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Catholic Hospital Is Not Entitled To Ignore Rules Protecting Worker Retirement Savings, Says Americans United

Broad Exemption From Federal Law Would Harm Employees, Church-State Watchdog Asserts In Legal Brief

A New Jersey-based Catholic health care system that underfunds its pension plan should not be allowed to exempt itself from employee-benefits protections by labeling its benefits package as a “church plan,” Americans United for Separation of Church and State and allies say. Read more

Federal Court Approves Settlement Requiring Mich. City To Give Atheists Equal Access To City Hall

In a victory for religious freedom, a federal judge today approved a settlement requiring the city of Warren, Mich., to allow an atheist to set up a “reason station” inside city hall after Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the ACLU and the Freedom From Religion Foundation sued in response to city officials’ efforts to allow only a “prayer station” to operate inside the public building.  Read more

Americans United Welcomes Okla. School District’s Decision To Drop Biased Bible Curriculum

Church-State Watchdog Group Had Warned That Planned Elective Class Backed By Hobby Lobby Owner Violates U.S. Constitution

An Oklahoma school district has decided not to implement a Bible curriculum designed by Steve Green, owner of the Hobby Lobby chain of craft stores, that critics said was biased in favor of fundamentalist Christianity.

Earlier this year, Americans United warned Mustang Public Schools officials that the curriculum was problematic and its use in schools might spark litigation.

Okla. Court Allows Ten Commandments To Remain

A controversial Ten Commandments display may stand at the Oklahoma State Capitol, a state judge has ruled.

District Judge Thomas Prince found that because the monument is privately funded, its display does not violate the First Amendment. Prince also stated that the monument serves a primarily secular purpose. Read more

Settlement Reached In Mass. Teacher Satire Controversy

A Massachusetts educator has reached a settlement with the town of Sandwich over allegations that the school district illegally fired him for creating a satirical video about religion.

Jonathan Hurley lost an open-ended substitute teaching role last December after school administrators discovered the video, titled “That Doesn’t Make Sense,” which gently poked fun at some of the doctrines of Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Scientology. Officials also blacklisted Hurley from other teaching positions and noted in his personnel file that he had been fired specifically for the video. Read more

An Appeal To Reason

Four days a week in Warren, Mich., volunteers pray with local residents. But the prayers aren’t happening at a church. Instead, they’re taking place in city hall, at a “prayer station” established for exactly this purpose.

Originally created by members of the Tabernacle Church, a local Pentecostal denomination, Warren’s “prayer station” endured with little controversy for years. In 2009, volunteers explained their mission to the Los Angeles Times. Read more

New Hampshire Supreme Court Sidesteps Challenge To Tax-Credit Aid To Religious Schools

Civil Liberties Organizations Criticize Ruling Dismissing Lawsuit Against ‘Neo-Voucher’ Program On Technical Grounds

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Union criticized today’s decision by the New Hampshire Supreme Court dismissing a challenge to a tuition tax-credit program on technical grounds.

The state high court dismissed the case, holding that the plaintiffs lack “standing” – the right to sue –despite the fact that the Attorney General’s Office had agreed that one of the plaintiffs had standing to challenge the tax-credit program. Read more

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