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OneNewsNow.com: Though a Florida legislative bill to allow prayer at public school events has made it through the Senate Judiciary Committee, opponents warn it could be unconstitutional.
ADF Attorney Jordan Lorence at the NY Post: Come Feb. 12, Mayor Bloomberg and the city Department of Education are set to ban religious groups from off-hour use of public schools for worship services. This contradicts New York City’s commitment to diversity, freedom of expression and accommodation of diverse religious beliefs — and there’s still time to reverse course.
Michael Foust at Baptist Press: Jim Campbell, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund — which is representing the Methodist group — said the cases prove that there is harm to religious liberty when states legalize gay “marriage” or civil unions or pass broad legislation incorporating sexual orientation into non-discrimination laws. “When people hear that their legislature is considering a law like this and they think, ‘What’s the harm?’ they need to realize that there is this direct threat to religious liberty — to business owners, employees, religious entities and people who attend all those religious entities,” Campbell told Baptist Press. “These four cases are a good demonstration of that. People who are concerned about religious liberty should be concerned about these legal developments.”
Catholic Culture: An Irish Labor Party leader told the Irish Catholic that “religious ethos has no place in the educational system of a modern republic.”
Baptist Press (includes video of the prayer): When pastor and seminary professor Hershael York took the podium to offer a prayer prior to the Kentucky governor’s address to state legislators, senators and representatives likely didn’t expect to hear an appeal to God to defeat one of the governor’s chief legislative proposals. But they did.
Persecution Blog: Hundreds of Nigerian Christians fled from Yobe State after incessant Boko Haram (a militant Islamist sect demanding the rule of strict Muslim law in Nigeria) attacks took refuge in Jos, the Plateau State capital. Fleeing is a bit like jumping “out of the frying pan into the fire.”
New York Daily News: Democrats said a resolution submitted late last week by Queens Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (pictured right) seeking to proclaim next week “Reproductive Rights and Justice Week” was scrubbed by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ office to take out any mention of abortion, family planning and reproductive rights.
Center for AZ Policy Foundations Blog: Moments ago, two school choice bills were passed by the Arizona State Senate by a vote of 19-9-1.
Sanctity of Human Life Sunday: Resources for Every Person to Celebrate Life | Family Policy Council of WV
Engage Family Minute Blog: This Sunday is the “Sanctity of Human Life Sunday” across the nation. It marks the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the day America began legalizing killing our unborn. Since that day more than 50,000,000 unborn children have been murdered “legally” on American soil.
Rasmussen Reports: The latest telephone survey of Likely GOP Primary Voters in the state finds Gingrich with 33% support to Romney’s 31%. Two days ago, before the last debate, it was Romney by 14 percentage points.
Wyoming Tribune: Jonathan Skruggs is one of the attorneys for the Alliance Defense Fund, which filed WyWatch’s lawsuit. He said Wednesday he couldn’t say how the state’s new policy would affect the lawsuit since he hasn’t seen the policy. “The state has not filed anything in this lawsuit,” Skruggs said. “It is impossible to comment until we’ve seen actually what’s been done.” “At this point, we have no reason to believe anything the state is offering is sufficient,” he said. “So given the information we have now, we will continue to pursue our motion and continue to seek to vindicate our client’s rights.”
Seattle Times Newspaper: Microsoft has made public its support of legislation in the state House and Senate that would allow gay marriage in Washington state, signing on to a letter to legislative leaders with other prominent Northwest companies, and posting an entry about the company’s position on its official blog.
Opposing Views: In a press release, ADF Litigation Staff Counsel Jonathan Scruggs said: “Free speech is protected by the First Amendment, which means it can’t come with a price tag and a burdensome waiting period. The courts have routinely ruled policies like this one unconstitutional. Christians visiting public college campuses shouldn’t be deterred from expressing their beliefs because of cumbersome, unconstitutional policies.”
CSMonitor.com: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta vowed to reduce sexual assaults within the military with a series of new initiatives. Some say, though, that the initiatives were already mandated by Congress.
Liberty Counsel: School officials at Shawano High School needlessly censored and apologized for a 15-year-old’s op-ed article supporting natural mother-father adoption. It was a part of an editorial page which presented both viewpoints, each articulated by students. After the school newspaper was published in the local town paper, a homosexual in the community complained to the school. School officials took immediate action and censored the article supporting natural adoption.
