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21 States Move to Support Coach Kennedy for Round 2

Remember the case of Joe Kennedy, the Marine Corps veteran-turned-high school football coach who was suspended, then fired, halfway through the season a few years ago for thanking God in silent prayer for his ability to be a coach? Well, he’s back in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, pleading again for his right to pray on a school football field.

This time, 21 states have filed an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief urging the appeals court to find in Kennedy’s favor.

Daily Signal by Nicole Russell

Gender-Transition Surgery Does Not Improve Mental Health after All

For these researchers to claim that their study “supports the decision to provide gender-affirming surgeries to transgender individuals who seek them” was no surprise. It likely wouldn’t have been published if they had not. Nor was it a surprise when the study received significant media coverage, touted as confirmation of the benefits of “gender-affirmation.”

On the other hand, writing at The Public Discourse, Paul Dirks has noted that some of the best-designed, most-rigorous, and time-tested studies suggest otherwise, specifically the efficacy of medical transition. Especially in the case of male-to-female transitions, other studies reveal much higher mortality rates due to suicide, AIDS, drug abuse, and even cardiovascular disease. In other words, the best studies tend to show the worst results when it comes to transition surgery. These studies, however, never seem to generate the same media coverage as those that confirm our current cultural predeterminations.

Breakpoint

‘Philadelphia Statement’ Defends Free Speech From Cancel Culture

Called the Philadelphia Statement, the 845-word document says in part:

If we seek to change our country’s trajectory; if we desire unity rather than division; if we want a political life that is productive and inspiring; if we aspire to be a society that is pluralistic and free, one in which we can forge our own paths and live according to our own consciences, then we must renounce ideological blacklisting and recommit ourselves to steadfastly defending freedom of speech and passionately promoting robust civil discourse.

The statement’s top signatories include Alan Sears, former president of Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal aid group, and Adam J. White, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.

Daily Signal by Fred Lucas

COVID-19 restrictions and the First Amendment

On Legal Docket, Mary Reichard talks to Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband about the clash between COVID-19 restrictions and the First Amendment (go to 6:00 mark).

World and Everything In It podcast

Religious freedom in America: popular and polarizing

About 8 in 10 Americans said religious freedom issues are at least somewhat important to them, with 55% saying they are very important, according to a newly released poll conducted by The University of Chicago Divinity School and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. While 35% of U.S. adults overall said they believe their own religious freedom is threatened at least somewhat, conservatives were more likely than liberals to say so.

ABC News

USAID appointee alleges 'rampant anti-Christian sentiment' at agency

Corrigan laid out her views explicitly on social media Monday in an explosive Twitter thread railing against same-sex marriage, transgender individuals and her view that U.S. taxpayer dollars are provided to countries that “celebrate sexual deviancy.”
She accused USAID of holding a “rampant anti-Christian sentiment” and said she was horrified by a document circulated at the agency that purportedly said people couldn't tell the gender of an individual just by looking at them.
“I watched with horror this week as USAID distributed taxpayer funded documents claiming 'we cannot tell someone’s sex or gender by looking at them' and that not calling oneself 'cis-gendered' is a microagression,” Corrigan wrote on Twitter. “I’m not cis-anything. I’m a woman.”

The Hill

Americans Are Turning Away From Religion Toward Dangerous Secular Cults

For years now, pollsters and demographers have been chronicling the decline of religion in America. And it’s not just religious affiliation that’s declining. Along with lower rates of church attendance, religious weddings and religious activities in the household are also waning. By every measure, America is becoming a less religious country, with huge implications for our political and cultural life. But the story of the decline of religion in America is incomplete. What has gone less noticed, and less studied, is the rise of ersatz religions in America—secular substitutes for traditional forms of faith. The fastest-growing of these pseudo-religions occupy either end of the political spectrum, and are themselves explicitly political.

The Federalist

Jeff Bezos Pressed On Why Amazon Allows Hate Group To Determine Eligible Charitable Donations

“I’m just wondering why you would place your confidence in a group that seems to be so out of step and seems to take mainstream Christian doctrine and label it as hate?” Gaetz asked Bezos after noting that Catholic Family News, American Family Association, and Jewish Defense League are all excluded from the list. In the past, organizations such as D. James Kennedy Ministries, the Family Research Council and the religious liberty law firm Alliance Defending Freedom were also excluded based on the “hate group” label attached by the SPLC.

The Federalist

D.C. police arrest pro-lifers for chalking pro-life messages despite permit from city

But according to Students for Life of America, after receiving a permit to paint “Black Preborn Lives Matter” on the street, the group arrived to find six police cars waiting for their planned 10 a.m. arrival in front of Planned Parenthood. They had planned to use temporary paint that would wash off as the police suggested, but were told they could not use it after all. When they asked if they could use sidewalk chalk, the police told them they would face arrest if they did.

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International News

USCIRF Condemns Death Sentence for Yahaya Sharif-Aminu on Blasphemy Charges

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today condemned the death sentence announced on August 10 of 22-year-old Nigerian singer Yahaya Sharif-Aminu for allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad in a song he circulated on the messaging platform WhatsApp in March.
“Blasphemy laws are inconsistent with universal human rights standards because they fail to respect recognized rights, including freedom of religion and expression,” said USCIRF Vice Chair Tony Perkins. “The Nigerian government must overturn Sharif-Aminu’s death sentence and repeal blasphemy laws still present in state-sponsored courts.”

USCIRF

U.S. Bishops Condemn Attack Against Cathedral of Managua, Nicaragua

Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, issued the following statement:

“Alongside Pope Francis and my brother bishops throughout Latin America, I condemn the sacrilegious attack against the Cathedral of Managua that occurred on Friday, July 31. Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, archbishop of Managua, called the incendiary-bomb attack an ‘act of terrorism.’ The apparent target of the explosion—an historic crucifix crafted in the 17th century—has become a poignant image of the country’s suffering Church, which has sustained repeated rhetorical and physical attacks (three in the last three weeks) since attempting to mediate peace in 2018.

USCCB

USCIRF Applauds Global Magnitsky Sanctions Against Xinjiang Entity

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today applauded the U.S. Department of Treasury’s designation of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) under the Global Magnitsky Act for committing egregious religious freedom violations against Uyghur and other Muslims.
“For years, we have advocated for sanctioning the XPCC. This announcement is a significant step even beyond the sanctions announced earlier this month against senior Communist Party officials,” USCIRF Commissioner Nury Turkel stated. “The XPCC is essentially a parallel government in Xinjiang and has been directly involved in implementing the surveillance, mass detention, and forced labor of Uyghurs.”

USCIRF

USCIRF Commends Release of Religious Prisoner of Conscience Hamid Bin Haydara and 5 Other Baha’is in Yemen

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) commends the Houthi authorities’ release of Religious Prisoner of Conscience Hamid bin Haydara along with five other detained members of the Baha’i community in Yemen. Charges against members of the Baha’i community remain in place despite their release.
“Hamid bin Haydara’s release has been long overdue; it is an important but insufficient step,” said USCIRF Commissioner Johnnie Moore, who advocates for Mr. bin Haydara as part of USCIRF’s Religious Prisoner of Conscience Project. “The Houthis must drop all charges immediately and unconditionally against Mr. bin Haydara and all other Baha'is in Yemen.”

USCIRF

 
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