Religious belief – Aaim Austin http://aaimaustin.org/ Thu, 07 Oct 2021 02:19:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8 https://aaimaustin.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/icon-5-120x120.png Religious belief – Aaim Austin http://aaimaustin.org/ 32 32 Judging a “sincerely supported” religious belief is difficult for employers who demand vaccines https://aaimaustin.org/judging-a-sincerely-supported-religious-belief-is-difficult-for-employers-who-demand-vaccines/ https://aaimaustin.org/judging-a-sincerely-supported-religious-belief-is-difficult-for-employers-who-demand-vaccines/#respond Mon, 04 Oct 2021 18:12:00 +0000 https://aaimaustin.org/judging-a-sincerely-supported-religious-belief-is-difficult-for-employers-who-demand-vaccines/ A person receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Los Angeles in April. // Getty Images, Mario Tama Updated October 4, 2021, 12:51 p.m. ET Brittany Watson worked as a nurse at a hospital in Winchester, Va. – until her employer, Valley Health, announced that all staff needed […]]]>

A person receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Los Angeles in April. // Getty Images, Mario Tama

Updated October 4, 2021, 12:51 p.m. ET

Brittany Watson worked as a nurse at a hospital in Winchester, Va. – until her employer, Valley Health, announced that all staff needed to be vaccinated.

Watson says there are several reasons she didn’t get the jab. The first is that she had COVID-19 in November, so she thinks she has some natural immunity. And she’s also skeptical of any carrots that have been hung – things like college scholarships, shotguns, fishing licenses – to urge West Virginia like her to get vaccinated.

“I might have had it if it wasn’t so pushed to get it,” Watson says. “And then they mandate it. Now you tell me what to do. I worked 18 months during the pandemic, and now I’m not allowed to work there if I don’t have a vaccine.”

Whether an employer grants a religious exemption to a vaccination requirement is usually based on a judgment of the employee’s sincere religious belief – and whether the accommodation constitutes undue hardship on the employer, or would pose a threat. direct to the health and safety of others.

Watson organized a picket line outside Winchester Medical Center to protest the Valley Health mandate. She also asked for a religious exemption, signed by her pastor.

“My explanation was that ‘Human life is sacred. The Bible tells you that your body is a temple. The vaccine is made from aborted fetuses. The mandate directly affects my religious beliefs.’ And that’s it, ”she said.

The vaccines themselves do not contain any fetal cells. Fetal cell lines have been used in vaccine development, as they typically are in the development of new pharmaceuticals.

Valley Health approved her religious exemption, but Watson decided to seek employment elsewhere.

Watson’s girlfriend Katherine Hart also had her religious exemption approved by Valley Health. After going on strike for three weeks, Hart returned to her job as a nurse practitioner at an emergency care center in Martinsburg, W.Va.

“I went back to work and literally nothing has changed. I see the same patients,” says Hart. “I do COVID tests. I see COVID patients every day. I wear my same masks, I follow the same rules. Literally nothing has changed, which makes me even more suspicious, because if I were a such a threat to society, you would think they should change the rules and make me do something differently. ”

Hart and Watson say other people they know have had their exemption requests turned down.

Valley Health last month terminated the employment of 72 employees, out of a workforce of more than 6,000, due to non-compliance with its vaccine mandate. The health system claims that more than 95% of its employees are now vaccinated, of which 5% are exempt for religious or medical reasons.

No major religion has opposed COVID-19 vaccines. Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Scientists, and the Catholic Church have all issued statements saying their religion does not prohibit members from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. The Pope said getting the vaccine was “an act of love”.

The assessment of requests for religious exemptions is difficult

“Employers are inundated with these demands [for religious exemptions], and must assess them in large numbers, ”says Alana Genderson, lawyer specializing in labor and employment law at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.

Because employers are reluctant to engage in assessing questions of religion and personal beliefs, Genderson says that “employers feel more comfortable judging undue hardship and whether there is an accommodation where the person does not. would not be a direct threat to others “.

The idea of ​​evaluating sincerity is particularly thorny.

“Sincerity is like what’s true in your heart. There is no way to judge this as religious or not, or as sincere or not,” says Kira Ganga Kieffer, doctoral student in religious studies at Boston University. , where she writes a book on vaccine skepticism in America.

But there is a legal basis for employers to assess sincere religious beliefs.

According to Genderson, according to federal guidelines and previous court rulings, employers may consider several factors when assessing the sincerity of a religious belief.

“These factors can include whether the employee’s behavior is inconsistent with the professed belief; accommodation constitutes a desirable advantage which may be sought for secular reasons; the timing of the request makes him suspect; or the employer has an objective reason to believe that the accommodation is not sought for religious reasons, ”she explains.

Employers can ask the employee for additional information, such as asking if they are taking other drugs that also used fetal cells in their development, such as Tylenol or Motrin.

A tension between religious freedom and public security

When Kieffer began her research, she was originally looking at measles outbreaks in places where parents chose not to get the vaccine at school.

In those cases, she said, “It was political, yes, but it wasn’t a red versus blue issue. It wasn’t a Republican versus Democrat issue. There were people on both sides with measles. . ”

But the politicization of this virus has changed that.

“The people who are the most angry now or who oppose the most now are kind of a new cohort, I would say, who are much more traditionally politically motivated,” Kieffer said.

The stakes could not be higher. As religious exemptions are now demanded en masse, their use raises concerns that they pose a serious risk to public health.

“We firmly believe that religious freedom should not be licensed to harm others,” said Rachel Laser, CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. She says it’s problematic that public safety rests on hard-to-assess issues of individual religious sincerity.