MyHealthNewsDaily.com: In terms of health, self-esteem, and psychological well-being, marriage offers little benefit over simply living together without wedding rings, the study found. It’s the relationship itself, rather than its official status, that’s key to its benefits, said study researcher Kelly Musick, an associate professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology. | Musick, K. and Bumpass, L. (2012), Reexamining the Case for Marriage: Union Formation and Changes in Well-being. Journal of Marriage and Family, 74: 1–18. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2011.00873.x
WSJ: New Jersey Democrats believe they are within spitting distance of securing enough support to override a veto of same-sex marriage legislation if Gov. Chris Christie chooses not support it.
DesMoinesRegister.com: They launched a statewide “public education campaign” Wednesday aimed at moving the conversation about marriage rights out of the political arena and into family rooms and dens.
Scalia: “absolute madness” to allow nine justices to decide the Constitution means whatever they say
News from The Associated Press: In a colorful attack on those high court colleagues who don’t share his approach, Scalia said it’s “absolute madness” to allow the nine justices to decide the Constitution means whatever they say.
Christian Concern: Leading civil liberties organisation ‘Index on Censorship’ has called for the word ‘insulting’ to be removed from the Public Order Act on the basis that the word’s inclusion in legislation has “a corrosive effect on free speech” in the UK.
WorldNetDaily: Free speech is protected by the First Amendment, which means it can’t come with a price tag and a burdensome waiting period,” Jonathan Scruggs, the ADF’s litigation staff counsel, said. “The courts have routinely ruled policies like this one unconstitutional. Christians visiting public college campuses shouldn’t be deterred from expressing their beliefs because of cumbersome, unconstitutional policies.”
The Christian Institute: Mike Harris, head of advocacy at Index on Censorship, said it was not the role of police officers or magistrates “to protect citizens from insult”, and called on Government ministers to “roll back the culture of offence” in Britain. “A good start”, he argued, would be removing the word “insulting” from Section 5 – a change backed by organisations including The Christian Institute and the National Secular Society.
LifeSiteNews.com: Mexico’s Federal Institute for Access to Information and the Protection of Personal Data (IFAI) has ordered Mexico’s federal prosecutorial wing to begin tracking the number of women in Mexico who have been imprisoned for abortion, according to local media sources.
Denise Burke: Dead wrong: Nearly 40 years after Roe v. Wade, states seek to end tyranny of abortion industry
Denise Burke Washington Times: Last year was a bad year for the abortion industry. Each passing month seemed to expose more of the industry’s “dirty laundry” and, in direct response, state legislatures enacted a record number of laws intended to put an end to the tyranny of abortion-on-demand and to the American taxpayers’ unwitting complicity in it.
The Republic: Bill Sharp, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney in Louisville, says the recent cases could have been postponed to let the high court rule on the appeal.
LifeNews.com: James Dobson, the founder and former president of Focus on the Family, has joined a number of social conservative and pro-life leaders have who announced endorsements for Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum.
News from The Associated Press: Pope Benedict XVI says Roman Catholics in the U.S. need to understand the “grave threats” to their faith posed by what he calls radical secularism in the political and cultural arenas.
Religion Clause Blog: In re Deliverance Christian Church, 2011 Bankr. LEXIS 5219 (ND OH, Dec. 1, 2011), involves the issue of how much information a church in bankruptcy must furnish to a bank that is a secured creditor of the church.
OneNewsNow.com: everal prominent Christian leaders from across the country have signed on to lead the official “pastors and leaders faith coalition” for one of the GOP presidential hopefuls. The group was introduced during a recent nationwide conference call.
OneNewsNow.com: Personhood Kansas spokesman Bruce Garren says it will take a two-thirds’ vote of both houses of the legislature to get the measure on the fall ballot.
Religion Clause Blog: Now according to yesterday’s Globe and Mail, Vancouver lawyer Peter Wilson has been named new special prosecutor by the British Columbia Criminal Justice Branch to look into sexual offenses against minors in the FLDS town of Bountiful. However his mandate does not include looking into polygamy charges.
Religion Clause Blog: In Martinez v. Clark County, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5313 (D NV, Jan. 18, 2012), a Nevada federal district court, while dismissing claims against the state attorney general, refused to dismiss claims against the county and county officials challenging the constitutionality of Nevada’s statutes limiting who may perform marriage ceremonies
Religion Clause Blog: God and Country blog reported yesterday that the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers (MAAF) has convinced the U.S. Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) to change the logo on its official patch which, like many, apparently contain “in-jokes.”
LifeNews.com: The national pro-life legislative group Americans United for Life has released its seventh annual ranking of states across the country based on the way each deals with a comprehensive list of life issues – from abortion to euthanasia.
The Hill: Five board members of the Palmetto Family Council, a leading South Carolina group of social conservatives, plan to endorse Rick Santorum after a series of meetings looking to coalesce around a candidate, one of the leaders told The Hill Wednesday evening.
