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One News Now: “Well, I think this is just further evidence that groups like Freedom From Religion Foundation or Americans United for Separation of Church and State are trying to use the Johnson Amendment in the tax code as a tool of intimidation to silence and censor churches,” contends Erik Stanley, senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom.
Mark J. Rozell and Clyde Wilcox at the Washington Post: The Democratic triumph of this year could certainly be followed by disaster for the party in 2014 or 2016. What the Christian Right learns from this election and how it reconstitutes itself going forward will have a big impact on its future and those of the major political parties. Indeed, it will not surprise us if observers declaring the death of the Christian Right today are marveling at its big comeback in two or four years.
Emily Newburger at Harvard Law School: Michael Klarman’s scholarship has focused on the effect that court rulings have on social reform movements. He argues that when courts get ahead of public opinion, political backlash often follows. That’s what he found in an earlier book he wrote on race and the U.S. Supreme Court, and it is a phenomenon he has also observed in cases involving the death penalty and abortion. In his new book, “From the Closet to the Altar: Courts, Backlash, and the Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage” (Oxford), the HLS professor explores whether the same effect has taken place when it comes to same-sex marriage litigation.
Texas A&M University has agreed to revise its student organization funding policy in the wake of an Alliance Defending Freedom lawsuit filed after officials denied funds to a conservative student group while approving funds for other groups.
Baptist Press: In what appears to be a final victory for the pastor, according to Alliance Defending Freedom, Alberta’s highest court affirmed in October Boissoin’s right to publicly express his religious views. “Public expression should not be censored simply because the views expressed are unpopular,” read an ADF blog post Nov. 2. “… This legal victory has great significance for religious expression. As American courts look more frequently to international jurisprudence for guidance, this victory for freedom of expression has important implications for preserving and promoting religious freedom in America.”
Pastors and Churches Facing Persecution – Are We Next? (Video) | Nathan Cherry at EngageFamilyMinute
Nathan Cherry at EngageFamilyMinute: Is America on a path to see churches denied “charity” or “non-profit” status for its specific doctrines? Will we see the day when our buildings are bull-dozed in front of us because the government doesn’t approve? These might sound like far-fetched ideas that no freedom loving country would ever allow. And yet they are taking place in “free” countries where the government “approves of and accepts” all religions as equal.
Citizen Link: Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley said churches shouldn’t be treated differently than other entities. “It’s a widely known fact that churches across America effectively use facilities such as gyms and bookstores for clear religious purposes and are exempt from property taxes just like other organizations that serve the community — often at a loss,” he said. “Really what the state was doing was attempting to define what ministry was for Christ Church by telling them that they can’t use their facilities to reach out to evangelize, to build up their own membership.”
Turtle Bay and Beyond: Parroting UNFPA’s talking point, news stories on the UN’s family planning agency’s annual report focus on the claim that contraception is a human right. The media seem unconcerned that UNFPA has no authority to declare anything a human right, and rather naive in not seeing the crass self-interest inherent in demanding the products and services supplied by UNFPA are a “right.”
Christian Institute: A group of MPs are urging David Cameron to keep his commitment to introducing a tax break for married couples.
Christian Institute: Mr Hawkins said the level of agreement that marriage should stay as it is, varies between 55% and over 70%.
CBN (includes video): An iconic cross on a mountain in California has come under fire. The religious symbol has stood on Mount Rubidoux in Riverside for more than 100 years. Now the Freedom From Religion Foundation wants the cross removed and is threatening to sue the city if it doesn’t take it down.
George Weigell at NRO via EPPC: It takes a certain kind of people, living certain indispensable virtues, to make the market and democracy work so that justice, prosperity, and human flourishing are the net results of freedom. That elementary truth–recognized by the Founders, ignored by the newly reelected administration, and avoided by libertarians and Republican campaign consultants–has to be at the center of the conversation about the American future, and about playing good defense during the next four challenging years.
Washington Times: The Republican Party of Florida is backing Rep. Allen West’s call for a recount of all early votes in St. Lucie County, saying it would be “unconscionable” not to answer lingering questions about the results — which show Mr. West trailing Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy.
San Francisco Chronicle: In a frank interview with POLITICO, Cornyn ascribed part of the blame to himself and the GOP campaign committee for dropping the ball in an election that looked promising for the Republican Party at the onset. Ultimately, though, he attributed the losses in winnable states, such as Indiana and Missouri, to weak candidates with limited mainstream appeal.
Boston Globe: In most of those states, including New York, adultery is a misdemeanor. But in others — Massachusetts, Idaho, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin — it is a felony, though rarely prosecuted. In the armed forces, it can be punished severely, although usually in combination with greater wrongdoing.
Utah Pulse: “If they (the federal government) want to take ownership of this (exchange), they take ownership,” said Lockhart, who was just re-elected to another four years as speaker by her new 61-member House GOP caucus. “We’ll have to play in these areas – the courts may tell us. But they (federal officials) take responsibility. They tax our individual (health insurance) plans, tax individuals and businesses. It won’t be something we did (in the Utah Legislature).” “But something that Obama did,” she added.
LoHud.com: Supreme Court nominees never again get the kind of attention that comes during the confirmation process, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said Monday in a question-and-answer session with law students.
