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After more than five years of federal litigation, members of the Rockford Pro-Life Initiative have settled their federal lawsuit against the City of Rockford over the city’s alleged harassment of pro-life individuals and other alleged federal civil rights violations.
Assyrian International News Agency: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has long been on the forefront of the Islamist mission to establish the equivalent of Islamic blasphemy laws in the West. Now, during its 12th Islamic Summit held in Cairo February 7-8, 2013, the OIC set forth new and creative ways to silence, and ultimately criminalize criticism of Islam.
Washington Times: Designated terrorist group Hamas has warned President Obama against visiting the holy Temple Mount site in Jerusalem when he visits Israel next month, saying the action would be “a diplomatic catastrophe.”
LifeSiteNews: After this week’s Supreme Court ruling finding him guilty of “hate speech,” Canada’s most controversial Christian activist says he will continue publicly witnessing against homosexuality.
Charisma News: Christian churches and worship centers were completely shut down on Sunday in the central Nigerian town of Wukari following religious riots that broke out Saturday in the town between Muslims and Christians.
Evan Bernick at the Bell Towers: As a legal fellow with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, I’ve spent the last few months defending religious employers against the government’s efforts to impose the mandate upon them, even though I’m a pro-choice atheist. I’m proud of having done so. Here, I will argue that those who are concerned with individual rights and the real-world impact of policy choices should stand alongside me, regardless of their religion (or lack thereof). They should do so because (1) the mandate is unjust, and (2) it will hurt those whom it is intended to help.
Paul Coleman at Bell Towers: When is a church not a church? The answer – when the government says so. At least this is the case in several European countries, where a multi-tiered system is strictly operated and only the entities that reach the top tier are officially recognized as churches.
Christian Newswire: Georgia Right to Life today called on Georgia’s General Assembly to give voters the opportunity to grant personhood status to all innocent human life from the earliest stages of development until natural death.
Americans United for Life Action Calls for NO Vote on Caitlin Halligan to the U.S. Court of Appeals in what will be a Scored Vote on Life
International Business Times: Halligan “is unqualified to sit on such a prestigious court because of her conduct in office, using her position in state government to advance radical, pro-abortion legal theories against the constitutional rights of pro-life citizens,” said AULA’s Dr. Yoest.
Washington Post: Below, we take a closer look at how the fight has been unfolding across the country, state by state. This map, from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life details where gay marriage is and isn’t legal. It also points out the states with same-sex marriage bans, and the states where same-sex marriage is neither legal nor banned
BBC: Campaigners and politicians from NI and the Irish Republic have gathered at Stormont to oppose any change to abortion laws on the island of Ireland.
Christian Concern: Christian police chaplain has been forced out of his position after expressing his views on the Government’s proposals to introduce same-sex ‘marriages’ on his personal website.
Christian Institute: The controversial push to redefine marriage is one of the reasons the Conservatives came third in yesterday’s important by-election, critics say.
Times of Malta: Marks argues that the APA’s conclusion is not empirically-warranted: the data presented does not validate their hypotheses. The samples used are not representative, they are too small and do not include data of the comparison groups. Additionally, the diversity of same-sex parenting studies was dismissed and only a limited scope of children’s outcomes was studied.
WPRI.com: Same-sex marriage has been a national and state battle for years, and the latest poll by Brown University shows 60.4% of Rhode Islander’s are in favor of giving the right to marry to gay and lesbian couples.
WNCT.com: A national non-profit group sent a letter to the Mayor of Greenville demanding the council stop praying before city meetings.
Kentucky.com: A House panel defeated several bills Thursday that would put restrictions on abortions, including one bill that would require a woman to view an ultrasound and another that would require a face-to-face consultation before receiving an abortion.
Foreign Policy: The initiative committe is led by politician Heinz Hürzeler, a member of the country’s Social Liberal Movement, and maintains that in Switzerland, where 12 percent of pregnancies end in abortion, the practice represents a huge blow to the economy (comparatively speaking, Switzerland has one of the lowest abortion rates in the world, with only 6.4 abortions for every 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44)
LifeSiteNews: DePaul University has punished a student for publicizing the names of fellow students who admitted to vandalizing his organization’s pro-life display.
