RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

Past Newswire Headlines

South African Marriage Officers Won’t Be Allowed to Turn Down Same-Sex Couples. A newly-passed bill repeals section six of the Civil Union Act, which allowed a marriage officer to inform the minister that “he or she objects on the ground of conscience, religion, and belief to solemnizing a civil union between persons of the same sex.” Read more here.

 

Photographer Sues Over Virginia Law That May Force Him to Service Same-Sex Weddings. A professional photographer has filed a lawsuit against a new Virginia law that he says would force him to violate his sincerely held Christian beliefs by requiring him to provide his services to same-sex weddings. Read more here.

 

European Commission Still Undecided on Special Envoy. The European Commission continues to send mixed messages about the mandate of the Special Envoy on the promotion of freedom of religion or belief outside the EU. Read more here.

 

Catholic Priest Defends Criticism of ‘Pride’ Celebrations. A Catholic parish in the Diocese of Lafayette has stood by its criticism of the New Orleans Saints for celebrating the “gay rights movement,” despite being attacked for it on social media. Read more here.

 

U.S. Supreme Court Rules Religious Schools May Not Be Blocked From Scholarship Program. The Supreme Court ruled that Montana may not bar religious schools from participating in the state’s tax-credit scholarship program, a win for school choice advocates and parents who wish to use their scholarship funds to send their children to religious schools. Read more here.

 

U.S. Bishop Pulls Priest From Parish for ‘Divisive’ Remarks Upholding Church’s Stance on Homosexuality. A bishop has yanked a priest known for his pro-life work from ministry thanks to threats by LGBT activists. Read more here.

 

Armenian Police Officer Wins Landmark Employment Case After Being Fired for His Faith. The Administrative Court in Armenia found the police officer’s dismissal to be invalid and ruled that he must be reinstated to his job and compensated for the entire period of his forced leave starting in 2018. Read more here.

 

Roman Catholic Schools Urge Welsh Govt to Axe Religious Education Changes. In 2022, Religious Education is to be renamed ‘Religion, Values and Ethics,’ and the current parental right of withdrawal will be removed. Read more here.

 

Ohio Governor Signs Bill Expanding Religious Freedom in School. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed into law the Student Religious Liberties Act, which clarifies that students can pray, wear religious clothing, meet on school grounds and express their faith in school. Read more here.

 

Religious Medical Professionals Can be Punished for Following Their Consciences. Despite federal and state laws designed to protect conscience rights, Catholic medical professionals and their advocates report that healthcare institutions routinely pressure their employees to provide or refer for services to which they morally object. Read more here.

 

U.S. Bishops Call on Americans to Defend Religious Freedom. The U.S. bishops have highlighted a specific area of religious liberty for each day of Religious Freedom Week, beginning with the theme of religious freedom in health care, which includes the right to act in conscience and not be forced into cooperating with immoral actions. Read more here.

 

Latter-Day Saint Apostle Says Pandemic is a ‘Wake-Up Call’ About the Fragility of Religious Freedom. When governments around the world swiftly banned religious gatherings as COVID-19 advanced, they dangerously breached boundaries protecting the free exercise of religious freedom and proved just how fragile it is, an apostle with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said. Read more here.

 

Alito: Court’s ‘Preposterous’ Ruling Threatens Religion, Speech, Privacy and Safety. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito strongly condemned the Court’s ruling that discrimination on the basis of sex includes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Read more here.

 

Italy’s Homophobia Law Threatens Pulpit. Italian bishops are challenging new legislation against “homotransphobia” that could criminalize the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality and even censor preaching against sexual pathologies like pedophilia, sadism or masochism. Read more here.

 

Ohio Senate Unanimously Passes Student Religious Expression Bill. The Ohio Senate unanimously passed a bill that would allow public school students to pray, attend religious clubs and “See You at the Pole” gatherings, distribute religious material, wear religious clothing and turn in work expressing their faith beliefs. Read more here.

 

U.S. Supreme Court Decision Ignites Religious Liberty Battle. Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in his majority opinion that he foresees a path for religious institutions to fight their way to the Supreme Court as they seek exceptions from new laws granting protections for homosexual and transgender workers. Read more here.

 

Italy’s Catholic Bishops Say Proposed ‘Homophobia Law’ Creates ‘Crime of Opinion.’ Italian bishops have raised concerns over proposed legislation against “homophobia” in Italy, claiming changes to the law are unnecessary and have the potential to infringe on the civil liberties of those who oppose same-sex unions. Read more here.

 

Court Mostly Affirms NY Law Forcing Pro-Life Orgs to Accept Pro-Abortion Employees. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York has upheld most of a law allowing the Empire State to force pro-life organizations to employ workers who oppose their religious values and pro-life mission. Read more here.

 

Court Rejects Claim of Retaliation Because of Foster Parents’ Religious Beliefs. The plaintiffs claim that they were retaliated against because of their religious belief that homosexuality is a sin, or because they shared their religious belief with their child. Read more here.

