Religion

Reinstatement of teacher who objected to pronoun policing is upheld

Featured image Tanner Cross teaches physical education at an elementary school in Loudoun County. He is a devout Christian. Loudoun County has enacted a wide-ranging policy in favor of students who claim to be of a gender other than their biological sex. The policy permits students to use restrooms and locker rooms, as well as to compete in sports, on the basis of the gender with which they identify, rather than their »

Joe Biden, enemy of religious freedom

Featured image The Justice Department has dropped a case it had filed on behalf of a Vermont nurse who was forced to participate in an abortion that violates her religious beliefs. Fox News reports on this case here. Roger Severino provides important context here. When a Republican administration abandons a lawsuit brought by its Democratic predecessor, the mainstream media invariably cries foul. Perhaps for this reason, Republican cabinet members often persevere with »

Biden passes on Notre Dame commencement

Featured image In the last three presidencies, either the president or the vice president has attended the Notre Dame commencement during the first year in office. George W. Bush gave the commencement address in 2001. President Barack Obama gave the address in 2009. Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the ceremony in 2017. But Joe Biden, only the second Catholic president in U.S. history, will not speak at or attend this year’s »

In Indiana, a win for religious freedom

Featured image The Trump Justice Department aggressively protected religious rights and liberties. In this post from December 2019, I described five cases in which the DOJ, under the leadership of Eric Dreiband, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, filed papers in defense of religious freedom. One of them was a case from Indianapolis, Indiana. In that case, the DOJ sided with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis which had been sued for firing a »

Donald Trump and the Black vote

Featured image In the 2020 election, it is estimated that Donald Trump won around 12 percent of the Black vote. Among Black male voters, his percentage was higher, perhaps around 18 percent. Both showings were significantly better for Trump than in 2016. And Trump’s 2016 showing was better than Republicans had been doing among Black voters. What accounts for Trump’s 2020 numbers? The usual explanation is economic. Black employment soared under Trump »

A victory for sanity in the pronoun wars

Featured image A unanimous panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a professor can pursue a claim that his university violated his First Amendment rights by punishing him for refusing to use feminine pronouns to refer to a male student who identified as female. The professor declined the student’s request on religious grounds. The professor had proposed several compromises as a way of balancing his religious-based concerns with »

Biden fires EEOC general counsel for protecting religious rights

Featured image Joe Biden has fired EEOC general counsel Sharon Fast Gustafson. At least, he has tried to. I’m not sure he can. Nominated in 2018, Gustafson, a respected attorney, was finally confirmed by the Senate in August 2019 for a term of four years. However, Biden asked her to cut short her tenure after only about a year and a half. When she refused, he ordered her firing. To my knowledge, »

Supreme Court enjoins some California restrictions on worship

Featured image Last night, the Supreme Court ordered California to allow churches to resume indoor worship services. However, California is permitted to limit attendance to 25 percent capacity. In addition, the state’s ban on singing and chanting at religious services can remain in place for now. The Court fractured over these matters. Justices Thomas and Gorsuch would have enjoined the entire set of restrictions imposed by California. Justice Alito would have done »

Constraining Cuomo

Featured image The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of the Agudath Israel and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, holding that Emmy Award-winning Governor Cuomo’s COVID-19 inspired numerical capacity limits on their religious services violate the free exercise clause of the First Amendment. The November 25 Supreme Court order (5-4) granted an emergency injunction constraining Cuomo from enforcing the limits pending review by the Second Circuit. The Supreme »

Ninth Circuit to Nevada: You can’t treat churches worse than casinos

Featured image Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth ruled that a church is entitled to preliminary relief against an order by Nevada’s governor that treats the church worse in terms of coronavirus restrictions than numerous secular entities such as casinos, bowling alleys, retail restaurants, and arcades. The decision, by a panel of the court, was unanimous. The church, Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley, had been losing on this issue in »

Chai Feldblum returns

Featured image Joe Biden, the devout Catholic who doesn’t know that the “P” in Psalms is silent, seems poised to carry on the left’s attack on religion. That’s a fair inference from the fact that his transition team includes Chai Feldblum — the prominent LGBT activist who believes that in almost all cases where the “sexual liberty” of gays conflicts with religious belief, “sexual liberty should win.” Feldblum is part of the »

Justice Alito tells it like it is

Featured image I’m a huge fan of Justice Samuel Alito. His speech to the Federalist Society this week, delivered virtually, is a good example of why. Alito’s message was that key American rights are in jeopardy. He noted, for example, that the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic has resulted in previously “unimaginable” restrictions on individual liberty. “We have never before seen restrictions as severe, extensive and prolonged as those experienced for most of 2020,” »

Supreme Court upholds religious freedom in two major cases

Featured image The Supreme Court today handed down decisions in two important cases involving religious freedom. Considerations of religious freedom prevailed in both. In Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrisey-Berru, the issue was whether the First Amendment’s religion clauses prevent civil courts from adjudicating employment discrimination claims brought by an employee against her religious employer, when the employee carried out important religious functions. The Court ruled that the First Amendment does »

A victory for the free exercise of religion

Featured image Last week, when I briefly previewed the remainder of the Supreme Court term, I suggested that most of the big cases wouldn’t go well for conservatives, but that conservatives might squeak out wins in the religious liberty cases. Today, the Supreme Court decided one of those cases, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, and the conservative position prevailed. By a 5-4 vote, the Court held that the Montana supreme court »

Judge blocks New York’s limitation on outdoor religious services [UPDATED]

Featured image A federal district court judge today issued a preliminary injunction against Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio to stop them from limiting participation in outdoor religious gatherings as a response to the pandemic. The judge, Gary Sharpe (a Bush 43 appointee), emphasized that, notwithstanding the Wuhan coronavirus, Cuomo and de Blasio permitted, and indeed seemed to bless, outdoor protests following the killing of George Floyd. Judge Sharpe explained »

Will the conservatives’ losing streak at the Supreme Court continue?

Featured image Tomorrow, beginning at 10 a.m. in the East, the Supreme Court will start issuing its final opinions of the term. The big cases yet to be decided include: June Medical Services v. Russo (regarding abortion), Trump v. Mazars USA and Trump v. Vance (regarding access to President Trump’s tax returns case), Little Sisters of the Poor Sts. Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania (regarding the conscience exemption from Obamacare’s birth »

Supreme Court won’t lift California’s restrictions on church attendance

Featured image The Supreme Court yesterday rejected a request from a church in California to block enforcement of state restrictions on attending religious services. Currently, the state limits attendance at places of worship to 25 percent of building capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees. Chief Justice Roberts joined the four left-liberal Justices to form the majority in a 5-4 decision. Roberts wrote: Similar or more severe restrictions apply to comparable secular »