The Department of Justice and several states have launched investigations into sexual abuse committed by Catholic priests, subpoenaing church documents.
The Washington Post reported that the Trump administration plans to roll back the ACA contraceptive coverage requirement for employers and insurance companies.
Religion News Service reported that ICE detainees have limited or no access to clergy.
Congress passed legislation broadening the scope of federal penal codes against threatening or performing vandalism to include religious property.
An activist arrested while helping immigrants crossing the border illegally appealed to religious freedom as his defense, arguing that his faith requires him to help those in dire need, including immigrants.
A Catholic pharmacist in Michigan refused to fill a prescription for medication that can be used to abort a pregnancy. The ACLU filed a complaint.
The Shreveport, Louisiana, police department announced that it will no longer host prayer vigils after complaints by activist groups advocating for the separation of church and state.
A Houston judge denied a suit to stop a drag queen story hour at a public library on the grounds of promoting secular humanistic religion.
Vox looks at how religion provides space away from work.
The Kavanaugh confirmation hearings continued, with a number of sections focused on religion and the law. The Baptist Joint Committee on Religious Liberty compiled the key clips from CSPAN.
A federal judge ruled that a Syrian Muslim man’s case against Amazon for discrimination may proceed, indicating that evidence of a workplace that encourages criticism might have fostered discrimination.
The Conversation gave a historical explanation of how the evolution and origin of Catholic church canon law make it difficult to hold priests accountable for sex abuse.
A new poll from AP showed that voters may be open to voting for irreligious presidential candidates.
The Labor Department announced a new directive designed to provide exemptions to religious organizations that violate non-discrimination policies for federal contractors.
Connecticut’s Supreme Court ruled that private religious institutions don’t have immunity from discrimination lawsuits and claims against them must be heard by the state’s Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.
Another student group sued the University of Iowa over policies that deregistered over 40 groups. At issue is if religious organizations can limit leadership positions to students who are of that religion, or profess certain beliefs.
Parents of a 10-month-old who died were charged with murder after not seeking medical treatment for her for religious reasons.
Education Week published a study on hate speech in schools, documenting incidents and the schools’ responses.
Across almost every demographic in the past year, Americans became more sympathetic to owners of wedding service businesses who decline to work with a same-sex couple.
Familial religiosity was found to correlate with lower suicide rates for children.
Pew examined the reasons people give for being religiously unaffiliated, or “nones.”
The Justice Department held an international summit (“Ministerial”) to promote religious freedom. The director of the OMB gave a speech suggesting that the US would stop pressuring countries to abandon laws criminalizing homosexuality.
Also at the Ministerial, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new religious liberty task force to be formed at the DOJ. He didn’t give specifics of what the task force would do, beyond implementing the executive order on religious freedom that Donald Trump signed in May.
The ACLU sued Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) over conditions of migrants held in a federal prison in California. The suit alleges that, among other complaints, the prison confiscated all religious items and denied detainees halal and kosher meals.
The New York Times analyzed how the National Prayer Breakfast has turned into a major lobbying event, with power brokers selling tickets and access to the President.
An analysis of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s past rulings on cases involving religious freedom indicated that he would likely vote similarly to Anthony Kennedy, who he will replace if confirmed.
An appeals court ruled in favor of the DC Metro transit system, which was sued by the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington for rejecting Christmas advertising that it considered religious, violating its advertising policies. Brett Kavanaugh was on the case and looked likely to dissent, but ended his participation after his nomination to the Supreme Court.
The 9th Circuit ruled that a school board’s practice of mid-meeting prayers violated the First Amendment by promoting Christianity and engaging in proselytizing.
PRI covered a conflict between parents in a California school district over how to handle anti-Muslim bullying. Muslim parents wanted sensitivity training specific to Islam, while others objected to collaboration with Islamic organizations.
A new study found that Muslim and Protestant scientists at research universities are more likely to report religious discrimination than their peers.
Religion News Service profiled the three frontrunners for nomination to the Supreme Court: Amy Conet Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, and Raymond Kethledge. All are devout Christians and have conservative records on the bench. Religious freedom is expected to figure prominently in the selection and confirmation processes.
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed suit against oil company Halliburton for harassment of two Muslim employees.
A judge in Indiana dismissed a three-year lawsuit brought by The First Church of Cannabis that contended its religious liberty had been curtailed by not being permitted to use marijuana in its services.
The governor of Maine cited religious liberty when he vetoed legislation banning conversion therapy.
Deseret News analysis of state bills affecting religious freedom showed that fewer than 14% had bipartisan sponsorship.
The Supreme Court upheld the Trump administration ban on travelers from 7 countries, 5 with majority-Muslim populations. The majority opinion focused on the President’s power to make administrative decisions for national security, while the dissent argued that it was inconsistent with the court’s recent ruling in the Cakeshop Masterpiece case, because it treated statements with religious bias differently.
The Atlantic assessed how both sides of the travel ban case used families in their arguments. The Washington Post asked why religious liberty groups didn’t criticize the decision.
A New York Times analysis makes the case that recent Supreme Court decisions reflect a successful shift in conservative argumentation. It says that conservatives stopped appealing to common morality and maintaining order and are now taking the same approach liberals have in appealing to rights. The author opines that these new tactics may backfire.
Supreme Court swing voter Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement. Trump is expected to nominate a conservative appointee who will appeal to a religious, conservative voting base – particularly evangelicals. Two religious power brokers in DC are likely to significantly affect who is nominated.
Over 600 members of the United Methodist Church lodged a formal complaint against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is a member, arguing that the policies of separating immigrant children from their parents violates basic tenets of the church’s rules. The complaint could theoretically lead to his excommunication, but experts say that’s unlikely.
The New York City Commission on Human Rights released data on religious discrimination. They reported, among other statistics, that 25% of New Yorkers who wear religious garb have experienced multiple occasions of verbal harassment or taunting.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued a New Mexico diner that refused to allow a Muslim employee to wear a headscarf. The employee was later fired, and is suing for back wages.