Religious Freedom / Separation Church and State
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Date Fairness.com Resource Read it at: Mar 15, 2013 Vatican Rejects Claims of Pope’s Ties to Argentina’s ‘Dirty War’
QUOTE: Reacting with unusual swiftness, the Vatican on Friday rejected any suggestion that Pope Francis of Argentina was implicated in his country’s so-called Dirty War during the 1970s, tackling the issue just two days after the pontiff’s election.
New York Times Dec 27, 2012 Hobby Lobby faces millions in fines for bucking Obamacare
QUOTE: Craft store giant Hobby Lobby... opposes providing some contraceptives to employees through its company health care plan on religious grounds, saying some contraceptive products, like the morning after pill, equate to abortion. Hobby Lobby and affiliate Mardel, a Christian bookstore chain, sued the federal government for violating their owners' religious freedom and ability to freely exercise their religion.
CNN (Cable News Network) Dec 01, 2012 Islamist to rally in support of Egypt's president
QUOTE: Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy was expected to be given the country's new constitution Saturday, a day after its approval by an Islamist-dominated assembly....Morsy sparked days of protests last week after he issued an order banning courts from overturning any decisions he has made since taking office.
CNN (Cable News Network) Oct 18, 2012 A Second Appeals Court Calls Marriage Law Unfair to Gays
QUOTE: A federal appeals court in Manhattan ruled on Thursday that the federal statute defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman unlawfully discriminates against same-sex married couples by denying them equal federal benefits. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is the second federal appeals court to reject a central portion of the federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act...
New York Times Jul 05, 2012 Israeli Identity Is at the Heart of a Debate on Service
QUOTE: On one level, the questions shaking the Israeli political system this week are pragmatic: how many ultra-Orthodox men and Arab citizens should be drafted into the military or national service, over how many years and how should those who resist be penalized?....At issue is not so much the pragmatic needs of the military, where integrating large numbers of Haredim promises to be more hassle than help, but a growing resentment over who serves the state and who reaps its rewards.
New York Times Apr 26, 2012 Teacher who was fired after fertility treatments sues diocese
QUOTE: ...Herx's case bears some of the hallmarks of the case of Cheryl Perich, a former teacher who was fired from a religious school in Michigan after taking a medical leave of absence in 2004. At issue was whether the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to hiring and firing decisions involving "ministerial employees," such as teachers who teach secular subjects. The U.S. Supreme Court decided that Perich -- who taught secular subjects along with a religion class -- was considered a "minister" and could in fact be fired based on church doctrine.
CNN (Cable News Network) Feb 23, 2012 White House, State Department condemn Iran on pastor's execution orders
QUOTE: Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, an Iranian Christian charged with leaving Islam, has received a local trial courts final verdict, according to sources close to his legal team, and may now be executed for leaving Islam....Citing the Iranian constitution, the [US Congressional] resolution "condemns the Government of Iran for its state-sponsored persecution of religious minorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran and its continued violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights."
CNN (Cable News Network) Feb 12, 2012 Malaysia deports Saudi journalist Hamza Kashgari
QUOTE: Malaysian authorities have deported a Saudi journalist accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad in a tweet. Police confirmed to the BBC that Hamza Kashgari was sent back to Saudi Arabia on Sunday despite protests from human rights groups.
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Jan 14, 2012 Israelis Facing a Seismic Rift Over Role of Women
QUOTE: “Just as secular nationalism and socialism posed challenges to the religious establishment a century ago, today the issue is feminism,” said Moshe Halbertal, a professor of Jewish philosophy at Hebrew University. “This is an immense ideological and moral challenge that touches at the core of life, and just as it is affecting the Islamic world, it is the main issue that the rabbis are losing sleep over.”
New York Times Dec 17, 2011 Karzai: Freed rape victim has choice to marry attacker
QUOTE: Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said that a rape victim freed from prison after he intervened on her behalf has the right to make her own choice about whether to marry her attacker....Karzai said the West should have confidence in Afghanistan's judicial processes after international forces withdraw.
CNN (Cable News Network) Sep 08, 2011 Omitting Clergy at 9/11 Ceremony Prompts Protest
QUOTE: any consensus that existed about the appropriate role of religion in public ceremonies marking a monumental American trauma has fallen apart. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has come under attack by some religious and political leaders for not including clergy members as speakers at Sunday’s official ceremony at ground zero on the 10th anniversary of the attacks.
New York Times Aug 13, 2011 Bishops Criticize Tough Alabama Immigration Law
QUOTE: Since June, when Gov. Robert Bentley, a Republican, signed an immigration enforcement law called the toughest in the country by critics and supporters alike, the opposition has been vocal and unceasing....An Episcopal bishop, a Methodist bishop and a Roman Catholic archbishop and bishop, all based in Alabama, sued on the basis that the new statute violated their right to free exercise of religion...
