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PBS: Belgium has the world’s most liberal law on physician-assisted suicide, which is not just for the terminally ill. Patients with psychiatric conditions – and now, even children – can request euthanasia. Surveys in Belgium show overwhelming public support, and many doctors say it gives patients with constant and unbearable suffering a practical and humane way to die peacefully. But even in a country with a far-reaching acceptance, controversy still exists. NewsHour’s Megan Thompson reports.
Providence Journal: The man, whose identity is being kept secret because he allegedly is HIV-positive, is being represented by lawyers from the Alliance Defending Freedom. The case is Doe v. Burwell. He is described as a Christian anti-abortion advocate.
NewsBusters: Friday is National Religious Freedom Day, and what better time to consider where threats to American religious freedom originate. (Hint – it’s not with Bible-thumping Baptist preachers or dogmatic Catholic cardinals.)
World Magazine (Subscription Required): Mayor Bill de Blasio is in a strange position. De Blasio has said repeatedly that he opposes the Bloomberg-era policy forbidding churches from renting public school spaces for worship services, while allowing any other groups to use the buildings.
The Christian Post: Our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom have picked up his case and will be representing him as the litigation winds its ways through the courts in the coming weeks and months.
Life Site News: Cochran, a longtime firefighter with a distinguished professional record, and an African-American Baptist church deacon, issued a statement via the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing him.
WND: “The city fired him for nothing other than his faith, and that’s not constitutional,” said Kevin Theriot, a senior counsel for ADF. “We are currently assessing the legal options available to vindicate his rights to free speech and freedom of religion.”
MSNBC: For those anxiously awaiting the nation’s next religious freedom showdown, look no further than Atlanta, where a growing controversy is currently unfolding over the recent dismissal of Fire Rescue Chief Kelvin Cochran, who last year wrote and distributed a self-published book that espoused Christian views on homosexuality.
The Economist (Subscription Required): In her article, Ms Shea cites the case of an unnamed church in Britain which faced an attempt from its Muslim neighbours to prevent it from singing hymns, and had to turn to an American lobby group, the Alliance Defending Freedom, for legal help. Whatever the horrors unfolding in Europe, the said Alliance also proclaims on its website that “the church is being silenced across America.”
Life News: “Paying for elective abortions should never be a prerequisite for access to health care,” said ADF Senior Counsel Casey Mattox. “Neither the Constitution nor federal and state law allow for this type of government coercion. The Obama administration may not value constitutionally protected freedoms, but both federal and state law do. We are asking the court to stop Obamacare officials from running roughshod over these individuals’ rights.”
Gvmt official confirms authenticity of e-mails showing collaboration with NARAL to shut down pregnancy centers
Life Site News: After LifeSiteNews published e-mails Tuesday showing Montgomery County officials collaborating with NARAL’s Maryland chapter in an effort to shut down pro-life pregnancy centers, the county council’s current president has admitted they are authentic.
World Magazine:Over the last few years, WORLD has reported on several Christian-owned businesses across the country approached by homosexual couples to provide services for their weddings. In all cases, the owners declined to work with the couples, stating their religious beliefs prevented participation in same-sex ceremonies. The couples sued, alleging discrimination. Here’s an update on where their cases stand as 2015 gets underway.
Christian Today: ADF attorney Kristen Waggoner said: “In America, the government is supposed to protect freedom, not intimidate citizens into speaking and acting contrary to their faith under threat of severe punishment. The government is sending a clear message to Barronelle and the people of Washington: Dare to disagree with the government and you put your home, your family business and your life savings at risk.”
Westword: “Such alarming bias and hostility toward Jack’s religious beliefs — and toward religion in general — has no place in civil society, let alone on a governmental commission that sits in judgment of whether he may follow his faith in how he runs his business,” Jeremy Tedesco, the senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, said in a statement. The Arizona-based nonprofit “legal ministry” is helping Phillips defend his case.
Christian cake artist Jack Phillips labeled a ‘Nazi’ by Civil Rights Commissioner due to same-sex marriage stance
Breathecast: Christian cake artist Jack Phillips was labeled as a bigot by Civil Rights Commissioner Diann Rice due to his stance on same-sex marriage because of his religious beliefs, according to a leaked audio recording.
AZ Central: Cities should be allowed to regulate their roadways for safety and aesthetics. But this rule means church Pastor Clyde Reed has to put out signs “in the dark of night, the night before the church service,” David Cortman, an attorney with the Scottsdale-based Alliance Defending Freedom, told the court.
