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Campus Reform: A professor at Polk State College has allegedly failed a humanities student after she refused to concede that Jesus is a “myth” or that Christianity oppresses women during a series of mandatory assignments at the Florida college.
Liberty Counsel: Liberty Counsel filed a federal lawsuit against the County of Wake, North Carolina, for its public library’s unconstitutional policy and its denial of access for a civic and educational program that included religious content.
Alabama Supreme Court affirms natural marriage, orders probate judges to cease issuing illegal licenses
Liberty Counsel: “The ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court is historic, and is one of the most researched and well reasoned opinions on marriage to be issued by any court in the country,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.
KNPR News: A Republican-sponsored bill strengthening protections for public school students’ religious activities is being met with stiff opposition.
CBS 12: Members of several Lake Worth congregations say they’re being targeted by city officials and are asking if there is a war on religion?
One News Now: Probate judges and others in Alabama are waiting to see if they must bow to a ruling issued by one federal judge over homosexual “marriage.”
One News Now: Liberty Counsel is prepared to become involved in the battle between Alabama’s state court system and a federal judge in Mobile who overturned that state’s marriage amendment.
The Christian Post: The school board of Orange County, Florida voted on Tuesday to ban the distribution of Bibles and all other religious materials at its public schools in order to prevent The Satanic Temple organization from handing out Satanic coloring books to students.
Christian News Network: A Christian legal organization is warning that the recent repeal of an exemption that allowed private schools in Washington, D.C. to adhere to their convictions about sexuality will have a “severe impact on religious liberty.”
One News Now: The founder of Liberty Counsel says public schools aren’t prohibited by law from using religious facilities for events, despite the argument being made by a humanist group in a South Carolina lawsuit.
One News Now: The most recent action came when a Florida federal judge struck down that state’s marriage amendment, which had been approved by 62.5 percent of voters. A stay on the court’s decision has been issued, but Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver tells OneNewsNow, “It’s ridiculous when federal courts overturn the natural order of marriage.”
Liberty Counsel: Last night the Lake County, Florida, School Board voted unanimously to enter into a Consent Decree granting the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) at Mount Dora High School the same rights as other non-curricular student clubs.
Orlando Sentinel: “The Fellowship of Christian Athletes club members and their school adviser are suing the Lake County school district, accusing school leaders of denying their right to free speech and religion.”
Suzanne Normand Blackwood at WND: “Jeremy Tedesco, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, explained that values-based referrals, even if they are initially intended to protect the interests of the counselors, also protect the interests of the clients. ‘The notion that counselors’ values have no bearing on the counseling relationship is preposterous,’ said Tedesco.”
The New American: “Gary McCaleb a coalition member as well as a vice president with the conservative legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom, said that ‘suppressing religion is wrong whether it is done behind an Iron Curtain or in a dorm hallway. Certainly such raw anti-religious discrimination has no place in America’s Air Force.’”
Bible verse removal mobilizes conservative legal groups to prepare for battle with Air Force Academy | The Blaze
The Blaze: “Gary McCaleb, another coalition member who serves as chief solicitor and executive vice president for strategy implementation at Alliance Defending Freedom, added that ‘suppressing religion is wrong whether it is done behind an Iron Curtain or in a dorm hallway.’”
Restore Military Religious Freedom Coalition offers legal aid to Bible verse cadets | ChristianNewsWire
Christian News Wire: “Gary McCaleb, Chief Solicitor and Executive Vice President for Strategy Implementation at Alliance Defending Freedom: ‘Suppressing religion is wrong whether it is done behind an Iron Curtain or in a dorm hallway. Certainly such raw anti-religious discrimination has no place in America’s Air Force.’”
Charisma News: “‘Suppressing religion is wrong whether it is done behind an Iron Curtain or in a dorm hallway. Certainly such raw anti-religious discrimination has no place in America’s Air Force,’ noted Gary McCaleb, chief solicitor and executive vice president for Strategy Implementation at Alliance Defending Freedom.”
Fox News: “The Restore Military Religious Freedom coalition, a group of two dozen like-minded religious liberty organizations, announced Thursday that they are ready to offer assistance to any Air Force Academy cadet who faces repercussions for writing Bible verses on their hallway whiteboards. . . . ‘Suppressing religion is wrong whether it is done behind an Iron Curtain or in a dorm hallway,’ said Gary McCaleb, of the Alliance Defending Freedom. ‘Certainly such raw anti-religious discrimination has no place in America’s Air Force.’”
