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Church and State

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IRS to Atheists: Okay, We'll Investigate Pulpit Freedom Sunday Pastors

Tax agency and FFRF announce settlement, but Milwaukee church disputes the lawsuit's dismissal.
IRS to Atheists: Okay, We'll Investigate Pulpit Freedom Sunday Pastors
Alliance Defending Freedom

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has agreed to investigate the political activity of churches after reaching a settlement with an atheist legal group. But a court has yet to decide whether or not to close the case.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) and the IRS ...

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Supreme Court Maintains Ban on Megachurch Graduations

(UPDATED) Seventh Circuit previously decided that large cross in Wisconsin sanctuary created an unconstitutional environment.
Supreme Court Maintains Ban on Megachurch Graduations
Courtesy of Becket Fund

The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed a court ban on churches renting their facilities for public school graduations to remain standing, despite the implications of the high court's recent divided ruling in favor of Jesus prayers at government meetings. [Correction noted ...

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Good News for Churches Worried About Losing Their Pastor's Best Benefit to Atheist Lawsuits

What a Kentucky court ruling implies for a high-profile Wisconsin challenge to the clergy housing allowance.
Good News for Churches Worried About Losing Their Pastor's Best Benefit to Atheist Lawsuits
minnemom/Flickr

A federal judge in Kentucky has thrown out an atheist challenge to tax benefits for churches and clergy—a decision that stands in opposition to the high-profile overturning of the IRS's clergy housing allowance by a Wisconsin federal judge in November.

Three groups—American ...

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Supreme Court Permits Jesus Prayers at Government Meetings

(UPDATED) Requiring nonsectarian prayers to a 'generic god' would be more problematic than allowing sectarian ones, Kennedy argues.
Supreme Court Permits Jesus Prayers at Government Meetings
Wikimedia

[Note: A CT editorial explains why the government should let Christians and pagans pray at public meetings, while a law scholar disagrees and says Christians should be careful what they pray for.]

A divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that explicitly Christian prayers ...

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Israeli Military's Call-Up of Arab Christians Labeled 'Intimidation'

Attempt at increasing recruits ten-fold occurs against backdrop of stalled peace talks, Hamas-PLO reconciliation.
Israeli Military's Call-Up of Arab Christians Labeled 'Intimidation'
IDF

Israel has announced that it will send call-up papers for military service in the nation's army to all Arab Christians in the country.

The move, which escalates an ongoing debate, marks the first time that Israel has solicited volunteers for its military among its Arab ...

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Obamacare's Bump: More Christians Now Sharing Health Care Costs

Christian alternatives to traditional insurance see surge in enrollments.
Obamacare's Bump: More Christians Now Sharing Health Care Costs
Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries

...

In the months leading up to the March 31 deadline, tens of thousands of Christians opted for faith-based insurance alternatives, where believers contribute a monthly share toward paying for each others' health care costs.

Month-over-month enrollments doubled and ...

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Evangelicals Back Peace Pact with Islamic Rebels in Philippines

President Aquino, Moro leader Ebrahim end decades of bloody conflict.
Evangelicals Back Peace Pact with Islamic Rebels in Philippines
Malacanang Photo Bureau

Evangelical, Roman Catholic, and Islamic leaders in the Philippines are hailing today's signing of historic peace accords to end decades of conflict between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Among the dignitaries at the event was Bishop Efraim ...

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Why Hobby Lobby Is This Year's Supreme Court Case To Watch

(UPDATED) Tuesday's Green family appeal has religious liberty, corporate law, and Obamacare contraception all at stake.
Why Hobby Lobby Is This Year's Supreme Court Case To Watch
Alliance Defending Freedom and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

When Hobby Lobby makes its case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday, conservative Christians won't be the only ones paying attention.

After a year and a half of opposing the Affordable Care Act's birth control mandate, the evangelical-owned craft store chain ...

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Evangelicals Defend 'Christ at the Checkpoint' from Israeli Critics

(UPDATED) Leaders reject allegations by Ministry of Foreign Affairs official that Bethlehem conference is anti-Israel or anti-Semitic.
Evangelicals Defend 'Christ at the Checkpoint' from Israeli Critics
Andrew Larsen/Flickr

Update (March 12): Evangelical leaders of this week's Christ at the Checkpoint (CATC) conference defended their four-day event against a chorus of critics who allege the gathering has an anti-Israel political agenda.

About 700 people are in Bethlehem to take part in ...

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Mars Hill Defends How Mark Driscoll's 'Real Marriage' Became a Bestseller

'Unwise' but not 'uncommon or illegal,' $200,000 campaign helped marriage book briefly top New York Times list.
Mars Hill Defends How Mark Driscoll's 'Real Marriage' Became a Bestseller
Mars Hill

Recent reports telling how Mark Driscoll's book reached the top of a bestseller list have left Mars Hill Church calling the campaign "unwise," but not "uncommon or illegal."

Driscoll has recently faced scrutiny for citation errors in a study guide. ...

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Pastors Hope All-Night Prayer Vigil Prevents Russia from Invading Ukraine

(UPDATED) Church leaders grateful for global prayer response as "tension has been tremendous.' Russian evangelical says, 'Churches must stop armed conflict.'
Pastors Hope All-Night Prayer Vigil Prevents Russia from Invading Ukraine
masochismtango/Flickr

Update (March 4): Under threat of an invasion from Russia, Ukrainian church leaders say their call for an all-night prayer vigil received a global response overnight. "The situation here is stabilizing slowly," said Vitaly Sorokun, pastor of New Hope Church in Kharkov, ...

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Dozens of Children Abused at Evangelical Commune, Adult Survivors Allege

Jesus People USA, Evangelical Covenant Church named in lawsuit. New film details claims of chronic abuse.
Dozens of Children Abused at Evangelical Commune, Adult Survivors Allege
No Place to Call Home

Dozens of individuals raised in Chicago's Jesus People USA Christian community (JPUSA) are alleging that commune members sexually abused them as children, while leaders covered up the abuse for years.

The allegations are contained in a 90-minute documentary film, released ...

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Israel Separates Christian and Muslim Arabs (Legally) for the First Time

(UPDATED) But Israeli Baptist leader says most Arab Christians will refuse unprecedented offer of special minority representation.
Israel Separates Christian and Muslim Arabs (Legally) for the First Time
Wikimedia

Update (Feb. 27): Arab Christians will largely disregard the unprecedented special minority representation granted them by Israel's legislature, predicts the chairman of the Association of Baptist Churches in Israel.

"I believe most Arabs will refuse this decision," ...

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Ukraine Names Baptist Pastor as Acting President

After 88 die in protests, Ukrainian evangelicals call nation "to learn to love yesterday's enemies."
Ukraine Names Baptist Pastor as Acting President
Russian Ministries

Oleksandr Turchynov, a well-known Baptist pastor and top opposition politician in Ukraine, took office on Sunday, Feb. 23, as acting president after the Parliament voted to oust President Yanukovych.

The collapse of the Yanukovych regime follows three months of growing ...

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Parents Sentenced to Prison for Belief in Healing Power of Prayer

Couple who broke probation with death of second son given one of harshest punishments for faith healing.
Parents Sentenced to Prison for Belief in Healing Power of Prayer
Wikimedia

Two Pentecostal parents from Philadelphia watched two of their sons die from treatable diseases because they believe in faith healing. Now the couple has been sentenced to between three and seven years in prison.

Herbert and Catherine Schaible—already on a 10-year ...

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