Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s days away: The Supreme Court’s marriage decision is expected to come down on June 29.
A Lousy Procedure, A Messy Judgment: The European Human Rights Court’s Newest Attempt To Fabricate A „right To Abortion“
Turtle Bay and Beyond: While for many years the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has simply failed to protect unborn children against being murdered (the lead case here is the ignominious Vo v. France decision of 2004, where the Court explicitly recognised that the embryo “belongs to the human race”, but at the same expressed doubts as to whether it qualified as a “person”…) it is now trying to fabricate a “Right to Abortion”.
The Independent: Cardinal Keith O’Brien was named Stonewall’s Bigot of the Year last night, despite threats from Barclays and Coutts to withdraw their sponsorship of the awards over the category.
NY Daily News: Malawi minister has ordered laws against same-sex marriage to be put on hold as lawmakers debate whether to repeal current legislation
“Former Gov. George Pataki Slams Rabbi’s Comments That Superstorm Sandy Destruction Tied To Gay Marriage Vote”
NY Daily News: Former Gov. George Paaki ripped an upstate rabbi for making “offensive and disgraceful” comments that described Hurricane Sandy as divine payback for New York legalizing gay marriage. Pataki called on fellow Republican Neil DiCarlo — who is running on the Conservative Party line for a state Senate seat from the Hudson Valley — to denounce the remarks of Rabbi Noson Leiter. DiCarlo opposes gay marriage, and the orthodox rabbi made the statements in support of his third-party candidacy.
Washington Post: In Iowa, the front of the ballot usually contains all of the high profile races for president, Congress, the state house or local offices, like county sheriff. Turn that ballot over, and there’s this question: “Shall the following judges of the Supreme Court be retained in office?” It’s followed by the names of four sitting justices. One of those, Justice David S. Wiggins . . .
A group of concerned attorneys, required by law to be dues-paying members of the Washington State Bar Association, are objecting to the association’s public support for R-74, a measure that seeks to redefine marriage in the state. The lawyers, who do not support R-74, have sent a strongly worded letter to the bar citing the bar’s own rules and a U.S. Supreme Court decision that says mandatory bars can’t take sides on such matters.
Seattle Times: In a letter responding to the members, the board’s president said the organization has consistently found that issues like Ref. 74 do affect the practice of law and the administration of justice. It said Keller does not prohibit the bar from taking positions on any issue, but rather forbids it from using mandatory member fees to support such positions. It offered the attorneys the option of deducting from their dues an amount ranging from 98 cents to $6.40 . . . Bellevue attorney Chris Evans, who wrote the letter on behalf of the others, called the board’s endorsement “mission creep.” | The Washington State Bar Response Letter
Susan Straight at NY Times: Sometimes life is like a fun-house mirror, the glass and then the real thing. I had just watched the TV show “The New Normal,” a comedy about what used to be called untraditional families, for the first time, and the same day I read about Mitt Romney’s son Tagg and his wife, Jennifer, having twins through a surrogate pregnancy, using the same surrogate mother they had back in 2009. A week later, a few choice remarks were made about single mothers in the presidential debate.
Huffington Post: The political hot potato has exposed divisions between urban France, where homosexuality is widely accepted, and the rural heartland, where conservative attitudes hold sway. Unusually for this strictly secular country, it has also brought religious views to the foreground.
Catholic Herald: However, they were defeated today as the Charity Commission argued that the charity’s stance is “divisive, capricious and arbitrary” and undermined the dignity of homosexual couples whose parenting abilities are “beyond question”.
Bloomberg: An Arizona law making it a crime for doctors to perform abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy was questioned by two federal appeals court judges who said it appears to flout the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
Xinhuanet: Hundreds of Egyptians flocked Friday to central Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of last year’s massive demonstrations that toppled the former regime, calling for applying Islamic laws “Sharia”.
Radio Australia: Australia’s Foreign Minister Bob Carr has announced an exchange programme between Australia and Malaysia, which he says aims to foster moderate Islam.
AP: Utah seized control of the community trust in 2005 amid allegations of mismanagement by church officials, including now-jailed polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs.
AP: Egypt’s new Coptic pope said Monday the constitution now being drafted will not be acceptable if it is overtly religious, a sign he would campaign with his Christian minority and secular groups against increasing Islam’s role in the new charter.
The Hill: “DoD’s failure to fix this longstanding problem means that the blank ballots of thousands of overseas service members, as well as some who have recently returned from overseas, could be currently trapped in an archaic and inefficient mail forwarding system,” the senators wrote. “These ballots are unlikely to reach these service members until after Election Day has passed.”
