Posts Tagged ‘ law ’

38: Illegal Immigration and Religion

June 21, 2011
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38: Illegal Immigration and Religion

On 10 June 2011, the LDS Church released an official statement on immigration that calls for Latter-day Saints and others to honor families and treat each other, foremost, as children of God while at the same time calling for the federal government to provide strong border security and discouraging its own members from entering any country illegally. It also expresses strong concern for the nearly twelve million people who are already in the United States illegally, urging lawmakers and citizens to strive to keep families together and work toward these people being able to “square themselves with the law and…

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Church Vernacular and the Magical Worldview

May 7, 2010
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It is Sunday, and Mike and his new bride, Valerie, are up visiting Mike’s family for the weekend. Mike is a physics major and has just finished finals. He is looking forward to some much needed freedom, as well as catching up on neglected chores. Although Mike’s parents typically plant a garden each year, this time Valerie is particularly interested in harvesting her own set of vegetables. The ground was prepared last weekend, but rain has prevented them from planting, and even more rain is in the forecast for the coming week. Now is the time to plant! Unfortunately, contrary…

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Mormon Law 2009 Year in Review

January 14, 2010
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Mormon Law 2009 Year in Review

The waning days of 2009 saw the possible loosening of Utah liquor laws as a national story. Meanwhile, in a development covered by Mormon Matters, the Deseret News suggested that 2009 marked the end of a decade that saw the growing influence of Mormonism in American culture. What was the LDS experience in 2009 in one particular institution – the American courts? After all, court opinions are at least one indication of the larger attitude towards a minority group. In 2009, I counted around 50 federal and state court opinions involving the LDS Church and its members. (This does not…

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The Church’s Litigators

October 24, 2009
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The Church’s Litigators

Remember Kenneth Starr? He was the former judge-turned-special-prosecutor who tried to drive Bill Clinton out of office with tawdry tales involving the President’s dalliance with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. The LDS Church hired Starr, now the dean at Pepperdine Law School, more recently to promote their equities in the California state skirmishes over same-sex marriage. The Church simultaneously relied on a less well-known Salt Lake City lawyer (and 1993 BYU Law grad) named Alexander Dushku, of the law firm of Kirton & McConkie [1]. This interesting anecdote raises the question: Who are the LDS Church’s chosen litigators?

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Can Mormons Be Fair Judges and Jurors?

October 14, 2009
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The task was simple. Get a list of the area’s religions and invite them to a Cobb County Planning Commission meeting. The clerk went to the Yellow Pages and did her job, with one exception. She intentionally passed over three entries in the directory: the Muslims, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Mormons [1]. The Muslims, we might understand. The Jehovah’s Witnesses? They don’t serve in the military, salute the flag, or vote, and there is a rumor they are not supposed to serve as jurors. But the Mormons? They pride themselves on being good American citizens. Why would they be…

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Mormons and Intellectual Property

October 3, 2009
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One might think that property, a uniquely secular notion, has no truck with ecclesiastic authorities. After all, there’s supposedly no property in Heaven. Instead, everything is free up there, and there’s no such thing exclusive use and the right to refuse. Jesus said …. never mind. To show how daft the notion of property is to matters of religion, consider a case I stumbled on recently. In it, the court said: Plaintiff, God, claims that Defendant [Arizona State] university is infringing his copyright by using his “autobiography,” namely, “Bible,” without paying him royalties. Complaint at 2. Plaintiff seeks 9.3 million…

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Family Court, Mormon Style

September 30, 2009
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In Maine, Judge Clapp was not pleased. The sarcastic comment he made at an October 6, 1998 custody hearing would get him in trouble. He would ultimately face accusations that he harbored anti-Mormon animus. Well which church? There seems to be a lock on the Mormon Church in this case … which we all know has a lock on family values in the entire world.

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The Church and the IRS

September 26, 2009
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Thomas Vaughn Barlow really does not like the IRS. On June 8, 2007, he sent it a letter, which stated: This means that if you do not answer me lawfully and take my money or property or in any way continue to harass me or fail to assure me of my being secure in my persons, houses, papers and effects, that I’m justified in acts of war to balance your terrorism. Do you get it? I will kill any of your agents I can find. I will blow up your buildings. This is war. Barlow is a Mormon. Well, sort…

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Bringing Out The Delusional

September 19, 2009
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As I am hardly the model of mental health myself, I am generally loathe to describe others as crazy. However, one cannot read all of the American court opinions involving the Mormon Church – as I have been doing over the last year or so – without being struck by how many of them involve individuals who seem a little off. Judging just by the four corners of the written opinions, either these people have problems, or they are getting advice from some very bad lawyers. It raises the question that might be difficult for some Mormons to face: does…

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What Mormon Prisoners Want

September 16, 2009
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In an earlier mormonmatters post (here), I examined the rise of Mormons as criminal defendants in court opinions. Not surprisingly, most LDS criminals do not give up their religious affiliation once they go behind the wall. Instead, they find themselves with plenty of time on their hands. They often use that time to act as their own lawyers. What are the deprivations over which Mormon prisoners have gone to court? How do they compare with other similar American religions?

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The Surprising Truth About Mormon Employment Discrimination

September 12, 2009
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The Surprising Truth About Mormon Employment Discrimination

Religious discrimination in the workplace is barred in the United States.  It has been that way since the 1960s.  This prohibition is across the board, and applies whether the employer is a public or private entity.  If you discriminate against your employees on the basis of religion, you could easily end up as a defendant in federal court, sued under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Many states have anti-discrimination laws as well. Of course, we know about the persecution of Mormons in the 19th Century and the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the 1930s and ’40s.  We also…

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Overseas Persecution of Mormons: A Comparative Analysis

September 5, 2009
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Overseas Persecution of Mormons: A Comparative Analysis

We know that the LDS Church has projected itself around the world through its missionary efforts. This has occurred during a time when U.S. immigration law was becoming more refugee-friendly. Perhaps it is inevitable that we would start to see cases where individual Mormons seek asylum here in the United States, based on fear of persecution in their home countries. How do these LDS asylum cases compare with asylum cases involving churches with which Mormons are commonly confused – the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Seventh-Day Adventists, and the Christian Scientists?

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Brainwashed?: Polygamists & Terrorists

June 11, 2008
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Brainwashed?:  Polygamists & Terrorists

Are teens who practice polygamy devout or brainwashed?  Are teen terrorists devout or brainwashed?  When is a teen old enough to be held accountable for crimes, but not old enough to make his or her own life decisions?

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The End of Polygamy (Again)?

April 17, 2008
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The raid in Texas is interesting (and differs from AZ and UT prosecutorial efforts) in that polygamy is being attacked directly.  So, will this shift in approach result in the end of polygamy (again)?

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