Friday round-up

Official SCOTUS portraitHere are a few interesting articles and videos I’ve run across lately. Most of them are hard news: a few, not so much.

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday on an important case for freedom of religion. In Case #3 on my Top Ten List of SCOTUS cases this term, Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC, the Court held–in a decision that was, amazingly, 9-0–that:

The Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First
Amendment bar suits brought on behalf of ministers against their churches, claiming termination in violation of employment discrimination laws.

In plain English, the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom means that churches can pick–and fire–their ministers as they choose, without government interference, even if the case might ordinarily fall under the purview of employment discrimination laws.

Here is a fairly quick summary of and commentary on the decision from The Anchoress (Elizabeth Scalia, no relation to Hizzoner). Here is a long and meaty one from Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog.

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UN Day: Let’s defund the UNFPA

UN Day logoToday is United Nations Day. The UN was founded on October 24th, 1945, by 51 countries committed to (according to the UN’s official website) “maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights.”

Funny they should mention human rights.

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President finds missing bully pulpit (sort of)

The good news first: The White House yesterday condemned the conviction and death sentence against Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani. He has been found guilty of the capital crime of being a Christian. Here is his story, if you’re not familiar with it.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide csw.org.uk

The bad news: It took two years. That’s how long it’s been since Nadarkhani was originally convicted of apostasy by the 11th Chamber of The Assize Court of the Province of Gilan. (Here is a translation of that court’s verdict.)

And it wasn’t a matter worthy of the President’s time or direct influence–it was just another brief statement by the press secretary.

But maybe I should be more generous, and just call it eleven months. That’s how long it’s been since the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom urged the President to press for Nadarkhani’s immediate and unconditional release.

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