New York Times Jul 06, 2011 Israel Debates Two-Day Weekends, and Its Lifestyle
QUOTE: Pretty much the entire Western world observes Saturday and Sunday as its weekend, and many in Israel would like to align the schedule here with that of the West....With nearly a fifth of the population Muslim Arab, a natural choice for the second day off would be Friday, the Islamic holy day.
New York Times Jun 04, 2011 Efforts to Ban Circumcision Gain Traction in California
QUOTE: When a group of activists proposed banning circumcision in San Francisco last fall, many people simply brushed them aside. Even in that liberal seaside city, it seemed implausible that thousands of people would support an effort to outlaw an ancient ritual that Jews and Muslims believe fulfills a commandment issued by God... Activists say the measures would protect children from an unnecessary medical procedure, calling it “male genital mutilation.”
New York Times Mar 10, 2011 Chechnya: Women Forced to Wear Head Scarves, Report Says
QUOTE: Chechnya’s strongman Ramzan Kadyrov is forcing women to observe an Islamic dress code, while the Kremlin remains silent.
New York Times Mar 02, 2011 Supreme Court rules for anti-gay church over military funeral protests
QUOTE: A Kansas church known for its angry, anti-gay protests at funerals of U.S. troops won an appeal Wednesday at the Supreme Court in a case testing the competing constitutional rights of free speech and privacy. In an 8-1 ruling, the justices said that members of Westboro Baptist Church had a right to promote what they call a broad-based message on public matters such as wars.
CNN (Cable News Network) Feb 05, 2011 Afghan Rights Fall Short for Christian Converts
QUOTE: Such has been Mr. Mussa’s life since his arrest for converting to Christianity nine months ago in a case that illustrates the contradictions — and limits — of religious freedom in Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s Constitution, established in 2004, guarantees that people are “free to exercise their faith.” But it also leaves it open for the courts to rely on Shariah, or Islamic law, on issues like conversion.
New York Times Dec 28, 2010 Some Israelis Question Benefits for Ultra-Religious
QUOTE: a growing backlash to the privileges and subsidies long granted to the ultra-religious. The issue is not just the hundreds of millions of dollars doled out annually for seminaries and child allowances. Worry — and anger — is deepening about whether Israel can survive economically if it continues to encourage a culture of not working.
New York Times Dec 02, 2010 My take: Where's the outrage over Noah's Ark park?
QUOTE: I write not to raise First Amendment questions about elected officials transforming themselves into self-appointed curators, but to ask whether these officials are really concerned (as they claim) about the use of taxpayer funds to weigh on matters of the spirit....Are you equally outraged over millions in tax breaks to a group promoting fundamentalism?
CNN (Cable News Network) Jun 28, 2010 Justices Rule Against Group That Excludes Gay Students
QUOTE: A public law school did not violate the First Amendment by withdrawing recognition from a Christian student group that excluded gay students, the Supreme Court ruled...
New York Times May 27, 2010 Pediatricians now reject all female genital cutting
QUOTE: The American Academy of Pediatrics has rescinded a controversial policy statement raising the idea that doctors in some communities should be able to substitute demands for female genital cutting with a harmless clitoral "pricking" procedure.
CNN (Cable News Network) May 26, 2010 Europe's burqa rage
QUOTE: The vast majority of Muslim women do not wear complete covering because the Koran mandates only modesty, not sartorial imprisonment. But at issue in Europe is not social disapproval; it is criminalization.
Washington Post May 25, 2010 Sacred and Secular Mix in Turkey’s Museums
QUOTE: The museum is nothing less than an attempt to shape a modern mythology in which Turkish history becomes part of a single coherent tradition culminating in the modern secular state. This effort to shape a tradition accounting for the triumph of the Turk may also be the reason for the way the 1915 massacres of Armenians are treated here.
New York Times May 21, 2010 Pakistan blocks YouTube a day after shutdown of Facebook over Muhammad issue
QUOTE: A simmering clash between free speech and religious sensibilities in Pakistan burst from the streets onto the Internet on Thursday, as the government blocked the video-sharing site YouTube and other pages it deemed "sacrilegious" to the nation's Muslim majority.
Washington Post May 21, 2010 Texas school board hears from critics of social studies changes
QUOTE: ...McLeroy has argued that the revisions provide balance to a set of standards that did not initially paint America in a positive light. Both liberals and conservatives on the board have called the changes "political" -- but they have disagreed on whether that was a bad thing.
