Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s days away: The Supreme Court’s marriage decision is expected to come down on June 29.
WND: Since then, the dispute has been going on in courtrooms, where the HSLDA, together with the Alliance Defending Freedom, twice petitioned the European Court of Human Rights.
The Christian Institute: The Supreme Court in Canada has upheld the right of a school to continue teaching religious studies in line with its religious ethos.
National Catholic Register: ADF International’s executive director, Benjamin Bull, said the government “cannot require a private religious school to tell its students that their faith is no more valid than a myriad of other, conflicting faith traditions. All faith-based organizations must be free to speak and act consistently with their faith or religious freedom is not at all free.”
Panam Post: “This decision means that faith-based schools are free to operate according to the faith they teach and espouse,” said lawyer Gerald Chipeur, [allied attorney] from the Alliance Defending Freedom. “This ruling makes clear that the government is on dangerous ground if it seeks to force a private organization to act in a manner completely contrary to its deepest faith convictions.”
Religion News Today (Montreal Gazette): When it finally ended Thursday, the private Catholic school for boys in Montreal expressed delight with the Supreme Court’s verdict in its favour.
CBC (The Canadian Press): The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that Quebec infringed on the religious freedom of a Catholic high school in Montreal by requiring it to teach the province’s Ethics and Religious Culture program.
The Globe and Mail: In a judgment that reins in Quebec’s effort to take religion out of its schools, the Supreme Court has ruled that the province infringed on religious freedoms when it refused to allow a private Catholic school in Montreal to teach Catholicism from its own faith-based perspective.
Acton Institute: An attorney working with the Alliance Defending Freedom International filed a brief last year with the high court in defense of the school after the court granted them the right to intervene in defense of the school’s freedom of religion and conscience.
ADF International: The Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously Thursday that the government cannot force a private Catholic high school to teach a government-mandated ethics and religion course that includes teaching contrary to Catholic belief.
One News Now: Attorneys from the Home School Legal Defense Association and the Alliance Defending Freedom are representing Ellinor and Daniel Petersen in the lawsuit filed with the ECHR. Acknowledging the European court’s track record on homeschooling, both Christian nonprofit organizations are prepared for an uphill battle, noting that its judges have been, for the most part, aggressively opposed to homeschoolers over the years.
One News Now: The current education law was enforced a year after the aforementioned “state-napping” incident that saw Dominic Johansson stripped from his family as they were about to depart to live in his mother’s homeland in India. During the three years that Swedish authorities kept Dominic away from his parents under state custody, permanent guardianship of the boy – just seven years old when abducted from his parents – was transferred to the state. HSLDA, along with a Swedish human rights attorney and Alliance Defending Freedom, is representing the Johanssons in their appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.
Macro Insider: The Swedish government’s seizure of 7-year-old Dominic Johansson from a jetliner as his parents had been set to leave for India has drawn worldwide consideration. It sparked a global outcry amongst human rights activists and dwelling educators, and the Home School Legal Defense Association and the Alliance Defending Freedom have gone to the European Court of Human Rights to challenge Sweden’s actions.
ABC: “A Christian organisation has lost an appeal against a finding that it was discriminatory towards a central Victorian suicide prevention group for young gay people. The Court of Appeal has ruled Christian Youth Camps (CYC) breached Victoria’s Equal Opportunity Act by discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.”
AzerNews: “The State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations will apply new rules for inspecting religious organizations. Developed under the law ‘On freedom of religion,’ the new rules aim to ensure the legality of the organizations’ activity and provide them with legal assistance, the State Committee reported.”
Wall Street Journal: “The Middle East may be the birthplace of three monotheistic religions, but some Arab nations appear bent on making it the burial ground for one of them. For 2,000 years, Christian communities dotted the region, enriching the Arab world with literature, culture and commerce. At the turn of the 20th century, Christians made up 26% of the Middle East’s population. Today, that figure has dwindled to less than 10%. Intolerant and extremist governments are driving away the Christian communities that have lived in the Middle East since their faith was born.”
