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                        Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed the official guest and host of The Tennessee Star Report, Grant Henry, for another addition of Grant’s Rants calling for the balanced union of both church and state. Grant Henry:  Hey, It’s time for Grant’s Rant here.  I’m going to get some response from Andy here in just a second. But yesterday we all saw that Governor Lee came out and signed a proclamation for the day of prayer, humility, and fasting, saying, I’ve signed a proclamation to dedicate tomorrow, that was yesterday October 11 as a voluntary day of prayer and fasting and humility. This order in particular said we recognize God’s sovereignty and the need for God’s Grace over our state and nation. We seek forgiveness for our many transgressions so that our hearts and minds may be renewed. Scripture tells us that the...
    BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Maryland State Health Department reported more than 1,200 new coronavirus cases Saturday and 20 new deaths. But the positivity rate did go down to 3.7 percent and more Marylanders are choosing to get vaccinated. The virus continues to be a serious concern for health officials in Maryland. The state is reporting more than 1,000 new cases each day. And for anyone who’s not vaccinated there’s still a higher risk of hospitalization and death. That’s why they’re continuing to hold these vaccine clinics to get everyone protected. The push to get Marylanders vaccinated against COVID-19 is not letting up. “We want to make sure that we are doing our part to knock down COVID-19,” said Paul Finley, AIM chairman for Greater Maryland First Jurisdiction, the Auxiliaries and Ministries. Greater Emmanuel Ministries Church of God in Christ on Saturday hosted a walk-up vaccine clinic with the Maryland Department of Health. About 50 percent of this community has received at least one shot of the vaccine. But church leaders want to try to get more people protected. “I know that...
    PARIS (AP) — France’s government has summoned the head of the French bishops’ conference after he said that secrets shared in the confessional are above the law, as the country reels from new revelations of large-scale child sex abuse within the Catholic Church. Monsignor Eric de Moulins-Beaufort shocked some people in France when he told France-Info radio Wednesday that “the secrets of confession are stronger than the laws of the republic.” The comments came in response to recommendations in a study released Tuesday estimating that some 330,000 children were sexually abused over 70 years by priests or other church-related figures. The report describes “systemic” coverup of abuses by the Catholic Church, and urged the church to respect the rule of law in France. The church should send clear instructions to clergy receiving confession that they are legally obliged to report any cases of sexual violence against a child or vulnerable person to judicial authorities, the report stated in its recommendations. France is a traditionally Roman Catholic country, but adheres to a strict form of secularism in public life based on...
    Conservative Christian radio host and former pastor of Denver Bible Church Bob Enyart died on Monday aged 62 after contracting Covid on September 1. Enyart was a staunch opponent of the Coronavirus vaccines and restrictions such as mask mandates, and is the latest in a string of anti-vax radio hosts to die from Covid in recent weeks. The radio host and pastor was a controversial figure due to his fierce religious beliefs that led him to ruthlessly criticise the LGBT community, the pro-choice movement, and public health policies. On his Real Science Radio show, the former pastor had railed against the 'imagined' burden of COVID-19 cases on hospitals and offered advice on treating the virus from the Bible before he died. Enyart's friend and co-host of the show Fred Williams announced his death on Facebook on Monday in a now-deleted post. 'It comes with an extremely heavy heart that my close friend and co-host of Real Science Radio has lost his battle with COVID,' said Williams.  Conservative Christian radio host and former pastor of Denver Bible Church Bob Enyart...
    Those who relish the unyielding power of the state over the individual have had a good year. Lockdowns by tyrannical governors and state and local bureaucrats, along with expansive authority seized out of thin air by the CDC and other arms of the federal government, have made America almost unrecognizable as a bastion of freedom. Local public schools, once trusted unequivocally by parents, have revealed themselves not only as just another arm of the government, but one controlled by teachers’ unions doing the bidding of one political party. Lockdowns and mask and vaccination mandates have been enacted against the wishes of many parents. Yes, the statists have had a good run. But the backlash has arrived. Americans are renewing their distrust of government in a manner reminiscent of the founders. And who could blame them? The government agencies (NIH, FDA, CDC, etc.) have proven to be shockingly incompetent and inconsistent, while unflinching in their authoritarianism. It would be comical if it were not so tragic. First, they fostered denial and then hysteria. Then they made all sorts of promises and...
