Churches

News & Analysis as of

Illinois Federal Court Dismisses Some, But Not All, RLUIPA Claims

A federal court in Illinois, in Church of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ v. City of Markham, Illinois (N.D. Ill. 2015), dismissed some of the Church’s religious land use claims while allowing others to proceed. The case is...more

“Opt Out” Accommodation Under Affordable Care Act Validated After Challenge from Religious Objectors

In what continues to be a controversial and developing area of employment law, a federal appellate court recently validated the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) “opt out” provision, finding that requiring nonprofit employers to...more

Phoenix, Arizona Wins Religious Land Use Suit

A Phoenix federal court recently issued a decision that may be of interest to local governments for two reasons. First, the case, Salman v. City of Phoenix (D. AZ 2015), is notable for its finding that RLUIPA claims cannot...more

RLUIPA Round-Up

Religion Clause Blog reports that Indiana’s First Church of Cannabis is using the state’s recently enacted religious freedom law to protect its founder and two members from prosecution for possession of marijuana. The Church...more

The Newest Sign for Some Sign Ordinances: Stop

Sign ordinances and regulations are a fixture of city and county zoning and land use regulations, designed to prevent unattractive clutter from obstructing the public view. In creating these regulations, however, local...more

Supreme Court Decides Two First Amendment Cases

Two recent Supreme Court decisions provide timely guidance on the First Amendment implications of publicly displaying the Confederate Flag or other symbols or signage related to protected beliefs. First, in Walker v. Sons of...more

Arizona Town's Content-Based Sign Rules Struck Down by U.S. Supreme Court

Local agencies urged to review sign codes in favor of content-neutral rules - The United States Supreme Court recently struck down portions of an Arizona town’s sign code that subjected ideological, political and...more

RLUIPA Round Up – Independence Day Special Edition!

Independence Day—no better time to reflect on the numerous (enumerated and unenumerated) rights protected by our United States Constitution. Thanks to Obergefell v. Hodges, those rights are now more clearly focused. However,...more

RLUIPA Suit Looms After Controversial Connecticut Church Denial

The Danbury Zoning Board of Appeals denied a church’s application for variances to develop an 18-acre parcel with a house of worship and priest residence. Now, Danbury could join the list of Connecticut municipalities that...more

Guest Commentary: Life after Reed v Gilbert

Last week, we reported on the potential impact of Reed v. Gilbert, the sign regulation case that has municipalities across the nation concerned about the enforceability of local sign ordinances. This week, we’re happy to...more

RLUIPA Round-Up

Coral Springs, Florida may allow Satanist Chaz Stevens to begin a City Commission meeting with an invocation honoring Satan in September or October. However, Mayor Skip Campbell will first meet with commission members to...more

Government & Regulatory Law Update June 2015: United States Supreme Court Strikes Down Local Sign Ordinance: Content-Based...

Decades of case law demonstrates that differentiating based on content when regulating speech is an almost certain death knell. The line between content-based and content-neutral regulations, however, has often been hazy,...more

Signs Signs, Everywhere a Sign: U.S. Supreme Court Decides Reed v. Town of Gilbert

The Supreme Court of the United States handed down today an important First Amendment case concerning governments’ ability to regulate commonly displayed informational signs.  In Reed v. Town of Gilbert,...more

Reed v. Gilbert: Impact to municipalities across the nation

Although the case is outside the RLUIPA realm or even specific to religious-based speech, the Supreme Court’s decision last week in Reed v. Gilbert will undoubtedly impact RLUIPA Defense readers. We previously reported on the...more

Supreme Court Decides Reed v. Town of Gilbert

On June 18, 2015, the United States Supreme Court decided Reed v. Town of Gilbert, No. 13-502, holding that a municipal code subjecting signs to different regulations depending on whether the sign displayed an ideological...more

Court Order Cuts Attorneys’ Fees in Jacksonville Beach Case

Earlier this year, we reported that the dispute between Jacksonville Beach, Florida and the Church of Our Savior continued to boil in mediation, with attorneys’ fees nearing $700K. After finding that Jacksonville violated...more

RLUIPA Round-Up

We bring you more interesting news from the world of land use, religion and government: The Chicago Tribune reports that the Village of La Grange, Illinois Planning Commission is considering a proposed zoning code...more

RLUIPA Round-Up

This week, RLUIPA Defense continues its effort to aggregate important new stories reflecting the intersection of religion, land use and local government. Indiana’s First Church of Cannabis in Indianapolis – Indiana’s...more

Thou Shalt Not Sue: The Ecclesiastical Abstention Doctrine in Tennessee

Like most commercial litigators, I do not often find myself dealing with questions of religion or divine providence during work hours. However, that is exactly where I found myself last Easter (ironically enough), working...more

Jury Verdict Unhinged By Holding That Incardination Isn’t Necessarily Employment

The ecclesiastical doctrine of incardination defines the relationship between clerics and the church. According to the United States Conference of Bishops (no relation), “incardination is traditionally used to refer to the...more

RLUIPA Round-Up

Welcome to the inaugural edition of RLUIPA Round-Up, where we run through recent religious land use disputes and other matters involving local government and religion throughout the country. Some of the items below include...more

The Ultimate Deus Ex Machina – Swingers Club Becomes a Church!

Every so often RLUIPA Defense feels the need to expand its reporting horizons. We usually stick to run-of-the-mill, pending or threatened litigation related to religious-land uses and RLUIPA. Sometimes we stray a bit and...more

Negligence –Duty Owed by a Religious Organization to One of its Members Who Has Been Harmed By Another Member

Candace Conti v. Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of New York, Inc., et al. - Court of Appeal, First Appellate District (April 13, 2015) - Historically, churches have not been found vicariously liable for the...more

New RLUIPA Suit: Kansas Church Sues Crawford County Commissioners

Liberty Baptist Church, a Kansas church founded in 1947 with a congregation of about 15 members (Church), is suing the Board of County Commissioners of Crawford County, Kansas over the denial of its application for a...more

City of Marysville, Washington Defeats RLUIPA, RFRA, and Fair Housing Claims

In Holy Ghost Revival Ministries v. City of Marysville (W.D. Washington), the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington considered claims of religious discrimination brought by Holy Ghost Revival Ministries...more

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