“What this has created is a situation where we actually see herd immunity threatened and public safety threatened, where religious exemptions are kind of so voluminously claimed,” Laser said.

“What we need to do is draw a line where religious freedom would endanger lives and harm others,” she said. “So we don’t even have to come up with that sincerity calculation.”

Some see mandates as the wrong approach

“I actually think a warrant is a blunt instrument at this point in the game, because everything is so new,” says Jason McKnight, senior pastor of Grace Fellowship Church in Kinston, North Carolina.

He himself is vaccinated and church members have sought advice on how to approach the mandates.

“Obviously the scriptures don’t talk about vaccines,” he laughs. “So how do we seek principles and use wisdom to apply them correctly, how does someone need to live in his conscience, but not in a stupid way?”

He says vaccination issues are something some people struggle with, among many other issues in their lives. He hears concerns that the vaccines are still too new, too untested – but people might not have a choice of getting the vaccine if they want to keep their jobs.

McKnight says if a member asked for his signature on a religious exemption, he thinks he would sign it.

“Part of my role is to support the underdog. That’s what Jesus did,” he said. “And that is why we are trying to figure out how to bring Afghan refugees here, why we are trying to help migrant workers. Nurses who are going to lose their jobs because they are just not ready to be vaccinated seems right. a little harsh right now in a civilized world. ”

Others believe resistance to vaccination is politically motivated

Randall Balmer grew up in the Evangelical Church and is now a Dartmouth Religious Professor and Episcopal Priest.

He suspects that much of the opposition to vaccines is politically motivated.

“I have to believe that something else is at work here, that there is some kind of underlying ideology that says, I don’t know, ‘We don’t want the Biden administration to succeed in overcome this public health crisis’ “he says.
“There is certainly no theological basis for this kind of opposition.”

And he believes many churches could render greater public service during the pandemic, noting that they enjoy tax-exempt status.

Balmer says that “a reasonable approach to this serious public health crisis would be for these churches, these religious organizations to say, ‘Look, we understand the public has been subsidizing us for a long time. In return, we believe that we have an obligation of civic responsibility, and we are ready to assume that obligation not only to vaccinate ourselves, but to vaccinate others. ”

“And I even dare say that maybe that’s what Jesus would do in a similar situation,” he said.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To learn more, visit https://www.npr.org.


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Parents lose religious belief offer to suspend order for school masks https://aaimaustin.org/parents-lose-religious-belief-offer-to-suspend-order-for-school-masks/ https://aaimaustin.org/parents-lose-religious-belief-offer-to-suspend-order-for-school-masks/#respond Tue, 28 Sep 2021 01:06:00 +0000 https://aaimaustin.org/parents-lose-religious-belief-offer-to-suspend-order-for-school-masks/ By Matthew Santoni (September 27, 2021, 9:06 p.m. EDT) – Federal judge will not stop Pennsylvania school mask warrant for four parents claiming masks violate their religious freedoms, finding on Monday that parents did not manifesting their opposition to the masks was a “sincere religious belief” and not just an opposition to current circumstances. U.S. […]]]>
By Matthew Santoni (September 27, 2021, 9:06 p.m. EDT) – Federal judge will not stop Pennsylvania school mask warrant for four parents claiming masks violate their religious freedoms, finding on Monday that parents did not manifesting their opposition to the masks was a “sincere religious belief” and not just an opposition to current circumstances.

U.S. District Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg has dismissed a preliminary injunction request preventing the Tredyffrin / Easttown School District from following the state’s requirement that all students wear masks to school regardless of their age. COVID-19 vaccination status, finding it unlikely that the parents in the trial would be able to succeed with their claims that their religious beliefs forbid them …

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What constitutes a sincere religious belief for the purposes of the vaccine mandate? https://aaimaustin.org/what-constitutes-a-sincere-religious-belief-for-the-purposes-of-the-vaccine-mandate/ https://aaimaustin.org/what-constitutes-a-sincere-religious-belief-for-the-purposes-of-the-vaccine-mandate/#respond Fri, 10 Sep 2021 10:48:12 +0000 https://aaimaustin.org/what-constitutes-a-sincere-religious-belief-for-the-purposes-of-the-vaccine-mandate/ In Northern California, the pastor of a mega-church distributes religious exemption forms to worshipers. A New Mexico state senator “will help you formulate a religious exemption” by pointing to the decades-old use of aborted fetal cells in the development of certain vaccines. And a Texas-based evangelist is offering letters of exemption to anyone – for […]]]>

In Northern California, the pastor of a mega-church distributes religious exemption forms to worshipers. A New Mexico state senator “will help you formulate a religious exemption” by pointing to the decades-old use of aborted fetal cells in the development of certain vaccines. And a Texas-based evangelist is offering letters of exemption to anyone – for a suggested “donation” starting at $ 25.

With workplace vaccination warrants in sight, opponents are turning to a proven remedy to avoid a COVID-19 vaccine: the claim that vaccination interferes with religious beliefs.

No major denomination opposes vaccination. Even the Church of Christian Science, whose adherents rely heavily on prayer rather than medicine, does not impose official policy. He advises “respect for public health authorities and conscientious obedience to the laws of the country, including those requiring vaccination.”

And if a person claims their private religious beliefs prohibit vaccination, that defense is unlikely to stand up in court if challenged, according to legal experts. Although members of the clergy have ridden the anti-vaccine train, they have no obvious justification in religious texts for their positions. Many seem willing to meet the needs of people who reject vaccination for another reason.

Yet the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission gives wide latitude to what constitutes a sincere religious belief. As a result, some experts predict that most employers and administrators will not want to challenge such objections on the part of their employees.