                        Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr along with 14 other state attorneys general filed an amicus brief before the Supreme Court in support of allowing a Virginia church to determine who is a minister “under its own doctrine.” “This is another example of the threat to religious liberty and we will continue to defend the First Amendment,” said Carr. “We joined this coalition to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to protect the rights of religious organizations.” The state attorneys general’s brief says the Supreme Court has “historically” reserved the right of churches to “make ecclesiastical decisions and interpret religious doctrine to the faith community.” Last month, New Life in Christ Church (NLCC) in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and First Liberty Institute (FLI) asked the Supreme Court to reconsider the ruling a Virginia state court made that prevented the church from a tax exemption for the church’s parsonage. A parsonage is housing the church provides for clergy members. The parsonage exemption allows clergy members to not include their housing benefits’ value when...
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo received Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine during a visit to a pop-up vaccination site at a church in Harlem on Wednesday as the state surpassed seven million doses administered.    Cuomo gave brief remarks at an event at the Mount Neboh Baptist Church, saying that he wanted to get his shot on camera to help boost New Yorkers' confidence in all three vaccines available.  'Today I'm going to take the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because I want to make the point: "Take whatever vaccine you can take,"' he said. 'They all work, they are all safe, don't try to pick one over the other.' The governor noted that as an essential government worker he could have gotten vaccinated weeks ago, but said he waited until the shots were more widely available to marginalized groups hit hardest by the pandemic.  'Communities that suffered most should be first on the vaccine line,' he said.    Cuomo did not take any questions from reporters at the event, nor did he address the sexual harassment allegations that have dogged his administration...
    Republicans continued to invoke the Bible in their speeches in support of discrimination against the LGBTQ community Thursday. When I hear people make appeals to scripture to justify their deep-seated bigotry, I often think of Patton Oswalt’s great bit about opposition to homosexuality based on biblical teaching. "These lunatics always go, 'Well, ‘cause it says in the Bible.' Oh, okay, stop, hang on. I'm glad you like a book, I really am. ... But just because you like something in a book doesn't mean you can have the thing you like in the book happen in real life. That's what crazy people want! I can't go to the White House with a bunch of Green Lantern comics and go, 'I want a Green Lantern ring! I saw it in a book I like! Make the thing in the book I like be here now!' I would be justifiably tased if I did that." Yeah, that’s pretty much my reaction, too. People can, of course, live their lives with slavish devotion to biblical principles, but it’s really fucking hard to do. One guy did it once,...
    By Philip Pullella ROME (Reuters) - Italy on Thursday held a state funeral on Thursday for its ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo and his bodyguard killed in an ambush that a cardinal said should prompt everyone to "hear the cry" of a people devastated by violence. Luca Attanasio, 43, and Vittorio Iacovacci, 30, were shot dead after being kidnapped while travelling in a United Nations' World Food Programme convoy to visit a school feeding project on Monday. WFP driver Mustapha Milambo was also killed. The funeral, attended by Prime Minister Mario Draghi and other ministers, was held in the Basilica of St Mary of the Angels and Martyrs, a church used for religious services for national leaders and cultural figures. The caskets, draped in the Italian tri-colour flag, were given a military salute as they were removed from hearses. A soldier commanded "Honour to the Fallen" and a military band played a sombre march as they were carried into the church. "These brothers decided to commit themselves to helping others even if it meant sacrificing their lives," Cardinal...
    JACKSON — Annually, Church Bus and Motor Coach/Passenger Bus inspection and registration stickers expire on May 31, prior to renewal of annual registrations, an annual safety inspection must be completed by personnel of the Ohio State Highway Patrol License and Commercial Standards Section. In anticipation of the upcoming expirations, the Jackson office of the Ohio State Highway Patrol License and Commercial Standards section is currently scheduling annual inspections. Inspection checks are being scheduled for the following counties: Athens, Gallia, Jackson, Pike, Vinton, Hocking, Meigs, Lawrence, Ross and Scioto. An appointment must be made prior to an inspection being conducted. To schedule an appointment or inquire about inspection dates and exact locations, contact the Ohio State Highway Patrol Jackson License and Commercial Standards section at 740-286-9845 or email jacksonlcs@dps.ohio.gov.
