LEGAL SERVICES

We provide legal services to those suffering religious discrimination, regardless of your religious belief or affiliation. We especially seek those willing to advance the law by making a long term commitment to engaging in trials and appeals. This is known as “impact litigation” because it helps to change, and hopefully strengthen the law.

We can  also provide referrals. For more information, or to obtain help, click here.

Home » Archives » News Archives » 2012

2012 News Archives

August 29, 2013

SB 323

A California bill that could strip tax-exempt status from Little League, the Boy Scouts of America and other “discriminatory” nonprofit youth-serving groups could come up for a final vote this week. Some of you that attended our lobby day will remember it as we lobbied on this bill back in April. Click here to read the Washington Times article that our Executive Director, Alan J. Reinach, Esq. was interviewed for. READ MORE

January 10, 2013

Adventist attorney to be awarded the Diamond Jubilee Medal

We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Barry Bussey, a Canadian Adventist attorney, who will be awarded the Diamond Jubilee Medal for his involvement in the religious liberty work in Canada and internationally. The award ceremony will be on January 30 at the House of Commons, Parliament Hill, Ottawa. Barry has served as the Adventist Church's liaison to the US government on Capitol Hill and is now the Vice President for Legal Affairs for the Canadian Counsel of Christian Charities. READ MORE

January 10, 2013

EEOC Settles Seventh Day Adventist Religious Discrimination Suit

A Birmingham, Alabama-based manufacturing company has agreed to pay $25,000 to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for allegedly refusing to hire a Seventh Day Adventist, the agency said. READ MORE

January 10, 2013

Ariz. divorce case hits snag after marriage's validity questioned because husband gave birth

An Arizona couple seeking a divorce hit an unusual snag that could prevent the marriage from legally being dissolved. READ MORE

January 3, 2013

Chicago cardinal leads new fight against gay marriage

(RNS) Chicago Cardinal Francis George has launched a last-ditch campaign to convince the lame-duck Illinois legislature not to legalize same-sex marriage, saying that government “has no power to create something that nature itself tells us is impossible.” READ MORE

January 3, 2013

Iranian Pastor Nadarkhani Returned to Prison on Christmas Day

Church of Iran pastor Yousef Nadarkhani was returned to prison on Christmas Day to complete the remainder of his three-year sentence—that is, 45 days of it. READ MORE

January 2, 2013

Assemblymember Mariko Yamada speaks with student organization at Pacific Union College

Assemblymember Mariko Yamada, sponsor of AB 1964, spoke about her public service and answered students’ questions at an event sponsored by the College Democrats student organization at Pacific Union College on Friday, September 12, 2012. READ MORE

December 21, 2012

Murdoch Tried to Buy US Presidency

The Church State Council is the Public Affairs & Religious Liberty ministry arm of the Adventist Church in the southwest. Most of the articles we post specifically address religious freedom issues. Occasionally, a significant issue arises in the public affairs arena that has no direct connection with religious freedom, but deserves a wider audience. The article below fits the bill. Many American Christians rely on Fox News for their insight into public affairs, and should be encouraged to understand the values and goals that drive this company. READ MORE

December 20, 2012

Obama administration's abortion/contraception mandate

WASHINGTON (BP) -- A federal appeals court has delivered an important victory to religious nonprofit organizations that oppose the Obama administration's abortion/contraception mandate READ MORE

December 20, 2012

CBS special looks at religious freedom, diversity, threats

This show looks at new challenges facing our country when it comes to religious minorities and their rights as citizens to practice their faith with dignity and without fear READ MORE

December 20, 2012

Federal jury sides with Ariz. jail in dispute over beard

PHOENIX — A federal jury has ruled the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office didn’t discriminate against a Muslim man who claims he lost his job as a jail detention officer over a dispute about his beard. READ MORE

December 12, 2012

Miami-Dade Commission reinstitutes prayer before meetings

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida said a lawsuit was ‘inevitable’ after commissioners voted to replace the current moment of silence with a prayer. READ MORE

