Buddhist Bhutan proposes anti-conversion law

    Christian Post: “Christians in this Himalayan nation who are still longing to openly practice their faith were disheartened this month when the government proposed the kind of ‘anti-conversion’ law that other nations have used as a pretext for falsely accusing Christians of ‘coercion.’ The amendment bill would punish ‘proselytizing’ that ‘uses coercion or other forms of inducement’ – vaguely enough worded, Christians fear, that vigilantes could use it to jail them for following the commands of Christ to feed, clothe and otherwise care for the poor.”


  • Posted: 07/21/2010
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  • Category: Global: Religious Liberty
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  • Source: www.christianpost.com

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27 Jewish graves vandalized in eastern France

Judge refuses to reinstate first oil drill ban

City of Phoenix appreciates Zed’s Hindu prayer

When the exception swallows the rule – The church plan exception to ERISA

    When the Exception Swallows the Rule – The Church Plan Exception to ERISA

    “Although the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq., is very expansive in its preemption of state law, there are certain narrow exceptions to ERISA coverage, including an exception for church plans. For decades, employers affiliated with a church have chosen to structure their employee welfare benefit plans (such as life, health and disability plans) as ERISA plans, rather than church plans. There are a number of benefits to doing so, including federal court jurisdiction, consistency of interpretation for plans covering participants in multiple states, and a favorable standard of review, to name a few. However, participants of these plans are increasingly challenging benefit denials in state court, asserting that the plans in which they participate are church plans and not ERISA plans.”
    By Amy L. Blaisdell
    Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C., St. Louis, MO and Chicago, IL


  • Posted: 07/21/2010
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  • Category: Religious Liberty
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  • Source: www.imakenews.com

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UN: “Anti-gay laws spreading HIV in Asia-Pacific”

Court finds “Stolen Valor Act” that prohibits lying about military medals violates free speech

Lesbian gets $35K settlement over canceled prom

8th Circuit: Blanket prohibition on nude pics for sex offender stricken as probation condition

WV: Top GOP prospect won’t seek Byrd’s Senate seat

TX: Praying employees win round 1 in legal scuffle

Legislating immorality in schools

“House of prayer near Ground Zero? Yes!”

Georgia voters say “yes” to Personhood Amendment

Redefinition of marriage in Argentina signals waning Catholic influence

Summer hiring survey: 44 percent down in 2010

NE: Women can still file suit after judge’s ruling on abortion law

    AfterAbortion.org: “Despite media reports to the contrary, women are still able to file lawsuits for negligent screening and psychological injuries under a Nebraska law. In a preliminary ruling issued July 14, Federal District Judge Laurie Smith Camp ruled that neither the effective date of the bill nor the law itself could be enjoined, clearing the way for the law to go into effect July 15. Camp also rejected a motion brought by Nebraska’s Planned Parenthood affiliate to strike the legislature’s finding of fact that was included in the law, which states that ‘the existing standard of care for pre-abortion screening and counseling is not always adequate to protect the health needs of women.’”


  • Posted: 07/21/2010
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  • Category: Sanctity of Life
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  • Source: www.afterabortion.org

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Obama signs overhaul of financial system

Expert: UN study backs Catholic Church strategy on Aids

Church, state, and original intent

    Lee J. Strang, associate professor of law at the University of Toledo College of Law, writing at First Things / On The Square: In Church, State, and Original Intent, Donald Drakeman, a lecturer in Princeton University’s department of politics, shows that the strict-separationist interpretation was a house built on sand. … The no-national-church interpretation of the Clause, Drakeman argues, is the broadest interpretation the evidence will support. Beyond that core of determinate original meaning, there is insufficient linguistic consensus. For instance, as he argues, the term ‘establishment’ included legally established preferences for one sect or denomination, but we do not know what it may have meant beyond that. Hence, the Clause does not answer many of the questions that exercise church-state debates today. These are (or ought to be, under the Constitution) the domain of constitutional construction by the political branches.”


  • Posted: 07/21/2010
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  • Category: Religious Liberty
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  • Source: www.firstthings.com

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MA: Panel recommends pledge be led at Arlington schools

Maryland High Court orders referendum to proceed on casino zoning measure

NJ: Same-sex “marriage” supporters, protesters prepare for Supreme Court battle

Study: Marriage patterns drive fertility decline

    Physorg.com: “Researchers at the University of Sheffield have applied an evolutionary ‘use it or lose it’ principle when studying past marriage patterns, to show that marriage can influence the evolution of age-patterns of fertility. … Duncan Gillespie from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, said: ‘In today’s society, family-building appears to be increasingly postponed to older ages, when relatively few women in our evolutionary past would have had the opportunity to reproduce. As a result, this could lead to future evolutionary improvements in old-age female fertility.’”


