Category Archives: Courts

Town That Won Invocation Court Case May Exclude Atheists Anyway

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image of people on a town council prayingThe plaintiff in the precedent setting US Supreme Court case, Town of Greece v. Galloway, recently developed and adopted guidelines in choosing the person or people who could give invocations at the start of their meetings. Unfortunately it looks like the town ignored the courts prohibition on discrimination. The guidelines seem to exclude the nonreligious from being chosen to lead their pre-meeting invocations.
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Enforcing Church Electioneering Rules Doesn’t Violate The First Amendment

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clipart of a minister preaching from a pulpitLast month I posted about a settlement between the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) over policing electioneering by churches. The IRS had for years dragged its feet in investigating complaints about churches violating the terms of the tax exemption rules by getting too political. Of course conservatives now claim, with the settlement, that a church’s first amendment rights will be violated. Such a claim is utter hogwash.
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IRS Settles Lawsuit, Agrees To Enforce Church Electioneering Rules – Soon

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created image of FFRF vs the IRS court caseThe Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) announced on Friday that it and the IRS had settled a federal lawsuit over non-enforcement of restrictions on political activity by tax-exempt religious organizations and churches. The only roadblock to full compliance is a Congressional fishing expedition looking for scandals.
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Hobby Lobby Decision Created Special Religious Rights

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clipart showing a scaleNot only did the recent Burwell v. Hobby Lobby US Supreme Court Decision give corporations religious rights that only individuals had under the 1st amendment, but the decision confirmed the religious have extra-consitutional rights. It’s all because of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that was passed in 1993.
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Recent Court Case Opens Door For Nonreligious Inclusion? Maybe… Maybe Not

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City council members praying before a meetingThe recent US Supreme Court decision, Town Of Greece, New York v. Galloway, opened the door to ‘legislative’ prayer that can be said at the beginning of a government meeting or event. Although the court said that government can’t proscribe the content of such prayers, it did give some guidelines on what prayer would pass a constitutional test. Some nonreligious groups are creating programs to offer people who would give nonreligious ‘prayers’. Some conservative governments have taken the court decision as a green light to only allow Christian prayers. This issue is far from being solved.
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Supreme Court Degrades Christianity With Town Of Greece V. Galloway Ruling

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Religion in government is okay if it is genericIn a 5-4 decision on Monday, the US Supreme Court said that the Town of Greece New York could open their town council meetings with a religious prayer. The majority on the court held that legislative prayers were not unconstitutional because they were traditional acts performed at government meetings. We’ve seen this argument before, it has been called Ceremonial Deism and it means a civic religion divorced of any specific religious meaning. I would think that Christians would be very upset that the court considers their religion ‘generic’. Just because Ceremonial Deism has been a tradition doesn’t mean it isn’t harmful.
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