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Pakistan Christian Post: “Dr. Nazir S Bhatti, President of Pakistan Christian Congress PCC clarified that Shahbaz Bhatti, Federal Minister for Minorities is not elected by voters as member of National Assembly of Pakistan but selected by Pakistan Peoples Party PPP and speaks voice of his Muslim masters. 20 million Pakistani Christians have always demanded repeal of blasphemy law which have been misused by Muslim groups in Pakistan against Christians nor any revision or amendment in controversial law.”
Catholic News Agency: “Religious freedom advocates have asked the Oregon legislature for an immediate repeal of a decades-old law that bars Oregon teachers from wearing religious dress in public schools. The law, originally an anti-Catholic measure, was implemented with the support of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s.”
Wall Street Journal: “Just when the murderous lessons of political Islam—from the numerous terror attacks to “honor killings” and hate preachers—were thought to be inculcated into Germany’s media, a wide swath of journalists and academics suffered a collective relapse into appeasement.”
The Christian Century: “Catholic dioceses in Ohio and Massachusetts are resisting moves by local officials to apply landmark designations to shuttered churches, saying such moves raise issues of religious freedom and expression. Landmark advocates, meanwhile, say they are preserving the historic character of neighborhoods—a concern that isn’t always shared by bishops preoccupied with shrinking budgets and dwindling numbers of priests.”
FOX News: “A new report by the International Planned Parenthood Federation is advocating that children as young as 10 be given extensive sex education, including an awareness of sex’s pleasures. The report, ‘Stand and Deliver,’ charges that religious groups, specifically Catholics and Muslims, deny their young access to comprehensive sexual programs and education.”
Compass Direct News: “About 100 local officials, police and villagers put guns to the heads of Christians during their Sunday morning service in a village in Laos last month, forcing them from their worship and homes, according to an advocacy organization.”
ADF attorney Gary McCaleb appeared on KTVK 3 Phoenix to discuss pending prosecutions of churches for ringing church bells in Phoenix.
The MP4 runs just over 4 minutes.
Telegraph: “Sikh pupils should be allowed to carry ceremonial daggers, Britain’s first Asian judge has said, following a case in which a 14-year-old was excluded for insisting on bringing his Kirpan blade to school.”
Fresno Bee: “The American Civil Liberties Union is charging that a health instructor at Fresno City College is presenting religious-based and anti-gay views as science and fact.”
Alliance Defense Fund and Stand4MarriageDC attorneys have appealed an opinion and order issued by the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics last week that denied the district’s voters the right to vote on a marriage redefinition law passed by the D.C. Council.
“Liberty Counsel has filed a federal lawsuit against the state of Mississippi seeking an emergency injunction on behalf of Personhood Mississippi, an organization working to prevent abortions by amending the state Constitution to include the unborn in the definition of a person. The organization has gathered more than 85,000 signatures on a petition in support of the amendment. Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood has interpreted the law to require an earlier deadline that will prevent many signatures on the petition from being counted, which could have the effect of keeping the proposed amendment off the ballot . . . ”
The Gainsville Times: “Delegate David Englin, D-Alexandria, wants Virginia to repeal its constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages . . . To repeal that amendment, Englin is sponsoring House Joint Resolution 55. It is similar to proposals he carried in 2007 and 2009. They did not get much attention, but Englin says he won’t give up.”
The NRO Symposium includes contributions from Bat Ye’or, author of Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis; Paul Marshall, senior fellow at Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom; Clifford D. May, president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies; Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University; Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom; and Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch and author of The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran.
Associated Press: “Three candidates running for Rhode Island governor are promising to sign a gay marriage bill should it reach their desk if they are elected.”
AP: “Activists are pushing a ‘Trust Women/Protect Choice’ license plate in Virginia, which would become only the fourth state to offer a pro-choice plate and the first to require legislative approval for it. Supporters have threatened to sue if lawmakers don’t give drivers the option.”
