Religious Institutions

Legal and Legislative Update

An update on the status of Patterson v. Walgreen, New York expands statute of limitations on child sexual abuses case, ministerial exception in disability claims, and Sabbath accommodation

 
 

Supreme Court to hear challenge to Montana's no-aid-to-religion law

Supreme Court to hear challenge to Montana's no-aid-to-religion law

The United States (U.S.) Supreme Court agreed to hear a case, Espinoza v. Montana Dept. of Revenue, concerning a Montana state legislative program that allowed individuals to receive up to a $150.00 tax credit for money that they could donate to one of several K-12 scholarship funds.

 
 

FFRF decides not to appeal 7th Circuit opinion upholding parsonage allowance

FFRF decides not to appeal 7th Circuit opinion upholding parsonage allowance

The Freedom from Religion Foundation has decided not to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the 7th Circuit decision in Gaylor v. Mnuchin  (7th Cir., March 15, 2019) upholding a clergy-specific tax-free housing allowance provision in the IRS code. The secular organization has consistently argued that Internal Revenue Code Sec. 107(2) violates the Establishment Clause. 

 
 

Parties objecting to regulatory decision must follow administrative process

Parties objecting to regulatory decision must follow administrative process

This week the Supreme Court denied certiorari in a case where nuns filed their Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) case opposing a pipeline across their property in the wrong venue and ignored the required dispute resolution process.

 
 

Clergy Housing Tax Exemption Case Heard by Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals

Clergy Housing Tax Exemption Case Heard by Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments this week in Gaylor v. Peecher, a case that challenges the constitutionality of tax-exempt housing for clergy. Under 25 U.S.C. § 107(2), a pastor may receive a payment separate from taxable salary to pay for housing-related expenses including rent, mortgages and utility services.

 
 

#MeToo isn't enough – act now to prevent and stop sexual abuse

#MeToo isn't enough – act now to prevent and stop sexual abuse

The #MeToo movement has opened the floodgates on sexual abuse allegations. Now it is up to churches, schools, and institutions to prevent it, and for parents to know the signs of sexual abuse to protect their children.

 
 

Dangerous Money: Gov't money to churches has strings attached

Dangerous Money: Gov't money to churches has strings attached

Would you choose to mount a sixteen-foot maraschino cherry on the roof of your church?  You probably wouldn't, but would you consider doing so if it were part of a deal where your church would receive a large donation?  This situation may seem ridiculous, but many times government money offered to religious institutions has very troubling "strings" attached. 

 
 

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."

 
 

Defense budget bill would roll back Obama's 2014 anti-discrimination order

Defense budget bill would roll back Obama's 2014 anti-discrimination order

President Obama threatens to veto defense budget bill if language permitting discrimination on basis of religion or sexual orientation remains.

 
 

Church sues Iowa for hypothetical gender "law"

Church sues Iowa for hypothetical gender "law"

To put it succinctly, the Fort Des Moines Church of Christ is suing for protection against a threat that does not exist under current law.