Major Church-State Decision: Trinity Lutheran v. Comer

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the state of Missouri cannot deny public funds to a church simply because it is a religious organization.


Seven justices affirmed the judgment in Trinity Lutheran v. Comer, albeit with some disagreement about the reasoning behind it. The major church-state case could potentially expand the legal understanding of the free-exercise clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It is also the first time the Supreme Court has ruled that governments must provide money directly to a house of worship, which could have implications for future policy fights—including funding for private, religious charter schools.  

Read more:  https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/06/trinity-lutheran/531399/

Ga. Supreme Court Rules for Tax Credit Scholarships

Georgia’s highest court has determined that a state law allowing taxpayers to steer some of what they owe the state to private schools instead does not violate the state constitution.

The unanimous ruling Monday by the Georgia Supreme Court strikes a blow against...taxpayers that the state law establishing tax credit student scholarships is unconstitutional.

The opinion says taxpayers have no standing to sue because tax credits do not equal tax revenue: “Because each of the constitutional provisions relied upon by plaintiffs involve the expenditure of public funds, and the statutes that establish the program demonstrate that no public funds are used in the program, plaintiffs lack standing as taxpayers to assert these claims,” the opinion says. “Plaintiffs’ complaint fails to show that they, or any taxpayers for that matter, are harmed by this program.”

Read more:  http://www.ajc.com/news/state--regional-education/georgia-supreme-court-rules-for-tax-credit-scholarships/UXK0nj7BwjBjfOhXQVWZGL/

AJC: Ga. Teacher 'Corrected' After Questioning President's Religion in Classroom

"The teacher allegedly stated that President Barack Obama is not a Christian and that any parent who supports Obama is not a Christian, either.

...in a parent-teacher conference soon after the comments were made, the teacher "presented to the parents a packet of several pages from a website that expressed her views on religion and politics" instead of adequately addressing their concerns."

Read more at:  http://www.ajc.com/news/news/georgia-school-corrects-teacher-after-she-brings-p/nkmS5/?ecmp=ajc_social_facebook_2014_sfp

UPDATE:  NAACP calls for teacher's resignation.  Read more at:  http://www.ajc.com/news/news/ncaap-dublin-school-nancy-perry-bill-obama-comment/nksz7/?hc_location=ufi

UPDATE 2:  Teacher removed from classroom:  http://politics.blog.ajc.com/2015/04/28/middle-school-teacher-who-questioned-obamas-religion-yanked-from-dublin-classroom/?ecmp=ajc_social_facebook_2014_politics_sfp

Christian Flag Should Not Fly at Georgia City Hall and County Courthouse, Americans United Says

UPDATED:  City of Cochran will cease display of flag.  Click here for more information.

Georgia officials must refrain from displaying the Christian flag at city and county buildings, Americans United for Separation of Church and State says.

In letters sent today to officials in both the city of Cochran and Bleckley County, Americans United explains that flying the Christian flag on public property violates the First Amendment.
                                                                                                           
“When government buildings fly a Christian flag, especially with the intention of promoting Bible reading, it sends a crystal clear message that one religion is favored above all others,” said The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Executive Director of Americans United. “This is among the most blatant violations of the Constitution that I have seen.”

Read more at:  https://au.org/media/press-releases/christian-flag-should-not-fly-at-georgia-city-hall-and-county-courthouse

The Guardian: RFRA-How a Legislative 'Miracle' Got Discriminatory

"When the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed into law by former president Bill Clinton on 16 November 1993, it did so with rare bipartisan support...

Critics say that the RFRA gives businesses and other groups defined as persons under the law a way to discriminate against LGBT people, who are not a protected class in the state.

So, how did a law that brought diverse religious groups and divided political parties together in 1993 become a polarizing issue 22 years later?"

Read more:  http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/apr/02/religious-freedom-restoration-history