Religious views – Waterloo Band http://waterlooband.net/ Thu, 29 Sep 2022 16:31:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://waterlooband.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/icon.png Religious views – Waterloo Band http://waterlooband.net/ 32 32 Religious bigotry covered in politeness is still bigotry https://waterlooband.net/religious-bigotry-covered-in-politeness-is-still-bigotry/ Thu, 29 Sep 2022 14:04:04 +0000 https://waterlooband.net/religious-bigotry-covered-in-politeness-is-still-bigotry/ Bigotry is alive and well supported by all Abrahamic sects. (Andy Nelson |AP) Oregon students and fans cheer during the first half of an NCAA college football game against BYU Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022 in Eugene, Ore. By Gregory A. Clark | Special for La Tribune | September 29, 2022, 2:00 p.m. Utah Governor Spencer […]]]>

Bigotry is alive and well supported by all Abrahamic sects.

(Andy Nelson |AP) Oregon students and fans cheer during the first half of an NCAA college football game against BYU Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022 in Eugene, Ore.

Utah Governor Spencer Cox rightly reprimanded the “F–k the Mormons!” chant shouted by some University of Oregon fans during Oregon’s recent football game against Brigham Young University.

“Religious bigotry is alive and celebrated in Oregon,” Cox tweeted.

The chant was indeed unfortunate and was widely rejected. But here’s the thing:

An even deeper fanaticism is alive and celebrated in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And in the governor’s office and house. Regularly, it is financially backed and supported by millions of practicing Mormons and members of other Abrahamic sects.

Yet, too often, non-believers are told to accept and even respect such fanaticism, simply because it is religious.

“Avoid it.”

Not so, you say? This is.

Consider:

To begin with, the Mormon church denied black people the priesthood and entry into the temple.

It’s not just an old, irrelevant story.

The church has never repudiated its racist ban. Even decades after his arrest, then-prophet Gordon Hinckley was still preaching his righteousness. The Book of Mormon still proclaims that black skin is a curse from Jesus to mark a filthy people.

Clearly, the current Mormon prophet Russell Nelson practiced racial segregation. Like all Mormon prophets down to Brigham Young. Just like millions of church members still living today.

Banning black people from the temple is racist, as is banning them from a school, a lunch counter or a water fountain.

Under almost any guise other than religion, to be an unapologetic racial segregationist – past or present – ​​would be nearly disqualifying for many important public positions. But it’s a standard and acceptable personal story for many Utah politicians, business leaders, and leaders of Utah’s public and private educational institutions. Because: Religion.

Likewise, the Mormon Church has fought vigorously – sometimes illegally – against same-sex civil marriage.

The official and public justifications of the church? That Jesus himself ordered gay lovers to be killed, along with scriptural preaching that gays and lesbians are “worthy of death.” Yes really.

After the Supreme Court decision upholding same-sex marriage rights, new official Mormon policy decreed that those in same-sex marriages were apostates and excluded their children from full participation in Mormon rites. In truth, this petty bigotry was the revealed mind and will of the Lord. So says the prophet.

Still, most Mormons stayed. And paid.

Plus, of course, there’s Mormon patriarchal sexism. Such sexism is often illegal in the public domain. Well Named. But every tithing Mormon supports him financially as far as his religion is concerned. Because: Priorities.

If you are truly concerned about sectarian hate speech, consult the Bible, including the words of the Lord. It is not just the Book of Mormon that is a manual of holy hatred. The Bible is too.

Yet the Bible figures prominently and widely in places of worship, both progressive and fundamentalist. It is used to swear in court witnesses and government officials, including Presidents of the United States. And, of course, it’s a popular accessory, as shown by then-President Donald Trump.

Imagine a president posing publicly with “Mein Kampf”. Most people would rightly be put off. But when it’s the Bible, it’s to be admired. Or apologists preach that the Good Book is twisted. It’s not.

So look on the bright side. At least the Oregon students weren’t chanting, “Thou shalt not allow a Mormon to live,” or that they better be drowned with a grindstone around their necks. Or threatening: “I will rub your face with dung, even the dung of your solemn feasts. Or shout that Mormons in mixed relationships are “filled with…wickedness” and “worthy of death.”

The anti-Mormon chanting of some Oregon students was inappropriate. But at least it wasn’t the publicly revered official writings or the practice of a multi-billion dollar society with millions of members.

Mormons’ continued involvement and support for tithing speaks louder than polite empty words. Or their newspaper columns.

The key question is not whether bigotry is expressed with profanity or rather with superficial politeness. Dung covered in nuggets is still dung underneath. And religious bigotry covered in politeness is still bigotry.

So, Guv and his friends. Are you really against religious bigotry?

So take the beam out of your own eye. And do to others what you would have them do to you.

| Photo courtesy Gregory Clark

Gregory A. Clark lives and teaches in Salt Lake City. As an unholy, divinely labeled ‘fool’, ‘dog’ and ‘pig’, he blushes after his solemn feasts and cautiously watches the millstone-carrying villagers.

