Federal Tax Exemption for Ministers Held Unconstitutional

Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker serve as co-presidents of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, a non-profit organization seeking to protect separation of church and state.  As part of their role, they receive a housing allowance from the Foundation. In 2015, the two filed amended tax returns for 2012 and 2013, seeking a partial tax… Read More Federal Tax Exemption for Ministers Held Unconstitutional

Sixth Circuit Upholds Prayer to Open County Board Meetings

This is yet another legislative-prayer case: analyzing whether it is a violation of the separation of church and state (the Establishment Clause) to begin a public meeting with prayer. Jackson County, Michigan–just west of Ann Arbor in southeast Michigan–opens its monthly meetings of its nine-member Board of Commissioners with prayer. The prayers are Commissioner-led and… Read More Sixth Circuit Upholds Prayer to Open County Board Meetings

Churches and LGBT Individuals Not Allowed to Challenge Pro-Religious Mississippi Law

You may remember when the Supreme Court in 2015 declared that bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional. Well that decision was not particularly well-received in Mississippi. Shortly after the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision, Mississippi enacted a law that enumerates three “sincerely held religious beliefs” entitled to legal protection. They are: (1) that marriage should… Read More Churches and LGBT Individuals Not Allowed to Challenge Pro-Religious Mississippi Law

No Right to Free Speech in Public Job Interview

Dustin Buxton applied to the Radiation Therapy Program at a Baltimore-area community college. The 65-credit program grants an Associate of Applied Science, and graduates are poised to become radiation therapists for health-care providers, working with x-rays, MRIs, etc. Dustin got past the first stage of the application process (which was just a review of his… Read More No Right to Free Speech in Public Job Interview

New York Catholic-School Principal Exempt from Employment Nondiscrimination Laws’ Protection

For four years, Joanne Fratello was the principal of a Catholic elementary school not far from New York City. When the school did not renew her contract, she sued the school and the church, alleging that the they had engaged in gender discrimination in violation of both state and federal law. The church responded that… Read More New York Catholic-School Principal Exempt from Employment Nondiscrimination Laws’ Protection

Colorado Student’s Parent Allowed to Challenge School Fundraising for Religious Mission Trip

So this case is just a procedural decision (standing), but it has the makings of a very interesting church-and-state case. A student at a Colorado high school organized a spring-break mission trip to Guatemala through a Christian organization that arranges such mission trips. Two teachers at the high school agreed to chaperone the trip. The student… Read More Colorado Student’s Parent Allowed to Challenge School Fundraising for Religious Mission Trip