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Catholic News Service: Matthew Bowman of Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the Carol Springs, Ill., company, said in a statement that the judge’s ruling was the right one and that Bible publishers “should be free to do business according to the book that they publish.”
LifeSiteNews: Nova Scotia would become the “worst” jurisdiction in Canada for homeschooling if the government adopts a set of recommendations calling for increased oversight of families, says a homeschooling leader.
LifeSiteNews: Alberta parents who support traditional values are breathing a sigh of relief after the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) rejected a proposal calling for policies to deal with an alleged “pervasive school-wide culture of homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism”.
LifeSiteNews: The tiny principality of Luxembourg has adopted abortion on demand in a vote yesterday of 39 to 21 in the Chamber of Deputies.
LifeSiteNews: While pro-life activists have welcomed a CDC study reporting that the abortion rate dropped 5% in 2009, they have also highlighted a more disturbing statistic that has received little to no media coverage. According to the CDC study, 12 women died from complications related to legal abortion in 2008 – double the number of the previous year.
LifeNews: Attorneys Greg Jackson and Matt Bowman did an extensive analysis of the case and concluded it “did not legalize assisted suicide and it continues to carry both criminal and civil liability for any doctor, institution, or lay person involved.” The Montana Lawyer, the official publication of the Montana State Bar concluded the issue is open to argument, confirming that the legislature needs to clarify the issue this coming session.
LifeNews: Figures from Statistics Canada, a federal government agency, show 491 babies were born alive following botched abortions during the period from 2000-2009 and left to die afterwards. The numbers have pro-life advocates up in arms. Andre Schutten, legal counsel for ARPA Canada, noticed the numbers and blogged about them recently.
Turtle Bay and Beyond: The new UN Population Fund report is riddled with problems which undercut its call for $8.1B a year for ever more contraception in developing countries. The evidence for this ambitious claim is so thin that it should not be hard for critics to refute it, but here are 11 problems that jumped off the very first pages:
Weekly Standard: Next week the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union will meet in Dubai to figure out how to control the Internet. Representatives from 193 nations will attend the nearly two week long meeting, according to news reports.
Christian Institute: Morrisons and Asda have called for an increase in Sunday trading hours at Christmas – but Tesco is resisting such a move saying the day is still “special” for many.
Christian Institute: The Prime Minister David Cameron faces a huge rebellion by his own MPs over Government plans to redefine marriage. The rebels so far number 118, including some senior ministers, but that number only represents those who have publicly nailed their colours to the mast.
TodaysTHV.com: Arkansans for Equality is working on a 2014 measure that would repeal the 2004 Arkansas amendment that defines marriage as between one man and one woman. The Arkansas Initiative for Marriage Equality hopes to legalize gay marriage in 2016.
Courier Press: A report researched by a group of Indiana University students finds that 614 laws in Indiana provide rights or responsibilities to Hoosiers based on marriage and family, which could make them unavailable to same-sex couples under a proposed constitutional amendment.
First Things: The movement toward same-sex “marriage” has every appearance of being an irresistible force, with recent elections indicating the inexorability of its spread across the Western world. Those who stand against it will be bowled over by it. The outcome is all but inevitable.
The Commercial Appeal: Abortion opponents in Arkansas see an opportunity to enact new restrictions, including a ban on the use of telemedicine to make the abortion pill available, with Republicans controlling both sides of the Legislature in next year’s session.
Washington Post: Several thousand people have turned out for a rally in Mali’s capital, Bamako, to show support for “the authentic Islam” and to say no to religious extremism.
CNN: President Mohamed Morsy will meet Monday with members of Egypt’s highest judicial body, which has slammed his recent decree slashing judges’ authority as an “unprecedented attack,” state news reports.
KWCH: Some people want to see Buhler’s city seal change and the mayor says, it’s a battle that’s just too expensive to fight.
