Around the Web

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

  • The Tenth Circuit, in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, upheld the application of Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act to a wedding website design company whose owner refused for religious reasons to create websites that celebrate same-sex marriages.
  • The Ninth Circuit, in Cedar Park Assembly of God of Kirkland v. Kreidler, reversed a Washington federal district court’s dismissal of a challenge to a Washington statute that requires health insurance plans that cover maternity care to cover abortions as well.
  • The Ninth Circuit, in Brach v. Newsom, held that the closure of in-person instruction in private religious schools may have violated parents’ and students’ due process rights.
  • Suit was filed in a Michigan federal district court, in Country Mill Farms v. City of East Lansing, challenging a city policy to ban plaintiff from participating in the city’s farmer’s market due to his religious beliefs surrounding marriage.
  • A Brooklyn federal court ordered Hobby Lobby to forfeit an ancient tablet bearing a portion of the Epic of Gilgamesh, Hobby Lobby acquired in 2014 for the company’s collections at the Museum of the Bible.
  • Three Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia were charged, convicted, and sentenced to prison for “organizing extremist activities.”
  • The Luxembourg-based E.U. Court of Justice held that companies in the European Union can ban employees from wearing headscarves in the workplace if the employer wishes to present a neutral image towards customers or prevent social disputes.

Around the Web

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

  • The Second Circuit granted en banc review of Pastor James Domen v. Vimeo, a case holding that Vimeo’s suspension of a pastor for posting videos of individuals who left the LGBT community to pursue their Christian faith was protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
  • The Ninth Circuit declined to grant en banc review of Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, in which a three-judge panel upheld a Washington state school board’s dismissal of a high school football coach who prayed at the 50-yard line immediately after football games.
    • For our Legal Spirits podcast episode on this case, see here.
  • The Tenth Circuit, in Williams v. Hansen, held that a suit by Native American inmates against prison officials for banning religious services should not have been dismissed on qualified immunity grounds.
  • An Arkansas federal district court, in Little Rock Family Planning Services v. Jegley, issued a preliminary injunction against enforcing Arkansas Act 309 against pre-viability abortions.
  • Suit was filed in Virginia state court challenging the Virginia Values Act. Plaintiffs argue that the act requires churches, religious schools, and Christian ministries to hire employees who do not share their stated beliefs on marriage, sexuality, and gender identity or face fines up to $100,000 for each violation.
  • New Hampshire’s 2021 budget includes the “Fetal Life Protection Act,” which limits abortions in the state to the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, unless the life, health, or well-being of the mother is endangered.

Around the Web

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

  • The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting en banc in Demkovich v. St. Andrew the Apostle Parish, held by a vote of 7-3 that the ministerial exception doctrine protects religious organizations from hostile work environment claims.
  • The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay pending appeal in Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. v. Mack, allowing a Justice of the Peace to continue opening sessions in his courtroom with prayers from volunteer chaplains while the lawsuit proceeds.
  • The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit against a priest who criticized a teenager’s suicide during his funeral service, holding that the priest was protected by the First Amendment.
  • An Indiana federal district court, in Kluge v. Brownsburg Community School Corporation, dismissed a suit by a former teacher who alleged that the school failed to accommodate his religious beliefs and therefore he was forced to resign or comply with a school policy that violated his religious beliefs.
  • Suit was filed in a California state trial court challenging the change of a public school name from San Diego’s Junipero Serra High School to Canyon Hills High School on Establishment Clause grounds.
  • Israel’s Supreme Court ruled that the government must extend surrogacy rights to same-sex couples and single men.