            by Charles J. Russo, University of Dayton   During a school year disrupted by pandemic-related closures, students across the U.S. will soon be absent for a scheduled reason: the annual Christmas break. In New York City, the U.S.‘s largest school district, children will be off from Dec. 24 to Jan. 1. Officially called “winter” recess, the December hiatus coincides with Christian celebrations, adding to the number of approved days that many students take off from school on religious holidays, including Eid al-Fitr and Yom Kippur. As an academic who writes and teaches on education and the law with a special interest in church-state issues, I find it fascinating to note how religious holidays came to be acknowledged in public schools. But these traditions also pose a legal challenge in the classroom and concern over blurring the line of separation between church and state. The reality is that in the lead-up to the winter break – or the “December dilemma,” as some call it – public school officials walk a fine line when it comes...
    The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted a New Jersey church and synagogue injunctive relief from Gov. Phil Murphy's pandemic restrictions on houses of worship after religious leaders protested against his orders requiring congregants to wear masks during services. In an unsigned order released Tuesday afternoon, the court vacated a district court decision against the church and sent the case to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals for further consideration in light of the court's ruling in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo. In that case, the court found that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had violated the First Amendment by regulating church activity more harshly than businesses during the pandemic. This latest injunction, which came on the same day that the court decided in favor of a Colorado church's pandemic protest, pushes its favor shown to churches further than previous decisions. In addition to giving the religious leaders, Rabbi Yisrael Knopfler and Father Kevin Robinson, relief from Murphy's 25% occupancy limitation, the order vacated the state's previous attempts to enforce its mask mandate. The two men in their brief...
    (CNN)As the US enters what experts say will be another Covid-19 surge, a federal judge ruled two Colorado churches don't have to limit how many worshippers come in and don't have to require them to wear face coverings. Colorado set guidelines earlier this year for places of worship that include ensuring all attendees wear face coverings. Guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say places of worship should "encourage use of masks among staff and congregants." And as the virus now runs rampant across many US communities, experts have said face coverings and social distancing remain the country's most powerful tools against Covid-19 ahead of a vaccine.Task force warns several US regions show signs of deterioration amid Covid-19 surgesBut following a lawsuit against state and federal officials by Pastor Robert A. Enyart of Denver Bible Church and Pastor Joey Rhoads of Community Baptist Church, Judge Daniel D. Domenico sided with the churches and found the state's restrictions violate the Constitution.The judge said that while the state may have made the decisions in good faith, "the Constitution does...
    Erik Withers is furious. The 29-year-old from Redding, California, works at a private security company, and was desperate to return to work when novel coronavirus restrictions recently began easing in the state—and the pandemic appeared to turn a corner. But over the past few weeks, as local COVID-19 cases have crept up, launching the county from higher tier to higher tier in the state’s color-coded guide to the pandemic, that dream has been dashed. Withers blames a local church—and a controversial affiliated preacher who has made national headlines—for the backslide. “We are now just days away from going into a lockdown, all thanks to Bethel, Sean Feucht, and their careless activities,” Withers told The Daily Beast. Even after the activist and worship leader left town, drawing ire and causing mayhem elsewhere, Redding’s situation shows that any community can risk being plunged back into lockdown abyss by even a single rogue institution. Redding’s Shasta County—pop. 177,223—has a cumulative total of 1,515 confirmed cases and 24 deaths for the entire length of the pandemic. Those numbers may sound low to Americans...
    Counting On star Joy Anna Duggar is being slammed as 'reckless and stupid' for taking her six-week-old daughter to church in Arkansas, where COVID-19 cases are on the rise. Joy, 22, and her husband Austin Forsyth, 26, just welcomed their daughter Evelyn Mae on August 21 — but while many parents try to limit their newborns' exposure to germs even in the best of times, Joy and Austin already took little Evy to church on Sunday in the midst of a pandemic. Commenters were quick to slam the couple for 'taking their chances' with their baby's health, calling them out for being 'irresponsible,' 'risky,' and 'disgusting.' Praying in person: Counting On star Joy Anna Duggar is being slammed as 'reckless and stupid' for taking her six-week-old daughter to church in Arkansas Who needs science? Joy Anna and Austin took their newborn daughter, Evelyn Mae, and their son, Gideon, to in-person church services Many people have taken to attending church online through virtual services, but Joy, Austin, Evy Mae, and two-year-old Gideon got dressed up to attend services in person...