 

Trump Administration Argues Adoption Agency Should Be Able to Reject Same-Sex Couples. The Justice Department filed a Supreme Court brief in support of a taxpayer-funded Catholic group that declines to work with same-sex prospective parents. Read more here.

 

Texas AG Files Multistate Amicus Brief Defending Religious Liberty for Foster Care Providers. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton led 13 states in a friend-of-the-court brief filed with the United States Supreme Court in support of several foster parents who are suing the city of Philadelphia over its policy blocking foster care providers who hold traditional beliefs about marriage. Read more here.

 

U.S. Bishops Ask Supreme Court to Protect Catholic Foster Agency in Philadelphia. In a brief filed with the Supreme Court, the U.S. bishops argued that a Catholic agency should not be banned from participation in the Philadelphia foster care system due to its beliefs on marriage. Read more here.

 

Trump Signs International Religious Freedom Executive Order. President Donald Trump signed an executive order that appropriates $50 million for programs that advance international religious freedom around the world. Read more here.

 

Catholic Parish Faces Human Rights Tribunal for Refusing to Allow LGBT Event at Parish Hall.  White Rock Pride Society filed a complaint against the British Columbia church last June, alleging discrimination by the Star of the Sea Parish on the basis of sexual orientation. Read more here.

 

Costa Rican Bishop Disappointed in Legalization of Same-Sex Marriage. A Costa Rican bishop has warned that although same-sex marriage has been legalized in the country, the Catholic Church will continue to proclaim the truth of God’s plan for sexuality and marriage. Read more here.

 

Two Cases Show Religious Freedom Dwindling in Europe. Conscientious objection and freedom of expression are under threat in Europe, as shown by two legal cases that made news this spring. Read more here.

 

Major UK Conscience Case Reaches Top European Court. The European Court of Human Rights will hear the case of Ashers Baking Company in Belfast, Northern Ireland, which has faced a lengthy legal process after refusing to produce a cake promoting a message contrary to their deeply held Christian beliefs about marriage. Read more here.

 

Religious Freedom in Jeopardy as China Passes New Hong Kong ‘Security Laws.’ The legislature of China approved a resolution to impose new “security laws” on its formerly autonomous region, Hong Kong— a move pro-democracy protestors and Catholics in the country fear will undermine Hong Kongers’ freedom of religion. Read more here.

 

PCI Calls for Guarantee That Quoting Bible Won’t Be Treated as Hate Crime. The Presbyterian Church in Ireland has said that freedom of speech must be protected in any new legislation. Read more here.

 

Canadian Bill Targets Catholic Teaching as ‘Conversion Therapy’ That Must Be Banned. Canada’s largest pro-life group is warning the country’s Catholic bishops and school trustees that the Trudeau government’s ban on so-called “conversion therapy” for minors will criminalize counseling based on Catholic teaching. Read more here.

 

Labor Department Issues New Religious Freedom Guidelines. The U.S. Department of Labor issued new protections for federal employees and faith-based grant recipients, with religious freedom groups praising the move. Read more here.

 

International Experts Appeal to European Commission to Do More for Religious Freedom. International religious freedom experts sent an open letter to the EU asking for more engagement in protecting the fundamental right to religious freedom across the globe. Read more here.

 

Major UK Conscience Case Reaches Top European Court. Mr. Lee, who ordered a cake with the message “Support Gay Marriage,” has now taken the case to the European Court of Human Rights. Read more here.

 

Armenian Constitutional Court Rules That Police Officer Cannot be Fired for Faith. Edgar Karapetyan was told that he was being fired because of his membership in a religious organization and that he would be allowed to keep his job if he renounced his faith. Read more here.

 

Court Allows LGBT Couple’s Lawsuit Over Foster Care Practice to Move Forward. A U.S. District Court ruled a lawsuit can proceed challenging a government exemption to religious anti-discrimination rules for foster care agencies. Read more here.

 

Nativity Scene on Indiana County Building Property Held Unconstitutional. An Indiana federal district court held that the Establishment Clause is violated by a nativity scene displayed on the lawn of an historical courthouse that now houses county offices. Read more here.

 

UK Evangelical Christian Adoption Agency to Fight Discrimination Claim in Court. A Christian fostering agency in the United Kingdom is taking a government regulator to court for deeming its policy of only placing children with committed evangelical Christians unlawfully discriminatory against same-sex couples. Read more here.

 

Vimeo Brands Christian Organization a ‘Terror or Hate Group’ Over Pro-Marriage Stance. The American Family Association (AFA) says it was told by Vimeo that its account was being shut down because it will not host an account if the owner is a member of a “terror or hate group”. Read more here.

 

USCIRF Warns About Violations of Freedom of Religion or Belief in 29 Countries and Beyond. The United States Commission for International Religious Freedom aims to monitor the implementation of the right to freedom of religion or belief around the world, following international law standards. Read more here.

 

Secular Organization Gets Military Chaplains’ Prayer Videos Removed From Facebook Page. The four videos removed from the brigade’s main Facebook page show chaplains offering comfort and perspective to those struggling with the threat and response to COVID-19. Read more here.

