Some interesting law and religion news stories from around the web this week:
- The European Court of Human Rights held this week that Muslim parents in Switzerland must send their daughters and sons to co-ed swimming lessons.
- The cast of the reality television show, Sister Wives, has filed a cert petition with the Supreme Court, challenging Utah’s ban on polygamy as a violation of their free exercise rights.
- Morocco has recently banned the sale or manufacture of burqas, citing security concerns.
- This week, the Israeli High Court held that women cannot be forbidden from reading aloud from a Torah scroll at the Western Wall, unless the government can provide “good cause” for such a restriction.
- Associated Press: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered government agencies to ensure free access to contraceptives for 6 million women who cannot obtain them.
- During his confirmation hearing this week, President-Elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Ret. Marine General John Kelly, said that “it is not appropriate for religion to be a basis for US counter-terrorism policy.”
- A member of an order of the Catholic Church, the Knights of Malta, is appealing his suspension and petitioning the Vatican, for his alleged authorization of the distribution of contraceptives in Myanmar.
- A Sikh neurologist has initiated a Title VII lawsuit against a medical practice, asserting that he was not hired on the basis of his religion, race, and national origin.
- The United States Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments soon in the case of Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Pauley, where a church challenges Missouri’s denial of reimbursement under a state program that reimburses non-profits for purchasing and installing recycled tire scraps to resurface playgrounds
This month, Palgrave Macmillan will release “Religion and Regulation in Indonesia,” by Ismatu Ropi (Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University). The publisher’s description follows:
This book analyses the relation between state and religion in Indonesia, considering both the philosophical underpinning of government intervention on religious life but also cases and regulations related to religious affairs in Indonesia. Examining state regulation of religious affairs, it focuses on understanding its origin, history and consequences on citizens’ religious life in modern Indonesia, arguing that while Indonesian constitutions have preserved religious freedom, they have also tended to construct wide-ranging discretionary powers in the government to control religious life and oversee religious freedom. Over more than four decades, Indonesian governments have constructed a variety of policies on religion based on constitutional legacies interpreted in the light of the norms and values of the existing religious majority group. A cutting edge examination of the tension between religious order and harmony on one hand, and protecting religious freedom for all on the other, this book offers a cutting edge study of how the history of regulating religion has been about the constant negotiation for the boundaries of authority between the state and the religious majority group.
In March, the Cambridge University Press will release “Institutionalizing Rights and Religion: Competing Supremacies,” edited by Leora Batnitzky (Princeton University) and Hanoch Dagan (Tel-Aviv University). The publisher’s description follows:
Modern statesmen and political theorists have long struggled to design institutions that will simultaneously respect individual freedom of religion, nurture religion’s capacity to be a force for civic good and human rights, and tame religion’s illiberal tendencies. Moving past the usual focus on personal free expression of religion, this illuminating book – written by renowned scholars of law and religion from the United States, England, and Israel – considers how the institutional design of both religions and political regimes influences the relationship between religious practice and activity and human rights. The authors examine how the organization of religious communities affects human rights, and investigate the scope of a just state’s authority with respect to organized religion in the name of human rights. They explore the institutional challenges posed by, and possible responses to, the fraught relationship between religion and rights in the world today.