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WPRI.com: Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox has started the 2013 legislative session with a commitment to hold a vote on gay marriage before the end of the month.
KARE11.com: The Minnesota state senator who will take the lead in that chamber on a bill to legalize gay marriage says backers will wait at least a month or two into the upcoming legislative session before they start to push it hard.
San Francisco Chronicle: A northern Indiana hospital has fired eight employees who refused to get flu shots under a new policy intended to protect patients from the potentially deadly illness.
Baptist Press: Russia’s ban on adoptions by American parents, considered a retaliatory response to U.S. sanctions against Russia for human rights abuses, will instead punish vulnerable orphans languishing in the foreign country, Christians at the forefront of the issue fear.
Peter Saunders at LifeSiteNews: The Coalition for Marriage has just released a new leaflet outlining ten case histories of people who have already been punished in various ways for standing for traditional marriage.
Christian Science Monitor: His appeal added to a bipartisan chorus of calls for immediate action, including from Republican members of Congress and top officials from the affected states who denounced a decision late Tuesday by House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio to pull the relief package from consideratio
Speak Up Movement Blog: If same-sex “marriage” becomes the law of the land, then we are only fooling ourselves to believe our schools will remain enclaves of neutrality where the issue is not addressed. On the contrary, schools will undoubtedly be required to affirm such “marriages” in their health and family curriculum. Students who oppose such “marriages” on religious grounds will be labeled “intolerant” and forced to undergo “re-education” to help reform their “outdated” way of thinking to the new “normal.” This is already happening across our country.
The Supreme Court has Agreed to Hear Two Cases on Marriage. What Does This Mean for You and Your Church?
Speak Up Movement: It is important that you as a pastor have the right information to convey to your church members about this issue. Alliance Defending Freedom has been at the forefront of these battles in courtrooms across the country and we want to ensure that you know what is happening in these significant cases so that you can take appropriate action.
Greg Baylor at the Speak Up Movement Blog: The Game of Life and Entertainment Weekly are both part of “the culture” that drives and shapes law and politics. And the shifting cultural consensus about homosexual behavior and the definition of marriage has profound consequences for the religious freedom of individuals and organizations. Threats to their freedom don’t come out of the blue; the ongoing attack on marriage didn’t start with the introduction of legislation or the filing of lawsuits designed to alter the legal definition of marriage. And the objective of these efforts is not simply to secure legal approval of homosexual conduct; it is to punish and marginalize those embrace the traditional understanding of marriage and sexual morality. As the EW writer declares, such individuals and organizations are “being shoved into a closet of [their] own.” Indeed. This means that our longstanding national commitment to religious freedom will continue to be severely tested in the coming year, as cultural trends translate into legal and political efforts to push traditional religious believers “into a closet of their own.”
One News Now: ChinaAid has released the secret Communist Party Central Committee document, which includes detailed instructions for a nationwide crackdown. Bob Fu tells OneNewsNow the purpose is to keep Christianity away from the brightest minds in China, who will eventually become professionals and government leaders.
One News Now: The Texas Supreme Court will decide the ownership of 52 Fort Worth-area church properties valued at more than $100 million after a split in the Episcopal Church between conservative and liberal factions.
Liberty Counsel: Today, Liberty Counsel filed its Opening Brief at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals against the California ban on change therapy (SB 1172), which would ban any counseling to minors seeking to diminish or eliminate unwanted same-sex sexual attractions, behavior or identity. On December 21, 2012, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Pickup v. Brown granted Liberty Counsel’s Emergency Motion to temporarily block the law from going into effect on January 1, 2013, as previously scheduled.
CinemaBlend: Star Wars: The Old Republic will soon allow gamers to pursue gay and lesbian romances. The new romance options will be included in the upcoming Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion pack for the MMORPG
Daily Herald: Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady of St. Charles is calling GOP lawmakers asking them to support a proposal to legalize same-sex marriage, he said today.
Fox2Now.com: Members of Illinois religious groups — from Catholic to Muslim — have sent every state lawmaker a letter calling gay marriage “dangerous” to religious freedom.
When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being. The defense of the family is about man himself. And it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears. Whoever defends God is defending man.” That is what’s at stake now.
