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

  • In Barakat v. Brown, a Muslim woman filed a religious discrimination suit in a Missouri federal district court alleging an indoor gun range refuses admission to women wearing hijabs.
  • In Iglesia Pentecostal Filadelfia, Inc. v. Rodriguez, a Texas state appellate court affirmed a trial court’s dismissal of an internal church dispute about church leadership roles on ecclesiastical abstention grounds.
  • In Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski,​​ a federal district court ruled that a lawsuit by a Georgia Gwinnett student alleging that college officials stopped him from sharing his Christian faith on campus should move forward on the merits.
  • In K.W. v. Canton City School District, a high school football player filed suit in an Ohio federal district court after he was forced to violate his religious beliefs as punishment for missing a mandatory class.
  • A North Carolina sheriff refused to remove a Bible verse from his office wall after the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation claimed that the “blatantly Christian message in a law enforcement division sends a message of exclusion.”
  • The Archdiocese of Baltimore has declared new COVID-19 protocols, including requiring clergy, liturgical ministers, and all attendees age five and older to wear a mask inside of churches in Baltimore County and Howard County.

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

  • In St. Augustine School v. Underly, the Seventh Circuit sent back to the district court a suit challenging Wisconsin’s refusal to provide bus transportation to students at St. Augustine School, a private religious school. The court concluded that the decision to provide transportation was not justified by neutral and secular considerations.
  • The Eighth Circuit heard oral arguments in Religious Sisters of Mercy v. Becerra. Below, a North Dakota federal district court granted various Catholic-affiliated health care entities with an injunction prohibiting the enforcement of anti-discrimination laws against them in connection with providing coverage for transgender procedures.
  • In Downtown Soup Kitchen v. Municipality of Anchorage, an Alaska federal district court refused to grant injunctive relief to the Hope Center, a faith-based women’s shelter, after a new public accommodation law would require them to provide housing to trans-identifying women. The court concluded that since the city does not consider the Hope Center a public accommodation the center could not demonstrate a credible threat of enforcement.
  • Suit was filed in Virginia state trial court by parents challenging the Albemarle County School Board’s Anti-Racism Policy and the associated curriculum alleging religious discrimination.
  • In Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe v. U.S. Department of the Interior, the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe brought suit alleging that the new Dixie Meadows geothermal energy project will negatively impact the Dixie Meadows hot springs and the surrounding landscape and thus, violate their members’ sincerely held religious beliefs.
  • China has barred the chair, vice-chair, and two commissioners of the U.S. Commission on the International Religious Freedom from entering China.

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

  • In Doe v. San Diego Unified School District, a California federal district court denied a temporary restraining order in a suit brought by a high school student and her parents objecting to the school district’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate which did not provide religious exemptions.
  • In Payne-Elliott v. Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis, an Indiana state appellate court reversed the dismissal of a suit by a former Catholic high school teacher. The teacher claimed that the Archdiocese intentionally interfered with his employment after he entered into a same-sex marriage.
  • In Seal I v. Biden, a Florida federal district court deferred ruling on a motion for a preliminary injunction sought by military service members seeking religious exemptions from the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
  • The U.S. State Department published the 2021 designation of countries and non-state actors that are major violators of religious freedom.
  • The city of Philadelphia agreed to pay Catholic Social Services a $2 million settlement and reinstate their foster care contract after the Supreme Court, in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, unanimously found that the city had discriminated against the group due to their religious beliefs.
  • The EEOC announced that Greyhound lines has agreed to pay a $45,000 settlement after a Muslim woman brought a religious discrimination suit. The woman was accepted into the driver training program but was later told that she could not wear her religious garments.

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  • The Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments in Slockish v. U.S. Department of Transportation. The plaintiffs are members of a federally-recognized tribe and allege that the government knowingly destroyed a sacred religious site during a highway construction project.
  • The Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments in Orr v. Christian Brothers High School. The issue on appeal is whether a California Catholic school can use the ministerial exception in response to claim of racial discrimination.
  • In M.P. v. New Hampshire School Administrative Unit 16, a Catholic teenager brought suit against his New Hampshire public school district after being suspended for refusing to conform to the school’s “preferred gender pronoun policy.” The student claims that the policy penalizes students who, out of religious conviction, decline to follow the policy.
  • In Johnson v. Cody-Kilgore Unified School District, a Nebraska federal district court allowed a group of Native American parents to move forward with their lawsuit against a school for cutting their children’s hair in violation of their religious traditions.
  • A Virginia teacher, who was placed on leave for objecting to a school district’s “preferred pronoun policy” on religious grounds, has agreed to a settlement. The school will reinstate the teacher, remove any reference to his suspension from his file, and pay attorney’s fees.
  • Six U.S. Congress members wrote to the Commission for International Religious Freedom expressing concern after prosecutors in Finland pressed charges against a Protestant bishop for publicly expressing traditional teachings on marriage and sexuality.
  • A German pastor was found guilty of “aiding and abetting an unauthorized resident” and sentenced to two years probation after housing an Iranian refugee in one of his churches. The pastor plans to appeal this decision claiming that his faith required him to help the refugee.

