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Freedom of Religion Tag

In light of the Hobby Lobby decision, the Supreme Court today granted an injunction pending appealy in favor of Wheaton College, which did not want to comply with certain Obamacare paperwork on religious grounds:
The application for an injunction having been submitted to JUSTICE KAGAN and by her referred to the Court, the Court orders: If the applicant informs the Secretary of Health and Human Services in writing that it is a nonprofit organization that holds itself out as religious and has religious objections to providing coverage for contraceptive services, the respondents are enjoined from enforcing against the applicant the challenged provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and related regulations pending final disposition of appellate review. To meet the condition for injunction pending appeal, the applicant need not use the form prescribed by the Government, EBSA Form 700, and need not send copies to health insurance issuers or third-party administrators.
Note that this really is not substantive, it's a matter of paperwork, as AP explains:
A divided Supreme Court on Thursday allowed, at least for now, an evangelical college in Illinois that objects to paying for contraceptives in its health plan to avoid filling out a government document that the college says would violate its religious beliefs. The justices said that Wheaton College does not have to fill out the contested form while its case is on appeal but can instead write the Department of Health and Human Services declaring that it is a religious nonprofit organization and making its objection to emergency contraception. The college does provide coverage for other birth control. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor said they would have denied Wheaton's request and made the college fill out a form that enables their insurers or third-party administrators to take on the responsibility of paying for the birth control.
Yes, heads exploding:

The vitriol from the political left didn't take too long to manifest following the 5-4 Supreme Court decision this morning in the Hobby Lobby case. Many eyes were on the reaction of Sandra Fluke -- free contraception's PR maven - following the SCOTUS ruling.

Whether it's Trigger Warnings, disinviting campus speakers, or the Shut-Up Culture, the closing of the campus mind is a frequent topic here. Among many topics as to which the debate is closed on campus is anything related to LGBT issues. No deviation is allowed. Differ even as to constitutional or other legal analyses, and you will be attacked with the fury visited on non-academics such as Brendan Eich, and before him, the law firm of King & Spalding, Mormons, and Chick-fil-A, among others. And now a University of Virginia Professor is in the cross-hairs for arguing that an Arizona law proposed to accomodate religious objections to performing some types of services was a lawful extension of the existing federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. That caused LGBT students to target the professor and file a FOIA request for his emails, as detailed by UCLA Law Professor Stephen Bainbridge The Purge Arrives at the University of Virginia: PC Thugs versus Douglas Laycock (quoting in part from a local Virginia newspaper report).
Through the activist group Virginia Student Power Network, GetEQUAL found two UVA students willing to take up the cause of calling out Laycock: rising fourth-year Greg Lewis and now-alum Stephanie Montenegro. Last week, the pair sent an open letter to Laycock asking him to consider the “real-world consequences that [his] work is having.” They also submitted a Freedom of Information Act request seeking e-mails between Laycock and various right-wing and religious liberty groups. Lewis said they’re not trying to smear Laycock, and they’re not trying to undermine academic freedom. They just want a dialogue, he said.
Bullshit. You don't start a dialogue with FOIA requests. This is a blatant effort at deterring public participation by anyone who does not hew 100% to the most radical version of the gay rights movement.

We noted yesterday the Supreme Court's ruling in a case allowing for sectarian prayer at town council meetings. In a 5-4 decision, the court narrowly reversed a lower court ruling that prohibited the use of Christian-specific prayer on the grounds it "conveyed the message that [the town of] Greece was endorsing Christianity." Ultimately, the Supreme Court held legislative prayer in the context of an invocation prior to the conducting of regular legislative business did not violate the Establishment Clause of the first amendment. It did so by drawing on several cases form the past that essentially concluded the exact same thing, citing hundreds years of the existence of prayer in legislative bodies throughout the nation. More persuasive than this "tradition" argument, though possibly more constitutionally problematic in the long run, was the court's recognition of what would occur as a result of courts inquiring into the specific content of a prayer. [Emphasis Added]
To hold that invocations must be nonsectarian would force the legislatures that sponsor prayers and the court that are asked to decide these cases to act as supervisors and censors of religious speech, a rule that would involve government in religious matters to a far greater degree than is the case under the town’s current practice of neither editing or approving prayers in advance nor criticizing their content after the fact... Government may not mandate a civic religion that stifles any but the most generic reference to the sacred any more than it may prescribe a religious orthodoxy.
Because the plaintiffs in this case only wanted the Christian-specific aspect of the prayer removed from the town council, the above line of reasoning was invoked to buoy the more basic "tradition" argument also employed by the majority. But what about a constitutional challenge seeking a ban of prayer altogether? That would alleviate the need to inquire into the content of the prayer, thus freeing courts and governments from entangling themselves in the process of picking and choosing deities and faiths to pray to.
Outside the courts, people are already gravitating towards this method of religious restriction in the public sphere. As reported by the Daily Caller, one East Carolina University Professor recently instructed his students specifically not to mention God in their graduation ceremony speeches.
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