  • Posted: 07/21/2010
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  • Category: Marriage & Family
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  • Source: www.physorg.com

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Americans United urges IRS to investigate OK religious group that promoted candidate

Abortions for soldiers at US military bases?

    Christian Science Monitor: “In late May, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved an amendment that could create significant changes for pregnant servicewomen, especially those stationed overseas. Sen. Roland Burris (D) of Illinois added language to the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act that would allow US military health facilities to provide abortions for servicewomen. The full Senate will decide the fate of the amendment soon. Though well-intentioned, a policy to allow abortions at military bases and hospitals will almost certainly create a more hostile environment for pregnant servicewomen.”


  • Posted: 07/21/2010
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  • Category: Sanctity of Life
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  • Source: www.csmonitor.com

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Europe’s fear of the burqa: Religious provocation or woman’s right?

Opposing view on religious freedom: Stop the mosque

Spain predicts thaw in US and EU ties with Cuba

Canada: University of Victoria pro-life club wins back club status

Inside story of Savage ban reveals UK’s gutless, suicidal political correctness

    Ben Shapiro writing at Big Journalism: “This week, we found out that the supposedly conservative government of David Cameron is upholding the ban. Savage’s lawyers initiated a review of the ban by sending a letter to new Home Secretary Theresa May. In it, they lay forth the full history of the case, a selective prosecution which is mind-blowing in its moral blindness and suicidal impulse to kowtow to radical Islam … Apparently, they wanted to ‘help provide a balance of types of exclusion cases.’ In other words, they didn’t just want to put radical Muslim terrorists on the list. … This was a purely political act. It had nothing to do with safety of the citizenry or with justice. Documents from the Home Office actually show that the primary researcher knew that Savage posed no threat to the UK.”


  • Posted: 07/21/2010
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  • Category: Global: Religious Liberty
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  • Source: bigjournalism.com

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Interview: Bus driver fired for refusing to drive woman to abortion clinic

Hawaii Democratic primary for governor splits over same-sex “marriage”

Mass. judge who wrote same-sex “marriage” ruling retires

Michigan abortions decrease 13.9%

Homosexualist group side-steps normal UN procedure to gain NGO status with U.S. help

Pro-life women’s group endorses in Alabama, Arkansas, Minnesota, Nevada

The great firewall of Australia: Political concerns

China’s dubious energy accolade

    National Center for Policy Analysis: “News that China consumed more energy than the United States last year will be taken by many as another sign that a new epoch is upon us. Indeed, that’s how the International Energy Agency, source of the data, described its findings Monday. But the headline numbers only tell half the story. The underlying data say a lot about the challenges facing both economies, says the Wall Street Journal:

    * China consumed half as much energy as the United States in 2000; last year, it burned through slightly more.

    * Yet the energy mix for each country couldn’t be more different; coal accounts for 22 percent of U.S. energy consumption, but a full two-thirds of China’s, up from 57 percent in 2000.”


  • Posted: 07/21/2010
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  • Category: Global: Miscellaneous
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  • Source: www.ncpa.org

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JournoList members discussed whether the government should shut down Fox News

    The Daily Caller: “The very existence of Fox News, meanwhile, sends Journolisters into paroxysms of rage. When Howell Raines charged that the network had a conservative bias, the members of Journolist discussed whether the federal government should shut the channel down. … Jonathan Zasloff, a law professor at UCLA, suggested that the federal government simply yank Fox off the air. ‘I hate to open this can of worms,’ he wrote, ‘but is there any reason why the FCC couldn’t simply pull their broadcasting permit once it expires?’” | The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein, founder of Journolist, responds here: “The Daily Caller’s story is wrong. “Journalists” did not suggest shutting Fox News down. A law professor wondered whether the FCC could do it. The journalists in the thread ignored or opposed the idea (which is of course proper; it’s absurd to think that the FCC would, or should, pull the plug on Fox), and then there was a long conversation over whether Fox was a news organization or an activist organization.”


  • Posted: 07/21/2010
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  • Category: Miscellaneous

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Coburn outlines vote against Kagan

Grassley votes no on Kagan nomination, says her answers were vague

An Oklahoma abortion law raises new and different rights questions

Schwarzenegger to pick Cantil-Sakauye as chief justice

    The Sacramento Bee: “Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will nominate Tani Cantil-Sakauye, a Republican appellate court justice with a reputation as a moderate, to be chief justice of the California Supreme Court … Cantil-Sakauye, 50, of Sacramento is a former prosecutor and Sacramento Superior Court judge. She would replace Chief Justice Ronald George, who has announced he will retire Jan. 2.”