Is political speech more important than religious speech? Supreme Court hears arguments in church signs case
The Christian Post: Reed and his congregation were represented by the Scottsdale-based law firm the Alliance Defending Freedom. David Cortman, senior counsel and vice president of litigation with ADF, noted the apparent disparity.
Catholic News Agency: In oral arguments that began Monday, David Cortman, Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel who is representing the church, noted that the town laws are not as strict for directional signs to homebuilders’ sales events or for homeowners’ association event signs.
WND: Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley of the Alliance Defending Freedom, which has represented the pastors, said: “The mayor really had no choice but to withdraw these subpoenas, which should never have been served in the first place. The entire nation – voices from every point of the spectrum left to right – recognize the city’s action as a gross abuse of power. We are gratified that the First Amendment rights of the pastors have triumphed over government overreach and intimidation. The First Amendment protects the right of pastors to be free from government intimidation and coercion of this sort.”
One News Now: The current education law was enforced a year after the aforementioned “state-napping” incident that saw Dominic Johansson stripped from his family as they were about to depart to live in his mother’s homeland in India. During the three years that Swedish authorities kept Dominic away from his parents under state custody, permanent guardianship of the boy – just seven years old when abducted from his parents – was transferred to the state. HSLDA, along with a Swedish human rights attorney and Alliance Defending Freedom, is representing the Johanssons in their appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.
Washington judge rules that florist who refused service for same-sex wedding can be held personally liable
The Gospel Herald: “Barronelle and numerous others like her around the country have been more than willing to serve any and all customers, but they are not willing to promote any and all messages,” Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Kristen Waggoner said in a statement. The group contends that Stutzman cannot be sued personally for actions taken under business capacity.
Judge’s ruling against Christian florist who refused to provide flowers for same-sex wedding could have major ramifications
The Blaze: “Barronelle and numerous others like her around the country have been more than willing to serve any and all customers, but they are not willing to promote any and all messages,” Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Kristen Waggoner said, according to the Christian Broadcasting Network.
Christian cake company’s refusal to bake pro-same-sex marriage cake compared to slavery, holocaust by colorado commissioner
The Christian Post: A Colorado Civil Rights Commissioner has said that a Christian cake company’s decision to invoke religious freedom rights to refuse to bake a pro-same-sex marriage cake is comparable to slavery and the perpetrators of the Holocaust.
Christian florist can lose personal assets for declining same-sex wedding due to ‘relationship with Jesus,’ judge rules
The Christian Post: “In America, the government is supposed to protect freedom, not intimidate citizens into speaking and acting contrary to their faith under threat of severe punishment,” Kristen Waggoner, the ADF attorney representing Stutzman, said. “The government is sending a clear message to Barronelle and the people of Washington: Dare to disagree with the government and you put your home, your family business and your life savings at risk.”
Life Site News: Represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, Centro fought the ordinance, which did not apply to abortion clinics. On April 30, 2014, Montgomery County dropped its defense of the law after a third decision against it on March 7, in which U.S. District Judge Deborah Chasanow, a Clinton appointee, noted that the people who accused the centers of spreading “misinformation” were “universally volunteers from a pro-choice organization sent to investigate practices” at the centers.
American Thinker: A shocking revelation in a brief filed by the Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of the Colorado baker who refused to supply a wedding cake to a gay couple and was cited by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The baker, Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Bakery, was also “ordered to create new policies on serving gay customers, have his employees attend sensitivity training, and submit quarterly reports to the commission detailing any refusals to serve customers.”
The Christian Times: “I am heartbroken that I will no longer be able to serve the city and the people I love as fire chief, for no reason other than my Christian faith,” Cochran said in the statement, released by Alliance Defending Freedom. “It’s ironic that the city points to tolerance and inclusion as part of its reasoning. What could be more intolerant and exclusionary than ending a public servant’s 30 years of distinguished service for his religious beliefs?”
The Guardian: “I am heartbroken that I will no longer be able to serve the city and the people I love as fire chief, for no reason other than my Christian faith,” Cochran said in a statement released by the Alliance Defending Freedom, an Arizona-based group that advocates for the unfettered expression of religious faith.
Fire chief terminated for Christian view of marriage; hires attorney to vindicate right to free speech
Biz Pac Review: “The city nonetheless fired him for nothing other than his Christian faith,” the Alliance said. “ADF and Chief Cochran are currently assessing the legal options available to vindicate his right to free speech.”
The Patriot Post: As Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Jeremy Tedesco put it, “Rice compared a private citizen who owns a small bakery to slaveholders and Holocaust perpetrators merely for asking that the state respect his right to free speech and free exercise of religion.”
One News Now: Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Jeremy Tedesco says the organization is representing Phillips in an appeal to the Colorado Court of Appeals after the state commission ordered Phillips to do the cake, and submit himself and his staff to re-education.