CBS: A new study has found that 17-year-olds with lesbian mothers had high school GPAs ranging between A-minus to B-plus, while having strong family bonds with their mothers, whom the teens consider good role models. The Williams Institute at UCLA, which conducted “Adolescents with Lesbian Mothers Describe Their Own Lives,” tracked 78 adolescents over a 26-year period. | UCLA Williams Institute Study
Montgomery Advertiser: Earlier this year, almost no one would have expected the race for chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court to be between Roy Moore, a man who was removed from that position almost a decade ago, and Robert Vance Jr., the well-funded son of a federal judge who was assassinated.
4 Yrs at Private College = $130,468; Median-Priced Existing Home = $173,100; U.S. Debt Per American Under 18 = $218,676
CNSNews: If Americans under the age of 18 were required as a group to pay off the entirety of the federal government’s debt in equal shares, each would now need to pay about $218,676.
LifeNews: The Nevada Supreme Court has been asked by an attorney for the guardians of a pregnant mentally disabled woman not to force her to have an abortion.
Indiana Public Media: “In 2011, Justice Steven David ruled that Hoosiers have no right to reasonably resist unlawful entry by police officers into their homes,” a radio ad sponsored by the Indianapolis Tea Party says.
Bradley Miller at Public Discourse: The effects of same-sex civil marriage in Canada–restrictions on free speech rights, parental rights in education, and autonomy rights of religious institutions, along with a weakening of the marriage culture–provide lessons for the United States
Blog of the Legal Times: The technological restraints imposed against Legg, convicted in an online child exploitation sting, are at the center of a case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Legg is serving a 30-month prison. His lawyer today urged the appeals court to find that the restrictions go too far.
Religion Clause Blog: In Opulent Life Church v. City of Holly Springs, Mississippi, (ND MS, Nov. 1, 2012), in a case on remand from the 5th Circuit (see prior posting) a Mississippi federal district court granted a TRO and a preliminary injunction against enforcement of a total zoning ban on religious congregations in the area where plaintiff church’s property is located.
Religion Clause Blog: Add one more lawsuit to the dozens already filed challenging the contraceptive coverage mandate under the Affordable Care Act. Yesterday, Criswell College in Dallas, Texas filed suit. The complaint (full text) in Crisell College v. Sebelius, (ND TX, filed Nov. 1, 2012), describes Criswell as “a Christ-centered institution of higher learning.”
Religion Clause Blog: In In re Navy Chaplaincy, (DC Cir., Nov. 2, 2012), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reversed a district court’s dismissal of a lawsuit by several former and current military chaplains who claimed that non-liturgical Protestant chaplains are discriminated against in the promotion recommendations of Chaplain Corps selection boards.
Religion Clause Blog: As previously reported, last March Florida’s legislature, at the urging of school prayer proponents, passed a new law authorizing school districts to adopt policies permitting inspirational messages to be composed and delivered by students at student assemblies.
NC: City Of King Is Exploiting The Memory Of American Soldiers To Promote Christianity, Says Americans United
Americans United for Separation of Church and State: In a lawsuit filed on behalf of Steven Hewett, a decorated veteran of the war in Afghanistan, Americans United asked the city to remove the Christian flag as well as a Christian statue at the memorial.
Religion Clause: The Greek Orthodox Church claims that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre– believed to be by the site of Jesus’ crucifixion– has always been given special treatment and exempted from water fees.
Religion Clause Blog: According to the Wall Street Journal last Friday, in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula Shariah courts are proliferating to fill the void in governmental services. Islamic courts have long operated in the Sinai to adjudicate minor disputes among individuals, but since the revolution they are expanding their role.
Religion Clause Blog: In People v. Chambliss, 2012 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2653 (IL App., Nov. 1, 2012), an Illinois appellate court upheld against an Establishment Clause challenge an Illinois law (720 ILCS 5/21-1(d)(1)(C)) that makes damage to property of a place of worship, a school or agricultural equipment or property a greater offense than damage to other property.
Religion Clause Blog: Today, in a per curiam opinion issued without calling for briefing or oral arguments, the U.S. Supreme Court in Lefemine v. Wideman, (Docket No. 12-168, decided 11/5/2012)(full text, scroll to end of Order List) held that a member of Columbia Christians for Life who obtained a permanent injunction, but no monetary damages was a “prevailing party” and entitled to an award of attorneys’ fees, unless on remand the lower courts find special circumstances that should preclude an award.
Religious Speech Does Not Equal ‘Hate Speech’: Court Affirms Pastor’s Right to Publicly Express Views | Christiana Holcomb at Speak Up Movement Church Blog
Christiana Holcomb at Public Discourse: Expressing his religious views in a public forum plunged one Canadian pastor into a ten-year legal battle defending his right to freedom of expression against accusations of “hate speech.”
