Here are some important law-and-religion news stories from around the web:
- The 9th Circuit heard oral arguments in Catholic Healthcare International, Inc. v Genoa Charter Township, Michigan, a RLUIPA case stemming from the organization’s construction of religiously symbolic structures on a property without the Township’s approval, contrary to the Township’s instruction that such construction would be classified as a special land use requiring specific approval.
- In Kariye v. Mayorkas, a California Federal District Court dismissed a case brought forward by three Muslim plaintiffs who claimed their rights were violated by religious questioning at US ports of entry. Rejecting the plaintiffs’ Establishment Clause and Free Exercise claims, the court cited “historical practices” at the border and “maintaining border security” as compelling government interests.
- Suit was filed in a Pennsylvania federal district court on behalf of two parochial school students and their parents challenging a school district policy that allows home school and charter school students to participate in the district’s extracurricular and co-curricular activities but does not allow private and parochial school students to do the same. The plaintiffs argue that the exclusion of religious parochial schools infringes on their free exercise and equal protection rights.
- In In re Matyas v. Board of Education, a New York trial court dismissed a teacher’s objections to the Department of Education’s refusal to exempt her from its Covid vaccine mandate. The teacher, citing her Catholic faith and recent conversion to an unspecified Evangelical Protestant sect, argued that her religious beliefs prevented her from receiving any vaccination. The court ruled that she failed to demonstrate that the city’s vaccine mandate was based on religion or that her views on vaccinations were an established doctrine in either Catholicism or Evangelical Protestantism.
- In a historic Vatican trial, prosecutor Alessandro Diddi is defending his charges against 10 figures, including Cardinal Angelo Becciu, over alleged financial crimes. The trial exposes the alleged misuse of the Pope’s funds in speculative investments, such as a $390 million London real estate venture. Cardinal Becciu is additionally accused of misappropriating Vatican funds for personal use and paying ransom fees.
- Iraqi security forces dispersed protesters seeking to reach the Danish Embassy in Baghdad, following reports of a Quran being burned in Denmark. The incident follows similar protests at the Swedish Embassy, which was set alight due to a planned Quran burning in Stockholm. Despite Denmark’s Foreign Minister condemning the act as an attempt to create division, he notes that burning religious books is not a crime in Denmark.