May 20: Anti-semitism, adoption via Catholic services, USCIRF appointment and more

Executive Branch

The director of Obama’s Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships argued that Donald Trump’s most recent executive order on religious freedom actually limits freedom. Among other things, the order eliminated the requirement that an Orthodox Jew be referred to another organization if she objects to her job program being held in a church.

The Washington Post discussed the fine line between criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism, particularly in light of the new US Embassy in Jerusalem and recent state laws prohibiting government contracts with organizations that boycott Israel.

Tony Perkins, the controversial head of the Family Research Council, was appointed to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Trump released a message to mark the beginning of Ramadan, which said that Muslims add to the richness of American religious life.

Judicial Branch

Catholic Social Services sued the city of Philadelphia in federal court over new rules that would stop the city from using their services for foster care, because they don’t place children with same-sex couples.


Reports from the Oregon Department of Education showed systemic discrimination and hostility against LGBT students in a high school in North Bend. Punishments for these students included reading passages from the Bible.

The Texas Tribune investigated a former FBI agent who trained law enforcement on the “Jihadi Threat to America,” and who said Islam is evil.


A Catholic therapist sued the hospital that fired her for refusing to counsel a gay couple.

An Oregon high school decided to change its mascot from The Quaker after determining it was offensive to Quakers.

A Louisiana school district settled a federal lawsuit for violations of the establishment clause. The district agreed to stop student-led prayers over the intercom and proselytizing by teachers.

Other reads

The Economics explored atheist “churches” that meet weekly to discuss morality, sometimes holding Sunday School and other events traditionally associated with Christianity.