Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s days away: The Supreme Court’s marriage decision is expected to come down on June 29.
Baptist Joint Committee: Article VI of the U.S. Constitution clearly states, “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” It is one of the few direct references to religion in our founding documents, outside the First Amendment.
Christian News Network: Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood has filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking that it hear its case surrounding an admitting privileges law that could close the state’s last abortion facility.
Christian News Network: The Mississippi Senate has voted to reject the “Tim Tebow Act,” a bill that would allow homeschoolers throughout the state to participate in school sports programs.
Christian News Network: In recognition of football great Tim Tebow, a homeschooler who worked his way up to the NFL after playing with public school teams, Mississippi lawmakers are considering the passage of the “Tim Tebow Act” in order to give that same opportunity to other homeschoolers throughout the state.
One News Now: The ACLU is going after a Mississippi school district that’s requiring students to obtain parental permission before joining a club that advocates for homosexual rights.
Huffington Post (AP): Mississippi is the birthplace of William Faulkner, Richard Wright and recent U.S. poet laureate Natasha Trethewey. However, some lawmakers say they want to look beyond the secular literary world and designate the Bible as the state book.
WTVA: Starkville’s mayor vetoed the Board of Alderman’s decision to rescind a resolution that made it clear that the city is intolerant of discrimination against anyone and in any form.
The Washington Post: On Friday, the Fifth Circuit will hear oral argument in three cases challenging marriage laws, one each from Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
Christian News Network: A number of atheist organizations are seeking to remove long-standing language from seven state Constitutions that bans secularists from holding public office.
AP: Arkansas and Mississippi became the latest two states Tuesday to have their gay marriage bans overturned by federal judges, but there are no rushes to the altar as both orders are on hold so the states can considers appeals.
Life Site News: The last abortion facility in the state of Mississippi will remain open, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has decided, as the full court refused to hear an appeal to an earlier ruling that blocked a law that would have closed its doors.
Life News: Life Legal Defense Foundation’s request that pro-life advocates receive injunctive relief from harassment by the City of Jackson, Mississippi Police Department was denied by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi Jackson Division yesterday.
The Clarion-Ledger: The Alliance Defending Freedom represents the governor and argues that a state court allowing two women to divorce is an admission they were legally married in the first place.
The Clarion-Ledger: A Jackson Rabbi says he was thrown out of a restaurant after a short exchange when the person behind the register found out he was Jewish.
Sun Herald (AP): “Mississippi is free to define and recognize marriage only as the union of a man and a woman,” wrote Kellie Fiedorek of the Alliance Defending Freedom. “To declare otherwise would turn state sovereignty on its head.”
Gulf Live (AP): “Mississippi is free to define and recognize marriage only as the union of a man and a woman,” wrote Kellie Fiedorek of the Alliance Defending Freedom. “To declare otherwise would turn state sovereignty on its head.”
Sun Herald (AP): The Republican governor, represented by Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, is opposing Lauren Czekala-Chatham’s appeal to the Mississippi Supreme Court.
The Christian Post: A Washington, D.C.-based atheist organization has sent a letter to a Mississippi school district expressing concern about a mandatory faculty event that featured a Christian pastor.
National Review: Russell Moore’s article in The Gospel Coalition, “Aborting in the Name of Jesus,” led me to a recent article in Esquire about the “ministry” of Dr. Willie Parker. Parker flies into the state of Mississippi to perform abortions, because no doctor in the entire state is willing to.
National Review: A physician at the one remaining abortion clinic in Mississippi argued that those who object to abortion on religious grounds are overlooking the “sacred decision” made by those who go to such clinics.
Russell Moore calls ‘abortion ministry’ of doctor who was once medical director for Planned Parenthood ‘disturbing’
The Christian Post: Dr. Willie Parker is a Harvard educated ex-medical director for Planned Parenthood who insists that he performs abortions because he is a Christian. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, however, finds his theology of ending a life in the name of Jesus “disturbing.”
