In today’s News:
Head of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod called home
The Rev. John Arthur Moldstad, Jr., president of the evangelical Lutheran Synod, died in Madison Lake, Minnesota, on Jan. 29. He was 66. For almost 10 years, LCMS president Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison has met informally once a year with Moldstad and Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod President Rev. Mark Schroeder. A funeral is set for Saturday, Feb. 6, at 11 a.m. at Peace Lutheran Church, North Mankato, Minnesota, with committal immediately following at Norseland Lutheran Cemetery in St. Peter, Minnesota. Visitation will be held at Peace on Friday, Feb. 5, from 4 to 7 p.m., and on Saturday, Feb. 6, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Democrats urge elimination of religious protection
President Joe Biden is facing pressure from fellow Democrats to eliminate a division of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) created under the Trump administration in 2018. The Conscience and Religious Freedom Division in the HHS Office for Civil Rights was established to ensure the federal enforcement of laws that exist to protect the fundamental rights of conscience and religious freedom. Both the Democratic Women’s Caucus and Secular Democrats of America are calling on Biden to end the division. Sixty female Democrat lawmakers penned a letter to Biden in December encouraging him to “use executive powers to immediately begin reversing the harm wrought by the outgoing administration…” on the list of their demands is the elimination of the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division of HHS, claiming that it “has been weaponized to justify discrimination.”
First Liberty seeks conscience exemption
Yesterday, First Liberty Institute sent a letter to the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) demanding that it immediately approve senior Marcail McBride’s request for a religious accommodation exempting her from the school’s student gender and sexuality program. IMSA requires students to complete the student gender and sexuality program before graduation. Students must agree to both “stay engaged” and “experience discomfort” while participating in the program, which uses sexual language to identify sexual preferences and gender identity. In November, Marcail’s parents notified IMSA leadership that Marcail could not participate in the program because it forces Marcail to violate her religious beliefs. The IMSA leadership repeatedly denied the McBride’s request and threatened to punish Marcail if she does not participate in the program.
Court okays a Nativity Scene
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of a Nativity Scene displayed annually at the Jackson County Courthouse in Indiana. Liberty Counsel represents Jackson County. The Seventh Circuit ruled that the Nativity Scene is Constitutional under the Supreme Court’s recent decision in American Legion v. American Humanist Association, which upheld the Peace Cross in Maryland. The Seventh Circuit wrote, “applying American Legion, we conclude that the county’s Nativity Scene is Constitutional because it fits within a long national tradition of using the Nativity Scene in broader holiday displays to celebrate the origins of Christmas — a public holiday.