Legal Issues

10th Cir. reverses summary judgment in Title VII Sabbath accommodation case

10th Cir. reverses summary judgment in Title VII Sabbath accommodation case

On January 17, 2018, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a lower court improperly granted summary judgment against plaintiffs in a holy day observance case.

 
 

When Not to Tell the Story: The Ethics of Announcing a Religious Conversion

When Not to Tell the Story: The Ethics of Announcing a Religious Conversion

Churches like nothing more than to have a wonderful and exciting conversion story to proclaim to the world.  What happens if proclaiming such a story puts lives in danger?  What happens when a person is put in danger against his will?  These questions have been at the center of a fascinating legal case, Doe v. First Presbyterian Church U.S.A. of Tulsa, (OK Sup. Ct., Dec. 19, 2017), involving a church that announced on the internet how one converted from Islam to Christianity.  

 
 

Supreme Court declines Establishment Clause challenge to Mississippi LGBT law

Supreme Court declines Establishment Clause challenge to Mississippi LGBT law

On Monday, January 8, 2018, the United States Supreme Court declined to review both Barber v. Bryant and Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant, two suits filed against Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant contesting the state's law (HB 1523) which allows public officials and businesses to deny services to LGBT people for religious reasons.

 
 

Why Congress dropped the Johnson Amendment repeal from tax reform

Why Congress dropped the Johnson Amendment repeal from tax reform

As part of the final push to enact tax reform before the end of the year, a proposed tax code change that would permit churches and other non-profit organizations to engage in partisan political campaigning has been dropped from the House and Senate reconciliation version of 2017 tax bill. Although the House version of the bill had included a repeal of the controversial Johnson Amendment, the Senate version kept it intact. Proponents of the repeal have argued for the right of pastors to speak freely about candidates from the pulpit, and opponents claim it would provide a "dark money" tax-exempt way to launder otherwise non-tax deductible campaign donations.

 
 

CA governor vetoes religious employee reproductive privacy bill

CA governor vetoes religious employee reproductive privacy bill

California Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed legislation that would have prohibited religiously affiliated institutions from taking employment action against non-ministerial employees for their reproductive health decisions including “the use of any drug, device, or medical service.”

 
 

Tax-exemption of clergy housing violates Establishment Clause rules Federal judge

Tax-exemption of clergy housing violates Establishment Clause rules Federal judge

Last Friday a federal judge in Wisconsin issued a ruling that a federal statute that exempts housing for members of the clergy from taxation violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

 
 

Federal Judge rules Pennsylvania county seal violates Establishment Clause

Federal Judge rules Pennsylvania county seal violates Establishment Clause

A Federal judge has ruled that a Pennsylvania county seal and flag that prominently feature a cross violates the Establishment Clause.

 
 

Supreme Court may hear California pregnancy center free speech cases

Supreme Court may hear California pregnancy center free speech cases

The U.S. Supreme Court is currently considering whether to hear a cases brought by three California faith-based pregnancy counseling organizations that are challenging a California law that require every licensed pregnancy center in the state to inform its clients of publicly funded abortion and contraception services. The organizations claim that the law violates their freedom of speech by requiring them […]

 
 

EEOC files suit against physician who mandated daily religious meetings

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he U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit on behalf of four former employees of a Texas physician who allegedly discriminated against them on the basis of religion by unlawfully requiring them to attend daily Bible studies, requiring them to discuss religious matters in these meetings, and for terminating them for religious reasons. According to the EEOC's complaint, […]

 
 

US House votes to defund IRS investigations of church political endorsements

US House votes to defund IRS investigations of church political endorsements

  esterday, by a margin of 211 to 198, the U.S. House of Representatives quietly voted to defund IRS investigations of church political endorsements as part of a massive spending bill. On the bottom of page 21 of the text of the 2018 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill, the drafters included the following language: SEC. 116. None of the funds […]