The New York chapter of the Boy Scouts of America broke the organization's national ban on openly gay adults serving in the institution this week when they announced Thursday that they had hired 18-year-old Eagle Scout Pascal Tessier to work as a camp counselor at the Ten Mile River Scout Camp in upstate New York this summer.
The New York chapter told The Washington Post that the organization got an application from Tessier, who is openly gay, and decided he was qualified based on his merits. Tessier has also been actively advocating for the inclusion of openy gay scout leaders in the organization for several years now.
"I'm sure it won't be a surprise to know he's excited that he got the job," Zack Wahls, executive director of Scouts for Equality, told The Washington Post. more >>
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed an amendment to the state's recently passed Religious Freedom Restoration Act Thursday in response to critics who claimed the bill authorized anti-gay discrimination. RFRA, however, is not an "anti-gay" bill and the proposed "fix" illustrates why the critics' arguments were false in the first place.
The change to Indiana's RFRA says that the law does not "authorize a provider to refuse to offer or provide services, facilities, use of public accomodations, goods, employment, or housing to any member or members of the general public on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or United States military service." Further, it states that RFRA cannot be used as a defense from "civil action or criminal prosecution" for a provider who refuses the above. Churches, religious leaders and religious nonprofits are exempted.
As The Christian Post pointed out after passage of the Indiana RFRA, the law is not anti-gay. It provides religious freedom protections for all faiths, and does not single out (or even mention) gays in any way. more >>
A high school golf coach in Indiana has been suspended after she threatened to burn down a local pizzeria when she heard its Christian owners say earlier this week that they'd refuse to cater gay weddings if asked to do so. The pizza shop has temporarily closed amid safety concerns after its owners received death threats this week.
After Gov. Mike Pence signed into law Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act last Thursday, the O'Connor family, which has owned Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Indiana, for over nine years, told a local ABC television news reporter on Tuesday that they agree with the new law and believe that it doesn't discriminate against homosexauls, as some claim.
Crystal O'Connor added that should a gay couple come in and want the pizzeria to cater their wedding, the restaurant would refuse to provide services for the event. more >>
WASHINGTON — Evangelical churches need to focus more on preaching biblical truth in order to prepare children to defend historic Christian teachings on social issues like same-sex marriage and abortion from the "distorted" theology being propagated by the Christian left, evangelical author Chelsen Vicari said Wednesday.
At a Family Research Council discussion on her new book, Distorted: How The New Christian Left is Twisting the Gospel and Damaging Faith, Vicari explained that as more mainline Protestant denominations are starting to affirm same-sex relationships and other issues that Christ has labeled as sinful, young Evangelicals are susceptible to caving in and embracing the liberal agenda that they encounter on college campuses and in youth groups, because they don't know enough about the Scripture to defend its guiding principles.
Vicari, who's the evangelical program director at the Institute on Religion and Democracy, shared her own story about how when she was going through her undergraduate studies, her strong conservative Christian convictions were tested and ostracized by left-leaning Christian groups on campus. She eventually folded her convictions to believe that it's acceptable for Christians to be accommodating toward sinful behavior, such as homosexuality. more >>
Debates over Indiana's new religious freedom law illustrate that gay marriage supporters now generally don't support certain basic religious freedom protections. There are some exceptions, however.
Here are three gay marriage-supporting law professors who still support religious freedom:
Daniel O. Conkle more >>
Liberals are casting a cautiously optimistic eye toward Indiana after Governor Mike Pence stated that an effort will be made to clarify the implementation of the Hoosier state's religious freedom law.
In response to criticism over Indiana's recently passed Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Governor Pence announced his plans to make sure the law clearly states that gays will not be discriminated against.
While many conservatives expressed disappointment with Pence's remarks, groups like Americans United for Separation of Church and State approved of the possible adjustments. more >>