By Martin Surridge – When I accepted a position as a ninth and tenth-grade English teacher a little ways north of Seattle, the principal of my new public high school asked me quite good-naturedly, “Now, you won’t have a problem coming from Christian school, teaching in the public system?” I explained to her that of course I would be very respectful and professional and that I anticipated no problems, which has been true.
Citing the lack of examples where a business’ religious freedom was being violated under current law and the concept that the broadly worded bill could have unintended negative consequences, Arizona Governor Janet Brewer vetoed SB 1062 on Wednesday evening, February 26, 2014.
Arizona Bill SB 1062 is on Governor Jan Brewer’s desk where she is expected to sign it, veto it, or ignore it and let it become law by default within the next few days. This bill modifies Arizona’s 1999 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to permit business owners to deny service to gay customers, or potentially members of any other group, so long as they are doing it because of the religious beliefs of the owners. SB 1062 could potentially cause more harm than good.
Palm Beach, FL, February 7, 2014… John Henry Weidner, a Dutch hero who helped save more than 1,000 individuals, including approximately 800 Jews, from the Holocaust, has been posthumously honored by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) with the ADL Jan Karski Courage to Care Award.
Established in 1987 to honor rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust era, the award was presented at the ADL National Executive Committee Meeting in Palm Beach to Dr. Kurt Ganter, Executive Director of the John Weidner Foundation for the Cultivation of the Altruistic Spirit, who accepted on behalf of Weidner’s wife, Naomi, who could not be present.
By Sarah Terzo – In focusing on religious opposition to abortion, the pro-life movement has cemented into popular culture the generalization that being pro-life is the Christian thing to be. And being pro-choice is the nonreligious thing to be. So many atheists have never considered the pro-life position because they see it as a facet of Christian dogma. They wouldn’t consider going to a pro-life rally or reading a pro-life book in the way they wouldn’t consider going to church or giving their money to Pat Robertson. It simply isn’t for them.
First Nebuchadnezzar forced the people to worship himself under threat of death. Then he forced the people to worship God under threat of death. He was wrong both times. — By Jason Hines – On January 15 the United States celebrated Religious Freedom Day. Each year on that day we officially recognize the benefits of a wide open society that is respectful not only of people of different faiths, but also of people who have no faith at all. In a statement President Obama said, “Today, America embraces people of all faiths and of no faith. We are Christians and Jews, Muslims and Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs, atheists and agnostics… Our religious diversity enriches our cultural fabric and reminds us that what binds us as one is not the tenets of our faiths, the colors of our skin, or the origins of our names. What makes us American is our adherence to shared ideals – freedom, equality, justice, and our right as a people to set our own course.” It is unfortunate we live in a society where some people do not share these lofty ideals. It is even more unfortunate that some of these people who do not share these ideals are Christians.
By Lucan Chartier – Rep. Lynn Luker of Idaho has recently placed two bills before the state’s House of Representatives. HB 426 prohibits the denial, revocation, or suspension of “any professional or occupational license or registration” based upon the exercise or expression of religious belief. HB 427 would amend § 73-402 of the Idaho Code – the state’s mini-Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) – to also provide relief against “any person relying upon any government action, enactment, or law” that substantially burdens a sincerely held religious belief.
By Michael Peabody – Parties to these kinds of disputes should be well-served if they cooperatively seek solutions by identifying and respecting those specific personal areas which are non-negotiable and cordoning them off, while respecting the freedom of the areas in between where both sides must intersect. Identifying and preserving these areas of respect and finding opportunities for accommodation is not an easy process in today’s ideologically divided world, but the results will be much more profitable for both sides than engaging in perpetual conflict in the public arena. At the same time, the religious rights of the participants on both sides to belief and practice would be honored and protected.