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Archive for September 2017

Update: Schools, Synagogues and FEMA

A Message from Becket’s Executive Director September 11, 2017

Dear Friends,

School is open, Congress is back in session and Becket is not missing a beat.

Pro-life pregnancy centers provide free counseling and care to women and children in need. But the cities of San Francisco and Baltimore are trying to force them to provide something else: government-approved messages about abortion. That’s right—the government wants to make pro-life pregnancy centers provide pro-abortion messages.

But Becket is fighting back. This month we’re defending a San Francisco pregnancy center. Next month, we’ll be protecting a Baltimore pregnancy center. In both cases, we are arguing that the government has no right to compel pro-life pregnancy centers to speak a pro-abortion message. Free speech and religious liberty are inextricable—and both rights protect the women who need the pregnancy centers’ vital services.

What’s Happening at Becket:

Churches—not judges—choose their own leaders. Becket won a landmark victory for the Archdiocese of New York and its Catholic schools, affirming Churchs’ constitutional right to choose principals and other leaders who share their faith. The ruling strengthens the unanimous Supreme Court decision Becket secured five years ago, which made clear that a religious institution’s right to choose its own leaders is at the heart of the religious liberty guaranteed by the First Amendment (Watch: The Ministerial Exception Explained).

A synagogue’s big step toward a new home. A Jewish congregation in Boca Raton, Florida, was sued by hostile landowners who wanted to stop the congregation from building a synagogue. Their lawsuit threatened to gut protections for houses of worship across the country. So Becket stepped in and won a major victory for the congregation (Watch: What’s stopping synagogue construction in East Boca?). Now Becket is defending that victory on appeal.

Hurricanes don’t discriminate, so why should FEMA? Many churches suffered severe damage from Hurricane Harvey, but the federal government has a policy of denying disaster relief grants to all houses of worship. Why? Because they’re houses of worship. To end this discriminatory policy, Becket sued FEMA on behalf of three flooded churches, arguing that churches should be treated no worse than other non-profits that receive aid, like community centers, museums, and even zoos. The lawsuit follows the recent Supreme Court victory in Trinity Lutheran v. Comer, which held that the government could not discriminate against churches when awarding public benefits.

Becket in the News:

Becket profiled in WSJ. In case you missed it, Becket’s profile, history, and philosophy were featured in the Wall Street Journal’s “The Weekend Interview.”

A historic win for a synagogue. The nation’s oldest synagogue, Congregation Shearith Israel, won a major battle to keep ownership of the nation’s oldest synagogue building and centuries-old Jewish artifacts. See Becket’s Eric Rassbach quoted in the New York Times about the case.

Disaster relief for houses of worship. The Washington Post profiled our lawsuit on behalf of three small churches in Houston that were damaged in Hurricane Harvey.

What Becket is Reading:

God is not a dirty word. The states agree, according to this Pew Research Center analysis.

“Hate map”. This article from The Washington Times sheds light on the impact the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “hate map” is having on religious non-profits.

Sincerely,

Montse Alvarado
Executive Director

Help The Victims of Hurricane Irma

Brother Knight,

Hurricane Irma has hit Florida. The destructive power of the hurricane is unimaginable.

In light of such devastion, it’s easy to feel helpless.

But you’re not helpless. In fact, Knights and their families have already made a incredible difference in the lives of countless men, women and children affected by Hurricane Harvey with their prayers and support. And now it’s time to help the victims of Hurricane Irma.

When we work together, even the smallest contribution can make a big difference. And with 100 percent of your donation going directly to relief efforts, you know your gift will get to those in need.

Please DONATE TODAY.
Knights of Columbus
1 Columbus Plaza, New Haven, CT 06510

Hurricane Irma Victims Need You!

Brother Knight,

Today we are grateful. Because of you and your generosity, countless people in the Gulf Coast region have found hope despite the horror of facing one of the strongest hurricanes the region has seen.

We’re stunned by the amazing efforts to help Texas, but a new disaster is now underway.

Hurricane Irma has hit the Caribbean, packing winds at more than 180 mph, making it one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the Atlantic. Islands have been evacuated, while in Florida, Puerto Rico and elsewhere people have prepared for the worst.

The devastation is already catastrophic, and we once again urgently need your help. No gift is too small — every act of kindness shows the victims that they are not forgotten. We will stand by their side until they recover.

Please DONATE TODAY. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go directly to relief efforts.
Knights of Columbus
1 Columbus Plaza, New Haven, CT 06510