RECENT ARTICLES ON RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
Muslim Soccer Player Receives Pushback After Refusing to Wear Rainbow Jersey. An activist group is calling for the investigation of a French Muslim soccer player who refused to wear a jersey adorned with rainbow-colored numbers in support of an LGBT agenda. Read more here.
U.S. Lawsuit Claims Employee Fired After Voicing Concern With LGBT ‘Pride’ Promotion. A terminated employee of Arconic has filed a lawsuit claiming the manufacturing company fired him for voicing opposition to the company’s promotion of LGBT “pride” month. Read more here.
Federal Court Halts Biden Mandates Forcing Religious Employers to Pay for ‘Gender-Affirming’ Surgeries. A federal court has temporarily blocked President Biden’s mandates requiring both healthcare providers and religious employers to provide ‘gender-affirming care’ against their religious beliefs. Read more here.
U.S. Court Weighs Whether Catholic School Can Fire Teacher in Same-Sex Marriage. The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in the case of a Catholic school sued for not renewing the contract of a teacher in a same-sex marriage. Read more here.
Alaska Airlines Sued for Firing Flight Attendants Over Equality Act Criticism. Two flight attendants are suing Alaska Airlines, accusing the company of firing them for questioning the airline’s official support of a proposed LGBT anti-discrimination bill. Read more here.
European Parliament Passes ‘Hostile’ Report on Persecuted Religious Minorities. The European Parliament has adopted a report which describes religion as a threat to free society by criticizing it as “an important driver of conflict worldwide.” Read more here.
SCOTUS Rules Boston Violated First Amendment by Refusing to Fly Christian Flag. The Supreme Court ruled that the city of Boston violated the First Amendment by refusing to fly a local organization’s Christian flag in front of city hall, though it had flown other groups’ flags. Read more here.
UN Delegates Consider Resolution to Punish Christians. UN delegations that promote the LGBT agenda privately circulated a resolution that would punish conservative and Christian critics of homosexual and transgender ideology. Read more here.
Christian Students Sue Idaho University Over ‘Censorship’ for Same-Sex Marriage Beliefs. A group of Christian students is suing the University of Idaho after claiming they were censored for expressing their religious beliefs on same-sex marriage. Read more here.
Arizona Gov Signs Law Protecting Faith-Based Adoption, Foster Care Agencies. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has signed a bill prohibiting discrimination against faith-based adoption and foster care organizations. Read more here.
U.S. Report Identifies Worst Violators of Religious Freedom. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s 2022 Annual Report has identified fifteen countries who are engaging in “systematic, ongoing, and egregious” violations of religious freedom. Read more here.
Top Human Rights Court Fails to Uphold Religious Autonomy, Parental Rights. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has issued a ruling which failed to uphold the right of parents to have their children educated in accordance with their convictions. Read more here.
SCOTUS to Hear Case of Football Coach Fired Over Praying. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case of a former Washington state high school football coach who was fired after kneeling in prayer following football games. Read more here.
Ohio City Sues State Over Allowing Medical Providers to Exercise Conscience Protections. The Columbus City Attorney is suing the state of Ohio over a law which provides medical professionals legal protections for denying any care or treatment that violates their conscience. Read more here.
Biden to Roll Back Conscience Protections for Healthcare Workers. The Biden administration will soon propose an end to a religious conscience rule that allowed healthcare workers to object to performing services that contradicted their religious or moral beliefs. Read more here.
Arizona Gov Signs Law Protecting Faith-Based Adoption, Foster Care Agencies. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has signed a bill prohibiting discrimination against faith-based adoption and foster care organizations. Read more here.
UK Online Safety Bill Risks ‘Draconian Censorship,’ Activists Warn. The UK’s Christian Institute is warning MPs that the government’s Online Safety Bill needs radical amendments to prevent it from trampling on free speech and religious liberty. Read more here.
Prosecutor to Continue Campaign Against Finnish MP. The Finnish state prosecutor has publicly indicated her intent to push criminal proceedings against an MP and bishop who shared faith-based views on marriage and sexual ethics, despite a unanimous court decision clearing them of charges. Read more here.
TN Bill Protecting Religious Orgs During Times of Crisis to Be Heard in Senate. A Tennessee bill which would prohibit religious organizations from being affected during a state of emergency will be heard in the Senate after passing the House. Read more here.
UK ‘Online Safety Bill’ Could Curb Free Speech, Civil Liberties Groups Fear. Civil liberties groups in the UK have expressed concern about a bill aimed at censoring harmful speech online, believing that it could be used to censor unpopular opinions on issues like sexuality and gender. Read more here.
UK Church Leaders Tell PM Continuing With ‘Conversion Therapy’ Ban Is a Mistake. Church leaders have written to Boris Johnson to express “considerable concern” over the government’s decision not to abandon its proposed “conversion therapy” ban. Read more here.
Finnish MP Wins on All Charges in Major Religious Liberty Trial. All charges against a Finnish MP charged with “hate speech” for sharing her faith-based views on marriage and sexual ethics have been dismissed. Read more here.
SCOTUS Rejects Case Involving Hiring Rights of Religious Organizations. The U.S. Supreme Court says it won’t review the case of a Seattle-based Christian organization that was sued after declining to hire a bisexual lawyer who applied for a job. Read more here.
Two SCOTUS Justices Express Support for Hiring Rights of Religious Organizations. Two justices on the U.S. Supreme Court voiced their support for the hiring rights of religious organizations, arguing they should not be compelled to employ individuals who do not share their religious views. Read more here.
U.S. Judge Rules Against Kentucky Clerk Who Denied Same-Sex Marriage Licenses. A U.S. judge ruled that a former county clerk from Kentucky knowingly violated the rights of same-sex couples by denying them marriage licenses in 2015. Read more here.
Backing for ‘Conversion Therapy’ Ban in Scotland Fuels Religious Freedom Fears. MSPs overwhelmingly spoke in favor of a ban on so-called “conversion therapy” during a Holyrood debate, fueling strong religious freedom concerns should the law be passed. Read more here.
UK Churches Experience ‘Hostile’ Backlash for Opposition to ‘Conversion Therapy’ Ban. Ministers who signed a letter raising concerns about the UK government’s potential “conversion therapy” ban say they have experienced backlash in a “coordinated and hostile” campaign by LGBT activists. Read more here.
Web Host Drops UK Church Over Opposition to ‘Conversion Therapy’ Ban. A church in Morecambe, Lancashire has had its website suspended because the hosting firm objected to the pastor raising concerns about the government’s upcoming “conversion therapy” ban. Read more here.
Federal Court Rules U.S. Foster Parents Who Lost License Over Biblical Beliefs May Sue. The Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a lower court decision dismissing a New Jersey couple’s lawsuit against the state after it suspended their license to foster children because of their religious beliefs. Read more here.
SCOTUS Rejects Christian College’s Bid to Halt Pro-LGBT Professor’s Discrimination Lawsuit. The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal from a Christian college in Massachusetts that tried to use a ministerial exception to end a lawsuit by a former professor whom lower courts ruled could sue for alleged discrimination. Read more here.
Ohio Governor Signs Athletes’ Religious Expression Bill. Ohio schools can no longer require advance waivers or otherwise restrict participants’ religious apparel unless it causes a “legitimate danger” for fellow competitors, under a bill signed into law. Read more here.
UK Tribunal to Hear Appeal of School Worker Who Questioned Sex Ed and Transgender Ideology. A UK tribunal is set to hear the appeal of a Christian school worker who says she was fired after expressing concern about sex education and transgender ideology on her private Facebook page. Read more here.
SCOTUS to Hear Case of Web Designer Who Refused to Create Sites for Same-Sex Weddings. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case of a Colorado web designer who has refused to create wedding websites for same-sex couples because of her religious beliefs. Read more here.
Nebraska City’s ‘Fairness Ordinance’ Triggers Firestorm. A “fairness ordinance” in Lincoln, Nebraska has triggered a firestorm, with one state pro-family organization claiming it will trample on First Amendment rights. Read more here.
Lawmaker on Trial in Europe for Religious Views a ‘Cautionary Tale’ for the U.S., Says Lawyer. A criminal case involving religious expression in Finland may have a chilling effect on free speech around the world, according to a lawyer involved in the case. Read more here.
Virginia House Passes Bill to Exempt Religious Organizations From Non-Discrimination Laws. The Virginia House of Delegates approved a bill that would excuse certain religious and religious-affiliated organizations from following state nondiscrimination laws. Read more here.
Parents Opposed to School Pronoun Policy Granted Judicial Review in UK. A judge in the UK has granted a request for judicial review filed by two Christian parents who say they were forced to pull their children out of school over policies requiring teachers and classmates to use the preferred names and pronouns of transgender-identified students. Read more here.
UK Church Leaders Present ‘Conversion Therapy’ Letter to Downing Street. More than 2,500 Christian ministers and pastoral workers have presented a letter to Downing Street, calling on the UK government not to outlaw ordinary Christian activity in its proposed “conversion therapy” ban. Read more here.
Federal Investigation of LGBT Dating Ban at BYU Dismissed. The U.S. Department of Education has dismissed a civil rights investigation into how LGBTQ students are disciplined at Brigham Young University, saying it doesn’t have the authority to enforce the matter at the private religious school. Read more here.
Coalition Shelves Australian Religious Discrimination Bill. The Australian Coalition has shelved its proposed religious discrimination law after receiving backlash over the consequences to religious schools. Read more here.
Closing Arguments to Be Heard in Finnish MP’s Criminal Trial Over Bible Tweet. Closing arguments are expected in the trial of a Finnish MP accused of engaging in “hate speech” for publicly voicing her deeply held beliefs on marriage and sexual ethics. Read more here.
UK Online Safety Bill May Risk Censorship of Religious Teachings. The UK government’s push to clamp down on illegal and harmful content online could have unintended consequences for churches and people of faith, according to The Christian Institute. Read more here.
Australian Religious Discrimination Bill Passes House of Representatives. The Australian government’s religious discrimination bill passed through parliament’s lower house after a marathon all-night debate. Read more here.
UK Humanist Group Wants Religious Practices Banned Under ‘Conversion Therapy’ Law. In its response to the government’s consultation on a proposed conversion therapy ban, Humanists UK said practices such as confession and fasting could cause “direct harm” to LGBT people and should be forbidden. Read more here.
U.S. Christian Student Suspended After Sharing Beliefs on Sexuality and Gender, Lawsuit Says. A Michigan student is suing his high school and school district after reportedly being punished for sharing his religious views on LGBT issues. Read more here.
KY City to Pay $75K to Cop Suspended for Off-Duty Prayer Outside Abortion Clinic. Louisville, Kentucky is paying $75,000 to a police officer who says he was suspended for four months after offering an off-duty prayer outside an abortion clinic. Read more here.
Michigan Settlement Lets Faith Agencies Deny Adoptions to LGBT Couples. Faith-based adoption agencies that contract with the state of Michigan can refuse to place children with same-sex couples under a proposed settlement filed in federal court. Read more here.
Court Overturns $135K Fine for Christian Bakery. An Oregon appeals court told a state agency to reconsider its order for a Christian couple to pay $135,000 in damages for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. Read more here.
