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Stories tagged with: religious liberty

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  • UC Berkeley leader slammed over biblical gender views

    by Diana Chandler, posted Thursday, November 15, 2018 (4 days ago)

    Photo from Facebook
    BERKELEY, Calif. (BP) -- A Christian student leader is facing backlash and censure after abstaining from a pro-transgender vote and citing a biblical standard of two genders in her defense.

    A University of California at Berkeley LGBT group is petitioning for Sen. Isabella Chow's resignation from student government; her political party, Student Action, has dropped ties to her; the university newspaper has refused to run Chow's editorial in her defense; and hundreds have protested against her, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Nov. 9. Read More

  • Professor fights pronoun mandate

    by Bonnie Pritchett/WORLD , posted Thursday, November 15, 2018 (4 days ago)

    PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (BP) -- A Shawnee State University philosophy professor filed a lawsuit against the Portsmouth, Ohio, school on Nov. 5 for disciplining him because he insisted on using the courtesy title that corresponded to a student's biological sex.

    Nicholas Meriwether, a 22-year tenured faculty member, uses courtesy titles like "Mr." and "Miss" with students' last names in his classes. But his belief that God created humans immutably male or female puts that practice at odds with the Shawnee State nondiscrimination policy, which demands employees affirm a person's preferred gender.

    The case could force publicly funded schools to reassess their LGBT nondiscrimination policies, said Meriwether's attorney, Travis Barham with Alliance Defending Freedom. "Public universities have no business compelling people to express views they do not hold," Barham said. "That's the message of this case." Read More

  • Tax on churches looms, ERLC coalition urges repeal

    by Tom Strode, posted Wednesday, November 14, 2018 (5 days ago)

    BP file photo by Art Toalston
    WASHINGTON (BP) -- A diverse coalition led by the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission has urged members of Congress to repeal a section of a federal law that could force churches to file tax returns for the first time in American history.

    The ERLC -- joined by 32 other organizations -- sent a letter Nov. 13 to leaders of two congressional committees and some other members of Congress asking them to rescind before 2019 a provision in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which took effect Jan. 1 of this year.

    Without repeal, the cost to the charitable sector would be a congressionally estimated $1.7 billion over 10 years, the religious groups and nonprofit organizations said in the letter. Read More

  • Vets memorial cross gets Supreme Court lifeline

    by Diana Chandler, posted Monday, November 05, 2018 (14 days ago)

    First Liberty photo
    BLADENSBURG, Md. (BP) -- The U.S. Supreme court has agreed to hear the case of a near-century old World War I veterans' memorial in Bladensburg, Md., previously ordered dismantled because it's a cross.

    Erected in 1925 with private funds from The American Legion and mothers of slain soldiers, the Bladensburg WWI Veterans Memorial stood unchallenged for 90 years, until the American Humanist Association (AHA) sued in 2014.

    First Liberty Institute and international law firm Jones Day, representing The ... Read More

  • Gender, marriage spotlighted in final campaign ads

    by David Roach, posted Monday, November 05, 2018 (14 days ago)

    Screen capture from YouTube.
    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (BP) -- Biblical teaching on gender roles and marriage are the focus of last-minute campaign ads in two closely-contested political campaigns.

    In North Carolina's 9th congressional district, attack ads have taken aim at former Southern Baptist pastor Mark Harris' preaching on gender roles in the family. In the Colorado governor's race, ads from the conservative Family Policy Alliance suggest Democratic nominee Jared Polis could threaten the religious liberty of business owners who oppose same-sex marriage. Read More

  • Christian apologetics club wins free speech battle

    by Diana Chandler, posted Friday, October 19, 2018 (one month ago)

    Ratio Christi Facebook photo
    KENNESSAW, Ga. (BP) -- A Christian apologetics group will be able to display pro-life and other messages freely at a state university, the result of a settlement reached through Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

    Ratio Christi, a registered student organization at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga., gained the right in a settlement ADF announced Oct. 18. The group had twice been required to post its displays in a small "speech zone" after the university deemed the messages "controversial," ADF said in a lawsuit filed ... Read More

  • ERLC, BGEA back coach in appeal to Supreme Court

    by Tom Strode, posted Wednesday, October 03, 2018 (one month ago)

    Photo from First Liberty Institute
    WASHINGTON (BP) -- The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and other organizations have urged the U.S. Supreme Court to review a lower court decision they contend violates the First Amendment rights of public school teachers and coaches.

    The court has twice rescheduled a conference to consider whether to accept the appeal, according to First Liberty Institute, which represents a coach in the case.

    The ERLC joined the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) and seven other groups in support of a Washington state high school football coach who was suspended for kneeling and praying on the field after games. In their friend-of-the-court brief, the organizations requested the high court review a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling against Joseph Kennedy and overturn that opinion. Read More

  • 'Flawed,' 'hot mess' precedent defeats Fla. cross

    by Diana Chandler, posted Tuesday, September 11, 2018 (2 months ago)

    Becket Fund for Religious Liberty photo
    PENSACOLA, Fla. (BP) -- If the federal court had its way, a 34-foot cross would remain at its Pensacola, Fla., post. But "flawed precedent" that judges called a "hot mess" forced them to rule otherwise, the judges wrote in their opinion.

    Judges said their hands were tied by the 1983 ruling in the nearly identical case of ACLU v. Rabun County, when the Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ordered a cross be removed from Black Rock Mountain State Park in Georgia.

    "Given the parallels between the two cases -- and crosses -- we think it clear that Rabun ... controls our analysis and requires that we affirm the district court's decision," the three-judge panel in the current Eleventh Circuit Court wrote in its Sept. 7 decision. Read More

  • S.C. church plant sues town for rental ban

    by Tom Strode, posted Wednesday, August 29, 2018 (2 months ago)

    Photo from Facebook
    CHARLESTON, S.C. (BP) -- A Southern Baptist church plant in South Carolina has sued the town of Edisto Beach for prohibiting it from use of its civic center.

    Redeemer Fellowship of Edisto Island filed suit Aug. 27 in federal court in Charleston, S.C., because of a policy it says violates its free speech and religion rights guaranteed in the First Amendment. Redeemer Fellowship had twice met for corporate worship in the Edisto Beach Civic Center when the town council changed its policy to prohibit rentals for "religious worship services."

    The church -- which began meeting in January -- outgrew the home in which it met for corporate worship and began seeking to rent space. The congregation met at the civic center for worship on Easter Sunday, April 1, and May 6, but the Edisto Beach Town Council voted unanimously at its May 10 meeting to amend its facility use policy to ban such rentals. At its June meeting, the town council approved unanimously the amended facility use guidelines. Read More

  • Univ. of Iowa reinstates religious groups for now

    by David Roach, posted Thursday, August 16, 2018 (3 months ago)

    IOWA CITY, Iowa (BP) -- The University of Iowa has reinstated multiple religious student groups as registered campus organizations after one group threatened to seek a temporary restraining order amid pending litigation.

    InterVarsity Graduate Christian Fellowship sued the university Aug. 6 because school officials revoked the fellowship's status as an official student organization over a requirement that InterVarsity Graduate leaders "share the group's faith and exemplify its Christian values," according to a complaint filed by the nonprofit Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. The temporary reinstatement, secured when Becket threatened to seek a temporary restraining order, will apply until the lawsuit is resolved. Read More