“I have a feeling that not many people will want to fight over this topic,” said Dr. John Swartzberg, infectious disease expert and professor at the University of California-Berkeley.

The full approval by the Food and Drug Administration of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on August 23 could take the problem to a critical point. Many government agencies, healthcare providers, colleges and the military were waiting for this decision before implementing the warrants.

In Dallas-Fort Worth, major health systems were the first companies to implement warrants, giving workers until the end of the month to get vaccinated. The issue of the exemption is already a battleground, with Liberty Counsel threatening to sue the Methodist Health System for denying religious exemptions to at least four workers.

Health care

Religious freedom group targets mandate to vaccinate Methodist health system workers

Religious freedom group Liberty Counsel says the Dallas-based Methodist health care system illegally denied employees exemptions from its company-wide vaccination mandate when it rejected multiple requests. Florida-based Liberty Counsel, who has become a staunch opponent of mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations, said the vaccines all have links to aborted fetal cells and because of that, anyone with religious objections should benefit from an exemption.

California, which abolished non-medical exemptions for childhood immunizations in 2015, has paved the way for COVID immunization mandates. Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom’s July 26 order that state employees and healthcare workers be fully immunized or tested weekly was the first of its kind, as was a similar August 11 statement for all teachers and staff in public and private schools. . California State University’s 23-campus system has joined with UC in requiring vaccinations for all students and staff, and companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter have announced mandatory proof of vaccination employees for those who return to their offices.

The University of California is requiring proof of vaccination for all staff and students on its 10 campuses, a move that potentially affects half a million people. But like many other companies, it makes room for those who wish to apply for an exemption “for medical, disability or religious reasons”, adding that the law requires it.

Nothing in the story suggests that a large number of students or staff will seek such a solution – but then, no previous conversation about the vaccine has been as overtly politicized as the one around COVID.

“This country is going to issue warrants. It’s just. All other alternatives have been tried, ”said Dr Monica Gandhi, infectious disease expert at UC-San Francisco. “This phrase, ‘religious exemption,’ is very big. But it will be quite difficult in the current climate – in a mass health crisis, with a vaccine in place that works – to drop such religious claims. “

Indeed, while anti-vaccine pop-up churches have long offered reluctant parents ways to exempt their children from vaccines, nowadays churches, internet-based religious businesses and others seem to be offering wholesale. COVID vaccination exemptions.

Dr. Gregg Schmedes, Republican state senator and otolaryngologist from New Mexico, used a Facebook post on August 19 to direct healthcare workers “with a religious belief that abortion is immoral To a site that attempts to catalog the use of cells from abortions. fetus to test or produce various COVID vaccines. A vaccine distributed in the United States, the Johnson & Johnson product, is made from a cell culture obtained in part from retinal cells from an aborted fetus in 1985.

Still, the Vatican has deemed it “morally acceptable” to be vaccinated against COVID. In fact, Pope Francis has declared it “the moral choice because it is about your life but also about the lives of others”. In a growing number of dioceses – Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and New York, among others – bishops have asked priests and deacons not to sign any letter that lends the church’s imprimatur to a request for religious exemption. .

Schmedes did not respond to questions posed by KHN via email.

Signs about freedom of choice and the offer of other messages were fully displayed during the protest outside Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas on August 7, 2021.

In the town of Rocklin, in the Sacramento area, a church that openly defied Newsom’s COVID shutdown orders last year distributed hundreds of exemption letters. Greg Fairrington, pastor of the Destiny Christian Church, told attendees at a church service, “No one should be able to demand that you get vaccinated or lose your job. It’s not fair here in America.

EEOC guidelines suggest that employers make “reasonable accommodation” to those who have a sincere religious objection to a workplace rule. This may mean moving an unvaccinated employee to a secluded part of the office, or from a forward-facing position to one that involves less people-to-people contact. But the employer is not required to do anything that results in undue hardship or more than a “de minimis” cost.

As to the objection itself, the committee’s opinion is vague. Employers “should normally assume that an employee’s request for religious accommodation is based on a sincere religious belief,” says the EEOC. Employers have the right to request supporting documentation, but employees’ religious beliefs should not depend on specific or organized faith.

The distinction between religion and ideology is blurring among those who seek exemptions. In Turlock, Calif., A preschool teacher received a letter of exemption from her pastor, who offered the documents to those who felt taking a vaccine was “morally compromising.”

Asked by KHN via a direct message why she requested the exemption, the woman said she did not feel comfortable being vaccinated because of “what’s in the vaccine,” then added, “Personally, I’m on ‘COVID’ and the control the government is trying to implement on us!” Like other exemption seekers, even those who have posted in anti-vaccine Facebook groups, she was concerned that other people would know that she had requested an exemption.

A surgical technician working at Dignity Health, who ordered her employees to be fully immunized by November 1, said she was awaiting a response from the company’s human resources department on her request for a religious exemption. She freely explained her reasons for applying, referring to two passages from the Bible and listing the ingredients of the vaccines that she said are “harmful to the human body.” But she didn’t want anyone to know that she had requested the religious exemption.

A state’s right to require vaccination is a law established since a 1905 Supreme Court ruling that upheld mandatory smallpox vaccination in Massachusetts. Legal experts say this right has been upheld on several occasions, including in a 1990 Supreme Court ruling that religiously motivated actions are not isolated from laws, unless a law designates religion for disadvantaged treatment. In August, Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett refused, without comment, to challenge Indiana University’s rule that all students, staff and faculty should be vaccinated.

