The New York Times – January 11, 2012
January 19, 2017, Fox News
“This is not a general expression program,” Breyer said. “It stops nobody from saying anything.”
An amicus brief was also filed by advocacy group, the Becket Fund, in support of Tam and his band mates.
December 23, 2015, The Federalist
2016 is already shaping up to be an exciting year for freedom, but before the fun begins, let’s review the biggest winners (and losers) of 2015. The following are not in order of importance—just numbered as a tally.
1. Government Forcing Nuns to Pay for Other People’s Birth Control
The government does not force big businesses like Exxon, Pepsi Cola, the Church of Scientology, or even its own military to provide all contraceptives. Yet it’s telling the courts it needs the Little Sisters of the Poor—nuns who serve the poor, dying elderly—to do so. Penalty to the nuns if they do not obey: $70 million per year! The government apparently thinks it is improving healthcare by taking millions of dollars from nursing homes for the elderly poor. In 2016 the Supreme Court will decide who is right.
December 21, 2015, The Washington Times
As the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty put it, “Just as the government doesn’t have to include a pacifist memorial next to every war memorial, it doesn’t have to include mockery of religion next to every creche or Christmas tree.”
Since 2000, the Becket Fund has fought government capitulation on religious displays with its annual Ebenezer Awards.
“I think in general, the American public is happy to accommodate everyone else’s religion, and most of us are happy to hear ‘Happy Hanukkah’ from someone,” said Becket senior counsel Eric Baxter. “But there are certainly some government bureaucrats who feel like they have to suppress religion, which is really unnecessary.”
“December 15, 2016, Forbes
December 8, 2016, Baptist Press
Eric Rassbach, deputy general counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said the lawyers involved in challenging the health-care systems “are like Robin Hood in reverse: stealing from hospitals who serve the poor in order to line their own pockets.”
“What’s worse is that they want the Court to declare that Christian hospital ministries aren’t actually part of the church,” Rassbach said in in a written release. “We hope the Court will reject their crabbed view of Christian charity.”
October 14, 2016, Catholic News Agency
“Sensitive, difficult medical decisions should be between a family and their doctor, not government bureaucrats,” Lori Windham, senior counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, stated in the letter.
“The government continues to speak out of both sides of its mouth,” she continued. “The military rightly gives doctors freedom to care for patients according to their medical judgment because it acknowledges the risks of transgender medical procedures, particularly for children; yet HHS tramples on doctors’ medical judgment, even for potentially harmful procedures for children.”
October 11, 2016, Politico
Several other religious non-profits filed for the accommodation, as well, including St. Joseph’s Abbey, a community of monks in Massachusetts, and the Catholic Diocese of Memphis.
Mark Rienzi, a Becket Fund attorney who has represented several clients opposed to the mandate and accommodation, including the Little Sisters of the Poor order of Catholic nuns, said the number of employers that want to opt out is tiny, compared with employers whose health plans are grandfathered so they don’t have to comply with the contraceptive provision until their health plans change.
August 27, 2016, New York Post
One of the top guardians of American freedoms just entered the fight against the Obama administration’s insane excesses in the name of “trans rights.”
Headed to court to toss the HHS rule is the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is undefeated before the Supreme Court — capped by four wins when going up against the Obama administration.
Becket’s clients of record here include Franciscan Alliance, a religious hospital network, and the Christian Medical & Dental Associations; five states have also joined the lawsuit.
August 11, 2016, WND
This is a real-life example of why judges shouldn’t play theologians,” said Daniel Blomberg, legal counsel of the Becket Fund, which filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting Sterling.
August 10, 2016, Deseret News
While initial reports of Wednesday’s development did explain why the sponsor, state Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, agreed to amend the bill, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty attributed the change to a website and series of videos showing how the bill would victimize minorities attending the affected religious schools.
July 27, 2016, Meridian Magazine
Nevada activist groups continue their quest to block low-income and special needs children from receiving a quality education by using an anti-Catholic law from the 19th century to shut down a Nevada program. In a brief filed yesterday, Becket urged the Nevada Supreme Court to protect the children and the religious schools they attend from discrimination.
July 14, 2016, The Associated Press
Supporters of the kosher program praised the ruling, which was released only two days after the judges heard oral arguments.
“This is a huge win, and it perfectly shows how protecting religious liberty for any Americans ultimately protects it for all Americans,” said Daniel Blomberg, legal counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a nonprofit law firm that filed a friend-of-court brief in the case. “Allowing prisoners to practice their faith is better for them, better for prisons, and better for society.”
The Sun Sentinel, July 12, 2016
An attorney for Florida told a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday the estimated $12.3 million cost of the program could become prohibitive if other budget needs arise. The state is appealing a decision by a lower court judge requiring that it provide kosher food to Jewish inmates and others who request it for religious reasons.
