Sunday, December 28, 2008

Top 10 Church-State/ Free Exercise Stories of 2008

Again this year, I am publishing my nominations for the 2008 Top Ten Developments in Church-State Separation/ Free-Exercise of Religion. There were many potential nominees, so I invite your comments on these choices. I have focused not just on the attention which particular stories received, but also on the long-range implications of the developments selected. Religion Clause has posted numerous items on these developments over the past year. Links are to selections of the coverage:
1. Barack Obama reaches out to faith groups in the campaign and renounces his own pastor's statements.

2. The Mormon Church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) gains widespread national attention after Mitt Romney seeks Republican nomination and LDS members are active in opposing California's Proposition 8.

3. Christians see increasing clash between religious freedom and push for both same-sex marriage and sexual orientation non-discrimination.

4. Regulations focus on clash between patient rights and conscience rights for pharmacists and health care workers.

5. Texas child protective services agency conducts high profile raid on compound of polygamous FLDS Church and takes children into temporary state custody.

6. IRS rules on church involvement in political campaigns increasingly invoked and challenged.

7. Church-state and free speech challenges to religious-themed license plates reach courts.

8. Turkey's ruling party challenged in Constitutional Court over secularism disputes.

9. 9th Circuit interprets RFRA in Navajo Nation v. U.S. Forest Service.

10. Massive Bernard Madoff fraud decimates numerous Jewish non-profits and philanthropists.
You may find it interesting to compare my picks with those of the Religious Newswriters Association and of Time Magazine.