Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s days away: The Supreme Court’s marriage decision is expected to come down on June 29.
One-fourth of Britain’s Catholic priests join in warning that same-sex marriage could trigger new persecution
Catholic Culture: More than 1,000 Catholic priests have signed an open letter warning that legal acceptance of same-sex marriage could prompt a revival of persecution against Catholics in Britain.
Ed Whelan at National Review: Last Friday, in Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, federal district judge Mitchell S. Goldberg joined the minority of courts that have denied injunctive relief to the owners of for-profit businesses that have religious objections to complying with the HHS mandate.
Albert Mohler: But, do politicians bear all the blame? Not hardly. The public has an insatiable appetite for pseudo-events and a horrified aversion to the truth. Why? We are approaching the point that voters will not deal with the issue because it will cost them their entitlements. They will be glad for their children and grandchildren to pay the catastrophic debt. As Brooks explains: “Ultimately, we should blame the American voters. The average Medicare couple pays $109,000 into the program and gets $343,000 in benefits out, according to the Urban Institute. This is $234,000 in free money. Many voters have decided they like spending a lot on themselves and pushing costs onto their children and grandchildren.
Edwin Ekene at allAfrica.com: Actually, it was a debate between Erik Stanley, the head of the Pulpit Initiative for Alliance Defense Fund, a legal alliance of Christian attorneys in the United States, and Rev. Barry W. Lynn, the Executive Director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. The title of the debate, which was published in the Los Angeles Times of September 23, 2008, was, “Why Don’t Churches Pay Taxes?”
Washington Times: The decision by leaders of the Washington National Cathedral to perform same-sex weddings is getting a mixed reception, with supporters calling it consistent with the church’s path for more than a decade and critics warning of further division on an issue that has roiled religious denominations across the country.
Chicago Tribune: Dozens of Illinois business leaders and several companies publicly endorsed gay marriage Sunday in an attempt to reignite the issue after a proposed bill failed to get traction in Springfield this month.
LifeNews: Everyday more the collective mindset of “rights” gains ground in this country. We see sophisticated advertisements on all media for a myriad of issues – from animal rights to gay rights, from the right to bear arms to women’s reproductive rights. It’s the catchiest of all catch phrases – our rights. Forty years ago, however, the Supreme Court opined that men have zero reproductive rights – none what so ever.
WGRZ.com: More than 400 people swathed in pink rallied for women’s rights near the Capitol on Monday, with state leaders speaking in support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s legislative package addressing gender equality. The 10-point plan Cuomo unveiled during his State of the State last week centers around the Reproductive Health Act, a bill that would cofidy women’s abortion rights.
Reuters: The government now plans to include this issue in a family law bill due to be approved by the cabinet in March. Tugdual Derville, a co-leader of Sunday’s protest, said that could be another occasion for opposition pressure and maybe a protest.
ShoreNewsToday: A Township Council ad hoc committee of three has completed its study and issued a recommendation that would have council members read pre-approved prayers prior to each meeting.
South China Morning Post: Religious groups say their freedom of speech is threatened by move to protect the rights of sexual minorities.
Fox4Now: Freedom From Religion Foundation fought to prevent the Ten Commandments from being displayed at city hall. This time, it’s taking issue with what they call Christian-themed prayer at council meetings.
Oye Times: Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed’s request to Folketing Speaker Mogens Lykketoft to read Hindu invocation as a part of the “divine service” at the next opening of Folketing has ended in a denial with the response—“Parliament of Denmark must respectfully decline your kind offer”—from Speaker’s PA Marianne Treumer Ammitzboll. No reason of denial was given.
Chicoer.com: A former Marin County man convicted of fighting alongside the Taliban must be allowed to pray daily in a group with other Muslim inmates at his high-security prison in Indiana, a federal judge ruled Friday.
Free Beacon: An American-Iranian pastor imprisoned in Tehran since September may face hanging because of his Christian faith. Saeed Abedini sent a letter to his family Jan. 10 detailing his torture and treatment by Iranian authorities.
LifeNews: Leading pro-life groups are continuing their pushback against a move by pro-abortion Democrats in the Senate to kill the filibuster. If Harry Reid and his colleagues are successful, it would pave the way for President Barack Obama’s abortion agenda, they fear.
Turtle Bay and Beyond: Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) recently introduced the “Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act” which would prohibit groups that perform or refer for abortion from receiving Title X funding. In 2010 that figure to Planned Parenthood from the Department of Health and Human Services was $340 million.
Christian Institute: The shadow public health minister and feminist Diane Abbott admits feminism is partly to blame for family breakdown. The senior Labour figure told the Guardian that the women’s rights movement in the 1980s caused many to see the family as the place where women were kept down.
Christian Institute: The Government gave way tonight, and agreed to reform Section 5 of the Public Order Act to give more protection to free speech.
Christian Concern: Two Scottish Catholic midwives attempting to win exemption from involvement with abortion may have their case heard at the Supreme Court in London.