“Under current law, it is clear that no religious exemption is required,” Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of UC-Berkeley law school, told KHN.

Clearly, that doesn’t stop people from looking for one.

This story was written by Mark Kreidler of Kaiser Santé news, which publishes California Health Line, an editorially independent service of the California Healthcare Foundation.


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British Columbia Court of Appeal Finds ‘Honest and Sincere Religious Belief’ Grounds to Avoid Sex https://aaimaustin.org/british-columbia-court-of-appeal-finds-honest-and-sincere-religious-belief-grounds-to-avoid-sex/ https://aaimaustin.org/british-columbia-court-of-appeal-finds-honest-and-sincere-religious-belief-grounds-to-avoid-sex/#respond Sun, 29 Aug 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://aaimaustin.org/british-columbia-court-of-appeal-finds-honest-and-sincere-religious-belief-grounds-to-avoid-sex/ The British Columbia Court of Appeal stated that an “honest and sincere religious belief” should be considered a ground for avoiding the sex necessary to consummate a marriage. The highest court in the province last week annulled the marriage of a Sikh couple who married civilly but claimed they had never slept together because they […]]]>

The British Columbia Court of Appeal stated that an “honest and sincere religious belief” should be considered a ground for avoiding the sex necessary to consummate a marriage.

The highest court in the province last week annulled the marriage of a Sikh couple who married civilly but claimed they had never slept together because they broke up while awaiting a religious ceremony for consecrate the union.

A lower court judge refused to annul the marriage because religious reasoning failed the long-standing legal test for failure to consummate a marriage – “physical or psychological incapacity.”

The appeals court judges ruled that “in the multicultural society that our nation reflects”, the law must be applied “in accordance with the cultural norms of the parties seeking annulment.”

“The [B.C. Supreme Court] judge insisted too much on the agreement of the parties not to consume, ”says the ruling.

“[The judge] did not give enough weight to the fact that the deal reflected an underlying aversion to consumption before the end of a Gurdwara ceremony. “

“Caprice is not a sufficient motive”

The decision contrasts the long legal history of marriage law with the realities of a diverse Canada.

According to the decision, the “founding Canadian” precedent for annulment is a 1942 Supreme Court of Canada case known as Heil v Heil.

In this situation, a doctor married a woman he met in Vienna in 1937 while studying.

The couple boarded the Empress of Britain for Canada, after which she immediately left to visit an aunt in New Hampshire and he left to look for work.

According to the decades-old ruling, sex escaped the couple the following year; they caught a glimpse of each other as he moved to Ottawa, then to Timmins, and she was on her way back to Europe.

She claimed she had “fulfilled her marital duties,” but Canada’s highest court did not believe her.

They also did not accept a trial judge’s finding that “she was mentally incapable of having sex between a man and a woman”.

The British Columbia Court of Appeal stated that an “honest and sincere religious belief” should be considered a ground for avoiding the sex necessary to consummate a marriage. (David Horemans / CBC)

This laid the foundation for a standard that is still accepted today.

“The refusal of sexual intercourse is the result of stubbornness, which is a creature of his will, and not the result of an invincible reluctance to the physical life of marriage,” wrote the justices of the Supreme Court of Canada.

“The simple refusal of marital relations on a whim is not a sufficient reason to justify a judgment in nullity.”

“Indeed, the end of the relationship”

In the case of British Columbia, the woman – PK – met her future husband – GS – after arriving in Canada as a student in 2017.

They got married in February 2019.

“They wanted to marry civilly to be able to live together, which would be against their religion, but they postponed the consumption until they underwent a traditional ceremony of Gurdwara”, indicates the decision of the court of appeal. .

After the civil marriage, they claimed that they lived separately in the same house, which they shared with friends.

GS was suffering from depression and PK claimed they started arguing.

“I decided to leave this place because it was affecting my studies and my job as well. So I just decided to get out of this thing because it was – was affecting my health and my emotional health so much,” PK said. at the bottom search.

“It was indeed the end of the relationship,” said the appeal court’s decision.

But the trial judge refused to annul the marriage.

She said it looked like PK and GS had simply “decided” not to consummate their marriage.

The judge said PK was not claiming that “the marriage could not be consummated because one of the parties is unable to have sex resulting from physical or psychological incapacity”.

Not necessary or appropriate today

Last year, a British Columbia Supreme Court judge annulled a marriage after finding the husband couldn’t maintain an erection.

This case looked at the graphic legal history of cases in which courts once required physical evidence of impotence.

“I am not convinced that this extremely high standard of proof is necessary or appropriate today,” wrote Justice Wendy Baker.

Likewise, considering the reasons why PK and GS were unable to consummate their marriage, the Court of Appeal considered that the trial judge “focused too much on the physical and psychological aspects of capacity in the traditional sense. of the term ”.

“They wanted to live together, but according to their cultural norms, they couldn’t do it without ceremony. Hence the civil ceremony. Sikh Gurdwara ceremony, and therefore did not consummate it, ”the judges wrote.

“The real aversion to consumption arose out of their religious beliefs, creating real incapacity.”


