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Alliance Defending Freedom: So much of what we hear in the news is so discouraging that, at times, it’s good just to stop and “count our blessings” – not only as individuals, but as a legal ministry committed to defending life, marriage, and religious freedom for you and your family. God continues to bless your organization’s work in so many ways … and while we are always eager to talk about, say, a win at the U.S. Supreme Court, we are also seeing important wins in far less publicized cases that have huge implications for the freedom of you and your family.
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Gregory S. Baylor: “All Americans should oppose unjust laws that force people – under threat of punishment – to give up their fundamental freedoms and act contrary to their beliefs. That’s why we are seriously considering appeal of the 3rd Circuit’s decision. Geneva College simply wants to abide by the Christian faith it espouses and teaches instead of being forced into an unacceptable inconsistency by the government. The administration has no business punishing people of faith for making decisions consistent with that faith.”
ADF Media: The so-called “three-parent embryo” legislation that the United Kingdom’s House of Commons passed Feb. 3 likely breaches a European Union directive to which the UK is obligated. That’s the conclusion of a legal memo Alliance Defending Freedom provided Thursday to the European Parliament at the request of several MEPs.
Townhall: One of the best ways to torch your comment feed on social media is to post something about vaccines. But I believe common ground can exist on this issue—if people care more about solutions than about demonizing their opponents.
Go Fund Me: Despite winning a 12-day trial, seven years later Kevin and his family are still paying the price. Not only did the state and activists appeal, but due to an unprecedented Ninth Circuit ruling, the Stormans must pay over $140,000.00 to Legal Voice (an abortion rights group) for attorney fees and costs Legal Voice claims it incurred when the trial court required them to give the Stormans documents related to the role abortion groups played in drafting the regulations and their targeting of religious objectors. This is a substantial financial hardship on the Stormans.
Get Religion: Before the story was published, Greg Scott, vice president for media communications for the Alliance Defending Freedom, raised that question in an email to the Times’ reporter.
Alliance Defending Freedom: Mary Doogan and Connie Wood are senior midwives in Scotland who believe that life begins at conception. Their legal case arose out of concerns that the reorganization of hospital services in their city would result in an increased number of abortions in the ward they supervised. The most senior court in Scotland agreed with them, concluding that the right to conscientious objection guaranteed in the United Kingdom’s Abortion Act should be given a wide interpretation because it is “consistent with the reasoning which allowed such an objection in the first place.”
Alliance Defending Freedom: In some US cities, prohibiting a biological male from going into the women’s restroom or locker room is now considered “discrimination,” simply if that man identifies as a woman.
ADF Media: The Canadian Supreme Court struck down total prohibitions on doctor-prescribed death Friday but said that Parliament may only allow a “stringently limited, carefully monitored system of exceptions” and affirmed that physicians cannot be forced to participate in killing someone because patients do not have a “right to death.” Canada’s existing laws will remain in place for another year.
ADF Media: Alliance Defending Freedom and other religious and pro-life organizations sent letters to Congress Thursday that ask it to veto two recently passed District of Columbia laws that force religious and pro-life organizations to operate contrary to their missions and sincerely held beliefs.
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel David Hacker: “As the 6th Circuit affirmed, the ability of faith-based groups to make employment decisions consistent with the very faith they espouse is a ‘structural limitation imposed on the government by the Religion Clauses [of the First Amendment], a limitation that can never be waived.’ The court was right to recognize that this freedom extends to groups beyond just those that are directly run by churches and denominations. No one should be coerced by the government to act contrary to their deepest, historically recognized faith convictions. ADF was pleased to file a friend-of-the-court brief in this case on behalf of organizations who support the foundational constitutional freedoms that the 6th Circuit upheld.”
Christian Examiner: The Christian couple who declined to sell a wedding cake to a lesbian couple in 2013 were found guilty of unlawful discrimination by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries January 29.
Family Studies: Each year the Census Bureau captures a snapshot of the living arrangements of U.S. children through its Current Population Survey. The 2014 results were released by the Bureau last week, and the portrait they present of the family lives of 73.7 million American kids is certainly a variegated one.
ADF Media: Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys will testify before various Colorado House committees Feb. 4-17 regarding bills pertaining to physical privacy in locker rooms, physician-assisted suicide, religious freedom for student groups in higher education, the health and safety of women at abortion facilities, and infanticide.
Catholic World Report (CNA/EWTN News): “The vagueness of the [IRS] regulations” has put churches in “limbo,” argued Erik Stanley of Alliance Defending Freedom at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 28.