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Astana’s religious confab strikes the right tone https://waterlooband.net/astanas-religious-confab-strikes-the-right-tone/ Mon, 26 Sep 2022 03:01:11 +0000 https://waterlooband.net/astanas-religious-confab-strikes-the-right-tone/ In the heart of Eurasia, Kazakhstan, September 13-15, the VII Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, a triennial event held in Astana since 2003, called on secular and religious leaders around the world to return to the reason and to see that the common values ​​of humanity, universal and immutable, must serve as […]]]>

In the heart of Eurasia, Kazakhstan, September 13-15, the VII Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, a triennial event held in Astana since 2003, called on secular and religious leaders around the world to return to the reason and to see that the common values ​​of humanity, universal and immutable, must serve as the starting point for constructive dialogue in a world torn by war and conflict.

At this time of great peril when the drums of war are resounding across the world, the Astana Congress stressed that diplomats must redouble their efforts on the language of reconciliation and compromise before engaging in conflict preventable. Unfortunately, most of the mainstream media ignored the Astana Congress, even though the highest leaders of the religious world attended.

Pope Francis summed up the Astana Congress in an interview on the way back to Rome, always calling for dialogue, “an outstretched hand, always! Otherwise, we are closing the only reasonable door to peace. In other words, to claim that international or inter-civilizational conflicts are resolved only by force is not only short-sighted, but the cause of immense suffering. Humanity can do better.

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Offsite religious education will interrupt the school day https://waterlooband.net/offsite-religious-education-will-interrupt-the-school-day/ Sat, 24 Sep 2022 10:15:40 +0000 https://waterlooband.net/offsite-religious-education-will-interrupt-the-school-day/ Continuous learning required As a retired teacher, I am depressed by the continued attacks on public education. We have a shortage of teachers and certified professional staff and schools lack adequate funding. We want educators to address the many issues children bring into their classrooms. However, audiences want to dictate which books they can read […]]]>

Continuous learning required

As a retired teacher, I am depressed by the continued attacks on public education.

We have a shortage of teachers and certified professional staff and schools lack adequate funding. We want educators to address the many issues children bring into their classrooms. However, audiences want to dictate which books they can read or how they are discussed.

Our school day is already too short and now we are going to interrupt it to transport the children off-site for religious education. For some readers, the disruption may seem minimal; however, for an educator, this will require another shift in planning and coordination at the expense of lifelong learning.

Pat Bagley - Forbidden Books

After:What You Need to Know About Hilliard City Schools’ New Policy on Time Released for Religious Instruction

Children are not widgets that you can move from point A to point B without consequences. As a young child, I took religious education classes, but they were held at my church on a weeknight. My parents also ensured my religious education every day in our home.

Again, we will criticize educators when our students do not meet our expectations. However, the focus should be on teaching and learning without politics, without vested interests.

Ann Heffernan, Christopher Columbus

Christopher Weyant - Inflation Check

Food prices will soar

Without taking sides on the potential Kroger strike (September 20 article, “Kroger Reveals Offer Details”), there is one fact: If you think inflation is particularly bad in the food industry right now, wait until you see her after that. the situation is resolved.

Jack E. Willer, Christopher Columbus

Letters to the Editor

Share your thoughts:How to Submit a Letter to the Editor for The Columbus Dispatch

Bill would support farmers

Regarding the September 22 article “OSU, Nationwide Unveils Agricultural Technology Center Amid Climate Change”: Climate change continues to have a negative effect on our agriculture industry. We need to take various approaches to mitigate this.

According to the Ohio State Extension, buckwheat is one of many cover crops that can improve soil health and organic matter.

The Ohio State University is doing just that with the recent announcement of its Innovation Center. They will foster more research and collaboration between producers and scientists to create a more robust and resilient food supply. Another step by farmers is the practice of regenerative agriculture,

After:Ohio State and Nationwide Unveil Agricultural Technology Innovation Center to Adapt to Climate Change

Christopher Weyant - Inflation Check

Converting from traditional fertilizer agriculture takes a few years to produce bountiful harvests, but it is a more sustainable approach. He uses cover crops to protect the soil. The soil absorbs more water during heavy rains, but also survives periods of drought better. The micro-organisms present in the earth make it a living soil, because they feed on carbon and feed the crops.

One of the big results is that this environmental approach will remove carbon from the atmosphere, while improving our food supply per acre.

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Religious parties’ opposition to rights law concerns transgender community – Journal https://waterlooband.net/religious-parties-opposition-to-rights-law-concerns-transgender-community-journal/ Fri, 23 Sep 2022 23:18:50 +0000 https://waterlooband.net/religious-parties-opposition-to-rights-law-concerns-transgender-community-journal/ ISLAMABAD: The transgender community on Friday criticized religious elements in the country who oppose the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act (2018). Speaking at a press conference at the National Press Club, representative of the transgender community Nayab Ali said the law guaranteed all basic rights for Pakistan’s transgender community but was under attack from […]]]>

ISLAMABAD: The transgender community on Friday criticized religious elements in the country who oppose the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act (2018).

