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Turtle Bay and Beyond: In Sweden, critics of homosexuality risk being sent to jail. And the European Court of Human Rights, demonstrating once again its complete and utter failure to protect the fundamental rights enshrined in the European Rights Convention, finds that this constitutes no violation of the freedom of opinion.
Ben Shapiro at Big Government: Seriously. According to Time, the new Obama budget proposes using cheaper metals to manufacture pennies and nickels. Apparently, it cost the feds 2.4 cents to actually manufacture a penny and 11.2 cents to manufacture a nickel. So we’re losing money making money.
Care2.com: Dubbed Referendum 74, the question put before voters will be the text of the bill which they must then approve for the law to go into effect. More on ballot procedure via The Washington Office of the Secretary of State’s blog . . .
NDTV.com: Homosexuality should be seen in the context of changing society as many things which were earlier unacceptable have become acceptable with passage of time, the Supreme Court observed on Thursday.
C-FAM Friday Fax: During the past two weeks, a seemingly inconsequential UN oversight committee convened with undeniably consequential results. Tasked with reviewing the applications of hundreds of advocacy groups wishing to gain official status and entry into the United Nations, the committee ultimately refused to recommend the approval of several controversial pro-abortion and anti-Catholic organizations.
PDF available here.
The Christian Institute: Married couples will not benefit from a tax break in next month’s budget, Treasury sources have revealed. Critics have expressed frustration at the revelation, with one Conservative MP calling on the Chancellor George Osborne to re-think.
“It is moronic to compare opposition to gay marriage with opposition to interracial marriage” | Telegraph
Brendan O’Neill at Telegraph Blogs: . . . there is one very important difference between those who campaigned against bans on interracial marriage and those who campaign against restrictions on gay marriage: the anti-racist activists of old were calling for democratic equity within an already-existing institution, whereas today’s pro-gay marriage activists are calling for the creation of an entirely new institution.
DNAInfo.com: “The court’s order is a message of hope for fundamental freedoms in New York City because it means that, for the time being, the city must welcome churches as it does other groups,” said Jordan Lorence, an attorney for the defense fund who argued before the court on Tuesday, in a statement. “ADF will continue to fight this battle relentlessly until the city no longer unconstitutionally prohibits activity for purely religious reasons.”
Legal Alliance Wins Court Order To Allow Churches To Continue Worshiping In NYC Public Schools | CBS New York
CBS New York: The Alliance Defense Fund says it sought the order earlier this month to stop the evictions based on violations of the First Amendment that had not been ruled on previously in the case.
ABP: The same month the high court refused to hear an appeal from the Forsyth County, North Carolina, board of commissioners of a lower court’s ruling to end deity-specific, sectarian-oriented prayers at meetings. The case stemmed from a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union. While ministers of all faiths were encouraged to volunteer for the occasion, the Christian majority dominated, often ending prayers in “Jesus’ name.” ACLU lawyers said that showed government favoritism toward one religion over others. Opponents, represented by the Alliance Defense Fund, called the lawsuit a denial of religious liberty to those who pray from their specific traditions.
NYTimes.com: The court’s order is a message of hope for fundamental freedoms in New York City,” Jordan Lorence, a lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund, which argued for the church, said in a statement, “because it means that, for the time being, the city must welcome churches as it does other groups.”
CBN.com: “The court’s order is a message of hope for fundamental freedoms in New York City because it means that, for the time being, the city must welcome churches as it does other groups,” he added. “ADF will continue to fight this battle relentlessly until the city no longer unconstitutionally prohibits activity for purely religious reasons.”
NYC Mayor Bloomberg wrong to keep religious meetings out of school facilities on weekends, court rules | Human Events
Human Events: “The huge flaw in Mayor Bloomberg’s reasoning is that this is clearly private religious speech,” Jordan Lorence told HUMAN EVENTS. “Government accommodation of private religious speech is not government endorsement of that speech. When the Pope holds Mass in Central Park, it does not mean NYC endorses Catholicism. NYC does not show neutrality toward religion by treating religion worse than other community groups.”
(Video) | Washington Times: Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote in her Newsweek article, that there is a “conspiracy of silence” over mass religious persecution of Christians in Muslim nations. Christians are being killed in the Islamic world because of their religion. It is a rising genocide that ought to provoke global alarm.
ChicagoTribune.com: he highest court of the U.S. Presbyterian Church will convene in Texas on Friday to consider whether a lesbian minister violated ecclesiastical law when she blessed the weddings of same-sex couples in California.
