Friends, The new Alliance Alert Daily Digest is finally here! You can subscribe to the daily e-mail here: Subscribe to our mailing list * indicates required Email Address * First Name * Last Name *
NBC29.com: The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is sending a word of warning to Virginia’s governor and attorney general. The ACLU says new proposed abortion regulations on women’s health clinics could open up the commonwealth to a legal challenge.
NYTimes.com: Bob Vander Plaats, president of the Family Leader, a conservative advocacy group popular with evangelical Christians here, has been saying supportive things recently about Newt Gingrich, suggesting that social conservatives are open to looking past his extramarital affairs and two divorces as they make a choice in the Republican presidential race.
The Washington Post: Two-fifths of high school students graduate prepared neither for traditional college nor for career training, according to a study from researchers at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Arizona.
Kevin Theriot: Secretary of State Says Homosexual Behavior Trumps Religious Freedom | Speak Up Movement Church Blog
ADF Attorney Kevin Theriot at Speak Up Movement Church Blog: So if Secretary of State Clinton is willing to acknowledge that rights aren’t simply something we’ve made up ourselves as we bump along evolutionary path to self actualization, why didn’t she say they emanate from God? The simple answer is she probably knows God not only gave us rights, He’s given responsibilities. The whole point of her speech is she believes the freedom to engage in homosexual behavior is a basic human right that even trumps religious freedom.
Jordan Lorence: NYC Pastors Join With NYC Council members to Repeal Ban on Worship Services in Public Schools | Speak Up Movement Church Blog
ADF Attorney Jordan Lorence at Speak Up Movement Church Blog: Pastor John Starke of All Souls Church has written an excellent blog post describing how his church that meets in a public school on the Upper West Side will be affected if they are forced to move out February 12 after the Supreme Court declined to review the Bronx Household of Faith case.
ADF Attorney David Hacker at Speak Up Movement University Blog: Yesterday marked the 30th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Widmar v. Vincent. Perhaps you’ve never heard of this case, or perhaps you don’t really care. But you should. For Widmar is the cornerstone of modern religious liberty jurisprudence.
ADF Attorney Michael J. Norton at the TellADF Blog: The pressure brought by ADF and its allies to strip Planned Parenthood of federal taxpayer subsidies – estimated at $350 million or more per year – continues to mount.
OneNewsNow.com: Syria is once again a focus of concern for Christian persecution, both now and in the future. As the country continues to be embroiled in violence challenging the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, Christians are being attacked.
Christian Concern: The government has announced plans to introduce lessons on “transgender equality” in primary and secondary schools across the country.
The Christian Institute: Churches are not adequately protected by new regulations that allow civil partnerships to be registered on religious premises, Parliamentarians say.
The Christian Institute: A proposal that would allow future heirs to the throne to marry Roman Catholics raises questions about the monarch’s position as the head of the Church of England, MPs have said.
The Washington Post: Canada’s immigration minister says new Canadians will have to remove any face-coverings, such as the Islamic niqab or burka, while they take the oath of citizenship.
Telegraph: Up to 8,000 victims are forced in to marriage every year as ministers yesterday unveiled plans to criminalise the “appalling” practice.
LifeNews.com: Last month, LifeNews reported on a new study published by scientists who examined diabetes mellitus type 2, reproductive factors, and breast cancer — finding a statistically significant association showing a 2.86-fold increased breast cancer risk from one or more induced abortions.
Christianity Today: Until the IRS sorts out who can authorize church audits, churches are left in limbo, said Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) senior legal counsel Erik Stanley. “It has become an intolerable system of self-censorship,” he said. “Society labels biblical issues as political, and pastors just back away.”
Chuck Colson at the Christian Post: Last week, the Obama administration issued a memo making the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgendered people “a major element of its foreign policy,” that’s a quote from a Washington Post article. The article noted the president’s concern for discrimination and violence against LGBTs (as they are known).
Engage Family Minute: Jordan Lorence, senior vice-president with the Alliance Defense Fund, has been the chief litigator on this case. Jordan wrote an instructive blog post on the topic (copied below), but also took the time to join me for a brief discussion over the phone. I hope you will listen to it – especially if you are a pastor or elder committed to planting churches in West Virginia – and share it with your friends. [audio at the link]
Telegraph: Parents of children who have been struck down with the sleeping syndrome narcolepsy claim that it could have been triggered by the swine flu vaccine.
