Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s days away: The Supreme Court’s marriage decision is expected to come down on June 29.
Atheists and Secular Humanists are protected by the First Amendment regardless of whether their belief systems are “religions” or not
The Washington Post: A recent federal district court decision holding that Secular Humanist prisoners are entitled to organize a discussion groups focused on their beliefs on the same terms as theistic prisoners is easily misunderstood as relying on the conclusion that Secular Humanism is a religion.
Christian News Network: In a landmark decision last week, a federal judge in Oregon declared ‘secular humanism’ to be a religion, opining that those who profess to be atheists and secular humanists should be afforded equal protection rights under the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution and be allowed to enjoy the same liberties to practice religion that religious groups are able to enjoy.
AP: Tunisia’s main secular opposition party was claiming victory on Monday over once-dominant Islamists in the country’s historic parliamentary elections.
The Christian Institute: Pro-marriage and pro-life Christians have been likened to violent terrorists by a group of secularists and atheists.
Christian News Network: Bart Campolo, the son of ‘progressive’ social justice activist Tony Campolo, recently took the position of humanist chaplain at the University of Southern California just under a year after coming out to his father as an agnostic.
Ray Nothstine at Acton Institute: James Madison called religious freedom the “lustre of our country” and a guaranteed right elevated above political authority. But in today’s America, some leaders, including President Obama, are trying to redefine the inherent meaning of religious freedom by renaming it “freedom of worship.” This revision implies that you are free to believe and practice what you want as long as it is confined inside the walls of physical houses of worship – a hollow promise compared to the robust guarantee offered by the First Amendment.
Christian Concern: A threat to expel a Girl Guides unit which refuses to ditch its 103-year-old oath to God has been strongly criticised by Christian Concern. “The threat to force the Newcastle Girl Guides to drop God from their traditional pledge is a deliberate attempt to exclude Christianity which has underpinned the ethos of this worldwide movement for over a century,” says Andrea Williams, CEO of Christian Concern.
Kathryn Jean Lopez at National Review: Secularism would have you surrendering your conscience as soon as you leave a house of worship . . . to run a business, to run a hospital, to pay taxes.
Christian Institute: Secularists have launched a campaign to end the Christian coronation oath, in a bid criticised as “deeply misjudged”.
Christian Institute: The National Secular Society has been accused of trying “to politicise Remembrance Sunday for their own ends”.
WorldNetDaily: “We believe that Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood Education should be mandatory across all state schools, with set curricular content modeled on the successful Dutch model,” said Caroline Lynch, head of the Scottish Secular Society, in a statement about the developing dispute over what will be included in sex education for Scottish schools.
Phyllis Schlafly at GOP USA: The major strike force working to accomplish this consists of the American Civil Liberties Union plus various atheist groups. They are always ready to file lawsuits to get some supremacist judge to restrict religious expression. This effort is magnified by two other organizations that have a major impact on our culture: the military, who feel the temptation to be politically correct, and the liberal bureaucrats in public schools, who now feel free to teach their left-wing views.
Christian Institute: The new godless Girlguide promise is “divisive and hurtful” and should be scrapped, Churches in Northern Ireland have said. Meanwhile a Church of England vicar in Newcastle has said the Girlguides sponsored at his church will continue to use the old promise.
Religion News Service: Amid concerns about police brutality, Brazilian military police officers are taking Bible study classes during their working hours to help them deal with stress and improve their personal and family lives.
Religion Clause Blog: British media are giving significant coverage to Tuesday’s address by a senior judge, Sir James Munby, president of the Family Division, to a Law Society Conference. His remarks, titled Law Morality and Religion in the Family Courts, trace changes in the role judges assign to religion . . .
Aiken Standard: Soon the U.S. Supreme Court will hear and decide several controversial cases, one of which is public prayer at government meetings.
Charles Glenn at First Things: Religious liberty and educational reform both require the end of the public school monopoly
Christian Concern: Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali has warned that Britain risks becoming actively “anti-Christian” at the launch of Christian Concern’s publishing house “Wilberforce Publications” which seeks to equip Christians to “face the challenges of the secular world”.
The Blaze: It all started after the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), an atheist group, waged a complaint about a science class that taught creationism at BSU. In response, the Discovery Institute, a think tank that rejects evolutionary theory, launched a counter-grievance over a different course — one that allegedly touts secularism.
RT.com: Leaders of France’s 6 million Muslims have been discouraged by the new ‘secularism charter’ designed to toughen rules banning religion from schools. Critics say it’s unsuitable for modern-day France, home to Europe’s largest Muslim population.