Christian Concern: All four cases relate to the extent of effective protection under the European Convention on Human Rights for the manifestation of Christian faith in the public sphere. Two of the cases (Chaplin and Eweida) relate to the visible wearing of a cross. The other cases (McFarlane and Ladele) relate to protection of Christian conscience in the professional arena.
Liberty Institute Investigates Demand to Remove School’s More Than 65-Year-Old Display Containing Jesus Portrait
Liberty Institute: Today, Liberty Institute, on behalf of Jackson City School District, responded to demand letters from the Freedom From Religion Foundation and ACLU regarding the school’s longstanding “Hall of Honor” display that contains a portrait of Jesus. The FFRF requested that the school remove the portrait of Jesus, which has been a fixture at the school for more than 65 years without complaint. Read copies of the response letters to the FFRF and ACLU.
Todd Starnes at Fox News: An American pastor is facing a federal lawsuit filed by a George Soros-funded organization alleging that the pastor’s messages on homosexuality are a “crime against humanity” – a lawsuit that some Christians fear might have far-reaching consequences for church mission groups.
Findlaw: The First Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a third challenge to the Massachusetts abortion clinic buffer zone law this week, calling the plaintiffs’ First Amendment claims a “salmagundi of arguments, old and new.” The statute at the center of the dispute is Mass. Gen. Law ch. 266, § 120E 1/2, which states that “no person shall knowingly enter or remain on a public way or sidewalk adjacent to a reproductive health care facility” (RHCF) within a designated and clearly marked buffer zone.
Aaron Greenspan: Most lawyers turn to outrageously priced, subscription information services such as LexisNexis, Westlaw, and Bloomberg Law to get their case information. Those services simply compile data from PACER and mark up the cost, which ultimately gets passed on to clients, who pay even more. In other words, most lawyers love PACER because it helps them make money—or they just don’t care either way. Meanwhile, the public is harmed as the cost of litigation soars, and key legal arguments are priced out of reach (especially for pro se plaintiffs who represent themselves).
Charisma News: Four months after guerrillas of the National Liberation Army (ELN) sent a murdered evangelist’s wife their first demand to abandon her home in northeast Colombia’s volatile Arauca department, the militants made good on their threats, report sources close to Open Doors, a ministry to persecuted Christians.
Bloomberg: Protests against French President Francois Hollande’s proposal to allow same-sex marriage drew hundreds of thousands of people into the streets in Paris. “There are many people who are worried about this law,” Laurent Wauquiez, a minister under former President Nicolas Sarkozy, said today on Europe 1 radio. “Do we have to destroy the family and the place of children in it? We must pay attention to the place of children.” Wauquiez joined the demonstration.
Ryan T. Anderson at Public Discourse: Unlikely characters, including gay men, are leading the French people in protest against redefining marriage. A repeating refrain is “the rights of children trump the right to children.” Americans should follow their example of mobilizing across party lines.
San Francisco Chronicle: In the most important ruling to date, a federal appeals court in Chicago has blocked enforcement of the mandate against an employer – not a church or a church-affiliated hospital or university, but an Illinois construction company whose principal owners, a married couple, are devout Catholics.
Jess Bravin at Wall Street Journal: Sonia Sotomayor’s memoir being published this week gives a fuller—and sometimes harrowing—dimension to the tale of her rise from a Bronx, N.Y., housing project to the nation’s highest court.
Law360.com: The federal government has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on a Federal Circuit en banc ruling that found congressional efforts to withhold judicial salary adjustments violated the compensation clause of Article III of the U.S. Constitution.
First Amendment Center: On Jan. 11, the Court agreed to re-enter the debate by reviewing a 2003 law that has been challenged by recipients of federal grants aimed at combating AIDS internationally. The law requires grantees, as a condition of funding, to adopt “a policy explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking” and not to espouse contrary views. The case, U.S. Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society International, will likely be argued before the justices in April.
Christian Post: Stanford Law School has established the nation’s only Religious Liberty Clinic, enabling students under the professor’s supervision to represent clients who are fighting to win legal battles on the grounds of religious freedom in America.
LifeNews: A pro-life elderly woman has been arrested for sprinkling Holy Water on a public sidewalk outside the local abortion business in Huntsville, Alabama.
The New Republic: Much less is known, however, about old friendship between Olson and their opponent in this case, Charles Cooper, one of the many lawyers who helped Olson on Bush v. Gore. Cooper and Olson are both part of Washington’s tiny tribe of top-flight conservative litigators.
Religion Clause Blog: A Cheektowaga, New York high school science teacher has filed a federal court lawsuit against her school district complaining that she was required to remove all personal non-curricular items of a religious nature from her classroom and refrain from promoting religion in her communications with students. The complaint (full text) in Silver v. Cheektowaga Central School District, (WD NY, filed 1/10/2013) . . .
