Must wedding chapel ministers perform gay weddings?

A wedding chapel is not a church, though ordained ministers often preside at the marriages.  Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, is insisting that two ministers who work for a wedding chapel must perform gay marriages.  If they don’t, they will be in violation of the city’s non-discrimination ordinance, which means a penalty of up to 180 days in jail and fines of $1,000 per day.

So should a church exemption apply to a minister without a congregation?  Or should religious exemptions apply to individuals regardless of affiliation? [Read more...]

Standing with the Houston Five

Rev. Dr. Scott Murray is the 4th Vice President of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and the pastor of Memorial Lutheran Church in Houston, a good guy whom I know personally.  You’ve got to read his statement on the mayor’s law firm that is subpoening the sermons of  five pastors who criticized a gay rights ordinance, thus threatening their church’s tax exempt status for allegedly meddling in politics.  Pastor Murray says he would gladly share his sermons with the mayor and her legal team.  And yet, in the Kingdom of Caesar, he stills stands with the Houston Five.  See what he says after the jump. [Read more...]

The problem with public official prayers

We believe in freedom of religion, something that is becoming more and more important to Christians in light of the possibility of official suppression.  Along with that comes the rights of non-Christian religions.  Public governmental meetings are allowed to open with prayer, but that prayer cannot discriminate against the various religions.

Recently, a member of the Escambia County Commission in Florida walked out of the meeting, after an “Agnostic Pagan Pantheist” did an “invocation” that he found weird and satanic.

Wouldn’t it be better not to have any prayers at all at these meetings, rather than force those in attendance to participate in such syncretism? [Read more...]

Air Force will now allow atheist oaths

We blogged about the atheist airman who was not allowed to re-enlist unless he could swear the military oath to protect the Constitution “so help me God.”  The Air Force has changed its policy to allow that part to be left out, a move being applauded by religious liberty groups. [Read more...]

Religious liberty for atheists, too

Enlisting or re-enlisting in a military service requires taking an oath, ending in the words “so help me God.”  An atheist airman trying to re-enlist in the Air Force has crossed out those words in the paperwork he is supposed to sign.  So the Air Force is not letting him re-enlist.

Lawsuits are in the works.  But does it make sense to require a person to swear in the name of a deity he does not believe in?  And doesn’t requiring a religious oath for military service constitute a “religious test” for public office, which the Constitution does not allow?  More to the point, in a time when the religious liberty of Christians is threatened more and more, don’t Christians need to support the religious liberty of everyone, including atheists? [Read more...]

The revised contraceptive mandate

In response to the Supreme Court decision that the Obamacare contraception mandate can violate the religious liberty of pro-life business owners, the administration has issued new regulations that would allow employees to get free birth control–including those that prevent the implantation of the fertilized egg–without violating the religious convictions of employers.

See the details after the jump.  Does this solve the problem? [Read more...]


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