June 13, 2016, The Wall Street Journal
The federal government has agreed to allow a group of Native Americans to practice their religious faith. Yes, that’s news given Obama Administration hostility to freedom of conscience. On Monday lawyers for the Department of the Interior and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty intend to ask a federal judge to approve a settlement allowing the Lipan Apache tribe of Texas to use eagle feathers in the traditional exercise of their beliefs.
June 9, 2016, Forward
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and the American Jewish Committee each filed a friend of the court brief on Tuesday with the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, on behalf of Susan Abeles, who retired involuntarily in 2013 after working for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority for 26 years. She was accused of being absent without leave on the last two days of Passover that year and suspended for five days without pay.
May 16, 2016, The Wall Street Journal
“The solution the justices pointed to has been around for years but this administration has refused all opportunities to compromise,” says the Becket Fund’s president, William Mumma. “On Monday the Supreme Court smacked them down for it.”
May 6, 2016, AL.com
EWTN said in a statement that the federal government now admits it never had a viable opt-out plan for religious organizations burdened by the requirements. It accused the federal government of wanting to “hijack our health plan.”
May 5, 2016, Focus on the Family
It’s an effective ministry—so effective that it’s got a contract with Florida’s Department of Corrections, which provides funds for each ex-convict the group takes in. But it’s also a ministry that’s worked under a serious threat for the last nine years. That’s when an atheist group, the Council for Secular Humanism, sued to shut down that funding to both Prisoners of Christ and a similar ministry, Lamb of God Recovery Centers, based in Pompano Beach.
April 29, 2016, International Business Times
“The other charges aren’t being challenged in this appeal. The only issue before the court is whether the military violated Lance Cpl. Sterling’s right to religious freedom by discriminatorily forcing her to remove her scripture verses from her workspace,” Daniel Blomberg, legal counsel for The Becket Fund, told Military.com.
April 29, 2016, Deseret News
“What if it is possible for the government to acknowledge the existence of a God who is the source of our rights — and mean it — without doing so religiously?” the founder and president emeritus of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty writes in his new book.
April 27, 2016, NJ.com
“Even Snooki knows that picking up a campaign sign is protected by the First Amendment,” Stephanie Barclay, counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said Tuesday. “It’s sad that this case had to go all the way to the Supreme Court for the city of Paterson, New Jersey, to learn that freedom of speech and the right to assemble are core rights of American citizens.”
April 22, 2016, Real Clear Politics
Which of the following seems out of place: Visa, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Pepsi, the Little Sisters of the Poor. If you answered the Little Sisters of the Poor, you answered correctly! If you did so because the first four options are major corporations and the last choice is an order of nuns who care for destitute and dying elderly people, you were only partially correct. The Little Sisters are also the correct out-of-place selection because they are the only option not exempted from the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate.
April 16, 2016, The Stream
The Little Sisters of the Poor and their allies have entered a new stage in their battle against the Obama administration’s requirement that they participate in insuring contraceptives, abortifacients and sterilization.
April 15, 2016, Catholic Herald
The groups, including the Little Sisters of the Poor, have agreed with a US Supreme Court proposal that such coverage be provided through an alternative health care plan without involving the religious employers in a legal brief filed with the court.
April 15 2016, Christian Science Monitor
This week’s decision is a clear sign that the US Army is becoming increasingly open to diversity, says Diana Verm, an attorney at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a nonprofit public interest law firm that specializes in religious freedom cases.
April 14, 2016, Aleteia
There are several ways in which employees of religious nonprofit organizations can obtain contraceptive coverage that do not involve any participation of the non-profits.
That is the stance of the religious organizations fighting a provision of Obamacare at the Supreme Court.
April 13, 2016, New Boston Post
In May, he will be awarded the Canterbury Medal by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty in recognition of his fight for freedom of conscience and liberty.
April 12, 2016, Military.com
“The Army’s decision is not legally binding … and may be withdrawn at any time,” said Eric Baxter, senior counsel at The Becket Fund for Religious Fund for Religious Liberty. “In fact, the Army has already stated that the accommodations will be re-evaluated in approximately one year.”
April 11, 2016, The Hill
“For decades, Sikhs have been excluded from serving our country because of their faith while many other countries recognize their valor and patriotism—and benefit from it,” Eric Baxter, senior counsel at the Becket Fund, said in a written statement. “The Army’s current agreement to stop discriminating against these individual soldiers is an important step, but the court should still issue a ruling to extend that protection to all Sikhs.”
April 7, 2016, Law Street
What makes this scenario particularly incredulous is that Sikhs served in the U.S military from WW1 through 1981 without restrictions on their religious articles of faith. Sikhs already enrolled in the services before the 1981 restriction were grandfathered. The Army claims the turban and hair could impede the soldiers from fully securing gas masks on themselves, or other protective gear, yet military divisions in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia allow Sikhs to serve without any restrictions.
