Religion

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 »

Minnesota governor backs down on restriction of religious services

Featured image Scott reported here on the resistance from Minnesota’s Catholic bishops and Lutheran leaders to continuing restrictions placed on religious worship by Gov. Walz. That resistance has paid off. Walz has agreed to lift his restriction on church services of more than ten people. The way is now clear for houses of worship of all faith traditions to open to larger groups starting Wednesday, May 27, 2020. The Becket Fund, which »

Trump Says: Open the Churches. Now. [Updated]

Featured image A little while ago, President Trump spoke briefly to the White House press corps, announcing that the Centers for Disease Control is about to designate churches, synagogues and mosques as essential facilities. Trump says that he is directing governors to lift their shutdown orders and allow churches to operate, now. If they fail to do so, “I will override the governors.” See the first couple of minutes of this video: »

The Pushback Continues [Updated]

Featured image Around the country, citizens are fighting back against extreme and likely illegal shutdown orders. An inspiring example comes from Minnesota, where today all of the state’s Catholic bishops signed a letter to their congregants saying that they will not obey Governor Walz’s current order. Walz modified his shutdown order again today, but it still prohibits churches from gathering in groups of more than ten. A local newscaster commented: Churches can »

Trump/Barr DOJ warns California against disfavoring churches

Featured image The Department of Justice, under the leadership of Attorney General Barr, has moved aggressively to make sure that state and local measures to contain the Wuhan coronavirus do not violate the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom. We discussed some of the DOJ’s actions here, here, and here. Now, the New York Times reports that Justice Department has “warned California’s governor that his COVID-19 restrictions discriminate[] against places of worship »

Trump/Barr DOJ strikes another blow for religious freedom [UPDATED]

Featured image In response to the Wuhan coronavirus, Breea Clark, the Democrat mayor of Norman Oklahoma, locked the city down. When she decided gradually to reopen Norman, the ban on churches and other houses of worship from holding religious services — as well as a general ban on “large gatherings” — remained in place. Restaurants, retail stores, and salons were allowed to reopen if they adhered to social distancing policies, but regular »

Former Virginia black-facers still don’t get civil rights

Featured image Mark Herring, a Democrat, is the Attorney General of Virginia. Like Gov. Ralph Northam, also a Democrat, Herring found it amusing to wear black face. He did so at a party in 1980. Herring still doesn’t have much appreciation for civil rights. He’s defending Virginia social distancing policies that led to the pastor of a Virginia church being cited for holding a church service. There were sixteen people in the »

Trump/Barr DOJ continues to defend First Amendment rights

Featured image I wrote here about the Department of Justice’s involvement in a Greenville, Mississippi case. As I explained, Greenville’s mayor had discriminated against a religious right guaranteed by the First Amendment — the right to hold a church service. This violation resulted in litigation. The DOJ filed a statement of interest on behalf of the church in question. Greenville backed down. Now, the Justice Department has filed a statement of interest »

The Wuhan coronavirus and religious liberty

Featured image The city of Greenville, Mississippi issued an order prohibiting communal religious services. The prohibition was a response to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. The prohibition applied no matter what social distancing methods churches used to ensure against spreading the virus. Greenville aggressively enforced its order. On April 8, police officers broke up a service held in a church parking lot in which there was no person-to-person physical contact. Violating social distancing »

The Intolerant Left

Featured image The reaction of the media and the left (but I repeat myself) to Mike Lindell’s public profession of piety at the White House this week is one more vivid reminder that liberals are the most intolerant people around today. No wonder they talk about “tolerance” so much: they are compensating for their obvious lack of it. I have an idea for Trump. As the coronavirus crisis continues, and especially as »

Trump Moves to Protect Religious Freedom In Schools

Featured image Today President Trump signed a “guidance” issued by the Department of Education on “Constitutionally Protected Prayer and Religious Expression in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools.” It updates the last such guidance, which was issued in 2003. The president promoted the event, coinciding with National Religious Freedom Day, as a step toward freedom of religion. President @realDonaldTrump announced historic steps to protect the Constitutional right to pray in public schools! pic.twitter.com/YsORcxUpWa »

Fake religion from Timothy Cardinal Dolan

Featured image Even more surprising than fake religion from Pete Buttigieg is fake religion from the formidable Timothy Cardinal Dolan. In his Christmas Eve New York Post column “A Christmas lesson on housing the poor,” Cardinal Dolan writes: “The Son of God was homeless; his earthly parents were immigrants and refugees.” I’m not Christian and mean no disrespect. For the reasons set forth in Paul’s post, however, I doubt Cardinal Dolan has »

Fake religion from Pete Buttigieg

Featured image Pete Buttigieg has tried to carve out a niche among Democratic presidential hopefuls as the candidate who is comfortable talking about religion. Unfortunately, he’s only comfortable trying to use religion as a means of beating conservatives, especially religious ones, over the head. This annoying penchant was on display again in Buttigieg’s Christmas message. He tweeted: Today I join millions around the world in celebrating the arrival of divinity on earth, »