WASHINGTON — The Religious Freedom Restoration Act is under increasing attack since the U.S. Supreme Court'sHobby Lobby decision that granted "closely-held" businesses an exemption from the birth control mandate, religious freedom lawyers claimed at the Federalist Society's annual National Lawyers Convention.
In response to the Hobby Lobby case and possible religious exemption cases citing it, there may come a "softening" of the decision by judges over the coming years, explained members of a panel event on Thursday on the topic of religious liberty.
Kim Colby, senior counsel at the Christian Legal Society, said to those gathered that since the Supreme Court's decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, Inc., efforts to undermine religious exemptions have increased. more >>
A recently released study has shown that there is a connection between marijuana usage and the volume of gray matter a person may have.
Published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study was overseen by researchers from the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas, The Mind Research Network of Albuquerque, New Mexico, the University of New Mexico, and Advance MRI, LLC of Frisco, Texas.
"…we measured gray matter (GM) volume via structural MRI across the whole brain by using voxel-based morphology, synchrony among abnormal GM regions during resting state via functional connectivity MRI, and white matter integrity (i.e., structural connectivity) between the abnormal GM regions via diffusion tensor imaging in 48 marijuana users and 62 age- and sex-matched nonusing controls," read the abstract. more >>
A major Ohio city is mulling an amendment to its city ordinance that critics say will allow transgendered men to use women's restrooms.
Cleveland City Council held a meeting Wednesday wherein a committee heard arguments for and against an ordinance prohibiting businesses from barring transgender people access to restrooms or facilities that correspond with their gender identity.
In an effort to prevent what happened last Christmas season to a first grader at a California school who was stopped by his teacher from passing out candy canes with a Christian message to his classmates, religious freedom lawyers have filed a request for a preliminary injunction in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
Last year, when Isaiah Martinez brought his Christmas gifts to Merced Elementary in the West Covina Unified School District, his teacher took possession of the candy canes. At the direction of the school principal, the teacher instructed Isaiah that "Jesus is not allowed in school" and she removed the candy cane messages from each candy cane, threw the messages in the trash, and handed the candy canes back to Isaiah for delivery to his classmates, according to Advocates for Faith & Freedom.
Isaiah then "nervously handed the candy canes to his classmates in fear that he was in trouble for trying to bring a little Christmas cheer and 'good tidings' to class," AFF stated. The canes no longer had a message attached that recited the legend of a candy maker who created the candy cane to symbolize the life of Jesus Christ. more >>
The Vatican announced Tuesday that Pope Francis will set up a panel to help process the "backlog" of appeals from priests who've been accused of committing sexual abuse against minors. The new judicial body, or college, will be overseen by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
"Hearing the appeals is a very important job, especially those on abuse of minors, and the backlog of cases is at risk of absorbing all the time of the congregation," Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi told The Tablet, a Catholic news weekly.
"[The accused] shall have his case examined by the whole body of members of the congregation, the ordinary session, which may also examine other specific cases upon papal request, and/or examine cases referred to it by the newly created college," he added. more >>
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon addressed the town of Ferguson on Tuesday and revealed a plan for handling any civil disturbances in the aftermath of the grand jury's decision whether to indict officer Darren Wilson.
"The [National] Guard will be available when we determine it is necessary to support local law enforcement," Nixon said at a press conference. "Quite simply, we must and will be fully prepared. As governor, the most important part of my job is keeping the people of Missouri safe."
The town of Ferguson has been preparing for the grand jury's verdict as to whether Officer Darren Wilson will be indicted in the shooting of unarmed teen, Michael Brown. Wilson shot and killed Brown in August, leading to outrage among the citizens of Ferguson. There were several protests, peaceful and not peaceful, that have continued even now. The state has been trying to work with the public to better relations between officials and the public. However, Nixon's press conference upset some people and seemingly made things worse. more >>