National Review: There’s an alarming trend afoot involving the misappropriation of words and phrases and principles crucial to lives of freedom and flourishing.
Life Site News: For a contrast to Eva’s story, Thompson reported on cases challenging euthanasia law, such as that of Tom Mortier’s mother, Liefe. Mortier, represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, argued doctors should have consulted him before ending the life of his mother – who was depressed.
CCU: Centennial Institute asked three respected attorneys from our sister organization, Alliance Defending Freedom, for a legal and ethical analysis of what is at stake as the Colorado General Assembly confronts this issue. Here is their report.
ADF Media: The State Affairs Committee of the Idaho House voted 13-4 Thursday to reject a deeply problematic bill that Alliance Defending Freedom had said in oral testimony and in written legal analysis “will threaten First Amendment and statutory freedoms and expose the State to legal and fiscal liability.”
Zenit: Recently, the European Court of Human Rights issued a judgment in Paradiso and Campanelli v. Italy, which reveals a lot about the shady world of surrogacy. The court ruled that Italy was able to deny registering a child to an Italian couple because the child was born by a surrogate mother in Russia and had no biological genetic link to the couple.
ADF Media: A Nova Scotia trial court ruled Wednesday that the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society does not have the authority to deny accreditation to Trinity Western University’s law school because of its biblical beliefs on appropriate sexual behavior. The court concluded that the NSBS violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and did not consider “the concerns for religious freedom and liberty of conscience.”
Religion News Service: Cake artists, florists, photographers, and many others who operate businesses that create expressive products have First Amendment rights.
Alliance Defending Freedom: What is this strange obsession so many in our nation have with silencing opinions they disagree with? It’s not like there aren’t other options – open and reasonable debate, the verdict of the ballot box, the simple option of ignoring those with whom one doesn’t see eye to eye.
How the contraception mandate may spread measles: Politicizing preventative care increases public distrust
Town Hall: One of the best ways to cause distrust in public health experts is for the government to politicize science. This can be seen in contentious areas like climate change, embryo research, and the beginning of human life. Experts there have infused ideology into data and have even changed or redefined words to fit their agendas. Global warming has become “climate change,” embryos “pre-embryos,” and “conception” redefined to mean implantation.
ADF Media: Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the Wisconsin Supreme Court that supports a lawsuit against University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics after it denied treatment to two developmentally disabled patients even though they were not in a persistent vegetative state and were not terminally ill. One of the patients, a 13-year-old boy, died; the other, a 79-year-old woman, survived.
ADF Media: Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley will be available for media interviews Thursday following a panel discussion on the need for clearer tax rules governing nonprofits and churches. Stanley will join the Evangelical Council on Financial Accountability, the Center for American Progress, Public Citizen, and keynote speaker Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).
Alliance Defending Freedom: I like comfort. There’s something about a soft pillow, a warm blanket, and a nap on a Sunday afternoon. It’s nice when my 2-year-old son plays quietly, my family gets along, and I face no traffic on my way to work. It’s simple. It’s easy. It’s peaceful. But even with all this comfort, there’s a problem.
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Michael J. Norton: “All Americans should oppose unjust laws that allow the government to force people to surrender their constitutionally protected freedom to live and work according to their deepest beliefs. While we are very pleased with the order issued in this case, many other similar cases continue throughout the country. In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling against the abortion-pill mandate in Conestoga and Hobby Lobby, and the clearly protected right of Americans to be free from this type of government coercion at home, in their family businesses, and in non-profit endeavors that benefit everyone, the Obama administration should give up its blind and indefensible efforts to punish people of faith and let freedom prevail.”
Public Discourse: When conscience flirts with the idea of accommodating an unjust law, it must politely, yet firmly, reject the sirens of seduction.
ADF Media: Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court Monday that answers New York City’s arguments against high court scrutiny of its 20-year-old quest to ban worship services in empty public school buildings. In September of last year, ADF asked the high court to review a 2-1 ruling by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit that upheld a city policy prohibiting worship services in public school buildings during non-school hours. The panel’s ruling is on hold until the Supreme Court decides whether to take the case.
Religion News Service: One day Atlanta has a fire chief; the next day it doesn’t. Once again, a moral scandal takes down a public official.
Alliance Defending Freedom: For over 200 years, the United States Supreme Court has been interpreting the meaning of the U.S. Constitution to answer some very important questions.
