By now, you’ve probably heard the news about a church shooting in the U.S. that left nine dead and another seven injured.
It’s not a new story, but this year it’s a whole lot more serious.
In recent years, we’ve seen churches and faith-based organizations targeted with lawsuits and death threats, and the number of hate crimes against faith groups is on the rise.
But this year, in the midst of a national religious freedom debate, the Christian Right has made the church a top priority, with some groups saying they won’t cooperate with federal law enforcement.
This story explains how churches can help protect themselves and what to do if you suspect you might be a victim of religious persecution.
Christian right leader Matt Barber is not averse to a church fight.
He’s already had one of his churches targeted by police for allegedly failing to keep its doors closed, which prompted Barber to call for a national day of prayer and worship in honor of the victims.
Barber’s group is also fighting for religious freedom in California, which recently passed a law making it illegal for churches to discriminate against anyone on the basis of religion.
If you’re thinking about getting involved, here are a few things to know.
There’s no “hate crime” law in CaliforniaChristianity is a protected religion under the California Constitution, which protects all citizens from discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation or political beliefs.
So while a lawsuit might be filed against you, it’s likely not the end of the world.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are some groups that can file lawsuits against people, such as those who seek to force an organization to remove a sign that they believe violates their religious beliefs.
However, there is no such thing as a “hate-crimes” law.
For the most part, there aren’t laws on the books against religious discrimination in California.
The first attempt to pass a hate-cramp law in the state passed in 1995.
After the bill passed, the state legislature enacted the California Anti-Discrimination Act, which included provisions to ban discrimination on religious grounds, including by public accommodations.
A law like this would have had an effect on most businesses, but the law did not pass because it lacked the support of both the legislature and the governor.
Despite this, there have been some efforts to pass hate-crime legislation in the last few years.
Two bills were introduced last year to add a “religious freedom” clause to the California Penal Code, which would have allowed businesses to refuse services to anyone who didn’t share their religious faith.
Another bill was introduced in 2013 that would have given police the authority to investigate any crimes involving religion.
A third bill was proposed last year that would give religious groups the right to deny services to people because they may be LGBT.
While these bills are still in the legislative process, Barber’s group has already secured support from the governor, the Senate, and state lawmakers.
Barsberg has said he plans to introduce the bill this fall.
Churches are already under threat from religious persecution in CaliforniaWhen the first bill was brought to the legislature, the bill was defeated.
Since then, several other bills have passed, including a bill in the California Assembly that would allow the state’s attorney general to investigate and prosecute anyone who attempts to promote or encourage discrimination on behalf of a religion.
In addition, a bill passed the state senate last year would require schools to be taught about and in service of Christianity.
That bill has been supported by the California Association of School Administrators, the National Association of Evangelicals, and other religious groups.
You can help your church and other faith-affiliated organizations stay safeWhen you visit a church, you can also give a small donation to a local nonprofit, or give to a nonprofit that is dedicated to helping other faith groups.
You can also donate directly to the National Christian Foundation.
If you want to support your local nonprofit through a church-related program, you should also consider a local Christian organization, such the Southern Baptist Convention or the Christian Foundation for Social Action.
You can donate online at www.faith.org/donate or by mail to: Catholic Charities of Southern California, Inc., PO Box 533, Los Angeles, CA 90028-3333.4.
It’s your right to know if your faith is being unfairly targetedThe law in your state is not just about protecting your faith, but protecting your right not to be discriminated against.
While the Supreme Court has not explicitly recognized a right to freedom of religion in its landmark ruling in United States v.
Jones, it has found that the government has a legitimate interest in ensuring that all people feel safe.
What is an exemption?
The Supreme Court ruling