By Michael Peabody – Despite serious public opposition to involvement in another quagmire in the Middle East, chances are the United States will soon be involved in the two-year-old civil war in Syria. While there are many questions regarding how this will help or hinder national foreign policy aims, few have considered how a shift in power could affect the religious freedom of the people of Syria.
In the News
This October the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments in Town of Greece v. Galloway, a case that could change the way that prayers are conducted in legislative proceedings. The Court will determine whether city council rules, which do not openly discriminate against non-Christians or permit prayer to be used to promote a particular religion, are unconstitutional when most of the people offering the prayers are Christians.
The Assiut Adventist Church, located approximately 220 miles south of Cairo, was attacked by a mob and heavily damaged after it was set on fire. The pastor and his wife hid in their upstairs apartment and were not found by the attackers, who set the building on fire. The pastor and his wife were rescued from the burning building by Muslim neighbors.
Excerpt: “An estimated 92 percent of all women who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome choose to terminate their pregnancies, according to research reviewed by Dr. Brian Skotko, a pediatric geneticist at Children’s Hospital Boston. http://abcnews.go.com/m/story?id=8960803&ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F
By Jason Hines – Now the clock is ticking for the group because there are KY tourism tax incentives for the project that are set to expire in May of 2014. The longer it takes to open the park, the less the group can receive in rebates. Under the current plan, the group can receive up to 25% of the cost of the project over ten years.
Since its creation in 1998, the USCIRF has been controversial, both at home and abroad. At home, criticism typically focuses on the charge that the US should be more willing to assist CPC nations to improve their record rather than just putting them on a “blacklist” for the world to see. Abroad, nations have frequently criticized the US for its attitude of “arrogance” in thinking that it is superior to other sovereign nations and entitled to criticize them for religious freedom abuses when the US hardly has a spotless record itself. Nevertheless, after 15 years of activity, there is little doubt that the USCIRF reports have often motivated CPC nations to improve their religious freedom records. USCIRF’s work has also exposed serious religious freedom abuses that should be brought to the world’s attention.
One of the more interesting aspects of the gay marriage debate that the arguments of the last two days have highlighted is how different the discussion of marriage is from the religious to the legal realm. Religion was not mentioned one time over the course of the two days and neither should it have been. The issues of the extension of civil marriage are not issues of theology or spirituality (and they still won’t be if same-sex marriage became legal nationwide tomorrow).
On Friday, March 22, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear (D) vetoed a religious freedom Bill (HB 279) claiming that the bill would “cause serious unintentional consequences that could threaten public safety, health care, and individuals’ civil rights.” The legislature is expected to override the veto.
President Obama has responded to public outcry by announcing a plan to reduce gun violence while respecting the rights of the vast majority of gun owners who are law abiding and use their guns safely. His plan, which included recommendations from a task force of stakeholders led by Vice President Joe Biden, is a commonsense proposal that Congress should pass promptly.
Dwayne Leslie, Legislative Affairs Director for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists shares his perspective on the current U.S. Congress. EXCERPT: “The more voices, the more diverse points of view heard from, the better the chances we can collectively continue to ensure the ability for all people to follow their conscience. Together we thrive.” Read […]