Pastor’s lawsuit against ‘Rain God’ license plate approved

A pastor’s lawsuit against the state of Oklahoma over its ‘Rain God’ license plate can proceed, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver has ruled.

The court said that Keith Cressman’s suite contains a “plausible compelled speech claim.”

Affinity fraud, Rabbinical courts, Abused Missionary kids, More…

Among the topics in today’s Religion News Briefs: Affinity Fraud (and how you can protect yourself against it). Missionary Kids speak out about abuses they have suffered. And we meet a woman who lost her religion — and subsequently her childen. She is now battling a rabbinical court to regain custody.

Plus: 50 years after the U.S. Supreme Court banned prayer in school religion can be found everywhere in public school environments.

Religious Intolerance in Islamic Indonesia

Religion News Blog
Louisiana passes bill to allow prayer in public schools. Former Manson Family member denied parole for 20th time.

And the Miss World Competition has scrapped its bikini segment after demands by Muslim hardliners.

Calvary Chapel pastor sues estranged son over ‘cyberbullying’

Bob Grenier In today’s Religion News Briefs: Ritualistic murderer Robin Marie Murphy has been denied parole. A Calvary Chapel pastor sues one of his sons, who accuses him of abuse, for defamation.

Also: Dominican Republic jails leader of a doomsday cult. Meanwhile, Mexican authorities detain the leader of religious sect that opposes secular education. Plus lost more…

Unitarian Universalism growing throughout USA

Unitarian Universalism
news In today’s issue: Unitarian faith growing throughout the USA. Cheerleaders’ Scripture-Quoting Football Signs Face Constitutional Challenge. And a poll shows that most Americans doubt Scientology is a true religion.

Plus… Filipino students hold naked protest In Manila against Innocence Of Muslims film.

House passes bill to allow religious symbols on war memorials

The War Memorial Protection Act passed on a voice vote in the Republican-controlled House but faces uncertainty in the Senate.

U.S. Supreme Court unanimously rejects government oversight of churches

U.S. Supreme Court Religious workers can’t sue for job discrimination, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

They said that churches — not courts — are the best judges of whether clergy and other religious employees should be fired or hired.

Iowa pastor preaches politics to oust 3 justices who backed gay marriage

The Rev. Cary K. Gordon has a prayer he recites as he campaigns against the three Iowa Supreme Court justices who are up for retention in next month’s election.

“Dear God,” he says, “please allow the IRS to attack my church, so I can take them all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Gordon, an associate pastor at Cornerstone World Outreach in Sioux City, says he will defy federal law this month when he urges the congregation to vote to not retain the three justices, who participated in a unanimous ruling that allowed same-sex couples to wed. His mass mailing to 1,000 church leaders in September prompted one national religious liberty group to file a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service.

Advocates of the separation of church and state and some religious leaders say Gordon’s plan is illegal, immoral and an attempt to falsely frame his dispute as a freedom-of-speech violation. The Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State in Washington, D.C., called Gordon’s actions one of the most outrageous attempts to politicize a church that he has ever seen.

Others, such as Jeff Mullen, senior pastor of Point of Grace Church in Waukee, are urging Iowa pastors to communicate to their congregations the “biblical mandate for involvement in local and national elections.”

Seems to us at Religion News Blog that some other, more important Biblical mandates are being skipped in the process.

Seeking God’s Help for a Wounded Gulf

In the US the wall between church and state came a-tumbling down on Sunday, as elected leaders from the five states on the Gulf of Mexico issued proclamations declaring it to be a day of prayer. Although days of prayer are not uncommon here these proclamations conveyed the sense that at this late date, salvation from the oil spill all but requires divine intervention.

Evangelical Pastor Tests First Amendment Waters

Evangelical pastor H. Wayne Williams endorses gubernatorial candidate, insists it’s his way of walking with the Lord.

Wiccan altar puts teacher, officials at odds

Wicca A high school senior’s desire to build a Wiccan altar in shop class has forced a community debate about free expression.

Dale Halferty, who has taught industrial arts at Guthrie Center High School for three years, was placed on paid leave Monday after he acknowledged to district officials that he told the student he could not build the altar in class.

C Street house target of clergy’s IRS complaint

tax exempt Three times now, including a complaint they plan to file today against the secretive C Street Center in Washington, D.C., the activist pastors have challenged the tax-exempt status of religious organizations they believe have improperly dabbled in partisan politics.

Their numbers fluctuate, but their mission is always the same: protect the divide between church and state.

Freedom from Religion Foundation files suit to end tax break for ministers

tax exempt A nationwide atheist group is asking religious leaders to take Jesus’ advice and render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s — especially when it comes to taking the federal tax break on their housing.

The Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation says the housing exemption gives churches an unfair advantage because they can compensate their leaders with tax-free housing. Other nonprofits, such as the foundation, can’t do that. So it’s suing the federal government to outlaw the housing allowance.

More Bible verses than ever at football games

Religious signs at football games A school district in Georgia, USA, recently decided that cheerleaders could not longer display banners with Bible verses at school football games — one of those ‘Church and State’ issues.

Result? More bible banners than ever, now displayed by fans in the stands instead of cheerleaders on the field.

While constitutional experts agree with the new policy, and many locals understand why it is being applied, the fans are using their right to free speech.

U.S. Supreme Court turns down Summum sect’s demand for religious display

Summum The justices today unanimously overturned a ruling that required Pleasant Grove, Utah, to give equal access to Summum, a church that wants to display its “seven aphorisms.”

Writing for the court, Justice Samuel Alito said the Pleasant Grove monument represented “government speech,” exempting it from having to give private groups equal access under the Constitution’s free-speech clause.

Tiny sect believes God gave Moses Seven Aphorisms before giving the Ten Commandments

Summum Followers of Summum believe that Moses received two sets of tablets on Mount Sinai and that the Ten Commandments were on the second set. The aphorisms were on the first one.

The tiny sect — whose founder says says he learned the aphorisms during a series of telepathic encounters with divine beings he called Summa Individuals — wants them displayed in a public park.

On Wednesday, the US Supreme Court will hear their arguments.

Protests agains the Mormon Church; plus: Why the Mormons fight against Gay Marriage

Protest against Mormon Church A couple thousand people gathered outside the Capitol in Sacramento this afternoon to rally for the legalization of same-sex marriages just days after voters imposed a constitutional ban.

The gathering follows several similar events around the Bay Area and California. Earlier today, more than 400 people gathered outside the distinctive Mormon Temple in Oakland to protest the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints‘ support of Proposition 8.

When Church Autonomy Is Tyranny

Ignorance is the enemy of liberty. That truth has never been so forcefully made as it has been with the rescue of the hundreds of children from the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints compound in Eldorado, Texas. As the clergy abuse crisis within the Roman Catholic Church has proved, Americans are all too willing to ignore evidence of child abuse when it occurs in the context of religious organizations.
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