Speaking at a press conference at the National Press Club, representative of the transgender community Nayab Ali said the law guaranteed all basic rights for Pakistan’s transgender community but was under attack from members of extreme right of society.

The Parliament of Pakistan approved the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act in May 2018, which included the support of all political parties in Pakistan.

However, almost all prominent religious political groups opposed the law which was already enacted in 2018 under the PTI-led government.

The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2018 has passed the National Assembly and Senate with the endorsement of all major political parties in Parliament.

Activist says law needed because transgender people are entitled to equal rights

However, the current controversy related to the law emerged after Senator Mushtaq Ahmad of Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) submitted amendments to the law and even challenged the law in the Federal Shariah Court (FSC). He believes that this bill was an attempt to legally protect homosexuality in the country. Meanwhile, Nayab Ali criticized religious groups and said that assumption was incorrect.

As the vast majority of people in the transgender community prefer to be addressed as “Madam”, Ms Nayab said violence against the transgender community has increased in recent months, particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Incidents include murders and there has been a systematic campaign against the transgender community to disenfranchise them.

“Such a law was necessary because we too are citizens of this state – and it entitles us to equal rights to education, health facilities, transgender identity on our identity cards, passports which would allow us to own property and businesses,” Ms. Ali said, adding, “These rights will allow us to opt for a decent life instead of just being second-class entertainers.”

The transgender community, however, claims that false propaganda has been launched against the Transgender Protection Act, complaining that labeling those who fight for equal rights for transgender people as “gay” is tantamount to committing cruelty to against them.

“The real problem is that this bill gives us the right to vote and participate in elections and that is why the clerics are afraid of us that we can participate in elections against them and even win with the support of Pakistanis,” added Nayab Ali.

Speakers said the assumption against the law which implied that it promotes “same-sex marriage” was absolutely wrong as it is illegal under Pakistani law anyway.

“I would advise critics of the law to read it first because the law was based on medical grounds, in addition the law was finalized after parliamentarians considered cultural and religious grounds in this regard as well,” said Nayab, adding that extremist minorities in Pakistani society were trying to challenge the law which was enacted after the collective wisdom as well as the will of the majority of this country.

“I am sure that the attempt to show that this law was un-Islamic will be denied in the Federal Sharia Court as they will not find any of their arguments credible,” Nayab said.

Although there are several serious oppositions to the law from some groups, Majlis Wahdat i Muslimeen Allama leader Nasir Abbas said Friday that transgender people are a respectable part of society and should have rights fundamentals available to all other men and women in the country.

“But we need to make the necessary changes to section 3 of the Transgender Protection Act 2018 because the law says a person must determine their gender identity according to their imagination and will,” said he said, adding: “This could lead to inappropriate behavior in society.

While Maulana Fazlur Rahman, head of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) said the law is against the teachings of Holy Quran and Sunnah and added that he would submit amendments to Parliament.

Amir Jamaat-i-Islami Pakistan Sirajul Haq said transgender law is against Sharia.

Incidentally, Senator Mohsin Aziz of the PTI also voiced his opposition to the law and even claimed that it was approved when his party was in power due to a lack of awareness of the issue.

He too introduced amendments against the law, but added that the transgender community should be granted their rights as equal citizens.

Posted in Dawn, September 24, 2022

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Pentagon’s ‘Broad Denial’ of Religious Vaccine Exemption Requests Prompts GOP Lawmakers to Demand Answers https://waterlooband.net/pentagons-broad-denial-of-religious-vaccine-exemption-requests-prompts-gop-lawmakers-to-demand-answers/ Thu, 22 Sep 2022 19:57:25 +0000 https://waterlooband.net/pentagons-broad-denial-of-religious-vaccine-exemption-requests-prompts-gop-lawmakers-to-demand-answers/ More than a dozen Republican lawmakers called on Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to answer questions following the release earlier this month of a leaked memo from the Pentagon watchdog that revealed a ” potential breach” of the law in the process of reviewing and denying requests for religious accommodation. to the mandate of the vaccine. […]]]>

More than a dozen Republican lawmakers called on Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to answer questions following the release earlier this month of a leaked memo from the Pentagon watchdog that revealed a ” potential breach” of the law in the process of reviewing and denying requests for religious accommodation. to the mandate of the vaccine.

The June 2 memo from Acting Inspector General (IG) Sean W. O’Donnell states that after reviewing dozens of denials of religious accommodation requests, the IG’s office “found a trend toward generalized assessments rather than the individualized assessment required by federal law and DoD and military service policies.

