Alabama Ignores Feds? • Canadian Credentials • Fighting Nuns: News Roundup
This week's news headlines that affect churches
Alabama Ignores Feds? • Canadian Credentials • Fighting Nuns: News Roundup

Alabama Ignores Feds?

Alabama Chief Justice: Federal Courts Don't Hold Sway on Marriage

Alabama's Chief Justice Roy Moore (of Ten Commandments monument fame) wrote an open letter to his state's governor urging him not to hold that federal courts can decide for states the legality of same-sex marriage, according to NPR.

"In one portion of his letter to the governor, Moore writes, 'As you know, nothing in the United States Constitution grants the federal government the authority to redefine the institution of marriage,' noting that Alabama's Constitution defines marriage as being a covenant 'between a man and a woman.'"

Canadian Credentials

Canadian Justice: You Can't Block Lawyers Over Their Alma Mater Banning Gay Sex

Trinity Western University in Canada is starting the country's first Christian law school, according to Christianity Today. The Nova Scotia Barristers' Society (NSBS) was willing to recognize graduates of the program but only if the school got rid of its prohibition on sexual intimacy outside of the context of a marriage between a woman and a man. The justice who decided the case said that the NSBS was violating Trinity Western University's religious freedom, and the university couldn't be happier.

"This decision is important not only to [Trinity Western University's] effort to launch a School of Law but also, we believe it sets an extremely valuable precedent in protection of freedoms for all religious communities and people of faith in Canada."

Fighting Nuns

Nun's Network Fights for Religious Freedom from H.H.S. Mandate

The Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) is a U.S. Catholic television network founded by nuns. The company has challenged their required compliance with the Health and Human Services mandate on contraception coverage, and their case will finally be heard on February 4, 2015. The outcome could set a precedent for other businesses with similar objections.

"The Becket Fund represents EWTN, which is being forced to either violate its faith or pay millions in IRS fines. ... EWTN must fight for the right to remain faithful to the very religious message it advances."

Capitol Coercion

Mayor of D.C. Signs Bill Curbing Religious Freedom of Private Schools

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser has signed two bills introduced in the last year that would curb private schools' previous religious freedoms, according to the Cardinal Newman Society. Religious schools in the area are worried that the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act and the Human Rights Amendment Act would force religious schools to compromise on their religious beliefs. The first could require religious schools to cover objectionable medical procedures such as abortion. The second could force the schools to recognize LGBT student groups.

"Congress still has the ability to state its objection to the bills and protect the rights of D.C. residents. This action would then require both the House and Senate to pass a resolution, as well as the President's signature, in order to overturn the new D.C. laws."

DUI Means Goodbye

Episcopal Diocese Asks Bishop to Resign After Arrest for Fatal DUI

The 58-year-old Bishop Suffragan for the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, Heather Cook, has been formally asked by the diocesan leadership to step down from her position, according to the Christian Post. Cook was arrested in December 2014 for driving while intoxicated and fatally hitting Tom Palermo, 41, a father of two. The resignation request to Cook from the diocese stated:

At our meeting on January 22, 2015, we, the members of the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, agreed unanimously that you are no longer able to function effectively in the position of Bishop Suffragan given recent events. Therefore, we respectfully call for your immediate resignation from the position of Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Maryland.

Twin Cities Asset Transfer

Twin Cities Archdiocese Transfer of Assets May Protect It from Bankruptcy Creditors

The Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis filed for bankruptcy last month, according to the Star Tribune. Creditors may have a difficult time, however, acquiring assets that the church has transferred to nonprofits over the last few decades. Is that a good thing?

"The nonprofits were created for various reasons, but they carry the potential benefit of protecting the church's assets from liability linked to clergy abuse suits. The moves are seen as prudent by some church finance leaders, but by others as maneuvers to transfer money to where victims and their lawyers will have a harder time reaching it."

We're always happy to bring you the news. For regular updates, follow us on Twitter @ChurchLawAndTax or on Facebook.

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is published with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations."

Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.


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