Liberty Counsel Press Release: “Today, Liberty Counsel filed a Petition with the U.S. Supreme Court to hear Pickup v. Brown, Liberty Counsel’s case on behalf of counselors who are providing and youth who are receiving counsel to overcome unwanted same-sex attractions, behavior, and identity.”
LA Times: “A federal appeals court agreed Monday to put on hold a ruling in favor of a California law that bans licensed therapists from trying to change a minor’s sexual orientation. . . . The 9th Circuit upheld the law in August and refused last month to hear another challenge. Liberty Counsel, a religious rights group, then asked the court to block enforcement of the law pending an appeal to the high court.” | The order is here.
Joshua C. Wilson at The Christian Science Monitor: “Large Christian Right public interest law firms and policy organizations such as the American Center for Law and Justice, Alliance Defending Freedom, and Liberty Counsel correspondingly began to appear in the mid-1990s. Unlike some of the Christian Right’s earlier attempts at entering traditional politics, these organizations are well funded, and staffed by experienced Christian lawyers and strategists. They possess realistic political expectations, have access to a diffuse network of like-minded professionals across the country, and focus on a mix of legislative, litigation-based, and grass-roots tactics.”
David L. Hudson at ABA Journal: By contrast, Brad Dacus, president and founder of the Pacific Justice Institute in Sacramento, disagrees. “The fallacy of the 9th Circuit decision is that the speech is the conduct,” says Dacus, whose organization represented the plaintiffs in one case that was consolidated into Pickup. “The legislation is so overreaching and the 9th Circuit’s decision sets a dangerous precedent.”
One News Now: “The court of appeals in the D.C. Circuit is one of the most powerful courts in the nation because it gets to pass upon the rules that come out of the Executive Branch, all of the administration’s rulings and opinions,” explains attorney Harry Mihet of Liberty Counsel.
One News Now: The American Humanist Association is suing a public school teacher in Missouri because she prayed for an injured student, allegedly violating the Establishment Clause.
Liberty Counsel: Liberty Counsel filed suit on behalf of New Jersey parents against the law that bans their son from receiving counsel from a licensed professional counselor regarding unwanted same-sex attractions, behavior, or identity.
Liberty Counsel: The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has changed the definition of pedophilia again. In the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V) of Mental Disorders, the APA changed the classification of pedophilia from a “disorder” to a “sexual orientation,” but following the public outcry, APA released a statement that it was a mistake. “‘Sexual orientation’ is not a term used in the diagnostic criteria for pedophilic disorder, and its use in the DSM-5 text discussion is an error and should read ‘sexual interest.’”
Ledger.com: Scheduled speakers also include Casey Mattox, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal defense organization; Marilyn Musgrave, vice president of government affairs for the Susan B. Anthony List, a group dedicated to electing anti-abortion candidates; and Angela Graham-West, the wife of former Congressman Allen West.
Edwin Meese at the Christian Post: Organizations such as the Family Research Council, The Heritage Foundation, Liberty Counsel and Alliance Defending Freedom, among other groups, offer particularly helpful resources to equip pastors and others to address these issues. It is no exaggeration to say that Christian engagement in America’s political realm is essential if we are to restore the luster to this “shining city on a hill.”
Liberty Counsel: Today, Liberty Counsel and the Village of Plainfield reached a settlement of the federal lawsuit filed by Liberty Counsel after Plainfield unconstitutionally rejected Liberty Counsel’s application for use of town facilities.
Doris Quintanilla at Opposing Views: For 131 years, the city seal of DeLand, Fla., has had a heart, an anchor and a cross, and no one seemed to have a problem with it until now.
Students Worldwide to Assemble in Prayer at School Flagpoles for ‘See You at the Pole’ Day | ChristianNews.net
ChristianNews.net: In the meantime, Christian legal groups are also on standby in the event that school officials or other groups attempt to thwart the gatherings. Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has created a legal memo in the event of an emergency. “The First Amendment protects the freedom of students to participate in SYATP through prayer and worship activities,” said ADF attorney Matt Sharp. “Public school officials who say otherwise are misinformed. We hope our legal memo clarifies the freedom of students to hold and participate in this event.”
