Religious News From Around the Web November 15, 2021
Finland Criticized for Religious Liberty Violations; Faith Leaders Request Inclusion in Development of Artificial Intelligence Ethics; Tibet’s Culture, Religion and Way of Life at Risk; Parental Rights in School Matters: The Yoder Case; FBI Accused of Infiltrating Mosques
Finland Criticized for Religious Liberty Violations
Finnish Bishop Juhana Pohiola and Parliament member Paivi Rasanen face fines and possible imprisonment by their government for posting a Bible verse on Twitter and for arguing that homosexuality should be recognized by the church as sinful based on Hebrew and Christian scriptures. In response, six U.S. members of Congress wrote an open letter demanding action against Finland for “criminalizing Christianity” through its hate crimes laws used against people supporting traditional marriage between a man and a woman.
Faith Leaders Request Inclusion in Development of Artificial Intelligence Ethics
On Wednesday, the White House issued a press release calling for input in developing a “Bill of Rights for an Automated Society.” In response, The Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) urged President Biden to allow faith leaders to provide input on the continuing development of artificial intelligence.
Tibet’s Culture, Religion and Way of Life at Risk
Deputy Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, Dolma Tsering, stated that Tibet’s culture, religion and way of life, which is founded on Buddhism, is at risk under the Chinese administration and that Beijing’s desire is for everything to be merged into a communist aesthetic. Dolma Tsering’s statement comes after the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader, criticized China’s leadership, stating that they don’t understand the diversity of other civilizations.
Parental Rights in School Matters: The Yoder Case
What rights do parents have regarding the direction of their local schools? About 50 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a decision that protects parents in the educational choices they make for their children — Wisconsin v. Yoder. The U.S. Supreme Court held in the Yoder case that individual’s interests in the free exercise of religion under the First Amendment outweighed the State’s interests in compelling school attendance beyond the eighth grade. In the majority opinion, the Court found that the values and programs of secondary school were “in sharp conflict with the fundamental mode of life mandated by the Amish religion,” and that an additional one or two years of high school would not produce the benefits of public education cited by Wisconsin to justify the law.
FBI Accused of Infiltrating Mosques
The U.S. Supreme Court last week considered whether to allow a lawsuit by Muslim men claiming religious bias by the FBI to go forward despite the government’s objection that doing so could reveal national security secrets. The case — FBI vs. Fazaga involves a group of three men from Southern California. They filed a class action lawsuit claiming the FBI spied on them and hundreds of others in a surveillance operation that began several years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. A lower court dismissed almost all their claims after the government said allowing the case to go forward could reveal “state secrets.” But an appeals court reversed that decision in 2019, saying the lower court first should have privately examined the evidence the government said was state secrets. The Biden administration, like the Trump administration before it, told the justices that decision is wrong.