Edinburgh News: “TWO Edinburgh churches are quitting the Kirk just weeks before the General Assembly over the issue of gay ordination. The departure of St Catherine’s Argyle, in the Grange, and New Restalrig in Willowbrae, comes on the eve of the annual meeting of the Church in the city next month.”
The Economist [subscription required -- access full text via Google]: “German laws forbid parents from educating their children at home in almost all cases, citing society’s interest in avoiding closed-off ‘parallel societies.’ Germany’s highest court calls schools the best place to bring together children of different beliefs and values, in the name of ‘lived tolerance.’ In plainer language, the Romeikes believe that, if they return to Germany, their children face being taken to school by force.”
The Nordic Page: “Talking to NRK, Erna solberg says that she respects the decision but personally advocates the free marriage at church.”
Malay Mail Online: “Khalid declined to comment on his administration’s role leading to BSM’s exit from Selangor, choosing to highlight instead that it was duty-bound to uphold the state’s laws, when asked to comment on BSM’s apparent lack of confidence in the Selangor government’s ability to prevent a repeat of a January raid and seizure of 200 bibles at its office.”
The Council of Europe amends resolution on the protection of minors against “new religious movements”
The Economist: “At stake was a resolution which in its original form would have denounced ‘new religious movements’ (to use an alternative, and less loaded description of the groups sometimes described as ‘sects’) and urged European governments to monitor such bodies and restrict their influence on youngsters.”
The Globe and Mail: “A group of lawyers will launch a court challenge on Monday against the B.C. government for approving a new law school at Trinity Western University, which has caused controversy because of the school’s policy toward gays and lesbians.”
CBC News: “U.S. anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera and a Saskatchewan man were arrested on the University of Regina campus on Monday and will be charged with mischief, police said. LaBarbera, who is with a group called Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, and Bill Whatcott were distributing anti-gay literature on the campus.”
Associated Press: “A second U.N. committee plans to question Vatican officials on failures to stop clergy sex abuse. The hearing scheduled for May 5-6 in Geneva will look at whether the Vatican’s record on child protection violates the U.N. Convention Against Torture. The Holy See ratified the treaty in 2002.”
Times of India: “Upset over being denied permission to hold prayer meetings in the school quadrangle for Good Friday and two more days this week, Vashi-based Sacred Heart Church is planning to move Bombay high court against the authorities.”
The Independent: “Canon Jeremy Pemberton, 58, who belongs to the Church’s Lincoln diocese, married Laurence Cunnington, 51, at an unknown location.”
The Globe and Mail: “The Law Society of B.C. has cleared the way for a Fraser Valley university to open the first faith-based law school in Canada despite controversy over the school’s policy toward gays and lesbians.”
Calgary Herald: “An agreement between a public school board and a faith-based Calgary facility threatens students with expulsion and staff with dismissal if they engage in a ‘lifestyle of sexual immorality.’”
The Christian Institute: “Students could in future apply for a Sharia-compliant university loan, under plans being considered by the Government. Under Sharia law, all forms of interest are banned. However, the Government scheme would allow Muslim students to repay the money they owe into a common account.”
OneNewsNow: “‘Hungary had put together a new registration law whereby they deregistered all of the churches and ministries in the country and had them reregister,’ [Roger Kiska] explains. ‘The law itself was discriminatory. It showed favoritism to a number of groups who didn’t meet the criteria otherwise, and then refused to reregister a number of other groups.’”
Telegraph: “Communist officials in China have denied waging a ‘demolition campaign’ against churches in the country’s most Christian regions, after reportedly ordering a dozen to be destroyed.”
BosNewsLife: “The ruling came as a victory for the Magyar Keresztény Mennonita Egyház, or ‘Hungarian Christian Mennonite Church’ and several other faith groups who launched the case. ‘Governments should not play favourites when recognizing churches,’ said Roger Kiska, senior legal counsel of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) advocacy group, which supported the case.”
The Herald: “Both the Humanist Society Scotland (HSS) and the Scottish Secular Society (SSS) have voiced objection to the suggestion that an independent Scotland should formally recognise the prominence of faith groups in its written constitution.”
