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Thursday, May 1, 2014

NAE Update - May 2014

May 2014

Court Allows NYC to Ban Worship Services in School Buildings
Many congregations across the country meet in school buildings – often when they are just beginning to form, have outgrown their old facilities or have suffered flood or fire. But a recent ruling by a federal appeals panel may make that more difficult. The ruling allows New York City to ban religious groups from holding worship services in public school buildings.  (read the NAE press release)

Clergy Housing Allowance on Trial
In November 2013, a federal trial judge in Wisconsin ruled that the longstanding law that provides an income tax exemption for clergy housing expenses is unconstitutional. The Justice Department is appealing the ruling to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. The NAE joined an amici brief urging reversal.  (read more)

Smarter Sentencing Act
The Smarter Sentencing Act, a bill being sponsored by Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Richard Durbin (D-IL), would reduce harsh mandatory minimum sentences for low level drug offenders and is an important step in the reform of our broken criminal justice system. NAE Vice President of Government Relations Galen Carey sent a letter to all U.S. Senators calling for their support.  (read the letter)

Supporting State Traditional Marriage Laws
A coalition of religious groups, including the NAE, Southern Baptist Convention, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, filed joint amici briefs in state marriage cases in Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia, supporting the states' rights to preserve the traditional definition of marriage.  (read more) What Americans Don't Know About the Central African Republic
By Leith Anderson, NAE President

Most Americans know nothing about the Central African Republic. They guess that it must be in the middle of Africa, but that’s about it. When told where it is and the societal chaos and slaughter in CAR, they always ask why it’s not more in the news. Although I've traveled to much of the world including Africa, I had never been there until this month.  (read more)

Add Pakistan to Countries of Particular Concern List
NAE President Leith Anderson wrote President Obama urging his administration to designate Pakistan as a Country of Particular Concern in the State Department's religious freedom report. The designation shines a spotlight on particularly severe religious freedom violators, and brings international pressure to bear on those countries to make needed changes.  (read the letter)

Church Connection Tour
In June, the Coalition for Immigrant Legal Ministries, which the NAE helped convene, is hosting regional one-day events that will help pastors, church planters and mission leaders explore approaches, resources and partnerships for developing church-based ministry to immigrants, refugees and international students.  (find an event near you)

Member Spotlight: Kingdom Church
Founded in 2005, Kingdom Church is a nondenominational, multi-site church in New Jersey that serves more than 3,000 members weekly. Founder and Pastor Dharius Daniels, who also serves on the NAE board, was recently profiled on Princeton Theological Seminary's website.  (learn more)

Article Spotlight: One More Time, Evangelicals Head to Hill on Immigration Reform
Religion News Service – Trying yet again with new voices, more than 250 evangelical pastors came to Capitol Hill on Tuesday (April 29) to push for immigration reform. “I didn’t want people to think this was only a Hispanic issue,” said Eugene Cho, pastor of Quest Church in Seattle, at a news conference before meeting with dozens of mostly Republican members of Congress. “This is impacting a lot of people, including Asian-Americans.”  (read more)

Event Spotlight: Irreplaceable Movie Premiere
Irreplaceable , a documentary-styled movie by Focus on the Family, will premiere in a one-night event on May 6. It surveys modern trends in the areas of sexuality, marriage, family and parenting, and shows winsomely that the family unit is irreplaceable. Some churches are sponsoring screenings and encouraging their members to attend the theater showings on May 6. Other churches plan to use the small group video curriculum for more in-depth study.  (learn more)

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