San Francisco Chronicle: A group of nudists on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to stop the San Francisco Board of Supervisors from passing an ordinance next week that would ban nudity in the city. The supervisors are set to vote Tuesday on a proposal by Supervisor Scott Wiener that would prohibit the display of genitals or buttocks in city plazas or parklets.
Ralph Z. Hallow at the Washington Times: Evangelicals are “fighting an uphill battle of demographics” on issues such as gay marriage, Focus on the Family President Jim Daly told the Los Angeles Times after the election.
AP: The lawsuit also refers to “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” a national event on Oct. 7 in which more than 1,500 pastors 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 Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian legal organization based in Scottsdale, Ariz., has organized the event since 2008. The group considers the IRS regulations against bringing partisan politics to the pulpit an unconstitutional government intrusion.
Family Research Council: One of those states–Texas–will be hearing its first arguments on the issue this week in U.S. District Court, thanks to former Planned Parenthood director-turned-whistleblower Abby Johnson. With the help of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), she plans to expose at least 87,000 instances
AP: From the South to the heartland, the once-solid wall of Republican resistance to President Barack Obama’s health care law is cracking.
Houston Family Law Blog: Big news out of the Texas Supreme Court for would-be-divorcers. The Texas Supreme Court issued a 5-3 decision allowing standardized “do-it-yourself” divorce forms for lower income couples who have trouble paying the fees of Texas divorce lawyers, reports The Dallas Morning News.
Independent.ie: The question that needs to be asked is: was Ms Halappanavar treated in line with existing obstetrical practice in Ireland? In this kind of situation the baby can be induced early (though is very unlikely to survive). The decision to induce labour early would be fully in compliance with the law and the current guidelines set out for doctors by the Irish Medical Council
Alliance Defending Freedom is advising officials responsible for issuing marriage licenses in Maine, Maryland, and Washington that they do not have to violate their faith or conscience by personally issuing licenses to applicants who are of the same sex.
Michael W. Hannon at Public Discourse: Preserving marriage as a union of man and woman is bound to fail unless we address the true point of contention in the marriage debate, one completely ignored by even the best legal advocates for redefining marriage: the question “what is marriage?”
Dechert LLP: Six Pennsylvania judges filed a lawsuit today in Harrisburg claiming that a provision of the Pennsylvania Constitution, which mandates all Pennsylvania justices and judges retire at the end of the calendar year in which they turn 70, violates their rights under the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and under Article I of the Pennsylvania Constitution.
Roll Call: Hatch’s position, however, is not shared by all his Republican colleagues. The list of stalled nominees includes several who have the strong backing of their home-state Republican senators. Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, for example, are pressing for confirmation votes in the post-election session.
Washington Post: Shortly before 123 million voters picked a president, 38 Louisiana monks moved the judiciary toward a decision that could change American governance more than most presidents do. The monks’ cypress caskets could catalyze a rebirth of judicial respect for Americans’ unenumerated rights, a.k.a. privileges or immunities.
Des Moines Register: U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Ia., has nominated two Iowa women to replace retiring Judge Michael J. Melloy on the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The names submitted to President Barack Obama are . . .
Florida education officials have agreed to a settlement that will allow students at Kissimmee’s Florida Christian College to participate in a state grant program open to students at other religious and non-religious schools.
Peninsula Claion (AP): Last year, a superior court judge ruled same-sex couples are entitled to the same senior citizen and disabled veteran property tax exemptions as married couples, saying a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman doesn’t trump equal protection laws.
Religion Clause Blog: The Freedom From Religion Foundation yesterday announced that it has filed suit in a Wisconsin federal district court against the Internal Revenue Service challenging its failure to enforce against churches and religious organizations the electioneering restrictions applicable to tax-exempt non-profit organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Religion Clause Blog: The Australian reports today that parents will appeal a decision handed down last month upholding the Special Religious Instruction program in the public schools in the Australian state of Victoria. Religious bodies offer 30 minutes per week of classes.
Religion Clause Blog: In Ross v. Colorado Department of Transportation, (D CO, Nov. 14, 2012), a Colorado federal district court dismissed a Christian employee’s Title VII claims for hostile work environment, failure to accommodate, discrimination, and retaliation. Plaintiff complained that his religious rights were infringed when a staff appreciation luncheon was rescheduled so that it would not take place during Ramadan, and when unit employees were invited by e-mail to have bagels and cream cheese in the cafeteria to mark the end of Ramadan
AP: Medical and police authorities are launching a major international probe into the illegal trafficking in human organs for transplants, to help clamp down on the crime, one of the researchers said Thursday.
AP: Pressure is mounting in Ireland for the government to draft a law spelling out when life-saving abortions can be performed following the death in the hospital of a pregnant woman who was denied an abortion.
Life Legal Defense Foundation Executive Director Dana Cody and Legal Counsel Tom Condit will be available for media interviews immediately following former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline’s oral arguments before the Kansas Supreme Court this Thursday. Representing the Kansas Bar, Stanton Hazlett has accused Mr. Kline of ten violations of the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct in relation to Mr. Kline’s criminal investigation of abortion providers Planned Parenthood and the late Dr. George Tiller.
Alan Sears at the American Thinker: Following the passage of California’s Proposition 35 on Nov. 6, the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit to stop the measure against child predators from taking force. The section of Prop. 35 against which the ACLU took issue is that which “requires registered sex offenders to give authorities a list of their Internet providers and screen names.”