The United Methodist Church's highest court will be reviewing a decision to overrule a regional body's resolution calling for churches to defy the denomination's rules that bar clergy from performing same-sex marriages and being in a same-sex relationship.
Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar of the New England Conference overruled most of the regional body's resolution, passed during the summer, calling for a refusal to enforce rules regarding homosexuality as outlined in the Book of Discipline.
The United Methodist Judicial Council, the highest legal authority for the Mainline denomination, is scheduled to review Bishop Devadhar's ruling of law. more >>
The Christian owners of an Oregon bakery who were fined over $135,000 by a state government agency for declining to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding are continuing to fight for their First Amendment rights.
After Aaron and Melissa Klein of Sweet Cakes by Melissa were fined by the state's Bureau of Labor and Industries $135,000 last year for declining to bake a cake for the wedding of Rachel Bowman-Cryer and Laurel Bowman-Cryer in 2013 on the grounds that it would have violated their religious convictions, the Kleins paid their fine last December and filed an appeal with the Oregon Court of Appeals in April in hopes the court would rule that the government agency violated their religious freedom rights.
In response to a brief defending the government's actions against the Kleins filed to the Oregon Court of Appeals last month by state lawyers, the Kleins filed a reply brief to the court earlier this month. more >>
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., says that the core American principle of religious freedom should not be "denigrated" even though many liberals today claim that the First Amendment right has become "code words" for the right to discriminate against the LGBT community.
In an interview with CNS News, Hoyer was questioned about a recent report from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which states that "religious exemptions to the protections of civil rights based upon classifications such as race, color, national origin, sex, disability status, sexual orientation, and gender identity, when they are permissible, significantly infringe upon these civil rights."
In the 307-page report, the chairman of the commission, Martin R. Castro, who was appointed to the commission by President Barack Obama in 2011, argued that "the phrases 'religious liberty' and 'religious freedom' will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance." more >>
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump announced his child care plan on Tuesday and its inclusion of benefits for same-sex parents has raised the eyebrows of some evangelicals and social conservatives.
Under Trump's child care plan, mothers would be provided up to six weeks of paid maternity leave if they do not already receive it from their employer. In contrast, Democratic nominee HIllary Clinton's plan would provide 12 weeks of paid family leave.
Apart from the six weeks of maternity leave, Trump's plan will also change the tax code in order "to allow working parents to deduct from their income taxes child care expenses for up to four children and elderly dependents." more >>
The departing Archbishop of Wales, Barry Morgan, used his final address to reignite the gay marriage debate by arguing that just as there are a number of different views on controversial subjects in the Bible, there is a way to interpret committed gay relationships as being acceptable in the eyes of God.
Morgan, who spent nearly 14 years as head of the Church in Wales, making him the longest serving archbishop in the worldwide Anglican Communion, according to BBC News, examined a number of controversial topics in the Bible, from mass murder to incest and slavery, and assessed that while some passages condemn such acts, others suggest they could have been acceptable in the proper context.
"There is therefore overwhelming biblical support for slavery. Yes, masters are exhorted to treat them fairly but as an institution it is regarded as being a good thing. Indeed, during the American Civil War, some Christians advanced arguments based on biblical texts for owning slaves," Morgan pointed out, after offering a number of biblical verses that he said could support slavery. more >>
It turns out that there was more to the story of a gay schoolteacher and his "husband" who were found dead August 25 as the apparent result of a murder-suicide. According to court documents, the men were under investigation for serially abusing underage boys, and with their deaths, even more boys are coming forward with reports of abuse.
According to People magazine, "The apparent murder-suicide of a Minnesota elementary school teacher and his husband last week now seems to have masked a darker truth: Police say the couple, teacher Aric Babbitt and Matthew Deyo, are being investigated after multiple teenagers accused them of sexual abuse."
Does this mean that all gay men, or at least, gay schoolteachers, are sexual predators, preying on underage boys? Certainly not, and to draw that conclusion would be totally unfair. more >>