April 6, 2016, Christian Today
In the decision, Wada told Singh that while assigned or performing non-hazardous duties, he may wear a beard, turban and uncut hair but these should be worn in such as way that they would not impair his ability to wear the army combat helmet or other protective equipment.
April 5, 2016, WND
“No American should have to face religious discrimination to serve their country – especially not top-notch, battle-tested soldiers like Captain Singh,” Baxter said, the Sikh Foundation reported April 1. “We will continue fighting for the right of all Sikh Americans to serve without violating their faith.”
April 4, 2016, New Boston Post
On March 30, the service released a memorandum with both permission and strict instructions for Capt. Simratpal Singh’s uniform accommodation, “until the Army publishes formal standards.”
April 1, 2016, Military.com
In a statement released Friday morning by The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the law firm representing him, Singh expressed gratitude for Wada’s decision. “I’m proud to be an American soldier,” he said. “More than ever, the military needs to reflect the diversity of our great nation. I’m grateful the Army is allowing me to serve without being forced to compromise my religion.”
March 31, 2016, The Hill
“At the end of the day this is so much bigger than whether or not Sikhs are allowed to wear turbans in the military,” Kaur said. “It’s about whether or not our military actually values the laws and freedoms that it purports to protect.”
March 30, 2016, Politico
The challengers believe the order means the court won’t uphold the existing accommodation. “They wouldn’t be asking about alternatives to the accommodation if they [found it acceptable],” said Eric Rassbach, deputy general counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents an order of Catholic nuns, Little Sisters of the Poor, in the case.
March 30, 2016, The Washington Post
The new order demanding additional briefing in the contraceptive cases, which were argued before the justices last week, was the most unexpected and unusual of the actions. Even more surprising, the court asked the parties to react to a compromise it created.
March 30, 2016, Bloomberg BNA
Rienzi added he is looking “forward to offering alternatives that protect the Little Sisters’ religious liberty while allowing the government to meet its stated goals.”
March 29, 2016, NBC News
“Three Sikhs filed suit against the Army to ensure that their requests for religious accommodation are resolved by their basic training ship dates in May,” Harsimran Kaur, The Sikh Coalition’s legal director, told NBC News. “The lead plaintiff has been waiting over seven months. The Army has been failing to make decisions on whether these patriotic Sikhs will be able serve their country while abiding by the tenets of their faith. In doing so, the Army is violating their constitutional and statutory rights.”
March 29, 2016, The Week
“The ‘Army has been failing to make decisions on whether these patriotic Sikhs will be able to serve their country while abiding by the tenets of their faith.’”
March 8, 2016, The Atlas Network
The Becket Fund points out that Prisoners of Christ and Lamb of God Ministries has helped more than 2,300 former prisoners get back on their feet, with only a fraction of those costs coming from government funding — as little as $14 per day.
March 7, 2016, Breitbart
The same administration, however, insists that a group of Catholic nuns who care for the elderly poor provide its employees free contraception, abortion-inducing drugs, and sterilization procedures–all of which are against its faith–or be forced to pay $70 million in punitive fines.
March 4, 2016, The Hill
“Getting a court order against the Army is huge — it almost never happens,” Eric Baxter, senior counsel at the Becket Fund, said in a written statement Friday. “It goes to show just how egregious the Army’s discrimination against Sikhs is. Thankfully the court stepped in to protect Capt. Singh’s constitutional rights. Now it’s time to let all Sikhs serve.”
March 1, 2016, NBC News
“Captain Singh upholds the finest traditions of our military,” Eric Baxter, senior counsel at The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, told NBC News. “He’s a West Point graduate, Army Ranger, Bronze Star Recipient. He knows he is subject to the same standards as everyone else. Just this morning, he underwent a previously scheduled gas mask test with his unit and passed without a hitch. He shouldn’t be subjected to additional, discriminatory testing because of his faith. The Army is treating him as if he were a lab rat.”
February 29, 2016, The Daily Caller
The lawsuit alleges that the Army forced Singh to undergo extraordinary testing measures far beyond other comparable cases. They say Singh had to go through evaluations for mask and helmet fit. A coalition including more than two dozen retired generals and over 100 members of Congress have publicly called for Sikhs to receive an exemption, but the Army has been slow to give these kinds of concessions.
February 29, 2016 – The Hill
“Capt. Singh is a decorated war hero. The Army should be trying to get more soldiers like him, not banning them from serving or punishing them for their beliefs. It’s time for the Pentagon to stop playing games and start doing the right thing – for Capt. Singh, for Sikh Americans and for all Americans.”
February 24, 2016, New Boston Post
The New York-based group, the Center for Inquiry, declined to appeal a Florida county court ruling on Jan. 20 that let the state fund work by Lamb of God Ministries and Prisoners of Christ. The Christian groups have provided housing, food and job assistance to former prisoners to help reduce recidivism in the Sunshine State for more than two decades.