SCOTUS Blog: The Court has not yet considered any of the sequels that have been developing in the wake of its decision in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, so the new petition inLiberty University v. Lew (docket 13-306) will provide the first chance. The petition was filed on September 5. The Obama administration response is now due on October 9, but that deadline could be extended.
Liberty Counsel: Today, Liberty Counsel filed a petition with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, asking the court to rehear Pickup v. Brown, Liberty Counsel’s case against California’s change therapy ban. Recently a three-judge panel of the court upheld California’s ban on change therapy.
Liberty Counsel: Today, Liberty Counsel filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in our ObamaCare case, Liberty University v. Lew (formerly called Liberty University v. Geithner). Liberty Counsel’s challenge to ObamaCare is the most comprehensive case pending, arguing that (1) the entire Employer Mandate is unconstitutional because Congress lacks authority to force employers to buy or provide government-mandated health insurance, (2) the contraception-abortifacient mandate forcing employers to provide free abortion-inducing drugs or devices violates the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment Free Exercise of Religion Clause, and (3) the Individual Mandate forcing individuals to fund abortion violates the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment Free Exercise of Religion Clause.
Baptist Press: Religious freedom advocate Liberty Counsel is at the forefront of groups continuing to fight for the right of teenage patients to receive reparative therapy to treat homosexuality, countering legislation in New Jersey and California banning the treatment.
John Dart at the Christian Century: The makeup of the ECFA commission, noted Lynn of Americans United, includes Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, affiliated with Liberty University, and Erik Stanley of Alliance Defending Freedom. The latter group sponsors the annual Pulpit Freedom Sunday in which pastors are encouraged to preach sermons that evaluate candidates running for office in the light of scripture and make recommendations. Nearly 1,100 churches participated last June 9.
Bloomberg: The law “does not violate the free speech rights of practitioners or minor patients, is neither vague nor overbroad, and does not violate parents’ fundamental rights,” a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco said in an opinion published today. | Pickup v. Brown
Liberty Counsel: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie torpedoed any chance at the White House when he used junk science to legitimize his politically motivated attack on children, families, and licensed therapists this week.
Matt Barber at World Net Daily: Things get more sinister yet. On Wednesday, New Jersey Assemblyman Tim Eustace, who sponsored the bill and is openly homosexual, bombastically compared change therapy to “beating a child” and suggested that the government take children seeking change away from their parents. He told Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, “What this does is prevent things that are harmful to people. If a parent were beating their child on a regular basis we would step in and remove that child from the house. If you pay somebody to beat your child or abuse your child, what’s the difference?”
Freedom from Religion Foundation: The Freedom From Religion Foundation’s closely watched federal challenge over illegal partisan politicking by churches just got a green light from U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman of the Western District of Wisconsin. Adelman’s decision will allow FFRF’s historic challenge to continue to discovery, so that the public may learn the facts regarding IRS inaction over church politickin . . . FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor blasted the recommendations by last week’s evangelical report, closely aligned to the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, which is “committed to helping Christ-centered organizations.” Participating members include those connected to the usual theocratic groups, including the Liberty Counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom, the Christian Legal Society, Campus Crusade for Christ and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, with a few token non-Christian groups thrown in . . .
Gov. Christie Harms New Jersey Children By Signing Change Therapy Ban. Liberty Counsel Will File Suit.
Liberty Counsel: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is expected to sign A3371 today, barring licensed therapists from helping children overcome unwanted same-sex attractions, behavior, or identity. This law will prohibit minors and their parents from receiving counseling they desire and will force counselors to violate ethical codes because they will not be able to help clients reach their own counseling goals. Liberty Counsel will file suit seeking to block this law.
LifeNews: Once again, a federal judge has stopped Attorney General Eric Holder’s political prosecution of a pro-life activist.
One News Now: Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, says in light of that comment Commissioner Avakian should resign immediately. “To say that this couple needs to be ‘rehabilitated’ for believing and practicing the values on which this nation was founded is entirely beyond the pale,” says the pro-family leader.
Liberty Counsel: Cleveland, OH–Liberty Counsel filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) against Cleveland Metropolitan School District and Principal Chantelle Lewis. CEF’s Good News Club, a religious, after-school club, is seeking access to the school facilities after the District insisted on charging the club a discriminatory access fee at Miles @ Cranwood Elementary School.
