As I explain in a new Cato post, Eugene Volokh has been blogging this week on the proper role of the courts in recognizing or ignoring religious law, whether Christian, Jewish, or Islamic. Oklahoma passed a measure banning by name the use of Islamic sharia law, but the Tenth Circuit struck that law down as discriminating against a particular religion. Meanwhile, lawmakers in other states have introduced legislation on the subject. Earlier.
“Exhibiting a complete lack of common sense, the city’s Human Rights Commission is determined to take seven Hasidic-owned stores in Brooklyn to trial for the high crime of requiring modest dress of their customers.” Signs the HRC deems “discriminatory” include “No Shorts, No Barefoot, No Sleeveless, No Low Cut Necklines Allowed.” [editorial, New York Post] But shops catering to a secular clientele routinely post demands that their customers button up: no shirt/socks/shoes, no service, business attire only, and so forth. “Which means the city is targeting the Hasidic stores because of religion!” [Ann Althouse]
A prerequisite for a high school diploma in Arizona, if some lawmakers there get their way. [Mike Sunnucks, Phoenix Business Journal]
“For more than a year, Prudhomme’s Lost Cajun Kitchen in Columbia, Lancaster County has offered a Sunday special: Diners who bring in a current church bulletin receive 10 percent off the purchase of their dinners.” Local atheist John Wolff, “who said he’s never been to Prudhomme’s, recently filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission claiming the 22-year-old restaurant should not give discounts based on religion.” The co-owner of the restaurant said the promotion was an effort to stimulate Sunday business and that she doesn’t care whether customers have any particular views on religion. [Sue Gleiter, Harrisburg Patriot-News]
Steve Chapman puts them in perspective, and commenters at the conservative Town Hall site freak out. Then a donnybrook breaks out at National Review, with Matthew Schmitz, Ramesh Ponnuru and Schmitz again advancing the view that religious liberty means liberty for everyone, even Muslims who might wish (say) to enter contracts for a religiously grounded non-interest-yielding savings account.
Speaking of religious liberty, my discussion with Tim Carney and David Boaz last week about whether libertarians are somehow deficient on the topic continues to yield interesting reactions, including one from Rick Esenberg.
Tim Carney, the influential columnist at the D.C. Examiner, writes as if libertarians have been AWOL or worse when it comes to defending religious liberty from the incursions of the modern liberal-bureaucratic state. I try to set him straight in a new post at Cato at Liberty. More: Carney responds; Jordan Bloom, The American Conservative; Rick Esenberg.
While a publicity-seeking lawprof has been stirring the pot, it’s by no means clear that any actual Catholic U. students consider it intolerably irksome to pray in a room with a cross. [PJ Media "Tatler", earlier]
Welcome Prof. Bainbridge readers: The Washington, D.C. Office of Human Rights is investigating Catholic U. for, among other alleged offenses, “not providing [some Muslim students] rooms without Christian symbols for their daily prayers.” Like a legal complaint against the same institution for reinstating single-sex dormitories, this one has been advanced by inveterate publicity hound and George Washington U. lawprof John Banzhaf, whose antics we have discussed often in the past (though not much recently, since he actually seems to like the attention); a few highlights here, here, and here.