In the News: Breaking Religious Freedom Stories Across the Country

May 12, 2023
In the News V6 | First Liberty Institute

Catch up on the latest religious freedom headlines around the web.

Restoring Faith in America: Texas Legislature Passes Bill Allowing Chaplains in Public Schools

Religion News Service reports: The Texas Legislature has passed a bill that would allow schools to employ chaplains in addition to school counselors. It will now head to the governor’s desk. The bill is one of a trio of proposals making their way through the Texas Legislature that focus on religion and public schools.

The Unjust Attacks on Thomas, Alito, and Roberts

National Review reports: The U.S. Supreme Court is under attack. This assault aims to destroy one of the pillars of our constitutional order: an independent judiciary. The motivation for the current multipronged offensive is transparently ideological: Liberals and progressives lost control of the Court, and they are now willing to trash it if the alternative is for it to remain outside their control.

IHOP Fired NC Cook Who Wanted Sundays Off because of His Christian Faith, EEOC Says

Yahoo News reports: An IHOP franchise is being sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for religious discrimination and retaliation. An employeed asked and was granted religious accommodation to not work on Sundays, according to the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. But months later, a new general manager expressed hostility about the request and required the cook to work on two Sundays.

11th Circuit Considers Religious Freedom Of Buddhist Meditation Center

Courthouse News Service reports: The Thai Meditation Center of Alabama contends its constitutional right to free exercise of religion was violated by a local zoning decision. A federal appeals court is considering the case for a second time. The same court ruled in favor of the center a few years ago, concluding that the city’s restrictions pose a “substantial burden” on their religious liberty.

Oklahoma Congressmen Block Federal Attempt to Silence Religious Freedom at Tulsa Hospital

The Oklahoma City Sentinel reports: Members of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation issued a joint statement after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services threatened to rescind the Oklahoma accreditation for St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa. The threat came because the hospital has a single, enclosed religious “living flame” candle present in the hospital’s chapel.

Our First Freedom Is in The Crosshairs

In an op-ed for WORLD, Eric Patterson of the Religious Freedom Institute discusses recent reports showing how religious freedom is being threatened worldwide. Reports show a marked increase in religious oppression across many parts of the globe. He writes that “even in the West there are significant challenges to the freedom of religious families and communities.”

School Board Settles Religious Discrimination Suit Against Christian University After Blasting ‘Christian’ Values

Fox News reports: An Arizona School District settled a religious discrimination case two months after it was accused of illegally terminating a contract, while its members blasted the Christian values of a university. The board restored a contract with the university.

The Washington Elementary School District was sued in March for allegedly impugning on the religious rights of Arizona Christian University for terminating a partnership that had been ongoing for 11 years. Multiple board members attacked them for their religious beliefs.

California Teacher Who Says She Was Fired for Refusing to Recognize Students’ Transgender Identities Files Lawsuit

East Bay Times reports: The Jurupa Unified School District violated a high school physical education teacher’s Christian beliefs after firing her for refusing to follow policies recognizing students’ transgender identities, a new lawsuit alleges. Jessica Tapia’s suit was filed in federal court. It seeks damages for what her lawyers argue is the district’s violation of her First Amendment and civil rights.

States Threaten Legal Consequences If JPMorgan Chase Doesn’t Stop Alleged Discrimination

The Daily Mail reports: A group of 19 GOP state attorneys general are putting JPMorgan Chase on notice for alleged discrimination against religious and other conservative organizations, which contradicts the company’s commitment to ‘inclusivity,’ they say.

In a letter to JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, the state attorneys general led by Daniel Cameron of Kentucky allege the company has “persistently discriminated” against customers due to “religious or political affiliation.”

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