Outside the Outbreak: Malala partners with Apple TV+, religious groups hesitant on Equality Act

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LGBTQ rights bill ignites debate over religious liberty

FILE – In this Friday, April 19, 2019 file photo, a gay pride rainbow flag flies with the U.S. flag in front of the Asbury United Methodist Church in Prairie Village, Kan. In 2021, the Equality Act that would extend federal civil rights protections to LGBTQ people is a top priority of President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress. Yet as the Equality Act heads to the Senate after winning House approval, its prospects seem bleak — to a large extent because of opposition from conservative religious leaders. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

A sweeping bill that would extend federal civil rights protections to LGBTQ people is a top priority of President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress. Yet as the Equality Act heads to the Senate after winning House approval, its prospects seem bleak — to a large extent because of opposition from conservative religious leaders.

The public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, calls the act “the most significant threat to religious liberty ever considered in the United States Congress.” The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has assailed it as discriminating against people of faith.

The act is the latest version of proposals previously introduced Congress without success. It would amend existing civil rights law to explicitly cover sexual orientation and gender identity, with protections extending to employment, housing, education, and public accommodations such as restaurants, theaters, hotels, libraries, gas stations and retail stores.

Malala takes her passions to the small screen with Apple

FILE – Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani Nobel Peace Prize winner, appears at the Cricket World Cup opening party along The Mall in London, on May 29, 2019. Yousafzai announced Monday that she has partnered with Apple TV Plus in an exclusive, multi-year content deal to develop dramas, documentaries, comedies, animation, and series for kids. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

Malala Yousafzai is a Nobel laureate known around the world for her activism, but she’s also a cartoon fan, and is taking her love of television and film to Apple TV+.

Yousafzai, 23, who graduated from Oxford last June, announced Monday that she has partnered with Apple in a multi-year deal to develop dramas, documentaries, comedies, animation and series for kids.

GOP state lawmakers seek to nullify federal gun limits

FILE – In this Oct. 2, 2018, file photo, semi-automatic rifles fill a wall at a gun shop in Lynnwood, Wash. With Democrats controlling the presidency and Congress, Republican state lawmakers concerned about the possibility of new federal gun control laws aren’t waiting to react. Legislation in at least a dozen states seeks to nullify any new restrictions, such as ammunition limits or a ban on certain types of weapons. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

With Democrats controlling the presidency and Congress, Republican state lawmakers concerned about the possibility of new federal gun control laws aren’t waiting to react.

Legislation in at least a dozen states seeks to nullify any new restrictions, such as ammunition limits or a ban on certain types of weapons. Some bills would make it a crime for local police officers to enforce federal gun laws.

That can create confusion for officers who often work with federal law enforcement, said Daniel Isom, a former chief of the St. Louis Police Department who is now a senior advisor for Everytown for Gun Safety. Federal law plays a big role in some areas, such as keeping guns away from domestic violence offenders.

College educators form alliance to defend free expression

This image shows the logo for the newly formed Academic Freedom Alliance. Launched Monday, the alliance arose out of discussions among some Princeton University faculty members over how to counter what they see as growing intolerance of differing viewpoints. (AFA via AP)

Around 200 scholars from across the country have formed the Academic Freedom Alliance, which has a mission to help college educators “speak, instruct, and publish without fear of sanction, bullying, punishment, or persecution.”

Launched Monday, the non-profit organization arose out of discussions among some Princeton University faculty members over how to counter what they see as growing intolerance of differing viewpoints. They plan to serve as advocates for those they believe have been unjustly attacked, and to provide money for legal support if needed. Members will pay an annual fee of $50 if they are tenured professors; $35 for others; and the alliance also is seeking donations.

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