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 >>
Although some people poke fun at professional athletes like Ray Lewis, who glorified God throughout his journey to the Super Bowl, a new study has found that Americans look to these types of high-profile individuals more than they do to faith leaders for inspiration.
The Barna Group, a market research firm that specializes in studying religious beliefs among Americans and how they impact faith and culture, recently released a study claiming that athletes have more influence than pastors. An estimated two-thirds of Americans- about 64 percent- believe that professional athletes influence people in American society more than professional faith leaders, according to the report released on the Barna Group website.
This belief seems to be most prevalent among whites, parents, people who have graduated college and those who make more than $60,000 a year. However, some still believe that faith leaders impact their lives the most, including those who attend church weekly and take in earnings of less than $40,000 each year. 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 >>
The Arkansas Senate approved a bill on Monday that would allow concealed hand guns to be carried in churches and other places of worship in the state.
The bill, titled Church Protection Act of 2013 and authored by Arkansas State Sen. Bryan King (R-Green Forest), passed the Senate with a 28-4 vote, and allows individual religious leaders to decide if concealed weapons should be allowed in their places of worship.
The proposal lifts the current ban on concealed weapons in places of worship, as Arkansas is one of 10 states which specifically prohibits weapons in churches, according to The Associated Press. more >>
A six-year-old boy attending a U.K. primary school is at the center of a controversy regarding the school's ban of his Christian bracelet and his father's outrage over alleged discrimination of his son's expression of faith.
The young student, Eddie Thompson, was forced to hand over the symbolic band when a teacher discovered the Christian bracelet under his sock when he scratched his ankle, reported U.K.-based Daily Mail. The boy's father was upset after learning that his son was no longer allowed to wear the Christian band.
The father, Peter Thompson, told the Daily Mail that his son had chosen the bracelet at a local Christian bookshop and had been wearing it unseen for the past six months. "We are a Christian family and Eddie's band was a reflection of this," said Thompson. "He wears the band because he wants to feel that God is always with him." more >>
A U.S. District Court judge ruled that a major pro-life organization is not guilty of defamation against a politician who sued the group two years earlier over losing a re-election bid.
Judge Timothy S. Black of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Ohio, Western Division ruled last Friday that the Susan B. Anthony List was not guilty of defamation on First Amendment grounds.
"The law steers far clear of requiring judicial determination of political 'truth,' and does so because of the serious dangers to democracy and the political process that would result from turning the courts into 'truth squads' with respect to core political speech on matters of public concern," reads the decision. more >>