In the News: Breaking Religious Freedom Stories Across the Country

May 5, 2023
In the News V6 | First Liberty Institute

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

This Graduation Censorship Season, Here Is How You Can Stand Up for Your Faith at School

First Liberty attorney Holly Randall wrote an op-ed for Fox News discussing graduation season and the rights of students and teachers to express their beliefs. She writes:

“Each spring, students across the country will take to the graduation podium to celebrate achievements, reflect on memories, and for many, offer a personal thanks to the Lord for guiding them to this milestone. And without fail, each spring, school administrators will try to censor the private, religious speech of these students. As graduation season approaches, remember that the law is clear: teachers and students do not shed their constitutional rights at the school house gate. First Liberty Institute encourages students to be bold mouthpieces for their faith—Americans across the country will be more free when they do.”

We Should Display Ten Commandments in Texas Schools. New Court Ruling Means We Can

First Liberty Of Counsel Matt Krause wrote an op-ed for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram discussing a bill to display Ten Commandments in Texas schools.

“It is right and good to remind students of the basis of our nation and state’s liberties and freedoms. Our country is rare in that it believes that our fundamental liberties are endowed by our Creator and that no government can take them away. Our Founding Fathers believed this to be beneficial, and the need is just as strong, if not stronger, today. Posting the Ten Commandments in public school classrooms complies with the First Amendment.”

New Jersey Churches Excluded from Historic Preservation Grant Sue for Discrimination 

The Christian Post reports: New Jersey-based Mendham Methodist Church and Zion Lutheran Church Long Valley have filed a federal lawsuit against Morris County, alleging religious discrimination after the county excluded them from the Morris County Historic Preservation Trust Fund. The legal action, undertaken by First Liberty Institute, Jones Day, and the Pepperdine Religious Liberty Clinic, contests the county’s policy change that now prevents churches from accessing the grant.

Restoring Faith in America: Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act Signed into Law

Oklahoma News 4 reports: A bill designed to prevent discrimination against religious organizations when it comes to receiving state tax dollars has been signed into law. It is Senate Bill 404, known as the Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act. The language of the bill states, “a substantial burden to exclude any person or entity from participation in or receipt of governmental funds, benefits, programs, or exemptions based solely on the religious character or affiliation of the person or entity.”

Walter Reed Says Catholic Services Will Resume After Priests Told to ‘Cease and Desist’

CBN News reports: Walter Reed National Military Medical Center officials say Catholic pastoral services will resume at the military veteran’s hospital after it told Franciscan priests to stop ministering during Holy Week last month.

First Liberty sent a letter to the Department of Defense opposing their recent decision to end its relationship with the Holy Name College Friary, a community of Franciscan priests who’ve ministered and served military members and veterans for close to two decades.

The Anatomy of a Washington Post Smear Campaign

The Washington Free Beacon reports: On April 15, one week after Matthew Kacsmaryk suspended the FDA’s approval of the abortion pill mifepristone, The Washington Post published what it framed as a scandalous story about the Texas judge. The Post claimed Kacsmaryk, while he was deputy general counsel of the religious freedom group First Liberty Institute, removed his name from an article he had allegedly drafted for the Texas Review of Law and Politics, substituting the names of two of his colleagues for his own byline. Almost every part of the story appears to have been misleading or false.

Supreme Coup: The Left’s Plan for a Hostile Takeover of the Supreme Court

The Daily Signal reports: Democrats in Congress, together with their allies among left-wing groups and in the media, are attempting a hostile takeover of the Supreme Court. Their current tactics demonstrate what “by any means necessary” really means.

The Left is after power rather than liberty and, therefore, sees limits on government as obstacles to be overcome. They especially want to control the Supreme Court, because it’s the final interpreter of the Constitution, the “supreme law of the land.” Controlling what the Constitution means is controlling what the Constitution is, no matter what it says.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas Is ‘Man of Integrity’ Says Former Justice Stephen Breyer

CBN News reports: Retired Justice Stephen Breyer, a liberal nominated by President Bill Clinton, recently defended Justice Clarence Thomas, a conservative, who has been under fire in the media of late. Breyer, at a conference in Boston last Friday for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, called Thomas a “man of integrity” and said he never saw Thomas act in unethical ways.

“As far as I’m concerned, I sat next to him on the bench for 28 years,” he said. “I like him. He’s a friend of mine. I’ve never seen him do anything underhanded or say anything underhanded.”

Judicial Watch and CatholicVote Sue FBI and Justice Department for Records of Targeting Catholics

Judicial Watch reports: Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit along with CatholicVote Civic Action against the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Department of Justice for records containing key words and records about an FBI intelligence memo targeting ‘radical traditionalist’ Catholics. In February 2023, an FBI intelligence document was leaked that revealed FBI targeting of Catholics who adhere to traditional beliefs on abortion and other cultural issues.

Catholic Bishops Praise Senate’s Blocking Of ERA, Cite Religious Freedom Concerns

Catholic News Agency reports: Religious leaders praised senators who stood their ground to prevent efforts to enshrine the Equal Rights Amendment in the Constitution. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and other opponents voiced concerns that the language could be used to claim a constitutional right to an abortion or could be used to infringe on religious liberty.

Man Pleads Guilty to Setting Ohio Church on Fire Because Of Its ‘Religious Character’

The Christian Post reports: A man has pleaded guilty to setting fire to an Ohio church building and now faces up to 20 years in prison for violating the federal Church Arson Prevention Act. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the suspect confessed to purposely setting the fire “because of the religious character of the church.” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division was quoted in the press release as saying that the individual “is being held accountable for a devastating church arson that impacted an entire community of worshipers.”

Federal Judge Rules Pennsylvania School District Must Allow After School Satan Club

Yahoo News reports: A federal judge ruled that a school district in Pennsylvania must allow students to convene an After School Satan Club. The club is sponsored by The Satanic Temple and will be allowed to meet during the school year on three previously agreed-upon dates, but won’t have to distribute permission slips for the club for students to take home, according to the filing.

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