    Pastor Todd Bell (pictured) has continued to hold in-person services at Calvary Baptist Church in Sanford, Maine, even after he officiated a wedding that was linked to cases and deaths The family of a Maine pastor who officiated a 'super spreader' wedding linked to at least eight coronavirus deaths and nearly 200 cases in the state, will come together for an indoor ceremony and celebration next month.   Pastor Todd Bell, of the Calvary Baptist Church in Sanford, officiated the August 7 wedding in Millinocket that has been linked to more than 180 infections in the state, including in an outbreak at a nursing home in Madison, more than 100 miles away, and a county jail.  Despite the deadly outbreak, the family is set to gather once more on October 17 to watch Bell's son tie the knot at an indoor service at South Church in Portsmouth, the Bangor Daily News reported.  Church spokesperson Jennifer Leyden said the ceremony will be conducted by a 'family minister', although it is not clear if it will be Bell. About 50 guests are expected...
    Attorney General William Barr said Wednesday that he believes the American public has misinterpreted the actual meaning of “separation of church and state" during a speech at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast (NCPB). “Militant secularists have long seized on that slogan as a facile justification for attempting to drive religion from the public square and to exclude religious people from bringing a religious perspective to bear on conversations about the common good,” Barr said during the virtual ceremony that had been postponed since March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Barr said he believes that “traditional morality” has diminished, to be replaced by people who are “actively hostile” in advocating for the separation of church and state – threatening core principles in the country's democracy. HOW US CAN HELP CHINA'S UIGHURS, WHO SUFFER DISAPPEARANCES, FORCED ABORTIONS, OTHER ATROCITIES The attorney general said there is a direct correlation between the removal of religion from schools and public spaces, and the “striking increases in urban violence, drug abuse and broken families.” “Problems like these have fed the rise of an ever more powerful central government, one that increasingly saps...
    Attorney General William Barr said Tuesday that there is no concept more misunderstood in American public discourse than the “separation of church and state.” Barr spoke at the virtual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast Tuesday morning where he accepted the Christifideles Laici Award for “exemplary selfless and steadfast service in the lord’s vineyard.” The attorney general warned that secularists in the United States have attempted to replace faith with “a new orthodoxy that is actively hostile to religion.” The consequences have been dire, Barr said, referencing drug abuse, broken families, and “urban violence.” (RELATED: Trump Announces He Will Sign ‘Born Alive Executive Order’) “In American public discourse, perhaps no concept is more misunderstood than the notion of separation of church and state,” Barr said. “Militant secularists have long seized on that slogan as a facile justification for attempting to drive religion from the public square and to exclude religious people from bringing a religious perspective to bear on conversations about the common good.” WATCH: “Yet as events like this one remind us, separation of Church and state does not mean,...
    Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán railed against liberal ideology Monday, insisting conservatives must defend schoolchildren from destructive leftist propaganda. There are “irreconcilable differences in education policy” between liberals and conservatives, Mr. Orbán argued in an extended written address, with conservatives focusing on helping children “to be capable of becoming patriots who can carry forward our tried and tested traditions.” The prime minister reserved some of his most pointed language for resisting the left’s push for gender theory in schools. Christian democrats “expect schools to reinforce the sex identity that the Creator has conferred on each child at birth,” he said, “to help girls become fine and admirable women; and to help boys become men who are able to provide security and support for their families.” “Schools should protect the ideal and values of the family, and should keep minors away from gender ideology and rainbow propaganda,” he added, while admitting that his words will seem shocking to the modern liberal mindset. “Liberals see this as medieval backwardness at best, and as clerical fascism at worst,” he said. “In their view...