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

  • The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Ramirez v. Collier. A Texas death-row inmate sought a stay of execution, arguing that his pastor should be allowed to lay hands on him as he receives a lethal injection. The Fifth Circuit affirmed a refusal to grant the stay of execution.
  • In Resurrection School v. Hertel, the Sixth Circuit granted en banc review to reconsider a challenge by a group of Catholic parents’ to a COVID-19 mask mandate for schools. A panel previously held that the mandate did not violate the children’s free exercise rights.
  • In Byrd v. Haas, the Sixth Circuit reversed the dismissal of RLUIPA and free exercise claims brought by an inmate who sought to worship with other inmates and obtain items to be used in worship.
  • In Sambrano v. United Airlines, a Texas federal district court refused to issue a preliminary injunction against United Airlines’s practice of placing on unpaid leave employees who receive a religious exemption from the company’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
  • In Thoms v. Maricopa County Community College District, an Arizona federal district court granted a preliminary injunction to two nursing students who sought religious exemptions from a COVID-19 vaccination requirement.
  • The Department of Labor released a proposal to rescind a Trump Administration rule that broadly defines religious exemptions under the agency’s anti-discrimination requirements for government contractors and subcontractors.

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

  • The Supreme Court declined to grant review in a lawsuit brought by a transgender man against a Catholic hospital after the hospital declined to perform a hysterectomy on the plaintiff. The Catholic hospital claimed that performing this procedure would have required it to violate its religious beliefs.
  • In Redeemed Christian Church of God (Victory Temple) Bowie, Md. v. Prince George’s County, the Fourth Circuit held that RLUIPA applied to a county council’s decision denying a water and sewer upgrade for property purchased by the plaintiff church. 
  • In We the Patriots USA, Inc. v. Hochul  and Dr. A v. Hochul, the Second Circuit vacated a temporary injunction issued against a statewide order mandating that medical professionals receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • In Texas v. Department of Labor, the Fifth Circuit issued a stay freezing the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate that would require workers at U.S. companies with at least 100 employees be vaccinated or be tested weekly.
  • In Abraham House of God and Cemetery, Inc. v. City of Horn Lake, two local religious leaders brought suit in Mississippi federal district court alleging that the defendant denied approval of a mosque site plan because of religious discrimination.
  • In Ratio Christi at The University of Nebraska-Lincoln v. Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska, a Christian student group filed a lawsuit against the University of Nebraska-Lincoln alleging viewpoint discrimination after the school denied funding for a guest speaker.
  • In Rojas v. Martell, an Illinois state trial court ruled that a county health department violated the conscience rights of a Catholic nurse who lost her job after refusing to provide patients with contraceptives or abortion referrals.
  • Texas voters approved a state constitutional amendment which provides that the state “may not enact, adopt, or issue a statute, order, proclamation, decision, or rule that prohibits or limits religious services.” This amendment was created in response to the numerous restrictions placed on religious gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • The Illinois legislature passed SB 1169, which amends the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act to state that it is not a violation to impose any requirement intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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

  • The Supreme Court declined to grant injunctive relief in Does v. Mills, the Maine vaccine case. The vaccine mandate for Maine health care workers will remain in effect while a petition for review of the First Circuit’s decision is pending.
  • In Crow v. Jones, the Supreme Court lifted a stay of execution that was granted to two Oklahoma death row inmates. The inmates objected, on religious grounds, to a trial judge ordering that they choose among proposed alternative methods of execution, arguing that doing so would amount to suicide.
  • In Ratio Christi v. Khattor, a Christian student organization sued in Texas federal district court challenging a university’s non-discrimination policy after the student group was denied recognition because the group requires its officers to share the organization’s religious beliefs.
  • In Doe v. San Diego Unified School District, a 16-year-old high school student sued a school district, claiming religious discrimination over vaccine mandates.
  • Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, signed House Bill 2563 which allows high schools to offer classes on “how the Bible has influenced Western culture.” 
  • The EEOC updated its COVID-19 Technical Assistance Document to include guidance on how employers should approach requests for religious exemptions.
  • Canada’s Federal Court upheld a provision that required organizations applying for funding to attest that they respected individual human rights, including reproductive rights. Challengers argued that this requirement infringed their freedom of expression and religion.

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

  • Justice Breyer denied an injunction in a case challenging the lack of religious exemptions in Maine’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers.
  • In Easter v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, suit was filed in the D.C. federal district court challenging the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s contracting with religiously sponsored agencies that prohibit the placement of unaccompanied minor refugees with individuals on the basis of the individuals’ sexual orientation.
  • In National Capital Presbytery v. Mayorkas, the D.C. federal district court held that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act when it refused to renew a R-1 nonimmigrant religious worker visa.
  • In United States v. Stafford County, the Justice Department filed a Notice of Dismissal after an ordinance that prevented the “All Muslim Association of America” from developing a religious cemetery for Muslims was revoked.
  • Abundant Life Baptist Church, a Missouri megachurch, was awarded a settlement of $146,750 following a dispute with the local government over COVID-19 restrictions.
  • In Gateway Bible Baptist Church v. Province of Manitoba, a Canadian trial court upheld the public health restrictions imposed by the province on gatherings at places of worship and at private homes. 

Around the Web

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.