LifeNews: The founder and editor of the highly-popular Drudge Report surprised pro-life advocates on twitter this morning with a tweet condemning abortion an highlighting how thousands of babies are killed on a daily basis.
MSNBC: The folks at Guttmacher Institute track anti-abortion legislation in the states each year, and today they’ve released the data from 2012. The raw number showing actual enacted, new abortion restrictions is predictably down from last year’s record high of 92.
OnIslam.net: An Indian court has ruled that polygamy is not encouraged by the Noble Qur’an, but only allowed under certain circumstances, saying the practice does not fit modern democracies, The Indian Express reported Tuesday, January 1.
Providence Journal: Legislation allowing gay couples to marry in Rhode Island will be introduced on Thursday, the bill’s longtime sponsor, state Rep. Arthur Handy, said Tuesday, the opening day of the 2013 General Assembly session.
CNSNews: Congress, in the pre-Christmas rush, passed a Democrat-sponsored provision that will allow women in the U.S. military to use their health insurance to pay for abortion in cases of rape or incest.
LifeSiteNews: The Muskegon Fire Department has posted closure notices on the Women’s Medical Services in Muskegon, Michigan, and boarded up the abortion clinic until further notice, Operation Rescue has announced.
LifeSiteNews: For the third time since Thanksgiving, a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in St. Louis, Missouri, has transported a woman to the hospital for emergency care, which, according to Operation Rescue, makes it one of the most dangerous abortion clinics in the nation.
LifeNews: A new photo of a baby reaching out of the womb and holding a doctor’s finger during a Caesarian section delivery has gone viral and is being passed around Facebook by tens of thousands of people.
OnIslam.net: A British primary school has been taken to court over refusing to allow a female pupil to wear hijab (Muslim headscarf).
Eugene Volokh at the Volokh Conspiracy: Should American courts refuse to send the child back to the country of origin, because the judicial system in that country is biased against women and non-Muslims?
Minding the Campus: Failing Law Schools, a recent book by Brian Z. Tamanaha, a law professor who has also been a law dean, savages American legal education–and rightly so. Tamanaha’s criticisms go something like this: the ABA accreditors and their allies control and dictate to legal educators. The controllers are the deans, professors, librarians, etc. who use accreditation to force on all schools their desired model of legal education, a model which is beneficial to the faculty.
Ken Klukowski at Breitbart: On Dec. 28, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that the HHS Mandate violates this family’s religious liberty as guaranteed by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Kathleen Sebelius’ mandate could be argued to violate the First Amendment as well, but if a court can resolve a case by looking to a statute, it will avoid issuing an opinion regarding constitutional issues. The Seventh Circuit has issued an injunction while the appeal in this case, Korte v. Sebelius, is pending.
Ed Whelan reports at National Review Bench Memos.
Washington Post: “Yes, for each citizen’s tax dollar, only two-tenths of one penny go toward funding the entire third branch of government!” Roberts wrote. “Those fractions of a penny are what Americans pay for a judiciary that is second to none.”
Virgin Islands News: President Barack Obama signed into law a bill authorizing direct review of V.I. Supreme Court decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, Delegate to Congress Donna Christensen said Saturday. Christensen sponsored the legislation, H.R. 6116, which amends the Revised Organic Act of the Virgin Islands, with respect to the judicial procedure for appealing the decisions of courts of the Virgin Islands to courts of the United States.
Kansas City Star: Another big showdown over abortion brewing in the federal courts could have meaning for Kansas. Two years ago, Kansas was among just a handful of states to ban abortion starting at 22 weeks — with some limited exceptions — regardless of whether the fetus was able to survive outside the womb.
Constitution Center: Lyle Denniston looks at one company’s claim it has religious rights that exempt it from the Affordable Care Act’s requirement for free birth-control services.
Philly.com: New Jersey Democrats have long argued that they would approve only “diverse” nominees to the state Supreme Court. But now, as liberal opposition builds against Gov. Christie’s most recent picks, the definition of diverse appears to be changing.