UK EHRC Calls for Securing Religious Liberty Amid ‘Conversion Therapy’ Debate. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has told the UK government that any proposal to ban “conversion therapy” must only target harmful practices and not the ordinary work of churches. Read more here.
Former Finnish Minister on Trial for Bible Verse ‘Hate Speech.’ A Finnish MP who previously served as the country’s Interior Minister has gone on trial for alleged “hate speech” over an online post that included a bible verse. Read more here.
Scottish Equalities Committee Demands ‘Conversion Therapy’ Ban Include Traditional Christian Views. The Scottish Parliament’s Equalities Committee is recommending that religious teaching, prayer or other speech aimed at groups or individuals which does not affirm their view of gender or sexuality should be criminalized. Read more here.
Christians Threaten MSPs With Legal Action Over ‘Conversion Therapy’ Ban. The Christian Institute is reportedly ready to take legal action against the Scottish Parliament if it moves ahead with a proposed ban on so-called “conversion therapy.” Read more here.
Australian Churches Want Religious Liberty Bill to Protect ‘Hard Truths.’ Church groups in Australia have told the federal government that religious truths should not be barred from the public arena simply because they upset others. Read more here.
Noem’s School ‘Prayer’ Bill Rejected by House. A South Dakota House committee rejected Gov. Kristi Noem’s proposal to require public schools to have a moment of silence for prayer or meditation to start the day. Read more here.
BYU Under Federal Investigation Over Homosexual and Transgender Policies. The Biden administration is conducting an investigation into a private religious university in Utah over its policies on homosexuality and transgenderism. Read more here.
UK Christian Teachers Warn ‘Conversion Therapy’ Proposals Will Harm Children. The UK government’s proposals for a broad “conversion therapy” ban will harm children who seek out support, the Association of Christian Teachers has warned. Read more here.
YouTube Labels Christian Sermon on Biblical Sexuality ‘Hate Speech.’ YouTube has censored a Bible-based sermon on sexuality, labeling it as “hate speech.” Read more here.
Canadian Law Could Put Parents in Prison If They Resist Child’s ‘Gender Transition.’ A new Canadian law forbids any counseling or advising against a transgender or nonbinary identity or non-heterosexual sexuality, with up to five years in prison for those who disobey. Read more here.
UK Pastor Claims He Was ‘Forced Out’ of Job After Allegedly ‘Homophobic’ Tweet. A Christian pastor claims he was “forced out” of his primary school job after tweeting that “gay pride” events were harmful to children, a tribunal has heard. Read more here.
Thousands of Churches Raise Alarm About Scope of New Canadian ‘Conversion Therapy’ Ban. Thousands of clergy in North America devoted their Sunday sermons to affirming biblical sexual morality in response to a new Canadian law that could effectively criminalize such teachings. Read more here.
Appeal Sought in Ruling Against NY Photographer Who Refused to Shoot Same-Sex Weddings. An appeal has been filed in the case of a New York wedding photographer who claims she acted within her right in refusing to photograph same-sex marriage ceremonies. Read more here.
U.S. House to Vote on Bill Which May Restrict Religious Leaders From Entering Country If They Uphold Biblical Views on Sexuality. Leaders in the House of Representatives are preparing to vote on the Global Respect Act, which could impose sanctions on foreign political and religious leaders who may oppose the homosexual/transgender agenda. Read more here.
Canadian Preachers to Push Back on Ban Against ‘Conversion Therapy.’ An estimated 300 Christian pastors in Canada are planning to deliver Sunday sermons on the Bible’s definition of gender as a reproach to a new ban against so-called “conversion therapy.” Read more here.
China Upholds Seven-Year Jail Term for Christian Bookstore Owner. An appeals court in China has upheld a seven-year jail term for a Christian online bookstore owner who was sentenced in 2020 on charges of illegally selling Christian religious books. Read more here.
Northern Ireland Bakers Win Supreme Court Appeal. The UK’s highest court has ruled that a Christian-owned bakery’s refusal to make a cake with a slogan supporting same-sex marriage was not discriminatory. Read more here.
Proposals Protecting Religious Freedom Presented to Chile’s Constitutional Assembly. Three proposed articles protecting religious freedom will be discussed by Chile’s constitutional assembly after being supported by 18,000 citizens. Read more here.
UK Nurse Fired for Wearing Cross Necklace Wins Discrimination Case. An employment tribunal in the United Kingdom ruled that the NHS Trust harassed and directly discriminated against a Christian nurse for wearing a cross necklace at work. Read more here.
Finnish Bishop and Politician Face Trial for LGBT Statements. A Lutheran bishop and a politician in Finland are accused of “violating the equality and dignity of LGBT people” after affirming principles of Biblical sexuality. Read more here.
Court Ruling Protects Faith-Based Women’s Shelter in Alaska. A federal court has ruled that the city of Anchorage, Alaska cannot enforce a city ordinance to require a faith-based women’s shelter to admit males and let them sleep alongside women. Read more here.
Court Dismisses Christian Photographer’s Case Challenging NY Law Requiring Her to Service Same-Sex Weddings. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York dismissed a case brought by a Christian photographer who sought to challenge state laws that would prohibit her from refusing to provide her services at same-sex weddings. Read more here.
SD Gov Introduces Bill to Restore Protection for Prayer in Schools. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has introduced a bill that would require a daily moment of silence in public schools so that students may pray if they so choose. Read more here.
Chinese Couple Loses Appeal Against Seven-Year Sentence for Selling Christian Literature. A court in China has upheld the seven-year sentences against booksellers Chang Yuchun and his wife for “inciting subversion of State power” by selling Christian literature. Read more here.
NCAA’s Draft Constitution Could Force Religious Colleges to Embrace ‘Gender Equity,’ Critics Fear. The National Collegiate Athletic Association is doubling down on a commitment to “gender equity” as concerns grow about the impact of allowing biological males who identify as females to compete in women’s sports. Read more here.
U.S. Faith-Based Hospitals Head to Court Over HHS Transgender Mandate. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to hear arguments over whether a Health and Human Services mandate can force religious-based hospitals to perform “sex reassignment” procedures. Read more here.
UK Govt Amends ‘Easy Read’ Version of ‘Conversion Therapy’ Ban Over Religious Freedom Concerns. A simplified version of the UK government’s “conversion therapy” ban consultation document has been changed after concerns were raised that its wording suggested teachers and religious leaders would be at greater risk of prosecution. Read more here.
Over 500 UK Church Leaders Prepared to Face Criminal Charges If ‘Conversion Therapy’ Is Banned. Over 500 church leaders from across the UK have written to the government to say they are prepared to face criminal charges if a “conversion therapy” ban is introduced. Read more here.
Judge Rules Maryland Can’t Bar Christian School From Voucher Program Over Beliefs on Sexuality. A federal judge has ruled that Maryland unlawfully discriminated against a Christian school over its traditional views on marriage and gender identity when the state denied it access to a voucher program. Read more here.
Report: Anti-Christian Hate Crimes in Europe Jump by 70% in One Year. The Observatory on Intolerance against Christians in Europe revealed that hate crimes targeting Christians in Europe rose by a startling 70 percent between 2019 and 2020. Read more here.
U.S. Religious Groups Warn Build Back Better Act Threatens Faith-Based Child Care, Education. A coalition of Christian, Jewish and Muslim organizations is expressing concern about the impact President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill may have on faith-based childcare and education services. Read more here.
Over 700 Church Leaders Urge UK Govt to Protect Churches From ‘Conversion Therapy’ Ban. More than 700 Christian ministers and pastoral workers have called on the UK Minister for Women and Equalities to ensure that the ordinary work of churches is not prohibited by a ban on so-called “conversion therapy.” Read more here.
New Report Finds Freedom of Conscience Under Threat in France, Spain and Sweden. A recently published report highlights concerns that the right to conscientious objection is under threat in France, Spain, and Sweden, particularly with regards to abortion. Read more here.
Religious Freedom Advocates Ask Biden to Put Nigeria Back on Watchlist. A broad array of religious freedom advocates has banded together in asking President Biden to put Nigeria back on the State Department’s list of countries of particular concern on religious freedom. Read more here.
SCOTUS to Hear Arguments on Students Using State Aid to Attend Christian Schools. The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in a Maine case regarding whether students can use state aid to attend schools that provide religious instruction. Read more here.
TN Children’s Home Sues HHS for Forcing Placement of Kids With Same-Sex, Unmarried Couples. A Tennessee-based children’s home affiliated with the United Methodist Church has filed a lawsuit against the federal government over a rule requiring the organization to place kids in the homes of same-sex married couples or cohabitating couples. Read more here.
UK Minister Says Free Speech About Religion Must Be Protected in ‘Conversion Therapy’ Ban. The UK Minister for Women and Equalities Liz Truss has affirmed the government’s stance that free speech and religious liberty should be protected from an overly-broad “conversion therapy” ban. Read more here.
Employee Sues to Stop Labor Union From Forcing Her to Pay Dues That Promote Abortion. Dorothy Frame, an employee at Fort Campbell’s Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, is suing a labor union that forced her to pay dues that support causes which violate her Catholic beliefs. Read more here.
Australian Govt Finally Introduces Religious Liberty Bill. After a long delay, the Australian Prime Minister has introduced a religious liberty bill to protect people “from discrimination on the basis of their religion in daily life.” Read more here.
HHS Revokes Religious Exemption Waivers for Faith-Based Foster Care Providers in Three States. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that it would rescind waivers granted to faith-based child welfare agencies in Michigan, South Carolina and Texas that contract with the federal government. Read more here.
Indiana Court Revives Lawsuit of Teacher Fired for Same-Sex Marriage. A lawsuit filed by a teacher who was fired from his job at a Catholic high school in Indianapolis, Indiana for being in a same-sex marriage can proceed, a state appeals court ruled. Read more here.
USCIRF Releases New Report on Religious Freedom Violations in Belarus. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom released a report on religious freedom violations in Belarus. Read more here.
Russia Loses Pair of Religious Freedom Cases at ECHR. The European Court of Human Rights found in two cases that Russian authorities violated the right of religious group members to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion under the European Convention of Human Rights. Read more here.
City of Philadelphia Settles With Catholic Foster Care Agency. The City of Philadelphia will pay Catholic Social Services a $2 million settlement after the Supreme Court unanimously found that the city had discriminated against the group due to their religious beliefs. Read more here.
Colombian Social Media Star Wins Censorship Case. The Colombian Supreme Court has ruled that the video in which YouTuber Kika Nieto shared her beliefs about marriage should not have been censored. Read more here.
Sixteen AGs File Amicus Brief Supporting Religious Freedom of Cakeshop Owner. Sixteen attorneys general have filed an amicus brief in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, arguing that custom cakes are artistic works protected by the First Amendment. Read more here.
Becket RFI Shows Increased Support for Religious Freedom Among Americans. According to the Religious Freedom Index released by Becket, backing for religious freedom increased to a new high of 68 on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more here.
Florist Settles Religious Freedom Case With Homosexual Couple, Decides to Retire. Washington florist Barronelle Stutzman has settled a lawsuit brought by a homosexual customer when she declined to design floral arrangements for his same-sex wedding. Read more here.
