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

Compensation for Workers: The Ministerial Exception and the Fair Labor Standards Act

January 16, 2023 | Faith-based nonprofit organizations should recognize whether they are obligated to follow the requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).


Known Unknowns: The Respect for Marriage Act

December 13, 2022 | Faith-based nonprofits will likely face more lawsuits and government actions challenging religious freedom after Congress passed the Respect for Marriage Act (RMA) repealing the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996. The RMA impacts faith-based organizations in two specific situations. Both relate to interactions between the faith-based organizations’ work and the state and federal government. The threats to faith-based organizations remain despite language in the RMA purporting to protect religious freedom. Both supporters and skeptics of the RMA agree that the RMA’s religious freedom language has no “meaningful effect.” Below are key questions and “known unknowns” related to the RMA’s impact on faith-based nonprofits.


Voting Requirements: Why They Matter

November 22, 2022 | At first glance, the voting requirements in a nonprofit’s bylaws may not seem an exciting topic. Most nonprofits have not seriously considered their bylaws, perhaps because they have inherited old bylaws, copied the bylaws of another company, or even originated their bylaws from a quick internet search! If any of these scenarios applies to your organization, your organizations’ bylaws may include director voting requirements not tailor-made to your preferences or the specific needs of your organization.


Tax-Exempt Status and Title IX: Recent Litigation Developments

October 6, 2022 | Two recent decisions from federal district courts threaten to upend well-established and historically grounded understandings of the interplay between federal tax-exempt status and federal antidiscrimination laws.


What Makes a Lawyer Good?

September 12, 2022 | What makes a lawyer good? What makes a good lawyer? Maybe we should start with the question, “what is a lawyer?”


Yeshiva University: Why Corporate Governance Matters for Religious Liberty

September 2, 2022 | The Orthodox Jewish community has been one of the crown jewels of New York City’s famous mosaic of cultures for centuries. The faith which began almost before recorded history has remained vibrant as yellow taxi cabs replaced horses and buggies around Central Park, and rideshare sedans now vie for the customers of yellow cabs.


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The Napa Ledger

Published quarterly, the Napa Ledger includes a digest of pertinent legal and policy updates, insight into the latest Napa Legal content, and a collection of articles that relate to the work we are doing. These resources are provided for educational purposes and not as legal advice.

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