WGRZ.com: About 2,400 same-sex couples were married outside New York City since the state’s same-sex marriage law took effect in July, about 7 percent of the total number of weddings, the state Health Department said Wednesday.
Statesman Journal : Five Oregon state workers have asked a federal court to block a new health insurance program that requires them to fill out an online risk assessment survey or pay a monthly penalty: $20 for individuals, $35 for couples.
Queens Chronicle: Nicole Phillips and Fabian Mendoza-Vaca have filed lawsuits claiming that their schools are depriving their children of a free education and discriminating against their religious beliefs.
BaltimoreSun.com: Two religious Democrats, Pam Beidle and Johnny Olszewski, both said this afternoon that they would support Gov. Martin O’Malley’s same-sex marriage bill. Both had expressed concerns about the legalization for religious reasons.
Newsmax: The Obama administration is weighing options for sharp new cuts to the U.S. nuclear force, including a reduction of up to 80 percent in the number of deployed weapons, The Associated Press has learned.
The Washington Post: Virginia Senate committee’s Republican majority has advanced a House bill that would eliminate state funding for abortions for low-income women.
POLITICO.com: Foster Friess, the mega donor behind the pro-Rick Santorum Super PAC, dismissed questions about his patron’s controversial views on women in combat, contraception and gay marriage.
News from The Associated Press: Religious leaders told a House panel Thursday the Obama administration was violating basic rights to religious freedom with its policies for requiring that employees of religion-affiliated institutions have access to birth control coverage.
News from The Associated Press: Two Republican senators unveiled a Medicare overhaul Thursday that features an accelerated transition to private health insurance for many seniors, a gradual increase in the eligibility age, and higher premiums for middle-class and upper-income retirees.
LifeSiteNews.com: On Friday at 9:45, the high court will render its judgment in the case of S.L. et al. v. Commission scolare des Chênes et al., which involves a Catholic family who took the Quebec government to court after it refused to grant their child an exemption from the province’s controversial ethics and religious culture course (ERC).
LifeSiteNews.com: Families are a witness to “faith, courage and optimism” when they welcome many children even amid today’s social environment, said Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday.
HSLDA: Jesse Furman, a lawyer with a proven track record of anti-Christian bigotry and judicial activism, has been nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. A vote is scheduled in the Senate Friday, February
Religion Clause: The complaint (full text) in Priests for Life v. Sebelius, (ED NY, filed 2/15/2012), claims that the group’s free exercise and free speech rights, as well as its rights under RFRA are violated by the mandate requiring its health insurance policy to cover contraceptive services. The suit also claims violations of the Administrative Procedure Act. | American Freedom Law Center press release
Religion Clause: Plaintiff alleged that he informed his employer about his obligations to his church on Saturdays and Sundays, but that he was continuously scheduled him for Saturday shifts.
Religion Clause: An Cassell v. Christian Science Board of Directors, 2012 Mass. App. Unpub. LEXIS 173 (MA App., Feb. 15, 2012), the Appeals Court of Massachusetts affirmed the trial court’s application of the church autonomy doctrine and dismissed a challenge by plaintiff to her excommunication from the Christian Science church.
OneNewsNow.com: Town hall prayers have been banned in Britain, according to a report from a Christian organization that considers the court ruling an assault on the country’s heritage.
Father Raymond J. de Souza at the National Post: The spiritual outlook of the contraceptive culture fundamentally separates present enjoyment from future responsibility. It is any wonder that such societies loot the future to pay for present benefits?
LifeNews.com: A pro-life organization has access public records about the committee that made the recommendation to the Obama administration to adopt its new controversial health care mandate and found the panel was dominated by pro-abortion groups.
The Cheraw Chronicle: The invocation was missing from the agenda this month as members of the Chesterfield County School Board met at Chesterfield-Ruby Middle School Monday afternoon. The absence of prayer from these public meetings reflects changes in religious practices the Chesterfield County school system is obligated to maintain, by Constitutional law and a court order.
Rasmussen Reports: What is most striking about the showdown over contraceptive freedom is not the political victory that President Obama earned by standing up for women’s reproductive rights, although his Republican adversaries are certainly helping him to make the most of it. Those adversaries don’t seem to realize they have fallen into a trap, whether the White House set them up intentionally or not.