Australian Minister Says Schools Can Hire Teachers on Basis of Faith Under Religious Discrimination Bill. Australia’s education minister says the government’s revised religious discrimination bill will allow schools to hire on the basis of faith, but they will not be able to discriminate on other characteristics, such as sexuality. Read more here.
Biden State Dept Criticized for Removing Nigeria From Top Religious Freedom Violators List. Religious freedom advocacy groups and the top federal religious freedom advisory panel are criticizing the Biden administration for removing Nigeria from the U.S. State Department’s list of “countries of particular concern.” Read more here.
NH Student Suspended for Saying There Are Two Genders Sues School District. A New Hampshire student athlete is suing his school district after he was suspended from a football game for expressing his views that there are “only two genders.” Read more here.
HHS Memo Shows Dept Moving to Undo Trump-Era Religious Liberty Protections. An internal memo reveals that the Health and Human Services Department is considering revoking authority the former Trump administration delegated for the Office of Civil Rights to prevent violations of religious liberty. Read more here.
Victorian Faith Leaders Decry Govt Bill on Religious Schools. Victoria’s religious leaders have condemned moves by the Andrews government to prohibit faith-based schools from firing or refusing to hire teachers or enroll students based on their gender identity or sexual orientation. Read more here.
Campaigners Urge UK Govt to Extend ‘Conversion Therapy’ Consultation Window. Campaigners looking to protect religious liberty are calling on the UK government to extend its consultation on a so-called “conversion therapy” ban to the standard twelve weeks rather than the reduced six-week timeline currently in place. Read more here.
Analysis Shows 41 Countries Banned Religion-Related Groups in 2019. Forty-one countries – or around one-fifth of those evaluated – banned at least one religion-related group in 2019, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of laws and policies in effect in 198 countries. Read more here.
U.S. Congressmen Call Finland’s Prosecution of Christian MP a ‘Clear Abuse of Government Power.’ The U.S. should consider placing Finland under “special watch” because of its prosecution of a Christian MP and Lutheran bishop for expressing traditional views on marriage and sexuality, several congressmen have suggested. Read more here.
Australian LGBT Groups Mobilize Against Religious Discrimination Bill. LGBT activists in Australia are mobilizing against a revived religious discrimination bill which they say is “deeply flawed.” Read more here.
Finnish Bishop Facing Prosecution Over Christian Values Warns of Dangers to Religious Liberty. A Finnish religious leader facing prosecution for publishing a booklet promoting Christian teachings about marriage and sexuality is warning that “the Gospel of Christ is at stake” as governments liken such beliefs to hate speech. Read more here.
U.S. DOL Seeks to Revoke Prior Administration’s Expansion of Religious Exemptions. The Department of Labor announced it will seek to revoke a Trump administration rule that allows for broader religious exemptions to anti-discrimination measures governing federal contractors. Read more here.
China Shuts Down Christian School in Beijing. Officials of the Tongzhou district in Beijing, China have closed a popular Christian school following an order to vacate the property and close the school. Read more here.
Italian Court Rules Crucifix May Remain in Classrooms. The Italian Court of Cassation has ruled that displaying the crucifix on a classroom wall is not an act of discrimination. Read more here.
Texas Judge Rules Religious Businesses Exempt From LGBTQ Bias Claims. For-profit businesses with sincerely held religious beliefs are exempt from LGBTQ discrimination liability under a decision by a federal judge in Texas. Read more here.
U.S. Evangelist Reschedules Speaking Event in UK After Settling Legal Dispute. U.S. evangelist Franklin Graham has rescheduled an event in Sheffield, England after his original appearance was cancelled because of his belief that homosexuality is a sin. Read more here.
USCIRF Urges U.S. Govt to Add Four Countries to List of Worst Religious Freedom Violators. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom has urged the State Department to add India, Russia, Syria and Vietnam to its list of countries designated as the worst religious freedom violators. Read more here.
Texas Approves Constitutional Amendment Barring State From Limiting Religious Services. Texas voters approved a constitutional amendment that will prohibit the state from limiting religious services, including gatherings that occur in churches and other houses of worship. Read more here.
Australian Lawmakers Split Over Religious Discrimination Bill. Australian MPs are split over the government’s revised religious discrimination bill, with some believing it gives people of faith the right to discriminate because of their religious views. Read more here.
SCOTUS Won’t Take Up Case of Catholic Hospital Sued for Refusing to Provide ‘Gender Transition’ Surgery. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal from a Catholic hospital in California that was sued after refusing to provide a hysterectomy surgery for a biological female who identifies as male. Read more here.
Christian Student Group Sues U of Nebraska-Lincoln for Discrimination. A Christian student group has sued the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, alleging that the school discriminated against the group’s views when it denied a funding request to bring a Christian philosopher to campus as a guest speaker. Read more here.
Italy’s Senate Rejects LGBT Non-Discrimination Bill. Italy’s senate voted to reject a bill which would have amended the penal code to ban discrimination on the grounds of sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and disability. Read more here.
New Campaign Calls on UK Govt to ‘Let Us Pray’ Amid Threat From Broad ‘Conversion Therapy’ Ban. A new campaign has been launched in the UK to protect the work of churches from an overly broad ban on so-called “conversion therapy.” Read more here.
UK Govt Pledges Not to Ban Prayer in ‘Conversion Therapy’ Ban. The UK government is claiming that prayer will not be outlawed under a government ban on so-called “conversion therapy.” Read more here.
Jehovah’s Witnesses Sentenced to Prison for ‘Extremist’ Religious Activity in Russia. Four Russian members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses received stiff prison terms in what the movement calls the “longest, harshest” sentences imposed on its believers since the 2017 designation of the group as “extremists.” Read more here.
Spanish Govt Tries to Restrict Conscientious Objection. Spain’s equalities minister has proposed the creation of a mandatory register of healthcare professionals who are conscientious objectors in an effort to force more doctors to perform abortions. Read more here.
Canadian College Journalist Fired for Expressing Catholic Views Reaches Settlement. A college journalist says he has reached a settlement with the school paper that fired him for expressing Catholic views. Read more here.
Two Dozen AGs Ask SCOTUS to Review Case of Coach Fired for Praying After Games. Dozens of state attorneys general are pushing the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in the case of Joseph Kennedy, a high school coach fired for praying after football games. Read more here.
Apple Withdraws Bible and Quran Apps in China. Apple has recently removed the Quran Majeed and the Olive Tree Bible apps from its App Store in China, reportedly following a request from Chinese authorities. Read more here.
Christian Colleges Can Fight LGBT Lawsuit Seeking to Block Title IX Religious Exemptions, Judge Rules. A federal judge has granted the request of Christian colleges who want to intervene in a lawsuit that seeks to force the U.S. Department of Education to strip federal funding from Christian colleges that abide by traditional beliefs on gender and sexuality. Read more here.
Christian Web Designer Opposed to Creating Same-Sex Wedding Websites Appeals to SCOTUS. A Colorado web designer has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court after a federal appeals court ruled that she must create websites for same-sex weddings if she offers her services for other weddings. Read more here.
Europe’s Top Court to Rule on COVID-19 Worship Ban Challenges. The European Court of Human Rights is set to rule on whether it is legal for a government to completely ban public worship in the name of protecting public health. Read more here.
Atheist Group Demands NC School District Stop Christian Prayers at Meetings. The atheist group Freedom From Religion Foundation has demanded that a school district in North Carolina quit the practice of beginning meetings with Christian prayers. Read more here.
Asia Falls Short on Religious Freedom, Say Christian Legal Experts. Asian nations are failing to effectively interpret and implement freedom of religion and belief for their citizens despite having constitutional provisions and guarantees, Christian legal experts have said. Read more here.
UK Nurse Punished for Refusing to Hide Cross Necklace Sues London Hospital. London nurse practitioner Mary Onuoha has filed a legal complaint against Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, alleging that she was told a small gold cross necklace she wore was a safety risk and “must not be visible.” Read more here.
CA Parents Sue to End ‘Unconstitutional’ Chant to Aztec Gods in Ethnic Studies Curriculum. Three California parents are suing to stop the state’s public school system from encouraging students to recite prayers to Aztec gods, arguing that doing so violates constitutional principles related to religious liberty. Read more here.
UK ‘Conversion Therapy’ Ban Could End Religious Freedoms, Ministry Warns. A Christian counseling ministry is urging the UK government not to go ahead with its planned ban on so-called “conversion therapy” after a major report said the ban should cover religious practices, including prayer. Read more here.
NI Preachers to Go on Trial After Preaching Against Homosexuality. Three street preachers from Northern Ireland have been arrested in Dundalk after preaching against homosexuality and are due to appear at the town’s district court. Read more here.
SCOTUS to Hear Case Over Boston’s Refusal to Fly Christian Flag at City Hall. The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal regarding whether city officials in Boston, Massachusetts can reject a request to fly a Christian flag at its city hall. Read more here.
Spanish Bishops Oppose Govt Registry of Medical Conscientious Objectors. Several bishops have expressed their opposition to a registry being created by the Spanish Ministry of Equality to track medical professionals who are conscientious objectors to performing abortion. Read more here.
CA Bans Travel to Ohio Over Law Protecting Religious Freedom of Healthcare Professionals. California Attorney General Rob Bonta has barred state employees from traveling to Ohio using taxpayer dollars over its enactment of a law that protects the conscientious objection rights of healthcare providers. Read more here.
Swiss Evangelicals Say Religious Freedom Must Be Protected After Passage of Same-Sex Marriage Referendum. The Swiss Evangelical Alliance has said that churches must be free to wed only heterosexual couples after same-sex marriage received overwhelming public support in a referendum. Read more here.
CO Web Designer Petitions SCOTUS to Reverse Decision Forcing Her to Express Messages Against Her Beliefs. Attorneys representing a website designer have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review an appellate court decision which concluded that the State of Colorado can force her to design and publish websites promoting messages that violate her religious beliefs. Read more here.
UK Foster Agency to Ask Supreme Court to Reject State-Imposed Definition of ‘Evangelical.’ The UK Court of Appeal has confirmed that an evangelical foster agency can work exclusively with evangelical foster parents but backed Ofsted’s attempt to impose its own definition of what it means to be “evangelical.” Read more here.
Philadelphia Christian Agency Can Once Again Make Foster Care Placements After Settlement. Catholic Social Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is once again helping make foster care placements, following a legal settlement with the city to cap a years-long court battle. Read more here.
UK University Accepts Appointment of Chaplain Who Tweeted About Abortion. The University of Nottingham announced that it will recognize Fr. David Palmer as a chaplain after having initially refused recognition over comments on abortion he had posted on social media. Read more here.
Faith-Based Adoption Provider Forced to Sue NY Officials for Harassment Over Marriage Views. New Hope Family Services filed a federal lawsuit after the New York Division of Human Rights threatened to investigate and penalize the Christian nonprofit because it places infants with couples consisting of a married mother and father. Read more here.
Tennessee Football Team Leads Community in Prayer, Defying School Board Directive. After Putnam County Schools administrators informed faculty and staff that they were prohibited from leading students in post-game prayers, a large group of football players from both teams led a post-game prayer with scores of parents and fans. Read more here.
