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Christian Newswire: Attorneys for Jubilee Campaign’s Law of Life Project and Thomas More Society await decisions by federal and state courts on their motions for preliminary injunction to stop the State of Illinois and the Federal Government from imposing confiscatory fines and other legal sanctions on a Roman Catholic health management company for exercising their state and federal free exercise of religion rights not to be forced to pay for abortifacients, sterilization, contraception and the related counseling now being imposed upon non-exempt businesses by state and federal law.
Is International Planned Parenthood Abetting Criminal Activity? | Piero A. Tozzi at Turtle Bay and Beyond
Piero A. Tozzi at Turtle Bay and Beyond: International Planned Parenthood Federation’s Carmen Barroso sent around an e-mail today soliciting year-end donations. She illustrates the role IPPF plays throughout the Western Hemisphere by telling the story of Valeria, a young Argentine woman:
Global Post: President Barack Obama, a former member of the Illinois state senate, is endorsing a gay marriage bill two state senators plan to introduce during a lame-duck session of the Illinois legislature this week, Reuters reported.
Star Tribune: A judge is questioning whether a same-sex marriage ban bars him from ending the union — or even recognizing its validity — because the husband was born a woman and underwent a sex change but retained female reproductive organs and gave birth to three children.
Janice Shaw Crouse at the Washington Times: How many abortions, legal and illegal, are performed annually, nationally and worldwide? The answer depends upon whom you ask and whether the data come from the United States or from developing nations. More important, it depends on the assumptions, methodology and honesty of those compiling the numbers. Recent research calls into question data that heretofore had been considered authoritative.
WSFA (includes video): The new restriction were to take effect on the first of the New Year but Fulton County judge Doris Downs has temporarily blocked the law after a union group challenged it.
Jerusalem Post: Activists set to demonstrate against Jerusalem Conference for awarding a prize to Efrat, an anti-abortion organization.
Boston Globe: In a largely symbolic move, New Hampshire is adding to its books Jan. 1 its second law limiting abortion — the state’s only such law affecting adults — a ban on partial-birth abortions.
Independent: Visit your parents. That’s an order. China’s national legislature amended its law on the elderly yesterday to require that adult children visit their aged parents “often” – or risk being sued by them.
Catholic Culture: Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the chief foreign-affairs spokesman for the Moscow patriarchate, said that it would be unjust to send orphans abroad because “they won’t get a truly Christian upbringing.”
LifeNews: Colonialism used to be about the rich exploiting the resources of other lands. Now, biological colonialism (as I call it) finds well off (mostly) Westerners exploiting destitute people in developing countries for their body parts and functions, essentially using people as natural resources. Renting uteruses of destitute Indian women for their gestational capacities–just one form of BC–is apparently on the rise . . .
Religion Clause Blog: The Becket Fund announced yesterday that it has filed a petition for certiorari (full text) with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking review of the 7th Circuit’s decision in Doe 3 v. Elmbrook School District.
JTA.org: A building housing a synagogue and Jewish day school in Worcester, a city in central Massachusetts, has been seized by the Internal Revenue Service.
Religion Clause Blog: Now in Priests for Life v. Sebelius, (ED NY, Dec. 21, 2012), the parties have filed a stipulation in a New York federal district court agreeing that Priests for Life qualifies for the temporary enforcement safe harbor.
Religion Clause Blog: Yesterday in Grote Industries, LLC v. Sebelius, (SD IN, Dec. 27, 2012), an Indiana federal district court refused to grant a preliminary injunction to a for-profit business that manufactures vehicle safety systems and its Catholic owners who claim that their religious liberty rights are infringed by the contraceptive coverage mandate under the Affordable Care Act.
LifeNews: The governor of Michigan has signed a major piece of pro-life legislation that will stop abortions by protecting women and holding abortion facilities accountable for following basic health and safety standards.
Religion Clause Blog (links to docs): This month, two separate lawsuits were filed claiming that the Internal Revenue Service unconstitutionally favors religious organizations and churches over other non-profit organizations.
AP: A federal judge has ruled a property management company owned by the founder of Domino’s Pizza doesn’t have to immediately implement mandatory contraception coverage in the health care law.
Texas court got it right; taxpayers shouldn’t be victimized by predatory abortion businesses | Alliance Defending Freedom Comment
“Texans shouldn’t forced to fund abortion industry giants like Planned Parenthood, so the court got this right,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Mike Norton. “Texas law reserves taxpayer money for real healthcare for women and protects Texans from being financially coerced into abortion advocacy. Women deserve better than Big Abortion’s predatory business model and taxpayers deserve better than to be victims of Planned Parenthood’s waste and abuse of public dollars.”