Daily Caller: For the second time in as many weeks, back-to-back rulings in the South have declared laws that require abortionists to obtain admitting privileges to nearby hospitals unconstitutional and halted enforcement. Both the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and a U.S. District Court Judge handed down similar rulings that have people scratching their heads.
National Review: The 2–1 Fifth Circuit panel decision in Jackson Women’s Health Organization v. Currier, striking down Mississippi’s law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at local hospitals, is at least a short-term loss for the people of Mississippi. Despite the court’s bad (even bizarre) rationale, the panel was forced to admit that there are reasonable health and safety concerns for the Mississippi legislature to have enacted the law.
National Review: On Tuesday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a Mississippi law that would have required abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. This law, if enforced, would have likely shut down Mississippi’s lone abortion clinic. What is disappointing for pro-lifers is that the same court recently upheld a similar law passed in Texas last summer.
Federal court blocks law threatening Mississippi’s sole abortion clinic; calls it ‘undue burden’ on a woman’s right to abortion
The Christian Post: Calling it an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to abortion, a federal court on Tuesday, blocked a Mississippi law requiring doctors at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at local hospitals.
The Clarion-Ledge: LGBT rights groups have panned Mississippi’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which takes effect July 1. Conservative and religious groups have praised it.
A three member panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments yesterday concerning the constitutionality of Mississippi’s law that requires abortionists to maintain hospital privileges within 30 miles of their abortion clinic.
Mississippi’s only abortion clinic is fighting to remain open in the face of ever-tightening state regulations. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans hears arguments Monday in a dispute over a state law that requires abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges.
Thomas Berg at Mirror of Justice: “The scholars’ letter primarily argues that the Mississippi RFRA would send a message that commercial businesses might be exempt from anti-discrimination laws. As in Kansas and Arizona, the focus is on exemptions that would undermine civil rights laws protecting gays and lesbians. But here’s the problem: even assuming that RFRAs have any such effect (which is itself highly doubtful), Mississippi does not have gay-rights laws for a RFRA to undermine (and likely won’t in the near future). There is no state law against sexual-orientation discrimination.”
Associated Press: “A federal appeals court in New Orleans will hear arguments April 28 in a lawsuit challenging a 2012 Mississippi law that threatens to close the state’s only abortion clinic.”
Associated Press: “A last-minute change to an abortion bill by state senators would ban abortion after 18 weeks of pregnancy, not 20. House Bill 1400 originally calculated a pregnancy as beginning when an embryo implants itself in a woman’s uterus. But the version that passed the Senate unanimously Tuesday changed that to calculate a pregnancy from when a woman’s last menstrual period ended.”
WSJ Law Blog: “A federal district judge in Mississippi on Friday dismissed his lawsuit, saying the professor’s the speech ‘was not protected from employer discipline’ because his comments were made as part of his duties as a public employee.” | The opinion is here.
National Review: “Both the Magnolia State’s house and senate adopted slightly different versions of the Equal Opportunity for All Students with Special Needs Act, which would create an education savings account (ESA) program similar to Arizona’s. The Friedman Foundation estimates that 11 percent of Mississippi students would be eligible for about $6,100 annually.”
Reuters: “Mississippi lawmakers took steps to become the latest U.S. state to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy by passing a measure on Thursday that seeks to further restrict access to the procedure.”
Seymour Tribune (AP): “Mississippi lawmakers are considering banning abortion after 20 weeks’ gestation, halfway through a normal full-term pregnancy of 40 weeks.”
The Commercial Appeal (AP): “The Mississippi Senate voted Friday to add ‘In God We Trust’ to the state seal, as requested by Republican Gov. Phil Bryant.”
