Tag Archives: US Supreme Court

Hobby Lobby Claims Religious Freedom By Denying Religious Freedom Of Employees

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image of classic birth control pill packThe big news this past week was the US Supreme Court said it would hear two cases that challenge the contraceptive requirement in the Affordable Care Act. Two companies, operated by devout religious people, claim that having to provide health insurance to their employees that would pay for contraceptives violates their religious freedom under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). The companies claim religious freedom by denying the religious freedom of their employees.
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Obama Administration Says Prayers Before Town Council Meetings Are Okay

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photo of people praying before a meeting
Praying before a meeting

Town of Greece v. Galloway is a US Supreme Court case to heard in the fall that might set the boundaries for prayers before town council meetings so they aren’t a violation of the separation of church and state. One interesting thing to come out of the pre-hearing filings is that the Obama administration is supporting the prayers. I really never knew why it was so important for an elected body to pray before working since prayers don’t make elected officials do a better job nor do the prayers improve living in a certain town or county. As one church state group put it, a town council meeting ‘isn’t a church service and it shouldn’t seem like one.’
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Fifty Years After Abington School District v. Schempp, Church & State Still In A Struggle

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photo of Ellery Schempp in 2012
Ellery Schempp – His protest of required Bible reading in his High School lead to the case Abington School District v. Schempp being decided in 1963

On June 17th 1963, the US Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision that supported the separation of church and state in public schools – Abington School District v. Schempp. Even 50 years after the decision, we seem to have to fight the same battle over and over again. That is what happens in the struggle for civil rights. You have to be vigilant or they can be taken away. We need to celebrate dissenters like Schempp and we all need to try and emulate his activism.
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Split On Kentucky Court Cases – One Win One Loss

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image of a map version of state of KentuckyLast week, two church & state cases from Kentucky were resolved. One concerning a state law that said “security was unattainable without reliance on ‘Almighty God'” lost in the US Supreme Court. Another case involving religious coercion at state-funded baptist children’s home was settled out of court as a victory for support of separation of church and state. We can’t always win these court cases but we need to fight as much as possible to protect the wall between church & state.
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New Year Brings Unnecessary Call For Prayer In The Schools

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image of a little girl prayingThe new year begins much like the old year ended with unnecessary calls for “returning” religious prayer to the public schools. Indiana State Senator Dennis Kruse (R) introduced a bill, on the first day of a new legislative session, to force children in public schools to pray at the start of each day. Not only would such a law violate the 1st amendment, it simply isn’t needed. Prayer wasn’t removed from schools, only forced recitation is prohibited.
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The Latin Cross Is Still Christian – Drives Justice Thomas Insane

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image of Utah Trooper Latin CrossesA private non-profit association in Utah, the Utah Highway Patrol Association (UHPA), had been placing 12 foot tall white Latin crosses along roads and highways controlled by the state. The Utah Highway Patrol allowed the UHPA to use the trademark logo of the patrol as well. American Atheists filed suit in 2005 on 1st Amendment grounds and then on 10/31/2011 the US Supreme Court refused to hear the case leaving intact the ruling that the placement of crosses was unconstitutional. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ head exploded.
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