Evangelicals' favorite same-sex marriage law
If you can't beat them, amend them. With same-sex marriage (SSM) now legal in 16 states and D.C., many religious liberty advocates are helping SSM laws include sufficient religious exemptions. Of the 12 existing laws (5 states legalized via judges or ballot), church-state experts pick Maryland and Rhode Island as offering the best protections. The worst: Delaware. Law professor Thomas Berg says, "Too many folks see this as an all-or-nothing matter. If religious liberty is tied to defeating [SSM] altogether, religious liberty is going to lose." For a complete chart, see ChristianityToday.com/go/MarriageLaws (PDF).
One of the most important tax breaks available to American pastors is unconstitutional. So ruled a Wisconsin judge, who said the IRS's clergy housing allowance violates the First Amendment because it "provides a benefit to religious persons and no one else." The exemption saves clergy $700 million per year. The ruling is on hold pending appeal to the Seventh Circuit, which previously reversed the same judge's ruling that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional.
The last crusade of Billy Graham was hard to miss: More than 28,000 churches and 500 TV stations aired his videotaped message, "The Cross," on his 95th birthday. The event marked a pivot from stadiums to living rooms. But the United States was actually the 58th country to take this approach: Since 2002, nearly 300,000 churches worldwide have hosted "My Hope" viewing parties.
The volatile Central African ...1
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Gleanings: January/February 2014
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