A Christian legal group has contacted two public universities, encouraging them to replace the Gideon Bibles in their university hotel rooms after they removed them at the request of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal nonprofit group, sent letters to the University of Wisconsin and Iowa State University, advising that they place the Bibles back in their university hotel rooms. The universities removed the Bibles last month after receiving complaints from FFRF, a national atheist group, which alleged that the Bibles were a violation of the U.S. Constitution's Establishment Clause because they served as religious endorsement at a public university. FFRF called the Bible placement "unwelcome religious propaganda in the bedside table."
The recent letter sent by Alliance Defending Freedom argues, however, that FFRF's argument is flawed and the schools could actually be at liability for religious discrimination for removing the Bibles. "In reality, the First Amendment does not require you to remove these Bibles, and by removing them, you may have demonstrated the very viewpoint discrimination and hostility towards religion that the First Amendment prohibits," the letter from ADF reads. more >>
Should government be able to force some business owners to either violate their conscience or shut down if they refuse service for a same-sex wedding? Joe La Rue, legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, suggests the issue can be put in a clearer light by asking this question: should a baker be required to bake a cake for Westboro Baptist Church with icing that reads, "God Hates Fags," if it violates their religious conscience to do so?
A Colorado baker, Jack Phillips, was recently ordered by a state judge to stop declining to make cakes for same-sex weddings, even though the baker believes doing so would be in violation of their religious beliefs. Similar cases around the country have involved wedding photographers and florists.
He does not object to serving gays, Phillips added, but to serving a gay wedding, because he views that as a violation of his religious beliefs. more >>
A Maryland-based order of nuns has sent a formal appeal before a federal court in order to be exempted from having to provide contraceptive services to its employees.
The Little Sisters of the Poor filed their appeal Monday before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, requesting an exemption from the Department of Health and Human Services' "preventive services mandate."
The Little Sisters are being represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is handling several legal challenges nationwide to the HHS mandate. more >>
Arizona's two Republican senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, tweeted their opposition to a state bill which proponents have argued will protect residents' religious freedom, while opponents have criticized the bill as legalizing discrimination against the LGBT population.
In almost two identical tweets, McCain wrote "I hope Governor [Jan] Brewer will veto #SB1062," while Flake tweeted "I hope Governor Brewer vetoes SB 1062." more >>
Some have claimed that a bill recently passed by the Arizona legislature would give businesses broad license to not serve someone for being gay. This claim, though, may be a misreading, according a CP legislative analysis. While the bill is an attempt to broaden who is covered under its religious freedom protections, in all cases it actually narrows when a religious belief could be used to refuse service.
Here are six important points to understand about the just-passed bill:
1. If Gov. Jan Brewer (R) signs it, the bill, S.B. 1062, would make some modifications to a 1999 Arizona law called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). more >>
A recently released survey from LifeWay Research reveals that a majority of both lay Americans and pastors believe that religious liberty has waned in the United States.
In a September poll of 1,001 Americans, LifeWay found that 54 percent agreed that "religious liberty is on the decline in America." The number jumped 15 points when the same question was asked to Protestant senior Evangelical and Mainline pastors. Of the 1,007 surveyed from Sept. 4-19, 70 percent agreed.
Erik Stanley, the senior legal counsel with Alliance for Defending Freedom and director of the Church Project, told The Christian Post that the survey confirmed what the organization had already observed anecdotally. more >>