Liberty Counsel: Yesterday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued two conflicting orders in Liberty Counsel’s ObamaCare case, Liberty University v. Lew (formerly called Liberty University v. Geithner). The court of appeals first issued a stay of the Mandate. But, last evening, the same court reversed itself and issued another order denying the stay of the Mandate. “Denying a stay while awaiting a petition for cert is not unusual, but it is unusual that conflicting orders are sent on the subject.
Liberty Counsel: The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, issued an order to stay the mandate until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a petition for cert to be filed with the High Court by Liberty Counsel, on behalf of Liberty University and two private individuals. Liberty Counsel’s challenge to ObamaCare is the most comprehensive case pending, challenging (1) the employer mandate; (2) the abortion mandate for religious employers; (3) the abortion mandate for individuals; and (4) the entire law because tax bills must originate in the House.
Daily Report Online: Controversies involving private firms being required to offer contraceptive coverage are likely headed to U.S. Supreme Court.
Liberty Counsel: Today, Liberty Counsel filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court on behalf of the Town of Greece, in upstate New York, which was sued for opening its town meetings in prayer. In our brief, Liberty Counsel asks the Supreme Court to overturn the “Lemon” test and adopt a new test, which provides that if a religious observance comports with history and ubiquity, and does not objectively coerce participation in a religious exercise or activity, then it would be deemed a permissible acknowledgment of religion, not a violation of the Establishment Clause.
Robert Knight at Townhall: In the latest court ruling upholding Obamacare, a three-judge federal panel in Richmond, Virginia, rejected Liberty University’s challenge to provide health insurance to both the individual mandate and the employer mandate. There are silver linings here, and we’ll get to them in a minute. But first, let’s look at the case.
4th Circuit in Liberty U. case: Congress had Commerce Clause authority to pass Obamacare employer mandate
Liberty Counsel: Today the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond cleared the way for Liberty Counsel’s lawsuit, Liberty University v. Geithner, against the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare). The court reached the legal issues and did not dismiss the case on procedural grounds. The Court agreed with Liberty Counsel on the procedural questions at issue: Liberty University and the individual plaintiffs have legal standing to bring the case, and the Anti-Injunction Act (AIA) also does not bar the case from being heard. However, the court concluded that Congress had authority under the Commerce Clause to pass the employer mandate.
Todd Starnes at Townhall: There is a clear and present danger to religious liberty within the military, says a coalition of groups who believe the Obama Administration is pushing a secular, anti-religious culture on the nation’s armed forces.
Justice Department Invokes Employer Mandate Delay In Argument For Dismissal of Liberty University’s ACA Challenge
Religion Clause Blog: In May, the 4th Circuit heard oral arguments in Liberty University, Inc. v. Lew (see prior posting), a broader religious freedom challenge to the Affordable Care Act than most that are still pending . . .
Liberty Counsel: On June 26 the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 opinion that invoked “equal protection” when reviewing the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), but not once did the Court engage in an equal protection analysis. The Court then dismissed the Prop 8 case on standing grounds. Friday afternoon California time, in a surprise move, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted its stay of Prop 8, and the California Attorney General rushed to perform a “marriage” ceremony for the two plaintiffs in the Prop 8 case. The blatant lawlessness of these decisions and acts undermines the rule of law and the confidence of the people in the Judicial Branch.
Christian Groups React to Supreme Court’s Ruling in Favor of Homosexual ‘Marriage’ | ChristianNews.net
ChristianNews.net: “The Supreme Court got it wrong in saying that a state that has redefined marriage can force that definition on the federal government,” said Austin Nimocks of the national legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom, which had submitted amicus briefs in the case. “The federal government should be able to define what marriage is for federal law just as states need to be able to define what marriage is for state law. Americans should be able to continue advancing the truth about marriage between a man and a woman and why it matters for children, civil society and limited government.”
IMPORTANT analysis from legal scholars linked toward the bottom of this post. _________ The opinion is here (official server) and here (Alliance Alert server). KENNEDY, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which GINSBURG, BREYER, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., …
Religion Clause Blog: A federal lawsuit was filed yesterday against the city of West Palm Beach, Florida by two anti-abortion activists challenging the city ordinance that prohibits shouting and all amplified sound within 100 feet of the property line of a property housing a health care facility. The complaint (full text) in Pine v. City of West Palm Beach, Florida, (SD FL, filed 6/6/2013) . . .