Washington Post May 04, 2010 Tearing Away the Veil
QUOTE: Through a legal ban, French parliamentarians want to uphold a principle that should apply to all: the visibility of the face in the public sphere, which is essential to our security and is a condition for living together. A few extremists are contesting this obvious fact by using our democratic liberties as an instrument against democracy. We have to tell them no.
New York Times Apr 18, 2010 Supreme Court to consider case against California law school
QUOTE: The college, which requires officially recognized student groups to admit any Hastings student who wants to join, may be well-meaning, says the student outpost of the Christian Legal Society. But the group contends that requiring it to allow gay students and nonbelievers into its leadership would be a renunciation of its core beliefs...
Washington Post Oct 27, 2009 Extremism Spreads Across Indonesian Penal Code
QUOTE: Most of Indonesia still lives up to its reputation for a moderate, easygoing brand of Islam... But how Aceh [an Indonesian province] went from basic Islamic law to endorsing stoning in a few short years shows how a small, radical minority has successfully pushed its agenda, locally and nationally...
New York Times Sep 29, 2009 The Old Secular Cross?: High Court to Consider Church-State Implications of Mojave Cross
QUOTE: If the court reaches the constitutional issues at hand, (of the Mojave Cross) all sides agree it could provide clarity to the court's blurry rules on church-and-state separations. It could also carry important implications for the fate of war memorials around the country that feature religious imagery
Washington Post Sep 21, 2009 Bald eagle case raises issue of religious liberty: Charged with killing a bald eagle, a Native American faces a 'losing battle' against a law that he says limits practice of his religion.
QUOTE: Once endangered, the bald eagle has rebounded in recent decades but remains under the protection of the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. The law provides an exception for Native Americans who want eagles for ceremonies... But many tribes eschew both options, saying the former can take years and yield unsuitable specimens.
Los Angeles Times Aug 09, 2009 In Israeli army, rabbis deepen religious tone. Is that kosher?
QUOTE: Beyond charges of misconduct and war crimes, Israel's recent war in Gaza against Hamas fanned accusations that [chief rabbi Brig. Gen. Avichai Rontzki] Mr. Rontzki is trying to remake the soldiers in his own hard-line religious nationalist image. At stake, critics warn, is the possible politicization of a military built as a people's army above the political fray.
Christian Science Monitor Jul 23, 2009 Programs' Religious Ties Raise Concerns
QUOTE: The U.S. Agency for International Development funded programs that rebuilt Iraqi mosques and used biblical lessons to promote sexual abstinence in Africa, despite a prohibition on the use of taxpayer funds to support "inherently religious activities,"...
Washington Post Jul 08, 2009 New UN report takes firm stand on women's rights in Afghanistan
QUOTE: The 'Silence is Violence' report documents the failure of [Afghanistan] state institutions to protect women from increasing violence in public spaces.
Christian Science Monitor Jun 19, 2009 Christian Soldiers: The growing controversy over military chaplains using the armed forces to spread the Word.
QUOTE: Al-Jazeera broadcast clips filmed in 2008 showing stacks of Bibles translated into Pashto and Dari at the U.S. air base in Bagram and featuring the chief of U.S. military chaplains in Afghanistan, Lt. Col. Gary Hensley, telling soldiers to “hunt people for Jesus.” ...example of what critics call a growing culture of militarized Christianity in the armed forces.
Newsweek Apr 20, 2009 Egyptians win the right to drop religion from ID cards
QUOTE: Egyptian followers of the Bahai religion celebrated a long-awaited legal victory last week when the country's Interior Ministry allowed them to obtain national identity cards without falsely listing their faith as one of the only three recognized by the state.
Christian Science Monitor Jan 21, 2009 Trials for Parents Who Chose Faith Over Medicine
QUOTE: after Kara’s death last March, the Marathon County state attorney, Jill Falstad, brought charges of reckless endangerment against her parents, Dale and Leilani Neumann. Despite the Neumanns’ claim that the charges violated their constitutional right to religious freedom, Judge Vincent Howard of Marathon County Circuit Court ordered Ms. Neumann to stand trial...
New York Times Jul 28, 2008 Internal Justice Dept. Report Cites Illegal Hiring Practices
QUOTE: An extensive report by the department's Office of the Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility concluded yesterday that Goodling and others had broken civil service laws, run afoul of department policy and engaged in "misconduct," a finding that could expose them to further scrutiny and sanctions. The report depicted Goodling as a central figure in politicizing employment decisions at Justice during the Bush administration.
Washington Post Jul 08, 2008 Atheist soldier sues Army for 'unconstitutional' discrimination
QUOTE: In March, Hall filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Defense and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, among others. In the suit, Hall claims his rights to religious freedom under the First Amendment were violated and suggests that the United States military has become a Christian organization.
