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 *
Turtle Bay and Beyond: Yesterday, Slovenia held a post-legislative referendum on the new Family Code that was adopted in the Slovenian parliament in June 2011.
Richmond Times Dispatch: The Virginia state Senate has voted 20-19 to defeat a $3.2 million budget amendment to cover the costs of some abortion ultrasounds over the two years beginning July 1.
LifeSiteNews: More than 20,000 Ontario residents have signed petitions calling on the provincial government to end taxpayer funding of abortion, says organizer Campaign Life Coalition Youth.
LifeNews: More than 54,000 pro-life advocates joined more than 140 rallies across the nation on Friday to rally for religious freedom and against the controversial Obama HHS mandate that requires religious groups to pay for birth control and drugs that may cause abortions.
Nadine Dorries MP: There is no evidence to back the Chancellor’s repeal of Sunday trading laws. He should leave them alone.
Conservative Home Blog: During the budget speech, the Chancellor announced that “we will introduce legislation limited to relaxing the Sunday Trading laws for eight Sundays only, starting on 22nd July.”
Christian Institute: Ministers are preparing to change the law to ensure that halal meat has to be clearly identified as such when sold to the public.
Christian Institute: A secular bias in the public sector means faith groups don’t have equal access to public funding for community projects, academics say.
Education News: Alabama’s ‘Education Options Act’ moves through public committee hearings as Governor Bentley pushes his education reform agenda.
Education News: South Carolina seeks to expand charter schools and give all students, whether homeschooled or chartered, access to sports as traditionally educated children.
Seattle Q13 Fox News (includes video): Last week Gov. Christine Gregoire was livid with the senate Republicans and their three Democratic supporters for reintroducing this idea.
Catholic Culture: Church leaders in Europe have decried the announcement by Saudi Arabia’s top Islamic leader for the destruction of all Christian churches on the Arabian peninsula.
Ilya Somin at the Volokh Conspiracy: Lower courts have almost uniformly rejected this constitutional tax argument, and today’s questioning suggests that the Supreme Court is unlikely to accept it either.
NY Times: That lunch was a milestone in the dramatic evolution of a behind-the-scenes fund-raising network whose goal is to legalize same-sex marriage from coast to coast. This emerging group of donors is not quite like any other fund-raising network that has supported gay-related issues over the past 40 years. They come from Hollywood, yes, but also from Wall Street and Washington and the corporate world; there are Republicans as well as Democrats; and perhaps most strikingly, longtime gay organizers said, there has been an influx of contributions from straight donors unlike anything they have seen before.
Religion Clause Blog: According to The Hindu, earlier this week a Russian court for a second time rejected attempts by prosecutors to ban the Russian translation of the book, Bhagavad Gita As It Is . . .
Religion Clause Blog: Billed by supporters as “the largest gathering of the secular movement in world history,” yesterday between 10,000 and 20,000 people gathered on the National Mall in Washington . . .
Religion Clause Blog: Last week, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted two resolutions on religious liberty.
In In re Meyer, (Bankr. ED WI, March 22,2012) . . . Here the debtors, who sent their children to a Catholic parochial school with higher tuition, argued that the limit forced them to choose between the free exercise of religion and their right to a discharge in bankruptcy.
Salisbury Post: An attorney from the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation has asked the Kannapolis City Council to stop opening its meetings with prayer.
CBS: The federal court judge who presided over the federal case has ordered the city to repay the Scouts $877,000 in legal fees.
SCOTUS today’s argument recap: Is it a tax and subject to Anti-Injunction Act? Tomorrow on to the mandate
SCOTS Blog: One of the telltale signs of that sentiment was that not one Justice, and no lawyer at the lectern, said that it would be premature and a contradiction of the Court’s tradition against deciding constitutional issues prematurely for the Court to rule promptly on the mandate’s validity.
ADF President and General Counsel Alan E. Sears at National Review: However, via the HHS abortion-pill and contraceptive mandate, this administration has run roughshod over our first liberty and assigned government the new role of deciding which entities are “religious enough” for First Amendment protections and which aren’t, while decreeing that most private citizens have no say in how they may follow their beliefs.
ADF Chief Counsel Benjamin Bull at American Thinker: Note the fact that those who support protecting marriage do not argue that Ben & Jerry’s has no right to their opinions or business practices. Chick-fil-A, of course, doesn’t get the same pass that Ben & Jerry’s does because, in the eyes of those who love political conformity, Chick-fil-A doesn’t hold to the right opinions. But that’s the sad thing about the political left. They’re always pushing their morality on everybody else.
Joel Oster at Townhall: In El Paso, Texas, Democrat Mayor John Cook is literally doing whatever he can to cram his political preferences down the throats of El Pasoans who voted against him.
ADF Attorney Casey Mattox at Townhall: While the Supreme Court prepares for the showdown over the constitutionality of ObamaCare next week, another important battle over the controversial law is playing out in a state court in Rhode Island.