Colorado Public School Student Quits Choir When Forced to Sing “There is no truth except Allah,” “Allah is the only eternal and immortal”
Education News: James Harper, Grand Junction High School Student, Quits Choir In Protest Over Plans To Sing Islamic Song ‘Zikr’ (VIDEO) Puffington Ho (hat tip John F) . . .
Salisbury News: For years meetings of the Rowan County Board of Commissioners have opened with prayer, and more often than not, that prayer was offered “in the name of Jesus,” but citing complaints over a number of years, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has asked commissioners to stop using prayer to open meetings.
Education News: For the second time in just months, an attempt to assemble information such as names and addresses on all homeschool students in one Mississippi judicial district and provide those details to judges has been defeated . . .
Catholic Culture: A February 15 meeting between Vatican officials and a visiting British diplomatic delegation ended in a joint statement emphasizing a shared commitment to promote and protect religious freedom.
Carson Holloway at Public Discourse: If marriage is to be preserved in the present struggle, our task is to sort through the influential kinds of arguments about same-sex marriage and abortion that have been introduced by Justice Kennedy.
Inquirer Global Nation: “No court should presume to redefine marriage. No court should undercut the democratic process by taking the power to preserve marriage out of the hands of the people,” said Brian Raum, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal aid group based in Arizona that helped defend Proposition 8, told the AP. “We are not surprised that this Hollywood-orchestrated attack on marriage — tried in San Francisco — turned out this way. But we are confident that the expressed will of the American people in favor of marriage will be upheld at the Supreme Court,” he said.
OneNewsNow.com: As New York lawmakers consider the bill that would reverse the city’s decision, the Alliance Defense Fund has requested a temporary federal injunction to buy time until the bill can be considered.
9News.com (includes video, Brian Raum appears in it): This particular legislation has been used as a springboard to same-sex marriage in virtually every place that it’s been instituted,” Brian Raum, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, said, “either through the court system or legislatively.”
Gay City News: Jordan Lorence, the combative ADF senior counsel who lost the Bronx case — and is active in the group’s other anti-gay litigation around the country — insisted that of the top 50 school districts in the country, only New York bars worship services in schools. “Nothing in the Constitution prohibits it,” he testified. “Can’t explain why the Supreme Court declined to hear the case.” . . .
Bob Unruh at WorldNetDaily: Pro-life students have a positive and valuable message that school officials should welcome, not censor,” said Jeremy Tedesco, legal counsel for ADF. “Public schools are more likely to succeed when they allow for the free exchange of ideas.” . . . “What is offensive is the double-standard here,” said ADF Litigation Counsel Matt Sharp. “Public school officials cannot pick and choose what messages they are going to allow based on which viewpoints they prefer. ADF has litigated numerous cases similar to this one, and the law and the Constitution are clearly on our side here as well.”
Christian Post: “I think there is a good likelihood that the Judge is going to issue an injunction,” Jordan Lorence, the lead counsel for ADF, told The Christian Post over the phone. “We don’t know for sure but we were optimistic by how things went and we may see churches be able to meet in the public schools from Feb. 13 and onward.”
Birth Control, Meet Damage Control: Last week, at the request of a Wyoming family organization WyWatch, FRC’s government affairs team alongside the Alliance Defense Fund, advised the state group in putting together model legislation that state leaders could introduce across the country. To access a modified version of that language and promote it in your state, click here.
Kevin Theriot at Baptist Press: So why is it that churches and other religious organizations increasingly find themselves unwelcome in communities where they used to be revered?
Scott Gottlieb at WSJ.com: Think the contraception decision was bad? Wait until bureaucrats start telling your insurer which cancer screenings to cover.
TheHill.com: The lawmakers, representing both parties and both chambers, said the president’s recent “accommodation” would still force some employers — particularly faith-based nonprofits — to cover contraception in defiance of their moral convictions.
American Civil Liberties Union: A federal district court ruled today that the Camdenton R-III School District must stop censoring web content geared toward the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities through discriminatory filtering software. The ruling orders the district to not block content based on the viewpoints expressed by the website.
News from The Associated Press: Interracial marriages in the U.S. have climbed to 4.8 million – a record 1 in 12 – as a steady flow of new Asian and Hispanic immigrants expands the pool of prospective spouses.
News from The Associated Press: Civic activists say moves to ban 29 humanitarian organizations in southern Zimbabwe are a breach of the nation’s laws and affected groups need to ignore banning orders by the president’s party.