In the News: Breaking Religious Freedom Stories Across the Country

April 14, 2023
Fli Insider | In the News V3

Catch up on the latest and most important religious freedom headlines around the web.

The Post Office Fired Me for Honoring the Lord’s Day. Supreme Court Must Make This Right 

First Liberty client, Faithful Carrier Gerald Groff, wrote an op-ed for Fox News discussing the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court argument in his case, which will be heard on April 18. Groff writes:

“Our nation has a long history of protecting employees from being treated differently just because of their faith. That is something woven into the fabric of our nation…I hope the Supreme Court reaffirms our nation’s commitment to providing equal opportunity and fair treatment in the workplace.  No employee should be forced to make the same decision the Postal Service forced upon me: faith or job.”

Perpetrators of Violence Against Women’s Health Centers Must Face Justice

First Liberty attorney Jeremy Dys wrote an op-ed for The Washington Times discussing recent attacks, violence and vandalism against pregnancy resource centers. Dys writes:

“The law is quite clear: If you attempt to injure, intimidate, or interfere with access to a reproductive health facility — including those that save lives and protect women from abuse — you will be held accountable. Congress passed the FACE Act to enforce our nation’s commitment to the rule of law. Vigilante justice has no place in our country.”

Biden’s Next Target: Christian Displays Honoring Our Veterans

First Liberty attorney Danielle Runyan wrote an op-ed for The Daily Caller discussing an anti-religious liberty group that wants to remove a Latin cross incorporating emblems of the military branches displayed in a public waiting area of an Austin, Texas Veterans Affairs clinic. Runyan writes:

“The U.S. Supreme Court has long acknowledged that religious displays on public property are government speech, not private speech. The government is under no requirement to use viewpoint neutrality in its own speech and is entitled to make content-based choices. This is true even in the instance of displays involving religious subject matter.”

Upcoming Supreme Court Case on Religious Liberties Draws Multifaith Support

The Boston Globe reports: Gerald E. Groff v. Louis DeJoy goes before the Supreme Court later this month. The case has lined up a coalition of sometimes at-odds religiously aligned groups behind Groff, from conservative Christian to Orthodox Jewish to Muslim groups, as the nation’s faith communities have banded together to petition the court for the increased accessibility of religious accommodations in the workplace.

Christian Student Organizations Under Fire at University of New Hampshire Law School

NH Journal reports: First Liberty is defending the Free Exercise Coalition, a student organization that promotes the free exercise of religion in higher education. We filed a complaint with the federal Department of Education over alleged unfair treatment on the campus of UNH Law School, largely at the hands of their fellow students who want the group shut down.

Another group is facing protests over an email invitation to a vigil for the victims of the mass shooting at a Christian school. This issue has become part of a larger national debate over the Biden administration’s decision to end a policy protecting religious liberty on campus.

Biden Regulation Could Deny Christians, Conservatives Government Employment

The Washington Stand reports: The Biden administration has proposed new federal guidelines that would politicize the civil service and potentially bar Christians and others who hold disfavored opinions from government employment. Critics say the president’s proposal essentially states, “Conservatives need not apply.”

Oklahoma Eyes First U.S. Religious Charter School After Supreme Court Rulings

Reuters reports: An Oklahoma school board is set to consider next week whether to approve the first taxpayer-funded religious charter school in the United States in a move that follows recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings expanding religious rights.

Supporters and critics of the proposed St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School have said the board’s vote scheduled for next Tuesday could trigger a significant legal fight.

Bill Says Denying Religious Entities from Tax Dollars Based on Affiliation Creates ‘Substantial Burden’

Oklahoma News 4 reports: Senate Bill 404 could expand access for religious organizations to receive state tax dollars. It passed through a House committee recently. Republican Floor Leader Jon Echols is the author and said the bill serves to end discrimination against religious organizations when trying to receive government dollars.

Lawyers Demand Northern Virginia School District Allow Teacher to Quote Bible Verse in Email

Yahoo News reports: A high school teacher in Virginia was allegedly told to remove Bible verses from her work email signature, prompting a demand letter from her lawyers alleging violation of her First Amendment rights. The unidentified teacher in Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) reportedly had John 3:16 in her email signature.

Oregon Denies Christian Mother’s Adoption Request over Stance on Gender

The Washington Examiner reports: A Christian mother is suing the state of Oregon over its alleged refusal to allow her to adopt children over her conservative views on gender. Jessica Bates, a mother of five who lost her husband, wanted to adopt another child. She saw it as her Christian duty. Her request was rejected, however, because she refused to comply with a stipulation demanding that adopting parents “respect, accept and support … the sexual orientation, gender identity, [and] gender expression” of children.

Federal Appeals Court Backs Indiana Teacher’s Ouster Over Transgender Students’ Name Policy

The New York Post reports: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit determined an Indiana high school broke no law by allegedly pushing a music teacher to resign for refusing to use transgender students’ pronouns. The rights of Brownsburg High School’s orchestra teacher, John Kluge, were outweighed by the potential disruption of the school’s learning environment, according to the appellate court ruling.

Kluge argued the district’s policy to honor students’ names and pronouns went against his religious beliefs. On the first day of classes, Kluge voiced his discomfort, and cited his Christian beliefs to the school principal, prompting district officials to allow him to call students by their last names.

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