February 23, 2016, The Washington Times
Championed by the Knights of Columbus, the 61-year-old statue honors soldiers – many from the Army’s 10th Mountain Division – who fought the Nazis in the Italian Alps. The Becket Fund defended the memorial in a five-year battle against The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based secular group that demanded the statue be removed, claiming that its mere presence violated the First Amendment.
February 23, 2016, The Daily Signal
In a 2-1 decision, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided Thursday that the U.S. government has “a compelling interest” to ensure that EWTN employees are enrolled in a health plan that provides contraceptives. Requiring that, the court said, doesn’t “substantially burden” the Catholic organization’s free exercise of religion.
February 17, 2016, Christian Post
The Becket Fund noted in its statement shared with The Christian Post that a new website has been set up to explain The Little Sisters’ case against the Obamacare contraceptives mandate, ahead of a Supreme Court hearing is expected to take place in March.
February 8, 2016, WND
“What do 207 members of Congress, 50 Catholic theologians, 13 law professors, nine professional associations and two prominent women’s organizations have in common with the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the American Islamic Congress, the General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists and the International Society of Krishna Consciousness?”
Philadelphia Inquirer, February 7, 2015
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty represented the Jones family and the Knights of Columbus in the case and was also involved in the Massachusetts case. The American Legion was also a party to the New Jersey lawsuit.
Eric Rassbach, deputy general counsel for the Becket Fund, called Bauman’s decision “a win for the Pledge of Allegiance and another loss for these plaintiffs.” He said the pledge suits “invite social division.”
February 2, 2016, NPR
“I was tired of being a political spokesperson for my faith,” she says. “I felt that I should be able to put that away, and wearing a headscarf in public doesn’t give you that luxury. I was tired of trying to prove that Muslim women in headscarves are also empowered, [by saying] ‘Look at me. I’m working in a white-shoe law firm with a headscarf on.’ Uddin is a now a staff attorney for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
The National Law Journal, February 1, 2016
One week after actress Elizabeth Banks told one woman’s abortion story on YouTube, the video garnered nearly 300,000 views. When Little Sisters of the Poor went on YouTube under the title “Government forces Little Sisters of the Poor to violate faith or pay IRS fines,” the video captured almost 74,000 views. In the contest for the hearts and minds of Americans—and, indirectly, of U.S. Supreme Court justices—videos increasingly have become public tools in high-stakes cases.
January 27, 2016, Life News
It should come as little surprise that the group also wants the government to deny religious rights to a group of nuns who oppose certain provisions of the Obamacare HHS Mandate.
January 26, 2016, The Blaze
The Center for Inquiry released a statement on Monday calling the ruling by the Second Judicial Circuit in Leon County, Florida, a “stark contrast to any reasonable understanding of the Florida Constitution,” and announcing the atheist organization’s intent to continue fighting the programs, which operate to assist ex-convicts.
January 28, 2016, Cardinal Newman Society
“Article 11, Section 2 suffers from the same anti-Catholic taint that plagues the Blaine Amendment,” argued the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty in an amicus brief. The brief noted: “First, it was passed during a time of sweeping anti-Catholic sentiment and with an intent to remove Catholic influence on public schools, and second, it prohibits ‘sectarian’ influences on schools while leaving unharmed ‘generic’ religious practices in public schools.”
January 22, 2016, The Blaze
Prisoners of Christ and Lamb of God ministries have helped to provide food, housing, employment services and other basic needs to inmates after their release from prison, with the Becket Fund arguing that the Christian groups help save taxpayer dollars by only asking the state to cover a fraction of these costs. The organizations also offer optional religious services and 12-step programs that are free for Florida to use.
January 21, 2016,The Cardinal Newman Society
While the case focuses on a Lutheran preschool, Eric Rassbach, an attorney with The Becket Fund, which filed an amicus brief in the case, told The Cardinal Newman Society that the Supreme Court’s decision “absolutely could have an impact for Catholic schools.”
January 15, 2016, The Weekly Standard
The Little Sisters of the Poor are headed to the Supreme Court this year, seeking escape from the contraception mandates of Obamacare — under which they fall, the government claims, as insurance providers for the employees in their nursing homes. The Justice Department is fighting the Little Sisters tooth and nail, determined not to allow them to evade the law’s requirements, because . . . because . . .
January 14, 2016, The Washington Times
These federal and state laws — which protect people against substantial burdens on their religious freedom — play “an essential role in protecting the religious minorities of our time,” said Hannah Smith, senior counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. The organization has created an online educational source for information on the laws called RFRA Central.
January 11, 2016, Aleteia
The Becket Fund explains that the “accommodation” the government has offered religious objectors actually entangles the entities in the objectionable practices. Signing off on the paperwork the government requires for an objector to get an “exemption” gives the government the power to use its own insurance plan to provide the contraceptives and other services.
