religion

A bill aimed at codifying students’ religious expression is awaiting a signature from Florida Governor Rick Scott.

 

The Florida Student and School Personnel Religious Liberties Act mandates that schools not “discriminate” against students, teachers, or employees “on the basis of a religious viewpoint or religious expression.”

Senate Bill 436 and its House companion 303 would also clarify rules regarding religious expression in school.

Donald Trump's first overseas trip as president begins Friday with a pilgrimage of sorts. With stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican, Trump will be visiting the centers of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, the three major monotheistic religions.

But he's wading into deep waters with potential for missteps and disagreement. He'll meet with Muslim leaders despite declaring that "Islam hates us" during the campaign; he'll meet with Pope Francis, who advocates for countries to be welcoming to refugees.

A prominent Christian conservative says it’s time for Christians to withdraw from modern, secular American life.

npr.org

Broward County has the largest Jewish community in Florida and the eighth largest in the country.

But a new demographic study shows a decline in that community in the last 20 years. 

And other findings suggest that Broward's Jewish leaders need to reach out to more Jews from Spanish-speaking countries --  if they want their synagogues to survive.

 

D
Steve Smith 

If the building didn’t have a giant cross out front, it could easily be mistaken for a sports arena. 

But this is Yoido Full Gospel Church, a Pentecostal congregation belonging to the Korean Assemblies of God — a household name in South Korea. The institution is also known as the largest megachurch in the world, with a congregation approaching 800,000 people, according to church officials. 

Protestant megachurches, defined as those with at least 2,000 people in attendance every week, don't just operate all across the United States. This is a global phenomenon. 

The collision of two core American values — freedom of religion and freedom from discrimination — is prompting a showdown in legislatures and courts across the country.

For some conservatives, religious freedom means the right to act on their opposition to same-sex marriage and other practices that go against their beliefs. LGBT advocates and their allies, meanwhile, say no one in the United States should face discrimination because of their sexual orientation.

In his address to the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, President Trump vowed to "get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution."

Some conservative Christian groups will welcome the promise, but many Americans may wonder what Trump was talking about. Here are five basic questions that we can answer.

1. What is the Johnson Amendment?

The Johnson Amendment regulates what tax-exempt organizations such as churches can do in the political arena.

Researchers seeking to predict how Americans will vote have for years identified an important clue: The more religious you are, the more likely you are to lean Republican.

Conversations with more than two-dozen self-identified "faith" voters in Boone, N.C., suggest that pattern is holding this year, even while revealing the same high level of voter disenchantment evident across the country.

Churchgoing Americans say their preachers often speak out on hot social and political issues and occasionally back or oppose particular candidates in defiance of U.S. law prohibiting such endorsements.

Nadege Green / WLRN

Every month, The First Church of North Miami throws a concert that showcases local contemporary Christian music.

Nadege Green / WLRN

Pastor Wilifred Allen-Faiella looked out into the congregation from the pulpit.

Everyone calls her Pastor Willie.

Her sermon was, in part, about modern-day demons.

“Demons of homophobia,” she preached.  “Demons of seeing anything other as a threat.”

The University of Miami is on the verge of setting a new precedent in religious studies. It’s introducing an Atheism Chair to its faculty.

 

Retired businessman Louis Appignani donated $2.2 million in April to endow what is said to be the nation’s first academic chair for the study of atheism, humanism and secular ethics, according to the New York Times.

 

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

  When the Interfaith Ministerial Alliance of the Key West and Lower Keys met Tuesday, the group's agenda included a resolution renouncing discrimination based on religious faith. The resolution was a response to presidential candidate Donald Trump's proposal to bar Muslims from entering the country.

But even before the members looked at the agenda, they were already talking about the Trump proposal, said the Rev. Randy Becker, president of the alliance.

Debate Over Capitol Holiday Displays Quieter This Year

Dec 7, 2015
Phil Sears / AP via Miami Herald

Visitors to the Florida Capitol likely won't see a Nativity scene this year. They also won't see a protest display from the Satanic Temple.

However, they could see a menorah. And an irreverent disco ball-topped, multi-colored gay pride festivus pole --- built of beer cans --- might still be on tap.

State Archives of Florida

What does Cyrus Teed have in common with people like Marjorie Rawlings, Ernest Hemingway, Henry Flagler and Juan Ponce de Leon? 

He was not from Florida. But he came to Florida, like the names listed above, and left an indelible mark on the state's history. 

The first thing you should know about Teed is that he was likely a lunatic. Or so thought many of the people who challenged him in the 19th and early 20th century. And by challenging, I mean people who wanted to fight, sue or even kill Teed.

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