Victorian Religious Schools to Be Banned From Firing LGBT+ Staff. Religious schools in Victoria, Australia will be banned from firing or refusing to hire staff based on their sexual orientation or gender identity under new reforms proposed by the state government. Read more here.
Court Date Set for Finnish MP Charged Over Bible Tweet. A hearing date has been set in the censorship case of a Finnish MP who is accused of having engaged in “hate speech” for publicly voicing her opinion on marriage and human sexuality. Read more here.
Coach Asks SCOTUS to Reverse Decision Preventing Him From Praying on Field. Attorneys for former high school football coach Joe Kennedy filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court asking the justices to reverse a lower court decision that allowed a school district to fire him for taking a knee in quiet or silent prayer after football games. Read more here.
NZ Churches at Odds Over Proposed Ban on ‘Conversion Therapy.’ Churches in New Zealand are divided over a proposed ban on so-called “conversion therapy,” with some churches supporting the ban and others opposing out of concerns for religious liberty. Read more here.
Thousands Sign Petition to Protect Religious Freedom in Indonesia. Thousands signed an online petition calling on the Indonesian government to protect religious freedom as “one of the most basic rights.” Read more here.
Christian Families in Mexico Lose Access to Water, Services for Refusing to Deny Their Faith. Two Christian families in central Mexico have been threatened with being cut off from essential services if they continue to refuse to deny their faith and pay a fine levied against them, according to a report. Read more here.
U.S. Christian College Continues to Fight Biden’s LGBT Policy. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has agreed to expedite arguments in the case of the College of the Ozarks challenging the Biden administration’s policy prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Read more here.
Alaska Airlines Accused of Firing Employees for Expressing Religious Beliefs. Two Alaska Airlines employees are filing a federal complaint alleging that the company retaliated against them for questioning its support of the Equality Act. Read more here.
Court Rules Catholic School Wrongfully Fired Homosexual Substitute. A federal judge has ruled that a homosexual substitute teacher was wrongfully fired by a Roman Catholic school in North Carolina after he announced on social media that he was going to marry his longtime partner. Read more here.
EU Religious Freedom Envoy Position Again Vacant. The position of “Special Envoy for the promotion of freedom of religion or belief outside the EU” has been left vacant after Christos Stylianides accepted a different position after fewer than five months in the role. Read more here.
Faith Representatives Turn to Uganda’s Constitutional Court to Lift Worship Ban. An alliance of Catholic, Evangelical and Muslim faith representatives, along with parliamentarians, have brought a legal challenge to Uganda’s restrictions on public worship before the Constitutional Court. Read more here.
USCIRF: Christians in North Korea Face Torture, Execution by Firing Squad. North Korea’s communist dictatorship has been carrying out wrongful arrests and the denial of fundamental religious freedom rights as it seeks to “exterminate all Christian adherents and institutions,” the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom reports. Read more here.
Christian Minister Denied Holding 9/11 Prayer Vigil on Capitol Grounds Files Suit. A Presbyterian minister who wanted to conduct a prayer vigil on the United States Capitol Grounds on September 11th is suing the United States Capitol Police board after being denied permission to hold the vigil. Read more here.
Christian Scholars Slam Report Arguing That LGBT ‘Progress’ Doesn’t Threaten Christians. Christian scholars have pushed back on a study in an American Psychological Association journal that concludes that laws designed to protect the LGBT community from discrimination do not negatively impact Christians. Read more here.
Two Cuban Pastors Fined for Participating in Nationwide Protests. Two Cuban pastors who were detained amid nationwide protests in Cuba were informed that the government would be fining them for participating in the protests but that they would not face prison sentences. Read more here.
UK Catholic Priest Denied Chaplain Role Due to Expression of Religious Views. A Catholic priest appointed by his diocese as a chaplain for Nottingham University has been denied recognition by the university due to tweets he wrote against abortion. Read more here.
Peer Urges UK Politicians to Champion Religious Freedom. Lord Alton is urging UK politicians to defend religious freedom around the world and shine a light on the “horrendous atrocities” being perpetrated against people of faith. Read more here.
Taliban Going Door-to-Door Searching for Afghan Christians. A statement released by the leader of an underground church ministering to Christians in Afghanistan revealed that the Taliban is pursuing a “hit list of known Christians” to capture or kill. Read more here.
Biden Ambassador Pick a Wealthy LGBT Activist Linked to ‘Hostile Takeover’ of Religion. President Joe Biden’s choice for ambassador to Switzerland is the former executive of a foundation which critics say “has shown an extremist hostility to basic freedom-of-conscience protections for those who do not morally approve of same-sex unions.” Read more here.
Biden Admin May Partially Repeal Rule Protecting Christian Student Groups at Universities. The Biden administration is reviewing a federal rule that prohibits public universities and colleges from removing the funding of religious student organizations whose leadership policies conflict with campus anti-discrimination rules. Read more here.
NH Churches Deemed Essential in Future States of Emergency. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu signed a bill that allows religious organizations to operate to the same degree as essential businesses during a state of emergency. Read more here.
Court Rules Catholic High School Can Fire Staff in Same-Sex Marriages. A federal court has ruled against a counselor who was fired from a Catholic high school in Indiana because she was in a same-sex marriage, citing the legal standard of ministerial exception. Read more here.
Member of Finnish Parliament Faces Prison for Questioning Support of ‘Pride’ Parade. A member of Finland’s Parliament is facing two years in prison for tweeting a message questioning the alignment of her church with a “pride” parade. Read more here.
UK Street Preacher Vindicated After Court Finds No Evidence of Wrongdoing. A London court has thrown out a case against a Christian street preacher who was arrested while preaching outside Finsbury Park subway station in North London. Read more here.
China Arrests Leaders of Evangelical Church Demolished in 2018. Authorities in China have arrested leaders and members of a prominent evangelical church that was destroyed with dynamite about three years ago, sparking a global outcry. Read more here.
Legal Challenge Filed in Uganda to Overturn Worship Ban. A church in Kampala, Uganda and a representative from the Muslim community have commenced legal action challenging the Ugandan government’s ban on public worship after new national lockdown measures were announced. Read more here.
UK Police Officer Loses Religious Discrimination Claim. A former police officer in South Wales who claimed he was mocked by colleagues over his Christian faith has lost a religious discrimination claim. Read more here.
Cuban Christian Given 72 Hours to Take Down Bible Verse Sign or Face Prison. A Cuban churchgoer has been threatened with a prison sentence if he fails to take down a sign outside his house displaying a Bible verse. Read more here.
China Jails Christians for Selling Bible Audio Players. A court in southeast China has handed down jail terms to four Christians arrested last year on charges of illegally selling electronic devices that play Bible verses. Read more here.
Homeless Ministry Asks SCOTUS to Protect Its Freedom to Hire Those Who Share Its Beliefs. A Seattle homeless ministry asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a Washington Supreme Court decision that forces the Christian nonprofit to hire employees who do not share the ministry’s religious beliefs. Read more here.
Algerian Govt Shuts Down Three Christian Churches. Authorities in Algeria have closed down three Christian churches in what critics describe as “direct violations of the right to religious freedom.” Read more here.
Legal Group Responds to U.S. DOJ Dropping Conscience Complaint. Matthew Clark, senior counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice, is criticizing a decision by the Department of Justice to drop its conscience rights lawsuit against a Vermont hospital, calling the decision “plainly political in nature.” Read more here.
Christian College Asks SCOTUS to Protect Freedom to Decide Who Can Teach the Faith. A Christian college asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision that allows government to dictate who can teach the college’s faith. Read more here.
Christian Baker Appeals Ruling on ‘Gender Transition’ Cake. A Christian baker found to have violated Colorado’s anti-discrimination law by refusing to make a birthday cake for a transgender-identifying customer has appealed the ruling. Read more here.
U.S. DOJ Dismisses Suit by Nurse Allegedly Forced to Participate in Abortion. The U.S. Department of Justice has dismissed a lawsuit against the University of Vermont Medical Center alleging it forced a nurse to participate in an abortion procedure she objected to on religious grounds. Read more here.
Scottish CEO Wins Religious Discrimination Case. An employment tribunal has ruled that Scotland’s largest grant-making trust unlawfully discriminated against its CEO because of his Christian views on marriage. Read more here.
U.S. Appeals Court Rules Christian Web Designer Must Give Equal Access to LGBT Customers. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit said graphic designer Lorie Smith must design graphics and websites that “celebrate same-sex marriages” because Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act compels her to do so if she also is going to create websites that celebrate heterosexual marriages. Read more here.
EU Bishops’ Commission Urges Action to Protect Religious Freedom. European bishops called on the European Union to do more to protect religious freedom in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.
Christian Family Banned From Michigan Farmer’s Market for Religious Beliefs Goes to Trial. A federal district court will hear the case of a Catholic organic farmer who was banned from a Michigan farmer’s market over his belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Read more here.
Ninth Circuit Favors Washington Church in Case Against State Abortion Coverage Mandate. In a ruling by a federal appeals court, Cedar Park Church in Bothell, Washington won its case against a state abortion coverage mandate. Read more here.
UK’s Blackpool Council Ordered to Pay Over £100K for Discriminating Against Christians. Blackpool Council has been ordered to pay £25,000 in damages and £84,000 in costs for discrimination against a local Christian festival involving over 200 churches. Read more here.
Kentucky Contracts With Baptist-Affiliated Children’s Agency. Kentucky reached a contract deal to continue placing youngsters with a Baptist-affiliated children’s agency, coming after the governor’s administration removed LGBTQ anti-discrimination language that the agency steadfastly refused to sign. Read more here.
U.S. Appeals Court Rules Against University That Targeted Christian Group. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled against the University of Iowa, calling its decision to deregister a Christian student group one of the most obvious examples of discrimination that it has ever seen. Read more here.
U.S. Judge Rules School Can Require Teacher to Use Transgender Pronouns and Names. A federal judge has ruled against a Christian teacher who claimed he was forced out of his job because he declined to use the preferred names and pronouns of transgender students. Read more here.
U.S. Fifth Circuit Allows Chaplain-Led Courtroom Prayers to Continue After Being Ruled Unconstitutional. A federal appeals court sided with a Texas justice of the peace, allowing him to continue chaplain-led invocations before state court hearings while the lawsuit against him is adjudicated after his courtroom prayer tradition was ruled unconstitutional by a lower court. Read more here.
State AGs Push Back on Biden’s LGBT Guidance, Warn Religious Liberty Is in Peril. A group of 21 state attorneys general has signed on to a letter to the Biden administration, denouncing recent efforts to expand LGBT policies in schools that they believe would circumvent religious liberty protections and free speech rights. Read more here.
U.S. Appeals Court Rules Catholic Parish Can Fire Homosexual Employee Under Ministerial Exception. An appeals court has ruled that an Illinois Catholic parish and its archdiocese could legally fire a music director because he had entered a same-sex marriage, as his relationship conflicted with Church teaching. Read more here.
Washington Church Challenges State Law Requiring Abortion Coverage in Healthcare Plans. A Washington church is challenging a state law forcing it to cover elective abortions in its health insurance plans. Read more here.
