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There’s more than a month left in the Supreme Court’s current term, but it’s not too early to start thinking about the cases the justices could hear this fall.

For a religion nerd like me, this exercise is particularly fun, since the current term had no religious freedom cases. Will next term be more of the same?

I’m guessing it won’t be, in part because, just in the past week, I’ve read about two religion-focused battles that seem like they’ll appeal to the Supreme Court.

I mentioned the first one in last week’s newsletter: Apache Stronghold will ask the justices to overturn a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that cleared the way for the federal government to sell sacred land in Arizona to a mining company.

The second centers on an inmate in Louisiana who sued prison officials after they forcibly shaved off his dreadlocks. Since the inmate, Damon Landor, is Rastafarian, he believes that maintaining dreadlocks is part of observing his faith, according to The New York Times.

Although a three-judge panel with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals condemned the officials’ actions, it did not rule in Landor’s favor. The panel said that the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which strengthens religious freedom protections for inmates, does not allow people to seek out monetary damages from individual officials.

“There is no question that Mr. Landor can sue for other kinds of relief besides money, like a declaration that the prison system’s grooming policy is unlawful and an injunction ordering prison officials not to shave his head again. But he has served his time, and that relief is useless to him,” The New York Times reported.

In other words, it’s monetary damages or nothing.

Just four years ago, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which is quite similar to RLUIPA, does allow for individual people of faith to seek financial relief, as I previously reported.

Money is “the only form of relief that can remedy some ... violations,” wrote Justice Clarence Thomas in the majority opinion.


Fresh off the press

After brief legal battle with National Park Service, Knights of Columbus in Virginia get permit for Memorial Day worship service

Sen. Mitt Romney got a shoutout during the ‘Jeopardy!’ Masters finale

Supporting inclusion means embracing Harrison Butker, Catholic nonprofit tells NFL

‘Jeopardy!’ had a category called ‘Saints’ Monday. Can you answer these clues?


Term of the week: Pro Mundo

“Pro Mundo” is a Latin phrase meaning, “For the world.” This month, it was added to Baylor University’s motto, the first such change since 1851, per Baptist News Global.

The motto was previously “Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana,” which means “For Church, For Texas.”

The phrase refers to the school’s location — Waco, Texas — and its affiliation with the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

In a statement, Baylor president Linda Livingstone said the school’s new motto reflects Baylor’s current mission.

“Baylor brings an important Christian perspective to help solve grand challenges, particularly at the intersection of health and engineering. Our students will always remain our top priority, and we must prepare them to lead now and into the future in an ever-changing global environment,” she said, according to Baptist News Global.


What I’m reading ...

Do you care if the author of the news article you’re reading shares your religion? What about your political views or race? Pew Research Center recently asked people if it was important for reporters to share various personal traits with them. Nearly 4 in 10 said it’s at least somewhat important for journalists to share their political views; just 22% said the same thing about religious views.

The upcoming Paris Olympics is putting a spotlight on France’s emphasis on secularism. Muslims, in particular, struggle to navigate bans on certain public expressions of faith, according to The Associated Press.

Amid the ongoing debate over Harrison Butker’s commencement speech at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, America magazine published a Benedictine student’s essay about why he loves being part of the small, Catholic community.

I’ve mentioned Jake Retzlaff, BYU’s Jewish quarterback, before in this newsletter. He recently spoke with the Deseret News’ Dave McCann about the Israel-Hamas war, his football career and what it’s like to be Jewish at BYU. “It’s so much easier to grow in your faith when you are around people of faith. It’s simple. Surround yourself with people of faith because you will become like them and that’s how it’s been. I’ve been able to grow in my faith as a Jew,” he said.


Odds and ends

A Texas pastor was recently sentenced to 35 years in prison for stealing three churches. Yes, you read that correctly. He was convicted of stealing the churches — not stealing from the churches — using a deed fraud scheme, per WFAA in Dallas.