Religious News from Around the Web November 23, 2020

Justice Alito and Religion on Campus
Justice AlitoSupreme Court Justice Samuel Alito stressed that it is now common to hear students and professors, including many in law schools, express fears about the consequences of being honest about their religious convictions. “One of the great challenges for the Supreme Court going forward will be to protect freedom of speech,” said Alito. “Although that freedom is falling out of favor in some circles, we need to do whatever we can to prevent it from becoming a second-tier constitutional right.”

Court: Conversion Therapy Ban Unconstitutional
Recently, some children have been undergoing “sex reassignment surgery” if they identified as something other than their birth gender. Ironically, so-called “conversion therapy,” in which someone is counseled to become more comfortable with their biological sex, has been banned in many places. But a Florida Court has ruled the bans are unconstitutional limitations on freedom of speech.

United Nations Condemns Human Rights Violations in Iran

U.S. approves of death penalty for LGBT
UNITED NATIONS PHOTO is licensed under CC BY 2.0
The UN has condemned Iran for human rights violations, among which is religious persecution. As one Bahá’ís Representative said: “[Iranian] authorities strive to exclude Bahá’ís from the public sphere, prevent them from expressing their beliefs, impoverish them economically, undermine their intellectual advancement, erase traces of their history and culture, as well as spread disinformation about them and incite the public so as to create an environment of hatred against them.”

COVID Restrictions on Religion Heading to High Court
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, which is asking the U.S. Supreme Court for an emergency injunction against Gov. Cuomo’s restrictions on religious gatherings, argues that care is required when the government interferes with the free exercise of religion. The Court’s decision will be an important indication of whether the justices are prepared to enforce constitutional limits on what politicians can do in the name of fighting COVID-19.

Sikhs Help Neighbors Don Turban, Learn About Religion

Sikh Actor and Designer Waris Ahluwalia Denied to Board Flight Because of Turban
Video screenshot
Central Christchurch, New Zealand was full of colorful turbans recently as local Sikhs offered passers-by the chance to wear a turban and learn about their religion. Turban Day is part of a global movement where Sikhs teach people about their faith and help them put on the cloth headwear.

Study Finds Religious Liberty Issue Unifying Divided America
In a year that has seen Americans polarized on the election, racial justice and how to best handle the pandemic, a new study shows one area of agreement. The second annual Religious Freedom Index — released this month by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty — finds that most Americans are broadly supportive of a wide array of religious freedoms. The study shows that, for a majority of Americans (60 percent), faith and religion are an essential component of identity.

Boris Johnson Lauds Sikhs, Jains, Hindus for Helping During COVID
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson thanked Jains, Hindus and Sikhs for their help n responding to the COVID crisis with compassion, community spirit and a can-do attitude. “Congratulations to everyone on this fantastic ‘Virtual Diwali’ festival,” said Johnson. “This brings the spirit of Diwali into people’s homes while helping the people to remain safe.”