In a Sept. 19 letter to Austin, 15 lawmakers pointed to extremely low approval rates for requests for religious exemptions to the Department of Defense (DoD) vaccination mandate.

According to the most recent publicly available data, only 196 requests for religious accommodation have been approved out of more than 26,000 requests in the armed forces.

The lawmakers wrote that it was “particularly concerning” that most approved requests for religious accommodation were granted to service members who were due to retire, and that “all branches approved requests for exemption from non-religious vaccines at a much higher rate than religious exemptions”.

“This suggests that the DoD applies different policies to military applications based on their religious beliefs and expected employment status,” the letter said.

Referring to the memo, the lawmakers wrote that the “blanket denial” of religious accommodation requests violates DoD Instruction 1300.17 (pdf), which requires that each religious accommodation request be reviewed individually.

“In summary, according to the DoD IG memo, the Department engaged in unlawful religious discrimination,” the lawmakers wrote.

The findings of the IG memo came as no surprise to Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.), who signed the letter.

“The fact that the Department of Defense has not seriously considered religious exemptions is no surprise,” Higgins told The Epoch Times.

“We expected the Biden administration to have issued directives to force compliance with the vaccine mandate, and that was reflected in the nearly universal refusal rate.”

Another signing representative Doug Lamborn (R-Co.) described the findings as “extremely concerning.”

“The fact that religious exemption cases were not individually reviewed and only assessed for a maximum of 12 minutes on average is a gross violation of our military’s rights under the Restoration of Religious Freedom (RFRA),” Lamborn told The Epoch Times in an email. .

The Colorado congressman said he “will continue to work tirelessly with my colleagues in Congress to ensure the DoD respects the First Amendment rights of our men and women in the military above a illegal vaccine mandate”.

Members of Congress, in the letter, requested that various documents be provided by September 30. These include a complete copy of the IG memo dated June 2, all documents associated with Navy, Air Force and Army religious accommodation requests for COVID -19 vaccinations, as well as all internal DoD policy directives associated with the review of religious accommodation requests for vaccines.

“The COVID vaccine mandate has been detrimental to recruiting efforts and military readiness. It also turned out to be totally useless,” Higgins said. “All federal COVID mandates must be terminated, especially the nonsensical vaccination mandate of our Armed Forces,” he added.

Army Chief Warrant Officer Danny Erickson (a pseudonym), who originally posted parts of the leaked memo on his website, said the document proves Pentagon leadership is aware of the issue.

“We can no longer say that the [secretary of defense] did not know, [because] he has known since at least June 2,” Erickson told The Epoch Times.

For Erickson, “the most concerning thing about the IG’s letter to … Austin, and the DOD’s subsequent silence in response to its publication, is the blatant disregard for the law.”

“Congress faced [Austin]and now we will wait to see if he will respond or ignore the letter as he has with so many others sent in the past by members of Congress,” he added.

Erikson emphasized that his views do not reflect those of the Department of Defense or the Department of the Army. The DoD did not respond to requests for comment.

Follow

JM Phelps is a writer and researcher on Islamist and Chinese threats. He’s on Twitter at @JMPhelpsLC

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Arab youth survey finds religious faith central to young people’s identity, though most want institutional reforms – News https://waterlooband.net/arab-youth-survey-finds-religious-faith-central-to-young-peoples-identity-though-most-want-institutional-reforms-news/ Wed, 21 Sep 2022 07:20:00 +0000 https://waterlooband.net/arab-youth-survey-finds-religious-faith-central-to-young-peoples-identity-though-most-want-institutional-reforms-news/ 70% of young people surveyed in the GCC and 60% in North Africa say Islamic Sharia principles should be the foundation of their legal systems Published: Wed Sep 21, 2022 11:20 AM Last update: Wed Sep 21, 2022 2:46 PM Claiming that their faith is the cornerstone of their identity, Arab youth are prioritizing the […]]]>

70% of young people surveyed in the GCC and 60% in North Africa say Islamic Sharia principles should be the foundation of their legal systems



Published: Wed Sep 21, 2022 11:20 AM

Last update: Wed Sep 21, 2022 2:46 PM

Claiming that their faith is the cornerstone of their identity, Arab youth are prioritizing the preservation of religious and cultural traditions over the creation of a more globalized society, according to the latest Arab youth survey.

Nearly two-thirds say their legal structures should be based on Sharia.

At the same time, many young Arab men and women say religion plays too big a role in the region and want religious institutions to reform. In contrast, 73% of Arab youth as a whole (78% in the GCC, 76% in North Africa and 65% in the Levant) say religion plays too big a role in life in the Middle East. More than three-quarters (77%) say the region’s religious institutions need to be reformed.

These diverging results were some of the highlights of ASDA’A BCW’s 14th annual survey of Arab youth, unveiled Wednesday by communications consultancy ASDA’A BCW.