Todd Starnes at Fox News: But attorneys with the Alliance Defending Freedom said the secular group is way off base. “An overwhelming majority of Americans agree that it’s okay to celebrate Christmas in schools and in the public square,” attorney Matt Sharp said. The ADF sent a letter to the Little Rock School District offering their legal services should anyone sue over the performance. “Schools should not have to think twice about whether they can allow students to watch a classic Christmas production simply because a Bible verse is mentioned in it,” Sharp wrote in his letter. “Are atheist groups going to start demanding that students be blocked from attending other classic productions just because they contain religious references?”
Washington Times: Of the two female volunteers, one washed out on the first day, along with 26 of the107 men, and the other dropped out two weeks later for medical reasons, a Marine Corps spokesman said.
CNSNews: Baby boxes are a revival of the medieval “foundling wheels,” where unwanted infants were left in revolving church doors. In recent years, there has been an increase in these contraptions — also called hatches, windows or slots in some countries — and at least 11 European nations now have them, according to United Nations figures. They are technically illegal, but mostly operate in a gray zone as authorities turn a blind eye.
CNSNews (includes video): Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says there will be enough women on the Supreme Court when all nine justices are female.
NY Times: Initially there was little outcry in Muskogee, Okla., last week when a judge, as a condition of a youth’s probation for a driving-related manslaughter conviction, sentenced him to attend church regularly for 10 years.
LA Times: Timing will be at issue as the justices confer. In the past, the court has been faulted for waiting too long or moving too quickly on recognizing constitutional rights.
San Francisco Chronicle: A regional court council has ordered San Francisco’s federal court to pay an employee’s costs for insurance coverage for his husband, citing an increasing number of rulings that have declared Congress’ ban on same-sex spousal benefits unconstitutional.
Education News: Last week, Nathan Saunders, president of the Washington Teachers Union, announced his intention to push for legislation that would force charter school teachers in the nation’s capital to become unionized.
Education News: The teaching of Christianity can be “incoherent” or “too stereotypical”, an academic leading a project to improve lessons in English schools has said.
AP on One News Now: Indiana Supreme Court justices want to know whether the nation’s largest school voucher program primarily benefits students’ parents or religious institutions.
Joe Hallett at the Columbus Dispatch: And that’s the problem: Voters know virtually nothing about the judges they elect and are left to play the name game. The system limits judges’ ability to campaign, to raise money and even to make statements that might be construed as political. They are not permitted to be identified by party on general election ballots. In short, we make judges politicians at election time but deny them the crucial opportunities to communicate with voters the way other politicians do.
Eric Black at the MinnPost: One belief important to the myth that binds us is this: That when the Supreme Court exercises its role as final decider on important public issues, it does so modestly, on a non-partisan, non-ideological basis and only when necessary to protect the Constitution from clear excesses committed by the political branches. Preserving that belief can be a tall order, and that perception is at a low ebb.
Star Paker at Townhall: The claim that somehow it is a sign of a healthy, free society that by way of the vote we can re-write our language, our dictionary, our oldest, time-tested traditions is a sign of how lost we are. Same sex marriage advocates argue that their efforts will save the embattled institution of marriage. But this takes a symptom of the disease and calls it a cure.
Washington Times: About a century-and-a-half ago, the right not to work was established in the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. An employer could not force a person to work for him, even if he desperately needed to have his cotton picked and had paid a lot for that person at a slave auction. Today, most would agree that people have a right to turn down a job or to work for some employers but not for others.
Heritage Foundation: Egypt remains in turmoil after its president decreed last Thursday that he was no longer subject to the laws of his country—giving himself power over the judiciary and other branches of government.
Religion Clause Blog: The Rutherford Institute announced Wednesday that it has obtained a temporary restraining order in a suit filed in state court in Bexar County, Texas on behalf of high school student Andrea Hernandez.
Religion Clause Blog: Last Thursday, Britain’s House of Lords held a 90-minute debate on the role of religion in society in the United Kingdom. (Full text of the debate.) Lords from numerous faith traditions spoke. The concluding statement was made by Baroness Warsi, Minister for Faith and Communities, who said in part . . .
First Things: Indeed, international statistics confirm that Ireland, without abortion, remains one of the safest countries in the world in which to be pregnant and to give birth. This is a position that should continue to be cherished and strengthened in the interests of mothers and unborn children in Ireland.
