Church-state news digest: May 19, 2014

Church-state news digest: May 19, 2014

Here are a few of the religious liberty stories making news today: Troubling statements during election season BJC’s Blog from the Capital Humanist foundation reaches out to religious groups, testing a divide The New York Times Appeals court revives suit challenging S.C. school prayer The State (Columbia, S.C.) Rising demand for optional religious ed at St. Louis charter school KSDK-TV (St. Louis, Missouri) Starting May 20, the church-state news digest will be on an indefinite hiatus. If you have questions or comments, contact us at...
Church-state news digest: May 16, 2014

Church-state news digest: May 16, 2014

Here are a few of the religious liberty stories making news today: Attorney: Broward students can read Bible as part of reading program CBS Local Miami ACLU protests distribution of Bibles at South Dakota school Capital Journal (Pierre, S.D.) via the Associated Press  INTERNATIONAL: Christian in Sudan sentenced to death for faith...
Church-state news digest: May 15, 2014

Church-state news digest: May 15, 2014

Here are a few of the religious liberty stories making news today: North Carolina Supreme Court re-opens school voucher program BJC’s Blog from the Capital Rabbi, three others indicted for diverting grants to religious schools and grants Religion Clause Court says Catholic health system’s  pension plans qualify as ‘church plans’ under ERISA Religion...
Supreme Court upholds official prayer at local government meetings; BJC disappointed in ruling

Supreme Court upholds official prayer at local government meetings; BJC disappointed in ruling

By BJC Staff Reports WASHINGTON — A divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled that official prayers opening local government meetings may be constitutional, finding them consistent with the historic tradition of chaplain-led prayers before Congress and state legislatures. The 5-4 decision in Town of Greece v. Galloway reverses the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and upholds the prayer practice of the Town of Greece, N.Y., despite marked differences between the town’s practice and the one upheld by the Court in Marsh v. Chambers (1983) and practiced in Congress. The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, opposing the town’s practice of opening municipal meetings with prayer, saying the practice violates the conscience of those who have to be in attendance to participate in the meeting. The Court, however, found the “ceremonial” prayers at the beginning of a legislative session offered by invited clergy compatible with the Establishment Clause based upon historical precedent. While the 2nd Circuit held the town’s practice unconstitutional because a substantial majority of the prayers contained “uniquely Christian language,” the Supreme Court noted the lack of intentional discrimination against non-Christians and rejected the challengers’ argument that the Marsh decision contains an implicit ban on sectarian references in official prayers, stating that the prayers are not likely to create a constitutional violation “[a]bsent a pattern of prayers that over time denigrate, proselytize, or betray an impermissible government purpose.” Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy stated, “These ceremonial prayers strive for the idea that people of many faiths may be united in a community of tolerance and devotion. … Our tradition...
Limited number of tickets still available for RLC Luncheon in Atlanta; Reserve your space today

Limited number of tickets still available for RLC Luncheon in Atlanta; Reserve your space today

By BJC Staff Reports The 2014 Religious Liberty Council Luncheon is fast approaching, and tickets are selling quickly. This year’s event will be Friday, June 27, in Atlanta, Georgia, in conjunction with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly. Tickets are available for $40 per person, and a table of 10 is $400. Last year’s luncheon sold out in advance, so make sure to purchase your ticket ahead of time. Only a limited number of seats will be available. The keynote speaker is Melissa Rogers, special assistant to the president and the executive director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Rogers served as the BJC’s associate general counsel from 1994-1999 and general counsel from 1999-2000. She also served as director of the Center for Religion and Public Affairs at the School of Divinity at Wake Forest University and as a nonresident senior fellow at The Brookings Institution. The luncheon offers not only a great chance to hear from Rogers, but it is also an opportunity to connect with other Baptists and fellow supporters of religious liberty from all walks of life. It is open to the public, but you must have a ticket to attend. Visit BJConline.org/luncheon to purchase your tickets today, or call our office at 202-544-4226. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly, which will be taking place surrounding the time of the luncheon, is free and open to the public. For more information on the assembly and to register for it, visit TheFellowship.info/assembly. For questions about the luncheon, contact Development Director Taryn Deaton at tdeaton@BJConline.org or 202-544-4226. 2014 Religious Liberty Council Luncheon Friday, June...