Colombian Court Agrees to Hear Case of Celebrity Forced to Remove Video Supporting Traditional Marriage. The Colombian Constitutional Court has agreed to review the case of a social media star that seeks to overturn a national court ruling that ordered her to take down an online video wherein she expressed her belief in traditional marriage. Read more here.
Judge Who Won’t Oversee Same-Sex Weddings Due to Religious Beliefs Wants Lawsuit Revived. A Jack County, Texas judge who declines to marry same-sex couples due to his Christian beliefs has standing to challenge a state commission’s interpretation of a judicial canon in a way that chills his religious rights, his lawyers will tell an appeals court. Read more here.
UK Govt ‘Deeply Concerned’ About Religious Freedom Violations in North Korea. The UK government has said it is “deeply concerned” about reports of serious human rights violations against people of faith in North Korea. Read more here.
SCOTUS to Hear Religious School Tuition Case. The U.S. Supreme Court decided that it will hear a case brought by families from Maine who want to use a state tuition program to send their children to religious schools. Read more here.
Kentucky’s Contract With Children’s Agency Remains in Limbo. Kentucky’s contract renewal with a Baptist-affiliated children’s agency remains in limbo over a disputed contract clause that could require the agency to place children with same-sex couples in violation of their deeply held religious beliefs. Read more here.
Ohio Passes Bill Allowing Religious Hospitals, Doctors to Refuse Procedures That Violate Convictions. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed a state budget that allows for medical professionals and insurers to be excused from performing procedures that conflict with their religious beliefs. Read more here.
SCOTUS Declines to Hear Key Religious Liberty Case Next Term. The U.S. Supreme Court announced it will not take up a key religious liberty case centered around a Christian artist who has come under fire for declining to service events that violate her faith, such as same-sex marriage ceremonies. Read more here.
UK Christian Foster Agency to Appeal Ruling Against ‘Heterosexual Couples’ Policy. An evangelical Christian fostering agency that lost part of a High Court case over its policy of only placing children with heterosexual married couples has made a bid to overturn the decision at the Court of Appeal. Read more here.
Activist Says China’s ‘Killing’ of Hong Kong Paper Has Serious Implications for Religious Liberty. A human rights activist has said that the Chinese Communist Party’s “killing” of a pro-democracy newspaper in Hong Kong has “serious implications” for religious liberty. Read more here.
U of California Sets Rules for Religious Hospitals. The University of California’s governing board has adopted a new policy that tightens the rules on affiliations with hospitals that impose religious restrictions on health care, such as refusing to perform abortions or “gender reassignment” surgery. Read more here.
UK Street Preacher Wins Wrongful Arrest Case. A Christian street preacher has won damages from the West Yorkshire Police after he was wrongfully arrested and falsely imprisoned for preaching the gospel. Read more here.
SC Considers Extending Religious Objections to Therapists. South Carolina lawmakers are considering a bill to let mental health professionals refuse to provide care that violates their religious beliefs in response to an ordinance banning “conversion therapy” for minors in the state’s capital city. Read more here.
Atheists Sue Mississippi Over New ‘In God We Trust’ License Plates. Mississippi is facing a lawsuit from a group of atheists because of the southern state’s new license plates featuring the phrase “In God We Trust.” Read more here.
Over 80 Percent of Americans Say Religious Freedom Is Key to Healthy Society. More than four-fifths of surveyed Americans believe that freedom of religion is an important aspect of a “healthy American society,” according to a recent poll. Read more here.
Protestors Gather Around Calgary Prison to Support Pastor Arrested for Holding Worship Services. A group of pastors and protesters gathered around the Calgary Remand Centre in Alberta to support Pastor Tim Stephens who was jailed after a police helicopter found where his congregation was meeting outside. Read more here.
SCOTUS Asked to Rule If Boston Can Legally Refuse to Fly Christian Flag at City Hall. A Christian legal nonprofit has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh whether the city of Boston violated the rights of a Christian organization by refusing to allow a Christian flag to fly on public property. Read more here.
SCOTUS Strikes Down Philadelphia Law Forcing Same-Sex Adoption at Catholic Org. The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously overturned a lower court ruling regarding the City of Philadelphia barring foster children from being placed with the Catholic Social Services due to its unwillingness to endorse same-sex couples. Read more here.
Texas Gov Signs Religious Freedom Law Prohibiting Govt From Closing Churches. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law prohibiting government agencies and officials in the state from ordering churches and other houses of worship to close. Read more here.
IRS Denies Tax-Exempt Status to Christian Org Accused of Being Too Political. A Christian group is appealing a decision from the Internal Revenue Service denying nonprofit exemption status due to the government believing that its endeavors are too political. Read more here.
Irish Children Being Bullied at School for Practicing Their Religion. A recent study carried out by Ireland’s National Anti-Bullying Centre found teachers of religious education have specific concerns about students who are practicing Catholics being targeted for bullying more than those who are not. Read more here.
Canadian Pastor Arrested for Holding Outdoor Services. Pastor Tim Stephens was arrested on new charges after Fairview Baptist Church gathered for underground worship for the second week in a row since their church was effectively seized by Alberta Health Services. Read more here.
Wealthy Donors Pour Millions Into Anti-Religious Freedom Efforts as Adoption Ruling Looms. Reports show that millions of dollars continue to pour into advocacy groups opposed to broad religious freedom protections, some of which appears to target a critical religious freedom case soon to be decided by the Supreme Court. Read more here.
UK ‘Conversion Therapy’ Activist Calls for Ban to Include ‘Gentle’ Prayer. A leading LGBT activist in the UK has called for “gentle, non-coercive prayer” on sexual ethics to be included in legislation banning LGBT “conversion therapy.” Read more here.
Coalition Is Concerned Christians Face Discrimination With IACHR. A coalition of human rights experts and religious freedom advocates voiced their concern that people of faith are barred from being elected to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Read more here.
Spanish High Court Defends Christian Television. The highest court in Spain has ruled that a Christian broadcaster who expressed biblical views on sexuality acted under the protection of the right to freedom of expression. Read more here.
Florida Gov Signs Bill Requiring Moment for School Prayer. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law that would require public schools in his state to set aside at least one minute of silence for children to meditate or pray. Read more here.
Biden DOJ Amends Position of ‘Vigorously’ Defending Religious Freedom After LGBT Blowback. The Department of Justice quickly amended a court filing that initially said it would “vigorously” defend religious liberty after blowback from LGBT activists. Read more here.
Council Admits Unlawful Discrimination in Canceling Church Event. Edinburgh Council has admitted acting unlawfully in cancelling a Christian conference because of the speaker’s biblical beliefs on marriage and sexuality. Read more here.
Canadian Judge Rules Religious Freedoms Not Violated by Pandemic Restrictions. A judge has ruled that the religious freedoms of an Alberta pastor who is on trial for violating COVID-19 regulations were not violated. Read more here.
Biden DOJ Defends Religious Exemption for Christian Schools. The Biden Justice Department split with key LGBT allies on a major issue when it said in a court filing it will defend a federal rule that exempts Christian universities and schools from anti-discrimination laws. Read more here.
Christian University Ends Social Work Program Over Imposed Sexuality Values. Cairn University is ending its highly regarded social work program partly because school officials say the accrediting agency was attempting to impose sexuality and gender values that don’t align with the university’s religious mission. Read more here.
Canadian Church Faces $183K in Fines for Holding Worship in Defiance of Lockdown Orders. A congregation in Ontario has been slapped with $183,000 in fines for holding outdoor worship services after its church building was ordered closed by a judge, according to the pastor. Read more here.
Illinois School Reverses Course After Banning Second-Grader From Reading Bible During Recess. School officials in Illinois have reversed their decision to ban a second-grade girl from bringing her Bible to school. Read more here.
Russia Imprisons Six Jehovah’s Witnesses for ‘Extremism.’ Russia has sentenced six Jehovah’s Witnesses to multi-year prison terms on extremism charges, the religious organization said. Read more here.
Over 30K Call on Inter-American Court to Affirm Religious Freedom. More than 30,000 signatories from Latin America and the Caribbean are supporting a brief urging the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to uphold religious freedom and parental rights in the case of Pavez v. Chile. Read more here.
KY Ties to Baptist Kids’ Agency at Risk Over Non-Discrimination Contract. A clash between religious beliefs and homosexual “rights” has jeopardized Kentucky’s relationship with a foster care and adoption agency affiliated with the Baptist church that serves some of the state’s most vulnerable children. Read more here.
CI Threatens Legal Action if ‘Conversion Therapy’ Ban Is Used to Outlaw Prayer. The Christian Institute has said it “will not hesitate” to take legal action if the Northern Ireland Executive introduces a ban on “conversion therapy” which outlaws “the wrong kind of prayer.” Read more here.
Fears Rising Over China’s Looming ‘Re-Education’ of Christians. A Vatican-approved bishop, priests and seminarians in north-central China were arrested for violating new regulations on religious affairs, a stark example of growing religious persecution in the communist country. Read more here.
Finland’s Prosecution of Christian MP Is ‘Act of Oppression,’ Legal Scholars Warn. Law professors and scholars are calling on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom to pressure the State Department to sanction Finland’s prosecutor general for prosecuting a Christian politician who shared her biblical beliefs on sexuality and marriage. Read more here.
Russian Church Fined for Violating Anti-Evangelism Law. A magistrate judge in Russia found the Bread of Life Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith guilty of committing an administrative violation and fined them 30,000 rubles. Read more here.
HS Reverses Decision, Will Allow Valedictorian to Reference God. A public high school in Michigan has reversed its position following massive public pressure and will allow a Christian valedictorian to reference God in her graduation speech. Read more here.
Finnish Bishop Charged Over Biblical Teaching on Human Sexuality. The Rev. Dr. Juhana Pohjola has been charged by Finland’s prosecutor general with incitement against a group of people for teaching biblical principles of human sexuality. Read more here.
Realtor Drops License Over Association’s Ban on ‘Hate Speech.’ A Christian realtor is allowing his license to expire rather than comply with a new requirement from the National Association of Realtors that he and other members refrain from engaging in “hate speech” which includes expressing biblical views on LGBT issues. Read more here.
Christian College Vows to Challenge Biden Order Opening Dorms, Showers to Opposite Sex. A Christian college in Missouri plans to appeal its case against the Biden administration after a federal judge ruled the school must open its dorm rooms and showers to members of the opposite sex. Read more here.
Judge Rules Christian College Must Open Dorms, Showers to Opposite Sex. A federal judge rejected a Christian college’s request to bypass new rules under the Biden administration that force religious schools to open their dormitories — including shared bedrooms and shower spaces — to members of the opposite sex. Read more here.
Christians in NI Concerned About Push for Vague ‘Conversion Therapy’ Ban. After Northern Ireland lawmakers passed a resolution to develop a ban on sexual orientation and gender identity “conversion therapy,” several Christian leaders have warned that the ban’s language is vague and could cover ordinary pastoral care and Christian activity. Read more here.
State Dept Report Shows 80 Percent of People Live Under High Restrictions on Religious Freedom. The U.S. Department of State’s 2020 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom shows that most people in the world live in environments with significant restrictions on freedom of religion. Read more here.
