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Washington Times: The disappearance of marriage in “middle America” is tracking with the disappearance of the middle class in the same communities, and “strikes at the very heart of the American Dream,” scholars Elizabeth Marquardt, David Blankenhorn, Robert I. Lerman, Linda Malone-Colon and W. Bradford Wilcox said in a paper released Sunday. They offer 10 recommendations to President Obama and other policymakers to renew a marriage culture.
Boston Globe: They said that the president’s appointment of Abdullah was improper. They said the Supreme Judicial Council should have been the one to nominate him, in order to ensure a separation of powers
Boston Globe: Argentina’s government told the country’s largest media conglomerate on Monday that it has begun a process to break up the company and auction off its media licenses.
Baptist Press: A congressional conference committee is negotiating whether the federal government will protect the religious freedom of military chaplains and armed services members regarding homosexuality and same-sex “marriage.”
KTAR.com (AP): The Montana Supreme Court on Monday rejected an “overly broad” request that gay couples be guaranteed the same benefits as married couples. The court wrote in Monday’s 4-3 decision Monday that a lower court was within its discretion when it earlier dismissed the request. But the Supreme Court left the door open for the gay couples to modify their request and try again. | Donaldson v. Montana
Christian Science Monitor: Scott achieved a 92 percent score on the Club for Growth’s legislative scorecard, which meant that he was more conservative than all but 30 members of the House.
BBC: A public consultation found 35% of parents wanted an automatic bar while 15% wanted some content filtered, and an option to block other material.
Christian Institute: Almost 60 MPs and Peers have written to a national newspaper saying the Government has no mandate to redefine marriage. The parliamentarians point out that the plans were not included in any of the three main parties’ manifestos, or the coalition Government’s official Programme for Government.
Ed Whelan at National Review: In another bout of ASDS (Anti-Scalia Derangement Syndrome), some folks on the Left are insisting that Justice Scalia should recuse himself from the marriage cases—and even be impeached—because of his recent Princeton remarks in which, in response to a question, he explained the reasoning of his 2003 dissent in Lawrence v. Texas.
AP: Republican Rep. Tim Scott of South Carolina will become the seventh black person to serve in the United State Senate and the first from the South since Reconstruction.
LifeNews: National and state abortion reporting laws and policies in the United States are a patchwork that falls far short of fulfilling the potential of this information to inform and guide public policy. The composite picture they reveal is at once impressionistic and incomplete, non-contemporaneous and of limited use in providing a true and timely rendering of the impact of public policies and attitudes on the reality of abortion in the United States
Fox News: About 40 people gathered for an anti-Islam demonstration in Oslo, and were met with jeers and chants of “no Nazis on our streets” from a larger group of counterdemonstrators.
December 17, 2012 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact CHAPLAIN ENDORSERS at firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o RON CREWS at 571-293-2427 or DOUGLAS E. LEE at 678-701-5151 Chaplains call on Congress to protect conscience of service members WASHINGTON — The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, an …
Gatestone Institute: The Spanish government has warned a political refugee that he faces deportation for making a documentary critical of Islam.
National Review: In Cairo on Wednesday, a Coptic Christian blogger named Alber Saber was convicted of blasphemy and “contempt of religion.” There’s a tragic irony: As any of the country’s Christians can tell you, contempt of religion is not merely permitted but encouraged in the new, post-Mubarak Egypt. What is criminal, what has become increasingly perilous, is any criticism of Islam.
Pink News: Tony and Barrie Drewitt-Barlow plan to mount a legal challenge over the government’s decision to ban gay couples from marrying in the Church of England.
LifeSiteNews: The Alliance Defending Freedom has made itself available to any notaries public in Maine who seek their help. Conley says, “we are so thankful for organizations such as the Alliance Defending Freedom because the other side works through intimidation.”
Jihad Watch: There will be another round of voting, and so the story isn’t quite over yet, and “narrowly” doesn’t matter once the dust has settled, but it’s noteworthy that even with all the voter intimidation, guilt manipulation and commands to vote yes from the imams, and threats and violence, the Islamic supremacists could only get 56.5% of the vote. Clearly a huge number of Egyptians, and possibly a majority, don’t want a Sharia state.