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‘Kirpan’ part of religious belief; The fact that it can be used as a weapon does not ipso facto make it a weapon of offense: Supreme Court https://aaimaustin.org/kirpan-part-of-religious-belief-the-fact-that-it-can-be-used-as-a-weapon-does-not-ipso-facto-make-it-a-weapon-of-offense-supreme-court/ https://aaimaustin.org/kirpan-part-of-religious-belief-the-fact-that-it-can-be-used-as-a-weapon-does-not-ipso-facto-make-it-a-weapon-of-offense-supreme-court/#respond Sun, 08 Aug 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://aaimaustin.org/kirpan-part-of-religious-belief-the-fact-that-it-can-be-used-as-a-weapon-does-not-ipso-facto-make-it-a-weapon-of-offense-supreme-court/ The fact that the kirpan worn by members of a specific community as part of a religious belief could also be used as a crime weapon does not ipso facto make it a crime weapon, the Supreme Court observed during the ruling. acquittal of an accused of murder. the case arose out of an incident […]]]>

The fact that the kirpan worn by members of a specific community as part of a religious belief could also be used as a crime weapon does not ipso facto make it a crime weapon, the Supreme Court observed during the ruling. acquittal of an accused of murder. the case arose out of an incident in 1999. Appellant Om Prakash Singh and a co-accused were fighting between …

The fact that the kirpan worn by members of a specific community as part of a religious belief can also be used as a crime weapon, does not ipso facto make it a crime weapon, the Supreme Court observed during the acquittal of a murder accused.

The case arises out of an incident in 1999. Appellant Om Prakash Singh and a co-accused were fighting each other while playing cricket and the deceased attempted to intervene to appease them. According to the prosecution, the same night the deceased was allegedly assaulted with a kirpan by the first accused while the appellant was detaining the deceased. The first accused was convicted under article 302 of the Indian Penal Code while the appellant was convicted under articles 302,34 of the IPC.

One of the arguments raised on appeal to the Supreme Court was that the appellant was unaware that the first accused was wearing a kirpan. It has further been argued that a kirpan is not an assault weapon, but is worn on the person by individuals of a specific community as part of a religious belief. On the other hand, the state argued that the appellant detained the deceased while the co-accused stabbed him and that if he had not detained the deceased he could have fled for his life. .

Referring to the evidence on file, the judiciary observed that there is no evidence that the appellant knew that the co-accused was carrying a kirpan and intended to use it for assault. . Therefore, it cannot be inferred that, by his words, the appellant intended to commit a murderous assault on the deceased and held him to facilitate the same. added the bench.

“It has been correctly argued on behalf of the appellant that a kirpan is normally worn on the person by members of a specific community as part of a religious belief. The fact that it can also be used as a crime weapon, does not ipso facto mean turning it into a crime weapon. “, the court observed.

Observing thus, the court declared that the appellant’s conviction under Article 302/34 IPC is not sustainable because the existence of a common intention to kill the deceased has not been established. Therefore, we change his conviction under Articles 324, 110 IPC and sentence him to the period suffered, the court added.

Case: Om Prakash Singh v Punjab State; CrA 1039 FROM 2015
Reference: LL 2021 SC 360
Coram: Judges Navin Sinha and R. Subhash Reddy
Counsel: Adv Rishi Malhotra for the appellant, Adv Jaspreet Gogia for the State

Click here to read / download the judgment


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COVID-19 and its effects on people’s religious beliefs • City, University of London https://aaimaustin.org/covid-19-and-its-effects-on-peoples-religious-beliefs-city-university-of-london/ https://aaimaustin.org/covid-19-and-its-effects-on-peoples-religious-beliefs-city-university-of-london/#respond Wed, 04 Aug 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://aaimaustin.org/covid-19-and-its-effects-on-peoples-religious-beliefs-city-university-of-london/ Published in the Journal of Religion and Health, a recent study interviewed Christians and irreligious people online at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This suggests that those who had strong convictions in their Christian faith, or who had no religious beliefs, strengthened belief in their positions after the start of the pandemic. Christian respondents […]]]>

Published in the Journal of Religion and Health, a recent study interviewed Christians and irreligious people online at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This suggests that those who had strong convictions in their Christian faith, or who had no religious beliefs, strengthened belief in their positions after the start of the pandemic.

Christian respondents who reported having low to moderate belief reported no change in their strength of belief in response to the crisis.

The study, led by Dr Francesco Rigoli, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at City, University of London, interviewed 280 adults online on March 30, 2020. Half of the respondents were UK citizens and the other half US citizens , and shortlisted for belief in Christianity or having no religion.

Participants answered a series of questions to assess their extent to which they agreed with a variety of positions.

For example, one question was “How religious are you?” Respondents answered with one of the following numeric responses: 1 = not at all religious, 2 = somewhat religious, 3 = moderately religious, 4 = somewhat religious, 5 = very religious.

Other similarly worded questions included how much religious beliefs have changed since the onset of COVID-19 (if any), personal feelings of control associated with the coronavirus pandemic, confidence in the capacity of the authorities to manage the crisis and the anxiety generated by the crisis.

No link was found between a change in religious belief since the onset of the crisis and personal feelings of control, or the ability of the authorities to deal with the crisis.

However, the study suggests that respondents’ anxiety level caused by COVID-19 may mediate the change in their strength of belief after the onset of the crisis. The higher the level of anxiety, the more respondents with a strong belief in Christianity seem to have strengthened their belief, and people without religious beliefs strengthened their irreligious position.

Reflecting on the study, Dr Rigoli said:

The implications of this study are twofold. First, our results contribute to research on the impact of stress on religiosity, supporting the idea that, at least in some circumstances, stress and anxiety reinforce commitment to prior belief systems, namely Christian faith for strong believers and skeptical belief systems for non-believers. -believers. Second, our study contributes to expanding our knowledge of the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. Besides its medical implications, the coronavirus crisis also represents a dramatic challenge for the psychology and culture of many communities; Therefore, shedding light on these aspects represents a major research effort.


