Religious Liberty News Briefs
“Marriage and Religious Freedom Act” introduced in Congress
On September 19, a bipartisan group introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would prevent the federal government from discriminating through the tax code http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th/house-bill/3133)
Many Americans support legal recognition for same-sex marriage even though it is contrary to their religious beliefs. But as Mollie Ziegler Hemingway writes in the Wall Street Journal,
This conflict of whether individuals really have religious freedom outside the walls of churches will become the American religious liberty battleground of the next decade, not only on issues of marriage but in almost every area of personal religious practice.
Michigan Legislature Considers Religious Exception for Faith-Based Adoption Services
The Michigan legislature is considering a bill that will allow faith-based adoption servicesHouse Bill 4927 is available here.
India’s “Missing Girls”
Representative Christopher Smith (R-NJ) opened the discussion (watch on YouTube37 million more men than women in the country. Studies show that families that do not have enough food are feeding boys before girls, and the mortality rate for children under age 5 is 75% higher for girls than boys.
Abortion Clinic Numbers Declining in U.S.
Bloomberg reportsAbortionDocs.org, the source cited by Bloomberg, this is part of a general trend of decline in numbers of abortion clinics. In 1991, there were 2,176 abortion clinics in the United States and at present, the numbers are down to 621 surgical abortion clinics and 167 abortion pill clinics.
Animal Rights v. Religious Rights: Ritual Slaughter of Chickens in Los Angeles
Last week in the Pico-Robertson area of Los Angeles, Orthodox Jews and animal rights activists faced off over a ritual practice involving the slaughter of thousands of chickens in makeshift stands. Known as Kaparot, the practice, which began in the 16th century, involves the ritual killing of chickens in the week leading up to Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement. According to the Los Angeles Times, Bait Aaron, a Sephardic Orthodox outreach organization set up a tent in a parking lot and had stacked wire cages of chickens. After each slaughter, the blood was drained and butchers plucked and dressed the birds. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is reluctant to get involved unless the practice presents health and safety issues.
Rhode Island to Vote on Forced Unionization Which Would Turn Home Child Care Providers into State Employees
Muslim Group Sues for Zoning Law Discrimination
A Muslim group has filed a federal complaint against the Chicago suburb of Des Plaines, Illinois which last month rejected a proposed religion center in an area zoned for manufacturing. The suit claims that the city violated the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) by denying the permit in a manner which treated the group differently from other similarly situated groups. The 1.8-acre site was formerly occupied by an insurance company.
Hungarian Law Makes it Hard for Religious Groups to Gain Recognition
Jura Nanuk, president and founder of the Central-European Religious Freedom (CERF) Institute, reports on the effects of a 2011 Hungarian law receive a 2/3 majority vote by members of the Hungarian Parliament to be recognized. CERF is calling for Hungary to restore its religious freedom to the pre-2011 level and that legislation involving freedom of religion be adjusted with European and UN guidelines and recommendations.
Persecution on Increase in Eastern Europe
The European Parliament in Brussels recently debated the threat to religious freedom in Eastern Europe, including countries such as Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, and Moldova which are restricting the ability of citizens to practice their religion. According to CERF, religious minorities are facing significant persecution and discrimination because of their beliefs. For instance, in Georgia, religious groups are reporting that Georgian Orthodox priests were warning leaders of minority congregations that after the October 1 parliamentary elections they would no longer be able to hold services in their villages. Reports of anti-Semitism are also increasing in Hungary, Romania, and Ukraine.
Adventist Church Sues City for Discretionary Review Ordinance
Adventist Peace Fellowship Launches New Website
Adventist Peace Fellowship, founded in 2001, has launched a new website. APF is a 501c3 non-profit organization, not officially associated with the church, that seeks to raise consciousness about the centrality of peacemaking and social justice to the beliefs and heritage of Seventh-day Adventists. The organization works on peacemaking and reconciliation projects, environmental projects, freedom of conscience, and health and human rights among others. ###