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Religious News from Around the Web December 6, 2021

Supreme Court Hears Abortion Case; Will Biden Bill Eliminate Religious Groups from Childhood Care? Why Do Some Christians Reject Vaccines? Religiously “Affiliated” or “Unaffiliated” Too Simplistic; Can businesses Be Sued for Emotional Distress and How Could it Impact Religious Liberty?

Supreme Court Hears Abortion Case
On December 1, The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health, an abortion case which some think could upset longstanding abortion rights precedent as in Roe vs. Wade. Some sources seemed to think the questioning indicates the 15-week gestational limit on abortion will be upheld by the High Court. Faith groups feel differently about the case, and speculation is running high about how the ruling could affect access to abortion when the ruling is released several months hence.

Will Biden Bill Eliminate Religious Groups from Childhood Care?

U.S. Department of Agriculture is licensed under CC BY-2.0
Catholic school officials are clamoring for changes to a proposed federal stimulus bill, saying that federal non-discrimination rules may drive them out of early childhood education. “The rules as they’re written … would force us to pull out of preschool and child care,” said Thomas Carroll, superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Boston, in a report. At issue is a portion of the Build Back Better bill that would provide about $400 billion in federal funds for child care and pre-kindergarten. Religious schools would theoretically be able to receive such funds — but they might also have to comply with federal rules prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and religion, among other things.

Why Do Some Christians Reject Vaccines?
The fastest-growing search term on Bible Gateway in the past year was “sorcery,” which drew 193 percent more queries than in 2020, according to a release. Could this be why some Christians resist the COVID vaccine? “The increase in sorceries is related to heightened interest in the Greek word pharmakeia, which, according to the Mounce Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament means ‘employment of drugs for any purpose; sorcery, magic, enchantment,’” wrote Jonathan Peterson, content manager for Bible Gateway.

Religiously “Affiliated” or “Unaffiliated” Too Simplistic

verkeorg is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
A survey of the religious views of 10,000 young people between the ages of 13 and 25 found many contradictions and complexities, as might be expected. “Their religious impulses — the things they long for and belong to …” said the report, “are more complex than labels like “affiliated” or “unaffiliated.” The report concluded that “young people need trusted adults, now more than ever. The digital version of the report by Springtide Research is available without cost.

Can businesses Be Sued for Emotional Distress and How Could it Impact Religious Liberty?
The Supreme Court is hearing a case that could put people of faith at risk of being sued for “emotional distress.” The case, Cummings v Premier Rehab Keller hinges on the needs of a deaf and legally blind person who sought physical therapy but was refused an interpreter. The person did not allege any harm or loss, but sued for “humiliation, frustration, and emotional distress.” If those allegations are upheld by the court, rather than being liable for their actions, businesses and people of faith could be sued for “how the customer felt” which could be significant in the case of faith-based businesses already under attack for following biblical principles related to marriage and homosexuality.

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