 

Court Rules Against Israeli Print Shop That Refused to Serve LGBT Group. The Beersheba Magistrate’s Court ruled that a local print shop must compensate an LGBT rights group after it refused to print its posters. Read more here.

 

Update on Religious Liberty Cases Before the U.S. Supreme Court. Five cases are now before the Supreme Court that could impact religious liberty and church-state law. Read more here.

 

Court to Hear Little Sisters, Catholic School Cases by Teleconference. For the first time in its history, the Supreme Court announced it will conduct 10 oral arguments by teleconference in May. Among the arguments it will hear is the case involving the Little Sisters of the Poor concerning religious employers opting out of the Affordable Health Care’s contraceptive mandate. Read more here.

 

The Reality of Religious Freedom in Cuba. The situation for religious groups in Cuba remains dire. Recorded violations include harassment of religious leaders, arbitrary detention, confiscation of religious property, the forced closure of churches, and restrictions on travel, movement and the distribution of religious materials. Read more here.

 

NYC Mayor Threatens Permanent Closure of Churches Holding Public Masses. New York City mayor Bill de Blasio said that churches could be closed down permanently if people are gathering for services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.

 

Virginia Governor Makes Attending Church a Criminal Offense. Virginia governor Ralph Northam has made it a criminal offense to attend church services of more than 10 people. An executive order went into effect in the commonwealth, making any non-essential gatherings a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail or a fine of $2,500. Read more here.

 

UN Expert Says World Religions Should Defer to the Authority of UN Experts. According to the UN’s special expert on freedom of religion, the fringe views of UN human rights bodies must take precedence over the mainstream beliefs of many leading world religions when it comes to law and policy. Read more here.

 

Sri Lanka Rejects Statement of UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief as Inaccurate. The Sri Lankan delegation delivered the statement at the UN Human Rights Council and said it was regrettable that the report portrayed instances where criminal investigations that were conducted to prevent acts of terrorism in accordance with the law, as an endeavor to violate the freedom of religion or belief. Read more here.

 

Photographer Doesn’t Have to Shoot Same-Sex Weddings, U.S. Department of Justice Says. The U.S. Department of Justice has sided with the Kentucky-based wedding photographer’s First Amendment right to refuse service for same-sex couples, according to an official statement issued by the government agency. Read more here.

 

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Religious Liberty Dispute Over Same-Sex Foster Parents. The Supreme Court has agreed to take up a First Amendment dispute between the city of Philadelphia and a Catholic foster care agency excluded from the city’s foster care system because it does not allow same-sex couples to serve as foster parents. Read more here.

 

Oregon Bakers Forced Out of Business Make Their Case Before Oregon Court of Appeals. The court again heard oral arguments in the case of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, the bakery that declined to make a cake for a same-sex wedding. Read more here.

 

Australian Prime Minister Morrison Delays Religious Freedom Bill Until 2020. Religious leaders threatened to withdraw support for the contentious religious discrimination bill unless greater freedoms were granted to Australians of faith. Read more here.

 

Survey Finds 63 Percent of Americans Support Religious Freedom at Work. The Religious Freedom Index reports that 63 percent of those surveyed said they support someone else’s freedom to practice religion at work or elsewhere in life “even if it creates an imposition or inconvenience for others.” Read more here.

 

Researcher Defends Tweets on Trans Rights at UK Employment Tribunal. Maya Forstater lost her job earlier this year after criticizing government proposals to allow people to self-identify as the opposite sex. She launched legal proceedings against her former employer on the basis that firing her amounted to discrimination against her religious beliefs. Read more here.

 

Colorado Commission that Hounded Baker Targets Christian Web Designer. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission is now going after a web designer who creates wedding websites. Because of her religious beliefs, she decided to create custom websites and graphics only for weddings between one man and one woman. If she does not create websites celebrating same-sex weddings, the state commission will punish her. Read more here.

 

Federal Judge Rules in Favor of Catholic Adoption Agency in Religious Liberty Case Against Michigan. U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker ruled that religious agencies that contract with the state of Michigan are allowed to refuse to place children in same-sex households. Read more here.

 

UN LGBT Czar Takes Aim Against Religions. A UN expert charged with promoting LGBT rights around the world called on governments to take action against religions that don’t embrace LGBT rights. Read more here.

 

Phoenix Artists Don’t Have to Make LGBTQ Wedding Invitations, Arizona Supreme Court Rules. The court overturned multiple lower court decisions that protected the Phoenix city nondiscrimination ordinance, which the Arizona Supreme Court ruled cannot be used to force artists to create custom wedding invitations for same-sex couples. Read more here.

 

Christian T-Shirt Printer’s LGBT Case Heads to Kentucky Supreme Court. The owner of the company declined to print “gay pride” t-shirts because it was a violation of his religious beliefs. Read more here.

 

Trump Administration Proposes Rule that Will Protect the Hiring Rights of Religious Organizations with Federal Contracts. The U.S. Department of Labor proposed a rule that ensures that “religious organizations may make employment decisions consistent with their sincerely held religious tenets and beliefs without fear of sanction by the federal government.” Read more here.