Around the Web

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

  • The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, in Denton v. City of El Paso, ordered a Texas federal district court to grant a preliminary injunction barring El Paso from prohibiting religious proselytizing at the weekly outdoor El Paso Art and Farmers Market.
  • The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, in Umphress v. Hall, heard oral arguments in which a Texas federal district court dismissed a suit by a Texas judge who was seeking to prevent future action by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct against judges who refuse to officiate same-sex marriages.
  • A New York federal district court declined to dismiss a plaintiff’s Equal Protection and Establishment Clause claims which allege that she was denied admission to CUNY’s social work program because of her religious beliefs.
  • A federal lawsuit was filed by Downtown Hope Center, a faith-based women’s shelter in Alaska, to stop an ordinance from forcing the shelter to admit trans-identifying individuals, alleging that admitting them will hinder the shelter’s ability to communicate its religious beliefs.
  • Suit was filed in a Florida state court by parents of two Catholic school students who seek to have the court declare their financial contributions to the school null and void, alleging that the school breached its promise to provide a Catholic education.
  • The District of Columbia agreed to pay $220,000 as part of a legal settlement with a local Baptist church that sued the city over COVID-19 restrictions on in-person worship services.
  • Each week since May 2nd, Azerbaijani military forces have blocked Armenian Apostolic Church pilgrims’ access to Sunday worship services at Dadivank Monastery. Bishop Abrahamian stated that “[s]ometimes the Azerbaijanis cite the coronavirus, other times they said the road was still blocked because of a landslip.”

Around the Web

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

  • North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper vetoed HB 453, which banned abortions unless the physician previously determined that the procedure was not being sought because of the race or sex of the fetus or because the fetus has Down Syndrome.
  • Members of the clergy and others engaged in religious-oriented work may now qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, after religious-oriented work was specifically excluded for over a decade.
  • Ohio Governor Mike DeWine approved vital conscience protections for doctors, nurses, and other medical providers, ensuring that medical professionals cannot be forced to participate in healthcare services that violate their consciences.
  • Kentucky Right to Life and Louisville nonprofit Sisters for Life filed for a temporary injunction against the city of Louisville Metro Council’s 10-foot “buffer zone” ordinance, which prevents sidewalk counseling within 10 feet of health care facilities.
  • Britain’s Methodist Church announced that it will now allow same-sex couples to get married on its premises. Ministers who oppose the change will not be forced to carry out same-sex marriages.
  • Hilton’s plan to build a new hotel upon the site of a demolished Uyghur mosque has sparked outrage and condemnation from various Muslim groups.

Around the Web

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 Shurtleff v. City of Boston, in which the First Circuit upheld Boston’s refusal to allow an organization to raise its “Christian flag” on one of the City Hall Plaza flag poles at an event that would feature short speeches by local clergy.
  • Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed HB 525, which prohibits the state from restricting activities of religious organizations during a state of emergency.
  • Suit was filed in a Mississippi federal district court by atheist and secular humanist plaintiffs challenging the constitutionality of the Mississippi state seal and standard license plate, which carry the motto, “In God We Trust.”
  • A complaint was filed with the EEOC on behalf of two employees at Stanford University’s Counseling & Psychological Services division charging that a hostile work environment has been created for Jewish employees.
  • President Emmanuel Macron submitted a bill to Parliament, called the Law Reinforcing Respect of the Principles of the Republic, that would empower the government to permanently close houses of worship and dissolve religious organizations, without a court order, if it finds that any of their members are provoking violence or inciting hatred.
  • A British High Court Family Division Judge refused the request by Muslim parents for an order to require their son’s guardians to have their 21-month old son circumcised.

Around the Web

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

  • The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled, in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, that Philadelphia has violated the free exercise rights of Catholic Social Services by refusing to contract with Catholic Social Services unless it agrees to certify same-sex couples as foster parents.
  • A Colorado Federal District Court held, in Scardina v. Masterpiece Cakeshop, Inc., that a Colorado baker who refused to furnish cake that reflected a transgender woman’s transition because it violated his religious beliefs was a violation of the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, and that the law does not infringe the defendant’s free exercise rights.
  • Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis signed bill HB 529, which requires public school students “to reflect and to be able to pray as they see fit” for one or two minutes each day.
  • A divided conference of the U.S. Roman Catholic bishops voted to draft a statement on Holy Communion that may admonish Catholic politicians who support policies that are antithetical to church doctrine.
  • Christians Engaged, a Christian charitable organization, is appealing the Internal Revenue Service’s decision to deny the group nonprofit exemption status, arguing that the organization’s endeavors are too political.
  • Tim Stephens, a Canadian pastor of Fairview Baptist Church, was arrested after holding an outdoor worship service at an undisclosed location, after the local government ordered the church building to be closed due to COVID-19 rules.

