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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
An Alabama federal district court, inCase 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.
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.
The University of Messina and LAWS-MDPI are co-sponsoring a seminar on “The Crisis of Religious Freedom in the Age of COVID-19 Pandemic.” The seminar will be held on May 28th, at 4:00 pm Rome time on Microsoft Teams.
Please see the attached conference flyer below for the Microsoft Teams information and a list of speakers.
In this episode, we interview Italian political scientist Lorenzo Castellani about his new book, “The Gear of Power” (L’Ingranaggio del Potere), which explores the rise of the “technocacy”–a new aristocracy, based on technical expertise, that increasingly dominates politics in the West. We discuss how claims of neutral expertise can mask underlying (and contested) moral commitments, and how the rise of the technocracy has provoked a populist backlash in Europe and America, including with respect to public-health restrictions on worship during the Covid pandemic. Listen in!