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

  • In Dahl v. Board of Trustees of Western Michigan University, the Sixth Circuit upheld an injunction barring Western Michigan University from enforcing its COVID-19 vaccine mandate against 16 Christian student-athletes who had applied for religious exemptions.
  • In Niblett v. Universal Protection Service, a California federal district court dismissed a damage action by a Muslim woman who was forced by a security guard to remove her hijab to enter a Public Social Services building.
  • In Dr. T. v. Alexander-Scott, a Rhode Island federal district court rejected a request to prevent enforcement of a Rhode Island Department of Health Emergency Regulation that requires all healthcare workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Plaintiffs challenge the regulation’s lack of religious exemptions.
  • In Schrenger v. Shields, a Kentucky police officer filed suit in federal district court seeking damages after the Department suspended him for praying outside an abortion clinic while in uniform, but prior to the start of his shift.
  • In United States v. State of Texas, a Texas federal district court preliminarily enjoined enforcement of Texas’ “heartbeat” abortion ban stating that a person’s right under the Constitution to choose to obtain an abortion prior to fetal viability is well established.
  • A group of St. John’s University students is suing the University over its vaccine mandate, claiming that the requirement violates their sincerely held religious beliefs.
  • Office of Personnel Management issued guidance to federal agencies for how to handle federal employees who are seeking a religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The guidance states that the employee “must first establish that [their] refusal to be vaccinated is based upon a sincere belief that is religious in nature.”

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

  • The U.S. Supreme Court granted cert in Harold Shurtleff v. Boston and is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the upcoming October term. The First Circuit unanimously upheld the lower court’s ruling that the city of Boston did not violate the First Amendment by refusing to fly a Christian flag on one of the flag poles outside City Hall on Constitution day.
  • In 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, a petition for cert was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court. The Tenth Circuit previously upheld the application of Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act to a wedding website design company whose owner refused to create websites for same-sex marriages due to religious beliefs.
  • The Third Circuit heard oral arguments in Hilsenrath v. School District of the Chathams. A New Jersey federal district court previously held that the Chathams’ seventh-grade course that contained a presentation about Islam did not violate the Establishment Clause.
  • In Hamilton v. City of New York, a New York federal district court dismissed religious discrimination and failure to provide religious accommodation claims brought by a Jewish firefighter who wore a beard for religious reasons in violation of the FDNY no-beard policy.
  • In Leone v. Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, a New Jersey federal district court ruled against a prosecutor who sought a religious accommodation to work from home indefinitely because his religion requires him to pray aloud throughout each day.
  • In Geerlings v. Tredyffrin/Easttownn School District, a Pennsylvania federal district court refused to issue a preliminary injunction sought by the parents of four students who claimed that the students are entitled to religious exemptions from a school district’s COVID-19 mask requirement. The court found that the plaintiffs did not demonstrate a sincere religious belief.
  • England’s Court of Appeal held that a Christian foster care agency violated the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998 when it prohibited clients from placing children with individuals who were in same-sex relationships.

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

  • In New Hope Family Services v. James, a faith-based family services agency that declines to place children for adoption with unmarried or same-sex couples, filed suit in federal district court in New York, seeking to prevent enforcement of the state’s anti-discrimination laws.
  • In Crawford v. Trader Joe’s Company, a Christian employee of Trader Joe’s filed suit in federal district court in California because the company refused to provide him a religious exemption from the company’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement.
  • In Salesian Society v. Mayorkas, a federal district court in the District of Columbia dismissed a suit challenging requirements for special visas for religious workers.
  • In Universal Life Church Monastery v. Clark County, a Nevada federal district court allowed a church to move ahead with its equal protection challenge to the county’s refusal to allow online ministers to solemnize marriages.
  • Two non-Texas residents sued a Texas doctor for performing an abortion in violation of Texas’ “heartbeat law.”
  • The Ukrainian Parliament passed a law banning “antisemitism and its manifestations.” The law prohibits hate speech directed at Jewish people, their property, religious buildings, or communities, and allows victims to claim compensation for material and moral damage.