Catholic News Agency: “Costa Rica’s Constitutional Court has stripped the Church of its right to choose which religion teachers it will hire, after reversing a 1972 law stating that the teachers must be approved by the Bishops’ Conference of Costa Rica.”
Edward T. Oakes writing at First Things, On the Square: “I am prompted to make these (what I hope are) commonsensical observations because of a controversy stirred up the past week by some remarks made by Pope Benedict to the bishops of England during their recent ad limina visit to Rome. In the course of his address, the pope complained of ‘unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance to their beliefs.’ This sentence was widely and correctly seen as an attack on an amendment to the Equality Bill now working its way through Parliament, which would forbid any employer, including religious bodies, from discrimination in hiring based on sexual orientation.”
Brussels Journal: “At this point Europe is not even halfway its 100-day political ‘honeymoon’ since the Treaty of Lisbon, which transformed the EU into a state in its own right, came into force. So far the honeymoon has been a nightmare. Since the beginning of the year, the EU’s currency, the euro, is on the brink of collapse; Greece has been placed under EU financial supervision to prevent it from going bankrupt. Now U.S. President Barack Obama has announced that he will not attend next May’s EU summit in Madrid. It was to have been Obama’s first visit to post-Lisbon Europe – the consecration of the new political order.”
Wall Street Journal: “Democrats gearing up for a possible Supreme Court vacancy are divided over whether President Barack Obama should appoint a prominent liberal voice while their party still commands a large Senate majority, or go with someone less likely to stoke Republican opposition.”
Politico: “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid used to consider recess appointments “an end run around the Senate and the Constitution” — so much so that he kept the chamber open during breaks to prevent President George W. Bush from making any more of them. But with a Democrat in the White House, and Republicans blocking executive branch nominees, Reid and his allies are starting to sing a different tune . . . ”
Religion Clause Blog: “In India, by a vote of 5-2 the High Court of Andhra Pradesh has held that the Andhra Pradesh Reservation in Favor of socially and Educational Backward Classes of Muslims Act 2007 is unconstitutional.”
ADF attorney Jordan Lorence appeared on the Janet Mefferd Show to discuss the Proposition 8 trial.
The MP3 runs approximately 19 minutes.
Religion Clause Blog: “Last Thursday, the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships posted the votes by its Advisory Council on two contentious issues. The first is whether faith-based social service providers should be allowed to provide services in rooms that contain religious symbols . . . The second issue is whether the government should require houses of worship to form separate corporations to receive direct federal social service funds . . . ”
National Catholic Register: “‘The votes of Christians and other people of faith are without question on trial in California,’ said attorney Austin Nimocks of the Alliance Defense Fund, part of the ProtectMarriage.com legal team . . . Meanwhile, the district court trial ‘has wound down in some respects, but it’s not over,’ Nimocks said. ‘There’s still plenty of opportunity for legal fireworks in San Francisco.’”
Black Christian News: “‘This deceptively-named bill is another attempt to confine the liberty argument to a very narrow area. ADF has religious liberty concerns that are far wider,’ Johnson told Baptist Press. ‘Leno’s bill is a Trojan horse that does nothing to protect religious institutions or other agencies of the church from being forced to violate their religious beliefs. In fact, it further restricts church liberty and independence by giving the government greater power to define the church and its mission.’”
Religion Clause: “A federal civil rights lawsuit was filed in Richmond, Virginia by five Christian evangelists some of whom were charged with creating loud and disturbing noise for preaching at downtown . . . Alliance Defense Fund issued a press release on the case earlier this week.”
Religion Clause: “A federal civil rights action was filed on Thursday challenging the refusal by the New Smyrna Beach, Florida, Public Library to allow its meeting rooms to be used for a seminar titled ‘Is Religion Alive in America?’ . . . Alliance Defense Fund issued a release announcing the filing of the lawsuit and discussing other similar challenges filed in recent months.”
