Two Christian colleges located in states that had their same-sex marriage bans struck down by the United States Supreme Court's June 26 decision that nationally legalized same-sex marriage are offering employment benefits to legally recognized same-sex spouses of school employees.
The employment practices of Hope College, a small Reformed liberal arts school in Holland, Michigan, and the nondenominational Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, will both comply with their states' new legal definitions on marriage after the high court's ruling.
On Monday, Hope College President John Knapp sent an email to the Hope community explaining that while Hope will continue to offer benefits to spouses of employees recognized by the state, the Supreme Court's ruling has effectively changed the definition of marriages recognized by the state of Michigan to include same-sex couples. more >>
Have you heard about the Baptist pastors in Shelby, North Carolina, who have raised the Christian flag above the American flag at their local churches? The pastors explain that our ultimate allegiance is to God, not government or country. One of the churches has launched a website (GodBeforeGovernment.org).
The pastors have a very valid point. Flags are powerful emotive symbols, as signified by the recent controversy over the Confederate battle flag. The pastors' actions remind Christians that our ultimate allegiance belongs to God. As Jesus said, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God things which be God's" (Luke 20:25). In other words, ultimate loyalty must belong to God.
This ultimate allegiance is actually acknowledged in our Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag: "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." more >>
Despite having family members to sponsor them, a group of 20 Chaldean Christians who fled ISIS have been detained for over four months at the Otay Detention Facility in San Diego. The large Chaldean community in Southern California are unhappy with the unexplained delays and are demanding their release.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) claim they are undermanned and face a backlog of cases but have offered little to the media about the prolonged detention of the Chaldean 20.
Mark Arabo, an activist and spokesmen for the local Chaldean community says, "What we do know is that they are being held without a real reason." more >>
Republicans in Virginia's legislature are considering measures meant to protect religious groups and individuals from having to perform gay weddings due to the Supreme Court's recent decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.
While the beginning of the next session of the General Assembly is still months away, GOP legislators are mulling various possible religious liberty measures.
"Republicans have not specified what proposals they plan to offer, but House Speaker William J. Howell, R-Stafford, has asked Del. C. Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, deputy majority leader and a former prosecutor, to review what other states have done before they decide what action to take in Virginia," reported Jenna Portnoy of The Washington Post. more >>
When it comes to preserving religious freedom for Christian schools, the Senate's second ranking Democrat says, "I'll have to think hard and long about that."
On Wednesday, in lieu of the Supreme Court's recent decision on gay marriage, Democratic Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, was asked about revoking the tax status of religious schools. He and other Senate Democrats claim to be undecided on the matter.
"There's no question this was an historic decision," said Durbin, "and now we're going to go through a series of suggestions for new laws to implement it." more >>
More than $210,000 has been raised in support of the Oregon Christian bakers who are being forced by the state to pay $135,000 in "emotional damages" to a lesbian couple for declining to bake them a wedding cake in 2013, an act that would have violated their deeply-held religious convictions.
Although an online fundraiser established on GoFundMe.com to support Melissa and Aaron Klein, the owners of the now-closed Sweet Cakes by Melissa bakery in Gresham, raised over $100,009 in nine hours in April, the campaign was taken off the website because the Kleins had been "formally charged by local authorities and found to be in violation of Oregon state law."
After removing the Kleins' fundraiser, GoFundMe later revised its user policy to state that the site can't be used to raise money in "defense of formal charges or claims of heinous crimes, violent, hateful, sexual or discriminatory acts." The website additionally shut down the fundraiser for Barronelle Stutzman, a Washington florist who's also facing heavy fines for not working a gay wedding. more >>