Author Archive: Michael Peabody

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.

 
 

Supreme Court Rules Closely-Held Corporations Have Religious Rights

Supreme Court Rules Closely-Held Corporations Have Religious Rights

Most busi­ness own­ers set up cor­po­ra­tions as legal alter-egos to avoid being held per­son­ally respon­si­ble if their busi­nesses get sued, but in this case, the employ­ers (in Hobby Lobby, Con­estoga Wood, and Mardel) are say­ing that their cor­po­ra­tions can still man­i­fest the own­ers’ reli­gious beliefs even if it comes at the poten­tial expense of their employ­ees. The Supreme Court agrees.

 
 

Rediscovering Agape: Why the Reformation is Not Over

Rediscovering Agape: Why the Reformation is Not Over

Agape love is the cen­tral premise of Protes­tant Chris­t­ian the­ol­ogy. Accord­ing to The Oxford Hand­book of The­o­log­i­cal Ethics, “Luther’s redis­cov­ery of the pri­macy of agape was the linch­pin of the Ref­or­ma­tion and the redis­cov­ery of gen­uine Chris­t­ian ethics.” (See G. Meilaen­der and W. Wer­pe­howski, The Oxford Hand­book of The­o­log­i­cal Ethics, 2007, p. 456.)

Many con­fuse the con­cept of agape love with the con­cept of car­i­tas, or char­ity, but these are two sep­a­rate ideas. The con­cept of agape love is the love of God reach­ing down to save human­ity through grace, while car­i­tas is about humans reach­ing upward toward God through works.

 
 

7th Cir. to Decide Whether Ministerial Housing Exemption is Constitutional

7th Cir. to Decide Whether Ministerial Housing Exemption is Constitutional

By Michael Peabody — Last Novem­ber, a fed­eral judge stuck a stick in a bee­hive when she found that a long-standing tax-exemption for clergy hous­ing was uncon­sti­tu­tional. The case, Free­dom from Reli­gion Foun­da­tion (FFRF) vs. Lew, is cur­rently on appeal to the Sev­enth Cir­cuit Court of Appeals and reli­gious orga­ni­za­tions are out in force defend­ing the exemption.

 
 

Why Did the U.S. Supreme Court Decide Not to Hear the New Mexico Photographer’s Appeal?

Why Did the U.S. Supreme Court Decide Not to Hear the New Mexico Photographer’s Appeal?

By Michael Peabody — Although the U.S. Supreme Court did not pro­vide a rea­son for declin­ing Huguenin’s writ, it is prob­a­bly not because the Court intends to lock in the New Mex­ico deci­sion or that the Supreme Court is not inter­ested in address­ing this issue at a later date. It is most likely because the Court is look­ing for a bet­ter case, per­haps a com­bi­na­tion of sev­eral cases which rep­re­sent dif­fer­ent results in dif­fer­ent jurisdictions.

 
 

U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Hear New Mexico Photographer Case

U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Hear New Mexico Photographer Case

Today, with­out com­ment, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal of a New Mex­ico pho­tog­ra­phy stu­dio and its own­ers. The highly-publicized case of Elane Pho­tog­ra­phy v. Willock involved a pho­tog­ra­pher who refused on reli­gious grounds to pho­to­graph a les­bian couple’s com­mit­ment ceremony.

 
 

Hobby Lobby Case: How Will the Court Decide?

Hobby Lobby Case:  How Will the Court Decide?

By Michael Peabody — On March 25, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argu­ments in Sebe­lius v. Hobby Lobby Stores (tran­script and audio). Accord­ing to a num­ber of court pun­dits, the court is expected to split with four jus­tices on each side and the decid­ing vote is pre­dicted to fall to Anthony Kennedy. Per­fectly pro­ject­ing the Court’s deci­sion is not much eas­ier than pre­dict­ing a per­fect NCAA March Mad­ness bracket, but here are some poten­tial out­comes for the case.

 
 

Arizona SB 1062 is a Bad Idea and Should Be Vetoed!

Arizona SB 1062 is a Bad Idea and Should Be Vetoed!

Ari­zona Bill SB 1062 is on Gov­er­nor Jan Brewer’s desk where she is expected to sign it, veto it, or ignore it and let it become law by default within the next few days. This bill mod­i­fies Arizona’s 1999 Reli­gious Free­dom Restora­tion Act (RFRA) to per­mit busi­ness own­ers to deny ser­vice to gay cus­tomers, or poten­tially mem­bers of any other group, so long as they are doing it because of the reli­gious beliefs of the own­ers. SB 1062 could poten­tially cause more harm than good.

 
 

Standing Firm For Faith While Seeking Mutually Acceptable Solutions — Is it Possible to Peacefully Resolve the Religious Wars in America’s Marketplace?

Standing Firm For Faith While Seeking Mutually Acceptable Solutions — Is it Possible to Peacefully Resolve the Religious Wars in America’s Marketplace?

By Michael Peabody — Par­ties to these kinds of dis­putes should be well-served if they coop­er­a­tively seek solu­tions by iden­ti­fy­ing and respect­ing those spe­cific per­sonal areas which are non-negotiable and cor­don­ing them off, while respect­ing the free­dom of the areas in between where both sides must inter­sect. Iden­ti­fy­ing and pre­serv­ing these areas of respect and find­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for accom­mo­da­tion is not an easy process in today’s ide­o­log­i­cally divided world, but the results will be much more prof­itable for both sides than engag­ing in per­pet­ual con­flict in the pub­lic arena. At the same time, the reli­gious rights of the par­tic­i­pants on both sides to belief and prac­tice would be hon­ored and protected.

 
 
 
 
 

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