Religious News From Around the Web December 13, 2021
Guru Nanak Sikh Documentary on PBS; New Research on Religious Exemptions from COVID Vaccine; Defend Religiously Affiliated Child Care; Fauci Asks Faith Leaders to Enlist in War Against COVID; Catholic Women Urge Vatican to Sign Human Rights Pact; Separation of Church and State at Issue in Education; Supreme Court Leaves Texas Abortion Restriction Intact; University Ordered to Pay $2 Million in Religious Liberty Suits
Guru Nanak Sikh Documentary on PBS
“Although Guru Nanak’s teachings of equality and tolerance resonate with American audiences and are foundational values for American society, very few of our neighbors and Western society at large know anything about Guru Nanak Dev Ji,” said Gurwin Ahuja the executive director of the National Sikh Campaign (NSC) in a statement. The documentary broadcast is one piece of a campaign launched by NSC to bring more awareness to the Sikh faith.
New Research on Religious Exemptions from COVID Vaccine
A new survey reveals that only one in 10 Americans believe the teachings of their religion prohibit COVID-19 vaccinations; nearly nine in 10 disagree. Among unvaccinated Americans, this belief rises to 28 percent. Six in 10 Americans agree that too many people are using religion as an excuse to avoid vaccine requirements. Similarly, six in 10 Americans believe that there are no valid religious reasons to refuse a COVID-19 vaccine. Majorities of every major religious group agree, with the sole exception of white evangelical Protestants (41 percent).
Defend Religiously Affiliated Child Care
Two bishop chairmen on behalf of their committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have cosigned a coalition letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-NC) with other faith groups raising urgent concerns that the Build Back Better Act’s (BBBA) child care and universal pre-kindergarten programs would exclude faith-based providers.
Fauci Asks Faith Leaders to Enlist in War Against COVID
Faith leaders are needed to help fight the coronavirus and its new variants, according to Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical adviser to the president. “Faith leaders have an enormous impact because among all the different sectors in society, faith leaders are among the most trusted messengers,” he said in an exclusive interview with Baptist News Global. If you look at who the most trusted people are, it’s schoolteachers and clergy.”
Catholic Women Urge Vatican to Sign Human Rights Pact
A consortium of Catholic women’s groups is calling on the Holy See to join the Council of Europe and to sign the European Convention on Human Rights, arguing that the Vatican should show consistency by expressing its firm commitment to protecting human rights. The groups said the Holy See presents itself as a firm promotor of human rights and dignity. Yet they noted the Vatican hasn’t followed up by adhering to the European Convention, regarded as the gold standard for rights protections around the world.
Separation of Church and State at Issue in Education
In Carson v. Makin, The State of Maine requires that every school-age child in the state has access to a free education but not every local district operates a secondary school and thus they may contract with a secondary school to provide school privileges or pay the tuition of a secondary school at which a particular student is accepted. In either circumstance, the secondary school must be either a public school or an “approved” private school. “Approved” means the school must have compulsory attendance and it must be “nonsectarian in accordance with the First Amendment.” The lawsuit alleges that the nonsectarian requirement violates the Constitution.
Supreme Court Leaves Texas Abortion Restriction Intact
Last week, the Supreme Court left in place a Texas law that bans most abortions after six weeks, and provided only a narrow path for providers to challenge in federal court the nation’s most restrictive law on the procedure. The court’s decision allows the providers to return to a district judge who once blocked the law, saying it violated the constitutional right to abortion. But the decision limited the relief in a way that lawyers said probably makes it impossible to suspend the law while the legal battle continues.
University Ordered to Pay $2 Million in Religious Liberty Suits
The University of Iowa was ordered to pay almost $2 million in attorneys’ fees to the nonprofit legal organization that represented two Christian student groups that sued the public university for violating their religious liberty. The three-member Iowa State Appeal Board approved writing two checks to The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, following the groups’ victory in federal court after years of litigation. The Business Leaders in Christ sued the university in 2017 after the student club was removed from campus and kept from student activity funding because it required its leadership to affirm a biblical definition of marriage and sexuality.