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China and religion: Beijing seeks to tame and co-opt religious belief https://aaimaustin.org/china-and-religion-beijing-seeks-to-tame-and-co-opt-religious-belief/ https://aaimaustin.org/china-and-religion-beijing-seeks-to-tame-and-co-opt-religious-belief/#respond Sun, 21 Feb 2021 08:00:00 +0000 https://aaimaustin.org/china-and-religion-beijing-seeks-to-tame-and-co-opt-religious-belief/ Catholics pray during a mass at a Catholic church in Xiliulin village, Shanxi province, China, in 2012. (Jason Lee / Reuters) The Chinese Communist Party has prioritized state ownership of mind and soul over state ownership of the means of production, and they are happy to use capitalism to achieve this goal. THEast the week, […]]]>

Catholics pray during a mass at a Catholic church in Xiliulin village, Shanxi province, China, in 2012. (Jason Lee / Reuters)

The Chinese Communist Party has prioritized state ownership of mind and soul over state ownership of the means of production, and they are happy to use capitalism to achieve this goal.

THEast the week, Bitter winter published the first English translation of the new “Administrative Measures for Religious Clergy” from the Communist Party of China, which is due to come into effect on May 1.

The first of the measures is the creation of a comprehensive national database to register and track the state-authorized clergy of the five permitted religions (Protestant Christianity, Roman Catholicism, Islam, Buddhism and Taoism). Any dissident member of the clergy not registered in this database will be in immediate violation of the law. As Nina Shea observes, to register in the first place, the clergy will have to demonstrate that they “support the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and support the socialist system.” Their loyalty to the CCP will then be assessed periodically in a manner similar to the country’s larger social credit system.

These measures are further proof of the eagerness of the CCP leadership to avoid the tactical mistakes made by the Soviet Union in the last century. The Chinese Communists are not trying to root out all traces of theism, thus inviting unchallenged opposition from believers and religious institutions (as the Soviets did about John Paul II’s Vatican). Instead, they attempt to piss off religious opposition to the regime by taming and co-opting national religious beliefs, turning them into another avenue for the regime’s social control agenda. For this reason, President Xi has prioritized the “sinicization” of religion in China, while demanding the prominent presence of his own image in every place of worship.

The tactical approach the CCP has taken towards the Roman Catholic Church is particularly instructive of how the party’s policy on religion differs from that of past (and even present) communist regimes when you consider the Kim’s in Korea. North). Instead of trying to completely oust the Catholic Church from China, the CCP seeks to increase its own influence over the Vatican. (They’ve taken the exact same approach to a lot of other things like America’s sports leagues, international institutions, and even capitalism itself.)

On September 22, 2018, the CCP signed an agreement with the Vatican – the text of which is still secret – according to which the two sides agreed to “cooperate” in the selection of Chinese bishops. In practice, this essentially means that the Chinese have presented their approved candidates to the Pope, who then officially approves them, almost as a formality. The whole affair reflects very poorly Pope Francis and the Vatican hierarchy. The hope was to allow Chinese Catholics practicing underground to come out of their hiding places and live their faith in public; but this “liberation” was bought at the cost of ceding all control over Chinese Catholicism to an atheist militant cabal of genocidal communists.

The naivety of the Vatican in accepting such an arrangement has been fully exposed by these new “administrative measures”: Conference of Chinese Catholic Bishops. No reference is made to the Pope or the Vatican, which were completely excluded from the process. The CCP consolidated its exclusive control over Chinese Catholicism with the formal support of the Catholic Church itself (the 2018 agreement was renewed last year), leaving the Party’s Chinese Catholic dissidents without even formal support. of their own church.

In other words, it’s not your grandfather’s evil empire. The CCP is smarter, more skillful, and more economically dominant than the Bolsheviks ever were. And at the moment, they are succeeding in putting Catholicism, along with the other great religions of the world, at the service of Marxism, which even Marx himself did not think possible.

As China’s only serious geopolitical rival, the United States also happens to be the most religious country in the developed world and the only country that views religious freedom as the first and most precious jewel in its constitutional crown. If a nation on Earth with geopolitical clout is to take serious offense at China’s war on religious freedom, it will likely be the United States. And yet, the American public does not seem to have an appetite for a large-scale geostrategic conflict with China. The political proposals for a new Marshall Plan to compete with the CCP’s Belt and Road initiative do not appear in our public conversations. Worse than that, the United States has not even been able to muster the collective will to offer American visas to Hong Kong people. The Cold War awareness that underpinned our enmity towards the Soviets in the last century is simply not a driving force today, although Communist China arguably poses an even greater challenge to the free world than the Soviets.

The most likely explanation for this has to do with the CCP’s signature tactics, as discussed above: they prefer to co-opt and manipulate people and forces instead of destroying them. Over the past few decades, they have done so precisely with regard to free trade and global capitalism. Chinese producers have clung to American consumers deeply and made the Party an indispensable part of the American (and global) economy. The CCP is deeply involved in our daily lives as consumers in a way that the Soviets never were. By making American consumers their economic vassals, the Chinese have neutralized any appetite for large-scale geopolitical conflict among the American ruling elite, which is woefully aware of what a policy of decoupling would likely mean for their own electoral prospects. If voters are offered the freedom of economic complicity in communist atrocities in exchange for higher prices, are we sure they would take the high road? You really have to wonder if the First Cold War would have ended as it did if the Soviets had dominated the prices in the American market.