December 17, 2015, Breitbart
The Becket Fund released a press release on Thursday awarding the hospital the Ebenezer Award, “awarded for the most ridiculous affront to the Christmas and Hanukkah,” because of the ban on holiday cheer.
December 16, 2015, New Boston Post
POC changes lives. Like that of the man who spent nearly three decades years behind bars for murder and, upon release, couldn’t drive a car (no license) and was afraid to cross the street (vehicular traffic being fairly rare within prison walls). After POC’s help, he landed a job that took him from flipping burgers at one McDonald’s to a senior position managing maintenance at seven McD’s. Today, he can’t thank POC enough.
December 14, 2015, The New York Times
It is the first time in decades that the military has granted a religious accommodation for a beard to an active-duty combat soldier — a move that observers say could open the door for Muslims and other troops seeking to display their faith. But it is only temporary, lasting for a month while the Army decides whether to give permanent status to Captain Singh’s exception.
December 14, 2015, The Blaze
The exemption that was granted to Singh is only the fourth of its kind since a ban was put into place in the 1980s, with the Army still widely refusing to accept individuals who keep beards, even for religious reasons, according to the law firm.
December 7th, 2015, The Durango Herald
Eric Baxter, senior counsel for the Becket Fund, told The Farmington Daily Times that the court was wrong to put additional conditions on the federal Mineral Lands Leasing Act funding.
“I think the Supreme Court erred in concluding that these were funds from state land and that it should recognize they are federal dollars that are being used in accordance with federal mandate,” Baxter said. “Any efforts to cut off certain categories of people from using those funds would be a violation of the federal constitution.”
December 3, 2015, Forbes
The government has pursued the Little Sisters of the Poor all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and threatened them with millions of dollars in fines. The same government has let ExxonMobil, pick and choose which parts of the ACA they will comply with, to keep a five-year-old political promise that has already been proven to be a lie.
December 1, 2015, The Paterson Times
“The Becket Fund is concerned that – if the Third Circuit’s decision is allowed to stand – the ability of religious people to engage in religious activity in concert with one another will be wrongly limited. It therefore advocates that the Court re-root the jurisprudence of collective rights in the text and history of the First Amendment,” reads the law firm’s amicus curiae, friend of the court, brief in support of Heffernan.
November 28, 2015, Christianity Daily
Chi Alpha, a Christian organization, was reinstated at Cal State Stanilaus, Cal State Sacramento, San Diego state, and Cal State Fresno, after months of negotiations regarding standards for club leadership.
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.
November 24th, 2015, CBN News
This month, Chi Alpha, the student ministry of the Assemblies of God, returned to re-start chapters at Cal State Stanislaus, Cal State Sacramento, San Diego State, and Cal State Fresno.
November 17, 2015, American Spectator
Another fight in the long struggle between freedom of conscience and the primacy of the state.
The Obama administration’s position is that it has graciously condescended to grant an “accommodation” for organizations like the Little Sisters of the Poor and that they won’t be required to provide contraception coverage if they will unbend enough to apply for this special dispensation. The Becket Fund disposes of this argument as follows: “The so-called ‘accommodation’ still forces the Little Sisters to find an insurer who will cover sterilization, contraceptive and abortion-inducing drugs and devices, and will provide related counseling and education to promote those things.” In other words, the accommodation is just a fig leaf.
November 19, 2015, The Hill
Valladares was arrested for refusing to say four words. But he stayed in prison because he refused to sign a piece of paper that would hand moral authority to Castro’s Revolution. He stayed to defend what he later described as his own conscience, his belief in God, his own humanity and that of his fellow political prisoners.
Each year, we at Becket award the Canterbury Medal to an individual who has shown courage and strength in the defense of religious freedom. We have chosen Armando Valladares to receive this award in May 2016. After all, it is only fitting that the same year the Supreme Court will consider whether the federal government can force nuns to, among other things, sign away their faith, we honor a man who refused to sign away his because he knew that letters on a piece of paper can and do have power and meaning.
Nov 6, 2015, Associated Press
The faith-based groups “can’t help the government with its contraceptive delivery system,” said Mark Rienzi, a lawyer who represents the groups. Among the challengers are Bishop David Zubik, head of the Catholic Diocese in Pittsburgh, the Little Sisters of the Poor, nuns who run more than two dozen nursing homes for impoverished seniors, and evangelical and Catholic colleges in Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington, D.C.
October 5, 2015, CBN News
September 24, 2015, CNN Continue reading “Pope meets with nuns fighting Obamacare”
September 8, 2016, Deseret News
Luke Goodrich, deputy general counsel at The Becket Fund, told the Deseret News that the mandate is “broad” and that it requires doctors to potentially work against the best interests of their patients.
“One of the most troubling aspects of it is that it requires doctors to perform gender reassignment procedures on, including on young children, even when those procedures may be physically and emotionally harmful to the child and violate the doctor’s faith and medical judgment,” Goodrich said.