This year’s study finds young Arab men and women at a crossroads. Having lived through the upheavals of the Arab Spring, the rise and fall of Daesh and the Covid-19 pandemic, they want to retain their identity while embracing change.

According to the results, 41% of young Arabs say their religion is most important to their identity, a 7% increase from 2021.

Next come their nationality (18%), their family or tribe (17%) and their cultural heritage (seven percent). Young people in the Levant, however, are less attached to religion than their peers in the GCC and North Africa, with only a quarter saying it was most important to their identity.

The Arabic language is considered the most critical factor by only 5% of the study sample. More than half (55%) also say the Arabic language is less important to young people than their parents, although only 40% of GCC youth share this view.

Almost three-quarters of young Arabs (70%) and a clear majority in the GCC, North Africa and the Levant expressed concern about the loss of traditional values ​​and culture.

Most young people in all three regions agree that preserving the region’s religious and cultural identity is more important than creating a more globalized society (65% say this overall). And 70% of young people in the GCC and 60% of young people in North Africa say the Islamic principles of Shariah should be the basis of their legal systems, although just over four in ten in the Levant are of OK.

Sunil John, President of MENA, BCW and Founder of ASDA’A BCW, said the research presents valuable insights into the mindset of young Arab men and women in the MENA region and the issues that policy makers must resolve if they are to make the most of their potential.

“The 2022 survey, regarding personal identity, raises as many questions as it answers. Some vast regional divisions and contradictions can only be explained by the differing economies, lifestyles and cultures across the region. “

“As unemployment rages in some countries, reform has been the buzzword in 2022, and the influence of foreign cultures in the region is growing rapidly,” John added. “It has an impact on the mindset of young Arabs today.”

READ ALSO :

The annual survey was conducted among young Arabs in 50 cities across 17 MENA states from May 13 to June 16 this year, using face-to-face interviews conducted by professional surveyors.

The interviews were conducted in Arabic and English with young Arab men and women, exclusively young nationals from each state. The sample distribution was 50/50 men/women.

Presented under six distinct themes – Identity, Livelihoods, Politics, Global Citizenship, Lifestyle and Aspirations – the results reveal a generation at a crossroads, facing the dilemma of preserving their culture and traditional values ​​on the one hand and to embrace modernization and reform on the other. other.

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Majority of donations in India are made to religious organisations: report https://waterlooband.net/majority-of-donations-in-india-are-made-to-religious-organisations-report/ Tue, 20 Sep 2022 04:01:00 +0000 https://waterlooband.net/majority-of-donations-in-india-are-made-to-religious-organisations-report/ Of the total donations worth Rs 23,700 crore given by Indians between October 2020 and September 2021, the maximum went to religious organizations. A recent study showed that 64% of all donations went to religious organizations, and the highest number of donations were made by low-income and middle-class households. The study, “How India Gives […]]]>

Of the total donations worth Rs 23,700 crore given by Indians between October 2020 and September 2021, the maximum went to religious organizations. A recent study showed that 64% of all donations went to religious organizations, and the highest number of donations were made by low-income and middle-class households.

The study, “How India Gives 2020-21”, was released by the Center for Social Impact and Philanthropy (CSIP) to uncover the pattern of giving money in India.

According to a report published in the Indian Express (IE), the amount donated was higher in urban areas, while the number of donations was higher in rural areas of India. Most Indians prefer cash donations to in-kind donations, the report adds.

Beggars were the preferred recipients of donations in India, receiving total donations worth Rs 2,900 crore, or nearly 12% of all donations. They were followed by “family and friends” receiving Rs 2,000 crore in donations.

“House staff” received Rs 1,000 crore during the period.

The survey further highlighted that men prefer to donate to religious organizations, family and friends. Women, on the other hand, prefer to donate to beggars and household staff.

The largest number of donations was made by East Indians, followed by North Indians.

Of the money given to “non-religious organizations”, the largest amount went to NGOs, trusts, foundations and schools. This was followed by the PM CARES fund and the CM CARES fund.

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Commentary: A Texas judge just went too far on “religious freedom” | Opinion columns https://waterlooband.net/commentary-a-texas-judge-just-went-too-far-on-religious-freedom-opinion-columns/ Sat, 17 Sep 2022 12:00:00 +0000 https://waterlooband.net/commentary-a-texas-judge-just-went-too-far-on-religious-freedom-opinion-columns/ The long march of religious freedom exemptions is accelerating. People who brought you contraceptive care exemptions and exemptions from COVID rules and vaccines have now switched to HIV drug insurance. Last week, a federal district court ruled that a Christian employer was entitled to an exemption from the requirement that all insurance plans cover pre-exposure […]]]>

The long march of religious freedom exemptions is accelerating. People who brought you contraceptive care exemptions and exemptions from COVID rules and vaccines have now switched to HIV drug insurance. Last week, a federal district court ruled that a Christian employer was entitled to an exemption from the requirement that all insurance plans cover pre-exposure prophylaxis (PreP) drugs that prevent the spread of the virus. HIV.