  • Posted: 07/21/2010
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  • Category: Bench & Bar
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  • Source: www.sacbee.com

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Graham explains Kagan vote

Wichita City Council says prayers will continue

RI: Cranston board mulls demand to remove school prayer

10th Circuit: Rocky Mountain Christian Church wins again in expansion ruling

American Jewish Congress suspends operations after financial loss

WI: Court refuses to enjoin graduation ceremonies in church building

More than 170 leaders from 21 countries sign World Congress of Families Kenya pro-life petition

Despite letter from UI, religion instructor doesn’t expect to teach this fall

    The News-Gazette: “A letter from the University of Illinois says controversial Professor Kenneth Howell could be back in the classroom this fall, pending a review by a faculty senate committee. But Howell said that’s not what he’s been told. … The UI attorney told [ADF] that legal action is ‘unwarranted’ at this time, and that the UI respects Howell’s First Amendment rights. … ‘A university cannot censor professors’ speech – including classroom speech related to the topic of the class – merely because certain ideas “offend” an anonymous student,’ Alliance Defense Fund senior counsel [David French] said.”


  • Posted: 07/21/2010
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  • Category: Uncategorized
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  • Source: www.news-gazette.com

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Ultimatum to Illinois over Catholic Studies instructor

Gregory S. Baylor: A report from FIRE’s Campus Freedom Network Conference

Heather Gebelin Hacker: Update on the University of Illinois and Professor Kenneth Howell

New questions surrounding firing of UI professor

Oakland votes to permit large marijuana farms

Muslim Indonesian province expels Christian family from America

No, Sen. Graham the Constitution has not changed, but the nominees have — see you in the 2014 primary

Looking for Time Bombs and Tea Leaves on “Gay Marriage”

God in the classroom

“Ill. Uni prof fired after teaching Catholic anti-gay dogma”

Civic leaders in Cincinnati get it: Teachers union contracts can stifle educational improvement

Conservative groups itemize Kagan objections

    The Cloakroom: “With his nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, President Obama once again fulfilled his threat to nominate judges who would decide cases on the basis of emotions and personal politics rather than fidelity to the original meaning of the Constitution. Kagan has no judicial experience, less relevant legal experience than any nominee in memory, and an extreme background of political activism that raises serious doubts about her ability to put the law ahead of a political agenda . . . ”


  • Posted: 07/21/2010
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  • Category: Bench & Bar
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  • Source: www.thecloakroomblog.com

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Law Review: Institutional Messages in the Language of Secularism in Public Schools in France and the United States

    Thinly Veiled: Institutional Messages in the Language of Secularism in Public Schools in France and the United States
    R. Vance Eaton, 6 S.C. J. Int’l. L. & Bus. 299 (2010)

    “This paper seeks to compare French and American legal treatment of the Muslim headscarf in public school. First, I describe France as trying to instill, or protect, preexisting, monolithic national values. Next, I discuss the ‘American’ approach to the veil in school, considering actual headscarf disputes and analogous cases. Finally, I consider the veiling in school debate in light of Muslim integration into Europe and America. I ultimately favor American constitutional guarantees as the best tools for approaching the veil debate. This allows for focus not on the protection of homogenous, monolithic values but rather on the potential to make public schools the locus of broad religious expression and cultural integration.”


  • Posted: 07/21/2010
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  • Category: Religious Liberty

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Law Review: Federal Conscience Clauses, The Provider Conscience Regulation, and the War on Reproductive Freedom

    Making Rules and Unmaking Choices: Federal Conscience Clauses, The Provider Conscience Regulation, and the War on Reproductive Freedom
    Rachel White-Domain, 59 DePaul L. Rev. 1249 (2010)

    “The purpose of this Comment is threefold: to map the legal and political contexts in which the PCR was promulgated, to propose a theoretical framework within which conscience clauses may be effectively analyzed, and to analyze the text and potential impact of the PCR and the extent to which it conflicts with existing federal laws and regulations. Underlying the discussion of these points is the normative assumption that the right of the patient to receive unbiased information and quality healthcare in accordance with her own needs and beliefs should take precedence over the personal beliefs of the provider who is acting in his professional capacity.”


  • Posted: 07/21/2010
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  • Category: Religious Liberty

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Law Review: The Establishment Clause in 2009: A Baseline for Measuring Change

    The Establishment Clause in 2009: A Baseline for Measuring Change
    Daniel R. Ray, J.D., 26 T.M. Cooley L. Rev. 493 (2009)

    “Stated more succinctly, the Court may look much different four years from now than it looked four years ago. For this reason, now is a good time to take a snapshot of the Establishment Clause. That is the purpose of this Article. The hope is that this work will function as a baseline of sorts against which we can measure future shifts in the law. For the sake of ease, the Article is divided along Establishment Clause test lines. The three predominant tests-Lemon, endorsement, and coercion-are Parts III, IV, and V, respectively. Part VI looks at the role of history as an establishment yardstick. In Part VII, I make some educated guesses about where we might see the Establishment Clause move in the years to come. But this Article starts at the beginning, in Part II, with a review of the history of the Establishment Clause.”


