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Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer: A Serious Threat To Church-State Separation

Editor’s Note: On April 19, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer, which threatens to disturb the healthy distance between religion and government. Because of the importance of this lawsuit, we’re reposting a two-part blog by Carmen Green, a Madison fellow in AU’s Legal Department, explaining the case and its church-state separation implications.

Supreme Court Next Week To Consider Case With Major Church-State Separation Implications

Editor’s Note: A week from today on April 19, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer, which threatens to disturb the healthy distance between religion and government. Because of the importance of this lawsuit, we’re reposting a two-part blog by Carmen Green, a Madison fellow in AU’s Legal Department, explaining the case and its church-state separation implications.

Americans United Issues Statement On Senate Vote Confirming Gorsuch To Serve On Supreme Court

The U.S. Senate today voted 54-45 to confirm Neil Gorsuch for a seat on the Supreme Court.

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, issued the following statement:

“Neil Gorsuch has demonstrated that he does not respect the constitutional principle of the separation of church and state, which is the foundation of religious freedom in America. I am gravely concerned he’ll vote to erode that principle and put one of our nation’s most essential liberties at risk.”

Background

In A Suburban Chicago School Board Race, Transgender Rights Won

A suburban Chicago school board race this spring was seen as a referendum on transgender rights. According to Tuesday’s unofficial election results, transgender rights won.

Over a year ago, the school board for Township High School District 211 in the Palatine-Schaumburg area northwest of Chicago approved a settlement with the U.S. Department of Education to allow transgender students to use the restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity.

Ten Commandments Monument Removed From Pittsburgh-Area Public High School

I recently heard some interesting news from my hometown in suburban Pittsburgh: A Ten Commandments monument that was the subject of a federal court battle has been removed from the grounds of a public high school.

Should Religiously Affiliated Hospitals Be Allowed To Ignore A Federal Law That Protects Employee Pensions?

Today the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a trio of cases that will decide whether religiously affiliated hospital systems must comply with federal pension protections. The large health systems don’t want to; they argue they should get a narrow exemption to the law carved out for houses of worship. But these health systems, with nearly 100,000 employees, are not churches.

Gorsuch Confirmation Hearings Don’t Allay AU’s Concerns

Yesterday concluded the four-day Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings for President Donald J. Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch.

As we’ve written before, Gorsuch’s history as a federal appeals court judge indicates that he does not support true religious freedom. His performance during the hearings did nothing to allay our concerns.

New Poll Shows Majority Of Americans Oppose Discrimination In The Name Of Religion

The confirmation hearing for federal Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald J. Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, got under way yesterday, with some senators mentioning religious freedom during their opening remarks.

Gorsuch will start taking questions today, and the issue is likely to resurface again. It will be interesting to hear what Gorsuch has to say. In AU’s view, some of his opinions on religious freedom are troubling, and that’s why we’re opposed to his nomination.

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