Cherminsky at the ABA Journal: The year 2012 saw blockbuster decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court. The court will be most remembered for largely upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (in National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius), and for striking down key provisions of Arizona’s restrictive immigration law, SB 1070 (in Arizona v. United States). In both, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joined the more liberal justices over the strong dissents from the court’s most conservative members.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State: Owners of secular businesses don’t have the right to tailor employee health care plans to meet the owners’ religious beliefs, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and other groups have told a federal appeals court. Americans United and three other groups on Friday filed a friend-of-the-court brief before the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the case O’Brien v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Washington Times: Pro-life forces have legislative momentum across the country heading into 2013, but pro-choice supporters also see plenty of opportunities to win in and out of the courts, as the nation’s political clash over abortion rights shows no signs of easing ahead of the 40th anniversary this month of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision.
French Tribune: The privately funded Alliance Defending Freedom’s attorney Steven Aden says that allowing it to get funds means frustrating the public’s interest in making sure that abortions are not directly or indirectly aided by taxpayer dollars. “The question of who is qualified makes the whole law vague and amorphous”, said he.
Arizona Daily Star: But Steven Aden, an attorney with the privately funded Alliance Defending Freedom that is helping the state defend the law, said allowing the injunction to remain in place “would frustrate the public’s interest, expressed through its elected representatives, in ensuring that taxpayer dollars do not directly or indirectly support abortions.” And Aden said the state has sovereign rights in determining who can participate in the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state’s Medicaid program. He said it is irrelevant that most of the funds for the program come from the federal government.
Education News: Today the ranks of home-schoolers are overwhelmingly Christian, and 78% of parents attend church frequently. According to the National Household Education Survey in 2007, the main motivation for home schooling was for religious or moral instruction (36%), followed by school environment (21%) and the quality of instruction available (17%). After this comes concerns about special education, the distance of travel and even nut allergies.
Ariz. divorce case hits snag after marriage’s validity questioned because husband gave birth | AP on Cox News
AP on Cox News: Jim Campbell, an attorney for a conservative Christian legal organization that isn’t involved in the Beatie case, said in an email that the failure of the courts to protect traditional marriage has led to chaos and that children are being led into “increasingly bizarre situations.” “Sadly, the deep confusion created by these two women, and the biological father who helped conceive the children, is just a symptom of much greater societal problems,” said Campbell, of the Alliance Defending Freedom.
Public Discourse: Any honest analysis of the Newtown tragedy must address the social problems caused by divorce, absent fathers, and the burdens of single motherhood.
Alliance Defending Freedom at LifeNews: As we look back on the past year, we conclude that 2012 is a year that will go down in infamy. For the first time in history, the government has attempted to force Americans to pay for the ending of human life – even if abortion violates their religious beliefs.
Religion Clause Blog: In Sharpe Holdings, Inc. v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, (ED MO, Dec. 31, 2012), a Missouri federal magistrate judge issued a temporary restraining order barring enforcement of the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage mandate to require a for-profit dairy farming and cheese making business to cover abortifacient devices ( Plan B, Ella and copper IUDs) and related counseling.
Moscow Times: President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed new legislation prescribing norms for all levels of education and setting new rules for teachers’ salaries and school fees, a statement on the Kremlin’s website said.
Religion Clause Blog: In Oklevueha Native American Church of Hawaii v. Holder, (D HI, Dec.31, 2012), an Hawaii federal district court, in a case on remand from the 9th Circuit (see prior posting), permitted a church’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act claim to proceed to challenge enforcement of the federal drug laws.
Religion Clause Blog: In Big Sky Colony, Inc. v. Montana Department of Labor and Industry, (MT Sup. Ct., Dec. 31, 2012), the Montana Supreme Court in a 4-3 decision upheld against constitutional attack amendments to the state’s workers compensation law that brings Hutterite Colonies within the definition of those covered when their members perform agricultural, manufacturing or construction services even though members do not receive wages. Instead Hutterites receive food, shelter, clothing and medical care from the Colony.
AP: The state contends the agreement between Marotta and the women is not valid because Kansas law requires a licensed physician to perform artificial insemination.
Congress passes temporary fiscal cliff bill: spending increases, tax increase on incomes over $450K, payroll tax increase on everyone
AP: Both sides lamented their failure to reach a significant deficit-cutting agreement. But neither much mentioned another omission: The immediate expiration of a two-year, 2-percentage-point cut in the Social Security payroll tax.
How Appealing links to coverage and the order here.