Lawyers from Americans United for Separation of Church and State are warning public officials in New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. that extensive preparation at taxpayers' expense for Pope Francis' visit later this month is a violation of the U.S. Constitution. Quoting an appeals court ruling, such aid is the type of "specific evil" the First Amendment "was designed to prevent," the group said.
The organization, which advocates for a strict separation view of the religious freedom clauses of the First Amendment, sent a letter to the mayors of the respective cities and the heads of the Secret Service, National Park Service and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority on Monday "to provide guidance on the constitutional limitations on governmental support of and involvement with the papal visit."
"Specifically, government bodies must not provide any aid to a Pope's religious activities that goes beyond the provision of services — such as police, safety, and security — that are regularly given for comparable public events of a similar size," states the letter, which was signed by the group's legal director Alex Luchenitser and legal fellow John McGinnis. more >>
WASHINGTON — Prominent conservative activist and author Ryan T. Anderson, one of the most prolific thinkers opposing the redefinition of marriage, thinks the Supreme Court made the right decision Monday in refusing to hear a case from a Christian Kentucky clerk who is denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
After the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges in June established that states could no longer refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses, Kim Davis, the elected clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky announced that her office would no longer be handing out any marriage licenses so that she could stay true to her Apostolic Christian faith.
After a federal court ruled in August that Davis' clerk office could no longer refrain from issuing marriage licenses because of her Christian objection to same-sex marriage, Davis and her lawyer filed an emergency application with the Supreme Court seeking exemption from the district court's ruling until her appeal process can be completed. However, the court struck Davis' application down. Despite her Supreme Court loss, Davis is still not issuing any marriage licenses and will face a contempt hearing Thursday. . more >>
Over 150 students at a Missouri high school walked out of class Monday and staged a two-hour protest to voice their disapproval with a transgender student's request to use the girls' locker room to change for her physical education class.
After dozens of parents showed up to a school board meeting at Hillsboro High School last Thursday to discuss their concerns over a senior transgender student's desire to use the girls' locker room and bathrooms, students and parents took to the school's parking lot on Monday to tell administrators they won't allow girls' privacy rights to be infringed upon to provide special accommodation.
While local news outlets reported that about 30 to 40 students counter protested in favor of granting Lila Perry, a 17-year-old biological male who came out as a transgender last February, permission to use the girls' bathrooms and locker room, most of the students at the rally are opposed to granting Perry the special privilege. more >>
A Kentucky high school has defied an atheist group's demand that the school keep prayer out of its pre-football game festivities, as the school kicked off its 2015 football season with a student-led invocation last Friday.
Prior to August 2011, Bell County High School practiced a long-standing tradition of letting a Christian pastor lead in a pre-game prayer over the stadium's public-address system as a way of asking God to keep the student-athletes safe.
But after the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the nation's largest atheist organization, filed a complaint with the school district's then-Superintendent George Thompson, and threatened to file a lawsuit, school officials decided to end the prayer tradition to avoid costly litigation. more >>
Outspoken Christian actress Candace Cameron Bure was selected as one of the new co-hosts of popular daytime television show "The View," ABC announced this week. Bure will join returning co-host Joy Behar, Whoopi Goldberg, Michelle Collins, Raven Symone and newcomer Paula Faris.
Bure released a statement saying she was very excited about the opportunity.
"I am thrilled to be joining 'The View' as a regular co-host this fall. I am honored to be a new addition to such a strong group of bright and opinionated women, and I look forward to sharing this exciting journey with viewers new and old," she said. "Thank you everyone for your support, encouragement, prayers and enthusiasm for my time as new co-host on 'The [View].'" more >>
As the Little Sisters of the Poor are petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a federal court decision that forces the order of Catholic nuns to abide by the "Obamacare" contraception mandate, over 20 states, a group of Orthodox Jewish rabbis and a number of Evangelical and secular organizations are urging the high court to take up the case and protect religious liberty.
"We are deeply grateful for the outpouring of support we have received from such a wide range of people and groups," Sister Loraine Marie Maguire, Mother Provincial for the Little Sisters of the Poor, said in a statement. "We simply ask the government to allow us to continue our ministry of caring for the elderly poor as we have for over 175 years without being forced to violate our faith or pay government fines."
In July, the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious institutions must abide by the exemption rules of the Affordable Care Act's, or "Obamacare's," Health and Human Services contraception mandate. more >>