    At least five people have died in connection to a coronavirus outbreak that continues to sicken people in Maine following a wedding reception held over the summer that violated state virus guidelines, public health authorities said. The August wedding reception at the Big Moose Inn in Millinocket is linked to more than 175 confirmed cases of the virus, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday. Maine authorities have identified overlaps between the wedding reception and outbreaks elsewhere in the state. An employee of the York County Jail attended the wedding, Maine CDC officials have said. Maine health officials have also said a staff member from a Madison rehabilitation center, which is the site of four of the five deaths, attended the event. Eighty-seven coronavirus cases have been linked to a wedding at the Big Moose Inn in Millinocket, Maine. WABI The virus cases stemming from the wedding have spanned hundreds of miles in a state that had largely controlled the spread of the coronavirus through the summer. Maine has reported less than 5,000 cases of the virus...
    COVID-19 cases linked to a Maine wedding that violated state gathering attendance limitations continue to increase. Last month, Daily Kos reported more than 50 cases including one death linked back to the Aug. 7 reception, which 65 people attended. Reports now indicate nearly 150 infections traced back to the Millinocket wedding reception, three of which resulted in death, health officials announced Friday. The first death in connection to the wedding outbreak was reported on Aug. 21, in which a woman who did not attend the wedding was infected by someone who did, the Portland Press Herald reported. Since then two others died as a result of COVID-19 linked to the wedding. According to the state's Center for Disease Control and Prevention, all three people who died did not attend the reception.  The 147 cases linked to the wedding include both those who attended the ceremony and those who contracted the virus indirectly. The outbreak caused the local hospital to close its doors to visitors in addition to infecting other vulnerable spaces such as the York County Jail and a...
    The pastor of a Baptist church in California begged state officials earlier this week to back off enforcing lockdowns on churches after his congregation received a $10,000 fine for holding two services last Sunday. Senior Pastor Jack Trieber of North Valley Baptist Church in Santa Clara, California, explained his church’s predicament and pleaded with Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom to relent his shutdown order in a Facebook video that has racked up millions of views since having been posted earlier this week. The church was fined $5,000 for holding a morning service and $5,000 for an evening service, according to local Fox affiliate KTVU. The church was also issued a citation for singing during their worship services, according to a statement given to The Christian Post, which reported: The four-page letter posted on the front door of the church accused North Valley Baptist of “failing to prevent those attending, performing and speaking at North Valley Baptist’s services from singing.” In the letter, county officials revealed they had been sending agents into the church to spy on the congregation during worship...
              Three churches are suing the governor and his constituents for executive orders that violate their religious liberties. Defendants in the case are Governor Tim Walz, State Attorney General Keith Ellison, and county attorneys Chad Larson, Tom Kelly, and Donald Ryan. The Thomas More Society filed on behalf of the churches. The lawsuit cites Article I, Section 16 of Minnesota’s Constitution as state precedent protecting the right to worship: “the right of every man to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience shall never be infringed.” The lawsuit also cites Christian adherence to the Bible’s commandment for believers to worship together. The Thomas More Society Special Council Erick Kardaal affirmed this reasoning, adding that multiple religions “are bound by their faith to worship together.” “Time-honored rights and rituals, including prayers, singing, communion, and a laying of hands in blessing, are among those elements that comprise the free exercise of religion, for which the First Amendment disallows the prohibition thereof. That is the central tenet of the complaint.” The suit argues that the...
    A megachurch in suburban Los Angeles that held services with up to 7,000 guests has filed a lawsuit challenging California's 100-person limit on indoor church gatherings. Grace Community Church in Sun Valley initially closed its doors in March with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in recent weeks it has flouted public health guidelines and allowed thousands into its congregation. It initially had plans to formally reopen in May, but a federal court ruling upheld the state's ban on indoor religious services. Grace Community Church reopened in July. 'People started slowly coming back,' Pastor John MacArthur told CNN, 'and they just kept coming until there were six or seven thousand.' Scroll down for video  Pastor John MacArthur (pictured) and Grace Community Church in Los Angeles have filed a lawsuit to challenge California's cap on church attendees RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 Next Coronavirus US: New Jersey couple of 62 years and son die | Daily Mail Online Breonna Taylor: Family expect police officers to be charged | Daily Mail Online Share this article...
