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 *
Christian Newswire: On the heels of former Senator Rick Santorum publicly pledging to ‘vigorously enforce the nation’s adult obscenity laws,’ and with last year’s Congressional bipartisan support to do the same, Governor Romney is being asked to outline his plan to enforce federal laws.
WAVE3.com (includes video): Just how committed are you to your marriage? A new bill up for debate in Montgomery right now would give engaged couples the option of making it harder on themselves to get a divorce.
ADF President and General Counsel Alan E. Sears at the TellADF.org Blog: Christian students, staff, and faculty at public schools, colleges, and universities coast to coast continue to face a growing array of challenges from those determined to curtail their constitutionally protected religious freedom.
Turtle Bay and Beyond: This week the Human Rights Committee, charged with monitoring the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights began its 104th session. It affords us an opportunity to reflect on how UN Bodies are undermining both the natural law and positive law when they promote so called rights to abortion and LGBT rights . . .
Turtle Bay and Beyond: At the conclusion of the 56th session of Commission on the Status of Women, Norway’s Ambassador Morten Wetland made an extremely strong statement condemning any religion, morality or tradition that stands in the way of the human rights of women.
RIANOVOSTI: Hegumen Philip Ryabykh, the Russian Orthodox Church’s representative to the Council of Europe, said on Tuesday Russia would do what it can to help British Christians banned from openly wearing crosses at work defend their right to do so.
NHPR (includes audio): And today, communities of women are championing polyamory as an alternative lifestyle. Libby Copeland traces the pro-female history of polyamory for Slate.
Stateline.org: But according to the bill’s sponsor, Democratic state Senator Ed Murray, there was nothing more crucial to the legalization of gay marriage than support from high-profile businesses such as Nike and Microsoft.
Christian Institute: A Sikh Peer and a senior Jewish rabbi have both spoken out against redefining marriage as opposition continues to mount against the Government.
The Christian Institute: The UK could be thrown into a constitutional crisis if marriage is redefined, a Tory MP has warned.
NY Times: The conference, one of the largest ever gatherings of gay donors, is being organized by the Gill Action Fund, one of the country’s leading gay political organizations, which has played a quiet but pivotal role at the state level in recent years on gay marriage and other issues, including working to defeat lawmakers who oppose gay marriage.
Christian Institute: Now the Muslim Council of Britain has warned that plans to rewrite the definition of marriage are “unnecessary and unhelpful”.
EurasiaNet.org: The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), funded by Congress, has censured Tajikistan for “systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of freedom of religion or belief,” naming the country one of it’s “countries of particular concern.”
OakRidger.com (AP): Attorney Jonathan Scruggs, who represents the Whitsons, works for the Christian legal group the Alliance Defense Fund. In a phone interview from his Memphis office, Scruggs said that he was disappointed with the ruling but said he needs time to digest it before he can say whether he would recommend appealing. | Whitson v. Knox County Board of Ed.
Liberty Counsel: People are gathering in over 100 cities across the nation this Friday, March 23, to take a stand for their constitutional rights and freedoms.
Catherine Glenn Foster at Washington Examiner: When Planned Parenthood Federation of America president Cecile Richards described 2011 as “the most difficult year in Planned Parenthood’s history,” I wondered if she meant difficult as compared to the nearly $500 million in profit the organization had amassed the year before.
The Atlantic: This past admissions cycle, amid a constant drumbeat of bad news about the health of the legal industry, it appears that fewer students sat down to take the LSAT than at any time in the past decade. In the last two years, the number of tests administered has dropped 24 percent . . .
USA Today: The Obama administration is offering to expand the number of faith-based groups that can be exempt from the controversial contraception mandate, and proposing that third-party companies administer coverage for self-insured faith-based groups at no cost.
Fox News: Police departments across the nation and around the world have beefed up security at synagogues following shootings at Jewish sites in France.
Kansas City Star: Supporters in General Assembly seek to help pregnancy resource sites, but critics fault information disseminated by the centers.
Boston Globe: A House committee is suggesting criminal penalties be removed from a bill requiring New Hampshire doctors to provide women seeking abortions with specific information about potential health risks . . .
EuroNews.com: Tunisian protesters reject calls for Islamic state”>EuroNews.com: Thousands of secular Tunisians marched in the capital on Tuesday, the country’s independence day, to show their rejection of growing calls by conservative Salafi Islamists to transform post-revolutionary Tunisia into an Islamic state.