The Hill: Schmidt said the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) would punish Web firms, including search engines, that link to foreign websites dedicated to online piracy. He said implementing the bill as written would effectively break the Internet.
LaTimes.com: The corporate world — especially at law firms and big banks –- is a much better place for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees than it was a decade ago, according to a new report from LGBT advocacy group Human Rights Campaign.
KBND.com: Prineville’s Nativity Scene is still creating controversy in the small town. The Freedom From Religion Foundation is complaining the display is not inclusive.
The Daily Tar Heel: With this simple solution, the Student Union has directly addressed some basic needs and desires voiced by the campus Muslim community, while also remaining open to all others. Muslim students, faculty and staff have had to pray in various common areas and other highly public spaces while on campus.
RealClearPolitics: Gretchen Carlson, FOX News: Unemployment has gone up precipitously since he took office. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, DNC Chair: That is simply not true. In fact, unemployment has now dropped below 9%. It’s continuing to drop. He’s been focused on —
ADF Attorney Nate Kellum at Townhall: And while it sounds like the FFRF is about to get a lesson in what “Don’t mess with Texas” means, Athens and other towns around the country need to remember that they can respond to a letter from the FFRF with a phone call, an e-mail, or a mailed request to the Alliance Defense Fund.ADF exists to defend religious liberty free of charge, and part of that liberty consists in the freedom to celebrate the birth of Christ at Christmas.
News from The Associated Press: Seeking to bolster relations with Muslim countries angry about Western characterizations of Islam, the Obama administration has gathered representatives from more than two dozen governments this week in an effort to address religious intolerance around the world.
The Washington Post: Egypt’s military rulers said Wednesday the next parliament will not be representative enough to independently oversee the drafting of a constitution, and they will appoint a council to check the influence of religious extremists on the process.
Catholic Culture: The Latin Rite archbishop of Baghdad says that some Christians have been reduced to dhimmitude and are being forced to pay the jizya, a special tax that permits them to practice their faith.
Breitbart: North Korea warned South Korea on Sunday of “unexpected consequences” if Seoul displays Christmas lights near the tense border, and vowed to retaliate for what it called propaganda attempts.
LifeNews: The Minnesota affiliate of Planned Parenthood is slated to open a $16 million new abortion business and headquarters near University Avenue in St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood later this month.
Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice: This year, the New Mexico state legislature considered legislation to offer individuals and corporations tax credits for donating to nonprofits that distribute private school scholarships. That idea, also promoted by Gov. Susana Martinez, was supported by 62 percent of surveyed voters in New Mexico.
Courthouse News Service: The Rhode Island State Right to Life Committee and 28 state legislators say Gov. Lincoln Chafee illegally bypassed the Legislature in issuing an executive order to create a Rhode Island Health Benefits Exchange Program, to sell health insurance plans that include coverage for abortions.
Statesman.com: Perry calling for another constitutional amendment, election timetable is up in the air and Straus draws a primary challenger.
Jeff Jacob at Townhall: In the weird logic and language of the American postal system, the key to success was to give the public less for its money. The more things change in Postal World, the more they remain the same. In the 1960s, a stunning 83 percent of the agency’s total budget went to wages and benefits . . . “Labor represents 80 percent of the agency’s expenses, compared with 53 percent at United Parcel Service and 32 percent at FedEx, its two biggest private competitors.”
KLTV.com: Henderson County pastors are now organizing a nativity rally to take place on the courthouse steps next week . . . Organizers say for one hour on December 17 Christians will gather in worship and prayer.
Proposed Constitutional Amendment Would Ban Editorials About Candidates or Ballot Measures by Nearly All Newspapers
The Volokh Conspiracy: That’s one of the effects of HJR 90, proposed by Reps. Theodore Deutch, Peter DeFazo, Alcee Hastings, and Jim McDermott, and a similar Senate proposal by Sen. Bernie Sanders . . .
Palm Beach Post: New legislation sponsored by Wise, if passed, would require districts to officially refer to the period during which school is not in session and includes Christmas Day as Christmas Break. It would go into effect July 1, 2012.
TriValley Central: A western Pennsylvania mayor refused to include a banner from an atheist group that says “there are no gods” as part of a holiday display that includes a Nativity scene and has been erected annually on city property for decades.
