Whanganui River

Sacred Rivers in India, New Zealand Granted Legal Personhood

March 31, 2017

Last week, India became the second nation this month to grant legal personhood status to a river, raising ethical and practical questions about how to regulate environmental protections.

As of Monday, March 20, the Ganges river and its main tributary, the Yamuna, will be accorded the rights and responsibilities of a living person. The rivers are the first non-human entities to be granted such a status, The Guardian reported.

Man practicing yoga

Russian Yoga Teacher Acquitted of Proselytism Charges

January 30, 2017

Earlier this month, a St. Petersburg court dropped charges accusing a yoga instructor of illegal missionary activity. Critics of Russia’s crackdown on proselytism see the case as an example of the law’s ambiguity and ineffectiveness.

44-year-old Russian computer programmer Dmitry Ugay was arrested at the St. Petersburg “Vedalife” festival on October 22, 2016. Ugay was 40 minutes into a presentation on the spiritual principles behind the practice of yoga when police apprehended him on stage.  

Michigan Court Drops Charges of Transgender Discrimination

Michigan Court Drops Charges of Transgender Discrimination

August 26, 2016

Last week, a Michigan district court ruled to dismiss charges of discrimination against a Detroit-area funeral home, citing religious freedom as legitimate grounds upon which one can fire a transgender employee.

The legal battle began in 2013, when funeral director Amiee Stephens—then known by her birth name, Anthony—presented her boss with a letter announcing her intention to begin living as a woman.