Metro News: “The Law Society of Upper Canada will debate Thursday whether to accredit a controversial B.C. law school that bans gay sexual intimacy. Students of Trinity Western University, based in Langley, B.C., must sign a ‘community covenant’ that states they will abstain from ‘sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman’ or face discipline.”
Toronto Star: “What’s the point of a religious school system if students can opt out of religion? This is the question Ontario’s Catholic schools face following a divisional court decision that gives their students the right to avoid all aspects of Catholicism.”
Religion Clause: “As reported by CTV News, this loss for PQ derails much of its push for a Charter of Quebec Values that, among other things, would have barred public employees from wearing overtly religious symbols in the workplace.”
Catholic Voices Comment: “Baroness Hale, one of the UK’s most senior judges, and the first woman appointed to the highest court in the land, recently set out in a speech to Yale Law School criteria for accommodating religious beliefs when these appear to clash with the rights of particular groups in society. In the light of same-sex marriage becoming law, and the demands of groups for the ‘eradication’ of views unsympathetic to theirs, the speech is timely and could be the start of a long-overdue restoration of the law’s balancing act on discrimination and religious freedom.”
Religion Clause: “The National reported yesterday that in the United Arab Emirates the appeals court has held that a trial court murder conviction of two cousins who allegedly shot an Omani while on a desert hunting trip was supported by strong suspicion but not by a confession or by witnesses to the crime.”
“Governments should not play favorites when recognizing churches. A Council of Europe member state cannot show such favoritism nor can a country discriminate against other churches and ministries with which it may disagree. Europe’s highest human rights court upheld that very principle in this decision, which makes it a historic victory not just for Christians in Hungary, but for all Europeans.”
Toronto Star: “The Ontario Superior Court has ruled that student at a Catholic high school who is entitled to be excused from religious courses must also be excused, if they wish, from religious field trips and attending mass.”
Christian Today: “A Christian couple in Punjab Province incapable of writing proper Urdu has been sentenced to death for allegedly sending blasphemous text messages, bringing the number of Christians on death row in Pakistan to four.”
RFI: “The 11 town councils won by France’s Front National (FN) in last week’s local elections are to refuse to serve no-pork menus in school canteens, party leader Marine Le Pen said on Friday. The far-right leader also accused a court of bias after it fined her for distributing a leaflet purporting to be from a left-wing rival in a by-election in 2012.”
The Guardian: “Gay conversion therapy is abhorrent and has no place in a modern society, according to the health minister Norman Lamb, who has asked for assurances from NHS England that GPs do not make any referrals for such treatment.”
Associated Press: “Malaysia and Indonesia have banned the biblical epic ‘Noah,’ joining other Muslim nations that forbid the Hollywood movie for its visual depiction of the prophet.”
The Canadian Press: “Families from an ultra-orthodox Jewish sect who fled the country last month in the midst of a child custody case were chided by an Ontario judge on Friday for not allowing the country’s courts to do their work.”
UN News Centre: “The United Nations expert on religious freedom called today on the Kazakhstan Government to halt the mandatory registration of religious communities, which notably affects small groups.”
Telegraph: “David Willetts, the Universities Minister, said an alternative financial model was being created to satisfy Islamic law that forbids Muslims taking out loans that make interest. Under the system, students would apply for taxpayer-backed loans but repay them into a mutual-style fund that would be ring-fenced to provide future finance to other students with the same religious beliefs.”
Faith McDonnell at Juicy Ecumenism: “It was cold and dark when I left for the airport last Monday, March 24, at 5:00 AM. But the cold in pre-dawn Virginia was nothing compared to the climate in the beautiful Canadian capital of Ottawa. Inside the hotel, gathered for meetings with other religious freedom defenders from across the globe, the temperature and the collegiality were both warm and inviting. Outside, the chill factor dipped to 20 degrees below zero at least one day — the day, of course, when I walked to the Indian take-away restaurant!”
Religion Clause: “A video is now available online of the March 26 hearing by the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on Persecution of Religious and Indigenous Communities in Vietnam.”