    The notion that the United States observes a separation of church and state is a lie, according to President Donald Trump’s senior campaign legal adviser. “The left is going to tell you there’s this separation of church and state, and that’s just nowhere in the Constitution, nowhere in American law,” Jenna Ellis declared Monday evening during a Zoom event hosted by Asian Pacific Americans for Trump. “That’s nothing that our founding principles ever, uh, derived whatsoever.” The concept of a firewall between church and state authorities, Ellis claimed, is a mere “twisting a letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Church that was simply talking about the three tiers of authority that god himself ordained—the church government, the civil government, and the family government.”  Such an interpretation of Jefferson’s 1802 letter—which the Supreme Court affirmed in 1879 as an “authoritative declaration” of the First Amendment clause prohibiting government entanglement in religion—has long been a key argument of conservative Christian leaders seeking to end the separation, which serves as the basis for America’s historically pluralistic society. But it’s not altogether common...
              Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed Dr. Carol Swain to the studio. During the second hour, Swain weighed in on how she viewed the current state of the nation. She expressed that it was time for a national revival that cannot be man-made and can only be made by looking to God for the healing of the self and the country as a whole. Leahy: We are joined as we always are on Thursday’s by our good friend all-star panelist and former Vanderbilt professor and former candidate for mayor here in Nashville, Carol Swain. Good morning Carol. Swain: Good morning, Michael. Leahy: Well, this country in the midst of what do you call what the country is in the midst of Caro? Swain: Going to hell in a handbasket. Leahy: Yes! (Laughs) I think that’s it. Now you and I and our listeners are trying to resist...
    Gov. Jim Justice is urging West Virginians to wear masks and social distance after announcing a fourth active COVID-19 outbreak in a church and a continued rise in cases. With active church outbreaks in Boone, Taylor, Raleigh and Kanawha counties, Justice urged church-goers to keep every other pew empty and to wear masks while present. He said attending a church service is different than going outside or walking in a store because it often includes congregants singing and projecting their voices. “Church is a place where we sing,” Justice said Friday during a news conference. “Church is a place where we’re together in a confined area for at least an hour.” West Virginia reported 125 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, increasing its cumulative cases to 4,710. The peak day for new COVID-19 cases was July 10 at 175. Before July, there were no days in which there were more than 70 new cases. Since the beginning of the month, however, 13 out of the 16 days counted had more than 70 new cases. Clay Marsh, West Virginia’s...
    "Have you ever argued with a know-it-all progressive about the "separation of church and state" clause, what it means, and how it applies? Few Americans understand our nation's founding principles. The vast majority depend on the small few willing to do the work necessary to make sense of our county's history. But, this work is required so we can better navigate the future. Here are Steven Crowder and historian David Barton to explain the real reasoning behind the separation of church and state." The Truth Behind "Separation of Church and State" | Louder With Crowder Historian David Barton explains the real reasoning behind the separation of church and state. Want to watch the full show every day? Join #MugClub! http://lo... Use code LWC to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.Want more from Steven Crowder?To enjoy more of Steven's uncensored late-night comedy that's actually funny, join Mug Club — the only place for all of Crowder uncensored and on demand.
    The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday delivered a ruling civil liberties advocates warned could make taxpayers “underwrite religious education”—opening a massive crack in the bedrock principle of church and state separation. The decision in the case, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, was 5-4, with the court’s conservatives in the majority. As NBC News put it, the ruling “further lowered the wall of separation between church and state and will likely affect laws or constitutional provisions in more than two-thirds of the nation that bar public funding for churches and religious schools.” CNBC laid out the background: The case concerned a scholarship program enacted in Montana in 2015, which provided individuals and businesses with up to $150 in tax credits to match donations to private, nonprofit scholarship organizations. Shortly after the program was enacted, the Montana Department of Revenue put in place a rule that barred scholarship recipients from using funds from the program to pay for religious schools. Three mothers who sent their children to a Christian school and relied upon the funds sued. The state Supreme Court struck down the program, prompting the...
