United Methodism's highest church court may reaffirm the defrocking of a pastor who officiated his gay son's same-sex wedding come October.
The United Methodist Judicial Council will hear an appeal for a church trial case in which Frank Schaefer had his clergy credentials returned after being defrocked for violating church law on gay marriage.
The Judicial Council will hold the oral hearing on the Schaefer appeal on Wednesday, October 22, which is the first day of their three-day session. more >>
The U.S. Supreme Court in Early October will rule on a Muslim prisoner's lawsuit against the Arkansas Department of Correction claiming that when prison guards forced the inmate to shave his beard, they had violated his freedom of religious practice. Four Christian organizations have come to the defense of the inmate's religious liberties.
Inmate Gregory Holt, who also goes by Abdul Maalik Muhammad, is in jail on a life sentence after being convicted of burglary and domestic battery and is looking to maintain a beard of at least a half inch in length to fulfill what he believes to be a religious obligation. However, Arkansas' prison regulations only allow for inmates with dermatologic conditions to grow a beard of a quarter inch in length.
Holt filed a handwritten petition to the Supreme Court after his prior cases in Federal District Court and its ensuing appeal ruled in favor of the Arkansas DOC's claims that regulations are preventive safety measures in case inmates try to hide contraband or weapons in their beards. Holt is being represented by The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which also recently successfully defended the religious freedom of the owners of Hobby Lobby before the Supreme Court, and by personal lawyers. more >>
Atheists are protesting to remove a cross on a war memorial located in an Indiana state park.
The sculpture is currently in the Whitewater Memorial State Park, but could be removed if the cross is not taken away.
"The religious significance of the Latin cross is unambiguous and indisputable" Rebecca Market, attorney for the Freedom From Religion Foundation, wrote in a letter to the state park. "An overwhelming majority of federal courts agree that the Latin cross universally represents the Christian religion and only the Christian religion." more >>
Two Catholic academic institutions in California have been told by the state government that their healthcare programs must cover abortions.
Loyola Marymount University and Santa Clara University were initially given reprieve from being forced to pay for abortions as part of their insurance policies, however, the earlier decision was reversed.
In a letter sent out last month, California's Department of Managed Health Care concluded that "it erroneously approved or did not object to such discriminatory language in some evidence of coverage filings." more >>
A judge in Utah has finalized his ruling allowing for a polygamous union of people who star in a reality television program.
U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups finalized his decision Wednesday, having already declared a part of the state ban on polygamy to be unconstitutional.
Waddoups ruled that Kody Brown, star of the TLC series "Sister Wives," and his four wives could be married, striking down a provision of Utah law that barred cohabitation. more >>