Christian Club Reinstated at California State University After Leadership Religious Test Dispute

Chi Alpha fought back, eventually enlisting the legal aid of the Washington, DC-based group the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

In an official statement released Monday, Chi Alpha considered the reinstatement to be bittersweet given the nature of the compromise.

“Unfortunately, CSU continues to ban religious leadership requirements and to treat religious student groups with less respect than fraternities and sororities,” read the statement in part.

“But because CSU has agreed that Chi Alpha’s students may exercise their own judgment to choose leaders that share their beliefs, we are now able to have access to campus with integrity.”

The Becket Fund directed CP to a press release by the law group wherein legal counsel Adèle Auxier Keim called the CSU decision “a halfway solution.”

“Cal State has adopted a halfway solution that still gives fraternities more rights than campus religious groups. But they’ve acknowledged that students can vote for a candidate who shares their beliefs, and that’s a step in the right direction,” stated Keim.

Christian, Gay Rights, and Jewish Groups Help Muslim in Head Scarf Case Against Abercrombie & Fitch; Win Likely After Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Christian Post, February 25, 2015

In a Wednesday interview with The Christian Post, Eric Baxter of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, who was at the oral arguments, said he was optimistic that the court would rule against Abercrombie & Fitch.

Baxter said that one of the most telling exchanges was between Justice Samuel Alito and the Abercrombie & Fitch lawyer. Would a Sikh man wearing a turban, a Jewish man wearing a yarmulke or a Catholic nun wearing a habit have to expressly state that they were wearing those garments for religious reasons? Alito asked, according to Baxter. The lawyer admitted they would not.

Egyptian Court Sentences Christian Journalist to Prison for ‘Sectarian Strife’

Christian Post June 25, 2014

Eric Rassbach, deputy general counsel with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, told The Christian Post that this was connected to Egypt’s “blasphemy and anti-incitement laws.”

“This incident shines a spotlight on the worldwide problem of blasphemy and anti-incitement laws,” said Rassbach.

“These laws have proven to be easily abused by those in power to suppress dissenters and religious minorities in general, and Christians in particular. No one should be surprised that this comes along with widely-reported attacks on freedom of the press in Egypt.”

Catholic TV Channel Files New Lawsuit Against HHS, Aided by Ala. Attorney General

Christian Post, October 31, 2013

Daniel Blomberg, legal counsel for the Becket Fund, told The Christian Post that his organization was happy to have the support of the state of Alabama.

“We welcome Alabama as a crucial ally in protecting EWTN’s religious liberty. Having a well-respected partner like the attorney general helps reveal the glaring and growing problems with the HHS Mandate,” said Blomberg.

Ave Maria University Files Second Lawsuit Against HHS Mandate

The Christian Post, August 30, 2013

“Unfortunately, the government failed to keep its promise–the new regulations still force Ave Maria against its conscience to participate in the government’s scheme for facilitating access to contraception, sterilization, and abortion-causing drugs and devices,” said Eric Baxter, senior counsel at the Becket Fund.

US Senate May Take Up Bill to Lift FEMA Ban on Aid to Churches

Christian Post, July 15, 2013

Daniel Blomberg, legal counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, told The Christian Post that he supports the Senate bill. “FEMA has long been categorically banning houses of worship from competing for disaster relief funds on the same terms as other similar eligible nonprofits,” said Blomberg.

Obama, God, and the Profits

Christian Post, June 6, 2013

Becket Fund counsel Mark Rienzi explains the flaws in the Obama administration’s legal defense of the HHS contraceptive-coverage mandate: “The lawyers have it all wrong. Earning money doesn’t suddenly give the government the right to extinguish your constitutional rights.”

Hobby Lobby Has Its Day in Court; Argues Case for Religious Freedom

Christian Post, May 24, 2013

Kyle Duncan, general counsel for The Becket Fund, argued the case Thursday for the Green family, who own Hobby Lobby and the Christian bookstore Mardel, in Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius, and the government was represented by the Justice Department. Each side had 30 minutes to present their arguments to the court.

Mass. Supreme Court to Hear Suit Against ‘Under God’ in Pledge

Christian Post, March 25, 2013

Aiding the effort to keep “under God” in the Pledge was The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represented Defendant-Intervenors the Joyce family, whose children are students in the Acton-Boxborough School District. Eric Rassbach of The Becket Fund told The Christian Post that “disagreement does not mean discrimination.”

Christian Post – Should Religious Institutions Follow Anti-Discrimination Laws? Supreme Court Decides

Should religious institutions have to follow anti-discrimination laws? That’s the question the Supreme Court will address on Oct. 5, when one of the most important religion cases in decades will be presented.

he case concerns “ministerial exception,” a 40-year-old legal doctrine that protects churches and other religious institutions from government interference in their employment decisions.

According to the Religion News Service, the case began when the teacher of a Lutheran elementary school in Redford, Mich., claimed she was fired in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Cheryl Perich taught third and fourth graders at Hosanna-Tabor Lutheran School. In 2004 she was diagnosed with narcolepsy and received medical consent to return to work after being on disability leave.

Perich ran into problems when she tried to return to the school.

According to RNS, the school asked Perich to resign after they hired a substitute. When she threatened to sue, the congregation fired her.

Hosanna-Tabor, which is now closed, hired Perich as a “called teacher” and it was her duty to “advance the religious doctrines of the congregation that operated the school.”

However, Perich taught secular subjects in addition to religion.

That contract clause made her a “commissioned minister” which falls into the ministerial exemption category of the law.

Attorney Luke Goodrich of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing the church, said, “The purpose of the ministerial exception is to protect the right of religious institutions to choose their religious leaders.”

“Advocates for the ministerial exception argue that in religious institutions, in their hiring and firing, should be regulated as little as possible,” Ira C. Lupu told RNS.

Lupu is a professor at The George Washington University School of Law, who specializes in church-state cases.

The dispute is not over whether or not a religious congregation should be unregulated when it chooses to hire or fire clergy. The case will challenge the employment decisions regarding secular workers, like teachers and office employees.

In 2008, Perich lost her first suit in federal court, but the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in her favor last year.

While Goodrich is representing the church, The American Civil Liberties Union is representing the government’s side.

“While faith communities surely have the right to set religious doctrine and decide which ministers best advance their religious beliefs and practices, they shouldn’t get a blank check to discriminate or retaliate against their employees,” said Daniel Mach, director of the ACLU’s Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief in RNS.

One of the most hard-hitting questions facing the court is this: should the government be allowed to decide which employee duties are “religious” and which are not?

“I’ll tell you what makes this case really interesting,” said Lupu. “The last time the Supreme Court heard a case about internal church disputes was more than 30 years ago. This makes for a certain amount of unpredictability.”