LifeSiteNews: A new study commissioned by the Vitae Foundation has taken a careful scientific approach to identify what drives women’s decisions to keep their child, place a child in adoption or abort one’s child. The study has determined what influences that decision, which women are most reachable, what message is most likely to reach them and from whom vulnerable women would like to hear that message. | A New Understanding of the Trauma of Abortion
The Best Legal Argument For Protection of For-Profits Under RFRA | Ctr. for Law and Religion at St. John’s U.
Ctr. for Law and Religion at St. John’s U.: Whatever policy concerns one might have, it seems to me that the Administration’s categorical exclusion of for-profits in its current proposed rule, and its reliance on certain definitions in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, just is not going to fly in the RFRA context.
Kathryn Jean Lopez at National Review: Dr. Anne Nolte, a family physician, takes time today from her busy patient schedule at the National Gianna Center for Women’s Health and Fertility she directs in Manhattan to protest Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Reproductive Health Act.
The American Federation for Children—the nation’s voice for educational choice—today applauded the Alabama legislature for passing and Governor Robert Bentley (R) for his intention to sign, a revamped education bill aimed at providing families with educational options. House Bill 84 passed on Thursday, providing students with the opportunity to transfer out of failing schools and into private, parochial, or other public schools through individual and corporate tax credits.
Matt Bowman at Townhall: Democratic consultant Jason Stanford of the Huffington Post thinks he has made a scientific discovery by claiming “birth control doesn’t cause abortions.” And he thinks opponents of ObamaCare’s abortion-pill mandate should throw in the towel.
Pat Buchanan at Townhall: What is it that gives a party its legitimacy, its right to rule? What holds a nation together when its cradle faith, its founding ideology, has been abandoned by both elites and the people? That is China’s coming crisis.
Seattle Times: United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday joined the United States and Israel in rejecting statements by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who compared Zionism to fascism at a United Nations meeting aiming to promote dialogue between all faiths.
NY Times: Gay rights have quickly emerged in Germany as a campaign issue in this parliamentary election year, with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats struggling to catch up to changing attitudes among voters on issues like gay marriage and adoption.
The Oakland Press: The Oakland Township Board of Trustees is under fire by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan for beginning a meeting with a prayer that singles out one religion.
Charisma News: “Americans should be free to honor God and live according to their consciences whether they are at home, church or work,” said lead counsel Jonathan R. Whitehead, one of nearly 2,200 allied attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom. “The court was right to stop enforcement of this unconstitutional mandate against Sioux Chief and its owners. They, like all other family-run businesses, have the God-given freedom to live and lead their company according to the values of their faith. American entrepreneurs cannot be forced to surrender their First Amendment freedoms when they go to work.” [more]
Marty Lederman at SCOTUS Blog: All of the amicus briefs have now been filed in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the California same-sex marriage case. In light of the parties’ opening briefs and a preliminary review of some of those amicus briefs, including the landmark filing by the United States (see Lyle’s post), and the briefs of California and of 13 other states (see my post here), it is more evident than ever that there are (at least) five possible outcomes in the case — a rich menu of choices for the Court. | The Hollingsworth link above links to the court filings and a wealth of material related to the litigation.
Amanda Becker at Roll Call: Some of the more conservative justices on the Supreme Court weren’t shy about assessing their neighbors across the street Wednesday during oral arguments in a closely watched Voting Rights Act case.
Texas Tribune: Roberts and his colleagues are off the leash. Their counterparts in Texas are not so lucky. Elected judges have to hope the politics work out — that voters will understand unpopular decisions and blame the people who write the laws and not the people who interpret them.
Blog of the Legal Times: Although stopping short of urging the U.S. Supreme Court to hold that gay couples have a fundamental right to marriage, the Obama Administration brief in the California same-sex marriage case charts a legal path towards the eventual undoing of all state gay marriage bans, said a lawyer for the challengers to that state’s ban.
LA Times: When Meg Whitman ran for California governor as a Republican three years ago, she said marriage was “between a man and woman” and voiced her support for Proposition 8. But after what she called “a period of careful review and reflection,” Whitman has joined the legal fight to overturn the gay marriage ban approved by California voters in 2008.
Christian Science Monitor: “Californians voted for (traditional) marriage twice in the only polls that really matter,” said Jim Campbell, an attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents opponents of gay marriage in the case that has reached the U.S. Supreme Court.