Religion Clause: “In Cavanaugh v. Grenville Christian College, (ON Super Ct, Feb. 24, 2014), a Superior Court in the Canadian province of Ontario certified for class action status a lawsuit by former students of an Anglican boarding school, Grenville Christian College, located in Brockville, Ontario.”
Daily Times: “The Hindu community has urged the government to provide them religious freedom, ensure sanctity of their worship places, protection of their lives and properties, and grant them their fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution.”
Upcoming election in India brings fear, insecurity for Christians amid unrelenting persecution | ASSIST
Dan Wooding at ASSIST News Service: “‘The report, noting that Alliance Defending Freedom-India contributed to the monitoring of cases, shows that the southern state of Andhra Pradesh topped the list of anti-Christian attacks with 41 incidents, followed by the north-central state of Chhattisgarh with 28 cases and southern Karnataka state with 27,’ said the Asia Correspondent for Morning Star News”
The Globe and Mail: “The Parti Québécois has vowed for the first time to use the notwithstanding clause to protect its secular charter from legal challenges, hoping to attract francophone voters in the final days of the campaign with a reinvigorated plan to restrict the visibility of religious symbols in the province.”
Robert J. Delahunty at Canon & Culture: “Against this backdrop, the Danish government issued a set of regulations for animal slaughtering last month that will have the effect of prohibiting ritual Jewish or Muslim cattle butcher. The Danish Minister of Food and Agriculture who signed the ban, a 38 year old Social Democrat named Dan Jorgensen, explained the ban on Danish television by saying ‘animal rights come before religion’ – or, according to another version, ‘animal rights precede religious rights.’”
The Christian Institute: “A Christian street preacher who was wrongfully arrested by police and held in custody for over 19 hours has received £13,000 compensation in an out-of-court settlement.”
News Post Leader: “Views are wanted on a proposal to change the way Northumberland County Council supports school transport on the basis of religion or belief. Currently the council provides free travel to just over 800 pupils for reasons of religion or belief at a cost of almost £870,000 a year.”
New York Times: “A court here found a Christian sanitation worker guilty of blasphemy on Thursday and sentenced him to death, in a case that set off rioting and the torching of a Christian neighborhood last year.”
Bruce Frohnen at The Imaginative Conservative: “What is most worrisome about this latest development is the breezy manner in which it is deemed a run-of-the-mill regulatory change. Apparently, all the Danish government did was eliminate a special dispensation from European Union rules that would ban Jewish and Muslim practices throughout Europe. To be clear: the European Union, a semi-sovereign government for most of Europe, specifically makes kosher and halal slaughter illegal, but allows member countries (like Denmark) to provide a special “dispensation” for religious reasons, if it so chooses. Denmark no longer so chooses—as is becoming more the case in more countries, regarding more religious issues.”
Reuters: “Pope Francis and Vatican officials on Thursday told U.S. President Barack Obama they were concerned about ‘religious freedom’ in the United States, an apparent reference to the contraception mandate in Obama’s health care plan.”
Christian Post: “Led by Al-Nusra forces, fighters from Ahrar al Sham, the Islamic Front, and others affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria took over the 1,700 person town on Sunday, filled with many believed to be backing President Bashar al Assad in hopes that he could better ensure their safety than Islamist rebels, according to the AP. The victorious rebels walked through the streets shouting and praising Allah, the Christian Broadcasting Network has described.”
God & Politics in the UK: “Yesterday the Minister for Faith & Communities, Baroness Warsi chaired the first meeting of the Foreign Office group on Freedom of Religion or Belief. According to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website, the group, which includes Mervyn Thomas, chief executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide and Joel Edwards, the International Director Micah Challenge, is intended to advise FCO Ministers and staff on promoting and protecting the right to freedom of religion or belief worldwide.”
Law & Religion UK: “The Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has produced a report on The protection of minors against excesses of sects. . . . The problem with the draft Resolution is that nowhere in the document is the word ‘sect’ defined, presumably on the basis that you’ll just recognise one when you see it; and that absence cannot go unremarked.”
