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Latest First Amendment News

Religious-liberty news from the First Amendment Center online.

Dueling bus ads about God advance free speech

By Charles C. Haynes It does God no favors when government takes sides in religion, allowing churches to advertise on buses while censoring atheist groups out of fear of offending people.

Dispute over building of mosque settled

Lawsuit dismissed as Maryland town reaches agreement with developer working with Muslim group.

Court says Ky. can't legislate dependence on God

Franklin Circuit judge says including references to reliance on 'Almighty God' in law that created Kentucky Office of Homeland Security is akin to establishing a religion.

Justice Ginsburg refuses to halt release of Conn. diocese documents

Lawyer for Bridgeport diocese says church officials are considering whether to ask all nine justices to rule on request.

N.M. education chief won't alter Pledge of Allegiance rule

Veronica García says amending regulation to say students can opt out of daily recitation could create mistaken impression that oath isn't important in state's classrooms.

ACLU challenges Ga. kosher law

Lawsuit, which group filed on behalf of Conservative Jewish rabbi, says state violates First Amendment by requiring that kosher food meet 'Orthodox Hebrew religious rules.'

Idaho charter school can't use Bible as text, panel says

Nampa Classical Academy had planned to use Scripture as part of secular education program, but state commission says Idaho Constitution 'expressly' limits use of religious texts.

Atheist bus ads spark free-speech debate in Iowa

Des Moines transit officials — who tore down, then re-posted group's 'Don’t believe in God?' signs — say they are revising their advertising policy in wake of dust-up.

Revising history: What happens in Texas won’t stay in Texas

By Charles C. Haynes As battle looms over influential state social studies curriculum, let's hope schools end up teaching about religion — neither ignoring nor promoting it.

Rastafarian NYC security workers don't have to hide dreadlocks

Grand Central Partnership settles federal lawsuit that accused it of forcing public safety officers to painfully tuck their long locks inside their uniform caps.

Wis. man convicted in prayer-death case

Jury finds Dale Neumann guilty of reckless homicide — same charge his wife was convicted on earlier — in daughter's 2008 death from undiagnosed diabetes.

Should schools ban teachers in religious garb?

By Charles C. Haynes New Oregon law accommodates those whose faiths require certain dress — except for public school teachers.

Full 10th Circuit won't rehear Okla. Ten Commandments ruling

Dissenting judges said June panel decision 'misconstrues — and in so doing multiplies the errors inherent in — the Supreme Court’s already-questionable "tests."'

IRS halts inquiry into Minn. church

Pastor, who was under investigation for preaching politics from pulpit, says he's disappointed because he'd rather fight it out in court.

Ex-coach says Mich. school district fired him over religion

Gerald Marszalek claims in lawsuit that his contract wasn't renewed in 2008 because of his Christian beliefs and his association with proselytizing former assistant coach.

Ore. faith-healing parents acquitted of manslaughter

But jury does convict husband, Carl Worthington, of criminal mistreatment in daughter's pneumonia death.

Religious schools can hire, fire teachers according to their missions

Wisconsin high court overturns lower-court rulings; dissenting justice says decision 'extends a free pass to religious schools to discriminate against their lay employees.'

In public schools, which holy days are holidays?

By Charles C. Haynes In considering whether to add Muslim holy days, New York City officials should only look at what’s best for school system — and for education of all students.

8th Circuit upholds injunction in Mo. Bible-distribution case

School district attorney says ruling, which permanently bars in-class Bible giveaways, allows officials to implement new policy allowing any group to hand out literature after school.

Plan to add 'In God We Trust' to Capitol visitor's center challenged

Freedom From Religion Foundation's lawsuit claims taxpayer-funded engravings of national motto, pledge would be unconstitutional endorsement of religion.