Blog Posts: Freedom of Religion

Senate Bill 2 and the Establishment Clause

“This is a sad day for North Carolina that history will not judge kindly,” Sarah Preston, the acting executive director of the  ACLU of North Carolina  said in a  statement released on June 11, 2015 . That was the day the North Carolina House of Representatives (the “House”) voted to override Governor Pat McCrory’s veto of Senate Bill 2 (“S.B. 2”), officially making the bill law. The  new law  permits certain government officials to recuse themselves from performing marriage ceremonies based on their religious beliefs.
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No Comments | Posted by Hillary Li on Mon. March 7, 2016 9:21 PM
Categories: Freedom of Religion

ACA’s Contraception Mandate Likely Headed to the Supreme Court

In 2010 Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA was passed in order to increase overall heath care access and preventative health care services to millions of Americans. One such preventive health care requirement is that all private employer and group sponsored health insurance plans must include all FDA approved contraception at no cost to the employee or individual.

While the ACA provides for a religious employer exception, religious for-profit employers are not exempted and must provide birth control coverage for their employees. Religious leaders and private business owners argue that the definition of a “religious employer” is too narrow and therefore limits their free exercise of religion.


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No Comments | Posted by Melanie A. Stratton Lopez on Sun. April 7, 2013 8:29 AM
Categories: Freedom of Religion

The Push for Prayer in Public Schools

After decades of removing religious influences from the public school forum, the United States has seen a surging political movement in several state legislatures attempting to bring prayer back onto school grounds. Since the landmark Supreme Court decision in Engel v. Vitale in 1962 declaring school-sponsored religious activities such as prayer unconstitutional until the Court’s more recent decision in 2000 in Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, it seemed as if religious influence was being definitively pushed out of school activities.


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No Comments | Posted by Amanda R. Witzke (Mandy) on Sun. March 17, 2013 9:17 AM
Categories: Freedom of Religion

Christian Cheerleaders & Religious Speech

“If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31” and “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me! Phil 4:13” are a few examples of the banners cheerleaders displayed at Kountze High School in East Texas. For three weeks, football players ran through the large banners containing quotes from the Bible while entering the field. While the student cheerleaders believed this was just a way to exercise their freedom of speech, an unknown person complained to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, who in turn communicated with the school superintendent. Banners were subsequently prohibited at games. The mother of one of the cheerleaders, along with fourteen other parents, brought suit to challenge the school district’s decision to bar the cheerleaders’ signs. She claims that everyone at the small town high school agrees with the statements on the banners and for that reason they should not be a problem.


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No Comments | Posted by Anna Jordan Cobb (Jordan) on Sun. October 28, 2012 8:17 AM
Categories: Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech

North Carolina Gets Religion and Uses Speech to Lower Crime

The Ohio court of appeals (PDF) recently held that a trial judge did not violate the First Amendment rights of a juvenile offender when he ordered the young man to write a 1,000-word essay on why racism is wrong. According to the First Amendment Center, the case dealt with a racially charged fight that began when one high school student started hurling racial slurs at another. The court rejected the First Amendment argument that compelling the juvenile offender to write an essay about racism amounted to “thought control,” infringing on his constitutional rights.

North Carolina has taken the issue of “compelled speech,” as a way to reduce criminal activity, to a whole new level. In Raleigh, North Carolina law enforcement agencies joined together to combat gang violence and drug crime, replicating a highly successful strategy first launched in High Point, North Carolina. The initiative, now called Project Safe Neighborhoods, sought to increase communication between police, community, and gang members as a method to reduce violence.


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No Comments | Posted by Benjamin K. Kleinman on Sun. October 14, 2012 7:38 AM
Categories: Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech

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