The Chinese Communists did not try to destroy capitalism. They prioritized state ownership of mind and soul over state ownership of the means of production, and they were more than happy to use capitalism to achieve this goal. We in the free world were convinced after the fall of the Soviet Union that economic and political freedom was necessarily tied to the hip. We therefore sought the liberalization of the world economy in the sincere belief that political freedom would follow. It never occurred to us that the Communists of the future might not be interested in the nationalization of railways or post offices, but in the nationalization of childhood, love, death. , sex and Jesus Christ – and use the almighty dollar to do it. We never considered the possibility that the 21st century could turn out to be the darling of Margaret Thatcher and Deng Xiaoping.

Well, to borrow a phrase from Solzhenitsyn, the great truth has now emerged, especially for religious Americans. We in the free world have made the Chinese Communist Party the most powerful producer and consumer of a world capitalist economy. In one of the cruelest ironies in human history and the most treacherous paradoxes, Xi Jinping now walks the world as a Marxist brigand baron, a creature whose existence has eluded our categories of political thought during the last 200 years. With each new revelation of the CCP’s crackdown on religious believers, American clerics are faced again with the fact that even a harmless trip to Walmart could amount to an in-kind contribution to the massacre of the innocent saints; that the money we spend on our household goods goes into the pockets of the last days of Nero and Diocletian.

It is said that when it comes to China, Americans will have to choose between free trade and free markets, since China’s policy is to make markets non-free. It is even truer that, as far as China is concerned, American clerics will have to choose between free trade and religious freedom, because at the present time, American believers unwittingly finance the martyrdom of their co-religionists. Christianity (and most of the great religions of the world) views the faithful as an indivisible and supranational body. For this reason, religious Americans must lead the charge to decouple economically from China. They know that the short-term national economic interests of the United States are worth nothing more than ash and sand to the integrity and fellowship of the faithful. If American believers persist in acquiescing in China’s grip on the American consumer despite this knowledge, they shouldn’t be surprised to be greeted with a burst of heavenly light the next time they visit Costco, and with a voice crying, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?


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Study suggests religious belief does not conflict with interest in science, except among Americans https://aaimaustin.org/study-suggests-religious-belief-does-not-conflict-with-interest-in-science-except-among-americans/ https://aaimaustin.org/study-suggests-religious-belief-does-not-conflict-with-interest-in-science-except-among-americans/#respond Mon, 31 Aug 2020 07:00:00 +0000 https://aaimaustin.org/study-suggests-religious-belief-does-not-conflict-with-interest-in-science-except-among-americans/ A new study suggests that the conflict between science and religion is not universal but rather depends on the historical and cultural context of a given country. The results were published in Social psychology and personality sciences. It is widely believed that religion and science are incompatible, with each belief system involving conflicting understandings of […]]]>

A new study suggests that the conflict between science and religion is not universal but rather depends on the historical and cultural context of a given country. The results were published in Social psychology and personality sciences.

It is widely believed that religion and science are incompatible, with each belief system involving conflicting understandings of the world. However, as study author Jonathan McPhetres and his team point out, the majority of research on this topic has been conducted in the United States.

“One of my main areas of research is trying to improve confidence in science and find ways to better communicate science. To do that, we need to start to understand who is most likely to be skeptical of science (and why), ”McPhetres, assistant professor of psychology at Durham University, told PsyPost.

In addition, “there is a contradiction between scientific information and many traditional religious teachings; the conflict between science and religion also seems more pronounced in certain regions and for certain people (conservatives / evangelical Christians). So, I was partly motivated to see exactly how true this intuition is.

First, nine initial studies involving a total of 2,160 Americans found that subjects who scored higher in religiosity showed more negative implicit and explicit attitudes toward science. Those who are very religious also showed less interest in science activities and less interest in reading or learning science.

“It is important to understand that these results do not show that religious hate or dislike science. Instead, they’re just less interested compared to someone less religious, ”McPhetres said.

Next, the researchers analyzed data from the World Values ​​Survey (WEV) involving 66,438 subjects from 60 different countries. This time, when examining the relationship between religious belief and interest in science, the correlations were less obvious. While on average the two concepts were negatively correlated, the strength of the relationship was weak and varied across countries.

Finally, the researchers collected additional data from 1,048 subjects in five countries: Brazil, the Philippines, South Africa, Sweden and the Czech Republic. Here, the relationship between religiosity and attitudes towards science was, again, weak. In addition, a greater religiosity was actually linked to a greater interest in science.

Based on these results from 11 different studies, the authors suggest that the conflict between religion and science, although apparent in the United States, may not be generalized to other parts of the world, a conclusion that ” seriously undermines the assumption that science and religion are necessarily in conflict. Since the study used various assessments of belief in science, including implicit attitudes towards science, interest in science-related activities, and choosing science-related topics from a list of other subjects, the results are particularly convincing.

“There are many barriers to science that don’t need to exist. If we are to make our world a better place, we have to understand why some people may reject science and scientists so that we can overcome this skepticism. Anyone can contribute to this goal by talking about science and sharing interesting scientific findings and information with people whenever you get the chance, ”said McPhetres.

The study, “Religious Americans Have Less Positive Attitudes Toward Science, But This Does Not Extend to Other Cultures,” was authored by Jonathon McPhetres, Jonathan Jong, and Miron Zuckerman.


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The court will decide if veganism is a “philosophical or religious belief” https://aaimaustin.org/the-court-will-decide-if-veganism-is-a-philosophical-or-religious-belief/ https://aaimaustin.org/the-court-will-decide-if-veganism-is-a-philosophical-or-religious-belief/#respond Thu, 02 Jan 2020 08:00:00 +0000 https://aaimaustin.org/the-court-will-decide-if-veganism-is-a-philosophical-or-religious-belief/ A landmark legal hearing begins in Norwich on Friday, with a panel to decide whether veganism is a “philosophical or religious belief” and therefore protected by law. Jordi Casamitjana told Vegan Life magazine he was “shocked” when he was sacked by League Against Cruel Sports after raising concerns that his pension fund was invested in […]]]>

A landmark legal hearing begins in Norwich on Friday, with a panel to decide whether veganism is a “philosophical or religious belief” and therefore protected by law.

