Apr 22: New Jersey church repair unconstitutional, Nebraska nuns lose Medicaid, and more

Executive Branch

Inquiry into Mike Pompeo’s religious background continued as he faces an uphill road to nomination as Secretary of State. Religion News Service summarized the most pertinent points.

Military officials are investigating a discrimination claim against a chaplain for not allowing a same-sex couple to join a retreat.

Judicial Branch

A federal appeals court overturned a previous ruling in favor of a for-profit church restaurant staffed by unpaid church members. It found that the volunteers had no expectation of being paid, and could not sue for wages.

States

The Supreme Court of New Jersey found that the state government has been in violation of its constitution by granting money to repair and restore historic churches. The constitution specifically forbids the use of tax funds to build or repair a church.

Nebraska nuns appealed a state decision to disqualify them for Medicaid on the basis of their “patrimony,” an individual fund in the name of a nun that is posthumously disbursed to charity. A nun has to renounce her vow of poverty to access the fund.

Community

A California “marijuana church” began a legal dispute with its municipality about whether it is really a religious establishment or just a pot dispensary masquerading as a church.

Other reads

A NYT op-ed questioned if the conservative group Focus on the Family should be allowed to file as a church to avoid tax obligations.

A new paper indicated that fewer people turn to religion when the government provides more services.