Executive & Legislative Branches
The Trump administration shut down research using human fetal tissue implanted into mice to search for a cure to HIV. The House also held hearings to contend that fetal tissue is unnecessary for research to proceed.
The Atlantic discussed the role that evangelical supporters of Donald Trump played in pushing for criminal justice reform legislation.
Foreign Policy looked at how both far-right groups in the US and the Arab Gulf media have focused on incoming Muslim congresswomen in their commentary, accusing them of links to the Muslim Brotherhood.
A federal court ruled against a Catholic congregation along the US-Mexico border that attempted to bar federal surveyors from surveying their land for a border wall.
The Texas Republican party is in an internal dispute over whether to remove a party official from his post because he is Muslim.
The Arizona Supreme Court ruled against the Hopi Tribe’s complaint that a ski resort was damaging sacred mountains by using treated wastewater to generate fake snow.
The Montana Supreme Court struck down a tax credit for scholarships because it allowed state funds to go to religious schools, which is not allowed under the state constitution.
New York stepped up its investigation of yeshivas, traditional Jewish schools that activists say teach almost no basic knowledge and leave some students illiterate.
The former mayor of Salt Lake City sued to overturn a bill the Utah legislature just passed on medical marijuana, arguing that it abridged the rights of voters to appease The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
The Illinois state house put up displays celebrating Christmas and Hanukkaha, and a Satanic display entitled “Snaketivity.”
Faith leaders and advocates discussed what they expect during 2019 for religious freedom and the separation of church and state.
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.