A United States appeals court has ruled against a former Marine who was court-martialed and discharged in part for refusing to remove cutouts of a biblical phrase from her work station.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces in Washington ruled Wednesday, 4-1, to uphold the bad conduct discharge of Lance Cpl. Monifa Sterling, deciding that there was no "substantial burden" placed on her religious freedom rights when her supervising officer at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina demanded that she remove slips of paper taped to her desk that read "No weapon formed against me shall prosper."
Although the saying is a paraphrase of Isaiah 54:17, the court majority believes that Sterling, who had a contentious relationship with her staff sergeant and felt as though she was being bullied, posted the verse in order to be "combative." more >>
The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez is "grateful" that the California legislature recently dropped a proposal in a pro-LGBT bill that critics say would have curbed religious liberty for private schools.
California state Sen. Ricardo Lara announced earlier this week that he was dropping a measure in a bill that would have removed certain exemptions from religious colleges.
As president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Rodriguez said in a statement Wednesday that he and his organization "hope and pray that future legislative proposals will engage the faith community in a viable conversation that will protect the rights of all." more >>
190 million Americans affiliate with a rich and diverse variety of religious groups in our great country. The genius of our Founding Fathers guaranteed in the First Amendment to the Constitution that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Because of their determination and foresight, Americans are able, by law and in practice, to find meaning and blessing in religion, unmolested by anyone who hold different beliefs or no religious belief at all.
Globally, approximately 5.8 billion people identify with some religious belief or practice. Too many of them do not enjoy the freedoms of expression and practice that Americans do. The Pew Research Center reports that 75% of the world's population lives in areas with severe religious restrictions. Governments often suppress religious expression, or turn a blind eye when religious minorities are targets of discrimination or violence.
The list of religious minorities at risk is long. It includes the Baha'i in Iran, Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, Hindus in Bangladesh, and numerous religious groups in China. Anti-Semitism is spiking in Europe and Islamophobia rises with every Islamist terror attack. more >>
Iraqi Christians who were forced to flee their homes two years ago and are now living in refugee camps say they are determined to stay and help rebuild the country despite the risk of being killed by Islamic State militants, according to a new report.
The international nonprofit ministry Open Doors, which has supported persecuted Christians for more than 50 years, announced last week that it spent eight months consulting with church leaders in Iraq and Syria to release a report called "Hope for the Middle East" in collaboration with Middle East Concern and the University of East London.
The report, which will be launched in the British Parliament on Oct. 12, documents "the contributions that Christians have made to the region and looked at healthcare, business, culture and welfare across the centuries," and will include recommendations for how the British government can effectively speak and act on behalf of the church in the Middle East. more >>
California State Senator Ricardo Lara announced that he will be dropping a provision from a bill that critics warned would have curbed the religious exemption rights of private schools.
Senator Lara recently introduced Senate Bill 1146, which among other things would have made it easier for LGBT students of religious colleges to sue the schools for upholding traditional Christian teachings on gender and sexuality.
In a statement published in the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday, Lara explained that while he supports protecting LGBT students of religious schools, he is aware that certain "unintended consequences" may come from his bill. more >>
Twenty-six LGBT organizations are demanding that the Big 12 block the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints-operated Brigham Young University from joining the athletic conference because of the institution's biblical stance on same-sex marriage.
As the Big 12 looks to expand and BYU makes its case to join the conference, Athlete Ally and 25 other LGBT advocacy groups sent a letter on Monday to Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby and the leadership of schools within the conference to warn about BYU's policies that they believe to be discriminatory toward the LGBT community.
"The Big 12 is a conference committed to sportsmanship, fair play and inclusion both on and off the playing field," the letter states. "You are known for your dedication to fans and your commitment to the welfare of your student-athletes. Adding a school like BYU to your membership while it still champions anti-LGBT policies and practices would greatly undermine these Big 12 values." more >>