CNN (Cable News Network) Jun 24, 2008 Evangelist accuses Obama of 'distorting' Bible
QUOTE: In comments aired on his radio show Tuesday, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson criticized the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee for comments he made in a June 2006 speech to the liberal Christian group Call to Renewal. In the speech, Obama suggested that it would be impractical to govern based solely on the word of the Bible, noting that some passages suggest slavery is permissible and eating shellfish is disgraceful.
CNN (Cable News Network) Jun 15, 2008 Summer Camps Revive India's Ancient Sanskrit: Effort Is Part of Bitter Debate Over the Role of Hindu Language in a Diverse Society
QUOTE: Their endeavors are viewed with suspicion by many scholars here as part of an increasingly acrimonious debate over the role of Sanskrit in schools and society. The scholars warn against exploiting Indians' reverence for Sanskrit to promote the supremacy of Hindu thought in a country that, while predominantly Hindu, is also home to a large Muslim population and other religious minorities.
Washington Post Jun 06, 2008 Turkey’s High Court Overturns Headscarf Rule
QUOTE: Turkey’s highest court dealt a stinging slap to the governing party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday, ruling that a legal change allowing women attending universities to wear head scarves was unconstitutional. The Constitutional Court said in a brief statement that the change, proposed by Mr. Erdogan’s party and passed by Parliament in February, violated principles of secularism set in Turkey’s Constitution.
New York Times May 30, 2008 Texas Loses Court Ruling Over Taking of Children
QUOTE: Bringing polygamist families closer to regaining custody of their children, a divided Supreme Court of Texas agreed Thursday that the state had illegally seized 468 girls and boys from a West Texas ranch last month on unproven grounds of physical and sexual abuse.
New York Times May 20, 2008 Hybrid Embryo Research Endorsed
QUOTE: Hundreds of British scientists and medical organizations support the process and say it is necessary because of a shortage of human eggs and embryos for research. Cardinal Keith O'Brien, a leading figure in the Catholic Church, had described the research as a "monstrous attack on human rights, human dignity and human life." He said the bill would allow experiments of "Frankenstein proportion."
Washington Post May 05, 2008 Polygamy roll shows 21 wives for one member
QUOTE: attorneys for the sect argued against a court review of the documents, claiming the documents should remain private under First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and association....The ages of the wives and their children are critical to investigators, who believe that underage girls were routinely married and forced to have sex with older men.
CNN (Cable News Network) Apr 01, 2008 With the Commandments, Must City Make Room?
QUOTE: The Supreme Court said yesterday that it will decide whether a city's decision to place a monument to the Ten Commandments in a public park means it also must make room for the display of other directives purportedly sent from above...Unlike the Supreme Court's most recent cases over government display of the Ten Commandments, the Utah case is a free-speech challenge that does not involve the Constitution's provision on establishment of religion.
Washington Post Mar 08, 2008 Clashing Over Church Ritual and Flag Protocol at the Naval Academy Chapel
QUOTE: Concern about the influence of conservative Christians in the military has grown since an investigation in 2005 by the Air Force found that Christian staff and faculty members at the Air Force Academy used their positions to evangelize cadets. Conservative Christian chaplains have battled the military to break with tradition and pray in Jesus’ name at military functions.
New York Times Mar 06, 2008 District to Settle Bible Suit
QUOTE: The federal suit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the People for the American Way Foundation...It argued that the course curriculum...promoted Protestant Christianity and a specific reading of the Bible as a literal historical document.
New York Times Mar 01, 2008 A Town and a Baptist Pastor Vie Over ‘Eternity’
QUOTE: The battle between the city and the church appears to come down to two essential issues: is the message of eternity a commercial one, and is the roof sign a nuisance so grand that the government must intervene?
New York Times Feb 28, 2008 School Board to Pay in Jesus Prayer Suit
QUOTE: At [her daughter's] high school graduation in 2004, a minister’s prayer proclaiming Jesus as the only way to the truth nudged [a local woman] to ask the school board to consider more generic and less exclusionary prayers...As news of the request spread, many local Christians saw it as an effort to limit the free exercise of religion, residents said.
New York Times Jan 25, 2008 Emergency birth control bill tabled: Lawmakers will wait for courts to decide pharmacists' case
QUOTE: ...it would be unconstitutional to force pharmacists to fill "morning after" pill prescriptions if they have religious objections, [but] Advocates for [Senator Karen] Keiser's tabled bill say allowing pharmacists to choose which prescriptions they fill would allow too much discretion and may lead to AIDS patients being denied medication if druggists object to their lifestyle choices.
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