Kristi Burton Brown at LiveActionNews: [A]s a guy you can try to legally stop her from having an abortion. I’ll be honest and tell you that the law usually doesn’t side with dads, but I think it is always worth a try – that way you did everything in YOUR power to save your child. There are several legal organizations that may help you at no cost. You can contact Alliance Defending Freedom, the Thomas More Law Center, the ACLJ, Liberty Counsel, or the American Freedom Law Center, and see if they can help you try to get a restraining order against an abortion or give you other advice.
Liberty Counsel: “What we ultimately need is a Supreme Court that will understand the rule of law, and abortion has no place in this jurisprudence. It’s not a right under the Constitution. It is simply an invention of justices back in 1973,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.
Matt Barber at LifeSiteNews: Our sources have provided Liberty Counsel an internal DOJ document titled: “LGBT Inclusion at Work: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Managers.” It was emailed to DOJ managers in advance of the left’s so-called “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month.” The document is chilling. It’s riddled with directives that grossly violate – prima facie –employees’ First Amendment liberties.
Politico: Liberty University’s challenge to the health reform law will go back before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., on Thursday, with the school focused on getting Obamacare back before the Supreme Court. Liberty’s lawsuit is the most wide ranging of the outstanding legal challenges to the health law, hitting everything from contraceptive coverage to the employer mandate.
Liberty Counsel filed a motion and a brief in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas seeking to intervene on behalf of a Concepts of Life crisis pregnancy center to defend against a suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights.
Liberty Counsel: The City Council of North Miami ignored the threatening, inaccurate letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation in favor of Mission Miami and local pastors, after a letter from Liberty Counsel.
First Coast News: The school board wanted control over what was said and feared a lawsuit if a prayer took place. In fact, a letter sent by the Freedom From Religion Foundation said they would be asking for a lawsuit. A former Navy chaplain in Colorado has weighed in, offering scholarship money to the first student to say the Lord’s Prayer, or pray in the name of Jesus at a graduation ceremony.
Liberty Counsel: Today, Liberty Counsel filed its final brief in Liberty University v. Geithner before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals hears our case against ObamaCare on May 16. Liberty Counsel represents Liberty University and two private individuals in this case
Christian Post: The openly gay son of a conservative Republican Congressman has stated that he benefitted from undergoing the controversial practice of reparative therapy as a teenager.
WorldNetDaily: The decision from the Supremes was that the Alien Tort Statute cannot be used to challenge foreign conduct in courts inside the United States. The ruling came down in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, but attorneys for Pastor Scott Lively say it means a claim brought against him by an organization called Sexual Minorities Uganda should be dismissed.
Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty\: According to Landeen, the city has received offers from several organizations, including the Liberty Council, which has offered pro bono legal representation. Alliance Defending Freedom, the Liberty Institute and the American Center for Law and Justice have also contacted the city, he said.
How Appealing links to the audio and several reports.
AP: A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is considering two legal challenges to the ban on “sexual orientation change efforts” that was passed by the California Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown last fall. | Liberty Counsel Press Release
Citizen Link: Liberty Counsel testified before Congress today outlining one of a series of incidents that suggests the Department of Justice (DOJ) violated the Constitution by initiating prosecutions for political reasons.
Rapid City Journal: The vote means the city will continue to look at prayer as a tradition as it prepares for a potential lawsuit against the Freedom from Religion Foundation, a national nonprofit agency that has sent at least two letters to the city raising concerns about the practice . . . According to Landeen, the city has received offers from several organizations, including the Liberty Council, which has offered pro bono legal representation. Alliance Defending Freedom, the Liberty Institute and the American Center for Law and Justice have also contacted the city, he said.
AP: Rival legal teams, well-financed and highly motivated, are girding for court battles over the coming months on laws enacted in Arkansas and North Dakota that would impose the nation’s toughest bans on abortion.
Ken Klukowski at Breitbart: The nature of constitutional law is such that when I litigate or file briefs on religious liberty issues, I survey and cite to the Supreme Court’s decisions and religious liberty historical facts in this country going back to when the Constitution and Bill of Rights were first adopted. Doing so recently, it vividly struck me that in all of American history religious liberty has never been as gravely threatened as it is today, especially for Christians. One need only look at the cases being litigated by public-interest law firms, such as Alliance Defending Freedom, Liberty Institute, Becket Fund, and Liberty Counsel.