Religion Clause Blog: In Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, (ED PA, Dec. 28, 2012), a Pennsylvania federal district court issued a 14-day temporary restraining order barring enforcement of the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage mandate against a cabinet and wood specialties company whose Mennonite
Religion Clause Blog: The suit, which has been referred to the chief prosecutor for investigation, revolves around a cartoon (reproduced on Cartoon Movement) depicting an Egyptian man with angel wings and a halo on a cloud with Adam and Eve telling them they would never have been expelled from heaven if they had voted in favor of the referendum.
Religion Clause Blog: Al-Akhbar reported last week that in Saudi Arabia, the religious police raided a Christmas party at the home of an Asian diplomat and detained at least 41 people for plotting to celebrate Christmas.
Religion Clause Blog: On Dec. 12, the government of Scotland announced a Consultation, i.e. published for public comment, a bill that would substantially amend Scotland’s law on marriage. The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill would introduce same-sex marriage and the religious registration of civil partnerships.
Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe: A new ruling by a High Court judge says that Christians have no right to decline working on Sunday as it is not a “core component” of their beliefs, considering that „many Christians work on Sundays”.
Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe: The nativity scene at the Church of Barby in Savoy was set on fire on Tuesday, December 18th, between 7 and 8 in the evening.
Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe: On December 23, three churches were set on fire in the small town of Amstetten, lower Austria. One of the churches was severely damaged.
How Appealing links to reports on the ruling and the opinion in Pickup v. Brown. Liberty Counsel press release: Ninth Circut Court of Appeals Blocks California’s Ban on Change Therapy
Topeka Capitol-Journal: The president has four spots — a number larger than usual in one year — to fill in 2013 on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a tribunal one step below the U.S. Supreme Court.
Louis Michael Seidman at the New York Times: In the face of this long history of disobedience, it is hard to take seriously the claim by the Constitution’s defenders that we would be reduced to a Hobbesian state of nature if we asserted our freedom from this ancient text. Our sometimes flagrant disregard of the Constitution has not produced chaos or totalitarianism; on the contrary, it has helped us to grow and prosper.
Matt Sharp appeared on the Vicki McKenna Show to discuss this: Montana school accused of bullying for including Christmas carols in school performance. | MP3 audio 11:42 mins
Salon: In a court motion, the defense claims that the state law against bestiality deprives 32-year-old Carlos Romero of his “personal liberty and autonomy when it comes to private intimate activities.” But it’s actually not quite as crazy a move as it might seem.
The Gatestone Institute: Opinion polls consistently show that growing numbers of ordinary German citizens are worried about the consequences of decades of multicultural policies, as well the emergence of a parallel legal system based on Islamic Sharia law.
Fox News: A Kansas sperm donor who was ordered to pay child support for the baby he helped a lesbian couple conceive plans to fight back in court, and suggested he might be a victim of bias against same-sex parenting.
Melanie Kirkpatrick at the Wall Street Journal: Public worship is dangerous. A ‘congregation’ might mean two people on a park bench, silently sharing their faith.
Randall Hoven at American Thinker: So in round numbers, let’s say a $1 million investment nest egg is equal to an annual income of $40,000. Suddenly, $1 million doesn’t seem so rich. That relationship can be turned around: if you have an annual pension of $40,000, you are effectively a millionaire, especially if that pension is adjusted for cost of living. Now let’s look at public school teachers. In Illinois, where I live, the Illinois State Board of Education puts out a report on teachers’ salaries . . .
Catholic Culture: Five Christian churches, three Hindu temples, and one mosque of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community were attacked in Pakistan in 2012, according to a report prepared by the Pakistani Bishops Conference’s Justice and Peace Commission.
Middle East Forum: Islamic leaders continue to portray the popular protests against President Morsi and his recently passed Sharia-heavy constitution as products of Egypt’s Christians. Recently, Muslim Brotherhood leader Safwat Hegazy said in an open rally, as captured on video . . .
Baltimore Sun: The owner of Discover Annapolis Tours said he decided to walk away from $50,000 in annual revenue instead of compromising his Christian convictions when same-sex marriages become legal in Maryland in less than a week. And he has urged prospective clients to lobby state lawmakers for a religious exemption for wedding vendors.
Juleanna Glover at New York Times: TWO weeks ago, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2016, proposed making oral contraceptives available “over the counter.”
Rory Gray at Speak Up Movement: Sometimes examining our neighbors helps us to gain a clearer view of ourselves. Do we, as Americans, want a government that defines equality, demands a certain level of uniformity in all walks of life, and enforces a secular, lowest-common-denominator code of morality to which all must pledge allegiance? Or do we still believe that the primary purpose of government is to protect individual liberty, that religious freedom is a fundamental God-given right, and that the family has the right and responsibility to train children in the way they should go? (Proverbs 22:6). Alliance Defending Freedom’s primary purpose is to keep the flame of liberty alive. And we invite you to join us in preserving religious freedom in America before we have a “National Observatory of Secularism” of our own.