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  • The Department of Justice announced that it has filed suit in a Texas federal district court to prevent the state of Texas from enforcing Texas’ “heartbeat” abortion ban.
  • In Memphis Center for Reproductive Health, et al v. Slatery, the Sixth Circuit upheld a federal judge’s decision to block a Tennessee law restricting abortion. The Tennessee law prohibited abortions once a fetal heartbeat was detected and for certain other reasons, such as a fetal Down syndrome diagnosis or the sex or race of the fetus.
  • In Chaaban v. City of Detroit, a Michigan federal court held that corrections officials who forced a Muslim woman to remove her hijab for a booking photograph after her arrest were not entitled to qualified immunity on her free exercise violation claims. 
  • In John Doe I v. Hochul, health care workers in New York are challenging the absence of religious exemptions in New York State’s mandate that all health care workers receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • In St. Michael’s Media v. City of Baltimore, a Catholic group filed suit in federal district court in Maryland against the city of Baltimore for requiring the cancellation of a scheduled prayer rally.
  • In Ramaekers v. Creighton University, four students sued Creighton University, a Jesuit-affiliated school, for denying their request to obtain religious exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The university currently allows students to request medical exemptions but does not allow exemptions based on religious objections.
  • India’s Supreme Court dismissed a “forced conversion” case against a Catholic priest who organized a group of theology students to sing Christmas carols.

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

  • In Ramirez v. Collier, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order postponing the execution of a Texas inmate who argued that his pastor should be allowed to physically touch him and audibly pray in the execution chamber. The Court agreed to hear the case on its regular docket this Fall.
  • In Billard v. Charlotte Catholic High School, a North Carolina federal district court ruled that the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte violated workplace sex discrimination laws after firing a teacher because of his intention to enter a same-sex marriage. The Catholic Diocese is seeking an appeal alleging that religious organizations have the right to make employment decisions based on religious observance.
  • In College of the Ozarks v. Biden, a Missouri federal district court rejected a Christian university’s request for temporary protection from a new HUD directive on sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination.
  • South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, signed executive order 2021-12, which directs the state Department of Health to create rules banning telemedicine abortions in the state.
  • The governing body of the Church in Wales passed a bill that will allow clergy to hold services designed to bless same-sex civil partnerships or marriages.
  • Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to punish abortion, unanimously annulling several provisions of a law that made abortion a criminal act in Coahuila, a state on the Texas border.

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

  • In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to block Texas’ “heartbeat” law while its constitutionality is being litigated. The “heartbeat” law bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat has been detected by a physician.
  • In Dahl v. Board of Trustees of Western Michigan University, a Michigan federal district court issued a temporary order requiring the University to grant religious exemptions from its COVID-19 vaccine requirement to four members of the women’s soccer team.
  • In Zinman v. Nova Southeastern University, a Florida federal magistrate judge recommended dismissing a suit by a student against his law school challenging the COVID-19 mask mandates on religious grounds.
  • In Louden County School Board v. Cross, the Virginia Supreme Court affirmed the reinstatement of a teacher who had been suspended for speaking out against a school’s proposed requirement that staff use students’ chosen names and gender pronouns. The teacher had objected to the policy for religious reasons.
  • A proposed North Carolina bill would require hospitals to allow clergy to visit patients even during a declared emergency.
  • The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors authorized a $400,000 payment to settle a legal battle with Grace Community Church over the county’s ban on indoor worship.

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

  • In New York ex rel. James v. Griepp, the Second Circuit affirmed a New York district court’s refusal to grant a preliminary injunction against anti-abortion protesters who had clashed with volunteer clinic escorts.
  • In Resurrection School v. Hertel, a Michigan Catholic school requested an en banc hearing after the Sixth Circuit denied the school’s claim that Michigan’s mask mandate violated the school’s religious beliefs by preventing students from participating fully in their Catholic education.
  • After Washington state announced a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for all employees, the Bishop of Spokane stated that conscience rights should be respected but that priests should not sign documents in support of conscience exemptions.
  • The Biden administration is reviewing a federal rule that prohibits public universities from removing funding from religious student organizations whose policies conflict with campus anti-discrimination rules.
  • Proof of COVID-19 vaccination status or a negative COVID-19 test is now required to visit some of Italy’s most famous Catholic cathedrals.
  • Under President Xi Jinping, freedom of religion in China is being restricted. Examples of the reported suppression include: requiring independent churches to join religious organizations supervised by the Chinese Communist Party, detaining Christians that criticize the government, and banning the sale of the Bible.
  • The Gujarat High Court, in Mumbai, India, granted protection to interfaith couples when it passed an interim order suspending certain provisions of the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act.

