President Donald Trump vowed to make good on a campaign promise to repeal the law that restricts political speech from the pulpit, speaking at his first National Prayer Breakfast as president.
“I will get rid of, totally destroy, the Johnson Amendment, and allow representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear,” he said on Feb. 2 to a gathering of 3,500 faith leaders, politicians, and other dignitaries from around the world, including King Abdullah of Jordan.
New Army regulations will allow soldiers to wear turbans, beards and hijabs under most circumstances, reflecting a change Sikhs have sought for years.
“Based on the successful examples of Soldiers currently serving with these accommodations, I have determined that brigade-level commanders may approve requests for these accommodations,” wrote Secretary of the Army Eric K. Fanning in a Tuesday (Jan. 3) memo.
In March, the Army concluded that permitting beards for medical reasons but banning them for religious reasons is a discriminatory bar to service for Sikhs, who are forbidden by their faith to cut their hair and beards.
Several American-based religious denominations remain defiant in the face of new laws that would ban them from proselytizing in Russia.
The so-called “Yarovaya laws” make it illegal to preach, proselytize, or hand out religious materials outside of specially designated places. The laws also give the Russian government wide scope to monitor and record electronic messages and phone calls.
A bill wending its way through the California Legislature would limit religious colleges’ ability to claim an exemption from federal Title IX regulations that bar discrimination against LGBT students and faculty.
Only schools that prepare students for pastoral ministry would be allowed the religious exemption under California Senate Bill 1146 — which passed the state Senate in May and is scheduled for a hearing in the state Assembly on June 30.
A Muslim civil rights organization says that a record number of groups are spreading hatred of Muslims and have raised more than $200 million in funding since 2008.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim advocacy group, issued its findings in a report conducted with the Center for Race and Gender at the University of California, Berkeley, released June 20.
The Supreme Court decided on May 16 to defer to lower courts any decision regarding the Affordable Care Act's birth control mandate.
“A Muslim mosque cannot be subjected to a different land-use approval process than a Christian church simply because local protesters oppose the mosque,” reads the brief from almost 20 religious and civil rights groups.
Gov. Phil Bryant signed HB 1523 — the so-called “religious freedom” bill — on April 5, reports WREG Memphis.
The new law prevents legal action being taken against individuals and organizations that deny service based on their religious beliefs.
A decorated veteran Sikh officer is the first to win an approval from the U.S. Army to continue on active duty while maintaining his religiously mandated beard and turban. The Army issued a decision March 31, concluding that to allow beards for medical reasons but ban them for religious reasons is a discriminatory bar to service for Sikh Americans, according to a statement from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, one of the law offices that argued his case.
Most U.S. adults say religious liberty is declining in America and Christians face more intolerance than ever. But nearly 4 in 10 also say Christians “complain too much about how they are treated,” according to a new LifeWay Research survey.
The Supreme Court is seeking a compromise that would let religious nonprofit groups avoid any involvement in offering insurance coverage for contraceptives while also ensuring that employees get the coverage.
Was it the Hollywood threat to boycott Georgia or the NFL threat to withhold a Super Bowl?
Gov. Nathan Deal didn’t say as he vetoed a bill on March 28 that a chorus of major studios, sports leagues, and business leaders denounced as legalizing discrimination against gay people.
Scalia told a gathering at a Catholic high school near New Orleans on Jan. 2, “one of the reasons God has been good to us is that we have done him honor.”
“Unlike the other countries of the world that do not even invoke his name, we do him honor. In presidential addresses, in Thanksgiving proclamations and in many other ways,” he said in a brief talk at Archbishop Rummel High School in Metarie, according to various news reports.
Just before the Religious Freedom Restoration Act controversy exploded in Indiana earlier this year, a compromise was playing out 1,500 miles away.
In Utah, as the Salt Lake Tribune noted, same-sex marriage had been banned both through state law and constitutional amendment. Attempts to pass lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender anti-discrimination measures had failed six times.
But in March, lawmakers brought together representatives from the Mormon and LGBT communities and passed landmark legislation.
Utah law now lists sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in housing and employment — but, without buy-in from the religious community, it does not include “public accommodations,” a broad legal term used to describe everything from bus services to restaurants and other private businesses.
A federal judge ordered Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis into the custody of federal marshals Sept. 3 until she is ready to resume issuing marriage licenses.
U.S. District Judge David Bunning said fines were not enough to force her to comply with a previous order to provide the paperwork to all couples. Bunning said allowing her to defy the order would create a “ripple effect.”
“Her good-faith belief is simply not a viable defense,” he said.
“Oaths mean things.”
Concerned that faith-based groups can discriminate in hiring while receiving federal funds, a coalition of 130 organizations told President Obama the policy will tarnish his legacy of fair and equal treatment for all Americans.
The critics, including religious organizations such as the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty and the Union for Reform Judaism, asked the president to direct Attorney General Loretta Lynch to review a “flawed” 2007 Justice Department memo that said the Religious Freedom Restoration Act provides for an override of nondiscrimination laws for government-funded religious organizations.
“RFRA was not intended to create blanket exemptions to laws that protect against discrimination,” says the letter sent to Obama Aug. 20 and announced by Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Fighting to allow people to live by their religious convictions, even if those convictions are unpopular or criticized, is a battle Jeb Bush believes the next president must lead.
The former Florida governor and GOP presidential candidate pledged to defend religious liberty in front of an estimated 13,000 evangelical pastors attending a massive Southern Baptist Convention event Aug. 4 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
The Rev. James M. Dunn, a religious liberty advocate who worked the corridors of Washington power for two decades to defend the separation of church and state, died on July 4.
He was 83, and died of a heart attack at his Winston-Salem, N.C., home, said Cherilyn Crowe, spokeswoman for the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.
After retiring from leading the committee in 1999, Dunn taught at Wake Forest University’s divinity school in Winston-Salem, serving as a professor of Christianity and public policy until 2014.
A teenage blogger from Singapore has been found guilty of insulting Christians and of distributing an obscene image of the country’s founding father, Lee Kuan Yew, and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Amos Yee, 16, had faced three years in prison, but will be put on probation instead, the Associated Press reported.
He was released on a bail of 10,000 Singapore dollars ($7,400).