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The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, an organization of chaplain endorsers, commends the National Defense Authorization Act conference committee for including language that protects the conscience of our military personnel.
AP: President Barack Obama’s possible pick of Republican Chuck Hagel to run the Pentagon raises serious concerns among some of his former Senate colleagues, who question his pronouncements on Iraq, Israel and the Middle East.
Anti-Christmas atheists try to short-circuit AZ tree lighting celebration | Alliance Defending Freedom
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys sent a letter Wednesday to the Arizona Secretary of State, and Prescott city and school officials after the Freedom From Religion Foundation officially complained that their participation in a privately sponsored Christmas lighting ceremony in front of the county courthouse violates the Constitution.
Washington Times: Maryland Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot said Wednesday that the state will allow same-sex couples to file joint state-level income tax returns for tax year 2013, one day after a spokeswoman told The Washington Times that current federal tax policy prohibits such a move.
The Independent: The Vatican has received a generous early Christmas present from European Union chiefs with the announcement that illegal tax exemption from 2006 to 2011, which saved the Catholic Church billions of euros, will not have to be paid back.
Boston Globe: A New Hampshire judge has ruled that a high school girl can continue to play on the boys’ varsity ice hockey team even though her school has formed a girls’ team.
WKTV.com: Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced Wednesday that his office has secured a new court order protecting a Planned Parenthood site in Utica that is currently undergoing expansion from threatening and obstructive action by protesters.
Christian Institute: More than 50 MPs say a Plymouth Brethren group is being “singled out” for unfair treatment by the Charity Commission in a long running case about charitable status. The Commission has refused to register the group because its Holy Communion services are for members only.
Christian Concern: A report commissioned by the BBC has suggested that its children’s programmes should include more lesbian, homosexual and bisexual people.
AP: An Egyptian atheist convicted then released from prison on bail this week told The Associated Press Wednesday that the new Islamist government is no better than the dictatorial regime it replaced.
William Duncan at National Review: I’m not making this up and these are only some of the more colorful passages. There’s plenty more ad hominem and amateur theology on display throughout the opinion.
Alan Sears at Townhall: In October 2010, the Alliance Defending Freedom was privileged to recognize Judge Robert H. Bork with the “Edwin Meese III Award for Originalism and Religious Liberty.” At that time, we described him as, “one of the greatest legal minds in American history, and a person who has made an indelible impact on our nation, on its legal culture, and on the minds and hearts of many of its finest judges, law professors, students, and attorneys.”
Alan Sears at Alliance Defending Freedom: If you’ve followed the work of Alliance Defending Freedom for long, you won’t be surprised to learn that, at Christmas time as throughout the year, Christian college students across the country – including your children and grandchildren – have to contend with administrators (paid by your tax dollars) who leave “no room in the inn” for faith and free expression.
A resounding, and lasting, victory for religious liberty on college campuses | Jeremy Tedesco at Speak Up Movement
Jeremy Tedesco at the Speak Up Movement Blog: Alliance Defending Freedom recently settled the lawsuit it brought on behalf of Julea Ward against Eastern Michigan University. EMU expelled Julea–a stellar student with a 3.91 GPA who was nearly done with the program–for merely inquiring whether she should refer a client with whom she had a values conflict
KTVU.com: The Young Americans for Liberty at UC Berkeley, a campus libertarian group, started their protest around 10 a.m. at Sproul Plaza to speak out against a November decision by the Associated Students of the University of California Senate to ban the charitable group from campus because of its alleged homophobic practices.
California Catholic Daily: The student government at the University of California-Berkeley passed a resolution last month that would ban Salvation Army bell ringers and their iconic red kettles from campus this Christmas because of the Christian organization’s alleged bias against homosexuality.
Kathleen Parker at the Washington Post: “Marriage is not merely a private arrangement; it is also a complex social institution. Marriage fosters small cooperative unions — also known as stable families — that enable children to thrive, shore up communities, and help family members to succeed during good times and to weather the bad times. Researchers are finding that the disappearance of marriage in Middle America is tracking with the disappearance of the middle class in the same communities, a change that strikes at the very heart of the American Dream.”
Interfax: The share of Orthodox believers in the country has dropped by 6%, from 80% in 2009, while the share of Muslims has grown by 3% to 7% in the same period.
The Church and the Mandate: The strategic situation after a year, and the terrain ahead | George Weigel at NRO
George Weigel at National Review: A year into this contest, the Catholic Church in the United States has every reason to think it is winning the battle for religious freedom that it was compelled to engage when the HHS mandate was finalized. Yet there will be a substantial period of time — probably a year and a half, perhaps longer — before the final legal decision is rendered.
Catholic Culture: The agreement with the Republic of China (Taiwan) contrasts dramatically with the situation in mainland China, where the Church has vigorously protested the government’s efforts to exert control over Catholic institutions.
LifeSiteNews: The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) has suspended a candidate after an uproar when he wrote that it should be mandatory to kill all disabled unborn children. Geoffrey Clark wrote on his website that women carrying children suspected of serious disabilities like Downs syndrome and spina bifida should be forced to have abortions in order to cut back on health care costs.
