Religious News From Around the Web September 14, 2020

New Religous Liberty Rule for Education, Sudan Ends Islamic Law, Danish Cartoons are Back, Squirt-Gun Baptism, State Tuition for Religious Education? Homeschooling Raises Culture Clash

DeVos Announces Major Religious Liberty Rule for Education
BetsyDeVosSchool“This administration is committed to protecting the First Amendment rights of students, teachers, and faith-based institutions,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in a release. “Students should not be forced to choose between their faith and their education, and an institution … should not have to sacrifice its religious beliefs to participate in department grants and programs.” For more information, read the rule released Sept. 9. The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and others commended the rule while Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Senate Democrats oppose the rule saying that it would federally sanction discrimination against LGBT and women.

Sudan Ends 30 Years of Islamic Law

Sudan Flag
Sudan Flag
Sudan separated church and state, effectively ending Islamic law in the country. “For Sudan to become a democratic country where the rights of all citizens are enshrined, the constitution should be based on the principle of ‘separation of religion and state,’ in the absence of which the right to self-determination must be respected.”

Danish Cartoons of Muhammad Are Back
In 2005, a Danish humor magazine published cartoons mocking Muhammad. 250 people were killed in the uproar and around 800 wounded, including several magazine staffers. Earlier this week, Charlie Hebdo — a satirical French weekly — republished the cartoons to mark the start of the trial of suspected accomplices in an Islamist militant attack on its Paris office in January 2015.

Socially Distanced Squirt-Gun Baptism
squirt gunCOVID has spurred changes in religious practice, including parking-lot confessionals, drive by or radio sermons, social distancing, Zoom online church, and more. One of the more unusual practices is sqirt-gun baptisms as seen in an article in the Irish Post.

Suit to Force State Tuition for Religious Education
Three Vermont families are suing the state’s education secretary on the grounds that denying them state tuition for religious school is unconstitutional. The suit follows Espinoza v Montana Dept. of Revenue in which the U.S. Supreme Court said that states that provide tuition for private secular schools cannot deny the same for religious schools.

Pandemic-Inspired Homeschooling Raises Culture Concern
homeschoolingThis fall some 60 percent of parents of school-aged children will pursue homeschooling options. This has raised concerns over a culture clash between a secular state-school indoctrination vs. a conservative evangelical focus found in many homeschool materials. One source says about 66 percent of homeschoolers are Christian, 79 percent are above the poverty mark and 83 percent are white.