Here are some important law-and-religion news stories from around the web:

  • In Jones v. Shinn, the Ninth Circuit held that the district court should not have dismissed an inmate’s claim that his rights under RLUIPA were violated when prison authorities denied him access to four texts by Elijah Muhammad. However, the court affirmed the dismissal of Plaintiff’s First Amendment free exercise claim because the defendants showed the exclusion was reasonably related to a legitimate penological interest. 
  • A federal class action lawsuit has been filed in Phillips v. Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia, alleging that the University of Virginia Health System violated free exercise and establishment clause provisions of the federal and state constitutions, as well as equal protection rights, in the manner in which it administered applications from employees for religious exemptions from its COVID vaccine mandate. 
  • In YU Pride Alliance v. Yeshiva University, a New York state appellate court affirmed a trial court’s decision that New York City’s public accommodation law requires Yeshiva University to officially recognize as a student organization an LGBTQ group, YU Pride Alliance.
  • In Beaudoin v. Attorney General of British Columbia, the highest court in the Canadian province of British Columbia upheld 2020 and 2021 COVID orders of BC’s Provincial Health Officer that prohibited in-person worship services. The court concluded that the Gathering and Events Order did not violate §15 of the Charter of Rights of Freedoms, which protects the equality rights of the churches that were plaintiffs in the suit. The court also concluded that Plaintiffs’ religious freedom rights under §2 of the Charter were not infringed. 
  • In Tonchev v. Bulgaria, the European Court of Human Rights, in a Chamber Judgment, held that municipal officials in Bulgaria violated Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights when they circulated materials to schools containing hostile information about Christian evangelical churches. 
  • In Zemmour v. France, the European Court of Human Rights upheld France’s conviction of a journalist for inciting discrimination and religious hatred against the French Muslim community through anti-Muslim remarks he made on a 2016 television talk show. The Court found no violation of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights protecting freedom of expression. 

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