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An idea to unite humanists & believers

May 30, 2016 --

GL_orange_small_sfnqhbBy Tom Krattenmaker
Award-winning Portland-based writer
Recent book: The Evangelicals you Don’t Know
Tom’s article also featured on USA Today

Winter is probably the last thing on most of our minds; we’ve just escaped its clutches and can finally enjoy the warmth of spring. But while it’s still many months until the Christmas/winter holiday season, a storyline is developing now in Connecticut with important ramifications for how our communities navigate disputes over religious symbols in public spaces — and the different approaches the growing nonreligious population might take to be heard and seen during the holiday season.

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is one of our culture’s most loved holiday stories, of course. But it’s another Dickens classic that best describes what’s happening in Connecticut: A Tale of Two Cities.

In Shelton, the Freedom From Religion Foundation is suing the city for its refusal to allow a member of the community to erect a sign in the city’s Constitution Park countering a display of heralding angels (a reference to the Bible’s account of angels heralding the birth of Jesus). The rejected sign reads “Let Reason Prevail” and goes on to assert, “There are no gods, no devils, no angels.”

Read the full article and discuss it »

Take our Religious discrimination quiz

May 25, 2016 --

bullard-law2By Bullard Law,
Portland law firm

By Michael G. McClory

It is Friday afternoon at the end of the month.  Many of you are thinking about scooting out as early as possible.  The Bullard Edge has a two-question current events quiz for you.

This week’s topic: religious discrimination.  Good luck.

Question #1:

In 2008 JetStream Ground Services assumed a contract with United Airlines to clean aircraft cabins at Denver International Airport.  While JetStream apparently hired a high number of the employees of the prior contract holder, it did not hire five Muslim women who for religious reasons requested to wear hijabs and long skirts (instead of the uniform cap and pants).  The women and EEOC sued, alleging religious discrimination.  JetStream argued that not hiring the women had nothing to do with accommodation; instead, it asserted it did not hire the women because their prior employer did not recommend them.

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Oregon’s Holt International 60 amazing years!

May 23, 2016 --

hlt60By Holt International,

60 years ago, Bertha Holt championed legislation that helped her and Harry Holt adopt their children from Korea. Since that time, political advocacy has been a cornerstone of Holt’s work
. Holt president and CEO Phil Littleton reflects on our development as an organization, and how supporting policies and initiatives that put children first has helped improve child welfare standards and adoptee rights in the United States and around the world. This is the final post in a three-part series. You can read part one here and part two here.

In many ways, Holt International’s roots are planted in political advocacy on behalf of orphaned and abandoned children.

When Harry and Bertha Holt pioneered international adoption in the wake of the Korean War, they first had to enlist the help of the U.S. Congress to legally adopt eight children from Korea — passing what’s become known as the Holt Bill.

Read the full article and discuss it »

Nuns win in Supreme Court

May 20, 2016 --

supreme-courtLife Legal Release,

The Supreme Court on Monday sent the Little Sisters of the Poor case back to the lower courts to revisit the contraceptive drug mandate under the Affordable Care Act. The Little Sisters had been threatened with millions of dollars in fines for refusing to comply with the mandate.

In Zubik v. Burwell, a number of nonprofit religious organizations sued the government for violating their First Amendment religious freedoms by forcing them to purchase contraceptive and abortifacient drug coverage for their employees. Seven separate organizations were named in the lawsuit representing over 90 universities, religious charities, and diocese opposing the contraception mandate.

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Students protest against new bathroom rule

May 18, 2016 --

Several Medford students and parents protested the new transgender rules by skipping school to hold protest signs. See news clip from KDRV-TV below.

Read the full article and discuss it »

United Methodist culture-war clash in Portland

May 14, 2016 --

Mark Tooley,
President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy.
Featured in Wall Street Journal

As 864 delegates gather in Portland, Ore., for the United Methodist Church’s quadrennial General Conference, they face a fork in the road: Will United Methodism turn inward and remain a mostly liberal Protestant church? Or will it become increasingly evangelical and global?

United Methodism, with more than seven million American members, is the largest of the big seven mainline Protestant denominations. Nearly all the mainline churches in recent years have officially affirmed same-sex marriage and actively gay clergy, followed by schism and decline. The United Church of Christ, once a flagship mainline denomination, recently predicted losing 80% of its members over the next 30 years.

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Atheist sue House Chaplain

May 13, 2016 --

By Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights

Thursday, May 5, was America’s annual National Day of Prayer. So of course the anti-prayer Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) chose that day to sue the chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives. FFRF president Dan Barker is upset that House chaplain Father Patrick Conroy, a Jesuit priest, has declined to invite him to deliver a non-prayer “invocation” on the House floor. FFRF also named House Speaker Paul Ryan, along with several members of Father Conroy’s staff, in the lawsuit.

Read the full article and discuss it »

Students take on gender, cultural issues

May 11, 2016 --

From Corban College, Salem

Student Life raises awareness of gender and multicultural issues

Nathan Geer, dean of students, is passionate about human dignity. He wants all students, no matter their gender or cultural background, to feel comfortable and at home on campus. The #corbanconversations movement is only a small part of this goal.

Geer is a member of a diversity committee created to make sure different cultures are represented and given a voice.

Read the full article and discuss it »

Pastors learn how to engage, respect science

May 9, 2016 --


By Multnomah University,

Many see faith and science like oil and water — they’re impossible to integrate. But New Wine, New Wineskins thinks differently. On April 16 and 23, the institute hosted a conference aimed at dispelling the segregation of these communities through thoughtful dialogue. The conference, Church and Science: Partners for the Common Good, was made possible by a grant Multnomah Biblical Seminary received from the American Association for the Advancement of Science in an effort to integrate science into the seminary curriculum (view the 10 seminary courses that have adopted this integration here).

“It’s bound up with our ongoing, strategic effort at Multnomah to prepare seminary graduates in their pastoral calling to constructively engage our scientific age,” says Paul Louis Metzger, director of New Wine, New Wineskins. “It’s for the sake of their parishioners who have scientific questions and scientific vocational interests, and for the church’s own missional engagement with the surrounding culture.”

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Supreme Court case on Gov’t excluding churches

May 6, 2016 --

supreme-courtBy Family Research Council

Family Research Council and several allied organizations filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley, which will decide whether a church can be excluded as a government program recipient just because it is a church.

Trinity Lutheran Church operates a school with a playground connected to it, and wanted to refinish its playground surface to make it safer for the children who played there. It applied to a Missouri state program offering grants to refinish such playground surfaces, and although otherwise qualifying to receive the grant, was excluded because it is a church. With the help of the Alliance Defending Freedom, Trinity Lutheran Church brought suit but unfortunately suffered adverse rulings because lower courts relied on precedent which was not directly relevant to the case.

Read the full article and discuss it »
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