Religion Clause Blog: In Central Rabbinical Congress of the USA & Canada v. New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, (SD NY, Jan. 10, 2013), a New York federal district court refused to issue a preliminary injunction to block enforcement of the New York City Health Department’s rule requiring that a mohel (Jewish ritual circumciser) obtain a written informed consent form from parents before he performs a circumcision using the oral suction technique (metzitzah b’peh).
Religion Clause Blog: In Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, (ED PA, Jan 11, 2013), a Pennsylvania federal district court refused to issue a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage Mandate in a suit brought by a small wood specialties manufacturing company and its five Mennonite Christian owners (the Hahn family).
Religion Clause Blog: In 2011, Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a decree returning to minority religious groups hundreds of properties that have been seized since 1936
NY Times: If the gay-rights movement today seems to revolve around same-sex marriage, this generation is seeking something more radical: an upending of gender roles beyond the binary of male/female. The core question isn’t whom they love, but who they are — that is, identity as distinct from sexual orientation . . . The emerging rubric is “L.G.B.T.Q.I.A.,” which stands for different things, depending on whom you ask.
Safe. Legal. Rare. Cardinal Dolan rightly challenges Gov. Cuomo to lower New York’s abortion rate | NY Daily News
NY Daily News: Responding to Gov. Cuomo’s renewed call for passage of the Reproductive Health Act — which would strengthen the legal right to an abortion in New York — Timothy Cardinal Dolan raised an excellent question: Whatever happened to the important goal — advanced by President Bill Clinton and embraced by many on the pro-choice side — of seeking to make abortion “safe, legal and rare”?
Family Research Council: Shuns of Anarchy
Travis C. Barham at Speak Up Movement: Years ago, Abigail Thernstrom described universities as “islands of repression in a sea of freedom.” More recently, several columnists have highlighted how the effort to indoctrinate students pervades virtually every aspect of campus life.
Jordan Lorence at Speak Up Movement: Leftist bloggers successfully convinced officials for President Obama’s Inauguration to pressure Pastor Louie Giglio of Passion City Church in Atlanta to withdraw from praying the benediction at the ceremony January 21.
Religion Clause Blog: As reported by CNN, in statement from its general counsel Hobby Lobby says it has shifted the beginning of its health care plan year, thus delaying for several months the requirement that it comply with the Women’s Preventive Services coverage mandate.
The Hill: Senate Democratic leaders have sent a letter to President Obama pledging their support if he raises the nation’s $16.4 trillion debt ceiling unilaterally in the face of Republican resistance.
The Hill: Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) on Thursday blasted a federal grant to a North Carolina college that requires the college library to “introduce Muslim cultures to Americans.”
Washington Post: A conservative megachurch pastor was wiped from the inaugural program Thursday after a strongly anti-homosexuality sermon he gave in the 1990s surfaced, evidence of how fast Americans’ views on gays and lesbians are shifting and the political pitfalls for a liberal president attempting to reach out to religious conservatives.
George Neumayr at American Spectator: One of the items on Obama’s second term agenda is to root out traditionally Christian chaplains from the military. He sees them as bigots unworthy of conscience protections. Like Chick-fil-A, they don’t uphold Obama’s “values.”
AP: Sri Lanka’s leading lawyers on Monday denounced President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s dismissal of the chief justice as illegal and said they still recognize Shirani Bandaranayake as the South Asian country’s top judge.
New legal services site launched to protect religious organizations from ‘dark legal clouds gathering across our nation’
God Discussion: At Alliance Defending Freedom, we see the dark legal clouds gathering across our nation, threatening your religious freedom. That’s why we created SpeakUpFreedom.org. . .
Erik Stanley at LifeNews: Well, ninety days have come and gone since over 1,500 pastors participated in Pulpit Freedom Sunday on October 7,2012. And the IRS has not taken any action against any of the pastors who participated. Actually, the title of this blog post could have been “Four years and Counting” because Alliance Defending Freedom first launched Pulpit Freedom Sunday in 2008.
SCOTUS Blog: The Supreme Court on Monday turned down a plea by the national Republican party to free it from a three-decades-old court order that limits its right to challenge voters’ qualifications.
ACLU Press Release: A statewide tuition tax-credit program that would divert taxpayer funds to private religious schools in violation of the state constitution was challenged in a New Hampshire court today by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of New Hampshire and the Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Amidst a flurry of activity this month in Alliance Defending Freedom lawsuits against President Obama’s abortion pill mandate, the administration’s record in cases litigated so far stands at 10 losses and only four wins.
Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter Wednesday on behalf of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty to the United States Military Academy at West Point after a secularist group protested invocations at various West Point events.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys sent a letter Tuesday to the Chambersburg Area School District after an atheist group complained about the selection of songs included in an annual Christmas performance by the Chambersburg Area Senior High School’s Glee Club.
AL.com: Today’s ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court that the state’s chemical endangerment of a child law also includes protection for unborn children is a landmark victory, said Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange. | In re: Ankrom v. State of Alabama
World Magazine: Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys who argued on behalf of the two researchers said the success of adult stem cell research has made federally funded research on embryonic stem cells “irrelevant.”