December 12, 2012

Capital High School morning observance policy gets changed

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Capital High School is changing its policy so students will no longer be required to stand for the playing of the national anthem, pledge or anything else played over the loudspeaker during morning observances. READ MORE

December 12, 2012

2 Minn. preachers win access to holiday tour of lights

Federal judge issues emergency order allowing men inside event at Bayfront Park; Duluth officials had sought to restrict them to First Amendment zone. READ MORE

December 12, 2012

‘Gay-conversion therapy’: Is it speech or conduct?

Two opposing federal rulings on new California law prohibiting sexual-orientation change therapy for minors illustrate important distinction in First Amendment cases. READ MORE

December 3, 2012

NEW PBS DOCUMENTARY “FIRST FREEDOM”

“FIRST FREEDOM: The Fight for Religious Liberty” is a 90-minute documentary that examines how the most basic of human freedoms — freedom of conscience — was codified for the first time in human history by America’s Founding Fathers as an inalienable human right protected by law, instigating a landmark and lasting shift in human history. READ MORE

November 26, 2012

Politicking From the Pulpit and the Tax Man

Consider it a refreshing postelection case of strange bedfellows. For four years, a Christian group called the Alliance Defending Freedom has tried to get courts to review a law that prohibits churches from electioneering. READ MORE

November 26, 2012

Day of Prayer

On December 1, join the Seventh-day Adventist world church in a day of prayer and fasting for two Adventists imprisoned in Togo. Pastor Antonio Monteiro and church member Bruno Amah have been falsely detained for eight months. Even though there is no evidence of guilt, the men have been held without hope of bail or a trial. This December 1, Adventists around the world are gathering for a day of prayer and fasting for the safety of the men and their families and a speedy release from prison. To listen to Freedom's Ring interview with Attorney Todd McFarland, Associate General Counsel for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, go to http://www.churchstate.org/index.php?id=49. The interview is scheduled to air on December 8, 2012. READ MORE

November 14, 2012

Mount Rubidoux: Riverside (and California) history in the crosshairs

For Sale? A piece of Riverside and California history: Serra cross (replacement of 1907 original), Father Junipero Serra plaque (right) dedicated by President Taft, plaque commemorating Easter sunrise service (center), the oldest in U.S. Not shown: Plaque commemorating 1907 dedication of the Serra Cross. City fears lawsuit. Everything must go! READ MORE

November 14, 2012

U.N. report: The most troubling violation of human rights

Restrictions on religious conversion have “become a human rights problem of great concern,” according to the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief. READ MORE

November 14, 2012

Prominent Atheists Lash Out at DNC’s Reinstatement of ‘God’

Prominent Atheists Lash Out at DNC’s Reinstatement of ‘God’: ‘Precisely What Our Founders Aimed to Avoid’ READ MORE

November 14, 2012

AB 1964

Religious Dress and Grooming (AB 1964). AB 1964 amends the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and states that an employer cannot discriminate against an employee or applicant based on religious dress and grooming practices that are expressions of religious belief or observance. READ MORE

November 14, 2012

Catholic Church and Obama Care

Cardinal Dolan, the nation's top bishop, made clear that the Roman Catholic church will not comply with the Obama administration requirement regarding contraception coverage and will continue to fight it. READ MORE

November 8, 2012

Mich. company wins round in dispute over contraception mandate

DETROIT — A Detroit-area company challenging the federal health-care law’s mandated contraception coverage won an early round in its lawsuit against the Obama administration. READ MORE

November 8, 2012

Calif. district allows Sikh students to carry religious daggers

JURUPA VALLEY, Calif. — A Southern California school district is allowing some Sikh students to carry an article of their faith — a dagger-like blade called a kirpan. READ MORE

November 7, 2012

Citizens For Responsibility And Ethics In Wahington (CREW) Asks IRS To Probe Catholic Bishops

