North Carolina Church Runs Ad For Republican Fundraiser in Newsletter, Claiming That’s Allowed Under IRS Rules

Churches are not supposed to engage in party politics if they want to continue to claim the tax-exempt status that costs Americans roughly $71,000,000,000 a year.

That means you can’t legally run an invitation like this in your church bulletin:



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Pennsylvania Rep Says That Even Atheists Support His ‘In God We Trust’ Bill. Atheists Respond with a Collective ‘No’

On Sunday, when national political figures normally appear on morning talk shows, Pennsylvania Rep. Rick Saccone appeared on a local show called “Face the State” hosted by reporter Robb Hanrahan.

If the name Saccone sounds familiar, it’s probably because he’s the Republican who sponsored legislation to make 2012 the “Year of the Bible,” declared May 3 of that year to be the “National Day of Prayer,” sponsored “National Fast Day” in 2013 (which said we owe our dependence “upon the overruling power of God” and that the only nations that are blessed are the ones “whose God is the Lord”), and — most relevant here — is currently working to put the words “In God We Trust” in every public school in the state.

So Saccone was on “Face the State” to talk about his proposed legislation. And he made some rather indefensible claims…

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New Arizona Law Will Provide Protection to Christians Who Want to Discriminate Against Gays and Lesbians

If you’re an LGBT individual who lives in Arizona, the anti-discrimination laws are not on your side.

You have legal recourse if a Christian boss fired you for being a Muslim, but if a Christian baker doesn’t want to make a cake for your same-sex commitment ceremony, you’re out of luck. If you and your same-sex partner want to get a hotel room, a Christian manager could say no and that could be the end of it.

A new bill currently being discussed in the state’s Senate, SB 1062, is about to change that, giving special protection to… Christians. And all religious people. Because they’re the real victims here:



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Indonesian Province May Pass Law Requiring Residents to Participate in Islamic Prayers

Legislators in Bengkulu, a province of Indonesia, are in the process of drafting legislation that would make it mandatory to attend Islamic prayers every week:



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Pro-Life Republican Complains About Proposed Law to Punish ‘Faith-Healing’ Parents Who Kill Their Children

Already, several children have died because their parents were members of the Followers of Christ church in Oregon and believed that illnesses could be cured through prayer instead of by trained professionals. The state, in response, passed a law that removed religious exemptions in the case of such a death.

In Idaho, the list of children who have died through religious neglect may be even longer, but the state hasn’t acted on it.

Considering the state’s House and Senate are run by Republicans, I was doubtful that the law would change, but it looks like common sense is finally making a breakthrough:

Democratic Rep. John Gannon of Boise says Idaho’s existing faith-healing exemptions for injury-to-a-child crimes should be updated. He has support from Linda Martin, an Oregon woman who left the church in Idaho decades ago and has returned this week to champion the changes.

“These children need a chance to grow up,” Martin told The Associated Press Thursday.

In Idaho, someone found guilty of felony injury to a child — causing conditions likely to produce great bodily harm or death or permitting a child to be injured — can get a decade behind bars.

But the law has this exemption: “Treatment by prayer or spiritual means alone shall not for that reason alone be construed to have violated the duty of care to such child.”

Gannon’s proposal would lift that exemption “whenever a child’s medical condition may cause death or permanent disability.”

“Medical treatment for physical harm to a child should supersede every other consideration,” Gannon said.

This is one of those bills that ought to be immune from debate. You can respect religious freedom while still drawing a line at preventable deaths of children due to the parents’ religious beliefs.

But Republican Rep. Christy Perry seems to think the death of a child is okay as long as the parents were true believers:

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