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Further adventures in religious freedom

Further adventures in religious freedom

A day in the life of religion in the American public square: Conservative Christians grapple with whether religious freedom applies to Muslims. Meanwhile, in California, the Legislature weighs a bill that would limit religious colleges’ ability to claim an exemption from Title IX rules that bars discrimination against LGBT students and faculty.

Sarah McCammon reports on NPR:

For decades, fights over religious liberty in the U.S. have mostly been about the religious liberties of Christians. Evangelicals have rallied around issues like prayer in public schools, and more recently, whether conservative Christian vendors should be required by law to provide services for same-sex weddings.

But now, as the nation’s small but growing Muslim population gains a higher profile, other questions are emerging, including debates in several communities over the right to build mosques….

…Southern Baptist leader Russell Moorewarned that letting the government restrict Muslims could lead to restrictions on Christians. He believes Christianity is the only true faith, and people must choose it freely.

“Sometimes we have really hard decisions to make — this isn’t one of those things,” Moore said. “What it means to be a Baptist is to support soul freedom for everybody.”

Meanwhile, the California Legislature weighs a bill that, if passed and signed, would limit religious colleges’ ability to claim an exemption from federal Title IX regulations that bar discrimination against LGBT students and faculty.

Kimblerly Winston reports on RNS:

Only schools that prepare students for pastoral ministry would be allowed the religious exemption under California Senate Bill 1146 — which passed the state Senate in May and is scheduled for a hearing in the state Assembly on Thursday (June 30).

In other religious schools that receive Title IX money, students who believe they have faced discrimination on the basis of their sexual identity would have the right to sue the school.

The bill would also require religious schools to inform prospective students if the schools have a Title IX religious exemption….

…While the law is seen by some as an attempt to get California religious schools to comply with the state laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, it could have national implications. Human Rights Watch, which calls the Title IX religious exemption “a license to discriminate,” reports there are 56 schools nationwide that have requested such exemptions, including Wheaton College, Liberty University and George Fox University.


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JC Fisher

Recently in my local paper (Sacramento Bee), the head of a religious (Fundamentalist) college wrote an op-ed denouncing SB1146. It’s all about “religious freedom”, he said. Notably, he said Not One Word about the gist of the bill, that is to “prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity”.

“Religious freedom”, a worthy idea from William Penn to the First Amendment, is being turned into just a EUPHEMISM for homophobic discrimination. Sad—and shameful.

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