AP on Findlaw: Because Golinski is married to another woman and works for the U.S. government, her claim for benefits has morphed into a multi-layered legal challenge to a 1996 law that prohibits the federal government from recognizing unions like hers.
Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter Monday to Little Rock School District and one of its schools to encourage them to ignore an atheist group’s complaints about allowing students to view a play based on the classic Charles Schulz television special “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
Religion Clause Blog: AP reported Saturday that the 21-family congregation of Swartzentruber Amish who have lived in western Pennsylvania are moving to St. Lawrence County in upstate New York rather than continue their battles with local officials over sewage disposal codes.
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley will be available for media interviews following his oral argument Tuesday at the Arizona Court of Appeals in defense of a church facing an illegally assessed property tax bill that would force it to shut down.
Round Up the Usual Social Conservative Suspects: A majority of Americans call themselves pro-life. So now is a good time to dump them? | Ralph Reed at WSJ
Ralph Reed at Wall Street Journal (access via Google): Republicans have now lost four of the six presidential elections since the Berlin Wall came down in 1989. A season of soul-searching will be healthy, and it is needed to retool and rebrand the party.Yet despite the stinging defeat and a post-electoral narrative that suggests otherwise, Republicans need not abandon their principles. They must resist the temptation to form a circular firing squad, especially one with evangelicals and their social-conservative allies in the middle. The media trope that the Grand Old Party resembles a Star Wars bar scene of theocrats and religious zealots has by now become a cliché . . .
Pieor Tozzi appeared on the The Naked Constitution Podcast by Ricochet.com with host Adam Freedman. “This week, we go to the barricades to defend religious freedom. We’re joined by Piero Tozzi from the Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly the Alliance Defense Fund), an organization on the front lines of the battle. We explore the original understanding of the Establishment Clause as a federalism provision and not – as it has become – a requirement of radical secularism. We also talk about the Free Exercise clause, and how “progressives” have cast it aside. Finally, Piero treats us to a lively discussion of the culture of death, and why the preservation of religion is so important. It’s everything you wanted to know about sects, but were afraid to ask!” | alternative MP3 audio 56:33 mins
Politicking From the Pulpit and the Tax Man: Thanks to IRS inaction, preachers aren’t sure what they can say about election matters. | WSJ
David Skeel at the Wall Street Journal: Consider it a refreshing postelection case of strange bedfellows. For four years, a Christian group called the Alliance Defending Freedom has tried to get courts to review a law that prohibits churches from electioneering. The alliance’s strategy was to goad the IRS into enforcing the law, but the IRS wouldn’t bite. Last week, however, a secular group called the Freedom From Religion Foundation may have forced the IRS’s hand by suing it for this same failure to enforce.
The Hill: Sixteen states — most of them governed by Republicans — have said they will not set up their own systems, forcing the federal government to come up with one instead. Another five states said they want a federal-state partnership, while four others are considering partnerships.
Inside Higher Ed: Florida officials have agreed to declare Florida Christian College’s students eligible for a state student aid program, settling a lawsuit by the college, The News Service of Florida reported
Luis Tellez at Public Discourse: Many friends have said that same-sex marriage is inevitable. It is not. I have confidence that fence-sitters will enter the fray in support of traditional marriage. As we continue to debate this issue, three important forces can shift the outcome in favor of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Consider first, public opinion; second, the methods and the message of LGBT activists; and third, reality.
UPI: The odds appear good they will accept at least one of the DOMA cases and the Prop 8 case. All six of the petitions were scheduled to be considered Nov. 20, but were delayed until next Friday, Nov. 30.
NJ Star Ledger: Steven Goldstein, the head of New Jersey’s largest gay rights organization, says he’ll go “door to door from New Jersey to West Hollywood to raise millions of dollars” if Newark Mayor Cory Booker runs for governor.
