Neutral Pharmacy Rules Upheld Over Religious Objections

In a religious freedom decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the state of Washington’s rules requiring the timely delivery of prescription medication over two pharmacists religious objections. The pharmacists objected to delivering emergency contraceptives on the grounds of religious freedom.

The issue presented is whether a pharmacist must timely delivery emergency contraceptives when the state’s rules for pharmacies are neutral and generally applicable. The federal appellate court upheld the state’s pharmacy rules because “the rules are neutral and generally applicable and that the rules rationally further the State’s interest in patient safety.”1

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Scholastic Football Coaches Praying, Constitutional?

It is common for athletes at all levels to offer a prayer or to give thanks to God.  Sometimes coaches pray too.

But is it constitutional for a public high school football coach pray on the 50 yard line after the game?  I am going to argue that I think it is constitutional and not an establishment violation or a violation of church and state.

Praying on the

Early in the 2015 football season, the Bremerton School District started investigating the post-game practices of Bremerton High School Assistant Football Coach Joe Kennedy for possible violations of district policy.  Mr. Kennedy prays before the game with students and coaching staff in the locker room and he prays “after games on the 50-yard line,” according to King5 News. In fact, sometimes players joined him (as can be seen from the video below).  There are conflicting statements on whether Mr. Kennedy asked students to join him to pray after games.

Bremerton School District stated in a letter to Mr. Kennedy (available below) that his praying after football games violated “fundamental constitutional rights.”

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Armed Protests and Religious Freedom

It seems that some people choose to exercise their First and Second Amendment rights concurrently.  In other words, there seems to be a trend of armed protests, where guns are openly carried — especially when protesting religions.

Armed protests in Phoenix, Arizona1 and now Irving, Texas2 are being held outside mosques.  Protesters argue it is their First Amendment right to free speech and their Second Amendment right to bear arms protects their rights to armed protests.

It is an interesting constitutional question.  Does the introduction of guns to a protest change the constitutional protections?

*** It should be noted that I when I refer to armed protests in this article, I am only speaking about protests where guns are openly carried.

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‘No’ To Asylum Via Religious Establishment?

In a direct response to the tragic terrorist attack on Paris on Nov. 2015, some elected officials (both on the federal and state level) are refusing to accept Syrian refugees into their states until more stringent steps are taken to ensure safety of all. The problem is (putting aside the federalism issue if the states have the power to refuse refugees) is some of the elected officials refusing refugees are using religious grounds as a justification.  Refusal of refugees on religious grounds can amount to an establishment test, possibly violating the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

United States Senator and presidential hopeful Ted Cruz believes that using religion as a test can help ensure the country’s safety.  “It makes no sense whatsoever for us to be bringing in refugees who our intelligence cannot determine if they are terrorists here to kill us or not.  Those who are fleeing persecution should be resettled in the middle east, in majority Muslim countries.  Now on the other hand, Christians who are being targeted for genocide for persecution, Christians who are being beheaded or crucified, we should be providing safe haven for them.”1

Other elected officials have hinted after the Paris attacks that at least part of the reason why they are refusing refugees into their state may have to do with religion.  “These acts serve as a reminder that the world remains at war with radical Islamic terrorists. Our national leaders must react with the urgency and leadership that every American expects to protect our citizens.” said Arizona’s Governor Doug Ducey after the Paris terrorist attacks.2

I argue that using religious establishment (preferring one religion over others) when granting asylum to refugees is unconstitutional and should not be permitted.

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