Willow Creek church’s board also apologized to the women who accused founder Bill Hybels of harassment The leadership of a massive Chicago-area evangelical church is stepping down and has apologized to women who accused the megachurch’s founder of sexual harassment. The board of elders of the Willow Creek Community Church announced Wednesday they will all leave by year’s end. Continue reading…

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/aug/09/illinois-willow-creek-community-church-board-of-elders-step-down

According to yesterday’s News-Gazette, a Champaign, Illinois state trial court has dismissed on ecclesiastical abstention grounds a lawsuit by a former church deacon of the Jericho Missionary Baptist Church.  As described in the news report:Formerly the chairman of the deacon board that hired Johnson as pastor in 2009, Halcrombe was seeking to fire Johnson some five years later after he and other former church leaders took another look at Johnson’s credentials.Johnson continues to be pastor of the church, but Halcrombe was dismissed as a deacon and removed from his post as registered agent of the church.Halcrombe’s lawsuit set out the details of what became a several-years-long conflict within the church over leadership, membership and money issues, and it sought a judgment to clarify who current church members are, the constitution and bylaws of the church and the authority and employment of Johnson.

Source: http://religionclause.blogspot.com/2018/08/deacons-suit-dismissed-on.html

Golf is trying to appeal to a younger market with an online experiment beginning at Bellerive in Missouri on ThursdayHow golf can appeal to a broader and younger market has been the subject of much discussion. This week, the biggest departure yet from traditional broadcast models will occur when Eleven Sports takes control of UK coverage for the final major of 2018, the US PGA Championship. Related: Eleven Sports: who is the new player in the battle for sport broadcast rights? Continue reading…

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/aug/07/uspga-broadcasting-rights

In Sterlinski v. Catholic Bishop of Chicago, (ND IL, July 23, 2018), An Illinois federal district court held that the ministerial exception doctrine applies to an organist at a Catholic parish.  Plaintiff claims he was demoted from Director of Music to Organist because he is Polish and because of his age. The court previously held that the Director of Music position was within the ministerial exception doctrine.  It now rejected plaintiff’s claim that his position no longer qualified as

Street performers and contactless payments – two of my least favourite things – are now in unholy alliance at Edinburgh fringeThe fact that buskers and street performers at this year’s Edinburgh fringe are accepting contactless payments will have raised a few smiles. In just the same way the performers’ pavement-blocking antics inexplicably seem to. “Oh look, how marvellous – he’s swallowing fire and he needs a haircut! Let’s go and stand around that for a bit. Oh great! I mean, it’s a bit repetitive but, in my mind’s eye, I’m watching us watch this and it’s exactly how I imagined the weekend. Pity about the overpowering smell of paraffin.”Once you hit middle age, you might as well be honest about what you dislike – unless you’re running a political party, in which case it can be more prudent to keep it to yourself. Intellectually, I know that buskers probably possess the same average level of niceness as the wider population, but if I got chatting to one and they actually seemed nice, I would be doubly charmed because of my prejudice that they were going to be a twat. That would show me, wouldn’t it?! Well, I’m not worried – I bet they’re all twats. Continue reading…

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/05/edinburgh-fringe-buskers-contactless-payments-tap-to-tip

In Saher v. Norton Simon Museum of Art at Pasadena, (9th Cir., July 30, 2018), the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in a lengthy opinion applied the Act of State Doctrine to reject the attempt by plaintiff to recover two oil paintings of Biblical characters taken by the Nazis from her father-in-law in a forced sale. At issue are Renaissance masterworks painted by Cranach the Elder—

California voters may weigh in on plan to provide cornered housekeepers with devices to summon security or policeShould hotels provide panic buttons to protect their housekeepers from sexual assault and harassment on the job? That’s the question voters in two southern California communities could be asked in November.The electronic devices silently summon hotel security or police if a worker is cornered by a guest, a co-worker or supervisor, and they can be stowed in a pocket or on a key chain. Continue reading…

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/aug/03/california-hotels-housekeepers-panic-buttons-sexual-harassment

Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivered remarks (full text) at today’s Department of Justice Religious Liberty Summit.  He said in part:I want to thank all of you for your courage and insight to speak out for religious liberty.Let us be frank.A dangerous movement, undetected by many, is now challenging and eroding our great tradition of religious freedom. There can be no doubt. This is no little matter. It must be confronted and defeated.This election, and much that has flowed from it, gives us a rare opportunity to arrest these trends.  Such a reversal will not just be done with electoral victories, but by intellectual victories. We have gotten to the point where courts have held that morality cannot be a basis for law; where ministers are fearful to affirm, as they understand it, holy writ from the pulpit; and where one group can actively target religious groups by labeling them a “hate group” on the basis of their sincerely held religious beliefs.This President and this Department of Justice are determined to protect and even advance this magnificent heritage….[I]n recent years, the cultural climate in this country—and in the West more generally—has become less hospitable to people of faith. Many Americans have felt that their freedom to practice their faith has been under attack.And it’s easy to see why.  We’ve seen nuns ordered to buy contraceptives. We’ve seen U.S. Senators ask judicial and executive branch nominees about dogma—even though the Constitution explicitly forbids a religious test for public office.  We’ve all seen the ordeal faced so bravely by Jack Phillips.Americans from a wide variety of backgrounds are concerned about what this changing cultural climate means for the future of religious liberty in this country.President Trump heard this concern.I believe this unease is one reason that he was elected.  In substance, he said he respected people of faith and he promised to protect them in the free exercise of their faith.  He declared we would say “Merry Christmas” again….Today I am announcing our next step: the Religious Liberty Task Force, to be co-chaired by the Associate Attorney General and the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Policy—Jesse [Panuccio] and Beth [Williams].The Task Force will help the Department fully implement our religious liberty guidance by ensuring that all Justice Department components are upholding that guidance in the cases they bring and defend, the arguments they make in court, the policies and regulations they adopt, and how we conduct our operations.  That includes making sure that our employees know their duties to accommodate people of faith.As the people in this room know, you have to practice what you preach. We are also going to remain in contact with religious groups across America to ensure that their rights are being protected.  We have been holding listening sessions and we will continue to host them in the coming weeks.This administration is animated by that same American view that has led us for 242 years: that every American has a right to believe, worship, and exercise their faith in the public square.

Source: http://religionclause.blogspot.com/2018/07/ag-sessions-announces-new-religious.html

Decorated football coach is on administrative leave amid probeMeyer had previously told reporters he was unaware of abuseSalary of $7.2m makes him Ohio’s highest-paid state employeeA contract extension given to Ohio State coach Urban Meyer in March could provide grounds for the university to fire him over the handling of a longtime assistant accused of domestic violence.The extension signed on 27 March added a requirement to Meyer’s contract that he immediately report any “known violations” of Ohio State’s sexual misconduct policy. The contract lists “intimate violence and stalking” as violations. Continue reading…

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/aug/02/urban-meyer-could-be-fired-assistant-abuse