In today’s News:
Turkey rejects an American pastor’s appeal
Turkey’s constitutional court last week rejected as “inadmissible” American Pastor Andrew Brunson’s appeal over rights violation for unlawfully arresting him and exceeding the legal limit of his detention. He was imprisoned for his faith for two years in that country. Although he now lives in the United States, the prison sentence against Brunson, who was arrested in October 2016 and charged with espionage and committing crimes in the name of a terrorist organization as a non-member, remains. Brunson’s appeal was made on the basis that his arrest was illegal and beyond the legal limit of detention.
Court rules in favor of a Christian club
A Christian afterschool ministry tied to The Moody Church in Chicago is sufficiently religious enough to qualify for an exemption from having to pay into a state insurance program, an appeals court ruled last week. A three-judge panel of the Appellate Court of Illinois on Wednesday upheld a lower court decision and ruled 2-1 that the By The Hand Club for Kids should have been given an exemption to the state’s Unemployment Insurance Act. The Illinois Department of Employment Security’s Board of Review concluded in 2017 that the By The Hand Club was not eligible for an exemption to the state unemployment insurance system. In the majority opinion authored by Justice Margaret McBride, the court ruled that the board of review failed to recognize the pervasive religious nature of the student club. This included the club requiring members and staff to be Christian, hosting Bible studies and chapel services and leading field trips to faith-based events like Christian music concerts.
Judges ask Supreme Court to revisit an abortion ruling
A three-judge panel on a federal appellate court struck down several pro-life laws in Arkansas, and two of the judges have called on the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit its ruling in a major abortion case that upheld Roe v. Wade. The ruling by three judges on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals prevents two pro-life laws passed by the state in 2019 from going into effect. One of the laws prohibits abortions after 18 week’s gestation while the other prohibits abortion of a child based solely on a diagnosis of Down syndrome. Judge James Loken, a George H.W. Bush appointee who authored the opinion, cited the precedent set in the 1992 Supreme Court case Planned Parenthood v. Casey when upholding a lower court’s ruling blocking the Arkansas laws from going into effect. While the panel unanimously agreed that Supreme Court precedent required them to strike down the Arkansas laws, two of the judges urged the court to reconsider the finding of Casey. One of the judges, George W. Bush appointee Bobby Shepherd, shared his view that “good reasons exist for the (Supreme) Court to reevaluate its jurisprudence” in Casey.
Satanic Temple opposes burial for aborted babies
The Satanic Temple, a group that believes abortion is a “religious ritual” similar to communion or baptism, is fighting against a new Ohio law that ensures aborted babies receive a proper burial. WLWT 5 News reports the religious group slammed the law as a violation of the First Amendment last week and threatened to take legal action. Signed by Gov. Mike DeWine in December, the law requires the Ohio Department of Health to establish rules for the proper and humane burial or cremation of aborted babies’ bodies. It creates penalties for violations and requires abortion facilities to pay for the babies to be cremated or buried. Several states have similar laws in place, and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s law in 2019. Such laws not only ensure that aborted babies’ bodies are treated with dignity and respect, they also are a safeguard against abortion facilities trying to sell aborted baby body parts. However, the Satanic Temple claims the Ohio law violates their religious freedom.