The 9th Circuit’s ruling for a student newspaper at Oregon State | Heather Gebelin Hacker on the Georgene Rice Show
Bronx Household and Obama’s continued assault on religious liberty | Jordan Lorence on the Zeb Bell Show
DOJ: Hercules Industries cannot be family company based on faith values | Bill Newland & Mike Norton on Catholic Answers Live
The Hill: Union officials are campaigning to lock collective bargaining rights into Michigan’s state constitution on Election Day and are talking about repeating the feat elsewhere if they succeed.
LifeNews: Supporters of President Barack Obama in Wisconsin who were waiting to get into a local event with Vice President Joe Biden vandalized and spray-painted over pro-life signs held by pro-life rally protestors.
NBC (includes several videos of pastors): About 1,600 pastors across the country violated a 58-year-old ban on political endorsements by churches in October by explicitly backing political candidates in their Sunday sermons, according to the Alliance Defending Freedom of Scottsdale, Ariz., a conservative Christian legal organization behind a campaign called Pulpit Freedom Sunday . . . The Alliance Defending Freedom asserts that it’s working to further the rights of all religious groups, but it’s an explicitly Christian organization, with a heavy representation of evangelical members and leaders. One clue to its philosophy is that it made it Pulpit Freedom “Sunday” — choosing the Christian Sabbath, instead of more broadly embracing the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday) and the Muslim day of worship (Friday) . . . But Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, said it’s clear that the agency is sidestepping the issue. “We surmise the IRS has shut down all its church audits,” Stanley said. As time goes on, he added, “It may become clear that the IRS has taken the position that it will not censor a pastor.”
MyNorthWest.com (includes audio): Jeremy Tedesco, an attorney for some of the families who say the behavior is inappropriate, say the school needs to put a stop to the policy immediately. “They’re saying that their non-discrimination policy, which prohibits gender identity and gender expression discrimination, doesn’t require them to leave the locker room and not come back,” Tedesco told the Dori Monson Show. “It’s just non-discrimination gone wild. It shows the problem with these expanding non-discrimination policies, which are very popular nowadays.”
The Hill: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid warned Mitt Romney this week that upper-chamber Democrats would be no rubber stamp for Republican ideals if the GOP contender wins the White House next Tuesday.
Erik Stanley at Speak Up Movement Church Blog: Recently, an IRS official was quoted as saying that the IRS had suspended auditing churches. Does this mean that the IRS has thrown up its hands and given up on enforcing the tax code against churches? The answer is “no,” the IRS has not given up and the tax code still applies to churches. The IRS official was Russell Renwicks with the Tax-Exempt and Government Entities division. He said that the IRS had received some complaints about potential violations of the tax code by churches this election cycle. But he stated, “We are holding any potential church audits in abeyance.” What did he mean by this? Mr. Renwick’s statement stems from a 2009 court ruling involving the IRS’ regulations related to church audits.
Bloomberg: An Arizona law making it a crime for doctors to perform abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy is being challenged before a federal appeals court on claims it violates the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
The inter-ethnic, interdenominational coalition of pastors that originally opposed the decision by Pflugerville ISD to extend employee benefits to domestic partners expressed appreciation to State Senator Dan Patrick for his bold leadership in requesting an opinion by Attorney General Greg Abbott.
LifeNews: esterday I stumbled across the trailer for a documentary called It’s A Girl. The 3-minute preview stopped me in my tracks – particularly the part in which an Indian woman matter-of-factly describes how she strangled her newborn daughters. Eight of them.
Matt Barber at LIfe News: The jig is up. The news is out. Pastors across America have called the left’s bluff. The empty words “separation of church and state” – a phrase found nowhere in the U.S. Constitution – have lost their sting . . . But there’s a back story. Since 2008, the Christian legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has spearheaded a First Amendment exercise called “Pulpit Freedom Sunday.” Since then, thousands of pastors across America have boldly exercised their guaranteed constitutional rights by addressing “political” issues from the pulpit. This has included directly endorsing candidates. These pastors have dared the IRS to come after them and, not surprisingly, the IRS has balked.
LGTBQ Nation: In its letter sent Friday, David Hacker, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom group, warned Evergreen, “The fact that this individual was sitting in plain view of young girls changing into their swimsuits puts you and Evergreen on notice of possible future harm.” Joseph Backholm, director of the conservative non-profit Family Policy Institute of Washington, an anti-gay group leading efforts to overturn the state’s marriage equality law that voters will decide on Tuesday, said “(parents) have the reasonable expectation that there are not going to be naked men or people that their daughters believe are naked men — however they see themselves — in that restroom.”
The New American: Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a conservative legal advocacy group, announced that it had filed suit against several federal officials and departments, including Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and her Department of Health and Human Services, on behalf of Grote Industries, an Indiana-based auto industry lighting manufacturer. “Americans should be free to honor God at work, at home, and at church,” said Indianapolis attorney Mike Wilkins, who is working with ADF to represent the firm against the federal government. “They have the God-given freedom to live and do business according to their faith. Forcing them to surrender their faith in order to earn a living is unprecedented, unnecessary, and unconstitutional. The Administration’s attacks on faith and business prove that it doesn’t respect either one.” . . . “The government has no business deciding what faith is, who the faithful are, and when and where their faith may be lived out,” said ADF Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “Washington politicians can’t confine our faith to our homes and our churches. Honoring God is important every day, in all areas of life, including in our work. Freedom is God-given, not government-driven.”