August 1, 2016 USA Today
Some defenders of religious freedom don’t share Alito’s fear for the future.
“The court has been responsive to religious liberty claims in most of the cases in recent years,” Eric Rassbach, deputy general counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, says. “I don’t see a reason to think that the court is going to become deaf to religious claims.”
Read more here.
April 7, 2015, Houston Chronicle
The federal government Tuesday took its case against Houston Baptist University and a group of other Texas religious nonprofits to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that the groups not only want to deprive their workers of mandated birth control options but prevent anyone else from providing them.
Eric Rassbach, a Becket Fund for Religious Liberty lawyer representing the Houston university and Marshall’s East Texas Baptist University, later said his clients believe that, like churches, they should simply be allowed not to provide forms of contraception they find objectionable.
April 5, 2015, Washington Examiner
RFRA has lived up to this promise. As our friends at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty like to say, RFRA protects everyone from “A to Z—Anglican to Zoroastrian.” For every Presbyterian soup kitchen RFRA has protected, there is an equally-protected mosque in rural Tennessee. For every Midwest homeless shelter, there is a Florida synagogue. For every Sikh schoolchild, there is a Muslim, Jewish or Native American inmate who has been able to live out his faith in peace.
March 27, 2015, Campus Reform Continue reading “Cal State de-recognizes Christian group for wanting Christian leaders”
KRGV ABC-5/Rio Grande Valley, TX , March 10, 2015 Continue reading “Golden Eagle Feathers Returned to Tribe”
Baltimore Sun, March 9, 2015
“Notre Dame is the centerpiece of the government’s argument,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing the Little Sisters. “The bottom line is the key thing the government has been arguing from has now been erased by the Supreme Court.”
National Law Journal, March 9, 2015
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents a number of nonprofit religious organizations challenging the contraceptive requirement, hailed the high court’s action as a “major blow” to the government’s defense of the coverage requirement.
“For the past year, the Notre Dame decision has been the centerpiece of the government’s effort to force religious ministries to violate their beliefs or pay fines to the IRS,” said Becket senior counsel Mark Rienzi, who filed an amicus brief in the Notre Dame case. “As with the Supreme Court’s decisions in Little Sisters of the Poor and Hobby Lobby, this is a strong signal that the Supreme Court will ultimately reject the government’s narrow view of religious liberty.”
Reuters, March 9, 2015
Mark Rienzi, a lawyer with the religious rights group Becket Fund for Religious Liberty who has been involved in similar cases, said Monday’s action was “a strong signal that the Supreme Court will ultimately reject the government’s narrow view of religious liberty.”
New York Post, February 27, 2015
“This is an example of better late than never,” says Eric Rassbach of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “The city should never have adopted this rule in the first place, and it shouldn’t have taken a loss in the federal courts to bring them to the bargaining table. But this solution respects both religious liberty and public health.”
National Law Journal, February 25, 2015
The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday appeared reluctant to give employers greater protection from lawsuits by employees and job applicants who claim discrimination based on their religious beliefs.
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.
Bloomberg, February 24, 2015
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a public-interest law firm that often supports Christian causes, but also stresses its representation of other faiths, warns that the Tenth Circuit’s decision would impose “a presumption that employees are nonreligious unless they explicitly announce otherwise, essentially creating a standard of ‘protection upon request only’ that erodes the important role that religion plays in society.”
CNN, February 24, 2015
But the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a nonprofit group with an interest in religious freedom, has filed a friend of the court brief supporting Elauf.
“Abercrombie’s claim is both absurd and a dangerous precedent for all people of faith seeking an exception,” Eric Baxter, a lawyer for the group,
“We want the court to recognize that the notice requirement has to be flexible,” said Baxter. “There can’t be some strict requirement that an employee has to say certain words before the employee’s religion is protected.”
New York Magazine, February 24, 2015
So far, 16 different religious advocacy groups have filed friend-of-the-court briefs in support of the EEOC’s case. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which advocates for Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Zoroastrians, and Sikhs, to name a few, expressed its concernthat the appeals court’s ruling imposes “a presumption that employees are nonreligious unless they explicitly announce otherwise, essentially creating a standard of ‘protection upon request only.’”
MTV, February 24, 2015
On the flip side, a lot of religious groups have come to Samantha’s defense, including the non-profit public-interest legal institute Becket Fund For Religious Liberty. Eric Baxter, who is Senior Council at the firm told U.S. News & World Report that Abercrombie isn’t being totally honest, “They’re trying to play dumb and the court shouldn’t allow that.”
US News, February 23, 2015
“There should be a natural acknowledgement of the role religion plays in people’s lives,” says Eric Baxter, senior counsel at the public interest law film the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, arguing that Abercrombie should have been able to reasonably assume that Elauf’s headscarf could be worn for religious reasons.
“They’re trying to play dumb and the court shouldn’t allow that,” he says.