ADF Attorney Catherine Glenn Foster at AZ Republic: Where did the enemies of freedom at the ACLU come up with this whopper? At issue is Arizona legislation sponsored by Rep. Debbie Lesko, House Bill 2625. Lesko, a woman, is the one leading this bill, which protects the religious freedom of both women and men. And that’s all the bill does: restore religious freedom to several statutes passed in 2002.
One News Now: But Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) attorney Brett Harvey says that argument is becoming all too commonplace. “Unfortunately, we see this over and over again throughout the country,” he laments. “They’re using fear, intimidation, and, quite frankly, disinformation to try to bully schools into taking away and cutting out any form of religious expression in the public schools, and it’s simply not necessary.” [more]
Wisconsin Rapid Tribune: The Alliance Defense Fund called the decision “regrettable” in a statement Monday.
One News Now: ADF attorney Casey Mattox tells OneNewsNow the lawsuit was filed on behalf of Rhode Island Right to Life and 38 state lawmakers. “No one should force Rhode Islanders to subsidize other people’s abortions under the guise of healthcare reform, especially through illegitimate, extra-constitutional methods,” he contends. “The responsibility to define and create these exchanges lies solely with the people through the General Assembly. The governor cannot circumvent state lawmakers simply because the majority of them want to maintain longstanding prohibitions against the use of taxpayer dollars for elective abortions.”
California Catholic Daily: “Public universities should encourage, not censor, the free exchange of ideas,” said ADF attorney David Cortman in a statement issued following the Supreme Court’s action. “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.”
Wesley J. Smith at First Things Secondhand Smoke: The splendid Alliance Defense Fund has intervened with a very good brief as to why European law both does not compel the legalizing of assisted suicide nor creates a positive human right to assistance in killing themselves. (Yes, that is where the argument is now going.)
The Hill: The Supreme Court opened its consideration of President Obama’s healthcare law by aggressively questioning the idea the court can’t reach a decision on the healthcare mandate before it takes effect.
WorldMag.com: Priests for Life, a Catholic organization that provides pro-life resources and mobilizes Catholic laity, organized this protest in 140 cities across the country along with the Alliance Defense Fund and the Becket Fund. The protests all took place Friday at noon EST and drew a multi-faith crowd.
Christianity Today: Lawyers from the Becket Fund and the Alliance Defense Fund plan to speak at some of today’s rallies, organized by the Pro-Life Action League and Citizens for a Pro-Life Society.
Newsbusters: The Coalition to Stop the HHS Mandate, which is being coordinated by the Illinois-based Pro-Life Action League; and includes multiple pro-life, social conservative, and religious groups, including Human Life International, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the Alliance Defense Fund, and Priests for Life; have organized the “Stand Up For Religious Freedom” rallies “in defense of religious freedom and STAND UP against the Obama administration’s HHS mandate at federal building in cities across the country.”
CBS Pittsburgh: Officials with the Valley School District in New Kensington are bracing for a legal battle with an atheist group that’s threatening a lawsuit if a Ten Commandments monument is not removed from school property.
CBS (includes video): In directing what appeared to be a new level of vitriol toward Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum on Sunday described his rival as “the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama.” Santorum later, however, bristled at the notion that he was referring to anything other than Romney’s position on health care.
The HIll: With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Santorum had 49 percent of the vote. Mitt Romney held second place with 27 percent. Newt Gingrich had 16 percent and Ron Paul trailed with 6 percent of the vote.
Washington Times: A curious thing about this week’s Supreme Court hearings on President Obama’s health care law is that while nobody doubts how the four Democrat-appointed justices will decide, there is no such certainty on how the Republican appointees will rule in the case, which will go a long way toward defining the scope and limits of government power in the 21st century.
NCPA Policy Digest: Moreover, 70 percent of all net profits made by China’s centrally-owned enterprises in 2009 came from only 10 companies that had been bestowed heavy market advantages by the state.
Report from oral argument in Fourth Circuit appeals of First Amendment wins by pregnancy resource centers in Maryland
WalshsLaw: A Fourth Circuit panel consisting of Judge Niemeyer, Judge King, and Judge Agee heard oral arguments yesterday in two First Amendment challenges brought by pregnancy resource centers in Maryland. I attended both arguments. From the content and tenor of the proceedings, it seems very likely that the court will affirm the two district courts whose rulings were at issue, both of which held that ordinances compelling speech by pregnancy resource centers violate the First Amendment.
“Every student deserves a quality education. Banning classical religious texts denies students the right to learn what they need to know about world history and the world in general. For that reason, the decision of the Supreme Court not to review this case is regrettable, especially in light of the high court’s existing precedent stating that even ‘the Bible may constitutionally be used in an appropriate study of history, civilization, ethics, comparative religion, or the like.’
Legal Periodical: “The First Amendment’s Religion Clauses: The Calvinist Document That Interprets Them Both”
Leah Farish, The First Amendment’s Religion Clauses: The Calvinist Document That Interprets Them Both, 12 J. of Religion & Society 1 (2010), Online: http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/2010/2010-2.pdf.
This paper suggests that the Westminster Confession of Faith’s provisions about church and state, revised in Philadelphia at the start of the Constitution’s ratifying convention, furnished much of the syntax and vocabulary for the First Amendment’s religion clauses. Recognizing