All Articles For Church and State

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Mr. Lanting, a member of South Holland Protestant Reformed Church, is a practicing attorney. “Defendant Nichols had the right, under the religious accommodation provision of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, to make a substituted charitable payment in lieu of joining or financially supporting the labor union.” Machinists & Aerospace Workers, Lodge 751 v. Boeing, 662 F.Supp. 1069 (1986). In the past, many evangelical churches condemned labor union affiliation as incompatible with membership in the church of Christ. But almost all denominations today, including most in the Reformed and Presbyterian tradition, have capitulated to “pew pressure” and quietly allow...

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Mr. Lanting, a member of South Holland Protestant Reformed Church, is a practicing attorney. “The abortion matter is not before us in the first instance, and coming as it does after nearly 20 years of litigation in Roe’s wake, we are satisfied that the immediate question is not the soundness of Roe’s resolution of the issue, but the precedential force that must be accorded to its holding. And we have concluded that the essential holding of Roe should be reaffirmed. Yet it must be remembered that Roe v. Wade speaks with clarity in establishing not only the woman’s liberty to...

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Mr. Lanting, a member of South Holland Protestant Reformed Church, is a practicing attorney. “Plaintiffs have failed to persuade us that the duty to prevent suicide (heretofore imposed only on psychiatrists and hospitals). . . should be extended to a nontherapist counselor who offers counseling to a potentially suicidal person on secular or spiritual matters. “  California Supreme Court,  Nally v. Grace Community Church, (Nov. 23, 1988). On April 1, 1979, Kenneth Nally, a 24-year-old seminary student suffering from chronic depression, committed suicide by shooting himself in the head with a shotgun. Soon thereafter his parents filed a “clergy malpractice”...

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Mr. Lanting, a member of South Holland Protestant Reformed Church, is a practicing attorney. Congress’ power extends only to “enforcing” the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment. Legislation such as the RFRA which alters the meaning of the Free Exercise Clause cannot be said to be enforcing the Clause. Congress does not enforce a constitutional right by changing what that right is. The courts retain the power to determine if Congress has exceeded its authority under the Constitution. Broad as the power of Congress is, the RFRA contradicts vital principles necessary to maintain separation of powers and the federal balance. Boerne...

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Mr. Lanting, a member of South Holland Protestant Reformed Church, is a practicing attorney. Congress Passes Significant Religious Freedom Law On November 16, 1993, at a White House ceremony largely ignored by the secular press, President Clinton signed into law the new Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Although the bill was supported by a smorgasbord of religious organizations of every stripe, it took almost two years of political maneuvering and debate before both houses of Congress agreed upon the final language of the federal statute. Church/state scholars and religious leaders have hailed the new law as a significant measure insuring...

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Mr. James Lanting, a member of South Holland Protestant Reformed Church, is a practicing attorney. We assume that the United States Constitution would grant a competent person a constitutionally protected right to refuse lifesaving hydration and nutrition. [Majority opinion, Cruzan v. Missouri Department of Health (1990)]  I would have preferred that we announce, clearly and promptly, that the federal courts have no business in this field; that American law has always accorded to the States the power to prevent, by force if necessary, suicide—including suicide by refusing to take appropriate measures necessary to preserve one’s life…. [Judge Scalia (concurring opinion),...

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Mr Lanting, a member of South Holland Protestant Reformed Church, is a practicing attorney. We recognize that . . . throughout the course of the educational process, there will be instances when religious values, religious practices, and religious persons will have some interaction with the public schools and their students. But these matters, often questions of accommodation of religion, are not before us. The sole question presented is whether a [nonsectarian prayer] may be conducted at a graduation ceremony in circumstances where, as we have found, young graduates who object are induced to conform. No … school can persuade or...

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Mr. Lanting, a member of South Holland Protestant Reformed Church, is a practicing attorney. [Church membership] may be severed freely by a member’s positive act at any time. But until it is so terminated, the church has authority to prescribe and follow disciplinary ordinances without fear of interference by the state. Within the context of church discipline, churches enjoy an absolute privilege from scrutiny by the secular authority. Hadnot v. Shaw (Oklahoma Supreme Court, 1992) Post-Withdrawal Discipline At times a church consistory is involved in the unpleasant but necessary task of admonishing and disciplining a communicant member. But more often...

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Mr. Lanting, a member of South Holland Protestant Reformed Church, is a practicing attorney. Operation Rescue and Leader Randall Terry Under Siege Operation Rescue, the activist anti-abortion organization founded by Randall Terry, has fallen on hard times. Numerous federal courts across the country have imposed injunctions, imprisonment, and fines on the organization and its leaders. Operation Rescue’s tactics of using human blockades to deny access to abortion clinics or doctor’s offices is under heavy legal scrutiny nationwide. The courts are seemingly unimpressed by Terry’s argument that his trespass and other unlawful acts are justified to “prevent a greater harm.” Although...

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