Baptist Press: Kellie Fiedorek, litigation counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), said this is a time of “great peril” for religious adherents. In particular, business owners with religious convictions about business, marriage and family are the targets of attacks for refusing to violate their beliefs, she said. “You couldn’t expect an African-American photographer to take a picture of a family who is in the KKK, who is going to wear long white robes and pointy hats,” Fiedorek said. “Similarly, you couldn’t expect a Jewish … baker to bake a cake with swastikas on it and have it say, ‘Happy Birthday to Hitler.’”
Christian Post: Alliance Defending Freedom, who is a co-counsel in the Supreme Court case in favor of upholding Proposition 8, previously told The Christian Post that it hoped the Supreme Court would uphold the definition of traditional marriage. “The wisest course of action is for the Supreme Court to allow the debate over marriage to continue in this country and not judicially impose same-sex marriage on Americans,” ADF told CP.
Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe: Upon the request of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians submitted 67 individually documented hate crimes and hate incidents on March 1st.
Breitbart: In 2012, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) released a report that found more than $99 million in waste or possible PPFA fraud, including an alleged illegal taxpayer funding of abortion and abortion-related procedures.
Religion Clause Blog: In In re: Navy Chaplaincy, (D DC, Feb. 28, 2013), the D.C. federal district court refused to issue a preliminary injunction in a suit claiming that the U.S. Navy’s chaplain selection process results in denominational favoritism that prefers Catholic and liturgical Protestant chaplains, to the disadvantage of non-liturgical Protestant chaplains.
AP: Dozens of Muslim residents threw firebombs and rocks at police on Friday as they tried to storm a church in southern Egypt in search of a woman suspected of converting to Christianity, security officials said.
AP: More than 200 congressional Democrats are urging the Supreme Court to overturn a key provision of the federal law against gay marriage.
Bloomberg: Consumer spending in the U.S. rose in January even as incomes dropped by the most in 20 years, showing households were weathering the payroll-tax increase by socking away less money in the bank.
The Hill: All five candidates pursuing the seat vacated by Secretary of State John Kerry (D) have collected far more than the necessary 10,000 signatures to join the primary ballot, indicating there will likely be a three-way Republican primary and a two-way Democratic primary in the special election.
Press Democrat: The Santa Rosa Catholic Diocese is requiring its 200 schoolteachers to sign an agreement affirming that “modern errors” such as contraception, abortion, homosexual marriage and euthanasia are “matters that gravely offend human dignity.”
LifeSiteNews: Brazilian lawmakers are seeking pass a law prohibiting “homophobia,” which would potentially outlaw all criticism of homosexual behavior. The bill is part of the country’s criminal code reform currently being undertaken in the National Congress, according to members of Brazil’s newly-formed National Association of Evangelical Jurist (ANAJURE). (Piero Tozzi in the video)
SCOTUS Blog: At their Conference this morning, one of the many issues the Justices will take up is the motion for divided argument in the Windsor challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act. A divided argument order provides for oral argument by more than just the petitioner and respondent.
SCOTUS Blog: Here was the government’s key argument why the Golden State’s ban on same-sex marriage fails the constitutional test the administration suggested: ”California’s extension of all of the substantive rights and responsibilities of marriage to gay and lesbian domestic partners particularly undermines the justifications for Proposition 8.”
Adam J. MacLeod and Andrew Beckwith at Public Discourse:
GOP USA: Romero would not comment on the lawsuit. Byer was referred to Romero by Michael Norton, a senior counsel at the Alliance Defending Freedom, which connects Christian lawyers and advocacy groups. Norton said he does not think women’s health is Planned Parenthood’s priority. “They’re concerned about promoting abortions,” he said. “The bottom line for Planned Parenthood is not women’s health, it’s revenue.”
C-FAM: Pro-life organizations spoke at a special forum at UN headquarters this week to ask the UN General Assembly to reform treaty bodies which deviate from their mandates by pushing abortion, homosexuality and controversial sex ed programs. The UN is in the midst of a full review of the treaty bodies to identify ways to reform a system riddled with backlog, inefficiencies and abuse of authority. (also reported in LifeSiteNews)
CNN: Which bathroom should be used by a child who identifies as a different gender from his or her body? Where’s the line between accommodation and discrimination? At what point is a child old enough for that to even be an issue? The case focuses on Coy Mathis, a 6-year-old born with a boy’s body. She identifies as a girl, and her family is raising her as a girl.