SILVER SPRING, MD – The Executive Committee of the Seventh-day Adventist Church voted at its Annual Council meeting [see Video] to adopt the position that “[t]he Seventh-day Adventist Church considers abortion out of harmony with God’s plan for human life.” The newly adopted position statement affirms that “God considers the unborn child as human life” and that “the principle to preserve life enshrined in the sixth commandment places abortion within its scope.”
A California Court of Appeals has ruled that a religious hospital can be liable for discrimination if it refuses to provide medical services for religious reasons without immediately providing a referral to a hospital that will accommodate the patient.
On September 16, 2019, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that a Phoenix city ordinance cannot require a business to create same-sex wedding invitations in violation of their sincerely held religious beliefs.
On October 8, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two cases involving whether the antidiscrimination provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protect LGBT employees. While state laws may provide localized protection, the question of whether the protection extends nationwide has been raised by two employers who have claimed they have the right under existing Federal law to discriminate based on sexual orientation and transgender status.
The Supreme Court issued a ruling on June 3, 2019, in a case (Fort Bend County v. Davis) involving whether a court may hear a discrimination case where the plaintiff fails to raise all charges in an initial EEOC complaint. The Court found that the Title VII’s rules are procedural, not jurisdictional, and as such procedural defenses need to be raised early in a case.
The Vatican has released a document, “Religious Liberty for the Good of All,” calling for an expansion of religious liberty in the face of competing strains of religious fundamentalism and secular intolerance. While not addressing each and every conflict, the document is intended to express the relationship between civil law and religious law in the context of theology, anthropology, and political science.
It is debatable whether a claim by a public school football coach that he is compelled by religious belief to pray at the 50-yard line following each game is a good vehicle for addressing either free exercise or workplace religious accommodation. However, it does appear that the four justices who signed onto Alito’s response have concerns about the chilling effect of Hardison and Smith on the ability to even raise Title VII religious accommodation and Free Exercise Clause claims. With Patterson v. Walgreen Co., the Supreme Court has the opportunity to revisit religious accommodation claims under Title VII.
Over the last few decades, a religious movement has gained widespread political power with the stated intent of turning back the clock by dismantling the Establishment Clause, which requires separation of church and state.