British rabbi stands to defend America’s first freedom

When Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks arrived in America recently representatives of the United States government did not greet him with a demand that Great Britain's former chief rabbi remove his yarmulke while in public.That's a good thing. But there are places -- France leaps to mind -- where this would not be the case. In fact, religious liberty is under siege in many corners of Europe, said Sacks, a member of the House of Lords."In Britain we have seen a worker banned from wearing a small … [Read more...]

President Obama defends religious freedom — overseas

From the moment he rose to speak at the National Prayer Breakfast, it was clear President Barack Obama intended to respond to critics who accuse him of being weak in his defense of religious freedom."As Americans, we affirm the freedoms endowed by our Creator, among them freedom of religion," noted Obama, early in the recent address. "Yes, this freedom safeguards religion, allowing us to flourish as one of the most religious countries on Earth, but it works the other way, too -- because … [Read more...]

What would Pope Francis pick as top 2013 news story?

Popes come and popes go, with a new pope elected every few years or decades.Thus, when viewed through the lens of history, the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI was a stunning event in the history of Roman Catholicism and, thus, all of Western Christianity. He was the first man to resign St. Peter's throne in 600 years. Surely this was the most important religion-news story of 2013?But when seen through the lens of the mainstream press, the bookish Benedict's exit was a mere ripple in the … [Read more...]

Guess the winner: Woodstock vs. religious liberty

Blame it on Woodstock.Cultural changes unleashed by the sexual revolution are affecting how millions of Americans understand religious liberty, according to University of Virginia law professor Douglas Laycock, speaking at a recent Newseum symposium marking the 20th anniversary of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It doesn't help that disputes about the free exercise of religion have increasingly turned into bitter partisan battles pitting Republicans against the majority of mainstream … [Read more...]

Was Jesus religious enough for HHS mandate?

When describing how his disciples should serve the needy, Jesus told a parable about a Good Samaritan who rescued a traveler who had been robbed and left for dead.This businessman didn't care that his act of kindness took place in public and that the injured man didn't share his faith.This raises an haunting question for those involved in the church-state struggles surrounding the Health and Human Services mandate requiring most religious institutions to offer their employees, and often … [Read more...]

Religious liberty in crisis — almost everywhere

Here's a tough question for American pastors: If local school officials voted to limit the freedom of Muslim students to publicly practice their faith, would you urge your flock to protest?Those who believe in religious liberty must answer "yes," according to the Rev. Rick Warren, leader of the 20,000-member Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif."If a school district tells me that a Muslim girl can't wear a headscarf to school, I'm going to oppose that rule," he said, during a recent … [Read more...]

Hot words in top 2012 religion stories

'Twas the Sunday night before the election and the Rev. Robert Jeffress was offering a message that, from his point of view, was both shocking and rather nuanced.His bottom line: If Barack Obama won a second White House term, this would be another sign that the reign of the Antichrist is near.Inquiring minds wanted to know: Was the leader of the highly symbolic First Baptist Church of Dallas suggesting the president was truly You Know Anti-who?"I am not saying that President Obama is the … [Read more...]

Secular unions vs. Holy Matrimony, Part II

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second of two columns on current debates about Holy Matrimony and civil unions.Gay-rights advocates know the formula and so do their opponents: If gay marriage becomes a civil right, then religious believers who dare to defend ancient doctrines on marriage will become de facto segregationists and suffer the legal consequences.The problem for the left is that this happens to be true."Before we shrug and reply, 'So what if it's religious? It's still bigotry, it's s … [Read more...]


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