(1) Florida Bill: Churches Don’t Have to Do Same-Sex Weddings (AP)
Florida law will specify that churches can’t be forced to marry same-sex couples under a bill the Legislature sent to Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday. Scott’s office said he’ll sign the measure, which opponents say isn’t necessary and is simply an overreaction to the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage.
(2) India Objects To US Religious Commission (AP)
India says that a U.S. religious freedom commission does not have legal standing to pass judgment on the situation there. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said Thursday that India refused to grant visas for a visit by a three-member delegation to assess religious freedom conditions in the South Asian nation.
(3) Court halts discriminatory testing of Sikh Army Captain (The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty)
Decorated Army Captain and observant Sikh Simratpal Singh has prevailed against the Department of Defense’s (DOD) efforts to subject him to discriminatory testing because of his religion.
In an order issued last night, federal District Judge Beryl A. Howell held that the DOD is forbidden from imposing “any non-standard or discriminatory testing for [Captain Singh’s] helmet and gas mask during the pendency of the litigation.” Judge Howell issued the order in response to Captain Singh’s complaint filed earlier this week, where he disclosed that DOD bureaucrats planned to force him to undergo three days of testing under escort at the Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground, despite the fact he had just passed the standard gas-mask testing exercise.
(4) Vote to Override South Dakota ‘Bathroom Bill’ Veto Narrowly Fails (TIME)
On Thursday, the South Dakota House of Representatives failed to override the governor’s veto of a “bathroom bill” which would have required public school students to use facilities based on their ‘chromosomes and anatomy” at birth. The override vote in favor of the bill fell some ten votes short of the required two-thirds majority, with 36 yeas, 29 nays and five members not voting.
(5) Tennessee House passes resolution criticizing same-sex marriage decision
The Tennessee House of Representatives sent a message to the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday, passing a resolution expressing disagreement with the high court’s landmark decision legalizing same-sex marriage.
With a 73-18 vote, the chamber passed the measure to not only disagree with the constitutional analysis used in Obergefell v. Hodges but to say the “judicial imposition of a natural marriage license law” is contrary to previous actions taken by the Tennessee legislature.
(6) Array of Baptists embrace presidential contenders (Baptist Press)
(7) Evangelicals in Middle America Less Supportive of Trump, by Brian Kaylor
Support for Donald Trump among evangelical voters continues to garner numerous headlines as the business mogul moves closer to the Republican presidential nomination. However, evangelicals in the middle part of the United States are bolting from the Trump bandwagon.
(8) Charles Krauthammer writes, “Donald Trump, defender of the faith: Evangelicals, too, buy his tough guy act; expose it as a fraud”
How could this have happened? A more scripturally, spiritually flawed man than Trump would be hard to find. As several anti-Trump evangelical voices have argued, Christian witness cannot possibly support a thrice-married man with such an impressive list of sins, featuring especially spectacular displays of the seven deadlys.
These theological arguments are both eloquent and impassioned but, in this season of fear and anxiety, beside the point. This time around, evangelicals are not looking for someone like them. They’re looking for someone who will protect them.
They’ve tried backing exemplary Scripture-quoting Christians — without result. After Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum and considerations of Cruz himself, they are increasingly reluctant to support like-minded candidates who are nonetheless incapable of advancing their cause in a hostile political arena so dominated by secularism.