WND: “The commission’s impartiality is in serious question,” said a brief filed by a legal team with the Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop.
Baker compared to ‘slave owners and perpetrators of the holocaust’ by gov’t officials, lawyers claim
The Blaze: A conservative legal firm is accusing a member of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission of comparing a baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding to “slave owners and perpetrators of the Holocaust” in a new legal brief filed with a the Colorado Court of Appeals.
Gnomes: Later, attorney David Cortman, representing the church on behalf of the Alliance Defending Freedom, said the town’s rules actually predate a state law concerning political signs.
Christian Today: Good News Community Church appealed its case to the Supreme Court, and preliminary statements from the justices indicate that they may side with Pastor Clyde Reed and his counsel, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
The Daily Caller: A veteran pastor and Arizona town are squaring off in a Supreme Court case that will have big implications for free speech and religious liberty.
Christian Examiner: The church is represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian group.
Baptist Press: Cortman, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), expressed faith the Supreme Court’s history of protecting free speech means the justices “will not allow the town of Gilbert to continue giving preferential treatment to certain messages while marginalizing others.”
American Thinker: David Cortman, an Alliance Defending Freedom attorney representing Good News, said, “The Supreme Court should ensure that no government in America is allowed to prefer one form of speech over another[.] … Today the government is targeting the church’s speech, but tomorrow it could target someone else’s.”
One News Now: Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Jeremy Tedesco tells OneNewsNow that questioning from justices earlier today was active.
AZ Central: Alliance Defending Freedom, the Scottsdale-based conservative Christian activist group representing Reed, asked the Supreme Court whether Gilbert’s “mere assertion” that it doesn’t discriminate based on the content of a sign means that the code is indeed content neutral.
East Valley Tribune: Good News Community Church Pastor Clyde Reed, however, brought a suit against the town in 2007 claiming the ordinance was unconstitutional because it favored one type of commercial sign over another. Scottsdale-based Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has represented Reed during the arguments.
Cronkite News: “The church’s signs are one-fifth of the size (of campaign signs) only placed in the dark of night, 12 hours before the church service,” David Cortman, an attorney for Reed, told the justices Monday.
The World and Everything In It: The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case involving church signs (audio)
Religion News Service: “The town code discriminates on its face by treating certain signs differently based solely on what they said,” attorney David A. Cortman told the justices. “The treatment we’re seeking is merely equal treatment under the First Amendment.”
Cake maker who refused to bake for same-sex wedding labeled a ‘Nazi’ by Colo. civil rights officials
The Washington Times: Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys released an audio recording in which Diann Rice, a member of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, said that Mr. Phillips‘ citing of his religious beliefs in his defense puts him on the same level as Nazis and slaveholders.
SCOTUS Blog: At 10 a.m. Monday, the Supreme Court returns to the question of local governments’ power to control outdoor signs as a way to avoid clutter and hazards to safety. Arguing for a small church in Arizona and its pastor challenging a sign law in the case of Reed v. Town of Gilbert will be David A. Cortman of Lawrenceville, Georgia, an attorney with the legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom.
AZ Central: Last summer I spoke to Alliance attorney Matt Sharp. “This little church is having its concerns taken up by the highest court in the land,” he said. “That’s pretty cool.” He added, “To us, this is a case about religious freedom and about free speech. In this instance, the religious content of a sign shouldn’t be a determining factor in how long they get to speak, how big they get to speak, where the signs are located. The case really merges the two issues and asks to what extent does the First Amendment protect all speech?”
NPR: Reed’s lawyer, David Cortman of the Alliance Defending Freedom, will tell the Supreme Court on Monday that the town of Gilbert, by dividing regulations for noncommercial signs into categories — political, ideological and directional event signs — is regulating speech based on its content. And that, Cortman says, is prohibited by the Constitution.
Christian Today (Reuters): The church is represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian group.
National Law Journal: David Cortman, senior counsel for the alliance at its Lawrenceville, Ga., office, argued for Reed. Coincidentally Philip Savrin, a partner at Atlanta’s Freeman Mathis & Gary who represented the town of Gilbert, is also from Georgia. The town’s insurance carrier recruited Savrin for the case.
The New York Times: As a legal matter, the spat may eventually be settled in court: Greg Scott, a spokesman for the Alliance Defending Freedom, said that the chief and his lawyers were “currently assessing legal options” that might “vindicate his right to free speech.”
AJC: On Sunday, Cochran released a statement through Alliance Defending Freedom, an organization that advocates for the freedom to express faith: “This happened to me, but it’s really not about me,” Cochran’s statement read. “It’s a warning to every American that freedom of speech and freedom of religion are hanging by a thread, which will snap if we don’t fight to preserve these cherished protections.”
