Category: Religious Freedom

How Religious Freedom Erodes, One Step at a Time

Too many nations are following paths leading to the decline of religious freedom.

That awful journey often begins with the social ostracization of religious minorities. In Saudi Arabia, for example, official textbooks teach students to compare Christians and Jews to dogs and pigs.

The next step economically disenfranchises religious minorities, denying them employment and education. In Egypt, for instance, Coptic Christians face extreme prejudice when looking for work—be it with the police force or the military, or even a professional soccer team.

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Gay Marriage Cake: Customer Takes Case to European Court

Lawyers representing a man from Northern Ireland who sued a bakery for refusing to make a cake with pro-gay marriage message are going to Europe to challenge a supreme court ruling that its evangelical Christian owners had a right to refuse to bake it.

Belfast human rights law firm Phoenix Law confirmed on Thursday it had been instructed by Gareth Lee to take his case to the European court of human rights (ECHR).

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Md. case reveals religious discrimination in education

If government says that you are free to believe in something, but not to act on it, you are not truly free. That reality lies at the heart of a federal lawsuit filed by the Bethel Christian Academy against the state of Maryland, which kicked the academy out of a private school voucher program for having policies consistent with the school’s religious values. Such unequal treatment is unacceptable.

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DYS: Activists Can No Longer Assume Religious Symbols Will Be Hidden From View

In recent decades, progressives have turned to the courts to accomplish what ought to be done in the political arena. No less is that true than when it comes to religiously expressive symbols that appear in public. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in The American Legion v. AHA may be redirecting activists back to where the debate should take place.

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‘Veggie Tales’ co-creator: Christian creators can’t dodge LGBT issues forever

The co-creator of “Veggie Tales” says it’s only a matter of time before Christian filmmakers are forced to take a stand on LGBT issues.

Phil Vischer told the Christian Post that modern children’s entertainment is so saturated with LGBT themes that practicing Christian creators will need to address the issue.

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How the Rise in Unreligious Americans affects Sex and Marriage: Comparative Evidence from New Survey Data

Growth in the number of Americans who profess no religious affiliation cannot but affect the institution of the family, built as it is on the marital union of husband and wife. The content we publish at Public Discourse centers around the five pillars of a thriving society, one of which is a healthy understanding of sexuality and family. As our description of this pillar states, “No other institution can top the family’s ability to transmit what is pivotal—character formation, values, virtues, and enduring love—to each new generation.” In this essay, I highlight how the absence of religion matters for sexuality and family, and how attitudes and practices in these respects are changing—quickly.

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An Alaskan Women’s Shelter Is Sued for Turning Away a ‘Man in a Nightgown’

It was a cold Friday night in January when Sherrie Laurie, director of the Hope Center — a Christian homeless shelter in downtown Anchorage, Alaska — was called down to the floor to deal with a disruptive “man in a nightgown” who was “very inebriated, with a big gash down his face.” Laurie recognized the man, whom she had seen in men’s clothing before, she tells me by phone. Though the individual professes a female gender identity, he was over six feet tall and “very large.” And Laurie was in no doubt about his sex.

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Who Benefits from Conflicts Over Religious Freedom?

In November of 1993, members of the U.S. Congress did something that today seems almost inconceivable: they reached near-unanimous agreement on a pressing political question—and not just any question, but a fundamental question concerning the proper parameters of the separation of church and state. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act garnered a unanimous vote in the House and a vote of 97-3 in the Senate. The act, known as the RFRA, was created by lawmakers to undo an extremely unpopular decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1990, which had dramatically reduced the scope of the Constitution’s free exercise clause. As its title states, the widely-supported RFRA was designed to “restore” the religious freedom that had existed before the Court’s controversial decision.

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Defending Freedom of Conscience on Emergency Contraception

The UK’s biggest abortion provider, British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), has attacked pharmacists who do not sell the ‘morning after pill’ for conscience reasons.

After one incident where a pharmacist would not dispense emergency contraception to a woman for ‘personal’ reasons, BPAS condemned both the pharmacist and the conscience protections provided to pharmacists. A petition was also set up to prevent pharmacists from claiming freedom of conscience rights.

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It’s Time to Fight for Global Religious Freedom

This year, for the very first time, on August 22, we will be celebrating the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief. It was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly resolution initiated by Poland, supported by Brazil, Canada, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Nigeria, Pakistan, and the United States. The day provides an opportunity for the international community to show solidarity with the victims and survivors of religious persecutions and to address the underlying issues of religious intolerance and discrimination. We believe that establishing such a day is just the beginning of a larger action aiming to give voice to victims and survivors and to help find effective response to religious violence and persecutions.

In recent years, we have been witnessing a growing phenomenon of religious violence and persecution. Acts of terror such as attacks on Muslim communities in Christchurch, New Zealand, or targeting Christian communities in Sri Lanka are only recent examples of a serious security threat to religious groups. Different organizations and research institutes such as the Aid to the Church in Need, Pew Research Center, Open Doors or recently Bishop of Truro’s Independent Review have been reporting the appalling situation of religious groups worldwide and providing more examples of persecution and intolerance. We also receive alarming information from journalists, social media and humanitarian organizations operating in affected areas, and above all we listen to the testimonies of survivors. Christians are most affected by hostility or hatred—various reports say—they make up around 80 percent of all people suffering from persecutions because of professed faith (as stated in Bishop of Truro’s Independent Review), including imprisonment, forced conversion, abuse or assault.

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