A public watchdog group is charging the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops with openly politicking on behalf of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and it wants the Internal Revenue Service to explore revoking the hierarchy's tax-exempt status. READ MORE

November 7, 2012

Same-Sex Marriage Wins on the Ballot for the First Time in American History

In this year's general election, four states' ballots offered voters an opportunity to weigh in on marriage rights for same-sex couples READ MORE

November 2, 2012

Soldiers were discriminated, discharged for religious reasons

The soldiers were reportedly discriminated against and discharged because of their religious beliefs as Seventh-day Adventists READ MORE

November 1, 2012

Indiana town set to sell land with large cross

On Nov. 5, the Dugger Town Council will sell the small piece of land that has been the center of controversy since July. The highest bidder will not only receive real estate that welcomes Indiana 54 travelers into the town’s west side, they will also get a near three-story cross that proclaims “Jesus Saves.” READ MORE

November 1, 2012

Ky. high court upholds Amish men’s convictions under old law

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Kentucky Supreme Court yesterday upheld a state law that required a conservative Amish group to post orange safety symbols on horse-drawn buggies, but the General Assembly has since changed the law to accommodate religious objections to the bright triangle. READ MORE

November 1, 2012

Ex-church pianist covered by ministerial exception

The former music director of a Catholic Church in Austin, Texas, had his employment discrimination suit rejected by a federal appeals court, because the court determined he qualified as a “minister” within the meaning of the “ministerial exception” legal concept READ MORE

October 25, 2012

Adventist Pastor Jailed in Togo on “Dubious” Charges

Seventh-day Adventist lawyers and human rights advocates are calling for the immediate release of an Adventist pastor imprisoned in Togo on what they say are spurious charges. READ MORE

October 11, 2012

Preaching Politics from the Pulpit

During every election cycle, some churches and other religious groups wonder what role, if any, they can play in the political process. This guide explains the IRS limits on political activity by tax-exempt organizations, including religious ones. READ MORE

October 11, 2012

Fla. ballot initiative stirs school-voucher debate

Backers say proposed constitutional amendment has nothing to do with using tax dollars to pay for students to attend private schools, but opponents say it’s a veiled effort to get vouchers approved. READ MORE

October 11, 2012

Fla. school erred in barring Easter fliers, judge says

Tampa Bay Times: U.S. magistrate judge rules that denying a fourth-grader permission to hand out invitations to an Easter-egg hunt violated his First Amendment rights. READ MORE

October 10, 2012

AB 2203

AB 2203 would have been detrimental to the right of parents to protect their children by coercively lowering the compulsory education age from 6 to 5 years of age, in effect making kindergarten mandatory. This bill is similar to, but different from AB 1772 READ MORE

October 1, 2012

Rising Tide of Restrictions on Religion

This is the third in a series of reports by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life analyzing the extent to which governments and societies around the world impinge on religious beliefs and practices. READ MORE

September 28, 2012

Southern Baptist Teacher Cheryll Harvey Killed in Irbid, Jordan

IRBID, Jordan (BP) -- A warm breeze whips sand around cars creeping down the main street of Irbid, Jordan. A man gestures to catch the attention of a carload of Americans, then lays his hand over his heart. He knows there is only one place they can be going. It seems the whole city is mourning the death of Southern Baptist representative Cheryll Harvey. READ MORE

September 20, 2012

Celebrating AB1964, California’s new religious freedom law

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill providing workers in his state the nation’s strongest protections against religious discrimination. Spearheaded by Sikhs, AB1964—the Workplace Religious Freedom Act—guarantees equal employment opportunity to millions of Californians, regardless of their religion. READ MORE

September 10, 2012

Bill protects religious garb, grooming in the workplace

Under AB 1964 signed by Gov. Brown, California employers face new restrictions against shunting Sikh and Muslim workers out of public view for wearing turbans, beards and hijabs. READ MORE

