The name of NLI’s blog, And God’s First, is inspired by St. Thomas More, who was convicted of treason and executed by Henry VIII for refusing to take the Oath of Supremacy. More’s witness has inspired people of faith for many centuries, as he stood firmly for the rights of conscience despite pressure from the King.

“On his way to the Tower one of his daughters, named Margaret, pushed through the archers and guards, and held him in her embrace some time without being able to speak. Afterwards More, asking leave of the archers, bade her have patience, for it was God's will, and she had long known the secret of his heart. After going 10 or 12 steps she returned and embraced him again, to which he said nothing, except to bid her pray to God for his soul; and this without tears or change of color. On the Tuesday following he was beheaded in the open space in front of the Tower. A little before his death he asked those present to pray to God for him and he would do the same for them [in the other world.] He then be sought them earnestly to pray to God to give the King good counsel, protesting that he died his faithful servant, and God's first."

The Paris Newsletter Account of More’s Trial and Execution,
August 4, 1535

St. Thomas More and the Virtue of Not Wasting Time

June 21, 2024 | Speaking to the Good Counselor Project - Napa Legal Institute’s fellowship program for young, devout Christian attorneys - the great scholar of St. Thomas More, Dr. Gerard Wegemer, was asked a simple question: what does St. Thomas More have to teach young, committed, American Catholic attorneys in the twenty-first century? Dr. Wegemer’s response was, for me, the highlight of the entire program: “You need to pray and study. Seriously. This needs to be regular, every day.” Those words have the potential to be life changing and culture changing.


Key Takeaways for Nonprofits in Billard v. Charlotte Catholic High School

May 20, 2024 | A few weeks ago, the Fourth Circuit decided in Billard v. Charlotte Cath. High Sch.[1]that it was permissible under Title VII’s ministerial exception for Charlotte Catholic High School to refuse to continue the employment of a substitute teacher who was openly living in a same-sex relationship. This blog post provides a summary of the case, as well as a few takeaways for nonprofits.


Vocation of a Lawyer: Peace

April 10, 2024 | Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and something that should be sought by all Christians. But the effects of peace have particular significance for the professional life of the lawyer. The peaceful lawyer will accomplish his tasks with professionalism and diligent hard work. He will not waste time, so that he completes his work in a timely manner and is not constantly overwhelmed about approaching deadlines. And by working hard and efficiently, he will be able to give his work the amount of time it properly deserves but will not let it consume his schedule and his entire life.


Charitable Solicitation Registration vs. Foreign Business Registration

February 13, 2024 | If your organization fundraises or conducts business in a state other than your home state of incorporation, you have probably heard that you may need to “register.” But what does that mean? Generally, there are two kinds of registration in a foreign state. Each type of registration is triggered by different kinds of activity in the state and comes with different obligations. Read on to understand the difference between charitable solicitation registration and foreign business registration. This will equip you with the knowledge to understand when these two requirements may (or may not) apply to your organization.


Vocation of a Lawyer: Honesty

January 18, 2024 | One of the clear commands of Christ that ought to distinguish the Christian is unfailing honesty. The Ten Commandments forbid us from bearing false witness. In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ tells us: “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” Speaking simply and honestly is a command given directly from God, in both the Old Testament and in the Gospel. How, particularly, does this apply to the vocation of the lawyer?


What Nonprofit Organizations Need to Know About the Corporate Transparency Act

January 8, 2024 | Faith-based nonprofits may be subject to new reporting requirements under a new disclosure rule. On September 29, 2022, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) issued a final rule implementing the Corporate Transparency Act’s (“CTA”) beneficial ownership information reporting provisions. As discussed below, for purposes of the CTA, a nonprofit’s beneficial owners aren’t just “owners” in the colloquial sense. The term includes people of influence over the organization, such as donors, directors, and possibly even staff. The CTA’s purpose is to counter illicit use of the U.S. financial system.


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