DOJ backs Kentucky photographer who won’t do gay weddings
Jul 3, 2020

By Brooke Sopelsa The Department of Justice is backing a Kentucky wedding photographer who is suing the city of Louisville over an ordinance banning local businesses from discriminating against gay customers. The DOJ’s “statement of interest,” filed this week in federal court, asserts that the photographer, Chelsey Nelson, is likely to succeed in her claim, …

Christian Pastor and Wife Plead Guilty in Convenience Store Embezzling Scheme
Jul 2, 2020 · 2 

By Hemant Mehta A Missouri pastor and his wife just got charged in a huge embezzling scheme, and for once, the church wasn’t involved in the scam. Here’s the backstory: A few years ago, the owner of two Doc’s Stop gas station and convenience stores hired Jeanine Poe to manage them. In 2015, however, Poe told the …

The Coronavirus Spread In A Dallas Megachurch’s Choir And Orchestra. Then It Hosted Mike Pence.
Jul 2, 2020

By Rosalind Adams, Dan Vergano, and Ellie Hall At least five members of the choir and orchestra at the Dallas megachurch visited by Vice President Mike Pence this weekend tested positive for the coronavirus in June, according to Facebook posts and internal church emails reviewed by BuzzFeed News. An additional orchestra member had symptoms several days after …

Scandals, compensation programs lead Catholic clergy sex abuse complaints to quadruple in 2019
Jul 2, 2020

By Michelle Boorstein The number of allegations of Catholic clergy sex abuse of minors more than quadrupled in 2019 compared to the average in the previous five years, U.S. church officials reported this week, in part the result of new church-run compensation programs for victims as well as survivors driven to come forward by several …

Catholic pastor in Indiana faces backlash for calling Black Lives Matter protesters ‘maggots and parasites’
Jul 1, 2020

By Morgan Gstalter A Catholic diocese in Indiana is facing calls to remove a local pastor after he compared the Black Lives Matter movement and its demonstrators to “maggots and parasites.” Father Theodore Rothrock of St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church in Carmel made the comments during his weekly message on Sunday, The Indy Star reported. “The only lives that …

Trump’s white evangelical approval slips, Pew finds, but 82 percent still likely to vote for him
Jul 1, 2020

By Sarah Pulliam Bailey As cases of the novel coronavirus rise and protests have erupted over racial injustice across the nation, President Trump’s approval rating has dropped among his base of white evangelicals, though the vast majority still plan to vote for him, a new survey shows. White evangelicals remain the religious group most supportive of the president, …

Trump appointee at USAID repeatedly made anti-immigrant and anti-LGBTQ comments, said ‘female empowerment is a civilizational calamity’
Jun 30, 2020

By Andrew Kaczynski and Nathan McDermott A Trump administration appointee at the United States’ agency responsible for foreign aid has a history of inflammatory rhetoric aimed at refugees, the LGBTQ community and women. The comments come from Merritt Corrigan, the recently appointed deputy White House liaison at the US Agency for International Development, in tweets …

Despite a culture ‘entrenched in fear,’ LGBTQ students find ways to thrive at Liberty University
Jun 30, 2020

By Jack Jenkins When LeeQuan McLaurin enrolled at Liberty University as an undergraduate in 2012, he was still trying to understand his sexuality. So McLaurin, a Christian who now identifies as queer, did what many students at the conservative Christian school do: He joined a Bible study. Specifically, he joined “Armor Bearers,” which McLaurin said …

Supreme Court opens door to state funding for religious schools
Jun 30, 2020

By Ariane de Vogue and Devan Cole In a ruling that will open the door to more public funding for religious education, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled in favor of parents in Montana seeking to use a state scholarship program to send their children to religious schools. The court said that a Montana tax credit program …

Mississippi Lawmakers Vote to Replace Racist State Flag With Religious One
Jun 29, 2020 · 3 

By Hemant Mehta Mississippi lawmakers voted today to replace the state flag and remove the Confederate symbol that’s currently on it. Governor Tate Reeves has already said he plans to sign the bill. But whatever the new flag will look like, it will have to include the words “In God We Trust,” replacing racism with religion. I posted about this possibility …

The Separation of Church and State Is Breaking Down Under Trump
Jun 29, 2020

By Micah Schwartzman, Richard Schragger, and Nelson Tebbe The separation of Church and state is supposed to prevent government favoritism of religion in the United States. For most of the past century, the Supreme Court interpreted the establishment clause of the First Amendment to mean that government cannot “pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, …

Supreme Court strikes down Louisiana abortion clinic law
Jun 29, 2020

By Mark Sherman The Supreme Court on Monday struck down a Louisiana law regulating abortion clinics, reasserting a commitment to abortion rights over fierce opposition from dissenting conservative justices in the first big abortion case of the Trump era. Chief Justice John Roberts joined with his four more liberal colleagues in ruling that the law requiring doctors …