A religious freedom advocacy organization has expressed concern over the U.S. Labor Department's forthcoming new rule against LGBT discrimination among federal contractors, which was submitted for review without public comment and contains little guidance for faith-based federal contractors.
The Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance believes the Labor Department rule, meant to implement President Barack Obama's recent executive order barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity for federal contractors, does not currently clarify the rights of faith-based organizations.
The rule was sent last week to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), which is within the Office of Management and Budget, for review. The rule is not yet published, but IRFA has learned that the rule will offer little guidance to faith-based groups with government contracts. more >>
The city of Coeur d'Alene in Idaho has reportedly realized that a for-profit wedding chapel owned by Christian ministers Donald Knapp and his wife, Evelyn, can refuse to perform same-sex marriages without violating "non-discrimination" laws.
The city earlier maintained that its "non-discrimination" ordinance requires the Knapps, who run Hitching Post Wedding Chapel, to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies because the courts have overridden Idaho's voter-approved constitutional amendment that affirmed marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
The couple needed to be a not-for-profit to be exempt from the ordinance §9.56, which bars facilities of public accommodation from discrimination, the city had said. more >>
Pro-life groups have written to the City Council of the District of Columbia to protest a proposed bill that would violate federal law by forcing them to provide elective abortion coverage through their insurance plans as well as employ those who do not believe in their pro-life mission.
The Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014 (Bill 20-790) "would appear to prohibit employers in the District of Columbia from declining to hire any person or otherwise take any employment-related action concerning an employee because the individual had an abortion or makes any other 'reproductive health decision,'" says a letter sent to the Council by Alliance Defending Freedom and six other groups.
The chief aim of this bill is to force objecting employers to provide insurance coverage of all "reproductive health decisions," adds the letter, signed also by March for Life, Susan B. Anthony List, Charlotte Lozier Institute, Concerned Women for America, National Right to Life Committee and Family Research Council. more >>
The daughter of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman being held on death row in Pakistan, has spoken out about the alleged torture her mother experienced at the hands of alleged Islamic zealots.
"My friends told me that people were torturing my mother at the fields where she used to work," Esham Masih, who was nine years old at the time, told Mail Online. "I rushed to the spot and found that she was being abused and tortured by men."
The beating allegedly began after Bibi encountered some Muslim workers in the field where they all worked. The women accused her of being unclean because of her Christian faith and later said that she made disparaging remarks against the prophet Mohammed. After the beating, Bibi was taken into custody and sentenced to be hanged. Her case has drawn international attention from Christian and women's rights organizations. more >>
What is this absurd reason? They're running a business. If pastors are operating a "for-profit" wedding chapel, then they must officiate at gay weddings regardless of their religious objections.
Thus, to the city attorney of Coeur d'Alene, these pastors have fewer religious-liberty rights than they would if they were performing the same services (even including receiving a fee for those services) in a not-for-profit corporate form.
There is a persistent belief amongst leftists and statists of all stripes that the for-profit corporate form somehow strips that corporation and its leaders of any real control over their speech activities. We saw this in the Hobby Lobby case, as the Left was practically beside itself at the idea that a closely-held for-profit company had even comparable rights to a not-for-profit. To them, the desire to make money should leave you at the mercy of the state. As I stated in the aftermath of the Hobby Lobby decision: more >>
Is Islam a religion? This question, and others perceived as Islamaphobic, were debated by several professors at Union Theological Seminary in New York City Wednesday, with the panelists seeking to encourage the audience to participate in meaningful inter-religious dialogue.
With the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) gaining power and territory in the Middle East, questions regarding Islam and the beliefs and traditions among Muslim sects have been asked repeatedly. Numerous academics have weighed in on the question of whether Islam is truly violent and an authentic religion; three professors, along with one activist, came together at Union Theological Seminary to examine the issue further.
"We can understand Islamophobia as being an imitation, created and recreated across time. It builds across time and space … iteration leads to transformation," argued Ermin Sinanovic, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the United States Naval Academy, who has extensively studied Islam and Muslim-Christian relations. more >>