Aleteia: Alliance Defending Freedom President also discusses assaults on religious liberty in the US military.
Charisma News: “Such alarming bias and hostility toward Jack’s religious beliefs—and toward religion in general—has no place in civil society, let alone on a governmental commission that sits in judgment of whether he may follow his faith in how he runs his business,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco.
WND: Kristen Waggoner, a lawyer with the Alliance Defending Freedom, which has been representing the longtime florist, expressed horror. “In America, the government is supposed to protect freedom, not intimidate citizens into speaking and acting contrary to their faith under threat of severe punishment,” she said. “The government is sending a clear message to Barronelle and the people of Washington: Dare to disagree with the government, and you put your home, your family business, and your life savings at risk.”
Opposing Views: According to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Kristen Waggoner, Stutzman is covered by the First Amendment. “Barronelle and numerous others like her around the country have been more than willing to serve any and all customers, but they are not willing to promote any and all messages,” said Waggoner in a press release. “A government that forces any American to create a message contrary to her own convictions and surrender her livelihood is a government every American should fear.”
Telesur: On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court will take up another religious rights case. The case considers whether a town in Arizona discriminated against a local church forcing it to remove announcements notifying the community about worship services. The case is Reed v. Gilbert, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 13-502.
One News Now: Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Jeremy Tedesco tells OneNewsNow that questioning from justices earlier today was active.
Macro Insider: The Swedish government’s seizure of 7-year-old Dominic Johansson from a jetliner as his parents had been set to leave for India has drawn worldwide consideration. It sparked a global outcry amongst human rights activists and dwelling educators, and the Home School Legal Defense Association and the Alliance Defending Freedom have gone to the European Court of Human Rights to challenge Sweden’s actions.
One News Now: If the court again refuses to hear the cases, attorney Caleb Dalton of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) says, “That would just leave in place these decisions by the federal courts that have upheld the states’ laws, specifically in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and Louisiana. It would also leave in place some confusion because other federal courts have ruled the other way, so there would be kind of a split amongst the federal courts.”
The Bellingham Herald: “The court should uphold the freedom of Americans to affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman,” said Jim Campbell, an attorney with the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Alliance Defending Freedom, which has fought against same-sex unions in four states.
Baptist Press: “It seems that they are waiting for this to sort of trickle out,” Kellie Fiedorek, litigation counsel for ADF, said. She expects the high court to wait on a decision from the Fifth Circuit and possibly the 11th Circuit, which consists of Alabama, Florida and Georgia.
Independent: “The court should uphold the freedom of Americans to affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman,” said Jim Campbell, an attorney with the Scottsdale, Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom, which has fought against same-sex unions in four states.
Reuters: Alliance Defending Freedom said it was representing the ex-chief, who the group contends was wrongfully terminated and was never found to have engaged in any discrimination.
Christian Today: “The city nonetheless fired him for nothing other than his Christian faith,” the group said. “ADF and Chief Cochran are currently assessing the legal options available to vindicate his right to free speech.”
Charisma News: ADF attorneys jumped into the fray, contending the city illegitimately demanded that the pastors, who are not party to the lawsuit, turn over their constitutionally protected sermons and other communications simply so the city could see if the pastors have ever opposed or criticized the city.
One News Now: Alliance Defending Freedom Vice President Kristen Waggoner notes that Attorney General Bob Ferguson is going after both the flower shop and Stutzman’s personal assets, too.
Opposing Views: Pastor Clyde Reed, of the Good News Presbyterian Church, is squaring off against the town of Gilbert, Arizona, in the U.S. Supreme Court this month.
Aleteia: Casey Mattox, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, a religious freedom organization, said the bill could force Catholic institutions, pro-life groups, and insurers to pay for elective abortions. Although the city council hearing was held one week before the Supreme Court’s ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, Mattox said the legislation was a “pre-emptive strike.”
KTAR News: “The majority of Christianity believes that behavior is wrong,” said Eric Stanley, the Senior Legal Counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom. “With an ordinance like this, they would be coerced by the government to accept that type of behavior and to celebrate it.”
Tri-City Herald: Kristen Waggoner, one of Stutzman’s attorneys, said Wednesday that, “we’re disappointed in the ruling,” noting it means Stutzman would be on the hook personally for civil penalties and attorney fees should she lose.
CBN: “Barronelle and numerous others like her around the country have been more than willing to serve any and all customers, but they are not willing to promote any and all messages,” Kristen Waggoner, an Alliance Defending Freedom attorney explained.