Engage Family Minute: Events throughout the last three years have given credibility to anti-religious, anti-Christian, and other antagonistic claims against the president. But a recent article by faith and American freedom historian David Barton might just solidify these claims.
Washington Post: The First Lady says here that Obama’s appointees to the Supreme Court will uphold the right to “love whomever we choose.”
Volokh Conspiracy: An orthodox rabbi [Moshe Zigelman] who refused to testify before a federal grand jury, saying his religious beliefs prohibit informing on fellow Jews, was ordered jailed Friday by a District Court judge for contempt of court … [u]ntil he chooses to testify ….
Nina Totenberg reports at NPR (includes audio): ustices Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy both raised an issue not before the court — whether a child conceived in vitro can be properly called a survivor since the child never lived with or was dependent on the deceased.
How Appealing links to more reports on the arguments.
Rep. Lamar Smith: “Kagan and Obamacare – still no answers: Stonewalling over justice’s obligation to recuse continues”
Rep. Lamar Smith at Washington Times: Now, on the eve of one of the most important Supreme Court arguments in our nation’s history, the stonewalling that has become the hallmark of the Obama administration may call into question the legitimacy of the court’s ultimate decision.
Religion Clause Blog: The Venice Commission is the Council of Europe’s advisory body on constitutional law. Yesterday, responding to a request from the government of Hungary for an advisory opinion, the Commission issued a 15-page report on Hungary’s 2011 Act On the Right to Freedom of Conscience and Religion and the Legal Status of Churches, Denominations and Religious Communities.
My San Antonio: As Texas students return to class from Spring Break, some officials with Medina Valley Independent School District have been given a homework assignment by a federal judge: apologize.
Religion Clause Blog: On March 16, the government in its weekly session with King Harald V formally agreed to proposals for changes in the country’s Constitution and other church legislation . . .
Armenian Weekly: We must commend Acting Patriarch Aram Ateshian and the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul for making the bold move of suing the Turkish government for the return of historically significant Armenian properties.
Tennessean: Tennessee lawmakers backed away from controversial legislation that would have further restricted discussions about homosexuality before high school, presumably ending the two-year battle over how much schoolchildren should be told.
Washington Post (AP): Maryland’s same-sex marriage debate may end up being decided in the voting booth, but Gov. Martin O’Malley told a conference on Catholicism and homosexuality Friday that he believes voters will come down on the side of human dignity.
Boston Globe: The House is voting this week whether to repeal New Hampshire’s gay marriage law and replace it with the civil unions law the state had in effect in 2008 and 2009.
ThirdCoastDigest.com: U.S. Rep. Tom Petri is proposing marriage as a means for low-income individuals to break the cycle of poverty. Petri (R-WI) is introducing a bill that will offer incentives for low-income people to work and marry, which he says they now evade to receive tax and government-supported benefits.
CBN: Alliance Defense Fund senior counsel David Cortman, who argued the case for the Christian groups, said the court’s decision would allow the San Diego State University to “remain a stronghold of censorship.”
Court sides with SDSU on campus groups: Justices refuse to hear appeal from clubs claiming policy violated religious freedom | U~T San Diego
U~T San Diego: Jeremy Tedesco, a lawyer with the Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund, said CSU “has taken nondiscrimination policy and used it to punish religious student groups for exercising their right to select their members and leaders on the basis of their religious beliefs. How can you be a religious group if you don’t have the ability to select your leaders and members on the basis of their religious beliefs? It’s common sense.”
One News Now: “They allow, for example, the vegetarian club to exclude meat-eaters, the Republican club to exclude Democrats, but yet, for some reason, the religious groups have this burden on them, where they can’t choose leaders of the same beliefs,” he explains. Cortman asserts that the fight is far from over, as his group plans to continue to litigate this and similar cases around the country.
Inside Higher Ed: The statement, by David Cortman, a lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund, said: “Public universities should encourage, not censor, the free exchange of ideas. But for now, the supposed marketplace of ideas at San Diego State University will remain a stronghold for censorship. We wish the Supreme Court would have used this opportunity to make clear that the First Amendment protects the right of student groups to employ belief-based criteria in selecting their members and leaders.”
