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

  • In Palmer v. Liberty University, Inc., a divided 4th Circuit declined to apply the ministerial exception to a former art professor at Liberty University. One judge argued the professor was indeed a religious “messenger” due to her integration of faith into teaching.
  • In The Satanic Temple, Inc. v. Young, a federal district court in Texas dismissed the Satanic Temple’s challenge to a Texas requirement for a sonogram prior to an abortion on lack of standing and on sovereign immunity grounds. The court refused to grant the group leave to replead its claims, given its lawyer’s increasingly “conclusory, reductive, and intemperate” filings.
  • In Willey v. Sweetwater County School District No. 1 Board of Trustees, a federal district court in Wyoming upheld most of a school district’s policy mandating the use of a student’s chosen name or pronoun by school personnel, despite objections from parents.
  • In Gackenheimer v. Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ, Inc., a Connecticut trial court examined a lawsuit brought by a minister who was dismissed from his role at a church’s conference center. The court applied the ministerial exception doctrine to dismiss the minister’s defamation and emotional distress claims, but allowed his contract-related claims to proceed.
  • In State of Ohio v. Sobel, an Ohio appellate court rejected the defendant’s argument that his drug possession sentence was based on his religious use of mushrooms. The court noted, “Sobel failed to establish that he uses psilocybin mushrooms in connection with a sincerely held religious belief,” deeming his beliefs more personal preference than deeply held religious conviction.

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