A Wisconsin-based atheist organization has filed suit against the Internal Revenue Service over what it deems "preferential treatment" for churches regarding taxes.
Freedom From Religion Foundation filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin last Thursday against Steven Miller, acting commissioner of the IRS.
"The plaintiffs seek a declaration that preferential application and informational filing exemptions for churches and certain other religious organizations and affiliates under §501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, as well as the equal protection rights mandated by the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment," reads the suit in part. more >>
A major church-state watchdog group has expressed opposition to a Wisconsin school system's filing of a petition to have a case regarding graduations being held at a church sent to the Supreme Court.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State called upon the U.S. Supreme Court to not hear an appeal brought by Elmbrook School District of Brookfield.
Simon Brown of Americans United wrote on the organization's blog "Wall of Separation" on Wednesday that Elmbrook "holding graduations in the religious environment of the church violates the Constitution." more >>
A lawyer with The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty has stated that the recent decision by a federal appeals court against the HHS Department's preventive services mandate will influence other suits on the issue.
Kyle Duncan, general counsel at The Becket Fund, told The Christian Post that the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals' decision on Tuesday will have "a persuasive effect" on the other cases.
"We expect the decision to have a persuasive effect on all of the other HHS challenges brought by non-profit entities (such as Becket's other nonprofit clients: Ave Maria University, EWTN, Houston Baptist University, East Texas Baptist University, and Colorado Christian University)," said Duncan. more >>
A graduate student who was expelled from Eastern Michigan University's counseling program for trying to have a homosexual client reassigned to someone else because of her religious beliefs will receive a settlement from the college. The announcement came from her lawyers at Alliance Defending Freedom earlier this week.
Last January, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruled in Julea Ward's favor.
"Public universities shouldn't force students to violate their religious beliefs to get a degree. The 6th Circuit rightly understood this and ruled appropriately, so the university has done the right thing in settling this case," said Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco, who argued before the court in October of last year. "When Julea sought to refer a potential client to another qualified counselor – a common, professional practice that is endorsed by her profession's code of ethics – EMU denied the referral. Then it attacked and questioned her religious beliefs, ultimately expelling her from the program. We are pleased that Julea and her constitutionally protected rights have been vindicated." more >>
The U.S. Navy has ordered service members on a military base in Bahrain to discontinue a long-standing tradition of a "Live Nativity" after a military atheist group complained that the manger scene not only violated the Constitution, but endangered Americans serving in a Muslim country as well.
The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty and others in the armed services community have expressed disappointment over the Navy's decision to "inhibit the religious liberty" of military personnel at the military facility in Bahrain.
"This is another example of the military wrongly yielding to those who promote freedom from religion while squelching the constitutional protections for the free exercise of religion," said Chaplain (COL) Ron Crews, USAR retired, executive director of the chaplain alliance. "Every American, especially those who wear the uniform, should be allowed to exercise their religious liberties. We are very disappointed in the Navy's decision not to support the free exercise of religion of the personnel assigned to NSA Bahrain." more >>
The state of Illinois has opted to not pursue an appeal to a case surrounding a 2005 government mandate that was being used to compel pharmacists to provide the Plan B pill to patients.
After the Illinois Court of Appeals ruled in favor of two suing pharmacists, Assistant Attorney General Carl J. Elitz sent a letter to the Illinois Supreme Court last week with the decision.
"Please be advised that the petitioners have decided not to pursue further review of this matter, and accordingly, will not be filing a petition for leave to appeal by the applicable deadline," wrote Elitz. more >>