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  • The Supreme Court granted review in Federal Bureau of Investigation v. Fagazi, in which a 3-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit held plaintiffs could move forward with their claims that an FBI investigation involved anti-Muslim discrimination.
  • The Fifth Circuit heard oral arguments in Spell v. Edwards, in which a Louisiana federal district court dismissed a suit brought by a pastor challenging the state’s COVID-19 limits on worship services. Justice Alito previously rejected an emergency injunction pending appeal.
  • A Virginia county court ruled that Tanner Cross, a teacher who was suspended for speaking out against the school district’s proposed preferred-pronoun policy based on his religious beliefs, had to be reinstated while his case continues.
  • The EEOC announced that JBS Swift & Co. has settled an EEOC lawsuit and agreed to pay $5.5 million to 300 employees, after employees alleged that the company discriminated against Muslim employees and refused to accommodate their prayer obligations.
  • An Ohio school board fired seven high school coaches who allegedly forced a 17-year-old student athlete to eat a pepperoni pizza despite his religious dietary restrictions.
  • Ireland’s High Court will hear a couple’s case against Merrion Fetal Health and Great Glasgow Health Board. The couple claim they were mistakenly told that their unborn child had a fatal fetal abnormality and based on that incorrect information had an abortion.

Around the Web

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

  • Justice Gorsuch, without referring the petition to the entire Court, denied an emergency application for an injunction pending appeal filed by two churches who oppose Colorado’s COVID-19 executive orders.
  • In A.H. v. French, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that the exclusion of religious high schools from Vermont’s Town Tuition Program violates the First Amendment.
  • A Michigan federal district court, in Intervarsity Christian Fellowship/USA v. Board of Governors of Wayne State University, denied Wayne State’s motion for reconsideration on an injunction which prohibited the University from revoking the recognized student organization status of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship for requiring that its leadership “exemplify Christ-like character, conduct, and leadership.”
  • An Alabama federal district court, in Case v. Ivey, dismissed plaintiffs’ Free Exercise Clause challenges to Alabama COVID-19 orders for lack of standing and mootness.
  • A Virginia teacher filed a lawsuit against his school district claiming that he was unlawfully suspended for opposing the district’s proposed preferred pronoun policies which violate his sincerely held religious beliefs.
  • A lawsuit was filed in a Texas federal district court seeking injunctive relief from the temporary ban on non-essential medical procedures, including elective abortions, amid the coronavirus crisis.

Around the Web

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

  • A Maine church filed a motion with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking an injunction to prevent Maine from enforcing its COVID-19 capacity restrictions on worship services while its petition for certiorari is pending.
  • The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in Obataiye-Allah v. Steward, vacated an Oregon federal district court’s holding that prison officials were shielded from damages by qualified immunity in an inmate’s suit alleging that he was denied participation in Ramadan.
  • A Texas federal district court held, in Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. v. Mack, that a Justice of the Peace who started his court sessions with an opening prayer from a volunteer chaplain violated the Establishment Clause because the attendees were impermissibly coerced into participating in religious activities.
  • The Iowa Supreme Court affirmed, in Koster v. Harvest Bible Chapel-Quad Cities, the dismissal of a suit against a church and three pastors by a congregant who alleged breach of fiduciary duty, concluding that the claim could not proceed because it would require consideration of the church’s doctrine and religious practices.
  • The University of Florida concluded that the University’s Student Senate violated the First Amendment when it removed Jack Denton, student president, because he privately shared his belief that the ACLU and other activist organizations advocate for causes that oppose Catholic teachings and his religious beliefs.
  • A Michigan high school initially directed a graduating senior, Elizabeth Turner, to alter her valedictory speech to remove all religious references, but after receiving a demand letter from the First Liberty Institute, officials at Hillsdale High School announced that religious students will be able to state their religious beliefs in graduation speeches.