Marcia Coyle at National L. J. (subscription only): When the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court gather for their November 30 conference, they will face an array of same-sex marriage related petitions that have arrived at the court in an unusual confluence of timing and strategic litigating. Scheduled for that conference are 10 petitions, which, after counting cross-petitions as one, essentially make seven cases. The majority home in on Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). That section defines marriage for all federal purposes as between a man and a woman . . .
SCOTUS Blog: The Supreme Court on Monday arranged for a Virginia university to go forward with new challenges to two key sections of the new federal health care law — the individual and employer mandates to have insurance coverage. The Court did so by returning the case of Liberty University v. Geithner (docket 11-438) to the Fourth Circuit Court to consider those challenges.
Matt Bowman at Washington Examiner: Religious believers have something special to be thankful for this week. Last Friday, the judicial branch put the brakes on an attack against the very religious freedom that was the reason for the first Thanksgiving. That attack, sadly, originates from the White House. The good news is that the Obama administration has lost the first part of a case in which it was attempting to establish that the scope of religion in America is so miniscule that it does not apply to a devoutly religious Bible publishing company.
Wesley J. Smith at National Review: Har de har: The BBC is creating a comedy series called Way to Go about friends who establish an assisted suicide business. “Way to go:” Get it?
Ken Klukowski at Breitbart: Can an American citizen exercise his religion through his privately-owned business? The fate of Obamacare’s disturbing HHS contraception mandate turns on that question, and now the federal courts are split on the answer regarding an issue very likely to end up at the U.S. Supreme Court . . . Matt Bowman of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF)—the largest religious-liberty legal organization and network in the country—is representing several companies, and has won the first round in two cases so far. These are Newland v. Sebelius in Colorado, and Tyndale House Publishers v. Sebelius in D.C. In fact, ADF is representing companies in at least seven lawsuits, including two plaintiffs in my home state of Indiana. Thomas More Law Center is representing another early success, representing Weingartz Supply Company in Michigan, while the Becket Fund suffered an early setback representing Hobby Lobby. And yet another—Liberty Institute—is preparing to launch litigation.
Press Enterprise: The movement, called Pulpit Freedom Sunday and organized by the Arizona-based Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, encourages pastors to “preach a biblically based sermon regarding candidates and the election without fearing that the IRS will investigate or punish the church,” according to the group’s website.
The HHS Contraception Mandate vs. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act | Ed Whelan, Notre Dame L. Rev.
Edward Whelan, The HHS Contraception Mandate vs. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, 87 Notre Dame Law Review 2179-2190 (2012). Online at: http://www.nd.edu/~ndlrev/archive_public/87ndlr5/whelan.pdf
There are thus four questions involved in determining whether the HHS mandate violates RFRA: (1) Does a person engage in an “exercise of religion” when he, for religious reasons, refuses to provide health insurance that covers contraceptives and abortifacients?; (2) Does the HHS mandate “substantially burden” such exercise of religion?; (3) Does application of the burden to the person further a “compelling governmental interest”?; (4) Is application of the burden to the person the “least restrictive means” of furthering a compelling governmental interest?
Are Charters Enough Choice? School Choice and the Future of Catholic Schools | Nicole Stelle Garnett, Notre Dame Legal Studies Paper
Garnett, Nicole Stelle, Are Charters Enough Choice? School Choice and the Future of Catholic Schools (January 19, 2012). Notre Dame Law Review, 2012; Notre Dame Legal Studies Paper No. 12-50. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1988467
This contribution to a Notre Dame Law Review symposium on “Law and Educational Innovation” critiques the oft-repeated assertion that private-school-choice programs, such as tuition vouchers or tax credits, are unnecessary because charter schools provide sufficient educational choices. Arguing that policy makers have failed to come to terms with the profound, unfortunate consequences of Catholic schools’ rapid disappearance from urban neighborhoods, the essay builds a case for a shift in education policy that embraces both charter schools and private-school-choice mechanisms.
Newsmax: The Pulpit Freedom Sunday movement, organized by an Arizona-based Christian legal group called Alliance Defending Freedom, was designed in support of an alliance court challenge to a section of the IRS tax code regulating political activities on the part of churches and religious groups that are granted tax-exempt status.