Our Constitution and laws guarantee Americans the right not just to believe as they see fit, but to freely exercise their religion. Unfortunately, not all have recognized the importance of religious freedom, whether by threatening tax consequences for particular forms of religious speech, or forcing people to comply with laws that violate their core religious beliefs without sufficient justification. These incursions, little by little, can destroy the fundamental freedom underlying our democracy. Therefore, soon after taking office, I addressed these issues in an Executive Order that helps ensure Americans are able to follow their consciences without undue Government interference and the Department of Justice has issued guidance to Federal agencies regarding their compliance with laws that protect religious freedom. No American — whether a nun, nurse, baker, or business owner — should be forced to choose between the tenets of faith or adherence to the law.
Beaucaire, in the south of France, has become the latest fault line in a battle over the place of Islam in a staunchly secular society. On the day school started back after the holiday break, Julien Sanchez, the town’s 34-year-old mayor — and a member of the far-right National Front — outlawed alternatives to pork in school cafeterias, insisting that religious exceptions to the menu violate France’s vaunted Republican principles.
For many, his message was clear: Being French means eating pork, Muslims (and Jews) be damned. Unsurprisingly, outrage immediately ensued from virtually every corner of society: parents, the local opposition, Muslim leaders and even the French government.
The government does not contend that Dr. Nagarwala or Dr. Attar sought or obtained any libidinal gratification from subjecting the minor victims to FGM.... In short, while the indictment may sufficiently allege a violation of the FGM statute – the statute adopted by Congress to address precisely such genital cutting – it does not allege that defendants transported minors intending that they engage in “sexual activity.”Detroit News reports on the decision.
The material the teacher distributed contained information taken from the website billionbibles.org, which makes “inaccurate and disparaging” statements about Islam and Muslims,” said Masih Fouladi, CAIR-LA’s advocacy manager.
The sheet of paper distributed by the teacher states Sharia Law, or Islamic religious law, gives Muslim men sexual rights over any woman or girl not wearing the hijab or head scarf; allows a man to marry an infant girl and consummate the marriage when she is 9; and requires Muslims to lie to non-Muslims to advance their faith.
“The main issue at hand with this incident of bullying is that the material was drawn from a website that is clearly intended to promote one religion at the expense of another,” Fouladi said. “This has no place in our public school system and is a clear violation of the First Amendment.”
When assessing the impugned statements in the present case, it is first of all important to bear in mind the general background of the ongoing political debate in which both statements were made.
... Both B.K.’s speech and the applicant organisation’s article concerned a topic of intense public debate in Switzerland at the material time, which was the popular initiative against the construction of minarets, which was widely reported on in national and international media. The initiative, calling for a ban on the construction of minarets, was ultimately accepted by a referendum on 29 November 2009 and such a ban was included in the Swiss Constitution....
The Court reiterates that a distinction has to be made between private individuals and persons acting in a public context, as political or public figures. Accordingly, whilst a private individual unknown to the public may claim particular protection of his or her right to private life, the same is not true of public figures....
... B.K. had willingly exposed himself to public scrutiny by stating his political views and therefore had to show a higher degree of tolerance towards potential criticism of his statements by persons or organisations which did not share his views.A Chamber Judgment may be appealed to the Grand Chamber. the Court issued a press release summarizing the decision. Law & Religion UK has more on the case.
Both the job and the organization's core mandate respect individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as other rights. These include reproductive rights, and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.
During the Forest Fair, an annual Girdwood summer festival that celebrates tie-dye, home-spun crafts and public hula-hooping, signs posted on the tall trees alert visitors to three main rules: "No dogs, no politics, no religious orders."
But one of those rules, a doctrine of the fair for more than four decades, now faces a legal challenge. Last week, two evangelical Christians, one of whom is a well-known activist, filed a lawsuit in federal court saying the ban on "religious orders" infringes on their constitutional right to free speech....The two plaintiffs say they were told that they could not continue to proselytize and distribute literature in the park where the festival is held. They were required to move to sidewalks outside the park to distribute their gospel tracts. [Thanks to Jeff Pasek for the lead.]
If, then, there is some explanation that will absolve the University from the charge of playing fast and loose with the courts or mitigate to some degree its blame, we urge you to provide it.
If there is not, then the matter seems to us to be quite serious enough to demand the attention of the Fellows and the Board of Trustees. It will be bought to their attention in due course. Remedial action should be taken, an accounting given to the Notre Dame community, and thoughtful consideration given to how amends might be made to the courts....
Finally, though we hope it does not come to it, Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure does provide a means for federal courts to determine if there have been misrepresentations by litigants and, if so, what to do about it. A court can invoke the procedure on its own initiative. Given the wide publicity accorded the university's turnabout, Court of Appeals judges... might think a Rule 11 hearing appropriate.