Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Religious Freedom in the News: Three Articles

How Will the Supreme Court Gay Marriage Decision Affect Religious Freedom?

If the Supreme Court rules in favor of gay marriage, its effect on religious freedom will depend upon how the opinion is written, according to experts.

The best possible outcome for religious freedom would be for the court to rule that the U.S. Constitution does not require all states to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples. If the court does require all states to redefine marriage, however, there are a range of options that could affect religious freedom differently.

If the court were to "elevate sexual orientation to a protected category similar to race," Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, told The Christian Post that could have a detrimental impact on the religious freedom of groups and people who do not believe that same-sex marriage is actually marriage. Keep reading

A New Chapter for Religious Freedom in the Military?

In a landmark ruling for religious freedom in the United States, a federal district court for the District of Columbia ruled Monday that the United States Army must allow a Sikh college student to his college's ROTC unit without having to cut his hair, shave his beard or take off his turban. It marks the first time that a federal court has ruled that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), passed in 1993, applies to the United States military and the personnel serving therein.

This is a victory for the student, Iknoor Singh, as well as all those currently serving, whether they be Sikh, Muslim, Christian, Jewish or any other profession of belief, as it shows that they do not have to leave their human rights behind when they put on their uniform. Keep reading

Court Gives Unanimous Win to Small Church, Others

For pastor Clyde Reed, a win at the highest court of the land was a significant victory not only for his small church but for many Americans.

"I thank God that the Supreme Court affirmed our First Amendment freedoms and sent the message that the church's speech can't be targeted for restriction," Reed said after the U.S. Supreme Court's opinion issued June 18. "More importantly, I am blessed to have been a part of a victory for free speech that will certainly outlast us and that I pray will benefit others for many years."

The justices unanimously ruled a Gilbert, Ariz., sign code violated the free-speech rights of Good News Community Church, the small church Reed pastors. The decision not only will free Good News to set up its signs without harassment from the local government, but it could provide an important aid to the church planting efforts of the Southern Baptist Convention and other organizations that often use such signs to inform communities of their presence. Keep reading

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