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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.

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BJC urges U.S. Supreme Court to continue distinct treatment of religion in the law

In January, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case that asks whether a Montana state provision that bars the government from funding religious institutions unconstitutionally discriminates against religion by denying funding to religious institutions that is available to secular institutions.
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Federal court invalidates new HHS rule offering conscience protections for health care providers

A new rule issued by the Trump administration, which grants broad conscience protections to medical institutions and personnel who object to providing certain medical services on religious or moral grounds, has been vacated by a federal judge in New York.
Execution of Buddhist inmate in Texas halted again over flaws in revised chaplain policy

Execution of Buddhist inmate in Texas halted again over flaws in revised chaplain policy

A federal judge again halted Patrick Murphy's execution, saying the new Texas chaplain policy still fails constitutional scrutiny because it treats inmates of minority faiths differently than those of other faiths
New HHS rule would allow child placement discrimination based on religion

New HHS rule would allow child placement discrimination based on religion

The Trump administration has proposed a new rule that would roll back protections for couples seeking to adopt or foster children.
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Kentucky Supreme Court dismisses organization’s T-shirt refusal lawsuit for lack of standing

The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that only individuals – and not organizations – are allowed to bring a suit for violations of Lexington's non-discrimination law but did not resolve the underlying issue of whether businesses that are open to the public can discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.
Thumbnail photo illustration of the US Supreme Court building

U.S. Supreme Court declines to review religious freedom challenge to public school unit on Islam

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to take up the case that ruled that a public school lesson plan in a world history class did not violate the Establishment Clause.
Thumbnail photo illustration of the statue of Justice with the balance scales

9th Circuit rejects bid to reinstate expansive religious exemption from contraceptive coverage mandate

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that requiring a religious organization to file a form opting out of the contraceptive coverage mandate does not amount to a “substantial burden” on religious exercise under RFRA.
Florida bill would require school districts to offer courses on religion, the Bible

Florida bill would require school districts to offer courses on religion, the Bible

The new bill in Florida (where school districts are already authorized to offer Bible-related classes) would go further that some other states by requiring school districts to offer electives on religion and on the Bible to high school students.
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