 

Irish Bakers’ Legal Case Referred to Highest European Court. The owners of Ashers bakery in Belfast won an appeal at the UK Supreme Court, which ruled it was not discriminatory to decline to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. Now the case has been referred to the European Court of Human Rights. Read more here.

 

Christian Baker Asks for Dismissal of Lawsuit Over Cake Signifying Gender Transition. Cake artist jack Phillips filed a motion to dismiss a third lawsuit seeking to force him to create a cake that expresses a message contrary to his religious beliefs. Read more here.

 

Moms Take Fight Against City’s Foster Care Ban on Faith-Based Agencies to the U.S. Supreme Court. The case against the City of Philadelphia is over its ban of religious agencies from providing foster care unless the agencies agree to compromise their beliefs about marriage. Read more here.

 

Faith Groups Mobilize in Canada in Support of Traditional Marriage and Religious Freedom. The “One Accord” movement is pushing back against bans on therapy for individuals with unwanted same-sex attraction and on expanded abortion rights. Read more here.

 

Texas Governor Signs ‘Save Chick-Fil-A’ Bill. Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 1978 that prohibits government entities from taking “adverse actions” against businesses or individuals because of their religious beliefs or moral convictions. Read more here.

 

UK Doctor Fired Over Religious Beliefs on Transgenderism. Dr. David Mackereth is a disability assessor and works for the Department for Work and Pensions. His religious convictions prevented him from addressing transgender claimants by their preferred pronouns. Read more here.

 

UK Student Kicked Off University Course Over Same-Sex Marriage Views Wins Court of Appeal Fight. The postgraduate student posted a traditional religious view on marriage on social media and was thrown off the Sheffield University course. Read more here.

 

California Lawmakers Pass Measure Forcing Pastors to Embrace LGBT Ideology. The California State Assembly has passed a resolution telling pastors to affirm homosexuality in violation of their biblical beliefs. Read more here.

 

Poland Rules in Favor of Printer Convicted Over Refusing LGBT Posters. The Constitutional Tribunal ruled that a Polish printer who refused to make posters for an LGBT foundation because of his religious beliefs should not have been convicted because workers have a right to act according to their conscience. Read more here.

 

As Brazil Debates Criminalization of “Homophobia,” Bishops Worry About Religious Liberty. The head of Brazil’s bishops’ conference, Bishop Walmor Oliveira de Azevedo, expressed concern regarding the “freedom of religion in judiciary decisions concerning the criminalization of homophobia.” Read more here.

 

U.S. Supreme Court Tosses Ruling Against Oregon Bakers Who Declined Cake for Same-Sex Couple. Melissa and Aaron Klein cited religious beliefs as their reason for not providing services for the wedding. The court sent the case back down to a lower court “for further consideration in light of” their Colorado decision. Read more here.

 

Texas Governor Signs Controversial “Save Chick-Fil-A” Bill Into Law. Gov. Greg Abbott signed the bill that will protect religious liberty and will stop the government from taking unfavorable action against a business or person for contributing to religious organizations. The bill was introduced after the San Antonio City Council blocked Chick-fil-A from opening a location in the city’s airport because of reported donations to organizations that support traditional marriage. Read more here.

 

Washington Supreme Court Rules Against Florist Who Refused Service for Same-Sex Wedding. The court ruled that Barronelle Stutzman, who was acting in accordance with her religious beliefs, violated the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) for refusing to make floral arrangements for a same-sex couple in 2013. Read more here.

 

Third Discrimination Suit Filed Against Colorado Baker. Jack Phillips, owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop, is being sued for the third time for declining to bake a cake celebrating an individual’s gender transition. The first two lawsuits filed by the transgender individual failed. Read more here.

 

Texas “Chick-fil-A” Bill Advances. The city of San Antonio blocked a proposed Chick-Fil-A restaurant in an airport location because of the owner’s religious belief in traditional marriage. The measure passed by the Texas House would ban local governments from taking “adverse action” against an individual or business based on affiliations or contributions to a religious organization. Read more here.

 

California University Votes to Remove Chick-Fil-A from Campus Because of Religious Beliefs of CEO. Faculty members of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s academic senate voted to remove the restaurant from the campus where it has operated for 25 years. Dan Cathy, the CEO of family-owned Chick-Fil-A supports marriage between a man and a woman. Read more here.

 

New Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of Masterpiece Cakeshop. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Jack Phillips after he was sued for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. Now he may stand in violation of Colorado law for refusing to decorate a cake to celebrate a biological male transitioning to a female. Read more here.

Survey Shows Public Divided Over Religiously Based Service Refusals. The survey conducted by PRRI found that 46 percent of Americans believe that owners of wedding-based businesses, such as caterers, florists, and bakers, should be allowed to refuse to serve same-sex couples if doing so violates their religious beliefs, while 48 percent say these types of businesses should be required to serve same-sex couples. Read more here.