Superficially, the court’s decision, under the Restoration of Religious Freedom Act (RFRA), appears to resemble the Affordable Care Act exemption from mandatory contraceptive coverage that the Supreme Court granted in the United States. Hobby Lobby case from 2014. But on a deeper level, the new decision goes much further than the Hobby Lobby decision.

If upheld by the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, the Texas ruling would exempt an employer who refuses to provide health care coverage of any kind on the grounds that medical insurance encourages people to rely on medical science, not religious faith, to plan their lives.

To see how important this case is, you have to go back to 2014. In the Hobby Lobby case, the Christian employer claimed that his religious freedom was encumbered by providing insurance for contraception. And Hobby Lobby explained that he considers contraception a religious error.

In contrast, in the new case, Braidwood Management Inc. presented a much less direct argument. He claimed his religious exercise was significantly burdened because the provision of PreP drugs “encourages homosexual behavior, prostitution, sexual promiscuity, and intravenous drug use.”

In other words, Braidwood did not say it was inherently religiously wrong to use the drug, the same way Hobby Lobby said it was wrong to use contraception. Rather, he said providing assurance for it would “encourage” behavior they believe violates the Bible. The district court accepted this extraordinarily broad claim.

The upshot is that, under the new ruling, anyone who wishes to avoid almost any provision of federal law could say that abiding by the law would permit behavior that their religion disfavors.

The Department of Health and Human Services seems to have understood the enormous implications of Braidwood’s general assertion of a right to exemption. In response, HHS argued that Braidwood’s claim was based on an “empirical” claim that these drugs “facilitate” same-sex and extramarital sex. Therefore, according to HHS reasoning, Braidwood should prove his factual assertion to the world, not just state it without providing any evidence.

The court strongly rejected HHS’ position. “Defendants [HHS] improperly challenge the accuracy “of Braidwood’s beliefs, the court wrote, “when courts can only test the sincerity of those beliefs”. In other words, it doesn’t matter if the assertion is true; everything what matters is that Braidwood believes in it. By this logic, once Braidwood, or anyone else seeking an exemption on religious grounds, asserts his sincere belief that something (anything!) weighs on his religious belief, that’s the end of the story.The courts have to accept whatever the party says.

In support, the court cited a concurring opinion from Judge Samuel Alito in the 2020 case involving the Little Sisters of the Poor. In that case, the nuns objected on religious liberty grounds to the exemption from providing contraceptive insurance that HHS had already provided. Alito wrote that if an employer “has a sincere religious belief that respect for [law] makes him complicit” in behavior he rejects, “so RFRA demands that the creed be honored.” The court’s majority opinion in the Little Sisters case, by Judge Clarence Thomas, did not address the issue of whether the nuns’ claim was too indirect.

It is understandable that the courts are unwilling to question the logic of people’s asserted religious beliefs. After all, for many people, religion is a matter of faith; and many forms of faith are and are meant to be outside rational logic. As I said before, questioning people under oath about their religious beliefs is too much like the Inquisition.

Seen in this light, courts should always defer to any sincere assertion of religious belief, no matter how dependent it may be on factual assertions about the real world that are unsubstantiated or even false. And while the law technically requires consideration of the sincerity of the objector’s belief, in practice courts almost invariably defer to their sincerity as well.

The long-term consequences of accepting all asserted religious liberty claims, no matter how attenuated logic, is that there is no logical stop to what valid religious liberty claims can be made for religious exemptions from federal law. If you can put your objection in one sentence – maybe even if you can’t because it’s too mystical – then the law doesn’t apply to you.

Indeed, it is easy to imagine an employer saying that they should be exempt from providing any kind of medical coverage under the Affordable Care Act, because they believe that having insurance medicine helps people trust science instead of divine faith when it comes to their health. It would be an easy claim for any denomination that denies the validity of Western medicine, as Christian Science clearly did in the past.

But remember, under RFRA, anyone can make any religious claim. If you want an exemption, you don’t have to say that medical coverage is useless. Under the new ruling, all you have to say is that providing health care coverage to your employees will make them less likely to rely on God. Boom: You’ve saved thousands, if not millions of dollars in health care costs.

This outcome cannot be what Congress intended when it enacted the RFRA. Exemptions so that no one has to personally violate their own religious beliefs are one thing. Exemptions devised to drive a broader set of socio-religious goals are another. Appeals courts and ultimately the Supreme Court will eventually have to set some limits on RFRA exemptions. The Braidwood case would be a good place to start.

Noah Feldman is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. A professor of law at Harvard University, he is the author, most recently, of “The Broken Constitution: Lincoln, Slavery and the Refounding of America”.

