A middle-school student in the Taconic Hills Central School District in New York was invited to deliver a speech at the school's graduation ceremony. After she submitted a draft of her speech to school administrators for their approval, the school notified her that she was not permitted to conclude the speech with a religious message.
A group called Friends of the Cross received $20,000 from the Illinois legislature to refurbish Bald Knob Cross, which the group claims is the largest cross in the western hemisphere. The earmark was awarded by a state senator out of what is essentially a legislative slush fund, and the earmark required the executive branch to provide the taxpayer funds.
For decades, the City of Lakeland has opened its Commission meetings with prayers delivered by invited clergy. And for twenty-five years, these speakers were selected from a list containing clergy from exclusively Christian denominations; the invited Christian clergy typically delivered Christian prayers. After the plaintiffs complained in March 2010, the City expanded its list of invited clergy to include other denominations.
In May 2011, Indiana enacted the "Choice Scholarship Program," a program in which the State provides vouchers for Indiana schoolchildren to attend private schools, including religious schools. Participating schools may deny admission to students on the basis of religious practice or belief. And students may be required to receive religious instruction and attend religious services.
For the first time, the U.S. Supreme Court considered whether and to what extent the First Amendment requires a "ministerial exception" to the federal employment-discrimination laws. A teacher at a religious school filed a lawsuit alleging that she was fired after asserting her rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Late in 2006, the Dixie County Commission allowed a local resident to install a five-foot, six-ton granite Ten Commandments monument on the steps of the county courthouse. The monument -- which has the phrase “LOVE GOD AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS” chiseled into its base -- is the only object on the courthouse steps and is visible from the street.
The City of San Diego leases large parcels of prime parkland to the Boy Scouts of America at nominal rates. The Boy Scouts discriminate in membership and employment against atheists and agnostics by requiring scouts and leaders to profess a belief in God. A federal trial court held that the leases were unconstitutional because the Boy Scouts are a religious organization and San Diego’s leasing process was not neutral. The Boy Scouts appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
A graduate counseling student at Eastern Michigan University refused, as part of her required practicum, to counsel any University client who might require advice about a homosexual relationship or a relationship involving sexual activity outside of marriage. Although the student stated that her religious beliefs prohibited her from counseling patients on these topics, she was expelled by the University for refusing to fulfill program requirements.