September 10, 2012

Comments from Alan J. Reinach, Esq on signing of AB 1964

“AB 1964 will send a clear signal to companies that they have to provide religious accommodation to their workers,” concludes Alan J. Reinach, Esq. “Hopefully, fewer Californians will lose their jobs, and Seventh-day Adventists will be more secure in their right to keep holy the Sabbath day.” READ MORE

September 10, 2012

VICTORY - AB 1964 Signed by Governor Brown

“This bill is dedicated to all those who have suffered the indignities of ignorance and discrimination in the workplace because of the tenets of their faith,” stated Assemblymember Yamada. “No longer will it be legal to segregate a worker from public view because their appearance did not fit a corporate image.” READ MORE

September 4, 2012

Yamada’s Workplace Religious Freedom Act of 2012 On Governor’s Desk

SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, Assemblymember Mariko Yamada (D-Davis) announced that AB 1964, the Workplace Religious Freedom Act (WRFA) of 2012 is on the Governor’s desk. The final vote on the measure was on August 29 when the Assembly concurred in Senate Amendments with strong bipartisan support, 74-4. READ MORE

September 4, 2012

‘American Taliban’ seeks group prayer in Ind. prison

INDIANAPOLIS — An American-born Taliban fighter imprisoned in Indiana will try to convince a federal judge in a trial starting today that his religious freedom trumps security concerns. READ MORE

September 4, 2012

Biometric identification and tracking

Currently state identification and social security cards are the norm for identification. However, biometric identification programs—such as the Next Generation Identification (NGI) initiative—would make it so that the body itself would become the identification. READ MORE

September 4, 2012

AB 1964 Update

AB 1964 passed the Senate and the Assembly and now will be going to the Governor to sign. READ MORE

August 23, 2012

"Make a Stand! Lemonade: The Sweet Taste of Freedom."

One little girl in California has figured out the key to success when it comes to lemonade stands. She recently raised $30,000. Harr wants to help stop human trafficking and slavery. READ MORE

August 15, 2012

Alabaster Seventh-Day Adventists File Suit Over Door-To-Door Solicitations

Alabaster Seventhday Adventist BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (RNS) Seventh-day Adventists have filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of two ordinances in an Alabama city that the church says bars it and other religious groups from door-to-door solicitations unless they first register and pay license fees. READ MORE

August 15, 2012

Disney says Muslim woman had options in head scarf dispute

Disney officials say they presented "multiple options" to accommodate the religious beliefs of a Muslim woman who is now suing the entertainment giant and claims she unfairly lost her job at a Disneyland Resort café after refusing to remove her head scarf at work READ MORE

August 14, 2012

Ab 1964 Update

The bill was scheduled to be heard on Monday August 6th in the Senate Appropriations Committee. This did not happen. This means that our bill has minimal fiscal cost and it now moves directly to the Senate Floor within the next week or so. Then on to the Governor’s office for his signature READ MORE

August 8, 2012

Sikh Temple Shooting Victims Described By Families And Friends

MILWAUKEE -- A religious leader willing to do anything for his beloved, tight-knit Sikh community. READ MORE

August 6, 2012

DON’T JUST MOURN ANTI-RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE! SHOW YOUR OUTRAGE

DON’T JUST MOURN ANTI-RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE! SHOW YOUR OUTRAGE BY URGING YOUR CALIFORNIA STATE SENATOR TO VOTE FOR AB 1964—THE WORKPLACE RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ACT READ MORE

August 1, 2012

Legislative Update

Constituent phone calls and emails have been heard. To date AB 1964 has successfully passed though four committees with very little opposition. READ MORE

July 9, 2012

Iranian ayatollah promises Russian Church to solicit pardon for convicted pastor

Iran will probably pardon Protestant pastor Jusef Nadarkhani, sentenced to death for his recantation of Islam and coming to Christianity READ MORE

July 9, 2012

Jail 'em - Don't pay, go to Jail!

