Churches in Court
American religious institutions have been at the center of many legal controversies in recent years. These and related lawsuits raise complex constitutional questions that have been troubling American courts for more than a century. Are legal disputes involving churches and other religious institutions constitutionally different from those involving their secular counterparts, and if so, how?
In the Courts: Voucher Battle Redux
A coming Supreme Court case on an Arizona law allowing funds donated to religious schools to be subtracted from state taxes owed by donors could severely limit future Establishment Clause challenges.
High Court Rules Against Campus Christian Group
A divided Supreme Court has ruled, 5-4, that a public law school can deny recognition to a student group that excludes gays and lesbians. In Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, the Court said the school could enforce a policy requiring official student organizations to accept all students who want to join.
Rights of Conscience vs. Civil Rights
New “conscience protection” cases have emerged in the health care area expanding the debate beyond abortion and birth control to discrimination protection for certain groups, notably gays and lesbians.
Supreme Court Rules on Religious Display
The court overturned a lower court ruling that had ordered the removal of a cross from a World War I memorial located in California’s Mojave National Preserve.
Christian Legal Society v. Martinez: Can Government Funds be Denied to Religious Groups on Campus?
Can a public institution refuse official recognition to a religiously-based organization that prevents those who do not share its religious and moral values from becoming voting members?
Sikh-Americans and Religious Liberty
With their religious beliefs requiring distinctive elements of dress and appearance — wearing a turban, keeping hair and beards uncut, carrying a kirpan — Sikhs have been a part of many legal disputes. In an interview, church-state scholar Robert W. Tuttle discusses religious liberty and accommodation issues involving Sikh-Americans.
Salazar v. Buono: Can Government Give One Religion’s Symbol Prominence in a Public Park?
The Supreme Court will soon take up a case with the potential to determine the fate of a cross on display in the Mojave National Preserve, as well as similar religious displays across the country. The court’s decision might also determine who may bring Establishment Clause lawsuits in federal court in the future.
Faith Healing on Trial
Two of government’s obligations — enforcing child welfare laws and protecting religious freedom — can clash when a parent chooses to rely on faith healing instead of standard medical care for a sick child. Robert W. Tuttle, a church-state scholar, explains.
The Establishment Clause and Government Funding of Faith-Based Organizations
Most legal scholars agree that the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution limits at least some government funding of religion, but they disagree sharply on exactly what is permissible.