Influence

 the shape of leadership

Where Is the Supreme Court Going with Religious Freedom?

Eric Kniffin analyzes the results of four recent decisions

George P Wood on July 10, 2020

georgepwood

On June 15th of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, ruling that the prohibition of sex discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act extends to sexual orientation and gender identity as well. LGBT rights groups hailed the decision as a major victory, but churches and other faith-based organizations worried that it would impinge on their religious freedom.

In three cases since Bostock, however, the Supreme Court has vindicated religious freedom. Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue struck down that state’s (and by extension every other state’s) “Blaine Amendment.” Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania upheld an exemption from the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate based on religious or moral reasons. And Our Lady of Guadalupe v. Morrisey-Berru (in which the Assemblies of God was joined a friend-of-the-court brief) expanded the scope of the “ministerial exception.”

Given the divergent outcomes of these four cases—Bostock pulling one way, the three other cases pulling the other—many people are asking: Where is the Supreme Court heading with religious freedom?

That’s the question Eric Kniffin and I will discuss in this episode of the Influence Podcast. I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.

Eric Kniffin is a partner in the law firm of Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie, where he works in the Religious Institutions Practice Group. Before joining the firm, he worked as a trial attorney for the United States Department of ‎Justice, practicing in the Civil Rights Division. He also served as legal counsel for Becket Law, a leading religious freedom litigator.

This episode of the Influence Podcast is brought to you by My Healthy Church, distributors of Now What? for Kids.

Now What? for Kids booklets on salvation and baptism in the Holy Spirit give your team the answers they need to help kids connect and grow with God for a lifetime to come. Written for a leader or parent to walk through with a child, ages 9–12.

For more information about Now What? for Kids, visit MyHealthyChurch.com/NowWhat.

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