    In a 5-4 ruling the U.S. Supreme Court has decided that taxpayers must fund religious schools, stating that excluding faith-based education is unconstitutional. The case is Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. Chief Justice John Roberts again was the swing vote, writing the majority opinion in siding with the conservative side of the court in this case. The decision is expected to open the floodgates to religious schools, protecting and expanding all types of funding including vouchers and tax credits. Legal expert, Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern issues this warning: There are about 30 states that provide tax credits or vouchers to private schools. The Supreme Court’s decision today essentially requires these states to fund RELIGIOUS schools with taxpayer dollars, as well. This is a huge decision that totally unsettles Free Exercise law. — Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) June 30, 2020 He adds: These two sentences, from Roberts’ majority opinion, might as well repeal the Establishment Clause. The Supreme Court spent years debating whether states that funded private schools were even ALLOWED to fund religious schools. Now Roberts declares...
    Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden slams Trump for not sanctioning Russia over Afghan militant 'bounties' intelligence Why Biden's big lead should worry Democrats White House goes through dizzying change in staff MORE's campaign on Sunday denounced Vice President Pence for his scheduled trip to Dallas, saying it "epitomizes the dismissive attitude" the Trump administration has taken toward addressing the coronavirus outbreak.  Pence, the head of the White House coronavirus task force, is set to visit Texas Sunday to receive an on-the-ground report from officials about the surge in coronavirus cases throughout the state. He is also scheduled to speak at an event at the First Baptist Dallas, a church led by Pastor Robert Jeffries, during the visit. "Our leaders should be tackling this pandemic head on and laying out concrete recovery plans for the American people -- not jet setting across the country to hold events that go against basic public health guidance," Biden campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said in a statement. "Families in the Lone Star state and across the country deserve better.”   Pence's trip comes just days after Texas Gov....
    CARROLL COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — Deputy State Fire Marshals have charged a Carroll County man after he allegedly set fires in the Trinity Evangelical Luthern Church. Officials say members of the Taneytown Volunteer Fire Company responded to the church shortly before 8:30 a.m. on Friday and extinguished the fires within minutes. No injuries were reported during the incident. The Taneytown Police Department also responded to the scene and detained David Francis Creager, 47, after he confessed that he had intentionally set the fires. Deputy State Fire Marshals conducted an origin and cause investigation and determined the fires were arson in nature. Investigators also located an incendiary device, known as a ‘Molotov cocktail’, within the church’s vestibule. Creager is facing multiple arson-related charges. He is currently being held at the Carroll County Detention Center without bond.
    SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) – A bill that would spur the development of affordable housing on church parking lots and other property owned by houses of worship has passed the State Senate. Senate Bill 899 by State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) cleared the chamber in a unanimous 39-0 vote on Thursday. The bill allows for religious institutions and nonprofit colleges to bypass local zoning restrictions to build 100 percent affordable housing on their land. “CA has a huge shortage of housing affordable to low income people. SB 899 will help meet this need,” the senator, who has authored numerous bills on housing, said in a tweet. The Senate just passed our legislation (#SB899) allowing religious institutions & nonprofit colleges to build affordable housing on their land even if local rules don’t allow it. CA has a huge shortage of housing affordable to low income people. SB 899 will help meet this need. — Senator Scott Wiener (@Scott_Wiener) June 25, 2020 Under SB899, housing built under this proposal would be restricted to lower income households if rented for 55 years...
    A California pastor and nearly all of his 160 parishioners refused to cooperate with COVID-19 contact tracers after one churchgoer with the virus attended a Mother's Day service, a new report has revealed. The Butte County Public Health Office said that they believed as many 180 congregants of The Palermo Bible Family Church could've been exposed to the virus back on May 10, after an attendee tested positive for COVID-19 the day after attending a service.  The service was held against the orders shelter-in-place orders of Gov. Gavin Newsom, who had banned religious congregations from gathering in-person at the time. The county dispatched a team to track and contain the disease, though their efforts were thwarted almost as quickly as they had begun after the church and the vast majority of its members refused to share information with health officials, the Sacramento Bee reported. As consequence, the six contract tracers assigned to the investigation were only able to speak with 25 of the church's 163 parishioners - of which only 15 percent were actually present at the Mother's Day service. ...
