News & Information
News and information at the intersection of faith and law; church and state; religion and politics.
03/26/13 ... Montana allows benefits for children with disabilities, available under the federal IDEA statute for individuals with disabilities, to be used for tuition at private schools--but not if the school is faith-based. Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a hearing-impaired preschooler to challenge that decision on the basis of viewpoint discrimination.
Confidential communication with clergy has been protected for centuries under the common law. This means that clergy do not have to disclose the content of those discussions. How far does that confidentiality extend? The answer varies depending on the state statute, but a federal magistrate judge in Kansas says that it is fairly limited under common law. United States v. Dillard, 11-1098-JTM-KGG (D. Kan. March 7, 2013) is not precedential, but the analysis is interesting and could show how other courts will approach the problem.
Hi Brent, Back in law school, sometimes the prof would weave the entire semester’s legal principles into one diabolical hypothetical, and the single exam question would be your entire grade for the course. The general answer is that Mission Leader in your hypothetical is in big trouble, and the mission is probably now facing a lawsuit. Read More→
03/13/13 ... The Freedom From Religion Foundation and 19 other plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Treasury Department and other officials to remove "In God We Trust" from U.S. currency. Plaintiffs are represented by lawyer and atheist Michael Newdow.
Previous efforts to challenge U.S. currency were unsuccessful.
03/18/13 ... The Catholic Bishop of Sioux Falls, Bishop Paul Swain, rebuked a Catholic insurance agency that has chosen to cover contraception with no co-pay in compliance with the HHS mandate. The bishop has pulled the diocese's delegates from Avera Health Plan's board and finance committee.
03/19/13 ... The Catholic bishops have requested the the House of Representatives to incorporate language repealing the HHS mandate regulation into must-pass legislation.
03/17/13 ... A federal court in Michigan granted a preliminary injunction to Thomas Monaghan and Domino's Farms, prohibiting HHS from enforcing the mandate until the matter is finally determined.
03/14/13 ... The 50th lawsuit was filed against the HHS mandate by a Southern Baptist business owner whose ancestors left England four centuries ago to escape religious persecution.
03/11/13 ... Republicans tried to amend the Colorado civil unions bill to add religious exemptions, but failed. Rep. Mark Ferrandino, the gay Democrat Speaker of the House, stated that would be discrimination. The bill will likely be signed into law this month.
03/13/13 ... Archbishop Aquila of Denver commented on the level of antagonism to religious beliefs by sponsors of the bill.
03/13 ... The only religious freedom provision for the civil unions bill in Colorado is for clergy to refuse to perform a civil union. There is no such freedom for adoption agencies such as Catholic Charities. Without a broad conscience protection, groups like Catholic Charities may be forced out of adoption and foster care services. Attorney General John Suthers testified against the bill on that basis.