In today’s News:
Apply now for deaconess studies program
A new distance deaconess studies program will launch in the spring 2021 semester at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. This program will allow students to become certified to serve as commissioned deaconesses in the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. The four-year program will prepare women to share the Gospel through works of mercy, spiritual care and teaching the Christian faith. Students who complete the program will be eligible for placement as commissioned deaconesses in the LCMS. The seminary is currently accepting applications for enrollment in the spring 2021 semester; the application deadline is Aug. 31.
Democrats move to repeal religious protections
Last Monday, the Supreme Court Ruled 6–3 that the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s prohibition on sex discrimination in employment also prohibits such discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and “transgender status.” In his dissent, Justice Samuel Alito warned that the decision presents clear threats to religious liberty, while Justice Neil Gorsuch countered in his majority opinion that there are still a variety of legal protections for religious Americans, including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. While it’s unknown what religious exemptions the Supreme Court “might” actually provide in cases involving claims of discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation, Congressional Democrats made it clear that they don’t want to leave anything to chance, pushing forward with a bill that would explicitly strip religious Americans of the ability to defend themselves under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in future employment-discrimination lawsuits.
Illinois Dioceses join Supreme Court case
A Philadelphia law that purports to prevent discrimination actually harms children through religious discrimination, according to an a friend of the court brief filed with the United States Supreme Court by the Thomas More Society. Representing Catholic Charities from two Illinois Dioceses of the Roman Catholic Church, the brief, filed June 3, in Sharonell Fulton. V. City of Philadelphia, supports Catholic Social Services of the Archdiocese Of Philadelphia, along with foster parents Sharonell Fulton and Toni Lynn Simms-Busch. The Thomas More Society filing speaks to Philadelphia’s alleged First Amendment violation in requiring a religious agency to make statements and perform actions that contradict its religious beliefs in order to participate in the foster care system. Having experienced in Illinois what happened in Philadelphia, Catholic Charities of the Diocese Of Springfield in Illinois and Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Joliet, are asking the high court to side with their Pennsylvania counterparts and the foster parents suing for their religious rights. The amici brief notes that Illinois presented no evidence that same-sex couples were not readily able to find assessment and qualification services from over 60 department of children and family services offices and over 50 alternative foster care agencies, stating, “the state’s exclusion of faith-based foster care providers was thus a solution in search of a problem and harmed Illinois children without any countervailing benefit.”