U.S. House Committee Approves Amendment That Would Protect Religious Adoption Agencies From Being Forced to Place Children with Same-Sex Couples.The House Appropriations Committee approved an amendment to an upcoming funding bill that would preserve federal funding for agencies who do not want to place children with same-sex couples. Faith-based agencies in several states have had to shut down their adoption divisions because they did not want to violate their religious beliefs. Read more here.

 

Calligraphers Face Jail Time for Not Promoting Same-Sex Weddings With Their Art. Two calligraphy artists who face up to six months in jail, $2,500 in fines, and three years of probation for each day there is a violation of a city code are petitioning the Arizona State Supreme Court to hear their challenge to the law. Read more here.  

 

Federal Judge Rules Against Upholding Religious Beliefs of Adoption Agency. The judge ruled that Catholic Social Services was in violation of its contract with the city of Philadelphia because it refused to place children with same-sex couples as it was a violation of religious beliefs. The ruling will be appealed. Read more here.

 

Supreme Court of Canada Rules Limits on Religious Freedom “Reasonable.” Trinity Western University, an evangelical Christian university, lost its legal battle for accreditation of a planned law school because it requires students to abide by code of conduct that prohibits sex outside of heterosexual marriage. The ruling said the moral requirement would deter LGBT students from attending the proposed law school and would significantly harm those who did attend. Read more here.

 

Religious Freedom Bill Reintroduced in U.S. Senate. The “First Amendment Defense Act” was reintroduced by Sen. Mike Lee and would protect individuals and institutions from punitive action by the government for believing that marriage is between one man and one woman and for opposing sex outside of marriage. Read more here.

 

U.S. Federal Court Rules Religious Liberty No Basis for Transgender Policy. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that transgender individuals are protected by Title VII’s prohibition of sex discrimination. The court held that employers violate the federal anti-discrimination statute when they refuse to affirm the sexual identity claimed by a transgender employee, even if their refusal is based on sincerely held religious beliefs. Read more here.

 

Judge Rules in Favor of California Baker. Judge David Lampe ruled that baker Cathy Miller can continue to refuse to make wedding cakes for same-sex couples because of her religious beliefs. Lampe’s ruling relied heavily on the First Amendment. He wrote, “The right of freedom of thought guaranteed by the First Amendment includes the right to speak, and the right to refrain from speaking. Sometimes the most profound protest is silence.” Read more here.

 

California Judge Rules in Favor of Christian Wedding Cake Baker. The judge denied a motion for a temporary restraining order against the woman who declined to make a wedding cake for a homosexual couple because participating in a same-sex wedding was contrary to her religious beliefs. Read more here.

 

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Major Religious Freedom/Homosexual Rights Case. In what may be the most significant case the court has heard since imposing same-sex marriage on the country two years ago, the court will decide if constitutional protections of the free exercise of religion apply to a Colorado baker who refused to bake a custom wedding cake to celebrate a same-sex marriage on the grounds of his religious beliefs. He was sued over his refusal under Colorado law by the homosexual couple. The decision sets up a test of how far claimed “homosexual rights” actually extend in the U.S. Read more here.

 

Christian Couple Denied Adoption Because of Religious Beliefs. A Christian couple in Canada has reportedly been rejected as prospective adoptive parents due to their religious beliefs. Although the couple was initially approved and stated their intention to support any adoptive child with love and respect regardless of sexual orientation or behavior, Child and Family Services determined that their beliefs alone constituted a “rejection” of children identifying as LGBT. Read more here.

 

Mississippi Religious Freedom Law Enacted. The “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination” Act says the state government will “not discriminate” against businesses or individuals who refuse service or speak out according to their “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction” that marriage is between a man and a woman, sex relations are reserved for such a marriage, and the terms “male” or “female” refer to the biological sex assigned at birth. Read more here.

 

Farmers Banned From Farmer’s Market Over Religious Beliefs Appear in Court.  Steve and Bridget Tennes were banned from selling their goods because of their religious beliefs about same-sex marriage.  Lawyers for the couple are seeking a temporary order that would allow them to sell their products at the farmer’s market while the case proceeds.  Read more here.

 

DOJ Files Brief On Behalf Of Baker Who Refused To Make A Wedding Cake For A Same-Sex Couple.  The U.S. Department of Justice filed the brief with the Supreme Court in support of the Colorado baker who declined to bake a wedding cake for the couple because of his religious beliefs.  Read more here.

 

Court Rules Photographer can Refuse to Take Photos at Same-Sex Weddings. A Wisconsin Circuit Court said Amy Lawson would not be prosecuted for refusing to photograph same-sex weddings because her business is online and doesn’t have a storefront. Read more here.

 

Lawyers Ask Supreme Court to Hear Second Religious Liberty/Same-Sex Marriage Case. The Supreme Court announced it would hear the case of Jack Phillips, a baker who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding. Lawyers asked the court to combine that case with the case of Barronelle Stutzman, a florist who refused to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding. Both refusals were based in religious beliefs about traditional marriage. Read more here.

