Last week I traveled to Ottawa for a consultation of religious liberty organizations working in partnership. Being with others who have a passion for the persecuted was very encouraging. So were messages from Canada’s Ambassador for Religious Freedom and from a member of the Canadian Parliament.
A major topic of discussion among public policy experts at the recent National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) Convention in Nashville was how religious liberty relates to culture in the nation.
Well, we now have some indication how columnist Jonathan Merritt will defend his preferential option for Caesar.
Merritt asks us to imagine the following scenario:
“I’d like to purchase a wedding cake,” the glowing young woman says as she clutches the arm of her soon-to-be husband. “We’re getting married at the Baptist church downtown this coming spring.”
Global persecution of Christians, especially in the Muslim world, is one of the most overlooked human rights disasters of the 21st century. Christian activists are demanding that the State Department add a new envoy for religious minorities in the Middle East, but their campaign is stymied by those concerned about government redundancy.
Persecution of Christians is the “premier human rights issue of the early 21st century, as well as the most untold story about global Christianity in our time,” Boston Globe reporter John Allen stated in prepared remarks on February 11, 2014. Addressing a House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing, Allen and other panelists ominously delineated Christianity’s threatened state around the world.
Hobby Lobby has filed a brief with the Supreme Court formally requesting relief from the Obamacare contraception mandate, arguing that the mandate violates its owners’ religious freedom in violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
An Idaho state lawmaker says he’s concerned about cases in other states where people have refused to do business with others on religious grounds.
Rep. Lynn Luker (R-Boise) is quoted by the Spokesman-Review as saying he’s concerned about cases in other states, including a New Mexico wedding photographer who refused to photograph a same-sex marriage and faced penalties.
Luker argues that a “pre-emptive” move is necessary in Idaho. He has introduced a measure in the Idaho House of Representatives that he says will protect licensed professionals from being “legally harassed” for acting upon their religious beliefs.
“Religious liberty advocates are particularly appreciative that the President mentioned the egregious blasphemy and defamation laws such as those of Pakistan,” says IRD Religious Liberty Director Faith McDonnell.