    RENO, Nev. (AP) - Citing limited enforcement of social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at recent protests over policing and race, a rural Nevada church is trying again to persuade a federal judge that the state’s 50-person cap on religious gatherings is unconstitutional. A judge has scheduled a phone hearing Tuesday to consider Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley’s latest bid for a court order subjecting it to less-stringent limits placed on casinos and other businesses allowed to reopen at 50% of building capacity under distancing protocols. “Calvary Chapel simply asks for the bare minimum required under the First Amendment: that its worship services be treated no worse than comparable secular activities,” the church’s lawyers wrote in their latest request. TOP STORIES Abraham Lincoln monument torched in Chicago: An absolute disgraceful act Coronavirus hype biggest political hoax in history We wont be defunding our police: Trump knocks down dismantle calls “Placing a flat ban on churches that are adhering to the same social distancing protocols as these venues serves no legitimate government interests,” they said. Their new plea...
    RENO, Nev. (AP) - Nevada’s lawyers are stepping up their defense of Gov. Steve Sisolak’s 50-person cap on religious gatherings in a legal battle with leaders of a rural church who say it violates their constitutional right to exercise their beliefs. Attorney General Aaron Ford is urging a federal judge in Reno to deny an order sought by Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley to invalidate COVID-19 restrictions so up to 90 people can attend services at a time at the 200-capacity church southeast of Reno. A telephonic hearing is scheduled Tuesday on its new request for a temporary injunction suspending the cap after the U.S. court denied its bid last week for an emergency order striking it down as unconstitutional. TOP STORIES Retired St. Louis police captain killed by looters Twitter removes Trump campaigns George Floyd tribute Richmond police chief says rioters blocked firefighters from burning home with child inside Church leaders say the hard cap violates their religious freedom, treating them differently than many Nevada businesses allowed to reopen at 50% of capacity if they practice strict social distancing....
    The Supreme Court has ruled that state officials can limit in-person church gatherings during the pandemic. The 5-4 decision saw Chief Justice John Roberts joining forces with the court’s liberal wing. The South Bay United Pentecostal Church of Chula Vista in California had argued that state-imposed limits to church attendance had been unfair given that secular institutions like supermarkets and factories were not subject to the same, the Wall Street Journal reported. In his opinion, Roberts said the matter was best left to politicians on the ground whose decisions could be evaluated by the voters. “The precise question of when restrictions on particular social activities should be lifted during the pandemic is a dynamic and fact-intensive matter subject to reasonable disagreement,” Roberts wrote. He added that state officials “should not be subject to second-guessing by an ‘unelected federal judiciary,’ which lacks the background, competence, and expertise to assess public health and is not accountable to the people.”
    In a 5-4 decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday, a request from a California church that challenged the state restrictions on attendance at religious services during the coronavirus pandemic was rejected. Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court's four liberals, turning away the appeal brought by the South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista, California.Read more 2 CA Churches Tied to COVID-19 Cases After Holding In-Person Services CDC Backtracks on Recommended Singing Limits for Places of Worship Battle Over Church Openings in California Could Hear from Supreme Court New Jersey Pastor Says 'Church is Essential' After Reopening The church argued the California Governor Gavin Newsom's state limits on the number of people who could attend church service violated their constitutional right to religious freedom. On May 25, Newsom issued an order that houses of worship "limit attendance to 25 percent of building capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is lower." The church said they were expecting 200 to 300 people to gather for their Sunday service. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts departing the...
    Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.Across the country, lawsuits have mounted as houses of worship fight back against restrictions limiting how many people can gather for services, as states try to protect residents from the coronavirus pandemic. A common theme is the argument that while greater numbers of people are allowed at stores and other locations deemed essential, forbidding similar situations at churches, synagogues or mosques may violate the First Amendment. ILLINOIS CHURCH BECOMES 2ND CONGREGATION TO FILE EMERGENCY REQUEST WITH SUPREME COURT OVER CORONAVIRUS ORDERS “In Douglas County, Ore., Pastor [Robert] Miller may be jailed for going to church with 25 other people on a Sunday morning, but can join those same people and more at a dine-in restaurant for Sunday lunch with no penalty,” said a complaint filed in federal court Tuesday by two Oregon churches, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting. The lawsuit pushes back against Gov. Kate Brown’s executive order limiting in-person religious services to 25 people. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which handles Oregon cases, ruled Friday...
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