Archive for the ‘FREEDOM’ Category

History Repeating Itself? – Russia’s Putin Signs Sharing Beliefs, “Extremism,” Punishments

Photo: Forum 18

By Victoria Arnold
Forum 18

President Putin has signed amendments imposing harsh restrictions on sharing beliefs, including where and who may share them, and increased “extremism” punishments, introduced with alleged “anti-terrorism” changes. There are widespread Russian protests against the suddenly-introduced changes, and may be a Constitutional Court challenge.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has signed into law legislation on so-called “missionary activity”, further restricting the public expression of freedom of religion and belief, including in the media and online, Forum 18 notes. The amendment – which has been rapidly introduced – caused widespread protests, but was signed on 6 July and the signing was made public at Moscow lunchtime on 7 July. It was published on the presidential website that day and comes into force on 20 July.

Lawyers working to protect the right to freedom of religion and belief are already preparing for an appeal to the Constitutional Court. At the same time, they are preparing advice to individuals and religious communities on how to abide by the terms of the Law. One Protestant leader, though, has warned that some of the restrictions “a good Christian cannot fulfil.”

Against international human rights obligations, the amendments to the Religion Law restrict those who can share beliefs to people with permission from members of state-registered religious groups and organisations. This excludes people from groups which have chosen to operate without state permission, such as certain Baptist congregations. The amendments also bar even informal sharing of beliefs, for example responding to questions or comments, by individuals acting on their own behalf.

The amendments also restrict the beliefs that can be shared, specifies a restricted list of places where beliefs may be shared, and explicitly bans any beliefs from being shared in residential buildings, or on another association’s property without permission. An allegedly “anti-terrorist” part of the amendments bars the conversion of residential property to religious use. Click here to continue reading.

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“Meet the new campus Gestapo”

Concept Of College EducationBy Washington Post

On campuses across America, the Thought Police have a new tool: Bias Response Teams, administrators who crack down on classroom insensitivity.

More than 100 US colleges have set up BRTs. The newshounds at Heat Street last week dug up a taste of how it works.

A professor at the University of Northern Colorado got visited by the school’s Bias Response Team — for imploring his students to think about opposing viewpoints.

Heat Street’s Freedom of Information Act request revealed that the professor 1) had students read an Atlantic article about rising sensitivity of college students, and 2) asked them to consider un-PC [politically correct) views on topics like global warming and transgender issues. Click here to continue reading.

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Eleven States Sue White House Over Schools’ ‘Bathroom Law’

Photo: AP

By Reuters

Officials from 11 states sued the Obama administration on Wednesday, seeking to overturn a directive from the federal government that public schools should allow transgender students to use the bathroom matching their gender identity.

Ramping up the simmering battles over contentious cultural issues in America, the states, led by Texas, accused the federal government of rewriting laws by “administrative fiat.”

“Defendants have conspired to turn workplace and educational settings across the country into laboratories for a massive social experiment, flouting the democratic process, and running roughshod over commonsense policies protecting children and basic privacy rights,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit accused the federal government of overstepping its constitutional powers by taking actions that should be left to Congress or individual states. Click here to continue reading.

Canadian Bill Would Extend Nation’s Ban on ‘Hate Propaganda’ to Pertain to ‘Gender Identity’

By Heather Clark
Christian News Network

OTTAWA — A bill has been introduced in the Canadian Parliament that would extend the country’s ban on “hate propaganda” to pertain to “gender identity.”

Bill C-16 was introduced on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia by Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould.

“This enactment amends the Canadian Human Rights Act to add gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination,” a summary of the bill outlines.

“The enactment also amends the Criminal Code to extend the protection against hate propaganda set out in that Act to any section of the public that is distinguished by gender identity or expression,” it continues, “and to clearly set out that evidence that an offence was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on gender identity or expression constitutes an aggravating circumstance that a court must take into consideration when it imposes a sentence.” Click here to continue reading.

PayPal Pulls North Carolina Expansion Plan After Transgender Restroom Law

If our action in keeping men out of women’s bathrooms and showers protected the life of just one child or one woman from being molested or assaulted, then it was worth it.— North Carolina Lieutenant Gov. Dan Forest

photo from CNN

By the Editors at Christian News Network

(Reuters) PayPal Holdings Inc (PYPL.O) on Tuesday canceled plans to open a global operations center in Charlotte, North Carolina and invest $3.6 million in the area after the state passed a controversial law targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) citizens.

 The digital payment company’s protest is the first by a major business after North Carolina became the first state last month to enact a measure requiring people to use bathrooms or locker rooms in schools and other public facilities that match the gender on their birth certificate rather than their gender identity.

The law, which overturned a Charlotte city ordinance, was widely interpreted as an attack on LGBT rights. State lawmakers also voted to prohibit local governments from enacting anti-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Click here to continue reading.

Illinois Bed and Breakfast Ordered to Pay $80,000 for Declining to Host “Gay” Civil Union Ceremony

“[The homosexual agenda] uses anti-discrimination laws as a bully club when dissenting Americans disagree with men trying to marry men, women marrying women, men changing to women, and women changing to men,” the site reads. “It basically says that God is confused by marriage, family and sexuality and that we need to correct His mistakes.”—TimberCreek website

By Heather Clark
Christian News Network

The Walders – photo from Christian News Network

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The owners of a bed and breakfast in Illinois have been ordered to pay $80,000 after they declined to host a civil union ceremony for two homosexual men on the premises, and have been mandated to facilitate a celebration for the men at their facility within one year.
TimberCreek Bed and Breakfast in Paxton, Illinois is “an upscale Christian country bed and breakfast,” according to its website, and is situated in the midst of a small farming community. Owners Jim and Beth Walder also host church retreats, baby and bridal showers, business meetings and other events at the facility.

In 2011, Todd Wathen contacted TimberCreek via email to inquire if the bed and breakfast would be hosting civil union ceremonies after Illinois approved the unions that year via the “Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act.” Jim Walder replied that the facility had no such plans, and advised Wathen that “homosexuality is immoral and unnatural,” and that “it’s not too late to change your behavior.”

Three days later, Wathen filed a discrimination complaint with the Illinois Human Rights Commission. The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois (ACLU) also soon became involved and sought emotional damages for Wathen and his partner, Mark. Click here to continue reading.

‘Pastor Protection Act’ Unanimously Passes Georgia House

Old Church

         photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission.

By Heather Clark
Christian News Network

ATLANTA, Ga. — The Georgia House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill this week that protects clergy from punishment if they decline to perform same-sex “weddings.”

H.B. 757 was introduced last summer by Rep. Kevin Tanner, R-Dawsonville, and found support from Democrats and Republicans alike.

“No minister of the gospel or cleric or religious practitioner ordained or authorized to solemnize marriages, perform rites, or administer sacraments according to the usages of the denomination, when acting in his or her official religious capacity, shall be required to solemnize any marriage, perform any rite or administer any sacrament in violation of his or her right to free exercise of religion under the Constitution of this state or the United States,” the bill reads in part.

In addition to churches, the bill also applies to religious schools, missionary societies and denominational conventions.Click here to continue reading.


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