Freedom From Religious Foundation Sues IRS Over Election Evangelicalism | Gay Marriage & Supreme Court Cases
French Roast News
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Experts don’t agree on last week’s Supreme Court decision in which it ordered the 4th U.S Circuit of Appeals to rehear a case filed by Liberty University that argues the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act violates its religious freedom by legislating that the Christian University must provide health insurance for its employees. Note that the Supreme Court ruled the law constitutional in June.
“On one level, it’s routine,” said Sara Rosenbaum, professor of health law and policy at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. “This is not an unusual way for them to handle a case that’s in front of them that they want to take, because it hasn’t been fully developed yet.”
But Mathew Staver, the lawyer in the case and vice president of Liberty University is encouraged that the court is willing to look again at the employer mandate, certainly as it applies to religoius institutions.
Mark Graber, law and government professor at the University of Maryland disagrees, saying: “Based on the Supreme Court’s past decisions, Liberty University has no case because this is a neutral law that doesn’t single out religions.” via Southern Maryland Headline News.
Freedom of Religion
Lawsuit Challenges Tax-Exempt Status for Pulpit Electioneering
The Freedom from Religion Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit arguing that the Internal Revenue Service is violating the US Constitution by allowing tax-exempt churches and religious organizations to publicly endorse political candidates.
At the conclusion of an election season in which numerous religious figures including Catholic bishops told congregations how they should vote, the lawsuit argues that organizations have become increasingly more involved in political campaigns, “blatantly and deliberately flaunting the electioneering restrictions.”
IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman is named in the lawsuit, which also asks that the IRS initiative legal action against churches and religious organizations that engage in electioneering.
The lawsuit cites full-page ads run this fall in the New York Times and other newspapers by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Renowned evangelist Billy Graham urged Americans to vote along biblical principles after pledging to do “all I can” to elect Mitt Romney. Also mentioned in the lawsuit are Roman Catholic Bishop Daniel Jenkins of Peroria, Ill, requiring all the priests in his diocese to read an order that Catholics only vote for a pro-life candidate. The lawsuit refers to ‘Pulpit Freedom Sunday’ in which more than 1.500 pastors challenged the IRS ruling directly, seeking a court challenge.
US Abortion Politics
The Family Values Congressman and His Mistresses
Abortion politics in America hit a new low when details of the private life of recently re-elected, pro-life Congressman Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.) became public. The Congressman says that God has forgiven him for his scandalous past, including pressuring a patient with whom he was having an affair to get an abortion.
Court papers revealed that DesJarlais’ former wife had two abortion by a “mutual” decision. The first abortion was because his wife was taking an experimental drug that carried risks during pregnancy; the second abortion came as the couple suffered from problems in their marriage.
The same divorce papers relating to the 2001 divorce of the family values Congressman DesJarlais revealed affairs with four women who were patients.
US Supreme Court & Gay Marriage
The Supreme Court has released a list of cases it will hear this term, and same-sex marriage is currently not on the docket.
On Friday the Supreme Court met behind closed doors with 10 appeals related to same-sex marriage on the agenda. It’s possible that the Court will announce this week plans to hear at least one of the cases. If the Court allows the federal appeals rulings to stand, it’s not the end of the gay marriage debate. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has predicted that the court will hear a gay marriage case this term.