Constitution

Opinion: Playing Political Football with the President's Faith

Opinion: Playing Political Football with the President's Faith

By Jason Hines – Attacks on the President's faith are an attempt to redefine the constitutional role of religion in American life. Both Senator Santorum and Pastor Graham have established a de facto religious test for the office of President. Why does it matter to Pastor Graham whether President Obama is a Christian? Why does it matter to Senator Santorum that Obama has a phony, unchristian theology? These things matter because to them a person should not be president unless they are Christian. And that Christianity cannot just be any Christianity, but a form of Christianity that is aligned with what they think is correct.

 
 

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.

 
 

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.

 
 

Should ministers at for-profit wedding chapels be compelled to perform same-sex ceremonies?

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Two ordained ministers, Donald and Evelyn Knapp, who operate a for-profit wedding chapel in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho were threatened with a misdemeanor charge for refusing to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies. The Knapps responded by filing a lawsuit and a motion for a temporary restraining order against the city in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho.

 
 

7th Circuit Overturns Indiana and Wisconsin Bans on Same-Sex Marriage

7th Circuit Overturns Indiana and Wisconsin Bans on Same-Sex Marriage

A three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals last week unanimously struck down state bans on same-sex marriage in Indiana and Wisconsin. In a 40-page opinion (http://www.scribd.com/doc/238675754/14-2386-212#download), Judge Richard Posner blasted the two states for arguing that the reason why gay marriages were prohibited while heterosexual marriages were encouraged was that heterosexuals needed marriage to make couples take responsibility for their unplanned children. The states had argued that since homosexual couples could not accidentally conceive children, the state had no interest in them being married.

 
 

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.

 
 

U.S. Supreme Court Affirms Right to Pro-Life Political Speech

U.S. Supreme Court Affirms Right to Pro-Life Political Speech

On June 16, 2014 the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in the much-anticipated case, Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus. Justice Thomas delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court finding in favor of the Pro-Life group, Susan B. Anthony List (SBA). The court ruled that SBA and co-petitioner COAST (Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes) have standing to challenge an Ohio election statute under which they had been threatened with prosecution for holding members of Congress responsible for their voting record.

 
 

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.