The Oklahoman, February 23, 2015
The Becket Fund — the influential law firm that represented Hobby Lobby and several nonprofit organizations in successful challenges against the federal contraceptive mandate — contends that Abercrombie “blatantly” denied Elauf a job based on her religion.
FOX News, February 6, 2015
Jones and her family were represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. Historic defenders of the Pledge like the Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest Catholic fraternal organization, and the American Legion also intervened in the case.
“The message today is loud and clear: “God” is not a dirty word,” Eric Rassbach, Deputy General Counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, also said in a statement Friday. “The Pledge of Allegiance isn’t a prayer, and reciting it doesn’t magically create an official state religion.”
CBN News February 4, 2015
The nuns run the Eternal Word Television Network, EWTN. Their case goes before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday.
They object to the Health and Human Services contraception mandate in Obamacare, which would force them to provide health insurance for drugs that may cause abortions.
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is representing the nuns in the case.
Read the full article here.
National Catholic Register February 4, 2015
“What the government is saying is that EWTN isn’t religious enough; it’s not entitled to the same religious freedom as the Catholic Church, which it serves,” Lori Windham, the lead attorney for EWTN and a senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, told the three-judge panel at the 11th Circuit.
Read the full article here.
Deseret News, February 2, 2015
So if you don’t live in Arkansas, you don’t wear a beard, and you’re not a prisoner, why does the Holt decision matter to you? If you care about religious freedom, Holt will help those defending it in the courts in at least three ways.
Read Becket Attorney, Hanna Smith’s full article here.
The American Spectator, January 29, 2015
Conflict between government regulation and religious activity arises when government regulation expands. Eric Rassbach, from the Becket Fund explains: New conflicts most frequently arise when the sphere of government activity expands: government seeks to exercise more comprehensive control over a field of human endeavor where religious people have already long been active. For example, the recent rash of litigation over the contraception mandate arose because the federal government sought to expand its control over the healthcare plans of religious organizations in a way it had never done before.
CNS News January 22, 2015
It is not often that the Supreme Court makes headlines for a unanimous ruling. We usually hear about it when they rule 5-4 on some controversial dispute. But last Tuesday, all 9 justices joined together and ruled in unison on a major issue. What was that issue? It was religious freedom for prison inmates.
Read the full article here.
Washington Post, January 20, 2015
It should also help the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which won both this case and Hobby Lobby, raise funds for such litigation.
Washington Post, January 20, 2015
Eric Rassbach from the Becket Fund — the public interest law firm that on Tuesday won the Holt v. Hobbs prisoner rights case — was kind enough to pass along his thoughts on what the case means for religious liberty more generally:
Reuters, January 20, 2015
Eric Rassbach, a lawyer for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a religious rights legal group that helped represent Holt, called the ruling “a huge win for religious freedom.”
“What the Supreme Court said today was that government officials cannot impose arbitrary restrictions on religious liberty just because they think government knows best,” Rassbach added.
CNN, January 20, 2015
“This is a huge win for religious freedom and for all Americans,” said Eric Rassbach, Deputy General Counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Freedom who was co-counsel in the case. “What the Supreme Court said today was that government officials cannot impose arbitrary restrictions on religious liberty just because they think government knows best.”
ABA Journal January 1, 2015
Luke Goodrich, deputy general counsel to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, believes there’s a “very serious constitutional issue” in this disparity. The fund plans to help defend McAllen.
“There’s a lot of dispute about what the establishment clause means these days, but one thing it clearly means is that the government doesn’t get to give licenses to the Episcopal Church to preach but not to the Baptist Church,” Goodrich says. “That’s basically what’s happening here.”
Though the fund also handled Hobby Lobby, Goodrich doesn’t believe that case was the key inMcAllen. He notes that the 5th Circuit made favorable RFRA rulings before Hobby Lobby on issues such as animal sacrifices in Santeria and Sikhs carrying knives to work.
Similarly, Goodrich believes the existence of secular exceptions to the acts covering eagles and birds—for scientists, power plants and farmers—could be fatal to the government in McAllen. Indeed, the Interior Department recently allowed wind farms to obtain 30-year permits to kill eagles accidentally.
Read the full article here.
Associated Press, December 20, 2013
“This is an overwhelming victory for GuideStone and the nearly 200 plaintiffs in this class-action lawsuit,” attorney Adele Keim said in a statement. “Today’s ruling will allow hundreds of Baptist ministries to continue preaching the gospel and serving the poor this Christmas, without laboring under the threat of massive fines.”
Los Angeles Times December 13, 2014
The Washington, D.C.-based Becket Fund for Religious Liberty also has filed a brief asking the high court to vacate the decision by the appeals court. “Abercrombie should know that it can’t discriminate against people simply because they haven’t worn a sign that says, “Hey, I am religious,’” said Eric Baxter, senior counsel for the fund.
Read the full article here.