Jailed Alberta Pastor Released on Bail. Pastor Artur Pawlowski, whose arrest for holding church services in defiance of Alberta’s Public Health Act drew international attention, recounted his experience in jail and reiterated his warning to Canadians about growing state tyranny. Read more here.
USCIRF Releases 2020 Annual Report. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom released its 2020 Annual Report, documenting significant developments and making recommendations to enhance the U.S. government’s promotion of freedom of religion or belief abroad. Read more here.
Church Leaders to Irish PM: Never Ban Public Worship Again. As restrictions on churches are finally lifted in the Republic of Ireland, religious leaders have urged the Taoiseach never to allow a blanket ban on public worship again. Read more here.
Church Autonomy and Parental Rights Challenged at Top Human Rights Court of the Americas. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights will soon decide a case on the importance of protecting the right to freedom of religion and belief as well as the right of parents to direct the moral and religious upbringing of their children. Read more here.
California Bill Targets University Healthcare Links to Catholic Hospitals. A California bill threatens to ban University of California health systems from partnering with institutions that follow Catholic ethics, prompting concern that ideological motives on abortion and LGBT issues will limit medical care access. Read more here.
Colorado Christian School Seeking Broad Ministerial Exception From 10th Circuit. A U.S. appeals court panel will take up the latest high-profile case to test the limits of an exemption from anti-discrimination laws for religious schools. Read more here.
Calgary Police Arrest Pastor Who Refused to Allow Officials to Disrupt Service. Pastor Artur Pawlowski and his brother were stopped on their way home from church by a motorcade of police vehicles and arrested for allegedly violating Alberta’s Public Health Act. Read more here.
UK School Reports Chaplain to Anti-Terror Unit After Telling Students They Can Disagree With LGBT Teaching. A school priest was reported to an anti-terrorism program after delivering a sermon in which he told pupils they were allowed to disagree with new LGBT policies. Read more here.
Indiana Court Rules Catholic School Can Fire Teacher for Being in Same-Sex Marriage. An Indiana court has dismissed a lawsuit filed against a Roman Catholic Archdiocese by a former private school teacher who was fired for being in a same-sex marriage. Read more here.
Charges Against Christian Politician Are Because of ‘Discriminatory Hate Speech.’ Finland’s state prosecutors are pushing back against the international outcry over the charges against a Christian politician by describing her statements on marriage and sexuality as “discriminatory hate speech.” Read more here.
Irish People of Faith Call for Govt Commitment to Religious Freedom. People of faith in Ireland are signing an open letter addressed to Prime Minister Micheál Martin, demanding a commitment never to ban church worship in the country again. Read more here.
Swiss Doctor Wins Legal Challenge to Unlawful Ban on Public Worship. A court in Switzerland has become the latest to rule a COVID-19-related blanket ban on worship to be unlawful. Read more here.
EU Appoints New Religious Freedom Envoy. The European Commission appointed Christos Stylianides as Special Envoy for the promotion of freedom of religion or belief outside the EU. Read more here.
Police Called After Argentine Priest Holds Outdoor Mass for First Communion. Police in Argentina were called when a priest held a First Communion Mass in an open air space with close to 100 participants in violation of COVID-19 regulations. Read more here.
U.S. Legislators Urge Biden to Address Global Religious Persecution. A bipartisan group of members of Congress asked President Biden to prioritize responding to global religious persecution. Read more here.
Proposed Ethics Code Threatens to Undermine Right to Conscientious Objection. A new draft of the International Code of Medical Ethics aims to severely curtail the rights of doctors to conscientiously refuse the administration of certain drugs and procedures. Read more here.
UK Pastor Alleges Police Elevate LGBT ‘Rights’ Above Others. A church minister who witnessed the arrest of a street preacher has accused the Metropolitan police of putting the rights of LGBT people above those of other protected characteristics. Read more here.
Ireland Announces Partial Lifting of Worship Ban. The government of Ireland announced that church services can resume on May 10th with face coverings, distancing, and a limit of 50 worshippers. Read more here.
China Brutalizes Religious Groups With Repressive Policies. Communist China has continued its crackdown on religious groups and practices by arresting and abusing hundreds of members, accusing them of being associated with entities that the state authorities deem illegal. Read more here.
Mexican Church Defends Right to Speak on Public Issues After Govt Warning. Faced with a covert warning from the government about interfering in the political arena, the archdiocese of Mexico City released a statement defending its rights to speak out on public issues. Read more here.
CI Threatens Legal Challenge Over UK Ban on ‘Wrong Kind of Prayer.’ The Christian Institute has threatened the UK government with legal action if a proposed “conversion therapy” ban outlaws the “wrong kind of prayer.” Read more here.
Wealthy Corporations Back Equality Act Stripped of Religious Freedom Protections. Federal LGBT legislation that excludes important religious freedom protections has the backing of over 400 American corporations with trillions of dollars in annual revenue. Read more here.
Police Lock Ontario Church for Violating COVID-19 Restrictions. A judge in Ontario, Canada has allowed authorities to temporarily lock the doors of Trinity Bible Chapel that has refused to follow provincial restrictions on gatherings aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19. Read more here.
Finnish Politician Formally Charged for Hate Crime Against Homosexuals. A Christian politician in Finland will face a court process for speaking openly about her views on homosexuality and the Bible. Read more here.
London Pastor Arrested for Quoting ‘Homophobic’ Bible Verses. Police in London arrested a Christian street preacher for allegedly causing “alarm and distress” to pedestrians for citing allegedly “homophobic” verses from Genesis. Read more here.
Pastor Holds Outdoor Service in Ireland Despite Worship Ban. An Evangelical pastor said he will hold a second socially distanced service in Dublin this weekend, despite religious services being outlawed in Ireland. Read more here.
Russian Authorities Prohibit Use of Church Building. A Christian church is challenging Russian authorities at the European Court of Human Rights for seizing the congregation’s property and leaving the community to gather outside in a tent. Read more here.
Christian Photographer Continues Legal Fight Against Law That May Force Him to Violate Conscience. A photographer suing Virginia over a law that would force him to service same-sex weddings despite religious objections is continuing his legal battle after a district court dismissed his complaint. Read more here.
SCOTUS Dodges Dispute Between TX, CA Over Religious Freedom, ‘LGBT Rights.’ The Supreme Court declined to take up a heated dispute between Texas and California which passed a law prohibiting taxpayer-funded travel to any state that doesn’t ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Read more here.
New Indiana Law Acknowledges Churches Are Essential. Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has signed a new law that protects religious freedom and prohibits the state government and its agencies from discriminating against houses of worship during a public health emergency. Read more here.
Proponents of ‘Conversion Therapy’ Ban in Northern Ireland Attack Prayer. Prayer addressing sexual ethics has been branded a “harmful practice” during a debate on so-called “conversion therapy” in Northern Ireland. Read more here.
Quebec to Appeal Court Ruling on Disputed Religious Symbols Law. The Canadian province of Quebec said it would appeal a court ruling that exempts some teachers and provincial politicians from a controversial law that bans public employees from wearing religious symbols. Read more here.
NI Party Threatens to Veto ‘Conversion Therapy’ Ban. The Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland has warned it will veto any proposed legislation to ban “conversion therapy” if there are not “robust protections for churches.” Read more here.
Church of England Says Prayer Should Not Be Criminalized in ‘Conversion Therapy’ Ban. The Church of England has told members of parliament that any ban on so-called “conversion therapy” should not criminalize pastoral support. Read more here.
Montana Gov Signs Law Clarifying Religious Freedom Protections. Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signed into law a state version of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act which holds the state to a high burden of proof when it violates someone’s religious beliefs. Read more here.
United States Commission on International Religious Freedom Publishes Annual Report. The threat to religious freedom remains strong worldwide according to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom in its recently released annual report. Read more here.
Croatia Offers Scholarships to Young Persecuted Christians. The Croatian government is offering college scholarships to young Christians from developing countries at risk of persecution. Read more here.
Irish Archbishops Seek Advice Over ‘Illegality’ of Attending Mass. Ireland’s archbishops are seeking legal advice after attending mass and other religious services was outlawed last week. Read more here.
Proposed NI ‘Conversion Therapy’ Ban Targets ‘the Wrong Kind of Prayer.’ The Presbyterian Church in Ireland has set out its opposition to a ban on so-called “conversion therapy,” which it says could criminalize the ordinary work of churches. Read more here.
Judges: Court Must Consider Giving Docs Religious Exemption From Performing ‘Gender Reassignment’ Surgeries. A circuit court panel has ruled that a district court must consider giving faith-based hospitals and doctors an exemption from an Obama-era mandate requiring them to perform elective “sex-change” operations. Read more here.
Up to Three Years in Prison for Hate Speech Under NZ Reforms. A reform of “hate speech” offences in New Zealand will now categorize “rainbow communities” as a protected class and include increased fines and prison sentences for offenders. Read more here.
Colombian Social Media Star Challenges Censorship Ruling. Social media star Erika Nieto is seeking to have the Colombian Constitutional Court uphold her right to freely share her opinions online after being ordered to remove a video in which she affirmed biblical views about marriage. Read more here.
Eritrean Christians Remain Imprisoned After Raids on Prayer Meetings. Thirteen Eritrean Christians remain imprisoned after authorities raided two separate prayer meetings where 35 people were taken into custody. Read more here.
Another Canadian Church Faces Legal Battle After Exceeding Capacity Limits. Canadian Justice Paul Sweeney denied the Ontario attorney general’s call to lock the doors of Trinity Bible Church after multiple citations for exceeding capacity limits and instead agreed to a request for an adjournment by the church’s lawyer. Read more here.
Court Rules No Evidence for Alberta Health Order Required in Coates Trial. A Canadian court ruled that the government of Alberta will not be required to show scientific evidence backing up its COVID-19 restrictions during the upcoming trial of Pastor James Coates who was arrested and jailed for holding in-person worship gatherings. Read more here.
Legal Scholars Discuss America’s Shifting Religious Freedom Landscape. Legal scholars discussed during a virtual event concerns about how the religious freedom landscape is shifting in the United States. Read more here.
Flagship Protestant Colleges in Russia Stripped of Right to Offer Higher Education. The Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Ingria’s Theological Institute lost its higher education license, the third flagship Protestant educational institution in Russia to lose the right to conduct formal religious education. Read more here.
Laotian Pastor Released From Jail. A Laotian pastor who was kept in police detention for more than a year for conducting religious activities related to his Christian faith has been released from prison. Read more here.
California Lifts Capacity Limits on Churches. California Gov. Gavin Newsom lifted all capacity restrictions on houses of worship after months of highly publicized legal battles. Read more here.
Top UK Lawyer: ‘Conversion Therapy Ban Could Criminalize Christian Parents.’ A broad ban on conversion therapy could criminalize Christian parents who encourage their children to follow biblical teachings on gender and sexuality, a leading Queens Counsel has said. Read more here.
UK Church Sues Multimillion Pound Trust for Religious Discrimination. An evangelical church is accusing Scotland’s largest charitable trust of religious discrimination after it cancelled a rental agreement over the church’s views on same-sex marriage. Read more here.