The Federalist: Religious freedom usually leaves ample room for the government to achieve its goals while respecting faith. The Supreme Court recognized this again Tuesday, showing it was right when it did the same thing last summer in Hobby Lobby/Conestoga.
Washington Examiner: David Cortman, the Alliance Defending Freedom attorney who argued before the court on behalf of Pastor Reed and the church, contended consistently that if such signs create safety hazards or aesthetic problems, they do so no matter what they say.
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman: “The government does a serious disservice to taxpayers when it pursues unjust laws that force many of them to defend their constitutionally protected freedoms. While this case is finally over, many others remain. We hope the administration will stop defending its indefensible abortion-pill mandate and end its waste of taxpayer dollars on a fruitless quest to force people to give up their freedom to live and work according to their beliefs.”
ADF Media: Alliance Defending Freedom expressed support Friday for a Denver bakery that reportedly declined to draw two males holding hands with an “X” over them and related words and symbols on a cake in the shape of a Bible. A customer who made the request filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission after Azucar Bakery’s pastry chef Lindsay Jones and owner Marjorie Silva declined his request.
Alliance Defending Freedom: When the Supreme Court ruled in favor of abortion rights in Roe v. Wade back in 1973, it reset our nation’s moral compass. Life was no longer considered precious, it was considered an option.
ADF Media: Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a friend-of-the-court brief Tuesday with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of students at Morgan Hill Unified School District in California who were prohibited from wearing American flag T-shirts to express their patriotism.
Via Alliance Defending Freedom: Are Christians only accepted in the workplace if they stay silent about their faith? Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran has dedicated most of his adult life to preserving the safety of his community—his entire …
Christianity Today: The court sided 9-0 with Arkansas prisoner Gregory Holt (also called Abdul Maalik Muhammad), who claimed a right to maintain a half-inch beard as a part of his religious practice as a Muslim. The justices did not find evidence that a beard that short would pose a substantial security threat, as the state’s Department of Corrections argued. Its lack of accommodations was ruled a violation of inmates’ religious freedom.
The Becket Fund: In a unanimous 9-0 decision, the Supreme Court ruled today that prison officials cannot arbitrarily ban peaceful religious practices, securing a landmark victory for religious freedom for all faiths.
Red State: This week abortion advocates celebrate the forty-second anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that has consigned nearly 60 million Americans to their death. They, and their political allies, will proclaim their continuing pleasure at the “freedom,” “choice,” and “privacy” that Roesupposedly provided. These euphemisms for destroying living human beings are grotesque enough. But their rhetoric doesn’t even match today’s agenda of compulsion.
Time Magazine: The high court has been coy in the past about taking up same-sex marriage cases, and the current justices have rarely written individually on the merits of the issue aside from the crucial United States v. Windsor (2013) decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in which Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion. That said, here are some of the past indications Supreme Court justices have given on the issue.
Breakpoint: Activists for same-sex marriage routinely insist that Christians have nothing to fear from their proposals to restructure society’s basic institutions. It simply won’t affect us, we’re told. But when the conflict between same-sex couples’ newly-minted “rights” and Christians’ religious liberty becomes clear—as it has for Christian photographers, florists, bakers, caterers, ministers, and adoption agencies that are expected to solemnize same-sex couples as marriages—the tables turn. Then we’re told that Christians’ right to recuse themselves from celebrations they consider sinful must yield before the superior claim of sexual freedom. Such, said one New Mexico judge, is “the price of citizenship.”
World Magazine: “I’m Clyde Reed, pastor of Good News Community Church in Gilbert, Ariz.,” he said. “I’m 82 years old and have been a pastor for over 40 years. I never dreamed my small church sign would be a topic for the Supreme Court.”
Earlier this week, ADF attorney David Cortman argued before the Supreme Court of the United States, on behalf of a small church in our neighboring town, Gilbert. We bring all of the coverage in one handy post.
Alliance Defending Freedom: On January 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court ruled to legalize abortion in the case of Roe v. Wade. Millions of lives have been affected by this tragic ruling, including the more than 57 million American babies who have been killed in the womb since then and the countless women and men who have suffered from the psychological, emotional, and physical pain caused by abortion.
ADF Senior Counsel Austin R. Nimocks: “The people of every state should remain free to affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman in their laws. Consistent with the Supreme Court’s 2013 Windsor decision, which said that ‘states have the essential authority to define the marital relation,’ the 6th Circuit rightly concluded that the Constitution does not demand that a new view of marriage be judicially imposed on everyone. We are hopeful the Supreme Court will uphold the freedom of the people to affirm marriage.”
