Resources & Blog

Recent Articles & Resources

Two recent decisions on invocational prayer before local government Board meetings, filed in March of 2013, came out in opposite directions, but give some insight into the legal principles involved in determining whether Boards can properly sponsor a formal prayer before meetings. In Hudson v. Pittsylvania County, the federal district court for the Western District of Virginia issued an injunction against the prayers being offered. In Atheists of Florida v. City of Lakeland, the Eleventh Circuit found no constitutional violation. Different courts on different days, or consistent underlying principles?

Retaliation or whistle-blower lawsuits are the hottest thing in employment litigation, and missions should be aware of this. Good policies are important.  Missions should encourage internal reporting of the violation of these policies, and have a well-defined investigation process. Leaders should also know how to avoid issues with retaliation, including how to deal with troublemakers.

The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) makes the government meet a very tough standard for a land use regulation that imposes a substantial burden on religious exercise, including for churches. Obviously an important initial question is whether the regulation does impose a substantial burden. A Fourth Circuit case issued January 31, 2013, Bethel World Outreach Ministries v. Montgomery County Council, develops the “substantial burden” standard in a way that may help other churches facing zoning issues.

Therapeutic processes and legal processes are different. Certain things are appropriate in the therapeutic process that are not acceptable in a legal process. Absolute factual accuracy is not the primary goal of therapy. In the world of an investigation, with livelihood and organizational survival on the line, impartial factual accuracy is very important.  

Trauma from child sexual abuse presents itself in surprising ways. These ways are important to understand in order to help heal children. We appear to have a window of time in which to care for and heal children before their lives are ravaged by the sexual abuse they experienced. 

A group of eight Muslim men detained in the aftermath of 9/11 filed claims against a number of government officials in a case called Turkmen v. Ashcroft, including then-Attorney General John Ashcroft from the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Director of the FBI, the Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), and personnel at the detention center where they were held. Ultimately, the Muslim men were charged with immigration violations, but not terrorism.

Although there are many lessons from the Catholic sexual abuse scandal, the largest lesson may be how easy it is for an organization to fail to act appropriately when there are allegations. 

We’ve learned a lot from the Catholic sexual abuse scandal about good practices on preventing child abuse and investigating allegations. We’ve also learned a lot about how sexual abuse litigation works. You might say litigation is the worst case scenario for the organization when child protection issues haven't been adequately addressed. 

Must public education be free from all religion? Should parents who want Biblical education pay twice but - once, through taxes for public school, and again for a private school with their values? The Freedom From Religion Foundation staged another attack on a school released-time policy. The FFRF insists that the plan is “granting special treatment to attend select evangelical Christian education courses,” and that violates the Constitution.

I see this kind of crazy reality which says if you apologize for something, you are admitting responsibility, and you could be legally liable. Is there a way to apologize?