Reuters: Every year, thousands of third-year law students across the country apply for coveted federal judicial clerkships, and every year, the same law schools — Yale, Stanford, and Harvard — top the list of those whose graduates populate federal judges’ chambers. But for the class of 2012, which began receiving its clerkship offers this fall, a new name has muscled in among the elite old guard: The University of California at Irvine School of Law . . .
redandblack.com: University commencement won’t have a prayer — at least that’s the hope of a group of University students. Stephen Joiner, the public relations chair for UGAtheists, is leading a group of about 30 students, many of them members of UGAtheists, in the fight to remove the prayer said during graduation.
Washington Times: A little-noticed shift in the once-hostile attitudes between evangelicals and Catholics may prove a significant aid to Mr. Gingrich, who has been surging in recent polls around the country.
WI State Journal: The conservative group Wisconsin Family Action set up the manger scene on Sunday, and its president Julaine Appling said they plan to display it through the end of the month. But the move angered the Madison-based Freedom from Religion Foundation,
The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram: In spite of being given two names, President Obama has yet to nominate a replacement for Judge Kermit Lipez on the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Texas Tribune: Forget everything. The candidate announcements, the relocations, the decisions not to run again, the who vs. who vs. who and the campaign finance. Poof! With a one-paragraph order on Friday night, the U.S. Supreme Court froze the Texas congressional and legislative elections and replaced pre-holiday candidate filings, politicking and fundraising with uncertainty and chaos.
Newsweek, The Daily Beast: Jennie McCormack was arrested for terminating her pregnancy with an abortion pill. The case that could transform the reproduction wars.
WSBT.com: Four South Bend men and the ACLU sued saying it was a gift to the Diocese and against the separation of church and state. A judge ruled in their favor but after two other failed proposals from the city, a federal court approved a public auction of the land at the minimum bid of $545,000.
Washington Times: n its notice, the court said Justice Elena Kagan had recused herself from the decision to take the case.
William Baude at The Volokh Conspiracy: Thanks to Eugene and the conspiracy for having me here. In my first post I thought I’d explain what the Defense of Marriage Act does and the circumstances under which it may be held unconstitutional. We can get into the choice-of-law stuff later.
The Hill: Consumer groups are calling on President Obama to seize rarely-used powers in the Constitution to make a recess appointee out of consumer financial watchdog nominee Richard Cordray.
ADF President and General Counsel Alan E. Sears at Townhall: This week’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to let stand a lower court ruling permitting the city of New York to block churches from meeting for worship services in empty public schools on weekends is profoundly troubling. Not just in its implications for religious freedom, but for what it says about what we are teaching the children who meet in those schools during the week.
ADF President and General Counsel Alan E. Sears at Townhall : Yet the word “choice” is misplaced. For abortions aren’t part of the choice, rather, they are used to take away the life that results from poor choices made. Or to put it as Doug Bandow did, “Sex is a matter of choice; abortion is an attempt to avoid accountability.”
One News Now: Jordan Lorence of the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) represents the church and does not think the high court made the right decision. “The government should not target religious services for exclusion from public buildings when they are open to other similar types of meetings,” he contends. “Equal access should mean equal access, and that includes religious services.”
ADF President and General Counsel Alan E. Sears at the American Thinker: More and more, Americans seem apathetic toward the liberties o’er which our Founding Fathers sacrificed their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor. We seem to hold a low opinion of that which millions of Americans before us not only treasured, but paid the ultimate price to protect. This is especially apparent when we focus on the First Amendment, and particularly the first liberty protected by that amendment.
National Right to Life News: “’The hospital filed a brief last week [December 3] asking the court’s permission to continue bullying nurses into participating in elective abortion cases,” [Alliance Defense Fund] lawyer Matt Bowman said in an e-mail. “Only by guaranteeing the court and the nurses that it has reversed its position would it prove that UMDNJ might finally be interested in following the law. Until then, ADF will continue to fight the illegal discrimination against these pro-life nurses.”
The Bronx Breakdown: Cabrera Stands Up for Church in Schools, Bagel Larry’s Free, the Hoops Massacre of the Bronx and More | Norwood News
Norwood News: Out of the 50 biggest school districts in the United States, according to a survey by the Alliance Defense Fund which is representing Bronx Household, New York City is only one that has a policy excluding worship services at its school buildings.
