions the right not to serve or participate in same-sex weddings on the basis that it would violate their religious beliefs.
In the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling on June 26 that it is unconstitutional for states to refuse issuing same-sex couples marriage licenses, the organization expects Christian conservatives to respond by introducing a plethora of bills, executive orders, regulatory and policy changes that are "designed to resist the Supreme Court's ruling." more >>
South Carolina is one step closer to removing a Confederate battle flag from its capitol grounds in Charleston following a vote taken in the state Senate.
In a vote of 37-3, legislators in the upper house of the first state to secede from the Union back in 1860 decided to remove a Confederate battle flag prominently displayed on the capitol grounds.
Governor Nikki Haley, who recently championed the removal of the flag, said in a statement Monday that she approved of the vote. more >>
A member of a county government in Pennsylvania has placed a Ten Commandments placard by his seat in a courthouse meeting room.
Mathew Benol, councilman on the Northampton County Council, placed the Decalogue display behind his seat in the county courthouse in Easton, according to local media.
A Sudanese court has ruled that there is enough evidence to move forward with the trial of two imprisoned South Sudanese Presbyterian pastors facing "trumped-up" espionage charges, which are punishable by death. The pastors' attorney will have only two weeks to prove their innocence without access to his clients.
In the sixth hearing in the case against pastors Yat Michael and Peter Reith in Khartoum, a judge ruled Thursday that there is sufficient evidence to "charge" the pastors with seven different crimes including criminal conspiracy, espionage, promoting hatred amongst the sects, blasphemy, undermining the constitutional system, obtaining official documents and disturbing the peace — two of which could be punishable by death.
According to the American Center for Law and Justice, the judge's Thursday ruling now means that the pressure is on the pastors' attorney, Mohaned Mustafa, to now prove the innocence of his two clients rather than their guilt having to be proven. more >>
A Montana polygamist who was excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said earlier this week that he plans to file a lawsuit against the state if it denies his application for a marriage license with his second wife.
Nathan Collier, who once starred on TLC's "Sister Wives" alongside his two wives Victoria and Christine, applied for a marriage license at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings on Tuesday with hopes of legally marrying his second wife, Christine. His decision to do so came last week after Chief Justice John Roberts' dissent on gay marriage, which raised the issue of plural marriage following the U.S. Supreme Court's legalization of same-sex marriage.
On June 26, the Supreme Court ruled 5–4 in Obergefell v. Hodges, which declared state-level gay marriage bans unconstitutional. more >>
The Episcopal Church, a theologically liberal denomination that has strong historic ties to the former Confederacy, voted at their General Convention in favor of a resolution calling for the removal of Confederate battle flags from public display.
"[The] 78th General Convention recognize that icons and symbols are and have always been important to the liturgical life and practice of The Episcopal Church in leading us to Jesus Christ and in inspiring us to share the Good News that is at the heart of our ministry," read Resolution D044 that was introduced by the Rev. Betsy Baumgarten.
"That as our Baptismal Covenant calls Episcopalians to 'respect the dignity of every human being' and as the fourth Mark of Mission calls Episcopalians to 'transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation,' we consider the continued display of the Confederate Battle Flag to be at odds with a faithful witness to the reconciling love of Jesus Christ …" more >>