Every summer, I have the pleasure of attending the National Conference of State Legislatures annual conference. I am AU’s State Legislative Counsel and this conference, the biggest gathering of state legislators and staff in the country, gives us with the opportunity to educate state legislators and their staff, about AU, our mission, and how we can work with them to fight for religious freedom.
Most of the country now knows Khzir and Ghazala Khan as the parents of Capt. Humayun Khan, a brave soldier who was killed in Iraq in 2004. But Khzir Khan’s moving speech at the Democratic National Convention and his wife’s subsequent comments haven’t deterred Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump from attacking their motivations.
It should surprise no one that U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) mentioned religious freedom in his speech to the Republican National Convention last night. The former presidential candidate won the Values Voter Summit straw poll three years running and was widely regarded as the Religious Right’s favored candidate when he first entered the race.
Newt Gingrich will not be Donald Trump’s running mate, but for a while he thought he could be. Last night, faced with a bloody attack in Nice, France, and the knowledge Trump would likely choose Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to be his running mate, Gingrich made one last bid for the mogul’s affection.
In what is a genuine case of government-sponsored religious persecution, Chinese authorities have reportedly removed crosses from 1,200 to 1,700 churches over the past two years in an apparent attempt to keep the symbol from public view.
The New York Times reported last week that the campaign has been mostly restricted to the country’s heavily Christian Zhejiang province, but human rights activists fear it will soon expand.
It seems a man known as “Philly Jesus” is not feeling the brotherly love of his namesake city after he was, in his attorney’s words, thrown out of a retail store “because of his religious beliefs.”
The actual charges against him, however, appear to have more to do with inappropriate behavior than faith.
Americans United has been keeping tabs on a number of bills in the states that purport to defend “religious freedom” while actually undermining that principle.
These proposals are a response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2015 decision upholding marriage equality. They take several forms.
Multiple states are considering socalled “First Amendment Defense Acts.” Some of these bills simply state that no member of the clergy can be compelled to preside at a same-sex wedding.
In a nod to growing diversity in the United States, the U.S. Congress may soon have an openly non-theistic member after state Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Silver Spring-Takoma Park) won a Maryland primary last night.