 

Report Finds Hostility to Christian Sexuality Beliefs in the U.S. has Increased. The report published by Family Research Council titled “Hostility to Religion: The Growing Threat to Religious Liberty in the United States,” found a 76 percent increase in religious freedom violations and a 114 percent increase in documented hostility toward Christian views on marriage and sexuality in the last three years. Read more here.

 

Couple Banned From Farmers Market Over Same-Sex Marriage Views Speaks Out. Steve and Bridget Tennes posted on Facebook that they wouldn’t host same-sex weddings on their family farm because of their religious beliefs about marriage. After the posting, city officials in East Lansing, Michigan banned the couple from selling produce at the local farmers market because of their views. This is a video of an interview of the couple sharing their experience. Read more here.

 

U.S. Supreme Court Will Hear Case of Baker Refusing to Bake Cake for Same-Sex Wedding. The religious liberty case regards a Denver baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple on religious grounds. Read more here.

 

Court Rules in Favor of Religious Liberty for Mississippi. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Mississippi First Amendment Defense Act that allows religious organizations and businesses to operate in accord with their religion’s teaching on marriage and sexuality can be enforced. Read more here.

 

U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Religious Liberty. The court ruled in favor of Trinity Lutheran Church’s case against the state of Missouri. The state discriminated against the church by withholding publicly funded grants that offset the cost of resurfacing playgrounds with recycled tires to improve safety for children. The church applied for the grant and would have qualified but was turned down solely because they were a church. Read more here.

 

Religious Freedom Efforts Being Pursued in Various States. The showdown between LGBT rights and religious freedom is taking place in numerous places in the United States. State lawmakers are pursuing legislation that would allow individuals to have the right to refuse services if it is a violation of their religious beliefs. Read more here.

 

Washington State Supreme Court Rules Against Florist in Same-Sex Marriage Case.The unanimous decision by the court claimed that discrimination based on same-sex marriage constitutes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The case could be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Read more here.

 

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Major Religious Freedom/Homosexual Rights Case. In what may be the most significant case the court has heard since imposing same-sex marriage on the country two years ago, the court will decide if constitutional protections of the free exercise of religion apply to a Colorado baker who refused to bake a custom wedding cake to celebrate a same-sex marriage on the grounds of his religious beliefs. He was sued over his refusal under Colorado law by the homosexual couple. The decision sets up a test of how far claimed “homosexual rights” actually extend in the U.S. Read more here.

 

Christian Couple Denied Adoption Because of Religious Beliefs. A Christian couple in Canada has reportedly been rejected as prospective adoptive parents due to their religious beliefs. Although the couple was initially approved and stated their intention to support any adoptive child with love and respect regardless of sexual orientation or behavior, Child and Family Services determined that their beliefs alone constituted a “rejection” of children identifying as LGBT. Read more here.

 

Mississippi Religious Freedom Law Enacted. The “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination” Act says the state government will “not discriminate” against businesses or individuals who refuse service or speak out according to their “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction” that marriage is between a man and a woman, sex relations are reserved for such a marriage, and the terms “male” or “female” refer to the biological sex assigned at birth. Read more here.

 

Farmers Banned From Farmer’s Market Over Religious Beliefs Appear in Court.  Steve and Bridget Tennes were banned from selling their goods because of their religious beliefs about same-sex marriage.  Lawyers for the couple are seeking a temporary order that would allow them to sell their products at the farmer’s market while the case proceeds.  Read more here.

 

DOJ Files Brief On Behalf Of Baker Who Refused To Make A Wedding Cake For A Same-Sex Couple.  The U.S. Department of Justice filed the brief with the Supreme Court in support of the Colorado baker who declined to bake a wedding cake for the couple because of his religious beliefs.  Read more here.

 

Court Rules Photographer can Refuse to Take Photos at Same-Sex Weddings. A Wisconsin Circuit Court said Amy Lawson would not be prosecuted for refusing to photograph same-sex weddings because her business is online and doesn’t have a storefront. Read more here.

 

Lawyers Ask Supreme Court to Hear Second Religious Liberty/Same-Sex Marriage Case. The Supreme Court announced it would hear the case of Jack Phillips, a baker who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding. Lawyers asked the court to combine that case with the case of Barronelle Stutzman, a florist who refused to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding. Both refusals were based in religious beliefs about traditional marriage. Read more here.

 

Report Finds Hostility to Christian Sexuality Beliefs in the U.S. has Increased. The report published by Family Research Council titled “Hostility to Religion: The Growing Threat to Religious Liberty in the United States,” found a 76 percent increase in religious freedom violations and a 114 percent increase in documented hostility toward Christian views on marriage and sexuality in the last three years. Read more here.

 

Couple Banned From Farmers Market Over Same-Sex Marriage Views Speaks Out.Steve and Bridget Tennes posted on Facebook that they wouldn’t host same-sex weddings on their family farm because of their religious beliefs about marriage. After the posting, city officials in East Lansing, Michigan banned the couple from selling produce at the local farmers market because of their views. This is a video of an interview of the couple sharing their experience. Read more here.