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

  • The Fifth Circuit sitting en banc in Whole Woman’s Health v. Paxton upheld a Texas law enacted in 2017 that bans abortions performed through the dilation and evacuation procedure.
  • In Separation of Hinduism From Our Schools v. Chicago Public Schools, an Illinois federal district court held that plaintiff’s amended complaint sufficiently alleged constitutional violations in a suit challenging Chicago Public Schools’ “Quiet Time Program,” which was led by a Transcendental Meditation instructor.
  • In Solid Rock Baptist Church v. Murphy, a New Jersey federal district court dismissed as moot a challenge to a COVID-19 executive order limiting the number of people who could attend an indoor religious service.
  • In Magliulo v. Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, a Louisiana federal district court issued a temporary restraining order barring a medical college from conditioning students’ enrollment on their COVID-19 vaccination status. The students had previously requested an exemption for religious reasons.
  • Over 80 members of the U.S. Congress have signed a letter objecting to the Biden administration’s decision to drop a lawsuit filed on behalf of a pro-life nurse who was forced to participate in performing an abortion procedure in violation of federal conscience laws.
  • The Justice Department announced the seizure of seventeen funeral scrolls, manuscripts, and community records that were looted from Eastern European Jewish communities during the Holocaust.
  • The archdioceses of Philadelphia, Chicago, California, and New York have instructed their clerics not to assist parishioners seeking religious exemptions from receiving COVID-19 vaccines stating that “there is no basis in Catholic moral teaching for rejecting vaccine mandates on religious grounds.”
  • The U.S. Treasury Department is set to release a shipment of religious tiles that were intended for a northern Virginia mosque, but were temporarily confiscated at Dulles International Airport.

Around the Web

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

  • The Tenth Circuit, in Ashaheed v. Currington, reversed a Colorado federal district court’s dismissal of a Muslim inmate’s free exercise and equal protections claims concerning a Colorado corrections center’s requirement that inmates shave their bears at intake.
  • A Texas federal district court, in Franciscan Alliance, Inc. v. Becerra, permanently enjoined enforcement of the anti-discrimination provisions of the Affordable Care Act and implementing regulations against Christian health care providers and health plans. Enforcement would have required the providers and plans to provide insurance coverage for abortions or gender-transition procedures.
  • An Indiana federal district court, in Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis v. Roncalli High School, ruled that a lawsuit filed by a former Catholic school guidance counselor against the Archdiocese of Indianapolis must be dismissed. The court found that the former counselor qualified as a minister of religion and thus the Archdiocese and the school were exempt from the counselor’s federal workplace discriminations claims.
  • New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed the New Hampshire Religious Liberty Act, which permits religious organizations to continue operating during an emergency to the same or greater extent as other “essential” businesses and organizations.
  • The Loudoun County (Virginia) School Board approved Policy 8040: Rights of Transgender and Gender-Expansive Students, which requires teachers to refer to students by the students’ preferred names and pronouns.
  • A northern Virginia mosque asked the Biden administration to release a set of religious tiles that were confiscated at Dulles International Airport.

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

  • A petition for certiorari was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission v. Woods, in which the Washington Supreme Court held that, as applied, the religious and non-profit exemption to the state’s anti-discrimination law may be unconstitutional.
  • A petition for certiorari was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in Gordon College v. DeWeese-Boyd, in which the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that the ministerial exception does not apply in a suit by an associate professor at a private Christian liberal arts college who claims her promotion to full professor was denied because of her public opposition to the school’s policies on LGBTQ individuals.
  • U.S Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, in Calvary Chapel of Bangor v. Mills, denied an application by a Maine church for injunctive relief, which sought to prevent Maine’s governor from reinstating COVID-related restrictions on worship services, pending disposition of its petition for certiorari.
  • U.S. Army sergeant, Jacob DiPietro, became one of the first Christian service members to receive an exemption to grow out his hair and beard for religious purposes.
  • A Pennsylvania appellate court, in Kaur v. Singh, upheld an order of protection that excludes plaintiff’s ex-husband from attending the Nazareth Temple on Sundays, finding that the order does not violate his Free Exercise rights.
  • A Scotland court ruled in favor of Kenneth Ferguson, a Christian CEO, who was unjustly fired by The Robertson Trust, the country’s biggest grant-making trust, because of his religious views on marriage.