One News Now: “Egyptian activists have protested in front of parliament and called for legislation giving Christians equal rights as Muslims to build houses of worship.”
Washington Times: “Jordan Lorence, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), which helped defend Proposition 8, said factual testimony about the suffering caused by Proposition 8 may be compelling to a committee of elected legislators, or the voters, but it’s irrelevant in a federal legal proceeding — or at least it should be. ‘This trial reminded me more of a legislative hearing than a federal trial,’ said Mr. Lorence . . . Austin Nimocks, who blogged on behalf of the ADF during the trial, asked at one point, ‘[A]s I’m listening to all of the testimony, I keep asking myself this question: Why are we having this debate here?’”
Times-News: Henderson County Commissioner Larry Young said Christians, and Henderson County in particular, need to take a stand. The United States was founded on Christian principals, and a court cannot take religion out of government meetings . . . He is not sure what impact the Forsyth case will have on the board, but he knows that other government bodies say a prayer before a meeting . . . Mike Johnson, senior legal advisor for the Alliance Defense Fund, is representing Forsyth County pro bono in the case. ‘We disagree with the decision, because it runs counter to precedent,’ Johnson said. ‘We are advising (the commissioners) to appeal. We think that there are some issues that need to be resolved.’”
Kathryn Jean Lopez writing at National Review Online: This conversation about religious liberty, homosexuality and the definition of rights will be a prominent one this term as the U.S. Supreme Court takes up Christian Legal Society v. Martinez . . . As David French, a lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund, which specializes in religious-liberty litigation, recently put it: ‘If your idea of law is that it is an instrument of domination and exclusion, then, yes, legal disputes between ideological opposites are “zero-sum games.” But if your idea of the Constitution is that it protects the fundamental liberties of all citizens (which happens to be the way the document is written), then – quite literally – everyone wins when those liberties are vindicated.’”
OneNewsNow: “Pro-Life Wisconsin and the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) obtained records through the Freedom of Information Act. Peggy Hamill, director of Pro-Life Wisconsin, reports on the findings. ‘The documents confirm that UW is already involved in research using aborted baby body parts,’ she explains. ‘This is something that Pro-Life Wisconsin has known for many, many years, but these documents in print confirm that.’”
“But Plyler said that ‘the Christian community’ and not the government should ‘fight the ACLU.’ ‘All I need is a promise that the taxpayers won’t pay a dime,’ Plyler said.”
Des Moines Register: “Among six hot-button topics, a new Iowa Poll shows a majority of Iowans consider only a ban on text messaging while driving worth the Legislature’s time during a session shortened by 20 days to cut costs. Iowans are not enthusiastic about devoting time to debates on gay marriage, puppy mills, gun control, payday loans or gambling . . .
Baptist Press: “‘The immigration court has clearly recognized that basic human rights are being violated by the German policy of persecuting homeschooling families,’ Kiska said. ‘Many Americans are simply unaware of just how bad the policy is.’”
Steve Corts writes at the Winston-Salem Journal: “The freedom to practice faith (in public and private) according to one’s own conscience, without fear of government favoritism or interference, is a national treasure kept in the First Amendment. For most of American history, this has included the freedom to pray publicly and uncensored before government assemblies. Until now. The ACLU has made a relatively new discovery that this practice is unconstitutional . . . This bullying works much of the time. When threatened, many cave quickly. But not all. To date, Forsyth County has not. It shouldn’t. The ACLU is not invincible and freedom is still invaluable.”
“The biggest open secret in the landmark trial over same-sex marriage being heard in San Francisco is that the federal judge who will decide the case, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, is himself gay.”
EducationNews.org: “Advocates for Maryland’s charter schools are gearing up for what they hope will be a watershed year for reform of the state’s charter school law.”
