Portland, Oregon Civil Litigation Defense Attorneys - Kaempf Law Firm PC

A Blog by John Kaempf

What your church or religious school needs to apply for a Coronavirus CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loan

First, click on this link for a PPP application:  https://www.sba.gov/document/sba-form–paycheck-protection-program-borrower-application-form

Second, click here to read a “frequently asked questions” brochure about the PPP for religious organizations issued by the Small Business Administration.

Third, if you have any questions, contact attorney John Kaempf by email at john@kaempflawfirm.com or by phone at (503)224-5006.

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5 Tips To Reduce The Risk Of Legal Liability Against Your Church Or Religious School

 1. If you help operate a church or religious school, the safety of children is your first concern. Over the last decade, about 75% of churches and religious schools that got sued did so because of child safety issues. Churches and schools have a legal duty to protect children in their care from reasonably foreseeable risks of harm.

So, churches and religious schools need to engage in due diligence when selecting staff and volunteers to work with children. This should include conducting background checks and requesting references.

Make sure all employees and volunteers receive basic first aid training. Confirm that your facilities are free of tripping hazards. Keep sharp objects and dangerous chemicals away from the reach of children. Make sure doors are locked when rooms are not being used. Confirm there is adequate lighting inside and outside your buildings. Continue reading

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There are several important religious freedom cases percolating through the courts nationwide, one or more of which may end up before the newly configured U.S. Supreme Court, which is now split 5 to 4 in favor of religious freedom. These cases give the Court the chance to uphold the First Amendment rights to freely exercise religion and engage in free speech.

In last year’s Masterpiece Cakeshop case, the U.S. Supreme Court narrowly ruled in favor of the Christian baker in Colorado who refused to specially bake a cake for a gay wedding based on his sincere religious beliefs.

Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Jack Phillips, the Christian owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop bakery in Colorado, an attorney asked him to create a cake designed pink on the inside and blue on the outside, which the attorney said was meant to celebrate a gender transition from male to female. Mr. Phillips refused because the custom cake would have expressed messages about sex and gender identity that conflict with his sincere religious beliefs. He then filed a lawsuit against Colorado to immediately stop its attempt to punish him again. Colorado, likely sensing another loss in court, then dismissed the discrimination charge against him in early 2019. Continue reading

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In March of this year, Justice Kavanaugh, joined by Justice Alito and Justice Gorsuch, stated they will oppose religious discrimination by the government.

In March of this year, in a case called Morris County v. Freedom From Religion Foundation, the U.S. Supreme Court, because the factual record was not properly developed, decided not to take a case involving religious discrimination. However, Justice Kavanaugh, joined by Justice Gorsuch and Justice Alito, stated that, when the factual record is complete, the Court should accept this case for review and rule against religious discrimination. This case involves a New Jersey Supreme Court ruling that New Jersey law prohibits state funds from being used to preserve a historic building, if it is a religious building. Justice Kavanaugh separately wrote: “In my view, the decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court is in serious tension with the Court’s religious equality precedents.” Also, “barring religious organizations because they are religious from a general historic preservation grants program is pure discrimination against religion. At some point, this Court will need to decide whether governments that distribute historic preservation funds may deny funds to religious organizations simply because the organizations are religious.” Also, “in my view, denying historic preservation grants to religious organizations simply because the organizations are religious would raise serious questions under this Court’s precedents and the Constitution’s fundamental guarantee of equality.”

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