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The Trinity Lutheran Decision: The Supreme Court Expands Free Exercise Rights

The Trinity Lutheran Decision: The Supreme Court Expands Free Exercise Rights

| August 23, 2017

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution has two provisions concerning religion: one prohibiting the government from establishing any religion; and the other guaranteeing each individual the free exercise of religion.  On June 26, 2017, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, the leading case in the […]

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The Supreme Court and Religious Freedom

The Supreme Court and Religious Freedom

| August 18, 2015

News about the 2015 term of the United States Supreme Court was dominated by its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which required all States to allow same sex marriage.  In that decision, many Christians, churches, and commentators see a potential challenge to (or restriction on) the freedom to exercise religion.  Will churches be required to […]

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The Supreme Court, Same Sex Marriage, and the Definition of Liberty

The Supreme Court, Same Sex Marriage, and the Definition of Liberty

| July 9, 2015

On June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court ended the ongoing national democratic debate over same-sex marriage. The majority opinion written by Justice Kennedy and the four dissents debated issues that reached to the core of American political and social institutions – issues such as Separation of Powers,  Principles of Constitutional Interpretation, the Definition […]

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Indiana, RFRA, and the “Free Exercise of Religion”

Indiana, RFRA, and the “Free Exercise of Religion”

| April 14, 2015

The firestorm of controversy that erupted over Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) has renewed the question, centuries old in America, over what it means to “freely exercise religion” in daily life and particularly in commerce.  It is debated in the solemnity of courtrooms and in the anger of street demonstrations.  It moves the champions […]

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Minister’s Housing Allowance Survives Challenge

Minister’s Housing Allowance Survives Challenge

| November 18, 2014

In a big win for churches and other religious organizations, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has reversed a District Court decision which had declared the Minister’s Housing Allowance to be unconstitutional.  The decision (issued on November 13, 2014) preserves the annual $700 million tax break given to religious organizations and […]

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Hobby Lobby Decision: What It Means For Business and For Christians

Hobby Lobby Decision: What It Means For Business and For Christians

| July 7, 2014

On June 30, 2014 the Supreme Court issued its much anticipated decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. ruling in favor of Christians in business who have religious objections to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly known as “Obamacare”).  The five justices in the majority described their holding as “very specific” and […]

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Court Expands Rights of Churches to Build

Court Expands Rights of Churches to Build

| June 6, 2014

Churches have long faced challenges in zoning and local land use ordinances when looking to build.  Legal disputes have pitted the right of the Church to religious freedom against the right of the local community to regulate and/or restrict land use.  Now, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has issued a […]

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How to Use Christian Mediation to Resolve Legal Disputes

How to Use Christian Mediation to Resolve Legal Disputes

| May 5, 2014

The Scripture has a direct prohibition against Christians bringing a legal claim against another of the faith. Paul chides the Corinthians for “going to law before the unrighteous” with claims against other Christians. He says that the very filing of such a suit is “already an utter failure” and that it is better to accept […]

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Religious Freedom Before the Supreme Court: The Hobby Lobby Arguments

Religious Freedom Before the Supreme Court: The Hobby Lobby Arguments

| April 6, 2014

The most intensely debated field of law right now is the right of freedom of religion in the business community. The debates have been in the forefront of the news, as the Hobby Lobby case came before the United States Supreme Court. On March 25, 2014, the Supreme Court heard the case of Sebelius v. […]

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Privacy in America — Is This the New Normal?

Privacy in America — Is This the New Normal?

| March 13, 2014

Two cases decided in Federal District Courts have the potential to remake the law concerning the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches, and the right to personal privacy which is embedded in it. The two cases concern the same subject matter, were decided only days apart, and point in dramatically different directions; raising issues that […]

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