Willow Creek church’s board also apologized to the women who accused founder Bill Hybels of harassment The leadership of a massive Chicago-area evangelical church is stepping down and has apologized to women who accused the megachurch’s founder of sexual harassment. The board of elders of the Willow Creek Community Church announced Wednesday they will all leave by year’s end. Continue reading…

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/aug/09/illinois-willow-creek-community-church-board-of-elders-step-down

Officials vow countermeasures and markets slump after tough measures unveiled over Salisbury attackRussian officials reacted with outrage and markets slumped on Thursday morning following the announcement of tough new US sanctions over Russia’s alleged use of a nerve agent in the Salisbury attack.President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the sanctions were “absolutely unlawful and don’t conform to international law”, as politicians vowed to respond with countermeasures, which could include bans on the exports of rockets or resources for manufacturing. Continue reading…

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/09/russia-blasts-new-us-sanctions-as-theatre-of-the-absurd

As sentencing approaches following a warehouse fire that killed 36, artists on the fringes struggle to find spaces to live and workArtists and musicians in Oakland faced a horrific task when they awoke on 3 December 2016: figuring out if their friends were dead or alive.The fire at the Ghost Ship warehouse party that killed 36 people led to an agonizing weekend of futile searches, crowdsourced spreadsheets of missing people, and a rapidly rising body count. It felt like rock bottom for some – until the eviction threats began days later. Continue reading…

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/aug/09/oakland-ghost-ship-fire-sentencing-evictions-deaths

Liberal groups are working to stop Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation – which could threaten to unravel abortion rightsTwo thousand Planned Parenthood organizers and volunteers, mostly female and young, gathered recently in Detroit to imagine what they see as a kinder, more peaceful America. But eighteen months and counting into the presidency of Donald Trump and with the threat of a conservative supreme court that could unravel abortion rights in the US, their mission was nothing short of political trench warfare. Continue reading…

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/09/pro-choice-groups-fight-against-trump-supreme-court-pick

In Trinity Christian School v. Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities,  (CT Sup. Ct., Aug. 7, 2018 [official release date]), the Connecticut Supreme Court held that the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not confer complete immunity to religious institutions for employment discrimination suits, and does not operate as a jurisdictional bar to such actions. Thus an interlocutory appeals of an administrative agency’s refusal to dismiss a suit is not permitted.

Source: http://religionclause.blogspot.com/2018/08/connecticut-rfra-does-not-immunize.html

Recent Articles of Interest

From SSRN:Engy Abdelkader, Muslims and Islam in U.S. Public Schools: Cases, Controversies and Curricula, (Education, Citizenship, National Identity and Core Values In Western Societies, Brill Publishers (2019 Forthcoming)).Cary Franklin, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt and What It Means to Protect Women, (Forthcoming, Reproductive Rights and Justice Stories (Foundation Press, 2019)).Gal Amir, 1648 or 1948? No Room for Westphalia in the Middle-East, (9 Journal on European History of Law no. 1, 99-107 (2018)).Kenneth Townsend, A Common Enterprise: Law and the Connection between Civil and Heavenly Realms in the Writings of John Calvin, (Concordia Law Review, Forthcoming).Douglas NeJaime

In Brown v. Brown, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126580 (SD MS, July 30, 2018), a Mississippi federal district court adopted in part a magistrate’s recommendations (2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126903, June 11, 2018) and dismissed Bivens claims and certain other claims by a federal prisoner who claimed religious discrimination while employed at the prison, but allowed plaintiff to move ahead with his 5th Amendment equal protection claim.In Neal v. Miyares, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126993 (SD FL, July 26, 2018), a Florida federal magistrate judge recommended denying an inmate’s request for an injunciton orderng that he receive fresh kosher meals.In West v. Kind, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127452 (ED WI, July 31, 2018), a Wisconsin federal district court allowed a Muslim inmate to move ahead with his complaint that his religious beliefs were infringed by allowing him to be strip searched by a transgender male who he regards as a female.In Hardrick v. MacLaren, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126697 (WD MI, July 30, 2018), a Michigan federal district court adopted a magistrate’s recommendation (2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127932, June 18, 2018) and refused to grant summary judgment to either party in an Muslim inmate’s suit complaining that defendant blocked accommodating his late request for inclusion in Ramadan meals.In Hallom v. Bowens, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128224 (ND IL, July 31, 2018), an Illinois federal district court dismissed plaintiff’s complaint that a Cook County jail employee refused to accommodate his request to attend group Baptist religious services while he was in protective custody.In Lambright v. Indiana Department of Corrections, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128577 (ND IN, July 31, 2018), an Indiana federal district court allowed a Jewish inmate to move ahead to seek an injunction requiring that he be provided with kosher meals.In Shaw v. Kaemingk, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129520 (D SD, Aug. 2, 2018), a South Dakota federal district court dismissed a complaint by an inmate who is a follower of Dorcha Cosán that his religious rights were infringed because he was unable, due to his indigency, to access Internet service to receive books, music and games.In Hall v. WV DOC, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129907 (SD WV, July 13, 2018), a West Virginia federal magistrate judge recommended dismissing an inmate’s complaint that the chaplain refused to acknowledge his Zoroastrian religion.

Source: http://religionclause.blogspot.com/2018/08/recent-prisoner-free-exercise-cases.html

According to yesterday’s News-Gazette, a Champaign, Illinois state trial court has dismissed on ecclesiastical abstention grounds a lawsuit by a former church deacon of the Jericho Missionary Baptist Church.  As described in the news report:Formerly the chairman of the deacon board that hired Johnson as pastor in 2009, Halcrombe was seeking to fire Johnson some five years later after he and other former church leaders took another look at Johnson’s credentials.Johnson continues to be pastor of the church, but Halcrombe was dismissed as a deacon and removed from his post as registered agent of the church.Halcrombe’s lawsuit set out the details of what became a several-years-long conflict within the church over leadership, membership and money issues, and it sought a judgment to clarify who current church members are, the constitution and bylaws of the church and the authority and employment of Johnson.

Source: http://religionclause.blogspot.com/2018/08/deacons-suit-dismissed-on.html

A suit was filed yesterday in an Ohio federal district court by abortion protesters who claim that Toledo, Ohio police have violated their free speech, free exercise and equal protection rights by enforcing or threatening to enforce various provision of Ohio law against them.  The complaint (full text) in Zastrow v. City of Toledo, (ND OH, filed 8/1/2018), contends in part:The City’s pattern of conduct, which includes arresting, citing, prosecuting and threatening to arrest, cite, and prosecute, pro-life demonstrators, including Plaintiffs, for engaging in expressive religious activity on the public fora adjacent to the Capital Care abortion center, has had, and continues to have, a chilling effect on Plaintiffs’ expressive religious activity, thereby causing irreparable harm.Courthouse News Service reports on the lawsuit.

Source: http://religionclause.blogspot.com/2018/08/abortion-protesters-sue-city-for.html