01/01/13 ... The Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a second lawsuit against the IRS over its treatment of churches. This time, it complains because churches have less stringent financial reporting requirements than other nonprofits.
12/24/12 ... Americans United for Separation of Church and State has issued a cease-and-desist letter, insisting that all public prayers end at West Point. The Academy states that prayers during academic events are completely voluntary.
12/22/12 ... Americans United for Separation of Church and State sued after a high school graduation was held in a church sanctuary. They won a ruling against the school district at the 7th Circuit. Now, the school district is appealing the case, assisted by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, Michael McConnell (a constitutional scholar from Stanford University Law School), and a large law firm.
12/28/12 ... In Grote Industries, LLC v. Sebelius, an Indiana federal district court refused to grant a preliminary injunction to a for-profit business that manufactures vehicle safety systems, concluding the Religious Freedom Restoration Act did not apply because there was no substantial burden.
12/29/12 ... In Korte v. Sebelius, the 7th Circuit issued an injunction preventing enforcement of the HHS mandate against a small for-profit construction company, overturning an Illinois federal district court's opinion that there was no substantial burden.
12/29/12 ... Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. won a ruling from federal judges in Pennsylvania, giving a temporary restraining order allowing it not to comply with the HHS mandate. Fines would have cost $95,000 a day.
01/01/13 ... On the last day of the year, a Missouri federal magistrate judge issued a temporary restraining order permitting Sharpe Holdings, Inc., a for-profit dairy business, not to comply with the HHS mandate. The order concluded that there was a substantial burden on free exercise rights.
01/01/13 ... Tom Monaghan, of Domino's Farms Corp., also won a federal court restraining order temporarily halting enforcement of the HHS mandate.
12/28/12 ... A lively blog explains why the contraceptive mandate is theologically important to Catholics and other Christians.
12/26/12 ... This article summarizes some of the important points and what is currently happening in the HHS mandate dispute.
12/22/12 ... Pope Benedict XVI appointed Rev. Robert W. Oliver, a Boston canon lawyer, to be Promoter of Justice for the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith. This organization handles all serious crimes against the Church, including sexual abuse of children.
I see this kind of crazy reality which says if you apologize for something, you are admitting responsibility, and you could be legally liable. Is there a way to apologize? Read More →
12/26/12 ... Parents of two teen-aged boys are suing a rabbi who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor child endangerment in 2010. He admitted he knowingly had inappropriate physical contact with the boys while they were naked in a ritual purification pool. He was not required to register as a sex offender, and received only 60 days in jail. The parents filed a civil lawsuit.
12/22/12 ... Congress passed the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, which protects conscience rights of both military members and chaplains to express moral or religious beliefs. A Presidential veto is considered unlikely.
12/21/12 ... After a ruling against the stores in the case of Hobby Lobby Stories, Inc. v. Sebelius, the plaintiffs appealed, trying to get a preliminary injunction against immediate enforcement of the contraceptive mandate insurance coverage. The Tenth Circuit refused to grant the injunction, concluding that the mandate probably did not impose a substantial burden on their exercise of religion.
12/27/12 ... The following week, Justice Sotomayor, as Circuit Justice, also denied the request for the preliminary injunction.
A recent Department of Education investigation focuses on the tension between student and teacher free speech rights, the Free Exercise versus Establishment clauses, and the difference between respect and approval. The facts as alleged in the articles are as follows. Apparently a high school girl asked a teacher, First Sergeant Lynn Vanzandt, his opinion on homosexuality. He stated that he believes the Bible teaches homosexuality is a sin. It seems undisputed that the students initiated the conversation with the teacher. Less clear is whether the teacher stopped discussing the matter when requested. At least one girl ran crying from the room. The DOE investigation will explore whether lesbian students were subjected to a hostile environment on the basis of sex, or harassment based on failing to conform to gender stereotypes, and whether the school district retaliated against the student who complained.