No exemptions for church services “open to the public”?

The Iowa Civl Rights Act forbids discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.  Churches have an exemption for “a bona fide religious purpose.”  But the Iowa Civil Rights Commission has ruled that if a church service “is open to the public,” it is a “public accommodation” that may not discriminate.

This would mean a congregation must allow only members to attend worship services, excluding visitors and non-members.

UPDATE:  The commission is now clarifying that it didn’t have in mind “worship services,” just services offered by the church, in the sense of child care, food pantries, etc.

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Christian dating sites must arrange same-sex matches 

A California judge is requiring a company that operates Christian dating sites to provide its services to same-sex couples.  Affected are,,, and

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Trump vs. Clinton on religious liberty

At Donald Trump’s conclave with evangelical leaders, he notably dodged the religious liberty questions.  That’s understandable, since Trump supports the LGTB cause , the source of the current efforts to punish Christians and Christian organizations for holding to their religious beliefs about sexual morality.

But surely Hillary Clinton would be worse than Trump on religious liberty issues, wouldn’t she?  Maggie Gallagher thinks otherwise, after the jump.  She argues that if Clinton is elected, Christians could oppose her from the base of a major political party.  But if Trump is elected, both parties would have abandoned the issues, and Christians would have no political advocates.  Do you agree with her reasoning?
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Christian pharmacists must stock abortifacients

A Christian-owned pharmacy chain refuses to stock “emergency contraception” drugs on the grounds that they cause abortion.  The state of Washington wants to compel the chain to carry the drugs, even though that would violate the owner’s religious beliefs.  The case would seem to be similar to that of Hobby Lobby, which won a ruling from the Supreme Court allowing it to opt out of Obamacare requirements.  But this time the Supreme Court refused to hear the case.  The pharmacies will have to sell the products.

In addition to the pro-life and religious liberty issues, I would think there would be business liberty issues.  Should the government really be able to mandate what products a retailer has to stock? [Read more…]

California churches to be forced to pay for abortions?

The state of California has classified abortion as a “basic health service,” which means that under Obamacare, all insurance policies, including those of churches, must pay for abortions.  Churches have applied to the Obama administration for relief, but they were denied.  The issue is now before the courts. [Read more…]

LCMS judge on trial for her views on marriage

More on Ruth Neely, the Wyoming judge and member of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, who is facing removal from office, plus a $40,000 fine, because she told a reporter that she won’t perform same-sex marriages because of her religious beliefs.  This, even though she is not obliged to perform weddings at all, isn’t paid for doing so, has never been asked to do a gay wedding, another judge in the community is willing to do it in her place, and the Wyoming constitution specifically says that no one can be removed from public office “because of his opinion on any matter of religious belief whatever.”

The state’s judicial commission has recommended her ouster, and the case is before the Wyoming Supreme Court.  More details and updates after the jump, as well as my own thoughts and questions. [Read more…]