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Southern Baptists will continue to promote protections of “life, religious liberty and marriage” through the political arm https://waterlooband.net/southern-baptists-will-continue-to-promote-protections-of-life-religious-liberty-and-marriage-through-the-political-arm/ Thu, 15 Sep 2022 21:32:44 +0000 https://waterlooband.net/southern-baptists-will-continue-to-promote-protections-of-life-religious-liberty-and-marriage-through-the-political-arm/ Brent Leatherwood, the new president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s public affairs branch, said Thursday that the group’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission will continue to advocate for policies “that protect life, that protect liberty religious”. [and] that protect marriage. He also promised an evangelistic approach to projecting this message. “We will speak and defend […]]]>

Brent Leatherwood, the new president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s public affairs branch, said Thursday that the group’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission will continue to advocate for policies “that protect life, that protect liberty religious”. [and] that protect marriage.

He also promised an evangelistic approach to projecting this message.

“We will speak and defend the truth,” Mr Leatherwood told an online press conference. “But we will do it in a way that invites people to know our Lord and Savior on a better and deeper level.”

On sexual abuse, in which church leaders revealed earlier this year that reports of abuse had been suppressed by senior church officials for two decades, Mr Leatherwood said the ERLC would work with the current task force to “have a number of individuals and leaders who can help get things done,” expanding on actions already taken, including allocating $3 million as an initial figure to provide counseling and support for victims.

He said a “bigger update” on how the denomination is handling the abuse issue is expected to come “in the coming months.”

The leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention said last month that the church was being investigated by the Department of Justice in the matter and would “cooperate fully and completely”.

The ERLC, a public face of the 13.7million-member denomination, has weathered a difficult 16 months since the departure of former leader Russell Moore, who left the post after eight years in office and also quit the baptist church.

Mr. Moore’s departure from the denomination was seen by many as a voice against Southern Baptists who still support former President Donald Trump, even after the Jan. 6, 2021 protests at the U.S. Capitol.

“It’s not my job to bind anyone’s conscience on how to vote,” Mr Leatherwood said.

Other Baptist leaders have been more direct about voting priorities. Speaking this week at a ‘Pray Vote Stand’ summit hosted by the Family Research Council, the Reverend Albert Mohler, head of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said Christians who ‘do not vote or vote wrongly are infidels because the vote is a powerful stewardship.

Mr Leatherwood said he had not heard Mr Mohler’s remarks and would not comment until he did.

When asked how he would bridge the rifts between those who think the ERLC has gone too far or not far enough, Mr Leatherwood said the commission’s work is viewed more positively than the reports suggest. social media posts.

“If you just look on social media, you’ll see there are people with varying opinions on everything we do with the ERLC,” he said. “We are the only entity whose work is done largely in the public sphere and in the public eye.”

He said stepping away from social media, “my sense of things there right now [is] there is a renewed sense of Baptist cooperation and growing Baptist unity.

Mr. Leatherwood addressed other current issues at the press conference, saying that the transportation of illegal immigrants to places such as Martha’s Vineyard and outside the official residence of Vice President Kamala Harris” seems to be more of a public relations issue.”

He said Southern Baptists, who “are adamant in our view of human dignity,” “rather want to try to…bring people together from either political party and say there is solutions that can be found”.

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Treat gender beliefs like you would any religious belief // five top tips for employers from recent cases https://waterlooband.net/treat-gender-beliefs-like-you-would-any-religious-belief-five-top-tips-for-employers-from-recent-cases/ Tue, 13 Sep 2022 12:22:23 +0000 https://waterlooband.net/treat-gender-beliefs-like-you-would-any-religious-belief-five-top-tips-for-employers-from-recent-cases/ A number of recent high-profile cases have drawn public attention to the treatment of gender beliefs. Broadly speaking, gender beliefs state that sex is biological, immutable and should not be confused with gender identity. Those who have no opinion on the subject, whether through indifference, indecisiveness or otherwise, are considered to have a lack of […]]]>

A number of recent high-profile cases have drawn public attention to the treatment of gender beliefs. Broadly speaking, gender beliefs state that sex is biological, immutable and should not be confused with gender identity.

Those who have no opinion on the subject, whether through indifference, indecisiveness or otherwise, are considered to have a lack of belief attracting the same legal protections (“gender-critical beliefs”).

In this article, we have defined five best tips that employers need to take into account when dealing with the expression of beliefs in the workplace.

  1. Assuming that a belief has a good chance of being protected

Under the Equality Act 2010 (EqA), employees are protected from harassment, victimization or discrimination because of their religious or philosophical beliefs. There is a well-established test for determining what constitutes a protected philosophical belief. It must be a genuine and compelling belief that relates to some aspect of human life or behavior and should be worthy of respect in a democratic society. A court will generally not expect too much from a person seeking to protect a creed. Until recently, this last part of the test was likely to be the stumbling block for controversial – and some might say, offensive – beliefs.