Baptist Press: “Mike Johnson, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund — which opposes ‘gay marriage’ — said Leno’s bill avoids the real issues that have been raised by concerned Christians. ‘This deceptively-named bill is another attempt to confine the liberty argument to a very narrow area. ADF has religious liberty concerns that are far wider,’ Johnson told Baptist Press. ‘Leno’s bill is a Trojan horse that does nothing to protect religious institutions or other agencies of the church from being forced to violate their religious beliefs. In fact, it further restricts church liberty and independence by giving the government greater power to define the church and its mission.’”
AP: “A Christian group says 20 of its members died and another 56 remain missing after religious and political violence that consumed central Nigeria last month . . . ”
AP: ”Sweden’s unemployment agency has been found guilty of discrimination for expelling a Muslim man from a job training program because he refused to shake hands with a woman.”
Dov Fox, Taking Sides on Genetic Modification (January 31, 2010). American Journal of Bioethics – Neuroscience, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1545513
“Should government fund safe human enhancements for the hereditary contribution to good looks or athletic prowess or IQ? Is there reason to restrict genetic interventions that would create chickens without the nesting instincts that agitate normal chickens confined to life in a battery cage? Or cows with stunted emotions that would feel less fear as they were led off to slaughter? Or pigs with no legs, better suited to a sedentary existence as bacon-to-be? Some philosophers argue that political decisions about such practices, to be legitimate, must be made without reference to reasons that arise from within controversial worldviews. They believe that society is arranged best when governed by principles that leave citizens free to pursue their own views about what gives life value. So the reasons that public officials give to justify state action must not privilege some moral or religious beliefs over others.”
Susan J. Stabile, An Effort to Articulate a Catholic Realist Approach to Abortion (2010). U of St. Thomas Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-08. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1548708
“In an effort to try to move the abortion debate forward by trying to find common ground between very polarized positions, the Article explores what options exist for a political and legal system’s treatment of abortion that might be consistent with a Catholic realist approach. The article begins by identifying three conditions that are required for a position to be labeled a Catholic realist position: factual accuracy, viability and consistency with Catholic moral teaching. It then explores five questions as a means of articulating what a Catholic realist approach to abortion might look like, including the question whether there is a dignity interest in a woman not being forced to carry a pregnancy to term and the extent to which broad societal consensus about the moral status of abortion might impact our views of the role of law in addressing abortion.”
Mary Jean Dolan, Government Identity Messages and Religion: The Endorsement Test after Summum (February 5, 2010). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1548761
“This Article offers an in-depth analysis of the opinions in Pleasant Grove v. Summum. It explores the distinctions between the ‘government speech doctrine’ – which operates as a defense to a Free Speech Clause claim – and ‘government speech’ as it has been used in Establishment Clause cases. It serves a valuable function by addressing concerns that the decision has eliminated the Establishment Clause endorsement test, or that it dangerously allows government to convert any and all private speech to its own, thus deflecting free speech claims. My interpretation shows that the Summum decision is multi-faceted and contextual; it relies on government’s expressive intent, an inherently communicative medium, and viewers’ reasonable attributions regarding monument speech. Justice Alito’s exposition on the unfettered indeterminacy of monuments’ content is either misunderstood or renders his opinion internally inconsistent.”
Carissima Mathen, What Religious Freedom Jurisprudence Reveals About Equality (2009). Journal of Law and Equality, Vol. 6, No. 2, 2009. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1545958
“In this article I compare jurisprudence arising under the religious freedom and the equality provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I suggest that religious freedom jurisprudence is actually more consonant with equality ideals . . . I first argue that, while Canada’s approach to its constitutional equality guarantees has much to laud, establishing an equality rights claim has become increasingly complex, beset by multi-part tests and providing numerous opportunities for the state to justify discrimination. Then, I show how religious freedom jurisprudence has developed quite differently, invoking powerful purposive descriptions of the right; a clear focus on the individual; a clear recognition and respect for difference; and an expectation of compelling state justification.”