 

U.S. Supreme Court Will Hear Case of Baker Refusing to Bake Cake for Same-Sex Wedding. The religious liberty case regards a Denver baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple on religious grounds. Read more here.

 

Court Rules in Favor of Religious Liberty for Mississippi. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Mississippi First Amendment Defense Act that allows religious organizations and businesses to operate in accord with their religion’s teaching on marriage and sexuality can be enforced. Read more here.

 

U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Religious Liberty. The court ruled in favor of Trinity Lutheran Church’s case against the state of Missouri. The state discriminated against the church by withholding publicly funded grants that offset the cost of resurfacing playgrounds with recycled tires to improve safety for children. The church applied for the grant and would have qualified but was turned down solely because they were a church. Read more here.

 

U.S. Congress Members Push for Religious Liberty Executive Order. Dozens of lawmakers are asking President Trump to make good on a campaign promise to protect religious liberty. Trump has stated that he does not support discrimination against the LGBTQ community, but he believes there should be policies in place to protect people with strongly held religious beliefs. Read more here.

 

Religious Freedom Efforts Being Pursued in Various States. The showdown between LGBT rights and religious freedom is taking place in numerous places in the United States. State lawmakers are pursuing legislation that would allow individuals to have the right to refuse services if it is a violation of their religious beliefs. Read more here.

 

South Dakota Governor Signs Religious Adoption Protections.  South Dakota joined three other states that have enacted laws giving broad legal protections to faith-based organizations that refuse based on their religious beliefs to place children in certain households.  Read more here.

 

Over 100 Conservative Leaders Urge Trump to Sign Religious Freedom Executive Order.  A letter sent to President Trump by members of the Council for National Policy urged him to sign an order that will protect the rights of businesses and individuals to act in accordance with their religious convictions on marriage without government backlash. Read more here.

 

Washington State Supreme Court Rules Against Florist in Same-Sex Marriage Case. The unanimous decision by the court claimed that discrimination based on same-sex marriage constitutes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The case could be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Read more here.

 

Canadian Court Rules in Favor of Christian University.  The Appeal Court of British Columbia ruled that Trinity Western University’s policy that bans its students from having sexual relations outside of heterosexual marriage should not prevent the university from accreditation of its proposed law school.  Efforts by B.C.’s law society to deny accreditation to the school’s future lawyers was deemed unreasonable by the court.  Read more here.

 

Northern Ireland Bakers Lose Appeal in Lawsuit Against Them for Refusing to Bake a Cake in Support of Same-Sex Marriage.  The owners of Ashers Bakery are opposed to same-sex marriage on religious grounds and feel the ruling is a violation of religious freedom and free speech.  Read more here.

 

U.S. Commission Report Says the Terms “Religious Liberty” and “Religious Freedom” are Code Words for Intolerance, Homophobia, and “Christian Supremacy.”  The report by the United States Commission on Civil Rights says that “religious liberty” arguments are just a way to discriminate against others who don’t share the same beliefs.  However, two of the six commissioners objected to the findings stating that a very complex subject was oversimplified.  Read more here.

 

Oregon Bakers’ Legal Battle Continues.  Aaron and Melissa Klein, who refused to make a cake for the wedding of a lesbian couple, have filed a new brief in the case.  The new brief challenges the argument that the government can force citizens to create art and engage in speech that goes against their religious beliefs.  Read more here.

 

Alberta Government Bullies Christian Schools that Won’t Comply with Homosexual, Transgender Mandate.  Education Minister David Eggen says he will strip two Christian schools of their public funding if they don’t abandon their Christian principles and allow clubs promoting homosexuality and also allow transgender students in the bathrooms of their gender identity.  Read more here.

 

Victory for Religious Freedom at California Christian Universities.  The lawmaker who is sponsoring the bill that would have prevented Christian universities from operating according to their beliefs has removed a provision from the legislation that would have provided special protection for LGBT students.  Read more here.

 

U.S. Supreme Court Scores Well on Religious Freedom Unless Sexual Freedom is Involved. According to speakers at the Brigham Young University Religious Freedom Annual Review, religious liberty proponents have won 12 of 15 cases argued before the Supreme Court since 2006.  Read more here.

 

Religious Freedom Bill Introduced in U.S. House of Representatives.   Rep. Raúl Labrador from Idaho said “No American should be threatened or intimidated because of their belief in traditional marriage.”  The bill would prevent any federal agency from denying a tax exemption, grant, contract or license to any person or business based on their beliefs regarding marriage.  Read more here.

 

Teens Today Smoke Less, Drink Less, And Have Sex Less Than Any Teens on U.S. Record. According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of teenagers who say they’re sexually active is at an all-time low.  Read more here.

 

Study Finds Soft-Core P0rn Users Unlikely to Hold Positive Attitudes Toward Women.  According to researchers from the University of Nottingham in England those desensitized to soft-core p0rnographic images are more likely to endorse rape myths.  Read more here.