Deseret News National December 12, 2014
Eric Rassbach, deputy general counsel of The Becket Fund, a religious liberty law firm in Washington, told the Deseret News, “The anti-religious garb statute in Pennsylvania is an unconstitutional vestige of 19th century anti-Catholic bigotry. It was designed to keep Catholics out of public schools but now this bad law can be used to target other religious minorities such as Jews and Sikhs. Oregon did the right thing by repealing its anti-garb statute a few years ago; Pennsylvania should follow suit.”
Read the full article here.
NPR, December 12, 2013
“There’s a conflict between the way public accommodations laws have been designed in the past, and religious liberty, and free expression,” Rassbach argues. “Many activities surrounding weddings are expressive, because weddings themselves are symbolic expressions, ceremonies that have meaning.”
Hamodia News December 10, 2014
Eric Rassbach, deputy general counsel for the Washington-based Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty, felt that the court’s ruling set an important precedent for how secular democracies weigh the importance of protecting religious practice.
“The court recognized that there are values that are more important than others,” he told Hamodia. “There are, of course, limits on religious practice as well, but this places its protection very high on the list. Hopefully, it will be an example to other countries like Denmark that are legislating against shechitah, but I must say that I am skeptical of that.”
Read the full article here.
The Hill December 9, 2014
The firm launched in 1994, distinguishing itself from other legal shops concerned with religion by representing plaintiffs of all faiths.
The fund frequently touts its all-faith approach as a way to push back against critics who charge that the bulk of its time is spent defending conservative Christianity.
In addition to litigating familiar culture war fights — like the presence of “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance — the fund has defended the religious practices of Muslims, Sikhs and Native Americans.
Read the full article here.
National Catholic Register December 8,2014
who represented the Little Sisters during the oral arguments before the 10th Circuit, noted that the U.S. Supreme Court had already provided the Little Sisters with a Dec. 31, 2013 emergency injunction, when they faced a looming deadline for compliance with the mandate. “A year after losing at the Supreme Court, the government’s aggressive pursuit of the Little Sisters of the Poor continues. Untold millions of people have managed to get contraceptives without the involvement of nuns,” said Rienzi in a statement.
Read the full article here.
Boston Globe, December 8, 2013
The Greens, who are represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty (where I serve on the board of directors), have no conscientious objection to paying for most forms of contraceptives, but they do object on religious grounds to paying for drugs and devices that the government says may prevent implantation of a fertilized human egg. In the Greens’ view, this is an abortion, and it would be wrong for them to help it happen.
Los Angeles Times, December 5, 2013
The government and others argue that the Greens’ religious beliefs are irrelevant because they’ve freely chosen to enter the rough-and-tumble world of commerce and that, in any event, the exercise of religion is for individuals, not corporations. But Hobby Lobby’s lawyers at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty will be on solid ground when they explain to the court that both of these arguments are misguided.
Breitbart, December 4, 2014
For 175 years, the Little Sisters of the Poor have been inspired by their faith to take care of the elderly poor. But now the federal government wants them to choose between their faith and their ministry and is pushing hard in federal court to force them to decide. The stakes couldn’t be much higher for people who care about and enjoy religious liberty.
Read Becket Attorney, Daniel Blomberg’s full article here.
New York Post, November 29, 2013
In a brief filed this year, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty summed up Hobby Lobby’s predicament this way: “When the government threatens to ruin a family’s business unless they renounce their faith, the pressure placed on them is unmistakable. In other words, ‘Your business or your religion’ is just as effective a threat as ‘Your money or your life.’ ”
CNN, November 26, 2013
Kyle Duncan, general counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and lead lawyer for Hobby Lobby, called the Supreme Court decision to hear the case a “major step” for the Greens and their business, and “an important fight for Americans’ religious liberty.”
New York Times, November 26, 2013
Kyle Duncan, a lawyer with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents Hobby Lobby, said he was pleased that the justices had agreed to resolve the split among the federal appeals courts. “We hope the Supreme Court will vindicate the rights of family business owners,” he said.
National Journal, November 24, 2013
At the Becket Fund, Kristina Arriaga’s role is to “crystallize” legal concepts for the general public, she said.
Christianity Today, November 22, 2013
Most of the action has been on the for-profit side (43 cases and counting), where—out of the 38 lawsuits decided on the merits of their complaints—32 have secured temporary bans against the mandate’s enforcement and 6 have been denied, according to a helpful scorecard kept by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
USA Today, November 19, 2014
Joining the school district in its effort to have the lawsuit thrown out were lawyers for the Knights of Columbus, the American Legion, and the Becket Fund, a Washington, D.C., group that promotes religious freedom.
Roll Call, November 18, 2013
Adele Keim, legal counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said Hobby Lobby’s owners do not want to offer four drugs and devices in company health care plans: the emergency contraceptives Plan B and Ella and two types of intrauterine devices. The Becket Fund is representing the family businesses in the case.