WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate voted unanimously to add a religious freedom amendment to the Trade Promotion Authority legislation, which could be the first time that Congress asked presidents to take religious liberties into consideration when negotiating international trade agreements.
The Senate voted 92-0 Monday evening to approve the amendment to the TPA bill that was proposed by Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., which would make it an overall negotiating objective of the United States to "take into account" religious freedom violations before entering possible trade deals with other countries.
"It is a great encouragement to see the [Senate's] overwhelming support for religious liberty issues worldwide," the 47-year-old Lankford told The Christian Post Tuesday morning. "This is the core value, the first freedom that we talk about all the time but it is also a core value that I believe, and apparently my colleagues also believe, that when we talk to other nations and deal with nations where religious liberty is not common and we get into a trade conversation, we should bring up the issue of religious liberty." more >>
A U.K. judge has ruled that a Christian-run bakery discriminated against gay customers when it refused to make a cake featuring the "Sesame Street" characters Bert and Ernie with a pro same-sex marriage slogan.
District Judge Isobel Brownlie ruled at Belfast County Court on Tuesday that Ashers Bakery, the defendants, "have unlawfully discriminated against the plaintiff on grounds of sexual discrimination," The Belfast Telegraph reported.
"This is direct discrimination for which there is no justification." more >>
The Rev. Franklin Graham has said that atheist groups are attempting to "bully Christians into silence" after the Military Religious Freedom Foundation called for an Air Force general to be court-martialed for giving credit to God at a National Day of Prayer event.
"Are Christians the only group of people who cannot identify themselves publicly in this country? Are we the only voices who cannot speak?" Graham asked in a Facebook post on Monday.
"I guess this group would've tried to court martial George Washington when he prayed at Valley Forge! Come on —whose civil liberties are really being infringed on here? They want to bully Christians into silence," he added. more >>
In a twist of irony, the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which was attacked by Islamic extremists in January after publishing cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, has reportedly suspended one of its columnists after she received death threats for writing critically about radical Islam.
The French news site Le Monde has reported that Charlie Hebdo journalist Zineb El Rhazoui, who has joint French and Moroccan nationality, was called into a preliminary dismissal hearing last Friday, which allegedly could be the first step in a process that could lead to Rhazoui's firing.
A spokesperson for Charlie Hebdo assured on Friday that the meeting was to remind Rhazoui of her obligations to the paper. However, the 33 year old accused her employer of punishing her for speaking out about the editorial direction the newspaper has gone in since it was victimized by a deadly attack conducted by radical Muslims on Jan. 7, which left 12 employees dead. more >>
Two high schools in North Dakota have reversed course and will now allow for pro-life student groups to form at their facilities.
Fargo North High School and Davies High School, both of the Fargo Public School District No. 1, will now formally recognize two Students for Life Club chapters.
In a statement posted Wednesday on the Students for Life's website, Fargo North sophomore Brigid O'Keefe, a student who had attempted to set up an SFL chapter, said she was grateful for the school's decision. more >>
Answers in Genesis CEO and President Ken Ham accused atheist groups of "showing their intolerance for anything — or anyone" Christian, after the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to a high school in Georgia claiming that the school's decision to invite a Creationist speaker to talk to students is "unconstitutional."
"Christians are not second-class citizens barred from participating in society or from speaking in the public sphere. In no way is having a Christian give a lecture on critical thinking a violation of the First Amendment. If FFRF wants to claim that Christians can't speak on critical thinking, then neither can they," Ham argued in a blog post.
Troup County Comprehensive High School in LaGrange invited in late March Eric Hovind, the president of the Florida-based ministry Creation Today, to a debate class. According to Christian News Network, Hovind has said that he did not talk about his faith or creation during the class, but participated in a general discussion on critical thinking. more >>