Paragould Daily Press: He provided the Daily Press with several memos from the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) stating that a nativity scene displayed in a public school does not violate the “establishment clause” of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. According to the ADF web site, the ADF is America’s largest legal alliance defending religious liberty through strategy, training, funding and litigation. The First Amendment’s Establishment Clause states that “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion.” One of the ADF memos states “this provision is often misunderstood as prohibiting seasonal religious expression in public schools. Many school officials mistakenly believe such expression would violate the so-called ‘separation of church and state’ — a phrase not found in the Constitution, but often misused in connection with the Establishment Clause.” [more] | ADF Memo: Constitutional Rights of Students, Teachers, and Public Schools to Seasonal Religious Expression
The New American: Nonetheless, Steven Aden of the pro-life Alliance Defense Fund predicted that should the bill become law, it would be able to survive a legal challenge all the way to the Supreme Court. “This bill strikes at commercial activity, not personal private choices,” Aden explained. “Under the bill, no woman can be sued or prosecuted for having an abortion based on the gender or race of her baby, but the abortionist can, and that’s the key.”
Religion Clause: In Henry v. Red Hill Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tustin, (CA App., Dec. 9, 2011), a California appeals court upheld a church’s firing of its pre-school director for living with her boyfriend
News from The Associated Press: Lowe’s Home Improvement has found itself facing a backlash after the retail giant pulled ads from a reality show about American Muslims.
NCPA Policy Digest: Responding to budgetary issues and this public criticism, cash-strapped governments in many states are considering ways to reduce the costs associated with public unions. In doing so, the stark contrasts between the public sector and private sector in unionization become clear as many question what the true costs of unions are, says Lee E. Ohanian, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.
It addresses a question that was hotly debated when Madeline was born 22 years ago, remains hot now – and still has no answer: “What is the real age of viability? No one knows,” said Dr. Stephen Welty, neonatology chief at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.
News from The Associated Press: The Philippine House of Representatives impeached the Supreme Court chief justice Monday over alleged corruption and favoritism toward the country’s former president, now under hospital arrest for alleged election fraud.
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to to hear Arizona v. United States involving a challenging to SB 1070. The SCOTUS Blog case information page for that case is here. Today’s complete order list is here.
Reuters: It was billed as a summit to save the euro. It may be remembered as the day Europe lost patience with Britain, as most of the continent threw its lot in with EU founding members France and Germany and committed to binding their economies ever more tightly.
UN Calls For “International Climate Court of Justice” would force western nations to pay “climate debt”
Alex Jones’ Infowars: Bureaucrats at the UN Climate Summit in Durban have outlined plans for the most draconian, harebrained and madcap climate change treaty ever produced, under which the west would be mandated to respect “the rights of Mother Earth” by paying a “climate debt” which would act as a slush fund for bankrolling an all-powerful world government.
Legal Periodical: Marriage Inequality: Religious Exemptions and the Production of Sexual Orientation Discrimination
NeJaime, Douglas, Marriage Inequality: Religious Exemptions and the Production of Sexual Orientation Discrimination (December 7, 2011). California Law Review, Forthcoming; Loyola-LA Legal Studies Paper No. 2011-46. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1969560
As more states consider marriage recognition for same-sex couples, attention turns to the conflict between marriage equality and religious liberty. Legal scholars are contributing substantially to the debate, generating a robust academic literature and writing directly to state lawmakers urging them to include a “marriage conscience protection,” containing a series of religious exemptions, in marriage legislation. Yet the intense scrutiny of religious freedom specifically in the context of same-sex marriage obscures the root of the conflict. At stake is the relational enactment of sexual orientation; same-sex relationships constitute lesbian and gay identity, and religious objections arise largely in response to such relationships. Same-sex marriage is merely one form of sexual orientation identity enactment, and religious objections to same-sex marriage are merely a subset of objections to sexual orientation equality. By exposing the connections between same-sex relationships and lesbian and gay identity, this Article argues for an antidiscrimination regime that includes same-sex relationships more comprehensively; in doing so, it resists the use of marriage as antidiscrimination, both for same-sex couples and religious objectors. Yet even as the “marriage conscience protection” proposed by religious liberty scholars misapprehends the basis of the underlying conflict, its sweeping language threatens to reach into the antidiscrimination domain and target lesbians and gay men based not primarily on their marriages but instead more generally on their same-sex relationships. By permitting religious organizations, as well as some employers, property owners, and small businesses, to discriminate against same-sex couples throughout the course of the couples’ married lives in situations far removed from marriage itself, the “marriage conscience protection” may have unintended consequences that would threaten substantial progress made in antidiscrimination law. Worse yet, using the term “marriage conscience protection” to label instances of discrimination against same-sex relationships would hide an increasing amount of sexual orientation discrimination that antidiscrimination law is just beginning to address.