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Written by Don Byrd, these updates bring together the latest news impacting the conversation around religious freedom and the separation of church and state.

BJC-led coalition urges President Biden to protect sacred Oak Flat from devastating mining operations

BJC-led coalition urges President Biden to protect sacred Oak Flat from devastating mining operations

A letter signed by nearly 60 religious and religious freedom groups asks for more action from the administration to protect sacred land located in the Tonto National Forest known as Chí’chil Biłdagoteel (translated as “Oak Flat”).
Appeals court says all hostile workplace claims by ministers are barred by ministerial exception

Appeals court says all hostile workplace claims by ministers are barred by ministerial exception

The prohibition on discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act doesn’t just apply to hiring and firing; it also protects against “hostile” work environments. But, what if your work environment is a house of worship and you are a minister?
Ohio governor signs bill allowing medical workers and institutions with conscience-based objections to refuse to provide or refer health care services

Ohio governor signs bill allowing medical workers and institutions with conscience-based objections to refuse to provide or refer health care services

The Ohio law also allows any health care worker or institution with a conscience-based objection to refuse to refer such services to another provider.
U.S. Supreme Court to hear religious school tuition case, declines florist refusal dispute

U.S. Supreme Court to hear religious school tuition case, declines florist refusal dispute

At the end of its term, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a trio of orders impacting religious liberty cases: Carson v. Makin, Arlene’s Flowers, Inc. v. Washington, and Mast v. Fillmore County, Minnesota.
Texas legislature enacts sweeping law barring state and local government from restricting worship services during public emergency

Texas legislature enacts sweeping law barring state and local government from restricting worship services during public emergency

Some legislatures across the country are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic with bills that would make it more difficult for government officials to curtail in-person religious gatherings during a public health crisis.
SCOTUS rules Philadelphia cannot require Catholic Social Services to certify same-sex couples for foster placement under its contract, majority declines to issue broader ruling

SCOTUS rules Philadelphia cannot require Catholic Social Services to certify same-sex couples for foster placement under its contract, majority declines to issue broader ruling

A unanimous decision in a case on such a controversial topic was entirely unexpected, but Chief Justice John Roberts, who authored the opinion, focused the Court on a specific fact in Fulton v. Philadelphia.
BJC hosting Fierce Freedom, a free, online conversation on June 18

BJC hosting Fierce Freedom, a free, online conversation on June 18

Religious freedom and racial justice are inextricably bound together.
Ohio Senate passes bill to protect right of student athletes to wear religious clothing after student disqualified for racing with hijab

Ohio Senate passes bill to protect right of student athletes to wear religious clothing after student disqualified for racing with hijab

The Ohio state senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 181, banning individual schools and the state Athletic Association from restricting an athlete’s right to wear religious clothing during competition.
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