Employers Can Limit Employees' Speech, TBN’s Lawsuit, Bar Boots Catholic Group, and More News
University cancels biblical finance class
Business and the Bible won't mix at Iowa State University. School officials canceled a proposed independent study course that would have examined how biblical principles can be applied to business management. Opponents argued the class, which would have used Dave Anderson's How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK, would have promoted one religion in violation of the Constitution. But finance professor Roger Stover, who proposed the course, said it was necessary because of the growth of companies like Hobby Lobby and Chick-fil-A that "openly display their use of spiritual and often Christian principles in their organization."
Religious education required in schools
RUSSIA Religion has returned to Russian classrooms 90 years after the Soviet revolution banned it. In 2010, Russia began requiring students at 20 percent of public schools to take courses in religion and ethics; in February, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin expanded the requirement to all Russian schools. Elementary and middle-school students can choose to study the history of one of four "traditional" religions (Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Judaism, or Buddhism) or take a general course on the "fundamentals of public ethics" or the "foundations of religious culture." Critics do not want schoolchildren divided according to religion or exposed to proselytism.
Bar boots Catholic group
Barroom evangelism can be controversial for churches—and apparently for bars too. A Catholic outreach program hosted at a Denver bar had to find a new venue after a lecture on religious liberty stirred controversy among staff and patrons. Hosted by the Archdiocese of Denver, Theology on Tap is intended to provide a "nonthreatening" gathering place for those curious about Catholicism. But some at Stoney's Bar and Grill reportedly considered the January 26 lecture, "Atheocracy and the Battle for Religious Liberty in America," to be "too controversial." Some employees refused to work future events. The program moved to a nearby Irish-themed pub.
Tithes not exempt from garnishment
Debtors must render first to Caesar before God. A federal court has ruled a Mormon who owes $1.86 million in restitution cannot exclude 10 percent of her monthly pay from garnishment for tithing purposes. Patricia Thomas was convicted of embezzling funds from her employer and ordered to have her wages garnished toward her restitution. The court ruled that Thomas failed to make a legal argument that refusing a tithing exemption would violate her First Amendment rights.
Flower order creates controversy
Controversy continued to stem from a federal court's decision to remove a prayer mural from a Rhode Island public high school. When the Freedom from Religion Foundation tried to send congratulatory flowers to the plaintiff, four different local florists refused to fill the order. The foundation, which finally ordered flowers from a store in Connecticut, filed a formal complaint with the Rhode Island Commission on Human Rights, alleging discrimination because of the plaintiff's atheism.
Extremists deface Christian holy site
ISRAEL In a rare attack on a Christian holy site, a Jerusalem monastery was defaced with the words "Death to Christians" in Hebrew, allegedly by militant Jewish settlers. The Monastery of the Cross is built where tradition holds the tree used to make Christ's cross stood. Two cars parked outside the monastery were also vandalized in the February attack with the words "Price Tag," referring to militant settlers' plans for retribution if the Israeli government tries to curb settlement in the West Bank. A prominent Baptist church was defaced with similar threats—including "We will crucify you"—weeks later.