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ICE Ordered to Stop Pressing Iraqi Religious Minorities Into Deportation Agreement

Written by Don Byrd

Via Religion Clause, in a lawsuit brought by the ACLU on behalf of Iraqi religious and ethnic minorities detained in the U.S., a judge has ordered ICE to stop coercive tactics designed to pressure them into agreeing to deportation. The detainees are long-time residents in the U.S. who faced persecution in Iraq but were recently rounded up by the Trump Administration because they were eligible for deportation.

Bloomberg News reports:

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement began using threats and misinformation to try to convince the Iraqis who are being detained across the U.S. with limited access to lawyers that it’s a crime to say they wish to remain here with their families and continue their immigration fights in court, according to the ACLU.

“ICE officers are not allowed to communicate with them about their immigration cases, length of their detention, or prospect of removal to Iraq,” the judge said. “While detainees with final orders must cooperate with obtaining passports or travel documents, they cannot be required to state that they wish to return to Iraq.”

The ACLU explains that the plaintiffs are largely Chaldean Christians, Shiite Muslims, and Christian converts, which makes …read more

Trump Hurts His Administration’s Legal Argument In The Muslim Ban By Comparing It To His Family Separation Policy Hassanein Thu, 06/21/2018 – 12:55 Authored by Rokia Hassanein Image The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hand a decision on the Muslim ban case any day now – maybe even tomorrow. President Donald J. Trump, meanwhile, […]

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FFRF raises red flag over Tenn. department’s religious video

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The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is objecting on constitutional grounds to the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services endorsement of religion. A concerned Tennessee resident who went through training to become a foster parent reported that the Department of Children’s Services requires aspiring foster parents to watch a video called “Characteristics of Resource Parents,” which […]

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Report Identifies 139 Bills Across the Country Related to Religious Liberty

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Written by Don Byrd

Via Get Religion, the Deseret News (which is owned by a subsidiary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) has published an extremely valuable report, focused on religious liberty legislation currently pending or recently passed in state legislatures across the country. The analysis is part of a 6-month investigation into the “state of religious freedom in America.”

All together, the report identified and catalogued 139 bills, which are searchable by topic or state. The project is described this way:

The Deseret News spent the past two months researching proposed legislation across the nation to try to gain some sense of where this battle [“over the place of faith in the public square”] is heading… In all, the Deseret News found 139 bills regarding religious freedom that were debated so far this year. These bills cover everything from religious clubs in elementary schools to state officials authorized to solemnize weddings, but most deal with LGBT rights, free speech, health care and adoption.

This analysis sets the stage for a six-month investigation into the state of religious freedom in America. The Deseret News will explore key conflicts affecting people of …read more

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I Attended the Oregon School Accused Of Forcing Students To Read The Bible. This Is What It Taught Me About Church-State Separation

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I Attended the Oregon School Accused Of Forcing Students To Read The Bible. This Is What It Taught Me About Church-State Separation midyette Wed, 06/20/2018 – 09:48 Authored by Emily Midyette Image “We propose America be segregated by race!” My classmate announced while his fellow group members giggled. Our World History class had been assigned […]

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FFRF wins Bill of Rights court case against Texas Gov. Abbott

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The Freedom From Religion Foundation has triumphed in federal court against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who had ordered in 2015 the removal of its winter solstice Bill of Rights Nativity from the state Capitol. In a final judgement, issued late yesterday (Tuesday, June 19), U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks, for the Western District of Texas […]

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FFRF attorney debunks lordly argument in constitutional journal

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The Freedom From Religion Foundation advocates for our Constitution every day. It is, as we regularly point out, a godless Constitution. But every now and then, we encounter theocrats or Christian nationalists who thinks they’ve found a savvy rejoinder: God is in the Constitution. What they intend to argue is that their god wormed his […]

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FFRF condemns biblical justification of immigration policy

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The Freedom From Religion Foundation is formally objecting to the attorney general’s use of the bible as justification for the Trump administration’s newly draconian immigration procedures. “Religion has no place in shaping public policy in our secular nation,” FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor write in a letter of complaint to Attorney General Jeff […]

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Pastor Stephen Cook on supporting the Johnson Amendment

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The Rev. Dr. Stephen Cook, pastor of Second Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, discusses his support for the Johnson Amendment and how it protects houses of worship. In this discussion with BJC Executive Director Amanda Tyler, Dr. Cook talks about his church, why he supports this provision in the tax code, and how removing it could harm churches. He also shares the one time he thought about the Johnson Amendment when preaching on a Sunday (go to 10:44), reviews the impact of a special event his church held with Michael Gerson (go to 19:03), and talks about how his church worked to come together after a divisive campaign season (go to 21:53).


For more resources and background on the Johnson Amendment, visit BJConline.org/JohnsonAmendment

To read — or sign — the letter from more than 4,000 faith leaders in support of the Johnson Amendment, visit Faith-Voices.org

…read more

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Few Immigrants Granted Waivers Under Trump’s Muslim Ban

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Few Immigrants Granted Waivers Under Trump’s Muslim Ban LHayes Tue, 06/19/2018 – 10:41 Authored by Liz Hayes Image As we await the U.S. Supreme Court’s imminent ruling in the legal challenge to President Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban, new reporting has highlighted more problems with the ban beyond the obvious that it is unconstitutional because it […]

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