Yesterday a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee convened a hearing on “The State of Religious Liberty in America.” It was supposed to be yet another installment in a long-running series: opponents of LGBTQ equality and reproductive rights seek to promote discrimination under the guise of religious freedom.
Tomorrow, a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on the state of religious liberty in America. Today, Americans United joined two dozen organizations in a letter urging the subcommittee to focus on an extraordinary, immediate threat to religious freedom: President Donald J. Trump’s Muslim ban.
By Vickie Sandell Stangl
A small but growing number of Americans have been inching ever closer to the principle that even in a secular democratic society, their religious beliefs should exempt them from modern laws.
The most recent examples are laws regarding discrimination to promote a religious belief, ignoring federal laws curbing partisan electioneering from the pulpit and denying women the right to contraceptives through health care plans. These are serious issues multiplying across the nation.
Back in 2003, when I was a first-year law student at The Ohio State University, I remember hearing rumblings about a group called the Christian Legal Society (CLS) that discriminated against gay students.
On June 28, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in a case involving a student-run Christian group at the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law.
The organization, a branch of the Christian Legal Society (CLS), wanted to receive financial support and official recognition from the university even though it excludes gays, atheists and others from membership. The university refused, citing its strict non-discrimination policy.
Backed by the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), the CLS chapter sued.
Advocates of church-state separation knew Monday was going to be a big day at the Supreme Court. It was the high court’s final day in session for the 2009-10 term, and four cases were left. Among them was Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, a church-state case.
Back in 1995, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of some conservative Christian students at the University of Virginia who sought money from a student activity fund to publish a Christian magazine.
The decision in Rosenberger v. University of Virginia was a close 5-4, and the right-wing groups that backed the students were full of glee. They had finally succeeded in putting a few chinks in the wall of separation between church and state – at Thomas Jefferson's university, no less.