CHILDERSBURG, Ala. — Three years ago, Gina Ray, who is now 31 and unemployed, was fined $179 for speeding. She failed to show up at court (she says the ticket bore the wrong date), so her license was revoked. READ MORE

June 27, 2012

Yamada’s Workplace Religious Freedom Act of 2012 Advances

SACRAMENTO, CA – Assemblymember Mariko Yamada (D – Davis) was joined today by representatives from the interfaith and civil rights community as AB 1964, the Workplace Religious Freedom Act of 2012, passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. AB 1964 strengthens the religious accommodation standard under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), and ensures that employees need not make a choice between the observance of their faith and keeping their jobs. READ MORE

June 26, 2012

Victory for California Independent Colleges and Universities (ICCU).

On Wednesday, June 27, the Legislature will vote on a revised spending plan with the following changes to the Cal Grant program for students enrolled at ICCU institutions: READ MORE

June 25, 2012

Hasidic Jew Fired From NYPD Over Beard Length

An Orthodox Jew who was weeks away from becoming a New York City police officer said he has been kicked out of the police academy for refusing to trim his beard. READ MORE

June 21, 2012

AB 1964 Postponed

Vote has been postponed until June 26, so there is still time to act! READ MORE

June 12, 2012

Assemblymember Yamada’s Workplace Religious Freedom Act of 2012 Passed by the State Assembly

SACRAMENTO, CA – Today Assemblymember Mariko Yamada (D – Davis) presented AB 1964, the Workplace Religious Freedom Act of 2012, on the floor of the State Assembly. AB 1964 clarifies the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to ensure that religion receives equal protection under law. AB 1964 passed out off the Assembly Floor with strong bipartisan support and now moves to the State Senate. READ MORE

May 30, 2012

Workplace Religious Freedom Act Passed by the Sate Assembly

SACRAMENTO, CA – Today Assemblymember Mariko Yamada (D – Davis) presented AB 1964, the Workplace Religious Freedom Act of 2012, on the floor of the State Assembly. AB 1964 clarifies the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to ensure that religion receives equal protection under law. AB 1964 passed out off the Assembly Floor with strong bipartisan support and now moves to the State Senate. READ MORE

May 21, 2012

Federal judge: Terror law violates 1st Amendment

A judge on Wednesday struck down a portion of a law giving the government wide powers to regulate the detention, interrogation and prosecution of suspected terrorists, saying it left journalists, scholars and political activists facing the prospect of indefinite detention for exercising First Amendment rights. READ MORE

May 21, 2012

Iranian rapper expected his song calling on a Shiite saint to save Iran to stir up controversy

Mr. Najafi says he doesn't regret the song and refuses to apologize, arguing that invoking a saint's name is a freedom of expression and not a religious insult READ MORE

May 17, 2012

Religious freedom festival in Indonesia recognizes government, faith leaders

A recent festival of religious freedom cements the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Indonesia as a leading proponent of free expression of religion in the country. READ MORE

April 30, 2012

SPECIAL WORLD CONGRESS EDITION - APRIL 27, 2012

'The end of the 7th World congress is really a beginning,’ says IRLA president READ MORE

April 30, 2012

Special World Congress Edition

The reading of the Resolutions of the 7th World Congress this afternoon was greeted with a standing ovation from attendees. READ MORE

April 30, 2012

7th World Congress - 'basic to all human rights'

"We're here today, because we believe that freedom of religion is basic to all human rights." READ MORE

April 30, 2012

7th World Congress - Special Edition

More than 800 people from around the world traveled to Punta Cana to attend the 7th World Congress. READ MORE

April 24, 2012

Church State Council Legislative Update!

