Religious News From Around the Web August 16, 2021
Facebook Rolls Out Prayer Group; Churches, Organizations Pitch In To Help in Dixie Fire; Supreme Court’s Next Big One: Religion and Abortion; Infrastructure Bill Enforces Gender Identity Rules Excluding Religious Companies; Other Religious Liberty Cases; Opinion: Social Media Censorship Restricts Religious Freedom; Federal Court Blocks Biden Mandate for Faith-Based Hospitals to Perform Abortions
Facebook Rolls Out Prayer Group
Facebook already asks for your thoughts. Now it wants your prayers. The social media giant has rolled out a new prayer request feature, a tool embraced by some religious leaders as a cutting-edge way to engage the faithful online. Others are eyeing it warily as they weigh its usefulness against the privacy and security concerns they have with Facebook.
Churches, Organizations Pitch In To Help With Dixie Fire
Now the largest such fire in California History, the Dixie Fire is a devastating moment in time. Small towns, like Greenville, Crescent Mills, Canyon Dam and others virtually wiped off the map. United Methodist Churches in Quincy, Portola, Greenville and Susanville are assisting evacuees, as well as the Red Cross, Bethel Global Response, Salvation Army, Volunteer Firefighters and many other groups and individuals.
Supreme Court’s Next Big One: Religion and Abortion
The media are well aware that the Court’s upcoming decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health case (docket #19-1392) will be epochal, and could challenge Roe vs. Wade. Dobbs involves rigid abortion limits even before fetal “viability” as legislated by Mississippi. In response, fully 25 of the 50 states, all with Republican attorneys general, are asking the Court to scuttle Roe and Casey. Also, 87 percent of the Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate, from 40 states, want the two decisions overturned “where necessary” while lower courts clean up legal muddles. Also filing on this side are 396 legislators in 41 states.
Infrastructure Bill Enforces Gender Identity Requirements, Excluding Religious Companies
By specifically protecting sexual orientation and gender identity, the new $1 trillion 2,700 page Infrastructure bill has entered the heated climate of the culture war in the United States. This language makes it extremely difficult for organizations that adhere to traditional religious values to take part in the program, including conservative Christian and Muslim organizations. Several Republican lawmakers raised these concerns during a press conference and moved to not support the bill.
Other Religious Liberty Cases
Among the multitude of religious-liberty-related cases coming to courtrooms soon, are these example s of the scope of the issue. Lower courts have ruled on both sides in some of these issues, and those cases will eventually be seen by the U.S. Supreme Court, or could be refused, in which case lower court rulings will stand.
1. Can Union Gospel Mission Restrict Hiring to Christians?
2. Can a hospital require religious doctors and nurses to assist in abortions?
3. Can religious foster-care and adoption agencies decline to work with same-sex couples?
Opinion: Social Media Censorship Restricts Religious Freedom
The First Amendment guarantee of religious liberty is being dismantled. Today’s sexual politics function as a new kind of fundamentalism, one that presents a deep problem to a diverse and democratic society. Instead of encouraging the dialogue of democratic process, the fundamentalists seek to impose their own rigid certitude unilaterally. On matters ranging from foster care and education to gender ideology and the family… The result isn’t a more compassionate and liberal society; it’s a more punitive one.
Federal Court Blocks Biden Mandate for Faith-Based Hospitals to Perform Abortions
A federal court this week blocked the Biden administration’s mandate requiring doctors and faith-based hospitals to perform abortions and transgender surgeries. The ruling was handed down as the Supreme Court grappled with whether to weigh in on a similar legal battle between a Catholic hospital and a transgender man over his hysterectomy. U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas ruled Monday that the administration cannot require doctors and providers to violate tenets of their faith to perform or offer transgender procedures and services for patients.