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Freedom of Religion Tag

There are at least two cases in which we may get rulings soon from the U.S. Supreme Court on issues of religious liberty in the age of lockdown. Both cases allege that religious groups are being treated more harshly than secular businesses and groups. This type of disparate treatment has been at issue in many lower court cases, but now cases from California and Illinois have emergency motions for injunctive relief submitted to the Supreme Court, with responses due May 28.

As I was making plans with my husband for Memorial Day weekend, my husband asked me how long it had been since I had gone to Mass. We had just started the season of Lent when the California's Governor Gavin Newsom mandated a coronavirus-caused lockdown of the state. Little did I realize how much I was giving up for Lent this year and that it would include Easter service.

We have followed several court cases involving bans on drive-in church services, including on in Louisville, Kentucky, and another in Greenville, Mississippi. We addressed likely litigation in the age of pandemic at our April 26, 2020, live event, Constitutional Rights in the Age of Government Overreach. To the extent there is a pattern emerging, it is that the state cannot bar religious services where CDC social distancing and related precautions are followed, if the state also allows drive-up and drive-through practices for secular institutions like fast food and liquor stores.

Some local and state governments have tried to ban religious services, including drive-in Easter services, even though conducted in accordance with CDC 'social distancing' guidelines. It's government power grabs for the sake of power grabs. We highlighted this past weekend how a federal judge barred Kentucky from such anti-religious action, Federal Court Prohibits Louisville Mayor from Banning Easter Sunday Drive-in Church Service:

Under the Obama regime, the VA underwent major restrictive changes in terms of religion and Christmas, with various VA's around the country instituting a range of bans.  Bibles, high school Christmas carolers, gifts in wrapping paper with the words "Merry Christmas" or "God Bless You," Christmas trees and decorations, and even Christmas cards for hospitalized veterans were all banned.  It was an appalling overreach that is now, at long last, being corrected under the Trump administration. Vice President Mike Pence has announced changes in VA rules, and religious items, including those related to Christmas, are again allowed in our nation's VA hospitals.

A few weeks ago, a viral article by Think Progress accused Chick-fil-A's foundation of actively supporting anti-LGBTQ organizations. The article was cited and reposted by news networks and individual blogs alike, and for the gazillionth time, calls to boycott the world's best chicken sandwich bounced around progressive spheres of the web.

The second attempt by the State of Colorado to punish Jack Phillips and his Masterpiece Cakeshop has come to an end, once again, with a victory for the baker. Round 1 was the baker's refusal to create a custom cake for a same-sex marriage, on the ground that it violated the baker's Christian faith to create a message celebrating same-sex marriage.
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