Thanks in no small measure to your phone calls, emails and letters, a bill to strengthen laws requiring employers to provide religious accommodation for workers passed with strong bi partisan support in the Assembly Judiciary Committee today. READ MORE

April 24, 2012

Torturer’s Apprentice

Torturer’s Apprentice - Magazine - The Atlantic READ MORE

April 23, 2012

A Global Assault On Religious Liberty

A Global Assault On Religious Liberty + Comment now By Doug Bandow Dictators have been falling in the Middle East, but that doesn’t mean freedom is inevitably expanding. Unfortunately, the Arab Spring has turned into something far different than hoped. Especially for religious minorities. READ MORE

April 19, 2012

Workplace Religious Freedom Act of 2012 Clears First Policy Committee

SACRAMENTO, CA – Assemblymember Mariko Yamada (D – Davis) was joined by dozens of representatives from the interfaith community as she presented AB 1964 the Workplace Religious Freedom Act of 2012. READ MORE

March 13, 2012

Stuck In Arbitration

Compulsory arbitration deprives thousands of consumers and employees of their rights. The Church State Council has been repeatedly forced into arbitration on behalf of those suffering religious discrimination, and we have found such compulsory arbitration to be a uniquely unfair and unsatisfying procedure. The Civil Rights Act provisions outlawing religious discrimination in employment implement cherished First Amendment religious freedom. The article below provides a valuable contribution to understanding the issue of compulsory arbitration. READ MORE

March 7, 2012

Drones Over U.S. Get OK By Congress

Look! Up in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? It’s … a drone, and it’s watching you. That’s what privacy advocates fear from a bill Congress passed this week to make it easier for the government to fly unmanned spy planes in U.S. airspace. READ MORE

March 7, 2012

Holder Spells Out Why Drones Target U.S. Citizens

By Carrie Johnson. It's one of the most serious actions the U.S. government could ever take: targeting one of its own citizens with lethal force. Since last year, U.S. drones have killed three Americans overseas. But Attorney General Eric Holder says the ongoing fight against al-Qaida means those kinds of deadly strikes are now a way of life. READ MORE

February 13, 2012

An Adventist Response to the U.S. Health and Human Services Contraception Insurance Regulation

What principles should guide the Adventist Church's response to the current debate in the United States about government-mandated health insurance coverage for contraception? The General Conference Public Affairs and Religious Liberty department, along with the Office of General Counsel, reviews some long-standing values that will help chart our course. READ MORE

February 11, 2012

Movie house as chapel: NYC congregations, evicted from schools, seek new space for worship

NEW YORK — Scores of religious congregations are scrounging for cheap space in New York City as they prepare to be evicted, on constitutional grounds, from rooms they've been renting at public schools. READ MORE

January 27, 2012

Court says student’s faith may have led to expulsion

A counseling student who declined to advise a gay client might have been expelled from her university because of her faith, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday (Jan. 27). READ MORE

January 27, 2012

Torturer’s Apprentice

The new science of interrogation is not, in fact, so new at all: “extraordinary rendition” and “enhanced interrogation” and “waterboarding” all spring directly from the practices of the medieval Roman Catholic Church. READ MORE

January 26, 2012

Same-Sex Marriage Bills Coming to State Legislatures

Same-sex marriage is back in the national spotlight this week as Maryland, New Jersey, and Washington are expected to vote on bills to legalize same-sex marriage. READ MORE

January 25, 2012

Arizona proposes school Bible course

PHOENIX — Arizona's public and charter high-school students soon could earn credit for learning about the influence of the Old Testament on art or how biblical references are found throughout literature. READ MORE

January 24, 2012

Mo Senate Debates Separation of Church and State

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOX) - A Senate proposal would allow state funding to go to religious institutions. The possibility is sparking debate over its impact on the separation of church and state. READ MORE

January 23, 2012

The President Should Speak Out Against Religious Persecution

On January 24, during his State of the Union Address, the president of the United States has a chance to expose the plight of religious minorities living in Muslim majority nations. Doing so would not only shed light on one of the most ignored humanitarian crises of the 21st century; it would help alleviate it. READ MORE