UPI: “The university did not tell the Democratic club it must be led by a Republican, or the vegetarian club it must be led by a meat-eater, but it did tell Christian groups that they must allow themselves to be led by atheists,” said David Cortman of the Alliance Defense Fund, a lawyer for the religious groups. Cortman said the ruling would make CSUSD “a stronghold for censorship” — which an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer derided, the newspaper said.
Washington Post: When President Obama names his pick to replace outgoing World Bank President Robert Zoellick, that nominee will take over an institution whose role in the global economy is becoming ever more unclear.
Paul.House.Gov: In what history likely will record as a turning point, Attorney General Holder bluntly explained that this administration believes it has the authority to use lethal force against Americans if the President determines them to be a threat to the nation. He tells us that this is not a violation of the due process requirements of our Constitution because the President himself embodies “due process” as he unilaterally determines who is to be targeted.
WASV.com (AP): The Alliance Defense Fund, based on Scottsdale, Ariz., argued the case for the groups, David Cortman, senior counsel for the fund, said San Diego State will “remain a stronghold of censorship” as a result of the court decision.
MetroWeekly: The Alliance Defense Fund, which represented the SDSU student organizations, had asked the court to consider whether a university can allow student groups to have membership requirements based on nonreligious beliefs but not religious ones — a characterization of the policy that the university had argued was inaccurate.
World Magazine: Although some might point to today’s decision as a victory for schools that want to restrict the activities of Christian groups, Alliance Defense Fund attorney David Cortman said no one should read too much into the denial. “Deciding not to hear a case is actually no opinion at all,” he said. “We’re not supposed to attach any meaning to it. The court has taken no position on the case.”
Highland Community News: The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel David Cortman regarding today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court not to review the case Alpha Delta Chi v. Reed, involving a Christian sorority and fraternity at San Diego State University told they must be willing to accept atheists as leaders:
CNSNews: All student health care plans covering female college students in the United States must include coverage for free voluntary sterilization surgery, the Department of Health and Human Services announced late Friday afternoon.
AP: . . . Bishop William E. Lori comes from the Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn . . .
AP: Sexual Minorities Uganda believes that if it wins the suit, other American evangelicals it accuses of spreading anti-gay propaganda would stay away from Uganda.
National Law Journal (subscription only): A federal judge has ruled that lawyers who represented the Log Cabin Republicans in a constitutional challenge to the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy deserve attorney fees and expenses, even though a federal appeals court ultimately vacated her ruling in the organization’s favor.
Telegraph: Hundreds of new Church of England schools are to be opened to spread Christianity and combat “aggressive secularism”, it emerged today.
UK: Teachers tell children not to have ‘best friends’ in primary schools… to prevent pain of falling out
Daily Mail: Educational psychologist Gaynor Sbuttoni, who provides counselling for children in London, said the practice of teachers encouraging kids to play in large groups instead of developing tight-knit bonds is increasingly common.
The Hill: Abortion politics could roil the race for the top Democratic spot on the House Appropriations Committee, with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) playing the role of a potential wild card. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) is challenging Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) for the plum post . . .
Supreme Court Asked To Consider Constitutionality of NYC’s Low Contribution Limits for People Doing Business with the City
In 2007, New York City created a blacklist. It singled out nearly 12,000 of its most prominent citizens and said that they were the most likely to try to bribe politicians with campaign contributions. So the City published their names on the Internet for everybody to see and reduced the amount of contributions they can make to their chosen candidates by 90%
Rasmussen: Incumbent Republican Dean Heller holds a seven-point lead over his likeliest Democratic challenger, Congresswoman Shelley Berkley, in Rasmussen Reports’ first look at the U.S. Senate race in Nevada.
School Reform’s Establishment Turn: The Council on Foreign Relations endorses choice and competition
Wall Street Journal (access via Google): The Council on Foreign Relations is the clubhouse of America’s establishment, a land of pinstripe suits and typically polite, status-quo thinking. Yet today CFR will publish a report that examines the national-security impact of America’s broken education system—and prescribes school choice as a primary antidote. Do you believe in miracles?
Financial Times: Tehran has warned Saudi Arabia several times over the last two months not to increase its oil production to offset the impact of the US and European sanctions on Tehran’s crude exports.
Reuters: The Republican budget plan would produce deficits totaling $3.13 trillion over the next 10 years — less than half the $6.39 trillion in deficits the Congressional Budget Office says Obama’s fiscal 2013 budget plan would rack up.