In the News: Breaking Religious Freedom Stories Across the Country

May 19, 2023
Fli Insider | In the News

Catch up on the latest religious freedom headlines around the web.

The Left’s War on the Rule of Law

First Liberty President and CEO Kelly Shackelford and former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal discussing recent attacks on the U.S. Supreme Court. They write:

“If politically motivated schemes to transform the courts are successful, the judiciary will become little more than a political tool of the executive and legislative branches. Judges will lose their ability to enforce the rule of law with impartiality, and the last safeguard to our civil liberties will be gone. The left’s grand scheme to delegitimize the courts is more than a threat to the judiciary. It is a threat to our constitutional republic. It must not succeed.”

Pentagon is ‘Culling the Herd’ of Leaders We So Desperately Need

First Liberty attorney Mike Berry wrote an op-ed for The Washington Times discussing our U.S. Navy SEALs case and a military culture that’s increasingly hostile toward religious service members. He writes:

“If America is to survive the barbarians that stand outside its gates today, we must stop the self-inflicted bleeding. That is, we must stop hemorrhaging service members who are guided by personal morality, even if it is based on religion. To do that, we must develop a culture in the Defense Department that protects and promotes religious freedom as a core American virtue.”

Planned Parenthood Calls for Court Packing, Term Limits in New Judicial “Reform” Package

Fox News reports: In a statement, Planned Parenthood president Alexis McGill said:

“Planned Parenthood refuses to accept that our courts can only exist as they do now, and understands that reforms are integral to building the public’s trust that the courts can and will function to uphold hard-won freedoms and advance justice for future generations. PPFA’s expanded position is a continuation of our commitment to ensure that everyone, no matter where they live, has the freedom to make their own decisions about their own bodies, lives, and futures.”

Restoring Faith in America: ‘In God We Trust’ Phrase Now Adorns 3 in 5 Standard Tennessee License Plates

The Times Free Press reports: When Tennessee vehicle owners all got the new blue license plates throughout 2022, they also generally chose—online, or at the registration office—whether they would choose the version that says “In God We Trust” or the version that does not.

State lawmakers introduced the option in 2017 with Tennessee’s old license plates and saw incremental gains in the proportion of plates that say those words, as people got new cars or had other reasons to get new plates. About three out of every five standard license plates say “In God We Trust,” state data shows.

Adventist State Senator in Oregon Files Religious Freedom Complaint 

Spectrum Magazine reports: A Seventh-day Adventist and member of the Oregon Senate filed workplace complaints after the Senate president did not excuse him to attend church. The senator alleged in complaints to the Bureau of Labor and Industries and to the Legislative Equity Office that President Rob Wagner violated his religious freedom by denying his requests to be excused to attend a church service on Saturday.

New California Bill Would Mandate ‘Trans-Affirming’ Foster Families

Angelus News reports: California’s bishops are opposing proposed legislation that would require new foster parents in the state to commit to providing “all services to LGBTQ+ children,” including gender transition procedures.

State Bill 407 would also require foster family applicants to sign a document demonstrating their understanding “that sexual orientation, gender identity and expression can evolve over time.” Opponents of the bill say it threatens religious freedom and would bar Christians and groups with traditional views on gender and sexuality from welcoming foster children.

DOJ Backs Christian Group’s Lawsuit Against Santa Ana for Curbing Its Ministry to the Homeless

National Review reports: The Department of Justice is backing a lawsuit filed by the Christian organization Micah’s Way against Santa Ana, California, which is attempting to prevent the group from providing food and drink to the homeless. The DOJ views the city’s actions as a substantial burden on the plaintiff’s ministry, arguing that the actions constitute an infringement of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000.

Oklahoma Governor Declares May as Jewish American Heritage Month

The Oklahoman reports: Gov. Kevin Stitt proclaimed the month of May as Jewish American Heritage Month in Oklahoma during a ceremony at the state Capitol. The ceremony was hosted by the governor’s office in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Greater Oklahoma City and the Combat Antisemitism Movement, an Israel-based organization with an office in Washington, D.C. Similar ceremonies are being held in more than 150 cities across 31 states.

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