The official blog of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Yesterday morning I had the privilege of speaking at a rally organized by Americans United’s friends at the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC). Intended to protest Hobby Lobby’s ongoing suit against the Affordable Care Act’s so-called contraception mandate, the event provided an important counter to the narrative put forward by the craft store chain’s owners and their allies.
Do for-profit corporations exercise religion? What constitutes a religious enterprise? What did Congress intend when it passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in 1993?
These and many other questions were batted about this morning as the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the pivotal combined case of Sebelius vs. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties vs. Sebelius.
I was fortunate to sit in the press gallery during the argument, and it seemed skepticism abounded on both sides. Read more
Today’s Washington Post has an interesting story about how the personal religious beliefs of members of the Supreme Court might affect their decisions.
The question is especially relevant now with the high court poised to hear oral arguments tomorrow in a pair of cases that could have far-reaching consequences for what religious freedom means. Read more
Sometimes it’s acceptable for a house of worship to discriminate.
No one, for example, could reasonably expect a Catholic church to hire a Jewish rabbi. But does that limited exemption from anti-discrimination laws mean churches are free to refuse to sell real estate to gay couples? A Massachusetts court will soon decide that very issue. Read more
The role of prayer in public schools has vexed the American people for a long time. Much misinformation circulates about what students can and can’t do when it comes to religion in schools.
Occasionally, Americans United Executive Director Barry Lynn or I are asked to discuss this issue on talk radio. Inevitably, someone will phone in and ask, “What’s the harm in a little prayer?” Read more
Creationism continues to make headlines in Louisiana, where a science teacher is under investigation for an unfortunate letter to the editor. Charlotte Hinson, who teaches in a Caddo Parish public school, wrote to the Shreveport Times after that newspaper published articles favorable to evolution.
Hinson slammed the articles for treating creationism as an unproven theory, and evolution as fact. “That is strictly opinion,” she wrote.