This is no longer the case. The majority of convincing and sincere beliefs are capable of protection provided they do not stray into extreme areas such as Nazism. It is not for an employer to choose which beliefs they are willing to tolerate. A belief protected by the LEQA and a belief deemed acceptable by an employer are two very different concepts. In reality, the latter is irrelevant. Once a belief is a protected philosophical belief, it enjoys the same protection as any religious belief. As such, employers should never take disciplinary action because of an employee who simply holds a belief, just as they should never take such action simply because someone has a particular religious belief.

As noted above, it is important to reiterate that the protection of EqA also extends to disbelief. In this context, the disbelief threshold is lower in that it need not satisfy the members of the belief test. As above, disciplinary action should never be taken solely because of this.

  1. Never act in haste

In light of the above threshold, employers should proceed with caution. Unless an employer is absolutely certain that a belief does not fall within the broad protection of the EqA, the belief itself should not be the reason for disciplinary action. This is often the area where employers go wrong. In Forstater v CGD Europe & others, Ms Forstater’s employer acted on the false assumption that her gender belief would not be protected by the EqA. As recent case law has clarified, gendered beliefs are most certainly protected by EqA.

If an employer is in any doubt as to whether a belief is likely to be protected, it is best to assume that it will be. Attention can then be directed to the most important consideration of how that belief manifests itself, which may, depending on the circumstances, provide more justifiable grounds for disciplinary action, if any.

  1. Distinguish between belief and manifestation

As the manifestation of a belief is likely to have an impact on others, individuals do not have the absolute power to do so without consequence. As noted in Forstater, manifesting a lack of belief in transgenderness by misgendering a trans person may constitute harassment – ​​whether they engaged in harassment is a question of fact to be determined on a case-by-case basis. If it amounts to harassment, it will likely be grounds for disciplinary action and should ideally be stated in an anti-harassment policy.

It is important to note that an employee with a belief protected under the EqA does not provide him with both a shield and a sword. Although their belief protects them against discrimination because of said belief, it does not give them additional protection if they are found to have discriminated against others by expressing that belief. As Forstater points out, holding gender beliefs does not entitle an individual to abuse trans people with impunity if doing so would amount to harassment. Everyone is subject to the same prohibitions of discrimination, victimization and harassment in the workplace under the EqA.

  1. Know the difference – direct and indirect discrimination

The distinction between direct and indirect discrimination is one that is often misunderstood, yet one of vital importance to employers. Direct discrimination is never permitted in the case of protected philosophical beliefs. An employer cannot treat an employee less favorably simply because of their protected belief. However, there are situations in which indirect discrimination box be eligible. If an employer applies a particular policy, criterion or practice (PCP) to its staff, which disproportionately affects an individual or group of individuals, it will not be discriminatory if the PCP is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate objective.

The recent Mackereth v. DWP case illustrates indirect discrimination deemed justified with respect to gender-related beliefs. Here, the DWP enforced a policy requiring its employees to address service users by their preferred pronouns. The Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) acknowledged that the group disadvantage for Christians who held beliefs akin to gender beliefs had been established, although the claimant accepted that his particular beliefs were not shared by all Christians. Nevertheless, the EAT considered the policy to be a proportionate means of achieving the employer’s legitimate aims of ensuring that users of transgender services were treated with respect and in accordance with their rights under the EqA and provide a service that promoted equal opportunity.

Whether or not an employer’s policy is justified will depend on the facts. It is not yet known how far employers can push such a policy. For this reason, any pronoun policy must be carefully written and even more carefully enforced. Application without a clear purpose and careful justification can potentially amount to harassment of those who hold gender-specific beliefs. For example, a mandatory policy requiring all staff to state their pronouns in their electronic signature is unlikely to be justifiable. However, if the policy is designed to achieve a legitimate aim and there are no less discriminatory alternatives to achieve it, indirect discrimination against certain employees with gender beliefs may be justifiable. in the circumstances.

As part of best practice, any company policy should ideally go a little further than accurately reflecting the EqA. This will explain to employees how they are expected to behave while reducing the likelihood of any potential discrimination against those with protected beliefs.

  1. Implement a social media policy

An employee expressing a belief outside of the workplace is a more difficult situation to handle, but not impossible. If an employer is concerned about how their employees’ conduct online is impacting the business, the best solution is to ensure that a strong social media policy is in place. This should make it clear that the employer will have the right to discipline the employee for any violation of the policy, which could include discriminatory behavior online in circumstances where such behavior may be linked to the employer. Without this, it will often be much more difficult for an employer to discipline an employee for the inappropriate manifestation of their beliefs outside of the workplace.

That being said, a social media policy will not help an employer restrict an employee’s opinions expressed through lawful speech and engagement in public debate on matters relevant to their protected belief.

An employer should seek to complement a strong social media policy with equal opportunity and anti-harassment policies to ensure the right balance, as well as training on the parameters of permissible conduct.

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