Author Archive: Michael Peabody

Unintended Consequences? California Bill Would Eliminate Religious Belief Exemption to Vaccines

Unintended Consequences? California Bill Would Eliminate Religious Belief Exemption to Vaccines

Today, Cal­i­for­nia law­mak­ers intro­duced leg­is­la­tion (SB 277) that would elim­i­nate the “per­sonal belief” exemp­tion for par­ents who choose not to vac­ci­nate their children.

 
 

Washington Bill Simplifies Accommodation for Religious Objectors to Labor Union Dues

"WACapitolLegislativeBldg" by User:Cacophony - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons

In prac­ti­cal terms, SB 5552 would make it eas­ier for the employee and union to agree upon a char­ity, and take the union out of the posi­tion of eval­u­at­ing the the­ol­ogy of the employee.

 
 

Idaho: Northwest Religious Liberty Association Calls for Conscience Exemption to Anti-Discrimination Legislation

Greg Hamilton and Steve McPherson of the Northwest Religious Liberty Association testified before the Idaho House State Affairs Committee - January 26, 2015

This week, in four days of tes­ti­mony, the Idaho House State Affairs Com­mit­tee has been con­sid­er­ing House Bill 2 (HB2), that would add anti-discrimination pro­tec­tions for Ida­hoans based on sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion and gen­der iden­tity. Advo­cates have been pro­mot­ing the “Add the Words” bill for nine years and this is the first year that the Leg­is­la­ture has held hearings.

 
 

U.S. Supreme Court Unanimously Upholds Right of Prisoner to Wear Beard

Gregory Houston Holt, aka Abdul Maalik Muhammad

By Michael Peabody — The U.S. Supreme Court issued a unan­i­mous deci­sion today that the Arkansas Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tion vio­lated the Reli­gious Land Use and Insti­tu­tion­al­ized Per­sons Act (RLUIPA) when it pro­hib­ited a pris­oner from grow­ing a 1/2 inch beard in accor­dance with his reli­gious beliefs.

 
 

EDITORIAL: To Preserve Faith, Keep Church and State Separate

EDITORIAL: To Preserve Faith, Keep Church and State Separate

Last week, World­Net­Daily pub­lished an edi­to­r­ial by Scott Lively where he scolds Amer­i­can Chris­tians for allow­ing reli­gious plu­ral­ism to become accepted. Reli­gious plu­ral­ism, Lively argues, vio­lates the First Com­mand­ment which states, “Thou shall have no other gods before Me.”

In his arti­cle, enti­tled “The Deadly ‘Reli­gious Lib­erty’ Trap,” Lively argues that the “wall of sep­a­ra­tion of church and state” metaphor had been wrong­fully used as a “as a jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for declar­ing all reli­gions to be equal with Chris­tian­ity in Amer­ica, and equally sub­servient to sec­u­lar human­ist authority.”

Lively’s solu­tion to this sit­u­a­tion “is to stop argu­ing for ‘reli­gious lib­erty’ and resume our procla­ma­tion of the supe­ri­or­ity of Christ and His Word over all oppos­ing faiths (along with tol­er­ance for peo­ple of other faiths – that’s how it worked before [Ever­son v Board of Edu­ca­tion (1947)]. Its goal must be noth­ing less than an offi­cial reaf­fir­ma­tion of the Bible as our legal and cul­tural foun­da­tion, which would require over­turn­ing Ever­son and its juridi­cal progeny.”

 
 

7th Circuit Rules Challengers to Ministerial Housing Exemption Lacked Standing

7th Circuit Rules Challengers to Ministerial Housing Exemption Lacked Standing

On Novem­ber 13, 2014, the Sev­enth Cir­cuit Court of Appeals ruled that an athe­ist group chal­leng­ing a tax-exempt hous­ing ben­e­fit only avail­able to clergy lacked stand­ing to bring the suit because mem­bers of the athe­ist group could not demon­strate that they had suf­fered an injury as a result of the clergy tax-exemption.

 
 

Religious Freedom Advocate Lee Boothby Dies

Religious Freedom Advocate Lee Boothby Dies

On Novem­ber 6, 2014, attor­ney Lee Boothby died at the age of 81 in Berrien Springs, Michi­gan. Boothby was known for his relent­less advo­cacy for reli­gious liberty.

 
 

Unsettled and Inconsistent Law: Fetal Rights and Personhood

Unsettled and Inconsistent Law: Fetal Rights and Personhood

The legal sta­tus of the unborn child is not as clear as most peo­ple think. There are glar­ing incon­sis­ten­cies in the way that the law is prac­ticed, even in states with lib­eral abor­tion poli­cies. For instance, if a per­son kills a fetus in Cal­i­for­nia with­out the con­sent of the preg­nant woman or for med­ical neces­sity it is con­sid­ered mur­der under Penal Code sec­tion 187. This is why Scott Peter­son was con­victed for double-homicide when he killed his preg­nant wife, Laci, in 2002. This Jan­u­ary in Florida, John Andrew Wel­don was sen­tenced to 14 years in fed­eral prison when he tricked his preg­nant girl­friend into tak­ing abortion-causing drugs, lead­ing to the mis­car­riage of her 6-week-old fetus.

 
 

Prisoner’s Beard Appeal to be Heard by Supreme Court on Oct. 7

Prisoner’s Beard Appeal to be Heard by Supreme Court on Oct. 7

On Octo­ber 7, the U.S. Supreme Court is sched­uled to hear oral argu­ment on whether the Arkansas Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions groom­ing pol­icy vio­lates the Reli­gious Land Use and Insti­tu­tion­al­ized Per­sons act of 2000 (RLUIPA) when it pro­hibits a pris­oner from grow­ing a one-half-inch beard in accor­dance with his reli­gious beliefs.

 
 

Standing to Sue at Issue In 7th Cir. Hearing on Ministerial Housing Allowance

Standing to Sue at Issue In 7th Cir. Hearing on Ministerial Housing Allowance

On Sep­tem­ber 10, the 7th Cir­cuit Court of Appeals heard oral argu­ment in Free­dom from Reli­gion Foun­da­tion (FFRF) v. Lew. The judges focused on whether FFRF had stand­ing to bring the case.