WASHINGTON — The Religious Freedom Restoration Act is under increasing attack since the U.S. Supreme Court'sHobby Lobby decision that granted "closely-held" businesses an exemption from the birth control mandate, religious freedom lawyers claimed at the Federalist Society's annual National Lawyers Convention.
In response to the Hobby Lobby case and possible religious exemption cases citing it, there may come a "softening" of the decision by judges over the coming years, explained members of a panel event on Thursday on the topic of religious liberty.
Kim Colby, senior counsel at the Christian Legal Society, said to those gathered that since the Supreme Court's decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, Inc., efforts to undermine religious exemptions have increased. more >>
In an effort to prevent what happened last Christmas season to a first grader at a California school who was stopped by his teacher from passing out candy canes with a Christian message to his classmates, religious freedom lawyers have filed a request for a preliminary injunction in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
Last year, when Isaiah Martinez brought his Christmas gifts to Merced Elementary in the West Covina Unified School District, his teacher took possession of the candy canes. At the direction of the school principal, the teacher instructed Isaiah that "Jesus is not allowed in school" and she removed the candy cane messages from each candy cane, threw the messages in the trash, and handed the candy canes back to Isaiah for delivery to his classmates, according to Advocates for Faith & Freedom.
Isaiah then "nervously handed the candy canes to his classmates in fear that he was in trouble for trying to bring a little Christmas cheer and 'good tidings' to class," AFF stated. The canes no longer had a message attached that recited the legend of a candy maker who created the candy cane to symbolize the life of Jesus Christ. more >>
WASHINGTON — Can churches have religious freedom in a nation without economic freedom? This issue was explored Monday at an Acton Institute conference hosted by the Catholic University of America.
While the relationship between economic and religious freedom is complicated, religious freedom advocates should also champion economic freedom because they both rely upon some of the same foundational principles, several of the speakers argued.
There are four major themes in the Second Vatican Council's Declaration on Religious Freedom, also known as Dignitatis Humanae, which is Latin for "of the dignity of the human person," noted Jay Richards, assistant research professor in the School of Business and Economics at CUA: Religious freedom should be based upon 1) the fundamental dignity of every human person, 2) freedom of association, 3) the rights of parents to raise their children according to their beliefs, and 4) the God-ordained but limited role of government. more >>
A couple weeks ago, The Washington Post sent a shudder up the spines of its female readers by running a story featuring a new study that found women hold fewer leadership positions within evangelical non-profits than they do in the general marketplace. Pundits are using this study to point to a struggle between submissive women and sexist men within evangelical's supposedly patriarchal community. But more facts need to be known before broad brushing us with the accusation that evangelical non-profits "ignore the gifts of women in leadership."
As easy as it is to demand greater gender diversity within evangelical non-profits, we risk minimizing the professional sacrifices many women choose to make for the sake of their personal lives. Women's juggling of jobs and family at the same time is called work-family balance, and workplace flexibility is the only thing that makes it possible.
As two women, we represent very different seasons in life through which most women go. In our single 20-somethings, women have the time to put in the 12-hour work day the non-profit world often demands, and then commuting the hour-long train or car ride home before driving through Taco Bell and finally calling it a day. The next day, we wake up and do it all over again. This is often the lifestyle it takes for a woman (or man) to climb the career ladder in the public and private sectors. But that's not a preferable lifestyle for most women with children at home. more >>
Chase Windebank, a senior at Pine Creek High School, is the plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by legal ministry Alliance Defending Freedom against his Colorado Springs school for allegedly barring him and other students from meeting together during their free time to pray, sing hymns and discuss various subjects.
"Religious speech is expressly protected by the First Amendment, and public schools have no business stopping students from praying together during their free time," ADF Legal Counsel Matt Sharp said in a statement posted on the ADF website.
According to court documents filed last Friday, Windebank and his friends used free time allotted to students during the school day to discuss religious matters in an unoccupied room for the past three years. On Sept. 29 an assistant principal told Windebank and the other students they could only participate in religious activity such as singing and praying before or after school. more >>
Brad Pitt's new WWII film Fury is violent, vulgar, maybe not entirely realistic, but also inspirational. He's a veteran tank commander pushing against heavy German resistance during the war's final days. Inflicted with a dangerously raw recruit for his experienced tank team, Pitt compels him to shoot a German prisoner caught wearing an American's coat. Trying to harden the young clerk typist, at one point he points to a burning German village, and he explains that the reality of the world is violence. Later, having passed the corpses of German civilians, including children, hanged by the SS for refusing to resist the Allies, Pitt orders the shooting of a captured SS officer whom a civilian identifies as the culprit.
Amusingly, one of Pitt's tank crewmembers that likes to quote Scripture (and use the F word) confronts the new recruit with, "Are you saved?" The young novice responds, "I am baptized," provoking the Bible quoter accurately to surmise, "You're a Mainline Protestant, aren't you?" It turns out later that the Pitt character also knows the Bible, chapter and verse, which is likely true for the real Pitt, who hails from a Pentecostal background.
The day after watching Fury I sat at a luncheon next to a distinguished 91-year-old retired U.S. Army general that as a young officer commanded an infantry platoon in France and Germany during the war's final year. I told him about the movie scene in which Pitt compelled shooting a German prisoner. The old General recalled some of his men didn't want to take prisoners but as an officer it was his duty to restrain him. I also asked if soldiers then used the F word like a machine gun as most modern movies like Fury portray. Absolutely not, he insisted, they sometimes cussed but not like that. I asked if he knew before the war's end how evil the Nazis really were. He said no, they were just enemies who needed killing, until his unit came across one of the death camps. more >>