Author Archive: Michael Peabody

Supreme Court not likely to make individual FBI agents pay for allegedly violating Religious Freedom Restoration Act

Supreme Court of the United States

On October 6, 2020, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case on the issue of whether individual FBI agents can be held financially liable if they are found to have violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  The underlying case involves Muslim-Americans who alleged that individual FBI agents put them on the "no fly" list after they refused to act as informants against fellow Muslims in terrorism-related investigations.

 
 

"I dissent!" A Survey of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Religion Clause Jurisprudence

Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 2016. Official Supreme Court portrait.

Ginsburg wrote little on the religion clauses, but she frequently joined with those Justices who favored a strong separation of church and state. 

 
 

Ventura County Sues to Stop Church from Meeting Indoors

Pastor Bob McCoy - Godspeak Calvary Chapel - Newbury Park, CA speaking on YouTube 8/5/2020.

On August 2, 2020, the church again met indoors and Pastor McCoy said he was "willing to go to jail" and "willing for them to take our building" rather than comply with the state and local orders.

 
 

Court rules agency can decide if employers must provide contraceptive coverage

Supreme Court of the United States

Supreme Court sidesteps the free exercise claim and grants government agencies the power to determine whether to apply the ACA contraceptive mandates to employers. 

 
 

Supreme Court: Religious schools immune from teachers' discrimination claims

Supreme Court of the United States

The ethical and moral onus is now on religious institutions as they decide whether to fire "ministerial" employees for reasons illegal in the secular world, such as age or the need for cancer treatment. Institutions engaging in this kind of discriminatory tactic will still need to answer to a Higher Source who will not be impressed with their ability to obtain summary judgment. The way for religious institutions to "win" these cases is to avoid them in the first place by taking the lead in treating employees with the highest degree of care and concern.

 
 

COVID-19 aid package that does not exclude churches passes with bipartisan support

COVID-19 aid package that does not exclude churches passes with bipartisan support

Although the Small Business Administration typically works with for-profit enterprises, the CARES Act does not exclude non-profit organizations from this funding, including churches. Banks will distribute these loans to qualifying organizations on a first-come, first-served basis. 

 
 

Should churches "stay-at-home"? Martin Luther offers guidance

Should churches "stay-at-home"? Martin Luther offers guidance

Although Luther wrote it nearly 500 years ago, his advice on how to handle an epidemic is still valid. Trust God and take precautions. 

 
 

Supreme Court finds Puerto Rico court lacked jurisdiction to seize Catholic assets to pay school pension obligations

Supreme Court of the United States

The Supreme Court ruled today per curiam that the Puerto Rico Supreme Court erred when it determined that the "Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church" was responsible for properly administering a pension plan for the employees of Catholic Schools Trust.

 
 

Supreme Court declines to hear Sabbath accommodation case

Darrell Patterson

The Supreme court has decided against hearing a workplace accommodation case involving a Seventh-day Adventist, but hints that it may revisit employer accommodation standards in the future. 

 
 

Judge dismisses pension funding case against religious hospital chain

This decision is a good primer on the actual harm element requirement needed in order to have standing in Federal Court.