Religion Clause Blog: France’s Education Minister yesterday unveiled a new Secularism Charter designed to keep religion out of French schools.
Christian Institute: A group of Girl Guide and Brownie leaders will not use a new promise which removes reference to God, and has received the backing of Bishop Nazir-Ali.
Christian Concern: Christian Girl Guide and Brownie leaders in North Yorkshire risk being expelled from the movement after publicly refusing to remove God from their promise.
Sam Nunberg at Washington Times: The Turkish criminal courts have increasingly been used to further Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist agenda through hate-speech prosecutions. The May 22 sentencing of Turkish-Armenian Sevan Nisanyan continues this disturbing trend of strangling political and social discourse.
Eric Metaxas at Christian Post: But there’s a big difference between believing a Constitution should be secular, and believing that religion-in this case, Christianity-should have no influence on one’s country and its laws.
Todd Starnes at Fox News: An inspirational painting that referenced a Bible verse has been removed from a dining hall at Mountain Home Air Force Base after an anti-religion group filed a complaint.
Christian Concern: The Grand Chamber of the Council of Europe has rejected a request for referral from three UK Christians, prompting serious concerns over legal protections for Christians in Britain.
Christian Institute: Lillian Ladele was claiming religious discrimination after being forced out of her Islington Council job over her conscientious objection to same-sex civil partnerships. She was seeking to appeal to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights after losing a 5-2 majority decision in January.
Evangelical Fellowship of Canada: EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger and Policy Analyst Julia Beazley are two of the speakers at a conference called Bridging the Secular Divide: Religion and Canadian Public Discourse at McGill University May 27-28. Other speakers include Dr. Andrew Bennett (Canada’s Ambassador of Religious Freedom); MPs Mark Adler, John McKay and Joe Comartin; and journalists Lorna Dueck and Douglas Todd. You can watch the conference live online. (See hourly schedule.) An article related to the conference theme, co-authored by EFC Vice President Don Hutchinson, is posted at the EFC’s Activate CFPL blog (originally posted at thestar.com).
Thomas Berg at Mirror of Justice: Two key claims of Micah’s article were that (1) you can’t support distinctive accommodations for religious freedom unless you also support meaningful distinctive limits on religion serving as the rationale/purpose for laws and (2) ultimately there is no good reason for treating religion differently from deeply held, comprehensive nonreligious moral beliefs.
USA Today: The Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom appealed and the high-court ruling, expected by June 2014, will resolve conflicting appeals-court rulings about religious expression. Tuesday’s invocation was to have been given by Serah Blain, executive director of the Secular Coalition of Arizona. But Mendez said House staff had no record of his request to allow Blain’s remarks, so he offered the remarks himself.
Why Is There a Campus Hookup Culture? Feminism, careerism, and secularism are to blame. | Dennis Prager at NRO
Dennis Prager at NRO: In our dialogue, we agreed that her book’s subtitle was accurate, but we disagreed as to the cause. Freitas, who holds a Ph.D. in religious studies, blamed it on peer pressure, the sex-drenched social media of young people, and the ubiquity of pornography. I blamed three other culprits: feminism, careerism, and secularism.
The Bell Towers: As the president of Secular Pro-Life, I have been asked to present the non-religious case against abortion. But actually, you’ve probably heard it already. Many people who hear the secular arguments against abortion simply fail to recognize them as secular, because they expect pro-life apologetics to have a religious source. Expectations powerfully color the way we see reality. Discard these expectations, however, and you will soon find that most arguments against abortion do not require the existence of a god.
R.R. Reno of First Things at Imprimis (Hillsdale College): RELIGIOUS LIBERTY is being redefined in America, or at least many would like it to be. Our secular establishment wants to reduce the autonomy of religious institutions and limit the influence of faith in the public square. The reason is not hard to grasp. In America, “religion” largely means Christianity, and today our secular culture views orthodox Christian churches as troublesome, retrograde, and reactionary forces. They’re seen as anti-science, anti-gay, and anti-women—which is to say anti-progress as the Left defines progress.
Christian Concern: A special event has been held at the Council of Europe in relation to two UK Christians who are seeking a referral to the Grand Chamber in their religious freedom cases at the European Court of Human Rights.
Christian Concern: Three Christians whose cases were rejected by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) earlier this year have requested a referral to the Grand Chamber.