Politico Poll: Several polls released during the past few days show that Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is drawing close — or even surpassing — front-runner Mitt Romney in South Carolina, where the primary election is Saturday. Politico offered the latest evidence Thursday.
Christian Concern: Jordan Lorence, of the Alliance Defense Fund, said:
Wyoming Tribune Eagle Online: Jonathan Scruggs, a lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund, which is representing WyWatch, said Wednesday they will continue to fight for the ability to use the gallery for public displays. “Given the information that we have, we believe our clients should have the ability to express themselves in this area,” he said.
Billings Gazette: Jonathan Skruggs is one of the attorneys for the Alliance Defense Fund, which filed WyWatch’s lawsuit. He said Wednesday he couldn’t say how the state’s new policy would affect the lawsuit since he hasn’t seen the policy. “The state has not filed anything in this lawsuit,” Skruggs said. “It is impossible to comment until we’ve seen actually what’s been done.” “At this point, we have no reason to believe anything the state is offering is sufficient,” he said. “So given the information we have now, we will continue to pursue our motion and continue to seek to vindicate our client’s rights.”
OneNewsNow.com: Marilyn Musgrave of the Susan B. Anthony List tells OneNewsNow that her organization, working with Alliance Defense Fund, helped develop the legislation.
NCPA Policy Digest: Pointing out that local governments’ unfunded retirement obligations may now approach $4 trillion, the Hatch report noted that the failure of a few big public sector pension plans could spark a credit “contagion” that would make it difficult for all governments in America to borrow money.
NCPA Policy Digest: The pool of Americans relying on government benefits rose to record highs last year as an increasing share of families tapped aid in a weak economy, says the Wall Street Journal.
Ames, IA Patch: he Alliance Defense Fund, which advocates for religious freedoms, particularly within the classroom, told Inside Higher Ed that after making adjustments to ensure the class was taught objectively, Iowa State should have allowed the class to continue. “It is a shame that certain academics and groups on the left … would rather engage in educational censorship than allow true academic freedom,” ADF senior counsel David Cortman wrote in a statement released to Inside Higher Ed. “Any objections to the method of teaching the course could have been addressed without canceling the entire course.”
New Hampshire Considers Defunding Planned Parenthood, Weakening Domestic Violence Laws | Huffington Post
Huffington Post: The legislation was written by the Susan B. Anthony List and the Alliance Defense Fund, two conservative leaning national groups seeking to stop abortion in the United States. Shortly after the vote, the groups issued a statement taking credit for the bill.
The New American: “No federal court has ruled that prayers cannot be offered before public meetings,” said attorney David Cortman of the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), the conservative legal advocacy group that represented the county in the case. He added, however, that the Supreme Court had “missed an opportunity to clear up the differing opinions among the various circuits about the content of the prayers. This means that, for the time being, the standard for prayer policies in the 4th Circuit will be different from the standard held by the rest of the country.”
News from The Associated Press: A court has sentenced a democracy activist in central China to 10 years’ imprisonment for subversion, a family member said Thursday. It’s the third lengthy jail term handed down to a dissident in less than a month.
KPHO: “Free speech is protected by the First Amendment, which means it can’t come with a price tag and a burdensome waiting period,” said ADF Litigation Staff Counsel Jonathan Scruggs. “Christians visiting public college campuses shouldn’t be deterred from expressing their beliefs because of cumbersome, unconstitutional policies.”
Caffeinated Thoughts: “It is time to get New Hampshire taxpayers out of the abortion business,” said Michael Tierney, an Alliance Defense Fund-allied attorney in Manchester, New Hampshire. “Planned Parenthood’s business model is centered on abortion, and New Hampshire taxpayers want no part in it.” “Every innocent life deserves to be protected. Taxpayer dollars should go toward helping and caring for the most vulnerable Americans, not killing them,” said Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel Mike Norton. “New Hampshire taxpayers should not be forced to fund abortions.”
News from The Associated Press: Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday that Mitt Romney changed his position on legalized abortion out of political convenience, one of the sharpest allegations leveled yet in the South Carolina GOP presidential primary
Des Moines Register: There are too many holes in the certified totals from the Iowa caucuses to know for certain who won, but Rick Santorum wound up with a 34-vote advantage.
News from The Associated Press: The Greenville-Spartanburg area, home to many of South Carolina’s evangelical voters, should be prime political ground for Rick Santorum, a longtime anti-abortion crusader who was embraced by a group of Christian leaders meeting last weekend in Texas.
News from The Associated Press: Pakistan’s government on Thursday bowed to a long-standing Supreme Court demand to debate whether the president enjoys immunity from a past corruption case, a concession that could help defuse a crisis threatening the U.S.-backed administration.