Religious News From Around the Web March 15, 2021
Court Rules in Favor of Campus Religious Speech, Swiss Ban the Burka, 97 Year Old Sikh Grandmother Helps Feed London’s Homeless, Egypt’s Schools to Teach Judaism, Doctors Seek Relief from Transgender Surgery Mandate, Equality Act a Threat to Religious Liberty?
Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Campus Religious Speech
A former Georgia Gwinnett College student was stopped by campus police from sharing his religious views with fellow students. He was told by campus officers that he could only speak or hand out religious materials in a “free speech area,” then told he would need a permit to do so, then prohibited from speaking because he “disturbs the peace and/or comfort of person(s)” and was threatened with disciplinary action if he persisted. The case brought both conservative and liberal groups in support of the student.
Swiss Ban the Burka
In a controversial referendum, Swiss voters on March 7 approved a ban on face coverings in public, including the burka or niqab worn by some Muslim women. “We’re in the middle of a pandemic where everyone is wearing face masks — and Switzerland decides to ban Muslim women from covering their faces for religious purposes,” said one comment on Twitter.
97 Year Old Sikh Grandmother Helps Feed London’s Homeless
97-year-old Nisharat Kaur Matharu is following her life’s motto: “As long as your hands and feet work, use them to serve others.” For now, that means her hands are covered in flour as she vigorously kneads and punches dough to made food for London’s homeless. She was left on a pile of rubbish in India at two years old, and rescued by an aunt. She learned to cook and with her daughter now provide meals to those who need them.
Egypt’s Schools to Introduce Judaism
The Egyptian Ministry of Education approved a new school subject which examines religious values and verses that have the same meaning in the three Abrahamic religions — Judaism, Christianity and Islam — in a move that will allow Egyptian students to study verses from the Jewish religion for the first time ever. “The Ministry of Education’s approval of the subject of religious values shared between the divine religions expresses the state’s keenness to spread the values of tolerance and fraternity,” said Kamal Amer, the head of the Parliamentary Defense and National Security Committee.
Doctors Seek Relief from Transgender Surgery Mandate
Attorneys for doctors and hospitals argued in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit March 3 that they shouldn’t be forced to perform gender-transition surgeries required under the Affordable Care Act, stressing this is an issue of conscience. A 2016 regulation issued by the Department of Health and Human Services requiring doctors to perform these procedures on children and adults or be held liable for discrimination. Becket, a religious liberty law firm, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Texas, saying the rule violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Equality Act a Threat to Religious Liberty?
The Equality Act would extend federal civil rights protections to LGBTQ people and is a top priority of President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress but is opposed by conservative religious leaders. The Equality Act broadly defines sex discrimination to include sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex traits. “It will be very difficult for Christian schools, Christian colleges, even in some cases for the ministries of Christian churches to proceed,” said the Rev. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in a recent radio broadcast. “This will change not just a few things, it will fundamentally change almost everything on the nation’s landscape.”