Cockfighting

A federal court in Louisiana dismissed Holy Fight Ministries’ suit challenging the state’s cockfighting ban. The group claimed cockfighting is an “essential part of their religious faith,” but the court ruled a “religious belief — no matter how sincerely held — does not act as an absolute shield against generally applicable laws.”

Read more

Law Firm Details Sexual Misconduct by Global Ministry Leader

Ravi Zacharias, who died in May after a high-profile career leading a global Christian ministry, engaged in sexual misconduct with massage therapists and carried on many amorous extramarital relationships via text message and email, according to a scathing, in-depth report from a law firm hired by the ministry.

Read more

Church Services

The Ninth Circuit enjoined California from enforcing against Harvest Rock Church, and its member churches, an attendance limit on indoor worship under Tier 2 and 3 of the state’s Covid-19-related “Blueprint for a Safer Economy.” The injunction doesn’t prevent the state from enforcing total prohibitions on indoor worship under Tier 1 or the restrictions on singing and chanting during indoor services.

Read more

Texas Church Massacre

A federal judge denied the federal government’s motion to dismiss claims against it brought by the survivors of the mass shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas in 2017. In undertaking to establish a national background check system, the government assumed the duty to operate that system with care. Therefore, the survivors may sue over lapses that permitted the shooter to obtain the weapons he used to kill 26 people and injure 22 more.

Read more

Church Asks Ninth Circuit to Lift California’s Ban on Indoor Worship

A Ninth Circuit judge expressed concern Monday that California’s effort to curb Covid-19 transmission by banning all indoor religious gatherings could extend into the summer months or beyond if the pandemic worsens, further restricting people’s constitutional right to practice their religion.

Read more

Church Services

In a partial dissent of a briefing schedule order, Ninth Circuit Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain objects to the court’s failure to accommodate Harvest Rock Church’s request for relief from California’s Covid-19 restrictions on indoor worship services by Dec. 24. O’Scannlain said the court should have “granted the church at least the temporary relief it needs to ensure that its members can exercise freely the fundamental right to practice their Christian religion on one of the most sacred Christian days of the year.”

Read more