In the News: Breaking Religious Freedom Stories Across the Country

February 17, 2023
Fli Insider | In the News

Catch up on the latest and most important religious freedom headlines around the web.

The Forgotten Urgency of Religious Liberty

In an op-ed for WORLD, First Liberty attorney Mike Berry discusses President Biden’s National Security Strategy and how religious freedom is missing in action. He writes:

“President Biden delivered his second State of the Union address to the United States Congress. Of the issues that he and his administration believe are important, there was one glaring omission—religious liberty as a component of our national security… Considering the present challenges America faces both domestically and internationally, one would think religious liberty would remain as a central component of our national security strategy.”

The FBI Has Found a Gateway To Declare Christians As Criminals: Federal Whistleblower

Fox News reports: The FBI has found a new gateway to declare Christians as criminals, a federal whistleblower said on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” An internal document from the bureau’s Richmond, Virginia, field office allegedly vowed to spy on “radical traditionalist Catholics and their ideology.”

In a letter to the FBI, Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares and 19 other GOP attorneys general urged the department to “desist from investigating and surveilling Americans who have done nothing more than exercise their natural and constitutional right to practice their religion.”

Radical Group Demands Deion Sanders Stop ‘Religious Exercises with Players’ At University Of Colorado

The Christian Post reports: The radical Freedom From Religion Foundation wrote a letter to University of Colorado Boulder with concerns about newly minted football Coach Deion Sanders leading a Christian prayer and “engaging in religious exercises with players and staff members.” The letter said the prayers raise “constitutional concerns with new football coach Deion Sanders’ promotion of religion and potential religious coercion through the football program.”

AOC Blasts ‘Jesus Gets Us’ Super Bowl Ads, Says They Endorse ‘Fascism’

The New York Post reports: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is under fire for claiming that Super Bowl ads meant to share Jesus Christ’s message of love were trying to “make fascism look benign.”

The Bronx and Queens “Squad” Democrat went on the attack late Sunday after two commercials were aired with the tagline “He Gets Us.”

“Something tells me Jesus would not spend millions of dollars on Super Bowl ads to make fascism look benign,” AOC wrote on Twitter.

Revival Underway at Asbury University in Kentucky: ‘The Holy Spirit Was Tangible in the Room’

CBN News reports: A revival is taking place on the campus of Asbury University in Kentucky.

The Asbury Collegian reports that during a call to confession last Wednesday, Feb. 8, at least 100 people fell to their knees and bowed at the altar. Since then it has turned into a Holy Spirit outpouring that shows no signs of stopping. For days, people have been giving testimonies, reading scripture, worshipping God, and praying in the ongoing revival. Students, professors, and local church leaders have taken part.

Rep. Jim Banks Demands Action after Merchant Marine Academy Jesus Artwork Covered

Fox News reports: Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana demanded action from Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg after artwork depicting Jesus was covered at the Merchant Marine Academy.  The academy is overseen by the Maritime Administration within the Department of Transportation. Banks, who is running for Senate in Indiana, sent a letter to Buttigieg amid reports that the famous “Christ on the Water” painting was covered. It depicts Jesus with arms outstretched in front of a lifeboat of merchant seamen lost at sea during World War II and has hung in the academy since the 1940s.

A Basketball Team in Alabama Forfeited a Game Because It Was on The Sabbath. Then The Governor Stepped In

Deseret News reports: Oakwood Adventist Academy in Huntsville, Alabama, has a successful basketball team. Last year, the team advanced to the semifinals of the state’s tournament, but the game was scheduled for a Saturday afternoon. This posed a challenge, because the school’s religious mission includes observance of the Sabbath on Saturday until sundown. Though the school requested an accommodation to play after sundown, the state athletic association declined, and the school had to forfeit the game.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey learned of the forced forfeit of Oakwood Adventist Academy. She reached out to the state’s athletic association to ensure a similar problem did not arise in the future. The Alabama High School Athletic Association then updated its rules to allow accommodations of religious requests in future games.

Colorado Courts Still Don’t Understand Religious Freedom

The Heritage Foundation reports: Christian business owner Jack Phillips is back in the news, or perhaps he never left. On Jan. 26, the Colorado Court of Appeals decided that he violated state law by declining to create a custom cake to celebrate a man’s “gender transition.” The decision shows that some courts still don’t get what religious freedom really means.

Phillips, like other religious business owners, is simply trying to preserve a small, but vital, “safe space” in which he can pursue both his commercial skill and his personal faith. Doing so will not prevent any customer from obtaining any cake they want for whatever purpose they choose. Crossing this line, however, means that Phillips must either violate his religious beliefs or pay dearly for being faithful. LGBT activists bringing these legal challenges do not simply want to buy a particular cake, floral arrangement, or photograph, they want to obtain such things by forcing someone to violate their religious beliefs.

Democrats Pass Resolution Condemning ‘White Religious Nationalism’

Religion News Service reports: The Democratic National Committee passed a resolution condemning “white religious nationalism,” declaring that “theocracy is incompatible with democracy and religious freedom.” The resolution was approved as Democratic Party officials gathered recently in Philadelphia for their winter meeting. The resolution, put forward by more than 30 co-sponsors from across the country, linked forms of religious nationalism to racist ideologies, arguing that “one of many heinous elements of white nationalism is its perversion of religion to make their hateful message more palatable.”

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