Vancouver Sun: Whatever the causes, the loss of church men and boys has caused a dramatic rise in the proportion of female members – and female clergy – in Canada’s liberal-to-moderate denominations. And it’s causing mixed feelings.
Wall Street Journal (subscription): The Obama administration will release new draft rules setting out its proposals to resolve a stand-off with religious groups over contraception coverage in the first three months of next year, government lawyers said Friday.
LifeSiteNews: A study of the impact of legalized prostitution has found that countries where prostitution is legal experience larger reported human trafficking inflows than countries in which prostitution is prohibited. Professor Eric Neumayer of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and a team of researchers analyzed data on human trafficking from a global sample of 116 countries in order to determine what effect a country’s domestic policy on prostitution has on trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims.
Peter Baklinski at LifeSiteNews: The government of Quebec is forcing Catholic schools to replace the Christian religion with the state’s “neutral” alternative based on moral relativism.
LifeSiteNews: Belgium legalised euthanasia in 2002, with a law containing strict controls to protect the vulnerable. (This is the text of the law in English.) The Belgium-based European Institute of Bioethics has just released a study (link to English translation) of the experience of ten years of euthanasia. It claims that the results are far from encouraging.
Jeff Jacoby at Townhall: Fertility in America has been declining for years. According to the Pew Research Center, the nation’s birth rate hit an all-time low in 2011 – just 63 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age. It was almost twice as high – 123 births per 1,000 women – at the peak of the Baby Boom in 1957.
NY Times: The Obama administration said Friday that more than half the states had rejected its pleas to set up their own health insurance exchanges, dealing a setback to President Obama’s hopes that Republicans would join a White House campaign to provide health insurance to all Americans.
Bill Press at Chicago Tribune: At an October book-signing, as reported by Nina Strochlic of The Daily Beast, Scalia cavalierly dismissed three Supreme Court-weighty issues: “The death penalty? Give me a break. It’s easy. Abortion? Absolutely easy. Nobody ever thought the Constitution prevented restrictions on abortion. Homosexual sodomy? Come on. For 200 years, it was criminal in every state.”
James Gill at Times Picayune: The case for an appointed state judiciary just got much stronger. No jurist under any system is likely to be apolitical, but convention has always required some pretence of impartiality and restraint. Not in the recent Supreme Court election. From the get-go, the winner of the race, Jeff Hughes, declared himself a pro-lifer who loves guns and favors capital punishment. As for marriage, he is for the traditional kind, and you can take him at his word on that because, at 60, he is about to try it for the third time.
Guardian: The government is facing a clash with some of the country’s most senior judges who will this week attempt to force ministers to relinquish control of the running of the supreme court. The constitutional dispute between the judiciary and the executive focuses on who should have the power to appoint the chief executive of the UK’s highest court – ministers or the judges who sit on it.
LA Times: The dispute is before the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is expected to decide within the next several days whether to put the law on hold before it takes effect Jan. 1.
American Lawyer: It’s a good thing that Paul Clement and Viet Dinh are such close friends. Not many lawyers would do well sharing an office divided down the middle by a sheet of glass. Not only can they watch each other work, but others can look in, too, observing the pair side by side through a hallway wall that is also clear glass. The overall effect is like an exhibit at a museum, or perhaps a zoo.
The Texas Tribune: The bill, authored by state Rep. Richard Peña Raymond, D-Laredo, would abolish the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the state’s highest court for all criminal matters, and bring all criminal cases under the Texas Supreme Court, which now hears only civil and juvenile cases.
U.N. Human Rights Panel Says France Violated Sikh Student’s Religious Freedom Rights In Banning Turban
Religion Clause Blog: In a press release yesterday, United Sikhs reported on a decision by the United Nations Human Rights Committee holding that France violated a 17-year old Sikh student’s freedom of religion protected under Art. 18 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights when it expelled him from school for wearing a keski(small turban).
Religion Clause Blog: The suit was filed by Domino’s Farms Corp. and its sole stockholder, Domino’s Pizza founder Thomas Monaghan, alleging that the mandate violates plaintiffs’ rights under the 1st and 14th Amendments, RFRA and the Administrative Procedure Act. The complaint (full text) in Domino’s Farms Corp. v. Sebelius, (ED MI, filed 12/14/2012) . . .
