SPECIFIC PRAYER REQUEST
Religious Liberty after Supreme Court’s Decision in Obergefell v. Hodges: Following the Supreme Court’s decision last week, Liberty Institute remains committed to defending every American’s fundamental right to religious liberty. No one should be punished because of his or her sincerely-held religious beliefs or refusing to act in violation of those beliefs. Please pray for the Liberty Institute attorneys and staff as we evaluate potential clients and cases, which have increased greatly in just the past few days following the Supreme Court’s recent decision.
CONTINUED PRAYER REQUESTS
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 month filed legal motions seeking summary judgment. 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, RGBSI, who unlawfully terminated him because of his religious beliefs. Last month, the EEOC issued a Right to Sue letter. Please pray for our attorneys as they work on Mr. Banks’ case.
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. Please pray for our attorneys as they work on the appeal.
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. Last month, the Court denied our request seeking to transfer the case to Collin County (where the prior lawsuit was heard). The case is now proceeding in court in Dallas County. 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. We are now working with the City to resolve the matter. Please pray for a successful resolution.
Eschliman v. Shaw Media – We filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC on behalf of Bob Eschliman, the former Newton Daily News editor-in–chief, against his former employer, Shaw Media, who unlawfully terminated him because of his religious beliefs. Earlier this month, the EEOC issued a Right to Sue letter. Please pray for our attorneys as they work on Mr. Eschliman’s matter.
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 continue praying 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. We recently received a Notice of Right to Sue letter from the Texas Workforce Commission. Please pray, specifically, for wisdom and guidance as our attorneys work on Mr. James’ legal action.
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. Please pray for favor as the Texas Supreme Court decides whether to accept this case for review.
Chaplain Wes Modder v. U.S. Navy – We are representing U.S. Navy Chaplain Wes Modder whom Navy officials are threatening with a career-ending punishment because of the faith-based views he expressed in private one-on-one counseling sessions with sailors and marines. Navy officials requested that Chaplain Modder be barred from promotion, fired from his job as chaplain, and brought before a military Board of Inquiry, where he could be forced out of the Navy. Modder is only months away from his twentieth anniversary of active military service. Please pray for wisdom as our legal team and volunteer attorneys represent Chaplain Modder.
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.
Prescott v. Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission & American Atheists v. Thompson – Along with the Attorney General of Oklahoma, we are defending the Oklahoma Ten Commandments’ display in two separate lawsuits. The ACLU is representing a group of plaintiffs who challenged this monument in state court. In October, the judge ruled that the Ten Commandments monument is constitutional in the state court matter. The ACLU appealed that ruling to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, who this week reversed the trial court holding the monument unconstitutional contrary to long-standing court precedent. We are filing an immediate motion for rehearing. The American Atheists had also filed a lawsuit in federal court. However, we filed a motion seeking to dismiss the matter, and the federal judge ruled in our favor for lack of standing. The opponents on that case have now appealed to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Please pray for the Oklahoma Supreme Court justices as they consider the motion for rehearing. Please also pray for our attorneys as they prepare for the federal court matter’s appeal to the Tenth Circuit.
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 60 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 about Liberty Institute's Religious Liberty Audits). Please pray for our attorneys as they work with ministry leaders throughout the country to ensure they are adequately protected and prepared.
Roman Catholic Diocese et al. v. City of Austin – At the end of last June, we received the Court’s order granting us victory in this case where we represent Austin area pregnancy resource centers challenging the constitutionality of an Austin ordinance that caused them to post a false and misleading sign outside their offices. The court declared the ordinance unconstitutional. The City did not appeal this decision. We are now in the process of seeking the recovery of the attorney’s fees incurred in this case. Please pray for favor as the Court considers our request for the recovery of our attorneys’ fees.
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. Please pray that the Court of Appeals will take the case, and also pray that Court will rule in favor of our client.
Trunk v. U.S. and Mt. Soledad Memorial Association – Our case defending the constitutionality of the historic Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial is now again before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Please pray for our attorneys as they work on this case and the judges of the Ninth Circuit as they consider our appeal.
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.
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.
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