Vatican Official: Sinister international cadre behind worldwide push to redefine marriage and Western civilization
LifeSiteNews: [Bishop Jean Laffitte, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family] . . . affirmed what many in the pro-family movment have long believed, that the push for “gay marriage” is not coming exclusively from homosexual lobbyists, but from a more sinister international cadre of highly placed secularist social engineers seeking a radical alteration of the foundational ideas of Western Civilization.
Kimberly Winston at the Washington Post: A conference at Georgetown University in Washington this week focused on cleaning up what many Americans consider a dirty word — secularism . . . “(Secularism) is a guarantee of two things: freedom of religion and freedom from religion,” said Jacques Berlinerblau, a Georgetown professor, conference organizer, and author of “How to be Secular.”
Education Views: A quarter of applications to set up free schools in England over the past two years were from faith-based organisations, official data shows.
William Carroll at Public Discourse: Religion isn’t outdated simply because some people claim that we can only know what the natural sciences tell us. Philosophy and theology are the next steps in our search for truth about nature, human nature, and God.
Religion As An Activity Engaged In By Consenting Adults In Private | Peter Berger at the American Interest
Peter Berger at the American Interest: But I do want to make a general observation: In all these cases the authorities accused of violating the plaintiffs’ rights operate with a definition of religion as a private matter to be kept out of public space. There is here a general issue of government overreach, as clearly illustrated by the (still unresolved) attempt by the Obama administration to force Catholic institutions to provide contraception coverage in their employees’ health plans. Beyond that, though, there is a very ideological view of the place of religion in society. In other words, religion is to be an activity engaged in by consenting adults in private. The attorney for the Judeo-Christian side in the aforementioned American case had it quite right when he compared the treatment of his client’s religion with measures of disease control. This is not an attitude one would expect to find in a Western democracy. It is curiously reminiscent of policies toward religion in Communist countries and toward non-Muslims under Islamic rule.
GoErie.com: There is no doubt that religious liberty is under serious threat in Britain, particularly for Christians,” says Paul Coleman, a lawyer with the Alliance Defending Freedom, which was involved with cases before the European human-rights court. “In the language of ‘equality,’ ‘diversity’ and ‘tolerance,’ secularists have found a way to sideline and marginalize Christianity, successfully framing the moral beliefs of Christians as ‘intolerant’ or ‘discriminatory’ and unworthy of protection. Unless a true balance is found, where Christians can be accommodated in the public square and not shut out, we will see many more cases like the four before the ECHR in the headlines.”
Frontpage Interview’s guest today is William Kilpatrick, the author of several books, including Psychological Seduction and Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right from Wrong. His articles about Islam have appeared in FrontPage Magazine, Investor’s Business Daily, Catholic World Report, and other publications. His most recent book, Christianity, Islam, and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West explores the threat that Islam poses to Christianity and Western civilization. The book also examines the role played by militant secularists in facilitating the expansion of Islam.
Catholic Culture: “There is a real risk that moral relativism, which imposes itself as a new social norm, will come to undermine the foundations of individual freedom of conscience and religion,” the archbishop said.
Ed Stetzer at Baptist Press: Louie Giglio withdrew from the program at President Obama’s inauguration in the face of criticism over a 15-year-old sermon referencing homosexuality as a sin. Many will want to debate and desire to nuance the specific wording he used in the sermon, but his points are largely mainstream evangelical beliefs.
Benjamin Wiker at Catholic World Report: Why the affirmation of religious liberty can lead, ironically, to its extinction at the hands of the secular state.
Rory Gray at Speak Up Movement: Sometimes examining our neighbors helps us to gain a clearer view of ourselves. Do we, as Americans, want a government that defines equality, demands a certain level of uniformity in all walks of life, and enforces a secular, lowest-common-denominator code of morality to which all must pledge allegiance? Or do we still believe that the primary purpose of government is to protect individual liberty, that religious freedom is a fundamental God-given right, and that the family has the right and responsibility to train children in the way they should go? (Proverbs 22:6). Alliance Defending Freedom’s primary purpose is to keep the flame of liberty alive. And we invite you to join us in preserving religious freedom in America before we have a “National Observatory of Secularism” of our own.
Peter Baklinski at LifeSiteNews: The government of Quebec is forcing Catholic schools to replace the Christian religion with the state’s “neutral” alternative based on moral relativism.
