In June 2011, the City of South Bend approved a plan to purchase a piece of land for $1.2 million and donate it to a Catholic school (St. Joseph's High School) to use for a football stadium and other athletic facilities. The religious school was handpicked by the City to receive the land, and the City permitted the school to use the land for religious purposes, including prayers at athletic events. Read more
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Since 2010, we have been monitoring Kentucky’s involvement with Ark Encounter, a proposed theme park that will feature a 510-foot replica of Noah’s Ark.
The City of Warren, Michigan, holds the atrium in its city hall open to public use. A local church takes advantage of this policy to maintain a “prayer station” in the atrium staffed by volunteers.
Douglas Marshall, a resident of Warren who self-identifies as an atheist, attempted to express his own beliefs in a comparable manner by applying to set up a “reason station,” where he intended to distribute literature and engage in discussion with willing passersby.
Alabama banned same-sex couples from getting married. Several same-sex couples challenged Alabama’s marriage bans in federal court; in January 2015, the federal trial court ruled that Alabama's marriage ban is unconstitutional and forbade the state's attorney general from enforcing the ban.
Under normal circumstances, this would have sufficed to bring marriage equality to the state.
In 2006, the Florida Supreme Court struck down a Florida school-voucher program because it violated the state constitution. While that case was still working its way through the courts, the state legislature enacted a second program designed to accomplish the same ends through tax credits.
As part of the Affordable Care Act's implementing regulations, group health plans are required to include coverage for various forms of preventative care, including all FDA-approved methods of contraception. Houses of worship are exempt from these requirements, and the Department of Health and Human Services later created a broader accommodation for certain nonprofit organizations.
New Jersey resident Shannon Morgan, an atheist, attempted to register for an “8THEIST” vanity license plate on the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission’s website.
In 2004, the City of King constructed a veterans’ memorial on public land in Central Park. The memorial included the Christian flag—which features a white field with a red cross inside a blue canton. The City later added a statue of a soldier kneeling before a Latin cross, and also holds annual memorial ceremonies featuring Christian prayers and other religious content.
In 2010, the City temporarily removed the Christian flag from the Veterans Memorial.
In June 2012, the New Hampshire legislature enacted legislation allowing businesses to receive tax credits for donations to “scholarship organizations.” The scholarship organizations, in turn, would use the funds to award scholarships to elementary- and secondary-school students, including those attending religious schools. Religious schools would be free to use program funds for any purpose, including religious indoctrination and proselytization.
In April 2013, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s administration released a list of 176 college construction projects that it plans to fund through a $750 million voter-approved bond issue. Among the universities scheduled to receive money from the state are two theological institutions, Beth Medrash Govoha and Princeton Theological Seminary.