Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

yazidi-women-facing-wallAccording to an Iraqi based aid worker, who identified himself only as Yousif, approximately two girls a day commit suicide in the aftermath of being raped by ISIS Terrorists. The news and other corroboration of reports of inhumanity directed toward women in girls are unimaginable. Compounding the horror experienced from gang rapes in open streets, being sold into sexual slavery, or subjected to other outrages is both the stigma and shame forced onto women and girls–a furtherance of ISIS’ crimes against humanity. It also shows a macabre window into a policy of ethnic cleansing by ISIS at several levels.

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Wedding_cake_with_pillar_supports,_2009There is good news for those of us who support same-sex marriage (as well as an indication in the remarkable turnaround in public attitude in a relatively short time). According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, 6 out of 10 Americans now support same-sex marriage and believe that states should not be allowed to define marriage as only between a man and a woman. That is a record showing for same-sex marriage.

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blind_dog250px-flag_of_iransvgWe have previously discussed violence and legal measures targeting dogs by some Muslims who view canines as “unclean.” Even postcards with dogs and service dogs (and here) have raised the ire of some Muslim groups. Now this issue is getting some long-needed attention in Iran after a short film that showed stray dogs being tortured and killed by having acid injected into them.

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150px-muslim_woman_in_yemenWe have yet another horrific “honor killing” — this time in Pakistan. Muhammad Siddique became outraged when he learned that his wife, Shabana Bibi, 25, had not asked him for permission to leave the house to visit her sister so he and his father beat her, doused her with gasoline, and burned her alive. The only good news is that the authorities have arrested the father and son and charged them with murder as well as terrorism.

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By Mike Appleton, Weekend Contributor

“Those situations in which the Court may require special treatment on account of religion are, in my view, few and far between, and this view is amply supported by the course of constitutional litigation in this area.”

-Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398, 423 (1963) (Harlan, J., dissenting)

Were Maurice Bessinger still alive, he would undoubtedly be a strong supporter of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Had that law been available in 1964, history might well read differently.

Mr. Bessinger owned a small chain of barbecue restaurants in South Carolina known as “Piggie Park.” As a matter of company policy, African Americans were prohibited from consuming food on the premises of his restaurants and were required to place and pick up orders from the kitchen window.

When a class action was filed against Mr. Bessinger under the public accommodations provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, among his defenses was the claim that the Act violated the First Amendment because “his religious beliefs compel him to oppose any integration of the races whatsoever.” Newman v. Piggy Park Enterprises, Inc., 256 F. Supp. 941 (1966). The court had no sympathy for his defense. “Undoubtedly,” it said, “defendant Bessinger has a constitutional right to espouse religious beliefs of his own choosing, however, he does not have the absolute right to exercise and practice such beliefs in utter disregard of the clear constitutional rights of other citizens. This court refuses to lend credence and support to his position that he has a constitutional right to refuse to serve members of the Negro race in his business establishments upon the ground that to do so would violate his sacred religious beliefs.” 256 F. Supp. at 945.

Mr. Bessinger partially prevailed at the trial court on interstate commerce grounds, but lost on appeal and was assessed attorney’s fees for his trouble, the Fourth Circuit finding that in view of a prior Supreme Court ruling upholding the constitutionality of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the assertion that he was not bound because the law “contravenes the will of God” and constituted interference with “the free exercise of the Defendant’s religion” was legally frivolous. Newman v. Piggy Park Enterprises, Inc., 377 F.2d 433 (4th Cir. 1967), aff’d, 390 U.S. 400 (1968).

Had the Religious Freedom Restoration Act been in effect when Mr. Bessinger was sued, might he have prevailed? Perhaps.

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araceli-214x300Police are pursuing those responsible for the death of a 2-year-old boy at a church in Texas where the parents and pastors starved the boy to rid him of his possession by a demon — only to try to resurrect the dead boy later with the use of blessed oils. Police say the pastors at a Balch Springs church starved a 2-year-old boy they said was possessed by a demon, and later held a ceremony to resurrect the boy. The parents are believed to have taken the body to Mexico while Aracely Meza, 49, was arrested Monday and charged with injury to a child causing serious bodily injury by omission. The boy was given only water for 25 days and died on March 22.

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h35180px-Gideons_BibleDespite far more pressing problems, Tennessee Senate and House committees have been working to make the Bible the official book of Tennessee — adding the Bible with catfish (the state fish) as a symbol of the state. Of course, cat fish are not matters of faith (beyond the hope and prayer of every fisherman). The House sponsor, Rep. Jerry Sexton, R-Bean Station, added “talking points” to bill. Sexton was only elected in 2015 but is wasting no time in trying to rollback on the separation of church and state.

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