Tag Archives: religious freedom

The quiet religious freedom fight that is remaking America

Source: The Atlantic
by Emma Green

“A church outgrows its old building. It finds a vacant warehouse in a middle-class neighborhood, close to the highway and convenient for its congregants. Mortgage money is raised, plans are drawn up, the sale is approved. All that remains is a technicality: securing a zoning-code exemption. Three years and two lawsuits later, the church is at last in its new building — and out $1.2 million. It holds services in the lobby because it ran out of money to renovate the room that was to be the sanctuary. This problem was supposed to be solved. Seventeen years ago, Congress unanimously passed a law, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, to prevent cities and towns from using zoning as a weapon against groups that want space to worship. At the time, everyone cheered a rare moment of legislative success. In practice, though, few congregations have the time, knowledge, money, or energy to pursue the legal process set up by RLUIPA, leaving many in a desperate limbo with no place to pray.” (11/05/17)


Canada: Quebec pols pass bill banning covered faces in “public services”

Source: Deutsche Welle [Germany]

“The law bans the wearing of face-coverings for people giving or receiving public services. It also offers a framework advising authorities how to grant accommodation requests based on religious beliefs. It applies to bureaucrats, police officers, teachers and bus drivers, as well as doctors, midwives and dentists who work in publicly-funded hospitals or clinics. The bill did not mention specific clothing but reports indicate it will prohibit the wearing of the burka and niqab in interactions with the state.” [editor’s note: Does this mean that if you wear a face covering, the state’s forces will refuse to interact with you? Bank robbers would find that very convenient. Hell, so would I! – TLK] (10/19/17)


MI: ICE thugs abduct dozens

Source: Detroit Free Press

“Dozens of Chaldeans from metro Detroit were [abducted] Sunday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and face possible deportation, leaders in the Chaldean community said. Martin Manna, an Iraqi-American Christian advocate who is president of the Chaldean Community Foundation based in Sterling Heights, said he’s getting information from family members of those [abducted], many of who live in Macomb and Oakland counties. … A spokesman for ICE declined to comment on any specifics. … Chaldeans are worried they will be persecuted as Christians in Iraq if they are deported. In 2003, there were 1.4 million Christians in Iraq, and today there are fewer than 200,000, Manna said.” (06/12/17)


Islam-obsessed Booboisie put on National Display Our Abject Ignorance Day

Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“Anti-Muslim activists hoisted American flags and delivered fiery speeches in rallies across the country Saturday, facing off against crowds of counter-demonstrators in several cities and exposing the visceral rage that has come to define America’s political extremes. ACT for America, a lobbyist organization with close ties to the Trump administration, organized nationwide marches to oppose Islamic law, which the group believes is a threat to American society.” (06/10/17)


NJ: Antics of town’s Islamophobes cost taxpayers $3.25 million

Source: Newsweek

“The Muslims of Basking Ridge, New Jersey, needed a mosque. The closest mosque was a 25-minute drive away, too far for attending daily prayers, and the community center the congregation rented for Friday afternoon worship was not oriented toward Mecca and lacked a minaret. So the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge in 2011 bought a 4-acre lot on Church Street with plans to build a mosque there. … But when the Islamic Society submitted plans to Bernards Township for a 4,200-square-foot mosque, complete with discreet minarets that looked like chimneys, the local community erupted in anti-Muslim opposition to the plans. … The DOJ announced Tuesday morning that it has settled its case against the township with an agreement that will allow the Islamic Society to build the mosque. The township will also pay $3.25 million, which consists of $1.5 million in damages and $1.75 million in legal fees.” (05/31/17)


How the free market overcomes religious coercion in Israel

Source: Students For Liberty
by Idan Eretz

“State-religion relations are a tough issue in Israel. Israelis come from very different religious backgrounds; from totally secular atheists to hardline ultra-orthodox and everything in between; and that’s only the Jews. This creates a lot of tension about the 70 year old compromise called ‘The Status Quo.’ But in recent weeks, without any political action, something happened. Something big.” (05/22/17)


Stephen Fry and the new blasphemy laws

Source: spiked
by Andrew Doyle

“I love a good blasphemy trial. Unfortunately they’re about as common these days as red squirrels or UKIP councillors. Imagine my delight, therefore, when police in Ireland decided to launch an investigation into Stephen Fry for remarks he made about the almighty deity during an televised interview for RTE in early 2015. During the course of the programme Fry expressed the view that if God exists he must be ‘utterly, utterly evil,’ ‘totally selfish,’ and ‘quite clearly a maniac.’ ‘Why,’ Fry asked, ‘should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid God who creates a world which is so full of injustice and pain?’ … The Irish authorities have now made clear they won’t be pursuing Fry, and it’s easy to see why. The case would be over in five minutes. All Fry’s defence would have to establish is that we no longer live in a society which should be subject to medieval canon law. A copy of this year’s calendar ought to do the trick. Even so, a trial would be a wonderful thing.” (05/09/17)


On churches in politics, Trump does … nothing

Source: Reason
by Steve Chapman

“In the executive order he signed Thursday titled ‘Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty,’ Donald Trump had a rare opportunity to pursue a small yet significant change that would have accomplished both of his stated purposes. Instead, he ceremoniously unveiled a heaping platter of nothingburgers.” (05/08/17)


Russia: Court bans Jehovah’s Witnesses as extremist group

Source: USA Today

“Russia’s Supreme Court formally banned Jehovah’s Witnesses as an extremist organization Thursday and ordered the state to seize its property in Russia, according to Russian news media. The court, after six days of hearings, ordered the closing of the group’s Russia headquarters and its 395 local chapters. The Interfax news agency quoted Justice Ministry attorney Svetlana Borisova in court as saying the Jehovah’s Witnesses pose a threat to Russians. ‘They pose a threat to the rights of the citizens, public order and public security,’ she told the court. Borisova also said the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ opposition to blood transfusions violates Russian health care laws.” (04/20/17)



Source: The Price of Liberty
by Nathan Barton

“Those who are true followers of Jesus Christ do NOT use the government, or advocate the use of government and military force to act against people of other religions. We do have an example of Paul getting government assistance to protect himself from those of another religion who wanted to kill him, but we have no example in the Bible, or for the first several hundred years, of those who claimed to be christian, demanding that government pass laws and take actions against those who practiced things which they believed either to be sinful or damaging to society. It is obvious that those in DC, Vermont, and elsewhere, who banned the practice of polygamy, stole properties from the LDS church, imprisoned those who committed polygamy were (despite their claims otherwise) NOT christians as defined by the Bible, and usually not even by their various religious affiliations.” (03/24/17)