  • Posted: 07/21/2010
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  • Category: Religious Liberty

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Law Review: Protecting the Rights of Coparents and the Best Interests of Their Children

    Redefining the Legal Family: Protecting the Rights of Coparents and the Best Interests of Their Children
    Marissa Wiley, 38 Hofstra L. Rev. 319 (2009)

    “Part II of this Note begins by explaining the ways in which a gay or lesbian coparent can claim some degree of parental rights over his or her former partner’s biological child, who was planned for, conceived, and raised within the context of a committed same-sex relationship. The benefits and weaknesses of every method are examined in each section of this Part. Section A details second-parent adoption. Section B describes coparenting agreements. Section C discusses the judicial doctrines of de facto parenthood, in loco parentis, and equitable estoppel. Section D expounds the legislative solutions of same-sex marriage, alternatives to marriage, and third party statutes. Part III turns to the evolution of the rights of coparents in New York State, examining the past in Section A and detailing the transition to the present in Section B. Section B reviews New York State’s approach to each method of asserting parental rights. Part IV identifies changes that need to be made in the law of New York in order to suit the needs of the modern family. Part V concludes that each remedy must be available to same-sex coparents to protect the best interests of the children of same-sex couples.”


  • Posted: 07/21/2010
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  • Category: Marriage & Family

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Law Review: How Google Searches Can Illuminate Miller’s “Contemporary Community Standards”

    Defending Against a Charge of Obscenity in the Internet Age: How Google Searches Can Illuminate Miller’s “Contemporary Community Standards”
    Shannon Creasy, 26 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 1029 (2010)

    “Whether Miller‘s contemporary community standards test should be completely abandoned has been the subject of much debate and falls outside the scope of this work. To date, most governmental attempts at Internet regulation have been aimed at protecting children from online pornography, which is another issue that falls outside the scope of this work. This Note will, however, explore the challenges the courts have encountered when applying the community standards test, the ways in which both parties have attempted to shed light on Miller’s requirements, and how courts can simplify this process by allowing Internet search engine data to be introduced as evidence of the community’s values. To that end, Part I traces the history of obscenity law in the United States up to the current Miller test. Part II examines the application of the Miller test, analyzing the challenges involved in defining the community and the difficulties defendants face when trying to prove the standard with various types of evidence. Finally, Part III argues in favor of more clearly identifying the relevant community and, under any definition of community, allowing Google searches (and other search engine data) to be admitted as evidence to establish the values of that community.”


  • Posted: 07/21/2010
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  • Category: Miscellaneous

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Law Review: “Forced Ultrasounds as the Newest Tactic in Anti-Abortion Legislation”

    An Attempt to Legislate Morality: Forced Ultrasounds as the Newest Tactic in Anti-Abortion Legislation
    Sarah E. Weber, 45 Tulsa L. Rev. 359 (2009)

    “The Oklahoma House of Representatives . . . has proposed and overwhelmingly passed House Bill 2780, which is nearly identical to the ultrasound requirement in Senate Bill 1878. This law should be deemed unconstitutional because it is an undue burden on a woman’s right to an abortion. Furthermore, it violates a competent pregnant woman’s right to refuse medical treatment, and this right outweighs the state’s interest in protecting the potential life of a fetus.”


  • Posted: 07/21/2010
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  • Category: Sanctity of Life

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Law Review: Re-Framing Our Perspective on the End of Life

    Stopping for Death: Re-Framing Our Perspective on the End of Life
    Ruth C. Stern and J. Herbie Difonzo, 20 U. Fla. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 387 (2009)

    “This Article argues neither for nor against physician aid in dying. Rather, it reflects upon our growing sensitivity to suffering, and how this increased knowledge alters expectations of the doctor-patient relationship. Further, learning more about the nature and impact of serious illness highlights some of the limitations of our current end of life laws and policies. The legal parameters for voluntarily ending our lives are confused and in conflict. Moreover, they have been debated and enacted amidst a cacophony of rights’ talk, discourse about the permissible extent of governmental authority and the range of constitutionally-commanded privacy. Indeed, the current clamor threatens to drown out more subtle yet insistent voices asking that, before we bestow a right, we thoroughly investigate the nature of the wrong. But an insufficient amount of scholarly literature has addressed the conditions at ground zero in the assisted suicide debate: the quality of life of those near death, as well as their expectations for care and how a reasonable society might fulfill them.”


  • Posted: 07/21/2010
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  • Category: Sanctity of Life

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Israel: Arab guilty of rape after consensual sex with Jew

Kagan and the Military: What Really Happened