Germany Foreign Minister Backs Religious Freedom: News Roundup

In the news this week: Germany assures religious freedom, Egypt’s President promises female vice president, and other news stories.

Germany’s foreign minister on Sunday offered assurances that Germany protects religious traditions after a court ruled that circumcising young boys on religious grounds amounts to bodily harm even if parents consent.
 
Last week, a state court in Cologne ruled that the child’s right to physical integrity trumps freedom of religion and parents’ rights. The ruling was strongly criticized by the head of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, Dieter Graumann, who urged Parliament to clarify the legal situation to protect religious freedom. Muslim leaders also expressed concern.
 
Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said that a legal debate “must not lead to doubts arising internationally about religious tolerance in Germany.”
 
“The free exercise of religion is protected in Germany. That includes religious traditions,” Westerwelle said in a statement. “All our partners in the world should know that.”   Washington Post
 
Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, will appoint a woman as one of his vice presidents and a Christian as another, his policy adviser told CNN.
 
"For the first time in Egyptian history — not just modern but in all Egyptian history — a woman will take that position," Ahmed Deif told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Monday. "And it's not just a vice president who will represent a certain agenda and sect, but a vice president who is powerful and empowered and will be taking care of critical advising within the presidential Cabinet."
 
The news came as the man Morsi beat for the presidency, Ahmed Shafik, left Egypt for Abu Dhabi, and as Cairo's administrative court overturned a rule that allowed the military to arrest people without a warrant. CNN
 
High school kids can join the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Jewish Student Union, the Muslim Students Association and, in some schools, a Hindu or a Buddhist club.
 
Now they can join the young atheists club, too.
 
In another sign of the emergence of nonbelievers in American society, the Secular Student Alliance, a national organization of more than 300 college-based clubs for atheists, humanists, agnostics and other “freethinkers,” is helping to establish clubs for high school students to hang out with other teens who share their skepticism about the supernatural. Religion News Service
 
A federal judge ruled on Friday that religious groups cannot be prohibited from using public schools to hold services, rejecting the argument that such use violates the Constitution’s requirement to keep church and state strictly separate.
 
The ruling, by Judge Loretta A. Preska of United States District Court in Manhattan, was a major setback for New York City, which has fought for nearly two decades to expel religious groups from the schools.
 
Religious groups that use the schools hailed the decision, even though the city is likely to appeal. New York Times