Religious News From Around the Web July 19, 2021

Supreme Court Punts on Religious Liberty Case; AGs Say Biden’s “Misapplication” of Bostock Could Damage Religious Freedom; Quiz on Middle Eastern Religious Sites; Methodist Woman, 82, to Go Into Space; Video: Inside a Zoroastrian Fire Temple

Christian Floral Designer Loses Religious Liberty Case
Barronelle Stutzman, a 76-year-old grandmother and great-grandmother, faces the loss of her small business and her retirement savings because she declined to create a flower arrangement for a same sex wedding. Stutzman has employed gay staffers, she helped the plaintiff find another designer for his wedding flowers, but was nevertheless sued and lost the case and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review it. Part of the confusion is that this court’s refusal to hear Stutzman’s case appears to clash with its recent 9-0 Fulton v. City of Philadelphia decision which protected the right of Catholic Social Services leaders to follow church teachings and, thus, to refuse to refer children to same-sex couples for adoption or foster care.

AGs Say Biden’s “Misapplication” of Bostock Could Damage Religious Freedom

Survey Offers a Look into How Democrats from Different Religions View Their Presidential Candidates

Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

A group of 21 state attorneys general have denounced recent efforts to expand LGBT policies in schools on the grounds that they believe such policies would circumvent religious liberty protections and free speech rights. Last month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the U.S. Department of Education sent out guidance for states to implement the 2020 U.S. Supreme Court ruling Bostock v. Clayton County. In the 6-3 ruling from June of last year, the Supreme Court majority concluded that federal Title VII civil rights law banning employment discrimination on the basis of “sex” applied to “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” However, the attorneys general took issue with the EEOC and Department of Education guidance, stating in part that the administration was misapplying the Bostock ruling.
Quiz on Middle Eastern Religious Sites
At Al-Aqsa Mosque Over 180,000 Muslims Prayed Peacefully on the First Friday of RamadanThe sites featured in this quiz are less historical artifacts and instead places still considered sacred and revered by hundreds of millions of Muslims, Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Baha’is and others in the Middle East and beyond. Just how many of them do you recognize?

Methodist Woman, 82, to Go Into Space
330px Seven Members of the First Lady Astronaut Trainees in 1995 GPN 2002 000196 cropWally Funk, 82, who was part of the “Mercury 13” group of women trained by NASA 60 years ago as astronauts and later was the first female National Transportation Safety Board air safety inspector, will join Jeff Bezos aboard Blue Origin’s first crewed spaceflight tomorrow on July 20. She’s a member of Fellowship United Methodist Church in Trophy Club, Texas, and also attends nearby White’s Chapel United Methodist Church, according to the UM News Daily Digest.

Video: Inside a Zoroastrian Fire Temple

Zoroastrian Fire Temple

Zoroastrian Fire Temple

With roots dating back to the Second Millennium BCE, Zoroastrianism enters written history in the 5th century BCE.[13] It served as the state religion of the ancient Iranian empires for more than a millennium, from around 600 BCE to 650 CE, but declined from the 7th century CE onwards following the Muslim conquest of Persia of 633–654 and subsequent persecution of the Zoroastrian people.[Wikipedia] Recent estimates place the current number of Zoroastrians at around 110,000–120,000 at most, with the majority living in India, Iran, and North America. The village of Chak Chak, Iran is home to many Zoroastrians from Iran, India and other countries. The sacred fire temple contains an eternal flame, a symbol of purity and life.