Jordi Casamitjana told Vegan Life magazine he was “shocked” when he was sacked by League Against Cruel Sports after raising concerns that his pension fund was invested in companies involved in animal experimentation.

He claims he was unfairly disciplined for making this disclosure and that the decision to fire him was due to his philosophical belief in ethical veganism.

Diet vegans and ethical vegans both have a plant-based diet, but ethical vegans also try to exclude all forms of animal exploitation, including not wearing woolen or leather clothing and do not use products tested on animals.

Lawyers for Mr Casamitjana have said ethical veganism passes the required tests to be a philosophical or religious belief, which would mean it is protected under the Equality Act of 2010.

For a belief to be protected under the law, it must meet a series of criteria, including being worthy of respect in a democratic society, not being incompatible with human dignity and not being in conflict with fundamental rights. of others.

Slater and Gordon’s lawyer Peter Daly, who represents Mr Casamitjana, described ethical veganism as “a philosophical belief held by a significant portion of the population in the UK and around the world”.

“This case, if successful, will establish that belief entitles ethical vegans to protection from discrimination. The dossier we have prepared shows how belief in principle and how Jordi’s particular interpretations on this matter meet the required legal test, ”Daly said in a statement.

Vegetarian options
A panel will decide whether veganism is a ‘philosophical or religious belief’ and therefore protected by law (Nick Ansell / PA)

In a statement to the BBC, he said: “The League Against Cruel Sports is an inclusive employer, and since this is a hearing to decide whether veganism should be a protected status, something the league does not. not dispute, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further.

Mr Casamitjana told Vegan Life: “If I win this case, it will ensure the first judgment in Europe declaring that ethical vegans are legally protected from discrimination because of our beliefs. “

The hearing opens Friday after a day of administration on Thursday.


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Bidding to make veganism a religious belief https://aaimaustin.org/bidding-to-make-veganism-a-religious-belief/ https://aaimaustin.org/bidding-to-make-veganism-a-religious-belief/#respond Thu, 02 Jan 2020 08:00:00 +0000 https://aaimaustin.org/bidding-to-make-veganism-a-religious-belief/ Jordi Casamitjana believes that veganism should be protected by the law on equality. (Jordi Casamitjana / Instagram) An “ethical vegan” who has been fired from his job tries to protect his beliefs under equality law in a landmark legal hearing. Jordi Casamitjana said he was sacked by the League Against Cruel Sports after raising concerns […]]]>

Jordi Casamitjana believes that veganism should be protected by the law on equality. (Jordi Casamitjana / Instagram)

An “ethical vegan” who has been fired from his job tries to protect his beliefs under equality law in a landmark legal hearing.

Jordi Casamitjana said he was sacked by the League Against Cruel Sports after raising concerns that his pension fund was being invested in companies involved in animal testing.

He claims he was unfairly punished for making this disclosure and that the decision to fire him was because of his philosophical belief in ethical veganism.

Healthy vegetarian dinner.  Woman in gray jeans and sweater eating fresh salad, half avocado, cereal, beans, roasted vegetables from Buddha bowl.  Superfood, clean food, diet concept

Lawyers for Mr Casamitjana have said ethical veganism meets the tests required to be a philosophical or religious belief. (Getty / photo file)

What is ethical veganism?

Dietary vegan and ethical vegan both eat plant-based diets, but ethical vegans also try to exclude any form of animal exploitation, for example by not wearing woolen or leather clothing and not using products tested on them. animals.

Lawyers for Mr Casamitjana have said ethical veganism passes the required tests for it to be a philosophical or religious belief, which would mean it is protected under the Equality Act of 2010.

For a belief to be protected under the law, it must meet a series of criteria, including being worthy of respect in a democratic society, not being incompatible with human dignity and not being in conflict with fundamental rights. of others.

The activist said he was fired because of his philosophical belief in ethical veganism (Jordi Casamitjana / Instagram)

The activist said he was fired from his job because of his philosophical belief in ethical veganism. (Jordi Casamitjana / Instagram)

How would he be protected?

Slater and Gordon’s lawyer Peter Daly, who represents Mr Casamitjana, said: “Ethical veganism is a philosophical belief held by a significant portion of the population in the UK and around the world.

“This case, if successful, will establish that belief entitles ethical vegans to protection from discrimination.

“The case we have prepared shows how belief in principle and how Jordi’s particular interpretations on this matter pass the required legal test.”

Protesters during a march on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh organized by League Against Cruel Sports, OneKind and IFAW calling for a

Mr Casamitjana said he was sacked by the League Against Cruel Sports after voicing concerns about his pension fund. (PA / photo file)

“Precious protection”

When Mr Casamitjana initially brought the case, which will be heard in Norwich, he said the hearing was not primarily about his sacking but about establishing ethical veganism as a philosophical belief.

“Although the way I was fired was extremely painful for me, something good could come out of it if I am able to establish this valuable protection for all ethical vegans,” he said. .

“If we are successful at this hearing, then we will proceed to a hearing on the details of my termination.”

The League Against Cruel Sports said it had sacked Mr. Casamitjana for “serious misconduct”.

In a statement to the BBC, he said: “The League Against Cruel Sports is an inclusive employer, and since this is a hearing to decide whether veganism should be a protected status, something the league does not not dispute, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further.

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