Religion And Politics: IRS Not Enforcing Rules On Separation Of Church And State | Huffington Post (AP)
Huffington Post (AP): Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which seeks strict limits on religious involvement in politics, and the Alliance Defending Freedom, which considers the regulations unconstitutional government intrusion, scour the political landscape for any potential cases. While Americans United gathers evidence it hopes will prompt an IRS investigation, the Alliance Defending Freedom jumps in to provide a defense. Neither group knows of any IRS contact with houses of worship over political activity since the 2009 federal ruling . . . Last month, more than 1,500 pastors, organized by the Alliance Defending Freedom, endorsed a candidate from the pulpit and then sent a record of their statement to the IRS, hoping their challenge would eventually end up in court. The Alliance has organized the event, called “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” since 2008. The IRS has never contacted a pastor involved in the protest.
Indiana taxpayers forced to fund abortionists| Steve Aden and ACLU attorney on Indiana Public Media Noon Edition
Steven Aden appeared with an ACLU attorney and hosts Bob Zaltsberg & Mary Catherine Carmichael on Indiana Public Media Noon Edition (WFIU) to discuss a recent 7th circuit ruling. | MP3 audio 50:42 mins
The Church Report: Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which seeks strict limits on religious involvement in politics, and the Alliance Defending Freedom, which considers the regulations unconstitutional government intrusion, scour the political landscape for any potential cases. While Americans United gathers evidence it hopes will prompt an IRS investigation, the Alliance Defending Freedom jumps in to provide a defense. Neither group knows of any IRS contact with houses of worship over political activity since the 2009 federal ruling . . . Last month, more than 1,500 pastors, organized by the Alliance Defending Freedom, endorsed a candidate from the pulpit and then sent a record of their statement to the IRS, hoping their challenge would eventually end up in court. The Alliance has organized the event, called “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” since 2008. The IRS has never contacted a pastor involved in the protest.
AZ Central: Americans for Responsible Leadership, which has also poured $11 million into two California campaigns, immediately asked for a temporary stay until 9 a.m. Monday to produce the records for the California Fair Political Practices Commission.
Transgender Student in Evergreen’s Locker Room Draws Ire of Arizona Religious Group | Seattle Weekly
Seattle Weekly: Evergreen officials say the school’s policy of allowing transgender individuals access to locker rooms based on their stated gender – in this case, Francis identifies as a female – is in accordance with state law . . . Despite this stance, the Alliance Defending Freedom is mad as hell. “Little girls should not be exposed to naked men, period. A college’s notions about ‘non-discrimination’ don’t change that,” says Senior Legal Counsel David Hacker in a press release distributed by the Alliance Defending Freedom, which says it is acting on behalf of parents concerned for their children’s safety . . . “The idea that the college and the local district attorney will not act to protect young girls is appalling,” Hacker continues in the Alliance Defending Freedom press release. “What Americans are seeing here is the poisoned fruit of so-called ‘non-discrimination’ laws and policies. Placing this man’s proclivities ahead of protecting little girls is beyond unacceptable.” . . . If the question comes down to bowing to the Alliance Defending Freedom and the organization’s claims of “emotional distress and harm” being inflicted on youth swimmers encountering transgender genitalia in the sauna, or protecting the civil rights of people like Colleen Francis, the Evergreen State College, predictably, sides with the civil rights and state law. “Frankly, the issue has been addressed,” Wettstein says of the installation of privacy screens. [more]
Wisconsin State Journal: Clark had intended to participate in “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” a national effort by Alliance Defending Freedom to provoke the IRS. Over the last several weeks, hundreds of pastors have been endorsing political candidates from the pulpit as part of the campaign . . . Alliance Defending Freedom is a conservative Christian legal organization based in Scottsdale, Ariz. Clark described his planned participation in the organization’s effort in this Oct. 14 article. Thursday, Clark insisted he hadn’t been cowed or scared off. “In my heart of hearts, I’d still like to do this — I’ve had the sermon ready forever. But I felt, ‘OK, Lord, I get it. Here’s what you want, so I’ll do it.’”
Christian Concern: Britain’s charity watchdog has put the charitable status of the nation’s churches in question after it ruled that a congregation in Devon did not exist for public benefit. Under charity law, churches and other organisations must show that their existence has some form of “public benefit.”
AP: A Nevada state judge says he’s got the authority to order an abortion for a pregnant 32-year-old mentally disabled woman, even against the will of her Catholic adoptive parents.