 

Orlando Chick-Fil-A Restaurants Give Free Food to Blood Donors.  Several Chick-fil-A restaurants in the Orlando area that are closed on Sunday opened up and delivered free sandwiches and beverages to people donating blood following the nightclub massacre in the city.  Chick-Fil-A  was boycotted several years ago by homosexual activists when the owners came out in favor of preserving marriage as only between a man and a woman.  Read more here.

 

Philippine President Proposes Three-Child Policy.  President-elect Rodrigo Duterte says he will defy the Catholic Church and will seek to control overpopulation in the country by limiting families to three children.  The country is about 80 percent Catholic.  Read more here.

P0rnography Website Launches Explicit Audio for the Visually Impaired.  P0rnhub now has a “described video” category that contains audio of professional voice actors explaining what’s going on in the scene.  One goal of the organization is to make p0rnography available to everyone.  Read more here.

 

Report Shows 40% of Babies Born in the U.S. are Born to Unmarried Women. According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of the 3,977,745 babies born in the United States of America in 2015, 1,600,208 of them—or 40.2 percent—were born to unmarried mothers. This is the 8th straight year this has been the case. Read more here.

 

Students Given Sexually Graphic Surveys Without Parents’ Knowledge.  The survey given to students across America is the “Youth Risk Behavior Survey.”  The survey can be modified by local entities.  In Massachusetts, students in middle school were asked if they had engaged in specific, high-risk sexual behaviors.  Read more here.

 

Oregon Bakers Who Support Man/Woman Marriage Continue Legal Fight.  The husband and wife who were ordered to pay $135,000 for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding filed a brief with the Oregon Court of Appeals on Monday, arguing the ruling against them was biased and violates both the Oregon and U.S. Constitutions.  Read more here.

 

Colorado Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Cake Baker’s Case.  The baker, who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, was told he could not cite his religious beliefs in refusing service to the couple.  Read more here.

 

Christian Bakers in Ireland Appeal Discrimination Decision.  The owners of Ashers Baking Company had declined to bake a cake in support of redefining marriage, which would have been a violation of their conscience and of their freedom of speech.  The owners were taken to court and fined for “injury to feelings.”  Read more here.

 

Writer Suggests Solution to Seeming Conflicts of Church and State.  Author Kevin Seamus Hasson suggests governments acknowledge the philosophers’ existence of God as the source of rights in a non-religious way.  Read more here.

 

European Commission Establishes Special Envoy to Address Religious Freedom.  The decision was issued by the president of the European Commission.  Freedom of conscience, religion and belief are being threatened throughout the world.  Read more here.

 

Report Shows Religious Freedom Deteriorating Around the World.  According to the annual report from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom there is a “serious and sustained assault” on religious freedom in most countries.  Read more here.

 

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant Signs the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act.”  The law guarantees religious freedom in the wake of last year’s activist Supreme Court decision redefining marriage for the country.  Sports bodies, big business and other state governments have threatened to boycott the state and relocate events.  Read more here.

 

New York Governor Bans Travel to Mississippi After Passage of Religious Liberty Bill.  New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo banned all non-essential travel to Mississippi in an executive order after the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act,” was signed into law by Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant.  The measure protects against the discrimination of individuals, religious organizations and certain businesses which have “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions” that marriage “should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman.”  Read more here.

 

Georgia Governor Vetoes Religious Liberty Bill.  Governor Nathan Deal vetoed House Bill 757 that would have protected clergymen from performing same-sex weddings and would have protected faith-based groups from being forced to provide facilities for events for people or groups to which they might object and in hiring employees whose beliefs run counter to the organization’s.  Read more here.

 

Magistrate in Britain Fired for Opposition to Homosexual Adoption. In an interview with the BBC, Richard Page expressed his opinion opposing the adoption of children by same-sex couples. Page’s firing was authorized by Justice Secretary Michael Grove. Page has stated he will file a lawsuit against Grove. Read more here.

 

School District Won’t Back Down to Atheist Group. The Chino Valley Unified School Board plans to fight a judge’s ruling that bans prayers before meetings. The board voted 3-2 to appeal the ruling in the lawsuit filed by the atheist group Freedom from Religion Foundation. The Supreme Court has ruled that city council meetings can begin with a prayer.  Read more here.

 

Georgia Passes Religious Freedom Bill. The legislation protects clergymen from performing same-sex weddings. It also will protect faith-based groups from being forced to provide facilities for events for people or groups to which they might object and in hiring employees whose beliefs run counter to the organization’s. The bill must be signed by Georgia’s governor. Read more here.

 

NFL Threatens to Deprive Atlanta of Hosting Super Bowl Over Religious Liberty Bill. The National Football League issued a statement that Georgia House Bill 757 runs counter to the league’s values of “tolerance” and “inclusivity.” The bill protects “social, educational or charitable services that violate such faith-based organization’s sincerely held religious belief, from prosecution by the government for discrimination.” The bill was passed by state lawmakers and just needs a signature from the governor to become law in Georgia.  Read more here.