Church and State

Free Exercise After Obergefell: Warnings from the Dissent

Free Exercise After Obergefell:  Warnings from the Dissent

Statements of Justices Roberts, Thomas, and Alito on free exercise of religion in light of the same-sex marriage decision.

 
 

Understanding RFRA: Is Religious Freedom the New Bigotry?

Understanding RFRA: Is Religious Freedom the New Bigotry?

By Nicholas Miller – Is supporting religious freedom an act of bigotry? This question is seriously being asked in the wake of the recent media eruptions surrounding the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) bills passed in Indiana and Arkansas. The firestorm surrounding these bills has brought the tension between religious freedom and gay rights to a new level of public scrutiny and focus.

 
 

Understanding RFRA: Does Indiana's New Law Allow Businesses to Discriminate?

Understanding RFRA:  Does Indiana's New Law Allow Businesses to Discriminate?

By Jason Hines – This week, Governor Mike Pence held a press conference in order to clarify the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act that has received so much criticism lately.

 
 

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.

 
 

Supreme Court Plans to Make National Decision on Same-Sex Marriage – What it Means

Supreme Court Plans to Make National Decision on Same-Sex Marriage – What it Means

By Jason Hines, PhD – The Court will answer two questions. First, “does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?” Second, “does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?” These questions create three possible outcomes.

 
 

Supreme Court Considers First Amendment Ramifications of Church Sign Ordinance

Supreme Court Considers First Amendment Ramifications of Church Sign Ordinance

On Monday, January 12, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the case of whether a local town ordinance violates the First Amendment rights of churches when the ordinance limits the size, quantity, and duration of church signs when political signs are not similarly limited. Attorneys for the town of Gilbert, Arizona have argued that the ordinance is not discriminatory because all non-commercial event signs have the same restrictions. Attorneys for Clyde Reed, the pastor of the Good News Presbyterian Church argued that just because the city claims the ordinance appears to be facially neutral toward religious free speech does not mean that it is actually neutral.

 
 

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.

 
 

Hard-fought religious freedom something to celebrate this Thanksgiving

Hard-fought religious freedom something to celebrate this Thanksgiving

Households throughout the United States are celebrating a presidentially designated Thanksgiving Day. It provides us an opportunity to reflect on the blessings we enjoy as a nation and personally.

The history of this holiday goes back to the arrival of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, Mass., in the late autumn of 1620. Although the New World saw intermittent European activity after the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492, in the minds of many, American history truly began with the Pilgrims.

Because most of the occupants of the Mayflower had belonged to a persecuted religious minority in England — Congregationalists, part of the dissenting church movement — they came seeking freedom to practice religion in concert with each individual's own conscience. But the Pilgrims' quest was by no means the only reason America came to be viewed as a shelter from religious persecution and intolerance.

 
 

Opinion: Atheists, Conscience and God's Name

An atheist airman at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada recently wasn't allowed to re-enlist because he refused to sign an oath containing the phrase “so help me God.”

Initially, Air Force personnel reported that enlistees used to be allowed to opt out of the oath's appeal to deity, but the provision had been withdrawn on Oct. 30, 2013. The Air Force claimed that only Congress could reinstate it.

However, when the American Humanist Association and the media became involved, the Air Force sought legal counsel and reverted to the former practice. But that didn't please some Christians.

 
 

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.