“Dan Dalton, Allied Attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, Secures Legal Settlement for Mississippi Town’s Shelters for Women and Children” | Digital J. (PR Newswire)
Digital Journal (PR Newswire): “City zoning restrictions should not be used to prevent religious organizations from providing real help to women and children in need,” Dan Dalton of Dalton & Tomich, PLC said. “We pursued this case to protect a trusted Hattiesburg religious and charitable organization that provides critical resources needed for single mothers recovering from addiction. Federal law protects ministries like this from being targeted by zoning regulations.”
MyWay (AP): Lauren Beth Czekala-Chatham wants to force Mississippi, one of the America’s most conservative states, to recognize her same-sex marriage. She hopes to do so by getting a divorce.
AP: A Mississippi judge on Monday refused to grant a divorce to a lesbian couple who got married in California, saying the marriage wasn’t recognized under state law, according to the woman who filed and her lawyer.
Education Views: Parents of a sixth grade student at the Milam Elementary School in Tupelo, Mississippi were shocked when their daughter brought home a political beliefs worksheet that teachers told students to fill out.
Suit Settled Allowing Christian Group To Use Building To House Recovering Addicts and Their Children | Religion Clause Blog
Religion Clause Blog: Alliance Defending Freedom announced this week that it has reached a settlement with the city of Hattiesburg, Mississippi in a suit challenging the city’s refusal to rezone or provide a special use permit for a Christian organization to use a building it purchased for overnight housing of women who are recovering from addiction and their children. (links to complaint and order)
Bethany Monk at Citizen Link: “City zoning restrictions should not be used to prevent religious organizations from providing real help to women and children in need,” said Dan Dalton, who represented Lighthouse on behalf of ADF. “We pursued this case to protect a trusted Hattiesburg religious and charitable organization that provides critical resources needed for single mothers to recovering from addiction.”
One News Now: ADF filed suit and attorney Joe Infranco tells OneNewsNow that the city has finally agreed to settle the case. “A city’s zoning restrictions shouldn’t single out ministries for discrimination and penalize them because of their religious viewpoint,” he says. “The city has done the right thing in agreeing to respect the freedom of Lighthouse to fulfill its mission and help women and children in need.”
An Alliance Defending Freedom allied attorney has secured a legal settlement on behalf of a non-profit organization that helps provide housing and treatment to single mothers struggling with addictions. The lawsuit concerned a Mississippi town’s unconstitutional zoning restrictions.
Jackson Free Press: Preacher Flip Benham and his band of anti-abortion protesters from Operation Rescue America descended on Jackson Monday, two days after a pro-abortion rights rally at Jackson Women’s Health Organization, or JWHO, the state’s sole remaining abortion clinic.
Religion Clause Blog: Indiana, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia, however, are requiring their National Guard members to go to a federal military base if they want to obtain the new ID.
Religion Clause Blog: As previously reported, in a decision last January a Mississippi federal district court held that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act did not require a Mississippi county to allow a female juvenile detention officer who had converted to the Pentecostal faith to wear a skirt rather than pants at work.
Todd Starnes of Fox News at Townhall: It’s a battle of Christians versus Christians in Brandon, Miss. where city officials oppose efforts by a prominent church to erect a giant cross because it violates a zoning ordinance. But the pastor of the church said elected officials are also afraid the cross might offend Muslims.
AP: A federal judge on Friday set a jury trial next spring for a lawsuit filed by Mississippi’s only abortion clinic over a new law that it says would make it shut its doors.
LifeNews (includes video): An ambulance arrived at the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the only abortion clinic in Mississippi, at about 12:20 p.m. on Wednesday, August 7, and transported a female patient who emerged from the clinic in Mississippi on a gurney. The pale-skinned, brown-haired woman was covered head to toe with a blanket.
ABC (includes video): Anti-abortion protestors show up outside of the last surviving abortion clinic in Mississippi, praying and pleading with women not to go inside. They are certain that what takes place there is morally wrong and that God stands with them. But on the other side of a high fence surrounding the bubble-gum-pink-colored clinic, the staff too believes they have God on their side. They blast music from large boom boxes to drown out the protestors’ pleas of “don’t kill your baby.”