Alliance Defending Freedom: Later this month, pro-life advocates across the country will gather to mourn the 42nd year of the infamous Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that endeavored to legitimize abortion in the eyes of the American public. That the endeavor failed – that year after year sees stronger support among ensuing generations for a repeal of the ruling – is cold comfort to those of us chilled by the specter of the 57 million babies (one out of six of our fellow Americans) killed in the womb across these four decades.
National Review: Barronelle Stutzman runs a flower shop in Richland, Washington. After enjoying a friendly relationship with customer Rob Ingersoll for some ten years, she declined to provide the flower arrangements for his wedding to another man. When the state attorney general’s office heard about the case, it moved against her, as did the American Civil Liberties Union. Both are currently suing Stutzman, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers. Represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, she awaits news from a federal court about whether she can continue what she describes as the work of her heart.
ADF Media: A federal court has dismissed a lawsuit against a Christian ministry represented by Alliance Defending Freedom allied attorneys after a Pennsylvania sexually oriented business gave up its fight to stop the free speech of sidewalk counselors.
ADF Media: Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys and allied attorneys representing Atlanta’s former fire chief, Kelvin Cochran, are exploring legal options after the city terminated him from his job because of his Christian beliefs.
ADF to court: Mo. can’t arbitrarily choose which Christian pre-school qualifies for scrap tire program
ADF Media: An Alliance Defending Freedom attorney and allied attorney representing a Columbia, Missouri, Christian pre-school and daycare center will be available for media interviews Thursday following oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit.
ADF Media: An HIV-positive man in Rhode Island and another pro-life advocate in Vermont have filed suit in federal court because Obamacare forces them to pay for other people’s elective abortions in order to obtain health care through their state exchanges.
Alliance Defending Freedom: When Irl Noble’s husband passed away in 2008, after having gone to church all her life, she struggled to attend without him. But she found comfort and community at Good News Presbyterian Church, a church she found not through a website, but through its signs.
The Wall Street Journal: Signs posted by the Good News Community Church “can only be placed in the dark of night, the night before the church service,” David Cortman, an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom, an advocacy group representing the church, told the court.
The Washington Times: “Political signs can be 32 square feet, may be unlimited in number and may be placed in the right of way of the entire town for five months before the election,” said Mr. Cortman, who is part of Alliance Defending Freedom. “Ideological” signs are also given generous treatment, he said.
ADF Media: A new brief filed with the Colorado Court of Appeals reveals that a member of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission compared a Christian cake artist to slave owners and perpetrators of the Holocaust when the commission ordered him to re-educate himself and his employees about marriage.
Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s really surprising, sometimes, to find that what seem, at first glance, like “little” cases can ultimately have such far-reaching consequences.
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel David Cortman: “The Supreme Court should ensure that no government in America is allowed to prefer one form of speech over another. No one’s speech is safe if the government is allowed to pick free-speech winners and losers based on the types of speech government officials prefer. The Supreme Court has a long history of ensuring that the government treats all speech in a content-neutral manner. That’s why we trust the court will not allow the town of Gilbert to continue giving preferential treatment to certain messages while marginalizing others.”
Alliance Defending Freedom: We’ve talked about the legal issues with the town of Gilbert’s sign code (applying extra restrictive rules to church signs, asking for a free pass to discriminate against speech they view as “less valuable”).
Alliance Defending Freedom: The Supreme Court agreed to hear another ADF case this term, Reed v. Town of Gilbert. The case will likely have an enormous impact on not just the right to religious speech, but everyone else’s free speech rights as well, as we discussed in “How a Little Sign Can Mean Big Things for Freedom.”
ADF Media: Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel David Cortman will participate in a press conference Monday following his oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court in Reed v. Town of Gilbert. ADF is defending the very essence of free speech, the ability of Americans to invite others to hear a message and participate in it.
Biola Magazine: The court’s 5–4 decision determined that the government “substantially burdens” religious exercise, in violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), whenever it imposes significant pressure upon an organization to violate its religious convictions, said Gregory Baylor, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, the organization representing Biola in its HHS mandate lawsuit.
The Daily Signal: Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran was fired on Tuesday by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. Why? Because, on his own private time, Cochran wrote a book expressing his biblical understanding of sexual morality.
National Right to Life: Pro-lifers are nothing if not creative. Over the decades, they have produced thousands upon thousands of “visual aids,” from the simplest black and white one-sheeter to full-blown movies—and everything in-between.