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Religious News From Around the Web February 14, 2022

Macron’s Government Seeks to Reshape Islam in France; Religious Liberty and Biden’s Most Likely Supreme Court Picks; Arizona Tries a Compromise between Religious Liberty and LGBTQ Rights; Methodists Clarify Disaffiliation Rules; Complaint against BYU Gay Dating Ban Dismissed

Macron’s Government Seeks to Reshape Islam in France

Muslim Hajj
The French government last week introduced The Forum of Islam in France – a new body to reshape Islam in that country, part of President Emmanuel Macron’s efforts to rid it of extremism. The group’s leadership will be made up of clergy and lay people to help guide the largest Muslim community in western Europe. All of its members will be hand-picked by the government. While France has experienced extremist troubles, critics see the efforts as a political ploy to lure right-wing voters to Macron’s centrist party ahead of France’s April 10 presidential election.

Religious Liberty and Biden’s Most Likely Supreme Court Picks

Leondra Reid Kruger, associate justice of
the California Supreme Court and one of
President Biden’s potential Supreme
Court nominees.
President Biden said he would choose a Black woman as his nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court. Here are some of his most likely choices, and what is known about their religious liberty stances:
J. Michelle Childs A federal trial judge in South Carolina.
Ketanji Brown Jackson U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Leondra Kruger California Supreme Court.

Arizona Tries a Compromise
In 2015 Utah passed “the Utah compromise,” legislation hailed by both Latter-day Saint leaders and gay rights advocates as a breakthrough in balancing rights and religious freedom, and as a model for other conservative states. Arizona is now in the process of hammering out a similar “Equality and Fairness for All Arizonans” bill which would update state civil rights law to ban anti-LGBTQ discrimination in housing, hiring and public accommodations while leaving existing religious freedom protections in place. The proposed legislation emerged from years of dialogue between faith leaders, business owners and members of the LGBTQ community who sought to strengthen Arizona’s nondiscrimination laws without limiting the free exercise of religion. It shares many points with the Utah Compromise and Latter-day Saints have expressed support for the Arizona Bill.

Methodists Clarify Disaffiliation Rules
The United Methodist Church — while strengthening church bans against same-sex weddings and practicing gay clergy — also allowed congregations that disagreed with those measures to exit the church “with property,” for “reasons of conscience” related to homosexuality if they meet certain requirements. The disaffiliation plan offers a limited way to release congregations from The United Methodist Church’s centuries-old trust clause, which states that church property is held in trust for the benefit of the entire denomination. The provision permits such disaffiliations through Dec. 31, 2023.

Complaint against BYU Gay Dating Ban Dismissed
The U.S. Department of Education dismissed a complaint against Brigham Young University after an investigation into the private religious school’s treatment of LGBTQ students. The complaint stemmed from the university’s ban on same-sex romantic relationships. While BYU is subject to Title IX — a federal law that prohibits sex-based discrimination at schools that receive federal funding — it is also entitled to a number of exemptions because of its religious affiliation.

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