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AU Files Legal Briefs In Two Cases Dealing With Religious Symbols

Americans United recently filed two legal briefs in cases challenging the display of religious symbols on government property:

In a Dec. 17 brief, Americans Uni­ted told the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that a Pennsylvania woman and her minor child should be permitted to sue the New Kensington-Arnold School District over a Ten Commandments display at a local high school. Read more

Pa. Amish Man Challenges Gun I.D. Requirement

A Lancaster County, Pa., Amish man has filed suit in federal court to challenge a state requirement that he present photo identification in order to purchase a handgun.

Andrew Hertzler’s suit names the federal government, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Cormey and officials at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) as plaintiffs. Read more

Paying For The Pope?: Pa. Government Seeks Taxpayer Funds For Costs Associated With Papal Visit

Pope Francis will visit the United States in September, with scheduled stops in Philadelphia, New York City and Washington, D.C. But as the date of his arrival draws nearer, it seems some localities are concerned about the costs associated with a papal visit – so they’re looking for a taxpayer bailout. Read more

First Amendment Folly: Court Says Pa. Ten Commandments Monument May Remain At Public School Because It Isn’t Offensive Enough

A federal judge recently ruled that it’s perfectly fine for a Ten Commandments monument to remain on government property because the people who complained about the display couldn’t prove that they were sufficiently offended by it. Read more

Judge Rules Pa. Muslim May Not Swear On Quran

A Pennsylvania judge forbade a Muslim woman from swearing on the Quran before taking the witness stand in a custody dispute. The ruling upholds a state law that requires witnesses to swear on the Christian Bible or make a non-religious affirmation before offering testimony.

The woman had argued that the state’s law violated her religious liberty rights and exhibited a preference for Christianity over Islam and other religions. Read more

Boot These Bigoted Bans: Movement Seeks To Remove Anti-Atheist Bias From State Constitutions

Eight states still have provisions in their constitutions that either bar atheists outright from holding public office or require people to believe certain things about God and religion before they can be elected.

These provisions can’t be enforced. They were declared invalid by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 1961 ruling in the case of Torcaso v. Watkins. Yet they linger on, a testament to the bigotry of bygone days. Read more

Backdoor Blasphemy: Pa. County Intends To Pursue Jesus Statue ‘Desecration’ Case

It seems a Pennsylvania county has its heart set on enforcing a backdoor blasphemy law thanks to a persistent and misguided district attorney.

Earlier this month, a story made the rounds on social media concerning a 14-year-old boy in Everett, Pa., who posted on Facebook a photo of himself simulating a sex act with a statue of Jesus. Read more

Suspicious Statute: Pa. Teen Faces Confinement Under Law Banning ‘Desecration’

A story has been making the rounds on social media concerning a 14-year-old boy in Everett, Pa., who posted on Facebook a photo of himself simulating a sex act with a statue of Jesus.

The teen, whose name has not been publicly released, stands accused of “desecration of a venerated object.” He is facing criminal charges and the possibility of two years in a juvenile facility. Read more

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