Christian Colleges Fight Lawsuit Designed to Strip Students of Financial Aid. Attorneys representing three Christian post-secondary schools asked a federal district court to allow them to intervene against a lawsuit that seeks to strip all students at private religious colleges of federal financial aid unless their schools renounce core religious beliefs. Read more here.
Christians Tear Down Fences Around Shuttered Canadian Church, Govt Sends in Riot Police. Hundreds of Canadian Christians were met by riot police when they gathered at the GraceLife Church in Edmonton, Alberta to tear down a barricade erected to prevent worship. Read more here.
High Court Halts California Rules Limiting Home Worship. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that California can’t enforce coronavirus-related restrictions that have limited home-based religious worship including Bible studies and prayer meetings. Read more here.
French Senate Approves Proposal to Ban Prayers at Universities. France’s Senate approved the addition of a ban on religious practices in university corridors to a controversial bill to fight “Islamist separatism.” Read more here.
Kazakhstan: ‘People Don’t Have the Right to Distribute Religious Materials in Any Form Whatsoever.’ Courts in Kazakhstan have fined at least 18 people in the first three months of 2021 for distributing religious literature, texts, videos, audio and religious items in places and ways the regime declares to be illegal under its compulsory religious censorship. Read more here.
Alberta Health Officials Shut Down GraceLife Church. Alberta Health Services has closed GraceLife Church and has prevented access until the church “can demonstrate the ability to comply with Alberta’s chief medical officer of health’s restrictions.” Read more here.
Wedding Photographer Sues New York Over LGBT Anti-Discrimination Law. A Christian wedding photographer has filed a complaint against New York over a state law that requires her to service same-sex wedding ceremonies despite her religious objections. Read more here.
U.S. State Dept Disbands Commission That Heightened Importance of Religious Freedom. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has formally dismissed the controversial Trump-era Commission on Unalienable Rights which sought to elevate the promotion of religious freedom worldwide. Read more here.
UK Evangelical Leaders Express Concern Over Broad ‘Conversion Therapy’ Ban. Two evangelical leaders in the UK have expressed concern over a proposed ban on “conversion therapy,” which they say could criminalize aspects of Christian activity. Read more here.
Report: China Detaining Christians, Using ‘Brainwashing’ to Get Them to Renounce Faith. Chinese officials are detaining Christians in windowless “transformation” facilities and using “brainwashing” to get them to renounce their faith, Radio Free Asia reported. Read more here.
UK Court Blasts Blackpool Council for Discriminating Against Christians. Blackpool Council has been criticized by a judge who ruled that it discriminated against Christians by banning bus advertisements for the Lancashire Festival of Hope with Franklin Graham. Read more here.
MI University Revoking Christian Group’s Benefits Was Unconstitutional, Judge Rules. A federal judge has ruled that Wayne State University violated the First Amendment in refusing to officially recognize the Christian group InterVarsity because it required its leaders to be adherents of the faith. Read more here.
Study: Religious Liberty Winning at SCOTUS. A study published in The Supreme Court Review finds that the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts is much more likely to rule in favor of religious liberty than previous courts have during the past 70 years. Read more here.
Montana House Backs Bill on Religious Challenges to Rules. The Montana House passed a bill that would allow people to challenge government regulations that interfere with their religious beliefs. Read more here.
Ninth Circuit Upholds CA Restriction Against Home Bible Studies. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld the state’s restrictions on in-home gatherings, including Bible studies and communal worship activities involving more than three households. Read more here.
EEOC Dismisses ‘Discrimination’ Charge Against Ministry. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission dismissed a charge of discrimination filed against Jews for Jesus by a job applicant who was denied a position with the organization. Read more here.
Virginia Public School Guidance on Transgender Students Challenged. A faith-based group filed a lawsuit challenging Virginia’s new state guidelines on the treatment of transgender students in public schools, alleging the policies violate student rights to freely exercise their religion. Read more here.
Irish Govt Continues Worship Ban One Year Later. This month marks nearly a full year of the blanket ban on public worship being in place throughout Ireland where worshippers could face a fine or up to six months jail time for leaving their homes to attend a place of worship. Read more here.
Former Bishop Punished for Not Allowing Same-Sex Marriages Leaves Denomination. A bishop of the Episcopal Church who was punished for refusing to allow the blessing of same-sex marriages in his diocese has decided to leave the mainline Protestant denomination. Read more here.
Christian Actress Fired for Biblical Beliefs Now Ordered to Pay $414K in Legal Fees. A Christian actress who was fired because of a Facebook post she made affirming a biblical view of sexuality found out she may have to pay the equivalent of more than $414,000 in legal fees. Read more here.
NSW Committee Backs New Religious Freedom Laws. A majority of a New South Wales parliamentary committee has endorsed a push to amend the state’s anti-discrimination laws to protect religious freedom. Read more here.
Germany’s Christian Churches in Meltdown. Worship restrictions in Germany have many Christian churches fearing they may lose their societal influence. Read more here.
Chilean Supreme Court Rules Worship Ban Discriminatory. The Chilean Supreme Court unanimously ruled that COVID-19 restrictions have been applied in a discriminatory manner against believers. Read more here.
Russian Bishops’ Official Worried About New Religion Regulations. The secretary-general of the Russian bishops’ conference said new legal regulations will give state officials extra powers to intervene in church life and revive communist-era restrictions. Read more here.
CA Bill to Ban Officers Tied to ‘Hate Groups’ Amended Over Religious Freedom Concerns. A California bill that would ban police officers from being members of entities deemed as “hate groups” has been amended to clarify that the term does not apply to being part of conservative or Christian groups. Read more here.
Swiss Parliamentarian Raises Concern Regarding Church Closures in Algeria. Swiss National Councilor Eric Nussbaumer called on the Swiss Federal Council to address the closure of Protestant churches in Algeria, which many see as an infringement upon the religious freedom of Algerians. Read more here.
LBGT Christian College Students Sue to Block Title IX Religious Exemptions. A group of Christian college students is suing the U.S. Department of Education, arguing that the religious exemption to Title IX is unconstitutional because it permits discrimination against LGBT individuals. Read more here.
Arkansas Gov Signs Medical Conscience Objections Law. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed into law legislation allowing doctors to refuse to treat someone because of religious or moral objections. Read more here.
Federal Judge Rules D.C. Capacity Limits on Religious Gatherings Are Unconstitutional. A federal district court judge ruled that caps on religious services in Washington D.C. were unconstitutional. Read more here.
Philippine President Threatens to Close Catholic Churches That Uphold Public Masses. A spokesperson for Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, said the government will force local churches to close if priests hold public Masses in defiance of public health orders. Read more here.
Irish Legislators Decry Restrictions on Religious Services. Ireland’s Minister of State for Health Anne Rabbitte has rejected claims that the cabinet is the most “anti-Christian government of all time” in an ongoing debate with members of parliament over restrictions on religious services. Read more here.
Federal Court Ends D.C. Church Restrictions. A federal judge ruled that D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s numerical and percentage cap restrictions on churches “discriminate against houses of worship.” Read more here.
GoFundMe Page Raises Thousands to Pay Canadian Pastor’s Legal Fees. A GoFundMe page recently created to help pay the legal fees for a Canadian pastor who was jailed for not adhering to ongoing worship restrictions has received more than $45,000 in donations. Read more here.
Colorado Baker Sued Again Over Alleged LGBTQ Bias. A Colorado baker who won a partial victory at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 for refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple went on trial in yet another lawsuit, this one involving a birthday cake for a transgender woman. Read more here.
Bishops Warn Religious Freedom Under Threat in EU. A commission of Catholic bishops warned religious freedom is threatened in the European Union, as restrictive laws are imposed in the wake of Covid-19. Read more here.
Church Leaders Win Legal Battle Against Scottish Govt. The Court of Session has ruled that the Scottish government’s ban on public worship during the pandemic was unlawful. Read more here.
New UK Law Could Ban Street Preachers, MP Warns. UK MP Gavin Robinson has expressed concern that a new law which is currently making its way through Parliament is so far-reaching that it could lead to street preachers being banned. Read more here.
Alberta Pastor Charged With Breaking COVID-19 Measures Released. Edmonton-area pastor James Coates who was jailed for alleged violations of COVID-19 public health measures will be released from jail but must pay a $1,500 fine. Read more here.
Irish Police Fine Catholic Priest for Offering Public Masses. Police in Ireland have fined a Catholic priest for celebrating public Masses amid a nationwide lockdown. Read more here.
Federal Court Rules Against U of Iowa in Religious Discrimination Case. A federal appeals court ruled that University of Iowa officials who kicked a Christian student club off campus because of it was a faith-based club can be held personally accountable for their actions. Read more here.
Ninth Circuit Again Denies Coach Right to Pray on Field After Games. In a unanimous opinion, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that high school football coach Joseph Kennedy’s practice of praying on the 50-yard line after games was a violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Read more here.
Jailed Alberta Pastor Expected to Be Released in Days. An Alberta pastor who has spent weeks in jail after holding church services in violation of public health rules is expected to be released in the coming days, his lawyers say. Read more here.
Scottish Govt Has Left Christians ‘in Deep Crisis’ Over Church Closures. The closure of churches under Scottish Government coronavirus measures has presented Christians with an “irreconcilable conflict” between loyalty to God and obedience to the state, a judge was told. Read more here.
Opponents of Equality Act Warn of ‘Sweeping’ Impact in Senate Hearing. Opponents of the Equality Act warned at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that the legislation could have a far-reaching impact on religious organizations. Read more here.
California Bill Proposes Removing Cops Who Express Religious or Conservative Beliefs. A new bill introduced in the California State Assembly would prohibit police officers from serving if they are affiliated with a “hate group,” the definition of which could include faith groups opposed to abortion or same-sex marriage. Read more here.
Canadian MPs Call for Re-Opening of Office of Religious Freedoms. Canadian MPs are calling on the federal government to re-open an office advocating for religious freedom around the globe. Read more here.
Human Rights Complaint Filed Against Saskatchewan Church. A member of the local LGBTQ community is filing a human rights complaint against Victory Church in Regina, Saskatchewan after the pastor delivered a sermon denouncing gender fluidity. Read more here.
Scottish Govt Announces Concessions as Legal Challenge to Worship Ban Set to Begin. Days before a legal hearing on a government-imposed worship ban is set to begin, the Scottish government announced that places of worship will now be allowed to reopen in time for Easter, Passover and Ramadan. Read more here.
Bill Introduced to Protect Religious Beliefs of U.S. Faith-Based Foster Care Providers. Congressional Republicans introduced legislation designed to protect faith-based foster care providers who seek to carry out their business practices in accordance with their religious beliefs on marriage and sexuality. Read more here.
Parents Concerned Ahead of Religious Freedom Case at Top Human Rights Court. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights will soon decide a case to determine whether religious communities are free to decide who will teach religion on their behalf. Read more here.
UK MPs Attack Prayer, Pastoral Support in ‘Conversion Therapy’ Debate. A number of MPs took aim at churches which hold to the Bible’s teaching on gender and sexuality in a Westminster Hall debate on banning so-called “conversion therapy.” Read more here.
