There are several “religious freedom” stories in the news this week.
The highest court in Massachusetts has agreed to hear a case that will decide the fate of the Pledge of Allegiance in the state's public schools. The American Humanist Association has filed a lawsuit that says the Pledge is a religious statement because it contains the words, "Under God". Oral arguments are expected early next year.
A pastor in Indiana will no longer be able to talk to students about God at public schools in Allen County.
John and Linda Bachanan, whose daughter attends a middle school in the district, claim that the youth pastor's actions violate the First Amendment. The couple says they do not want religion in their local public school.
But Matt Staver of the Liberty Counsel says the school can't exclude the pastor just because he is sharing a Christian message with students.
Staver says if the pastor is the only one that's excluded, he may well have a lawsuit against the school.
And finally, the U.S. government is urging a federal judge to deny a request by Hobby Lobby Stores to block enforcement of a new federal health care law. That’s because it requires employers to provide employee insurance coverage for the morning-after pill and similar drugs.
The arts and crafts supply chain filed a federal lawsuit claiming the mandate is unconstitutional and will force its owners to violate deeply held religious beliefs under threat of heavy fines.
Government attorneys say Hobby Lobby's owners, the Green family, cannot impose their religious beliefs on the company and its employees.
I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.