Faith and Justice: "It is a risky step to interfere with the most intimate details of other people's lives while loudly claiming liberty for yourself."
Religious Freedom Restoration Act
The First Church of Cannabis filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the state of Indiana and city of Indianapolis, challenging state laws on possession and use of marijuana as infringing upon religious beliefs.
The complaint, filed in Marion County Circuit Court, contends that cannabis is the church's sacrament and its members believe marijuana "brings us closer to ourselves and others."
"We are taking legal action today to ensure love has no barriers in our land," said Bill Levin, Church of Cannabis founder, in front of the Indiana Statehouse.
Lawyers want the Supreme Court to reconsider a ruling that the archdiocese's cemetery trust fund is not shielded in bankruptcy court.
The religious rights of faith-based entities -- including the dioceses of Fort Worth and Beaumont, Texas, and the University of Dallas -- are not substantially burdened by the process to receive an accommodation from the federal government to avoid participating in a health care mandate for contraceptive coverage, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
At the Intersection: Christians are supposed to stand out. But how apart from the rest of the world can living out your faith cause you to be?
We say: The trouble with Indiana's religious freedom law is in how it was conceived. Instead of appeasing conservative voters, the law tossed a grenade into the community.
Indiana's Catholic bishops on Wednesday urged people to show mutual respect for one another and allow "the necessary dialogue" to take place to make sure no one in the state will face discrimination, "whether it is for their sexual orientation or for living their religious beliefs."
Remarking on the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signed into law March 26, they said it "appears to have divided the people of our state like few other issues in recent memory."
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence defended his state's new religious freedom law Sunday while refusing to say if it would allow discrimination against gays and lesbians.
Facing a rising tide of criticism and business boycotts against his state, Pence said he would consider a second law that "amplifies and clarifies" the first one but added, "We're not going to change the law."
The U.S. Senate on Wednesday voted to block consideration of a bill aimed at reversing the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and forcing businesses to provide contraceptive coverage for employees even if they object to it on religious grounds.
Known as the "Protect Women's Health From Corporate Interference Act of 2014," or S. 2578, the measure was co-written by Democratic Sens. Patty Murray of Washington and Mark Udall of Colorado. Murray introduced the bill July 9. The 56-43 vote fell four short of the 60 needed to move ahead on the bill.
Faith and Justice: The bishops are celebrating this decision as a victory for religious freedom, but it may be used against them by lower courts.