MA Supreme Court Calls Into Question Religious Exemption for Christian Colleges. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a social work professor at a Christian college is not a “ministerial employee,” and the college cannot claim a religious freedom exemption in its defense against allegations she was wrongly denied tenure for her LGBT advocacy. Read more here.
Police Investigate Catholic Dad for Asking Catholic School Board to Not Fly ‘Pride’ Flag. Police are investigating a Catholic father over allegations that he committed a “hate” crime for asking a Catholic school board not to recognize “Pride month” or fly the rainbow flag at Catholic schools. Read more here.
Biden Fires Attorney Who Defended Religious Liberty of Employees. An attorney within the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission who had gained a reputation for defending religious liberty was fired by President Biden the same day she sent the White House a letter stating she would not resign. Read more here.
Court Orders Pastor to Remain in Jail Until May Trial for Violating COVID Restrictions. A church pastor arrested last month and charged with violating COVID-19 rules on maximum gathering capacity will remain behind bars until the trial begins in early May, a Canadian judge has ruled. Read more here.
SCOTUS Sides With Christian Student After College Blocked Him From Sharing Gospel on Campus. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a former Georgia college student who sued his school four years ago after officials prevented him from distributing Christian literature on campus. Read more here.
Oklahoma House Passes Bill Banning Govt Closure of Churches. The Oklahoma House of Representatives passed legislation that would prohibit state and local government entities from forcing churches or any other houses of worship to close, even during a pandemic. Read more here.
White House Silent on Conscience Concerns in Health Care. The White House would not reveal its position on doctors being forced to perform abortions and “gender transition” surgeries under the Equality Act. Read more here.
Campaign Finance Bill Presents Religious Liberty, Pro-Life Concerns, Say Opponents. A campaign finance bill under consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives could present grave concerns for religious liberty, an opponent of the bill has said. Read more here.
SCOTUS Blocks County’s Ban on Indoor Worship Gatherings. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of five churches that California’s Santa Clara County must allow indoor worship services to resume at 20% capacity. Read more here.
Iowa Legislature to Consider Religious Freedom Bill. Iowa Senate Republicans re-introduced a Religious Freedom Restoration bill that would hold government “to the highest standards before it can infringe on a person’s free exercise of religion.” Read more here.
Canadian Church Fined for Hosting In-Person Worship Service. A Canadian church was ordered to pay $83,000 by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice following an in-person church service with more than 10 people. Read more here.
Texas Bishop Warns Equality Act Threatens Heart of Nation. Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas warned the Equality Act “is a threat to people of faith in this nation.” Read more here.
LGBT Activist Calls for UK Ban on Prayer for Unwanted Same-Sex Attraction. An LGBT activist has called for Christians to be banned from praying for someone with unwanted same-sex attraction and says the “pernicious power of prayer must be dealt with.” Read more here.
Catholics, Evangelicals Unite on Free Speech Fears Under Scottish ‘Hate’ Bill. A coalition of Roman Catholics and evangelicals have united to urge the Scottish government to drop the part of its controversial hate crimes bill relating to criticism of “transgender ideology.” Read more here.
Sturgeon Announces Scottish Churches to Reopen Under Lockdown Easing Measures. Scotland’s First Minister has announced that churches will be able to reopen for communal worship with attendance restrictions. Read more here.
Alberta Premier Who Jailed Christian Pastor Claims He is Protecting ‘Fundamental Freedoms of Religion.’ Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has released a statement regarding the jailing of Pastor James Coates, saying his imprisonment is “unfortunate,” but that Coates had “flagrantly” violated COVID rules. Read more here.
USCCB: Equality Act Would ‘Punish’ Religious Groups Opposed to Gender Ideology. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has come out in opposition to the Equality Act which was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. Read more here.
Christian Pastor Jailed for Holding Church Services in Canada. A Christian pastor from Edmonton, Canada has been jailed for breaking Alberta’s Public Health Act by continuing to hold church services when ordered to stop. Read more here.
Scottish Churches Granted Judicial Review Over Church Lockdown Closures. A group of 27 church leaders has been granted permission for a judicial review over the closure of places of worship in Scotland under recent COVID-19 measures. Read more here.
B.C. Public Health Wants to Force Churches to Close During Court Battle. A British Columbia provincial health officer and attorney general have requested an injunction forcing churches to remain closed after the churches filed a petition challenging COVID-19 restrictions on in-person religious services, arguing the ban violates people’s rights and freedoms. Read more here.
SC House Considers Bill to Keep Churches Open in Emergencies. A South Carolina House panel plans to review a bill that would confirm churches and other religious organizations are treated as essential services during a state of emergency. Read more here.
ADF: Equality Act Puts Christian Hiring Policies in ‘Jeopardy’ Without Religious Exemptions. The wide-reaching Equality Act would put the hiring practices of faith-based organizations in “jeopardy” and will create additional religious freedom concerns for Christian schools, churches and ministries, Alliance Defending Freedom warns. Read more here.
German Town Brought to Court Over Prayer Prohibition. Prayer group 40 Days for Life has sued the town of Pforzheim, Germany after repeatedly being prohibited from gathering to peacefully pray near a pre-abortion advisory center. Read more here.
Bill Declaring Religion is Essential Becomes Law in Arkansas. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law a measure that “recognizes that churches are essential” and “helps protect churches and other religious organizations from being targeted, penalized, or discriminated against during a time of emergency.” Read more here.
CA Legislator Introduces ‘Religion is Essential Act.’ California state Senator Brian Jones introduced the “Religion is Essential Act” to the state legislature which would require state and local governments to treat religious organizations as essential during pandemics. Read more here.
Christians Warn of Censorship as ‘Conversion Therapy’ is Banned in Australia. Church leaders in Victoria fear that they could fall foul of a new law simply for offering prayer or counseling to someone struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity. Read more here.
Australian Christians Say They’ll Defy Ban on Prayer for Overcoming Unwanted Sexual Attractions. Christian leaders are poised to resist Victoria’s controversial Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition bill which bans “carrying out a religious practice, including but not limited to, a prayer-based practice” to help someone overcome unwanted sexual attractions. Read more here.
SCOTUS Ends California’s Total Worship Ban. In a 6-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that California may not enforce its total ban on worship during the pandemic. Read more here.
VA House Advances Bill Repealing Protections for Faith-Based Adoption Agencies. The Virginia House of Representatives passed a bill to remove conscience protections for child-placing agencies. Read more here.
Maine Parents Head to SCOTUS Over Law That Bans Religious School Choice. Parents in Maine are taking their religious discrimination case to the U.S. Supreme Court after the appeals court ruled that students would only qualify for educational benefits if they attended a school that does not provide religious instruction. Read more here.
Atheist Group Demands Maryland City Stop Opening Meetings With Christian Prayer. A leading atheist organization is demanding that a city in Maryland stop allowing city officials to open council meetings with a prayer. Read more here.
Scottish Church Leaders Sue Govt for Criminalizing Public Worship. Some 27 church leaders in Scotland are suing the Scottish government and asking that the courts review pandemic lockdown orders that have closed churches. Read more here.
Facebook Bans Christian Professor for Opposing Biden’s Transgender Policies. A Christian university professor has been suspended from Facebook for voicing disagreement with President Joe Biden’s executive order allowing transgender-identifying individuals to serve in the U.S. military. Read more here.
Bishops Say LGBTQ Executive Order Has Implications for Religious Liberty. President Biden’s executive order to extend existing federal nondiscrimination protections to LGBTQ people exceeds the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the issue in Bostock v. Clayton County and has implications for religious liberty, said the chairmen of five U.S. bishops’ committees. Read more here.
Danish Churches Deplore Curbs on Religious Freedom. Churches in Denmark have condemned government-backed legislation requiring all sermons to be translated and published in Danish in a series of controversial moves to restrict alleged religious militancy. Read more here.
Former Director of Ed Criticizes Welsh RE Plans. A former Director of Education has criticized the Welsh government’s plan to force schools to teach humanism and atheism alongside religious views in Religious Education lessons. Read more here.
Virginia Bill Would Allow Agencies to Be Shut Down for Denying Adoption to Same-Sex Couples. The state of Virginia has introduced a bill that would repeal the right of adoption and foster care agencies to deny child placements with homosexual couples on the basis of the agencies’ moral opposition to same-sex parenting. Read more here.
Ninth Circuit Upholds California’s Ban on Indoor Worship. The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied a San Diego area church’s request to overturn California’s COVID-19 restrictions on indoor worship gatherings, although it acknowledged that the congregation is suffering “irreparable harm” due to the temporary ban. Read more here.
Court Rules Catholic Hospitals Can’t Be Forced to Perform ‘Gender Transition’ Surgeries. A federal court in North Dakota has ruled that a group of Catholic hospitals and others should not be required by the Department of Health and Human Services to perform “gender transition” procedures, including those for minors. Read more here.
Spanish Parents Appeal to EU for Relief Against Education Law. An association of Spanish education advocates will appeal to the European Union to prevent Spain’s government from implementing an education law that will restrict the right of parents to choose religious schools for their children. Read more here.
Chinese Officials Raid Christian Homeschool. Chinese police and other communist officials raided a house in Chengdu, China where children of Early Rain Covenant Church were being homeschooled. Read more here.
Photographer Challenges VA Values Act in Court. Bob Updegrove, a photographer from Virginia, has filed a lawsuit challenging the Virginia Values Act which would force him to photograph same-sex weddings despite his Christian beliefs on marriage. Read more here.
Charity Head: China Arresting Christians for Attending ‘Zoom Church.’ A charity organization reports that the Chinese Communist Party is using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to crack down on Christians, even arresting some for attending online services via Zoom. Read more here.
SCOTUS Orders NV Gov to Respond to Challenge Over State’s Worship Restrictions. The U.S. Supreme Court has ordered the governor of Nevada to respond to a lawsuit from a church alleging that the state’s restrictions on in-person worship services violate their constitutional rights. Read more here.
SCOTUS to Decide if Christian Students Banned From Preaching Deserve Compensation. The U.S. Supreme Court will soon decide whether a college that ordered a Christian student to cease preaching on campus can be punished even though the administration has since changed the institution’s free speech policies. Read more here.
HHS Issues Final Rule Protecting Faith-Based Adoption Agencies. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services finalized a rule allowing faith-based adoption agencies to receive federal funding regardless of their views on same-sex marriage. Read more here.
MA High Court to Decide if Christian College Discriminated Against Pro-LGBT Professor. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court heard oral arguments regarding whether an evangelical Christian higher education institution can lawfully refuse to promote a former professor who held pro-LGBT views. Read more here.
Scotland’s Bishops Protest Closure of Churches Amid New Lockdown. Scottish Catholic bishops have protested the closing of churches as part of Scotland’s newest month-long coronavirus lockdown. Read more here.
New Mexico Fines Churches Thousands for Hosting Christmas Eve Services. Legacy Church and Calvary Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico are each facing up to $10,000 in fines for holding worship services on Christmas Eve. Read more here.
Scotland Bans Public Worship for Second Time During COVID-19 Crisis. Scotland has banned public worship across the country for the second time since the coronavirus crisis started almost a year ago. Read more here.
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