The full 15-member 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled that a Michigan county’s policy of having its county commissioners open their meetings by delivering exclusively Christian prayers was constitutional, reversing the earlier decision of a three-judge panel.
When social justice activist Mariya Taher was 7 years old, she was subjected to female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) in India while visiting family.
“My memory is kind of hazy… I just remember going into the room, and then I was on the ground and something cut me, and I don’t remember what it was. I just remember it was something sharp and then I started crying,” Taher told Church & State. “I remember my mom comforting me, and it was over, and the older women tried to comfort me, too, and they gave me a soda.”
It will be a busy week for Americans United attorneys as they crisscross the country to stand up for religious freedom before federal appeals courts in two distinct cases.
Today, AU Legal Fellow Andrew Nellis will be in Seattle to tell the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals why it was unconstitutional for a high school football coach in Washington State to pray with students on the football field at the end of football games.
Americans United was joined by an array of allies in urging a federal appeals court to rule that a Michigan funeral home violated a transgender employee’s civil rights when it fired her for wearing women’s clothing in accordance with her gender identity.
Americans United in late March filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a legislative prayer case in Michigan.
AU is supporting the case of Peter Bormuth, a Druid who opposes the policy of Jackson County Commissioners to open their meetings with exclusively Christian prayers.
Aimee Stephens worked for six years at a Detroit funeral home. Then, she came out as transgender and announced that she would begin to live publicly as a woman, which would include dressing consistent with her gender identity.
Two weeks later, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes fired her. Why? The funeral-home owner said Aimee’s behavior contradicted his religious beliefs.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State was joined by 76 faith leaders and 13 religious and civil-rights organizations in urging a federal appeals court to rule that a Michigan funeral home had violated a transgender employee’s civil rights when it fired her for wearing women’s clothing in accordance with her gender identity.
After Americans United published a blog post about a fringe far-right Catholic TV network in Michigan that wants to tear down the wall between church and state, the group, Church Militant, went on the attack.
AU Director of Communications Rob Boston on Feb. 24 wrote on AU’s “Wall of Separation” blog about Church Militant and its leader, Michael Voris, who has talked of establishing a “Catholic monarch” and state religion.
A federal appeals court today ruled that county commissioners in Jackson County, Mich., may not open their meetings by personally delivering prayers that are exclusively Christian in nature.
The case, Bormuth v. County of Jackson, was brought by a local resident who is a Druid and who opposed the prayer policy. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 in Peter Bormuth’s favor.
Americans United says the court made the right call.
A Michigan appeals court has affirmed the city of Grand Haven’s right to remove a giant cross that once was displayed on city property.
Grand Haven Council in 2015 ended its policy of displaying the 48-foot-tall cross after Americans United filed a complaint objecting to displays of the cross for religious services and other occasions, as well as a display of a nativity scene in December.