Sydney Morning Herald: “A volunteer religious instructor at a Mitcham primary school has come under fire from an activist group about a blog post labelled as offensive to homosexuals and minorities. Karen Dobby, an Access Ministries volunteer religious instructor at Antonio Park Primary School, is listed as an Australian Christians candidate on the party’s website.”
YLE: “As the Finnish suvivirsi (Summer Hymn) has religious overtones, the National Board of Education has been asked to consider whether it runs counter to guidelines for religious freedom, equality and neutrality.”
Kerri Lenartowick at CNA: “‘Alliance Defending Freedom is hosting an International Media Symposium to educate the media about the legal issues that are threatening human dignity, religious liberty, the sanctity of life, the future of the family,’ Alan Sears, president of the organization, told CNA March 23.”
Tom Wilson at Commentary Magazine: “The UK’s highly prestigious Law Society has issued guidelines for attorneys on how to draw up Sharia-compliant legal documents, shockingly setting a precedent for sanctioning the implementation of legal discrimination against both women and non-Muslims.”
United Nations: “In a resolution (A/HRC/25/L.19) on freedom of religion or belief, adopted without a vote, the Council condemns all forms of violence, intolerance and discrimination in the name of religion or belief as well as any advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence; also condemns violence and acts of terrorism, which are increasing in number; urges States to ensure that their constitutional and legislative systems provide adequate and effective guarantees of freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief; to make use of the potential of education for the eradication of prejudices against and stereotypes of individuals on their religion or belief; and requests the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief to report annually to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly.”
Canada.com: “Christopher Karas, 18, has filed an application to The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario alleging systematic homophobia by teachers and administrators at the Conseil Scolaire de District Catholique Centre-Sud (CSDCCS). The application to the tribunal outlines 25 different complaints spanning Karas’ four years at École Secondaire Catholique Sainte-Famille in Mississauga, Ont.”
Christian Post: “More than two dozen Christian converts in a village in southern Laos could be expelled for their faith if government officials fail to keep local authorities from violating their constitutional rights, according to an advocacy group.”
The Malay Mail: “Ever since she was arrested for khalwat three years ago, Christian Indonesian Halimah has lived in fear of being thrown into jail in a foreign land for an offence she had no way of understanding. That fear was reinforced after the Penang Shariah Court convicted her of being in close proximity with a person of the opposite gender who is not her spouse or relative, an offence under Islamic law and enforceable exclusively on Muslims, which further bewildered Halimah.”
Associated Press: “A British court has ruled that the president of the Mormon church doesn’t have to answer fraud allegations, and said a lawsuit brought by a former Mormon leader attempts to manipulate the court to attack the religious beliefs of others.”
George J. Marlin, Chairman of Aid to the Church in Need U.S.A. (ACN), at The Catholic Thing: “As Chairman of Aid to the Church in Need U.S.A. (ACN), a Catholic charity for persecuted and other suffering Christians, plenty of data crosses my desk describing anti-Christian acts. Here’s a status report on a few of the oppressive hotspots in the world that have gotten little attention.”
RabbiSacks.org: “What was it about the Judeo-Christian ethic that led the West to develop market economics, democratic politics, human rights and the free society? The lecture will look at seven aspects of biblical ethics, each of which played a part in this development: human dignity, freedom and responsibility; an ethic of guilt rather than shame; the family as the matrix of virtue, love as the basis of ethics and covenant as the basis of society. It will argue that all seven are currently under threat, and that the Bible remains an important voice in the public conversation about ethics and law.”
Christian Institute: “Christian weddings should be stripped of their legal status, a justice minister has said. Liberal Democrat Simon Hughes proposes that only secular, state-recognised ceremonies should have legal recognition – a system adopted in France.”
National Catholic Register: “As the Russian president signed a bill to annex Crimea Tuesday, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in the peninsula has been experiencing what a Church official calls ‘total persecution.’”
The Financial Express: “The State should not be seen as propagating any religion and the word secularism should be construed in right context, the Delhi High Court today said while seeking response from the Centre and RBI on a PIL for withdrawal of coins having religious symbols embossed on them.”