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Image: European Court of Human Rights rejects Hungary’s attempt to create ”second-class churches”

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European Court of Human Rights rejects Hungary’s attempt to create ”second-class churches”

April 8, 2014

By Eric Rassbach, Deputy General Counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

In an important freedom of religion decision, earlier today the European Court of Human Rights rejected parts of Hungary’s 2011 Church Act that stripped most Hungarian religious groups–including prominent religious groups such as Mennonites, Evangelicals, Reform Jews, and Buddhists–of “church” status that they had held for many years after the fall of Communism.

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Image: Hobby Lobby has a conscience, too

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Hobby Lobby has a conscience, too

March 14, 2014

By Daniel Blomberg, Legal Counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

This is almost getting old: at the same time that the federal government is arguing that family-owned business can’t have a conscience, it is lauding big businesses for exercising their conscience in a way that the government likes.

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Image: Democratic Congressman and Supporter of ACA Speaks Out Against HHS Mandate

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Democratic Congressman and Supporter of ACA Speaks Out Against HHS Mandate

March 12, 2014

On Tuesday, USA Today published an opinion editorial by former Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak, who proudly supports the Affordable Care Act, but exhorts his colleagues to protect the conscience of Americans like the Green family of Hobby Lobby from the controversial Health and Human Services Mandate.

Americans should never “be required to pay for abortions or violate their conscience by participating in or promoting a procedure they find morally objectionable, ” says Stupak.

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Image: Dalai Lama leads prayer in Senate – What about Town of Greece?

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Dalai Lama leads prayer in Senate – What about Town of Greece?

March 6, 2014

By Becket Staff

In an historic first, the Dalai Lama gave the opening prayer in the U.S. Senate today. Prayers like these have been taking place in our nation’s legislatures for over 200 years. They showcase our nation’s religious diversity, highlight the fact that religion is a fundamental aspect of human culture, and reinforce the founding idea that our rights come from the Creator—not the legislature.

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Image: Church attacked for ministering to the homeless

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Church attacked for ministering to the homeless

March 4, 2014

By Eric Rassbach, Deputy General Counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

In a shocking attack before this past Sunday’s worship services, Harbor Community Church in Ventura, California had a rock thrown through its church sign and a banner stating “Thou Shalt Not Steal Our Neighborhood” stuck to the sign. Police are investigating.

The church has come under attack from neighbors for running a ministry to the homeless called “Operation Embrace” that provides food, showers, clothing, employee assistance, and religious worship to the needy. The church is seeking a renewed permit to operate its ministry, and is represented in that effort by the Stanford Law School Religious Liberty Clinic headed up by Jim Sonne.

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Image: The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, 67 Catholic Theologians, Lutherans, Southern Baptists, and the National Association of Evangelicals File Briefs Supporting the Little Sisters of the Poor

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The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, 67 Catholic Theologians, Lutherans, Southern Baptists, and the National Association of Evangelicals File Briefs Supporting the Little Sisters of the Poor

March 3, 2014

By Adèle Keim, Legal Counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

On New Years’ Eve, Justice Sonia Sotomayor intervened to protect the Little Sisters of the Poor from crushing penalties that were scheduled to begin at midnight—an order that was confirmed and expanded by the entire Supreme Court on January 24. As a result, the Little Sisters are protected from complying with the Mandate (including the government’s so-called “accommodation”) while their appeal is being considered by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. Yesterday, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, 67 Catholic theologians, and a wide-ranging group of Protestant organizations—including the National Association of Evangelicals, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod—filed briefs to tell the Tenth Circuit why the Little Sisters deserve more lasting relief.

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Image: A good read on religious law in American courts

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A good read on religious law in American courts

February 20, 2014

By Eric Rassbach, Deputy General Counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

This week Prof. Eugene Volokh of UCLA Law School is serializing his recently published article in the Oklahoma Law Review regarding the use and application of religious law – especially Islamic law – in American courts.  Prof. Volokh points out as the Becket Fund did a few years ago that American courts have long enforced religious contracts or the judgments of religious tribunals, as long as they are treated on the same basis as other “foreign” contracts or tribunals. Prof. Volokh does a great job of explaining why “creeping sharia” is a wrong-headed way to view this longstanding American practice – the series is well worth a read for anyone interested in this issue.

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