Aug 19: Muslim congresswomen, General running a Christian website, and more

Executive Branch

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which advocates for the separation of church and state in the military, formally complained about an Air Force general who runs a Christian website.

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom has lost its bipartisan support as its focus has changed.

Legislative Branch

Religion News Service profiled two Muslim women who are likely to become the first female Muslim congressional representatives.

Community

A Muslim prisoner sued his prison for violating his religious rights after his strip search was observed by a transgender man.

Deseret News examined both sides of the debate about whether or not to tear down a large cross in Maryland that commemorates fallen soldiers.

 

Aug 12: Religious exemptions for discrimination, student group sues U of Iowa, and more

Executive Branch

The Labor Department announced a new directive designed to provide exemptions to religious organizations that violate non-discrimination policies for federal contractors.

States

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.

Community

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.

Other reads

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.”

Aug 5: DOJ task force announced at international summit, ACLU sues ICE, and more

Executive Branch

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.

Judicial Branch

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.

Community

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.

Other reads

A new study found that Muslim and Protestant scientists at research universities are more likely to report religious discrimination than their peers.