12 News Now: A former pharmacist at a Walmart in California said she was fired by the retail giant because of her Christian beliefs. Now she is suing for religious discrimination, saying the store claimed to have caught her praying with a customer on camera, and cited that as the reason for termination
Religion Clause Blog: In Korte v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, (SD IL, Dec. 14, 2012), an Illinois federal district court denied a preliminary injunction sought by a for-profit construction business and its controlling shareholders in a free exercise challenge to the contraceptive coverage mandate under the Affordable Care Act. The court held that the exercise of religion is a purely personal right; corporations cannot exercise religion even though they may advance a belief system.
KY: Claim Against Archdiocese By Bookkeeper Who Exposed Abusive Priest’s Presence Is Dismissed On 1st Amendment Grounds
Religion Clause Blog: In Weiter v. Kurtz, (KY App., Dec. 14, 2012), the Court of Appeals of Kentucky dismissed a wrongful discharge claim against the Archdiocese of Louisville and other defendants by Margie Weiter, a former bookkeeper-receptionist who was fired from her position at a Louisville parish after she insisted on complaining to her supervisor and Archdiocese personnel that James Schook, a priest accused of child molestation, was being allowed to live at the parish.
Religion Clause Blog: According to yesterday’s Salt Lake Tribune, Utah’s newly-elected attorney general, John Swallow says he will continue the policy of his predecessor Mark Shurtleff and will not bring criminal charges against consenting adults in plural marriages if they have not violated any law other than the state’s polygamy ban. It is estimated that 38,000 people live in polygamous communities in Utah
AP: Tens of thousands of people supporting the Socialist government’s plan to legalize same-sex marriage and adoptions in France have marched in a Paris demonstration.
Ed News: This year religious schools accounted for six out of 10 primaries where every pupil reached the expected standard for English and maths at the age of 11.
AP: Philippine legislators passed a landmark bill Monday that would provide government funding for contraceptives and sexuality classes in schools despite strong opposition by the dominant Roman Catholic Church and its followers, some of whom threatened to ask the Supreme Court to block the legislation.
NY Times: Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina has chosen Representative Tim Scott to replace Jim DeMint in the United States Senate, according to three Republican officials. The move will make Mr. Scott the first black senator from the South since the late 19th century.
Interview with Mr Piero Tozzim of Defending Freedom Alliance, a defender of life . . . There is something truly ironic and downright perverse that the United States is currently promoting the civilization of death, not only in their area, but also abroad. Meanwhile, in the post-communist countries are reborn movements for the defense of life and the renewal of Christian identity – says Mr Piero Tozzi, American lawyer and defender of life . . .
The Hill: The president is likely to want a cabinet that reflects the country’s diversity and is made up of more than just white men, who appear to be the frontrunners for the top jobs at the Pentagon, State and Treasury.
Lyle Denniston at SCOTUS Blog: Judges on the D.C. Circuit Court, the first appeals court to hear a case against the new federal health care law’s mandate for free birth control and other reproductive health services, went searching on Friday for some way to make sure that the government does not delay in issuing a final order on who has to obey that mandate. At a hearing that lasted more than twice the scheduled time, an apparent majority of the three-judge panel left the impression that they would not push for an early court ruling on the constitutionality of that requirement, even while showing some sympathy for the plight of religious colleges that complain it will interfere with their faith beliefs.
AP: Public school yoga instructor Katie Campbell proudly looks out at 23 first graders as they contain their squirming in a kid-friendly version of the lotus position.
The First Amendment’s protection of freedom of speech applies to the states through its incorporation into the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Students in schools retain First Amendment rights; however, school officials, acting as parens patriae, have latitude to discipline students for their speech in some instances. This analysis will focus on the First Amendment rights of students, with particular emphasis on off-campus speech. Part one will discuss the Supreme Court precedent on the issue of student speech on and off the school campus. Part II will analyze the inconsistencies among the lower courts when addressing student speech cases. Part III will summarize the current state of student speech litigation, and Part IV will examine the New York City Department of Education’s policies related to student speech.
AP: Chile’s government has apologized to a lesbian judge who was denied custody of her three daughters because she is gay.