No disability benefits if you go to a religious school in Montana | Jeremy Tedesco on the Zeb Bell Show
William Becker, Jr. at American Thinker: When Tuesday (11/19/2012), United States District Court Judge Audrey B Collins delivered a 28-page ruling denying my client the right to continue a 59-year-old tradition of exhibiting Nativity scenes along Ocean Boulevard in the City of Santa Monica this Christmas season, another dagger plunged into the heart of America’s twilight customs and traditions. The sneered-at “war on Christmas” was effectively lost for good.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a complaint Friday with the Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction on behalf of a hearing-impaired preschooler denied disability benefits for tuition payments because her parents chose to enroll her in a Columbus faith-based preschool.
Paul Coleman at the Bell Towers: “A secular society is not an anti-religious one. Rather, it is one where fundamental beliefs that we disagree about – beliefs that provide strong motivation to some but mean little or nothing to those who do not hold them – are left aside in public debate about communal decisions.” So says the European Humanist Federation. Such a statement is no doubt intended to comfort the religiously minded that often hold the sneaking suspicion that the secular vision for society is, a contrario, anti-religion. But do the secularists really practice what they preach, and is secularism really neutral in matters of religion and belief, as it is claimed.
Christian Institute: Highland Council has removed prayer from its formal meeting agenda after secularists threatened legal action.
TribLive.com: A series of Supreme Court decisions took the United States from its founding on Christian principles to its current state of secularism, a Pittsburgh lawyer said Sunday at a symposium sponsored by the Catholic Diocese of Greensburg. Featured speaker Brad Tupi said that has resulted in conflicts such as those unfolding in Fayette County over a Ten Commandments monument outside a public school. Tupi, a shareholder in the Tucker Arensberg law firm Downtown, is an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom and a member of the Federalist Society and the Christian Legal Society. The symposium on religious freedom was held in the Bishop William G. Connare Center near Greensburg.
Christian Today: The failure of multiculturalism to integrate communities, he argued, had left them isolated and exposed to radicalisation.
CBC News (includes video): Winnipeg’s incoming police chief says he is surprised by the strong public reaction to statements he made about prayer to a Christian publication.
BBC: Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern at the Christian Legal Centre, said: “There are people from Lancashire who have come to the Christian Legal Centre because as a result of living and speaking out about their faith they have they have found themselves in trouble with the law.”
Anthony Bosnick at the Washington Post: In his pastoral letter, “Disciples of the Lord: Sharing the Vision,” Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington writes, “While it is true that this country is marked by a genuinely religious spirit, the subtle influence of secularism can nevertheless color the way people allow their faith to influence their behavior…Any tendency to treat religion as a private matter must be resisted. Only when their faith permeates every aspect of their lives do Christians become truly open to the transforming power of the Gospel.”
Naomi Schafer Riley at the NY Post: ‘I’m spiritual but not religious”: Our secular elites love to utter the phrase. But don’t assume it means something harmless like “I don’t go to church, but I love hot Yoga.” Washington socialite par excellence Sally Quinn let the cat out of the bag on a New York visit last week.
Washington Post: Her son and heir apparent, Prince Charles, has said he’s planning a symbolic change if and when he becomes king by taking the title “Defender of Faith” or “Defender of the Faiths” to reflect Britain’s multicultural and multifaith society.
Detroit Free Press (includes video): Rebecca Cardone, 21, who grew up Methodist in Texas, is president of the student body at California Lutheran University. But don’t call her Protestant or even Christian. Cardone is one of the new “Nones” — atheists, agnostics and folks like her who believe “nothing in particular.”
CBS: The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a fast pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling.
Benjamin Bull at Townhall: As the effects of Christianity have steadily eroded, the tentacles of secularization (its proponents would call it an “enlightened” secularization) has taken hold. It is marked by egalitarianism and utopian fantasies, but especially tolerance. Tolerance for …
CBN: God’s name has been removed from the Democratic National Committee platform. This is the paragraph that was in the 2008 platform . . .
CBC.ca: A prominent constitutional lawyer says a plan by the Parti Quebecois to restrict certain religious symbols in public institutions would be shredded up in court.
Montreal Gazette: Under a Parti Québécois government, civil servants won’t be able to wear a hijab or any other overt religious symbol, but the Catholic crucifix will remain displayed in the National Assembly, the PQ announced on a campaign stop Tuesday.
Catholic Culture: Of the 29,135 marriages that took place in 2011, there were 15,092 civil weddings, 5,557 Church of Scotland weddings, 2,486 humanist weddings, 1,729 Catholic weddings, 865 Assembly of God weddings, and 694 Anglican weddings.
Christian Institute: Churchgoers in Woking can continue to park in the town’s off-street car parks for free on Sundays following an unsuccessful challenge by secularists.