LifeNews: County commissioners in Garfield County, Colorado voted 2-1 yesterday to cut $5,000 in funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business.
LifeNews: A detailed letter entitled “Methodological flaws in the estimation of abortion in Latin America: Author’s reply to Singh and Bankole” was published yesterday in Ginecología y Obstetricia de México (Ginecol Obstet Mex), a Mexican peer-reviewed journal specialized in Obstetrics and Gynecology.
MyNorthWest.com: A leader of the effort to defeat same-sex marriage in Washington is gearing up for a 2013 legislative fight against paid surrogacy. Surrogacy is the idea that a woman will carry a child to term with the understanding that it will be raised by other parents. Surrogate contracts are generally allowed in our state, but contracts for compensation beyond basic expenses are prohibited.
KaiserHealthNews: House and Senate negotiators on the annual Pentagon policy bill have reached a compromise on highly charged social issues in the sprawling measure, agreeing to authorize Defense Department funds for abortions in cases of rape or incest while also letting military chaplains decide for themselves whether to officiate gay marriages.
LifeNews: Two pro-abortion activists attacked the office of the pro-life group Operation Rescue and destroyed a security camera at the organization’s central Kansas headquarters.
Politicker.com: South Carolina Congressman Tim Scott, who has reportedly been chosen to replace Jim DeMint as that state’s senator by Governor Nikki Haley, has had a heavenly helping hand during his time in Washington. A volunteer named Tim Taylor has led a group of “prayer team warriors” who have organized on Mr. Scott’s campaign website and prayed for God to give the congressman guidance and protection.
Jonathan Adler at the Volokh Conspiracy: As a consequence of this ruling HHS will have little choice but to issue a rule relieving many religious employers of the obligation to provide coverage for contraception. The interesting question will be how this is to be accomplished under existing statutory authority. Moreover, the Administration’s proposed fix — allowing religious employers to exclude contraception coverage but requiring insurers to provide separate contraception coverage to employees at no charge — would do nothing to alleviate the burden on those religious employers that self-insure (which many do because, among other reasons, it provides a way to escape state-level contraception mandates).
First Amendment Center: A Cape Girardeau, Mo., man arrested for desecrating an American flag must be paid $7,000 in compensatory damages, a federal judge has ruled.
Mercator.net: Research showing problems with homosexual parenting continues to grow with the release of a study showing that the children of heterosexual couples are more likely to progress in primary school than children from a same-sex household. The study, “Nontraditional Families and Childhood Progress Through School: A Comment on Rosenfeld”, is a re-examination of a study by Michael J. Rosenfeld of Stanford University’s Department of Sociologypublished in 2010. The new study, led by Douglas W Allen, and published by the academic journal Demography, found that the children from a heterosexual household are “35 percent more likely to make typical school progress”.
Matt Bowman at Townhall: Echoing this view, some Christians supporting Obama urge that religious people accept exemptions from ObamaCare’s mandates that would protect only churches and associated non-profit organizations. This would let the federal government crush the Christian laity’s conscience with abandon . . . This minimalist view towards religion denies Christmas. It says that ordinary folks are not capable of preparing the way of the Lord in this world. Ultimately this view denies that Christ really comes into daily life and work. This is why the government says Christians have no claim to be free from ObamaCare’s demand that they betray Christ. Christian denominations as well as other religions reject this secularist view.
Wesley Smith at National Review: Belgium has jumped head-first off a vertical moral cliff with its euthanasia law. As I have documented here and elsewhere, the Belgians have permitted joint euthanasia deaths of an elderly couple and now couple organ harvesting with the euthanasia killings of people with disabilities and even, mental illness.
AP: Members of a national right-to-die group are challenging Minnesota’s assisted-suicide law, saying it violates constitutional rights to freedom of speech and freedom of association.
AP: Russia’s parliament on Wednesday gave overwhelming preliminary approval to a measure banning Americans from adopting Russian children, a harsh retaliatory move against U.S. human rights legislation.
Federal Appeals Court Hands Victory to Religious Colleges, Commands HHS to Act Quickly to Fix Mandate | Becket Fund
Becket Fund: Today, a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. handed Wheaton College and Belmont Abbey College a major victory in their challenges to the HHS mandate. Last summer, two lower courts had dismissed the Colleges’ cases as premature. Today, the appellate court reinstated those cases, and ordered the Obama Administration to report back every 60 days—starting in mid-February—until the Administration makes good on its promise to issue a new rule that protects the Colleges’ religious freedom.
Ed News: Parents who home educate their children face wildly different levels of official support around the country, a committee of MPs has said, with some councils being helpful and co-operative while others treat home educators as likely problem families or borderline truants.
Reuters: A French psychiatrist whose patient hacked an elderly man to death was found guilty of manslaughter on Tuesday in a groundbreaking case that could affect the way patients are treated.
Fox News: Family members said Bork, 85, died early Wednesday morning. He had a history of heart problems and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a lung conditio