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

  • In Cedar Park Assembly of God of Kirkland, Washington v. Kreidler, the Western District of Washington dismissed a free exercise challenge by a church to a law requiring health insurance plans that provide maternity coverage to provide substantially equivalent abortion coverage as well. The court dismissed the challenge, finding that the law was neutral and generally applicable, and that it served a legitimate governmental purpose.
  • In Kumar v. Koester, the Central District of California dismissed for lack of standing free exercise and equal protection challenges to CSU’s use of the term “caste” in its interim non-discrimination policy. However, the court concluded that plaintiffs, Hindu professors, could bring Establishment Clause and vagueness claims.
  • In Society of the Divine Word v. U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, the Northern District of Illinois rejected RFRA, free exercise, Establishment Clause and equal protection challenges to a federal law allowing foreign-born ministers and international religious workers to file for green cards only after their employers obtain special immigrant religious worker classifications for them. Employees of non-religious organizations may file for green cards concurrently with their employers’ filings.
  • In Ellison v. Inova Health Care Services, three hospital employees sued under Title VII in the Eastern District of Virginia because their applications for religious exemptions from the Covid vaccine mandate were rejected. The court found one of the plaintiff’s objections, involving aborted fetal cell lines, was linked to plaintiff’s religious beliefs, but that the other objections were not religious in nature. 
  • On July 24, the Guam legislature overrode Governor Lourdes Leon Guerrero’s July 12 veto of Bill No.62-37, which allows private and religious schools to petition to convert to government-funded Academy Charter Schools, by a 13-0 vote. The legislation authorizes up to 7 charter schools to operate at any one time.
  • On July 14, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted Resolution A/HRC/53/L.23Countering Religious Hatred Constituting Incitement to Discrimination, Hostility or Violence, which condemned the burning of the Qur’an, affirming it as an “offensive, disrespectful and a clear act of provocation, constituting incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence and a violation of international human rights law.”

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