Civil Rights

State Department Reports on Serious Freedom Abuses Abroad (CenterForLiberty.org)

Since its creation in 1998, the USCIRF has been controversial, both at home and abroad. At home, criticism typically focuses on the charge that the US should be more willing to assist CPC nations to improve their record rather than just putting them on a “blacklist” for the world to see. Abroad, nations have frequently criticized the US for its attitude of “arrogance” in thinking that it is superior to other sovereign nations and entitled to criticize them for religious freedom abuses when the US hardly has a spotless record itself. Nevertheless, after 15 years of activity, there is little doubt that the USCIRF reports have often motivated CPC nations to improve their religious freedom records. USCIRF's work has also exposed serious religious freedom abuses that should be brought to the world's attention.

 
 

Dr. Ben Carson asks pro-lifers to speak up and oppose abortion mentality

Dr. Ben Carson asks pro-lifers to speak up and oppose abortion mentality

Carson warned of “forces in America that want to fundamentally change who we are without discussion. Said Carson, “They co-opt the media and get everybody to shut up so we don't know what is going on [so they can] change the underpinnings of the nation. We must be smart enough not to fall for it or one day we will wake up and find that we have a different nation.”

 
 

States Rights and the Religion Clauses: Examining the North Carolina Resolution

States Rights and the Religion Clauses: Examining the North Carolina Resolution

This week, two members of the North Carolina House of Representatives submitted a resolution which would declare that “the Constitution of the United States of America does not prohibit states or their subsidiaries from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.” In other words, the legislation declared that that the state could make its own laws about religion and the federal government would not be able to stop them. Although the resolution is not likely to be approved, it does deserve some serious examination as it reflects a common argument arising in the religious right that the Establishment Clause does not apply to the states.

 
 

Outcome Unpredictable but Prop 8 Supporters Had Tough Day in S. Court

Outcome Unpredictable but Prop 8 Supporters Had Tough Day in S. Court

By Jason Hines – Today was a landmark day for the Supreme Court, as it heard arguments on the constitutionality of Proposition 8. I have written about this case at every level (on the state level and at the 9th Cir.) so it only seems right that I talk about the arguments that took place earlier today. However, it doesn't make sense to give a straight up and down summary or even a major analysis (there are plenty of people who did a good job of that, including this article by Adam Serwer), but there are some things that I want to highlight. Some will be important, some won't, but these are the things that came to mind as I listened to the oral arguments –

 
 

Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom Established Separation of Church and State

Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom Established Separation of Church and State

The Act, written by Thomas Jefferson, allowed Virginia to become the first state to separate church and state and remains part of Virginia's constitution. It was later used as a model for other state constitutions as well as the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

 
 

The Results: Voters Decide on Same-Sex Marriage, Marijuana, and Religious Freedom

The Results: Voters Decide on Same-Sex Marriage, Marijuana, and Religious Freedom

On November 6, 2012 voters in many states had the opportunity to make decisions on a number of state laws through ballot measures. Voters in Maine, Maryland, and Washington voted in favor of measures that would legalize same-sex marriage. Voters in Minnesota rejected a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, and voters in North Carolina voted to define marriage as solely existing between one man and one woman.

 
 

Jackson Sun Interviews Two Religious Leaders Engaged in Trademark Dispute

The Jackson Sun has interviewed Walter "Chick" McGill and Lucan Chartier about their trademark dispute with the Seventh-day Adventist Church (their church is named "Creation 7th Day Adventist") that has landed both of them in jail for contempt of court. Although later released, McGill and Chartier maintain that they could be incarcerated again if they refuse to change the name of their church, which they believe was given to them by God.

 
 

Celebrating California's New Religious Freedom Law (Washington Post)

Rajdeep Singh writes in the Washington Post about AB1964, recently signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown. Excerpt: When my Sikh father immigrated to America in 1970 to practice architecture,employers told him that he could have a job only if he removed his turban and shaved his beard. He refused to abandon his faith and took his first job […]

 
 

California Governor to sign workplace religious dress and grooming bill

California Governor Jerry Brown is expected to sign workplace religious accommodation legislation this weekend. AB 1964 will amend Section 12940 of the Government Code, which prevents employers from discrimination based on a person's religious belief or observance. The existing code reads, "Religious belief or observance, as used in this section, includes, but is not limited to, observance of a Sabbath […]

 
 

Judge Allows Muslims to Use Murfreesboro Mosque (NYTimes.com)

Excerpt: "What the judge did was wrong in that he held the mosque to a much higher standard than any other institution applying for a land-use permit in Rutherford County," said Eric Rassbach, a lawyer with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a nonprofit law firm that helped file the lawsuit on behalf of the mosque. Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/19/us/judge-allows-muslims-to-use-murfreesboro-mosque.html