David Hacker at the Speak Up Movement Blog: We have a lot to be thankful for this year at Alliance Defending Freedom as our clients prevailed time and again in cases across the country. Here’s a recap of the top university victories in 2012 . . .
5 Reasons Why You Should Be Outraged At The Obamacare Abortion Pill Mandate | Alliance Defending Freedom Blog
Alliance Defending Freedom Blog: With the implementation of ObamaCare, the government has become the dictator of conscience. Because of the abortion pill mandate, people must either comply and violate their religious beliefs, or resist and pay the penalty for their faith.
Piero A. Tozzi at C-FAM: Late last week the Inter-American Court on Human Rights struck down a Costa Rican law that banned in vitro fertilization, ruling that the restrictions violated rights to privacy, personal autonomy and “sexual and reproductive health” under the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR), commonly known as the Pact of San José. The Court further ruled that that a human embryo lacks the legal status of “person.” The 5-1 decision, Murillo v. Costa Rica . . . | also posted at LifeSiteNews
The Hill: Sen. Jon Tester was helped in his reelection bid by $10.2 million in spending from liberal outside groups, nearly twice as much as that spent by conservatives, according to a report from ProPublica. About $4.2 million of that was “dark money,” funds that come from organizations that are not required by law to disclose their donors.
Austin Ruse at The Catholic Thing: Last week the court struck down a Costa Rican law that banned in vitro fertilization. Piero Tozzi of Alliance Defending Freedom explains that the court ruled such “restrictions violated rights to privacy, personal autonomy, and ‘sexual and reproductive health’ under the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR), commonly knows as the Pact of San José.” He says the Court also “ruled that a human embryo lacks the legal status of a ‘person,’” and that life begins not at conception, but at implantation – even though the ACHR is the only international treaty that explicitly protects the right to life “from conception.”
Telegraph: Christianity faces being wiped out of the “biblical heartlands” in the Middle East because of mounting persecution of worshippers, according to a new report.
Ken Klukowski at Breitbart: Now that Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has denied Hobby Lobby’s application for an emergency injunction protecting them from Obamacare’s HHS Mandate on abortion and birth control, Hobby Lobby has decided to defy the federal government to remain true to their religious beliefs, at enormous risk and financial cost.
Lansing State Journal: Michigan Supreme Court Justice Marilyn Kelly leaves office Tuesday after 16 years on the state’s top court, much of that time in the minority responding to opinions set by the conservative majority.
Wall Street Journal: In other words, a household with two people earning a little under €1 million would not be subject to the tax, while an individual making even a dollar more than €1 million would have to pay. So while it is fair to take 75% of what someone earns, it isn’t fair unless the law confiscates 75% from all rich households equally.
AP: Lawmakers will convene again the first week in January in hopes of fixing the nation’s worst case of underfunding state employees’ pensions, a problem approaching $100 billion and mounting by $17 million per day.
AP: Egypt’s Foreign Ministry says an explosion at an Egyptian Coptic church in Libya’s third largest city, Misrata, has killed two people and wounded two others.
AP: The leader of Roman Catholics in England and Wales has urged followers to write to their representatives in Parliament to oppose the government’s plans to allow gay marriage.
Washington Times: An attorney for Hobby Lobby Stores said Thursday that the arts-and-crafts chain plans to defy a federal mandate requiring it to offer employees health coverage that includes access to the morning-after pill, despite risking potential fines of up to $1.3 million per day.
Ken Klukowski at Breitbart: Becket’s loss thus far in this case is in contrast with the major victory Becket won last week in another federal appeals court, where (as we rightly predicted) the D.C. Circuit issued an injunction forbidding HHS from enforcing its regulation as currently written against Christian colleges. It’s also in contrast with early court victories in some of the other lawsuits by the Alliance Defending Freedom, among others.
Molly Worthen at the New York Times: Alan Sears, president of the legal advocacy organization Alliance Defending Freedom, sees an unprecedented threat to religious liberty in the harsh fines facing employers who refuse to cover contraception in their insurance programs. “It is a death penalty. It is a radical change,” he told me. “It’s one thing when you’re debating about public space, but it’s another when you say, if you don’t surrender your conscience, you’re out of business.” . . . These legal efforts are less an attempt to redefine religious liberty than a campaign to preserve Christians’ historic right to police the boundary between secular principles and religious beliefs. Only now that conservative Christians have less control over organs of public power, they cannot rely on the political process. Now that the “nones” are declaring themselves, and more Americans — including many Christians — see birth control as a medical necessity rather than a sin, Mr. Sears sees a stark course of action for the Catholic and evangelical business owners he represents: “Litigation is all that our clients have.” Their problem, however, is more fundamental than legal precedent. Their problem is that America’s Christian consensus is fragmenting. We are left groping for something far messier: an evolving, this-worldly, compromise.