SPLC demands Mississippi board end discrimination against business owner | Southern Poverty Law Center
Southern Poverty Law Center: In the 1990s, she operated O’Hara’s, a bar that mainly served LGBT customers. In the community of Shannon, Miss., it was a place they could gather and socialize without fear of discrimination. After Newton decided to reopen the business recently, she went before the Shannon Board of Aldermen to get a business license – a hearing she believed would be routine.
MSNBC: The Southern Equality campaign continues its swing through Mississippi. Last week, same-sex couples tried to get marriage licenses in the southern part of the state. On Wednesday, a couple that includes a member of the Air Force Reserve got turned down in tiny Poplarville.
AP: It can’t meet the mandates of a 2012 state law and the governor wants to shut it down, but Mississippi’s only abortion clinic is not about to quietly retreat.
San Francisco Chronicle: Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has signed a bill that regulates the prescription and use of abortion-inducing drugs. He signed Senate Bill 2795 on Thursday, and it becomes law July 1.
Religion Clause Blog: The complaint (full text) in M.B. v. Rankin County School District, (SD MI, filed 4/24/2013) alleges that Northwest Rankin High School held mandatory assemblies for various grade levels, led by members of the Pinelake Baptist Church.
WDAM: “Hattiesburg is a praying city,” said Dupree. “We all understand what prayer does, how powerful prayer is. Personally, prayer has done so much for my family, and people that I love. So we’ll continue to have the prayer breakfast.” The mayor also received a letter from the Alliance Defending Freedom in support of the prayer breakfast.
Baptist Press at Townhall: Casey Mattox, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, said in a written statement, “Virginia should be congratulated for holding abortionists to the same health and safety standards as everyone else. Their resistance to such standards exposes their real attitude toward women….”
Atheists Pressuring Mississippi Mayor to Put a Fork in Hattiesburg Prayer Breakfast | Christian News Network
Christian News Network: However, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a prominent Christian legal organization headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, has also sent a letternotifying Mayor DuPree that the prayer breakfast is both legal and appropriate. “You can be confident that your participation in and acknowledgement of the National Day of Prayer are constitutionally protected activities,” the letter states. “You are free to proclaim your city’s support for this event, and you are under no obligation to satisfy the demands of any disgruntled individual or civil libertarian group that may oppose such action.”
Charisma News: “Public officials should be able to recognize public prayer activities just as America’s founders did,” said Senior Counsel Austin R. Nimocks. “The mayor need not give in to the demands of activist groups that twist the true meaning of the First Amendment. He and the town of Hattiesburg are free to continue to participate in this long-revered American tradition.”
Alliance Defending Freedom has sent a letter to the mayor of Hattiesburg, Miss. to encourage him to continue the Mayor’s Annual Prayer Breakfast despite an atheist group’s false claims that the event is unconstitutional.
LifeNews: A judge has prevented a new pro-life law from being used to close the last remaining abortion clinic in Mississippi.
Freedom from Relgiion Foundation: The city of Hattiesburg, Miss., shouldn’t be using city resources and public tax dollars to promote a May 2 religious observance, FFRF Staff Attorney Elizabeth Cavell told Mayor Johnny L. DuPree in an April 9 letter of complaint.
Delaware Online: Fresh from the governor’s desk, a bill aimed at expanding legal opportunities for public school prayer has been signed into law even as the Lincoln County School District remains in talks with the American Civil Liberties Union over charges of unconstitutional prayers in the district.
CBN: Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has signed a bill that allows prayers led by students over school intercoms, at graduations, or at sporting events.
Mississippi Business Journal: Gov. Phil Bryant has signed a bill that could lead to student-led prayer over school intercoms or at graduations or sporting events. The American Civil Liberties Union said the measure, which becomes law July 1, is likely to prompt a lawsuit in the school year that begins in August