Current Events

Methodist denomination files suit alleging SMU covertly severed relationship with church

The United Methodist Church, via a regional conference, has sued for injunctive relief, alleging that Southern Methodist University (SMU) “covertly” modified its bylaws to eliminate church control over the 12,000-student Texas institution.

 
 

Solicitor General recommends that Supreme Court hear Sabbath accommodation case

Supreme Court of the United States

The Solicitor General of the United States, Noel Francisco, has recommended that the United States Supreme Court agree to consider a Sabbath accommodation case involving a Seventh-day Adventist. 

 
 

Bill introduced today seeks to find balance between religious freedom and LBGT rights

Bill introduced today seeks to find balance between religious freedom and LBGT rights

This morning, Congressman Chris Stewart (UT-02) introduced the Fairness for All Act (FFA) to resolve conflicts between the rights of LGBT individuals and the religious liberty rights of individuals.

 
 

Federal Court: Trump's "Conscience Act" exceeds authority but does not violate the Establishment Clause

Federal Court: Trump's "Conscience Act" exceeds authority but does not violate the Establishment Clause

In a 147-page ruling issued today, New York Federal Judge Paul Engelmayer found that the Trump administration's "conscience act" exceeded the president's authority but did not violate the Establishment Clause. Given its procedural defects, the rule was invalidated in its entirety. 

 
 

Kentucky Court: Hands On Originals case dismissed – LGBTQ+ rights organization lacks standing

Kentucky Court: Hands On Originals case dismissed – LGBTQ+ rights organization lacks standing

The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled that an organization that sued Hands On Originals ("Hands On"), a t-shirt print company, for discrimination lacked standing as an "individual" to pursue the claim.

 
 

Analysis: Could churches lose their tax-exempt status if they refuse to recognize same-sex marriage?

Small old white church in the country

Earlier this month, presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke stated that he would support removing the tax-exempt status of organizations and institutions that oppose same-sex marriage. Specifically, O’Rourke said, “There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for anyone or any institution or organization in America that denies the full human rights, and the full civil rights of everyone in America.”

 
 

Catholic / Adventist hospital fires doctor who sued for right to provide suicide drugs

Catholic / Adventist hospital fires doctor who sued for right to provide suicide drugs

A Colorado doctor who sued Centura Health, a Catholic and Seventh-day Adventist network of hospitals, for the right to dispense aid in dying medication was fired last week for violating a provision of her employment that prohibited her from encouraging assisted suicide or euthanasia. 

 
 

Why the Free Exercise Clause needs to be strengthened

Why the Free Exercise Clause needs to be strengthened

The Free Exercise Clause that guarantees religious freedom is much weaker than most people realize.  While freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and even the establishment clause are subject to highest "strict scrutiny" levels of protection, the free exercise of religion receives the lowest level of protection – the "rational basis test." 

 
 

Another cake case gives Court opportunity to resolve free exercise confusion

Supreme Court of the United States

Too broad an exception from neutral, generally applicable law, and protections against discrimination vanish. Too narrow an exception and free exercise of religion protections vanish. What is clear is that these cases will continue to make their way through the lower courts with differing results until the Supreme Court makes a decision.  

 
 

New York Court Upholds Emergency Mandatory Vaccination

New York Court Upholds Emergency Mandatory Vaccination

Taking the significance of the public health emergency and religious beliefs into account when deciding what to do in these circumstances is difficult. It is too easy to dismiss religious claims as unscientific and foolish in the face of a measles outbreak, but in so doing it behooves the parties to seek a compromise