Times Daily: Brett Harvey, a lawyer at the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian group that often helps towns defend their practices, sees it the other way. He said liberal groups have made a coordinated attempt to bully local governments into abandoning prayers, resulting in more cases. “It’s really kind of a campaign of fear and disinformation,” he said. Harvey has talked with hundreds of towns about their policies and has been involved in about 10 court cases in the past three years. Right now, his advice differs for different parts of the country because, he said, the law is in flux. Courts around the country don’t agree on what’s acceptable or haven’t considered the issue.
DFW Catholic: “Every American should be free to live and do business according to their faith,” said Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot. “The government shouldn’t punish people of faith for following their beliefs when making decisions for themselves or their organizations. That’s why this lawsuit should not be casually dismissed as the Obama administration would like to see happen.” “This mandate leaves religious employers with no true choice: either comply and abandon your religious freedom and conscience, or resist and be punished,” said allied attorney and co-counsel Mike Johnson, dean of Louisiana College’s Pressler School of Law. “It is a shame that the Obama administration is opposing religious freedom rather than supporting it.”
WOI-TV.com: Thayer was assisted in filing the lawsuit by the nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian group that opposes abortions.
Christian Examiner: The full 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling July 24 means that the last remaining contested provision of the state’s informed-consent law, passed in 2005, is constitutional. “A woman’s right to make a fully informed choice is more important than Planned Parenthood’s bottom line,” said Steven H. Aden, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) senior counsel. “If Planned Parenthood truly cared about the well-being of women, it would not try to prevent them from being informed of the well-documented risk of suicide that accompanies abortion.” Planned Parenthood sued South Dakota over the law in 2006.
One News Now: Rory Gray of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) tells OneNewNow In Our Mothers’ House by Patricia Polacco depicts the happy life of a same-sex couple and their adopted children. But after receiving a number of complaints, a Davis School District review committee stipulated the book be made available only with parental permission. [more . . . ]
Mercury News: “Since 1954 and the Johnson Amendment, the IRS has set itself up as the pulpit police,” said Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel for Alliance, which has about 2,200 lawyers assisting with the initiative. Stanley said his group supports the free-speech rights of pastors on both sides of the political aisle. “Pulpit Freedom Sunday is really all about protecting a pastor’s right to speak freely from the pulpit and not be intimidated or censored by the government for doing so,” he said. His group at some point wants to generate a “test case” in hopes of having the Johnson Amendment declared unconstitutional. Alliance may indeed have a case.
Prescott News: The FFRF complained that the religious overtones of the Courthouse Lighting ceremony were a violation of the separation of Church and State, and even went so far as to dictate what songs they felt were more appropriate. But not so fast. According to the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the ceremony is protected under the First Amendment as it was sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and was not a government-organized event. The ADF even offered free legal assistance in the event of a legal challenge by the FFRF.
Green Bay Press Gazette: Austin R. Nimocks, an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal ministry representing Wisconsin Family Action members, said in an email he would appeal Friday’s decision to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. “The people of Wisconsin recognize that marriage provides a strong foundation for a thriving society,” Nimrocks wrote. “That’s why they approved a constitutional amendment that specifically protects marriage from all imitators. Politicians and activist groups should not be allowed to get around that.”
One News Now: Alliance Defending Freedom’s Matt Sharp points out that God is being left out as a solution in the debates about what to do to protect children in schools from another massacre like the one in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14th. But that, he says, is exactly the opposite of what this country needs. “We really need to call out for everyone to kind of return to God in times like this, to realize that He is the true source of our strength, our source that descends through so many scriptures — from the psalmist about God is our refuge and the cleft in the rock that hides us in times like this Psalm 18:2; 46:1),” the legal counsel cites.
Patheos: One of my intentions for Philosophical Fragments — and for the Evangelical Channel at Patheos in general — is to bring together some of the finest examples of evangelical thought leaders engaging the issues in the public square. So I’ve been honored to host excellent guest posts recently from Peter Wehner of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Jennifer Marshall of the Heritage Foundation, Josh Good of the American Enterprise Institute, Greg Scott of the Alliance Defending Freedom, Andrew Marin of the Marin Foundation, and famed apologist Ravi Zacharias.
World Magazine: Matt Sharp of Alliance Defending Freedom said, “Courts have responded in favor of schools playing Christmas music, as long as it serves an overall educational purpose.” Candi Cushman, an education analyst with CitizenLink, which is associated with Focus on the Family, said, “From what we’ve seen, the school appears to have chosen a perfectly reasonable, balanced mix of songs like ‘Up on a House Top’ and ‘Joy to the World’ and has correctly emphasized that the musical program serves an educational purpose, reflecting long-standing, nationwide traditions.” I can respect the fact that Christmas songs might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if this is bullying, then no public expression of Christianity, no matter how banal and innocuous, is safe from censure.