City of Dallas v. Congregation Toras Chaim – The City of Dallas has brought a lawsuit against Congregation Toras Chaim, a small Orthodox Jewish community in north Dallas. Earlier this year, this same group of Jewish families won a lawsuit filed by a disgruntled neighbor to keep the small community from meeting in a private home for prayer, worship and religious study. We have filed a counter-lawsuit against the City. The case is in the pre-trial stage. Please pray for our attorneys as we defend this Jewish congregation.
Cornerstone Church v. Town of Bayview (TX) – We represent Cornerstone Church by the Bay, its pastor Hamilton Musser, and Laguna Madre Christian Academy in a lawsuit against the Town of Bayview, Texas for enacting an illegal zoning ordinance prohibiting the church and religious school from operating on its own property. The Court granted our request for a preliminary injunction late last year. A status conference was held in August and we were able to agree on a plan. Please continue to pray for a successful resolution of this case. Specifically, please pray the town’s requests to our client be reasonable and fair, and that the town approves the church’s special use permit so they can legally exist.
Religious Liberty Audits for Churches and Ministries – In 2014, Liberty Institute began a new initiative to protect religious ministries from future legal attacks. We are currently helping over 75 churches and ministries. We just recently released a new web page with information to assist churches in protecting against attacks; CLICK HERE to learn more. Please pray for our attorneys as they work with ministry leaders throughout the country to ensure they are adequately protected and prepared.
Sterling, Monifa v. U.S. Marines – We are representing Lance Corporal (LCpl) Monifa Sterling, USMC, a Christian Marine who was court-martialed for displaying a Bible verse on her computer screen. At her trial, she invoked the First Amendment and RFRA, but the court said RFRA did not apply because displaying a Bible verse did not constitute a “religious exercise.” We are appealing Sterling’s case to the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF), which is the highest court in the military, with cases subject to SCOTUS review. We learned in late October that the CAAF granted review of this case and we expect the Court to hear argument early next year. Please pray for our attorneys as they work on appellate briefing and prepare for oral argument.
American Humanists Association v. Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission – We are representing The American Legion in this case attacking the Bladensburg (MD) World War I Veterans Memorial. In a lawsuit filed last year, the American Humanists are challenging the constitutionality of this historic veterans memorial. On behalf of The American Legion, we intervened into this case and earlier this summer filed legal motions seeking summary judgment. Briefing is now complete. Please pray for our attorneys as they continue to work on this case and for the judge as she considers our motion for summary judgment.
Banks v. Ford Motor Company and RGBSI - We filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC on behalf of Tom Banks against his former employers, Ford Motor Company and Ford contractor, RGSMI, who unlawfully terminated him because of his religious beliefs. In July, we filed our lawsuit. The case is in the pre-trial stage. Please pray for Mr. Banks’ case as we proceed with the litigation.
Christian and Missionary Alliance Foundation, Inc., et al. v. Burwell – We are representing four CMA retirement communities and two CMA colleges in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the HHS Abortion Pill Mandate in federal court in Fort Myers, Florida. Earlier this year, the Court granted our request for a preliminary injunction prohibiting enforcement of the mandate. The federal government is appealing that decision. In August, on behalf of our clients, we filed a friend of the court brief at the U.S. Supreme Court in support of other faith-based organizations that are challenging the Mandate. Please pray for our attorneys as they work on the appeal.
“In God We Trust” – Threats and deadly violence against law enforcement officers have become disturbingly more frequent, and in response, many police chiefs and sheriffs across America have opted to place decals of the nation’s motto—“In God We Trust”—prominently on their cruisers to boost patriotism. Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) complained, sending letters to various police chiefs and sheriffs around the country who had chosen to display the national motto on their vehicles. At this time, Liberty Institute has been retained by several police chiefs and sheriffs. Please pray for our attorneys as they provide advice and counsel to sheriffs and police departments across the country.
Insight for Living Ministries v. Burwell – We filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the HHS Abortion Pill Mandate in federal court in the Eastern District of Texas representing Pastor Chuck Swindoll’s international Bible teaching ministry. In November, the federal district court granted a preliminary injunction prohibiting the federal government’s enforcement of the HHS Abortion Pill Mandate. The government is appealing this decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Please pray as we work on the appeal.
James v. Fox Sports – Please pray for our legal matter representing Craig James against his former employer, Fox Sports, who terminated him because of his views concerning marriage. Mr. James, a former college and NFL star and sports broadcaster, was terminated from his on-air position at Fox Sports Southwest because of his religious beliefs. Fox Sports terminated James because of views he expressed during a U.S. Senate debate regarding traditional marriage that Mr. James made prior to beginning work at Fox Sports Southwest. In August, we filed a lawsuit in Dallas County. The case is in the pre-trial stage. Fox Sports has filed a motion to dismiss the case. Please pray for our attorneys as they work on Mr. James’ response to the motion to dismiss.
Lund v. Rowan County, NC - On this appeal, we are representing the County, who earlier this year had a federal district court judge declare unconstitutional the County’s practice of opening their meetings in prayer by individual county commissioners. In July, we filed an appeal of that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Fourth Circuit. Please pray as we and our volunteer attorneys work on the appeal.
Walsh v. State of Georgia – We filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC on behalf of Dr. Eric Walsh against his former employer, the State of Georgia Department of Public Health, who unlawfully terminated him because of his religious beliefs. Please pray for favor with the EEOC as they investigate this claim.
Coach Joe Kennedy v. Bremerton School District – In September 2015, Bremerton High School in Washington State ordered football Coach Joe Kennedy to stop his seven-year practice of speaking a personal prayer at the 50-yard line after every game. On October 28, Bremerton School District suspended Coach Kennedy. Please pray as we proceed with legal proceedings against Bremerton School District.
Matthews v. Kountze ISD – We filed a petition asking the Supreme Court of Texas to protect the religious liberty and free speech rights of the Kountze cheerleaders and guarantee their right to display religious messages on run-through banners at Kountze ISD sporting events. The Supreme Court has requested further briefing. In September Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an amicus brief on behalf of the State of Texas in support of our clients. Please pray for favor as the Texas Supreme Court decides whether to accept this case for review.
Morgan v. Plano ISD – The “candy cane” case is back in the federal district court (after several trips to the 5th Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court). We are now proceeding with discovery on our claims against the school district for violating the constitutional rights of our clients. Please pray for our attorneys as we work on this case and seek a final resolution in case that has been pending for almost ten years.
Tutka v. Phillipsburg (NJ) School District – In December, we received a Final Determination letter from the EEOC stating that our client, Walt Tutka, was indeed discriminated against by his former employer, a school district in New Jersey. The school district fired Mr. Tutka, a teacher, for handing a student a Bible, who had requested it. Praise God for the victory in that the EEOC found the matter in favor of our client. Please now pray for final resolution of this matter as the federal government considers an enforcement action against the school district.
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